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12. Vašt î Kûvik by Kelvin Jackson

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Vašt î Kûvik

Môg tâšî kam da kû kam ka dveh.

Ol šlovik ôg kû î kâš si o tekr môg.

Môg nyen âtra krî ol, a plisô ol môg.

Môg spâc ol tl môg lâoft težl šlovik ôg kû.

Tl to kâš si o yâš môg ka sr ka.

Oft rok môg û câz dalok fî a težl šlovik ôg kû.

Hear it!
  Smooth English

I began to sit at the beginning of the water one time.

A wave that was breaking itself down went over me.

I did not try to resist, and I was pleased.

I dreamed that I was running through the hill of water (wave).

I feel that it breaks itself down at each moment now.

If only I could go to that place far away again and go through the waves.



The grammar of Vašt î Kûvik is not entirely analytic, but it is close. Word order and prepositions ar used to indicate grammatical role?in general, agents/stimuli precede a verb and patients/experiencers follow. A verb with no agent is permitted?this is the equivalent of the passive voice. If a verb is intransitive, the one argument is placed before it. Number (on nouns and verbs) and tense (on verbs) are not grammatically marked, although aspect is shown by particles.

Nouns and verbs:

kâš                           to break down
krî                           to resist
kû                           water
lâ                           to run
plisô                           to please
spâc                           to dream
šlovik                           hill
tâšî                           to sit
yâš                           to feel*

*this verb has its argument structure reversed compared to the equivalent in English. Yâš has no good equivalent-the noun experiencing the feeling comes after, while the stimulus comes before.


fî                  many, much

A quantifier placed after an expression of time or distance indicates the magnitude of the time or distance.


câz                  that/this
dveh                  some, any (indefinite pronoun)
môg                  I
si                  reflexive
sr                  each, every
to                  he/she/it

When a non-personal pronoun is used with a preposition, it becomes a pronoun referring to whatever type of noun the object of the preposition must be. For instance, "at that place" would be simply "da câz".


da                  at (spatial)
ka                  at (temporal)
ôg                  of (partitive)
te                  past
û                  to

If a preposition is used with no object, the default object is the present time or location. When modifying nouns, prepositional phrases follow their heads, but they may come anywhere in the sentence when modifying the verb.

Prepositional Suffixes:

-kr                  on the surface of
-lok                  far from
-žl                  inside

Aspect markers:

kam                  inceptive
ol                  perfective
rok                  repetitive

Aspect markers are placed after the verb to which they refer, or at the beginning of the sentence if there is no verb. They may also be used with nouns.

Modal verbs:

âtra                  to try

Modal verbs must immediately precede the main verb.

Verb suffixes:

-oft                  inaccessible/hypothetical

If there is no verb in a sentence, but a verb suffix is to be used, the suffix is placed at the beginning of the sentence, before any aspect marker that may also appear.


a                  and
î                  starts relative clause
nyen                  not
o                  ends subordinate and relative clauses
tl                  starts non-relative subordinate clause

There is no relative pronoun. Instead, the slot in the relative clause which the head would have filled is left empty.

Not every sentence has a verb. If there is no verb, and a prepositional phrase is present in the sentence, a verb appropriate for said prepositional phrase may be inferred. This is how to have, to give, to go, etc. are rendered in Vašt î Kûvik.

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