Zhyler Noun Classes

Like sands in the hour glass: So are the noun classes of Zhyler. Yes, indeed, noun classes: Like the corners of my mind. Whooooooa, noun classes: Whooooooa-hoooo: Livin' on a prayer!

(P.S.: If you already know what noun classes are, jump to here for an in-depth discussion of Zhyler noun classes, or here for a quick reference table.)

Enough of that. Noun classes are used in various languages to narrow the semantic domain of the world. Or, at least, that's probably why they were originally put into place. As anyone knows who's studied German, they're now only used to annoy those who would try to learn said language. (Der/die/das my foot!) Unlike German (or French or Spanish) grammatical noun classes, though, Zhyler noun classes are used derivationally, and not inflectionally. What I mean by that is there are no separate verb conjugations (e.g., from Arabic: "huwwa kaana" = "he was", but "hiiya kaanat" = "she was"), or noun declensions (e.g., German: "Ich sehe den Hund = "I see the dog", but "Ich sehe die Frau" = "I see the woman"), or other agreements (e.g., Spanish: "mariposa anaranjada" = "orange butterfly", but "libro anaranjado" = "orange book") for nouns of different classes. Instead, noun classes are used to change the meanings of words, as well as to give meaning to meaningless bases. Here's an example.


Pal

What is pal, you may ask? Why, it's your very first root! ~:D This is cause for a celebration! I decree that thou shalt procure for thineself a nice, pure glass of cool, cool water. What could be better, on a warm sunny day (or, as the case may be, a dark and stormy night)? Nada, me parece. And you can take that to the bank!

Now, the root pal means nothing. However, the zero-derived form of any root is either: (a) an adjective, or (b) a verb. (Or, sometimes nothing at all.) In this case, it's a verb, and this verb means "to wear", as in "to wear a paper hat" (I'm listening to Eleni Mandell—the single greatest recording artist in the history of music). If you wanted to use it as an adjective, it'd mean "wearing", or "wearing something" (e.g., pal petti means "a ruler who's wearing something"). Anyway, that's neither here nor there, though, because we're talking about noun classes. Noun classes come in the form of suffixes, and they make the bare stem (or the verbal/adjectival stem) into a noun of some kind. There's no real way to tell which stem the noun class is being added to, since the three are identical, though some generalizations can be drawn (e.g., if it's a verbal stem, then adding a class one suffix will most likely give an agentive, human noun). Also, you can't expect to add every class suffix to any stem and come out with a meaningful word. Irregularity is par for the course when it comes to noun classes, though, so this should come as no surprise (unless you didn't know what a noun class was before now. Oh well: Fairly warned be ye, says I!). Anyway, enough of this abracablabra: Onto the examples.

The following table will possess five columns. In the first will be the number of the class suffix being added. In the second, the stem. In the third, the bare form of the class suffix. In the fourth will be the resulting word. Finally, in the fifth, the definition. Here goes:

Noun Class Stem Class Suffix Zhyler Word Orthographic Form Definition
I pal -kB palka palka one who wears something
IV pal -mOs palmos palmos barracuda
V pal -dI paldÿ paldh professional model
VIII pal -kIz palkÿz palkhz snake, serpent
IX pal -mAl palmal palmal beetle
X pal -lRr paller paller cloth
XII pal -šJ palša pal,a dress, suit, outfit
XIII pal -jE palja palja wardrobe
XIV pal -Al palan* palan wearing (something)

* The l becomes an n, via sound change (5) discussed in the phonology section.


So, What Are These Noun Classes?

To that question, I'll give you two options: The first, a long-winded explanation; the second, a table. The long-winded explanation will be more thorough, and will come first. The tabley explanation will be shorter, and cover less, and will be at the end. That said, if you want to read the long-winded definition, just keep reading. If you do not, though, just click here, and, like magic, you will transported directly to the table! Ahhh...the wonders of the 18th century...!


The Long-Winded Explanation

Ahh...how I love to talk! Or write. Both are all good, in Blezdivania. Now then. Zhyler has seventeen noun classes. Each noun class is pretty much like the rest, only different. To follow will be a discussion of each. Here they are:

Class I: -kB

This is the "untitled human" noun class. It encompasses all humans who do not have official titles, or are not acting in some official capacity. It also tends to make agentive nouns out of verbal stems. Here are some examples: sixÿ "man" (note the sound change: k > x / V_V); meška "son"; uska "one who eats". In Zhyler, this class is called Zixÿ Ejlepče, or "The Human Class".

Class II: -vFn

This is the class devoted to land animals with hair or fur of some kind. (Once you get to class VIII, you'll realize that this designation is by no means scientific.) Humans, for the purposes of Zhyler, are not treated as class II nouns; just class I or V. Examples: werven "wolf"; bipfin "sheep"; balakfen "gorilla". In Zhyler, this class is called Werven Ejlepče, or "The Wolf Class".

Class III: -žEl

This class is devoted to flying animals that are not insects. This includes birds and bats—and even some flightless birds (what more could you ask for from noun classes?). Examples: ivžel "bird"; pedžel "penguin"; gönžöl "yellow warbler"; rujžol "hummingbird"; aylažal "scrub jay". In Zhyler, this class is called Nönžel Ejlepče, or "The Raven Class".

Class IV: -mOs

This class is devoted to things that live in the sea (not necessarily things that swim). It's kind of like the idea of mariscos, in Spanish, but, well, not food. Examples: anyamos "blue shark"; ezmös "clam"; yopmos "crab". In Zhyler, this class is called Döjmös Ejlepče, or "The Thresher Shark Class".

Class V: -dI

This class is devoted to human beings that have titles, or are working in an official capacity. It doesn't matter how "important" the job is: Any type of employee, official or functionary is put into this class—everyone from a king to a bootblack. Examples: petti "king, ruler"; goldu "flight attendant"; lavadÿ "servant"; östü "(professional) artist"; erðedi "linguist". In Zhyler, this class is called Rujdu Ejlepče, or "The Laborer Class".

Class VI: -bOl

This ambiguous class comprises all plants that stick up out of the ground and are taller than one's waist. As can be imagined, some non-plants have worked their way into this class. Examples: bewböl "almond tree"; čolbol "sapling"; örötpöl "cliff"; volbol "clock tower". In Zhyler, this class is called Kozbol Ejlepče, or "The Palm Tree Class".

Class VII: -yJ

This catch-all class is reserved for naturally occurring phenomena, generally not considered to be living (i.e., animate). Examples: pekya "mountain"; zubyu "unshelled peanut"; izyÿ "horizon"; gönyo "gold". In Zhyler, this class is called Balakya Ejlepče, or "The Thunder Class".

Class VIII: -kIz

This is the other land animal class, this time for "hairless" ones (mainly amphibians and reptiles). If you look at the list of examples, you'll see it's not 100% scientific, as previously indicated. Examples: rujguz "iguana"; öröjgüz "turtle"; kadgÿz "elephant"; enedgiz "chameleon". In Zhyler, this class is called Kadgÿz Ejlepče, or "The Elephant Class".

Class IX: -mAl

What a world: Insects get their own class. Welp: Here they are: balakmal "hornet"; valmal "ant"; ezmel "snail". In Zhyler, this class is called Naymal Ejlepče, or "The Scorpion Class".

Class X: -lRr

This class covers small plants, plants that cover things, and things that run along the ground. This class has been the victim of much metaphoric extrapolation. Here are some examples: sešler "grass"; izlir "rose"; oplör "pea plant"; gönlör "gold vein"; ulür "year"; kamÿžlir "evening"; renler "spring (the season)"; žimlir "wall, fence". In Zhyler, this class is called Izlir Ejlepče, or "The Rose Class".

Class XI: -ðA

Another once-specific class turned catch-all, it used to refer only to places or locations, but now also covers concepts, ideas, emotions and studies. Examples: Ziðe "a name for Earth"; benkelðe "shelter"; matþa "wisdom, understanding"; šeyðe "love"; erðe "linguistics". In Zhyler, this class is called Rÿzða Ejlepče, or "The Desert Class".

Class XII: -šJ

This class covers man-made objects that a man of average build can lift without much difficulty. Examples: memša "cup"; püššu "collar"; golšo "model airplane"; ÿššÿ "chair". In Zhyler, this class is called Siššÿ Ejlepče, or "The Knife Class".

Class XIII: -jE

This class covers man-made objects that a man of average build cannot lift by himself (note: there has been metaphorical goings-on in this class). Examples: ažja "vestibule"; vesče "ink pen" (a good example of the "goings-on" I was talking about. Ves means "to write", and a pencil is a vešša, so that only left vesče for the pen); voljo "large clock (like a grandfather clock, but not necessarily that specific style)"; gönjö "gold bar". In Zhyler, this class is called Vexesče Ejlepče, or "The Spear Class".

Class XIV: -(A)l

This class is for actions, states, and abstract nouns, for the most part. It almost works as a kind of infinitive, though it bears no verbal properties. (Note: The ending is simply l when following vowel-final stems.) Examples: astal "ambivalence"; besel "payment"; vesel "writing". In Zhyler, this class is called Gal Ejlepče, or "The Performance Class".

Class XV: -wW

This class is for substances, of all kinds. They tend to be English "mass nouns". Examples: ÿrwÿ "iron"; išwi "water"; werwi "blood". In Zhyler, this class is called Ÿrwÿ Ejlepče, or "The Iron Class".

Class XVI: -gN

This class is reserved for parts of larger things. Anything that's a piece of something else (literally or metaphorically) is game—including body parts. Examples: ökkö "hand"; žilgÿ "face"; nülgü "nose"; welga "sleeve". In Zhyler, this class is called Lakka Ejlepče, or "The Arm Class".

Class XVII: -bAn

This class is reserved for FOOOOOOOOD!!! Huzzah! And, most importantly, it's the last class there is! YAY!!! ~:D You made it all the way to the end! I'm proud. Now, the only thing with this class is that there are often distinctions between it and either class VII or XV, where one of the latter two would be a food in its natural state, and the class XVII would be the "ready-to-eat" version. Some examples: yememben "noodles (mass noun)"; yeldaban "red apple"; rujban "bread"; zubban "shelled peanut". In Zhyler, this class is called Yeldaban Ejlepče, or "The Apple Class".


The Table

Class Number Suffix Associated Meanings
I -kB Humans without Titles
II -vFn Hairy Land Animals
III -žEl Flying Non-Insects
IV -mOs Sea Creatures
V -dI Humans with Titles
VI -bOl Tall Plants & Things
VII -yJ Natural Non-Living Phenomena
VIII -kIz Hairless Land Animals
IX -mAl Insects
X -lRr Small Plants & Things that Run Along the Ground
XI -ðA Places, Concepts, Emotions
XII -šJ Manmade, Liftable Objects
XIII -jE Manmade, Unliftable Objects
XIV -(A)l Actions & Abstracts
XV -wW Substances
XVI -gN Parts of Things
XVII -bAn Food

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