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This page deals with the grammar of Belter Creole, also known as lang Belta.

Typologically, Belter is an analytic language. Rather than inflections, it primarily uses separate words to build grammatical constructions, such as prepositions and auxiliary verbs, and the meaning of a sentence depends strongly on word order. However, it does use compounding and some suffixes for deriving new words. For example, the -lowda suffix is used to form plural pronouns (see below).

Nouns Edit

Plurals Edit

Generally, nouns are not inflected for number; a singular noun has the same form as a plural one. For example, maliwala can mean either "child" or "children", depending on context. Plurality is determined in other ways: the presence of quantifiers, numerals, or simply inferred from context.[1] The exception is pronouns, which do have distinct plural forms (see Pronouns below).

Compounds Edit

Nouns may be used attributively to modify other nouns, forming a compound noun. Unlike in English, where the modifier typically precedes the word being modified, in lang Belta the head noun goes first and the one modifying it follows afterwards:

diye beref
day att.birth
birthday
bap kuxaku
door att.vacuum
airlock

Articles Edit

The definite article is da:[2]

mi du mowteng fo da dzhush
1sg do need for def juice
I need the juice.[3]

Definite articles are used before a person's name in some cases, e.g. da Mila for "Miller".

Belter displays definiteness agreement, similar to that found in Greek or Hebrew. That is, when a noun is marked with da, any attributive nouns or adjectives applied to that noun must also be so marked:[4]

livit Belta "Belter life" → da livit da Belta "the Belter life"
setara mali "little star" → da setara da mali "the little star"

The indefinite article is wa:

tenye wa diye beref gut
have ndef day birth good
Have a happy birthday![5]

Quantifiers Edit

walowda

wamali

Derivation Edit

mang

ting

wala

Pro-forms Edit

This is a (possibly incomplete) chart of pronouns, pro-adverbs and determiners, arranged in a convenient table-of-correlatives format.

de
that
ke
which, what
kowl
all, every
na
no
mang
person
demang
that person
kemang
who?
kowmang
everyone
namang
nobody
pelésh
place
depelésh
there
kepelésh
where?
kowpelésh
everywhere
*napelésh
nowhere
tim
time
detim
then
ketim
when?
kowltim
always
natim
never
ting
thing
deting
that thing
keting
what?
kowlting
everything
nating
nothing
we
way, means
dewe
that way
kewe
how?
*kowlwe
every way
nawe
no way

Pronouns Edit

singular plural
1st mi milowda
2nd to tolowda
3rd im imalowda, imim

sif

beltalowda

inyalowda

Adjectives Edit

Adjectives are placed after the nouns they modify:

kapawu fash "fast ship"
setara mali "little star"

Adverbs Edit

Prepositions Edit

ere

fo

fong

wit / nawit

Conjunctions Edit

unte

o

amash

Verbs Edit

Tense Edit

ta

gonya

Aspect Edit

ando

finyish

tili

Mood Edit

mebi

fosho

mogut fo

mowsh

deng fo

Serial verbs Edit

Light verbs Edit

du

Negation Edit

na

Numbers Edit

Below are the words for basic numbers.[6]

number word combining form
0 nada
1 wang
2 tu
3 serí
4 fu
5 faf fáve-
6 sikesh síkese-
7 seng sénge-
8 et éte-
9 nang nánge-
10 teng
100 xanya

Multiples of 10 or 100 are formed by appending teng or xanya to the combining form of the multiplier, with the stress remaining on the multiplier:

number word number word
10 teng 100 xanya
20 tuteng 200 túxanya
30 seriteng 300 seríxanya
40 futeng 400 fúxanya
50 fáveteng 500 fávexanya
60 síkeseteng 600 síkesexanya
70 séngeteng 700 séngexanya
80 éteteng 800 étexanya
90 nángeteng 900 nángexanya

Numbers with values in both the ones and tens place are composed in little-endian order, joined by un:

18 = et-un-teng ("eight and ten")
81 = wang-un-éteteng ("one and eight tens")

If there is a hundreds place, it comes before the ones-and-tens place terms:[7]

246 = túxanya sikesh-un-futeng

When used attributively, numbers come before the noun they count, as in English.[8]

serí buk – three books

Sentence structure Edit

Word order Edit

SVO

Zero copula Edit

mi nadzhush
1sg tired
I'm tired.

Forming questions Edit

Any sentence can be turned into a yes–no question by ending it with the interrogative particle ke:

To showxa lang Belta. You speak Belter.
To showxa lang Belta ke? Do you speak Belter?

The related tag question keyá also makes a sentence into a yes–no question, but one which expects agreement:

Da Rosi im kapawu fash, keyá?
The Roci is a fast ship, isn't it?

Sentences containing the ke-based interrogative words kemang, kepelésh, ketim, keting, or kewe do not need the trailing ke.

Kepelésh shapu to, Mila?
Where's your hat, Miller?

References


See also Edit

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