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The Vilani Handbook .. Draft ..

Robert Eaglestone

The Vilani Handbook


Draft
01/15/10
Robert Eaglestone

Table of Contents
Assumptions 1
Equivalence and Existence 2
The Simple Sentence 3
Future Tense 4
Passive Sentences. 4
Getting Words for Free 4
Adverbs 4
Adjectives 5
Possessive Pronouns 5
6
Prepositional Phrases 6
Expressing Yourself 7
Uncertainty 7
Negation 7
Interrogatives 7
Commands 7
Expletives 7
Chaining Sentences Together 8

Assumptions.

This document explains how to read and write in “Low” (Upward register) Vilani only, which is
a humble beginning appropriate to newcomers to Vilani. Once the Upward register speech is
understood, the student may then refer to the official Vilani Grammar for the Downward and
Equal register variations.

Each chapter ideally should take about one page, but examples and lists make some sections
longer than others. Rather than blast the reader with all possible information in one Marathon
session, the chapters are organized so that the material will be presented in relatively
digestible chunks, and then only with an emphasis on critical concepts with the most
commonly used language elements. Additional detail which would only add confusion to the
main idea are left out; the reader may refer to the Grammar for more detail.

Please remember that this document only uses the Upward speech register of Vilani.
However, this provides a good working knowledge of Vilani, and the rules learned are directly
applicable to the Downward and Equal speech registers, which mainly differ in the order or
types of prefixes and suffixes used.
Equivalence and Existence.

Vilani uses a special “copular verb” to make statements of existence, equivalence, class
membership, location, and the like. These verbs fall into two groups, shown below.

Copular verbs of equivalence:

IRU 'equals', 'is a', 'is the same as'


IIRE 'probably the same as'
EMRI 'probably not the same as'
MEN 'not equals', 'is not a', 'is different from'

These four all have the same structure: X C Y, where C is the verb, and the nouns X and Y
are the things being related. Example:

Eneri emri argu. Eneri is probably not a potato.

Copular verbs of existence:

KHII 'there exists', 'there is'


IKHI 'there probably exists'
IGGI 'there probably isn't'
GIG 'there does not exist'

These four have three main varieties: existence, indication, and location. To state that
something exists or doesn't exist, simply use the noun with the proper verb.

Khii argu. Argu exists. or: There is argu.

To indicate or point out the existence of some particular thing, place the noun first:

Argu khii. Look! Some argu! or: Here is some argu.

To give the location of an object, you must attach a prepositional suffix to the verb, and
indicate the location noun with the prefix /ka/.

Argu khiima kadushaniim. The argu is on the table.


Argu khiizish kakarun. The argu is for the emperor.
Argu khiiluu kanaa. The argu goes with the naa.
The Simple Sentence.

The simple Vilani sentence usually puts the verb first, the subject second, and the object third.
For example:

Lenkhugash liraamgim Eneri. The air/raft hit Eneri.

In the sentence above, the suffix gim is used to tag the subject of the sentence. The verb,
lenkhugash, literally means “him-it-hit”. When you build a verb, you prefix the object pronoun
and the subject pronoun – in that order – to the verb stem. The default tense is “nonfuture”,
meaning past or present.

Some of the more common object pronouns are:

Se- Me, us
Zi- You
Le- Him, Her, Them
Ki- It, Them

The subject pronouns are quite strange to English speakers, in that they represent only the
general type of subject, and its relationship to the object. Common subject pronouns include:

-K- Sophont(s) acting on something(s) of lesser rank


-S- Sophont(s) acting on other being(s) of higher rank
-B- Inanimate(s) acting on inanimate(s)
-N- Inanimate(s) acting on sophont(s)

If that's not enough, the -B- is an -M- when it comes before another consonant, or a -P- when
it comes before another 'p'.

More examples:

Leskhugash Sharikgim Eneri. Sharik hit Eneri.


Kikkhugash Eneri liraam. Eneri hit the air/raft.

Notice in the last example that Eneri doesn't require the /gim/ subject case marker, because
the /Ki-k/ prefix on the verb says a human acted on a lower-ranked thing.

At times, it is necessary to specifically state that you did something, or I did something. Vilani
has adverbs that can act like pronouns and fulfill this function. Two common ones are:

Shenerii to/for me
Binerii to/for you

Examples:

Leskhugash Sharikgim shenerii. Sharik hit me.


Leskhugash binerii Eneri. You hit Eneri.
Future Tense.

With simple verbs, the future tense conveys absolute meaning that goes beyond projection in
time. Rather it's used for definitions, absolute prediction, statements about habit, universal
truths, and inductive generalizations.

Future tense is a suffix added to the root of a verb, like this:

If the last letter is a vowel, add /r/.


If the last letter is a consonant, add /zu/.

Examples:

1. Lenkhugashzu liraamgim Eneri. Air/rafts always seem to hit Eneri.

2. Kikradussu Enerigim liraam. Eneri seems drawn to air/rafts.

3. Kiksar gadarsisa Raakhi. Raakhi always buys insurance.

Passive Sentences.

English uses an auxiliary verb to express passives. In Vilani, word order is used. The
standard Vilani sentence is 'active'; for example:

Lenkhugash liraamgim Eneri. An air/raft hit Eneri.

By putting the object in front, the sentence goes passive:

Eneri lenkhugash liraamgim. Eneri was hit by an air/raft.

What is actually happening is that Eneri is getting the emphasis, and the air/raft is getting
placed in the background, so to speak. This is called topicalization.

Now, if it were not known what had hit Eneri, then putting the subject first would serve to
introduce the agent of Eneri's woe; it moves the subject to the forefront, while backgrounding
the victim.

Liraamgim lenkhugash Eneri. It was an air/raft that hit Eneri.

Some more examples:

1. Meminaa lekniir dagashiigim. The convicts were executed by the soldiers.

2. Kaanukir kimgarin durumagigim. The freighter was targeted by the corsair.

Getting Words for Free.

If you know some verbs and nouns, then you also have adverbs and adjectives too, because
it is simple to derive them. It's also easy to make possessives. Here's how:

Adverbs.

Adverbs usually come right after the verb. They are constructed by adding the suffix -(l)ii to a
noun, or -ad to a verb.
Examples:

1. durgesh, abrupt: durgeshad, abruptly


2. shezin, cautious: shezinad, cautiously
3. ledur, fortunate: ledurad, fortunately
4. gadas, peaceful: gadasad, peacefully
5. makha, magnificent: makhad, magnificently
6. dek, quick: dekad, quickly

Adjectives.

Adjectives are built from intransitive verbs representing a state (rather than an action) or from
nouns. The words that we usually consider to be adjectives are formed in Vilani from verbs.
This form of adjective always comes after the noun.

(negative) + VERB + /(k)a/

The negative prefix is /du-/. It negates the meaning of the word.

Examples:

1. muk, erode: muka, eroded


2. daarug, be blunt: daaruga, blunted
3. dudaarug, not be blunt dudaaruga, not blunted

The noun-form of adjectives are much more specialized. These first two come after the
modified noun:

NOUN + /in/ (to show something is owned by some person or organization, etc)
NOUN + /ak/ (to show something is owned)

/ak/ is less restrictive than /in/, and may be translated “X of Y”.

Examples:

1. liraam Sharikin Sharik's air/raft


2. kaanukir Makhidkarunin Makhidkarun's freighter
3. ginii megagek ship of fools

This next adjective form comes in front of the noun it modifies, and marks the 'whole' for
which the noun is a 'part':

NOUN + /gi/ (to show something is part of an organic whole)

Examples:

1. /Gish/, tree; /pa/, branch: /Gishgi pa/, tree branch, branch of the tree.
2. /lili/, air; /daarine/, molecule: /liligi daarine/, air molecule.

Example Sentence:

Kikradus Enerigim liraam Sharikin.


Eneri approached Sharik's air/raft.
Possessive Pronouns.

These may be prefixed to nouns. Some common possessives are:

Se- my
Me- your
A-, AGI his/her/their
E-, EGI its/their

The separate words AGI and EGI are used when a vowel can't easily be prefixed to the noun.

Examples:

1. seliraam my air/raft
2. mekaanukir your freighter
3. apuli his money
4. agi argu her argu
5. egi umbin its claw

Prepositional Phrases.

These are similar to the prepositional rules used for copular verbs. They require adding a
suffix to the verb, after the tense suffix (if any), and adding the prefix /ka/ to the object.

To -na
For -zish
By, Via, Because -(l)uu
In, On -ma

Examples:

1. Kikradusuu Enerigim liraam ka-Sharik.


Eneri approached the air/raft by Sharik.

2. Lekurdimna Sharik ushar kakaniizu.


Sharik gave food to the Vargr.
Expressing Yourself.

When expressing hypotheses, conditionals, probabilities, uncertainty, negativity, commands,


and the like, a different set of object pronouns are used on the verb1:

She- I, we
Shii+ You
Gaa+ He/She/They
Ni- It/They

In addition, there are a lot of prefixes and suffxes that come available to express all sorts of
things2, including

Uncertainty (Naa, Lad)


Naa nikkhugash liraam shenerii. I probably hit the air/raft.
Lad nikkhugash liraam shenerii. I probably didn't hit the air/raft.

Negation (du):
Nikdukhugash liraam Eneri. Eneri did not hit the air/raft.

Interrogatives (Aab):
Aab nikkhugash liraam Eneri. Did Eneri hit the air/raft?

Commands (-ki):
Nikkhugashki liraam binerii. Hit the air/raft!

Subordinate verbs, including participles and relative phrases, are also built up using these
alternate object pronouns on the verb. Please refer to the Vilani grammar for a complete
treatment of these options.

Expletives.

Here are expletives in common use:

bagraan (noun/excl) literal meaning: poison pit, cesspool


dugaluum (noun) literal meaning: data rendered useless
raanku (verb) literal meaning: chaos running rampant

Examples:

Izirk bagraanak nidushaa! This crummy jump drive doesn't run!

1 This is often called the subjunctive, or irrealis, mood.

2 Please refer to the Vilani grammar for a complete list of prefixes and suffixes of this sort.
Chaining Sentences Together.

In some cases, it's convenient and more readable to combine two simple sentences together.
For instance, it makes sense to take this:

Eneri came. Eneri hit Sharik's air/raft.

and write this:

Eneri came and hit Sharik's air/raft.

Vilani uses what is called the antipassive construction to do that. This is not intuitive, and it
involves a couple of strange steps, but here's how it works anyway. The Vilani sentences look
like this:

Akag Eneri. Eneri came.


Kikhugash Enerigim liraam Sharikin. Eneri hit Sharik's air/raft.

There are three steps to take. First, we join the sentences together. The result is not yet
grammatical.

Akag Eneri in kikhugash Enerigim liraam Sharikin.

Second, the antipassive is a tiny suffix /-i/ added to the verb /khugash/, which turns the verb
from a transitive verb (which requires a subject and an object) to an intransitive one (which
only requires a subject). According to Vilani grammar rules, since the first verb already has a
subject, the second verb automatically takes that as its subject, too. So we drop “Enerigim”.

Akag Eneri in kikhugashi liraam Sharikin.

Finally, we have to deal with the original object of the second sentence. It is turned into a
prepositional phrase “at Sharik's air/raft” by adding the suffix /-na/ “To, At” to the verb, and
adding the prefix /ka/ to the object. We now have

Akag Eneri in kikhugashina kaliraam Sharikin.


Eneri came and hit Sharik's air/raft.

The literal meaning is “Eneri came and was hitting away at Sharik's air/raft” or some such
thing. This is one of the most foreign concepts in Vilani. If you can understand this one bit, the
rest of Vilani is a cinch in comparison.