Dingwa

Dingwam Ukwe!

Speak Dingwa

UNDER DEVELOPMENT

Main

Updated: 15 February 2008


•What is this?!
The following is an introduction to Dingwa, a constructed language or conlang. Also called "model languages," conlangs are created primarily for fun. Nevertheless, as linguistic experiments, some have attempted to solve serious problems of communication, logic, philosophy, efficiency, redundancy, etc.

•About DINGWA
Dingwa is a simplified form of Indo-European (IE), the ancestral language of English and the other IE languages of Europe, West Asia and India (100+ languages). The name Dingwa (IE *dnghu, *dnghwa) is cognate with the English word tongue, Latin lingua “language” and also means “tongue” or “language.” The simplifications Dingwa exhibits consist of the following:

(1) reductions in the phonemic inventory, (a) conflating the voiced aspirates (*bh, *dh, *gh, *ghw) of IE with their unaspirated forms, as occurred historically in several IE language families (Slavic, Germanic, etc.), (b) reducing the number of vowels to five (the "standard average European" vowels), and (c) introducing several consonant phonemes used in modern European languages to spell loanwords (see entries under Dingwa Alphabet for f, sj, zj).

(2) elimination of the original IE ablaut series of vowel gradations (still present in English sing, sang, sung; song; foot, feet; etc. ), leaving in most cases a single form of the word root.

(3) unification of multiple conjugations and declensions into a single paradigm for each.

(4) regularization of accent (from the mobile system of IE to a system similar to the stress accent of Latin) to make it wholly predictable according to syllable structure.

(5) logical extension of original word derivations to create new lexical items, with some borrowing of internationally recognized lexemes (hotel-a, taksij-a, komik-a).

(6) deployment of part-of-speech endings on words so that grammatical relationships are maximally explicit and transparent.

(7) use of a regular phonemic alphabet that is “generically European” in pronunciation to maximize the symbol-sound correspondence.

• The DINGWA ALPHABET
The Dingwa alphabet has 22 phonemes or sounds -- 17 consonants and 5 vowels: a, b, d, e, f, g, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, sj, t, u, v, z, zj. Note that two of the letters (sj and zj) are digraphs: two characters representing a single sound.

a as in “father.” EX: albei [AHL-bay] “white”
b as in “baby.” EX: bolja [BOH-lyah] “flower”
d as in “dog.” EX: doma [DOH-mah] “house”
e as in “edge.” EX: ejo [EH-yoh] “I go”
f as in “fox.” EX: filosofja [fee-loh-SOH-fyah] “philosophy.” NOTE: This letter represents the first of three non-native Dingwa sounds, and appears in loanwords.
g as in “get” EX: gima [GEE-mah] “winter”
i as in “machine.” EX: interesentei [een-teh-reh-SEHN-tay] “interesting”
j as in “yet,” German ja. EX: junei [YOO-nay] “young”
k as in “kick.” EX: kolna [KOHL-nah] “mountain”
l as in “leap.” EX: lubo [LOO-boh] “I like, love”
m as in “mother.” EX: matra [MAH-trah] “mother”
n as in “night.” EX: nokta [NOHK-tah] “night”
o as in “post.” EX: okta [OHK-tah] “eight”
p as in “people.” EX: putla [POO-tlah] “child”
r as in “red.” EX: rudrei [ROO-dray] “red”
s as in “six.” EX: seksa [SEHK-sah] “six”
sj as in “sheriff.” EX: sjofera [SHOH-feh-rah] “chauffeur.” NOTE: This digraph represents a single sound, the 2nd of three non-native Dingwa sounds, and appears in loanwords.
t as in “tree.” EX: trija [TREE-yah] “three”
u as in “soon.” EX: ukwo [OO-kwoh] “I say, I speak”
w as in “wise.” EX: werga [WEHR-gah] “work, job”
z as in “zoo.” EX: mezgit [MEHZ-geet] “dips.” This sound appears adjacent to other voiced sounds like b, d, g (and hence is in complimentary distribution with s). It also appears in a few loanwords.
zj as in “vision.” EX: zjanra [ZHAHN-rah] “genre.” NOTE: This digraph represents a single sound, the 3rd of three non-native Dingwa sounds, and appears in loanwords.

• SYLLABLE DIVISION
A Dingwa syllable consists minimally of a vowel, and usually also of one or more consonants. Words with consonant clusters generally split the consonants between the syllables. Note, however, that consonant + r, l, w, j do not separate.

trija “three” = tri + ja [TREE-yah]
luda “person” = lu + da [LOO-dah]
seksa “six” = sek + sa [SEHK-sah]
mezgit “dips” = mez + git [MEHZ-geet]
ardwosta “straightness” ar + dwo + sta [ahr-DWOH-stah]
ukwe “speak” u + kwe [OO-kweh]

However, consonants followed by the sonorant consonants (r, l, m, n, j, w) form part of the following syllable:

pu-tla: child [POO-tlah]
ma-tra: mother [MAH-trah]
sim-fo-nja: symphony [seem-FOH-nyah]

• STRESS
The stress in Dingwa words is regular and completely predictable.
It always occurs either on the third syllable from the end (the default stressed syllable), or the next to last syllable if it contains either a double vowel or a consonant cluster. Two-syllable words are thus always stressed on the first syllable. In the examples below, the stressed syllables are capitalized:

DO-ma: house [DOH-mah]
KOL-na: mountain [KOHL-nah]
PU-tla: child [POO-tlah]
a-ME-ri-ka: America [ah-MEH-ree-kah]
A-ru-ka: plowman [AH-roo-kah]
MU-si-ka: music (no consonant cluster) [MOO-see-kah]
sim-FO-nja: symphony (consonant cluster nj moves stress forward) [seem-FOH-nyah]
da-NEN-tei: giving (consonant cluster nt moves stress forward) [dah-NEHN-tay]
gur-MOS-ta: heat (consonant cluster st moves stress forward) [goor-MOHS-tah]
al-BAA-git: s/he whitens (double vowel aa moves stress forward) [ahl-BAH-geet]

• DINGWA WORD STRUCTURE: Root, affix(es), stem, word
All words in Dingwa are composed of at least two parts, a stem and a part-of-speech ending, neither of which can stand alone. Only together do they form a complete word. Because of this ending, every Dingwa word can be clearly and unambiguously identified as a noun, verb, etc.

Many Dingwa words are composed of a root, to which one or more affixes are added, forming a stem. To this stem the part-of-speech ending is then added to form a word. In some cases, stem and root are identical.

root [+ affix(es) = stem] + ending = word

ner- “man” + -a (noun ending) = nera “a man”
dan- “give” + -aaw- “past tense” + -it (verb ending) = danaawit “s/he gave”
bres- “quick” + -ost- “abstract” + -a (noun ending) = bresosta “quickness”
werg- “work” + -ont- “participle” + -ei (adjective ending) = wergontei “working”
ku- “what” + -st- “place” + -u (adverb ending) = kustu “where?”

• NOUNS
All singular nouns in Dingwa are formed from a root and the noun suffix or ending --a. There are no exceptions to this rule.

[Etymology Note (EN): IE *-os/a/om; Latin -us/a/um; Greek -os/e/on; Germanic -az/o/am, etc. The vowel -a was chosen both in light of IE forms and because it will almost always appear in unstressed syllables, and will more easily resist raising or lowering if it is already a low back vowel.]

bresosta: quickness, speed memsa: food
dina: day nera : man
dingwa: language nokta : night
doma: house putla : child
guna : woman udra : water
lida : game, play werga : work
luda : person nera : man

• VERBS
All verbs in all tenses form the third person singular from a verb root and the third person singular ending --it. [EN: IE *-et(i), Sanskrit –ati, Latin –it (3 rd conjugation), Greek –ei]. There are no “irregular verbs” in Dingwa.

berit: carries lidit: plays
budit: wakes pojit: drinks
danit: gives prokit: asks
dromit: runs sedit: sits
edit: eats swopit: sleeps
esit: is, exists ukwit: says
gumit: comes wergit: works

• SENTENCES
With the previous grammatical rules we can form simple Dingwa sentences consisting of a verb, or a noun and a verb.

Ukwit. S/he talks/speaks.
Guna edit. (The) woman eats. (A) woman is eating.
Putla swopit. The child sleeps.
Nera ukwit. The man speaks.
Nokta gumit. Night comes.
Udra esit. Water exists. There is water.
Luda wergit. A person works.
Nera sedit. The man sits.

• THE VERB ES-
The verb es- means both “exist” and “be”:

Nera esit. There is a man. A man exists. It’s a man.
Doma esit. There is a house. A house exists. It’s a house.
Dina esit. It’s day. (A) day exists.

CONTRACTION of ES-
Often in speech this verb stem is contracted to ’s-:

Nera ’sit. It’s a man. [NE-rah seet]
Doma ’sit. There’s a house. [DOH-mah seet]
Dina ’sit. It’s day. [DEE-nah seet]
Kja ’sis? Who are you? [KYAH sees]
Golei ’so. I’m cold. [GOH-lay soh]

• ADJECTIVES
All adjectives end in the adjective ending --ei. There are no exceptions to this rule.

[EN: -i and iy-os/a are common adjectival endings in IE]

albei: white
bresei: quick, fast, rapid
gelnei: green
golei: cool, cold
gurmei: hot
junei: young
kludenei: closed
newei: new
rudrei: red
senekei: old
skunei: beautiful, handsome
surdei: black

• ADJECTIVES from NOUNS
Noun stems may form related adjectives by adding the adjective ending --ei.

nera: man --> nerei: male, manly, virile
guna: woman --> gunei: female, feminine, womanly
dingwa: language --> dingwei: linguistic, language-
doma: house --> domei: domestic, house-
dina: day --> dinei: day-, daily

dinei memsa: daily food
noktei werga: night work
dingwei gigna: linguistic knowledge, language knowledge
putlei dingwa: child language
nerei putla: male child; boy
Ewei dwora kludenei esit. This door is closed.
Tuwei doma kuwei worna esit? What color is your house?

• FORMING ABSTRACT NOUNS from ADJECTIVES
Adjectives form abstract nouns with the abstract suffix --ost- and the noun ending --a.

[EN: IE has a reconstructed noun suffix *-st-]

albei --> albosta: whiteness
bresei --> bresosta: speed, quickness
gelnei --> gelnosta: greenness
golei --> golosta: coolness, cold (n)
gurmei --> gurmosta: heat
junei --> junosta: youth, youngness
newei --> newosta: newness, novelty
rudrei --> rudrosta: redness
senekei --> senekosta: oldness, age
skunei --> skunosta: beauty, handsomeness
surdei --> surdosta: blackness

• PRONOUNS
Singular pronouns, like nouns, also end in the suffix --a.

mena: I
tuwa: you
ona: he, she, it
ewa: this
towa: that
kuja, kja: who?
kuwa, kwa: what??

• 1ST PERSON SINGULAR SUFFIX for VERBS
Verbs add the suffix/ending --o to show first person singular. The verb root es- means “be” or “exist.”

[EN: *es is the reconstructed IE form of the verb "be."]

(Mena) eso. I am. I exist.
(Mena) luda eso. I am a person.

• DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS and ADJECTIVES

ewa: this
towa: that

Ewa mewei matra esit. This is my mother.
Towa mewei patra esit. That is my father.

Ewei guna mewei matra esit. This woman is my mother.
Towei nera patra esit. That man is (my) father.

• NOUN PLURALS
Nouns form plurals with the plural suffix or ending --i.

dina “day”; dinai “days”
doma “house”; domai “houses”
gunai “women”
ludai “people”
memsai “foods”
nerai “men”
noktai “nights”

• FORMING NOUNS from VERBS
Dingwa verbs may be changed to nouns by removing the verb ending and adding the noun ending --a to the stem.

berit: carries bera: carrying, portage
budit: wakes buda: waking
danit: gives dana: giving, gift
gumit: comes guma: coming, advent
swopit: sleeps swopa: sleep
ukwit: says, speaks ukwa: speech, talk
sedaagit: seats s.o. sedaaga: seating

• 3RD PERSON PLURAL VERBS
Verbs form the third person plural with the suffix --en.

beren: they carry
danen: they give
eden: they eat
esen: they are, exist
gumen: they come
pojen: they drink
proken: they ask
swopen: they sleep
ukwen: they say
wergen: they work
widen: they see

Plural verbs logically occur with plural subject nouns:

Nerai pojen. The men drink.
Putlai gumen. The children come.
Gunai widen. The women see.
Ludai wergen. People work.

• PRONOUN PLURALS
Pronouns, like nouns, also form their plural with the suffix --i.

nai: we
wai: you
onai: they

ewai: these
towai: those

• DIRECT OBJECTS
The accusative or direct object is formed with the suffix --m.

Nerai udram pojen. Men drink water.
Onai putlam widen. They see the child.
Ludai memsam eden. (The) people eat food.
Udram dano. I give water.
Putlam berit. S/he carries the child.
Nokta swopam danit. Night gives sleep.
Putla gunaim prokit. The child asks the women.

• WORD ORDER
Note the word order of a simple sentence, which generally places the subject first and the verb last. Thus, if there is an object, it appears before the verb, not after it as in English.

Onai putlam widen. They see the child.
Ludai memsam eden. (The) people eat food.

• 2ND PERSON SINGULAR VERBS
The second person singular is formed with the suffix --is.

Menam widis. You see me.
Memsam edis. You eat food.

• EXPRESSING the NEGATIVE
To negate a verb, place the adverb ne “no, not” just before the verb.

Udram ne pojen. They don’t drink water.
Putla memsam ne widit. The child doesn’t see the food.
Ludai ne gumen. The people don’t come.
Nera putlam ne berit. The man doesn’t carry the child.

The same affix may be attached to adjectives, to form negatives similar to English negative adjectives.

newidenei: unseen
nebregotwei: unbreakable

• SHOWING POSSESSION with the GENITIVE
To show possession, the suffix --s is attached to a noun, either singular or plural.

Menas guna putlam ne widit. My wife doesn’t see the child.
Tuwas patra senekei esit. Your father is old.
Wesais gunei putla ne swopit. Your girl/daughter isn’t sleeping.
Tuwei patras senosta kuwa esit? What is your father’s age? How old is your father?
Putlas nomena Rudra esit. The child’s name is Rudra.

• POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS summarized

menas: my nais: our
tuwas: your (sing) wais: your (plural)
onas: his, her, its onais: their

kjas: whose kjais: whose (plural)

• PAST TENSE OF VERBS with --aaw-.
The past tense of all verbs is formed by attaching the verb tense suffix --aaw- to the verb stem. The personal endings then follow the tense suffix.

Udram pojaawo. I drank the water. Literally, “water-object drink-past-I.”
Ne swopaawis. You didn’t sleep.
Dina gumaawit. Day came.
Memsam beraawen. They carried the food.
Ludai ne wergaawen. The people didn’t work.

• 2ND PERSON PLURAL of VERBS
The second person plural is formed by adding the suffix --ete.

Memsam edaawete. You ate the food.
(Wai) ludai esete. You are people.

• 1ST PERSON PLURAL of VERBS
The first person plural is formed by adding the suffix --omes.

Memsam edaawomes. We ate the food.
Nai ludai esomes. We are people.

• VERB SUFFIXES summarized, using the verb es-.

eso: I am esomes: we are
esis: you are esete: you are (plural)
esit: s/he is esen: they are

• PRONOUNS used for EMPHASIS
Because the verb always shows the person, pronouns are used mostly for emphasis.

Domam demaawo. I built the house.
Mena domam demaawo. I (myself) built the house.

• YES-NO QUESTIONS
There are two kinds of questions. The first is the yes-no question, which is indicated in speech by a rising intonation, as in English.

Ne swopaawis. You didn’t sleep.
Ne swopaawis? You didn’t sleep? Didn’t you sleep?

• SHORT FORMS OF PRONOUNS
The personal pronouns have short forms which occur frequently in conversation:

Ona luda esit -- > O luda 'sit. S/he is a person.
Tuwa guna esis -- > Tu guna 'sis. You are a woman.
Mena putla eso -- > Me putla 'so. I am a child.

• WH-QUESTIONS
The second type of question is called the “wh-question” in English, because so many of the question words in this type of question begin with wh: who, what, when, where, why, which, whose, etc. In Dingwa, many question words begin with ku-:

kuja: who?
Kuja esis? [Kja 'sis?] Who are you?
Kuja memsam edaawit? Who ate the food?
Kujam widaawis? Whom did you see?
Kujas: whose?
Tu kujas udram pojaawis? Whose water did you drink?
Tu onas udram pojaawis. You drank his water.

kuwa: what?
Kuwam edaawit? What did she eat?
O kuwam berit? What is he carrying?
Kuwa esit? What is it?
Kuwei ora esit? What time is it?
Kuwa ora esit? What is the hour?

NOTE: Especially in spoken Dingwa, kuja is often shortened to kja. Likewise, kuwa is often shortened to kwa.

Kjas udram pojaawis? Whose water did you drink?
Kwam edaawis? What did you eat?

• WORD ORDER of QUESTIONS
Note the word order. The question word appears where the answer to the question appears in a statement.
For instance:

Kuwam widis? What do you see?
Egeram wido. I see a lake.
Putla kuwam pojaawit? What did the child drink?
Putla udram pojaawit. The child drank water.

• NEGATIVE of ES- and QUESTIONS
Ne “no, not” and nesit (ne esit) “isn’t” can serve as a question tag following questions, similar to French n’est-ce pas and German nicht wahr, both meaning “isn’t it, not true?” etc. Note that, unlike the English tag question, the Dingwa tag is invariable, having only one form.

O gumit, ne? He’s coming, isn’t it (true)? He’s coming, right?
Ewei udram pojaawis, nesit? You drank that water, didn’t you?

• DOUBLE NEGATIVES
While the double negative is considered substandard or poor grammar in English, it is alive and well in English dialect, and in many other languages, where it is perfectly grammatical, as it is in Dingwa. It functions merely an emphatic variant.

Putla newam ne ukwaawit. The child didn’t say anything. The child said nothing.
Lit., “The child didn’t say nothing.”
Noinei luda estu nesit. There is no person here. There’s nobody here.
Lit., “No person isn’t here.”

• MAKING VERBS with --AAG-
Many related verbs can be regularly formed from adjectives with the causative verb suffix --aag-. The verb endings are then added as usual.

albei “white” -- > albaagit: “makes white”; whitens
golei “cool, cold” -- > golaagit: “makes cold”; cools, chills
gurmei “hot” -- > gurmaagit: “makes hot”; heats
rudrei “red” -- > rudraagit: “makes red”; reddens
senekei “old” -- > senekaagit: “makes old”; ages
skunei: “beautiful” -- > skunaagit: “makes beautiful”; beautifies
surdei “black” -- > surdaagit: “makes black”; blackens
patei “open” -- > pataagit: “makes open”; opens

Dwora patei esit. The door is open.
Ona dworam pataagit. S/he opened the door.
Snigwa albei banit. Snow appears white.
Snigwa kolnaim albaagit. Snow whitens the mountains.
Udra golei esit. The water is cold.
Pruswa udram golaagit. Ice cools the water.

•FUTURE TENSE with --IS-.
Verbs form the future tense with the suffix --is.

Udram pojiso. I will drink the water.
Ne swopisis. You won’t sleep.
Dina gumisit. Day will come.
Memsam berisen. They will carry the food.
Ludai ne wergisen. The people will not work.

• ADVERBS
Adverbs end in the suffix --u.

Kustu edaawis? Where did you eat?
Newu gumaawit. S/he just arrived. (literally, S/he newly came.)
Bresu wergaawis. You worked quickly.

• PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE
The present active participle, corresponding to the English verb+-ing (walking, running, etc.) is formed with the participle suffix --ont- and the adjective suffix --ei.

Wergontei nera junei nesit. The working man isn’t young.
Gumontei neraim widaawo. I watched the coming/arriving men.

Occasionally the participle is adverbial than adjectival, and shows how the action of the verb is performed. In such cases it may take the adverb suffix -u:

Drajentu gumaawit. S/he came running.

• DIRECT OBJECTS with PRESENT PARTICIPLES
As in English, the participle can take a direct object.

Putlaim widontei sedaawit. Watching the children, s/he sat. (S/he sat watching the children.)

• EXPRESSING “WITH” USING KOM: THE COMITATIVE suffix
The case suffix --kom attached to nouns expresses accompaniment and can be translated “with.”

Putlaikom lidaawit. S/he played with the children.
Senekei neraikom wergaawo. I worked with the old men.

• PAST ACTIVE PARTICIPLE with --US-.
The past active participle is formed with the suffix --us- and the adjective ending --ei. Genreally it can express the equivalent of English “having verb+ed” or “after verb+ing.”

edusei: having eaten
Memsam edusei swopaawit. “Having eaten (the) food, s/he slept.”
Skunei noktam widusei, putlaikom lidaawit. “Having seen the beautiful night, s/he played with the children.”

• PAST PASSIVE PARTICIPLE with --EN-.
The past passive participle is formed from verbs with the suffix --en- and the adjective ending --ei.

kludit: s/he closes kludenei: closed
skunaagit: s/he beautifies skunaagenei: beautified
widit: s/he sees widenei: seen

Particularly in speech, short forms of this participle exist. Verb roots which end in a single consonant often elide the e of the suffix --en-:

kludit: s/he closes kludnei: closed
skunaagit: s/he beautifies skunaagnei: beautified
widit: s/he sees widnei: seen

But note ansit: favor, esteem; ansenei: favored, esteemed
bergit: protect, defend; bergenei: protected, defended

• The SYSTEM of PRONOUNS, ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS
Many Dingwa pronouns, adjectives and adverbs form a regular integrated system.

  Interrog Relative Demonstr. 1 Demonstr. 2 Negative Indefinite Inclusive
  ku- je- e- to- ne- a- solu-
Person -ja

kuja
who?

jeja
who

eja
this

toja
that one

neja
no one
aja
someone
soluja
everyone
Thing -wa kuwa
what?
jewa
that/which
ewa
this
towa
that
newa
nothing
awa
something
soluwa
everything
Time -du kudu
when?
jedu
when
edu
this time
todu
then
nedu
never
adu
sometime
soludu
always
Place -stu kustu
where
jestu
where
estu
here
tostu
there
nestu
nowhere
astu
somewhere
solustu
everywhere
Kind -lkei kulkei
wh kind?
jelkei
wh kind
elkei
this kind
tolkei
that kind
nelkei
no kind
alkei
some kind
solulkei
every kind
Reason -ra kura
why?
jera
wh reason
era
this reason
tora
that reason
nera
no reason
ara
some reason
solura
every reason
Way -nsu kunsu
how?
jensu
how
ensu
this way
tonsu
that way
nensu
no way
ansu
somehow
solunsu
every way

Kulkei memsam edis? What kind of food are you eating?
Doma jewam demaawis skunei esit. The house that you built is beautiful.
Skola jestu unkaagis apostanentei esit. The school where you teach is distant.
Kustu bowis gigno. I know where you live.
Aja ukwaawit. Someone spoke.
Nedu tostu ne wikaawo. I never lived there.

• PRESENT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE with --OMN-.
The present passive participle is formed with the suffix --omn- and the adjective ending --ei.

widomnei: being seen
neprokomnei: not being asked

• REFLEXIVE with SWA.
The noun swa “self” is used to express the reflexive. Note that as a reflexive it can never be the subject of a sentence.

Swam widaawo. I saw myself.
<<Interesentei>> swage edaawo. Interesting, I said to myself.

If swa appears as the subject, it is therefore not reflexive in meaning:

Swa nedu ne genit i nedu ne mortit. The self is never born and never dies.

• ADJECTIVES of TENDENCY with --iklei
The suffix -iklei makes adjectives from verb roots to show tendency or likelihood. Thus,

ukwit “speaks”; ukwiklei “tending to talk, loquacious”
gwonit “fights”; gwoniklei “tending to fight, pugnacious, feisty”

• ADJECTIVES of ABILITY with --otwei
The suffix --otw and the adjective ending -ei make adjectives from verb roots showing capacity or susceptibility. In some cases it is similar to the English suffix --able/-ible.

widotwei: visible
ukwotwei: sayable, speakable

• ABLATIVE suffix --den
The ablative suffix --den attached to a noun indicates movement away from the noun.

Poljaden gumaawit. S/he came from the city.

It is also used in comparisons, as follows:

Oden menegu junotrei eso. I am much younger than he.

• COMPARATIVE and SUPERLATIVE FORMS of ADJECTIVES
The comparative form of the adjective may be expressed with the suffix --otr- and -ei. The superlative suffix is --ist and -ei. The basis of comparison is expressed with the ablative suffix --den on the noun.

albotrei: whiter
skunistei: most beautiful

snigwaden albotrei: whiter than snow
Ewei egera towaden dubotrei esit. This lake is deeper than that one.

• MAKING INSTRUMENT NOUNS from VERBS with --etr- and -a.
The suffix --etra attached to verb stems expresses the means or instrument by which one does the action of a verb.

anaagit “makes breathe”; anaagetra “respirator”
arit “plows”; aretra “plow”
bergit “protects”; bergetra “shield, guard, protector”
budaagit “wakes”; budaagetra “alarm clock”
gurmaagit “warms, heats”; gurmaagetra “heater”
krijit “strains, sifts”; krijetra “sieve”
swopaagit “puts to sleep”; swopaagetra “soporific, sedative, tranquilizer”

• ACTOR/AGENT with --uka
The suffix --uka attached to verb stems allows the formation of an agent noun, one who performs the action of the verb. Thus:

ukwit: s/he speaks ukwuka: speaker
berit: s/he carries beruka: porter

• IMPERATIVE with --e.
The imperative ending for verbs is --e, which expresses a command.

Dingwam ukwe! Speak Dingwa!
Dworam ne kludaage. Don’t close the door.

• WORD SETS as ADJECTIVE, NOUN and ADVERB.
In Dingwa, several sets of related words function as adjectives, nouns or adverbs in similar sentences, depending on their endings and functions.

amb- “both” can be an adjective, noun and adverb.
O ambu gumit i ejit. He both comes and goes. Ambei prijai skutlam gignen. Both friends know the story. Ambai gignen. Both know. [Note that ambai is plural]

meneg-: “many, much, a lot.” With plural nouns, menegei can usually be translated “many.” With singular nouns, it is better rendered as “much.” As an adverb, it means “considerably, much.” Finally, as a noun it means “a great deal, a lot, much.”
Menegei ludai gumaawen. Many people came.
Aisatwora menegei gurmostam prokit. Metalworking requires much heat.
Oden menegu junotrei eso. I am much younger than he is.
Ludai menegam smeraawen. People have forgotten much/a lot.

minw-: “few, little, less.”
Minwei ludai gisu gumaawen. Few people came yesterday.
Minwu gurmei edinu esit. It’s less hot today.
Skutlam klujusei, o minwam smoraawit. Hearing the story, he remembered little.

solw-: with singular nouns, solwei means “whole, entire.” With plural nouns, it is translated as “all, every.” As an adverb, it means “entirely, wholly.”
Solwa mirei esit. Everything is good. O solwu patnei esit. It is entirely open. Solwei skolukai skolam umnen. All students attend school. Mirei unkaaguka solwei skolukam unkaagit. A good teacher teaches the whole student.

noin-: “no, none.”
Noinei luda estu (ne) esit. No one is here.
Noinam (ne) wido. I don’t see anything. I see nothing.

• ORDINALIZING with -im-
The suffix --im- is the ordinalizing suffix, making ordinals from cardinal numbers. Thus,

trija: three tri(ji)mei: third
ketura: four keturimei: fourth
kenta: hundred kentimei: hundredth

NOTE: The noun kentima “hundredth” is used to express percentages. Oinei kentima is “one percent”; that is, “one hundredth.”

• DIMINUTIVE suffix
The suffix -its-, attached to adjective, noun and verb stems, allows the formation of a diminutive. Thus:

dankit: bites dankitsit: nips
kolna: mountain kolnitsa: hill, rise, hillock
gurmei: hot gurmitsei: lukewarm

• NUMBERS
The Dingwa number can be a noun as well as an adjective.

penkwa: five (noun) penkwei: five (adjective)
nerais penkwa: five of the men
penkwei nerai: five men

Penkwam gambo. I hold/have five.

Its adjective form modifies a noun:
Penkwei owjai petaawen. Five birds flew.

Another alternative is to use the partitive:
Dwa nerais preken. Two of the men are asking.

• DATIVE SUFFIX --ge
The suffix --ge expresses the indirect object and functions otherwise like the dative.

O mege udram danaawit. S/he gave me water.
Skutlam naige ukwe! Tell us a story!

• LOCATIVE suffix --su
The locative suffix --su on nouns indicates location as well as “time within which.”

konasu: in the beginning, at first, for a start
trijei dinaisu: in three days

Trijei dinaisu anugumiso. I will return in three days.

• INSTRUMENTAL suffix --bi
The instrumental suffix --bi on nouns indicates “by means of” the noun, or “using” the noun.

Ognabi swam gurmaagaawit. S/he warmed himself with fire.

• ALLATIVE suffix --do
The allative suffix --do on nouns indicates motion toward the noun.

poljado: toward the city
kerdado: to the heart
Poljas kerdado ejwaames. We went to the center (“heart”) of the city.

• WORD FORMATION: COMPOUNDING

Vowel Deletion:
Optional deletion of final vowel (FV) when FV meets initial vowel (IV)
FV ? 0/__#IV
aljo + ukwit ? aljukwit: translate
gima + andesa ? gimandesa: winter flower

Compound Connector: +o
penkwa + dina = penkwodina “Friday”

• TIME EXPRESSIONS
Gisu gumuvo: I came yesterday
Gisa buvit penkvodina: Yesterday was Thursday.

oinodina: Monday
dwodina: Tuesday
trijodina: Wednesday
keturodina: Thursday
penkwodina: Friday
seksodina: Saturday
septodina: Sunday

• PREPOSITIONS

be: to
do: to
en: in
eti: beyond
is: out of
ni: down
niden: under
peri: around
pos: after
pro: before
tere: across
torku: through
u dolga + gen: along
u medja + gen: amid, among, between
u stata + gen: in stead of, in place of
u: by, at, near
ud: up
upra: above, over

• ROOT VALENCES [under development]

noun stem
rega: king
regit: rule
regei: royal, kingly
regaagit: enthrone, crown

X-a: noun
X-it: derived verb
X-ei: derived adjective pertaining to noun

verb stem
gigna: science, knowing
gignit: know

X-a: abstract action noun
X-it: verb
X-uka: human agent/actor

adjective stem

glorei: green
gloraagit: makes green

X-ei: adjective
X-aag-it: derived verb
X-osta: derived abstract noun

TEXTS [under development]:

Konasu deiwa nebesam degmenamkwe kuraawit tworewneikwe degmena waneikwe esaawit uperkwe dubas derksnasu regwesa. Deiwaskwe dusa uper udnais derksnasu agmenaawit. Deiwakwe ukwaawit <<louka ese>> loukakwe esaawit. [Genesis 1:1-3]

• INDEX [under development]:

ablative
abstract noun
accusative
adjectives
adverbs
affix
agent nouns
allative
causative
comparative adjectives
compounding
dative
double negative
diminutives
ending
future tense
genitive
imperative
instrument nouns
instrumental
locative
negative
nouns
numbers
ordinals
participle
past active participle
past passive participle
past tense
plural
prepositions
present active participle
present passive participle
present tense
pronouns
pronunciation
questions
reflexive
root: see also word and stem
short forms
stem: see also word and root
stress
superlative adjectives
time
verbs
wh-questions
word order
word: see also stem and root
yes-no questions




1