A little bit of Lisnäit 6 – Compound words and borrowings

When I wrote the posts about Lisnäit nouns and verbs, I explained how sïräisa words (those derived from triconsonantal roots) worked. However, there are more kinds of words whose inflection is a bit different. Today, I’ll speak about them, which are mainly compound and foreign words.

If a word doesn't come from a Lisnäit triconsonantal roots, it's considered to be an <usräsa>


Many Lisnäit compound words simply consist of two words stacked one after the other. ‘ekusgauloyï, Lisnäit for ‘to swim’, is an example of this. It’s composed of ‘ekus (in the water) and gauloyï (go, move), so it’s meaning could be said to be ‘to move (oneself) in the water’.

The ‘head word’ (this is, the one with the main meaning) is always the last one:

‘ekus (in the water) + gauloyï  (to move) → ‘ekusgauloyï (to swim)
gauloyï  (to move) + ‘ekus (in the water) → *gauloyï’ekus (in the move-water)

Only the last part is inflected. The conjugation/declension pattern is the same as if it had been isolated:

‘ekusgauloyï =to swim
‘ekusgalay = swim/swims
sämrotärad = sand
sämrotäerod = from every kind of sand

TR and MN suffixes

TR and MN are used for objects (TR) or people (MN) which perform a given action or have a given characteristic, thus being similar to English -er as in doer.

The word ‘prisoner’ can be expressed in two ways: räman äktälu (which literally means ‘person in a prison) or kïtälumäna (prisoner), the word kïtalu (in a prison) + MN.

Words formed by adding these suffixes work very much like root+root words (see above). Only the last part (the suffix itself) is inflected:

kïtalumäina – prisoners
kïtalumenaub – along a group of prisoners

However, these suffixes have two different forms: äman/mäna and ätar/tära. The former are used if the main word ends with a consonant whereas the latter are used if it ends with a vowel.

faunorkï (light a fire) + TR → fauunorkätar (lighter)
raukso (cut) + TR → rauksotära (‘cutter’, anything one may use to cut something)
kïtalu (in a prison) + MN → kïtalumäna (prisoner)
saukot (write) + MN → soukatäman (writer)

H Suffix – to be

I have already mentioned this one in my previous post on Lisnäit. This suffix (which can also be used as a verb on its own) is conjugated as if it was *auho, with the exception that the first vowel may be left out if it is an a.se como un verbo independiente) en el post anterior sobre el Lisnäit.

fänar (fire) → fänarauho (“be fire”,in present tense it is fänarha, not *fänaraha).

This suffix is not to be confused with the passive voice marker e-.

‘aumpo = to love
e’aumpo =  to be loved (not *‘aumpoauho)



säkad (body) + ke (behind) → säkadke (back)
hau (together) + gauloyï (go/come/move) → hau-gauloyï (come together)

In compound words, particles usually go after nouns (säkad+ke) and before verbs (hau+gauloyï), but there are exceptions to this ‘rule’ (for example hau-gälayï ‘meeting’ which comes from hau-gauloyï).

If the particle goes at the end, the word is written with no spaces nor dashes. On the other hand, if the particle is at the start, a dash is used.

As for inflection, the particle is ignored:

säikeidketou = towards their backs
hau-galuiyïda = we will come together some day

Foreign words and proper names

Non-Lisnäit words work in a somewhat different way. As I explained in the previous post, these kind of words must be marked with the prefix A- and must end in consonant. Let’s consider the word Atokyo’ (the Lisnäit word for Tokyo)…

Proper names are seldom used in plural, so they are only marked for case (what would be the second vowel in a regular noun):

Atokyo’o goluysa = You will be coming (back) from Tokyo.
Atokyo’u = In Tokyo.

If the vowel is a or ä, it can be omitted:

Atokyo’ ‘amap läikin = Atokyo’ä ‘amap läikin = Tokyo loves lights.

Foreign words in singular are treated very much in the same way as proper names:

Arobot = Robot
Arobotu = In a robot

However, if the number is not singular, both a number mark and a case mark are added (separated by a ).

Arobatae’ou = Of all the robots
Arobotäi’ä bogrï rakas Atokyo’i = Giant robots destroy Tokyo.

Verbs work in the same way:

Arobotai’ä aboikoto’u Atokyo’i = Robots boycotted Tokyo (aboikotau’o = to boycott).

However, Lisnäit texts tend to replace these foreign words with native words of similar meaning. A Lisnäit speaker would be more likely to say the following:

Mïkäinä irostu ‘eiliktou umu Atokyo’au = Robots/automatic_machines will keep their money far from (a collocation which is similar in meaning to to boycott) Tokyo.

Exception: Names which obviously come from Lisnäit words

If a proper name comes from a Lisnäit noun, there are two equally valid ways to decline it:

  1. To decline it as a foreign word or any other proper name
  2. To decline it as a native word

The name of the language itself can be used as an example: Alisnäit:

Lisnäit’s = Alisnäitou or Alisnot
In Lisnäit (instrumental case, literally with Lisnäit) = Alisnäitui or Alisnuit
For the Lisnäits (the use of the plural form in actual speech is unlikely) = *Alisnäitäi’e or Aliasnet

That’s been today’s little bit of Lisnäit. In the next one, I’ll talk about Lisnäit number system. See you!


Posted on 2011/10/29, in English, Lisnäit (en). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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