Verbs are the workhorses of any language. Without verbs, action as we know it is impossible. So naturally, when creating a language, we want to lay the foundation of active voice by creating verbs.
Most modern languages conjugate verbs by changing the endings. In English, for example, we say:
- I see We see
- You see You [guys/y’all] see
- He sees They see
- She sees
- It sees
So, at least in regular verbs, only the third person singular forms [he, she, it] change the ending of the verb.
In the Romance languages–French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian & Spanish–the last two letters of regular verbs are dropped and replaced with a new ending. In Spanish, each of these endings is vocalized, whereas in French many either sound the same or are silent.
- Spanish French
- Veo Vemos Je vois Nous voyons
- Ves Veis Tu vois Vous voyez
- Ve Ven Il voit Ils voient
- Elle voit Elles voient
- On voit
Norwegian is the only language that I’m familiar with that all my students wish they could study because the endings change by tense rather than subject.
- Jeg ser Vi ser
- Du ser Dere ser
- Han ser De ser
- Hun ser
Overall, modern verb ending changes can be taken as a reliable pattern for language creation to ensure that you’re not just typing babble on the page, but that your new language will be cohesive and even comprehensible to its non-speaking reader.
For example: Let’s say that you want to choose the word occulus to mean to see. Following an English pattern, you would need two forms–occulus and a third-person singular form occulun. For a Romance language type you would need 6 distinct endings:
- occulio occulsom
- occulito occulsechay
- occulun occulairon
And for a Norwegian type verb, you would simply need a form for each tense:
- present: occulus
- past: occulato
- future: occularia
A few other considerations–the Romance languages are each made up of three main verb types. Each type has a different letter combination ending on the infinitive form and uses a unique set of endings for each infinitive type in each tense. Consider this as a way to lend both variety and authenticity to your created language.
Also, verbs don’t stand alone, so you will need to create a set of subject pronouns for your language as well [I, you, he/she/it, we, you all and they].
And using familiar roots in a new way will help a reader to connect intended meaning to an otherwise nonexistent language.
Other than that, have fun and enjoy what you create!