The Atlantean Language: Pronouns and other anaphora

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Personal Pronouns

Atlantean’s personal pronouns have an ablative case and a reflexive case in addition to the standard set of noun cases. In the 3rd person singular, there are two gender-neutral forms - the “common” gender (shown as m/f in the table) is used for things that have a gender which is unknown, while the neuter gender is only used for things that don’t have a gender. The 1st person also has separate inclusive and exclusive forms.

Nom Acc Dat Abl Gen Instr Com Voc Refl
1st person sing. a ŋý uŋý misẃ míz ŋaq ŋoci avé ŋýsalý
2nd person sing. su utý sucẃ tíz saq soci suvé týsalý
3rd person m. sing. hǿ hi fíci fihẃ fíz paq poci hǿv hisalý
3rd person f. sing. fíqé qufẃ qaz qaq qoci qáf qésalý
3rd person m/f sing. ǿn ǿni umǿn ǿmẃ níz ǿq óci wmvé ǿnisalý
3rd person n. sing. ti ki fíki fitẃ kíz caq coci tif kisalý
1st person pl. incl. sωaσ sωé sωý miscẃ sωez sωuq sωoci sωavé sωaσsalý
1st person pl. excl. ωé ufý ωiý fez fuq foci fif fésalý
2nd person pl. fy ufǿ ʒucuŋ vwz vaq voci viv fósalý
3rd person pl. ʒwm ʒac ʒó ʒárn ʒafẃ ʒeŋ ʒal ʒig ʒacsalý


There are several sets of correlative pronouns in Atlantean. The interrogative pronouns are of course used for asking questions. The demonstratives (proximal and distal) indicate an object being talked about, similar to “this” or “that”. Existential pronouns are words such as “someone”, elective pronouns have meanings such as “anything”, and universal pronouns mean things such as “always” or “everywhere”. Alternative pronouns have meanings similar to “elsewhere”, and negatory pronouns function like “nothing” or “never”.

The quantity pronouns indicate amount, like “how much”, “that much”, etc. The distance and duration pronouns are similar, but for place and time - for example, “how long”, “this far”, etc.

Interrogative Proximal Distal Existential Elective Universal Alternative Negatory
Person hali crazmo crazcá ílucrazi nácraznu crazlá
Object cóni ici icá σleŋmo σleŋcá íluσleŋi náσleŋnu σleŋlá
Quantity lóni áci ácá
Place tymi iti itá záldimo záldicá íluzáldi názáldinu σleŋlá
Distance rymi áti átá
Time péni ipi ipá qálumo qálucá íluqálu náqálunu qálulá
Duration léni ápi ápá
Manner qáλi áqi áqá ŋémo ŋécá íluŋé náŋénu ŋélá
Reason ξáλi áξi áξá ψómo ψócá íluψó náψónu ψólá

There are a lot of patterns in the correlatives, which I’m not going to describe; you can see them fairly clearly from the table. All the correlative pronouns are also regular - the forms shown are nominative singular, and plurals and other cases are obtained by regular rules.

To form a plural correlative pronoun, the prefix s(i)- is used. The (i) is required before h, σ, z, and q. To form a case other than the nominative, use the following suffixes:

Accusative -m
Dative -t
Ablative -d
Genitive -l
Instrumental -s
Comitative -f

The manner and reason correlatives are adverbs, not nouns, so they don’t inflect for plurality and case.

Relative Pronouns

The relative pronouns use the same core phonemes as the correlatives (ie crazi, σleŋi, záldi, qálu, ŋé, ψó respectively for person, object, place, time, manner and reason). However, they work quite a bit differently; in particular, they inflect twice for case, once indicating their role in the main clause and once indicating their role in the subclause they’re attached to.

The affixes for case on relative pronouns are summarized in the following table; the core phonemes mentioned above are the roots to which these affixes are applied. Notice that there’s no ablative or vocative case in the relative pronouns.

Main Clause Subordinate Clause
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative -d -dƴen lu- slu-
Accusative -ld -dƴíl zƴu- sƴu-
Dative -dz -dƴuín da- sida-
Genitive -þaz ŋlu- sŋlu-
Instrumental -σan ka- ska-
Comitative -nd -du i- si-

The fact that number is indicated twice creates a potential situation where the pronoun can be both singular and plural. If it’s marked plural for the main clause but singular for the subordinate clause, it could be translated by constructions such as “one of which”. If it’s marked singular for the main clause but plural for the subordinate clause, though, I’m not sure if there’s a construct in English that can translate it.

I’ll probably make a post about relative clauses later with some examples. However, as a quick example of forming a relative pronoun - in the sentence “he dropped a pin when she startled him”, the base word is “qálu” since it relates to time. The subordinate clause modifies the object of the main clause which is in accusative case, so the relative pronoun must also be in accusative case; thus the suffix -ld is applied. In the subordinate clause, it specifies when she startled him, which requires dative case, so the prefix da- is applied. The resulting relative pronoun is “daqáluld”.

Adjectival Anaphora

There is one word that serves as an adjectival anaphora, similar to “so” in English constructs like “He is less so than her”. It’s a spectrum adjective (what this means will be covered in a later post); the root form is “célím”.

Verbal Anaphora

There is a full verb, tásuré, which functions as a verbal anaphora for any verb. It can be used in the active voice to mean something like “I did so”, or in the passive voice something like “I was done so to”, meaning the action the anaphora refers to was done to the speaker. It can also be used in the reciprocal voice (where it would mean roughly “I did so to myself”), though this is rare. Functionally, it is an intransitive verb, despite being allowed in all three voices.

Sentence Anaphora

There are five words in £éŋωi that can be described as sentence anaphora: two affirmatives, two rebuttals, and a generic anaphora.

The word hó is used to affirm a question phrased negatively, while ƴá affirms a question framed positively. The word ni is used to rebut a positive question, while dyk rebuts a negative question.

For example, the question “Are you going home?” would be answered with yá if you’re going home or ni if you’re not, while the question “Aren’t you going home?” would be answered with hó if you’re going home or dyk if you’re not.

The fifth sentence anaphora, ωá, is a general form used to refer back to something that has been said. It functions like a noun, declines regularly according to 3rd declension rules, and roughly means “what was said”. It’s typically used with a genitive modifier to specify who said the thing being referred back to. In the vocative case, it generally appears alone (with or without a genitive) as a general expression of agreement.

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