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What are words in Pandunia grammar?


One of the first things that a person notices about Pandunia is that its words don't ever change. Most words in Pandunia have one unchanging form, which does not change according to number, case, gender, tense, mood or any of the other inflectional categories known from other languages. Compare, for example, what happens to the words in the following two sentences in Pandunia and English.

  1. mi ame da. – I love him.
  2. da ame mi. – He loves me.

In Pandunia, the subject and object simply change places and that's it. All words stay the same, and only their order changes. In contrast, in English, the subject I changes to me when it becomes the object, the object him changes to he when it becomes the subject, and the verb love changes to loves in order to agree with the new subject. Changes like this are called grammatical inflections, and languages that use them are called inflected languages.

Languages with very few grammatical inflections are known as isolating languages. Pandunia is one of those languages Tt is free from all grammatical inflections, but it goes even futher. Pandunia words are multipurpose words that can be used as nouns, verbs or adjectives without any changes in the form of words. So you don't have to worry about using incorrect forms. This is one of the reasons why Pandunia is easier to learn and more convenient to use than other languages.

What is important is the order of words because grammatical relationships are encoded into the word order, not into words. However, the word order in Pandunia is very natural, so it is easy to learn.

Pandunia is so simple that we don't need specialized or complicated words to describe how it works. That's why all things in this grammar are explained in plain words and basic terms that you have probably already learned in school. And don't worry if you don't remember some of them, all terms are explained when they are met for the first time.

Analytic and isolating

Pandunia is an analytic language. It means that different parts of a sentence (like subject, verb and object) are independent, they are not fused together into single words like in synthetic languages, and their relationships are encoded into the word order, not into words. Therefore the order of words is very important in Pandunia.

Pandunia is also an isolating language. Grammatical information, like case, gender, number and tense, is not encoded into words by affixation, inflection or any other means. In fact, words don't ever change in Pandunia. So when one wants to express a new meaning or a nuance, one can't do that by modifying the words. One can express more things only by using more words or different words. For example, the verb lai ('to come') is changed to the past tense by adding a word that means the past: pas lai ('came' or 'to come in the past').

Content words and structure words

A word class is a group of words that have similar forms and similar use in sentences. In Pandunia, word classes belong to two superclasses: content words and structure words. Content words are the words for things in the real world. The job of structure words is to bind content words into meaningful phrases. They have little meaning or only an occasional meaning in the world outside the language.

Content words convey most of information and meaning. You can't say anything meaningful without them, but they don't make any sense without structure words, which are the necessary words for grammar. You need structure words to put content words together into more or less complex sentences. Content words are like bricks of information and structural words are like the mortar that holds them together.

In Pandunia, it is easy to identify structure words because they always consist of only one syllable. Content words, on the other hand, are typically longer. Structure words are best explained in the grammar, whereas content words are translated in the dictionary.

Word classes

Structure words can be categorized into word classes as follows:

  1. Pronouns : words that point to people and things.
  2. Prepositions : words that relate things and actions into circumstances
  3. Conjunctions : words that join phrases together

Content words can be classified further into the following word classes:

  1. Nouns : words for things, ideas, places and people.
  2. Adjectives : words for qualities of nouns, such as good, bad, and big.
  3. Adverbs : words that describe degrees of qualities, such as less, more and very.
  4. Numerals : words for numbers and amounts.
  5. Verbs : words for actions and occurrences, such as to eat and to look.

However, the class of a content word is seldom permanent. A word like ame ('love') can function as verb, noun or adjective depending on its position in the sentence.

mi ame tu. – I love you. (verb)
tu fikre mi su ame. – You think about my love. (noun)
mi kitabe un ame angil. – I write a love letter. (adjective)