| Numəsūr |
|Spoken in||south Tuysáfa|
|Basic word order||SOV|
|Morphology||fusional, agglutinative, polysynthetic|
|Created by||Pole, the|
- 1 Background
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Morphology
- 3.1 Pronouns
- 3.2 Nominals
- 3.3 Numerals
- 4 Syntax
- 4.1 Phrases
- 4.2 Clauses
- 4.3 Complex sentences
- 5 Lexicon
The language is spoken around 1000 YP in South Central Tuysáfa, in an area west of the central mountains.
Presumably it is a part of a larger language family, it is also considered Mediundic.
There are two different approaches to describing the sounds. The phonological analysis describes better how the morphemes alternate and reductions are applied. The phonetical approach, however, is based on the actual pronunciation and is the one the orthography is based one.
It is not known whether the phonology describes a diachronically earlier variant of the language.
|high||ī /əy/||ū /əw/||long|
|i ~ ə ~ u /ə/||short|
|low||ē /ay/||ō /aw/||long|
|e ~ a ~ o /a/||short|
The language permits syllables of type:
- phonologically, (C)[a/ə](y/w/n)(C) with intervocal [y/w/n]C clusters permitted;
- phonetically, (C)V(C) with no consonant clusters permitted.
However, in rapid speech unstressed i ~ ə ~ u is elided, producing new consonant cluster.
The word stress falls on the first syllable of the root, i.e. any prefixes separated with a hyphen are unstressed:
- nę-fōn [nə̃ˈfɔːn]
The same applies to kī-, mē-, num-, tō-, ŋą- and (nən)ī-, which are not hyphenated:
- mēsələneyumērūt [mɛːˈsələnɛjumɛːruːt]
Following rules can be interpreted as either allophony or morphophonological alternations. Here written phonetically:
- (I) — i e occur before palatals. u o occur before labials. ə a occur elsewhere.
- (II) — ī ē ū ō ę ą change to iy ey uw ow ən an before vowels.
- (III) — ə a are elided before a vowel, making them high or low, respectively.
Additionally, the i ~ ə ~ u vowel acts as an epenthetic vowels between consonants.
There are also some facultative cases of allophony:
- l is velarized [ɫ] after vowels
- ə a are in many dialects realised as [ɯ ʌ] before ŋ k h l
In some dialects ę ą undergo the processes as single vowels, they are fronted to [ĩ ɛ̃] before palatals, rounded to [ũ ɔ̃] before labials and backed to [ɯ̃ ʌ̃] before velars.
Pronouns form a closed, highly divergent class of words.
This group consists of five independent roots and one incorporated (prefixed) root.
|1.|| mē /may/
| num /nəm/ |
|2.|| tō /taw/
| ŋą /ŋan/ |
|3.|| ī /əy/
he, she, it
| nənī /nənəy/ |
The 3rd person plural pronoun nənī is formed with prefixation of plural morpheme nę to the singular form.
Other plural pronouns are independent roots. However num might descend diachronically from reduced *nęmē.
The only one non-personal pronominal independent root is probably sa, meaning "this" or "that". It can be expanded to the predicative form sē meaning "it is that" or — when used as a conjunction — "therefore", "in this way".
Its declined forms are commonly used: sōh "here ~ there", sowəh "then ~ on that", sēr "from there ~ because of that" etc.
It's often used alongside with two other demonstratives, proximal īw "now ~ here and now" and īr "over there". Both are descended from the root ə and therefore are unrelated to sa.
Additionally, sa often contrasts with ī in that the former is more often cataphorically and the latter — anaphorically.
The universal pronouns are substituted by īniyī or its reduced form ęyī and its inflected forms. It is descendent itself from a construction ī nī ī "it and it" or "this and that", meaning basically "everybody" or "everything".
The conjunction nī "and" is used for constructions like nī X, nī Y "both X and Y".
There are no negative pronouns. Universal pronouns with negated verbs are used instead.
By analogy, nī with negation might mean "neither X nor Y".
Interrogative and indefinite
The interrogative and indefinite pronouns are replaced by īwanī or its reduced form ūnī and its inflected forms. Similarly, it comes from ī wą ī "it or it" or "this or that", meaning "anything" or "anybody".
It is itself an analogy to how wą "or" is used to form both questions and statements like wą X, wą Y "either X or Y".
Also, a root ə meaning mainly "being (e.g. in a state or location)", "existing" can have some properties of indefinite pronouns, it is however more common with other elements preposed.
There is only one open lexical class, combining properties of what could be called nouns and verbs.
The unmarked form takes the role of a noun or substantivized verbs.
A nominal can get a personal prefix, signifying a possessor or an object of the action, here named the genitive prefix.
The prefixes are identical to corresponding personal pronouns:
|1.|| mē- /may-/
| num- /nəm-/ |
|2.|| tō- /taw-/
| ŋą- /ŋan-/ |
|3.|| ī- /əy-/
his, her, its; him, her, it
| nənī- /nənəy-/ |
These prefixes are unstressed and are not separated with a hyphen.
Sometimes, the prefix can be replaced with another nominal root, incorporating it. In fact, these prefixes are incorporated personal pronouns. It is often done with other pronouns: sa, ęyī and ūnī, becoming determiners when incorporated. Similarly with numerals, including the plural marker nę. In such situation, it is hyphenated:
- that person
- every person
The prefixes can be added to the root ə, forming possessive pronouns:
|1.|| meyə /mayə/
| numə /nəmə/ |
|2.|| towə /tawə/
| ŋanə /ŋanə/ |
|3.|| iyə /əyə/
his, hers, its
| nəniyə /nənəyə/ |
Nominals are negated by prefixing kī-. It is not hyphenated.
- kiyūt /kəy-ə-awt/
- you don't exist
|causative||subj||obj / dat||obj||dat|
|causative receptive||abl||obj / dat||obj||subj|
The active voice is the default one.
- I am.
- I see you.
- Towīt īsūreyēm.
- 2sg-dat 3sg-speak-1sg
- I say it to you.
The passive voice is marked with -na. The patient is promoted to a subject, the agent is demoted to an indirect object in ablative.
- Meyēr sələnōt.
- 1sg-abl see-pass-2sg
- You are seen by me.
- Meyēr towīt sūrēnē.
- 1sg-abl 2sg-dat speak-pass-3sg
- It is said by me to you.
The receptive voice is marked with -ō. The indirect object in dative is promoted to a subject, the agent is demoted to an indirect object in ablative. Sometimes called ditransitive inverse voice.
- Meyēr īsūreyowōt.
- 1sg-abl 3sg-speak-rece-2sg
- You are told it by me.
The causative voice is marked with -kē. A new role, the "causer" or "source" is added as a subject. The intransitive participant is demoted to a direct object; the transitive agent is demoted to an indirect object in dative.
- He/she causes me to be.
- Meyīt tōsələkeyī.
- 1sg-dat 2sg-see-caus-3sg
- He/she lets me to see you.
- Meyīt towīt īsūrēkeyī.
- 1sg-dat 2sg-dat 3sg-speak-caus-3sg
- He/she makes me say it to you. (ambiguous)
It can be combined with other voices, so the last sentence can be rephrased using the causative passive:
- Iyēr towīt īsūrēkēnēm.
- 3sg-abl 2sg-dat 3sg-speak-caus-pass-1sg
- I am made by him/her to say it to you.
Please note that in this case it is possible to promote the indirect object (meyīt) using the passive, not the receptive. Compare the causative receptive:
- Iyēr meyīt īsūrēkeyowōt.
- 3sg-abl 1sg-dat 3sg-speak-caus-rece-2sg
- You are made by him/her to be told it by me.
In some situations it is obligatory to use an appropriate honorific suffix.
|-ą / -iñ||people of same or slightly higher age / rank|
|-ū||people of significantly higher age / rank|
|-ec||endeared people, diminutive|
-ą is used mostly for males and -iñ mostly for females.
Aspect and tense
Dynamic / perfective
Most nominals are static and imperfective in their unmarked form. It can be changed to a form similar to dynamic or perfective aspect in meaning by appending a suffix -neyə. It is itself a fossilised construction with translative: X-nē ə "turning into X".
It can combine with tense suffixes, the aspect going first.
Nominals are turned into the past form by appending -mērə. It comes from a construction with the gerundive in ablative: X-m-ēr ə "coming from the act / state of X".
When the distinction is needed, the default form is gnomic / generic tense. The present episodic is created by adding -mūhə. It comes from a construction with the gerundive in inessive: X-m-ūh ə "being in the act / state of X".
Nominals are turned into the future form by appending -mītə. It comes from a construction with the gerundive in dative: X-m-īt ə "going to the act / state of X".
It can be also used as subjunctive or imperative:
- You will speak. ~ You would speak. ~ Speak.
A related form, ending in -mīt, can be used without personal inflection as a short command:
The personal suffixes have two roles: first, they change the role of a nominal root to predicative and second, they indicate the person of the subject. They can be roughly translated as "I am / you are / he is X".
The personal suffixes are similar to corresponding personal pronouns, but they are created irregularly:
|1.||-ēm /-aym/||-um /-əm/|
|2.||-ōt /-awt/||-aŋ /-aŋ/|
There is no separate ending for the 3rd person plural, however, the number can be indicated on the nominal, e.g. nęsūreyī /nən-səwray-əy/ "they speak" (sūrē /səwray/ "speaking").
When the person is indicated by an independent word, the 3rd person ending is attached, e.g.
- Kiyęyī-mē sarumītī.
- neg-all-1sg die-ger-dat-be-3sg
- I shall not wholly die.
Alternatively, a root can be turned into a gerundive, a.k.a. an action noun of meaning "the act / state of X" by adding -m.
The gerundive form needs the subject to be demoted, analogically as with causatives.
Intransitive objects are demoted to a genitive:
- You speak.
- your speaking
- sa-teyə ī
- dem-man be-3sg
- This man exists.
- sa-teyə iyum
- dem-man 3sg-be-ger
- this man's existence
Transitive subjects are demoted to a dative:
- You see me.
- towīt mēsəlum
- 2sg-dat 1sg-see-ger
- your seeing me
It can be later used as a way of forming complex sentences:
- sa-teyə iyum īsəlōt
- dem-man 3sg-be-ger 3sg-see-2sg
- You see this man's existence. ~ You see that this man exists.
Nominals can be declined into several cases:
- -ēr, ablative ("from X")
- -īt, dative or lative ("to X")
- -ūh, inessive ("in X"), can be combined:
- -ūhēr, elative ("out of X")
- -ūhīt, illative ("into X")
- -wəh, adessive ("on X"), can be combined:
- -wəhēr, delative ("off of X")
- -wəhīt, allative ("onto X")
- -ēw, essive ("while being / doing X")
- -nē, translative ("turning into X")
- -ak, comitative ("with X"), with likely derivated:
- -kīk, abessive ("without X")
The adessive and derived cases often governs the nouns relating to time, whereas the inessive doesn't, for example ęyiyūh "everywhere" vs ęyīwəh "always".
Delative and allative have an additional meaning of "after X" and "before X", respectively, when used to specifying time.
Comitative has secondary prolative and instructive usage.
Essive and translative can be used for adjoining sentences, e.g.:
- Tōsəlēw, sūreyēm.
- 2sg-see-ess, speak-1sg
- When I see you, I speak.
- (lit. Seeing you, I speak.)
- Īsūrēnē, mēsəlumērūt.
- 3sg-speak-tra, 1sg-see-ger-abl-be-2sg
- When you started to say it, you saw me.
- (lit. Starting to say it, you saw me.)
- kąyō "three" apparently comes from reduced kē-nī-hō, i.e. "one and two";
- mīk "five" seems closely related to mī "hand";
- kąç "seven" apparently comes from reduced kē-nī-çə, i.e. "one and six";
- mec "nine" is a diminutive derived from ma "ten".
There are also some additional numerals:
- kiyə "zero", literally "unexistent, not being";
- uf "half";
- ufec "quarter", diminutive of above;
- keyec "three quarters", diminutive of kē "one";
- howec "one and a half", diminutive of hō "two";
- sęsī "a great number" or "thousand", literally "hundreds and hundreds".
Complex numerals are created with higher order elements first, e.g. sīhōmąlū "124" ← sī "100" + hōma "20" + lū "4".
- ma changes to mą before another element is added, e.g. wēmąwē "88" ← wēma "80" + wē "8".
Ordinal numerals are created by adding -ət ~ -tə, e.g. luwət "forth", çətə "sixth":
- -tə occurs after ə a and -ət elsewhere; though some speakers use -tə after other vowels as well;
- keyət "first" is usually replaced with synonymous ītęy.
The result is given the 3rd person ending:
- Lūmąhowī. (← lūmąhō)
- It is 42. ~ It equals 42.
Addition is expressed with dative.
- Howīt kąyō mīkī.
- two-dat three five-3sg
- 2 + 3 = 5
Subtraction is expressed with ablative.
- Mēr lū çī.
- ten-abl four six-3sg
- 10 - 4 = 6
In multiplication, the second factor is marked with 3rd person singular genitive prefix:
- Lū īmīk hōmē.
- four 3sg-five twenty-3sg
- 4 × 5 = 20
Division is marked with adessive:
- Hōmąkēwəh kąç kąyowī.
- twenty-one-ade seven three-3sg
- 21 ÷ 7 = 3
The language is primarily head-final.
Genitive phrase is created by juxtaposing the dependent and the head with appropriate personal prefix:
- this man
- his/her house
- sa-teyə īfē
- dem-man 3sg-house
- this man's house
Alternatively, the dependent can be prefixed (i.e. incorporated in the prefix slot). It is however done rarely and might slightly change the meaning of the phrase.
- man house
The dependent might or might not be a noun:
- sa īfē
- dem 3sg-house
- this one's house
When the personal pronoun appears independently as the dependent, the head is marked with a 3rd person prefix:
- my lover / one who loves me
- mē īpəkī
- 1sg 3sg-love
- lover of mine
In the attributive phrase, the dependent and the head are juxtaposed, without any additional marking needed.
- pəkī teyə
- love man
- loving man
Words acting as adverbs behave the same way:
- miya tōpəkiyēm
- much 2sg-love-1sg
- I love you much
The case ending are sometimes interpreted as postpositions. Beside that there is no closed class of adpositions.
However, often some nominals can be applied in this role.
- surroundings, proximity
- fē īsəkəmūh ~ fē-səkəmūh
- house 3sg-proximity-ine ~ house-proximity-ine
- in the house surroundings; near the house
They can be also used instead some cases, for the rhetorical effect:
- absence, inexistence
- tō īkiyumūh ~ tōkiyumūh
- 2sg 3sg-absence-ine ~ 2sg-absence-ine
- in your absence; without you
- without you
All adpositional phrases and declined nouns appear before nominals they describe:
- tō iyofūh fē
- 2sg 3sg-behind-ine house
- the house behind you
- feyūh teyə
- house-ine man
- a man in a house
Comparative-superlative form is made by adding -ąy, e.g.
- closer, the closest
The standard argument is added as a simple genitive:
- closer than you
The meaning easily varies between the comparative and the superlative.
- taller, the tallest
- taller than we; the tallest among us
Additional roots can be incorporated to specify it when ambiguous:
- closer [than many]
- the tallest [among all]
The parallel comparative is created by two types of construction:
(I) connecting the two elements with sē:
- (sē) miyąy, sē lahąy
- (so) much-comp, so good-comp
- the more, the better
(II) using the first element as the subject and the second one as the predicate:
- miyąy lahąyī
- much-comp good-comp-3sg
- more is better
It can be used with more complex clauses, as well. The second type needs the predicates to be demoted to gerunds, though:
- Towak miyąy sūreyēm, sē lahąyənē īm.
- 2sg-com much-comp speak-1sg, so good-comp-tra be-1sg
- The more I talk to you, the better I become.
- Towak miyąy sūrē mē, lahąyənē ə meyī.
- 2sg-com much-comp speak 1sg, good-comp-tra be 1sg-3sg
- I talking to you more am I becoming better person.
The similar meaning can be achieved by the essive construction — it is doable only with clauses with the same subject:
- Towak miyąy sūreyēw, lahąyənē īm.
- 2sg-com much-comp speak-ess, good-comp-tra be-1sg
- As I talk to you more, I become better person.
The language does not have a copular verb per se.
With a noun / adjective root or phrase appears in the predicative role, it is simply inflected with the appropriate personal prefix — the noun, adjective and verb categories are merged here.
- a man
- I am a man.
- You are good.
It, however, can't be done with an adpositional phrase or a nominal inflected for case. The null root ə is used then.
- So-fōn mēfeyūh ī.
- dem-person 1sg-house-ine be-3sg
- This man is in my house.
The predicative possession is expressed by using a possessive noun phrase along with the existential root ə. The possessor describes here the possessee, which on turn acts as the subject.
- sa-teyə īfē
- dem-man 3sg-house
- that man's house
- sa-teyə īfē ī
- dem-man 3sg-house be-3sg
- that man has a house ~ that man's house exists
The possessee can be pronominal — in such case it is omitted and the ə root is prefixed. In other words, the possessive pronouns are used.
- sa-teyə iyə
- dem-man 3sg-be
- that man's
- sa-teyə iyī
- dem-man 3sg-be-3sg
- that man has it ~ it is that man's
- you have me ~ I'm yours
There is no separate morphological device for expressing questions. They are expressed mostly by intonation:
- Fē ī.
- house be-3sg
- There is a house.
- Fē ī?
- house be-3sg?
- Is there a house?
- Fē kiyī.
- house neg-be-3sg
- There is no house.
- Fē kiyī?
- house neg-be-3sg?
- Is there no house?
The words sē and kiyī act as positive and negative, respectively, responses to binary questions:
- Lahōt? Sē, lahēm.
- good-2sg? that-3sg good-1sg
- Are you good? Yes, I am good.
- Īwanī sōh ī? Kiyī, īniyī sōh kiyī.
- some[body] that-ine be-3sg? neg-be-3sg every[body] that-ine neg-be-3sg
- Is anybody there? No, there is nobody.
An alternative response is kīŋōrēm, simply "I don't know".
- Pəkīm ūniyī? Kīŋōrēm.
- love-ger what-3sg? neg-know-1sg
- What is love? I don't know.
Additionally, those words can be added to emphasize the interrogative character of a phrase, e.g.:
- Lahaŋ, sē?
- good-2pl that-3sg?
- You are good, right?
- Lahaŋ, kiyī?
- good-2pl neg-be-3sg?
- You are good, aren't you?
The modality is expressed by separate roots acting as the predicate.
The most commonly used four verbs are divided into potential and necessary or into natural / physical and artificial / comissive.
siç "can, be able" — expresses natural possibility or ability:
- It could be good.
mō "can, be allowed" — expresses comissive possibility or permission:
- Sōh-īw ə-kīmowēm.
- that-ine-be-ess be-neg-c.pos-1sg
- I mustn't be here.
tah "must, need" — expresses natural necessity or requirement:
- Sōhīt ə-tahēm.
- that-all be-n.nec-1sg
- I need to go there.
ñar "must, have to" — expresses comissive necessity or obligation:
- Meyak i-ñarōt.
- 1sg-com be-c.nec-2sg
- It is your duty to be with me.
The four most commonly used coordinative conjunction are:
nī "and"; "nor" (in negative sentences)
- sōhīt sōmērīm, nī səlumērīm
- that-ill go-past-1sg, and see-past-1sg
- I came and I saw.
- nī mē kīŋōrī, nī tō kīŋōrī
- and 1sg neg-know-3sg, and 2sg neg-know-3sg
- Neither I know, nor you do.
- īpəkīmīt, wą īkīpəkīmīt
- 3sg-love-ger-dat, or 3sg-neg-love-ger-dat
- Love it or not.
- wą tō īsəlumītī, wą towīt īsūrēmītīm
- or 2sg 3sg-see-fut-3sg, or 2sg-dat 3sg-speak-fut-1sg
- Either you'll see it yourself, or I'll tell you about it.
sē "so", "therefore", "that is"
- ī mēteyī, sē numufē keyī
- 3sg 1sg-man-3sg, so 1pl-house one-3sg
- He is my husband, so our house is one.
- sələna-kīmowōt, sē īniyī tōsələ-kīmowī
- see-pass-neg-n.poss-2sg, so all 2sg-see-neg-n.poss-3sg
- You are invisible, that is noone can see you.
sēw "but", "whereas"
- tōsəlēm, sēw mēkīsəlōt
- 2sg-see-1sg, but 1sg-neg-see-2sg
- I see you, but you don't see me.
- lahī, sēw īkīpəkiyēm
- good-3sg, but 3sg-neg-love-1sg
- It is good, but I don't like it.
Relativization on subject
The basic method used for relativizing the subject is putting the subordinate predicate in its impersonal form:
- mēfeyūh umērī
- 1sg-house-ine be-past-3sg
- He was in my house.
- mēfeyūh umērə (teyə)
- 1sg-house-ine be-past (man)
- (the man) who was in my house
- çə — 6
- çiñą — source
- çiñanē — well (← çiñą)
- ērə — late, recent (← ə)
- ērək — buttocks, fool (← ə)
- ēręy — last (← ə)
- ērī — backside, rear (← ə)
- ə — to be
- əsiç — to be possible (← ə, siç)
- ətah — to be inevitable (← ə, tah)
- ęmū — to have to do with
- ęyī — everybody, everything (← īniyī)
- fē — house
- fəl — apple
- fōl — above
- fōn — human, person
- howec — one and a half (← hō)
- hō — 2
- iñar — to be required (← ə, ñar)
- ī — he, she, it
- īniyī — everybody, everything (← ī, nī)
- īr — over there (← ə)
- ītə — early (← ə)
- ītęy — first (← ə)
- ītī — face, front (← ə)
- īw — here, now (← ə)
- īwanī — who, what, somebody, something (← ī, wą)
- īwum — present (← īw)
- kąç — 7 (← kē, çə)
- kąyō — 3 (← kē, hō)
- keyec — three quarters (← kē)
- kē — 1
- kəh — high, tall
- kiyə — 0 (← kī)
- kī — not
- kīkə — to lack, to miss, to want, to need (sth) (← ə)
- kōnąy — tree (← kē, wąnī)
- lah — good
- lęcə — to imprison
- lęcənom — prison (← lęcə)
- lū — 4
- ma — 10
- manū — grandmother (← mą)
- mą — mom, parent
- mąn — flower
- mąna — to be born (← mą)
- mąyōr — mother (← mą, yōr)
- mec — 9 (← ma)
- mē — I
- miya — much, many, very
- mī — hand
- mīk — 5 (← mī)
- mīra — free
- mīrakē — release (← mīra)
- mō — to be allowed to
- nənī — they (← ī)
- nī — and
- num — we
- ñar — to have to
- ŋą — you
- ŋē — to take
- ŋōr — to know
- of — behind
- pəkī — to love
- pę — name
- rom — to give
- rop — water
- sa — that
- sar — to die
- sē — therefore (← sa)
- sēw — but (← sa)
- sək — near
- səl — to see
- sələkīsiç — blind (← səl, kī, sīç)
- sələnasiç — visible (← səl, siç)
- sęr — parent, relative
- sęrū — grandparent, ancestor (← sęr)
- sęsī — 1000
- siç — to be able to
- sī — 100
- sō — to go
- sū — mouth
- sūr — word (← sū)
- sūrē — to speak (← sū)
- sūrēkīsiç — mute (← sūrē, kī, sīç)
- sūrēnasiç — speakable (← sūrē, siç)
- tah — to need to
- teyə — man
- teyęmū — manly (← teyə, ęmū)
- tēmą — father (← teyə, mą)
- tō — thou
- uf — half
- ufec — quarter (← uf)
- umērum — past (← ə)
- umītum — future (← ə)
- umō — to be allowed (← ə, mō)
- ūnī — who, what, somebody, something (← īwanī)
- wą — or
- wąnī — forest
- wē — 8
- wōtę — mighty
- wōtęm — power (← wōtę)
- yōr — woman
- yōręmū — womanly