Farwo n-Abebbu

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Farwo n-Abebbu
[ˌfɑɾ.wɔ nʌˈbɛb.bu]
Period c. 1100 YP
Spoken in Abebbu
Total speakers c. 150,000
Writing system adapted
Fáralo alphabet
Classification Edastean
   Southern Fáralo
    Farwo n-Abebbu
Basic word order AuxSOV
Morphology fusional
Alignment NOM-ACC
Created by Dunomapuka;
this dialect: Cedh

Farwo n-Abebbu is the local language of the port city of Abebbu c. 1100 YP, descended from a southern variety of Fáralo. It is usually considered a dialect of the more widely used Namɨdu language.

Sound Changes from Fáralo

Classical Fáralo to Southern Fáralo ca. 400.
1. Coda [r] shifts to [ə].
2. Non-syllabic [ɔ̯] merges with [w].
3. Vowel breaking creates rising diphthongs: [æ] ➝ [jɛ]; [e] ➝ [jə]; [o] ➝ [wə]. If another vowel follows, then [e] ➝ [jəj]; [o]➝ [wəw].
4. Monophthongization of falling diphthongs: [iə] ➝ [iː]; [uw uə] ➝ [uː]; [aw aə] ➝ [aː]; [ɔw ɔə] ➝ [ɔː]; [ɛw ɛə] ➝ [ɛː]; [uj] ➝ [yː]; [əw əə] ➝ [əː].
5. [i] before another vowel reduces to [j], and [u] reduces to [w].
6. [j], including any new [j] from the preceding changes, is deleted when following a postalveolar.
7. Single consonants are geminated after stressed short vowels. The gemination occurs consistently in content words, but is usually blocked in functional words and auxiliaries.
8. Intervocalic single [ɡ] becomes [j], while the geminate remains [ɡɡ].
9. Intervocalic single [f] becomes [v], while the geminate remains [ff].
10. Final [h], [f] are lost.

Southern Fáralo to Farwo n-Abebbu ca. 1100.
11. Depalatalization of [ʃ ʧ ʤ] to [s ʦ ʣ].
12. [ŋ] merges with the cluster [nj] before vowels. It remains [ŋ] before all consonants other than [j]. Word-final [ŋ] is lost with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel, and geminated [ŋŋ] becomes [ŋɡɡ].
13. Stressed short [ɔ] merges with [a], giving [ɔ] if the following syllable contains a rounded vowel or [w], and [a] otherwise. A few words do not exhibit rounding of Fáralo a where that would have been expected etymologically; it is thought that this inconsistency is due to vowel reduction in positions susceptible to syncope (change #16).
14. [ə] and [əː] become [a] and [aː] respectively.
15. [jɛ] simplifies to [ɛ] when preceded by a consonant cluster.
16. Syncope of unstressed short vowels in medial syllables, or in some cases initial syllables if before the stress. This is blocked if it would create a cluster of three consonants, but a sequence of geminate + vowel + consonant will lose the vowel, and simplify the geminate if the second half of it cannot be part of a legit syllable onset (*mebbelo "farm" ➝ *mebblomebbwo, but *arellibu "politician" ➝ *arelbuareubu).
17. Epenthetic [ɛ] is prefixed to most words that begin with a consonant cluster (a notable environment is the accusative plural of nouns). Perhaps in a hypercorrective response to this, many words with initial unstressed [ɛ] lose this vowel in non-prefixed forms; e.g. egól "foot" ➝ *yolyou, nom.pl keyou.
18. [ʦ ʣ] lenite to [θ ð] except after a plosive or adjacent to a sibilant, where they become [s z] instead.
19. All coda [l] velarizes to [ɫ], as does [l] after a consonant and before a back vowel. Geminate [ll] is unaffected, and postconsonantal [l] before front vowels shifts to [r].
20. [sk sr rs] all become [ʃ] (but [sk] remains word-finally when preceded by a stressed vowel), and [zɡ zr rz jj] all become [ʒ]. The resulting fricatives are geminated when they occur intervocalically after a stressed short vowel.
21. Stress is moved to the penultimate syllable (however, monosyllabic lexemes with prefixes keep the accent on the root, and transparent compounds carry primary stress on the accented syllable of their first component).
22. Stressed [ɛː] breaks to [jɛ], and stressed [ɔː] breaks to [wɔ]. If the syllable already begins with an onset cluster, the onglide is subsequently deleted.
23. Clusters consisting of two voiceless plosives or two voiceless fricatives assimilate to a geminate version of the second obstruent.
24. Voiced coda obstruents that are not part of a geminate are deleted with compensatory lengthening of preceding short vowels. Unstressed word-initial vowels do not undergo lengthening.
25. Coda nasals assimilate to the place of articulation of a following obstruent.
26. Long vowels break into diphthongs: [iː yː ɛː] ➝ [ɛj]; [uː ɔː] ➝ [ɔw]; [aː] ➝ [aj].
27. [ɫ] merges into [w]. Resulting tautosyllabic [iw] becomes [ew] after complex syllable onsets, and [ju] otherwise. The sequence [wu] becomes [wɔ], and both [uw] and unstressed [aw] shift to [ɔw]. After this, all intervocalic or geminated [w] fortify to [v].



 labial   dental   alveolar   palatal   velar   glottal 
stops p · b t · d k · ɡ
fricatives f · v θ · ð s · z ʃ · ʒ h
nasals m n ŋ
liquids ɾ · l
  semivowels w j
  • All consonants except /w j/ may occur as geminates. Underlying |ww jj| surface as /vv ʒʒ/.
  • /f v/ contrast with each other only in the geminates /ff/ vs. /vv/. Only /f/ can appear word-initially and in clusters with a voiceless consonant, and only /v/ can appear between vowels or after a nasal.
  • /θ ð ʃ ʒ/ are written th dh š ž (geminated: tth ddh šš žž).
  • /w j/ are written w y before a vowel, and u i before a consonant or word boundary.
  • /ŋ/ is written ng. It occurs as a phoneme of its own only in coda position; prevocalic ng (geminated ngg) represents [ŋɡ], phonemically /nɡ/.


 front   back 
high i u
mid ɛ ɔ
low a
  • /ɛ ɔ/ are written e o.


The basic syllable structure is (C)(C)V(w,y,n,s)(C). Syllable-initial clusters are mostly restricted to consonant + w y r; however, a number of other clusters do also occur in onset position. The only considerably common coda clusters that do not involve a semivowel are word-final -nk -sk, notably appearing in the plural form of some monosyllabic verbs.

Phonetic Detail

  • Farwo n-Abebbu has a dynamic stress accent, which generally falls on the penultimate syllable of monomorphemic lexemes. Prefixes are always unstressed, and transparent compounds carry primary stress on the accented syllable of their first component.
  • p t k are lightly aspirated in the onset of stressed syllables.
  • r is a trill [r] word-initially and when geminated, and a tap [ɾ] in most other environments.
  • Geminate hh is often pronounced as a pharyngeal [ħː]
  • The high vowels i u are lax [ɪ ʊ] in closed syllables, and tense [i u] otherwise.
  • Stressed a is a front/central low vowel [a] when preceded by a palatal or velar consonant, and a back vowel [ɑ] otherwise. When unstressed, it becomes [ɐ] word-finally and [ʌ] elsewhere.
  • Similarly, ai is usually [ɑɪ], but it becomes [aɪ] after palatals and velars.
  • Vowels in stressed open syllables are lengthened noticeably. The same holds for vowels in stressed word-final syllables ending in a nasal or plosive.

Nominal Morphology


Nominal morphology is prefixing. Nouns in Farwo n-Abebbu inflect for number and four cases; compared to standard Namɨdu, the main differences are the lack of the appositive case and the different shape of the plural prefixes. The citation form of a noun is the accusative singular.

buya "star"

singular plural
accusative buya ebuya
nominative buya kabuya
genitive nabuya naibuya
dative yembuya yeibuya

kouta "demon"

singular plural
accusative kouta eskouta
nominative gouta kayouta
genitive nakouta naskouta
dative yenkouta yeskouta

aiba "mason, metalworker"

singular plural
accusative aiba zaiba
nominative aiba gaiba
genitive naiba nazaiba
dative yemaiba yezaiba

kya "egg"

singular plural
accusative kya zekya
nominative kya kekya
genitive nakya naskya
dative yenkya yeskya
  • The nominative singular is distinguished from the accusative singular only in a number of nouns beginning with /p t k h w/. These nouns form the nominative via the primary consonant mutation:
    • /p/ ➝ /b/
    • /t/ ➝ /d/
    • /k/ ➝ /g/
    • /h/ ➝ /s/
    • /w/ ➝ /s/
  • Nouns beginning in /w f ɡ/ followed by a vowel (including instances of /ɡ/ created through the primary consonant mutation) undergo a different shift in the nominative plural and in the genitive singular, called the secondary consonant mutation:
    • /w/ ➝ /v/
    • /f/ ➝ /v/
    • /g/ ➝ /j/
  • Nouns beginning in /θ ð/ change these to /s z/ in the non-nominative plural forms, giving a geminate sibilant (e.g. thaik "king" ➝ acc.pl essaik).
  • Nouns beginning in /l/ are more irregular. Samples are given below:

legga "word"

singular plural
accusative legga žegga
nominative legga kregga
genitive nalegga nažegga
dative yembregga yežegga

lasou "treaty"

singular plural
accusative lasou zwasou
nominative lasou kwasou
genitive nalasou nazwasou
dative yemwasou yezwasou

lepello "throne"

singular plural
accusative lepello zwepello
nominative lepello kwepello
genitive noupello nazwepello
dative yemwepello yezwepello

Personal Pronouns

nom acc gen dat
1sg. i eibu yeth eim
2sg. leik leikou yelku leikum
3sg. a yebu yei yem
3 impersonal žou krou nažou yežou
1pl. luk lous yethi loutam
2pl. da dwai yenyu dwam
3sg. ak obu yeya yem
interrogative dhei dhou yedhei dhum


x 10x x + 10
1 the (ro) thwan
2 nye nyerro nyevan
3 was woššo woswan
4 bu burro bovan
5 dwa dwarro dwavan
6 es eššo eswan
7 myem myembro myemwan
8 hou hurro hudwan
9 nyu nyurro nyovan
10 ro ei (nyerro)

(The x + 10 forms derive from Fáralo constructions like [ro] dou-oun "[ten]-and-five" > dwavan.)

Ordinal numerals are formed by suffixing the adjectivizer -(i)n. There are a few irregular forms: ossu "first", gwan "second", hudin "eighth", nilin "ninth", eibin "hundredth".

Verbal Morphology

The Main Verb

As in Namɨdu, verb phrases generally contain both an auxiliary and a main verb. The main verb is marked only for the number of the subject. The singular is unmarked, and the plural adds -k after vowels. Consonant stems usually double the final consonant and add -ek:

  • pathna "to count" ➝ pathnak "to count" (pl.)
  • yedde "to stand" ➝ yeddek "to stand" (pl.)
  • oswak "to forget" ➝ oswakkek "to forget" (pl.)
  • pren "to design" ➝ prennek "to design" (pl.)

A few verbs ending in a nasal or sibilant simply add -k:

  • nwan "to go; to leave" ➝ nwank "to go; to leave" (pl.)
  • sin "to drink" ➝ sink "to drink" (pl.)
  • yedas "to hesitate" ➝ yedask "to hesitate" (pl.)

Verbs ending in a diphthong often have an extended stem in the plural, which features an additional (usually geminated) consonant. The quality of this consonant is unpredictable and must be learned on a word-by-word basis.

  • lai "to shut" ➝ lazzek "to shut" (pl.)
  • thai "to walk" ➝ thanggek "to walk" (pl.)
  • lizyou "to shiver" ➝ lizyulek "to shiver" (pl.)

A fair number of verbs historically involve the elimination of a medial vowel rather than consonant gemination. Because of subsequent cluster simplification, the result can be quite irregular:

  • barrei "to reward" ➝ barryek "to reward" (pl.)
  • rutthan "to slander" ➝ ruthnek "to slander" (pl.)
  • wozzon "to mess up" ➝ wounek "to mess up" (pl.)
  • kazzyu "to see; to look at" ➝ kažžek "to see; to look at" (pl.)
  • siggyu "to urinate" ➝ seirek "to urinate" (pl.)


Auxiliaries inflect for three tenses (present, preterite, imperfect) and polarity, but not for number. Note that some auxiliaries have developed slightly idiosyncratic meanings for their negative forms.

present preterite imperfect neg. pres. neg. pret. neg. imperf.
do sis sen sei mais masen masei
can bwa bwen bwai ebwa ebwen ebwai
must sa swan swai messa messwan messwai neg means "is not allowed to do"
should is isen isei mis misen misei
may tottu tottin tottei ousu ousun ousou neg means "is allowed not to do"
will we wen wei me men mei
might upe upen upei mupe mupen mupei
would uthis uthen uthei muthis muthen muthei neg means "can't imagine doing"
seems ida eiren eirai mida meiren meirai neg means "apparently doesn't do"
wants au allin allei mau mallin mallei
starts heppe heppen heppei meppe meppen meppei neg means "hesitates to do"
stops ta tan tai meta metan metai neg means "keeps doing"
is going to do nwa nwan nwannei no dedicated neg; use meppe instead
is doing yedde yedden yeddei no dedicated neg; use mida or mais instead
has done pyu pwan pwai epyu epwan epwai
always does pe pen pei medde medden meddei
causes oum oumen oumei moum moumen moumei neg means "prevents, hinders"
emphatic pyatta pyattan pyattai no dedicated neg; use mida instead
imperative e emma

The Copula

The copula is similar to an auxiliary, except that it also distinguishes number.

present preterite imperfect neg. pres. neg. pret. neg. imperf.
singular odu odun odou modu modun modou
plural oduk ounek oddek moduk mounek moddek



Standard Namɨdu

  • Sis Sɨntsen, kros atsak yelos Akozyad, wa amekot yelɨdoł wa yeluñɨb, me bi: Isłu hyeppen i mu lepeło yebodde i epe, sed yak kasyoł ɨm uro esnek.
  • [ sis ˈsɨn.ʦɛn | kʰɾʌs ɐˌʦʰak jɛˌlʌs ɐˈkʰʌz.jad | wɐ ɐˈmɛ.kʌt jɛˈlɨ.dʌʟ wɐ jɛˈlu.ɲɨb | mɛ bi ‖ ˈis.ʟu ˈhjɛp.pɛn i mu lɛˈpʰɛ.ʟɔ jɛˈbʌd.dɛ i ˈɛ.pɛ | ˈsɛd jak kɐˈsjʌʟ ɨm ˈu.ɾɔ ˈɛs.nɛk ]
  • NULL.AUX Sɨntsen / brave APP-king DAT-land APP-Kasadgad / and APP-younger.brother DAT-sun and DAT-moon / speak QUOT / before start-PAST I on throne DAT-father I sit / NULL.AUX-IMP all NOM.PL-foreign.country DAT.me hostile act-PL

Farwo n-Abebbu

  • Pyatta Seinthen, kras thaik yemwas na-Kažžai, wau myekat yemweidou pyan lunyei, bi dyun: Issarma heppen i noupello yembaddei yeth radda, sei yak kasyou eim thask oddek.
  • [ ˌpʰjat.tɐ ˈsɛɪn.θɛn | krʌs ˌθɑːɪk jɛˌmwɑs nʌˈkʰaʒ.ʒɑɪ | wɑʊ ˌmjɛː.kʌt jɛˌmwɛːɪ.dɔʊ pjan ˈlʊn.jɛɪ | bi ˈdjuːn ‖ ɪsˌsɑɾ.mɐ ˌhɛp.pɛn i nɔʊˈpʰɛl.lɔ jɛmˌbɑd.dɛɪ jɛθ ˈrɑd.dɐ | sɛɪ ˌjak kʌˌsjɔːʊ ɛɪm ˈθɑsk ˌɔd.dɛk ]
  • EMPH.AUX Seinthen / brave king DAT-land GEN-Kažžai / and younger.brother DAT-sun with moon / say this / before.when.REL start-PAST I GEN-throne DAT-father GEN.my hold / NULL.AUX-IMP all NOM.PL-foreign.country DAT.me hostile be-IMP.PL

Lexical differences:

  • pyatta: Farwo n-Abebbu prefers the emphatic auxiliary for introducing the protagonist of a narrative.
  • pyan: "and, with" < F. pein (comitative preposition); used within noun phrases instead of the normal conjunction wau.
  • bi: This is still a verb "to say" in Abebbu, instead of being reduced to a quotative particle as in Namɨdu.
  • dyun: "this" (demonstrative, acc.sg) < F. digun "thing"
  • issarma: relative particle "before" < F. isə sišo roumə "before then REL"
  • radda: "to hold, to occupy" < F. roda "to have, to own"
  • thask: "hostile" < F. čosk (lost in Namɨdu)
  • oddek: Farwo n-Abebbu prefers to use the regular copula with adjective predicates, rather than the dynamic construction with essen "to act", which is typical of Mɨdu city.

See also