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Chovur
by J. J. Fatula, III

Introduction
This page consists of a set of lessons in the language Chovur. As you will discover, it has a very simple structure, but a very different structure than English. The basic word order is different. Here's an example in English: "The man sees the sky." As you know, it is the man who is doing the action here, and the sky being acted upon. (Those are the "subject" and "object", but you won't need to know that.) Together with the verb, English is usually in the order subject-verb-object, or man-see-sky. Chovur is a verb-subject-object language, so this sentence would be more like "Sees the man the sky." Not too bad, so long as you remember that the order is different. Those are about all the hints I'll give you for now.

As you read through the examples, pay attention to the word order, and to what changes are being made in words. It's a lot like plurals in English. Sometimes they only change a little, "kid-kids". Sometimes they change a lot, "child-children". And sometimes they don't change at all, "sheep-sheep". Words in Chovur change to become plural, but they also change depending on what they're doing. But this will make a lot more sense through examples than explanation. After a few lessons, I'll explain what's going on.

Lesson 1 - Se Angqar Bairokat
The following sentences are simple sentences from the language Chovur, illustrating basic word order and some of the case structure.

The sky is blue.
Se angqar bairokat.

The horse is fast.
Se senga nechatat.

Grass is green.
Se shazak oigukat.

The horse eats grass.
Kosich senga shazaken.

A man eats meat.
Kosich tumeq bayaren.

Try translating the following sentences into Chovur:

The horse is blue.

The man is fast.

Grass eats the sky.

And try translating these sentences into English.

Se angqar oigukat.

Kosich angqar tumeqen.

Kosich tumeq senganen.

Did any of that make sense? Hopefully you noticed (for example) the difference between shazak and shazaken. You should have noticed that there are two different endings happening here, -en and -at. Any guesses as to the difference? I'll give you a hint - it depends on the relationship to the one doing the action. But they're not doing much in the -at sentences... They're just being what they are.

 

Lesson 2 - Senun Sengatuk Nechatat
The next group of sentences shows more of the verbal system and introduces plural nouns.

The horses were fast.
Senun sengatuk nechatat.

The men eat meat.
Kosich tumequr bayaren.

The women eat meat.
Kosich olmeighur bayaren.

The horses ate grass.
Kosichun sengatuk shazaken.

Girls do not eat grass.
Ara kosich maitatuk shazaken.

The sheep ate grass.
Kosichun egeishur shazaken.

Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

The sheep does not eat meat.

The women were blue.

The horses were fast.

Translate the following sentences into English:

Senun bayar olmeighuren.

Ara kosichun tumequr sengatuken.

Ara senun angqar oigukat.

 

Lesson 3 - Qeinun Tumeq Senganen Ghemedang
By this point you should know a few basic Chovur words, and how to make them the one doing something and the one something is being done to. Some of them you should know how to make plural. These next examples introduce more of the case system and a little bit more about plural nouns.

The man gave the horse to the boy.
Qeinun tumeq senganen ghemedang.

The sheep speak about the grass.
Dal egeishur shazakön.

The horses are not in the tent.
Ara se sengatuk ögh rodikang.

A woman rides a horse.
Tegeb olmeigh senganen.

Some boys threw the rocks at the sheep.
Ajengun ghemedur turoshoken kha egeishurang.

The rocks are in the field.
Se turoshok ögh venchenang.

Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

The women spoke about the horses.

The sheep spoke to the horses.

Rocks are in the tent.

Translate the following sentences into English:

Tegebun tumequr sengatuken ögh venchenang.

Ara se ghemedur ögh rodikang.

Ajeng olmeigh shazak egeishang.

By now, we've run into a number of these "case" endings. Just to make sure you're with us, -at is for something that is the same as the subject, -en is for something being acted on, -ang is used after a direction type of word, but by itself it means "to" the object, and -ön is for the topic of discussion. There's only one more left, but if you got these, you won't have any trouble.

 

Lesson 4 - Tumeq ka Tumequr
The rest of the plural nouns are made clear with these examples.

man - men
tumeq - tumequr

sheep - sheep
egeish - egeishur

horse - horses
senga - sengatuk

eagle - eagles
jangva - jangvatuk

rock - rocks
turosh - turoshok

star - stars
ishiz - ishizok

encampment - encampments
chaik - chaikra

tent - tents
rodik - rodikra

cloud - clouds
mairu - mairut

song - songs
ela - elat

Did you figure out when to use each ending? Some of them (-ur, -ok, and -ra) are only used after consonants. The rest (-tuk and -t) are used after vowels. But there's more to it than that. The first group (-ur and -tuk) is used on animate objects, the second on inanimate objects. And to finish up the plural rules, -ra is used on inanimate objects ending in k or q.

 

Lesson 5 - Shujir Tumeq
This lesson introduces the last case to be learned, and goes through all the tenses. As you may have noticed, the animate/inanimate and singular/plural distinctions do not affect verbs.

The man understands.
Shujir tumeq.

The horse is running.
Kobiraj senga.

The women ran.
Kobirun olmeighur.

The boy's sheep will eat.
Kosichar ghemedil egeish.

The father will give the horses to the group of boys.
Qeinar takhas sengatuken ghemedil chaichirang.

The grey woman's tent is blue.
Se langu olmeighil rodik bairokat.

Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

The man's horse was fast.

The tent will be grey.

The women understood the girl's father.

Translate the following sentences into English:

Shujiraj ghemed senganen.

Kobirar langu sengatuk.

Kosichar olmeighur tumequril egeishuren.

 

Lesson 6 - Egeishön
As you now know, most of the changes to a word in Chovur are in the form of suffixes on the end of the word. So far, we have covered all of the noun cases (-at, -en, -ang, -ön, and -il), the verb tenses (-un, -aj, and -ar), and plural nouns. Along the way, you may have noticed something happening when a word ending in a vowel received a suffix beginning in a vowel. For example, -un is the regular past tense ending, but when se is made past tense, it is not *seun but senun. This lesson illustrates the changes that happen to suffixes (and prefixes) depending on the word they are attached to.

about the sheep
egeishön

about the horse
senganön

about the horses
sengatukon

the wagon
chöyör

the wagons
chöyörür

the arrow
üküts

of the arrows
ükütsökil

You may have expected the plural of chöyör to be *chöyörök, but wagons are considered to be animate. A few non-living objects are considered animate by virtue of their behavior, such as fire, time, rivers, etc. and a few words for parts of living things are considered inanimate, such as blood and wool. Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

The horse talks about the arrows.

The wagon's horse is not in the tent.

The sheep is in the wagon.

Translate the following sentences into English:

Se ükütsök ögh rodikang.

Ara shujirun senga tumeqon.

Dal olmeigh ishizön.

 

Lesson 7 - Viratse Venchenen
This lesson introduces new verb forms that depend on who is doing the action.

I see the field.
Viratse venchenen.

I talk to you.
Daletse kazhang.

You see the sheep.
Viranazh egeishen.

You ride the horse into the east.
Tegebazh senganen kha altsagang.

I ride alongside you.
Tegebetse bar kazhang.

I have a horse.
Chantse senganen.

Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

I was in the tent.

You will not eat the sheep.

I am speaking.

Translate the following sentences into English:

Viratsenun egeishuren ögh venchenang.

Setse tumeqat.

Senazh olmeigh.

 

Lesson 8 - Irtse Kazh ka Te kha Venchetang
Personal pronouns in Chovur are very easy to use. They are made plural the same way as regular nouns, and they use the same case endings. Because the verb includes some of this information, pronouns are not always required.

You and I go to the fields.
Irtse kazh ka te kha venchetang.

They pulled the horse out of the mud.
Guirun tsevur senganen dö egeinang.

The white hill is sacred to us.
Se ered ganta galainat tetukang.

Their sheep are here.
Se tsevuril egeishur yartu.

You aren't going to go to the encampment.
Ara irarazh ögh chaikang.

Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

He is not here.

I am not speaking to the horses.

Her horse does not understand you.

Translate the following sentences into English:

Tegebazh bar tsevang.

Se teil senganen ka egeishen yartu.

Ara senazh jangvanat.

 

Lesson 9 - Kaitetevarazh Tenang!
This lesson introduces further verb endings to modify the meaning of the word. By now, you probably understand how n is inserted to prevent vowels from clustering up (except a vowel followed by i) and how e is inserted to prevent consonants from meeting any consonant except n, m, ng, r, and l.

Listen to me!
Kaitetevarazh tenang!

Are you listening?
Kaitakhevarazh?

I intentionally rode the horse.
Tegebunvartse senganen.

Do you usually ride this horse?
Tegebusazh yarta senganen?

Start riding to the encampment!
Tegebeteje ögh chaikang!

As you can see, the -azh ending is not required when giving a command. Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

Is the grey horse here?

Is this hill sacred to you? (plural you)

Run fast!

Translate the following sentences into English:

Viranajavartse kazhang.

Shujirunjenazh Chovuren?

Qeite tseven tenang!

 

Lesson 10 - Chantse Rodiken Se Jeng Langunat
There are other verb endings, two of which we will learn here, along with how to make relative clauses. As you are reading, note that a marks the end of a relative clause. If you don't know what a relative clause is, don't worry, you're not alone. Each of them starts with "that", "who", "when", etc. They should become more obvious to you as you read through the examples.

I have a tent that is grey.
Chantse rodiken se jan langunat.

He is the man who spoke to me.
Se tsev tumeqen dal jeng tenang.

The horse that was in the mud is my father's.
Se senga senun jeng ögh egeinang a teil takhasil.

You have caused your horse to run.
Kobirusilkanazh kazhil senganen.

Winter has caused the river that flows through our lands to be cold.
Senunusilka checher khaldanen zhaye jeng je tetukil kainanok a kelgainat.

I am the man who came here when you had the horse.
Setse tumeq jukunun jeng yartu a chanunazh janat senganen.

The coming of winter is difficult for us.
Se checheril jukurur ghur tetukang.

Translate the following sentences into Chovur:

This is the horse that is grey.

You are the boy who has my sheep.

This winter will be very cold for they who do not have tents.

Translate the following sentences into English:

Se teil takhas tumeqat se jeng langunat.

Tegebusetse senganen shujir jeng kobiruren.

Senilkatse teil rodik se jan langunat a bairokat.

 

Reading 1 - Egeishön ka Sengatukon
At this point, you should be ready to tackle something a little harder. The following is a story written by August Schleicher that has been translated into Chovur. Some new words are glossed below the reading, but for the most part, you already have all that you need to understand this. Have fun!

Je gantang, viranun egeish chanun jeng ara öngaren a sengatuken, guirun senga tsevuril döm chöyören, basagun senga döm idmuken, ka basagun senga tumeqen nechat.

Dalun egeish sengatukang, "Janat viratse makilka tumeq sengatuken, chantse izaken ögh teil chemurang."

Dalun sengatuk, "Kaitetevarazh egeish, chantse izaken ögh tetukil chemurur janat viratse yartanen: kuchar tumeq terjinat egeishil öngaren jöldö chertabang tsevang. Ka chan egeish ara öngaren."

Janat kaitege yartanen, kobirun egeish ögh venchenang.

Glossary

to carry
basag

heart
chemur

clothing
chertab

heavy
döm

hill
ganta

thing
idmuk

pain
izak

warm
jöldö

to make
kuchar

to work
mak

wool
öngar

to rule
ter

ruler
terjin