ñarra jatáén nen matáLa;
Tell the tale of Chaos.
Instead of having verbs, Kélen has relationals. These are usually found at the beginning of the sentence or clause. There are two relationals in this sample, LA and NI. LA is the relational of existence and can be inflected for tense. The noun(s) immediately after LA are the things whose existence is being proclaimed. Some forms of LA are:
la LA.present-habitual an LA.progressive ñi LA.perfective wa LA.negative
NI is the relational of action, and can be inflected for agent, provided the agent is animate. The noun(s) immediately after NI are the things acted upon. The uninflected form of NI is ñi. To inflect, drop the -i and add -amma for 3rd person singular or -arra for 2nd person singular. At times, the agent is renamed later in the sentence or clause with the particle á.
Noun roots inflect for animacy and number with a series of prefixes and suffixes. The prefix ja-/j- is used with inanimate nouns, and ma-/m- with animate nouns. The suffix -a/-e/-(null) is a singular or generic suffix, and the suffix -i is a plural suffix. The prefix an- with a plural suffix denotes a collective noun. Otherwise, the prefix an- is the stative prefix, denoting such nouns that are abstract, boundless, and otherwise un-pin-down-able. Finally, the prefix la-/lan- is a vocative prefix.
Noun roots in this sample are:
Two (or more) nouns of the same inflection next to each other rename each other. Nouns connected with the marker nen are associated with each other.
There are various conjunctions
Two case markers, two aspect words, three pronouns, a locative, and two modifiers:
ho instrumental marker
Case markers come before the noun, phrase, or clause they mark. Aspect markers can show up anywhere, and modifiers follow the noun(s) they modify.
© Irina Rempt, Sylvia Sotomayor 2001