Thoya conlang: The tense system
'se' and 'so' are the past and future tense words. They go at the beginning of the sentence except for one special case which I'll get to.
The present tense is progressive by default. "reŋ viha" means "I am running". If you want to communciate that you run in general, but aren't necessarily running now, use the 'sa' tense modifier: "sa reŋ viha".
This also works with the past and future:
"sa se reŋ viha" = "I used to run" (it used to be a habit).
"sa so reŋ viha" = "I will get into running" (a bit of an awkward translation, but it means you're going to make it a habit).
I call sa the "vague tense" modifier.
'ɪs' is the "close tense" modifier. "ɪs se reŋ viha" means "I just ran", and "ɪs so reŋ viha" means "I'm about to run".
When you use se or so to go into the past or the future, you *stay* in the past or future until you use *si* to return to the present.
"se reŋ viha, (then) na lo yec ar reŋ, (so) reŋ us viha. si sa reŋ qeta." = "I ran / was running, then they told me the truth, so I stopped running. Nowadays I walk."
I believe this saves more speed than it loses, but it's also for aesthetic reasons: it'd be ugly to have every sentence start with "se" when telling a story.
If it helps you can think of it like this: "The following sequence of events happened: I run, then he tells me the truth, so I stop running." And you might notice that in English we sometimes do a similar thing when telling a story, especially when it's supposed to be amusing.
This doesn't happen if you place a tense modifier before the verb instead of at the beginning of the sentence:
"reŋ se di A. ka roj di B?" = "I did A. Are you doing B?"
If it were "se reŋ di A. ka roj di B?", it would mean, "I did A. did you do B?"
When using an explicit time-specifying expression, you don't need any tense modifiers. "I run yesterday" is quite clear and there's no need to add a syllable to move it to the past.
You can double-use se and so to get the "had happened" or (not very useful) "will be going to happen" tenses.
"se reŋ se guja tip qip lɪma, (so) de tup." = "I had already drunk all the water, so I didn't have any."
You can also do like this: "so se reŋ guja qip lɪma" - "I will have drunk the water". You're allowed to combine the tense modifiers in any way that makes sense.
This should go without saying, but just incase, "is going to" should be translated the same way as "will".
You can communicate "ago" and "in" with se and so. "5 days ago" = "se tu 5 sira" literally "in the past by 5 days".
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