I hope I didn't leave any words or affixes out! If I did they may be in the glossary linked from http://www.quandary.org/~langs/toma/grammar/
Syin semav seta ehimtyok minu akot sayil syin kelalu soteli.
The teacher told a story which concerns the winning of peace.
(longer version with charts at the above URL)
Word order is SOV.
Articles, number and prepositions precede nouns, and adjectives follow them. Nouns have gender, but it is not marked on the nouns; it is marked on the adjectives that modify them and the verbs for which they are the subject.
Nouns inflect for case, of which there are seven (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental, locative, causative). Inflection is by a mix of prefixes and suffixes according to the following chart:
Nominative [none] shadow - edior world - dampe Accusative -u, -yu edioru dampeyu Genitive -i, -yi ediori dampeyi Dative a-, ay- ayedior adampe Instrumental o-, oy- oyedior odampe Locative uy-, yu- uyedior yudampe Causative hi-, iy- iyedior hidampe
Pronouns inflect irregularly for case and are given in their inflected forms in the vocabulary.
Adjectives follow the noun and agree with it in gender (if singular) or number (if plural). In the singular, no suffix indicates a male noun, and -s indicates a female noun. -d indicates a plural noun.
Adjectives can modify a noun or be the object of the copula.
Modals precede verbs, and adverbs follow them. Verbs conjugate for gender or number of the subject (gender if singular, number if plural). Tense, mood, and aspect are indicated by the modals. Verbs in the infinitive can follow the conjugated verb to modify it.
The modal verb system is based on the three-part Creole system:
The modals always appear in the order seta delye dava. No modals indicates non-past indicative, aka the simple present. All three modals would indicate "would have been doing", or "was about to be doing", or "intended to be doing"...
The copula, ey, disappears in the presence of modals. Therefore, modals without a verb after them should be considered a form of the copula. Since the copula is considered naturally imperfective, dava is not used with it.
Adverbs usually end in ya. Some adverbs have comparative and superlative forms, which are listed in the vocabulary where appropriate.
Verb phrases can be nominalized by putting the definite article syin before the verb, which then takes noun case marking. The former object of the verb takes genitive case.
The particle sil begins nominal clauses such as "that the flowers are red".
Relative clauses are a different matter. Toma Heylm has internally headed relative clauses. This is very different from the way which English does things. For example:
I see the woman eff tisanot syin anya-yu I(NOM) see(f) the woman-ACC The woman gives a book to the man syin anya datil mind-u syin ay-alam the woman(NOM) give(f) book-ACC the DAT-man I see the woman who gives a book to the man eff tisanot [min-u syin anya datil mind-u syin ay-alam] I(NOM) see(f) [REL_ACC the woman(NOM) give(f) book-ACC the DAT-man] I see the man to whom the woman gives a book eff tisanot [syin anya datil mind-u min-u syin ay-alam] I(NOM) see(f) [the woman(NOM) give(f) book-ACC REL-ACC the DAT-man] I see the book which the woman gives to the man eff tisanot [syin anya datil min-u mind-u syin ay-alam] I(NOM) see(f) [the woman(NOM) give(f) REL_ACC book-ACC the DAT-man] The woman who gives the book to the man sees me [min syin anya datil mind-u syin ay-alam] tisanot lifa [REL the woman(NOM) give(f) book-ACC the DAT-man] see(f) me(ACC) The man to whom the woman gives a book sees me [syin anya datil mind-u min syin ay-alam] tisanyik lifa [the woman(ACC) give(f) book-ACC REL the DAT-man] see(m) me(ACC) The book which the woman gives to the man is about me [syin anya datil min mind-u syin ay-alam] sayok lifa [the woman(NOM) give(f) REL book-ACC the DAT-man] be.about(m) me(ACC) I give the book the woman saw to the man eff datil [syin anya seta tisanot min-u syin mind-u] syin ay-alam I(NOM) give(f) [the woman(NOM) did see(f) REL-ACC the book-ACC] the DAT-man I give the book to the man the woman saw eff datil syin mindu [syin anya seta tisanot a-min syin alam-u] I(NOM) give(f) the book-ACC [the woman(NOM) did see(f) DAT-REL the man-ACC]
The relativizer min comes directly before the internal head noun of the relative clause. It gets the case marking that the head noun would have had in the OUTER sentence; the head noun retains the case marking that it gets in the INNER sentence. (Backwards of the way Russian does it.)
Charts of verb conjugations, noun declensions, and the pronoun matrix can be seen at http://www.quandary.org/~langs/toma/grammar/.
Smooth translation of the text received
The shaman told this story which concerns winning balance.
© Jan van Steenbergen, Amanda Babcock Furrow, 15 Sept. 2004