I am writing a book set in a parallel universe where English is not the dominant language and the dominant language is a complex polysynthetic language that makes use of a complex system of word declension using affixation that contains both agglutinative and fusional structures.
While the dominant language of my world is not Cherokee, its grammar is very similar to mine. I have not finished creating my conlang, so I will simply give a concise and hopefully easy-to-understand description of the Cherokee language below. Since most people cannot read the Cherokee syllabary, I will transcribe all Cherokee words below using the traditional romanization system.
The Cherokee language is polysynthetic, meaning that words are formed from several smaller parts that form a word with the meaning of several different English words combined into one. The word tsiwidagilvwisdanelv'i can be broken down into several smaller parts that each have smaller meanings, but none of them can be used by themselves as standalone words.
- tsi- means "at that time"
- wi- means "over there"
- d- (or de- before a consonant) means that it occurred multiple times
- agi- means "I" in this context
- -lvwisdane- means "work"
- -lv'i signifies the remote past
This single word therefore means "I used to work over there back then, a long time ago." However, as I said earlier, I could not use any of the affixes or roots shown above in isolation while speaking.
In Cherokee, all affixes (although all of them have two forms depending on whether or not the following syllable begins with a consonant or vowel) can be used with all verbs except for those that indicate pronouns.
Cherokee prefixes that indicate pronouns not only differ depending on whether or not the following morpheme (unit of meaning); they also combine the subject and object pronouns into one pronoun and differ depending on the tense of the verb indicated using a suffix. Imagine if instead of saying "I told you," I said "Iyou-told," except that the prefix with I as the subject and you as the object is not a combination of the two base pronouns and cannot be predicted just from knowing the word for I and the word for you.
In addition, different verbs conjugate differently based on whether they are action verbs, passive/stative verbs, or irregular verbs. Irregular verbs conjugate in five different ways based on whether the direct object is living, flexible, long, indefinite, or liquid. There are also some predictable periodic changes to maintain a strict consonant-vowel syllable structure within the middle of syllables.
How exactly would early computer programming languages and text-based games (pre-AI) exist in a society that speaks a language that is so grammatically complex?