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This public article was written by TheCrazyYankee, and last updated on 31 Jan 2018, 19:02.

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Talking Styles and Levels of Formality


There are many, grammatically-correct ways to say sentences in Tomerian. This aritcle lists several styles of speaking, and the level of formality they convey. We will use these two sentences, translated, as a reference in this article: The energetic boy followed his father, who hunts deer, into their car. He was going on his first hunting trip.

For an average, educated Tomerian describing the events of the above sentence, this will likely come out of his mouth:

tamanit anlofont~më~s ďibrlaxli ďyölkaq autanušið. heyek~mnit kšt~zd.
Tamanit anloghontramëras dzibrlakhli dzyölkaq autanushidh. Heyekramnit kshtrazd.
father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.hunt.PCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
energetic-boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
| first-hunt.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


The relative clause is expressed as an participle verb (treated in Tomerian as an adjective) with a noun incorporated, which is considered semi-formal (or linguistically workplace casual), so tamanit anlortramas is more directly translated as "his deer-hunting father" than "his father who hunts deer." Such relative clauses are rarer in Tomerian than in English, as such clauses require a change from Tomerian's standard OSV word order. Other adjectives are expressed as prefixes rather than being their own words. As you may have noticed, the third person pronoun is dropped in the second sentence. Gender particles can be used to represent any pronoun as long as their is a verb inflected.

Now, let's explore the other ways this sentence can be correctly articulated in Tomerian, starting from most formal to least.

Über Formal:
laxli ďib~s ďyölkaq autanušið tamanit yu anlofont ~mu. ~mnit heyekas o} kšt~zd.
Lakhli dzibras dzyölkaq autanushidh tamanit yu anloghont ramu. Ramnit heyekas oru kshtrazd.
boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
energy.ADJAdjectival
syntactic
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-PSSUnknown code.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
RELRelative deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
hunt.INFInfinitive (TAM)
non-tensed verb
| hunt.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
first 3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


In Tomeria, this form of speech is only regularly heard from Tamrist priests during liturgical readings, and only the ones of more conservative sects. It is virtually non-existent outside of temples, so you will likely never here this sentence uttered by a Tomerian, unless he was a very quirky one. Sometimes this is called "temple-speech." In fiction, robots or socially awkward stiffs may also speak like this.

Note, the relative clause and word order of the first sentence. In stead of the usual OSV word order, it follows a Subject-Verb-Oblique-Object order to accommodate the topic of the relative clause. Also, there are absolutely no prefixed adjectives, all adjectives are expressed by there own words... which is weird in Tomerian.

Very Formal:
tamanit anlofont~më~s laxli ďib~s ďyölkaq autanušið. ~mnit heyekas o} kšt~zd.
Tamanit anloghtramëras lakhli dzibras dzyölkaq autanushidh. Ramnit heyekas oru kshtrazd.
father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.hunt.PCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
energy.ADJAdjectival
syntactic
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-PSSUnknown code.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
| hunt.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
first 3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


This is usually reserved for speaking with high-ranking officials, academics, or royalty. This is also expected in academic writing in Tomeria.

Since the relative clause is replaced by a simple participle, regular word order is restored, though no prefix adjectives are used. Otherwise, it is unchanged from "temple-speech."

Formal:
tamanit anlofont~më~s ďibrlaxli ďyölkaq autanušið. heyek~mnit o} kšt~zd.
Tamanit anloghontramëras dzibrlakhli dzyölkaq autanushidh. Heyekramnit oru kshtrazd.
father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.hunt.PCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
energetic-boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-PSSUnknown code.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
|first-hunt.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


Typically used in speech in a formal, professional atmosphere. It should also be used when addressing someone an elder.

Regular adjectives are attached to the beginning of their nouns in a shortened form (the -as affix is dropped). This does not include the rather complicated adjective, anloghontramas, (deer-hunting) which is already something of a glued-together word, which should be enough for formal speech.

Semi-Formal:
tamanit anlofont~më~s ďibrlaxli ďyölkaq autanušið. heyek~mnit } kšt~zd.
Tamanit anloghontramëras dzibrlakhli dzyölkaq autanushidh. Heyekramnit ru kshtrazd.
father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.hunt.PCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
energetic-boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
| first-hunt.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


This sentence is almost identical to the one I first showed you in the opening. The only difference is the inclusion of the masculine particle ru in the place where the pronoun was dropped. In all the formal sentences I showed you, oru, is the pronoun in the second sentence. The on is the actual pronoun root, with -ru being the masculine marker (the N is dropped sandhi). This quasi-dropped pronoun is considered slightly more formal the first sentence I showed you, as it is considered more respectful in Tomeria to acknowledge a person's sex when speaking. It should also be noted that one could save the same amount of syllables when talking and use the pronoun on and drop the gender marker, but this would be considered very disrespectful in Tomerian culture.

Gender particles (the feminine one is na) can substitute any pronoun attributed to a person or animal, as long as there sufficient context or infected verb. Ru ramor, (MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
hunt.1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
). Na ramür, (FFeminine gender (gender)
feminine or female
hunt.2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
.PRESPresent tense (tense)
current
).

I will skip the next wrung on the descending ladder of formality, as it was already covered the standard, casual sentence.

Very Informal:
tamanit anlofont~më~s ďibrlaxli ďyölkaq autanušið. heyek~mnikšt~zd.
Tamanit anloghontramëras dzibrlakhli dzyölkaq autanushidh. Heyekramnikshtrazd.
father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.hunt.PCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
energetic-boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
| first-hunt.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


This is like the that sentence in the opening, accept the whole second sentence has been expressed in a single word by using noun-incorporation. This also illustrates Tomerians' comfort with obscene consonant clusters.

Definitely informal. Though it is still grammatically correct, any sane Tomerian would not use such constructions in academic writing.

Über Informal:
anlofont~mërtamanit ďibrlaxli ďyölkaq autanušið. heyek~mnikšt~zd.
Anloghontramërtamanit dzibrlakhli dzyölkaq autanushidh. Heyekramnikshtrazd.
.hunt.PCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
-father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
energetic-boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
| first-hunt.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


...and...

ďibrlaxli anlofon~mërtamanitďyölkaq autanušið. heyek~mnikšt~zd.
Dzibrlakhli anloghonramërtamanitdzyölkaq autanushidh. Heyekramnikshtrazd.
.hunt.PCPParticiple
adjectival form of a verb
-father.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
deer.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
energetic-boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
car.3PThird person plural (person)
neither speaker nor addressee, they/them
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.ILLIllative (case)
'into'
| first-hunt.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
-POSSPossessive (case)
owns, has
.INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
.attend.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FPSTFuture-in-the-past (tense)
a past action seen as a future action from a past point of view (e.g. He knew he *would win.*)


These two sentences are a-okay and perfectly acceptable when used among friends, and they are still 100% grammatically correct. This sort of speech is commonly used in the northern provinces of Tomeria, and, again for emphasis, among friends in a casual environment. Speaking like this to the wrong elder can get a "young punk" smacked for a gross lack of respect.

Personal Styles of Speech

Tomerian culture places a large emphasis on respect, so speakers are expected to be able to switch into formal-mode at the appropriate times. However, informal speech allows for many varieties of speech. It is almost considered away to express oneself. When speaking informally, Tomerians tend to develop their own style, mixing aspects from the examples showed above. For instance some speakers prefer to switch between casual adjectival affixes and actual adjectives.

Others may favor speaking in a passive voice, which is done easily; Old Tomeric was a tripartite language that eventually evolved into an nominative-accusative language, with the vestigial ergative case being become the agentive case. Such speech is, of course, appropriate for any level of formality:

"The energetic boy followed me."
ni}t ďibrlaxli ďyölkaq.
Nirut dzibrlakhli dzyölkaq.
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
energetic-boy.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
follow.3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech


...may become...

"I was followed by the energetic boy."
ni} teïďyölkoq ďibrlaxihm.
Niru tédzyölkoq dzibrlakhimh.
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.MMasculine gender (gender)
masculine or male
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
PASSPassive voice (valency)
be verb-ed
.follow.1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.PASPast
action occurred before moment of speech
energetic-boy.AGNAgentive (case)
active or volitional case
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