This is a basic mërèchi grammar, cobbled together from the mini-grammars that were sent out with various Conlang Relay entries, plus additional information.
The grammar defaults to English-like unless otherwise specified (especially tricky bits like conjunctions and the relations between clauses). The major differences are that mërèchi features postpositional phrases (just like prepositional only backwards), and that adjectives (and all other modifiers except the article) follow the noun. Adjectives do not agree in case, number or postpositions with the noun. Word order is SOV in declarative sentences, VSO in conditional sentences.
While mërèchi has a definite article, à, plural àn, it is used less frequently than in English. Its use is primarily to add especial emphasis to the definiteness, even definitiveness, of the noun.
The true case suffixes are the accusative (-c or -ic) and the possessive (-gë), of which -c and -gë are traditionally written preceded by an apostrophe. The possessive usually attaches only to pronouns, names and nouns denoting persons; otherwise the genitive postposition -nö will be used. There is one preposition, kep-, which denotes "to" in the dative sense (i.e. as in "say to" or "give to" rather than "go to"). The locative postposition -di can mean any of: at (a place), to (a place), at (a time), or to (a time). See the wordlist for more postpositions (if you sort by category or by part of speech, the postpositions can be found under "Adpositions" or "Adp.").
There are two plural forms in mërèchi: the normal plural and the collective plural. Some nouns additionally have an irregular plural, usually archaic. The ordinary plural is -t or -et; the collective plural, denoting all X or a complete set of X, is -n or àn.
All interrogative pronouns also act as relative pronouns, including hró ("why") used as "for which reason", which does not work in English. Interrogative pronouns and their correlatives can be found under "Wh-words" in the wordlist sorted by category.
Another way of forming relative clauses is the relative pronoun "na". If it is the subject of the subclause, it becomes a prefix to the verb; otherwise it stands alone and can take case suffixes and postpositions.
na-rishidàp'r she who teaches na-cílvëp'da you who come nàgë whose nà'c whom nà'cash on which, on whom kepnà to whom nàhart concerning which
Subordinate clauses are headed by "ke": "I know that you understand" would be "tèrenp'a, ke símöp'da".
Verbs take an optional negative prefix, an optional tense or mood prefix, optional derivational prefixes and suffixes (such as the causative, passive, inceptive, abilitative, and equative), a mandatory aspect suffix, and a mandatory pronoun/agreement suffix. The tense prefix and pronoun/ agreement suffix are traditionally offset from the verb proper by an apostrophe, as is the negative prefix when it appears. If no tense or mood prefix appears, the verb is in present tense.
ka'ki'tínidëp'a ka- ki- tínidë -p -a NEG FT remember IMP 1P.SG "I will not remember"
Perfective aspect is used for simple past actions; imperfective is used in the past tense to show that someone habitually used to do something, or was doing it for some time; the present tense usually uses the imperfective.
The optative mood, in addition to an optional prefix "yt'-", is marked with the infix "-hl-", which follows the stressed vowel.
ki-, k- future të-, t- past
yt'- -hl- optative ("may") lö-, l- subjunctive ("if") dö-, d- obligatory ("should")
-p, -ip, -n imperfective -v, -ë perfective
Pronouns can appear as verb suffixes, in which case they agree with or are the subject of the verb, or they can appear elsewhere as independent words with a case or postpositional suffix. If the sentence appears to have no subject, the subject is the pronoun on the verb. Otherwise, the subject will be the noun without a case suffix or postposition, and will agree with the pronoun on the verb.
Suffixes: Standalone: Translation: 'a à I 'fa fà we 'da dà you (sing.) 'fö vó you (plur.) 'ë né he 'r nér she 'n ùn it 'të té they
Derivational affixes are used heavily in verb formation. Affixes are accretive; they build upon those already attached to the word. Examples using the abilitative suffix -sa, the inceptive prefix la-, the attemptive suffix -hé, and the passive suffix -fà:
Verb: Translation: As in: hàla to do I do it hàlasa to be able to do I can do it halafà to be done It is done halahé to try to do I try to do it halafàsa to be able to be done It can be done lahàla to begin to do I start to do it
Some suffixes move the stress in a word (the causative and passive suffixes steal the stress, for example; the passive participle -fi also moves the stress, but to the previous syllable), which causes different vowels to become accented.
The equative suffix -sö creates a verb meaning "to be X", where X is the root to which it is affixed and is either a noun or adjective:
èchi hot èchisö to be hot lahèchisö to become hot echidà to keep hot lahechidà to make hot pàlit a ball pàlitsö to be a ball lapàlitsö to become a ball lapalitsödà to make into a ball
The equative suffix can be omitted between an adjective and a causative suffix, as illustrated above with echidà and lahechidà.
mërèchi has a passive participle formed with the suffix -ífi, and an active participle formed with the suffix -ípi. Both suffixes steal the stress from the verb:
gúri to mix or combine gürípi mixing (adj.) gürípia the act of mixing gürífi mixed (adj.) gürífia a mixture
And there is a gerund form, which sometimes acts as a participle as well, consisting of a circumfix (a prefix p- or pë-, plus a suffix -m or -im):
anílë to sing p'anílëm singing shír to grow pëshírim growing
Last updated: 3/4/2006