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The basics of Pandunia

Pandunia is a constructed language that has a minimalistic grammar and a globalistic vocabulary.

Letters and sounds

Pandunia uses a systematic spelling where each letter represents one spoken sound.

A B Ch D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S Sh T U V X Y Z

The vowels a, e, i, o, u are pronounced as in "are there three or two".

The consonants are: b, ch (sounds like ch in church), d, f, g (always hard), h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r (never silent), s (always voiceless), t, v (sounds like w), sh (sounds like sh), y, z.

Never changing words

Words don't ever inflect or change in Pandunia – not even when they change their word class! The same word, without any change in form, can serve as a noun, adjective or verb.

Personal pronouns

Person Singular Plural
mi mimen
1st I, me we, us
tu tumen
2nd you you all
da damen
3rd he/she, him/her they, them

Basic sentence structures

The particle ya 'yes' may separate the subject and the verb when the subject is a noun.

mau ya yam. – The cat eats.
jen ya sona. – The person sleeps.

If the subject is a personal pronoun, the ya is left out.

mi yam. – I eat.
tu sona. – You sleep.
da sona. – He/she sleeps.

The basic word order is subject–verb–object – the same as in English!

mi ai tu. – I love you.

When the direct object is a noun, it is marked apart from the verb by a demonstrative pronoun, numeral or another determiner.

mi yam un pai. – I eat a pie.
tu yam ye pai. – You eat this pie.

Negation

To negate a word, add no before it.

mi no sona. – I don't sleep.
tu yam no jen. – You eat no-one.

To be

The verb e means 'to be'. It can be left out in very simple sentences.

mi e jen. – I am a person.
mi jen. – I'm a person.

It can't be left out when it is part of a serial verb.

mi vol e mau. – I want to be a cat.
mi vol mau! – I want a cat!

Multi-purpose words

Pandunia words can be ambiguous because they often have more meanings compared to English.

da ai mau. – He loves cats. / She loved a cat. / He/she will love the cat.

But actually the meaning is clear in the real context:

pre tri nen, mi ha du mau i un vaf. mi ha mas un fem ben. da ai mau! – Three years ago, I had two cats and a dog. I also had a daughter. She loved the cats!

Time

Tenses and aspects are optionally expressed with the help of adverbs and auxiliary verbs, like zai (currently), pas (in the past), le (already), and sha (in the future).

mi zai ai tu. – I am loving you.
mi pas ai tu. – I loved you.
mi le ai tu. – I have loved you.
mi sha ai tu. – I will love you.

Passive

The passive voice is formed with the help of the helping verb be.

tu be ai. – You are loved.
mi be ai de tu. – I am loved by you.

Modifying other words

To modify a noun, put adjectives before it.

un neu ai – a new love
la hau pai – the good pie

To modify a verb, put adverbs before it. The adverb can be tagged with di.

mi hau (di) visi tu. – I see you well.
tu visi di ai da. – You seemingly love him/her.

Modifiers are compared with mas 'more, -er', masim 'most, -est', min 'less', minim 'least' and par 'equally, as'. The point of comparison is introduced with ka 'than, as'.

tu e mas sen ka mi. – You are older than me.
tu e masim sen. – You are the oldest.

Questions

To ask yes–or–no questions, replace the verb with "(verb) no (verb)" pattern or add he 'eh, huh' to the end of the sentence.

tu visi no visi mi? – Do you see me?
tu visi mi, he? – You see me, eh?

To ask a content question, write a normal sentence and replace the word in question with ke 'what, who'.

tu ai ke? – Who do you love?
tu ai ke man? – Which man do you love?
ke man ya ai tu? – Which man loves you?
tu ai da ke poli? – How much do you love him?

Commands

To state a command, leave out the subject and start the sentence with the verb.

yam ye pai! – Eat this pie!
visi vo mau! – Look at that cat!