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Time, adjectives, and plurals



Let's work on forming slightly more complex sentences. This time we'll focus on specifying time, plurals, and another way of using adjectives.



Immediately after your Speech Act Morpheme, you can add a word to denote the time. This sentence structure is symbolized as [(Auxiliary) Verb (Negation) CP-S]. The tense is an auxiliary that goes immediately before the verb. The auxiliary will never change its form (no affixes).

Here is a list of the tenses:

Láadan English
Eril Past
Ril Present
Aril Future
Eríli Far past
Aríli Far future
Rilrili Hypothetical


Láadan English Vocab words
Báa aril yod ne? Are you going to eat? aril = future, yod = to eat, ne = you
Bíi aril yod le wa. I will eat. aril = past, le = me
Bíi eril yod le wa. I did eat. eril = past
Bíi eríli yod le wa. I ate a long time ago. eríli = far past
Bíi aríli yod le wa. I will eat, a long time in the future. aríli = far future
Bíi rilrili yod le wa. I would eat... rilrili = hypothetical

Adjective with a Noun


We know how to say something to the extent of, "Grandmother is old" (Bíi balin hothul wi.), with the adjective being used as a verb (balin = to-be-old). Here, we're simply describing the grandmother.

But, perhaps we want to describe granny but also talk about what she is doing, such as "The old grandmother sews."

The form is similar to our descriptive sentence, but we add the wo- prefix to both the adjective and the noun.

Note: This can only be used if you have one verb (e.g., "to be beautiful", "to be red", the adjective-verb). As an example, you cannot use this wo-* prefix pattern to translate a sentence like the "little red brick wall", which multiple descriptors. (Suzette Haden Elgin (1988), A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan, Second Edition, p. 22)


Láadan English
Bíi balin hothul wi. The grandmother is old.
Bíi adal hothul wi. The grandmother is sewing.
Wobalin wohothul Old grandmother
Bíi adal wobalin wohothul wi. The old grandmother sews.

Láadan can be a little challenging because its grammar is different from English, and it almost feels like you're speaking backwards. But with practice, you can get a feel for building sentences and utilizing the prefix and suffix markers!



Using plurals in Láadan is a bit different than what you'd be used to in English. In Láadan, there is a prefix to specify plurality, me-, but it is only applied to the verb (including when used as an adjective), but not the noun.

Note: When a verb begins with a "D", the plural prefix changes to n- instead of me-. (Suzette Haden Elgin (1988), A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan, Second Edition, p. 18)

The plural marker is always the first part of a verb, before other prefixes (i.e., the adjective prefix).


Type Láadan English
Singular Bíi ril hal with wi. Right now, the woman is working.
Plural Bíi ril mehal with wi. Right now, the women are working.
Singular Bíi ril lalom le wi. Right now, I am singing.
Plural Bíi ril melalom lezh wi. Right now, we are singing.
Singular Bíi eril di be wa. She was speaking.
Plural (with n- prefix) Bíi eril ndi bezh wa. They were speaking.
Singular (with adjective) Woháya wowith Beautiful woman
Plural (with adjective) Mewoháya wowith Beautiful women

Plural without a verb


In a case where you need to specify a plural, but don't have a verb to attach the plural marker "me-" to, you can specify "many", "few", or "all".

We can add one of these words after the subject, object, or other case-phrase (recipient, giver, etc.) to specify that there are several or many.

To learn how to specify a certain number of an object, read the Numbers and quantity lesson.

Láadan English
menedebe or mendebe many
nedebe or ndebe few/several
woho all/every
waha any

Practice: Quiz


Translate the following sentences from Láadan to English.


Bíi meyod lezh wi.



Báa aril shóod ne?



Bíi wod worabalin wohena wi.



Bíi melalom worabalin wohena wi.



  1. We ate.
  2. Are you busy later?
  3. The young siblings sit.
  4. The young siblings sing.