Language: Uhjayi Pre-Root Syntax

Uhjayi places heavy emphasis on the statuses of the speaker, the spoken-to, and the spoken-about(s), and their corresponding relationships. A kikeh (alpha) speaking to his himore (beta) will use different language than the himore speaking to her partner himore. The core vocabulary remains the same - kikeh is a title, not a word simply indicative of a higher-ranking individual, and any inlanlu will address a kikeh as such. However, when using words that are not strictly titles or names, modifiers are used to indicate whether someone is higher or lower or equal rank, whether someone is related by blood or pack or mate-bridge, etc etc. Modifiers are -typically- placed in front of a name/title/noun if they are positive or neutral or after the name/title/noun if they are negative. For example, yafa kikeh Dakaya is [beloved alpha Dakaya], and miro jho Hihtona is [brave packmate Hihtona], and kikeh Jekona ehkinu is [rival alpha Jekona]. This applies to any adjectives/adverbs, as well - positive or neutral descriptors go in front of the noun or verb, negative ones follow it. Factual, measureable statements - [red-haired Hihtona], [six deer], [choppy water], [mortal wound] - are considered to be neutral, despite potential emotional connotations of the descriptor itself ([mortal wound] being negative, [six deer] being positive, etc). Descriptors are what make up the bulk of sentences; if there's more than one descriptor, order becomes important. Titles go directly in front of the noun/name, with factual statements being directly in front of titles (or the noun/verb if lacking a title), then the most complimentary or otherwise vital information is placed closest to the noun. For example: kakone yafa fejara kikeh Dakaya. [Peaceful beloved physically-slender alpha Dakaya.] Generally, a word like [beloved] that indicates others' regard for the subject is taken to be more important than a subjective assessment of the subject itself (such as [peaceful]).

In general, Uhjayi uses the subject-verb-object pattern for its sentence structure. For example: yafa kikeh Dakaya isihjali kikeh Jekona ehkinu. [Beloved alpha Dakaya yells (at/to) rival alpha Jekona.] A more complex sentence would read like this: Yafa kikeh Dakaya isihjali kikeh Jekona ehkinu erari ehpuya. [Beloved alpha Dakaya yells (at/to) rival alpha Jekona (who) deserves shame.] Subclauses (things that would require [whom] instead of [who] in English) are different. [Alpha Dakaya yells (at/to) rival Jekona whom wolves hate] would be kikeh Dakaya isihjali Jekona ehkinu / inlanlu rososa kehst, more directly translated as [alpha Dakaya yells (at/to) rival Jekona; wolves hate that one]. If you want to get more complicated with a subclause in the middle of the sentence, you can. Kikeh Dakaya isihjali Jekona ehkinu / inlanlu rososa kehst syha kikeh Dakaya. [Alpha Dakaya yells (at/to) rival Jekona, whom wolves hate, who insults alpha Dakaya.] Kehst [that one] becomes the bridge between [wolves hate that one] and [that one insults alpha Dakaya]. More on kehst in a bit. As for the / in the middle of that last example, consider it a very crude semicolon; written Uhjayi doesn't use punctuation except for a vertical line when going from object to subject without a linebreak (see Uhjayi script for more on that).

For the most part, structure stays fairly basic; there is no shifting of phrases about, like in English with [I walk alone] and [alone, I walk] and [I, alone, walk]. (There would, however, be a difference in [I walk alone] and [lonely-me walks]. You can either describe the verb with [alone] or the subject with [lonely].) With indirect objects, it becomes subject-verb-indirectobject-directobject, and the two objects are bridged by rojh. Yafa kikeh Dakaya ikuru dyla rojh miro jho Hihtona. [Beloved alpha Dakaya gives compliment to brave packmate Hihtona.] Rojh is an all-purpose word that has no direct translation or emotional connotation - it can be used to describe giving a gift, an insult, an injury, etc. It can also describe an action taken against someone, as well as for them. More about rojh later, with spatial prepositions.

Verbs are not conjugated; they just get external modifiers. Subject of the verb has no effect on the verb itself - 'we walk' and 'he walks' and 'I walk' all use adache as the verb. Tense is a modifier that comes directly before the verb (even if there are other modifiers, they do not get inserted between tense indicator and verb); if lacking the tense, the verb is considered to be present tense. So, isihjali would be [yells], rather than [to yell]; a lack of subject as well as tense turns it into [to yell] and lets it function as a noun. Isihjali epari nuvy. [To yell is loud.] Present tense simply indicates that an action is currently going on; Uhjayi does not differentiate between [I walk] and [I am walking]. Past tense enu indicates that an action was going on but has ceased in the present moment: kikeh Dakaya enu isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya was yelling / had been yelling.] Future tense yiha indicates that an action is not going on presently but will occur in the future: kikeh Dakaya yiha isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya will yell / is going to yell.] Those are the only three tenses; verbs get extra modifiers if the speaker wishes to indicate that, for example, Dakaya had been yelling and still is doing so. It would translate as kikeh Dakaya mezara irone isihjali. ["Alpha Dakaya past time yells." Alpha Dakaya has been yelling for a while now.] The phrases mezara irone and rinune irone indicate [old time] and [future time], respectively, and are typically used to indicate that an action is bridging past and present, or present and future. Vakih irone is a phrase meaning [all time] and indicates an unending action or state of being.

Pluralization is, again, a modifier. Ha indicates many of something and is typically used as a generic pluralizer: ha miri is [men] and ha jaresi is [paths]. Exact numbers can also be used, as can more quantitative modifiers, such as kako [few/little], shiye [several/some], and dyru [lots/much]. Exaggerations of number or quantity are generally frowned upon as lies, so there is little use for larger-than-life modifiers like [ginormous], etc. (However, there are plenty of subjective, non-factual adjectives like [expansive] and [uncountable] that are used.)

There are three corners of pronouns - [I/me], [you] (to whom I am speaking, singular or plural), and [it/they] (to whom I am not speaking, singular or plural). There is no [I] as a pronoun; when speaking directly to someone, you don't reference yourself, since they already know you're you. For example: yiha jijesu dyru vejh. [(I) will require a lot of food.] However, eso is used when the speaker becomes the object, not the subject, of a sentence. Kikeh Dakaya isihjali eso. [Alpha Dakaya yelled (at/to) me.] Jiri is [you] singular, and ha jiri is [you] plural. Amenu ha jiri. [(I) like you all.] Nen is [he/she/it] singular, and ha nen is [they] plural. Amenu nen. [(I) like it.] (Note: nen is a person, not an object. Nen can be used to indicate spirits, animals, and other living things such as trees, but it is typically used to refer to sentient people of any species or race.) Now, there are bridges to link the three corners - [we/us] (I+you, singular or plural), [you] [you+it/them, singular or plural), and [we/us] (I+it/them, singular or plural). Lonjiri is the speaker and the spoken-to, pluralizable with ha; lonnen is the speaker and the spoken-about, also pluralizable with ha. Jirilonnen is the spoken-to and spoken-about. Lon is the root of the word lonsan - [with]; essentially, it's saying [me with you], [you with them], and [me with them]. (Note: Even though the bridges indicate more than one person, ha is not used unless there is more than one person in either group - such as combining ha jiri with nen or the self with ha nen.) (Second note: lonjiri can also be jirilon, lonnen can also be nenlon, and jirilonnen can be nenlonjiri. If the speaker is of equal or higher rank than the spoken-to or spoken-about, lon comes first and jiri or nen comes second; otherwise, it's switched. Similarly, if the spoken-to is of an equal or higher rank than the spoken-about, jirilonnen is used; otherwise, it's nenlonjiri. A kikeh would say lonjiri [me-with-you] when speaking to his himore [beta], but a jho [packmate] would say jirilon [you-with-me] when speaking to her kikeh [alpha]. Keep in mind that lon is the bridge between pronouns, and the [I] is implied in front of lonjiri and lonnen. In lists, the most important thing comes first, whereas with modifiers, the most important thing is closest to the noun/verb/whatever's being modified.)

Pronouns have nearly as many modifiers as regular subjects. Other than the ever-present ha pluralization modifier, there are indicators of gender. Hes is [male] and da is [female], and they are considered modifiers of utmost importance, second only to title. Keh is a third gender indicator that roughly translates as [other]; it's used to indicate an unknown gender, an atypical gender (a male acting female or vice versa), or a lack of gender in a person or animal. (Note: Inanimate objects, abstract concepts, and most plants do not get the gender modifiers. Only living creatures in whom gender makes a difference get the modifiers, and most animals are not sexually dimorphic, so they don't receive the modifiers. Distinguishing the genders of fish is less important than distinguishing the genders of elk, whose sexes are quite different in possibly-important ways. Gender modifiers are generally not used, even with people, if gender has no bearing on the conversation/situation. Talking about a potential consort would see a gender modifier used, but talking about a potential sparring partner would not.)

There is a special class of modifiers that indicate relationship - between speaker and spoken-to, between spoken-to and spoken-about, or between speaker and spoken-about. (They do go under the heading of pronoun bridges, but they can modify the simple pronouns of jiri and nen as well as lonjiri/jirilon, lonnen/nenlon, and jirilonnen/nenlonjiri.) These pronouns set between factual modifiers (plural, gender) and subjective modifiers ([peaceful], [brave]) right where modifiers like [beloved] go, because these modifiers indicate others' regard for the pronoun. Impassive/factual modifiers include hohziru [higher in rank or skill], nashe [equal in skill or rank; colleague, peer], synasa [lower in rank or skill]; jelora ["new age"; younger], enulora ["old age"; older], relora ["same age"]; oku [sibling], sajhoku [blood-sibling], na [parent], naoku [parent's sibling], nana [parent's parent], jele [mate], ajele [consort, potential mate], fas [offspring], naokufas [cousin], fasfas [grandchildren]. More emotional modifiers include kifula [mind; one whom the speaker likes], otoni [heart; one whom the speaker loves], dehso [tooth; one whom the speaker will protect], zahtih [paw/foot; one whom the speaker will accompany, usually on a hunt], isenu [hand; one with whom the speaker works, trains, crafts, or spars], tufa [jaws; one whom the speaker will claim as its own]. For example: miro zahtih jho Hihtona. [Brave packmate Hihtona with whom I travel/hunt.] (Jho, [packmate], is considered a title, not a modifier. It's not necessary to say all the time, though, unlike kikeh and himore.) A more complicated example would be thus: isihjali dehso jirilonnen. [(I) yell (at/to) you-and-them whom I will protect.] Relationship modifiers not only help distinguish groups apart (jelora jho [younger packmates], isenu oku [sibling with whom I train]), but also convey emotional significance openly. Calling someone otoni within hearing of others lets the others know that you love this person; calling someone tufa within hearing lets others know that you have claimed this person and an affront to them is an affront to you. A flat statement of hes nen epari sajhoku [he is (my) blood-sibling] also can serve to eliminate any doubt. Da nen epari otoni jele. [She is (my) heart-mate / loved mate.] Otherwise, you'd be referring to otoni da nen or jele da nen - [loved woman] or [loved female mate].

As for prepositions, rojh basically comprises the ultimate indistinct preposition, and prepositions that indicate spatial relationships become modifiers to the verb (as in throwing a spear forward) or noun (as in the deer to the left, out a ways). Rojh itself is such a generalized term that it can be used in most cases when an action is being performed for, at, around, against, towards, or involving an object/subject. Rojh's direct translation and specific meaning is derived from context. Compare these two examples. Kikeh Dakaya urameyi mane rojh Jekona ehkinu. [Alpha Dakaya tears (a) weapon away from rival Jekona.] Kikeh Dakaya nojinu mane rojh Jekona ehkinu. [Alpha Dakaya throws (a) weapon at rival Jekona.] The verb serves to indicate precise meaning of rojh, changing it from [away from] to [at]. Spatial prepositions are used when a physical direction is being taken, however; if we wanted to say [alpha Dakaya throws (a) weapon straight ahead at rival Jekona], we'd say kikeh Dakaya ehdolu nojinu mane rojh Jekona ehkinu. Note that rojh remains to indicate the bridge between subject and object, and ehdolu [forward, straight ahead] pops in as a directional modifier to the verb nojinu [throw]. (Note: rojh only bridges direct and indirect objects, never subject and direct object. Compare examples: Kikeh Dakaya fuhde jho Hihtona. [Alpha Dakaya speaks (with/to/at) packmate Hihtona.] Kikeh Dakaya fuhde jho Hihtona rojh Jekona ehkinu. [Alpha Dakaya speaks (with/to/at) packmate Hihtona about rival Jekona.])

There are not articles such as [a] and [the] in Uhjayi. However, when a speaker wishes to emphasize that the subject or object of conversation is the same one that it had mentioned earlier, it uses kehst [that one] in front of the noun to clarify. Jho Hihtona enu liju mane. Kikeh Dakaya taruya kehst mane rojh liseyu. [Packmate Hihtona fixed (a) weapon. Alpha Dakaya uses that weapon in the hunt.]

Questions are formed by the addition of a short word abulo at the beginning of the sentence to indicate the uncertainty of the statement. Abulo kikeh Dakaya isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya yells?] Modifiers can be applied to abulo to indicate a prediction for the answer - jise if the answer is thought to be negative, and sher if the answer is thought to be positive. Jise abulo kikeh Dakaya isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya isn't yelling, is he?] Sher abulo kikeh Dakaya isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya is yelling, right?] The rest of the question is phrased as a normal sentence; there's no switching from [You said what?] to [What did you say?]. Query words like adiru [what/which], kehdiya [who], yondi [when], dikiru [where], ashodi [how], and ihdima [why] take the place of the nouns that would otherwise fill in the blank. For example: Abulo da nen yiha ajhayi yondi. [She will sing when?] Da nen onimuro yiha ajhayi. [She will sing soon.] (Yes, onimuro [soon] modifies the verb and thus comes in front of yiha ajhayi [will sing].)

Speaking of jise and sher, that's also how you affirm or negate a sentence. Jise [not] is placed as a modifier to the verb in a place of high importance (as close to the verb as it can get without coming between it and any tense indicators) to negate the phrase. Kikeh Dakaya yiha isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya will yell.] Kikeh Dakaya jise yiha isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya will not yell.] Sher [yes] is more typically used when answering a question that expected a negative with a positive answer. For example: Jise abulo kikeh Dakaya isihjali. Kikeh Dakaya sher isihjali. [Alpha Dakaya isn't yelling, is he? Actually, alpha Dakaya is yelling.] It serves to place emphasis on the verb and affirm it.

Conjunctions are formed with lon [with]. Inlanlu lon atihresi vafo. [Wolves and cats run.] Lon bridges each item in a list, so it looks like [wolves and cats and bears and snakes], instead of [wolves, cats, bears, and snakes]. Kaz [or] is the disjunction and can separate groups. Inlanlu lon atihresi kaz dosa lon aresa yiha taruya rahalo. [Either wolves and cats or bears and snakes will make use of this place.]

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