Gor'Tog Grammar (book)

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by Casimont Nalbiro

It seems appropriate that a race as independent as the Gor'Tog has a language that shows no family relationship to any other Elanthian tongue. Its uniqueness among current tongues is plain, even if compared to the language of the people with whom Gor'Togs have had a historical association. For example, although Gor'Tog has taken more words from S'Kra than from any other language, even this borrowing is relatively minor.

A handful of words has been borrowed from S'Kra Mur; some of them entered Gor'Tog unchanged and are identical in both languages.

smolgi "friend"
kalri "forever"
daka "fight"
apodu "forge"
kor "stronghold"

Others have been adapted to the sounds of the Gor'Tog language:

Gor'Tog hitak "beast", from S'Kra heitak.
Gor'Tog usuhiki "fountain", from S'Kra ushuheke
Gor'Tog sihi "goblin", from S'Kra sihhei
Gor'Tog yuludan "magic", from S'Kra juludan
Gor'Tog lataki "knight", from S'Kra latagi.



Pronouncing Gor'Tog


2.1 Verbs
2.1.1 Tense
2.1.2 Voice
2.1.3 Participles
2.2 Adjectives and Adverbs
2.3 Nouns
2.4 Pronouns
2.4.1 Personal Pronouns
2.4.2 Relative, Interrogative, and Reflexive Pronouns
2.5 Conjunctions
2.6 Prepositions


3.1 Phrase Order
3.2 Clause Order
3.3 Imperatives


4.1 Diminutives


Vowel letters and the sounds they represent:

a -like- a in "cat" in the northern areas of Elanthia;
-like- a in "far" in regions south of Crossing.
i -like- i in "bit" or "bin".
o -like- o in "note" or oa in "boat".
u -like- u in "put" or oo in "hood.
au -like- ow in "down" or "now".
ai -like- i in "pike" or "time".

Letters that have the same use in Gor'Tog and Common:

b, d, h, l, m, p, r, t, w.

Other letters representing consonant sounds:

ng -like- the final consonant in "rang", "sing", or "long."
g -like- g in "get" or "tag" when not following n.
n -like- n in "net" or "ban" when not preceding g.
k -like- k in "kite" or "tack".
s -like- s in "save" or "pass" but never z, as in "rise".
y -like- y in "yell" or "yak", never a vowel as in "my".

In two-syllable words, stress is placed on the first syllable, unless that syllable is a prefix. In longer words the next-to-the-last syllable receives the stress.


In earlier times, Gor'Tog may have had more changes in word forms in its grammar, but since even the oldest documents show the same reliance on word order that we have now, it's likely that Gor'Tog has always primarily used word order rather than endings.

2.1 Verbs

Verbs in Gor'Tog generally end in -naka in the infinitive. For example, dalnaka "to love", osonaka "to lead", or simbanaka "to agree" show the ending of the great majority of verbs.

2.1.1 Tense

Present, past or future tenses are formed by means of suffixes:

Present, remove -naka. E.g., dakonaka becomes dako:
Granna dako as dawa.
"Granna hunts [or: is hunting] a cougar."
Past, replace -naka with -na. E.g., dakonaka becomes dakona:
Granna dakona as dawa.
"Granna hunted [or: was hunting] a cougar."
Future, replace -naka with -ni. E.g., dakonaka becomes dakoni:
Granna dakoni as dawa.
"Granna will hunt [or: will be hunting] a cougar."

Gor'Tog also has three conditional tenses that assert only that an action or state is a possibility. The conditional forms use suffixes -nu, -nua, and -nui. All imply uncertainty:

Present tense: Granna dakonu as dawa.
"Granna may be hunting a cougar."
Past tense: Granna dakonua as dawa.
"Granna may have hunted a cougar." (or)
"Granna may have been hunting a cougar."
Future tense: Granna dakonua as dawa.
"Granna may hunt a cougar."

Gor'Tog has four auxiliary verbs; two of them are fairly simple in both meaning and use: hanaka "can" and kinaka "must".

 Examples with "can": 
     Present tense: Granna ha dakonaka as dawa. 
                    "Granna can hunt a cougar." 
     Past tense:    Granna hana dakonaka as dawa. 
                    "Granna was able to hunt a cougar." 
     Future tense:  Granna hani dakonaka as dawa. 
                    "Granna will be able to hunt a cougar." 
 Examples with "must": 
     Present tense: Olma ki lanaka tau watu tikan. 
                    "Olma must cook the meal herself." 
     Past tense:    Olma kina lanaka tau watu tikan. 
                    "Olma had to cook the meal herself." 
     Future tense:  Olma kini lanaka tau watu tikan. 
                    "Olma will have to cook the meal herself." 

The other two auxiliary verbs are much more limited in use and may be the remnants of an old system of tenses now almost gone. The first of these is awal, whose meaning is easier illustrated than defined, as shown by the following free translations. All of them convey a strong sense of the speaker's doubtfulness.

Present: Granna awal dako as dawa.
"Granna is hunting a cougar, if you want to believe that."
Past: Granna awal dakona as dawa.
"Granna claims that he hunted cougars."
Future: Granna awal dakoni as dawa.
"Granna hopes to hunt a cougar. Good luck."

Bal, the other auxiliary verb, is used with the future tense if the speaker wishes to express determination or certainty:

Future: Granna bal dakoni as dawa.
"Granna will surely hunt a cougar."
Future: Sol bal dakoni as dawa.
"I intend to hunt a cougar."

2.1.2 Voice

Transitive verbs in Gor'Tog (ones that take an object) show the passive voice by adding the passive suffix su to the verb. The examples below show active-voice sentences, followed by passive voice counterparts of the sentences.

 Present (with the verb tuknaka "to dig"): 
   Tau tisnak tuk as uka.       As uka tuksu mana tau tisnak. 
   "The fox digs a den."        "A den is being dug by the fox." 
   Tau tisnak tukna as uka.     As uka tuknasu mana tau tisnak. 
   "The fox dug a den."         "A den was dug by the fox." 
   Tau tisnak tukni as uka.     As uka tuknisu mana tau ttisnak. 
   "The fox will dig a den."    "A den will be dug by the fox." 

2.1.3 Participles

Gor'Tog, like most languages, has a way of converting a verb so that it can be used to modify a noun. The word that results is traditionally called a participle and in Gor'Tog the past tense passive form of the verb is used for this function.

Examples with the verb tungnaka "to bury":

Otsanka tunga tau kayaska.
"Otsanka buried the treasure."
Tau kayaska tungasu mana Otsanka.
"The treasure was buried by Otsanka."
Granna yakna tau tungasu kayaska.
"Granna found the buried treasure."

2.2 Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs have only a single form. Adjectives and articles are placed before the noun they modify:

daika "hot", yuka "long", talas "dusty, dirty"
as daika watu "a hot meal"
tay yuka dap talas tapas "the long and dusty road"

When modifying an adjective, adverbs precede the adjective; for example, palka "very" or wayal "too":

Otsanka atna as palka tinga Kortok bildau.
"Otsanka was a very wise Gor'Tog emperor."
Ku at wayal daika. "The fire is too hot."

Adverbs of frequency, such as mana "always", kanas "seldom", or ani "never", come before the verb they modify:

Olma kana amh amangka. "Olma seldom looks angry."

Other adverbs usually come after the verb. For example, siwina "anywhere" or walatinh "sometimes":

Li-ruk om siwina. "Put it anywhere."
Granna luk walatinh. "Granna loses sometimes."

Comparison: adjectives and adverbs form the comparative or superlative degree by the addition of katka "more" for comparative or bitaka "most" for superlative.

luska "blue", katka luska "bluer", bitaka luska "bluest"
savaka "lazy", katka savaka "lazier", bitaka savaka "laziest"
wa "pleasant", katka wa "more pleasant",
bitaka wa "most pleasant"

2.3 Nouns

The only change in form Gor'Tog nouns show is the addition of a suffix to form the plural. If the word ends with i, the plural form is the same as the singular:

pipi "comet" or "comets" salai "crest" or "crests"
kalmui "family" or "families"

If the word ends in another single vowel (a, u) or with a diphthong (au), the single vowel or diphthong is replaced with ai:

huna "home", hunai "homes" tarina "gem", tarinai "gems"
kalu "shirt", kalai "shirts" osu "sprite", osai "sprites"
dirau "eagle", dirai "eagles"

And if the word ends in a consonant, add the plural suffix -an:

al "man", alan "men"
sasak "statue", sasakan "statues"
alakumh "duck", alakumhan "ducks"
parin "ring", parinan "rings"
ingmak "lamp", ingmakan "lamps"

2.4 Pronouns

2.4.1 Personal Pronouns

The personal pronouns in Gor'Tog are regular and, with only one exception, invariable. The forms are:

Singular Plural
First Person: sol "I, me" soling "we, us"
Second Person: min "thou, thee" mining "you"
Third Person: las "he, him", kan "she, her", om "it" (All genders) oming "they, them"

When the pronoun modifies a noun (as in phrases like "my cart", "your ale"), the suffix -a is added to the word:

Singular Plural
sola "my, mine" solinga "our, ours"
mina "thy, thine" mininga "your, yours"
lasa "his", kana "her/hers", oma "its" ominga "their/theirs"

Gender in Gor'Tog follows biology. If the thing represented by the noun is male, the masculine pronoun is used to refer to it. If the thing is female, the feminine is used. If the thing has no sex or the sex is unknown, the neuter pronoun is used.

2.4.2 Relative, Interrogative, and Reflexive Pronouns

The relative pronouns include:

     ai "what"          ayamti "why"     wai "who" 
     aima "when"        bat "how"        wina "where" 
     aya "which"        bawas "whose"

The same forms have the function of interrogative pronouns when one occurs at the beginning of a sentence.

One word listed as a relative pronoun, yaka, occurs only in the formation of noun clauses. Noun clauses are constructions like "that Olga was emperor" as in "I knew that Olga was emperor" or as in "That Olga was emperor surprised me." If Common uses the word "that" in constructions like these, Gor'Tog will use yaka.

The reflexive pronouns are formed by adding the prefix ti- to a personal pronoun. They include:

   tisol "myself"                     tisoling "ourselves" 
   timin "yourself" (singular)        timining "yourselves" 
   tikan "herself", tilas "himself"   tioming "themselves" 
   Sol dakna tisol.  "I cut myself." 
   Granna tisi tilas.  "Granna is fooling himself." 

2.5 Conjunctions

 Conjunctions in frequent use are: 
   "and"           dap               "nor"       yabi 
   "because"       baang             "or"        sakat 
   "but"           katka             "since"     bapau 
   "furthermore"   bana              "than"      parang 
   "if"            pangk             "whether"   basik 
   "neither...nor" yabi...yabi       "while"     karakpa

2.6 Prepositions

The preposition in Gor'Tog, as its name indicates, appears in a position before a noun phrase. The resulting prepositional phrase then modifies a noun or verb.

kimak "among", kimak awasan "among the pines"
Soling watdana kimak awasan. "We walked among the pines."
zakat "before", zakat baril "before dawn"
pas kau "between", pas kau min dap sol "between you and me"


3.1 Phrase Order

The order of words in noun phrases is: Pronoun + Adjective + Noun + Prepositional Phrase
If one is present, a possessive pronoun (such as "my" or "our") will always be the first word in a phrase. Adjectives, if any, will follow the noun.

   "my leather gloves"    sola nusuk uparai 
   "a big black horse"    as itukwana baraska pamki 
   "some easy money"      walangka munka liwan 
   "both her sisters"     bupak kana ami 

3.2 Clause Order

In statements or questions with interrogative pronouns, the order of the parts is: Subject, Verb, Object (if any).

Bupak kana ami alana Mulukusan.
"Both her sisters married Humans."
Granna suyu buktak, katka Olma suyu oda.
"Granna likes ale, but Olma likes wine."
Sol dana yaka oda at taka biu kau Rata.
"I heard that wine is more expensive in Ratha."
Wai a yamka umararai kas akala?
"Who makes good weapons around here?"

In other questions, the prefix na- is added to the verb:

Bupak kana ami na-alana Mulukusan.
"Both her sisters married Humans?"

3.3 Imperatives

To form imperatives (commands, orders), Gor'Tog adds the prefix li- to the present-tense form of the verb. Note that imperatives occur in both the second and the third person:

Li-sawa tau umak!
"Wash the window!" (The subject, "You", is understood.)
Granna li-sawa tau umak!
"Have Granna wash the window!"


4.1 Diminutives

Gor'Tog forms diminutives by adding -na to nouns that end in vowels and -ina to nouns that end in consonants.

   ami 'sister'        amina 'little sister' 
   pangdam 'jewel'     pangdamina 'little jewel' 
   tumul 'stream'      tumulina 'streamlet' 
   wiya 'pig'          wiyana 'piggy'