Read an Excerpt
The personal pronouns
Cat and non-Cat
The verb "to be" and Class One verbs
Some relevant notes on etiquette
mow2 'aow row mew.The little Cat is cold.
ma`row 'Rowow pwah row. The pretty coat is wet.
uh rrow uh rowb pwah row. The whiskers and tail are wet.
mow 'RRaow row. The Cat is lonely.
mow merowwap.She is hungry.
1 The Personal Pronouns
There are two sets of personal pronouns, those for use by Cats and those for "non-Cats." Humans fall into the latter Category.
you (Cat)mowuh (a4)you (non-Cat)ma`(f 7)
she/he/they (C) mow (a1)she/he/it/they (nC) ma`(f 7)
you (nC) you (C)mow (a1)
(nC)ma`(f 7)she/he/they (C)mow (a1)5
Notes on the Pronouns
a. You will have noticed that there are only three forms mow, mowuh and ma`to serve the seven English pronouns I, you, she, he, it, we, they. There is no such thing as a pronoun in Cat. The word mow(a1) literally means "Cat Presence/Higher Being." Thus it serves as I/we when a Cat is speaking, and you when a Cat is being addressed. Although, as mentioned in the section on tonality, Begin Note A carries overtones of plurality, mow, Cat Presence, nevertheless exists only in the singular. The much-bruited idea that "all Cats use the royal We all the time"6 is, therefore, utter nonsense.
b. There is no distinction between the first person Cat (I/we) and the third person (she, he, they). Cats rarely speak to humans of other Cats; when they do they will use mow(a1) and the Cat's "particular"7 name.
c. ma`, on the otherhand, means simply, "non-Cat." Thus a Cat may use it for you as well as for she, he, it, they when speaking to or of non-Cats. In your own speech, this form means both I/we and, when you are speaking of another non-Cat, she, he, it, they.
d. You will find these points simple to grasp if you learn to think in Cat terms (Cat Presence, also Cat Presence, non-Cat) rather than in pronouns. The Cat grammatical worldview is not very different in this regard from the widespread human tendency to divide the world grammatically into masculine, feminine, and neuter.
e. You may perhaps hear the third person non-Cat, ma`, used by Cats as the "you" form to other Cats. Never, under any circumstances, be tempted to use it in this way yourself, even in error. It does not mean "you" or "they" here; in this form it is an insult and must be left to Cats to use among themselves.
f. Note that there is no second person form for non-Cats to use to non-Cats. It is an offense for humans to speak to one another in Cat.8 (See Chapter Nine, Apology.) Use English or another language. As Cats say, "Dog is good enough."
2 "Cat" and "Non-Cat"
Cat is a language that uses different levels of speech. You have already met the only two levels you will have to learn, Cat and non-Cat.9 These levels are of the highest importance from the very beginning, because you may not simply repeat what a Cat says when you are learning a phrase.
For example, mow(a1) merowwap(a1), when spoken by a Cat, translates colloquially, "I'm hungry!" Its literal meaning, however, is "the Cat Presence hungers." The same phrase, when spoken by you, would mean, "You are hungry," and may only be used to address a Cat. It would be considered impertinent of you to inform a Cat of your own hunger, but should you do so, you would say ma`(f 7) merowwap(f 7), literally, "non-Cat hungers." This phrase would be virtually meaningless to a Cat, as it would appear to be a peculiarly uninteresting statement about the general nature of non-Cat.