Láadan Made Easier – Lesson Two

Lesson Two

Rule 6. Láadan nouns have no plural form.

Rule 7. To make a Láadan verb plural, put the prefix “me-” at the beginning of the word.


1a. Bíi lema with wa. (The woman is gentle.)
1b. Bíi melema with wa. (The women are gentle.)
1c. Báa melama with? (Are the women gentle?)
1d. Bíi melema ra with wa. (The women are not gentle.)

Note: Because Láadan words try to maintain a sound pattern in which consonants alternate with vowels, an /h/ is inserted between “me-” and any word that starts with a vowel.

2a. Bíi ada with wa. (The woman laughs.)
2b. Bíi mehada with wa. (The women laugh.)
2c. Báa mehada with? (Do the women laugh?)

3a. Bíi en with wa. (The woman understands.)
3b. Bíi mehen with wa. (The women understand.)

Rule 8. Láadan doesn’t mark time on its verbs; it has no markers like the “-ed” morpheme that marks past time in English. Instead, it puts a time _auxiliary_ right before the verb. Two of these auxiliaries are “eril” (past time) and “aril” (future time).


4a. Bíi aril ada with wa. (The woman will laugh.)
4b. Bíi aril mehada with wa. (The women will laugh.)

5a. Bíi aril wida with yuth wa. (The woman will carry the fruit.)
5b. Bíi eril wida with yuth wa. (The woman carried the fruit.)
5c. Bíi eril mewida with yuth wa. (The women carried the fruit.)

6a. Báa aril shulin ili? (Will the water overflow?)
6b. Báa eril shulin ili? (Did the water overflow?)

Rule 9. Láadan has a set of suffixes that can be added to the Speech Act Markers to carry additional information. Here are eight of them:

said in anger: -d
said in pain: -th
said in love: -li
said in celebration: -lan
said in jest, as a joke: -da
said in fear: -ya
said in narrative, as a story: -de
said in teaching: -di


7a. Bíi shóod le wa. (I’m busy.)
7b. Bíid shóod le wa. (I-say-to-you-in-anger, I’m busy!)
7c. Bíida shóod le wa. (I-say-to-you-in-jest, I’m busy!)

Note: In English we rely on body language to express most emotional meanings when we speak. When I say, “I’m busy,” you have to rely on such things as my tone of voice and the expression on my face to tell you whether I’m just stating a fact or am angry or joking. In written English, we rely on sequences such as “she said angrily.” In Láadan, these emotional messages are lexicalized; they have a specific surface shape, whether they’re spoken or written.