Poplengwo version 2

This second version presents Poplengwo as an agglutinative language.


Poplengwo is a written and spoken language, as every official human language is spoken and mainly written. To maximize the simplicity, the speaking and writing systems must correpond perfectly: Each sound is allocated to one symbol, and vice versa. And, since the latin alphabet is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world, it is accurate for a good international language. Here is Poplengwo's alphabet and the pronounciation of each of the 25 letters:

a [a]/[ɑ], b [b], c [ʃ]/[ʂ], d [d], e [e]/[ɛ], f [f]/[ɸ], g [g], h [h], i [i], j [ʒ]/[ʐ], k [k], l [l]/[ɭ], m [m]/[ɱ], n [n]/[ɳ]/[ŋ], o [o]/[ɔ], p [p], r [r]/[ɾ]/[ɹ]/[ʀ], s [s], t [t], u [u], v [v]/[β], w [w], x [x], y [j], z [z].

As graphemes and phonemes must be perfectly equivalent, there is no need for capital letters to appear in the words of our international language. Therefore, every word will be lower-case. However, any kinds of other symbols may be used for abbreviated writing.

When you hear a sentence in this language, the spaces between words are not pronounced: they don't stand for a pause like a comma or a point do. So, in order to distinguish words from one another, the trick is to add stresses on them. We put the stress on the whole word except on its last syllable. e.g. "foni" ['foni], "ameriko" ['a'me'riko] Consequently, the monosyllabic words are not stressed. This method makes it possible to distinguish words from one another in a sentence. e.g. [moan'a'ploso'hawi] -> "mo an aploso hawi"

To separate sentences from one another, we use a point that means that we must pause for a short while before saying the next sentence. The point is surrounded by two spaces. (A text will look like this: "sentence1 . sentence2") If a sentence is the last one of a text, it doesn't need a point at its end because there is no other sentence after it, that's why a text will normally finish (and begin as well) with no punctuation sign. There also exists an excamation mark. It is useful to emphasize a sentence and it will be pronounced louder or more high-pitched than a normal sentence, but even if the whole sentence is more high-pitched, the relative stresses in the words must remain. For readers to know how they have to pronounce a sentence before reading it, the possible exclamation mark will be written just before it. It replaces the point that would be there by default and takes exactly the same place. Yet, in opposition to the point, the exclamation mark can be present at the very beginning of a text, not only between two sentences. Commas can be introduced into a sentence to symbolize a pause (that must be shorter than the pause of a point). They take the same place as a point between two words, that is, there are spaces before and after it. (This is to standardize the punctuation typography.) The interrogation mark doesn't exist. Questions will be expressed with particular words.



Basically, what is language for? One would extempore answer it is used for communicating. So what is communication for? Actually, every time you say or write something, the purpose of this is to act on the world. For example when you say "Give me a coffee please.", you make someone do somethink for you. It may seem that you only act on the world when you give an order or make a request, but in fact, you also act on it when uttering a simple affirmation. Indeed, an affirmation is nothing else than a request for someone to know something, and you can translate any affirmation into a request, e.g. "I am happy." translates to "Know that I am happy." Also, a question is just a request for someone to answer it, e.g. "What are you doing?" translates to "Tell me what you are doing." So, if we wanted to create a perfectly logical language, we should always use this pattern for every sentence, that is to say make a request with an explicit verb like in the previous sentences: "give", "know", "tell" or whatever you like. (I think that Lojban does not even use these rules...) You will agree that this kind of structure would be pretty tedious to use, and in every natural language, we favour a more implicit yet simpler structure which is not less comprehensible. That is why we are going to do the same in Poplengwo. There is another point about the logical structure of a sentence that should not be forgotten. When you make that request in a sentence, there should be a precision about who is requested to do something, otherwise the request would be ambiguous if there are more than one person in the surrounding area. Still, as before, precising the destination of the message every time you talk would be quite annoying, so we will also often leave this out, in case the destination is obvious. Should the opposite occur, Poplengwo allows you to precise the destination thanks to a preposition: "hey".

The verbs

Fundamentally, a sentence is the expression of a relation between a certain number of predicates. It has to express the required predicates and, above all, the name of this relation. Let's call this type of word a "verb". This is actually the very core of the sentence. Therefore, the verb of a sentence must be recognizable among all words. That's why all conjugated verbs will end with the letter <i>. A verb is thus basically constructed with its radical followed by the suffix <i>. e.g. "fon/i" This form (without any suffix) is used by default, when there is no ambiguity, yet we can precise the tense of the action, when needed, inserting a suffix before the final <i>: "ir" for the past, "ar" for the present or "or" for the future. e.g. "fon/ir/i", "fon/ar/i", "fon/or/i". As well, we can construct the conditionnal form with "ur" and the imperative form with "er". To express the passive form of a verb, we insert the suffix "it". When doing this, we exchange the grammatical place of the subject and the object complement.

The nouns

The elementary entity that can act as a predicate is the noun. Their nature must also be easily recognizable. That's why all nouns will end with an <o>. We are already able to construct a sentence: "nyao tcangi" = "The bird is singing." Among verbs, substantives, adjectives and adverbs, verbs are the basical words from which any other type of word may be defined and constructed by derivation of the verb. We can justify this rule with the example of "live". Indeed, we can define "life" as the action of "living" but it is unpossible to define "to live" from "life". Nouns may be made up from verbs by replacing the final <i> with an <o>. In this case, the new noun means the action to do something. e.g. "tcang/i" = "sing(s)" or "am/is/are singing" -> "tcang/o" = "to sing" or "singing"

To form the plural of a noun, we insert the suffix "os" to the noun. e.g. "apl/os/a"

The single "o" is a word used as an artificial noun when the most important of the predicate is the noun complement.

The pronouns

mo = [emisor(s)]

to = [destination(s)]

ulo = [masculine third person / people]

ino = [feminine third person / people]

lo = [neuter or mixed or unknown gender third person / people]

no = [emisor(s) + third person / people]

vo = [destination(s) + third person / people]

wo = [emisor(s) + destination(s)]

ono = [undetermined person/people]

kio = who? / what?

zo = [latest referred noun (Consequently, it is often used as a reflective pronoun.)]

ho = [penultimate referred noun]

do = [antepenultimate referred noun]

fo = [referring to the latest noun marked with the adjective "fa" (see below)]

o = [artifical noun]

These pronouns all end with an <o> because they are considered to have the same nature as nouns. Therefore, the suffix "os" may be added to them in order to specefy that you mention more individuals/things than the normal number when you don't use "os", however, there is no obligation to use it, even if there are more individuals/things. The pronoun without a "os" is used by default.

The adjectives

The adjectives may be defined from the verbs which designate a certain action or a certain state, and qualify what makes this action or what has this state. They are formed from the verbs by replacing the final <i> with an <a>. In this way, "vita" = "alive" is the derivated adjective of "viti" = "to live" and "blua" = "blue" is the derivated adjective of "blui" = "to be blue".

We have seen in the previous section that we could talk about a recently spoken noun, thanks to three different pronouns. Unfortunately, in most of oral or written speeches, so many nouns are used that those pronouns are sometimes not enough to refer to an oldly spoken word, even if this noun designates a fundamental subject of the speech. That's why another pronoun exists to refer to a frequently used noun: "fo". But in order to be able to use it, we first have to define what this noun is. This is precisely the role of the adjective "fa": we add it to the noun in question when it is first mentoned, and then we can use the pronoun "fo" to refer to this noun as many times as needed. Also, we can always re-define the noun associated with "fo" by using "fa" again.

When speaking, you may frequently wish to use some proper names. But, as all Poplengwo nouns end with an <o>, you'll have to operate some modifications: first, the noun must be translated from its original language to Poplengwo, using an apropriate translating system, so that the translated word sounds well like the original one. Then you have to add the final <o>, and eventually you have to add the adjective "la" to precise that this noun is a proper name.

The adverbs

The adverbs derivated from adjectives qualify the actions (designated by the verbs) of what those basical adjectives qualify the nouns of. They are formed from those ones by replacing the final <a> with an <e>. They can be placed anywhere in the proposition, but not inside a predicate (or nominal group). They can be used to translate an -ing form. e.g. "The child goes to school singing." = "zio goi ad skulo tcange" Here is a list of the most common adverbs:

almoste = nearly / almost

kie [adverb used like an interrogation mark, but only in closed (yes/no) questions.]

kimente = how

lese = less

more = more

nare = there

Derivating words

We have seen that many words are formed by derivating a basical word of another nature. There are nouns and adjectives that are derivated from verbs, and adverbs that are derivated from adjectives. However, a noun, an adjective or an adverb can also be a basical word that is not derivated from another one. Also, an adverb may be derivated from a basical adjective (not derivated). Yet a noun can never be derivated from an adjective or an adverb, an adjective can never be derivated from a noun or an adverb, an adverb can never be derivated from a noun, and all verbs are basical words (not derivated).

Poplengwo is an agglutinative language: it allows you to create new words from an existing radical and some suffixes. To create a word, you have to begin with an existing radical, and to successively add suffixes from left to right before you "close" the word with the final letter. As well, to understand what a composed word means, you first have to build an idea from the meaning of the radical, then to modify this idea according to the meaning of the directly following suffix, and so on, until you reach the end of the word. You never have to try to understand the meaning of a composed word using an order different from this one, nor to try to create one this way. A suffix is only used to modify the meaning of an "idea word" (verb, noun, adjective, adverb), never to modify the meaning of another suffix. As a consequence to this suffix system, it is impossible to consider using prefixes (because people would never know whether it is the prefixes or the suffixes that first modify the meaning of the radical), and they have no reason to exist anyway, as there already are suffixes. Here is a list of the most common suffixes:

  1. changing verbs into verbs

<ad> [designates a repeated or continual action]

<ar> [used to specify a present action]

<aw> [liking] (e.g "mo cu/awi" = "I like to sleep.")

<er> [used to give an order]

<idj> [transition] (e.g. "j/idj/i" = "to get to know" = "to meet")

<ig> [impressive action] (e.g. "djan/ig/i" = "to make see" = "to show")

<inen> [capacity] (e.g. "mo an to wen/inen/i" = "I can hear you.")

<ir> [used to specify a past action]

<it> [used to reverse the subject and the object complement of a verb] (e.g. "rato an kato c/it/i" "The mouse is eaten by the cat." "botlo drink/it/i" = "The bottle is drunk." "o drink/it/a" = "a drink")

<ivant> [will] (e.g. "mo djan/ivant/i" = "I want to see.")

<or> [used to specify a future action]

<un> [used to turn a verb negative] (e.g. "s/un/i" = "no")

<ur> [used to specify a conditonal action]

  1. changing verbs into adjectives

<al> [relation] (e.g. "vit/al/a" = "in relation with life" = "vital")

  1. changing verbs into nouns

<es> [quality] (e.g. "djintsay/es/o" = "beauty")

<il> [instrument/tool] (e.g. "fon/il/o" = "object used to phone" = "telephone")

  1. changing nouns into nouns

<eg> [big]

<et> [little]

<in> [feminine gender]

<on> [singular]

<os> [plural]

<ul> [masculine gender]

Building a sentence

This language is made up to allow words to appear in any order you want, so that you can emphasize one, putting it at the begining or at the end for example, although there is only one order that is most logical. So if such moves are allowed, the words must be marked with some other word, so that we know whether it is the subject, an object complement, a place complement, etc. The only predicate that doesn't need any mark is the subject of the sentence. All the predicates with other functions are marked with a different preposition, depending on their function. The prepositions are always placed before the nominal group. For example, the preposition "an" is used to introduce an object complement. e.g. "mo an aploso hawi" or "mo hawi an aploso" or "an aploso mo hawi" or "an aploso hawi mo" or "hawi mo an aploso" or "hawi an aploso mo" = "I like apples." After the preposition, if there is one, we can have at most one noun and any number of adjectives and noun complements. In this way, we obtain a nominal group that would look like this:

([1 preposition]) [0+ [adjective or noun complement]] ([1 noun]) [0+ [adjective or noun complement]]

Now, a proposition would look like this:

[0+ [nominal group/adverb/subordinate proposition]] [1 verb] [0+ [nominal group/adverb/subordinate proposition]]

To ask a question, we either add the adverb "kie" to the proposition if it is a closed (yes/no) question, or, if it is an open question, we replace the unknown word with an accurate interrogation word. If we ask about a predicate, we'll use the pronoun "kio" and possibly add a preposition before it. If we ask about a description of a predicate, we will use the word "kia" = "which one". To ask about a relation between predicates, we'll use "kii". Eventually, to ask about the way in which an action is done, we'll use "kimente".

An entire sentence is composed of (a point or an exclamation mark and) one or several propositions linked together with conjunctions.

The prepositions

They end with a consonnant. Here are the most used prepositions:

ab = from [geographically]

ad = to / towards [geographically]

ag = ago

an = [object marker] / by [in a passive sentence]

ant = before

at = in / on / at [time]

az = as / like

baut = about [subject]

cirk = around

dan = than / as / in relation to

dank = thanks to

den = in ...'s time

dur = for / during

eks = out of / outside

far = far from

front = in front of

gens = against [physically]

hey = [destination, vocative case]

hind = behind

in = in / inside

inter = between

kon = with

kontr = against [opposition] / versus

koz = because of

mong = among

nir = near / close to

por = for / pro

post = after

sid = beside / next to

sin = without

sins = since / from

sub = under

super = over

sur = on

til = until

trans = through

tun = (in order) to / for

yond = beyond

The sentence organizers

The sentence organizers are abstract words that are there only to link words or statements with one another, or to isolate a part of a sentence, so that its meaning is changed. They all end with an <u>. First, let's see those which are used to coordinate two statements together. Here they are: "u" is the word to express the intersection of two statements, or in simpler words, to say "and". It is placed between the two statements. e.g. "mo an aploso ci u mo an cwio drinki" = "I'm eating an apple and I'm drinking water." "oru" is used to express the union of two statements, that is, to say "or". It is also placed between the two statements. "au" expresses the symmetric difference of two statements, that is, one of the two statements is true, but not both. e.g "! he studii au he sii" = "Learn or die!" We also have rhetorical operators, such as "du" = "so"/"therefore", "kau" = "for"/"because", "mu" = "but", "yu" = "yet". Those organizers are placed between the two statements they coordinate. They correspond to English coordination conjunctions. There are also subordination conjuctions. "su" = "if" "ku" is used to introduce any kind of completive proposition. It is generally translated "that". e.g. "mo dongi ku to an mo ayi" = "I know (that) you love me." Yet it can be translated in another way. When "ku" is accompanied by "kie", it is translated "if"/"whether". e.g. "mo dongi ne ku to an mo ayi kie" = "I don't know whether you love me." When it is accompanied with a "wh pronoun" such as "who"/"what" = "kio", "how" = "kimente"..., it is not translated. e.g. "mo dongi ku kio an aplo ci" = "I know who ate the apple." (To translate a sentence in which "want", or another modal, is followed by another verb, like in the example "I want to sleep.", we have to add an appropriate suffix to the verb.) "ku" can also be translated "the fact that" in sentenced like "The fact that the sky is red, is strange." = "strangi ku tyano tci". The word "ku" is then useful to introduce a preposition in the place where a nominal group would normally be placed. If the "ku"-proposition is not at the end of the sentence, you have to consider putting a "pu/piu" couple around the proposition (see below). There are also relative pronouns. Those ones are composed by the basical word "kiu" and possibly by a preposition just before it. e.g. "mo ji an nano kiu aplo ci" = "I know the man who is eating an apple." "mo ci an aplo an kiu mo hawi" = "I'm eating the apple (that) I like." Note that the antecedent has to be placed right before the relative proposition.

Now let's see other kinds of organizers that can act on the inner part of a statement, actually on any group of words. The organizers in questions are the couple "pu" and "piu". They are useful to isolate a part of a sentence, in order to shorten it, to take off its ambiguity, or even to change its meaning. e.g. "mo an pu aploso ci piu pu cwio drinki piu" = "I'm eating an apple and drinking water." "pu nano kiu an aplo ci piu an mo ji" = "The man who is eating an apple knows me." If one wrote "nano kiu an aplo ci an mo ji" instead, it could also be translated "The man who knows me is eating an apple." or even "The man who knows an apple is eating me.", etc. In order to quote something, you need to start your quotation with "lu" and to end it with "liu". If you were mistaken with a word you said, you can get it removed thanks to the word "nu". e.g. "mo dur dio ara ciri nou cuiri" = "I ate, no, I mean I slept for two days." The word "fu" is used to introduce a noun complement. It is generally translated "of" or "'s". If that noun complement doesn't end the nominal group, you have to close it with "fiu".

At last, there is also a type of organizer that only links two words together. They are "tu" = "and", "toru" = "or" and "tau" = "or but not and". However these organizers can link more than two words together if one of the parts next to the organizer is a "pu/piu" group. e.g. "mo an aplo tu banano ci" = "I am eating an apple and a banana." (We could also have said "mo an aplo an banano ci" here.) "mo an aplo tca tu lua ci" = "I am eating a red and green apple." (We can miss "tu" between adjectives, though.) "nare esti 2 tau 3 aploso" = "There are 2 or 3 apples."

To express a relative proposition without determinating a precise antecedent, we use the pronoun "o" as an antecedent. Here are a few examples:

  1. "I know the one who is eating an apple." = "mo ji an o kiu aplo ci"

  2. "I am the one who is eating an apple." = "mo esi o kiu aplo ci"

  3. "The one who is eating an apple is me." = "pu o kiu aplo ci piu mo esi"


In order to be easy to learn by most people worldwide, this language must take its vocabulary from word roots of the most used words in the word. Let's take a look at what natural languages we should refer to. According to Wikipedia, the list of languages by total number of speakers varies depending on whether we consider the highest estimation or the mode average estimation. In order to get the same languages in both lists, we can either reduce it to three or to ten languages. To get most precision and to keep a maximum of languages example, we will choose the lists of ten languages. These are the two lists we obtain this way:

Highest Estimation

Language Total number of speakers (million)

English 1800

Chinese 1300

Hindustani 905

Arabic 873

French 600

Spanish 500

Russian 285

Portuguese 230

Bengali 230

Indonesian 200

Mode Average Estimation

Language Total number of speakers (million)

Chinese 1036

English 618

Hindustani 487

Spanish 376

Arabic 285

Russian 278

Indonesian 234

French 213

Bengali 207

Portuguese 203

For every word of our international language, we will match its translation in all ten languages, and choose the one that can be understood by the majority of people. For example, if a word is simarly used by 1 billion A-speakers and by 1 billion B-speakers, and another word is used by 1.5 billion C-speakers, the A and B word root will be chosen. In most cases, if the English word has a different root than the words of the roman languages, then the Chinese word has to be chosen.


ab from [geographically]

ad to / towards [geographically]

ag ago

airo air

ali to be complete ["ala" = "complete" / "whole" / "entire" / "all"]

almoste almost / nearly

an [object marker] / by [in a passive sentence]

ant before

aplo apple

ari to be two

at in / on / at [time]

au or [but not and] [between two propositions]

ayi to love (sbd)

az as / like

bai to be white

bambuo bamboo

banano banana

baut about [subject]

beno root

beyo shellfish

bio pen

blui to be blue

botlo bottle

campo field

cangi to go up

centro center

ci to eat

cirk around

cowo hand

cui to sleep

cwio water

cwoi to say / to tell

dan than / as / in relation to

dank thanks to

dano rock / stone

dai to be big

den in ...'s time

dio day

djani to see

djiao house / home

djino gold

djintsayi to be beautiful

djiwi to be nine

do [antepenultimate referred noun]

dongi to know [used with "ku"]

drinki to drink

du so / therefore

dur for / during

egzisti to exist

eks out of / outside

entri to enter

ero ear

esi to be [identity]

esti to be [place / time]

far far from

floro flower

fa [used to define a subject or a frequently used noun]

fiu [the couple "fu/fiu" is used to introduce a noun complement]

fo [referring to the latest noun marked with the adjective "fa"]

foni to phone

fori to be four

forzo force / strength

front in front of

fu of / 's [the couple "fu/fiu" is used to introduce a noun complement]

gens against [physically] / versus

goi to go

gwani to close

hawi to like / to be fond of

hei to be black

herbo grass / herb

hey [preposition to indicate the destination]

hind behind

hio evening

ho [penultimate referred noun]

huo fire

hwai to draw

hwangi to be yellow

hyai to go down / to fall

hyangi to think

hyawi to be small / little

hyei to write

hyui to rest

in in / inside

ino [feminine third person / people]

insekto insect

inter between

islo island

ji to know (sbd)

kai to open

karo car

kato cat

kau because / for

ki to be seven

kie [used to turn a proposition into direct or undirect interrogative]

kimente how

kino parent

kio who? / what?

kiu which / who / that [relative pronoun] ["an kiu" = ("that"), "of kiu" = "whose", "at kiu" = "when"...]

kon with

kontr against [opposition]

kowo mouth

koz because of

ku (that) [used to introduce a completive proposition]

kwano dog

la [proper name indicator]

lai to come

lengwadjo language

lese less

lii to stand

lino wood

liu [the couple "lu/liu" is used to make a quoitation]

lo [neuter or mixed or unknown gender third person / people]

lu [the couple "lu/liu" is used to make a quoitation]

lui to be green

mao horse

matro mother

meno door

mio rice

mingo name

mo [emisor(s)]

mong among

montanyo mountain

more more

morningo morning

mu but

muo tree

nano man / male

nare there

nir near / close to

no [emisor(s) + third person / people]

nu [used to remove the previous word and then be able to change it] No! I mean...

nuo woman

nyano year

nyao bird

o [artifical noun]

okti to be eight

ono [undetermined person/people]

oru or [or/and] [between two propositions]

otomno autumn

oyo eye

patro father

persono man / person

piu [the couple "pu/piu" is used to isolate a group of words]

poplo (a) people

por for / pro

post after

pu [the couple "pu/piu" is used to isolate a group of words]

rato rat / mouse

rivero river / stream

sani to be three

si [latest referred verb] / yes / indeed

sid beside / next to

sii to die

sin without

sins since / from

skulo school

solo sun

studii to study / to learn

su if

sub under

super over

sur on

tau or [but not and] [between two words or "pu/piu" groups]

tcangi to sing

tci to be red

tcui to go out

tcuno spring

tcwango window

til until

to [destination(s)]

toru or [and/or] [between two words or "pu/piu" groups]

trans through

tsio word

tsongi to follow

tu and [between two words or "pu/piu" groups]

tun (in order) to / for

tuo soil

tyano sky

u and [between two propositions]

ulo [masculine third person / people]

viladjo village

viti to live

vo [destination(s) + third person / people]

wango king

wanti to want [sth / sbd to do sth]

weni to hear

wo [emisor(s) + destination(s)]

wui to be five

yawi to ask

yeo night

yii to be one

yino sound

yond beyond

yowo right

yu yet

yuo rain

yweo moon

zera zero

zio child

zo [latest referred noun]

zuo foot

zwo left