3. Word boundaries and spelling
It is not always easy to determine the boundaries of words and their spelling forms in Lagwan. In everyday language, there are many shortenings and elisions of vowels. For example, we often hear in the market riyaxkan or even raxkan instead of riyal xkan fifty francs. How to represent these words in writing? We offer two principles to help us determine the limits and forms of words in Lagwan. After presenting these principles, we will consider how to write the most important grammatical elements of the language.
First, a word is spelled only one way (Stark 2010: 156-157). That is to say, it has only one written form. Most often, the way a word is written follows the pronunciation of that word in isolation. In the case of riyaxkan and riyal xkan fifty frances, to keep only one way to write these words, it is better to write them riyal xkan. In the case of elision, you have to write words as they are pronounced in isolation. For example, we often say slaɗɨ main and then slaɗa u my hand. However, to respect the first principle, they should be written as slaɗɨ a u my hand. Second, a word that has its own meaning is written as one word and is not attached to other words. (Stark 2010: 155-56). For example, a possessive adjective, like au ma or mine in the previous example slaɗɨ au my hand, consists of two words that have their own meanings: a is a connective particle that indicates possession and then u is a possessive pronoun which indicates the person and the number of the possessor, in the first person singular.
3.1.1 Personal Subject Pronouns.
In Lagwan there are several series of personal subject pronouns that precede a conjugated verb. These pronouns indicate the gender and number of the subject as well as the tense and aspect of the action of the verb (Aboukar 2003, Allison 2006: 7). In general, we suggest writing these pronouns as separate words. We take a look at the five most important subject personal pronoun sets and suggest spelling forms.
Personal Subject Pronouns of the Imperfect Tense
Personal pronouns subject of the imperfect tense have the following forms:
We propose to write them as separate words, that is to say, separated from the nominal subject that precedes them and the verb that follows them by spaces. We know that these personal subject pronouns are so associated with the verb that follows them that they are regarded as a single word. We still propose to write them as separate words in order to respect the writing principle according to which a word is written in one way.
The personal subjunctive subject pronouns
The personal subjunctive subject pronouns are used in a sentence that expresses a wish or a blessing. These pronouns have the following forms:
We propose to write them as separate words.
The progressive subject personal pronouns
The progressive subject personal pronouns have the following spelling forms. Note that there are three pronouns which have shortened forms.
The subjunctive subject personal pronouns
The personal subjunctive subject pronouns are used in a sentence that expresses a wish or a blessing. These pronouns have the following forms only.:
The personal pronouns of the perfective and conditional
In Lagwan, the known personal pronouns of the perfective express that the action of the verb has ended; those of the perfective conditional express that the action had the possibility of ending, but in fact, it did not end. The two pronouns paradigms are distinguished by their tones. The pronouns of the perfective are pronounced with a high tone while the pronouns of the conditional perfective with a low tone. In addition to these differences in tone, the pronouns of 3.sg.m. are distinguished by the presence of an initial nasal. These known personal pronouns have the following spelling forms:
3.1.2. Disjointed personal pronouns
Disjointed personal pronouns are often found in sentences without a verb. In these cases, they function as a subject pronoun. In other contexts, they are used to emphasize something. We offer the following spelling forms.
3.1.3. The complement pronouns of direct and indirect object
The pronouns of the complement of direct object and indirect object are distinguished by their tones. The pronouns of the direct object are pronounced with a low tone; those of the indirect object complement are pronounced with a high tone. As the tones are not represented orthographically in lagwan, we propose the following orthographic forms.
The object complement pronouns follow the verb directly. We write them as a separate word.
the pronouns of the inanimate object complement
In Lagwan there are pronouns of the inanimate object complement: li, le, lɨ. They replace a complement that is inanimate. Like the other object complement pronouns, they follow the verb directly. They also follow prepositions. We propose to write them as separate words.
3.1.4 Independant possessive pronouns
Independent possessive pronouns consist of a connective particle followed by a possessive pronoun. The connective particle agrees in gender and number with the word to which it refers. The following table shows the spelling forms for independent possessive pronouns.
Note that we write these pronouns as two separate words, the connective particle and then the possessive pronoun. Our proposal follows the principles for determining the limits and shapes of words. By writing ha u, hɨna u, and hiya u, we respect the principle that a word is spelled only one way. In addition, by writing them as two separate words, we respect the second principle which states that a word that has its own meaning is written as one word and is not attached to other words.
3.1.5 Independent demonstrative pronouns
Independent demonstrative pronouns are used to point to something that is either near or far from the speaker. The following table shows the spelling forms for independent demonstrative pronouns.
3.2 Noun phrase
In Lagwan the noun phrase is characterized by several kinds of vowel elision and word size reductions. To write noun phrases in a systematic way, we offer the following spelling forms and writing rules.
3.2.1 Adjectives and relative clauses
In Lagwan, adjectives and relative clauses follow the noun they modify. They are linked to the noun by connective particles. These connective particles indicate the gender and number of the noun. A masculine singular noun is followed by the connective particle a, but a feminine singular noun is followed by the particle ɨn. A plural noun, regardless of its gender in the singular, is followed by the particle i. We propose the following orthographic forms for these connective particles.
Note that these particles are written as a single word which is separated from the noun that precedes it and the modifier that follows it by a space.
3.2.2. Demonstrative adjectives
In Lagwan, demonstrative adjectives follow the substantive they modify. In the case where the noun is masculine singular, the demonstrative adjective is ama. In the case of a feminine noun, we use ɨnne. The demonstrative adjective is iyye with a plural noun. We provide the following spelling forms for demonstrative adjectives.
3.2.3. Definite articles.
The definite articles follow the noun which they modify. These articles agree with the gender and number of the substantive. In case the noun is masculine singular or plural, the article is ale. In the case of a feminine noun, we use ne. We offer the following spelling forms for defined adjectives.
3.2.4 Possessive adjectives
Possessive adjectives follow the noun which they modify. They consist of a connective particle followed by a pronoun. These connective particles agree with the gender and number of the substantive. In the case where the noun is masculine singular or plural, the particle is a. If the noun is feminine, the particle is na. The table below shows the spelling forms for possessive adjectives.
Note that these possessive adjectives are written as two words which are separated by a space. We propose these orthographic forms because the two connective particles appear not only with pronouns but also with nouns. Here are some examples of connective particles with pronouns and nouns.
By writing bɨnni a Mana the wall of Mana and then bɨnni a u my wall, we respect the principle that a word is spelled only one way. On the other hand, if we wrote the possessive adjective as a single word, that is to say, au to me, we would be obliged to write the connective particle as a word except when it follows a noun, like writing. In addition, by writing connective particles as separate words, we respect the second principle which dictates that a word with its own meaning is written as a single word and that it is not attached to other words.
3.2.5 The associative construction
The associative construction is formed when a noun is followed by a second noun which completes its meaning. This second name is linked to the substantive by connective particles. These connective particles indicate the gender and number of the noun. In the case where the noun is masculine singular, the particle is e. In the case where the noun is feminine, the particle is ɨl . In the case where the noun is plural, the particle is i. We therefore propose the following orthographic forms for these connective particles.
3.3 The verb phrase
3.3.1. Imperative verbs
Most verbs do not change their spelling form in the imperative. However, several verbs that end with the vowel e or i show a change from their final vowel to the imperative. Finally, several verbs with the vowel ɨ that end in a consonant appear with a final vowel in the imperative. In addition to these vowel changes, the imperative is formed by adding pronouns when speaking to more than one person. We propose to write these pronouns as separate words.
The imperative of the verb gɨr go is irregular. We offer the following spelling forms.
3.3.2 Les particules verbales.
We present the orthographic forms of four kinds of verbal particles. These verbal particles follow the verb and also modify the meaning of the verb to some extent. In general, we suggest writing these verbal particles as separate words.
La particule réfléchie zi, comme le se en français, exprime l'idée d'une action réfléchie. Cette particule suit le verbe.
The reflected particle zi, like the se in French, expresses the idea of a reflected action. This particle follows the verb.
In Lagwan there are directional particles which specify the meaning of a verb. Even though they sometimes function like adverbs, they are closely related to verbs. Among the most common directional particles are watin on the ground, ghwaa at the top, fine outside, and vɨn inside. We propose to write these particles as separate words.
The verbal particle he follows a transitive verb.
The verbal particle of completion ya expresses the idea of certainty in relation to the completion of an action expressed by a verb. In the case of an imperfective sentence, this particle expresses the certainty that the action is well completed. In the case of a sentence in the future, it expresses the certainty that the action will be completed. In the imperative, on the other hand, this particle expresses the idea of insisting on a particular action. In the imperative example, it makes the imperative stronger by expressing the idea that the speaker really wants the action to be done.
When the ya particle follows another verbal particle that ends with the vowel [e] like he or fɨne, the two particles are pronounced as a single word. Specifically, he ya is pronounced like [ha], and fɨne ya is pronounced like [fɨna]. We always write these particles as separate words like in the examples below.