Nåmúþ

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Nåmúþ
[nɒmúθ]
Period c. 2000 YP
Spoken in Southern Huyfárah, northern Kasca
Total speakers
Writing system adapted
Fáralo alphabet
Classification Edastean
 Fáralo
   Namɨdu
    Nåmúþ
Typology
Basic word order AuxSVO
Morphology fusional
Alignment direct
Credits
Created by Dē Graut Bʉr

Nåmúþ is the language spoken in and around the city of Múþ and in northern Kasca around 2000 YP. It is a descendant of Namɨdu.

By this time, Múþ is by far the biggest and most influential city of Huyfárah, and the de facto capital of the Union of Huyfárah and Kasca (Nåmúþ: Šels Nåhuvǻr å Naxóšt, informally just ze Šels), which consists of various city-states which retain some degree of autonomy. Because of the great influence of Múþ, Nåmúþ is the lingua franca of the region and in some areas, particularly in Kasca, it is replacing the local languages.

Sound changes

  1. Following a tendency in Namɨdu, /ɨ/ merges with /u/ if the following syllable contains an /u/ or a /w/, with /i/ at the end of a word and /ɛ/ otherwise.
  2. A little later, a similar change affects other vowels. /ɔ/ and /a/ are consistently rounded to /ɒ/, but /ɛ/ and /i/ are only sporadically rounded.
  3. /w/ rounds following vowels, /j/ fronts them, and /ɥ/ does both. /ɥ/ is then dropped, but /j/ and /w/ are kept.
  4. /ɔ/ is unrounded to /ʌ/ in a non-rounding environment.
  5. /ʟ/ becomes /x/ through /ɰ/.
  6. Intervocalic stops (including geminates) become fricatives. Somewhere in the development of Nåmúþ intervocalic /w j/ disappeared; this may have happened at the same time as the lenition of stops.
  7. /ð ɣ/ merge with their voiceless counterparts /θ x/. /w dz/ merge with /v z/.
  8. Tonogenesis:
    1. Stressed vowels get a high tone in open syllables. Geminated consonants block this change but are simplified afterwards, phonemicising this change.
    2. A few common words with geminated consonants seem to have simplified them before this change.
    3. Monosyllabic words always have low tone.
  9. Syncope of unstressed vowels:
    1. Final vowels are always dropped; if this creates an illegal cluster it is metathesised.
    2. /j v/ can vocalise to /i u/ is an adjacent vowel is dropped.
    3. As a consequence of this change, most words have become stressed on the final syllable. This rule is generalised to all words.
    4. Initial vowels are never dropped.
  10. Final consonants are devoiced.
  11. Palatalisation:
    1. /ts/ becomes /ʃ/.
    2. /s z/ become /ʃ ʒ/ before /i/.
    3. /sj zj/ become /ʃ ʒ/, any nasal + /j/ combination becomes /ɲ/.
    4. /hj/ becomes /ʃ/ in the standard variety, though some other dialects turn it into a distinct /ç/ phoneme.
    5. Remaining /j/ is dropped.
  12. Word-final /x/ is hardened to /k/.

Phonology

Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ ñ /ɲ/ (ñ /ŋ/)
Plosive p b /p b/ t d /t d/ k g /k g/
Fricative f v /f v/ þ /θ/ s z /s z/ š ž /ʃ ʒ/ x /x/ h /h/
Trill r /r/
Lateral l /l/


Front Back
High i y /i y/ u /u/
Mid e ö /ɛ œ/ o /ʌ/
Low a /a/ å /ɒ/

Nåmúþ is a tonal language with two tones: high and low. High tone is indicated with an acute accent (but /œ́/ is written ő), and low tone is not indicated in the orthography. A high-tone word following another high-tone word is pronounced with a somewhat higher tone, and similarly a low-tone word following another low-tone word is pronounced somewhat lower. A word following one with the opposite tone is pronounced with a medium tone.

Stress is on the final syllable.

/ŋ/ is not phonemic, as it only occurs before other velars. As in Namɨdu, it is analysed as an allophone of /ɲ/ and therefore it is written ñ.

/θ/ and /x/ never appear word-initially, whereas /h/ only appears morpheme-initially, thus making the contrast between /h/ and /x/ very marginal. In addition, some speakers drop /h/ in prefixed forms, which means that for them there is no environment at all in which /h/ and /x/ are contrastive.

Morphology

Nouns

Singular Plural
Unmarked zbö
Genitive nåvö nazbö
Dative ivö izbö
Essive åvö azbö
Locative muvö muzbö
Singular Plural
Unmarked šak kašak
Genitive našak naxašak
Dative išak ixašak
Essive ašak axašak
Locative mušak muxašak
Singular Plural
Unmarked hisk sisk
Genitive nahisk nasisk
Dative ihisk isisk
Essive ahisk asisk
Locative muhisk musisk
Singular Plural
Unmarked gon zgon
Genitive nåvön nazgon
Dative ivön izgon
Essive åvön azgon
Locative muvön muzgon
  • Plural is marked with the prefix s- or z-, depending on the voicing of the initial consonant. Before a sibilant, ka-/kå- is used instead.
  • The genitive, dative, essive and locative cases are marked with the prefixes na-/nå-, i-, a-/å- and mu- respectively. If the root begins with a single consonant (that is, not a cluster), a consonant mutation takes place which changes /p b f t d k g/ to /f v v þ þ x Ø/ respectively. The word gon "elder brother" in addition features an irregular vowel change.
  • Before vowels, the case prefixes become nåv-, im-, åv- and muv- respectively.
  • Some prefixes have two forms, one with -å- and one with -a-. The form with -å- is used if the next syllable contains any of /u ɒ v/ and the form with -a- is used otherwise.
  • Some speakers drop word-initial h after a prefix. The standard language however only does this after the plural prefix, keeping it in all the singular case forms.

The nominative/accusative distinction of Namɨdu was dropped, and a new locative case was acquired through the preposition mu. The irregular vowel change in gon results from the historical fronting of vowels after /j/; similar vowel changes historically affected other nouns but those have since been reverted by analogy.

Pronouns

Personal pronouns

Person Nom. Acc. Gen. Dat.
1sg i úf éš mi
2sg lék lék lék léñk
3sg a éf é ma
1pl lúk lús lukéš lénþ
2pl do do dóñ döm
3pl ok ǻf oxé mok
Interrogative za zu zás zum

A and ok and their case-forms can only refer to people.

The sound changes made several of the genitive and dative pronouns sound similar, if not identical. In the genitive, they were disambiguated by adding a nominative pronoun which eventually fused with the original genitive. New dative pronouns were invented by adding the regular dative prefixes to the nominative pronouns and then dropping the i-.

Quantifiers

  • and míf no, none
  • mos some, few
  • vőf many, most
  • ek all

Other pronouns

There are two demonstrative pronouns, vǻs (this) and zes (that). These inflect for case and number, just like nouns. Zes is also used as a definite article. When used as a definite article, the final -s is dropped if the following word begins with a vowel.

Besides these, there are the various interrogative and indefinite (etc.) pronouns:


  • í? which?
  • ñéf something
  • ñerp someone
  • míf nothing
  • mír nobody
  • őþ everything
  • ér everyone


  • mól? where?
  • vök here
  • sírk there
  • nowhere
  • ñef somewhere
  • ekő everywhere


  • hól? when?
  • öslás now
  • šislás then
  • ñep sometimes
  • ekes always
  • ñáþ never


  • duk why?

The negative indefinite pronouns are always used together with a negative auxiliary.

Numerals

x 10x x+10
1 še ro ševön
2 ñi noñír ñivön
3 vås våls våsön
4 bu búr buvön
5 dőr dåvön
6 es els esön
7 ñem ñerm ñemön
8 húþ hurt huþön
9 nik, nix- pinír nixön
10 ro uvőþ, ep noñir

Nik "nine" becomes nix- whenever a suffix is added.

Larger numbers are formed using the conjunction å. Multiples of hundred may be made either by compounding with ep or by using the plural of either word for hundred. (Note that when used alone uvőþ is the more common word for "hundred" whereas in compounds ep predominates.) There is no word for "thousand", instead one says "ten hundreds". The word for 10,000 is as.

  • búr å ñi 42
  • uvőþ å noñír å šet 121
  • våsep or vås zep or vås zuvőþ 300
  • ro zep å hurt å ñem 1087
  • pinír å nixep å pinír å nik 9999
  • uvőþ å våls å då zas 1,350,000

Ordinals are formed by adding -t to the last word. In the standard variety, there are two slightly irregular forms, namely döt "fifth" and hut "eighth". In the colloquial language however, the more regular forms dåt and húþt are also heard.

In Namɨdu, the words for twenty and ninety had come to sound very similar. Therefore they were disambiguated as nom ñiro and pya niro respectively, which is where the forms nåñír and pinír come from. Similarly ɨbweddu was sometimes shortened to ɨb, which is why there are two words for "hundred" as well.

The regular outcomes of the x+10 forms would have been considerably less regular, but they were regularised during the 18th century.

Verbs

As in Namɨdu, verbs consist of two parts: the main verb, and an auxiliary verb, which gives some fairly detailed information about tense, mood and aspect. The main verb is not inflected at all.

The auxiliary, on the other hand, distinguishes three tenses, three aspects, affirmative and negative forms, and a large variety of moods, though it is not conjugated for person or number. There are twenty-three basic auxiliaries; in addition there are a few prefixes which are used to make inceptive, cessative and emphatic forms.

Basic auxiliaries

The twenty-three basic auxiliaries, along with their prototypical uses, are these.

Affirmative Negative
Present Perfect Imperfect Present Perfect Imperfect
null šis sen set móš móns móst
can bön böt ef emp ept
should is íns íst mis míns míst
need éþ énþ éþt ñéþ ñénþ ñéþt
want ok óln ólt mok móln mólt
plan to vön vöt me men met
dare ku kun kut ék éñk ékt
may zes zens zest mes mens mest
seem íþ idrin idrit míþ midrin midrit
start šéf šémf šéft ñéf ñémf ñéft
continue ñek ñeñk ñekt eñek eñeñk eñekt
stop to ton tot méþ ménþ méþt
about to péns (péns) pénst epéns (epéns) epénst
just did píl píln pílt efíl efíln efílt
try isösk isönsk isöskt misösk misönsk misöskt
barely šens (šens) šenst ešens (ešens) ešenst
fail slór slórn slórt mislór mislórn mislórt
be ǻþ ǻnþ ǻþt mǻþ mǻnþ mǻþt
become mus muns must emus emuns emust
would úš únš úšt múš múnš múšt
cause em én ént mem mén mént
emphatic pöþ pönþ pöþt eföþ efönþ eföþt
imperative e - - ma - -

Derived auxiliaries

There are a few prefixes which can be used to derive more specific auxiliary verbs. These prefixes are quite transparently derived from full auxiliaries, and they do not vary for tense, though they do have separate affirmative and negative forms. The prefixes are:

Affirmative Negative
Inceptive še(f)- ñe(f)-
Cessative t(o)- me(þ)-
Emphatic pi(þ)- e(f)-

The emphatic prefix can combined with either of the other two prefixes. With a few exceptions, all combinations of a prefix and an auxiliary are theoretically possible (though some may be used only very rarely). Strictly ungrammatical combinations include *šešéf, *šefǻþ, *toto, *pipöþ and anything with šis as the second part.

As an example, here is the full set of auxiliaries derived from .

Affirmative Negative
Present Perfect Imperfect Present Perfect Imperfect
Basic bön böt ef emp ept
Inceptive ševå šebön šeböt ñefef ñefemp ñefept
Cessative tovå tobön toböt meþef meþemp meþept
Emphatic pivå pibön piböt efef efemp efept
Emph. inc. piševå pišebön pišeböt eñefef eñefemp eñefept
Emph. cess. pitovå pitobön pitoböt emeþef emeþemp emeþept

Tense and aspect usage

The present is used for things happening in the present. As there is no future tense, the present tense of certain auxiliaries is also used to talk about the future.

The perfect is used to talk about completed actions and refers to a single point in time or the resulting state. The imperfect by contrast refers to longer periods of time, and can also indicate a repetition.

The inceptive and cessative aspects refer to the beginning and the end of an action, respectively. The inceptive perfect often emphasises the resulting state, and the cessative perfect often indicates something which happened further back in the past, much like the past perfect in English. In both the inceptive and the cessative aspect the imperfect tense stresses the process of starting or stopping.

The negative inceptive usually implies that it will start a bit later, and can often be translated as "not yet".

Remarks on specific auxiliaries

Is and éþ both indicate a necessity or an obligation, though is is a bit weaker than éþ. In the negative, however, it is the other way around: mis means "must not" whereas ñéþ means "doesn't have to".

Ok and vök both indicate an intention, but vök additionally indicates that it will happen within the near future.

Zes can indicate both a possibility or permission, depending on the context, and is used to indicate the future if the speaker is not sure it will actually happen.

The inceptive forms of ñek indicate a repetition, and can be translated as "again".

Ǻþ and mus are generally used as copulas and lack a main verb in those cases. They are also used with verbs expressing a state.

Úš is used for hypothetical things, such as conditionals. It is also used for hearsay.

E is not only used as an imperative but also to express wishes. In the second person, it is not required to include a subject pronoun, though doing so is considered more polite.

Syntax

Word order

The basic word order is auxiliary - subject - object - main verb.

Šis i mik hop.
NULL.AUX 1SG bread eat.
I'm eating some bread.

Ok ze mál Imúþ nön.
want DEF man DAT-Múþ go
That man wants to go to Múþ.

When there is both a direct and an indirect object in a sentence the direct object comes first.

Sen ze šak šet mi mís.
PERF DEF king coin 1SG.DAT.
The king gave me a coin.

The subject can be fronted for emphasis. Doing this requires the use of an emphatic auxiliary.

I pöþ Mumúþ šeþ, lék eföþ.
1SG EMPH LOC-Múþ live, 2SG NEG.EMPH.
I live in Múþ, you don't.

The noun phrase

The word order of noun phrases is determiner - number - adjectives - noun - genitive/dative/prepositional phrase.

ze vǻs pe zvuk išak
DEF three big PL-castle DAT-king
the king's three big castles

ze mál pön vǻs sisk
DEF man with three PL-son
the man with three sons

Genitive pronouns come in the determiner slot, unlike genitive nouns.

éš vuk but vuk našak
1SG.GEN castle / castle GEN-king
my castle / the king's castle

Subordination

There are several subordinating particles. The most basic one is rém, which can form both noun classes and relative clauses.

sen do šeþ kósk > šeþ rém sen do kósk
PERF 2PL house see > house REL PERF 2PL see
You (pl) saw the house > the house that you (pl) saw

Within the relative clause, a pronoun referring to the antecedent is always included.

mál rém šis a úf kósk
man REL NULL.AUX 3SG.NOM 1SG.ACC see
the man that sees me

mál rém šis i éf kósk
man REL NULL.AUX 1SG.NOM 3SG.ACC see
the man that I see

Occasionally, it is not directly clear whether the antecedent is the subject or the object of the relative clause, as in the below example in which either of the two third person singular pronouns could refer to the man. In such cases, that has to be inferred from the context.

mál rém šis a éf kósk
mal REL NULL.AUX 3SG.NOM 3SG.ACC see
the man that sees him/the man that he sees

The same particle can also be used to form noun clauses.

Šis i musúþ rém píl a vök åþ.
NULL.AUX 1SG.NOM believe REL just.did 3SG.NOM here arrive
I believe he's just arrived.

After verbs relating to speech, however, noun clauses are not introduced by the particle rém, but rather by bi.

Sen i ma ǻs bi píl lék vök åþ.
PERF 1SG.NOM 3SG.DAT tell QUOT just.did 2SG.NOM here arrive
I've told him that you're here.

The particle bi can also be followed by a direct quotation.

Sen i ma ǻs bi: "ǻþ lék ñesk pisk."
PERF 1SG.NOM 3SG.DAT tell QUOT: be 2SG.GEN cow dead.
I said to him: "your cow is dead."

Relative "where" uses the particle ruñk.

edől ruñk šis i šeþ
city where.REL NULL.AUX 1SG.NOM live
the city where I live

There are four temporal subordinating particles: sorm "when", ik "before", uk "after" and gryk "until". Ik always takes an inceptive auxiliary, and uk always takes a cessative auxiliary.

sårm ǻþt a mulefék éf
when be.IMPF 3SG.NOM LOC-throne sit
when he sat on the throne

ik šéft a mulefék éf
before start.IMPF 3SG.NOM LOC-throne sit
before he sat on the throne

uk tot a mulefék éf
after stop.IMPF 3SG.NOM LOC-throne sit
after he sat on the throne

Conditionals

Conditionals are expressed by the conjunctions sorm ... šis. Either of these may be left out, though it is necessary to include at least one of the two.

Sorm úš lék öslás nön, šis úš lék lǻþ mulás åþ.
if would 2SG.NOM now leave, then would 2SG.NOM correct LOC-hour arrive
If you leave now, you will arrive on time.

As can be seen, usually a form of the auxiliary úš is used in both parts of the sentence. However, when expressing general truths, it is only used in the if-part.

Sorm úš ñál sen, šéf muzáþ.
if would too.much drink, start get.drunk
If you drink too much, you get drunk.

In the past tenses, úš in the if-part indicates a counterfactual. When simply expressing a condition in the past, another auxiliary must be used.

Sorm únš i ñok hop, šis múš i én azes öslás.
if would.PERF 1SG more eat, then NEG.would 1SG hungry ESS-that now
If I had eaten more, I wouldn't be so hungry now.

Questions

All questions use an interrogative particle le, which is put at the end of the phrase.

Sen lék ze kus ñåk le?
PERF 2SG.NOM DEF book read Q?
Did you read read the book?

Interrogative pronouns are placed at the beginning of the sentence, before the auxiliary. Questions with an interrogative pronoun still require the particle le.

Mól ǻþ éš šiñxs le?
Where be 1SG.GEN beer Q?
Where is my beer?

The particle le can also be used to form tag questions after both affirmative and negative sentences.

Šis lék izuk lúm, le?
NULL.AUX 2SG.NOM DAT-cheese like, Q?
You like cheese, right?

Case usage

The neutral case is used for both subjects and direct objects.

Šis ze pi šeþ kósk.
NULL.AUX DEF child house see.
The child sees a house.

The genitive is used to indicate possession and other types of relationships. Often it can be, and is, replaced by a dative, but when a pronoun is used, you have to use a genitive.

skexp našak or skexp išak.
clothes GEN-king / DAT-king
the king's clothes

lék méxt but not *léñk méxt
2SG.GEN brother / 2SG.DAT brother
your brother

The genitive cannot be replaced by a dative when it indicates composition.

šeþ nagoþ
house GEN-wood
a wooden house

The dative is used for indirect object, and, as mentioned above, for possession.

Sen a kus imám mís.
PERF 3SG.NOM book DAT-mother give.
He gave a book to his mother.

The essive indicates a state or a similarity.

Set i afi öf őr.
IMPF 1SG.NOM ESS-child swim like
As a child, I liked swimming.

Ǻþ a pe ånåk.
be 3SG big ESS-bear
He is as big as a bear.

It is also used for appositive phrases.

i améxt iléþk å ilúmp
1SG.NOM ESS-brother DAT-sun and DAT-moon
I, brother to the sun and moon

Vǻs "this" and zes "that", when used as determiners, are followed by nouns in the essive case.

Ǻþ zes amál ő.
be that ESS-man stupid
That man is stupid.

The locative is used to indicate a place, but only if there is no preposition. Generally the locative is used when the exact position relative to the noun is somehow implied (i.e. you tend to sit on a chair, sitting next to it would make less sense).

sorm set i mulefék éf
when IMPF 1SG.NOM LOC-throne sit
when I sat on the throne

By extension, the locative can also indicate a time.

Ǻþt i vőf muzñek våk.
be.IMPF 1SG many LOC-PL-day silent
I was silent for many days.

Sample

Updated translation will appear at an unspecified point in the future. I, knowing myself, am unfortunately unable to promise it will be soon.

(Tsinakan text)

Lexicon

See /Lexicon.