copyright © 1997-1999 Dennis Paul Himes


Morphemes and Parts of Speech

There are eight types of morphemes in Gladilatian, nouns, adjectives, relatives, conjunctions, prepositions, attributes, states, and suffixes. Of these, all but suffixes are considered parts of speech. A suffix is considered a converter which changes an occurrence of a part of speech into a related occurrence of a possibly different part of speech.

A noun, adjective, or relative can stand alone as a word. A conjuction consists of two or more words. Prepositions, attributes, and states are prefixes.

Note that there are no verbs, although there is an implicit "to be" in every sentence. Thoughts expressed as verbs in English are treated a number of ways in Gladilatian. For "I build that," Gladilatian says, "I [am] the builder of that." For "It is changing," "It [is] a changing one." For "I see you," "I [am] the user of sight directed at you."


Nouns correspond to English nouns and pronouns. Every Gladilatian sentence has at least two nouns (at least one in informal speech), and a Gladilatian sentence may consist of only nouns.

An important noun to know is u, which is used as a general placeholder when the grammar calls for a noun but one is not really needed. If it is translated at all it is usually translated as something like "something".


Adjectives modify nouns or other adjectives. When modifying nouns they correspond to English adjectives, and when modifying other adjectives they correspond to English adverbs.


Relatives correspond to English relative pronouns. The general relative is ep, but it is rarely used. The two most common are:
mep "who/which is intrinsically"
zep "who/which is temporarily"


A conjunction consists of two or more words which tie together two or more grammatical units of the same type. The conjunction as a whole fills the same place in a sentence as the type of grammatical unit it holds together. Conjunctions may be nested, theoretically to any level. An example of a conjuntion is: (curly brackets denote words which can occur any number of times, including zero)
za unit1 {za unit2} we unit3 "unit1 {and unit2} and unit3"

All conjunctions are of the same form in that they have one word preceeding the last unit being conjoined and another word preceeding each of the other units.


Prepositions correspond to English prepositions. A preposition is prefixed to the noun it governs.


Attributes are prefixes which modify nouns, adjectives, and relatives. There is some overlap between adjectives and attributes, but attributes are generally used for more fundamental properties, and are how Gladilatian expresses ideas which in English are expressed by gender, number, and tense.


States are prefixes which modify any parts of speech. When a state modifies a conjunction it is prefixed to the first word of the conjunction only.

Every state ends with a whistle. A state will become part of the first syllable of the morpheme it's modifying unless that would violate the morphological rules or the state is being emphasized.

Some important states are mr, "not", sl, "very", and ny which means that the speaker is questioning the modified morpheme. There are also several states which are used to express mood.


Suffixes are used to convert nouns, adjectives, attributes, and states into related nouns and adjectives. For example ot is the abstractor, converting the noun esnfe "human" into the noun esnfeot "humanity" and the adjective wla "dark" into wlaot "darkness".

Rules of Grammar


This section gives definitions of the different grammatical units used in Gladilatian along with semantic interpretations of them.

The following notation is used in this section:

unit: definition
"Definition" gives the structure of "unit" in terms of other units and parts of speech.
zero or one occurrence of a unit
zero or more occurrences of a unit (theoretically any number)
unit1 and unit2 occurring as part of the same word

These are the definitions. Some of them may seem circular, but any circularity involves the inclusion of optional units and should be considered a recursive definition.

sentence: independent_phrase independent_phrase
There is an understood "is" connecting the two independent phrases. The sentence is the basic unit of Gladilatian grammar. In formal Gladilatian everything is a part of a sentence. In informal Gladilatian one phrase is sometimes left out, understood by context to be something along the lines of "the subject at hand" or "the answer to your question".
independent phrase: [prepositional_phrase] [relative_phrase] [adjectival] nominal
The prepositional phrase, relative phrase, and adjectival all modify the nominal. There may be only one of each. If one wants to modify a nominal by more than one of any of these then one must use a conjunction, as explained below.
prepositional phrase: [prepositional_phrase] [relative_phrase] [adjectival] prepositional
The prepositional phrase, relative phrase, and adjectival all modify the prepositional. There may be only one of each. If one wants to modify a prepositional by more than one of any of these then one must use a conjunction, as explained below. If a series of prepositionals appear with no conjunctions they are to be interpreted as nested prepositional phrases.
relative phrase: [{state}+preposition]+{{state}+attribute}+{state}+relative independent_phrase
The basic meaning of a relative phrase without a preposition is "which is (independent phrase)". The basic meaning of a relative phrase with a preposition is "(preposition) which (independent phrase) is". The states and attributes prepended and the exact relative used will modify this meaning.
prepositional: {state}+preposition+nominal
The basic meaning of a prepositional is the same as an English preposition together with the noun it governs. Modifiers of a prepositional modify its nominal. Note that an attribute cannot modify a preposition, but the same effect can be achieved using the construction {attribute}+relative preposition+nominal u.
adjectival: [adjectival] {{state}+attribute}+{state}+adjective
An adjectival has the meaning of its adjective as modified by the states and attributes prepended. If another adjectival appears as the first unit it should be interpreted adverbally. Any adjectival may have only one other adjectival as a subunit. If one wants to modify a adjective by more than one adjectival then one must use a conjunction, as explained below. If a series of adjectives appear with no conjunctions they are to be interpreted as nested adjectivals.
nominal: {{state}+attribute}+{state}+noun
An nominal has the meaning of its noun as modified by the states and attributes prepended.


Gladilatian grammar has four rules, the first of which is relaxed in informal registers.

  1. All Gladilatian consists of sentences.
  2. Any word or unit may be replaced by a conjunction which connects words or units of the same type.
  3. A conjunction may have states attached to it, in which case the states are prepended to the first word of the conjunction.
  4. The words xra and xe with anything in between them may fill the role of a noun. States and attributes may be prepended to xra and suffixes appended to xe as if xra, xe, and the words between them were one noun. This is used for quoting.

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