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Outidic /ˈaʊtɪdɪk/ - Dr Outis' "Lingua Communis"

Nouns, Adjectives & Personal Pronouns

1. Introduction

We have already come across personal pronouns and some nouns on the Verbs page; we shall look more closely at nouns and pronouns on this page as well as adjectives. From the Verbs page we have learnt the following three things.
1.1 No definite or indefinite articles
It will have been noticed that there are no definite or indefinite articles in Outidic. Dr Outis did at first consider retaining a definite article because ancient Greek had it; but he was concerned that different languages do not use their definite article in the same way, for example, that the use of the definite article is rather different in English, in French and in Ancient Greek.

He was also aware that not only Latin but Russian, Turkish and some other languages managed with no definite or indefinite article and he, therefore, decided that in a language to facilitate communication between statesmen, merchants and scholars of different languages it would be simpler to dispense with articles entirely.

1.2 Plurals of nouns and pronouns
We saw also that plurals of nouns and pronouns are formed with the suffix -as, e.g.
  • keir hand ~ keiras hands
  • kun dog ~ kunas dogs
  • ut he, she, it ~ utas they
(See also subsection below).
1.3 Personal pronouns
We saw the personal pronouns used as subjects of verbs. We shall find also that the same pronouns may be used as direct objects of verbs. To summarize, the pronouns are:
 SingularPluralProbable etymology
1st personem
I, me
we, us
em ← ἐμέ (emé) me, ἐμοῦ (emoû) of me, ἐμοί (emoí) to me;
emas ← ἡμεῖς (hēmeîs) we, ἡμᾶς (hēmâs) us
2nd personum
thou, thee; you
ye, you
umas ← ὑμεῖς (hūmeîs) ye, you, ὑμᾶς (hūmâs) you;
um is a back formation from umas
1st personut
he, him; she, her; it
they, them
Stem ut abstracted from Greek 3rd person pronoun supplied by:
  • οὗτος (hoûtos) this in the nominative case
  • αὐτόν (autón) self in the oblique cases

2. Nouns

Students of Greek and Latin will know that nouns are characterized by number, gender and case; so let us consider these three properties below.
2.1 Number
Dr Outis never seriously considered having the dual number found in earliest Greek and some other languages.; it was not common in later Greek and eventually died out. But he seems to have considered that it was "natural" to mark plurals.

He consider several possible plural endings but eventually settled on -as since not only did the accusative plural masculines & feminines of the 1st and 3rd declensions end in -ας (as), he also he considered it neatly combined the common nominative, vocative and accusative neuter plural -α (-a) with the -ς (-s) found at the end of all masc. & fem. accusative plurals and the masc. & fem. nominative and vocative plural of the 3rd declension., i.e.

1st m. & f.2nd m. & f.2nd neuter3rd m. & f.3rd neuter
nominative plural-ai-oi-a -es-a
accusative plural-as-ous -as

The same ending -as, as we have seen, is used for pronouns as well as nouns.

2.2 Gender
Dr Outis' own native language as well Turkish (which he seems have had some knowledge of) get along nicely without any grammatical gender; therefore, in common with all other auxlangs (as far as I know) he dispensed with that aspect of Greek and Latin grammar. Therefore, there is no grammatical gender in Outidic.

However, on the analogy of the ancient pairs such as βασιλεύς (basileús) king ~ βασίλεια (basíleia) queen, and ἱερεύς (ʰiereús) priest ~ ἱἐρεια (ʰiéreia) priestess, Dr Outis allowed natural sex to be distinguished, if necessary, with the endings -eu (plural -euas) for males and -ei (plural -eias)for females; e.g. kun dog, kuneu male dog, kunei female dog, bitch; dlep brother or sister, sibling, dlepeu brother, dlepei sister; paid child, paideu boy, paidei girl; zer priest or priestess, zereu priest, zerei priestess;

A few commonly used nouns already denote a specific sex and should not be used with those suffixes, e.g. pap father, mam mother; ner man, adult male human, gun woman, adult female human; cf. drop human being, person, man (generic), dropeu male human (whether baby, child or adult), dropei female human (whether baby, child or adult).

2.3 Case
Dr Outis was aware that neuter nouns never distinguished between nominative, vocative and accusative in classical Greek (or Latin or, as far as he knew, in any other language). As he had decided against grammatical gender, he decided to extend this peculiarity of neuters to all nouns.

But he was less certain about genitive and dative. That the ending of dative singulars was -ι (-i) and in the plural often --σι (-si) intrigued him and he flirted with the idea of having a a dative marker -i which would give a dative plural -asi (he had, like many other auxlang designers from the 17th century to the 20th and, probably, still some in the 21st, decided to use agglutination). But in the end he dropped this and simply used a preposition po (← Epic Greek ποτί, ποτ [= Attic πρός]) - cf. Labbé's use of da ← Latin ad).

In effect, he decided that subject and direct object were adequately shown by placing the subject before the verb and the object after it, whether the subject or object was a noun or pronoun, and that all other verbal arguments and adjuncts should be shown by using a prepositional phrase.

So what about the genitive?

2.3.1 Genitive
The ancient genitive had more than one function but, perhaps, the two most common are partitive and possessive.

Dr Outis decided that the partitive use could well be shown by using the preposition ke (← Greek ἐκ, ἐξ) = out of, e.g. poul ke domas = many of the houses, pen ke utas = five of them.

For possession, Dr Outis had resolved that he would imitate the ancient Greek practice of appending personal pronouns as enclitics to their nouns, e.g. πατήρ μου (patḗr mou) my father, μητήρ σου (mētḗr sou) your mother; hence Outidic: pap-em my father, mam-um your mother. Dr Outis extended this construction to all personal pronouns, e.g. kunas-ut her dogs, domas-emas our houses, psol-utas their city. The use of the hyphen is to show that the whole compound is pronounced as one phonological word.

In the first three quarters of the 17th century the "his genitive" was still in vogue, e.g. for Christ His sake, in the Prince his company, Ned his house, etc. We even find "Pallas her Glasse" = Pallas' glass (Pallas Athene's glass). This practice, which first made its appearance in the 16th century, was possibly due both to hypercorrection and and to the occurrence of such use of 'his' (and possibly 'her') in some spoken dialects, since similar constructions are found in other Germanic languages. Whatever its origin, Dr Outis was clearly familiar with the practice and thought it quite neat and that it would mean he could dispense with noun cases entirely; thus we find in Outidic pap dom-ut (father his house) father's house, mam keiras-ut (mother her hands) mother's hands, neras domas-utas ([the] men their houses) the men's houses. One can have two possessives as, e.g. pap-em dom-ut (my father his house) my father's house.

2.4 Compound nouns
In Greek compound of nouns were readily formed where the first noun in some manner qualifies the second one. We often do this in English as well, though we often write such phrases as two separate words.We may also form similar compounds in Outidic where the two nouns are joined by "euphonic u"; this is to prevent any awkward combination of consonants occurring.

Dr Outis stated the he chose this as u is the weakest of the vowels, though he did not explain why he considered it so. It might have been also practical considerations as one will find that no suffixes begin with u-, thus -u- more unambiguously show a compound of two root morphemes. examples of compounds are:
psol city + drop personpsoludrop = a city person, a person who works and/or lives in a city
mam mother + psol citymamupsol = mother city, metropolis

2.5 Summary:
  1. Nouns have no grammatical gender
  2. Plural is shown by the suffix -as, e.g. pap = father ~ papas = fathers; psol = city ~ psolas = cities
  3. The noun does not change to denote verbal arguments or adjuncts:
    • The subject and direct object of the verb are shown by the Subject-Verb-Object word order, e.g.
      kun adagan ner = the dog bites the man
      ner adagan kun = The man bites the dog
    • All other verbal arguments and adjuncts are denoted by prepositional phrases.
  4. Possessives are denoted by pronouns used as enclitics as in 2.3.1 above.
It will thus be seen that like his 17th century contemporary, Labbé, in his "Lingua Universalis" and Faiguet in his "Langue Nouvelle" of the 18th century, Dr Outis scrapped a all case distinctions, which makes their survival in so many of the 19th century auxlangs, including the two most popular ones, i.e. Volapük and Esperanto, all the more surprising.

3. Adjectives

Adjectives are not especially marked in Outidic as they are in some later languages such Volapük and Esperanto. The suffix -ik is indeed found, but it is used to derive adjectives from nouns, with the meaning "of or pertaining to, relating to", e.g. kun dogkunik canine; psol citypsolik urban; ner man, adult malenerik manly, virile; drop man, person, human beingdropik human [adj].

It never occurred to Dr Outis, however, that all lexical roots should be either nominal or verbal; he seems not to question that a language will have adjectival roots also. Therefore, we find, for example: gat good (cf. Volapük gud 'goodness' ~ gudik 'good'); kak bad; meg large, great; mik little, small, sop wise.

Anticipating Faiguet's "Langue Nouvelle" of the following century, Dr Outis decided that adjectives should be invariable and not change to agree with their head noun.

3.1 Position of adjectives
The most common position for an attributive adjective in Greek was before its noun; Dr Outis decided to retain this, which is also the normal position for adjective and noun in English and the Germanic languages, in his "Lingua Communis"; thus, e.g. meg kunas large dogs; mik louras small cats. But, of course, kunas ain meg the dogs are big; louras ain mik the cats are small.

But in Greek it was possible to place the adjective after the noun if the article were repeat, thus the wise person =
ὁ σοφὸς ἄνθρωπος (ʰo sopʰòs ántʰrōpos)
ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ σοφός (ʰo ántʰrōpos ʰo sopʰós).

Dr Outis realized that some people may prefer the adjective to follow the noun. He allowed this with the particle o, thus, e.g, a large house = meg dom or dom o meg.

The particle o is reminiscent of the Persian ezâfe, but there is no evidence that Dr Outis was familiar with that language. It is possibly coined from the -o- which occurred so often between the two elements of a compound word in which the first element was a noun or adjective; but it is more likely, I think, to be from the ancient relative pronoun ὅς (ʰos [m.]), ἥ (ʰē [f.]), ὁ (ʰo [n.]), since we find it also when a prepositional phrase is used adjectivally, e.g. kun o ne kep = the dog [which is] in the garden, and we shall find it used to introduce full relative clauses. It is of course possible that Dr Outis coined o from both sources.

Any possessive suffix is added to the first element in a noun phrase, thus, e.g.
my large house = meg-em dom or dom-em o meg

3.2 Comparison
Comparatives and superlatives were marked by Dr Outis with proclitics, thus:
Absolute superlativeza-ζα-
(ancient Epic prefix)
Sokrat ein za-sop
Socrates was very wise
Superlative (of superiority)mai-μάλιστα
Sokrat ein mai-sop drop ne Atenas
Sokrat ein drop o mai-sop ne Atenas
Socrates was the wisest person in Athens
Comparative (of superiority)ma-μᾶλλον
Sokrat ein ma-sop so Aristopan
Socrates was wiser than Aristophanes
(Comparative of equality)
Platon ein so-sop so Sokrat
Plato was as wise as Socrates
  • The morpheme so is used as a proclitic meaning "as" as well as a conjunction meaning "than" or "as."
  • The proclitics mai- and ma-, however, cannot stand as independent words, cf.
    mai-poul brek apesan ne keim = most rain falls in winter;
    ein ma-poul louras so dropas ne dom = there were more cats than people in the house
  • A comparative of inferiority may be expressed by ma-loig "less" or by using a negative statement, e.g.:
    Aristopan ein ma-loig sop so Sokrat = Aristophanes was less wise than Socrates;
    Aristopan ouk ein so-sop so Sokrat = Aristophanes was not as wise as Socrates.
  • The Epic prefix ζα- was derived from δία (día) = through, which was ζά in the Aiolic dialect. We find that za was also used in Outidic to mean through; thus Sokrat ein za-sop means more literally Socrates was wise through & through, or Socrates was thoroughly wise.
  • In addition to the prefixes above, Dr Outis also prefixed the prepositions pru above, over and pu beneath, under to adjectives with the meanings of too and not … enough respectively; e.g.:
    dom ain pru-meg, la kep ain pu-meg the house is too big, but the garden is not big enough.

Appendix: Vocabulary

  • On the Verbs page we had: dom = house; inai to be; keir = hand; kun = dog; ne in.
  • From kun we have derived forms: kunei = female dog, bitch; kuneu = male dog; kunik [adj.] = pertaining to dogs, canine.
Vocabulary new to this page:
Reminder - Outidic alphabet: A B G D E Z I K L M N O P R S T U
gat [adj.] = good ma- = more, -er (comparative prefix)
gun = woman (adult female human)
  • gunik = womanly
mai- = most, -est (superlative prefix)
mam = mother
  • mamik = motherly, maternal
dagai = to bite
dlep = sibling
  • dlepei = sister
  • dlepeu = brother
  • dlepik = fraternal, brotherly/sisterly
meg [adj.] = big, large
mik [adj.] = little, small
ner = man, adult human male
  • nerik [adj.] = manly, virile
drop = person, human being, man (generic)
  • dropei = female person (baby, child or adult)
  • dropeu = male person (baby, child or adult)
  • dropik [adj.] = human
paid = child
  • paidei = girl
  • paideu = boy
  • paidik = childish
za- (prefix) = veryo relative particle
zer = priest(ess)
  • zerei = priestess
  • zereu = (male) priest
  • zerik = priestly
pap = father
  • papik = fatherly, patrenal
pesai = to fall
kak [adj.] = badpen = five
ke [prep.] = out of, of (partitive)psol = city
  • psolik [adj.] = urban
keim = winter
  • keimik = wintery
poul [adj.] =
  • (before singular noun) much
  • (before plural noun) many
kep = garden
la = butpru [prep.] = above, over
loig [adj.] =
  • (before singular noun) little [amount]
  • (before plural noun) few
pu [prep.] = below, under
so [conj.] = as, than
lour = cat
  • lourei = female cat
  • loureu = male cat, tom
  • lourik [adj.] = feline
so- = as (equative prefix)
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