0. Introduction

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 he is 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 grammar, a relatively simple vocabulary, and a simple phonetic spelling.

One thing to keep in mind as you learn Pandunia is that it is not a strict, rule-oriented language where there is a "right way" and a "wrong way" to say things. The important thing is to make yourself understood. Consequently, much of the language involves the lexical items (words that have meaning, like "book" or "eat"), and very little involves purely grammatical ideas (like singular vs. plural and tenses).

1. Basic rules

These are the basic rules of Pandunia language.

  1. All words are unchanging.
  2. When a word or phrase is before another one, the former modifies the latter.
  3. A pause or a determiner begins a new noun phrase.
  4. The subject is joined to the predicate without using a copula i.e. without a "be".
  5. In the pivot structure, the object of the first predicate functions as the subject of the next predicate.
  6. Pronouns can be left out when they are obvious and redundant.
  7. The spelling follows the pronunciation exactly.
  8. The stress accent is placed on the syllable before the last consonant of the word.

2. Nouns

2.1. Uninflected

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.

batu - a stone, stones, the stone or the stones
meza - a table, tables, the table or the tables
kursi - a chair, chairs, the chair or the chairs
su - water

Quite often number and definiteness is known because it was specified earlier or because it is general knowledge. For example, normally the word surya refers to the sun and luna refers to the moon, our only sun and our only moon.

2.2. Number

Nouns are unaffected by number, i.e. nouns have the same form in singular and plural.

The number can be mentioned with number words.

un batu - one stone
du batu - two stones
san batu - three stones

If the number is not mentioned, there are different possibilities.

  1. The number is not important.
  2. The number is not known.
  3. The number is already known. (It has been already been mentioned.)

kia tu ha baca? - Do you have a child / children?

An easy way to emphasize plurality is to repeat the noun.

batu batu - stones, lots of stones
tara tara - stars, lots of stars

2.3. Gender

Pandunia doesn't have grammatical gender (i.e. masculine, feminine and/or neuter categories).

Some words carry natural gender. For example fem (woman) is feminine and man (man) is masculine.

mumu - bovine
man mumu - bull
fem mumu - cow

2.4. Compounds

Two or more nouns 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 the meaning.

surya guang - sunlight
luna guang - moonlight
luna batu - moonstone

3. Modifiers

A modifier is a word that adds some quality or description to the thing denoted by another word, ex. good, bad, big, fast.

3.1. Modifying a noun

An adjective is a word that adds a particular quality for a noun. In Pandunia an adjective is a modifier that is before a noun.

dai batu - big stone dai meza - big table
gau meza - high table bon kursi - good chair

When 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.

batu dai. - The stone is big.
meza gau. - The table is high.

Naturally there can be modifiers on both sides of the noun as well.

dai meza gau. - Big table is high.

3.2 Modifying a verb

An adverb is a word that modifies a verb or another modifier.

In Pandunia an adverb is a modifier that is before a verb or at the end of the sentence.

mi bon son. - I well sleep.
mi son bon. - I sleep well.
tu baxa pandunia bon. - You speak Pandunia well.

3.4 Modifying another modifier

A modifier can modify also another modifier.

sundar fem - beautiful woman
cok sundar fem - truly beatiful woman

3.5. Comparison

Modifiers can be compared.

  • max (more) indicates comparison of superiority
  • maxim (most) indicates the superlative of superiority
  • min (less) indicates comparison of inferiority
  • minim (least) indicates the superlative of inferiority
  • sam (as) indicates the comparison of equality

Particle ka relates the adverbs of comparison to the point of comparison.

mi si max bon ka tu. - I am better than you.
tu loga sam bon ka mi. - You speak as well as mi.

4. Numerals

Sometimes it is known from the context how many objects are spoken about. For example, the word surya (sun) normally refers to just one sun because there is only one.

Quantity can be expressed with numerals and other quantity-words. They are put before the word or phrase that they qualify.

un tara - one star
du tara - two stars
san tara - three stars
poli tara - several stars (two or more)
xau tara - few stars multi tara - many stars

un dai meza - one big table
du dai kursi - two big chairs
san bon kursi - three good chairs

Ordinal numbers come after the word that they modify.

fen un - the first part (part one) fen du - the second part (part two) fen san - the third part (part three)

The basic number words are:

  • 0 nul
  • 1 un
  • 2 du
  • 3 san
  • 4 car
  • 5 lim
  • 6 sis
  • 7 ci
  • 8 ba
  • 9 noi

Greater numbers are simply made by putting one digit after another – exactly like they are written in the universal numerical language of mathematics.

  • 10 un nul or des
  • 11 un un
  • 12 un du
  • 13 un san
  • 20 du nul
  • 21 du un
  • 22 du du
  • 100 un nul nul or hon
  • 101 un nul un or hon un
  • 200 du nul nul or du hon

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.

  • 1000 kilo
  • 1 000 000 mega
  • 1 000 000 000 giga
  • 1 000 000 000 000 tera
  • 1015 peta
  • 1018 eksa
  • 1021 zeta
  • 1024 yota

5. Pronouns

5.1. Personal pronouns

Pronouns can substitute thing-words and phrases of thing-words.

mi - I, mi
tu - you
ye - he, she, it
mimen - we
tumen - you all
yemen - they

se - self

Note! The reflexive pronoun se is used for all persons, so it corresponds to English myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves_ and themselves all at once.

mi wide se - I see myself.
ye wide se - She sees herself. / He sees himself. / It sees itself.
mimen wide se. - We see ourselves.

5.2. Demonstrative pronouns

Sa is the general demonstrative pronoun. It covers the meaning of both this and that.

The distance to the speaker can be specified by adding words jin (near) and far (far), if needed.

sa - this or that
sa jin - this over here
sa far - that over there

The demonstrative pronouns work like modifiers.

sa batu. - That stone
sa si batu. - That is a stone.
sa batu cung. - That stone is heavy.

5.3. Interrogative pronoun

Ke is a general-purpose interrogative pronoun. It does the job of English words who, what and which.

ke? - Who or what?
ke xe? - What? (Which thing?)
ke ren? - Who? (Which person?)
ke sat? - When? (What time?)
ke yang? - How? (What manner?)
ke koz? - Why? (What cause?)

7. Sentences

8.1. Observations

Observations are the simplest sentence type. They may consist of only one word, which draws the listener's attention to it.

mau! - A cat!
pluva! - (It) rains!

7.2. Stative Sentences

7.2.1. With pronoun subject

Normally a sentence consists of a subject and a predicate. In the simplest sentences, the subject is a personal pronoun and the predicate is an adjective or a noun.

mi bon. - I am good.
ye nowa. - It is new.
ye sara. - She is Sara.

The word no is added to form the negative.

mi no bon. - I'm not good.
ye no nowa. - It's not new.
ye no sara. - She is not Sara.

Also two personal pronouns can be juxtaposed.

mi si ye. - I am he/she.
mi no tu. - I'm not you.

7.2.2. With noun subject

When the subject is a noun, the word si (yes) is added before the predicate in positive sentences. The negative sentences use no like above.

sara si bon. - Sara is good.
batu si dai. - The stone is big.
meza si nowa. - The table is new.
meza no lau. - The table is not old.

7.2.3. With adjective subject

The same rule applies also for two adjectives.

jowan si sundar. - Young is beautiful.
nowa no lau. - New is not old.

7.2.4. To be

Pandunia doesn't use a verb like "to be" in English.

7.3. Active Sentences

In predicates of action, the main word in the predicate is a verb (i.e. an action-word).

Active sentences usually have the subject–verb–object word order (SVO).

mi nyam pingo. - I eat apples.
mi audi musika. - I hear music.
mi wide tu. - I see you.

The order can be changed easily to the object–subject–verb word order (OSV).

pingo mi nyam pingo. - Apples, I eat.
musika mi audi. - Music, I hear.
tu mi wide. - You, I see.

7.4. Passive Sentences

7.4.1. OV order

In the passive voice there is no agent subject in the sentence. There is only the object and the verb.

tu wide. - You are seen.
musika audi. - Music is heard.
pan beka. - Bread is baked.

Here the focus is on the object, which is the first word in the sentence. The object is a passive actor that undergoes the action.

The agent can be mentioned after the verb with the preposition de.

tu wide de mi. - You are seen by me.

7.4.2. OV order

In verb–object (VO) order the focus is on the verb.

wide tu. - Seeing you.
audi musik. - Listening music.
beka pan. - Baking bread.

7.6. Pivot structure

7.6.1. Basic pivot structure (SVOVO)

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.

mi wol tu nyam sabzi. - I want you eat vegetables.

In the example above, mi wol has tu as its object. At the same time, tu functions as the subject of the following predicate, nyam sabzi. So tu is the pivot of the entire sentence.

7.7. Serial verbs

All action-words (verbs) that come one after another are activated by the subject. There can be two, three or even more action-words in series.

  1. mi go dom. - I go home.
  2. mi ken go dom. - I can go home.
  3. mi wol ken go dom. - I want to be able to go home. (Lit. I want can go home!)

7.8. Pronoun dropping

In certain types of expressions the pronouns get dropped for brevity. This is done especially in commands and requests.

7.8.1. Short pivot structure (VOVO)

mi kia tu baxa pandunia. - I ask do you speak Pandunia.
kia tu baxa pandunia? - Do you speak Pandunia.

7.8.2. Short pivot structure (VVO)

mi cing tu lai jia. - I ask you to come home.
cing lai jia! - Please come home! (Literally: Request come home!)

8. Conjunctions

8.1. Basic conjunctions

  1. i and (connects two similar words or phrases)
  2. u or (connects two alternative words or phrases)
  3. a - but (introduces a word or phrase that contrasts with or contradicts the preceding word or phrase)

mi suka mau i waf. - I like cats and dogs.
mi suka mau u waf. - I like cats or dogs.
mi suka mau a no waf. - I like cats but not dogs.

9. Particles

9.1. Affirmation and Negation

9.1.1. Affirmative

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.

mi si ren. - I am a person.
ye si nowa meza. - It is a new table.

9.1.2. Negative

Such sentences can be simply negated with no.

mi no ren. - I'm not a person.
ye no nowa meza. - It's not a new table.

The word no is used for denying anything. It affects always the next word.

mi wide tu. - I see you.
mi no wide tu. - I don't see you.
mi wide no tu a yemen. - I see, not you, but them.

The particles si and no are used also for answering questions.

kia tu wide mi? - Do you see me?
si. (mi wide tu.) - Yes. (I see you.)
no. (mi no wide tu.) - No. (I don't see you.)

Modifier particles

Particles su and de are used to mark possession and modification. su connects the modifying word or phrase to the modified word. de works in the opposite direction. It connects the modified word to the modifier.

9.2.1. Possession

The modifier particle can be used for any possessive noun or pronoun.

With regards to possession, su works like apostrophe-s ('s) in English.

maria su mama - Maria's mother
mi su kaza - my house
mi su papa su kaza - my father's house

de works like "of" in English.

mama de maria - the mother of Maria kaza de mi - the house of mine
kaza de papa de mi - the house of the father of mine

9.2.2. Attribution with adjectives

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.

roza rang su labi - rose-colored lips
sama rang su yen - sky-colored eyes

Or in the opposite order:

labi de roza rang - lips of the color of the rose
yen de sama rang - eyes of the color of the sky

9.2.3. Relative clauses

Also relative clauses are created with help of the modifier particles.

Here de has a similar role as English relative pronouns which, that, who and whom.

ye si man de mi wide. - He is the man that I saw.

If the relative clause is missing a subject but contains an object (i.e. if the verb is transitive), the main-clause noun is the implied subject of the relative clause.

mi wide man de nyam pingo. - I see a man who eats apples.

It's possible to construct relative clauses with su too. Then the relative clause precedes the noun that it modifies. The verb is turned into a modifier by putting su immediately after the verb.

mi wide pingo nyam su man. - I see an apple-eating man.

9.3. Modal Particles

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.

ye nyam bir plus. - S/he drinks beer, also.
ye nyam plus bir. - S/he drinks also beer.
ye plus nyam bir. - S/he also drinks beer.
plus ye nyam bir. - Also s/he drinks beer.

Modal particles can modify all kinds of words, including pronouns and numerals, which adjectives can't modify.

9.4. Tense and Aspect Particles

In Pandunia, tense can be expressed with time words and time phrases if needed. The general time words are gon (past), nun (present) and futur (future). They function like adjectives and adverbs, so typically their place is before the verb or at the end of the sentence.

mi ha mau gon. - I had cats in the past. a mi no ha mau nun. - But I don't have cats now. munkin mi ha mau futur. - Maybe I have cats in the future.

Note! Verbs are not conjugated. So the verb ha 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.

10. Prepositions

10.1. Prepositions of place and time

Pandunia has four prepositions of place and time.

  1. na - presence, location or moment (in general): with, at, in, on, by, during, while
  2. be - absence or lack: without
  3. ze - origin, beginning or cause: from, since, because
  4. do - destination, end or purpose: to, till, until, for, then

A preposition begins a prepositional phrase. In a simple prepositional phrase the preposition is complemented by a pronoun or a noun phrase.

mi na hotel. - I'm in the hotel.
mi son na hotel. - I sleep in the hotel.
mi son ze xam do suba. - I sleep since evening until morning.
mi safar ze london do paris. - I travel from London to Paris.

Prepositions are not used as frequently in Pandunia as in English. In many phrases, the verb says enough alone.

mi lai jia. - I come home.
tu sit kursi. - You sit (on) the chair.
ye lala sofa. - S/he lies (on) the sofa.
fixe nata daria. - Fish swim (in) the sea.
jang nik marce dau. - Warriors march (on) the road.


na is an all-purpose preposition. Its basic meaning is "with".

mi stasa na dom.
I stand with house.
I stand by the house.

mi loga na pandunia.
I speak with Pandunia.
I speak in Pandunia.

mi loga na panyo na pandunia na fon.
I speak with friends with Pandunia with telephone.
I speak with friends in Pandunia in telephone.

10.1.3. Preposition with a verb

Pandunia prepositions have very broad meaning. More precise meanings can be obtained by attaching a verb phrase immediately after the preposition.

mi kata pan. - I cut bread.
mi kata pan na caku. - I cut bread with a knife.
mi kata pan na uza caku. - I cut bread by using a knife.

mi deng. - I wait
mi deng na du hor. - I wait for two hours.
mi deng na dura do hor. - I wait during two hours.

Many of these expressions are very useful.

  • before
    na bada - after, following
    na dura - during
    na tema - about (a topic)

na pice de - at the back of
na pice - behind

ye lai na pice mi. - He comes behind me.
ye lai na bada mi. - He comes after me.

Prepositions can be complemented also by a verb phrase. Then they refer to time.

mi deng ze tu go. - I have waited since you left.
mi deng do tu lai jia. - I wait until you come home.
mi deng na tu son. - I wait while you sleep.

More precise expressions of place and time are expressed with a preposition + a place word + du.

na dura de - for the time/duration of
mi deng na dura de tu son. - I wait for the time when you sleep.
na loka de - at the place of
mi deng na loka de tu go. - I wait at the place where you left.
na xia de - under, below
un waf lala na xia de meza. - A dog lies under the table.
na fas de - on the surface of
un mau lala na fas de meza. - A cat lies on the table.

Similar meaning can be expressed also with compound words.

un mau lala na meza fas. - A cat lies at the tabletop.

10.2. Preposition of relation

Prepositions ka indicates manner or style. It corresponds to English prepositions like, than, as and as if.

mi sabi pandunia ka guru. - I know Pandunia like a master.

Ka relates the verb or the adjective to a point of comparison. In the above example sabi (know) is the verb and guru (master) is the point of comparison.

Ka is also used when adjectives are compared.

ban si min dai ka papa. - The child is smaller than the father.
opa si sam dai ka papa. - Grandfather is as big as father.

Ka relates the adverbs of comparison – max (more), min (less) and sem (same) – to the point of comparison, which is papa (father) in the examples above.

10.3. List of compound prepositions

na ante before. na bada after.
na cen in front. na pice behind.
na xia under, below. na gau over, above.
na jin near. na far far away. na visin beside, next to.

12. Advanced Topics

12.1. Hierarchy of Word Types

Spoken language is a flow of sounds which constitute words. Written language, in the case of Pandunia, is a flow of letters from left to right, which constitute words. So every expression is essentially a sequence of words. However all words are not equal. There is a hierarchy of words. The verb is the structural center of a sentence and other words are directly or indirectly connected to it.

Each sentence can be drawn as a tree diagram, where the central words are above and the dependant words are below. For example the sentence mi wida tu (I see you) can be pictured as a tree as follows.

mi wide tu.

 mi   tu

Adjectives and numerals point to their head word, the noun.

mi wide san jowan ren.

 mi   ren

The hierarchy of word types in Pandunia from the more to the less central is as follows.

  1. Conjunctions: i, u, a
  2. Connectors: su, de
  3. Prepositions: na, be, do, ze
  4. Verbs
  5. Nouns and pronouns
  6. Tense, aspect and mood particles
  7. Numerals
  8. Adjectives

The following example shows how the scope affects the final position of words in the tree hierarchy. For example, although i is in general higher than koz, here its scope is only to connect yusef and sara. Ze koz du is at the top, because it connects the two sub-phrases.

yusef i sara wol darsa pandunia ze koz da ye si bon dunia baxa.

                  ze koz da
          wol                   si
      ┌────┴──────┐           ┌──┴──┐
      i         darsa        ye    baxa
  ┌───┴───┐    ┌──┴────┐            |
yusef   sara       pandunia       dunia