This week’s Thursday post is a very late Friday post due to some unforeseen personal drama.
Codon is a language I am currently inventing based (loosely) off the rules governing RNA. It consists of a 64-word vocabulary. This week, we flesh out our grammar a little. Next week we’ll finish up with a writing system.
The full vocabulary of Codon is available for free: Codon Vocab. (Note: “uccuag” should be “either”, not “in”. I haven’t gone in and changed it yet.)
The word order of Codon is as follows:
START — SUBJECT — VERB — DIRECT OBJECT — INDIRECT OBJECT — END/TENSE
Words are compounded to the power of three: you can have a single word, a compound of three words, a compound of nine words… Etc. This is written out in English (for lack of the writing system) as follows:
Where the apostrophe separates words in three-long-compounds and the quotation marks separate three-long compounds from the longer compound. The longer the compound, the more marks you add. Ex., if the number of words in the compound is 3^4, you’d have…
This is a completely legitimate compound word structure in Codon. I just don’t want to have to think up a word that long for the purposes of review.
You may notice, though: this completely leaves out our adjectives and adverbs. So this week we’ll make our sentences a little more colorful.
We covered these back in Part Three, but a reminder: adjectives are “describing words”. Our most important adjective in Codon is ucagga, the adjective modifier: it’s added to a noun to tell us that noun describes another noun. How is that going to work in our already established rules?
An adjective, we’ll say, will come before the noun it describes, like this:
START — ADJECTIVE — SUBJECT — VERB — DIRECT OBJECT — ADJECTIVE — END/TENSE
With our words that are straight-up adjectives (ucagcu/new, ucaguc/great, etc.), this is pretty straightforward. You just drop it in there like a conjunction or a pronoun and that’s that. But what do we do with our modifier? How do we make an adjective?
Just drop it in like you would a straight-up adjective, and follow it up with the noun you want to adjectivize. For example:
cugacu agucu’gacucu’agcuuc gaucag cuagag ucagga aggaga’uccucu’agcuga aggauc’agcuag’aggacu”aggauc’aggauc’aggaga”gacuga’agucag’gagaag
Translation: I “be-in-good”(live) at the “place-not-multitude” (lonely) “three(binary)-set:one-place-world-:of-spectrum-expending energy” (Planet Earth).
Still very vague, but it works. Also, I just realized that I somehow ended up with two words for “in”, one as a conjunction and one as a determiner. That is unnecessary, so I’ll go back and change “uccuag” into “either” in the older posts. I’ll change the vocab sheets later.
Adverbs can follow the same rules as adjectives, but in relation to verbs instead of nouns:
START — SUBJECT — VERB — ADVERB— DIRECT OBJECT — END/TENSE
Our adverbs also function as question words, so we can work them in with the following:
START — QUESTION WORD — SUBJECT — VERB — DIRECT OBJECT — END/TENSE
Lastly, our sentences aren’t usually made of just one idea. Human speech is organic: all sorts of little ideas like to pepper our sentences with extra information. This sentence, which includes a clause right here, is a good example of that.
There are two types of clauses in English: independent clauses and dependent clauses. In an independent clause, two complete sentences are joined. That’s where we use our conjunctions: “This sentence is complete AND it has a clause.” The clause in that sentence has a subject (“it”) and a verb (“has”) and even a direct object (“a clause”).
Dependent clauses, though, are a little more complicated. Dependent clauses are partial thoughts, bits of information we tack into a sentence for the purpose of… well, making things interesting. Example: “This sentence, having a clause, is complete.” The phrase “having a clause” doesn’t make a grammatically complete sentence.
So. Word order. For independent clauses, we can simply do this:
START — SUBJECT — VERB — DIRECT OBJECT — CONJUNCTION — CLAUSE PHRASE — END/TENSE
Problem: what happens if the tense of the clause is different from the rest of the sentence? We can use the conjunction to solve that problem. The conjunction can form a three-word compound with the following structure:
In this case, the compound means that the main sentence is ending, but it continues into a phrase. The final end word will determine the tense of the independent clause.
Dependent clauses can use a similar method. Rather than only seeing one compound, though, dependent clauses will be framed in that compound, much like they’re framed with commas in English.
One more post left!
Doubtless there are a ton of things I left out here, and please feel free to point them all out in the comments below. This project has been amazingly fun: I’ll try to get up a cheat sheet for grammar next week. And I’ll get that bit of vocabulary fixed in the downloadable file.
Next week we cover the writing system.