Brooding is a language spoken in the land of Harken, purportedly created at the dawning of the Last Age by Clyde P. Riddlesbrood.
Brooding was created by Veronica Hamilton for the Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company based on elements developed by the theater’s director Ryan Long. In the fall of 2014, development and curatorship of the language was assumed by BenJamin P. Johnson.
Brooding has been featured in Riddlesbrood’s theme song, the 2012 play The Dark Side Show, the 2015 play Harken – A Game of Phones, the 2016 novel Riddlesbrood and the Greatest Brochure in the World, and the 2017 revival of Harken. Riddlesbrood’s use of Brooding is briefly explored in the 2017 film Conlanging, and in more depth in this video by the Conlanging producers.
Both Veronica’s and Jamin’s involvement with Brooding was facilitated by the Language Creation Society (LCS).
|b||/b/||as in ‘bee’|
|p||/p/||as in ‘pea’|
|d||/d/||as in ‘deed’|
|t||/t/||as in ‘tea’|
|g||/g/||as in ‘get’|
|k||/k/||as in ‘key’|
|f||/f/||as in ‘fee’|
|th||/θ/||as in ‘thin’|
|s||/s/||as in ‘see’|
|z||/z/||as in ‘zed’|
|sh||/ʃ/||as in ‘she’|
|kh||/x/||as ch in German ‘Bach’|
|h||/h/||as in ‘he’|
|ch||/t͡ʃ/||as in ‘cheek’|
|Nasals and Liquids|
|m||/m/||as in ‘me’|
|n||/n/||as in ‘need’|
|ng||/ŋ/||as in ‘ring’|
|l||/l/||as in ‘leaf’|
|r||/r/||as in ‘reed’|
|Semi-Vowels / Glides|
|w||/w/||as in ‘we’|
|y||/j/||as in ‘yea’|
- All but kh are pretty much pronounced as in standard English
- th is always pronounced unvoiced as the ‹th› in thin ([θ]), never as the voiced ‹th› in thee or they ([ð])
- l always pronounced like the ‹l› in leaf ([l]), never like the velar or dark ‹l› in all or ball ([ɫ])
- g is always pronounced as a voiced velar stop like the ‹g› in get ([ɡ]), never as an affricate like the ‹g› in ‘gee’ ([d͡ʒ])
- r is a variable rhotic phoneme which may be pronounced however is most comfortable for the speaker, e.g. [r], [ɾ], [ɹ], [ʁ], &c.
Consonant Blends and Clusters
Several of the sounds have a ‘blended’ version. A consonant blend is two consonants in a row pronounced one after the other. Most of these blends only appear at the beginning of syllables. While these blends are represented by a single letter in Brooding orthography, they are two consonant sounds (and this subject to Brooding word structure rules that apply to two consonants in a row).
All obstruents in Brooding, with the exception of the affricate ch. may be followed by a liquid; voiced obstruents are followed by <r> and unvoiced by <l>. Finally, another group of clusters can be formed from <s> plus an unvoiced stop.
|Voiced Consonant + /r/|
|br||/br/||as in ‘breathe’|
|dr||/dr/||as in ‘dream’|
|gr||/gr/||as in ‘green’|
|zr||/zr/||not an English sound. z followed immediately by r|
|Unvoiced Consonant + /l/|
|pl||/pl/||as in ‘plea’|
|tl||/tl/||not an English sound. t followed immediately by l|
|kl||/kl/||as cl in ‘clean’|
|fl||/fl/||as in ‘flee’|
|thl||/θl/||as in ‘athlete’, but at the beginning of a word.|
|sl||/sl/||as in ‘sleep’|
|shl||/ʃl/||as schl in ‘schlep’|
|khl||/xl/||not an English sound. x followed immediately by l|
|hl||/hl/||not an English sound. h followed immediately by l|
|/s/ + Stop|
|sk||/sk/||as in ‘skill’|
|sp||/sp/||as in ‘spill’|
|st||/st/||as in ‘still’|
- As noted above a few of the blends do not occur in English. They take a little practice to say, but aren’t hard. Avoid putting a sound between the sounds - English speakers might have a tendency to insert a vowel in there (like some people pronounce sphere as ‘suh-fear’)
|ee||/i/||as ee in ‘beet’|
|i||/ɪ/||as i in ‘bit’|
|ae||/e/||as ai in ‘bait’|
|e||/ɛ/||as e in ‘bet’|
|aa||/æ/||as a in ‘bat’|
|a||/ɑ/||as o in ‘bot’|
|uh||/ʌ/||as u in ‘but’|
|aw||/ɔ/||as ou in ‘bought’|
|o||/o/||as oa in ‘boat’|
|oo||/u/||as oo in ‘boot’|
|ai||/aɪ̯/||as i in ‘bite’|
|au||/aʊ̯/||as ou in ‘bout’|
Brooding has a concept of contrasting vowels. These are pairs of vowels that are used in various grammatical operations. Some processes require you to take a vowel from a word and change it to its contrasting vowel. For example, if the vowel is ‘oo’, it changes to ‘o’. If it is ‘o’, it changes to ‘oo’.
Here are the pairs of contrasting vowels:
Syllables in Brooding come in the format (C)(C)V(C)(C). (The C’s are consonants, the V is a vowel.) The ones in parentheses mean they are optional. What that means is that there is a single vowel at the center of every syllable, and there can be up to two consonants before the vowel and up to two consonants after the vowel.
Before the vowel, the allowable consonant (or consonant blends) are listed below. As an aside, each of these has its own character in the Brooding alphabet, so there will always be only one character before the vowel (if any at all).
- Consonants: b, p, d, t, g, k, f, th, s, z, sh, kh, h, m, n, l, r, y, w, ch
- Double consonants: br, pl, dr, tl, gr, kl, fl, thl, sl, zr, khl, hl, st, sp, sk
After the vowel is most commonly a single consonant (if anything), but two are possible. Here are the possibilities:
- Single consonants: b, p, d, t, g, k, f, th, s, z, sh, kh, h, m, n, ng, l, r, ch
- Double consonants: lb, lp, ld, lt, lg, lk, lf, lth, ls, lz, lsh, lkh, lm, ln, lng, rl, bz, ps, dz, ts, gz, ks, mz, nz, ngz, nd, nt, st, sp, sk
Words are made of syllables, of course, but they have some additional rules.
- No sequences of vowels in a word (one vowel after another).
- No double consonants at the end of words.
Some parts of speech have specific requirements in their ‘basic’ forms. The basic form of a word is the form the word takes when not modified at all to fit into a sentence.
- Nouns - Basic nouns end with a syllable of the form: C(C)VC. That is a single or double consonant, followed by a vowel then by a single consonant.
- Verbs - Basic verbs always have at least two syllables. The first syllable is just a vowel (no consonants in the basic form). The last syllable is C(C)VC, like the last syllable of a noun. There can be any number of syllables between those two syllables.
- Adjectives - Adjectives end in a vowel.
Writing System and Orthography
In addition to the transliteration system outlined above, Brooding also uses a writing system comprised of two sets of characters: seeing characters and blind characters. Seeing characters form an alphabet, with each seeing character representing a Brooding sound. The blind characters are logograms used in various ways.
These “faces” (called gawbren) may be used in various props, illustrations, or even mimicked by actors to tell a “story within a story.” The angle of the head may also be manipulated to create dual meanings. On the left are two examples of a clue which could mean “Gate of Faces” (gedreen e doon) or “Gate of Dreams” (gedreen e wis).
Brooding is written primarily as an abjad, omitting the vowels in most cases. The only time that the vowels are required is when they appear at the beginnings of a word.
In addition to the abjad, the blind characters are used in several different ways:
- When used as a solitarily as a word, they represent an particular entire word.
- Some blind characters can be used in pairs to indicate other words.
- In nouns and verbs, they symbolize a grammatical operation - such as the noun being plural or the verb
being in the past. While this does not affect the spelling of the word, it does change relative meaning of the word and how the word is spoken.
- A particular blind character indicates that the word is actually a sequence of numerals.
Additionally, since the seeing characters cover all of the sounds in Brooding, words can be spelled out phonetically, vowels and all. This includes words usually symbolized by a blind character, or a noun or verb modified by a blind character. This is not the common usage, but allows for greater flexibility for artistic and/or surreptitious uses.
Brooding is generally written left-to-right with lines written top-to-bottom. However, when used in an image or in another context, there may not be lines of text. Various visual elements can be used to connect parts of the sentence together (pointing hands, direction of open eyes, presence of various forms of beards, etc.).
Other writing conventions
- Word boundaries are indicated by the eyes of the faces. The eyes looking to the right indicates the
first letter of a word, while the eyes looking left indicates the end. The eyes are straight ahead if in the middle. This may or may not be visible on blind characters, however, so determining if a blind character is part of a word or not will depend on looking at the eyes of surrounding characters.
- In Brooding, sentences are organized not with periods but by the angle of the faces. The head turning
right indicates the beginning of a sentence, while the head turning left indicates the end. The faces in the middle are always looking straight ahead.
- A paragraph in Brooding is smaller than in a conventional English text and is used in clusters that
can be spread out all over the page. Each paragraph begins with a Tined Character (A character with a three-tined or forked beard) similar to how a paragraph in English is started with an indent.
- In Brooding, kerning can be used to indicate a hushed volume, a secret conversation, or just a side
note to the text. This is accomplished by making the characters closer together or the space between them narrower.
Structure of a Character
Brooding characters are all faces. While the exact face is variable, what determines which character a face is depends on the state of three features of the face: eyes, mouth and tilt.
Which of the eyes are closed or not indicate the state of the eyes. The eyes of a Brooding face can be in one of four states:
- both eyes open
- left eye closed
- right eye closed
- both eyes closed
NB: In terms of discussing letter structure, left and right eyes are from the perspective of the face, not of the reader.
The mouth of a Brooding face can be in one of six states:
- mouth closed
- mouth open
- mouth open with teeth visible
- mouth open with teeth clenched
- mouth puckered
- tongue out
- The exact expression on the mouth (smile, frown, smirk, etc.) is not relevant as long as the mouth is
recognizable as one of the above.
- The primary difference between ‘teeth visible’ and ‘teeth clenched’ is whether the teeth are touching.
- ‘Puckered’ might be tight or loose, but visibly puckered.
- The traditional Brooding characters with tongue out show the tongue sticking out very far and down.
In practice, however, as long as the tongue is obviously out of the mouth is allowable. Teeth being visible is irrelevant in this case.
The vertical tilt of the face is the last distinguishing feature of a Brooding character.
There are three options for vertical tilt:
- head striaght ahead
- head tilted downward
- head tilted upward
Standard Brooding letters are faces with at least one eye open. These are called seeing characters (as opposed to blind characters). These characters each represent sounds in Brooding, either single sounds or ‘blends’, double consonants that can appear at the beginning of a syllable. Every possible sound or blend that can begin a syllable has its own character in Brooding.
|a /ɑ/||e /ɛ/||i /ɪ/||au /aʊ̯/||oo /u/||aw /ɔ/|
|aa /æ/||ae /e/||ee /i/||ai /aɪ̯/||o /o/||uh /ʌ/|
|p /p/||t /t/||k /k/|
|b /b/||d /d/||g /g/|
|f /f/||th /θ/||s /s/||sh /ʃ/||kh /x/||h /h/|
|m /m/||n /n/||ng /ŋ/|
|w /w/||r /r/||y /j/||l /l/|
Blends and Clusters
|pl /pl/||tl /tl/||kl /kl/|
|br /br/||dr /dr/||gr /gr/|
|fl /fl/||thl /θl/||sl /sl/||shl /ʃl/||khl /xl/||hl /hl/|
|sp /sp/||st /st/||sk /sk/|
Sometimes seeing characters can be used on their own in place of a word. In this case, they act much like a blind character in that they represent the entire word as a sort of abbreviation. There are two ways that a solitary seeing character can be interpreted:
- Each seeing character has a name. A solitary character can represent that name instead. It could be an actual name, or the name used in a metaphorical sense.
- Some of the characters are associated with a numeral or number. One of these characters alone can symbolize that number.
The above possibilities are in addition to the possibility that a single seeing character might represent a word that is a consonant or blend followed by a vowel. All of these usages are ambiguous and a reader will have to determine from context which seems appropriate.
A sequence of seeing characters can be a sequence of numerals as well, if all of the characters could potentially be numerals. This is indicated by the inclusion of the blind character number indicator. The blind character itself can appear anywhere in the numeral sequence.
Blind characters are faces in the Brooding writing system with both eyes closed. Unlike the other characters, which represent specific sounds or blends, blind characters serve a number of different functions, depending on how they are used. We’ll go through each use below.
Blind characters can be used by themselves to symbolize single words, usually words with syntactic functions.
|zraeram||not to be|
|zrauplen||there is not|
Some blind characters paired with another character stands for specific words as well. Note that the order of the characters is not important, just that they are together in a two character word.
|tlauspuh||in order to|
Blind characters, when in a noun word, indicate the declension on the noun. This indicates case and number in the standard ways for Brooding. The character can appear in the word, except the beginning. In the noun, only the mouth on the blind character - the tilt is irrelevant, though the default is usually straight.
Blind characters, when in a noun word, indicate the conjugation on the noun. This indicates the tense of the verb, the aspect and whether the verb is negated or not. The character can appear in the word, except the beginning.
The solitary blind faces for aeram, zraeram, auplen and zrauplen can be combined with the above verb modifiers into paired characters to indicate the appropriate conjugation of the verb. Note that in this pairing, the affirmative/negative feature of the verb modifier is ignored; rather the inherent one in the verb is used instead.
The Brooding Alphabet (which is called gawbre, the collective of gawbren ‘letter’, so ‘group or series of letters’) consists of fifty seeing characters and fifteen blind characters for a total of sixty-five gawbrene (‘letters’) in all. The seeing characters, as discussed above, all represent phonemic sounds in Brooding, with the exception of Stoot, which indicates that a blind character will follow.
In order, the full alphabet is as follows:
The first sixteen seeing characters are synonymous with and in the order of the first sixteen numbers.
The next eight characters are factorials used to create larger numbers.
The origin of the order of the next 24 characters is lost to antiquity, but note that the Contrasting Vowels always appear together.
|‘field’||‘nameless’||(a name)||‘glade’||(a mountain)||(a name)||‘instigator’||‘fortress’|
|‘goal’||‘what’||‘home’||‘existence’||‘magic’||‘legible’||‘ancient one’||(a name)|
|‘survival’||‘work’||‘foolishness’||‘winner’||‘problem’||‘wheel’||(a name)||(a name)|
The antepenultimate seeing character, Seering is the only seeing character which does not begin with the sound it represents (/ŋ/). The penultimate seeing character is Stoot, mentioned above as the only seeing character which does not represent a sound. The final seeing character zromed, is the number ‘zero’.
The final fifteen characters are blind and are named for the main word they are used to represent (though some may represent more than one word of concept).
Brooding nouns, in their basic form, always end with the sequence consonant-vowel-consonant (i.e. they cannot end in a blended consonant, see above).
Nouns can be marked as singular, plural or ‘mass’ (collective). Mass nouns are nouns that where there are multiple entities in the group, but the group is considered as a coherent whole. For example, a bee would be singular, bees would be plural and a swarm of bees would be a mass noun.
Let’s look at the word for ‘tree’: geeth
- The basic noun is singular: geeth
- To make it plural, you take the last vowel in the word and add it to the end of the word: geethee
- To make it a mass noun, you remove the last consonant: gee
- chendim - a shoulder (part of the body)
- chendimi - shoulders
- chendi - a group of shoulders (probably used to refer to both shoulders at once as in ‘you have a good head on your shoulders’)
Case indicates the function of the noun in the sentence. Brooding marks either the subject of the sentence (the one doing the action) and the object (the one being done to, if any).
However, if the noun is the object of the sentence, it is modified. You start off with the form marked for number, as above. Then you take the contrasting vowel of the last vowel and put it at the beginning of the word.
For example, if something is being done to a tree, take the word as above geeth. Next, you take the last vowel and find its contrasting vowel: i. Then add it to the front: igeeth. It works the same for plural igeethee and mass igee.
A Note about the Nomenclature of Cases
This reference is intended mainly for the benefit of those who would like to learn Brooding, but who may not have an extensive background in languages or linguistics. Throughout this text, the three cases found in Brooding are referred to as “Subject,” “Object,” and “Possessive.” These are slightly under-specific, but are hopefully clear to the lay-person learning the language. It would probably be better from a linguistic point of view to refer to the object case as “accusative,” the possessive as “genitive,” and the subject case as either “nominative” and/or “oblique.” (Although the default “subject” case is used for the subject, it is also used after prepositions and in other positions where the label of nominative is not appropriate.)
Modifying nouns is done in a number of different ways. Almost all of the modifiers for a noun come directly after the nouns they modify.
The order of modifiers for a noun are as follows:
Note that only the noun itself is required. Any of the other elements in the noun phrase can be left out or included as needed. The relative order between them is invariant, however.
Adjectives directly follow the nouns they modify. For more details on adjectives, see the Adjectives section.
Participles cannot be used as adjectives directly as they may in many languages. In order to use a verbal participle as an adjective, you must create a miniature relative clause.
|‘The singing fool.’ ≃ ‘The fool who sings.’|
|‘A hidden tree.’ ≃ ‘A tree that is hidden.’|
These relative clauses may also be rendered in the habitual or progressive aspects, lending some additional depth of meaning that is normally lost in participles.
|‘The fool who used to sing.’|
|‘A that is (in the process of) being hidden.’|
Sometimes you want to say something belongs to something else. You turn a noun into a possessive noun to do so. If we have someone named Klaid (Clyde in English), we make it a possessive by inserting an ‹l› after the last vowel. Klaid becomes Klaild. So ‘Cylde’s tree’ is translated as geeth Klaild.
If the noun you want to turn into a possessive has a final consonant of ‹l› or ‹r›, you'll have to add ‹-li-› for all forms that end in ‹l›, and for the singular form that ends in ‹r›. E.g. nool ‘world’ → noolil ‘world’s’, dar ‘crowd’ → dalir ‘crowd’s’.
Propositional phrases (i.e. “On the water,” “with a duck,” etc.) can be appended to modify a noun. See the Prepositions section.
A relative clause is a short clause that describes the noun. In “The tree that burns,” the relative clause is “that burns.” A relative clause is like a mini-sentence embedded after the noun. In our example, you could visualize it as “The tree (it burns).” In English, we add “that” on the beginning and remove the pronoun that refers to the noun. The noun is called the ‘head’ and “that” is called the relativizer. The head noun might be the subject or the object of the clause. If I say “The tree that burns,” the tree is the thing burning - it’s the subject of the burning. However, I can say “The tree that I burn.” In that case, the tree is the object, the thing being burned.
In Brooding, a relative clause starts with the relativizer, followed by the verb, the subject then the object (if any). This seems different than the usual sentence order (SVO) but it adheres to the V2 nature of the language - the verb is always the second constituent (the first in a relative clause is the relativizer).
There are two relativizers: ai and au. Which you use depends on how the head fits into the relative clause. If the head noun is the subject of the relative clause, ai is used. If it is the object, then au is used.
So let’s take the above example. If I say “The tree that burns down,” the head is “tree,” and the relative clause is “that burns down,” that you can look at as “The tree (it burns down).” In that clause, the tree is the subject (it is what is burning). So it’s the subject of the relative clause. When you write the clause, you use the relativizer ai:
|‘The tree that burns.’|
(Note: there is no object listed after the verb because there is nothing the tree is doing the burning to.)
|‘The tree that I burn.’|
(Note: There is a subject in the relative clause - leed ‘I’ - since “I” am doing the burning. It appears after the verb because the verb is always second. Also, the verb is slightly different. aekhlaat means something is burning. I am making it burn, so the verb is literally “to cause-to-burn.” For more on that construction, see the section on Verbal Causation).
One thing to remember is that the relativizer is based off of where the head noun fits into the relative clause, not where it fits into the overall sentence. Look at the following sentence:
|‘I see a tree that burns’|
Brooding uses four demonstratives:
|ti||this||(right here, in my hand)|
Note that Brooding has no distinct words for articles (e.g. “the,” “a/an”). Rather, when “the” would be used in English, a Brooding speaker would use a demonstrative instead. There is no equivalent to “a/an.”
A noun clause is a clause that, instead of modifying a noun, replaces a noun in a sentence. English has a few versions of a noun clause. For example, in “He saw that I hit him,” “that I hit him” is a noun clause. It is the action “I hit him” that is being seen. In this case, it is the object of the sentence. English sometimes drops the “that” (e.g. “He saw I hit him”), but it still remains as a replacement for a noun.
The other English variation is to use an infinitive verb in places of a noun: “I want to hit him.” This is equivalent to “I want that I hit him.” Once again, “I hit him” is the object of the noun.
In Brooding, there is only one form for this sort of construction. The action of the dependent clause is converted into a noun (as per the rules for nominalization) and then it modified by prepositional phrases and relative clauses. In Brooding, “I want to hit him” would be:
|‘I want to hit him.’ (Literally: “I want my hitting of him.”)|
Denominalization is converting nouns into other parts of speech.
Initiation: prefix aw-
To say that the subject is becoming the noun, you add the prefix above to change the noun into a verb. This creates an intransitive verb.
- awfoos - to become a cow
Causation: compound with ootawn-
To say that the subject is causing the object become the noun, compound the noun with the verb ootawn.
- ootawnfoos - to turn into a cow, to cow-ify
Verbing: compound with osen-
To ‘verb’ a noun, that is to make a verb that means to use the noun or engage with the noun in a typical way (e.g. ‘google’ as a verb), compound the noun with the verb osen.
- osenraap – to war, to make war (literally ‘do-war’).
Similarity: suffix -ee
To have an adjective that means having the quality of the noun, suffix ee to the end.
- foosee - cow-like, cow-ish, cow-y
Association: suffix -ingee
- raapingee - martial
Lacking: suffix -yuh
For an adjective that means lacking the noun, suffix yuh.
- daroonyuh - nameless
Pronouns in Brooding are listed below. There are a few differences from English pronouns, however.
There are different pronouns for you-singular and you-plural.
There is no gender split in the 3rd person pronouns (no he/she). However, there is a split between people and non-people (he/she vs. it). There is a separate third person plural for groups that are all non-people.
Several of the pronouns have an alternate “clique” or “in-group” version. These are for referring to people who are part of your Brood - that is, your clan, group or “side” to things. When speaking to a stranger, it is customary to assume that they are not part of the group until you learn otherwise.
The following diagram may help to better illustrate these relationships.
These relationships can be even more complicated with the first person plural pronoun (‘we’), because it may include entities from both in and out of the Brood. (If it should include both, the default is non-Brood.)
Possessives and accusative cases are marked as all nouns.
Prepositional phrases are used to modify nouns or modify verbs. In either case, they present more details about the noun or the action the verb describes.
They begin with a preposition followed by a noun phrase (see Modifying Nouns for what can be in a noun phrase). Note that a prepositional phrase can have a noun phrase in it that itself has a prepositional phrase. The noun in the noun phrase has the subject case, though it can be any of the three numbers a noun can be.
Basic prepositions themselves are one to two syllables, ending in a vowel. However, some prepositions are compound words made from a basic preposition and another word.
Locational (“Essive”) Prepositions
The basic location prepositions are:
From there we get more complex prepositions:
|awzra||outside of (exessive)|
|yuhneema||in front of|
Motion (“Lative”) Prepositions
The basic motion preposition is:
Complex prepositions for motion are:
From there we get more complex prepositions:
|aayuhnee||away from (ablative)|
|aazraw||out of (elative)|
|aati||by way of (instrumental)|
Relational prepositions describe a relation between items.
Basic prepositions of this type are:
|e||of, associated with, characterized by|
|skau||for, for the benefit of (benefactive)|
|pa||for (recipient), indirect object|
Complex relational prepositions are:
|zrachee||without, lacking (caritive)|
|tichee||using, by means of (instrumental)|
|ese||made of, comprised of (exessive)|
Guidance on using prepositions
What exact prepositions are used for what situation varies wildly between languages, and Brooding is no exception. The following sections provide guidance for how a Brooding speaker would translate situations where usage varies from English usage.
- Where an English speaker would use ‘of’ to describe an association or something being characterized by something else, a Brooding speaker would use the preposition e. This would include phrases like eshleskazaet e endthaig ‘weapon of choice’, bawding e leed ‘friend of mine’, and railed e skooraid ee tuhnging ‘man of wealth and taste’.
- When an English speaker would use ‘of’ to indicate something that is comprised of something, the Brooding speaker would use ese, like broshoor ese daaplithi ‘book of words’ or brood ese ailtlaakaa ‘band of thieves’. Also use ese with adjectives, translating phrases such as raita ese staezkhleedee ‘full of eels’ or tai ese staezkhleedee ‘tired of eels’.
- In indicating origin a Brooding speaker would use se, as in Rabin se Laksleeh ‘Robin of Locksley’, or Yawbeth ga se La Manchah ‘The Man of La Mancha’.
- Brooding does not have a verbal infinitive, so in cases where an infinitive would be used in English, Brooding uses a construction with the nominalizer -nd-, e.g. ‘She is waiting to buy it’ would be translated as bashen afigrama eendtoon basheln oofruh tluht, which more literally translates to something like “She is waiting for her buying of it.” The “of” found in this construction is translated using the specialized preposition oofruh.
- Finally, where an English speaker would use ‘of’ to indicate possession (as an equivalent to the possessive ’s), the Possessive Case is used.
“From” is used in English to indicate origin, both in general (“I’m from the city”) and in specific (“I came from the house.”) Brooding uses different terms for these two usages.
- To indicate origin of an action or motion, aazraw is used: Leed onathal aazraw thlaenam ga. ‘I came from the house’
- To indicate origin in general, the preposition se would be used instead: Leed aeram se taageez ga. ‘I am from the city.’
- For the more archaic use of “from” involving making something out of something else (as in “something from nothing”), using tichee (so literally “something using nothing”) is better.
The word “to” gets used a lot in English, but the uses are split up in Brooding.
- In situations involving motion, and the subject going somewhere, such as “going to the store,” Brooding uses the motion preposition of aa.
- However, in those cases in English in which “to” would indicate a recipient of some sort for, Brooding uses pa. For example “I hit the ball to her,” pa is used to translate “to.” In English this is often referred to as the indirect object.
In determining which preposition to use in place of “for,” the key difference is whether the noun in the phrase is a benefactor or just a recipient.
- For example, in “I made a cake for Jane,” “Jane” benefits from it, so skau would be used.
- In the case of a phrase like “I have a letter for Dave,” “Dave” is the recipient, and pa would be used.
- In something like “for example,” you’d use an adverbial phrase (see Adverbs) with otlai to something like “in the manner of an example.”
“By” can be used to describe both location and means in English.
- In Brooding, location would use cheema to mean “near” instead. (Use this if you can substitute “next to” or “beside.”)
- To describe means, as in “by hook or by crook,” Brooding uses tichee. (Use this if you can substitute “using” or “by means of.”)
- To describe a path of motion, as in “by way of,” Brooding uses aati. (Use this if you can substitute “by way of” or “via.”)
- To describe authorship or creation of a product, as in “a play by William Shakespeare,” use se.
All verbs in Brooding are multi-syllable. The first syllable is a single vowel - this vowel is called the ‘key vowel’ of the verb. The last syllable ends in Vowel-Consonant.
Tense and Aspect
Tense indicates the time frame in which an action happens. Aspect, on the other hand, indicates its internal consistency.
Three aspects are marked in brooding:
- perfective - the action described is being looked at in its entirety - it began, it ended.
- progressive - the action is being looked at as underway - it’s ongoing.
- habitual - the action is something that happens on a regular basis
We’ll use the example verb: agen “to see”
The perfective version of the verb is the basic of the verb: agen
The progressive form of the verb takes the key vowel and appends it to the end of the word: agena
‘I am seeing.’
The habitual form is a little more complex. The last vowel of the verb is moved to the end, and is replaced by the key vowel: agane
‘I see (often, usually).’
Brooding has two tenses: past and non-past. The non-past timeframe is usually present, but you can indicate a future through a mood auxilary.
The past version of a verb is where the key vowel of the verb is replaced with the contrasting vowel. So agen becomes aagen.
‘I was seeing.’
‘I used to see.’
Negation of verbs is marked by adding zr- to the beginning of the verb. This applies to all versions of the verb.
‘I do not see.’
‘I did not used to see.’
Modality in Brooding is used to indicate possibility, necessity, or likelihood of certain verbs being true. In English, this sort of modality is generally handled by using various auxiliary verbs, such as ‘may’, ‘can’, ‘should’, ‘must’, |c. In Brooding, modality can be indicated with verbal infixes inserted into the verb after the key vowel. These can, of course, also be combined with tense and aspect, as above.
Necessity, ‘must’: insert -che-
‘I must see.’
‘You used to have to see.’
Obligation, ‘ought’: insert -plV- ("V" means repeat the Key Vowel.)
‘We ought to see.’
‘We had a duty to see.’
Advisory, ‘should’: insert -tlV- ("V" means repeat the Key Vowel.)
- atlagen - should see, be advised to see, be warned to see
Intentional, ‘will, shall’: insert -grV- ("V" means repeat the Key Vowel.)
- agragen - will see, shall see, intend to see
Probability, ‘should, might’: insert -khlai-
- akhlaigen - should see, will probably see, have a high likelihood of seeing
Ability, ‘can’: insert -ba-
- abagen - can see, be able to see, have the ability to see
Permission, ‘may’: insert -ska-
- askagen - may see, have permission to see, be allowed to see
Possibility, ‘might’: insert -drae-
- adraegen - might see, have the possibility of seeing
Audacity, ‘dare’: insert -zee-
- azeegen - dare to see, have the courage or audacity to see
Nominalization is converting a verb into a noun. Brooding has several ways of doing this. In all cases, it involves inserting sounds after the key vowel. In some of those cases, the key vowel is replicated (where listed below, it is symbolized with V).
- agen - to see
Action: insert -nd-
- andgen - the act of seeing, sight
Agent - particular: insert -r-
- argen - one who sees (at this moment in time), witness, observer
Agent - habitual: insert -l-
- algen - one who sees (often, on a regular basis), seer, watcher
Patient: insert -sp-
- aspgen - one who is seen
Result: insert -t-
- atgen - that which is seen
Instrument: insert -shlV-
- ashlagen - something used to see with
Location: insert -chV-
- achagen - a place where something is seen
Nominalization can also be used with other forms of verbs as well. For example:
Brooding allows verbs to be put in immediate sequence with each other in a construct called a serial verb. This is usually to describe a series of actions that are closely associated, especially in quick succession.
|‘I saw, ran, and hid.’|
In this case, the verbs ‘see’, ‘run’, and ‘hide’ are all in sequence and act as a single constituent. Note that only the first verb (aagen) is marked in the past - the rest of the verbs are just listed in their basic form. Also note that this isn’t a long compound verb. The words are pronounced separately, but as the same phrase.
A form of compounding for verbs in Brooding is called object incorporation. This is when the object of the sentence is combined with the verb. For example, instead of saying “He hits the cow,” the object incorporated version of the sentence would be “He cow-hits.”
To incorporate the object, the verb is appended to the object form of the noun to create the new verb. The key vowel of the new verb is the first vowel of the new word. That new verb can be inflected like any other verb.
|‘He hits a cow.’|
|‘He hits a cow.’ (Literally: “He cow-hits.”)|
This is a productive procedure in Brooding - you can do it with any sentence with a single word object. However, it is more likely to be used when incorporating the object gives a distinct meaning. By using an incorporated object, the verb would indicate a specific idiomatic meaning, or a connotation to the action that would be specific to that combination of verb and object. An example from English would be ‘cow-tipping’, which has a more specific meaning. Or it would contrast to a verb like ‘waiter-tipping’ (the two having very different meanings).
Compounding with the verb ootawn (to cause) creates a verb where the subject is the entity causing and the object is what is being affected. For intransitive verbs, the new verb is transitive in that it takes an object.
|‘He hides me.’ (He make-hides me.)|
Note that you can still use cause as just a verb in conjunction with a noun clause. The difference between the two is similar to English - the wordier version implies a level of separation that the compound does not.
|‘He causes me to hide.’ (Literally: “He causes the hiding of me.”)|
Reflexives and reciprocals
Sometimes the subject is doing something to itself. Or a number of subjects are doing something to each other. These are reflexives and reciprocals. These use special object words.
|‘I hit myself.’|
|‘They hit themselves.’|
|‘They hit each other.’|
As in English, you can use a reflexive as part of emphasis for an intransitive verb (“I hide myself”). However, in Brooding, you explicitly have to make the intransitive verb a transitive one:
|‘I hide myself.’ (“I cause-hide myself.”)|
In English, we can de-emphasize the object (or omit it entirely) through the use of a passive voice, such as “The cow is seen.” If the subject is mentioned at all, it is in a prepositional phrase: “The cow was seen by me.”
In Brooding, a passive is made by omitting the subject and just having an object. However, given that Brooding is a V2 language, the verb MUST be second. So the object moves to the front of the sentence. If the subject is mentioned at all, it is in a preposition phrase using ite.
|‘I see that cow.’|
|‘That cow is seen.’|
|‘That cow is seen by me.’|
Predicates are clauses that involve saying something about the subject (what it is, where it is, etc.) In English, the majority of this is done with the verb ‘is’. This type of verb is called a copula, since all it does is link a subject to something.
The copula verb in Brooding is aeram. It is treated as a regular verb:
|‘I am cold.’|
|‘She was a sibling.’|
Note: When equating the subject with a noun (it is something), the object of the copula is not in the accusative (object) case. Rather, the subject case is used in both places to indicate equation.
When referring to location, the copula can be used with a prepositional phrase as an object:
|‘I am with him.’|
Existential predicates indicate that something exists. In English, we use “there is” or “there are” to indicate this. Brooding has its own verb for this: auplen. Like the copula, this is a verb and can have aspect, tense, negation, etc.
In existentials, there is no object, we are just saying something exists.
|‘There is a tree.’|
Possessive predicates indicate possession of something. In English, this is its own verb “to have.” Brooding uses a copula to express this along with a prepositional phrase.
|‘I have a name.’ (literally “A name is with me”)|
Adjectives all end with a vowel.
Unlike nouns and verbs, adjectives do not change depending on their use in a sentence. They always follow the noun they modify.
Brooding has a unique ‘degree’ system for adjectives. Adjectives can be compounded with degree words or numbers to indicate variations in meaning. The degree words are:
Let’s start with the word for ‘happy’: taefuh
“Very happy” would be staitaefuh. “Very unhappy” would be yuhneetaefuh. However, by adding numbers (1 - 4 and negative 1 - 4) different degrees are available. When adding the number, the last consonant of the number is dropped.
Positive numbers are positive degrees and negative numbers are negative degrees. There isn’t an exact translation of each degree - the numbers are often used idiosyncratically by people based off of their opinion and in context.
- draugetaefuh - amazingly happy, ecstatic (4-happy)
- shlautaefuh - delighted, very happy (3-happy)
- raitaefuh - moderately happy (2-happy)
- mauwetaefuh - a little unhappy (-1-happy)
- maudraugetaefuh - completely in despair (-4-happy)
There are some adjectives which can’t be used on their own, but must be used with degree words as above. These usually refer to things that are often continuums, like temperature, light levels, etc.
For example, the adjective for temperature is she.
Numbers are used as well:
(More information about degree-specific adjectives can be found in the Numbers section.)
Converting to other parts of speech
Brooding has a few regular processes that it uses to change adjectives into other parts of speech:
Abstraction: add -d
Adding a -d to the end of an adjective creates a noun that is the abstraction of the quality the adjective describes, like how the suffix ‘-ness’ is used in English.
To say that a subject is beginning to have the quality that the adjective describes, you go through a special process of turning the adjective to a verb. First aw- is added to the front and becomes the key vowel for the new verb. -ng is added to the end. This creates an intransitive verb.
- awtaefuhng - to become happy
To say that a subject is causing an object to gain the quality that the adjective describes, a process similar to Noun Incorporation takes place with the verb ootawn (‘to cause, to make’).
- ootaefuhtawn - to make happy, to cause to be happy
Comparative constructions compare two things relative to each other.
The general form of a comparison is the quality being compared, the type of comparison and then what is being compared to.
The types of comparisons are:
|thle||as much as, equal|
|‘happier than you’|
|‘as high as a kite’|
|‘less quickly than a cow’|
Comparative phrases can be used after copulas as a predicate, after otlai as an adverbial phrase or after a relativizer in a relative clause.
|‘I am happier than you.’|
|‘She sings like she’s higher than a kite.’|
|‘This vehicle is less quick than a cow’|
Adverbs are a vague category in English. In Brooding, they are more defined. There are no single adverb words in Brooding. Rather, adverbs are expressed entirely through adverbial phrases and clauses. These are used to modify the action of the verb, and usually appear at the end of the sentence. However, they can appear at the beginning to indicate importance or to reduce ambiguity.
More complex adverbial clauses use an adverbial preposition followed by a sentence to make a dependent clause, for example “When I see it” is an adverbial clause. This would be tleste agen leed awtluht.
Note: The clause and the sentence it modifies still must adhere to the verb-second rule of Brooding. This means in the clause itself (if it contains a dependent clause) the adverbial preposition is the first constituent. Thus, the verb is next, not the subject. Additionally, if the adverbial phrase is first in the sentence, then it is the first constituent and the main verb is next.
Here is a list of adverbial prepositions:
time - tleste
location - tlande
manner - otlai
purpose - tlauspuh
reason - felde
simultaneous - tootlende
conditional - positive - tlelma
conditional - negative - zretle
concessive - yuhslo
substitutive - stooslaedi
additive - klodeste
Combining different phrases and sentences together uses conjunctions. In English, these are words and phrases like “and,” “and not,” “but.” Brooding has similar words, but there are some distinctions that Brooding has that English doesn’t. Different types of conjunctions are available depending on what is being joined: phrases or clauses.
Words and Phrases
Phrases have a specific set of conjunctions:
Clauses have their own conjunctions. We’ll look at them in groups.
The difference between the two above ‘and’s is a subtle one. In English, we use ‘and’ to string things that happen in order but are connected, such as “I asked and he answered.” This is different than when they are happening at the same time (as in “I asked and I prayed”). Brooding has two different words for each case. daebuh means they are simultaneous, while shenga is more equivalent to “and then.” Note that while shenga is almost always used in reference to time and sequence. daebuh, however, can be used in non-time-specific situations.
Other clause conjunctions are:
Commands and Questions
Commands are formed with the ‘subject’ of a followed by the verb in its basic form. The verb can be negated as well. (If needed, the a sound is elongated to distinguish it from a following vowel)
Yes-no questions are formed by starting the sentence with the question marker hlai, followed by the verb, then subject and object if applicable.
|‘Do you see that cow?’|
In a sentence that is more complex than a yes or no, question words and phrases are used.
The question word for the information being used is put into the sentence where the appropriate word would go.
|you (outsider)||are||who (outsider)|
|‘Who are you?’ (Literally: “You are who?”)|
|‘Where did the cow run (to)?’|
The Brooding number system is hexadecimal, which means that the basic numbers are counted up to fifteen before adding another digit, so the number “10” is equivalent to sixteen. (The numerals between 10 and 15 are often written as the letters A-F in hexadecimal notation. For ease of reading, decimal numbers in this section have been prefixed with "D." and hexidecimal numbers with "H.")
- D.16s (H.10~tens) - fluhn
- D.256s (H.100~hundreds) - tegen
- D.4,096s (H.1,000~thousands~kilo) - stooraen
- D.16,777,216s (H.1,000,000~millions~mega) - spaethed
- D.68,719,476,736s (H.1,000,000,000~billions~(millariards)~giga) - gaelen
- D.281,474,976,710,656s (H.1,000,000,000,000~trillions~(billions)~tera) - tleekath
- D.1,152,921,504,606,846,976s (H.1,000,000,000,000,000~quadrillions~(billiards)~peta) - ploomig
- D.4,722,366,482,869,645,213,696s (H.1,000,000,000,000,000,000~quintillions~(trillions)~exa) - khithleeth
More complex numbers are just strung together one after the other:
- D.19 = H.13 – fluhn shlaum
- D.599 = H.275 – raichtegen skenfluhn klaut
- D.34199 = H.8597 - hoonstooraen klautuhtegen saedfluhn sken
To create an ordinal (first, second, third, etc), compound the number with the -deske suffix:
To create a negative number, use the mau- prefix:
When a number is used with an adjective that requires degree specification (see Degree-Specific Adjectives), the final consonant of the number is dropped and the number is then prefixed to the adjective being modified.
|0||as ... as||thle-|
|-1||not very, kind of un-||mauwe-|
Only the numbers 1 through 4 and the negative numbers -1 through -4 may be used. Avoid the temptation to use a higher number for the purpose of hyperbole: You will not succeed.
Compounding words is pretty simple overall. Except for a few variations, the word creator just combine the words. Usually the ‘core’ word is the last word, with the modifier word or words first. Different parts of speech can be compounded together (the new part of speech is based off of the last word) and multiple words can be strung together as needed.
The tricky part in compounding relates to respecting the forms of Brooding words in the process. Here are some guidelines.
- When compounding words leads to two duplicate sounds in a row, drop one of the duplicates.
- When compounding words with verbs to make other verbs is a specific case, because the form of a verb is so specific. This is one of the places where Brooding becomes a bit more complex than normal.
- In the case of object incorporation (see the section on Verbs), the object is first and the verb is last.
- When compounding a verb with a noun, the order is reversed - verb first and then the noun.
- When compounding a verb with an adjective, the order is the same as with a noun (verb then adjective), but -ng is added to the end of the word to satisfy the verb form.
Special Compound Noun Forms
There are a few special compound forms with specific meanings that work with noun-noun compounds.
To make compounds that indicate a noun in possession of a noun, you compound the core word with the possessive form of the possessor noun. For example, “cow’s foot” would be foolshem (possessive form of foos: fools + hem). Note that the word is pronounced fools-hem, not fool-shem.
Attributive Noun Compounds
Similarly, two nouns may be joined together if one of them is converted to an adjective. For instance, foolshem, above, may also be rendered as foos + -ee + hem: ‘“cow-ish” or bovine foot’. (This isn't always an alternative to the possessive form, so use with care!).
Another common example of attributive compounds is the word for ‘moonlight’: In this case, the word for ‘light’ or ‘brightness’, spaad, is already derived from an adjective, spaa, so you only need to remove the nominalizer d to adjectivize it: spaazool; rather than adding an additional adjectivizer **spaadeezool. Don’t worry, though: Although it is not the most efficient or concise form, and it might not be “technically” (the best kind of) correct, it is not going to change the meaning or lead to any kind of confusion. It is not very different from back-forming verbs like “orientate” or “conversate” in English. All manner of things will be okay.
It is also technically correct to render ‘moonlight’ as zoolil-spaad using the possessive compounding formula above, but frequent combinations usually have set forms and may sound odd, just as “moon’s-light” sounds a bit strange in English compared to “moonlight”.
There is a special way of compounding nouns to mean x and y. It’s similar to English constructions like ‘salt and pepper’, but packing it into a single word. You connect the words with the i sound. You can use regular conjunctions, of course. However, by building a single compound word, the two concepts are tied very tightly.
|kod +||-i- +||yeed|
|khlait +||-i- +||driksta|
- Legend has is that while Clyde Riddlesbrood was creating the Brooding language as Harken was being re-formed after the third age, he and his scribe were working late into the night perfecting the names and order of the gawbrene you see here, and sculpting their likenesses into clay. After completing the sculpture of the character ‹e›, the scribe held it aloft, and asked Clyde what its name should be. “Hlai ti?” (‘What about this one?’) he asked. Clyde squinted at it for a moment before responding, “Etbadee” (‘I can read it just fine’), and the scribe, not understanding that Clyde had not understood his question, wrote it down, and its name has been Etbadee ever since.