|Writing system:||Latin (Yardistani variant)|
|Offical language in:||Shireroth|
Yardistani is primarily based on Spanish vocabulary and grammar, but its pronunciation and spelling are more based on Germanic languages. It also has several influences from English, Swedish, and Japanese. Before it was adopted for use in micronations, Gryphon created the language to have a certain aesthetic value in his mind. Consequently, it looks rather peculiar.
According to his fictional history for the language, Gryphon says that the language is derived from a trade pidgin, combining elements of a now-lost native language with Spanish and, to a lesser extent, Swedish from far-off traders.
Also evolving from that long-lost language is Rantsilastani, spoken in the territory of Rantsilastan in the south-east of the Isle of Yardistan. The only actual speaker of the language is Gryphon Avocatio. He has been working on the language intermittently for over eight years.
This introduction is translated into Yardistani below.
Iardîstato ne basaj primís nja Vokablulari ce Gramatikr Spanjâtix, ye ljona Habašavegr cOrþaši ne basaj maís nja Idiômrsa Jermanix. Habe Influênsrsa multix dÂngloto, du Svêriyeto, ce du Nihonto. Antís du ljo neja adoptaj par Usr nja Micronâtrsa, Grifon creaja ljo Idiomr par habejj Valihr aasþetix xpesifix nje Mêntrlo. Konsegešís, apara peculiarix.
Akordaši nja Hixtoraat fiktix du Idiomr, Grifon haba kju Idiomr ne derivajix du Pidjin du Komersr, kombinaši Elemêntrsa du Idiomrsa nativix hrís-perdix kjan Spanjâtix ce, njExtentr maís-menix, Svêriyeto af Komêrsamajsa du Landsa leyix.
Tam evolveši af oya Idiomr perdix ne Rantsilâstato, habaj nje Tera du Rantsilasta njOrd sordix du Islr du Iardista. Habamaj aktualix solix du Idiomr ne Grifon Avocatio. Le habe nej scribaši ljo Idiomr par maís kju novi ânrsa.
- 1 Yardistani Pronunciation
- 2 Orthography
- 3 Phonology
- 4 Syntax
- 5 Morphology
- 6 Yardistani and its Relation to Other Languages
- 7 Useful Phrases in Yardistani
Yardistani is in some ways difficult to pronounce. There are a number of consonant sounds that occur in the language that sound very similar and that do not occur in the English language (including retroflex and palatal fricatives). There is also, in several cases, more than one way to spell several consonant sounds, but generally any group of letters can only be pronounced one way; for instance, the combination 'sk' and 'xk' are both pronounced [sk], and 'š' and 'sj' are both pronounced as [ʃ] (the 'sh' sound in English).
Generally speaking, Yardistani vowels follow the conventions of a continental language, with some variation in precise quality based on stress and position in a word. The real exception to this is 'u' which can have three pronunciations with no distinction indicated in the orthography. For instance, in the word <siu> city, it is pronounced [u] (as in English rude); in 'su' and 'ku' yes and no, it is pronounced [ʊ] (as in put), and in 'du' of, it is pronounced [ɨ] (think Californian dude!).
The Yardistani Alphabet comprises 27 letters:
A B C D E F G H I Í J K L M N O P R S Š T U V X Y Z Þ
There are some variations on this; for instance, some dialects use 'æ' instead of 'aa' in words like 'hixtoraat/historæt', but this is very uncommon. In some older texts, 'š' is printed as 'ж' (an 'x' with a vertical bar through it), such that words like 'talaši' would instead be 'talaжi'. This convention has been abandoned, but can occasionally be seen in older texts. Also, it is not uncommon to see '-jj' handwritten as -ĵ.
Circumflex accents are written over vowels to show stress when words do not follow the normal prosodic rules of the language. This can happen for a number of reasons: the word may have a different stress pattern phonemically, suffixes may have altered the number of syllables a word has, or the word is a loan. The letters I and Í are considered separate.
The alphabet also lacks characters found in the English alphabet, namely 'Q' and 'W'. These letters do not occur in Yardistani. The language opts to adapt loan words to the native orthography. Thus, if names such as 'Enrique' and 'William' were to be loaned into the language, one would expect them to be spelt 'Enrike' and 'Uiljam' or 'Uiljamr'. Of course, as the latter is not loaned into the language, it would still be written as in English. Othe exceptions include scientific names, like 'W-bosonr'.
Yardistani also has its own script, Yômato (lit. 'reading language'). It is derived heavily from Greek, though it has its own, purely Yardistani influence. A font is known to exist.
Yardistani can also be written in runes, which is most common in the north-east of the island.
Spelling in Yardistani can sometimes be anomalous, as mentioned above. Most letters have only one pronunciation. The ones that are pronounced vastly differently than they are in English are listed below:
- [tʃ], as the 'ch' in English 'chair'. This is always the pronunciations.
- [ʒ], as the 'si' in 'fusion', but only at the beginning of words
- [j], as the 'y' in 'yes', directly after or before consonants
- [dʒ], as in the 'j' in 'judge' elsewhere.
- This letter is the most complicated in the language. Some hard, fast rules are that it is always a flapped [ɾ] at the beginnings of words and between vowels, but at the end of words it can be more complex.
- [ʃ], as the 'sh' in Shireroth.
- [z], as the 'x' in 'xerograph', at the beginnins of words
- [s], like the 's' in 'start', before voiceless consonants (see below)
- [ks], as the 'x' in 'fix', elsewhere.
- [ʝ]. There exists no equivalent sound in English. It can be approximated by making the vowel in the English word 'be' and pushing the tongue closer to the roof of the mouth until there is vibration. It sounds very similar to [j] and [ʒ] and should not be confused.
- [θ], as the 'th' in 'thank', but never the 'th' in 'that'.
There are many orthographic consonant clusters in Yardistani that have less-than-obvious phonetic correspondences:
- CJ - [ç], roughly the 'h' in an emphatic English 'huge'
- DJ - [dʒ], usually only at the beginnings of words
- GR - [ʀ], no English equivalent. Basically the 'r'-sound of French and some German dialects.
- HR - [ʂ], no standard English equivalent. Produced by curling the tongue back slightly whilst making an 's'-sound
- JJ - [ʒ]
- KJ - [dʒ]
- SJ - [ʃ]
- ŠJ - [ʒ]
- XK, XT, XP - These are the prefered ways of spelling the sounds [sk], [st], and [sp], respectively. 's' can generally be used in place of 'x'; for instance 'Hixtoraat' vs. 'Historaat' History. However, some words are usually spelt with an 's', like 'Iardîstato' (compared with the less common 'Iardîxtato').
Vowels are virtually all pronounced differently than they are in most English dialects. The pronunciation guides given below are for General American English.
- [ɑ], as the 'o' in 'pot', when stressed and before 'r'
- [a] elsewhere, though it can reduce to [ə], especially at the ends of words.
- [e], as the 'a' in 'fate', before 'r' and word-finally (thought not in some short words like 'ne' and 'ye')
- [ɛ], as 'e' in 'met', elsewhere.
- [ɪ], as the 'i' in 'bit'
- [j], as the 'y' in 'yes', before vowels;
- [i], as the 'ee' in 'beet', word finally.
- [i], as the 'ee' in 'beet'. Never [ɪ]
- [ɔ], as the 'au' in East-coast English 'caught'
- [o], as the 'oa' in 'boat', word-finally.
- [æ], as the 'a' in 'cat'.
- AE, AI, AJ (before a consonant)
- [aɪ], as the word 'I' in English. This is the only non-loned diphthong in the language.
There are a number of phonological processes at work in Yardistani. Some are described below.
|Plosive||p b||t d||kg||ʔ|
|Fricative||f v||θ||s z||ʃ ʒ||ʂ||ç ʝ|
The sounds in brackets, [ɾ], [ɹ] and [ʀ], are likely all surface representations of the phoneme /r/. That means they are not phonemes themselves, but as they are quite common sounds in the language it is useful to show them in the distribution. The actual sound [r] only occurs as an emphatic variation of [ɾ].
Yardistani has nine vowel phonemes (that is, contrasting vowel sounds). There is a three-way height distinction at the phonemic level, as well as a tense/lax distinction for high vowels. It is unclear whether schwa (the mid-central vowel) is in fact phonemic. Likewise, the high back vowels, which show considerable variation, may be analysable in another manner.
Note too that there are a number of allophones not shown here. As the pronunciation section above shows, many vowels have pronunciations that vary based on environment.
There are a number of rules that affect pronunciation of the languange.
The vocalic phonemes /ɪ/ and /u/ become semivowels [j] and [w], respectively, before vowels.
When /r/ directly precedes /s/ in a word, both segments become retroflex so that they are pronounced [ɻʂ].
Word-finally, /r/ can devoice, becoming a voiceless trill [r˳]. Between two consonants, it becomes syllabic [ɹ].
Yardistani syntax is for the most part straightforward. It is left-headed, and most often sentences are in the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order, just like English. However, Yardistani shows considerably more variation. Despite being undeclined, the language has relatively free word order, especially where pronouns are in use. The following two sentences are equivalent:
- Je Di sabi.
- Sabi Je Di
- Je sabi Di.
- Di sabi Je.
All four mean "I don't know you". They are SOV, VSO, SVO, an OSV, the last being rare. The free movement here is partially due to the fact that Yardistani personal pronouns have both nominative and oblique forms, thus making the subject and object of a verb discernable.
Yardistani is also a PRO-drop language, meaning that the language does not require all of its sentences to have overt subjects. However, Yardistani verbs do not conjugate for person, so it is common not to drop subjects unless it is clearly understood:
- Je kere vejj, ye podi. I want to go, but (I) cannot.
A few verbs, like 'dajj' (which in its subjectless instances translates as 'there is/are'), do not take subjects at all.
- Da trivi Majnsa nje Mrki. There are three people in the house.
There are many other differences between Yardistani and English:
- Adjectives must always follow nouns.
- Tâlrsa grandix ne veneši. - Big changes are coming.
- Prepositions cannot be stranded.
- ¿Nja Kye daja De oyo? - Whom did you give this to? (lit. To whom...)
- Yardistani has a tendency towards what is called verb-second word order. This basically means that when there are adverbs in sentences, the verb likes to let the adverbs precede it and to let the subject come afterwards.
- ¡Hrís sabe Je! - Now I know!
Morphologically, Yardistani is fairly simple. Independent morphemes (or words, for the sake of this discussion) generally take suffixes when they undergo morphological processes, though there are a handful of prefixes as well. The place where morphology is most important is in the conjugation of verbs, but now declension is equally important. Below is an overview of the most important processes in the language.
Verbs in Yardistani come in two classes, those ending in '-ajj' and those ending in '-ejj'. By and large, '-ajj' verbs are the more common. The conjugations of each of these verb types is normalized--there are no irregulars in the language.
Yardistani verbs conjugate for tense and polarity (whether the sentence is affirmative or negative), and, in some cases, mood. Unlike many western languages, they do not conjugate for person or number. That means that for any given subject, be it 'John', 'We', or 'you', the verb form will be the same assuming the tense, the mood, and the polarity are not different.
Below are charts for the most common indicative verb forms in Yardistani. Used in each example are the verbs 'habajj' to speak and 'sabejj' to know.
The negative infinitives are forms that only appear in the spoken language and are generally not found in writing. For instance, a person might say 'Je kere sabîjj' I don't want to know (or literally, I want to not know), but in writing, it is considered more correct to write 'Je keri sabejj'.
The indicative conjugations follow a regular pattern when it comes to polarity: those ending in 'a' or 'e' are positive, those ending in 'o' or 'i' are negative.
There are other tenses as well. This includes the imperfect with the ending '-Vjja' for positive and '-Vjjo' for negative (where 'V' stands for either vowel 'a' or 'e'). Use of the tense is generally restricted to very formal speech and writing, and is usually replaced with the the preterite in informal registers. Even rarer is the habitual past (which is really a grammatical aspect and not a tense) indicated with '-Vša/o'. This only occurs in literary style and is quite archaic; for instance 'Le habaša kjan Mâtrlo kado Dihr' He spoke with his mother every day (implying he had done this for a long time and may still).
Yardistani also has perfect variations of all of its tenses, formed with the verb 'tenejj' followed by the main verb in the past participle form; for instance, 'Le Ji tene habaj' She has spoken to me.
Yardistani has two ways of expressing the imperative (that is, to give commands). The more formal way of doing so is with the particle 'kju' preceding the verb conjugated in the present indicative:
- Kju habo kjan Ji. - Don't talk to me.
- Kju ayua Jôlosa. - Help your friends..
The subject can sometimes be included to help differentiate between who is being commanded:
- Kju De ve nja Tendr. - Go (you) to the store.
- Kju Jitesa ve nja Tendr. - Let's go to the store.
It's also not uncommon to use the imperative to express hopes or wishes about a subject who is not present, and to use it with stative verbs in certain contexts. For instance, a Yardistani speaker might say 'Kju Talr vene hrís' to mean I hope Talr comes now or May Talr come now, though it might literally be translated as something like Come now, Talr. Likewise, the imperative is sometimes used with verbs that can't normally be commanded; for instance, somebody might say to another 'Kju sabe Ângloto' (lit. Know English) to indicate that they hope a person learns English successfully. These usages overlap in many ways with the subjunctive mood of other languages, but they are distinct in Yardistani. This is partially because the subjunctive is falling out of use and also because of certain syntactic limitations on the subjunctive itself (which will be discussed below).
'Kju' is not the only particle that can be used to indicate the imperative--'plaat' can also be used. Considered to be much more formal and polite, it is generally translated as please; for instance, 'Plaat ayua Jôlosa' Please help your friends.
There is a much less formal way of forming an imperative in Yardistani, and that is by simply using the verb root. For instance, 'habajj' becomes '¡Hab!. In single syllable verbs, like 'vejj' to go, the vowel is preposed, such that we get '¡Ev De nja Tendr' Go to the store!. Commands of this type are almost always written with exclamation marks. These commands are also considered to be less respectful and even rude when used in certain contexts, but they also convey a sense of urgency. They do not conjugate for polarity, so the particle 'ku' (sometimes 'kuu'), meaning 'no', is inserted after the verb; for instance '¡Hab ku kjan Le!' Don't talk to her!
The Yardistani subjunctive, like the imperfect and the habitual, is generally only seen in formal writing. It is used to indicate a state of affairs that is not or may not be the case. For instance:
- Je kere kju Fjedr sabeju. - I don't want Fjedr to know
- Le'xpere kju habajr De kjan Talr. - She hopes that you speak with Talr.
Subjunctive conjugations are distinguishable by their endings--'aa' in place of 'a/e' for positives, and 'u' in place of 'o/i' for negatives. The forms are slightly different:
The past subjunctive covers the preterite, imperfect, and habitual. There is no form for the future.
Nouns in Yardistani do not undergo a great number of processes. There is no gender and there are no case distinctions except in the personal pronouns, discussed below.
Nouns Derived from Verbs
Many nouns are derived directly from verbs, identifiable by their suffixes. For instance, compare these forms derived from the verb 'habajj' to speak:
- 'Habr' - speech in general, the concept of speaking
- Linguîxtamajsa pensa kju Habr ne interesantix. Linguists think that speech is interesting.
- 'Habo' - Something spoken, a speech or address
- Je sabe Hâbolo. I know what he said. (lit. I know his speech.)
- 'Hâbamaj' - A speaker, somebody who is/was speaking
- Je gustaja Hâbamaj. I liked the speaker
Plural and Possessive Suffixes
Yardistani marks plurals by attaching the suffix '-sa' to the ends of nouns:
- Katr cat + -sa = Kâtrsa cats
Yardistani also uses suffixes to indicate possession. There is a suffix for each grammatical person:
- First person uses the suffix -jo
- Katr + -jo = Kâtrjo my/our cat
- Second person uses -do
- Katr + -do = Kâtrdo your cat
- Third person uses -lo
- Katr + -lo = Kâtrlo his/her/its/their cat
As you can see, there is no distinction in number in these suffixes and the meaning must be gleaned from context.
The order of the plural and possessive suffixes is unimportant. This means that 'Kâtrsalo' is equivalent to 'Kâtrlosa'.
Yardistani also has a genitive suffix '-na'. This suffix comes last, and functions much in the same way that '-'s' does in English:
- Tâlrna libr - Talr's book
- Mâtrdona jojo - Your mother's friend.
- Kâtrsalona Matr - His cats' mother
It is also very common to use the preposition 'du' to form these same phrases; for instance 'Matr du Kâtrsalo' means the mother of his cats.
Yardistani distinguishes four persons: first, dual, second, and third. Their forms are below:
The dual person is used when talking about oneself (or the group the speaker belongs to) and the person or people the speaker is speaking to. Thus, it is inherently plural and has no singular forms.
The nominative forms are used in subject positions of sentences. The oblique is used as the object of verbs or prepositions.
Adjectives and Adverbs
All adjectives in Yardistani end in '-ix'; for instance 'yahix' cold or 'nalix' white. There is no agreement between the adjective and the nouns they modify, so the form is always the same. Thus there is no difference in the adjectives 'libr nehix' for new book' and 'lîbrsa nehix' for new books.
Adverbs end in '-ís' and generally have the same roots as Adjectives. Thus 'nehís' means newly where 'nehix' means 'new'.
Yardistani and its Relation to Other Languages
Yardistani is a language comprised heavily of loan words. As such, its relation to other languages is very important to its understanding. The language's relationship to Spanish, for instance, is comparable to English's relationship to French. English has its distinct syntax and grammar, its own pronunciation, and its own core vocabulary, but almost inexplicable amounts of the language are loaned from French and other Romantic sources. Yardistani is much the same as English in this example: it has a number of core vocabulary and its own grammar, but the language is primarily based on Spanish words.
Yardistani shares some vocalbulary with Rantsilastani, evidentaly from a common ancestor. This relationship is most evident in a number of verbs, but exists in many lexical categories:
|dajj||dej||to be (locative)|
|talajj||talej||to change (also to move in Rant.)|
|Mrki||merko||Y: House; R: hut, shelter|
Useful Phrases in Yardistani
- Hi! - ¡Allo! or ¡Don!
- Hello - Donsu
- Goodbye - Donku
- My name is... - Nâmrjo ne...
- Where is...? - Xo da ...?
- I want to go to Novi Nigrad - Je kere vejj nja Nigrad Nehix
- I hope everybody is well and that the bomb are not killing you quickly. - J'espere kju Tôdrsa nejr bonís, ce kju Bômbrsa Disa mataju rapís