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Zhyler Noun Classes

Like sands in the hour glass: So are the Zhyler noun classes. 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 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--before she went country). 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

Definition

I

pal

-kB

palka

one who wears something

IV

pal

-mOs

palmos

barracuda

V

pal

-dI

paldÿ

professional model

VIII

pal

-kIz

palkÿz

snake, serpent

IX

pal

-mAl

palmal

beetle

X

pal

-lRr

paller

cloth

XII

pal

-šJ

palša

dress, suit, outfit

XIII

pal

-jE

palja

wardrobe

XIV

pal

-Al

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".

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".

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".

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".

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".

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".

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".

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".

Class IX: -mAl

What a world: Insects get their own class. Welp: Here they are: balakmal "hornet"; valmal "ant"; ezmel "snail".

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".

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"; sheyðe "love"; erðe "linguistics".

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".

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".

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".

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".

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".

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".

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

VIX

-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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