What are words in Pandunia grammar?

Introduction

The grammar of Pandunia is simple and concise compared to most languages. The main principle is that words don't ever change for the reasons of grammar. Therefore the same word can be used as a noun, verb or adjective without any change in the form of the word. This is one of the reasons why Pandunia is easier to learn and simpler to use than other languages.

Pandunia is so simple that we don't need specialized or complicated words to describe how it works. That's why all things in this grammar are explained in plain words and basic terms that you have probably already learned in school. And don't worry if you don't remember some of them, all terms are explained when they are met for the first time.

Analytic and isolating

Pandunia is an analytic language. It means that the different parts of a sentence are independent and they are not fused together into single words like in synthetic languages. In other words, grammar is encoded into the word order, not into words. Therefore the order of words is very important in Pandunia.

Pandunia is also an isolating language. Grammatical information, like case, gender, number and tense, is not encoded into words, so there is no affixation or inflection. In fact, words don't ever change in Pandunia. So when you want to express a new meaning or nuance, that doesn't happen by changing words. There is no such thing as changing come to came in Pandunia. If you want to say something more, you have to add more words. So the past tense of lai ('to come') is pas lai ('came' or 'to come in the past').

Content words and structure words

A word class is a group of words that have similar forms and similar use in sentences. In Pandunia, word classes belong to two superclasses: content words and structure words. Content words are the words for things in the real world. The job of structure words is to bind content words into meaningful phrases. They have little meaning or only an occasional meaning in the world outside the language.

Content words convey most of information and meaning. You can't say anything meaningful without them, but they don't make any sense without structure words, which are the necessary words for grammar. You need structure words to put content words together into more or less complex sentences. Content words are like bricks of information and structural words are like the mortar that holds them together.

In Pandunia, it is easy to identify structure words because they always consist of only one syllable. Content words, on the other hand, are typically longer. Structure words are best explained in the grammar, whereas content words are translated in the dictionary.

Word classes

Structure words can be categorized into word classes as follows:

  1. Pronouns : words that point to people and things.
  2. Prepositions : words that relate things and actions into circumstances
  3. Conjunctions : words that join phrases together

Content words can be classified further into the following word classes:

  1. Nouns : words for things, ideas, places and people.
  2. Adjectives : words for qualities of nouns, such as good, bad, and big.
  3. Adverbs : words that describe degrees of qualities, such as less, more and very.
  4. Numerals : words for numbers and amounts.
  5. Verbs : words for actions and occurences, such as to eat and to look.

However, the class of a content word is seldom permanent. A word like ama ('love') can function as a verb, noun or adjective depending on its position in the sentence.

mi ama tu. – I love you. (verb)
tu emosi mi su ama. – You feel my love. (noun)
mi kitabu un ama anjil. – I write a love letter. (adjective)