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11. Tenata by Lila Sadkin

Texts | Grammar Guide | Glosses
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Loximincumislu locenyomi rutasenci sosel watife slatus.

Rute sokesetemi tixoriliximinimi rufolsami wamosfe jisces temi kalexulu tiksamulmi wamosfe.

Sosel rutsorimaci qaxomosfe ksim rujimetisping fisel waxomosfe seltus.

Sosel rulesakalang mute sosel kalexulang rukesetemi tiximiniksamulang ximxotinic telang waxomosfe.

Sosel rumisaci folximinimi lopenonlu.

Mungowalang kawusaslefimlu ruforinci tin kalexulang rukesetelu tifucelang sosel ximxotinic seltus.

Hear it!
  Smooth English

On one day at the shattering-sea place, I sat.

The wave perhaps painfully broke, ran.

I did not resist, but I enjoyed it, I know.

I dream that I run shatteringly through the wave.

I feel its breaking always.

To return to this distant place and to move through the wave, I wish.



Tenata does not distinguish between nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Instead, it uses roots which can fill any of these positions freely.

Every root, or lume, has one (or more) categorical suffixes (teja) attached to it which serve to add additional semantic meaning to the word. Teja are not gender, because they can be used freely (a root does not belong to a particular category).

The role a word plays in the sentence is indicated by the kowu, or functional prefix, at the beginning of the word. This is a sort of case marking, though the action of a sentence is indicated in the same way. The prefix ru- requires special attention. Besides indicating the recipient of the action direct object), a word marked with ru- can also serve as the action itself. There is no word for "give" or "have" in Tenata. If a sentence is lacking a word marked with ti-, action, the one marked with ru- will serve as the action, often with an implied "give" or "have".

Tenata does not mark tense. Instead, it indicates mood and various verbal aspects in a separate word. Mood is required and is the first part of the word, and the aspects can be used or omitted as needed.

The validity statement in Tenata indicates what the speaker knows about the truth of her words.

A relative clause is set apart in the sentence with the marker te. It can be a full sentence in itself, with verbal inflection and a separate validity statement. The clause starts with a functional prefix (often the auxiliary) to which -te is suffixed, and ends with te- and a categorical prefix. This whole bit could be anywhere in the sentence, as the word order is relatively free, though verbal inflection is almost always at the end of the sentence.

An auxiliary marks a secondary action, so for example in the sentence "I need to eat because it's getting late." either 'need' or 'eat' could be marked with the auxiliary, depending on which one is more significant in the sentence. If 'need' is the auxiliary, the main focus of the sentence would be the eating, or if 'eat' was the auxiliary, the necessity of it would be the focus. Again, its position in the sentence is fairly arbitrary.

Phonology: Tenata doesn't have much going on phonologically. The only things of not are that the final vowel of a root is repeated to break up disallowed consonant clusters, and if a suffix would result in a double consonant, instead of a vowel being inserted, the consonants are simplified, causing the suffix to appear to lose its initial consonant.



lume (roots)

-tasen- sit
-cumis- sea
-cenyom- one day
-penon- always
-ximin- break
-ksamul- run
-keset- wave
-lexu- through
-xoril- pain, violence
-tsorima- resist
-jimetis- enjoy
-lesaka- dream
-misa- touch, feel
-forin- wish
-ngowa- return
-wusas- distant
-fucel- move

kowu (functional prefixes)

so- actor
ti- action
ru- recipient
fi- beneficiary
lo- location (no movement)
ka- direction (movement)
mu- auxiliary - the auxiliary marks a secondary action in a sentence

teja (categorical suffixes)

-mi living
-ci human
-lang humanmade
-lu nature
-ping event


sel I, we exclusive (human)
fol she/he/it (nonhuman)
lefim this (nonhuman)

-te- relative clause marker that appears on both ends of a clause
-sa- reflexive
tin and
ksim but


wa- indicative
xim- hortative
qa- negative


-xo- for one's own benefit (refers to the actor in the sentence)

-ti- intentional
-mos- accidental, incedental

-fe- perfective
-nic- unrealized (action has not actually occurred, used as hypothetical or desired)

Validity Statements:

sla- speaker
jis- subject (the actor in the sentence)

Pronouns can also be used to directly indicate who is providing the validity statement.

-tus true
-ces unknown

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