Definitions

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Lingua Franca Nova

Lingua Franca Nova (abbreviated LFN) is an auxiliary constructed language created by Dr. C. George Boeree of Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania. Its vocabulary is based on French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan. The grammar is highly reduced and similar to the Romance creoles. The language is phonetically spelled, using 21 letters of either the Latin or Cyrillic alphabets.

History and community

Dr. C. George Boeree began working on LFN in 1965, with the goal to create a simple, creole-like international auxiliary language. He was inspired to do this by the Mediterranean Lingua Franca, a pidgin used in the Mediterranean in centuries past. He used French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan as the basis for his new language.

LFN was first presented on the Internet in 1998. A Yahoo! Group was formed in 2002 by Bjorn Madsen and today has over 190 members. Group members have contributed significantly to the further evolution of the language. Stefan Fisahn created a wiki for the language in 2005 (see below) with over 1200 pages and 13,000 edits as of March 2008. A few issues of a journal called Orizones Nova (New Horizons) were published online by David McLeod in late 2006 and early 2007. LFN was given an ISO 639-3 designation (lfn) by SIL in January 2008.

Introductions and other materials are available in 12 languages. The "master" dictionary (LFN - English) has recently been updated by Simon Davies, and has over 10,000 entries. There are smaller dictionaries available in eight languages and a wikibooks tutorial in five languages.

Three other conlang projects are based on aspects of LFN: Kevin Smith's Tavo, Carlos Eugenio Thompson Pinzón's Interlecto, and Carl Buck's Cadim.

Pronunciation and orthography

LFN vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) are pronounced as in Spanish (approximately as ah, eh, ee, oh, and oo.) The vowels i and u are also used to represent the sounds of y and w, respectively. Diphthongs are ai, au, eu, and oi (as in my, cow, "eh-w," and boy). In IPA:

Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

Most of the consonants are pronounced as in English, except that c is always pronounced as in cat, g is always as in go, j is pronounced as in French (like the z in azure), the r is pronounced as in Spanish, and x is pronounced like sh. Also, n before c or g is pronounced as in ring. In IPA:

Bilabial Labio-
dental
Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar
Plosive p b   t d     k g
Fricative   f v s z ʃ ʒ    
Nasal m   n     ŋ
Trill     r      
Approximant w   l   j  

The letters h, k, q, w, and y may be used in proper names and words from other languages that have not been completely assimilated into LFN. If preferred, k may be substituted for c.

Stress is on the vowel before the last consonant or, if that is not possible, on the first vowel. For example la casa de me tio ("my uncle's house") is pronounced "la CA-sa de me TI-o." The one exception is the plural in -s or -es, which does not alter the original stress.

Below is the LFN alphabet in its Latin form, its Cyrillic form, and with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) values.

Latin a b c d e f g i j l m n o p r s t u v x z
Cyrillic а б к д е ф г и ж л м н о п р с т у в ш з
IPA [a] [b] [k] [d] [e] [f] [ɡ] [i] [ʒ] [l] [m] [n] [o] [p] [r] [s] [t] [u] [v] [ʃ] [z]
Names a be ce de e ef ge i je el em en o pe er es te u ve ex ze

Enthusiasts have also developed ways of using a variety of other writing systems, such as Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, and Japanese, for LFN.

Grammar

A complete grammar of LFN is available at the LFN wiki

Word order

LFN has a strict word order. The general word order is:

subject noun phrase - verb phrase
Maria come pex - "Maria eats fish"

A noun phrase has this order:

(article -) (quantity -) noun (- adjective)
La tre omes grande... - "The three large men..."

A verb phrase has this order:

(tense -) (auxiliary verb -) verb (- adverb) (- object noun phrase)
...ia debe come bon - "...must have eaten well"
...va come rapida tota tartes - "...will quickly eat all the pies"

A prepositional phrase follows what it modifies, and has this order:

preposition - noun phrase
...en la cosina - "...in the kitchen"

Nouns

Plural nouns are formed by appending -s to nouns ending in vowels or -es to nouns ending in consonants. There are no noun case declensions, not even for pronouns. Cases are indicated through prepositions and word order.

Articles

There are two articles: la (the) and un (a). As in English, there is no indefinite article for the plural. Articles are not necessary before infinitives and proper nouns, and may also be dropped after prepositions.

Other words function similarly and may be used in place of la or un:

  • esta - this, these
  • acel - that, those
  • no - no, zero
  • tota - all
  • cada - every, each
  • multe - many
  • alga - some
  • poca - few
  • otra - other
  • mesma - same

Pronouns

Pronouns are invariant.

  • me - I, me, my
  • tu - you (singular), your
  • el - she, her, he, him, his, it, its
  • nos - we, us, our
  • vos - you (plural), your
  • los - they, them, their
  • se - third person reflective pronoun (e.g. himself, herself, itself, themselves) and reflective possessive adjective (his own, her own, its own, their own)
  • on - one, used like German "man" or French "on"

Me, tu, el, nos, vos, los, and se become possessive by putting them in front of the noun possessed. "My cat" can be expressed as me gato or la gato de me.

There are no gender distinctions between he, she, and it. If necessary, one can use words like la fema, la om, la fia, la fio, la cosa (the woman, the man, the girl, the boy, the thing), etc.

Verbs

There are no conjugations of verbs in LFN. The basic form remains the same regardless of person, number, or tense.

The present tense is represented by the basic verb: El come - "He/she eats, he/she is eating."

The past tense is indicated by the particle ia: El ia come - "He/she ate."

The future tense is indicated by the particle va: El va come - "He/she will eat."

There is an optional particle ta, which indicates unreality and can be used where other languages might use a conditional or subjunctive mood: Me ia duta ce el ta vade - "I doubted he would go."

Negation is indicated by putting no before the tense particle or (in the present tense) the verb.

There are also adverbs and auxiliary verbs to expand verb usage. For example, the adverb ja, meaning "already," can be used to express what in other languages is the perfect: me ia come ja means "I had (already) eaten."

Verbs can be used as nouns without change. For example, dansa, as a verb, means "dance/dances", but it can also mean "a dance" when used as a noun.

The infinitive is made by adding -r. Dansar, for example, means "to dance."

Verbs can also be made into adjectives: The active participle is formed by adding -nte to the verb. For example, come becomes comente, meaning "eating". This should never be used as an abstract noun, as it is in English.

The passive participle is formed by adding -da to the verb. For example, come becomes comeda, meaning "eaten". This should not be confused with the past tense.

Participles, like any adjectives, can follow the verb "to be," and can be used to express what in other languages might be considered the continuous or the passive: Aora, nos es comente selaco - "Now, we are (in the process of) eating shark"; Doman, nos va es comeda par selacos - "Tomorrow, we will be eaten by sharks". Note that there are other ways to indicate the continuous and the passive: Nos continua come selaco - we continue to eat shark; Algun va come nos - Someone will eat us.

Verb transitivity is contextual. Me va boli la acua – "I will boil the water" – and La acua boli – "The water boils" – are both correct. In case of ambiguity, one can say Me va fa boli la acua - I will make the water boil - and La acua boli se. - The water boils itself.

Auxiliary verbs

Auxiliary verbs or helper verbs come before the main verb and after tense particles. Common auxiliary verbs include the following:

  • vole - want to
  • nesesa - need to, must
  • sabe - know how to
  • espeta - expect to
  • espera - hope to
  • teme - fear to
  • preferi - prefer to
  • vade - am going to
  • debe - should, must
  • pote - can, may
  • esita - hesitate to
  • osa - dare to
  • menasa - threaten to
  • finje - pretend to
  • apare - appear to
  • atenta - try to

There is no equivalent to the word "to," and the following main verb is normally left in the simple present form. Some speakers prefer to put the main verb in the infinitive form, which is considered an acceptable variation.

Adjectives

Adjectives follow the noun they modify, with two exceptions: Bon (good) and mal (bad) may come before the noun, due to their frequent use, making it more convenient to then place other modifiers after the noun. Unlike the natural Romance languages, adjectives in LFN do not have gender or plural forms, i.e. they don't "agree" with the nouns they describe.

The comparative is made with plu (more) or min (less). "The most" is la plu and "the least" is la min. For example, "John is better than Joe" is Jan es plu bon ce Jo. "Jill is the best" is Jil es la plu bon. Equivalence is indicated with tan... como: Marco es tan grande como Mona.

Like verbs, adjectives can be used as nouns. For example, bela means "beautiful", but un bela means "a beautiful one" or "a beauty." This works with participles, too: la studiante and la studiada mean "the student" and "the studied," respectively, from the verb studia, "study."

An adjective can be made into an abstract noun by adding -ia. In this way bela becomes belia, meaning beauty. This can also be used with nouns: madre (mother) becomes madria (maternity or motherhood).

Adverbs

LFN doesn't have an explicit way of marking adverbs. Instead, any adjective can be used as an adverb by placing it after a verb or at the very beginning of the sentence. Un om felis for example means "a happy man", whereas el dansa felis means "he/she dances happily". Adverbs used to modify adjectives precede the adjective. Here are examples of common adverbs:

  • bon - well
  • mal - badly
  • rapida - quickly
  • lenta - slowly
  • temprana - early
  • tarda - late
  • pronto - soon
  • ja - already
  • aora - now
  • alora - then
  • ancora - still
  • ier - yesterday
  • oji - today
  • doman - tomorrow
  • vera - truly, very
  • nunca - never
  • sempre - always
  • tempora- temporarily

Prepositions

Prepositions are placed before the noun or noun phrase, and the prepositional phrase is placed after the noun being modified, or, if used adverbially, after the verb or at the beginning of the sentence. There are 20 basic prepositions in LFN:

  • a - at, to
  • ante - before
  • asta - near, until
  • como - like
  • con - with
  • contra - against
  • de - of, from, since
  • en - in, into
  • entre - between, among
  • estra - out of
  • longo - along
  • par - by
  • per - for, in order to
  • pos - after, behind, according to
  • sin - without
  • sirca - around, approximately
  • su - below, under
  • supra - above, over
  • sur - on
  • tra - through

Participles are occasionally used as prepositions as well, e.g.

  • esetante - except
  • durante - during
  • traversante - across, past, beyond

Relatives and interrogatives

Relatives and interrogatives are identical in LFN:

  • ce - what, that
  • ci - who, whom
  • cual - which (of several)
  • de ci - whose, of whom
  • como - how
  • cuanto - how much, how many
  • cuando - when
  • do - where
  • per ce - why

Relative clauses follow what they modify: ''La fia ci ia come la pan ia veni asi - "The girl who ate the bread came here."

A question may include an interrogative or may be indicated by rising intonation alone. One may also express questions by beginning the sentence with the phrase Esce...? or by adding no? (no) or si? (yes) to the end of the sentence, after a comma: Esce tu parla Deutx? Tu parla Italian, si?

Conjunctions

There are several simple conjunctions in LFN:

  • e - and
  • o - or
  • ma - but
  • si - if, whether
  • donce - then, consequently, therefore
  • car - because
  • afince - so that

Some of the relatives/interrogatives may also be used as conjunctions:

  • como - how, as
  • do - where
  • cuando - when

A number of word combinations form additional conjunctions:

  • pos cuando - after
  • ante cuando - before
  • asta cuando - until
  • de cuando - since

Dependent clauses usually follow the main clause: La fia ia veni asi car el ia es fama - "The girl came here because she was hungry."

Numbers

  • 1 - un
  • 2 - du
  • 3 - tre
  • 4 - cuatro
  • 5 - sinco
  • 6 - ses
  • 7 - sete
  • 8 - oto
  • 9 - nove
  • 10 - des

Higher numbers are constructed as follows:

  • 11 - des-un
  • 20 - dudes
  • 100 - (un) sento
  • 101 - sento-un
  • 321 - tresento-dudes-un
  • 1000 - (un) mil
  • 45 678 - cuatrodes-sinco mil sessento-setedes-oto
  • 1 000 000 - (un) milion

Numbers that express the order of things are the same, except that they follow the noun, e.g. la om tre, "the third man," instead of la tre omes, "the three men." To use ordinal numbers comparatively, lfn uses constructions like el es la stela tre en brilia or el es la stela tre la plu briliante - "It is the third most brilliant star."

Fractions are constructed with -i, e.g. di, tri, cuatri,... desi, senti, mili, etc. Groups can be referred to with -uple, as in duple - double, duo, couple.

Affixes

LFN has a small number of regular affixes that help to create new words. The most common suffixes are -or, -ador, and -eria, which refer to a person, a device, and a place respectively. They can be added to any noun, adjective, or verb. For example, from the word carne, meaning meat, we can make carnor (butcher) and carneria (butcher's shop). Similarly, from the word lava, meaning wash, we can make laveria (laundry) and lavador (washing machine).

One useful suffix is -a which can be added to nouns to mean "to use," so telefona means to use the telefon. Another useful suffix is -i which, added to a noun or adjective, means "to become" or "to cause to become." For example, calda is hot, so caldi means to heat. It is also used to make fractions, so cuatri means a fourth or quarter, as well as to divide into fourths.

Two more common suffixes are -eta, which means a small version of something (boveta is a calf, from bove, cow), and -on, which means a large version of something (telon means a sheet or tablecloth, from tela, cloth).

There are a few suffixes that turn nouns into adjectives: -al means pertaining to..., e.g. nasional; -in means similar to..., e.g. serpentin; -os means full of..., e.g. mofos (moldy).

Other suffixes include -able, -isme, and -iste.

There are also three prefixes. Non- means not or un-, so nonfelis means unhappy. Re- means again or in the opposite direction, so repone means replace. And des- means to undo, so desinfeta means disinfect.

Words may also be created by joining two existing words (compounds). Most compounds in lfn are nouns constructed from a verb and its object: portacandela means candlestick, pasatempo means pastime. Bon and mal can be joined to other words, as in bonom (pleasant fellow, regular guy) and maldise (curse or badmouth). Two nouns are never joined (as they often are in English), but are linked with de instead: casa de avias means birdhouse.

A complete list of LFN affixes appears at the LFN wiki

Examples

Useful phrases

Lingua Franca Nova English
Serjo: Bon dia Good day
Maria: Alo Hello
S: Como es tu? How are you?
M: Bon, e tu? Good, and you?
S: No mal Not bad
S: Ce es tu nom? What is your name?
M: Me nom es Maria My name is Maria
S: Tu gusta un bir? Would you like a beer?
M: Si, per favore Yes, please
M: Grasias! Thank you!
S: No problem! You're welcome
M: Joia! Cheers!
S: Tu es vera bela You are very beautiful
M: Pardona? Excuse me?
S: Me ama tu I love you
M: Me debe vade aora I must go now
S: Asta la ora? See you later?
M: Adio Goodbye
S: Bon sera, cara Goodnight, dear
M: Bon fortuna Good luck

Other examples

Lingua Franca Nova Lingua Franca Nova es desiniada per es un lingua vera simple, coerente, e fasil aprendeda, per comunica internasional. El ave varios cualias bon:

  • LFN ave un numero limitada de fonemes. El sona simila a italian o espaniol.
  • LFN es scriveda como el sona. No enfante debe pasa multe anios studia nonregulas!
  • LFN ave un gramatica vera simple e regula. El es min complicada en esta caso ce engles o indonesian.
  • LFN ave un grupo limitada e tota regula de afises produinte per crea parolas nova.
  • LFN ave regulas de la ordina de parolas bon definada, como multe linguas major.
  • LFN ave un lista de parolas fundada en la linguas roman moderne. Esta linguas es comun e influensente, e ia contribui la parte major de parolas engles.
  • LFN es desiniada per es asetante natural de parolas tecnical de latina e elenica, la "norma de mundo" per fato.
  • LFN es desiniada per aperi plu parte "natural" per los ci comprende la linguas roman, ma no min fasil per otras.

Nos espera ce tu va trova ce esta lingua es interesante!

O Carita Cat Stevens

Me no vole perde
La decora de mundo;
Me vide arde
Tota cosas;
Me oia la crias
De umania;
La lus de mundo e stelas
Es aora estinguida;
La culpas de umania
Es aora esposeda;
Con larmas e con tristia,
La dole es profunda;
De tera e de mares,
Ruido asustante;
Carita! O Carita!
Nos ta ave eterna amar;
Nos ci va mori
Salute moria;
Continua sola vive.
Esta mundo arde rapida;
Esta mundo no va dura;
Me no vole perde el
Asi en me ora;
Dona me eternia
Asi en me ora.

See also

Footnotes

References

  • Fisahn, Stefan (2005) Plansprache: Lingua Franca Nova. Contrast, 244, p. 12.
  • Harrison, Richard H. (2008) Lingua Franca Nova. Invented Languages, 1, pp. 30 -33.

External links

  • Sites run by the LFN community

* Lingua Franca Nova homepage
* Lingua Franca Nova Wiki
* Learn Lingua Franca Nova
* Complete grammar
* LFN - English Dictionary
* Orizones Nova
Dictionaries for French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch and Danish can also be found at the LFN site.

  • Discussion

* LFN Yahoo! Group
* LFN forum on the Scriptorium (defunct)
* LFN GoogleGroups

  • Outside references

* Profile at Langmaker.com
* Profile at Omniglot.com
* Profile at Conlangs and International Auxiliary Languages

  • Fan site

* LFN soundfiles, comic books and more

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