Here the empty singular article u or un (before a vowel) shows that phobo is not the complement of a verb, and that tene is not equivalent to a verb finite. On the other hand, the combination stimule phobo could only mean terrify or frighten. In ninety-nine out of a hundred situations, a construction in which an -e word immediately precedes an -o word is an operative construction. These hints illustrate one class of safeguards which make it possible to slide the same semantic element from one grammatical category to another without undue embarrassment to the learner who is steeped in the morphological pattern of a particular language group.

Thus the word-order pattern leaves no room for doubt about whether the word mi means I, me, my. If it replaces I it must come near and before the key verboid, i.e. an -e word. The only words which can separate it from the latter are verboid qualifiers. If it means me it must come after the key verboid, and since most verb-equivalents involve an amplifier it will generally follow an -o word. If it means my it will replace the article of a substantive cluster of which one element is nearly always a common name, i.e. an -a or -i word.

The presence of an -o word next to the verboid (i.e. a combination of an -e word with an -o word which follows immediately after it) makes explicit the literal and metaphorical meaning of the latter. For illustrative purposes it suffices to take the triad habe, date, and gene. Habe means have or possess something tangible (habe u domi = have a house) or some abstract property (habe credito ex = have credit from or owe). Date means confer or give something tangible (date u bibli = give the book) or some abstract property, in which capacity it does most of the work of the Basic operator make as well as that of give. Thus date masso = load is equivalent to confer weight or make heavy, and date digito = imply is equivalent to give indication of. Gene means get or acquire something tangible (gene u gyna = get a wife or marry) or an abstract property, hence to become (gene melano = get blackness, i.e. blacken or become black). The article of the direct object substantive cluster following one of these three operative verboids shows that we must interpret it in the literal sense.

(f) Alternative Words

The amplifiers make up the largest class of words in the essential vocabulary. For some of them and for some substantives alternative international roots are available, and the beginner can choose the one more familiar or more easy to pronounce. The word-list of succeeding chapters offers no