From AkanaWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Period -400 ÷ 0 YP
Spoken in Western Tuysáfa
Total speakers c. 500.000
Writing system unknown
Classification Leic
Basic word order VSO or SVO
Morphology mainly analytic, agglutinative
Alignment ergative (nouns), accusative (verbs)
Created by Pole, the

Kopoıves (thinkers' language) is one of the descendants of Proto-Leic.

See also: the lexicon, the Conlang Relay 22 torch.



labial alveolar palatal velar glottal
nasal /m/ /n/ [ɲ] /ŋ/
stop /b/ /d/ /ɡ/
/p/ /t/ /k/
affricate [dʑ]
/ts/ [tɕ]
fricative /ɸ/ /s/ [ɕ] /h/
sonoric /ʋ/ /ɾ/ /j/
  • /ɸ ʋ ɾ/ are written ‹f v r›.
  • Sequences of /nj ŋj/, /dj ɡj/, /tj tsj kj/ and /sj hj/ are in most (not all) registers merged to [ɲ], [dʑ], [tɕ] and [ɕ], respectively.


front back ur. back r.
high /i/ /ɨ/ /u/
mid /ei/ /ɤɨ/ /ou/
/ɛ/ /ɔ/
low /ai/ /ɑɨ/ /ɒu/
  • /ai ɛ ei i/ are written ‹ai e ei i›.
  • /ɑɨ ɑ ɤɨ ɨ/ are written ‹aı a oı ı›.
  • /ɒu ɔ ou u/ are written ‹au o ou u›.
  • In several varieties /ɤɨ/ is realized as [ɯ̯ɤ] or [ɯ̯ʌ].

The syllable structure is C(X)V(C), where X is a medial consonant, i.e. one of /m n ŋ ʋ ɾ j/.

  • In all registers, /ʋ j/ are devoiced after voiceless onsets. /pj/ is pronounced [pɕ].
  • Syllable-final /j/ is realized as [ç~ʝ] after front vowels and [x~ɣ] after back vowels.
    • Some varieties even delete the off-glide preceding final /j/, so /fɒuj/ /teij/ become [fɒɣ] [teʝ].
  • /ʋ ɾ j/ in onsets are replaced with /b d ɡ/ before a medial consonant.
  • /m n ŋ/ in onsets are realized as [mb nd ŋɡ] (word-initially [əmb ənd əŋɡ]) and written ‹mb nd ng› before a medial consonant, e.g. /nɾai/ [əndɾai] ndrai.
    • Exceptionally, /nj ŋj/ remain unchanged.

The syllable with a diphthong is stressed, if present. Otherwise, the word stress falls on the final syllable.


There are two main traits distinguishing Kopoıves dialects.

Tsroı-tsraa isogloss

In some dialects there is an additional vowel /ɑː/ «aa» corresponding to some instances of /ɤɨ/ in other dialects, found for example in words like tsraa [t͡sɾɑː] sun (standard tsroı). In those dialects, the two vowels contrast (cf. goım nose, not found as **gaam).

/ɑː/ often merges with /ɑ/ in fast speech. Also, /ɑː/ merges with /ɑɨ/ before word-final glides, e.g. tsaav bald and tsaıv mouse often both become [t͡sɑʋ].

Nasai-ndsai isogloss

Some dialects permit /s/ as a medial consonant and perform a syncope of pre-tonic vowels preceding /s/, e.g. nasai legndsai [əndˈs̬ai], kosei sheepksei [ksei].

This also applies to morphological prefixes, e.g. sag smilebsag [bs̬ɑɡ] you are smiling (cf. standard vusag).

Cases where this would result in a consonant cluster /t-s/ (contrasted with the single affricate /ts/) might be marked with a facultative assibilation and lengthening to [t͡ss] «tss», e.g. tssaij it rises [tsaʝ ~ t͡ssaʝ] (standard tesaij) versus tsaij 100 [t͡saʝ].



Personal pronouns

Several pronouns have separate honorific variants. There is also a distinction of animacy in the third person.

1 sg 1 pl 2 3 sg 3 co 3 pl
familiar honorific familiar
Absolutive dai grai gvu gŋo boı gaı te go noı
Ergative ngrai jukrai jukvu jukŋo jupoı jukaı ŋude juko gnoı
Genitive prai krai kvu kŋo pa ka te ko ra
Locative brai pıkrai pıkvu pıkŋo pıpoı pıkaı bıde pıko pnoı
Allative tsrai dakrai dakvu dakŋo dapoı dakaı dade dako dnoı
Vocative rekvu rekŋo repoı rekaı reko
Prefix di-, d- gri- vu-, b- ŋo-, ng- ba-, p- gı-, k- te-, t- go-, g- na-, nd-

(The ergative forms are rarely used, as they are superseded by the subject prefixes.)

Interrogative pronouns

sg co pl
animate inanimate
Absolutive kupoı gude kuko knoı
Ergative ŋugupoı jukude ŋuguko ŋugnoı
Genitive kuba gude kugo kra
Locative bıgupoı pıkude bıguko bıgnoı
Allative dagupoı dakude daguko dagnoı

Other interrogative words include:

  • gau which
  • jein where
  • toı when
  • ko how

Indefinite pronouns

sg co pl
animate inanimate
Absolutive boıs teip goud noıs
Ergative jupoıs ŋudeip jukoud gnoıs
Genitive poıt teit kout roıt
Locative pıpoıs bıdeip pıkoud pnoıs
Allative dapoıs dadeip dakoud dnoıs

Other indefinite words include:

  • gaus some
  • jeinis somewhere
  • toıs somewhen
  • koup somehow

Distal and demonstrative pronouns

sg co pl
animate inanimate
Absolutive tapoı djau tako tnoı
Ergative ŋudapoı jutjau ŋudako ŋudnoı
Genitive taba djo tago tra
Locative bıdapoı pıtjau bıdako bıdnoı
Allative dadapoı datjau dadako dadnoı

Other demonstrative words include:

  • gi thisgi-doı thatdoı other
  • bai herekoun theretjein somewhere else
  • faij nowdadoı then, once
  • tako in that way

Universal and negative pronouns

universal negative
animate inanimate animate inanimate
Absolutive deko dnoı vıko bnoı
Ergative ngreko ŋudnoı gvıko jubnoı
Genitive deko dra vıgo bra
Locative breko bıdnoı pvıko pıbnoı
Allative tsreko tsadnoı dvıko dabnoı

Other universal and negative words include:

  • de all, everymaı no
  • deim everywheremaırem nowhere
  • ki alwaysmaıg never
  • tseiv in every waymaırev in no way



There are two main noun classes: animate and inanimate nouns. They determine the type of genitive prefixes and pronouns they take. It is generally based on the meaning — there are however some exceptions.

There are also two subgroups:

  • animate human nouns — animate nouns that are never declined in plural (collective is used instead);
  • pluralia tantum nouns — nouns that are plural by default; they take singular prefixes in Erg., Loc., Dat. and plural prefix in Gen.; they are referenced by plural pronouns.


There are four paradigms of noun stems:

  • type I
    • nouns beginning with a voiceless obstruent (one of p t ts k f s h) or a voiceless cluster
  • type II
    • nouns beginning with a voiced obstruent (one of b d g) or a voiced cluster
  • type III
    • nouns beginning with a single sonorant (one of m n ŋ v r j)

Nouns are declined using prefixes.

Paradigm I
sg co pl
Absolutive go- na- ¹
Ergative ŋu- ¹ juko- gna- ¹
Genitive pa- fa
ka- ha
te- i
ko- ra-
Locative bı- ¹ pıko- pna- ¹
Dative da- ¹ dako- dna- ¹
  • ¹) p t k f ts h are lenited to b d g v r j (b d g b d g in clusters)
Paradigm II
sg co pl
Absolutive go- ra-
Ergative ju- juko- gra-
Genitive pa- fa
ka- ha
te- i
ko- ra-
Locative pı- pıko- pra-
Dative da- dako- dra-
  • single b d g are fortited to p t k in singular and plural forms after a prefix
Paradigm III
sg co pl
Absolutive g- d-
Ergative g- juk- jud-
Genitive p- fa
k- ha
t- i
Locative p- pık- pıd-
Dative da- dak- dad-
  • gak- gad- are used instead of k- d- when disambiguation is needed


Verbs in Kopoıves are relatively little inflected.


Verbs can be divided into two classes according to their morphosyntactical behaviour.

Intransitive verbs have their main argument in absolutive. The verb agrees with the subject. Another argument can be added in genitive:

  • (Dai) dihotsai.
    (1sg) 1sg-enter
    I enter.
  • (Dai) dihotsai tepego.
    (1sg) 1sg-enter gen.i-house
    I enter the house.

Transitive verbs have their patientive argument in absolutive and their agentive argument in ergative. The patientive argument cannot be omitted. The verb agrees with the agent:

  • (Ngrai) dvait bego.
    (1sg.erg) 1sg-own house
    I own the house.
  • (Ngrai) dvait te.
    (1sg.erg) 1sg-own 3in
    I own it.

Quite often a lexically transitive verb will by default have an intransitive meaning (e.g. dnai swim, gaig urinate, pouk run). In those cases, te it is often used as a dummy patient pronoun:

  • Didnai beit.
    1sg-swim sea
    I'm swimming in the sea.
  • Didnai te.
    1sg-swim 3in
    I'm swimming.

A transitive verb can be put into a mediopassive form, which behaves as intransitive:

  • Dibjau te.
    1sg-stop 3in
    I'm stopping (something)
  • Dibjaum.
    I'm stopping, I'm coming to a halt


Verbs exhibit accusative alignment. They are inflected for the person of the subject or the agent.

The person prefixes are:

1st singular di- d-
1st plural gri-
2nd familiar vu- b-
2nd honorific ŋa- ŋ- ~ ng-
3rd sg a familiar ba- p-
3rd sg a honorific gı- k-
3rd sg inanimate te- t-
3rd collective go- g-
3rd plural na- n- ~ nd-


  • Prefixes without vowels are used before m n ŋ v r j.
    • ŋ-, n- are used before j;
    • ng-, nd- are used elsewhere.



The mediopassive is created by adding:

  • -m after a vowel;
  • -om after a velar/glottal consonant;
  • -im after other consonants.

Last consonants p t k m n ŋ are changed to b d g v r j before the ending is added.

The mediopassive causes the verb to become intransitive, with the subject interpreted as patient or agent-patient:

  • Ditoın gvu.
    I see you.
  • Ditoırim.
    I am seen. ~ I see myself.

The causative is created periphratically, by inflecting the causative operator vaıp along with the subjunctive form of the main verb:

  • Didaiŋ.Bvaıp didaiŋ.
    I live.You make me live.
  • Tesaim.Dvaıp tesoım.
    It occurs.I make it occur.

Tense and mood

Tense isn't explicitly marked on verbs. It can, however, be expressed by one of several analytic particles:

  • paıt — past tense;
  • gŋou — future tense;
  • gnaıv — potential modality;
  • naısij — necessitative modality;
  • — imperative mood.

Subjunctive mode

Many verbs have separate subjunctive forms, formed in an irregular manner, commonly through shortening the root with reduction of a diphthong to a monophthong (e.g. gŋoıg swimgŋa) or through ablaut (e.g. ngvein eatngvoın). These forms are listed in the dictionary.

For other verbs, the form doesn't change in subjunctive positions and use the same form as for indicative (e.g. jaiŋ exist).

There are several uses of the subjunctive form, mainly attributive and subordinate constructions.

Attributive usage

The verb in the subjunctive mode can be used as an attributive form — either preposed as a bare stem, or postposed and taking personal inflection:

  • pigo ndvei
    be.green.subj fruit
    a green fruit
  • ndvei tepigo
    fruit 3in-be.green.subj
    a green fruit

However, the postposed construction is less clear whenever a verb without a separate subjunctive form is used:

  • hrai ndvei
    be.red fruit
    a red fruit
  • ndvei tehrai
    fruit 3in-be.red
    a red fruit ~ the fruit is red

Preposed attributives of transitive verbs keep their agentive meaning:

  • kneg daım
    kill.subj animal
    a killing animal, a predator

However, when postposed, they either gain patientive meaning (along with appropriate personal inflection for the agent), or they require a patient in absolutive:

  • daım dikneg
    animal 1sg-kill.subj
    an animal killed by me
  • daım bakneg
    animal 3an-kill.subj
    a killed animal, an animal killed (by someone/something else)
  • daım bakneg te
    animal 3an-kill.subj 3in
    an animal killing (something)

Sentences with many attributive forms (especially for verbs with no subjunctive variants) can become ambiguous. To ensure clarity, subject attributives tend to be preposed and object attributives tend to be postposed:

  • Tsjı jupekau bahımou kıgoıj bakrog.
    be.tall.subj erg-man 3an-hit dog 3an-be.angry.subj
    The tall man hits the angry dog.
  • Krog kıgoıj badesaiv papekau batsjı.
    be.angry.subj dog 3an-bite an.gen-man 3an-be.tall.subj
    The angry dog bites the tall man.
Subordinate usage

The subjunctive forms are used along with the ma that, which particle to form subordinate clauses:

  • Grihreik datjau.
    1pl-go all-that
    We are going to there.
  • Paıt griraıg grai koun.
    past 1pl-fight 1pl.abs there
    We fought there.
  • Grihreik datjau ma paıt griroıg grai koun.
    1pl-go all-that rel past 1pl-fight.subj 1pl.abs there
    We are going to where we fought.
Other usages

For verbs which have a subjunctive form distinct from indicative, the former can be used to create a generic hortative:

  • Grikmoın. Let's be happy. (a suggestion)
    compare Vı grikmaun. Let's be happy. (an order)
  • Vudesi. You should speak. (an encouragement)
    compare Naısij vudesaig. You have to speak. (a necessity)
  • Baknoı. May theysg succeed. (a wish)
    compare Gnaıv baknau. Theysg might succeed. (a possibility)


Cardinal numerals

0. bmoı 10. kaip
1. moıs 11. kibmoı 100. tsaij
2. gei 12. kip-jei 20. ge-gaip 200. he-tsaij
3. pe 13. kipe-be 30. pe-gaip 300. pe-tsaij
4. doıs 14. kibe-toı 40. do-gaip 400. da-tsaij
5. toım 15. kibe-doım 50. tmo-gaip 500. tma-tsaij
6. douj 16. kibe-touj 60. dje-gaip 600. dohe-tsaij
7. doıb 17. kibe-toıb 70. dabe-gaip 700. dabe-tsaij
8. getoı 18. kip-jetoı 80. geto-gaip 800. geta-tsaij
9. gedoım 19. kip-jedoım 90. gedmo-gaip 900. gedma-tsaij

Ordinal numerals

0. 10. kairip
1. voınis 11. kip-voınis 100. tsaijir
2. gein 12. kip-jein 20. ge-gairip 200. he-tsaijir
3. peir 13. kipe-beir 30. pe-gairip 300. pe-tsaijir
4. toınis 14. kibe-doınis 40. do-gairip 400. da-tsaijir
5. toırim 15. kibe-doırim 50. tmo-gairip 500. tma-tsaijir
6. toınij 16. kibe-doınij 60. dje-gairip 600. dohe-tsaijir
7. doıber 17. kibe-doıber 70. dabe-gairip 700. dabe-tsaijir
8. gritoı 18. kipe-gritoı 80. geto-gairip 800. geta-tsaijir
9. gedoırim 19. kip-jedoırim 90. gedmo-gairip 900. gedma-tsaijir


  • ni a half
  • dibe a third
  • ndrai a quarter
  • tidoım a fifth
  • titouj a sixth
  • titoıb a seventh
  • tjetoı an eighth
  • tjedoım a ninth
  • digaip a tenth