Word order

In Nonlen, the basic word order is the same as in English and many other languages, that is:
Subject - Verb - Object
You first indicate, who does something or experiences something,
then you say what they do or experience,
and then you indicate who or what they do it to.


Mi wi hau.
I see house
I see the house.

Tu nau la.
you know s/he

You know her/him/it.

Basic rule

In Nonxe, there is one basic rule concerning word order:
The general word comes first, the specifying words follow.
This is true for compound words, but also for adjectives, adverbs, etc.
So in compound words, you first have the general word, then the specifying words follow:







Noun-verb continuum

In Nonlen, the boundaries between "noun", "adjective", and "verb" are not very strict. This means a word can be at the same time a noun, a verb or an adjective:

Voilà! / Here you are.

Ti ce.
this car
This is a car. / This is the car.

Ti ce gi.
this car big
This car is big.

Ti ce gi run.
this car big red
This big car is red.

Ti ce gi run pau.
this car big red interrupt
This big red car is stopping.

Attention! - Determiners

This contiuum implies that determiners like "ti" (this), "ka" (no) or "do" (all), and numbers like "wa" (one) or "mu" (as a plural marker) come before the word that they specify.


san donhau
three animal-house
three cats

mu donhau
much animal-house

donhau mu
animal-house much
many cats

wa hau
one house
a house

wa hau min ja
one house small beautiful
a small beautiful house

Conjugation and declination

There is no conjugation or declination. Words do not change their form for grammatical purposes. There are several basic words, like "pa"="past", "mai"="would", or "gen"="agent of an action, subject" that allow you to express past tense, conditional, or roles of the different words in a sentence.

E.g. "pa" means "past"
"mi" means "I, me"

"don" means "animal"
"donhau" means "animal of the home" i.e. "cat"
"Mi wi donhau" means "I see the cat"
You could change the word order using "gen"="agent"
"Wi donhau gen mi" = "see cat agent me" = "I see the cat" or "The seer of the cat is me"

All these indications are optional. So if it's clear from context that a certain action takes place in the past, you do not need to add the word "pa".


There are many languages that use classifiers for their nouns. Chinese and other Asian languages have special classifiers for counting nouns, for example for people, for money, for flat smooth things, and so on. Bantu languages in Africa have different noun classes (for women, for small things, for plants) that could be regarded as classificafions too.

In Nonlen, certain basic syllables can be considered as classifiers too. They allow you to build many new words.


bin (building)gau (high)bingau (tower)
bin (building)men (open)binmen (door)
bin (building)tun (over)bintun (roof)
fon (form)li (liquid)fonli (drop)
fon (form)nu (connection)fonnu (knot)
fon (form)jai (ice)fonjai (crystal)
sun (substance)hai (sea)sunhai (salt)
sun (substance)gun (cereal)sungun (dough)
sun (substance)hon (sweet)sunhon (sugar)

Personal Pronouns

Nonlen actually only has three pronouns which can be combined - with some other basic syllables - to a big number of personal pronouns.

mi - I, me, the person talking
tu - you, the person talked to
la - he, she, it, a person/thing/event talked about

mitume-youwe two, you and me, the both of us
mumimuch-mewe, excluding the person talked to
mumitumuch-me-youall of us, we all
mutumuch-youyou, you all, several people talked to
tulayou-s/heyou and another person, you and him, you and her
tumulayou-much-s/heyou all, including several people not talked to
mulamuch-s/hethey, them
milame-s/heme and another person
mitulame-you-s/heme, you and another person, we all
midume-twowe two, the two of us
tuduyou-twoyou two
lasans/he-threethe three of them, these three people
sentupolite-youYou, polite you

Conjugation - specifying verbs

Tense - past and future

In Nonlen you can indicate that an action has has happened in the past, but you do not need to.

Mi megin mugankan ten daiyon ti.
me make-clean much-organ-cut time day-young this
I have cleaned my teeth this morning.

There are two time indicators, usually put in front of the verb:

pa - past, before the moment we're talking
fu - future, after the moment we're talking

Mi pa wi film ti.
me past see film this
I have seen this film.

Mi fu wi film ti.
me future see film this
I will see this film.

Conditional - what if...

If you want to indicate that something might happen, or would have happend, you can use the conditional indicator:

mai - would

Mi mai di doktor, junmai mi bu xinjai bau la.
me would to doctor, conjunction-would me not feel-ice about he
I would go to the doctor, if I was not so afraid of him.

"Junmai" means "if". When it introduces a phrase, you do not have to indicate "mai" on front of the verb again.

When talking about something which happend in the past, you can combine "pa" and "mai":

Mi pa mai di doktor, junmai mi bu (pa) xinjai bau la.
me past would to doctor, conjuntion-would me not (past) feel-ice about he
I would have gone to the doctor, if I had not been afraid of him.

Continuous - while doing something

To indicate some action takes place while some other action is going on, you can use "tai" (meaning "state, status, condition") for the ongoing action. It's more or less an equivalent for the English "continuous form":

tai - ...ing, continuous, progressive, imperfect

Renni pa teya ce demi, juntenke mi tai den lo hau de doktor.
person-any past take-far car of-me, conjunction-time-which me state wait place house of doctor
Someone took my car away, while I was waiting at the doctor's.

Perfect - all done

When talking about an action "from the outside", as a completed entity, you can use:

fin - completed, done, perfect (end)

This particle is used after the verb.

Mi pa naxe fin kixe ti, juntenyen tu tai naxe la.
me past opposite-write end create-write this, conjunction-time-pass you state opposite-write it
I have read this book, whereas you are still reading it.

Imperative - do it!

In English, orders are expressed in the imperative, which is simply the basic verb form. In Nonlen you can use the basic verb form too. You also have the possibility to emphasize an imperative with the particle:

bi - must, imperative

(Bi) da mi kixe titu!
(must) give me create-write this-you
Give me that book!

Passive voice - see and being seen

To express the English "past participle" and the "passive voice", you can use the particle:

jo - passive, ...ed

Tu jolailai.
you passive-love-love
You are loved.

Several particles can be combined:

Kixe mai pa joteya mi.
create-write would past passive-take-far me
The book would have been taken away from me.

If you add "jo" to an adjective, it usually implies the meaning of "me" (made ...):

Mulan Jo(me)wa de Amérika
much-land passive-(make-)one of America
the United States of America

The agent of a passive verb - in English expressed by the word "by" - can be indicated by "son" (source, from):

Kixe pa joxe son mi.
create-write past passive-write from me
The book was written by me.

Declination - specifying nouns

The agent - the doer

The person or thing doing something is indicated by:

gen - agent, the doer

Gen Paul pa da mi kixe.
agent Paul past give me create-write
It was Paul who gave me the book.


Pa da mi gen Paul kixe.
past giveme agent Paul create-write
It was Paul who gave me the book.


Pa da mi kixe gen Paul.
past give me create-write agent Paul
It was Paul who gave me the book.

The patient - the sufferer

The person or thing directly affected by a verb, being changed by an action, is indicated by:

pai - patient, the sufferer, to

Pai mi Paul pa da kixe.
patient me Paul past give create-write
It was me Paul gave the book to.


Paul pa da pai mi kixe.
Paul past give patient me book
Paul gave the book to me.


Paul pa da kixe pai mi.
Paul past give book patient me
Paul gave the book to me.

The focus - the topic

The topic of a verb, the thing transmitted (but not being changed) is indicated by:

bau - about, focus, topic, that

Bau kixe Paul pa da mi.
focus create-write Paul give me
It was the book Paul gave me.


Paul pa da mi bau kixe.
Paul past give me focus create-write
It was the book Paul gave to me.


Paul pa da bau kixe mi.
Paul past give focus create-write me
It was the book Paul gave to me.

You use more than one particle in a sentence:

Bau kixe pa da pai mi gen Paul.
focus create-write past give patient me agent Paul
It was the book that Paul gave to me.

Genitive - the possessor

The English possessive "'s" is indicated by:

de - of, genitive, possessor

kixe de maxa demi
create-write of parent-woman of-me
my mother's book

Comparative and Superlative - comparing things

pu - more (than)
so - most

Donyen gimo donhau.
animal-along big-more animal-house
The dog is bigger than the cat.

Ti kixe bonso sun do kixe demi.
this create-write good-most from all
This is the best book of all my books.