- 1 Nominals
- 1.1 Nouns
- 1.2 Adpositions
- 1.3 Articles, case markers, and demonstratives
- 1.4 Interrogatives
- 1.5 Pronouns
- 1.6 Quantifiers
- 2 Verbs
- 3 Modifiers
- nouns don't really have inflectional morphology
Adpositions in Vuuyin Zayxa may be used either with a noun or a subordinate clause, often with a slight meaning difference. They also decline for the definiteness and number of the following noun- clauses always take the singular plain definite form.
The singular definite form is always formed with <-q>, singular topical with <-qla>, singular indefinite with <-v>, plural definite with <-qnon>, plural topical with <-qnonla>, and plural indefinite with <-nonv>.
Note that the vowels may change before nasals, according to the nasalization changes.
|aza||to, in order to|
|ni||in (nominal only)|
|moqzu||from, since, because|
|opímà||in front of, after|
|ave||while (clausal only)|
|nvavó||between (nominal only)|
|olá||under, below (nominal only)|
|ilu||over, on top of (nominal only)|
|mexú||near, about, around the time that|
|npu||causing, so (clausal only) (becomes a 'because' suffix on prev. clause eventually)|
|aqfa||without, rather than, unless|
|no||like, as if|
Articles, case markers, and demonstratives
- DEF/INDEF, ERG/other, singular/plural
Note that the absolutive articles have special forms after absolutive pronouns- they fuse into one entity.
|ABS||l/lo, la||nonq, nonq la||uqse||nonv|
The two articles with la is used for topical or backgrounded referents, while l/lo and nonq are used for known but not topical referents. The indefinite articles are used mainly for unspecific referents.
l is used before a word beginning in a vowel, lo otherwise.
The ergative articles descend from topic markers, and plural marking from name 'some'. la is descended from a contraction of lo xǝ 'DEF.NOM PROX.NOM'. uqse is from u tse 'INDEF.NOM DIST.NOM'.
- what (nominative): heva
- what (accusative): hevá (used with prepositions, except for ala and no)
- what (comitative): fahéva
- who (nominative): yaú
- who (accusative): yau (used with prepositions, except for ala and no)
- who (comitative), whose: fayaú
- what kind of: eviqsa (from ewitsa)
- how many, how much: emozo (from emodo)
- how: nteheva (from ntɛ + xɛwǝ)
- how is that okay: nvomuyaú (rhetorical, angry) (from mvomu + yaú)
- how so: nvováeviqsa (used to call into doubt the truth of a statement) (from mvɔwa + ewitsa)
- instead of what: ala heva
- like what: no heva
- when: xola
- where: yalu (must take a preposition, for example o LOC, but note exceptional form with mexu)
- around where: mexu yalú
- instead of who: ala yaú
- like who: no yaú
- why: nzova
- absolutive pronouns are mostly obligatory to the sentence and decline for aspect
- a subset of the absolutive pronouns, the 'partitive pronouns', are used for negative and other irrealis sentences
- other pronouns include ergative, possessive/genitive, comitative-locative, and oblique pronouns
- the possessive/genitive pronouns are also used as genitive markers
- pronominal forms are generally 1s, 1p, 2s, 3s, 2/3p
- the 2/3p distinction is often clarified with coreferential nominals and demonstratives
- absolutive pronouns have special inflectional forms for number, specificity and topicality of a following noun phrase
- in transitive sentences without an overt object, the ergative argument is promoted to an absolutive one (this is kind of like an antipassive)
- example: ne thuq (PERF.1S.ABS eat) 'I ate', zoé nov miq thuq (1S.ERG PERF.3S-INDEF bread eat) 'I ate some bread', ne naza (PERF.1S.ABS sleep) 'I slept', zolenó ne moá (2S.ERG PERF.1S.ABS select) 'you picked me', zo nai ne lui moá (ERG someone PERF.1S.ABS 3S.OBL select) 'someone picked me for it, i was picked for it'
- stative-habitual, perfect, imperfect, future, progressive, hypothetical, experiential
- (sonà is from tson-, xônonv from s-ah)
- (nzô is from n-zoh, nônonv from n-ah)
- (from ɔdɔl-/ɔdol-, ozózò from ɔdo-doh, ozolònonv from ɔdɔl-ah)
- used for negative transitive sentences only, other negative sentences use different negation strategies
- used for headless possessive phrases as well as emphatic possession, following the possessed noun
- =ayme is used after a consonant, =yme after a vowel
- =à is used after a consonant, =` is a floating tone that makes a final vowel into the low tone
- (the 1s and 2s forms are direct from the comitative inflected preposition, others from preposition + nominative pronoun)
- (all from BN accusative pronouns)
Note: first the inanimate form is given, then the animate form. Fuzzy quantifiers follow the nouns they modify, unless otherwise stated.
- all: ehe fiya, eú fiya (from ehe, eú plus fiya 'together')
- almost: vazúa
- even (too): ntehávu (from ntɛxavu)
- many: ova
- more: neve
- most: ixa
- too many: nalixa (from ñalisa, precedes noun)
- at least: maxa (from masa)
- half of: háalà (from xagala ah 'portion of', precedes noun)
- any: oma (from oma)
- each of: ehe, eú
- few: va
- none of: mahe, mau
- only: seá
- some of: nave, nau
- too few: omáuvaa (from rɔma ubarǝ 'that which is lacking')
For 'one of', 'two of', etc., see the next section on numerical quantifiers.
Numbers above 2 and ordinals above 1 have been borrowed c. 500 YP from Southern Fáralo. Due to trade with Kasca, a second set of numbers has been borrowed more recently (c. 1300 YP) from Wippwo, which is used for many weights, times, and other measures.
The Buruya Nzaysa word kɛ'u 'one of' has been extended to the first three numbers.
Numbers higher than ten are formed by saying the multiple of ten, then the unit.
Multiples of hundreds are formed by saying the multiplier in units, then iq.
'Thousand' is expressed as 'ten hundred'.
As in BN, numbers precede nouns. However, the numbers one, two, and three in the non-Kascan set may follow the nouns they modify.
- The verb may be described as NEG/MOOD-PROX-ASP-SUBORD-stem, where ASP is aspect, PROX is proximate and SUBORD is subordinate.
- The proximate prefix is ha-, which comes from BN xa 'this.ACC'
- The subordinate prefix takes several forms, depending on the initial consonant of the stem. Often the initial stem consonant changes as well. In a few cases, there may be multiple options, and the correct prefix must be learned with the verb.
|z||nteq-||Ø + -q|
Note that the forms for nk- verbs are beginning to simplify to just a ntin- prefix.
- verbs usually inflect for plain, inchoative, and cessative aspects, and various irrealis modes
- these inflections take the form of prefixes
- verbs also take a negative prefix (this applies to almost all negative clauses: the exception is negative hortative/imperative sentences)
inchoative: tha-/thon- cessative: avo(va)-/avon- negative: ma-/mon- (precedes other verb prefixes)
- ne thonáza 'I fell asleep' (PERF.1S.ABS INCHO-sleep)
- ne monáza 'I didn't sleep' (PERF.1S.ABS NEG-sleep)
- ne avothúq 'I finished eating' (PERF.1S.ABS CESS-eat)
- mathontináza 'not falling asleep' (NEG-INCHO-SUBORD-sleep)
- mahathontináza 'not falling asleep like this' (NEG-PROX-INCHO-SUBORD-sleep)
- usually created through noun-like constructions with the genitive enclitic =à/`
- xinì ako (apple=GEN.3P sweet) 'sweet apple'