Speak Eldraeic Like a Semi-Literate Barbarian (2): Predication

Originally published at: Speak Eldraeic Like a Semi-Literate Barbarian (2): Predication | The Associated Worlds

(In the course of reading through this, the attentive reader and language hobbyist may note that Eldraeic bears more than a few similarities to Loglan and/or lojban. This similarity is, of course, purely intentional.)

To examine the grammar of a language, one must start by breaking it down into its most basic elements. In Eldraeic, being a language of logical form, the basic compound element is the predication, or esprel, an assertion of something about the world:

sá fidúrár
It is blue.

A predication (esprel) is made up of several components. At its center, you find the anesprel, or predicate, the assertion being made. An anesprel is one of the análar, or concept-words (derived from anála, concept, and laras, word) which make up the majority of the Eldraeic vocabulary, which has been adorned with -ár, the predication suffix, which marks it as the anesprel.

análar, thus, effectively serve as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and many adverbs, all of which are types of assertion.

The esprel also requires arguments (rélar) to fully define the assertion being made by filling in the complete form (see below) of the anesprel. These can appear anywhere around the anesprel, although conventional, non-poetic form places the subject/actor before the anesprel and the remainder of the arguments after it. The precise function of a given argument relative to the predicate is given by a case tag which is prefixed to the argument, although that for the subject/actor is normally omitted when placed alone before the anesprel. Others are mandatory.

While a full list of case tags will be given at a later date, that for subject/actor is a-; that for object/acted-upon is an-. These two are the most commonly used. More details on forming arguments will also be given at a later date. For now we are using mirílar (lit. structure-word, derived from miríë, order, and laras), words with special grammatical functions, specifically some of those which can occupy the role of a pronoun. Strictly called free variables, the special words sá, sé, sí, só, and can be bound to any argument, regardless of any other properties it may have, and used later to refer back to that argument.

Thus, we can see that in the phrase

sá fidúrár an-sé

the first rélar, the subject, is (A), the anesprel is fidúr (…is bluer than…), and the second rélar, the object, is (B). Or, to write it in plain English simply, A is bluer than B.

Comparative? No, Complete Forms

It should be noted that fidúr, when used as an anesprel, means not simply “blue” but “SUBJECT is bluer than OBJECT” (or to give its full complete form “SUBJECT is bluer than OBJECT by STANDARD”). This is the case for most análar which refer to properties; likewise, relational análar, such as aldren (sister), can have a similar complete form, “SUBJECT is the sister of OBJECT [by bond/tie STANDARD | from parents CREATOR <set> ]”.

Every análar has (and is listed thus in an Eldraeic dictionary) a complete form expressing its full meaning when used as an anesprel, defining the entire meaning of the resulting esprel by showing the places in which its expected arguments sit (and the case tags to be attached to them). This complete form is not binding with regard to which arguments you must supply – you may omit arguments and add additional ones via case tags which are not found in the complete form – but it is assumed that the arguments from the complete form are present, even if unspoken. Thus, all blue objects are bluer than something, all sisters have sororal bonds and/or parents, and when you make something:

mahav (make) has the complete form “SUBJECT makes / assembles / builds / manufactures / creates OBJECT out of materials / parts / components COMPONENT using tool INSTRUMENT”

It is implied that you make it out of something and use a tool to do so.

The Omitted Argument

What then does sá fidúrár, which we earlier translated as “it is blue” mean? Well, technically this is an allowed elision of a slightly longer form:

sá fidúrár an-uis

uis is an indefinite argument (of which more later), which serves as a verbal ellipsis, a placeholder for when an argument is omitted; such incomplete esprel always imply uis. Naturally, it can be elided – in normal speech, you never actually need to say uis – but it can be useful if you wish to draw attention to the argument you are omitting.

As an omitted argument, uis means “something which exists but which I am not bothering to define, except as implied by the esprel I am within”. In the case of sá fidúrár an-uis (or simply sá fidúrár), you are simply saying that the subject is bluer than “something”, which is to say, that the subject is blue.


Two special types of esprel are the observative and the imperative. Of the imperative we shall speak later.

An observative, meanwhile, is simply an esprel in which the subject/actor is omitted. These are referred to as observatives because their common usage is to observe that something is happening without details and to communicate that quickly; for example, should one find oneself in a crowded theater, one may cry:


without wishing to take time to establish precisely what is burning.

Mandatory case tags? You mean I don’t have to memorize every possible element of the complete form for every single concept just to be able to parse a sentence? Be still my heart!

Seriously, that’s one of the things that ticks me off the most about Lojban. Older Indo-European languages had all those declensions for a reason people!