Lesson 7: Asking and answering questions. Counting and telling time.

?mwĭl-van zǒn aliŝa-ram.
Is Alicia asleep?

?rĭm-ť-van zǒn râm pǒ kâ-i.
Do you see that cat?

Basic yes-no factual questions have the particle {zǒn} after the verb. The questioned verb typically comes first, before its object or any locative phrase.

?râm tu-i zǒn kjĭ ĥy-i vâ-oŋ-zô.
Was it the cat who ate the mouse?

You can put {zǒn} after another element of the sentence besides the verb, to question that element in particular. Here, because the subject {râm} is questioned and comes first, it needs to be marked by a postposition, as it doesn't need to be when it comes last. {tu-i} marks the agent, a subject of a {-zô} verb who is animate and deliberately acting.

?mwĭl jâ-o srem.
Shall I go to sleep?

?ruŋ-ť-zô srem Ќ ty-o.
Would you like to come over to my house?

The particle {srem} marks a question about someone's plans or intentions, or proposes a plan and asks for the listener's agreement with it.

The postposition {jâ-o} marks a transition into a given state, i.e. the subject becomes such-and-such as the object of {jâ-o} denotes. Remember the postposition {jâ-i}? See how it's built on the location-postposition {i}, while {jâ-o} is built on the destination-postposition {o}. There are several pairs or triplets of abstract postpositions in gjâ-zym-byn built on {i}, {o} and {ř} applied to different root words.

hyw jâ-o fĭm-hôw-tla.
The doctor becomes experienced.

mwĭl jâ-ř râm.
The cat wakes up. [= The cat transitions out of sleep.]

Here are the numbers zero to ten in gjâ-zym-byn:

0; zero
1; one
ĉu 2; two
3; three
ĉu-ĉu 4; four
ðy 5; five
ĉu-dâ 6; six
fy 7; seven
ðy-dâ 8; eight
dâ-dâ 9; nine
gâr 10; ten

Refer to the section of the derivational morphology document on numbers for details on how number compounding works. If you prefer, you can just memorize these numbers and use them in the next few lessons.

By themselves, these words are nouns: {ĉu} for instance means the mathematical object two, or a set of two things (a pair). You can use them in a {ŋĭn-i} phrase without any suffix:

dâ ŋĭn-i râm.
There are three cats. [= The cats are a trio.]

But if you want to use them as modifiers after a noun, add the suffix {-bô}:

tyn kǒ i kyl fy-bô mĭ-i.
There are seven boxes here.

With the suffix {-gla}, the number words refer to times of day, days of the month, months of the year, or years. By itself a {-gla} word generally means "o'clock", e.g.:

fy-gla i mwĭl jâ-ř.
I woke up at seven o'clock.

Note here {i} is showing time instead of physical location. The postposition prefixes {ð-} and {š-} show beforeness and afterness relative to noun phrases referring to times or events, for instance:

dâ-dâ-gla ðij Ќ ĥy-i ĉârn-zô râm.
The cat scratched me a little before nine o'clock.

kĭlm šin mwĭl jâ-o.
I went to sleep immediately after the party.

fy-gla ðon mwĭl-van.
I slept until seven o'clock.

fy-gla šřn mwĭl-van heŋ.
I've been awake since seven o'clock.

If a {-gla} word is preceded by another word such as {fî'suň-bly} "year", {měn'θu} "month" or {ĉě'θâ} "day" it tells you the date. You can string several {-gla} words together; only the first one needs to be preceded by a context-specifying word:

ĉě'θâ ðy-dâ-gla i kĭlm-van.
We're having a party on the eighth (of this month).

měn'θu ĉu-gla ðy-dâ-gla i kĭlm-van.
We're having a party on the eighth of February.

We'll learn how to build larger numbers (and tell times later than ten o'clock or the tenth of the month :) in a future lesson. If that lesson hasn't been written yet, and you're raring to go, refer to the derivational morphology document's section on numbers.


fî'suň-bly year
měn'θu month
ĉě'θâ day
event, happening
râ-van to happen
gĭn beginning, start, origin
gĭn-van to begin (of an event)
ĥun meeting, coming together
ĥun-zô to meet, to gather
ĥun-bô together, collectively, as a group
mrân a relaxing meal with tasty food and conversation
kĭlm party, fun get-together
hyw memory, experience
ty home
ty-i at the home of
ty-o to the home of
tu-i agent postposition
jâ-o postposition of becoming, state transition
zǒn marks yes-no questions re: facts
srem marks yes-no questions re: plans, intentions


0; zero
1; one
ĉu 2; two
3; three
ĉu-ĉu 4; four
ðy 5; five
ĉu-dâ 6; six
fy 7; seven
ðy-dâ 8; eight
dâ-dâ 9; nine
gâr 10; ten

Building blocks of postpositions:

ð- before, until, during the early part of (time)
š- after, since, during the latter part of (time)


Translate into English:

  1. ?dâ-dâ-gla i râ-van srem ĥun.
  2. mrân ši lju-zô.
  3. ?ruŋ-zô zǒn yumiko-ram mew.
  4. měn'θu fy-gla ði ħulŋ jâ-ř.
  5. gâr-gla i gĭn-van mrân.
  6. ?twâ-cu tǒ lju-zô ĥun-bô srem.

Translate into gjâ-zym-byn:

  1. The meeting begins at eight o'clock.
  2. Read this little book before the meeting.
  3. The party will happen here.
  4. Ursula woke up at five o'clock.
  5. Are you coming to the party?
  6. Is Barbara coming to the meeting?

Main {gjâ-zym-byn} index
Syntax and inflectional morphology
Derivational morphology
My conlang page
My home page

Last updated December 2015.