The Neutral Language
C. George Boeree
The "neutral language" has a totally regular grammar that does not favor anyone, a limited a-priori basic vocabulary, word-building by compounding, and phonetic spelling.
Phonology and spelling:
16 initial consonants (c): p b t d k g f v s z x j m n l r
5 vowels (v): i e a o u
2 diphthongs (d): ai au
8 double vowels (vv): ia, io, ea, eo, oa, oe, ua, ue
6 diphthong-vowels (dv): aia, aio, aiu, aua, aue, aui
7 final consonants (f): f s x m n l r
Note that x is /ʃ/ (as in shoe) and j is /ʒ/ (as in azure).
Vowels are as in Spanish.
v (5), e.g. a
d (2), e.g. au
vv (8), e.g. oa
dv (6), e.g. aia
vf (35), e.g. ef
cv (80), e.g. po
cd (32), e.g. kai
cvv (128), e.g. xea
cvf (560), e.g. tun
cdv (92), e.g. jaio
vcv (400), e.g. ebu
Stress: first syllable
Note: v, d, vv, and cd are used for the particles.
Verb-first (VSO or VOS).
Why? Most languages are either SOV or SVO. One avoids favoritism by avoiding those. Note that the Celtic languages and the Semitic languages are VSO but are otherwise quite different.
S = VP (prep NP) (prep NP)...
All the functions of nouns in the sentence are specified with prepositions. Think of it as reversed Japanese.
NP = (determinant) (quantifier) N (adj) | pronoun
determinant = the | this | that | Ø (indefinite)
quantifier = no | one, two, three... | few/some | many | all | Ø (singular)
VP = (mood) (tense) (V aux) V
mood = negative | interrogative | Ø (indicative)
tense = present | future | irrealis | Ø (past)
other details given with V aux, e.g....
us - make (causative)
eda - passive
zu - finish (perfected)
ber - continue (continuous)
loe - begin (incipient)
Crossing part-of-speech lines
Adjectives and nouns can be used as verbs with the meaning "is..."
Verbs and adjectives can be used as nouns with the meaning of an act or quality.
There are no participles; they must be expressed using relative clauses.
...N prep REL verb... ("...the man subj REL ran..." - ...the man who ran..., "the man with REL ran subj I" - ...the man with whom I ran...)
S SUB S ("think subj I SUB I" - I think that I am)
S prep SUB S ("work subj I mode hard because-of SUB need subj I" - I work hard because I need to)
u - at
jau - to
nai - from
pai - in
ai - out
tau - between/among
ua - before
mau - after
xau - above/over
fai - below/under
vai - on
nau - through
vau - past/beyond
mai - along
fau - with (without = with no)
ea - for
lau - because-of
eo - of
zai - about/around
a - subject
au - object
tai - mode (adverbial particle)
rau - than (for comparative)
io - and
ue - or
lai - then (often used with irrealis or future)
dau - rel (relative pronoun)
xai - sub (subordinating particle)
i - the (previously mentioned or otherwise known entity)
kai - this (near to speaker and/or listener)
gau - that (distant from speaker and listener)
o - no (same word as preverbial not)
pau - many
bai - few/some
oa - all/every
kau - what (same word as preverbial esque)
For plural, use many, few/some, all, numbers.
e - present ("am -ing")
oe - future ("will")
gai - irrealis ("would")
o - not (same word as prenomial no)
kau - esque (question particle; same word as prenomial what)
dai - I, me
bau - thou, thee (2nd person singular)
i - he/she/it, him/her/it (same as the)
sai - we, us
zau - you (plural only)
ia - they, them
rai - se (himself, herself, itself, themselves)
For French on, German man, use the noun va - "person."
0 - tun
1 - aga
2 - dal
3 - fas
4 - gio
5 - ir
6 - kax
7 - mem
8 - ono
9 - ris
10 - gat
11 - gat-aga
20 - dal gat
100 - fen
1000 - bol
1000000 - mex
cardinals precede the noun; ordinals follow the noun
fractions use the noun xan - "part"
Two words can be combined to form new words, with the "head" (most general term) first. The two parts are separated by a hyphen in writing, and by the stress (first syllable, then falling) in speech. Double consonants (f-f, s-s, x-x, m-m, n-n, l-l, and r-r) are pronounced as such, in a fashion similar to in Italian.
Only two words can combine like this, providing well over a million possible combinations. For more, you need to use adjectives, etc. Keep in mind that the two words in a compound only suggest the meaning of the compound; they do not define the compound precisely! Two separate words are to be understood more literally.