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2807Re: Parra verbs and philology (Was: Conversations here)

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  • Ben Karnell
    Feb 3, 2013
      --- In romconlang@yahoogroups.com, "thomasruhm" wrote:
      > Probo a ils celimi del celimija. Sun ils verbos accentuatos al vocale in fine? Il prende mi miro che ti as ezia verbos cun 'o' in fine.
      > Salute
      > Thomas

      Since we're now discussing my conlang in some detail, I think I shall switch to English. One certainly can talk about scholarly things in Parra (plenty of undergrads arguing half-understood philosophy late at night do just that), but it's not as well-equipped for the task as other languages.

      Here is a basic run-down of Parra verbs:

      Parra lost the most distinctive feature of old Lingua Franca, the use of the infinitive "-r" forms for all verbs. Part of this was simply phonetic wearing-down and a preference for open syllables. But also at play was some influence from Romance 3rd-person indicative verb forms - the least suffixed forms - in an early phase of the language. So most Parra verbs end in vowels.

      In a few cases, the "-r" was preserved; the verb for "make," for example, in Lingua Franca was far. Following the normal pattern, in Parra this should be fa, but instead it is fara. The "r" was kept, and then "-a" was added through analogy to other verbs. (Fa also happens to be a part of the language: it became a modal verb, where it expresses the idea of "making something happen.")

      Tense and aspect

      Verbs are not inflected for person or number. There are two tense/aspect forms: a present/imperfective and a past/perfective. Lingua Franca was reduced to these two tense/aspects through its contact with Arabic, before it was ever brought to Crimea. The /-ata/ suffix in Crimean Gothic helped cement this form.

      Past/perfective is indicated with the suffixes /-(a)to/ (for verbs with back vowels) and /-(i)te/ (for verbs with front vowels). Combinations of these and the copula sa can express a range of tenses and aspects.

      Cadun copra pese = A woman buys/is buying a fish. (present/imperfective)
      Cadun coprato pese = A woman bought/has bought a fish. (past/perfective)
      Cadun sa copra pese = A woman will buy a fish. (future)
      Cadun sato copra pese = A woman was buying/used to buy a fish. (past imperfective)
      Cadun sato coprato pese = A woman had bought a fish. (pluperfect)

      Despite this range, the bare, uninflected form of the verb can often be used to express actions in the past or future, especially when these actions are immediately relevant to the present. It is more common to say "Cadun copra pese" than "...coprato pese" if the fish is in her hand right now.


      The particle of negation, ne, is placed just before the verb. The particle can be repeated, in the same way as the question particle, by placing it at the beginning of the sentence. This is especially common for commands: Ne capitano ne seçece, "Don't bother the boss."

      The distinction between the interjection no and the particle ne is a recent change under Russian influence, and the change is not totally complete. Especially in simplified, more pidgin-like forms of Parra, no is used as a particle of negation in place of (or even alongside) ne.

      Passive voice

      Passive voice can be done using a reflexive construction...

      Ves pese coprato esi = This fish was bought (lit. "bought itself")

      ...or using the perfective form as a modifier:

      Ves sa pese coprato = This is a bought fish.


      The copula (sa) is often deleted, and is most often used for emphasis or to modify tense. Subject pronouns are also often deleted, by the way:

      Ca deti bela = Your house [is] beautiful.
      No, ne sa = no, [it] is not.

      There is a separate locative "be:" da.

      Mama demi ne da a ca = My mother is not at home.

      Avá is a verb that simply indicates existence, equivalent to the English "there is." Uniquely (within Parra), it can be placed before the subject of a sentence, after the subject, or at the end of the sentence, depending on what the speaker chooses to emphasize (see "Word Order," below).

      Ne avá bona mexane a Çancoj. }
      Bona mexane ne avá a Çancoj. } = There are no good bars in Dzhankoy.
      Bona mexane a Çancoj ne avá. }

      Auxiliary verbs

      Parra has a rich supply of auxiliaries that change a sentence's mood. Some include:

      Necessitative: Bisé (< bisognare, to need)
      Tu bisé para = You have to speak.

      Optative: Fa (< fare, to make)
      Tu fa para = I wish you would speak.

      Potential: Felí (< felice, happy, derived from constructions meaning "I am happy to do it.")
      Tu felí para = You can speak.

      Conditional: fosu (<fosse, maybe)
      (se) tu fosu para = (if) you would speak


      Regarding the presence of "celime" and the like, one of my goals for Parra is to make it a stew of loanwords on top of the Romance base. Generally, I transfer Arabic loans in Turkish over to Parra: if a word was "strong" enough to make it into Turkish, then it must have the wherewithal to continue on in Parra - that is, it's something that merchants would learn as they tried to make themselves understood. I also considered loxos from Greek and pabla, a good original Romance term. Those are not completely settled yet as I keep developing the language.

      - Ben
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