Puflantu Crash Course
Who Speaks This Anyway?
- Six-fingered aliens that we communicated with in 2019, after the discovery of an Antarctic Artifact.
- You will not need any resources from our first contact for this puzzle, other than what is directly linked in the body of this document. For completeness there are existing guides on the GPH website and the Github. In a couple places, older information may slightly disagree with this document; in those cases, the more modern understanding is correct.
- Every syllable is (C)V(C) (exactly one vowel with up to one consonant on each side).
- Therefore three-consonant clusters never occur.
- A pronunciation guide is here. (It's pretty different from English in several places.) Major notes:
- c is /ʒ/ ("zh" in leisure)
- g is /ŋ/ ("ng" in bring)
- q is /tʃ/ ("ch" in chime)
- u is /ə/ ("uh" in pencil)
- w is /u/ ("oo" in boot)
- x is /ʃ/ ("sh" in push)
- y is /ɲ/ ("ñ" in mignon)
- ' is /🔔/ ("🔔" in 🔔🔔🔔)
Nouns and Adjectives
- Always end in a vowel.
- Singular things almost never end in -w or -we.
- Part of speech is left to context, e.g. twipe works just as well meaning "sugar" or "sweet (sugary)".
- Indicates that a thing is larger or otherwise more intense than its base form, e.g. agtwipe "very sweet".
- May apply before or after noun class infixes depending on whether "a big/very X" or something semantically distinct is intended, e.g. agtwripe "very sweet (liquid)" vs agturwipe "cloying".
- Indicates that a thing is smaller or otherwise less intense than its base form, e.g. saityeri "tint".
- May apply before or after noun class infixes depending on whether "a small/slightly X" or something semantically distinct is intended, e.g. saittiha "small light" (LED?) vs atsatiha "dimmed".
-r- / -ur-
- Indicates that a noun is a fluid.
- Infix -r- before the word's second vowel, e.g. twipe → twripe.
- Use -ur- instead if using -r- alone would cause a three-consonant cluster, e.g. enxa → enxura, not enxra.
- All simple (non-clause) descriptors on a fluid noun also take this transformation.
- "twripe enxura" "sugar water" because the water is a fluid.
- enxa uxfaplo "water bottle" because the bottle is not a fluid.
- Indicates that a noun is a light source.
- Prepend a copy of the noun's first vowel + t, e.g. erqoye → eterqoye "moon".
- All simple (non-clause) descriptors on a light-emitting noun also take this transformation.
- otombu eterqoye "full moon" because the moon is a light source.
- erqoye twipe "moon sugar" because the sugar is not a light source.
- Indicates that a noun is an action defined by physical activity.
- "jump", "stand", "fight"
- not "raise", "cook", "write"
- depending on context, "lift", "spin", "sing"
- Duplicate the final consonant cluster and put a -w- between them, e.g. tanuva → tanuvwva.
- All simple (non-clause) descriptors on a physical activity noun also take this transformation.
- anuvwva tanuvwva "high jump" because the jump is a physical activity.
- tanuva tahlo "sauté pan" because a pan is not a physical activity.
- Infix -ay- before the final vowel to negate a thing, e.g. twipaye for "not sweet".
- The resulting word always has adjectival sense.
- This transformation applies after noun class transformations.
- Replace the final vowel with -w to indicate the dual number, e.g. twipw "two sugars".
- All simple (non-clause) descriptors on a plural noun also take this formation, e.g. "twipw lochw" "two sweet foods".
- Replace the final vowel with -we to pluralize, e.g. twipwe for "sugars" or "sweet things".
- This transformation applies after negation, e.g. twipaywe, not twipwaye.
- All simple (non-clause) descriptors on a plural noun also take this formation, e.g. "twipwe lochwe" "sweet foods".
- Adverbializes an adjective, e.g. erida "fast" → eridas "quickly".
- Verbifies a noun or adjective, e.g. twipe "sugar" → twipel "to sweeten".
-'fi / -'
- Makes an adjective comparative or superlative respectively, e.g. twipe'fi "sweeter" and twipe' "sweetest".
- Proclitic indicating possession, e.g. Baba-ro toreli "Baba's cookie".
- When applied to a personal or relative pronoun, the pronoun gets infixed instead, e.g. at "it" → rato "its"; ory "those described things'" → roryo.
- Pronouns can appear on their own but most often occur infixed into verbs (see Verbs).
- "That" also gets used at the determiner "the".
- These appear in subordinate clauses to indicate the role of the thing being described by the clause, where appropriate; e.g. wlwmoloc-ka locho "the food that I ate".
- When these appear alone they are written arye and orye.
- Attached as enclitics to the preceding item, e.g. Alisa-li Bobu "Alice and Bob"."
- Take the -s suffix when linking verbs or adverbs, e.g. wlatoc-lis zumatuz "it eats and it sleeps".
- Verbs end in consonants and have a root form that is never used on its own.
- Verbs take pronoun infixes indicating subject and object before their final vowel, e.g. wloc "to eat" → wlwmoc "I eat"; wlizotoc "you eat it"
- The "this" and "that" "pronouns" aren't used like this, they just stand alone, i.e. eta-ro "that( thing)'s", not retao
- In the active voice, the subject infix always appears; the object infix only appears sometimes, especially when it is useful to disambiguate subject from object.
- In the passive voice, the object infix appears alone, e.g. wlotoc "It is eaten".
- az "to be" is the only irregular verb and takes its infixes as suffixes after z, e.g. zwm "I am".
- If a small word appears immediately before a verb, it could be a pronoun, a tense/aspect modifier, or a postposition.
- Indicates that an action is done very much, intensely, or overly so, e.g. agwloc "overeat".
- Applies after pronoun infixing but some ag- verbs are considered standalone words.
- Indicates that an action is done only a little, slightly, or underdone, e.g. saerok "scratch".
- Applies after pronoun infixing but some sa- verbs are considered standalone words.
- Indicates that an action is reversed, e.g. horod "to remember" → vohorod "to forget".
- Applies after pronoun infixing; ordering with other two prefixes depends on context.
- Indicates that an action is not done, e.g. wlwmeyoc "I do not eat".
- Goes after the subject pronoun infix and before the object pronoun infix, e.g. wlateyodoc "it does not eat them".
- Indicates the action of the verb, as a gerund, infinitive, or present participle, e.g. eroka "cutting" or "to cut".
- Indicates the performer of a verb or something capable of performing the verb, e.g. wlocafe "eater".
- Indicates the recipient of a verb or something that can be acted upon by the verb, e.g. karwho "addend".
- Indicates a thing that has already been acted upon by the verb, e.g. karwmi "added".
- In cases where more details are needed, a dependent clause may be used instead, e.g. axwroqas kolar-ka "daily added".
- Indicates a thing used to perform the verb, e.g. wlocaqo "utensil"
- Indicates a place where the verb is performed, e.g. wlocice veonxi "eat-hosting building" (diner, restaurant).
- Indicates a thing that causes the verb to happen, e.g. horodede kude "notebook"
- Indicates the result of an action, e.g. realoda "mixture"
- General sentence order is subject-object-verb.
Qarzu daxaqo nagatut. Charles teach-instrument it-writes. Charles writes a guide ("an instructive").
- Things generally go before the things they modify.
Iqa daxede ogwe nathwe qatun. That guide manys words it-has. The guide has many words.
- The object of a
preadposition modifies it, and the adpositional phrase modifies something else.
Ot henqwe sivegwe, pazulu zadey. It within(-plural) showings, puzzle they-are-not. (The) examples in it are not a puzzle.
- Two independent clauses can be linked by attaching an adverbial conjuction to the first clause's verb.
Yokuxa zat-dis yokuxa'fi aza fel zat. Long it-is-but longer being [hypothetical] it-can. It is long but it could be longer.
- Dependent clauses have -ka(s) attached to the verb and are generally positioned the same as the part of speech the clause assumes.
Qarzu lavwe rojdwe swgatodor-ka ocratal. Charles previouses versions that-it-agrees-them it-hopes. Charles hopes (that) it agrees with previous versions.
- If the dependent clause modifies a noun, a relative pronoun might be used to indicate the role of the modified noun in the clause.
Os nagatolut-ka neru zat. [perfective] it-writes-that fifth it-is. It is the fifth (one that) he has written.
- Clauses with other semantic roles are introduced with a ti- or al- word.
Izwfwe gotena zalova, tidul fel Old(s) reading-them needing, this-reason [hyp.] orcizeyin-kas exizeyin. you-don't-want you-should-not. You should not need to read the old ones if you don't want (to).
Uta cuafi rojde albwr Qarzu giravroxotel-kas One new version that-time Charles it-is-confused jifoted. it-is-created. A new version is created whenever Charles is confused.
- If dependent clauses get long enough to interfere with the flow of the sentence, they may be moved after the verb.
Podhe rojde henqos dwtdwt et mwyizid, Next version interiorly again [future] we-see-you eta 13210 henqos et qwyoluk-ka that 2022 interiorly [fut.] we-make-that pazulliqexu ziy et nagolut-ka. puzzleparty for [fut.] that-is-written. We will see you again in the next version, which will be written for the puzzlehunt that we will make in 2022.