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Period c. 1100 YP
Spoken in Southern Huyfárah
Total speakers c. 3 million
Writing system adapted
Ngauro script
Classification Edastean
Basic word order AuxSOV
Morphology fusional
Alignment NOM-ACC
Created by Dunomapuka

Namɨdu [nɐˈmɨ.du] or Forło Namɨdu [ˈfʌɾ.ʟɔ nɐˈmɨ.du] is the descendant of Fáralo spoken in the city of Mɨdu (Miədu) and surrounding areas. At its greatest extent the city-state has controlled approximately the southern 1/4 of the former territory of Huyfárah and the portion of Kasca north of the delta, and at other times only a small area around the city itself. Regardless, it is likely the most influential language of Fáralo-descendants as of 1100 YP.

The language belongs to a larger dialect group that contains the encompassing the coast from Ussor south, including the cities of Myendya (Mæmedéi, local Mendia) and Azbyebbu (Azbǽbu; local Abebbu). Inland areas belong to different dialect groups, as do the Oltu valley including Ussor (which speaks Woltu Falla) and areas further north (which speak Cəssın and related dialects).

The language has one known descendant, Nåmúþ.

Sound Changes from Fáralo

Classical Fáralo to Southern Fáralo ca. 400.
1. Coda /r/ shifts to /ə/.
2. Non-syllabic /o/ 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/ ➝ /i:/; /uw uə/ ➝ /u:/; /aw aə/ ➝ /a:/; /ɔw ɔə/ ➝ /ɔ:/; /ɛw ɛə/ ➝ /ɛ:/; /uj/ ➝ /y:/; /əw əə/ ➝ /ə:/.
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 /g/ becomes /j/, while the geminate remains /gg/.
9. Intervocalic single /f/ becomes /v/, while the geminate remains /ff/.
10. Final /h/, /f/ are lost.

Southern Fáralo to Namɨdu ca. 1100.
11. Depalatalization of /ʃ ʧ ʤ/ to /s ʦ ʣ/.
12. /ŋ/ is deleted in final position. Otherwise it fronts to /ñ/, but remains allophonically as [ŋ] before a velar consonant. /ñj/ simplifies to /ñ/, but /nj/ remains distinct.
13. 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 (*mebbelo "farm" ➝ *meblo). Occasionally the vowel drops out even though it creates a triple consonant cluster, which then simplifies (*byobulsa "vagina" ➝ *byoblsabyopsa).
14. Somewhat sporadically, the initial unstressed e- of Fáralo that derives from NT syllabic nasals is dropped. It remains, for example, in epé "to sit" ➝ epe, but is dropped in egól "foot" > yoł. However, these words retain the e- in prefixed forms.
15. Stressed short /a/ becomes /ɔ/.
16. /wə/ becomes /wɛ/, and /jə/ becomes /jɔ/, except in final stressed position, where these become /wa/, /ja/. Sequences of /wə:/ or /jə:/ with a long schwa are unaffected.
17. Stress is moved to the penultimate.
18. All coda /l/ velarizes to [ɫ], as does /l/ after a consonant and before a back vowel. Geminate /ll/ is pronounced [ɫɫ].
19. /ə/ merges with /a/; the new phoneme is pronounced [ɐ] in final position and [a] otherwise. /ə:/ becomes /a:/.
20. Long vowels simplify: /a:/ ➝ /a/; /ɛ:/ ➝ /ɛ/; /ɔ:/ ➝ /ɔ/; /i: u: y:/ ➝ /ɨ/.
21. Various cluster modifications: Any sequence of /jw/ or /wj/ becomes a front rounded glide /ɥ/. /st/ reduces to /s/ (finally) or /ss/ (medially); it remains initially. /sk/ also becomes /s/ finally but remains otherwise; /sts/ is unaffected. /ñl/ becomes /ññ/, and /ñw/ becomes /ñɥ/, but velar [ŋɫ] remains as such.
22. /rw lw/ simpify to /r l/ in the standard dialect; both to [ʒ] in the Toło dialect.
23. The sequences /tl dl/ are generally not tolerated; they are modified through metathesis (*otlol "storage area" > ołtoł) or dissimilation (*yedlu "city" > yegłu; *ɨdlula "sunrise" > ɨdruła).
24. The marginal /v/ phoneme shifts to /w/; geminate /vv/ appears to shift to /bb/, but there are few examples.
25. /rr ll ww jj/ simplify to /r ɫ w j/; in the Toło dialect, /rr/ > /ʀ/.
26. Due to several preceding changes, /l/ and /ɫ/ must now be treated as (marginally) phonemically distinct: they can both occur intervocallically (compare alo "swamp"; ała "flower").


Consonant Phonemes

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p /p/ b /b/ t /t/ d /d/ k /k/ g /g/
Affricate ts /ts/ dz /dz/
Fricative f /f/ s /s/ z /z/ h /h/
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ ñ /ɲ/
Liquid l /l/ r /r/ ł /ʟ/
Glide y /j/ ÿ /ɥ/ w /w/

The nasals, and all the obstruents except /h/, may occur as geminates.

Vowel Phonemes

Front Central Back
High i /i/ ɨ /ɨ/ u /u/
Mid e /ɛ/ o /ɔ/
Low a /a/

Phonetic Details

  • p t ts k are slightly aspirated in the onset of stressed syllables.
  • /ɲ/ is pronounced [ŋ] before the velar consonants /k g ʟ/.
  • Pronunciation of /ʟ/ varies freely between velar [ʟ] and velarized alveolar [ɫ].
  • /r/ is trilled in initial position, and otherwise becomes a tap [ɾ]. Some speakers may use [ʀ] for the trill and historical /rr/.
  • In unstressed morpheme-final position, including prefixes such as na-, /a/ is pronounced [ɐ].
  • /ɔ/ is unrounded to [ʌ] in closed syllables.
  • The pronunciation of /ɨ/ is quite unstable in colloquial speech. In Mɨdu itself, it tends to assimilate to [u] if /u/ or /w/ is found in the following syllable; otherwise it lowers to [ɛ] in final position and becomes [i] elsewhere. Among the Toło and in rural dialects it often becomes [e], distinct from /ɛ/. In colonial dialects, it may generally merge with /i/ or /u/, or be conserved; in the city of Puwa, it's [y] or [ʏ].
  • Words are stressed on the penultimate syllable of the root. Grammatical prefixes and suffixes are always unstressed.


  • uro [ˈu.ɾɔ] "hostile"
  • pwen [ˈpʰwɛn] "island"
  • napwen [nɐˈpʰwɛn] "of the island"
  • bodde [ˈbʌd.dɛ] "father
  • kusryem [ˈkʰus.ɾjɛm] "olive"
  • yezahyoł [jɛ.zɐˈhjʌʟ] "to the foreign countries"

Nominal Morphology

Noun Declension

Noun morphology is prefixing. Nouns are inflected for number and several cases. The citation form of a noun is the singular accusative.

bÿa "star"

Singular Plural
Accusative bÿa zbÿa
Nominative bÿa kabÿa
Appositive abÿa azbÿa

kɨta "demon"

Singular Plural
Accusative kɨta skɨta
Nominative gɨta kayɨta
Appositive akɨta askɨta

aba "mason, metalworker"

Singular Plural
Accusative aba zaba
Nominative aba gaba
Appositive awaba azaba

  • The singular nominative is distinguished from the singular accusative only in nouns beginning with /p t k h/, and a few with /w/ (viz. wiło "house," wimma "marsh," wosse "this"). These nouns form the nominative (the accusative being the unmarked form) via the primary consonant mutation:
    • /p/ ➝ /b/
    • /t/ ➝ /d/
    • /k/ ➝ /g/
    • /h/ ➝ /s/
    • /w/ ➝ /s/

(But recall that /w/ does not usually do this: wedde "vegetable" acc. ➝ wedde nom.)

  • The plural accusative is marked with z-, which becomes s- before a voiceless consonant, and za- before any of /h s z/. becomes zn.
  • The plural nominative is marked with g- before a vowel and ka- before a consonant. The primary consonant mutation is applied.
  • There is a class of words that prefixes ke- rather than ka- for the nom. plural: kya "egg"; nom. pl. kekya.
  • Additional tenses all attach a prefix to the accusative form: a- for the appositive, na- for the genitive, and ye- for the dative (only the appositive has been listed in the charts; all three work the same way morphologically). Before a vowel, these prefixes become aw-, naw-, yem-. Before some consonants, they trigger the secondary consonant mutation: /g/ lenites to /j/ and /f/ lenites to /w/, if these are followed by a vowel (thus gossu "rabbit" ➝ nayossu "of a rabbit," forło "Fáralo" ➝ naworło "of Fáralo").

Fáralo had a number of clitics used as determiners and deictics. lu- "the" survives only as a derivational prefix. wa- "this", si- "that" and the indefinite edu- have vanished entirely. Once the clitics were gone, the consonant mutation could be used with bare nouns. Meanwhile, new case prefixes (appositive, genitive, dative) were derived from prepositions (a- from a "he/she," na- from na "on," ye- from æm "to him/her"). Fáralo had a class of words that were inherently plural: kipa "rice alcohol," kpuəma "smoke, steam," but these have been reinterpreted as singulars.

Personal Pronouns

Nom. Acc. Gen. Dat.
I i ɨbu yets ɨm
thou leku leku yeku lekum
he/she a yebu ya yem
we luki luzis yetsi lɨtam
you do dwa yeñu dwem
they ok obu yeya yem
who dza dzu yedza dzum

The combined pronoun forms of Fáralo have been dropped.

To communicate a reflexive in the 3rd person, use the special pronoun tsi "himself/herself" as the object: sen a tsi kodda "he covered himself." The other persons do not require a special reflexive: sen i ɨbu kodda, etc. Use okobu ("they-them") for a reciprocal object in the 3p: sen ok okobu kodda "they covered each other."

An impersonal expression can be formed with zrud, originally meaning "men," but which nonetheless takes singular verb forms. The nominative is krud, the other cases formed as expected for a noun: azrud, nazrud, yezrud.


Fáralo's quantifiers have been preserved rather conservatively, though næme "some" has fallen into disuse.

  • mi no; none
  • miwa none at all (emphatic; from mi wa- "none of these")
  • mos a few
  • os many; much
  • weba almost all
  • yak all; every one (from ege ak, "all them")

Other Pronouns

There are two demonstrative pronouns, wosse "this one; this person" and dzeddze "that one; that person" These inflect normally for case and number, with the w- of wosse mutating to s- in the nominative.

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

  • iya which?; what?
  • nyeba something
  • nyebru someone (næbə rud "some man")
  • mipi nothing (mi pi "not [even] a fingernail")
  • miru nobody (mi rud "no man")
  • yotu everything (ege atu "every possession")
  • yeru everyone (ege rud "every man")

  • mola where?
  • weł here
  • siruł there
  • miwe nowhere (mi hewe "no water")
  • nyebwe somewhere (næbə hewe "some water")
  • nyeł somewhere (alternate form)
  • yewe everywhere (ege hewe "every water")

  • hola when?
  • ÿosso now
  • sisso then
  • nyebło sometimes
  • yesso always (ege ešo "all-always")
  • myati never (mi eioti "no day")

  • dugga why?


x 10x x + 10 ordinal
1 tse ro tsewen tse dya, piggał
2 ñi ñiro ñiwen ñi dya
3 wos woslo woswen wos dya
4 bu buro buwen bu dya
5 dwa dwero dwewen dwa dya, dwe dya
6 es eslo eswen es dya
7 myem myembro myemwen myem dya
8 hudde hudro hudwen hud dya
9 nił niro niłwen nił dya
10 ro ɨbweddu ñiro ro dya

As, due to the long grind of sound change, ñiro "twenty" has come to sound like niro "ninety", these are occasionally disambiguated as nom ñiro and pya niro, particularly when shouting over heavy noise. Another alternate term for "ninety" is weñu ro, "[one hundred] minus ten." In military jargon, this is abbreviated to weñu, and ɨbweddu to ɨb.

The "teen" forms derive from Fáralo constructions like [ro] dou-oun "ten-and-five" > dwewen.

Ordinals are formed with the particle dya ("thumb," originally "finger"), mostly regularly but with the apocope hudde > hud. Note the competing forms for five. The old word piggał is sometimes used for "first," but this has the connotation of "first and foremost," "primary."

Verbal Morphology

The Main Verb

Almost all verb phrases involve the use of an auxiliary plus the 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 are more irregular, but as a guideline, if the final consonant is a nasal or obstruent, double it and add -ek.

  • potsna to count ➝ potsnak to count (pl.)
  • yedde to stand ➝ yeddek to stand (pl.)
  • loz to shut ➝ lozzek to shut (pl.)
  • osłok to forget ➝ osłokkek to forget (pl.)
  • pryen to design ➝ pryennek to design (pl.)

A fair number of verbs involve the elimination of a medial vowel rather than consonant gemination. This is treated as an irregularity, however common.

  • russan to slander ➝ rusnek to slander (pl.)
  • kozził to see; look at ➝ kozlek to see; look at (pl.)

Irregular plurals, which are rather ubiquitous, will be noted in the lexicon.

Auxiliary Conjugation

The preceding half of the verb phrase is the auxiliary. Each auxiliary carries some aspectual information, and the three verb tenses (present, preterite, imperfect) and the negatives of each are marked on it. Number is not marked on the auxiliary since it is carried on the main verb. The principal auxiliaries are listed here:

Present Preterite Imperfect Neg. Present Neg. Perf. Neg. Imp.
null sis sen sed mosis mosen mosed
can bwo bÿen bÿed ebwo ebÿen ebÿed
should is isen ised mis misen mised
conditional utsis utsen utsed mutsis mutsen mutsed
plan to we wen wed me men med
seem ida idryen idryed mida midryen midryed
need yeda yedan yedad myeda myedan myedad
want olin oled moł molin moled
start hyeppe hyeppen hyepped myeppe myeppen myepped
stop to ton tod meto meton metod
cause ɨm ɨmen ɨmed mɨm mɨmen mɨmed
just did pila pilan pilad epila epilan epilad
progressive yede yeden yeded myede myeden myeded
emphatic pyotta pyottan pyottad epyotta epyottan epyottad
disjunct imperative e -- -- ema -- --

The essential workings of this system are unchanged since Fáralo; in Namɨdu they have completely replaced the bare verb conjugation (except, partially, for the imperative; see below). But some things have changed: the irrealis has been dropped; numbers are no longer marked on the auxiliary; specific negative forms have been innovated for each tense by various analogical processes. There has been a fair amount of reshuffling and discarding of specific auxiliaries. The conditional utsis was taken from the irrealis of "should" and was developed into a separate series.

The Copula

The copula functions similarly to an auxiliary - indeed, it is derived from one denoting the progressive - except that it distinguishes singular from plural, as there is no main verb to mark the number on.

Present Preterite Imperfect Neg. Present Neg. Perf. Neg. Imp.
Singular odu odun odud modu modun modud
Plural oduk odnek oddek moduk modnek moddek

The Conjunct Imperative

The conjunct imperative is the only remainder of the basic, non-auxiliary conjugation. It is used in imperative phrases with no subject or object given, that thus nothing would come between the auxiliary and the main verb (the disjunct version is an auxiliary, see above). It takes the form of a verb prefix: affirmative e-, negative ema-. The primary and secondary consonant mutations both apply. The verb is conjugated for number as usual; no distinction in tense is made.

  • potsna to count ➝ ebotsna count! (sg.)
  • yedde to stand ➝ eyedde stand up! (sg.)
  • kozził to see; look at ➝ emayozlek don't look! (pl.)

Derivational Morphology

Namɨdu has inherited the general Edastean tendency toward zero-derivation - words can often function as nouns or verbs. Nonetheless, some derivational morphology exists. This is a list of morphemes, followed by their usage and etymology:

  • , originally a diminutive suffix, now is a general nominalizer, though mostly for small, concrete things. (-l)
  • ña- forms an agentive noun from a verb. (ŋa- participle)
  • ña- + -ed forms a participial adjective from a verb. (ŋa- + -ed borrowed from the imperfect of verbs?)
  • -bu forms agentive nouns (mostly from nouns and adjectives); some derived words are male but mostly gender-neutral. (-bu)
  • -sa denotes a female agentive noun; this has fallen by the wayside in favor of the gender-neutral -bu. (-sa)
  • -los and -łas (the former being the more productive) create toponyms. (los and older laš "land")
  • -(i)n is a general adjectivizer. (-in)
  • -so forms a transitive or causative verb from any other part of speech. (soy "cause")
  • -ya is equivalent to "-ism;" it denotes an ideology or pattern of behavior. (extracted from Etúgə terms such as motya, zyetya)
  • -enna denotes a world or realm. (extracted from Ketsenna "the world" and isyenna "the spiritual world")
  • -nte denotes a science or practice, something like English "-ology." (-mate)
  • lu-, from the definite article, is a nominalizer the denotes the definitive or primary instance of something. (lu-)
  • -u, no longer productive, denotes an associated object. (-u)


Word Order

Default sentence order is auxiliary - subject - object - main verb.
sis i mik hob.
I'm eating some bread.
sen a mu gyopsa epe.
He sat on the sheep.

Indirect objects fill the same slot as direct objects.
misen ok yeweł odduk.
They should not have come here.

If both are present, the direct object comes first.
we Ñe Badat wiło ɨm yoz.
Mrs. Badat is going to paint my house (lit., "paint me the house").

Some auxiliaries can be combined as needed:
yeda to luki zbyenyoło epsek.
We need to stop destroying old temples.

Noun Phrases

The order for noun phrases is Pr Num A N Phr, where "Pr" is a possessive pronoun, "Num" is a number, "A" is an adjective, and "Phr" is a participle, prepositional phrase, modifying noun or relative clause.

kɨnzo sossa good woman
wos kɨnzo zasossa three good women
yets wos kɨnzo zasossa my three good women
kɨnzo sossa ñawɨmed the good living woman
sossa nɨ mots the woman in the kitchen
sossa rema sen i kozził the woman I saw
sossa nawarełbu the politician's woman

To express possession of a noun that is in one of the oblique cases (appositive, dative, genitive), a genitive pronoun is not used - a subject pronoun is substituted, and moved to after the noun.
lepeło yebodde i the throne of my father
mobbe nañuffe a her cat's mouth

This development appears odd syntactically. Historically, the full expression would have used an intervening yem: mobbe nañuffe yem a, but by the ninth century the yem was dropped.

Case Usage

The accusative case is used for direct objects.
yede i zgossu demu I'm hunting rabbits.
sis leku yeku tottsa ryettu le? do you hear your sister?

As the least marked form, it is also used for either object of the copula or verbs of location, vocative usage, and syntactically undefined references (list items, etc). Of course, most singular nouns do not distinguish accusative and nominative forms anyway.
styoñgas yedek nɨ wɨñÿeło the punts are in the canal
ała odun hya the flower was blue
eyoddu, ñuffe! come here, pussycat

The nominative case is used for the subject, both in transitive and intransitive sentences.
sis yets dottsa ɨbu ryettu my sister hears me
sis sosse amale bÿonte ÿere this guy enjoys astronomy
yede kayossu optuk the rabbits are spooked

The genitive case indicates possession, or some kind of general attributive relationship.
skełbo nahyołbu the foreigner's clothes
yegłu nawibbał a northern town

The dative case mainly indicates the recipient of an action.
sen ok yewemmu ɨroppo syeppek they gave the lady some vinegar

It is also used to indicate the relationship between two people (esp. family members), where English would typically use a possessive.
mekot yesira the brother of the prositute

But if a pronoun is substituted for the head noun, it takes the genitive, not the dative.
ya mekot her brother

The appositive case is used primarily for appositive phrases.
i amekot yelɨdoł wa yełuñɨb I, brother to the sun and moon
Denoggo arɨnassa priestess Deunagho

The appositive may be used where English would introduce a relative clause.
male amekot yesira the guy who is the brother of the prostitute

It is used in lieu of adjectival "this" and "that" - the main noun is put in the appositive with the noun "this" or "that" preceding it.
wosse adeññeł this finger
dzeddze adeññeł that finger

The reverse construction deññeł awosse is also possible; it adds a slight ironic or distancing effect, something like "this finger here."


If an interrogative word is used, it is moved to the front of the phrase. Otherwise, word order is the same as indicative statements. All questions compulsorily use the interrogative particle le at the end of the phrase.

sen a mu gyopsa epe le?
did he sit on the sheep?

yede senat kwuła le?
is the minister speaking?

dza odu kawu nɨ wosse ayegłu le?
who is the priest in this town?

mola yede tɨ le?
where is the door?

Reported Speech

Reported speech is usually phrased as a direct quotation. It is prefaced by the quotative particle bi, and can be terminated with the particle sip.
sen i me bi: "odu myessa pissił" sip.
I said, "the cow is dead."

The person spoken to is in the dative.
sen i yem me bi: "odu yeku myessa pissił" sip.
I said to him, "your cow is dead."

The closing sip is optional, but is left in for emphatic or rhetorical effect. It is not used after questions.
sen i yem byenna bi: "odu yeku myessa pissił le?"
I asked him: is your cow dead?


Basic relativization is accomplished by the particle rema (from Fáralo roumə).
sen a tɨ loz she shut the door > tɨ rema sen a loz the door that she shut
sen do pissił myessa kozlek you (pl.) saw the dead cow > pissił myessa rema sen do kozlek the dead cow that you saw

Normal sentence syntax is retained within the relative clause. If the clause modifies a noun in the subject case, then a pronoun is repeated within the clause; but if it modifies an object then this repetition does not occur.
myessa rema sis i kozził the cow that I see
myessa rema sis a yebu kozził the cow that sees me

Relative "when" uses the particle sorma, and relative "where" uses rułma (from Fáralo sišo roumə, sirul roume).
sorma we i gyo Usso nwen when I plan to go to Ussor
yegłu rułma sen i zoño hob the town where I ate the crayfish

Fáralo used a lu- determiner to mark that a sentence was the object of a preposition; in Namɨdu this became fused to the preposition, creating yet more relative particles: isłu "before," ugłu "after," gyorikłu "until."
isłu sen leku nora before you left
gyorikłu sis i nubazzi potte until I reach enlightenment

Sample Texts

See Namɨdu/Texts.



See also