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To Be Continued...
Frislander is still working on this article. The contents are incomplete and likely to undergo changes.
Period c. -2000YP
Spoken in NW Tuysáfa
Total speakers unknown
Writing system none
Classification unknown
Basic word order unknown
Morphology agglutinative
Alignment unknown
Created by Frislander

Proto-Muyan is the reconstructed ancestor of the Muyan languages spoken in Northwest Tuysáfa. It was likely spoken around -2000 YP. It is thought to belong to the Mediundic phylum. Its speakers have long had contact with Ronquian and Wendoth speakers, and indeed some terms in Proto-Muyan appear to be loans from those languages. However, resemblances between the grammatical structure of Muyan and other Mediundic languages of southern Tuysáfa have led to speculation that its speakers originally migrated from further south than the Muyan homeland.

The name "Muyan" derives simply from the native word *wůy meaning "mud", a reference both to the relatively wet climate they inhabited and their use of wattle & daub as their main construction material for housing. The speakers of Proto-Muyan would most likely not have referred to themselves as a single people: if asked what they called themselves they would likely respond by giving the name of their local settlement or band. However, if asked for the name of their language they would almost certainly reply with [[]].

IMPORTANT NOTE: the project is currently undergoing major revision in all areas, so expect the page to change radically



Consonants Laminal/Dental Apical/Retroflex Palatal Rounded Velar Uvular Rounded Uvular
Plain Stops *t *ṭ *k *kw *q *qw
Aspirated Stops *th *ṭh *kh *khw *qw qhw
Ejective Stops *t' *ṭ' *k' *k'w *q' *q'w
Sonorants n *l *j *w *r *rw


*e *u

The mid two vowels are referred to as "reduced" while the other vowels are full.

Phonotactics & Distribution

Syllable structure was CV(N) where coda consonants are restricted to the sonorants.

Root structure was fairly rigid, with the following constraints:

  • Monosyllabic roots must contain a full vowel
  • Bisyllabic roots must be either two reduced or one full followed by one reduced.
  • Monosyllablic roots may end with a coda consonant, however in bisyllablic ones may only end with a vowel, with codas being restricted to word-internal clusters.

There were some other more minor constraints. Notably the inflection morphology (what little there was and with the exception of reduplication) only utilised the reduced vowels.



Stem derivation

Compounding & incorporation


There are multiple reduplication strategies reconstructable to Proto-Muyan. The most notable processes are initial CV- reduplication, which represented a plural with animate nouns and may have also been used as a pluractional marker in verbs; and full reduplication which was used for the progressive on verbs. Other reduplicative patterns may have been present but have since become unproductive in the daughter languages, while in some of the languages new ones have arisen.

Derivational affixes

There were a few productive derivational affixes in Proto-Muyan, covering a few basic semantic roles.

Nominal Morphology


Proto-Muyan nouns showed a very simple case system, with likely three cases being distinguished; an unmarked absolutive, an dative (used also as an accusative and as a genitive) in ye- (glossed DAT) and a locative/instrumental in ru-.


There was a simple number-marking system in Proto-Muyan, whereby animate nouns were marked as plural by initial CV- reduplication.


Proto-Muyan had a relatively complex system of nominal classifiers, which occurred with nouns when followed by a demonstrative, numeral, indefinite or interrogative, or when alienably possessed. There was a significant amount of churn in the system in the daughter languages, but the more common ones have remained fairly stable. The ones which can be reconstructed consist of the following.

  • *khin - humans
  • *rwére - food animals
  • *yake - wild animals
  • *kweke - fish
  • *k'i - insects
  • *t'éqe - herbaceous plants
  • *lep'u - trees
  • *t'ekwe - round things
  • *qhunu - long, stiff things
  • *ṭ'é - rope-like flexible things
  • *ṭhůr - sheets
  • *wanne - flat surfaces
  • *rwikhe - containers
  • *ṭinkhe - piles
  • *khele - packs & bundles
  • *k'unrwe - powders/liquids
  • *růrůy khin té
    PL-big_man CLF DEM
    Them big men
  • *kenthe qhunu kha
    rake CLF IND
    A rake/some rake/what rake?
  • *yéw ṭinkhe nů
    oat CLF 1
    My (pile of) oats

Verbal Morphology

Verbal morphology in Proto-Muyan took the form of a rather reduced template, at least in comparison with its daughters. Most of the morphology was concerned with role-marking, with only a very limited system of TAM marking.

-3 -2 -1 0 1 2
Deixis TAM Prefix Person Root Voice Local Object Marker
  • *qwewunelq'er
    You will hit me there
  • *


In Proto-Muyan the verb was the main site of the marking of deixis, with only a single pronominal demonstrative form. There were three degrees distinguished: proximal, distal and absent or remote, the latter being used for arguments not immediately visible or that were visible at some point in the past.

Proximal *ke-
Distal *kwu-
Absent *qwe-

TAM Prefix

There was some basic TAM marking on the verb. Verb roots distinguished between unmarked and progressive by the latter exhibiting reduplication of the verbal root. Additionally there was a future tense prefix *wu- which likely also served as a habitual marker. Finally there was a counterfactual prefix *ten- which marked events which specifically did not occur (generally in the past).


Person-marking on verbs was acheived by the means of prefixes and-or infixes depending on the shape of the root and also he presence of the local object marker. The prefixes took the form *ne- for first person and *le- for second person, and the respective infixes were *-n- and *-l-.

For monosyllabic verbs with an open syllable, the infix was used when the local object marker is absent and the prefixes when the local object marker is present.

  • *khén
    I go
  • *leyůr
    You give it to me

For monosyllabic verbs with a coda consonant the prefix forms only were used.

  • *neṭéy
    I lie down
  • *lerwélre
    You pull me

For disyllabic verbs, the infixes were used universally, since internal consonant clusters were not found with disyllabic verbs roots.

  • *nenq'er
    I hit you
  • *khélyu růl
    go<2>-APPL track
    You track it

Local Object Marker

The Local Object Marker suffix took *-r(e), with the form with schwa being used when the verb in question was consonant-final. It was likely used to mark that the direct object of the verb was 1st or 2nd person, though again the function of this suffix varies in the languages that retain it.


There were two explicit derivational suffixes marking voice in Proto-Muyan, one transitivising and one detransitivising, all marked by suffixes.

The transitivising suffix seemed to vary from causative to applicative, chiefly depending on whether the root was unergative or unaccusative. So with an unergative root *khé "to go, come (by foot)" the transitive *khéy was interpreted as an applicative "to go somewhere", while with the unergative *qé "be in a place" the transitive *qéy was interpreted as a causative "to put in a place". This suffix varied in shape depending on the root shapt, with *-y following a vowel and *-ke following a consonant.

The other voice suffix was a reciprocal *-rwun.


There were four main pronominal forms in Proto-Muyan. First and second persons were marked with nů and li respectively. The single demonstrative pronoun was té (once again noting that actual distance constrasts were relegated to the verb) while there was a single form for indefinites and interrogatives kha.


Nominal Morphology

Noun phrases were head-initial, with most dependents being linked to their head noun with a classifier, which also follows the noun but precedes the dependent. When multiple dependents taking a classifier were attached to a noun, only one classifier was used.

  • *kay t'éqe mile
    grass CLF many
    A lot of grass
  • *q'é rwikhe té ṭilu
    bowl CLF DEM three
    These three bowls
  • *wuṭ'e khele wiyene nů
    garlic CLF five 1
    My five cloves of garlic

Relative clauses are discussed separately below.

The Verb Phrase

Complex Verb

Most verbs in Proto-Muyan were bipartite, consisting of a light verbal root and a nominal root which together formed a single verbal meaning. Common verbs used in such constructions included *neq'e "hit" and *wa "say", though in such constructions the semantic content of the verb root was often bleached to the point where the actual choice of verb is practically irrelevant.

  • *wewene khékhé qhén
    PL-man go-PROG swimming
    The men are swimming
  • *kewan růy yet'elkwe té
    PROX-<1>-say big_man DAT-river DEM
    I rule this river

Verb Serialisation

Serial verbs were clearly very common, with many such expressions becoming fixed and surviving into the daughters as morphology, notably as applicatives, as per the second example. These constructions were generally constrained to events conceived as single wholes - if there was a sense that the events described were in some way independant, coordination was used.

  • *ṭheṭhene kwukiki thi khalle
    PL-woman MED-sit-PROG eat smoke
    The women were sat there smoking
  • *nenq'e qiw yeté nuyůr
    <1>hit paint DAT-DEM 1-give-1/2
    I'll paint it for you

Auxilliary Verbs

It is fairly hard to distinguish auxilliary constructions from serial verb constructions, as the daughter languages will typically merge the two after some amount of grammaticalisation, however it was likely that auxilliaries were distinguished by preventing the matrix verb from taking person marking, unlike serial verbs which required repeated person marking on both verbs.

  • *lelů yůr yelute
    2-need give-1/2 DAT-ball
    You need to give me the ball
  • *

Clausal Constituents

Basic Word Order

Proto-Muyan appears to have favoured SVO word order strongly.

  • *wene ṭů t'ů yeṭhene
    man perceive eye DAT-woman
    The man saw the woman
  • *wene neq'e yekenq'wu
    man hit DAT-deer
    The man killed the deer
  • *růy neq'e khwůl yek'ůl rukhwuṭu
    big_man hit spade DAT-root_veg LOC-soil
    The big man dug for root veg in the soil

However, exceptionally, free subject pronouns (when present at all) appear to have acted as enclitics, as evidenced by daughter languages regrammaticalising subject marking after the verb.

  • *qwewunerén=nů yek'ithe
    DIS-FUT-1-make=1 DAT-stone_circle
    I (will) make the stone circle over there yonder
  • *lůllů=li ki rulaṭhu
    PROG<2>-need=2 sit LOC-hut
    You need to sit in the hut right now

Complex Constructions

  • *

  • *

Relative Clauses

  • *

  • *

Other Subordinate Clauses

  • *

  • *

See Also