Language Building: Verbs

It’s been a long time since I posted anything about my conlangs (I think it’s been almost two years!) but I have still been working on them, and I have some updates on the language I’ve been creating here on the blog. First, I don’t know if I’ve shared it yet, but the language has a name! 

*Cue cheering from all the characters who didn’t know what to call the language they spoke.*

The speakers of the language call it Rancarde, and non-native speakers discussing Rancarde in their own language call it Polian.

The language name was difficult to come up with. In retrospect, I probably should have chosen a country with more naming options. My choices were slim. Polishirish? Too clunky. Poli? A bit strange. Polish? Taken. Shirish? Hmm…

Eventually I settled on Rancarde as a portmanteau of the ancient Aerdyan term for language and the Rancarde verb that means to speak or to say. And since language are often called very different things by those who speak them and those who don’t, I wanted to give it an unrelated name that would have been bestowed upon it by random travelers who stumbled upon Polishire’s shores. For this, I looked to suffixes that are often added to form language names.

Some common language name suffixes are:

-ic ex. Slavic

-ese ex. Japanese

-ish ex. English

-an ex. Russian

As you can tell in the examples above, adding most of these suffixes resulted in things that sounded strange (to me) or too much like copyright infringement. But I liked the -an suffix, so I went with that.

The second element is verb tenses. I know I promised I’d write about this “next week” in my previous language blog post, but this is next week to someone, right? No? Ok, my apologies. 

There are several options for verb tenses. Here’s a great resource with examples of English tenses. But not all languages represent tenses the same way. Some conjugate all verbs to represent past, present, future, and the varying verb forms. Some rely on the context of the sentence to provide the information tense would provide. And some conjugate some verbs and use modals for others (English does this).

Anyway, when developing the verbs and conjugations for Rancarde, I decided that I wanted all the verbs to have a stem form that ended in -a. That -a is dropped when the verb is conjugated and a suffix indicating tense and person is added. The only difference is with the future tense, which functions with a modal and a verb stem like English.

These are the suffixes:

PresentPastFuture (modal)Present ParticiplePast Participle
First Person Sing.auandaubetato be + au + le + stemto be + past + le +stem
First Person Pl.atandatbetato be + at + le + stemto be + past + le +stem
Second Person Sing.meandmebetato be + me + le + stemto be + past + le +stem
Second Person Pl.ilandilbetato be + il + le + stemto be + past + le +stem
Third Person Sing.kaandkabetato be + ka + le + stemto be + past + le +stem
Third Person Pl.evandevbetato be + ev + le + stemto be + past + le +stem

So in practice, the verb “carda”, which means to speak or to say, would be conjugated like this:

I speak- Ya cardau

They spoke- Dess cardandev

You are speaking- Nie iannme lecarda

She will speak- Sie beta carda

Of course, it’s not perfect or anywhere near finished, but I’m happy so far.

What do you think of the names? Would you have picked any of the other options?

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