Grammar Editor

The Grammar Editor allows you to write about your language in plain English, as well as generate grammatical affixes that can be used in the translator.

Affix tables

You can insert a grammar table into Grammar Editor using the Add Grammar Table button:

The above settings insert the following code into the Editor:

TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = n
example-word = dog

rows = SinGular, PLural

SG = Random
PL = Random

which, in turn, produces this table when generated:

Singular Suffix -o
vulpo /vulpo/
Plural Suffix -i
vulpi /vulpi/

Let’s have a look at the code line-by-line. TABLE TYPE = affix means this code will produce a table of affixes (as opposed to a table of words, which we will cover later).

part-of-speech = n means that the affixes generated in this table are meant for nouns, as opposed to any other part-of-speech.

example-word = dog pulls the conlang word for “dog” (vulp) from the dictionary and applies the affixes to this word. This does not mean the affixes can only be applied to the word for dog; the affixes can be applied to any noun, hence the part-of-speech = n part. However, the table still needs a single word as an example.

rows = indicates which grammatical properties you want to generate affixes for, and places them at the start of the rows of the table. Note that each new property must be comma separated.

SG = Random tells the program to generate a random affix for the “SinGular” cell, as does PL = Random for “PLural”. You can custom define what the affixes are by changing Random to something else. For example:

TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = n
example-word = dog

rows = SinGular, PLural

SG =
PL = -s

produces:

Singular No affix
vulp /vulp/
Plural Suffix -s
vulps /vulps/

This example mimics English by making the plural -s. Additionally, SG = means that the singular should be no affix at all. You may custom define all of the affixes, or just some.

Writing s- would make a prefix, instead of a suffix. There is much much more that can be done with custom affixes, so check out the complete guide here.

You can optionally translate each cell by writing ~ after the affix tag name and before the = sign. Eg:

TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = n
example-word = dog

rows = SinGular, PLural

SG ~ dog =
PL ~ dogs = -s
Singular No affix
vulp /vulp/
dog
Plural Suffix -s
vulps /vulpis/
dogs

Fusional vs agglutinative affixes

You may add another grammatical category on along the columns. In this example for verbs we are combining tense (past, present, future) with person (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person):

TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = v
example-word = learn

cols = PaST, PReSent, FUTure
rows = 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person

PST.1 = -a
PST.2 = -b
PST.3 = -c
PRS.1 = -d
PRS.2 = -e
PRS.3 = -f
FUT.1 = -g
FUT.2 = -h
FUT.3 = -i

This effectively fuses the two categories of tense and person together in each affix, so that you cannot phonologically separate them.

Past Present Future
1st person Suffix -a
lena /lena/
Suffix -d
lend /lend/
Suffix -g
leng /leng/
2nd person Suffix -b
lenb /lenb/
Suffix -e
lene /lene/
Suffix -h
lenh /lenh/
2nd person Suffix -c
lenc /lenc/
Suffix -f
lenf /lenf/
Suffix -i
leni /leni/

Here, the suffix -a means the verb is in past tense and being doing by the 1st person. So when applied to the verb for “learn” len it becomes lena, meaning “I learned”. Because tense and person are fused into a single affix, it is a known as a “fusional” affix.

Some languages have a tendency be fusional, whereas others language have a tendency to encode a single grammatical property per affix, known as agglutinative languages. To create an agglutinative system, you need to create two separate tables, one for tense and one for person.

TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = v
example-word = learn

rows = PaST, PReSent, FUTure

PST = -a
PRS = -b
FUT = -c
TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = v
example-word = learn

rows = 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person

1 = -d
2 = -e
3 = -f

In this example, the translation for “I learned” would require the past tense suffix -a, then the 1st person suffix -d, producing lenad.

Multiple example words

If your language has noun genders, you can choose to pull different example words from the dictionary to match the genders, eg:

TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = n
example-word M = dog
example-word F = cat

cols = Masculine, Feminine
rows = SinGular, PLural

M.SG = Random
M.PL = Random
F.SG = Random
F.PL = Random

This applies the Masculine Singular and Masculine Plural affix to “dog”, and Feminine Singular and Feminine Plural affix to “cat”. Note that need to know the genders of these words beforehand to do this, i.e. the program will not automatically make “dog” masculine just because your table says it’s masculine.

Plain English explanations for rules

If your affixes use complicated sound changes, you may wish explain them in plain English by writing a single double quote immediately below each rule.

TABLE TYPE = affix
part-of-speech = n
example-word = dog

cols = SinGular, PLural

SG = -s
PL = IF #C & C# THEN -z ELSE -a
"If the word begins and ends in a consonant, add -z to the end.
Otherwise add -a to the end

Result:

Singular Suffix -s
vulps /vulps/
Plural If the word begins and ends in a consonant, add -z to the end.
Otherwise add -a to the end
vulpz /vulpz/

Word tables

Words generated in Word Table automatically get pushed into the main dictionary.

Same as affix tables, you can specify what the word will be using the equals sign:

TABLE TYPE = word
part-of-speech = det

cols = Masculine, Feminine
rows = SinGular, PLural

M.SG = el
F.SG = la
M.PL = los
F.PL = las

And you can specify exactly what each word translates to in the dictionary using the ~ sign after the name:

TABLE TYPE = word
part-of-speech = det

cols = Masculine, Feminine
rows = SinGular, PLural

M.SG ~ the (masculine singular definite article) = el
F.SG ~ the (masculine singular definite article) = la
M.PL ~ the (masculine singular definite article) = los
F.PL ~ the (masculine singular definite article) = las

Pronoun tables

Some confusion can arise with English pronouns, due to the fact that gender is only expressed in some of its pronouns. English’s 3rd person has three genders: “he”, “she” and “it”. However, all other pronouns are gender neutral: “I”, “we”, “you”, and “they”.

Furthermore, English doesn’t have a singular/plural distinction in the 2nd person “you”, whereas 1st person does (“I” vs “we”) as does 3rd person (“he/she/it” vs “they”).

This inconsistency makes it difficult to divide English pronouns neatly into Vulgar’s rows and columns. The simplest thing may be to put every pronoun own its own row, like this:

TABLE TYPE = word
part-of-speech = pron

rows = 1st person SinGular, 2nd person SinGular, 3rd person Masculine SinGular, 3rd person Feminie SinGular, 3rd person Neutral SinGular, 1st person PLural, 2nd person PLural, 3rd person PLural

1.SG ~ I = Random
2.SG ~ you = Random
3.M.SG ~ he = Random
3.F.SG ~ she = Random
3.N.SG ~ it = Random
1.PL ~ we = Random
2.PL ~ you = Random
3.PL ~ they = Random

However this is still not the full picture! English has different set of pronouns for “cases”, which change based on who is doing the verb (I, he, we, etc.) vs who the verb is done-to (me, him, us, etc.). Linguists call these the Nominative vs Accusative case, respectively. So you may choose to add an axis for Nominative and Accusative case:

TABLE TYPE = word
part-of-speech = pron

rows = 1st person SinGular, 2nd person SinGular, 3rd person Masculine SinGular, 3rd person Feminie SinGular, 3rd person Neutral SinGular, 1st person PLural, 2nd person PLural, 3rd person PLural
cols = NOMinative, ACCusative

1.SG.NOM ~ I = Random
1.SG.ACC ~ me = Random
2.SG.NOM ~ you = Random
2.SG.ACC ~ you = Random
3.M.SG.NOM ~ he = Random
3.M.SG.ACC ~ him = Random
3.F.SG.NOM ~ she = Random
3.F.SG.ACC ~  her = Random
3.N.SG.NOM ~ it = Random
3.N.SG.ACC ~ it = Random
1.PL.NOM ~ we = Random
1.PL.ACC ~ us = Random
2.PL.NOM ~ you = Random
2.PL.ACC ~ you = Random
3.PL.NOM ~ they = Random
3.PL.ACC ~ them = Random

If you want to make a different pronoun system to English, you need to decide if want your conlang’s pronouns to fit neatly into the rows and columns of a table, or if there will be some level of irregularity, like the English system. Next, regardless of whether they fit neatly into a table or not, you will need to figure out how each conlang pronoun translates to its English equivalent(s). Here is one possibility using a simple “neat fit” system where every conlang pronoun expresses person (1st, 2nd or 3rd) and gender (masculine or feminine) but not number (singular vs plural):

TABLE TYPE = word
part-of-speech = pron

cols = Masculine, Feminine
rows = 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person

M.1 ~ I/we (masculine) = Random
M.2 ~ you (masculine) = Random
M.3 ~ he/they (masculine) = Random
F.1 ~ I/we (feminine) = Random
F.2 ~ you (feminine) = Random
F.3 ~ she/they (feminine) = Random

Other tricks

Getting words from the dictionary

In the body of the grammar editor, you may pull conlang words from the dictionary using double curly brackets around the English word, eg: {{man}} will be replaced with the conlang word for man. This is helpful if you don’t know the word ahead of time. You can also apply affixes to this, eg: {{man-PL:N}} will add the plural form for nouns (assuming your language has this affix).

(Be aware that although the affix abbreviation would have been PL = in the table, its part-of-speech is added to the end so that it becomes -PL:N when it’s attached to the word. This is because there could be a plural affix for a different part-of-speech which differs from the noun affix.)

{{Langname}} can be used to pull the language’s name.

Boxed sections

Create boxed off sections in your grammar by typing three dashes in the Grammar Editor.

Regular tables

Regular tables can be inserted inside a code-block using Markdown-style formatting:

| Heading 1    | Heading 2 | Heading 3     |
|--------------|:---------:|--------------:|
| left aligned | centred   | right aligned |
| normal text  | **bold**  | *italic*      |

Result:

Gloss translations

Code blocks also allow you to create gloss translations (word-for-word and morpheme-to-morpheme translations):

Example:

te wunua molengo-su
CASE house old-1SG.POSS
my old house

Result:

The 1st line is the of the code is the conlang translation, the 2nd line is the gloss, and the last line (optional) is the plain Enlgish translation. The 1st and 2nd line should have the exact same number of spaces in order for the word-for-word translation. You can optionally put intermediary translations before the last line.

Note: even though this uses affix tags in a similar fashion to other areas in Vulgar, this section does not do the translation for you. Why? Because Vulgar’s affix tag system only partially replicates a proper linguistic gloss. For instance, you can encode an circumfix into a single affix tag. However in a true gloss, the convention is to show a morpheme-to-morpheme correlation, which means the circumfix tag should be shown at the beginning at the end of the word:

Manual translations also allow you to mark the morpheme boundaries in the conlang word, and follow other glossing conventions.