Plurals, Gender and Possession

Continuing the introduction of some of the basic framework of Diinlang.


As may have been deduced by the previous posts plurals are formed by the addition of -z at the end. Phonetically this is the same as an -s ending is usually pronounced in English. The -z ending is used on nouns and also used to make the plural pronouns. “we”, “they”, “us”, “them”, “these” and “those” are all created by adding a -z to the equivalent singular pronoun. Hence we have miz, ziz, saz and siz. The z can also be added to the one letter words to form their plural. If a word ends in “-s” or some other construction that does not euphonically mesh with “-z” then “-iz”,  can be used instead. 
The -z can be dropped if the sentence has an obvious indicator of plurality. “Three coffee” is an acceptable construction since it contains a plural number.
Ideally in Diinlang the only words ending in -z will be plurals. In an older draft I had “plu” for amount/much and “pluz” for number/ many. This will probably be changed.


Most words in Diinlang are of neutral gender. One way to indicate gender of a individual is to compound their designation with the relevant singular third person pronoun. This is the same as is sometimes done in English with constructions such as “she-wolf”. Another way to indicate gender is to add an -o suffix for a male or a -a suffix for a female. Since it is planned that most words in Diinlang end in -m, -n, -ng, -i or -u then -o or -a endings can be added without needing to substitute letters. Obviously we want to avoid ungendered words that end in o or a. A work around may be to spell such words more phonetically with an -oh or -ah but this is not entirely satisfactory. Neither is that only nouns are likely to be gendered in this way.
Some pronouns take their gender using the same convention. The third person neuter singular pronoun “zi” can become “zio” or “zia” to mean “he” or “she”. In single letter form this becomes “zo” and “za”. Plural gendered constructions are also possible. A body of males could be referred to as “zoz”. “Ze” will most probably be used instead of “zi”. 
A number of non-noun words end in -o or -a. These include “ya”, “no”, “sa” and “so”, meaning “yes”, “no”, “this/here” and “that yonder”.

A simpler approach may be to gender nouns with -zoand-zawhich agrees with the system proposed for gendered agent nouns and maintains the option for neutral words ending in -o or -a. Non-agent nouns can be gendered by using “zo” and “za” as prefixes.


The use of the apostrophe, particularly for possession, is something that seems to baffle many native English speakers. A basic guideline is that if a word is both plural and ending in -s put an apostrophe at the end. If it is not both plural and ending in -s then add -’s. Children is plural but does not end in -s so becomes “children’s”. Not that difficult! Of course, English being the eccentric language it is there are oddities. Possessive pronouns such as “mine”, “yours”, “his”, “hers” and “whose” don’t take apostrophes, but “one’s” does.  
There is no possessive apostrophe in Diinlang. In Diinlang there are several ways to indicate possession. One is the “_ of xxx” construction used in many European languages. The Diinlang word for “of” or “from” is “di” which can be represented by the single letter “d”. Incidentally, rather than saying “a play by Shakespeare” in Diinlang the construction would translate as “ a play from Shakespeare” so use “d” or “di”.
Possession can also be indicated by using the noun or pronoun as an adjective. “John’s book” and “his book” translates as “John book” and “he book”. Since this is a noun phrase this construction will often have an article before the noun or pronoun, for example “the John book” or “those John books”.
Sometimes there is a need to emphasise possession. In English you might say “Dean and myself got beers. I held his”. To an English speaker it is obvious that it is Dean’s beer that I was holding. In Diinlang “his” is usually replaced by “zio”. Such a sentence could be translated as “I held him”. When the possessive nature of a noun or pronoun needs emphasis the marker “vo” is placed after it. “I held his” would be correctly written “mi held zio vo” or “m held zo vo”.