The Expanse Wiki
Advertisement
The Expanse Wiki

This page deals with the grammar of Belter Creole, also known as lang Belta.

Typologically, Belter is an analytic language. Rather than inflections, it primarily uses separate words to build grammatical constructions, such as prepositions and auxiliary verbs, and the meaning of a sentence depends strongly on word order. However, it does use compounding and some suffixes for deriving new words. For example, the -lowda suffix is used to form plural pronouns (see below).

Nouns[]

Plurals[]

Generally, nouns are not inflected for number; a singular noun has the same form as a plural one. For example, maliwala can mean either "child" or "children", depending on context. Plurality is determined in other ways: the presence of quantifiers, numerals, or simply inferred from context.[1] The exception is pronouns, which do have distinct plural forms (see Pronouns below).

Compounds[]

Nouns may be used attributively to modify other nouns, forming a compound noun. Unlike in English, where the modifier typically precedes the word being modified, in lang Belta the head noun goes first and the one modifying it follows afterwards:

diye beref
day att.birth
birthday
bap kuxaku
door att.vacuum
airlock

Determiners[]

Articles[]

The indefinite article is wa:

tenye wa diye beref gut
have ndef day birth good
Have a happy birthday![2]

The definite article is da:[3]

mi du mowteng fo da dzhush
1sg do need for def juice
I need the juice.[4]

Definite articles are used before a person's proper name, e.g. da Mila for "Miller".

Belter displays definiteness agreement, similar to that found in Greek or Hebrew. That is, when a noun is marked with da, any attributive nouns or adjectives applied to that noun must also be so marked:[5]

livit Belta "Belter life" → da livit da Belta "the Belter life"
setara mali "little star" → da setara da mali "the little star"

Demonstrative[]

da <noun> de/dédeya that
da <noun> xiya this

Lang Belta differentiates between proximal and distal that by using de to denote an object close by and dédaya to denote an object farther away. It also allows for a non-specific this by utilizing ting.

Examples
da ting xiya gut = "this is good"
da diye de = tomorrow/yesterday, lit. "that day (proximal)"
da diye dédeya = some time future/past, lit. "that day (distal)"

Quantifiers[]

wamali a little, small amount
walowda some, few, several
walowda walowda a lot, large amount

Pro-forms[]

This is a (possibly incomplete) chart of pronouns, pro-adverbs and determiners, arranged in a convenient table-of-correlatives format.

Pro-forms
de
that
ke
which, what
kowl
all, every
na
no
xi
this
mang
person
demang
that person
kemang
who?
kowmang
everyone
namang
nobody
ximang
this person
pelésh
place
depelésh
there
kepelésh
where?
kowpelésh
everywhere
*napelésh
nowhere
xipelésh
here
tim
time
detim
then
ketim
when?
kowltim
always
natim
never
xitim
now
ting
thing
deting
that thing
keting
what?
kowlting
everything
nating
nothing
xiting
this thing
we
way, means
dewe
that way
kewe
how?
*kowlwe
every way
nawe
no way
xiwe
this way

Pronouns[]

singular plural
1st mi milowda
2nd to tolowda
3rd im imalowda, *imim

*Impersonal third person, ie. "You know what they say"

Other Pronouns[]

sif yourself
beltalowda Belters (all), lit. "Belter-all"
inyalowda Inners (all), lit. "Inner-all"
kedawang which (singular), lit. "which-the-one"
kelowda which (plural), lit. "which-all"
dédawang that one
delowda those

Adjectives[]

Adjectives are placed after the nouns they modify:

kapawu fash "fast ship"
setara mali "little star"

Adverbs[]

Affixes[]

Prefixes[]

mo- "more"; an intensifier, affixed to adjectives
na- negation; equivalent to English "un-"
teki- technology-related; cranberry morpheme unable to be used as independent word
tu- "very"; affixed to adjectives
wa- "some"; affixed to nouns

Suffixes[]

-lowda denotes plurality; only used with pronouns/quantifiers
-mang associates with personhood, lit. "<noun>-person"
-ting associates with objecthood, lit. "<noun>-thing"
-wala person related to or associated with a characteristic, person who works with or does something professionally

Prepositions[]

afong out-of (transitive preposition)
asilik like, as if something were the case without it being so
efa after
ere at, on, about (locative preposition)
erefo into (transitive preposition)
fing until
fo for, to, towards, because [of] (transitive preposition)
fode to-there
fong from, off
fongi from-here
fongi fode away
fore before
lik like, in the manner of
nawit without
pash than, beyond, past
wit with

Conjunctions[]

unte and
o or
amash but

Interjections[]

fodagut please
ko ok
na no
soyá sarcastic agreement
ya yes, affirmative
ya fet alright, way to go

Verbs[]

Tense[]

ta past tense indicator
gonya future tense indicator

Aspect[]

ando continuous aspect marker
finyish perfective aspect marker
tili habitual aspect marker

Modal[]

deng fo would, lit. "in-that-case-for"
mogut fo should, lit. "better-for"

Serial verbs[]

du <verb> used to create serial verb clauses from verbs

Light verbs[]

du <noun> used to create verbs from nouns and noun phrases

Negation[]

na not, a negation marker

Mood Markers[]

Lang Belta utilizes mood markers that function separately from verbs.

fosho strong belief
fosho fosho very strong belief
kang capable
kang kang very capable
mebi unrealistic
mebi mebi unrealistic and unlikely
mowsh must, have to
mowsh mowsh absolutely must
wanya desire, intention
wanya wanya very strong desire, intention

Numbers[]

Below are the words for basic numbers.[6]

number word combining form
0 nada
1 wang
2 tu
3 serí
4 fu
5 faf fáve-
6 sikesh síkese-
7 seng sénge-
8 et éte-
9 nang nánge-
10 teng
100 xanya

Multiples of 10 or 100 are formed by appending teng or xanya to the combining form of the multiplier, with the stress remaining on the multiplier:

number word number word
10 teng 100 xanya
20 tuteng 200 túxanya
30 seriteng 300 seríxanya
40 futeng 400 fúxanya
50 fáveteng 500 fávexanya
60 síkeseteng 600 síkesexanya
70 séngeteng 700 séngexanya
80 éteteng 800 étexanya
90 nángeteng 900 nángexanya

Numbers with values in both the ones and tens place are composed in little-endian order, joined by un:

18 = et-un-teng ("eight and ten")
81 = wang-un-éteteng ("one and eight tens")

If there is a hundreds place, it comes before the ones-and-tens place terms:[7]

246 = túxanya sikesh-un-futeng

When used attributively, numbers come before the noun they count, as in English.[8]

serí buk – three books

Sentence structure[]

Word order[]

SVO

Zero copula[]

mi nadzhush
1sg tired
I'm tired.

Forming questions[]

Any sentence can be turned into a yes–no question by ending it with the interrogative particle ke:

To showxa lang Belta. You speak Belter.
To showxa lang Belta ke? Do you speak Belter?

The related tag question keyá also makes a sentence into a yes–no question, but one which expects agreement:

Da Rosi im kapawu fash, keyá?
The Roci is a fast ship, isn't it?

Sentences containing the ke-based interrogative words kemang, kepelésh, ketim, keting, or kewe do not need the trailing ke.

Kepelésh shapu to, Mila?
Where's your hat, Miller?

References


See also[]

Advertisement