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Pakuni Grammar

by Nels Olsen

Author's note: I'm pretty much guessing here. While some of the rules are defined in a TV Guide article (September 11, 1976, pp. 26-27), the rest I've induced from studying the episodes. If anyone has more official information from Krofft or their linguistics consultant, UCLA professor Victoria Fromkin, please send email to nels_p_olsen@yahoo.com

Sentence Structure

Pakuni sentence structure is essentially that of the English Language. The basic order of sentence components is as follows:

subject verb object

Pronunciation and Spelling

Since the Pakuni language does not have an indigenous written form, spelling and pronunciation equivalent to Spanish will be used here. Accentuation is also equivalent to Spanish.

Vowels

The spelling of vowel sounds, for simplicity, will be that of Spanish:

a
a as in car
e
e as in ten
i
ee as in week
o
o as in go
u
oo as in tool

Nouns

Common Nouns

Common nouns are polysyllabic, all of the form

<semantic class prefix> <root word sequence>

Semantic class prefixes

Common noun semantic class prefixes are single letters -- vowels. The classes are defined as follows:

a-
animals
e-
??? abstractions (non-material things)
i-
??? (no known common nouns with this prefix)
o-
??? vegetables and minerals
u-
??? (no known common nouns with this prefix)

Pronouns

Pronouns, like all non-common nounsw, begin with a consonant. They are as follows:

Singular
me
1st person: I, me
ye
2nd person: you
wa
3rd person: he, she
shi
impersonal: it, this, that

Simply add the suffix -ni to create plural versions.

Proper and Irregular Nouns

Proper and Irregular nouns are characterized by polysyllabic words that usually (but not always) begin with a consonant. Irregular nouns are those words which have been borrowed from other languages, such as English, and may take almost any form.

Plurality

To create a plural noun, the suffix -ni is added.

Verbs

Verbs consist of one or more syllables, and start with a consonant. Monosyllabic verbs may end in a consonant, but polysyllabic verbs must end in a vowel. Verbs are essentially the root words from which common nouns, adjectives, and adverbs can be formed.

Adjectives

Adjectives are polysyllabic words of the form

<root word>-sa

Adjectives follow nouns.

Adverbs

Adverbs are polysyllabic word of the form

&ltroot word>-chi

If the root word is an adjective, the adverb therefore ends in -sachi. Adverbs follow (?) verbs.

Root words

Root words are small fragments, usually single syllables, that define the basic concepts used to create nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Most start with a consonant and end with a vowel. Verbs often take the form of the root word itself. Below is an example of how a root word is used to create other words:

Root word: mura (compassion/friendship)

mura
verb: befriend, love
amura
noun: friend
amurani
noun: friends
emura
noun: friendship, love
murasa
adjective: friendly
murachi
adverb: friendly