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|Morphosyntactic alignment||Fluid-S Active-stative|
|# Grammatical cases||4|
|# Grammatical genders||— (1)|
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eG1lIS (IPA:eg'ae̯.lis) is a constructed language, created by Frederic Gesell. The name is transcribed phonemically as "eg'ælis". In English, it is most commonly denominated as "Ælis", or "the Ælis language", pronounced as 'EYE-liss' or also 'AY-liss'.
Ælis aims to be, among others, an artlang, aesthetically pleasing to both the ear and the eye. It is probable that any speaker native to any language group in the world would have to make about the same effort learning the language, which advocates its candidacy as a future IAL. More than anything, however, Ælis is an experimental and philosophical language with the aim to incite anyone who comes near to start exploring the boundaries of human grammar, inviting them to contemplate about alternative grammatical models to the ones they grew up with.
Especially aficionados of theoretical linguistics will like to take a look under the hood and find out how a language can function without nouns, adjectives, verbs or adverbs in a grammatical sense; without verb conjugations, inflections, declensions, tenses, moods, voices or tones; with a completely free intonation and virtually no rules for emphasis in general; with a free word order; and all of this in continuous writing (i.e. no spaces to divide words and no punctuation to separate clauses and sentences). The Ælis grammar is not easier, nor is it more difficult than Western patterns. It is simply very different.
Welcome to the learn base, a section intended for you to start learning Ælis. This section will focus on the input of information from Ælis to English. I.e.: you will be presented with various topics and explanations regarding them. Read and learn.
Ælis is written from left to right and top to bottom. The alphabet considers itself to have 15 letters, of which 6 vowels and 9 consonants. One of the vowels is technically a diphthong, but it is treated as a common vowel. Additionally, some letters can be marked with a diacritic, making up for a total of 21 phonemes in the language.
Click one of the letters for more detailed information about them (including audio samples). When you're ready to go to the next chapter, click 'continue'.
Just like the Latin script has an uppercase and lowercase variant of each letter, the letters of the Ælis alphabet also exist in two forms. The letter cases in Ælis are called the primary case and secondary case. These cases have nothing in common with the way we use uppercase and lowercase letters in the Latin script, though. Instead, they serve as a means to turn the writing into syllabic blocks. Each of these syllabic blocks, in turn, consistutes a morpheme or root word, i.e. one independent, meaningful unit of speech.
The writing mechanism follows one simple rule:
The first letter of every root word is written in the primary case,
all the other letters are written in the secondary case.
For example, consider the root word ma. The letters needed are m m and a a. But since these two letters constitute one syllable together, the latter is converted into the secondary case. Therefore, ma:
Conversely, the syllable am is written by use of the primary case a with the secondary case m, therefore:
The mechanism applies to syllables with more than two letters as well. For example, the syllable geo is written as:
There are a total of 5 consonant-vowel sequences that can become a valid syllable.
|consonant + vowel||e.g.:||tW||tæ||'colour'|
|vowel + consonant||e.g.:||aM||am||'manner'|
|vowel + vowel||e.g.:||uE||ue||'family'|
|consonant + vowel + consonant||e.g.:||lIS||lis||'idea'|
|consonant + vowel + vowel||e.g.:||dOE||doe||'fire'|
One could say that in a way, the grouping of the letters into syllabic blocks creates one combined character for every unit of speech. If anything, it makes it easier for a reader to extract the different syllables out of a string of characters, i.e. identifying the different speech units and their meanings more easily.
In the next step, we'll see how these syllabic blocks can be put side by side, which will bring us to the basics of word building.
In terms of the way words are created, Ælis is an oligoanalytical language.
The oligo- part of this word means that the language is built with a minimal amount of basic speech concepts called root words. Whereas regular languages have up to hundreds of thousands of words, Ælis only has a few hundred. The speech particles can be combined in order to form more complex words.
The analytic part of the word means that there are no bound morphemes. A bound morpheme, for example, is the final 's' in the English word 'house-s'. The letter 's' is used for pluralization, and is a bound morpheme. This means that the letter 's' is not a dictionary word; it only makes sense if it is suffixed to another word. It also doesn't always indicate a plural wherever it appears. After all, there is also another 's' in 'houses' that does not mean 'plural'. But bound morphemes do not exist in Ælis. All root words:
The building block house is the metaphor used to describe how root words are combined to form bigger words with richer meanings, not unlike a puzzle.
|aQaN||aqan||length + space ⇒ 'distance'|
|aQaS||aqas||length + time ⇒ 'duration'|
|uBuM||ubum||energy + body ⇒ '(physical) force'|
|uBeI||ubei||energy + cognition ⇒ '(thinking) effort'|
For the Ælis grammar, the words 'root word', 'particle', 'morpheme', and 'syllable' are synonyms, and are used as such on this page. Note that these four words are anything but synonyms for any grammar other than Ælis'.
The actual amount of root words that exists is very, very small. The challenge and focus of Ælis lie in the skill of combining such root words in different ways in order to express what you'd like to say. Just like you can build numerous different houses by use of the same bricks, simply by arranging them in a different way.
The root words themselves have a broad and somewhat vague meaning. For each root word in Ælis, languages like English might have up to a dozen different words. For example, the root word lI li could mean:
This can make translation tricky, as there is hardly ever one simple translation for a root word. As you can see from the example above, they can also be translated as nouns, verbs, adjectives etc.
Although the amount of possible ways to combine root words might seem endless, not just any random combination of root words will be a meaningful one. After all, if you stack a lot of big blocks on top of a few small ones, a building block house will also fall apart. So the word construction process is subject to a few rules, which ensure stability throughout the language.
The step ladder principle is the term coined for the strict right-branching (or also 'head-initial') morphology of Ælis. Although root words themselves are not bound to one specific word type such as 'noun' or 'adjective', they do receive such a value depending on their position within the string of root words that surround it. The step ladder principle states that if two root words are placed side by side, then:
the first root word will play an independent role, i.e. it will behave not unlike a noun or verb;
the second root word will be dependent of the first, not unlike an adjective or adverb.
For example, consider the words tE te (human, person), and uB3rA ub'ira (strength, strong, powerful). The latter of these is already a compound word, but we will disregard that for the time being. If we combine these two words, then the first of the two will be the noun, and the second one will become its adjective:
Changing the word order simultaneously means changing these values, so using the same two components in a different order will create a different meaning:
The step ladder principle applies to every two adjactent root words, meaning that the feature can stack. If three root words are linked to one another, then not only will the first and second root word assume the role of noun-adjective with regard to one another, but so will the second and the third. This means that the role of the root word in the middle will be dual: dependent of the first root word (like an adjective), and dominant over the third root word (like a noun). The pattern repeats for any additional root word that is added onto the string. In theory, there is no limit to how long such a string may become. The following example uses 5 root words:
If we string them together, we get:
Or, more literally:
Consequentially, the word mAlO1lISeGeN malo'ælis'egen therefore means something along the lines of 'man involved in visual linguistic harmony', or simply:(male) poet-writer.
Note that even a group of root words strung into one word can still be regarded as belonging to any word category. For example, the word iOqA1rA ioqa'æra could mean:
The Ælis root words can be broadly categorized into two groups. Some root words are straightfoward stand-alone lexemes, meaning that they are like words you can find in a dictionary. Examples include mA ma (man, male), tW tæ (color), or aS as (time). But there are other root words that have a somewhat grammatical component to them as well, each with their own individual properties. Learning what they are and how they work will be the next step in applying the word construction patters of Ælis.
lISqA lis'qa, or number concepts, are a peculiar feature of the Ælis, possibly even a unique feature across languages worldwide. They are a set of ten angular symbols additional to the letters of the alphabet, grouped into two groups of five called the low range and high range. The lisqa all carry a reference to a number. It is important to understand from the get-go that the lisqa:
Rather than being numbers themselves, the lisqa appear in words where a reference to the numbers is somehow conceptually present. As there are plenty of chapters left to cover all the different uses, for now let's first have a look at what the symbols look like, how they are pronounced, and which numeric value they carry:
* The arch below the letter "u̯" means that the emphasis is not on the letter u, but on the adjacent vowel.
I.e.: "u̯" is pronounced like the letter 'w' in 'whisky'.
Fun fact: the shapes of the lisqa symbols are not quite arbitrary. They are small, angular versions of the proper letters of the alphabet:
The high range 5 6 7 8 9 is identical to the low range, but with a horizontal bar above and below each symbol. The bars are a reference to the letter u u.
The lisqa are written in between the other letters and form parts of a word, but they are smaller in size and are written at a higher baseline than the regular letters. They may look like diacritics to the untrained eye.
Having said that the numeric value is somehow conceptually present in the word, one of the most noteworthy examples of lisqa can be found in the very name of the language:1lIS ælis means something along the lines of 'one-ness', or of course unity.
The following chapters will shine a light on the various word types in which the lisqa make their appearance.
All Ælis numbers use the fixed root word qA qa. For the numbers 0-4, prefix the corresponding lisqa of the low range to the root word qA qa. The numbers from 5 to 9 use the high range lisqa. You can see it similarly to the fact that we have two hands with five fingers each.
For numbers 10 and up, the lisqa are combined like digits in our decimal system.
The system continues regularly for numbers 100 and up.
The stacking vowels become increasingly difficult to pronounce as numbers get higher. For big, round numbers, you can resort to the complex counting system, where adjacent identical digits may be grouped. The digit that is grouped will then be preceded by a secondary case letter ido (D), preceded by the amount of times that the digit is repeated, further preceded by a primary case letter ido (d). For example:
|100qA||1d2D0qA||ædedaqa||one hundred "one, and two times zero"||100|
|1000qA||1d3D0qA||ædidaqa||one thousand "one, and three times zero"||1000|
|20000qA||2d4D0qA||edodaqa||twenty thousand "two, and four times zero"||20000|
|4000000qA||4d6D0qA||odu̯ædaqa||four million "four, and six times zero"||4000000|
|7000000000qA||7d9D0qA||u̯edu̯odaqa||seven billion "seven, and nine times zero"||7000000000|
This means that any number with a repeating digit in it has two or more forms. The writing and pronunciation are not linked in any way, so it is perfectly viable to pronounce a simple number where a complex one is written down, and vice versa:
It is even possible to use both approaches in one and the same number. This may combine efficiency with the intuition of certain speakers. Compare:
|10d3D0qA||æ'adidaqa "one, zero, and three times zero"||10,000|
This example shows that you add, for example, the suffix didaqa to add 'thousand'.
Personal pronouns are formed by attaching the lisqa to one of three gender particles:
The genders male, female and mixed/undefined are purely semantical, meaning that they do not govern the declension of nouns or the like. Note that the category of undefined pronouns is not the same as a neuter grammatical gender. In Ælis, the undefined pronouns are used only if a speaker:
The simple pronouns follow the 'traditional' six person paradigm: 3 persons singular, and 3 persons plural. The singular forms use the lisqa for 1, 2 and 3 of the low range:
|⚥||3tE||ite||he, himshe, her|
The plural forms use the lisqa of the high range:
There is also a 4th person in Ælis, with the lisqa 4, which refers to a person or more people beyond eyesight:
|⚥||9tE||u̯ote||other people, others|
The lisqa 0 can also be used, in which case the personal pronoun will refer to the generalizing 'one':
|♂||0mA||ama||a man(in general)|
|♀||0nI||ani||a woman(in general)|
|⚥||0tE||ate||a person(in general)|
The simple pronouns partially exist as a stepping stone for learners. Ælis will avoid them whenever a complex pronoun can be used. The term 'complex' is perhaps a bit misleading, as these pronouns do none other than combine several lisqa in one pronouns. This way, more precise pronouns may be created. For example:
When the complex model is used to combine personal pronouns of both genders, it is obligatory to resort to the mixed gender:
Weaving lisqa into complex pronoun system is limited only by the creativity of the speaker. Here are some other possibilities:
Always pay attention that the lisqa are placed in strictly ascending order.
lISrA or qualifiers are another word category that make smart use of the lisqa, the qualifiers themselves being a quite special and fundamental feature of the morphology. The lisra are a set of five particles that can suffix to certain root words (more specifically class 2 root words), expressing something along the lines of the range, extent, level, or perhaps degree of the root word they attach to. The lisra are formed by prefixing one of the five low range lisqa to the fixed root word rA ra. These five words create the following five 'degrees':
The root words to which the lisra can connect can be seen as lying within a linear, continuous spectrum that ranges from one extreme to the other. The lisra themselves then highlight five points within that spectrum. This way, the system allows the creation of both hyperboles and antonyms with words that look and sound similar to one another.
Probably the best way to explain the lisra is to illustrate the principle with examples. If you look at how the translations are influenced by attaching different lisra to one and the same base root, you'll get a feel for the principle.
|uB||ub||power, energy, force|
|uB2rA||ub'era||'some power'||moderate strength|
|zU3rA||zu'ira||'much temperature'||warm, hot|
|zU4rA||zu'ora||'total temperature'||(blistering) hot|
|dW0rA||dæ'ara||'no brightness'||pitch black|
|dW4rA||dæ'ora||'total brightness'||(blindingly) bright|
|vE1rA||ve'æra||'little value'||cheap, low quality|
|vE2rA||ve'era||'some value'||mediocre value|
|dI||di||desire, will, volition|
|dI2rA||di'era||'some desire'||allowance, indifference|
|dI3rA||di'ira||'much desire'||desire, will, encouragement|
|dI4rA||di'ora||'total desire'||demand, obligation|
The lisra are a powerful tool of Ælis morphology. They can connect to quite some roots in the thesaurus, creating a fivefold of new words for each one.
The way in which Ælis describes locations in space is somewhat comparable to the X-Y-Z graphs commonly used in math. A spatial indication is built with four components:
|'place'||1st dimension||'dimension'||5th point|
|"the 5th point in the 1st dimension of space"|
The following chapters will look at the different spatial dimensions.
The first axis uses the lisqa for 1, and refers to the horizontal axis. Without any lisra attached, the word aN1dA an'æda means 'horizontal'. The first axis ranges from left to right.
The second axis uses the lisqa for 2, and refers to the vertical axis. Without any lisra attached, the word aN2dA an'eda means 'vertical'. The second axis ranges from bottom to top.
The third axis uses the lisqa for 3, and refers to the depth axis. Without any lisra attached, the word aN3dA an'ida means 'depth', or also 'path'. The third axis ranges from back to front.
To understand this axis, imagine standing on a road. Your own location is described as aN3dA2rA an'ida'era. That which is in front of you is described as aN3dA3rA an'ida'ira (close) or aN3dA4rA an'ida'ora (far); that which is behind you is aN3dA1rA an'ida'æra (close) or aN3dA0rA an'ida'ara (far).
Even though the world we live in is three-dimensional, Ælis has a 4th axis. It ranges from in to out.
used to describe, for example, something against the wall or on a window on the inside of a house. used to describe, for example, something on the doorstep of a house, or something sitting in the window sill. used to describe, for example, something against the wall or on a window on the outside of a house.
The axis of time is considerably easier to understand than the axes of space, because there is only one axis. The axis of time uses the word aS as for 'time' rather than aN an for 'space', and also the first lisqa is absent, as there is no 'dimension' to choose from. The axis of time reaches from past to future:
In "complex" indications about space or time, lisqa may be combined in order to be more precise. For example:
° The particle iI ii is pronounced as "yee".
There are a few root words particularly suitable for combining with all of these indications. One of them is the referent marker vW væ, but that one is discussed in a different chapter. Two others we'll discuss here are the 'target' and 'origin' particles. These can prefix to any of the words above to turn a location into a direction. For example:
(going) towards the left
(coming) from the left
upwards, (going/coming) up
(coming) from above
(at the) back
(going) towards the back
(coming) from the back
until now, up to here
from now (on)
The fact that we have gone over the lisra now enables us to speak about pluralization in Ælis. In short: there is none. In the section , we spoke about how root words generally designate a centralized idea for which languages like English tend to have many words, and that according to context, they can be understood to be nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. The root words are like bricks that can be used for many purposes, and their exact purpose is defined by the context. Well, this idea also extends to the number of the root words.
In their value of 'noun', any root word is to be understood as being singular and plural at the same time.
This means that all Ælis root words can be seen as mass nouns. Examples of mass nouns, in English, are 'sugar', 'water', or 'furniture'. What this means for Ælis is that for example, the root word aN an does not only mean 'spatial' (adj.) or 'to locate' (verb), but that as a noun, it can also mean place and places; both space and spaces. The root word tE te can mean both 'person' and 'people'. The principle also applies to compound words:mAuE3rA ma'ue'ira, for example, can mean both 'father' and 'fathers'. In essence, this means that if you have any given root word X, you have to interpret it as "(a given amount of) X":
There is a man here.
There are men here.
A given amount of men is present here.
Whenever possible, Ælis will prefer to have context determine which number (i.e. singular or plural) a noun has, or in other words, omit a specification whenever possible. If deemed necessary, however, Ælis has two ways to explicit the number of a noun.
The precise method is the easiest and preferred. The precise method consists simply of prefixing a number to another root word. For example:
|mA ma:man, male|
|aN an:space, place|
|qOrEkmIK qoremi:cat, feline|
|aNoW0rA anoæ'ara:home, residence|
If the precise method cannot be used, Ælis will resort to the imprecise method. It consists of suffixing one of the five lisra to the fixed root word qA qa, which means 'amount' or 'number', and prefixing that to another word.
|mA ma:man, male|
|aN an:space, place|
|qOrEkmIK qoremi:cat, feline|
|aNoW0rA anoæ'ara:home, residence|
Now that we've dealt with the basics of word construction, it's time to shed a light on sentences. Ælis breaks away from the 'traditional' subject-verb-object oriented structure, and approaches syntax in a radically different way. Structure-wise, Ælis is an active-stative language, specifically of the fluid-S subtype. What this means is that the syntax focuses primarily (if not solely) on the semantical role of syntactical arguments rather than a grammatical function they have.
The Ælis syntax is inspired by the sender-message-receiver model of communication. Every sentence essentially describes a 'transfer' that revolves primarily around the following three participants:
The word that contains the value of 'message' is called the topic. It is a word that can describe an object, event, action, or situation, such as for example 'rain', 'accident', 'speech', or 'happiness'. The argument that carries the value of 'receiver' is called the patient. This argument is always passively or involuntarily involved in whichever the topic describes. It can be the receiver of the object, the (passive) subject which the event or action affects, or the argument to which the situation applies. The 'sender', finally, is called the agent. It is the argument that is actively or voluntarily involved in the interaction described by the topic. It is therefore either the argument that gives the object, initiates the event, performs the action, or causes / has caused the situation to become.
The fact that Ælis makes no distinction between word classes such as nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs, has tremendous implications for the syntax. As the verb is a core component in the grammar of most languages worldwide, the absence of it in Ælis means that notions of verb conjugation (including tenses), agreement, valency, or voice are equally formally absent from the language. This may initially create a feeling of 'handicap' for new learners. So how is it done?
Learning to speak Ælis will require a different way of thinking. The groundwork laid out by the syntax will most likely obligate you to allocate semantical units differently than what you're used to, i.e. group them in different semantical units than what is common in English. In order to start adopting the model, keep in mind that interactions do not revolve around subject, verb, and object, but rather:
Let's work with a simple example.
|name Maria||I, me ♀|
If we want to say 'my name is Maria', then Ælis treats this as a transfer taking place. That which is 'transferred' is the 'name Maria', and the receiver of this name is 'me'. As the root word rE re can mean 'name' as a noun, but also 'to name/call' as a verb, Ælis doesn't actually care whether the topic in question describes an object, event, situation, or action. It is all the same. The sentence above can therefore be interpreted to mean all of the following:
Note that for the above sentence, it is irrelevant who 'sends' or 'gives' the name. There is no agent in the sentence, nor does the grammar require one. So look what happens if we decide to turn the patient into an agent:
|name Maria||I, me ♀|
|"I call (the name of) Maria"
"I call Maria's name"
"I call Maria"
In this sentence, that which is sent is still the 'name Maria', but the argument that performs the calling is 'me'. As all the info we desired to express is already contained in the sentence, adding a patient into the mix is not needed. But it is possible. See what happens if we use both an agent and a patient in this sentence. Imagine a parent saying proudly about their newborn daughter:
|I, me ♂||name Maria||she, her ♀|
|"I give her the name Maria"
"I call her Maria"
So one of the primary challenges is breaking the information up in groups, and then assign the correct functions to them. A few other examples:
|hAaQ3rAaN2dA||iAmAksEMK||"Sam receives big height"
"Sam is tall"
|big height||Sam ♂|
|hA30qAqUeO||iAmAksEMK||"Sam receives 30 life years"
"Sam is 30 years old"
|30 years of existence||Sam ♂|
|hAaNoW0rAkuSAK||iAmAksEMK||"Sam receives residence USA"
"Sam is from the USA"
|residence USA||Sam ♂|
|hAeG1lIS||iAmAksEMK||"Sam receives Ælis speech"
"Sam hears Ælis"
|Ælis language||Sam ♂|
|lA1mA||hAeG1lIS||"I send Ælis speech"
"Ælis speech is sent by me"
"I produce Ælis speech"
"I speak Ælis"
|I, me ♂||Ælis language|
|lA1mA||hAeG1lIS||iAmAksEMK||"I give Ælis speech to Sam"
"Sam receives Ælis speech from me"
"I speak Ælis to Sam"
"Sam hears me speak Ælis"
|I, me ♂||Ælis language||Sam ♂|
Like the principle of a case system, Ælis marks the function of every word within a sentence. However, while most languages with a case system work with inflection/noun declension, Ælis marks the syntactical function of a word through prefixes called function markers. The prefixes are:
the modifier will be discussed in the next chapter.
Within sentences, each word must be marked with a function marker. This has some interesting consequences:
|fire||There's a fire.
Something is burning.
|cat||There's a cat.|
|rain||It is raining.|
"I (do) to her".
Let's now have a look at the fourth and final syntactical element of Ælis, the one we haven't talked about much.
The modifier is the fourth and final possible component of an Ælis sentence. It is marked by the morpheme iR ir, and expresses a context in which the interaction takes place. Essentially, the modifier is an umbrella category for anything that cannot be expressed by topic, agent, and patient alone. While the other three functions mainly interact with one another, the modifier applies to the other three functions equally.
The modifier has a high versatility, and is a powerful tool for creating sentences. The following chapters will have a look at the ways in which it can be used to one's advantage.
As Ælis lacks verb conjugations, the modifier of time is the key to the otherwise missing time tenses. In other words, a time tense is expressed simply by adding an extra word to the sentence. Because there are 5 points on the axis of time, Ælis can also be considered to have 5 points in time in which an action can take place:
Have a look at the following example:
la'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis ha'eleana'ira ia'u̯æte
|We like learning Ælis.|
la'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis ha'eleana'ira ia'u̯æte irasda'ara
|We liked learning Ælis once.|
la'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis ha'eleana'ira ia'u̯æte irasda'æra
|We liked learning Ælis.|
la'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis ha'eleana'ira ia'u̯æte irasda'era
|We like learning Ælis now.|
la'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis ha'eleana'ira ia'u̯æte irasda'ira
|We will like learning Ælis (soon).|
la'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis ha'eleana'ira ia'u̯æte irasda'ora
|We will like learning Ælis someday.|
The modifier of time may just as well connect to other words than the he ones above. In the example below, notice how the semantics may determine the time frame without the grammar having to:
|She is filled with joy.|
ha'eleana'ora ia'ini iraseoli'emiini'ue'æra
|She was filled with joy when her daughter was born.|
As there is no verb to determine a tense, one can even add two modifiers of time and refer to two tenses at once:
la'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis ha'eleana'ira ia'u̯æte irasda'æra irasda'ira
|We liked learning Ælis, and will also like it in the future.|
The modifier of place expresses where the interaction takes place.
|I am in the Netherlands.|
|I am behind you.|
|I am somewhere I've never been before.|
The modifier of manner expresses how things happen, and it is the formulation that is most closely related to the adverb. The modifier of manner will also principally reflect the topic rather than the sentence as a whole.
|We learn Ælis.|
ia'u̯æte ha'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis iramub'ira'ei
|We learn Ælis intensely.|
ia'u̯æte ha'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis iramegerat'æqa'do'asli'u̯æte
|We learn Ælis by speaking (it) every day.|
A construction worth highlighting is the construction iRaMdI iramdi, which can make up for the otherwise missing imperative indications.
|We learn Ælis.|
ia'u̯æte ha'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis iramdi'ara
|We may not learn Ælis.
We are not allowed to learn Ælis.
ia'u̯æte ha'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis iramdi'æra
|We should not learn Ælis.
We are discouraged to learn Ælis.
ia'u̯æte ha'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis iramdi'era
|We may learn Ælis.
We are allowed to learn Ælis.
ia'u̯æte ha'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis iramdi'ira
|We should learn Ælis.
We are encouraged to learn Ælis.
ia'u̯æte ha'ii'ei'ira'emeg'ælis iramdi'ora
|We have to learn Ælis.
We are obligated to learn Ælis.
The modifier of cause expresses why the interaction occurs.
|He does (it).|
|He does (it) because he likes her.|
|He (pours) water.|
la'ima hagoe irardoe'ii'anoæ'ara
|He (pours) water because the house is on fire.|
Do not confuse the modifiers of cause and consequence with each other. Click here for more info.
The modifier of consequence, also called the modifier of effect, expresses what the outcome of the interaction is; what it entails; what happens as a consequence of it.
|You work hard.|
la'ete halovede'emub'ira irisii'an(re)'deu
|You work hard so (you could) go to Germany.|
la'ete halovede'emub'ira irisio'anoæ'ara'emna'ira
|You work hard so (you could) buy a nice house.|
It should be pointed out that this modifier is also the equivalent of "if ⇒ then" constructions. Ælis interprets the previous sentences as having the same meaning as:
la'ete halovede'emub'ira irisii'an(re)'deu
|If you work hard, you can go to Germany.|
la'ete halovede'emub'ira irisio'anoæ'ara'emna'ira
|If you work hard, you can buy a nice house.|
Do not confuse the modifiers of cause and consequence with each other. Click here for more info.
Even though the modifiers of cause and consequence are clearly distinct, a word of caution is in place.
The use of the English words "cause" and "because of" can be highly misleading. According to the context, the translation from an English sentence into Ælis might require the use of one modifier or the other. If you would want to translate the sentence "I'm helping them because it makes me feel good", then the presence of the word 'because' will encourage learners to spontaneously pick the modifier of cause, iRaR irar. However, that would not be the correct choice. Compare:
la'æte ha'iina'ira iau̯ite
|by me, improvement is given to them||I help them.|
la'æte ha'iina'ira iau̯ite irareleana'ira'ii'æte
|by me, improvement is given to them because good emotion occurs to me.||I help them because I feel good.|
la'æte ha'iina'ira iau̯ite iriseleana'ira'ii'æte
|by me, improvement is given to them so that good emotion occurs to me.||I help them therefore I feel good. ⇓ Helping them makes me feel good. ⇓ I help them because (it) makes (me) feel good.|
|I do (it).|
|I never do (it).|
|I sometimes do (it).|
|I regularly do (it).|
|I do (it) often.|
|I always do (it).|
The modifier of frequency can also be combined with other elements than lisra.
|I come to you.
I visit you.
la'æte ha'iian'ete irat'u̯eqa'do
|I visit you with the frequency of 7 days.
I visit you every week.
la'æte ha'iian'ete irat'eqa'væ'u̯eqa'do
|I visit you with the frequency of 2 out of 7 days.
I visit you twice every week.
Although time-related words are the most apparent combinations the modifier of frequency, other possibilities are conceivable:
|There is a sign.|
|There is a sign every 300m.|
There is not such a thing as a fixed amount of modifier types. Speakers and learners can, and are even encouraged to, go DIY on the modifier principle, and invent modifiers themselves. The modifier can be used with essentially any word. Apart from the ones in the previous sections, the modifier can mostly be interpreted as follows:
|She is in good shape.|
hanæ'umna'ira ia'ini irqaqu'eo'ii'ini
|She is in good shape given her age.
She is in good shape for her age.
iramdi'ira halo'ei'ira la'u̯æte
|We should act with caution.|
iramdi'ira halo'ei'ira la'u̯æte irnæ'iu
|Given the (aforementioned) circumstances, we should act with caution.|
The sentence bracket is a pair of root words, consisting of the 'opening bracket', lW læ; and the 'closing bracket', iW iæ.
|3 + 4 * 5 = 3 + 20 = 23||(3 + 4) * 5 = 7 * 5 = 35|
Quite comparable to brackets used in math, the sentence bracket will wrap around a phrase and turn it into one unit.
What is unique about the sentence bracket is that it may attach to any other root word, and will be dominant over all the root words that are placed between the opening and closing brackets. This includes the function markers, who are usually never subordinate to anything. The purpose of this is that it enables the creation of subordinate sentences. For example:
except the separator particle tA ta.
As with many things, asking questions in Ælis is also very different from English (and probably most languages world-wide). Ælis does not require (or even have) any special punctuation such as a question mark to place at the end of a sentence, nor is the intonation influenced in any way. Speakers are allowed to change the intonation of the sentence to match that of their native language and/or their intuition, but there is no obligation for it.
A word we will need is the question particle nE ne. It is key to understand that it does not connect to the sentence as a whole, but to individual words instead. This turns asking questions into an aspect of morphology rather than syntax.
By attaching a question particle to a word, a speaker will urge the conversation partner to be more specific about that word. One can therefore interpret nE ne to mean "which?".
Let's have a look at some useful particles to combine the question particle to.
|which frequency||how often?|
|which accuracy||how true?|
Speakers are encouraged to get creative by puzzling with more than one root word:
|length + space||distance||⇒||aQaNnE
|which distance||how far?|
|length + time||duration||⇒||aQaSnE
|which duration||for how long?|
|place + origin||departure||⇒||aNlInE
|place + target||goal,
|time + origin||start time||⇒||aSlInE
|which start time||from when?
|time + target||end time||⇒||aSiInE
|which end time||until when?|
The creativity does not end there, as the question particle can connect to virtually any other root word.
The particle can connect to all root words except itself, the exclamation marker sA sa, or any of the free markers.
Due to the way in which the question particle works, there isn't really a difference between creating a question word and a question (sentence). The idea is to focus the question to one specific word of the sentence, i.e. turn one of the words into a question word. For starters, the question particle can be attached directly to a function marker:
hAnEiA2nIlA1mA hane ia'eni la'æma What am I doing to you?
hAeG1lISiAnElA1mA ha'eg'ælis iane la'æma To whom do I speak Ælis?
hAeG1lISiA2nIlAnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni lane Who speaks Ælis to you?
A very useful trick is to use one of the question words from the previous section as a modifier:
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mA ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma||I speak Ælis to you.|
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRaSnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma irasne||When do I speak Ælis to you?|
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRaNnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma iranne||Where do I speak Ælis to you?|
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRaMnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma iramne||How do I speak Ælis to you?|
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRaRnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma irarne||Why do I speak Ælis to you?
For which reason?
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRiSnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma irisne||Why do I speak Ælis to you?
To which purpose?
As opposed to questions with question words in them, which basically urge a conversation partner to be more specific about an utterance, a yes/no question requests a conversation partner to simply confirm or refute a given statement. So they are requests for confirmation, and not specification. But the latter is the only value that the question particle has: it will always urge a conversation partner to describe a certain argument with more detail.
So requesting a conversation partner to confirm a given statement requires a different approach. To form a yes/no question, one can add an extra word to the sentence. This word is the modifier iRaDnE iradne, which can be understood to mean: 'how true is it that...?'; 'how accurate is it that...?'.
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mA ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma||I speak Ælis to you.|
|hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRaDnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma iradne||How true is it that I speak Ælis to you? (With) which accuracy I speak Ælis to you?|
Since aD ad is a qualifiable root word, the answer will likely be one of the following:
|iRaD0rA||irad'ara||no truth||⇒||not at all
on the contrary
|iRaD2rA||irad'era||some truth||⇒||true to some extent|
It ought to be pointed out that the Ælis 'style guide' will always try to avoid this approach. Even with a request for confirmation rather than specification, speakers are encouraged to always try and integrate the construction of aDnE adne into one of the words of the sentence, thus turning those specific words into the focus of the question.
In such formulations, the root words aD ad and nE ne will split up, and span the root words that the speaker wishes to place within the question's focus. It is possible to express tons of nuances by merely positioning the root words differently.
hAaDeG1lISnEiA2nIlA1mAiRaSdA3rAdO1qA ha'adeg'ælis'ne ia'eni la'æma irasda'ira'do'æqa I will speak Ælis to you tomorrow? (or will I be doing something else?)
aDeG1lISnE adeg'ælis'ne: which accuracy of Ælis language?
hAeGaD1lISnEiA2nIlA1mAiRaSdA3rAdO1qA ha'egad'ælis'ne ia'eni la'æma irasda'ira'do'æqa I will speak Ælis to you tomorrow? (or will I be speaking something else?)
aD1lISnE ad'ælis'ne: which accuracy of Ælis?
hAeG1lISiAaD2nInElA1mAiRaSdA3rAdO1qA ha'eg'ælis ia'ad'eni'ne la'æma irasda'ira'do'æqa Will I speak Ælis to you tomorrow? (or will I be speaking it to someone else?)
aD2nInE ad'eni'ne: which accuracy of you?
hAeG1lISiA2nIlAaD1mAnEiRaSdA3rAdO1qA ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'ad'æma'ne irasda'ira'do'æqa Will I speak Ælis to you tomorrow? (or will someone else?)
aD1mAnE ad'æma'ne: which accuracy of me?
hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRaDaSdA3rAdO1qAnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma iradasda'ira'do'æqa'ne Will I speak Ælis to you tomorrow? (or is the context somehow different?)
aDaSdA3rAdO1qAnE adasda'ira'do'æqa'ne: which accuracy of 1 day in the future?
hAeG1lISiA2nIlA1mAiRaSdA3rAdOaD1qAnE ha'eg'ælis ia'eni la'æma irasda'ira'do'ad'æqa'ne Will I speak Ælis to you tomorrow? (or how many days from now will it be?)
aD1qAnE adæqa'ne: which accuracy of 1?
The number of words in a response tends to equal the number of question particles nE ne in the preceding question.
It is not necessarily wrong to repeat all the words, but it is considered redundant and perhaps even a bit annoying.
lAnEhAeG1lISiAnEiRaSdA3rAdO1qA lane ha'eg'ælis iane irasda'ira'do'æqa Who will speak Ælis to whom tomorrow?
lA1mAiA2nI la'æma ia'eni I (will speak Ælis) to you tomorrow.
Exclamations are approached in very similar fashion as questions. There is no distinct punctuation mark, but a separate root word instead. Although of remarkably less importance, the position of the exclamation particle may also be played with in order to place slight emphasis on one specific words of the sentence.
lAeN7tEiA1mAhAeLeAnA3rA la'en'u̯ete la'æma ha'eleana'ira I am glad to see you all.
lAeNsA7tEiA1mAhAeLeAnA3rA la'ensa'u̯ete la'æma ha'eleana'ira I am glad to see you all! (We've spoken so often, now we finally get to meet)
lAeN7tEsAiA1mAhAeLeAnA3rA la'en'u̯ete'sa la'æma ha'eleana'ira I am glad to see you all! (I expected fewer people to show up)
lAeN7tEiA1mAsAhAeLeAnA3rA la'en'u̯ete la'æma'sa ha'eleana'ira I am glad to see you all! (perhaps other people weren't)
lAeN7tEiA1mAhAeLeAnA3rAsA la'en'u̯ete la'æma ha'eleana'ira'sa I am glad to see you all! (or did you think I wasn't looking forward to it?)
Long words > many words
While the previous chapters dealt with topics of syntax, we now find ourselves back the word level again. Ælis has a tencency to create massive compound words, potentially with the length and lexical richness of entire sentences. In exchange, the amount of words in a sentence is often very low. Long and complex sentences can consist of only two words or sometimes just one, each marked with the corresponding function marker. Most of the magic happens on the morphological level, i.e. the word level.
A partition is any lexeme or combination of lexemes that the speaker wishes to identify as one lexical unit. Even though partitions are usually a combination of root words already, partitions themselves can in turn be combined, creating an even bigger compound word.
A partition marker can be one of six root words that is placed in between two partitions. A partition marker delineates (i.e. it identifies the both the preceding string of root words and the following string of root words as 'a partition'); and secondly, it identifies the relation that the two partitions have to one another. Therefore, the structure of a compound word in Ælis will look a little like this:
|partition 1||partition 2||partition 3|
The following chapters elaborate on the six partition markers that exist.
The characteristic marker is the most straight-forward of the partition markers. If it is placed in between two words, it will identify these words are being either noun-adjective or verb-adverb. In other words, the word behind the characteristic marker expresses a property of the first word. Examples:
|qOrEkuAK qore'ua dog, canine||+||tWdW0rA tædæ'ara black||⇒||qOrEkuAKeMtWdW0rA qore'ua'emtædæ'ara black dog|
|dOElIaN2dA3rA doe'li'an'eda'ira rain||+||uB3rA ub'ira power, force||⇒||dOElIaN2dA3rAeMuB3rA doe'li'an'eda'ira'emub'ira powerful rain heavy rain|
|nIuE3rA ni'ue'ira mother||+||nA3rA na'ira good||⇒||nIuE3rAeMnA3rA ni'ue'ira'emna'ira good mother|
The characteristic marker does the same thing to partitions as the step ladder principle does to single root words. This means that the order of the partitions is something to take into account. Compare:
|nIaQ1rAaS ni'aq'æra'as girl||+||eLeAnA3rAeN eleana'ira'en beauty, beautiful||⇒||nIaQ1rAaSeMeLeAnA3rAeN ni'aq'æra'asemeleana'ira'en beautiful girl|
|eLeAnA3rAeN eleana'ira'en beauty, beautiful||+||nIaQ1rAaS ni'aq'æra'as girl||⇒||eLeAnA3rAeNeMnIaQ1rAaS eleana'ira'enemni'aq'æra'as girl's beauty|
The referent marker is a bit more abstract than the characteristic marker. It creates a kind of framework. The framework is limiting and conditional in nature. This means that:
The first partition only 'applies' within the framework set forth by the second partition.
The following sections will help clarify.
In the section about the axes of time and space, a lot of words are presented that can be used to describe locations and points in time. The referent marker can help express which such indications are relative to, de facto turning them into prepositions.
|aN1dA3rA an'æda'ira right, righthand side||+||3nI ini she, her||⇒||aN1dA3rAvW3nI an'æda'ira'væ'ini righthand side compared to her to her right, right of her|
|aN0dA0rA an'ada'ara North||+||knIUiOUQK re'niu iooq New York||⇒||aN0dA0rAvWknIUiOUQK an'ada'ara'være'niu iooq North compared to New York (to the) North of New York|
|aSdA1rA asda'æra past, prior||+||eOlIeMiI1mA eoli'emii'æma the beginning of my life, my birth||⇒||aSdA1rAvWeOlIeMiI1mA asda'æravæ'eoli'emii'æma the past compared to my birth before I was born|
The referent can be used to express fractions.
By extension, the referent can also be used to highlight parts of a group in general. Compare:
four of the cats
a lot of water
most of the water
all of the people
(all members of a group)
In English, comparative structures are formed within either a predicative phrase or an adverbial one. An example of a predicative comparative is 'I am taller than you'. An example of an adverbial comparative is 'I run faster than you'. But Ælis uses a different syntactical structure for utterances like these: objects are compared directly to one another (i.e.: within the same phrase) in what is an otherwise normal, declarative sentence:
I am tall.
I compared to you am tall.
I run fast.
I compared to you run fast.
There is no distinct superlative. To create a superlative, the comparison is simply made to an absolute argument.
Without an argument to compare to, the referent marker will simply translate to 'relative(ly)', 'quite', or the adverb 'pretty':
The activity marker is used to describe actions. If it is placed in between two words, then it will identify the first as the sender, executor, maker, or doer of the second. The activity marker plays a similar role as the agent marker does, but then for partitions instead of entire words.
|tE te person, human||+||eGeN egen writing, script, reading||⇒||tElOeGeN telo'egen person (who does) writing writer|
|hI hi thing, object||+||
numeric, to count
|⇒||hIlOqA hiloqa thing (that does) numbers calculator, computer|
|nI ni woman, female||+||dI4rA di'ora demand, obligation||⇒||nIlOdI4rA nilodi'ora woman (who executes) obligation leader, boss ♀|
|qO qo animal||+||eOiI eo'ii end of life, death||⇒||qOlOeOiI qolo'eo'ii animal (that makes) death predator|
The passivity marker expresses passive or involuntary involvement. If it is placed between two words, then the first word will be identified as either receiving, undergoing, or subjected to the second.
|tE te person, human||+||eGeN egen writing, script, reading||⇒||tEiOeGeN te'io'egen person (that receives) writing reader, addressee|
|hI hi thing, object||+||dOE doe fire, fiery, to burn||⇒||hIiOdOE hi'iodoe thing (that undergoes) fire a burning object|
|aN an place, space||+||qA3rAtE qa'ira'te many people||⇒||aNiOqA3rAtE anioqa'ira'te place (subject to) many people crowded place|
The origin marker can be used to indicate the source of something. If it is placed between two words, then it will express that the first word is sent by the second, carried out by or originating from it.
|eGeR eger auditory language, speech||+||1mA æma I, me ♂||⇒||
speech (sent by) me
my words, my speech,
my message, that which I say
|gOE goe water, liquid||+||aN2dA4rA an'eda'ora high above, high up||⇒||gOElIaN2dA4rA goe'li'an'eda'ora water (originating from) high up rain|
The target marker can be used to indicate finality or purpose. If placed between two partitions, it identifies the second as the receiver or owner of the first. It can also express that the second partition is affected by the first. In a broader sense, the target marker can even be used to express to whom or what the first partition 'corresponds', allowing it to express possession as well.
|qOrEkmIK qoremi cat, feline||+||1nI æni I, me ♀||⇒||qOrEkmIKiI1ni qoremi'ii'æni cat (corresponding to) me my cat|
|dOE doe fire||+||
|⇒||dOEiIaNoW0rA doe'ii'anoæ'ara fire (which affects) residence the fire that burns the residence|
|eGeN egen writing, script, reading||+||1mA æma I, me ♂||⇒||eGeNiI1mA egenii'æma writing (received by) me the letter/message I receive|
In summary, the partition markers do the following:
|Referent||vW||væ||A||(is true if) compared to||B|
|Activity||lO||lo||A||does — sends||B|
|Passivity||iO||io||A||undergoes — receives||B|
|Origin||lI||li||A||is performed by — is sent by — originates from||B|
|Target||iI||ii||A||is sent to — is aimed at — corresponds to — happens to||B|
There is no theoretical limit to the amount of partitions that can be combined into one long and rich compound word. Speakers are challenged and encouraged to explore the limits.
|partition 1||partition 2||partition 3|
nIksEMKlOeGeNiI1mA nire'sem'lo'egenii'æma girl named Sam (who does) writing (received by) me ♂ Sam, who writes to me
aQ3rAaSeOiIqOrEkuAKiImAkdZZONK aq'ira'aseo'ii'qore'ua'ii'mare'dzzon high age (corresponds to) dog (corresponds to) man named John John's dog's old age
mAiOeLeAnA1rAlIqA3rAeRlI1mA ma'io'eleana'æra'liqa'ira'erli'æma man (with attribute) unhappy (originates from) much noise (originates from) me ♂ the man, who's annoyed by the noise I make
qOrEkmIKeMaN2dA3rAvWaNoW0rAeMtWdW4rA qoremi'eman'eda'ira'væ'an'oæ'ara'emtædæ'ora cat (with attribute) top (compared to) house (with attribute) white the cat on top of the white house
2nIlOeGeReMbI3rAvWaSdA1rAdO1qA eni'lo'egerembi'ira'væ'asda'æra'do'æqa you ♀ (who does) speech (with attribute) funny (compared to) yesterday you, who says something funnier than yesterday
What the word level is concerned, the separator is an important addition to the partition system. Due to the workings of the step ladder principle, a partition will always be subordinate to the one immediately preceding it. But this isn't always desired. Consider the following compound word:
mAaQ4rAaSeM0tWeMaQ1rAaN2dA ma'aq'ora'asem'atæ'emaq'æra'an'eda old man with attribute grey color with attribute short
Due to the workings of the step ladder principle, each partition is linked to the one that immediately precedes it. Therefore, 0tWeMaQ1rAaN2dA atæ'emaq'æra'an'eda means "short grey color". But that doesn't make much sense. It is much more likely that we wish to express that 'short' is an attribute of the old man, and not the color grey. This means we wish to link two partitions to the initial one. This can be achieved by strategically positioning a separator particle:
mAaQ4rAaSeM0tWtAeMaQ1rAaN2dA ma'aq'ora'asem'atæ ta emaq'æra'an'eda old man with attribute grey color and with attribute short ⇒ the grey and small old man
The placement of the separator before the third partition causes the step ladder to 'reset' to where it was where the previous partition started.
On the sentence level, the role of the separator is easier to explain: it detemines where one sentence ends, and a new one begins. In English, this may translate to two separate sentences, or to two coordinated clauses:
In English, given names like 'John' or 'Mary' are written with capital letters. This way, they are marked as given names. Special or uncommon words, or sometimes borrowed words with which a writer assumes a reader might not be familiar, can be italicized or enclosed in 'apostrophes' in order to highlight them within a sentence. Ælis has its proper way to achieve these goals.
The symbols on the right are called 're' symbols, or 'name symbols'. These symbols wrap around certain words, i.e. the 'opening re' before and the 'closing re' after, in order to mark them as non-standard Ælis words. By doing so, the enclosed word will be stripped of any lexical meaning it might have, leaving only the phonetic aspect.
For example, aN an is a root word that means 'place' or 'space'. But if enclosed in re symbols, then kaNK becomes the Ælis transcription of the given name Anne. This way, we can differentiate between the following sentences, both of which read ia'æma ha'eleana'ira la'an:
|iA1mAhAeLeAnA3rAlAaN||I like (that) place.|
|iA1mAhAeLeAnA3rAlAkaNK||I like Anne.|
In spoken discourse, the presence of the re symbols may be explicited in one of two ways:
The principal writing rule remains unaffected: the first letter is written in the primary case, all the other letters are written in the secondary case. Any given name is considered to be one, inseparable word. Therefore, we get, for example:
In a name that consists of more than one word, the amount of words is maintained. This means: one primary case letter is to be used at the beginning of each one:
|'Ludwik Łazarz Zamenhof'||klUDVIQuAZARZzAMENHOFK|
Ælis does not have the means to write all of the world's sounds. This entails that given names, more often than not, need to be transcribed. For example:
If there is no equivalent sound at all, then the closest equivalent needs to be chosen. Note that the transcription may differ a lot from the original spelling. It is also subject to the writer's interpretation which the nearest equivalent is.
When transcribing names to Ælis, it is important to keep in mind that the pronunciation is the defining factor, and not the original spelling. This means that you must depart from the way it is pronounced by a native speaker and then potentially find the closest equivalents for any sounds that Ælis does not naturally have. Consider the following:
|Michael (English pron.)||→||mɑɪkəl||→||mæql||→||kmWQLK|
|Michael (German pron.)||→||mixael||→||mihael||→||kmIHAELK|
This example shows that even though we are dealing with one and the same name, it still renders to notably different transcriptions in Ælis.
With all the names that exist in the world, it is often hard for speakers to identify the gender of a foreign name they might be confronted with. This is especially difficult because quite some names are unisex. For example, the name 'Andrea' is considered to be a female given name in most cultures/languages that have it present, however, it is a male given name in Italy. To counteract this type of ambiguity, it is very common, practically even standard, to prefix a gender particle to a name in Ælis. The gender particles are mA ma for 'male', and nI ni for 'female'. As such:
|mAkaNDREAK||ma(re')andrea||(a man named) Andrea|
|nIkaNDREAK||ni(re')andrea||(a woman named) Andrea|
Reducing ambiguity is not the only purpose of the gender assignation. It is also a form of politeness.
There are a few rules for how to place emphasis in words, but there is also a lot of freedom for the speakers to choose which syllable to stress.
Number concepts are to be pronounced with more stress than both the preceding and following root word.
In root words with three letters, the emphasis must fall on the second letter (i.e. the first vowel).
In root words that consist of only vowels, a speaker may choose which vowel is emphasized, except in 7 cases:
|Emphasis on first vowel|
|Emphasis on last vowel|
The reasoning behind this predetermination of stress is to have the root words' pronunciation contrast that of the high range lisqa. These are the only combinations allowed in Ælis where two identical vowels form one root word together.
When speaking, all written letters always have to be audible. If one and the same letter appears twice in a row, this requires a special pronunciation. There are several ways to achieve this. The possible methods depend on the type of adjacent letters. The methods are shown in order of preference.
Plosive: q, g, t, d, p, and b.
Non-plosive: m, n, l, r, h, s, z, f, and v.
Note: vowels only need to be separated if they are part of different root words. Otherwise, they will turn into a diphthong. Compare:
iI ii i̯i;
nIiS ni'is niʔis.
Wherever possible, root words have to be distinguishable as such. Speakers may deliberately resort to the use of glottal stops and ejectivisation as shown in the examples given above in order to achieve that goal. This way, the spelling (and ultimately the grammar) remain reflected in pronunciation. Compare:
The only exception, with root words clearly colliding rather than 'concatenating', is the combination of a lisqa and the first root word immediately following it (for example:1mA æma; 3qA iqa.
Although this explanation might seem complex, the above list of rules is exhaustive. In all other instances, the emphasis in Ælis is free. For example, the cluster iW iæ may be pronounced as either i̯aɛ̯ or ia̯ɛ̯. The word aSdA asda may be pronounced as either ˈas.d̪a or asˈd̪a.
It is debatable whether the name symbols of Ælis k K are punctuation marks or not. Although there are arguments in favor of calling them punctuation marks, this text will not do so. With that taken into account, Ælis has only two punctuation marks:
But the way in which these punctuation marks are used has little or nothing to do with the rules in English. For starters, using the comma and the period in Ælis is 100% optional. Speakers are free to establish texts completely void of punctuation marks. Instead, they are used purely from a focus on readability and aesthetics. Either way, they are used very sparsely.
Ælis uses no spaces. All root words, words and sentences are written as one continuous string. Line breaks may occur before or after any root word, but not within root words, and also not directly after a lisqa.
As an example, the following Ælis text has only one comma (marked in red), and one full stop (marked in blue). Compare that to the amount of commas and periods in its English translation:
|hAnWnA4rAsAiA7tEtAiA1mAhArEkfREDERIQgEZELKeMmAlIvWeG1lIShAeLeAnA3rAlAlWiAeG1lIShAqA3rAmO3rAeIiWlAlWhAeGeNeMaN1mAiA7tEiW,tAiRaMdI3rAiI1mAiA7tEhAeMeG1lIStAiIeI3rAtAeGeNiRiSeLeAnAeMrW4rAvWlWlA1mAhAlIiW.||Hello to all of you. My name is Frederic Gesell, creator of the Ælis language. I like the structure of Ælis, and I also like writing this text for you. I hope that with regard to the language, you like learning it and reading about it just as much as I do creating it.|
This section will focus on the output of information from English to Ælis. I.e.: topics are approached from a pragmatical point of view, encouraging you to get actively involved and start producing Ælis words and sentences yourself. This section will assume that English is your native language.
Ælis has 7 base colors. The words are formed by attaching one of seven lisqa to the root word tW tæ:
If they are not specified any further, the words above can be understood to mean these colors. However, they technically designate the entire range of shades of a certain hue:
These base colors can receive the qualified root word dW dæ to indicate one of five shades:
As such, Ælis distinguishes 35 basic colors:
Lisqa can be combined in order to define additional hues:
Not only that, but lisqa can also be combined in order to create other shades than the five standard ones:
It is also possible to omit the first lisqa, and speak of color ranges in terms of brightness alone:
|tWdW0rA tædæ'ara:very dark color(s)|
|tWdW1rA tædæ'æra:dark color(s)|
|tWdW2rA tædæ'era:regular color(s)|
|tWdW3rA tædæ'ira:bright color(s)|
|tWdW4rA tædæ'ora:very bright color(s)|
generally understood to mean 'black' if context does not specify it otherwise.
generally understood to mean 'white' if context does not specify it otherwise.
With this system, speakers have the freedom to construct essentially any colour they like.
Words for family members tend to consist of three root words:
In this construction, the lisra play an exceptional role. They indicate generations:
With this construction, there are 15 basic words for family members.
The referent particle vW væ may be used to link family members together, thus allowing the creation of more specific words for family members. This can be useful to indicate on which side of the family the member in question is:
|nIuE3rAvWnIuE3rA||ni'ue'ira'væni'ue'ira||mother of mother|
|nIuE3rAvWmAuE3rA||ni'ue'ira'væma'ue'ira||mother of father|
Lisra may be combined in a form of shorthand as well:
|tEuE1rAvWtEuE2rAvWtEuE3rA||te'ue'æra'væte'ue'era'væte'ue'ira||child of sibling of parent|
The Ælis names for the countries in the world are not arbitrary. The following mechanism was applied.
Start with the 3‑letter ISO code.
Sort the list as follows:
Apply the following changes to the codes:
For double names, replace the last vowel of the second entry by the next one in the Ælis alphabet. Repeat as often as necessary.
After every code that ends in a consonant, add æ.
Between any adjacent consonants, add a.
The knowledge base is the encyclopaedia of Ælis. Here, you'll find a collection of various grammar-related topics.
The Ælis writing system is featural, as it visually separates the different root words from one another. Unfortunately however, it is not always possible to write Ælis in eGeN1lIS egen'ælis, its proper script. When romanising Ælis, i.e. writing it in Latin characters, there are a few rules to follow. The rules were designed in a way that tries to find the golden mean between functionality, readability, and aesthetics.
This is an example of a short Ælis text with its romanised version.
hanæna'ora'sa ia'u̯ete ta ia'æma hare'frederiq'gezel emmalivæ'eg'ælis ha'eleana'ira lalæ ia'eg'ælis haqa'ira'mo'ira'ei'iæ lalæ ha'egen eman'æma ia'u̯ete'iæ, ta iramdi'ira li'æma ia'u̯ete ha'emeg'ælis ta'ii'ei'ira ta'egen iriseleana emræ'ora vælæ la'æma hali'iæ
An apostrophe is placed
A space is placed
If any rule would create a space or apostrophe before the first word of a paragraph, it is ignored.
If overlap of any two rules occurs
If the a-e ligature "æ" proves difficult or impossible to make, it may be replaced by the letter y, not by ae.
Ælis:Aelis → Ylis.
If the letter u with the inverted breve below diacritic (u̯), used in the transcription of the high range lisqa, proves difficult or impossible to make, it may be replaced by uw (do not omit it).
Before you get into 'dissecting' Ælis words and sentences, you need to know that there are 6 classes that root words belong to. Each root word belongs to one class and one class alone. Among the 6 classes, two groups can be discerned:
Class 2 root words, or qualifiable lexemes, are root words that can be extended by lisra, in contrast to class 1 roots. The qualifiable lexemes can be used independently, in which case their meaning will always span a linear continuum ranging from one extreme to another. For example:
Connecting one of the lisra to a class 2 root will highlight one point on the scale. For example:
This class is called the class of the unrealized lexemes. "Unrealized" or "not yet realized" means that these root words cannot be used independently. Although they have a meaning, which is always the same, their exact value and meaning depend on the root word to immediately follow it. The catergory of class 3 root words corresponds to the category of the lisqa, meaning that there are only 10 root words in this class.
Class 4 structuralizers are also called constituent markers or primary function markers. They have a syntactical function. They precede words and assign them with a syntactical role or function. Drawing analogies with a case system, the primary function markers play the same role as case endings do, with the difference being that firstly, they precede the word they modify rather than follow it, and secondly, that the constituent markers are not inflections but independent root words. One could therefore say that the constituent markers assign one of four cases to a word:
* This term is proper to Ælis.
The elements in this class are called free markers or free function markers. The free markers can play roles on both the sentence and word levels, depending on how or where they are used. The free markers will always assign the same function, but the effects on the rest of the morphosyntactical structure varies. This class is the smallest class, as it contains only two elements: the sentence bracket (which consists of two root words), and the separator particle.
The Ælis grammar defines the following morphosyntactical components. Pay special attention to the definition of the words 'word' and 'sentence', as these differ from the traditional view:
|Root word||Any collection of letters that form one meaningful or functional component together. There are 6 classes of root words. An 'ordinary root word' is any root word that is not a lisqa, nor marked with a name tag.|
|Partition||Any string of lexemes.|
|Partition marker||Any class 5 root word.|
|Word||Any string of partitions and partition markers.|
|Constituent||Any one word, including by a class 4 root word that precedes it.|
|Sentence||Any string of constituents that is not separated by a separator particle.|
The step ladder is the name given to the mechanism of hierarchy that exists among root words. It follows the principle that:
Any pair of adjacent root words will automatically assume the role of 'noun-adjective' (or 'verb-adverb').
This means that any root word is at the same time subordinate to the root word immediately preceding it, and dominant over the one immediately following it.
But the step ladder principle is only the 'default' setting for Ælis root words. In fact, each of the root word classes has a distinct relation with the principle. This is the primary distinction criterion for the root word classes in the first place. The following is an overview of the behaviour of root words.
The qualifiable lexemes adhere to the step ladder principle in regular fashion, unless they are followed by a lisra. If so, then they will govern 2 root words instead of just 1:
length + much
length + space
length + much
length + space
The lisqa are dependent of the following root word instead of the preceding one. For example:
The lisqa themselves do not govern. They are subordinate to the root word that follows, which in turn is subordinate to the root word that precedes the lisqa.
there (where you are)
the 3rd woman
It is therefore perhaps easiest to simply see a lisqa and its following root word as one component that follows the step ladder principle in regular fashion:
there (where you are)
the 3rd woman
The constituent markers outrank any of the lexemes and any of the partition markers. The appearance of these root words within a sentence triggers the start of a new step ladder.
"I wish you the best."
The partition markers stand out because their range of influence extends to all lexemes in their vecinity. In practice, this means that the partition markers allow entire groups of root words to be treated as one, and make it subordinate to another group of root words. For example:
on (top of) the house
Among each other, the class 5 root words also have a rank:
The ranking becomes relevant in situations where two (or more) class 5 root words are right next to each other.
better than turning green
the last job that he did
The free function markers have various roles depending on how or where they are used. In correlation, their effect on the step ladder hierarchy varies.
by the fact that I see you
"I am delighted to see you."
|eAeaabsctract, imaginary||eWeæ||eEee||eIeithought, cognition, intelligence||eOeolife, existence||eUeu|
|iAiapatient marker||iWiæclosing sentence bracket||iEie||iIiitarget, goal||iOiopassivity marker||iUiuprevious, aforementioned|
|aMammanner||aNanplace, space||aLal||aQaqlength||aGag||aTatfrequency, repetition||aDadtruth, accuracy||aRarreason, cause||aHah||aSastime||aZaz||aPap||aBab||aFaf||aVav|
|eMemcharacteristic marker||eNenvision, sight||eLelfeeling, sense, perception||eQeq||eGegcommunication, language||eTet||eDed||eRersound, audio||eHeh||eSes||eZez||ePep||eBeb||eFef||eVev|
|iMim||iNin||iLil||iQiq||iGig||iTit||iDid||iRirmodifier marker||iHih||iSisconsequence, effect||iZiz||iPip||iBib||iFif||iViv|
|uMumbody, shape||uNun||uLul||uQuq||uGug||uTut||uDud||uRur||uHuh||uSus||uZuz||uPup||uBubenergy, level of strength||uFuf||uVuv|
|nAnaquality (subjective)||nWnæcontext, situation, entourage||nEnewhich||nIniwoman, female||nOno||nUnu|
|lAlaagent marker||lWlæopening sentence bracket||lEle||lIlisource, origin||lOloactivity marker||lUlunext, following, namely|
|gAga||gWgæ||gEge||gIgilevel of gratitude||gOgonature||gUgu|
|tAtaseparator particle||tWtæcolor||tEteperson, human||tIti||tOto||tUtu|
|dAdaaxis, (straight) line||dWdælevel of brightness||dEdesociety, construct of man||dIdilevel of desire, level of control||dOdoday (24h)||dUdu|
|rArarange, extent||rWrælevel of resemblance||rErename, designation||rIri||rOro||rUru|
|hAhatopic marker||hWhæ||hEhe||hIhithing, object||hOho||hUhu|
|bAba||bWbæ||bEbe||bIbihumor, level of diversion||bObo||bUbu|
Welcome to the Art Collection, a place which stores an assortiment of projects realized in the Ælis language.
If you are interested, you can download the Ælis .ttf font here. The table below shows which keys will produce which letters on a standard Western keyboard.
|a||lowercase letter a||a||primary case aie|
|w||lowercase letter w||w||primary case æoi|
|e||lowercase letter e||e||primary case euo|
|i||lowercase letter i||i||primary case iau|
|o||lowercase letter o||o||primary case oæa|
|u||lowercase letter u||u||primary case ueæ|
|m||lowercase letter m||m||primary case umo|
|n||lowercase letter n||n||primary case ine|
|l||lowercase letter l||l||primary case æla|
|q||lowercase letter q||q||primary case aqa|
|g||lowercase letter g||g||primary case ægu|
|t||lowercase letter t||t||primary case etæ|
|d||lowercase letter d||d||primary case ido|
|r||lowercase letter r||r||primary case ore|
|h||lowercase letter h||h||primary case uhi|
|s||lowercase letter s||s||primary case asi|
|z||lowercase letter z||z||primary case æze|
|p||lowercase letter p||p||primary case epo|
|b||lowercase letter b||b||primary case ibæ|
|f||lowercase letter f||f||primary case ofu|
|v||lowercase letter v||v||primary case uva|
|A||uppercase letter a||A||secondary case aie|
|W||uppercase letter w||W||secondary case æoi|
|E||uppercase letter e||E||secondary case euo|
|I||uppercase letter i||I||secondary case iau|
|O||uppercase letter o||O||secondary case oæa|
|U||uppercase letter u||U||secondary case ueæ|
|M||uppercase letter m||M||secondary case umo|
|N||uppercase letter n||N||secondary case ine|
|L||uppercase letter l||L||secondary case æla|
|Q||uppercase letter q||Q||secondary case aqa|
|G||uppercase letter g||G||secondary case ægu|
|T||uppercase letter t||T||secondary case etæ|
|D||uppercase letter d||D||secondary case ido|
|R||uppercase letter r||R||secondary case ore|
|H||uppercase letter h||H||secondary case uhi|
|S||uppercase letter s||S||secondary case asi|
|Z||uppercase letter z||Z||secondary case æze|
|P||uppercase letter p||P||secondary case epo|
|B||uppercase letter b||B||secondary case ibæ|
|F||uppercase letter f||F||secondary case ofu|
|V||uppercase letter v||V||secondary case uva|
|0||number zero||0||low range lisqa 0|
|1||number one||1||low range lisqa 1|
|2||number two||2||low range lisqa 2|
|3||number three||3||low range lisqa 3|
|4||number four||4||low range lisqa 4|
|5||number five||5||high range lisqa 0|
|6||number six||6||high range lisqa 1|
|7||number seven||7||high range lisqa 2|
|8||number eight||8||high range lisqa 3|
|9||number nine||9||high range lisqa 4|
|k||lowercase letter k||k||opening re symbol|
|K||uppercase letter k||K||closing re symbol|
In a text editor, the Ælis font renders best if you set the line height to 85%, and you place a 'zero-width space' after every root word. Do not justify your text.
You can watch the Youtube tutorial videos on the Ælis language here. Pick a lesson in the list below, and click the icon to watch.
The flag has an unambiguous definition, which means that one ought to be able to draw the design with exact precision in any size, even without an illustrative example to copy from. The definition is as follows:
"The flag of the Ælis language has a rectangular shape, with a height-width ratio of 2: 3. It is diagonally divided from the top hoist-side corner. The bottom triangle is plain teal. The top triangle is divided into five vertical, equally wide bands, the band on the hoist-side being black, the band on the fly-side being white, and the remaining bands being equally distributed gradients from one side to the other.
The upper half of the rightmost band features the '"Æ" lisqa symbol' in the same teal colour as the bottom triangle. The symbol has the shape of a sans-serif upside-down letter V; with a sharp tip pointing upwards and two legs going downwards, flat at the bottom. The symbol spans the surface of an isosceles triangle, horizontally centred within the band. The total width of the symbol is 3/25 of the width of the flag, each leg is 3/100 of the flag width wide. The inside of each leg is parallel to the outside of each leg. The height of the symbol is 1/4 of the total flag height. The top of the symbol is at 1/8 of the total flag height, measured from the top."
The colors of the flag are defined as follows:
|Used for:||the left-most vertical band|
|Used for:||the 2nd vertical band from the left|
|Used for:||the middle vertical band|
|Used for:||the 2nd vertical band from the right|
|Used for:||the right-most vertical band|
|Used for:||the "Æ" symbol and the bottom triangle|
The ribbon of the Ælis language has a relatively high but not precisely defined height to width ratio. It is divided into 5 bands of equal proportion with the following respective colours:
The ribbon has two presentation forms. The horizontal presentation has horizontal bands. The top band is teal and the bottom band is black. In the vertical presentation, the ribbon is rotated 90° clockwise: the leftmost band (hoist-side) is black, the rightmost band (fly-side) is teal.
If the height to width ratio of a horizontally presented ribbon is between 1: 3 and 1: 5, or between 3: 1 and 5: 1 for a vertically presented ribbon; or also if the ribbon is visually presented as a flat surface, for example in a digitally projected or otherwise tautly suspended form, the ribbon may optionally have an emblem in the middle. The emblem consists of a white foreground circle with the the "Æ" lisqa symbol in teal within. The diameter of the circle equals the sum of the 5 stacked bands. The Æ symbol has a height of 3/5 the height of the ribbon, but otherwise has the same shape and proportions as in the flag. It is both horizontally and vertically centred within the circle.
Despite their apparent simplicity, the designs of both the flag and the ribbons contain various references to the language itself.