Simple Punctuation for Diinlang 2.1

Punctuation in Diinlang is based on that of English, with a number of simplifications.
When spoken, punctuation of a sentence takes the form of pauses of variable length. When a punctuation symbol would be replaced by a spoken word, a word is used in preference to a symbol in the written form. This is the principle of “Punctuate like you pause”. Thus, one would write “…9 to 5…” or “…teacher or parent…” rather than “…9-5…” or  “…teacher/parent…”.
Full-Stop. When a heading finishes in a line-break it is not necessary to add a full-stop. This improves the aesthetics of the text. Items in a bulleted list do not need a full-stop unless they are a sentence. Items should not end in a comma nor semi-colon. Some style guides require the last item on a bulleted list to end in a full-stop. This is redundant unless the item is a sentence. In Diinlang ending with a full-stop may be seen as redundant when there is a line-break. Capitalization rules for Diinlang have yet to be finalized. For now, assume each item in a bulleted list begins with a capital letter.
Commas, The serial comma or “Oxford comma” is permissible in Diinlang. Its use is recommended when its use clarifies the meaning of a list.
Colon: A colon is used in much the same way as in English. It serves to introduce new information such as a quotation, an explanation, an example, or a series. Whether the information following begins with a capital letter will depend on whether it is a new sentence, a bulleted list, or not. It may be used for emphasis or to join independent clauses. A colon should not be followed by a hyphen or dash. When writing dialogue, an introductory clause does not need a colon, comma or full-stop if it is immediately followed by a quotation mark on the same line. eg She said “It is time…” An identifier that follows a quotation mark does not need to be capitalized. It is treated as the end of a sentence, however.
Question Mark? A sentence is made a question by adding a question mark to the end. In Diinlang this represents the word “ke” and is pronounced if the sentence is read-out-loud. Ke is placed at the start of a sentence to form the Diinlang of “Wh-” questions. In these sentences a “?” may be written at the start of the sentence rather than “ke”.
Exclamation Point! Used as in English. It should be used sparingly unless within dialogue.
Slash/ The slash symbol is used for a number of applications. The slash often represents an alternative. When used for sentence construction, in many instances it can be replaced by words such as “or”. If a slash is used, there should be no space between the slash and the following character, unless this would affect clarity. A slash with a space after is used to quote the lines of a poem when line breaks are not used. eg. She wrote “Challenge in the spring/ Autumn rain bathing in light/ Children laugh lightly/ ”
Semicolon; A semicolon joins independent clauses. The STE guide notes that the semi-colon is difficult to use correctly and suggests it is never used. It is preferable to use a comma, colon, or construct two sentences instead. The main use for the semicolon in Diinlang is to separate the items of a complex list. A complex list is one where one or more items contains a comma.
Hyphens and Dashes– Diinlang uses the keys found on a generic keyboard for punctuation. The hyphen (or more properly, “hyphen-minus symbol”) is used instead of an en-dash. The hyphen joins two or more words or numbers together so they are treated as a single unit. It may form compound modifiers or compound a modifier with a noun. When it joins two numbers, it indicates the numbers represent a unitary concept such as a period of time. Thus, “1914-1918 War”. Where two numbers are joined together to represent a range, then a word should be used rather than a hyphen. See 9-5 example earier. In some English uses the hyphen may be replaced by a colon. eg “My team won 3:1!” rather than “..won 3-1”
A double-hyphen is used instead of an em-dash. It is used in place of a comma, parenthesis, or colon. Using these latter symbols is preferable in Diinlang –the use of a double-hyphen or em-dash should be sparing. A double-hyphen or em-dash might be used when a clause already contained a comma, so could not be isolated with a comma. In this application the double-hyphen is treated like brackets. They are preceeded and followed by a space, but there is no space between them and the phrase or clause within.
A double-hyphen may be used instead of a bullet when making a bulleted list.
A double-hyphen is used instead of a double-em-dash when representing missing letters in a word–“J– told G– that it was ‘All S–!’”
A triple-hyphen replaces the three-em-dash to represent a missing word or the repeated name of an author in a bibliography or reference list.

More Ideas for Diinlang 2.1

Proper Determiners

Capitalization is a problem for many in English. Hopefully a simpler set of conventions can be formulated for Diinlang.
A related idea that I had was s specific article or articles for proper nouns and phrases. In English one might write “Meet me at the hole.” or “Meet me at The Hole”. It is clear that in the second case the reference is to an establishment or place called “The Hole”. If spoken, there is no obvious distinction.
Possibly Diinlang could have distinct definite and indefinite articles for use with proper nouns.

Demonstrative Adjectives

I have been reluctant to introduce demonstrative adjective/pronouns for Diinlang. Instead I investigated the idea that the words for “here” and “there” (“vang” and “ving”), could be used instead. Where greater specificity was needed these were combined with the definite article (“ve”): ve vang (this), ve ving (that), vez vang (these) and vez ving (those).
Afrikaans seems for the most part to manage with just a single demonstrative: “dit”. This means “this” or “that” but also serves as a third person neuter pronoun with the meaning “it”. The definite article “die” may be used as a pronoun meaning “this one”, “these”; “that one”, “those”; “he”, “she”, “it”, “they”
Possibly “vit” could be used, with the shorthand “vt”. This would be pluralized as vitz/vtz when necessary. It could be combined with vang or ving when more specificity is needed.

Simple Grammar Rules for Diinlang Verbs

Verbs use the same word for the bare infinitive form and all tenses.
Use the Simple Present Tense for Habitual Actions: A marker for habitual actions may be used, however.
Use the Present Progressive Tense for Current Action: Formed by combining the bare infinitive with the auxilary “bi”: eg. “Em bi go” = “I am going.”
Simple past is made with the marker te and bare infinitive:Em te bi go” = “I went.”
Use Present Perfect for the Unfinished Past: Perfect uses the auxilary verb “he” : “Em he go” = “I have gone.”
Use Present Perfect Progressive for Unfinished Action and Past: “Em he bi go” =  “I have been going.”
Past Perfect for the First of Two Past Actions:Em te he nyam un e em te go on.” =  “I had chewed one and I went on.”
Passive Voice: Passive voice is rendered using the auxiliary verb “ge” with the bare infinitive. Passive statements in English often use the word “by”. In Diinlang equivalent words include po (from), de (nonspecific preposition) and kom (with).