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LATIAN LANGUAGE BASICS
BASICA DE LINGUAN LAŢA

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A few basic observations about Latian phonology and syntax

Graphemes and rudimentary phonology / orthography

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— This section is primarily for non-Latiophones. Next text in Latian: click here.
É destinata iţa secţi primariter adve non-laţofons. Proxim text laţ: clica ici.

  1. A E I O U. Vowels normally have full value and are not dropped or reduced to 'UH' (schwab) except for cases of unaccentuated E-s, as explained under 'E reductions', below.
  2. Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū. Macrons indicate a vowel lengthening, e.g. from a to ā , o to ō, etc. They do not normally signal a change in vowel quality.
  3. ă ĕ ĭ ŏ ŭ. Breve marks can be occasionally used to distinguish the duration and quality of a vowel, as in the difference between the 'U' in, on the one hand, bubbla (= 'bubble'), trŭbel (='trouble', sometimes written trubbel), or rubbel (also rŭbel = 'rubble') and, on the other hand, rūbel (Russian currency) or būbu (=owl).
  4. Á É Í Ó Ú. Acute accents indicate dynamic stress rather than length or pitch in order [1] to distinguish between, say, íu ('ee-oo') and ('you'), or between úi ("oo-ee") and ("we"); or [2] to indicate an exceptional stress position, e.g. resolví equaţin (= I solved the equation [aorist]) vs. la resolvi (= you [sing.] are solving it [pres.]). Stress falls most commonly on the penultimate syllable of multisyllable words, as in '[tu] resolvi' (no 'ó', no acute accent needed on the 'o').
  5. C behaves as in French and Latin-American Spanish: unvoiced S before E and I, else as K (see Q, below), not as in Italian ('TCH') or Castillian ('TH').
  6. Ç is always a voiceless S.
  7. E reductions. A final unaccentuated E can be either reduced to a short 'UH' (schwab), or to a very short 'E', or else it can be silent, e.g. hōm or home (=man), hōms or homes (=men). In this case it works a bit like French's "E muet" (see "E-n mut laţ: tendenses recentes in linguan quotidiana de yuvens urbans" in Annais de Recercan Linguistica, 15: 92-104; Cooperativen de Presses Humanisticas, Universitá Popular Macayana, 2077). The 'E-s' in hōmen or homen (=the man) and hōmsen (=the men) are usually very short or reduced to schwab, but they are not silent.
  8. E intrusions. A schwab or short E can be introduced to make a difficult consonant cluster more palatable, e.g. apartment pronounced as ‘ apartement ’ (see -MENT, below).
  9. G behaves as in Italian: it sounds like English 'J' ('June, July') before E and I, but is hard before A, O, U and consonants (see Ĝ), not as in French (see J) or Spanish ('KH').
  10. Ĝ is always hard G, like GU in French "guerre" or GH in Italian "ghiaccio", e.g. linguan portuĝesa.
  11. GN is usually pronounced 'Ñ' as in 'mañana'. The sound is most commonly written ny, e.g. campanya.
  12. H is traditionally silent. It was retained as scribal distinguisher (e.g. ho as 'I have' vs. o as 'or') or as an etymological remnant (e.g. hilariter, horizont, adhesiv). However, with the strong influence of English and Swedish in the country, H has become increasingly audible.
  13. J is basically 'ZH', like Russian Ж, or Czech Ž or as J in French, not as in English, Italian or Spanish.
  14. -MENT: Latians find this suffix clumsy and drop the final 'NT' while slightly nasalising the 'E', e.g. apartment > “ a'partemę ” (almost "apartemeng").
  15. Q without U is always K. QU is always KW. Single Q replaces C to produce K sound before I and E, e.g. reacţi típica ('typical reaction') but tipíqiter ('typically').
  16. R is a short alveoral trill, not guttural (like native Francophones), not rhotic (native Anglophones).
  17. S is unvoiced but can sometimes sound like 'Z' if between two adjacent vowels. SS is always unvoiced.
  18. Ţ is 'TS'.
  19. TX is '[T]CH' as in loanwords like txēr (=chair), bitx (bitch).
  20. X is 'SH' by default (e.g. axensor [=lift/elevator]), but is in many cases pronounced 'KS' (e.g. Taxi ('tacsi'), exempel ('ecsempel'), extra ('ecstra'), text ('tecst'), xenofob ('csenofób')). A single underlined X — X — is occasionally used to underline (hoho!) that the X is pronounced 'KS', e.g. taxi. A separate text (KS) explaining (explicar: SH) this orthographic confusion does not yet exist (zistár Z!).
  21. Y is quasi-consonantal, as in 'you', not vocallic as in 'Why?' or 'synergy'.
  22. Z is a voiced S (/z/), not 'TS' nor 'DZ nor 'TH'.
  23. K and W are not in the Latian alphabet. However, like Å Ä Æ Ö Ø Œ Ü, they do occur in loanwords. Note that the abbreviation of qilómetres is 'km' and 'kg' of qilogram.

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A few random oddities

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— This section is primarily intended for non-Latiophones. Next text in Latian: click here.
É destinata iţa secţi primariter adve non-laţofons. Proxim text laţ: clica ici.

  1. Nouns can be masculine or feminine but it's usually impossible to tell the correct gender from the noun's ending, e.g. um problema (m), una man (f = hand), una muyer (f), un hōm (m), una mapa (f.= map), un liber (m.= book)
  2. Plurals are formed by adding -s or -es to the singular form of the noun. e.g. problemas (m), mans (f), muyeres (f), homs (m), mapas (f), libres (books).
        NB. Nouns and adjectives whose singular form ends in a vowel take a simple 'S' to form the plural (e.g. mapa / mapas).
  3. The 'E' in /-es endings is rarely pronounced in everyday speech and can be dropped in writing too, unless the singular form of the noun ends in 'J', 'L', 'R', 'S', 'Ţ', 'X', 'Z' or in a consonant cluster impeding easy addition of the unvoiced S without an intervening vowel. For example, homs (men), mans (hands), nens (children), microbs (microbes), tonics (tonics or keynotes) are OK plurals but NOT fronts, marcs, muyers: instead you have to say/write frontes, marqes, muyeres because they roll better off the Latian tongue.
  4. Freestanding definite articles are uncommon. Latian prefers the Scandinavian model of definite articles as suffixes to the noun. A final 'N' (if the noun ends in a vowel) or 'EN' is simply attached to the end of the noun. There is no need for gender agreement, e.g. probleman (m. the problem), manen (f. the hand), muyeren (f. the woman), homen (m. the man), mapan (f. the map), libren (m. the book), leiblen (m. the label).
  5. Singular nouns ending -er or -el metathesise in the definite and plural forms, e.g. liber > libren/libres/libresen (book, the book, books, the books); leibel > leiblen/leibles/leiblesen; meter > metres; also regul > reglen, regles, reglesen (rule, the rule, rules, the rules).
  6. Adjectives ending -el or -er also metathesise, e.g. legibel/legibles; un liber legibel, duo libres legibles.
  7. Definite plural forms work similarly, e.g. problemasen nuyoses (the boring problems) which were discussed by muyeresen intressantes (the interesting women) in libresen legibles (the readable books) publicats recentiter (published recently).
  8. Many adverbs are formed with the -iter suffix, as in Latin, e.g. alfabetiter, finaliter, realiter, clariter, probabiliter, ótriter (in another way, cf. ótrim), hilariter, feliciter, veriter, ironiciter, paradoxicaliter or pardoxiter, pleniter, totaliter, absurditer, surprendentiter or surprenditer, tipiqiter, normaliter, uzualiter, commoniter, variositer, similariter, spontaniter, emoţionaliter, aleatoriciter or aleatoriter, etc. Stress is on the syllable immediately preceding the -iter ending (e.g. rapíditer, imfelíciter, immediátiter, paradoxicáliter). Adverbs from some common short adjectives end in -im, e.g. lent → lentim, quic → quiqim, forte → fortim, lēn → lenim, óter → ótrim (else/otherwise, cf. ótriter), nullim (in no way), etc.
  9. The definite enclitic -n / -en can even be added to pronominal expressions, e.g. Fu melior qe mian analisin tua (Your analysis was better than mine where mian lit. = 'the my' like 'la mienne' in French);
  10. There are only 2 basic adjectival declensions: [1] -[e] / -a / -[e]s -as, e.g. brun, bruna, brun[e]s, brunas; [2] ending -nd[e], -nt[e], -el, -al, -er; e.g. capabel (mf) / capables (mf); sequente (mf) / sequentes (mf), grande (mf), grandes (mf). There are no gender-specific endings in adjectival declension 2.
  11. Nouns and adjectives ending -al form their plural in -ais, as in Portuguese, e.g. strumentes musicais.
  12. Adjectives whose m. sing. form ends -x, decline -x/-sca /-xes/-scas, e.g. frex, fresca, frexes, frescas ('fresh'); inglex, inglesca, inglexes, inglescas ('English').
  13. Latiophones never much liked -ion endings. Nouns deriving from verb supines just add an 'I' and skip the 'ON', e.g. náţi (from nat[um], from naxér (to be born)) instead of 'nation', emóţi (from emovér/emot[um]) instead of 'emotion'. That's similar to how Dutch constructs words like 'natie' (nation) and 'emotie' (emotion). However, adjectives deriving from words like naţi and emoţi reinstate the 'ON' as an infix to create (as in Dutch) words like naţional, emoţional, etc.
  14. VSO (verb-subject-object) sentence order is quite common in Latian.
  15. Verb paradigms can be consulted using this Excel file.

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Influences on Latian | Influenças su linguan noua

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The lexical, syntactical and prosodic character of Latian is influenced by (6 points):
Influençats sint characteres syntactic et prosodic de laţan per (6 punts):

  1. speakers of the various neo-Latin languages in the southeast of the country;
    qisqi parlaun una lingua neo-latina in sudesten de paísen;
  2. efforts in bygone days to promote Latin as a lingua franca between neo-Latin language speakers;
    effortes historics a promover latinan sicut lingua franca inter qisqi parlavaun una lingua neolatina;
  3. the strong Anglophone presence in the country;
    forte presençan anglofona in paísen;
  4. the presence of numerous speakers of Swedish and some speakers of Dutch in Latiophone areas;
    presençan de numbroses suedofons et nerlandofons in zonas laţofonas;
  5. the proximity of Welsh-speaking communities in bordering counties;
    proximitán de communitás cambrexisantes in contés limitrofas;
  6. activities of the Latian Language Promotion Board.
    activitas de
    Cunsilyen Promotiv de Linguan Laţa.

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[1] Neo-Latin influences | Influenças neo-latinas

  1. Verb paradigms are similar to those of French, Spanish and Portuguese but there are more verb endings reminiscent of Italian.
    Resemblaun paradigmas de verbs laţes iyes de verbs francexes, spanyols et portuĝeses, sint sed suffixesen pluriter maimox quasi-italians.
  2. The Iberian ‘future conjunctive’ is absent.
    No ya in laţan futuren conjunctiv iberic.
  3. Sequence of tense rules are more Italian, Iberian and Latin than French.
    sint regles de consecutio temporum maimox italians, iberics o latins qe francexes.
  4. Noun and adjective plural formations are in 'S', an Iberian or possibly French trait, not Italian or Romanian.
    Formase pluralen substantiv/adjectival in 'S', treit iberic o francex, non italian o romanex.
  5. The plural ending -ais for nouns and adjectives ending in -al is Portuguese.
    É exclusiviter portuĝes originen de forman plural substantival/adjectival -ais pra plavras cuyor forma final singular é -al.
  6. The noun ending -aj or -age is French rather than Spanish or Italian.
    Haun substantivsen qi finyun in -aj origin maimox francex qe spanyol o italian.
  7. The ending for abstract nouns (e.g. universitá) is more Italian (università) than French (université), Spanish (universidad), Portuguese (universidade) or Romanian (universitat).
    Sint substantivsen abstracts qi finyu in de origin maimox italian qe francex, spanyol, portuĝes o romanex (ve versin inglesca ci-super).
  8. Common words and expressions come from various neo-Latin sources, e.g. ya, ("il y a" or "hay" rather than "c'è" or "tem"), ja ("déjà", "già"), vēz (Iberian, not "volta" or "fois").
    Haun um bon number de expressis muy communas un origin neolatin qualunc, e.g. ya, ("il y a", "hay" imvez de "c'è" o "tem"), ja ("déjà", "già"), vēz (imvez de "volta" o "fois").
  9. Numerical words are slightly more Italian than Iberian, much more so than French.
    Sint plavras numericas umpo mais italianas qe ibericas, muy mais qe francescas.
  10. The proportion of words ending in a (sounding) consonant is higher than in Iberian languages, slightly higher than in French but much higher than in Italian.
    Mais grande é probabilitán qe una plavra laţa finya in un consonant oíbel qe ne fa in linguas ibericas, umpo mais grande qe in francescan, sed muy mais grande qe in italianan.

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[2] Influence of Latin | Influenças da latinan

During early colonisation, native speakers of neo-Latin languages found it hard to understand each other. That prompted ambitious prelates of the era preceding the Disinfection of Religious Pollution (Desinfecţin de Polluţin Religiosa) to promote church Latin as a sort of lingua franca. Despite the lengthy and radical process of democratic detheification, a fair number of exclusively Latin traits remain from that period, for example:

Durante fasen initial de colonisaţi, trovavaun difficil intercumprenderse muis locutores natives de linguas neolatinas. Incitó iţi certes prelats ambiţioses da epocan pre-desinfecţi (campanyan "Desinfecţin de Polluţin Religiosa") a promover latinan ecclesiastica sicut tīp de lingua franca. Malfa processen prolungat et radical de deteificaţi democratica, remaneun um bon number de treits latins da iye period, per exempel:

  1. Adverbial suffixes | Suffixes adverbiais -iter  & -im, e.g. primiter, secunditer, terciter, actualiter, qualiter, taliter|| passim, verbatim, notatim, nullim, lenim, lentim, fortim, otrim;*
  2. Pithy words like | Tais plavras concisas qé yam/iam, nun, dum, sed, mox, fox, sepe, tal, qual, tam... quam, ínyi, bis, ter, sicut, simul, etc.²

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[3] Anglophone influences | Influenças anglofonas

English has strongly influenced pronunciation and vocabulary. The reduction of 'E' to schwab or silence (see above) is one example. The contraction of syllables to create shorter words and to accommodate more frequent consonant clustering than in other neo-Latin languages is another. English has also provided a lot of vocabulary, including (transliterated or identically pronounced loans only) beibi (baby), bitx (bitch), biznis (business), bullxit (bullshit) ... [for more examples see Latian version, below] ... spredxit (spreadsheet), txēr (chair), txips (chips). Other loanwords from English retain the original spelling and pronunciation, e.g. bacon (not ‘beiqen’), clustering, drive (not ‘draiv’).

Ha influençat fortim inglescan noua pronunţi et nou vocabular. E un exempel reducţin de vocalen E a schwab o asta nul. E un oter contracţin de sillabs pra creer plavras mais breves et un clustering consonantal mais dens qe iye de otras linguas neolatinas salv possibiliter portuĝesan europea et francescan de Canada. Noi ha furnit inglescan tamben muy vocabular, e.g. (solo plavras transliteratas o pronunxiatas identiter) beibi, bitx, biznis, bullxit, cargo, carrot, celeri, clatx, crisp, fibel, fil, flat, fixentxips, frex, ĝeim, imfact, leibel, mapa, marc, opportxúniti, qeic, quic, spredxit, stress, txer, tximni, txips. Ótres imprunts inglexes retenyun ortografin et pronunţin originais, e.g. bacon (no 'beiqen'!), drive (no 'draiv'!), clustering, etc.

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[4] Swedish and Dutch | Suédesca et nerlandesca

Latian is less encumbered than other Latin languages by definite articles. That's because Latiophones noticed how native Swedish speakers in their midst ‘erroneously’ lightened up the language by dispensing with definite articles and instead sticking their suffix 'N' or 'EN' to the end of nouns requiring a definite aspect. It may have taken a few generations for the practice to be established but it has constituted standard usage for at least a hundred years. Some say this aspect of Latian deep structure may derive from Romanian (e.g. băiat → băiatul, băiatului, băiaţilor) but that is dubious because [1] there are very few native speakers or Romanian in the country and [2] the Romainan definite article enclitics all involve 'L', not our 'N', and are more complex than their Scandinavian counterparts. The Swedish habit of abbreviating longer words by shaving off initial as much as medial or final phonemes, e.g. bitual and bituarse for 'habitual' and 'habituarse', bil for 'automobil', fōn for 'telefón', is another Scandinavian contribution to our language. The Netherlandish formation of nouns from their Latin supines by replacing the final -um with /i/, for example naţi (‘natie’ in Dutch: not 'nation', 'nación', 'nação' or 'nazione'), has also made the language a little less clumsy. Interesting loanwords include ombud, lagom and clibós (klibbig/sticky) from Swedish, lécqer/lecres (lekker/tasty) and lomp (lomp/clumsy) from Dutch.

Sembla laţan mens incumbrata qe otras linguas latinas quant a articles definitivs. Explica-se partiter iţa impressi inquant notavaun muis laţofons come allegravaun 'erroniter' vicins locutores nativs suedexes qi dispensavaun articlesen et les colavaun imvez, su forman scandinava 'N' o 'EN', a finen de substantiven. Taliter et graditer era transformat 'el liber' in libren, 'la luna' in lunan, etc. Fu un process qi durava alcunas generaţis, pero odje existe establit daumen cent ans. Dicun certes qe iţ aspect de structura profunda laţofona derivia da romanescan (e.g. băiat → băiatul, băiatului, băiaţilor). Imfeliciter e iţa teoria dubiosa perque: [1] ya muy poqes romanofons im paísen; [2] cuntenyun encliticsen romanexes 'L' inloc de 'N-en' scandinav; [3] sint grammaticaliter muy mais complicats. Dediyun nois scandinavsen tamben breviaţis factas su incipen maimox qe finen de plavras, e.g. automobil → bil, telefonfon, habitudbitud, abbreviarbreviar (sed, cave!, locomotivloco). Vene da nerlandescan un terţe mecanism de allegraţi inquant qe -i simpel sustitue un suffix mais pesós, '-ion', im fin de substantivs constructs su supinum, e.g. naţi imvez de 'nation' (cf. 'natie' (nl.) vs 'nazione' (it.), 'nación' (sp.), etc.). Contribuaun iţes tre mecanismes —suffixes definitivs, breviaţis initiais, -i imvez de -ion— a render noua lingua umpo mens lomp. Finaliter veniun de mismes fontes un number de imprunts intressants, e.g. ombud, lágom, clibós (klibbig/sticky) da suedescan, da nerlandescan léqer/lecres (lekker/tasty) et lomp (lomp/clumsy).

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[5] Welsh | Cambresca

The Latian and Welsh counties share an 80 km common border extending from Villamota/Llanlletem (Divotsfield) in the north to Lagua Xilena/Porth Chimiad in the south. Despite considerable cross-border contacts, there are very few Welsh loanwords in Latian: only bard (‘bard’, ‘guru’), qista (cist = [stone] coffin), crampit (crempog = little hearth cake, via English 'crumpet'), cumba (cŵm = valley), cūtx (cwts = hug, cuddle, cozy kennel) and yeqidá (iechyd da = good health, cheers!), seem currently to be in everyday use. One remarkable commonality between the two languages is the tendency to favour VSO (verb-subject-object) sentence order rather than the SVO of English, Swedish, French, etc. The reasons for this similarity are unkown and most explanations are quite speculative.

Cumpartyun contésen laţes et cambrexes un confin commun extendend 80 km da Villamota/Maeslletem (Divotsfield) in norden asta Lagua Xilena/Porth Chimiad in suden. Malfa contacts transconfinais considerables sint múi paucas plavrasen laţas de origin cambrex. Semblaun esse actualiter in uz quotidian solo bard, qista (cist), crampit (crempog), cumba (cwm), cutx (cwts) et yeqidá (iechyd da). Iţdit, ya aumen una cummunalitá remarcabel inter linguasen: tendun ambas preferre ordren de fras VSO (verb - subject - object) maimox qe SVO-n de inglescan, suedescan, francescan, etc. Cunyoxe nemo razonsen de iţa similaritá et mayoritán de explicaţis offertas sint franqiter speculativas.

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[6] Latian Language Promotion Board | Cunsilyen Promotiv de Linguan Laţa (CPLL)

Survelya Cunsilyen continualiter da novant ans evoluţin de noua lingua. Benqe sia mandaten descriptiv, no prescriptiv, some semper xientes qe effortes de codificaţi possaun sepe tentar genten conservativ a volutarse in indolença et ossificaţi linguisticas. Per exempel, ha instigat grupen reacţioneir "Reclamatores de Autenticitán Cultural Laţa" un clamor frangivocal quando, apos generaţis de uz quotidian, parió officialiter (et finaliter!) plavran normalissima steve —qe uzame centayas de vezes cada dia cada un— in dicţioneiren junta a observaţin 'ha sustituit construcţis gerundivas arcanas in expressin de nóţis simples de obligaţi' (vé exemplesen i versin inglesca, ci-bax). Qénqe avria yér potut esse topic de contenţi quasi-legitima pare odje, franqiter, come protest van et ridicul. Qé otrim aspectarse de un gang de imbecils regressivs?

For ninety years the Language Promotion Board (CPLL) has continuously monitored the development of our language. Although our brief is descriptive, not prescriptive, we are aware that our codification efforts may tempt conservatives to indulge their proclivity for linguistic indolence and ossification. For example, the reactionary ‘Reclamatores de Autenticitán Cultural Laţa’ staged a vociferous outcry when, after generations of everyday use, steve, an impersonal defective verb form that’s a contraction of ‘se deve’ (lit. ‘it owes itself’) meaning ‘il faut’ or ‘it is necessary’, was officially listed in our dictionary and described as having ‘replaced arcane gerundive constructions to express simple notions of obligation’. Steve (no relation) works exactly like the long defunct and extremely defective verb necesse: it takes an indirect (dative) object and is followed by a construction using either the infinitive or the conjunctive (subjunctive), for example:

  1. [Mi] steve lavar cibutilsen¹[I] ‘have to wash the dishes’ [simple infinitive]
  2. Ti steve lavar cibutilsen or Steve qe laviai tu cibutilsen —‘you have to wash the dishes’ [2nd p. sing., pres. subj.]
  3. Avria stevut sub tais circunstanças qe lavassaun nenesen cibutilsen —‘under such circumstances the children would have had to wash the dishes’ [3rd p. pl., imp. subj.].

In addition to charting change in the language, we also propose neologisms for new concepts. For example, tircargar (lit. = ‘pull load’) for ‘to download’, pelcargar (lit. = ‘push load’) for ‘to upload’ are two suggestions. Acargar and decargar is another possibility (but which is which?) while some Latians are happy with uploadár and downloadár. Don't be shy! Let us have your suggestions by visiting our website and clicking on ‘Lexical updates’.

Ultra de mapear cambios linguistics su terrenen, proponime tamben neologismes pra conceptes noves, tais qe tircargar et pelcargar pra sustituir telecargar (da francescan télécharger), plavra qi no fa distincţi inter upload et download. Posa proposten de paren acargar et decargar um problem semantic umpo similar a qén de télécharger: qualen é qualen? Acargar/decargar da vistan de qui? Emetor o receptor? Qé pénsai [tu]? (So ben qe pensaí go yēr!) No sei timid! Si hai ideas, propostes o quesţis, no hésita! Vísita nou sit et clica su 'Adjurnes lexicais': plavras, plavras, plavras...

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Footnotes

* otriter = in another way, in other ways, in other words; otrim = otherwise, else, in other cases.

1. pl. def. form of cibutil lit. = food utensil, food tool, i.e. crockery (loza —plats, bols, tassas, copas, etc.) plus cutlery (cutlarí —facas, furcas, cucayas, cuqinas, etc.).

2. iam/yam and nun: now; dum=while; sed=but; mox=soon; fox (from forse/forsit) = maybe; sēpe=often; tal=such; tam=so [extent]; tam... quam = as... as; ínyi =fire, bis=twice, ter=three times.


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