This grammar deals with the types of words and word order patterns in Pandunia. However, it's possible to learn Pandunia without reading this grammar, for example with the help of a phrasebook and a dictionary.
All language teachers know that a language becomes more difficult to learn when the student must learn to make distinctions that they are not used to making. That's why students have difficulties with things like irregular spelling, case-inflection, mandatory tenses, tones, noun/adjective agreement, honorific inflection, consonant and vowel harmony, mandatory gender distinctions and so on.
Pandunia is not a difficult language to learn. It doesn't have any of the previously mentioned complexities. Instead, it has a simple and regular grammar, a relatively simple vocabulary, and a simple phonetic spelling.
A word class is a group of words that have similar forms and similar use in sentences. In Pandunia, the word class is often indicated by the ending, especially the last vowel, of a word. For example, most words that end in -a are used as verbs in sentences.
The two major families of word classes are content words and function words. Content words convey most of information and meaning. Function words are the necessary words for grammar. You can't say anything meaningful without content words, but you need function words to put content words together, especially in long sentences.
In Pandunia, the main classes of content words are: nouns, verbs and modifiers; and the main classes of function words are: pronouns, determiners, prepositions and postpositions.
The vowel endings indicate the classes of content words as follows:
For example, log- is the stem for the noun loge (speech), the adjective logi (spoken or oral), the adverb logo (orally), the active verb loga (to speak), and the passive verb logu (to be spoken).
The same vowel endings are used also in function words, and they indicate the classes of function words as follows:
For example, k- is the stem for the interrogative pronoun ke (what), the adverb ko (how) and the determiner ki (which).
Cardinal numerals don't have any vowel ending.
Proper names are considered to be independent of the stem-and-suffix system in Pandunia. That's why they don't always have the normal word class endings. For example, the name of a person called Marie can be mari in Pandunia, and the word shall function as a noun and not as a modifier unlike the form of the word indicates. Obviously, this can be confusing. That's why it is recommended that names are modified to use the normal noun endings or to take the honorary suffix san as in mari-san.
These are the ten basic rules of Pandunia language. They are described in more detail later in this document.
A noun is a word that names a thing. Like all words in Pandunia, nouns are invariant. So the same form is used in singular and plural, in definite and indefinite, etc.
– a stone, stones, the stone or the stones
meze – a table, tables, the table or the tables
kurse – a chair, chairs, the chair or the chairs
suy – water
Number and definiteness are often known because they were specified earlier in the discussion or because they are general knowledge. For example, normally the word sol refers to the sun and lun refers to the moon, our only sun and moon.
Nouns are unaffected by number, i.e. nouns have the same form in singular and plural. Number can be mentioned with number words when it is needed.
– a chair or chairs
un kurse – one chair
dul kurse – two chairs
tin kurse – three chairs
pol kurse – many chairs; chairs
Pandunia doesn't have grammatical gender (i.e. masculine, feminine and/or neuter categories).
Some words have natural gender. For example fem (woman) is feminine and man (man) is masculine.
A modifier is a word that adds some quality or description to another word, for example good, bad, big, and fast.
An adjective is a word that adds a particular quality for a noun. In Pandunia, adjectives typically end in -i and their place is before a noun.
– new car(s)
rapidi kar – fast car(s)
day meze – big table(s)
gawi meze – high table(s)
bon kurse – good chair(s)
Two or more adjectives can modify the same word.
lil novi kar – a little, new car
Adjective can be also after the noun. Often this type of phrases can be read as complete sentences, where the verb to be is implied.
– The car is new.
bagre rapidi. – The tiger is fast.
Naturally there can be modifiers on both sides of the noun as well.
novi kar rapidi. – The new car is fast.
An adverb is a word that modifies a verb or another modifier.
In Pandunia adverbs end in -o and their place is before a verb or at the end of the sentence.
me bono sona.
– I well sleep.
me sona bono. – I sleep well.
te baxa pandunia bono. – You speak Pandunia well.
A modifier can modify also another modifier. For example day (big) and lil (little) can be used as intensifying adverbs.
– a big person
lil ren – a little person
sundari ren – a beautiful person
dayo sundari ren
– very beautiful person
lilo sundari ren – somewhat beautiful person
Modifiers can be compared.
Particle ko relates the adverbs of comparison to the point of comparison.
me si max bon ko te.
= I am better than you.
te loga sam bono ko me. = You speak as well as me.
Quantity can be expressed with numerals and other quantity-words. They are put before the word or phrase that they qualify.
– one star
dul xing – two stars
tin xing – three stars
xaw xing – few stars
pol xing – many stars
un day kurse
– one big chair
dul day kurse – two big chairs
tin bon kurse – three good chairs
Ordinal numbers come after the word that they modify.
fen un – the first part (part one) fen dul – the second part (part two) fen tin – the third part (part three)
The basic number words are:
Greater numbers are simply made by putting one digit after another – exactly like they are written in the universal numerical language of mathematics.
Numbers that are greater than 999 may use the multiples from the International System of Units. So for example kilo denotes a multiple of a thousand.
Sometimes it is known from the context how many objects are spoken about. For example, the word sol (sun) normally refers to just one sun because there is only one.
Pronouns can substitute nouns and noun phrases.
– I, me
te – you
le – he, she, it
mome – we
tote – you all
lole – they
The reflexive pronoun is used when the object of a sentence is the same as the subject.
ze – self
Note! The reflexive pronoun ze is used for all persons, so it corresponds to English myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves and themselves all at once.
me vida ze
– I see myself.
le vida ze – She sees herself. / He sees himself. / It sees itself.
mome vida ze. – We see ourselves.
The demonstrative pronouns are:
– this one
we – that one
me wana ye.
– I want this one.
le wana we. – He/she wants that one.
They end in -i when they function as modifiers i.e. when they come before a noun.
– This cat
wi maw – That cat
ke is a general-purpose interrogative pronoun. It does the job of English words who and what.
ke? – Who or what?
The adjectival interrogative pronoun is ki and it means the same as English which.
– What? (Which thing?)
ki ren? – Who? (Which person?)
ki zaman? – When? (What time?)
ki yang? – How? (What manner?)
The adverbial interrogative pronoun is ko and it means the same as English how.
Also adjectives are questioned with ki.
– How new?
ko kosti? – How costy?
ko pol? – How many?
ko day? – How big?
ko lil? – How small?
te tena ko day maw? – How big cat do you have?
A verb denotes an action or an occurence, ex. to eat, to speak, to look and to think.
A verb can involve an agent and a recipient. The agent performs or "causes" an action, and the recipient receives or "experiences" the action.
Pandunia has two types of verb: verbs that end in -a and verbs that end in -u. The endings decide the order of the agent and the recipient of the action in the sentence. So the sentence structure depends on the type of the verb.
Simply put, the ending -a means:
If there is anything right before the verb, it is the agent.
If there is anything right after the verb, it is the recipient.
And the ending -u means:
If there is anything right before the verb, it is the recipient.
If there is anything right after the verb, it is the agent.
Consider the following examples:
me safa. – I clean.
me safa kamar. – I clean a room.
kamar safu. – Room is cleaned.
kamar safu me. – Room is cleaned by me.
As you can see, -a and -u indicate word orders that are opposite to each other. Verbs that end in -a are active and verbs that end in -u are called passive.
Verbs that end in -a are called active verbs. The sentence word order is subject–verb–object.
The subject of an active verb does the action that the verb indicates. So it is the doer or the agent of the action. The action is done to the object, so the object is the passive recipient of the action.
te vida ke? – You see what?
me vida lole. – I see them.
te beka pang. – You bake bread.
Verbs that end in -u are called passive verbs. The sentence word order is again subject–verb–object, but the actual roles of subject and object are different than with active verbs.
The subject of a passive verb receives or "suffers" the action, which is done to it, and the object is the source of the action.
Often passive sentences in Pandunia can be translated to English by using the passive voice or an intransitive verb but sometimes a transitive verb can be used too.
pang beku te. – Bread is baked by you.
pakse domu arbe. – Birds live (in) trees.
te suku me. – You are pleased by me. (Or: You like me.)
Observations are the simplest sentence type. They may consist of only one word, which draws the listener's attention.
– A cat!
barxa! – (It) rains!
Normally a sentence consists of a subject and a predicate. In the simplest sentences, the subject is a noun or a pronoun and the predicate is an adjective or a noun.
– I am good.
le novi. – It is new.
le sarah. – She is Sarah.
sarah bon. – Sarah is good.
petre day. – The stone is big.
meze novi. – The table is new.
The word no is added to form the negative.
me no bon.
– I'm not good.
le no novi. – It's not new.
le no sarah. – She is not Sarah.
It is possible to add the word si (yes) before the predicate in positive sentences, for style or for convenience. Then the structure is similar like in negative sentences.
sarah si bon.
– Sarah is good.
petre si day. – The stone is big.
meze si novi. – The table is new.
meze no law. – The table is not old.
Also two personal pronouns can be combined with si and no.
me si le.
– I am he/she.
me no te. – I'm not you.
The same rule applies also for two adjectives.
jowan si sundar.
– Young is beautiful.
novi no purani. – New is not old.
A verb can't be subject as such. So the verb is first, use ye to start a comment about the verb.
canta, ye bon. – Singing, that is good. (Singing is good.)
Pandunia doesn't use a verb like "to be" in English.
An active sentence is a sentence where the subject does the action denoted by the verb to the object. The focus is on the subject as the active counterpart. The correct word order is subject-verb-object (SVO).
In Pandunia, active verbs are easy to identify because all of them end in -a.
The following sentences are in SVO order.
me niama aple.
– I eat apples.
me vida te. – I see you.
In the passive voice the focus of the sentence is on a subject that is a passive recipient that undergoes the action. So the recipient is the subject of the sentence. Often the agent is not mentioned at all.
In Pandunia, the passive voice is expressed with the verb ending in -u. The word order is subject–verb–(optional object) or, more precisely, recipient–verb–(optional agent).
– You are seen.
musike audu. – Music is heard.
pang beku. – Bread is baked.
kupe kaputu. – Cup breaks. (Cup gets broken.)
The agent can be mentioned after the verb with or without the preposition da.
te vidu me. - You are seen by me.
te vidu da me. - You are seen by me.
Sometimes a passive verb can be translated with an active verb in English. That is sometimes the case with suku, which means to be pleased by (a passive verb) or to like (an active verb). That is because the direction of pleasing is from the active doer to the passive recipient.
me suku musike. – I am pleased by music. / I like music.
In the pivot structure the word order is:
subject – verb 1 – object 1 – verb 2 – object 2.
Object 1 functions has dual role. It is at the same time the object for verb 1 and the subject for verb 2.
me wana te niama sabze. – I want you eat vegetables.
In the example above, me wana has te as its object. At the same time, te functions as the subject of the following predicate, niama sabze. So te is the pivot of the entire sentence.
There can be two, three or even more verbs in a series, and all of them are about the same subject
In certain types of expressions the pronouns get dropped for brevity. This is done especially in commands and requests.
me eska te baxa pandunia.
– I ask do you speak Pandunia.
eska te baxa pandunia? – Do you speak Pandunia.
me plisa te laya dom.
– I ask you to come home.
plisa laya dom! – Please come home! (Word for word: Request come home!)
me suku maw e waf.
– I like cats and dogs.
me suku maw o waf. – I like cats or dogs.
me suku maw a no waf. – I like cats but not dogs.
Particle si is affirmative and no is negative. si affirms the existence of something, whereas no denies it. In other words si means "to be" or "there is" and no means "not to be" or "there is not".
Expressions are affirmative by default, so the word si is not always necessary. However it is especially convenient in expressions of state.
me si ren.
– I am a person.
le si novi meze. – It is a new table.
Such sentences can be simply negated with no.
me no ren.
– I'm not a person.
le no novi meze. – It's not a new table.
The word no is used for denying anything. It affects always the next word. Different scopes of negation may result depending on the location of the negative word.
me vida te.
– I see you.
me no vida te. – I don't see you.
me vida no te a lole. – I see, not you, but them.
me plisa te safa kamar.
– I ask you to clean the room.
me no plisa te safa kamar. – I do NOT ask you to clean the room.
me plisa te no safa kamar. – I ask you NOT to clean the room.
The particles si and no are used also for answering questions.
eska te vida me?
– Do you see me?
si. (me si vida te.) – Yes. (I do see you.)
no. (me no vida te.) – No. (I don't see you.)
Negative questions are answered so that si and no apply to the verb, not the whole question.
eska te no vida me?
– Don't you see me?
si. (me si vida te.) – Yes. (I do see you.)
no. (me no vida te.) – No. (I don't see you.)
Particles du and da are used to link a noun, an adjective or a verb phrase to a noun to modify it. du connects the modifying word or phrase to the main noun word. da works in the opposite direction, it connects the main noun to the modifying word or phrase.
The modifier particle can be used for any possessive noun or pronoun.
With regards to possession, du works like the apostrophe-s ('s) in English. It indicates that the previous word has possession of the next one.
maria du mame
– Maria's mother
maria du mame du dom – Maria's mother's house
da works like "of" in English. It indicates that the next word has possession of the previous one.
mame da maria
– the mother of Maria
dom da mame da maria – the house of the mother of Maria
It's possible to use da and du with personal pronouns too, so one can say things like dom da me (the house of mine) but it's better to use the short possessive pronouns and say simply mi dom (my house).
With da it's possible to move a modifier after the noun.
– a new idea
idey da novi – an idea of new
Another way to use these particles is to connect an adjective or other words with a noun. It gives us more information about the noun, and the particle makes it clear in which end the main noun is.
The modifier particles are useful for creating complex adjectives that consists of two or more words.
rozi rang du labe
– rose-colored lips
samani rang du kan – sky-colored eyes
Or in the opposite order:
labe da rozi rang
– lips of the rose-color
kan da samani rang – eyes of the sky-color
The particles help in creating measure words too.
un sake du patate
– one sack of potatos
dul sake du patate – two sacks of potatos
max sake du patate – more sacks of potatos
Note that du and da connect phrases together. So a modifier phrase with and without du can mean a different thing.
max sundar pul
– more beautiful flowers
max du sundar pul – more of beautiful flowers
Verbs and verb phrases are turned into modifiers by placing da or du immediately next to the verb. The places of the agent and the recipient stay the same in modifying phrases as in declarative phrases.
A declarative phrase:
maw vidu me. – A cat is seen by me.
The corresponding modifying phrase:
maw da vidu me – the cat that is seen by me
Note! Although da seems to have a similar role here as English relative pronouns which, that, who and whom, it's still nothing more than a particle connecting a modifier (in this case: a verb phrase) to the modified.
The opposite word order is made with du and the verb ending in -a.
A declarative phrase:
me vida maw. – I see a cat.
The corresponding modifying phrase:
me vida du maw – My seen cat i.e. the cat that I see
Pay attention to the final vowels! They are crucial for the meaning!
maw da vidu man
– the cat that is seen by the man
maw da vida man – the cat that sees the man
maw vida du man – the cat-seen man
maw vidu du man – the cat-seeing man
Note! In Pandunia, words can be put in many different orders. That's why some translations sound clumsy in English although the original phrases are perfectly natural in Pandunia.
The modified noun can be part of an adposition phrase too.
me safara pa du site si teli. – My destination city is far away.
With the modified noun at the beginning, we need to call into action the otherwise rarely used postpositions nu, cu, su, and pu.
site da pu me safara si teli.
– The city I’m traveling to is far away.
yi kalam da su me zay kitaba si novi. – This pen, with which I’m writing now, is new.
Modal particles indicate what the speaker thinks about s/he says in relation to the listener. Modal particles are commonly used in many languages. East Asian languages, including Chinese and Japanese, use famously sentence-final particles.
In Pandunia, a modal particle modifies the subsequent word, or the whole sentence, when the modal particle is the last word in the sentence.
The particle plus (also) is a good example because it functions much like in English.
le niama bir plus.
– S/he drinks beer, also.
le niama plus bir. – S/he drinks also beer.
le plus niama bir. – S/he also drinks beer.
plus le niama bir. – Also s/he drinks beer.
Modal particles can modify all kinds of words, including pronouns and numerals, which adjectives can't modify.
In Pandunia, tense can be expressed with time words and time phrases if needed. The general time words are pas (past), zay (present) and wil (future, upcoming). They function like adjectives and adverbs, so typically their place is before the verb.
me pas tena maw.
– I had cats.
a me no zay tena maw. – But I now don't have cats.
ablo me wil tena maw. – Maybe I will have cats.
It's also possible to say it in a longer way like sa pase (in the past) etc.
me tena maw sa pase.
– I had cats in the past.
a me no tena maw sa zaye. – But I don't have cats at present.
ablo me tena maw sa wile. – Maybe I will have cats in the future.
Note! Verbs are not conjugated. So the verb tena stayed the same in all tenses in the examples above.
Naturally time words are used only when they are necessary. Usually it is enough to mention the time just once at the beginning of the text and not in every single sentence, if the tense doesn't change.
Pandunia has four prepositions of place and time.
A preposition begins a prepositional phrase. In a simple prepositional phrase the preposition is complemented by a pronoun or a noun phrase.
me sa hotel. - I'm in the hotel.
me sona sa hotel. - I sleep in the hotel.
me sona ca xam pa sube. - I sleep since evening until morning.
me safara du london pa paris. - I travel from London to Paris.
Prepositions can be complemented also by a verb phrase. Then they refer to time.
me denga ca te gowa. - I have waited since you left.
me denga pa te laya dom. - I wait until you come home.
me denga sa te sona. - I wait while you sleep.
sa is an all-purpose preposition. Its basic meaning is "with".
me libu sa dom.
I stand with house.
I stand by the house.
me loga sa pandunia.
I speak with Pandunia.
I speak in Pandunia.
me loga sa doste sa pandunia sa fon.
I speak with friends with Pandunia with telephone.
I speak with friends in Pandunia by telephone.
In Pandunia some verbs function like prepositions do in English.
me kata pang. - I cut bread.
me kata pang, uza caku. - I cut bread, use a knife. (I cut bread with a knife.)
me denga dura dul hor. - I wait, (it) lasts two hours. (I wait during/for two hours.)
Here are some verbs that are usable as prepositions:
bada - to follow; after, behind
dura - to last; during, for the time/duration of
jungu - to be centered; amid, amidst, in the middle, in the center
loka - to occupy, to be located; at
sirka - to surround; around
supra - to surpass; over, above
Prepositions are not used as frequently in Pandunia as in English. In many phrases, the verb says enough alone.
me laya dom. - I come home.
te sida kurse. - You sit (on) the chair.
le lala sofa'. - S/he lies (on) the sofa.
fix nata daria. - Fish swim (in) the sea.
jenger marca daw. - Warriors march (on) the road.
Preposition ko indicates manner or style. It corresponds to English prepositions like, than, as and as if.
me jana pandunia ko gur. - I know Pandunia like a master.
ko relates the verb or the adjective to a point of comparison. In the above example jana (know) is the verb and gur (master) is the point of comparison.
ko is also used when adjectives are compared.
bace si min day ko pape. - The child is smaller than the father.
law pape si sam day ko pape. - Grandfather is as big as father.
ko relates the adverbs of comparison – max (more), min (less) and sam (same) – to the point of comparison, which is pape (father) in the examples above.
It's possible to build new words in Pandunia. Pandunia has a productive system of word derivation. Most of the suffixes that are used in Pandunia are already in international use. Many of hem come from ancient Greek, Latin, Arabic and Persian.
Pandunia uses vowel endings for quick word derivation. In this system the final vowel of a word indicates its word class. So the stem of the word indicates a general idea and the vowel endings indicate different manifestations of that idea: a thing (noun), a description (modifier) and an action (verb).
Pandunia uses the following vowel endings to mark parts of speech.
The designated vowel endings enable easy derivation of one type of word from another. An ending is simply changed to another ending.
All endings can be applied on all ideas in the same way.
Here are a few examples of different types of ideas.
-a and -u are the endings for verbs.
-e is the ending for nouns.
If the stem's idea is an action, then its noun form will mean the result or the product of the action. For example from kitaba (to write) we get kitabe (writing or text).
If the idea is a description, then its noun form will mean a concrete instance of that quality. For example from novi (new) we get nove (a novelty i.e. something new).
Additional noun suffixes are presented below.
-i is the ending for modifiers that include adjectives, adverbs and and adjectival verbs.
If the stem's idea is a description, then its adjectival form will mean "that which is in the state of the root". For example from nov- (newness), we get novi (new i.e. that which is new).
If the idea is an action, then its adjectival form will mean the state that is produced by the action. For example from loga (to speak) we get logi (spoken).
If the idea is a thing, an object or a person, then its adjectival form will mean "that which is like the root". For example, from the noun insan (human being), we get the adjective insani (human, having the attributes of a human being).
If the root is a place word, then its adjectival form will mean "that which is from that place".
irania Iran, irani Iranian
pakistan Pakistan, pakistani Pakistani
amerike America, ameriki American
europe Europe, europi European
asia Asia, asi Asian
Some words in Pandunia don't have a vowel ending. These are the rules:
For example we normally use short word insan (human being) instead of insane. Likewise we normally say bon (good) instead of boni. Note that it is always acceptable to use the vowel endings on every word. It is an artistic choice by the authors of Pandunia to not require them on noun stems that end in soft vowels.
Two or more words can be put together to make a compound word. The last word is the most meaningful word in the compound and the words that come before it only modify its meaning.
The simples compound words consist of bare word stems only. For example the word for tears, kansuy, is like that.
kan (eye) + suy (water) ____________ = kansuy (eyewater, tear)
One can add and swap the vowel endings of compound words normally. For example, kansuyi means teary.
The vowel ending of the first word is always dropped when a compound word is made.
pace (peace) + iste (proponent, -ist) ____________ = paciste (proponent of peace, pacifist)
If the resulting word would be too difficult to pronounce, the linking vowel -o- is put between the stems. For example termmeter and servpaus would be difficult to pronounce because of the consonant groups rmm and rvp. Then we use -o- to break the difficult consonant groups.
terme (temperature) + meter (measuring device) ____________ = termometer (thermometer)
serve (service) + paus (pause, break) ____________ = servopaus (servicebreak)
Indicates possibility. It is attached after the verb root.
vidabli which can be seen, visible
vidubli who/which can see
Creates agent nouns. It denotes a person or a tool which does the action.
loga to speak; loger speaker, the one who speaks
beka to bake; beker baker, the one who bakes
lida to lead; lider leader, the one who leads
filosofa to think deeply; filosofer philosopher
komputa to compute, to process data; komputer computer
morta to kill; morter killer
The derivative can be also more loosely associated with the root.
sapate shoe; sapater shoemaker
muskete musket; musketer musketeer
kase cash desk; kaser cashier
Creates aggregate nouns. It denotes a group of elements named by the root as a whole.
insan human being; insania humanity, mankind, all the human beings as a group.
kristi Christian, kristia Christianity, all Christians as a group.
filosof view, outlook, life wisdom; filosofia philosophy, the discipline of wisdom.
This ending is often found in place names, especially in country names. However this use is not systematic and it's not required. There are also a lot of country names that do not end in -ia.
arabi Arab, Arabic; arabia Arabia
rusi Russian; rusia Russia
turki Turk, Turkish; turkia Turkey
Also abstract nouns often end in -ia.
novi new, novia newness, novelty
huri free, huria freedom
When it is added after -er, it means a place of work.
sapateria shoemaker's shop
jana to know
janisa to make known, to inform
nota to note
notisa to notify
This suffix that denotes a person who tends to behave or think in a certain way or to follow a certain ideology or religion.
dewiste theist (one who believes in existence of a god or gods)
dewistia theism (system of belief in a god or gods)
Creates verbs that reverse the meaning of the base verb.
noda to tie; nodula to untie
tapa to plug, to close with a plug; tapula to unplug, to open the plug.
Function words are words that help to organize words into more or less complex sentences. It is a closed class i.e. new words are never or only very seldom be added to it. Function words behave by definition differently than content words, which is the open class for words that refer to things in the world outside the structure of the language.
In Pandunia, function words have the following characteristics:
|Idea||-a (preposition)||-e (noun or pronoun)||-i (modifier)||-u (postposition)|
|1||1st person pronoun||me|
|2||2nd person pronoun||te|
|3||3rd person pronoun||le|
he, she, it
his, her, its
|8||Negation / absence||na|
|9||Affirmation / presence||sa|
with, by, at