The simplest morphological structure in Taneraic is the radical, or root-word. Unlike other languages, a Taneraic radical may be used lexically — unlike Esperanto, for instance, where the radical requires a lexical stem before it becomes part of the language. As such, it is impossible when quoting a Taneraic radical out of context or in isolation to determine its function: it could operate as a substantive, an adjective, an adverb, a verb in the imperative mood or an exclamation; moreover, free-standing pronouns and prepositions are radicals, as are modals, aspectuals and adjuncts; and in certain circumstances, adjectives are uninflected radicals. Most commonly, however, radicals are substantives, or nouns — or are accepted as such.
Morphologically, radicals consist of one or more syllables ending in a vowel or consonants b, h, n, q (in radicals of two or more syllables only), r, s or t (only in cases where the t is preceded by a diphthong):
The morphological structure of radicals follows a strict pattern, rather like a complex syllabary. Thus, non-Taneraic words are easily identifiable and almost impossible to assimilate.
Nominal, verbal or adjectival radicals fall into their respective classes without any distinctive marker. (Enclitic forms, vestiges of Proto-Taneraic, exist for other classes: e.g., –nu for numerals one to nine, –her for five prepositions, or –ai and –os for adjuncts and modals.) The two most common noun stems are –at and –ten:
(a) –at suffix (bound morpheme) denoting:*
1 the noun “in question” or at hand: an equivalent to the concept of the definite article.
jebi, decision > jebit, [the] decision
desvo, dispute > desvot, [the] dispute
U pejebitti desvot aima abu.
Settle the dispute [in question] among yourselves.
2 the sense of definition to cardinals.
cannu gozuaba, three sisters > cannut gozuaba, the three sisters
jaunnu jincá, eight monkeys > jaunnut jincá, the eight monkeys
meinu asyucá, four seasons > meinut asyucá, the four seasons
3 (i) the act, concrete result or product of the idea expressed by the word it modifies.
aibai, success; victory > aibalat, a success; a victory
eston, chewing > estonat, bite
jinqir, call; cry > jinqirat, call; cry
3 (ii) a single action, unit, quantity, or possession of its quality.
aiban, food > aibanat, a [food] dish
otuqa, visiting > otuqat, visit
pan, mending > panat, repair
3 (iii) the concrete form of abstract idea, whose desinence is –ten.
tolisyaten, kindness > tolisyat, an act of kindness
laguanten, hearing > laguanat, news
hebdisten, humility > hebdisat, an act of humility
4 a part or extent (equivalent to –age, –ing, –ment, etc.).
qarainat, growth; plant
5 the homologous form of living matter.
le, foot [human or animal] > let, foot or leg [of table, etc.]
balin, flat part of the hand > balinat, blade
sula, flower[s] > sulat, flower[s] (depicted in design, etc.)
6 an extrapolated noun from prepositional radical.
yun, next to > yunat, side
os, in front of: before > osat, front
buhai, at home > buhalat, home
7 a processed product from the raw material expressed in the radical.
ucya, milk [straight from the cow] > ucyat, milk
sara, coffee plant > sarat, coffee [drink]
saron, perfume [of flower] > saronat, perfume; cologne
8 fulness (equivalent to –ful).
cyaimoq ucya, a milk bottle > cyaimoqat ucyata, a bottle of milk
bepoq, shovel > bepoqat, shovelful
nouqa, mouth > nouqat, mouthful
9 the durative: i.e., the whole of a time period.
aivet, the [whole] day
nintat, the [whole] night
desqesat, the [whole] morning
It is requisite for the –at suffix to combine with the following free morphemes, and their derivatives, in affixation: aga-, ai-, aima-, aireb-, ais-, ama-, asma-, au-, auma-, ema-, emosya-, es-, ima-, li-, mepa-, nai-, neu-, oma-, os-, pas-, pu– ii, sta-, uma-, uza-, veqa-, yan-, yas-, yen-, yes-, yos– & yun– (NB pe– & se– prefixes are treated as free morphemes, and so must also take –at):
ais, against + haulan, obstruction > aishaulanat, blockage
li, out + cigos, blowing > licigosat, jet of air
se– + buta, truth > sebutat, actuality
* The “a” in –at is dropped for radicals ending in a vowel (e.g., desvo > desvot); for radicals in ending diphthongal –i, the “i” changes to an “l” and –at is added (e.g., aibai > aibalat); for radicals in ending diphthongal –u, the “u” changes to an “v” and –at is added (e.g., hasyou > hasyovat).
(b) –ten. suffix (bound morpheme) denoting:
1 an abstract concept, quality, state or condition (as opposed to –at, which denotes a single or particular concept, state or concept; equivalent to –ation, –ion, –ness, etc.).
hasyovat, [a particular] direction > hasyouten, direction [in general]
hasyanat, poem > hasyanten, poetry
jebit, decision > jebiten, decision-making
2 especially a human quality, state or being (equivalent to the –qa desinence: –head; –hood; –ship).
esnula, friend > esnulaten, friendship
arunun, adult > arununten, adulthood
cen, family > centen, family spirit
3 the nominal equivalent of suppletive verbs in –idi.
dibidi, heat > dibten, heating
aluidi, sugar > aluten, sugaring
puyidi, implement > puten, implementation
4 the name of an industry.
bana, travel > banaten, tourism
pauran, learning > pauranten, scientific study
raugan, running > rauganten, management
Although –ten is subject to case inflexion in the normal way, it does not possess any adjective, adverb or verb forms.
Taneraic, like a number of natural languages, does not possess definite and indefinite articles. When it is felt there is a need for definition, or indefinition, a number of manners of expression may be employed:
Zero marker (general or equational).
(i) in universally true statements
Acyes vayole louma.
Iron is a metal.
(ii) in statements of fact
Ayo vayole buma.
He is a father.
Ni busediadi dareyan?
Are you an actor?
Ayo vayole jitovun e Anglia.
He is an Englishman.
(iii) in conceptual phrases and stock expressions
rapan e peinos
law and order
Vadas abrabda oher vas raulada veqapainosati.
I have an opportunity to work abroad.
Equivalent to “one”
marnu, one (with genitive)
Marnuo vonjá cecer pamevanat quserona.
An hour before the plane leaves. (lit., at one)
Marnu butova e marnu gotova.*
A man and [a] woman.
U raidi nunien e marnu ibecava eher ava.
Do this as a favour to me.
Ouse, yoyole marnu gavana oher Anglia.
Ouse, nuyole gavan oher Anglia.
Ouse, a river in England.
* In lists, it is customary to repeat prepositions, etc., before each noun.
Equivalent to “single”: marnu (with genitive) … cyaru/puno
Rah vaneviliratti marnu qasyana cyaru/puno.
I didn’t understand a word.
In numerical expressions
(i) ama (with genitive) … marnú, apiece
Ama pova nara e Dolar marnú cyaimoqata.
Ten dollars a bottle.
Ama supova nara e Dolar marnú tova.
Fifty dollars a head.
(ii) ama [jaqi/marnua] (with genitive), per
Yanpovo piyoya e Kilometra ama vonjá.
Sixty km an hour.
Yabusyo ama aiveya jaqi.
Twice a day.
Yanusyo ama marnua auanaiveya.
Six times a week.
Equivalent to “same”: yesi
Das yesi sabra.
To be of a size.
Note the following expressions:
asremí, a [little] bit [of]
remí, a lot [of]
ama marusyá, at a time (Cannu[o] ama marusyá. Three at a time.)
juni, such a
gai/ge, what a (Gai abda! What a surprise! Ge abrab! What an opportunity!).
1 Zero marker (contextual)
jebida pu oubecyoyá
play [the] piano
»Jehan e cesrou« [Greene]
The Power and the Glory
Vajicyadi veqit darnino.
I gave the parcel to the police officer.
Definite known quantity
(i) –at, the … in question
Vajescyubdi narat. (cf., Vajescyubdi [nuri] nar.)
I got the money. (cf., I got [some] money.)
Sepirat e abah quse gintanda trasi.
The belief in flying saucers is very strong.
(ii) –at, (durative)
nintat, the night [through]
desusat, the [whole] afternoon
(iii) marnut, the one
Marnuto vonjá cecer oubet gomaya avi.
The hour before my mother died. (lit., at the one)
Marnut jabaqua nuyole vadas, yoyole aibovi nar.
The problem I have is one of money.
(iv) with ordinals (zero marker)
Charles the First
August the eighth
nuni, that/those (for compounds, numbers with pronouns and numbers greater than 10, or for when the –at desinenceis ambiguous)
Haunta nuni poviabnut iyohata iher ibospan.
For the full twelve months.
Nuni mouzon ailunatqi darnin.
The house was surrounded by police.
Nuni aspiyoi abaq sava mas sahacyouga e bileq selicyovo.
The short preface was published as an article in the newspaper.
Nuni an meinuis boubda.
The four of us went (lit. those we four)
nur, something/anything (with adjectives in English)
Eher bouaindi nur asairovestá.
To attempt the impossible.
(i) buhai, the place of
qabda buhai jouna
go to the movies
(ii) dayole, which
Yodas yabnu mayun; dayole esyabetis yoyole bumayun cye dayole emajabetis yoyole gomayun.
He has two children; the elder is a boy, the younger a girl.
Ni nuni tou dayole Henry Miller?
Is that the Henry Miller?
(iii) nun yole, that which/what
Nun yole meserda yoyole aibutatta.
The important thing is uncovering the truth.
(iv) abeji/xasati, the resultant
Peta esoscyu marnu baujuqata hadua uma tauda au aica iyiqo, pepeta vego abeji/xasati iyiqat uza jabemada gen.
If a speck of dust got on the lens, it could damage the picture [as a result].
(i) –is, agent denoting the possession of the quality of the radical it modifies
nasuis je asnasuis
the rich and [the] poor
(ii) sa (expletive or exclamative of astonishment, admiration, indignation, etc.)
The beauty of it all!
The nerve of that man!
(iii) sasi (honorific title)
Vabra, sasi darhasyan vayole rebis.
The poet is often a madman.
sasi qeisoubi Iskandar
Alexander the Great
»Sasi srou qu gasta sasi beijiscya« [Lear]
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
(iv) sascyi (diminutive personification)
Parogara mayuna sascyi.
The rights of the child.
(v) buhai, the place of (pluralising auxiliary for proper nouns in general)
buhai Smith je buhai Simpson
the Smiths and the Simpsons
(vi) pelas e, figure of (pluralising auxiliary for common or proper nouns that have come to denote common or universal characteristics)
pelas e Hitler yole airouda ai cyebas
the Hitlers of this world
„pelas e geiji aher Tamila”
the Tamil Tigers
(vii) devan e, sign or house of (pluralising auxiliary for royal, astrological, etc., proper nouns)
devan e Borbone
tari …, tatari, the more …, the more
Tari yoraulada, tatari yobayada mancasari.
The more he worked, the older he looked.
Compound nouns (parathesis) are composed of a pair of radicals which may be said to be in apposition. Compound nouns are perhaps more common in Taneraic than in English; they are a useful way of building vocabulary, and may take prefixes and suffixes (parasynthesis) — but not infixes; i.e., affixation may not take place between the first and second elements of the compound. Prefixes are attached to the first element and suffixes, to the second. (However, the desinences -at and -ten are rarely, if ever, added to a compound.) Unlike English, the gap between compounds is never closed, nor linked by a hyphen.
(a) (1) The subject or principal idea of the compound is placed first, followed by the object. (This is the opposite of the case in most English compounds.) Compounds function as a single morphological unit, acquiring lexical status:
banga xirar, clothes-horse (lit., trestle-[for]-clothes)
buta sejan, authenticity (lit., truth-[of]-creation)
niamo qasan, frugality (lit., modesty-[of]-economy)
pagan bibas, arm-rest (lit., lean-[for]-arm)
(2) Reversing compounds sometimes produces new words (cf., houseboat/boathouse):
daya daga, cased/boxed book
daga daya, bookcase
Rarely, reversal of compound elements results in no change, in which case usage will determine the favored form.
(3) Sometimes, the rule of principal idea first parallels English:
haulan vau, breakwater (lit., prevention-wave)
seuqir yuqanosiaris, cutthroat (lit., cut-neck-er)
Where English may waver, Taneraic is consistent:
jagan vairiaris, corkscrew (lit., pull-cork-er)
saban aurqa, waterfall (lit., fall-water-place)
(4) Compounds are often used where English uses the possessive case (or the formal genitive), to express figurative possession or what something is made of in a metaphoric sense:
aive ma, Mother’s Day (lit., parents’s day)
lebe laur, heart of gold (i.e., a human quality)
Gomayi aive would mean “motherly day”; the representation of a heart that was really made of gold is translated variously lauri lebet or lebet (yole) raiga ye/ama laura.
(a) Taneraic nouns form derivations by adding prefixes or suffixes:
(1) The desinence –at covers extensive linguistic territory; it may denote:
(a) a metaphoric corollary in non-compound radicals:
lauri lebet, golden heart
Noun Classes, Classifiers & Agents
(1) The desinence –is denotes an existential agent in possession of the quality expressed by the radical:
nasuis, man or woman of wealth, a rich person
(a) There is no grammatical gender. A single word may be used to describe a species as a whole, but the gender of human beings or animals may be indicated, at the discretion of the writer of speaker, by the prefixes bu– (masc.) and go– (fem.):
ma, parent(s) buma, father goma, mother
yor, goat(s) buyor, billy-goat goyor, she-goat
nin, sheep bunin, ram gonin, ewe
den, cattle buden, bull goden, cow
toussa, dog(s) butoussa, dog gotoussa, bitch
cenga, fowl bucenga, cock gocenga, hen
The first list may be used for any of the words in the second or third lists (good style favors sparing use of gender markers). Context is often all that is needed:
Pasdesqovati, den mas sirnoyada.
The cow gave birth last night.
(b) There is no need to give the feminine form for professions. While it is possible to affix go– to the professional agent dar-, it is regarded as clumsy and extraneous, and is best avoided:
dargehan, author(ess) godargehan, authoress
dartiran, (lady) doctor godartiran, lady doctor
dariuziq, (male) nurse godariuziq, nurse
(c) Similarly, there is no need to distinguish the sexes in other walks of life:
tou, person butou, man gotou, woman
esnula, friend buesnula, male friend goyesnula, female friend
(but not boyfriend or girlfriend)
qancu, spouse* buqancu, husband* goqancu, wife*
tovun, child butovun, boy gotovun, girl
mayun, son or daughter: child butovun, son or boy gotovun, daughter or girl
mansenuscyis, patient bumansenuscyis male patientgomansensucyis, female patient
pauranatis, pupil bupauranatis, male pupil gopauranatis, female pupil
pouque, monarch bupouque, king gopouque, queen (in her own right,
not the wife of a king)
* Qancu refers to a romantic or sexual bond (or both) between two (or more) people, and does not specifically refer to marriage.
Again, the first list may be used for any of the words in the second or third lists.
(a) There is no grammatical number. Taneraic nouns, pronouns and adjectives have one form only. Unlike English, Taneraic does not sometimes form new meanings by placing words in the plural (cp, spectacle/spectacles; premise/premises, etc.). The number of beings or objects may be
(1) inferred from context:
(a) following numerals and co-efficients (see Numerals):
marnu sungá, a/one stone
canpou aiveya, thirty days
yabbou meinu srova, twenty-four birds
marnu (yab)uzo maya / (yab)uzo ma, (a set of) parents
marnu (yab)uzo dascyeya / (yab)uzo dascye, a pair of boots
(b) following certain indefinite adjectives or prepositions:*
meizoli toussa, several dogs
beqi srou, all birds (every bird)†
canzoli beiji, a few cats
jaqi vonja, each hour (every hour)
yazzoli puji tuca, a couple of weasels
yos cyaxa, both sides
yosi esnula, mutual friends
remí tuca, a lot/lots of mice†
manremí ujun,few cousins‡
* nuri, some/any (demonstrative adjective and partitive), can also be used as an indefinite article; in itself, it does not indicate number:
nuri nar, some/any money
nuri sarat, some/any/a coffee
nuri tuca, a mouse or some/any mice
nuri panpa, a lesson or some/any lessons
† all the birds is rendered by nuni beqi srou or beqati srou.
‡ so many mice is rendered by juni remí tuca; a few cousins is rendered by canzoli ujun.
Similarly, the other demonstrative adjectives may act as articles, which do not in themselves indicate number:
nuni tou, that person/those people
nunieni hasyan, this poem/these poems
(c) following pronouns:
Ava vayole esnula. Beqa an vayole esnula.
We are friends. All of us are friends.
Ni abu vayole lipoubeyaris? Ni yos abu vayole lipoubeyaris?
Are you a murderer? Are you both murderers?
(d) following vas verbs in the habituative:
Ni buvas anbaxadi yecya? Ni buanbaxadi [nuni] yecya?
Do you collect stamps? Did you pick up the stamp[s]?
Vavas xirardi qoi visau. Vaxirardi qoi visau.
I use condoms or I use a condom. I used a condom.
(e) in equational sentences:
Bendih vayole sula. Nuni sula vayole bendih.
Roses are flowers or A rose is a flower. The flower is a rose or The flowers are roses.
Beden vayole pula. Nuni pula vayole beden.
Apples are fruit or An apple is a fruit. The fruit is an apple or The fruit are apples.
(f) in universally true statements:
zalas ninto, (the) stars in the sky
iyoh aher Saturna, the moon(s) of Saturn
(g) in attributive sentences:
Sula bendih (vas) mirtada. Tesouten vuiteinistada.
Roses are red. Silence is golden (lit., valuable)
The door is green./The doors are green.
(2) plural in English but without number in Taneraic (see 1(a) above):
noussan, (a pair of) trousers
dascyesya, (a pair of) shoes
(3) denoted by the use of the general counter jame:
tou jame, people (in general)
pula beden jame, apples (in general)
beiji jame, animals (in general)
gavan jame, rivers (in general)
In each of the above examples, jame could be dropped; it is wise not to overuse jame.
(4) expressed through the use of the collective noun suffix –gara:
tovungara, (a group of) children (cf., tovun jame, children [in general])
toussagara, (a pack of) dogs
hasyangara, (a collection of) poems
(5) expressed through the use of the prefix denoting variety or multiplicity, ren-:
(6) expressed through the use of the free-standing prefix denoting objects, saqir (or rensaqir):
saqir xirar, clothes, clothing
saqir bancyala, an antique or antiques
rensaqir yexa nasu, riches, treasure
rensaqir bancyala, antiques, antiquities
(7) rendered through the use of the plural “and” conjunction je in enumeration:
Gavan je gavansya airebidovatta.
Rivers and streams flooded.
Taneraic numbers are nouns that go from zero to a million: 0 paus 1 marnu 2 yabnu 3 cannu 4 meinu 5 sunu 6 yannu 7 auannu 8 jaunnu 9 sautnu. (The –nu desinence is dropped in lists, such as counting, phone numbers, etc.)
10 pou 11 poumarat 12 poviabat 13 poucanat 14 poumelat 15 pousut 16 povianat 17 povauanat 18 poujaunat 19 pousautat
20 yabbou 21 yabbou marnu 22 yabbou yabnu 23 yabbou cannu
30 canpou 40 meipou 50 supou 60 yanpou 70 auanpou 80 jaunpou 90 sautpou
100 teqou 101 teqou marnu 155 teqou supou sunu
200 yabteqou 300 canteqou 400 meiteqou 500 suteqou
1,000 gigou 1,756 gigou auanteqou supou yannu (one never says, as in English, “seventeen, fifty-six”) 2,000 yaggigou 3,000 cangigou
10,000 pou gigova 17,478 povauanat gigova meiteqou auanpou jaunnu
One (marnu) is not used before teqou, gigou or syiqou. Gigou is inflected from pou on. Because numerals are nouns in Taneraic, they govern the genitive case:
meinu yeya sabri
four large trees
Pousut gigova qainiarisa vas i e.
There were about 15,000 spectators.
When numerals are emphasised, the –at desinence is used:
meinut yeya sabri
The four large trees
When the –at desinence is already present, nuni is often used:
Yoyasenda e [nuni] pousut gigova qainiarisa i e.
They were about 15,000 spectators.
Cardinals are never used, as they are in English, in the sense of ordinals (see in Adjectives for use).
Cardinals in the sense of people:
maris, one [person]; yabis, two [people]; canis, three [people]; melis, four [people]; suyis, five [people]. These can be in apposition with unbound pronouns:
abu yabis, two of you (nuni abu yabis, the two of you)
an melis, four of us (nuni an melis, the four of us)
Maris ama povisa das nunieni habaga. One in ten has this disease.
See in Adjectives.
Fractions are formed by adding –un to the short form of numbers 1 – 9:
yabun, half; canun, third; melun, quarter.
When counting, short forms are preferred: canmelun, three quarters.
If fractions are used in more complex sentences, a fuller form with –at is preferred:
Cannu melunata ama sedesya jitova mansenuscyada.
Three quarters of the population is sick.
There are two ways of saying “half”: yabun & bequn. Yabun is generally used if the items are countable, whereas bequn refers to “half of a whole” (i.e., it is uncountable). If there is semantic overlap, yabun is preferred:
bequn cyaimoqata aura, half a bottle of water or a half-bottle of water
melun/marnu melunata cyaimoqata aura, quarter of a bottle of water or a quarter-bottle of water
yabun/marnu yabunata yeya oubetta. Half the trees are dead.
Taneraic does not possess proper nouns per se. Proper nouns may appear in their native language (Bourgogne) or may appear in Esperanto form (with certain modifications and with the final O changing to an A: Borgonya).
All proper nouns appear in italics, begin with a capital letter and are always unbound. (Deviations from this are rare and are usually stylistic: k. d. lang; nevertheless, the K is capitalised if it begins a sentence.) Derivatives made from proper nouns use the ligative e or the yas preposition (sepir e Darwin, Darwinism; sedia yas „Coca-Cola”, Cocacolonisation).
While yoyole means namely, it is often used as the “be” verb in equational sentences (which may or may not be reversible: Nunis yoyole butou. That is the man.).
The Indicative Copula (yoyole)
The indicative copula is usually in short sentences, using the verb “to be” in English, but yoyole in Taneraic:
Abrab yoyole nar.
Time is money.
Sometimes yoyole introduces a Nuyole predicate:
Nuyole buqainda ganien yoyole ledoun.
What you see here are horses.
When a copula introduces a different part of speech, use mayole:
Rinda mayole tovi xiarouqa.
To err is human.