Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa
| To Be Continued...|
Cedh is still working on this article. The contents are incomplete and likely to undergo changes.
| Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa |
[reː rɛː kʰɨˈbjaː]
|Period||c. 1 YP|
|Spoken in||northwestern Tuysáfa|
Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa
|Basic word order||VSO|
|Alignment|| syntactically NOM-ACC, |
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Types of words
- 2.1 Nouns
- 2.2 Personal pronouns
- 2.3 Demonstratives
- 2.4 Relative pronouns
- 2.5 Quantifiers
- 2.6 Verbs
- 2.6.1 The stem: Transitivity and aktionsart
- 2.6.2 Passive
- 2.6.3 Causative
- 2.6.4 Tense, aspect, and modality
- 2.6.5 Interrogative
- 2.6.6 Polarity
- 2.6.7 Evidentiality
- 3 Sample text
- 4 Lexicon
|plosives||p’ · p · b||t’ · t · d||k’ · k · ɡ||ʔ|
|approximants||w||l · ɾ||j|
- /ɡ ʃ ɾ j/ are written g š r y.
- The glottal stop /ʔ/ is not represented in writing word-initially.
|high||i · iː||ɨ · ɨː||u · uː|
|high-mid||e · eː||o · oː|
|low-mid||ɛ · ɛː||ɔ · ɔː|
|low||a · aː|
- /ɨ/ is written ı.
- Long vowels are written with doubled graphemes: ii ıı uu ee oo ɛɛ ɔɔ aa
The basic syllable structure is C(C)V(ː)(C).
Syllable onsets may be of the following types:
- Any single consonant
- A consonant other than ʔ l r followed by one of w y (but */vw/ is not permissible)
- A non-ejective plosive followed by one of l r
- A voiceless plosive followed or preceded by one of s š
- A nasal followed by a homoorganic voiced plosive
- h followed by a nasal or approximant
Syllable nuclei may be of the following types:
- A short vowel
- A long vowel
Syllable codas may be of the following types:
- No consonant
- A single consonant out of the set p t k m n ŋ l r (only in word-final position)
In certain morphological environments, a few clusters of three consonants may also be found. These are fairly rare, do not occur within roots, and are limited to the following:
- One of the sibilants s š, followed by one of the voiceless plosives p t k, followed by one of the semivowels w y or liquids l r (the latter only in word-medial position)
- A homoorganic cluster of a nasal and a voiced plosive (i.e. mb nd ŋg), followed by one of the semivowels w y or liquids l r (the latter only in word-medial position)
- The voiceless plosives p t k are aspirated [pʰ tʰ kʰ] before a vowel or a prevocalic approximant, except when preceded by s š.
- g tends to be pronounced as a fricative [ɣ] or approximant [ɰ] intervocalically.
- r becomes a trill word-initially and in the onset of a stressed syllable.
- y is pronounced [ʝ] before i ii.
- Clusters of h with a resonant (nasal or approximant) are typically pronounced as voiceless resonants. The cluster hl becomes a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ].
- Short a is mostly realized as [ɐ], especially in unstressed syllables.
- Short i ı u may become [ɪ ə ʊ] in unstressed positions.
- Some speakers merge short unstressed e ɛ and o ɔ; typically with a surface quality close to [ɛ ɔ].
There is a weak dynamic stress accent, which tends to be placed near the end of the word. The rules for determining the location of stress can be summarised as follows:
- If there is any long vowel in the word, stress falls on the last syllable with a long vowel.
- If there is no long vowel, the final syllable is stressed if it contains a coda consonant, an onset consonant cluster, or both.
- Otherwise, the penultimate syllable receives stress.
However, nominal prefixes and proclitics are always unstressed, so that monosyllabic nouns and pronouns are always stressed on the root. Also, a short vowel in the final or penultimate syllable may sometimes receive stress even though there is a long vowel earlier in the word. In such situations where the location of stress is not predictable, the stressed syllable will be marked with a grave accent (or a circumflex accent in the case of ı): ì î ù è ò ɛ̀ ɔ̀ à. For clarity, these diacritics will also appear on all word-final stressed short vowels in open syllables, even if the onset of said syllable contains an onset cluster and final stress would therefore be regular.
In words of three or more syllables, a secondary accent falls on every second syllable towards the left (counting from the stressed syllable), or occasionally on the third syllable towards the left if that syllable is long and both intervening syllables are short. If a word is stressed on an early syllable because of a long vowel, a secondary accent may also appear on the final or penultimate syllable depending on syllable weight and distance to the stressed syllable.
The following morphophonological rules are observed at morpheme boundaries:
- Long vowels are shortened if the following syllable also contains a long vowel.
- The sequences /wɨ wɨː jɨ jɨː/ contract to u uu i ii after a consonant.
- /w/ is deleted between a consonant and one of u uu, and /j/ is deleted between a consonant and one of i ii.
- /p t k p’ t’ k’/ become voiced b d g b d g when preceded by one of the nasal consonants /m n ŋ/. The nasal then assimilates in place of articulation, resulting in the clusters mb nd ŋg.
- /p’ t’ k’ b d ɡ/ become voiceless p t k p t k when adjacent to any of /s ʃ h/, with /h/ being deleted in the process.
- /p’ t’ k’ b d/ lenite to b d g v r between vowels. (Technically, /ɡ/ also undergoes lenition in this environment, but the resulting sound [ɣ] ~ [ɰ] does not have phonemic status).
- /p’ t’ k’/ also become b d g when followed by one of /w l ɾ j/.
- /v/ lenites to w when immediately preceded by a consonant.
- /w/ fortifies to v before /u uː/.
- /ɾ/ fortifies to d before /w j/ or when the following syllable also begins with /ɾ/. (Some instances of /ɾ/ dissimilate to n instead before another /ɾ/; this is indicated where it occurs.)
Types of words
Nouns in RRK are divided into three genders: human, animate, and inanimate. These are not marked on the noun itself in any way (although the method of plural marking is to some extent correlated with gender), but gender is relevant for pronoun choice, verbal agreement, and in some situations also for the syntactic behavior of noun phrases.
Overt categories in RRK nominal morphology are number (singular vs. plural), state (absolute vs. construct), definiteness (definite vs. indefinite), and case (absolutive vs. ergative). Number and state are marked somewhat fusionally through a combination of prefixing and stem modification, whereas definiteness and case are marked with proclitics which attach to the first word in a noun phrase.
There are several different ways of forming the plural (glossed as pl), and it is generally not phonologically predictable which method a particular noun will use.
The default plural formation for nouns from all genders uses a prefix that shows up as r- before vowels and as rı- before consonants, causing following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’ b/ to lenite to b d g v. Note that stem-initial /d/ resists the expected lenition in order to avoid two consecutive instances of /ɾ/.
- aa ‘lake’ → pl raa
- kom ‘evening’ → pl rıkom
- muyuu ‘roof’ → pl rımuyuu
- špı ‘window’ → pl rıšpî
- t’oŋ ‘ant’ → pl rıdoŋ
- buu ‘hat, helmet’ → pl rıvuu
- dit ‘petal’ → pl rıdit
If the onset of the next syllable contains one of /l ɾ/ or intervocalic /s ʃ/, the prefix appears as n- or nı- instead. A few nouns beginning with /t/ also use nı-.
- rıı ‘bee’ → pl nırıı
- kruu ‘room (in a house)’ → pl nıkruu
- ılɛhı ‘blanket’ → pl nılɛhı
- sanɛɛ ‘family, clan’ → pl nısanɛɛ
- šuu ‘song’ → pl nıšuu
- tot ‘pair of pants/trousers’ → pl nıtot
If the noun stem begins with prevocalic /h/, the plural marker becomes an infix:
- hohoo ‘brother’ → pl hrohoo
- hee ‘day’ → pl hree
- hısı ‘poplar tree’ → pl hnısı
- hur ‘rock, boulder’ → pl hnur
For convenience, this method of plural marking may be abbreviated as ‘R’ or ‘N’ (depending on the shape of the prefix).
Polysyllabic nouns of the human gender beginning with /u/ typically form the plural with the prefix ug- (abbreviated as ‘UG’):
- uruk ‘priest’ → pl uguruk
- uŋgik ‘elder’ → pl uguŋgik
- uŋii ‘foreigner, non-Rɛɛ Kıbyaa person’ → pl uguŋii
Human or animate nouns beginning with a single obstruent often form the plural by infixing -w- after this consonant (abbreviated as ‘W’).
- p’ii ‘friend’ → pl p’wii
- t’at ‘rabbit’ → pl t’wat
- kii ‘face’ → pl kwii
- git ‘bone’ → pl gwit
- he ‘mouse’ → pl hwe
- šak ‘animal’ → pl šwak
Several human or animate nouns beginning with a cluster of two consonants form the plural by infixing -u- between them (abbreviated as ‘U’):
- trɛɛ ‘lamb’ → pl turɛɛ
- kšaa ‘goose’ → pl kušaa
- syan ‘orphan’ → pl suyan
Human or animate nouns beginning with a prevocalic resonant (i.e. one of /m n ŋ l ɾ w j/ typically form the plural by prefixing h-. The same method (abbreviated as ‘H’) is used with some nouns beginning with /v/, with the sequence /hv/ surfacing as hw-:
- le ‘dove’ → pl hle
- roŋ ‘girl’ → pl hroŋ
- mısan ‘creek, brook’ → pl hmısan
- nanà ‘mother’ → pl hnanà
- ŋuu ‘belly’ → pl hŋuu
- vagaa ‘turtle’ → pl hwagaa
- yap ‘owl’ → pl hyap
A fairly small group of nouns from all genders form the plural by infixing -an- after the onset of the stressed syllable (abbreviated as ‘AN’):
- p’il ‘enemy’ → pl p’anil
- nor ‘season’ → pl nanor
- amuu ‘legume, vegetable’ → pl amanuu
Many inanimate nouns (and a few animate ones as well) form the plural through ablaut of the stressed vowel (abbreviated as ‘V’). The most commonly observed vowel alternations are short /i ɨ e/ shifting to ı u a and long /iː ɛː/ shifting to ee ıı:
- gi ‘mountain’ → pl gı
- kıŋ ‘cat’ → pl kuŋ
- nek ‘candle’ → pl nak
- šii ‘word, name’ → pl šee
- atɛɛ ‘cliff’ → pl atıı
However, the system is not very tidy. Several slightly irregular patterns are also found:
- pık ‘valley’ → pl pok
- vyɔɔ ‘flower’ → pl vuu
A small group of body part nouns have a plural form with the suffix -t or occasionally -n, often combined with some form of ablaut of the preceding vowel and/or other small irregularities (abbreviated as ‘T’):
- k’a ‘ear’ → pl k’at
- ŋe ‘eye’ → pl ŋot
- kuu ‘leg’ → pl kat
- mıl ‘hand’ → pl mıt
- vaa ‘lip’ → pl van
A significant number of nouns have fully irregular plurals, some of them so distinct that they must be considered suppletive:
- ŋɛɛ ‘arrow’ → pl gwɛɛ
- pet ‘egg’ → pl sat
- kaa ‘snake’ → pl hwa
- vıı ‘deer’ → pl huu
- k’ik ‘woman’ → pl lee
- t’oo ‘man’ → pl mur
Last but not least, Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa also has a sizeable group of uncountable nouns which do not form plurals at all, for instance gor ‘blood’, rip ‘salt’, wii ‘air, wind, weather, sky’, nɔɔ ‘ocean’, or rukoo ‘summer’.
The construct state (glossed as cnstr) is used to indicate that a noun is possessed or otherwise intrinsically qualified by its relation to another noun. It is important to note that a noun in the construct state functions as the head of its noun phrase syntactically, while the other noun, in the role of possessor or attributive modifier, is syntactically dependent and will usually appear in the unmarked absolute state (although it may appear in the construct state too if it has nominal modifiers of its own).
For most nouns beginning with a single consonant or with a consonant cluster ending in one of /w j/, the construct state is formed through consonant alternation according to the following table:
- pe ‘ground, floor’ → cnstr p’e ‘floor of...’
- tii ‘knee’ → cnstr t’ii ‘knee of...’
- kuu ‘leg’ → cnstr k’uu ‘leg of...’
- p’ɔɔ ‘fate, destiny, luck’ → cnstr hɔɔ ‘fate/destiny of...’
- t’ɔɔ ‘body’ → cnstr šɔɔ ‘body of...’
- k’ee ‘bird’ → cnstr hee ‘bird of...’
- buu ‘hat, helmet’ → cnstr muu ‘hat/helmet of...’
- dɛɛ ‘claw’ → cnstr nɛɛ ‘claw of...’
- ga ‘basket’ → cnstr ŋa ‘basket of...’
- mıl ‘hand’ → cnstr vıl ‘hand of...’
- nana ‘mother’ → cnstr rana ‘mother of...’
- ŋuu ‘belly’ → cnstr yuu ‘belly of...’
- sit ‘soup, stew’ → cnstr lit ‘soup/stew of...’
- šıı ‘elbow’ → cnstr rıı ‘elbow of...’
In words beginning with a cluster of /p t k/ followed by one of /l ɾ/, the underlying ejective in the construct state surfaces as a voiced plosive:
- trɛɛ ‘lamb’ → cnstr drɛɛ ‘lamb of...’ (not *t’rɛɛ)
A number of nouns follow a different pattern for consonant mutation:
- pet ‘star’ → cnstr vet ‘star of...’
- tot ‘pants, trousers’ → cnstr rot ‘pants/trousers of...’
- kom ‘evening’ → cnstr yom ‘evening of...’
- šyuu ‘ancestor’ → cnstr dyuu ‘ancestor of...’
- hee ‘day’ → cnstr gee ‘day of...’
- hwee ‘hill’ → cnstr wee ‘hill of...’
- hyoo ‘string, thread’ → cnstr yoo ‘string of...’
Nouns beginning with the consonants /v w l ɾ j/ and nouns beginning with a consonant cluster whose last consonant is neither of /w j/ regularly form the construct state by prefixing ı-.
- vaa ‘lip’ → cnstr ıvaa ‘lip of...’
- wii ‘air, wind, weather’ → cnstr ıwii ‘air/wind/weather of...’
- lik ‘cloth’ → cnstr ılik ‘cloth of...’
- roŋ ‘girl’ → cnstr ıroŋ ‘girl/daughter of...’
- ya ‘milk’ → cnstr ıyà ‘milk of...’
- kšak ‘bread’ → cnstr ıkšak ‘bread of...’
- hnet ‘army’ → cnstr ıhnet ‘army of...’
Some common nouns have irregular or suppletive construct states:
- sat ‘egg’ → cnstr myat ‘egg of...’
- k’ik ‘woman’ → cnstr sık ‘woman/wife of...’
- rep ‘boy’ → cnstr hwɛɛ ‘boy/son of...’
Most nouns beginning with a vowel, as well as some nouns beginning with /h/, do not have a morphologically distinct construct state.
The construct state plural is usually predictable from the other morphological forms of the noun.
Nouns which use one of the patterns R, N, UG, AN, V, or T for their absolute state plural will generally employ the same method to create the construct state plural, using the construct state singular as the base.
- buu ‘hat, helmet’, abs.pl rıvuu (R), cnstr.sg muu → cnstr.pl rımuu ‘hats/helmets of...’
- šaŋ ‘night’, abs.pl nıšaŋ (N), cnstr.sg raŋ → cnstr.pl nıraŋ ‘nights of...’
- uruk ‘priest’, abs.pl uguruk (UG), cnstr.sg uruk → cnstr.pl uguruk ‘priests of...’ (note that the construct state is not distinct from the absolute state)
- šyuu ‘ancestor’, abs.pl šyanuu (AN), cnstr.sg dyuu → cnstr.pl dyanuu ‘ancestors of...’
- pet ‘star’, abs.pl pat (V), cnstr.sg vet → cnstr.pl vat ‘stars of...’
- ŋe ‘eye’, abs.pl ŋot (T), cnstr.sg ye → cnstr.pl yot ‘eyes of...’
The prefixes rı- and nı- of the R and N patterns cause lenition of stem-initial /p’ t’ k’/ to b d g:
- pin ‘oak tree’, abs.pl rıpin (R), cnstr.sg p’in → cnstr.pl rıbin ‘oak trees of...’
- tıı ‘story, legend’, abs.pl rıtıı (R), cnstr.sg t’ıı → cnstr.pl rıdıı ‘stories of...’
Some words may use a prefix in the absolute state plural and an infix in the construct state plural or vice versa, depending on the initial consonant of the base:
- k’et ‘fire’, abs.pl rıget (R), cnstr.sg hit → cnstr.pl hrit ‘fires of...’
- hee ‘day’, abs.pl hree (R), cnstr.sg gee → cnstr.pl rıgee ‘days of...’
Human or animate nouns which form their absolute state plural with a h- prefix or a -w- infix (patterns H and W) form their construct state plural from the construct state singular by infixing -ıg- after the first consonant.
- der ‘thumb’, abs.pl dwer (W), cnstr.sg ner → cnstr.pl nıger ‘thumbs of...’
- tii ‘knee’, abs.pl twii (W), cnstr.sg t’ii → cnstr.pl t’ıgii ‘knees of...’
- k’ee ‘bird’, abs.pl k’wee (W), cnstr.sg hee → cnstr.pl hıgee ‘birds of...’
- mıŋır ‘bull’, abs.pl hmıŋır (H), cnstr.sg vıŋır → cnstr.pl vıgıŋır ‘bulls of...’
If the stem of the construct state singular begins with one of /w l ɾ j/, ıg- is prefixed instead:
- nanà ‘mother’, abs.pl hnanà (H), cnstr.sg ranà → cnstr.pl ıgranà ‘mothers of...’
- ŋuu ‘belly’, abs.pl hŋuu (H), cnstr.sg yuu → cnstr.pl ıgyuu ‘bellies of...’
If the stem of the construct state singular begins with prevocalic /ŋ/, the infix appears without a vowel as -g-:
- git ‘bone’, abs.pl gwit (W), cnstr.sg ŋit → cnstr.pl ŋgit ‘bones of...’
If the stem of the construct state singular begins with prevocalic /s ʃ/, the infix also appears without a vowel, but changed into a voiceless -k-:
- p’ii ‘friend’, abs.pl p’wii (W), cnstr.sg sel → cnstr.pl skel ‘friends of...’
- t’ɔɔ ‘body’, abs.pl t’wɔɔ (W), cnstr.sg šɔɔ → cnstr.pl škɔɔ ‘bodies of...’
In words with pattern H which form their construct state singular by prefixing ı-, the construct state plural is marked by adding -g- immediately afterwards, giving the combined prefix ıg- (which lenites a following /v/ to w):
- lup ‘toe’, abs.pl hlup (H), cnstr.sg ılup → cnstr.pl ıglup ‘toes of...’
- roŋ ‘girl’, abs.pl hroŋ (H), cnstr.sg ıroŋ → cnstr.pl ıgroŋ ‘girls/daughters of...’
- vagaa ‘turtle’, abs.pl hwagaa (H), cnstr.sg ıvagaa → cnstr.pl ıgwagaa ‘turtles of...’
Nouns which use pattern U for the absolute state plural will use the above -ıg- infix for the construct state plural if their construct state singular is formed through consonant mutation, and pattern R if their construct state singular is formed with a prefix ı-:
- trɛɛ ‘lamb’, abs.pl turɛɛ (U), cnstr.sg drɛɛ → cnstr.pl dıgrɛɛ ‘lambs of...’ (IG)
- ksiŋ ‘pig’, abs.pl kusiŋ (U), cnstr.sg ıksiŋ → cnstr.pl rıksiŋ ‘pigs of...’ (R)
A few common nouns have fully irregular construct state plurals. (Most of these words are already irregular in the absolute state plural and/or in the construct state singular too.)
- tšel ‘leaf’, abs.pl tšal (V), cnstr.sg trii (irr.) → cnstr.pl trɛɛ ‘leaves of...’
- t’ook ‘horse’, abs.pl k’in (irr.), cnstr.sg šook → cnstr.pl hin ‘horses of...’
- rep ‘boy’, abs.pl pep (irr.), cnstr.sg hwɛɛ (irr.) → cnstr.pl hıgii ‘boys/sons of...’
- k’ik ‘woman’, abs.pl lee (irr.), cnstr.sg sık (irr.) → cnstr.pl ŋii ‘women/wives of...’
Noun phrases in RRK are often overtly marked for definiteness, using proclitics which generally attach to the first word in the NP (not including demonstratives though).
The definite proclitic (glossed as def) has the basic form gı= with human and animate noun phrases and hı= with inanimate noun phrases. The following morphophonological alternations are observed:
- gı= becomes g= before vowels and before stem-initial /v w l ɾ j/.
- gı= becomes k= before stem-initial prevocalic /s ʃ h hw hj/.
- gı= becomes kı= before stem-initial /p t k/ (optionally followed by one of /w j/).
- hı= becomes h= before the high vowels /i iː ɨ ɨː u uː/ and before the resonants /m n ŋ w l ɾ j/.
- hı= becomes hw= before the non-high vowels /e eː ɛ ɛː a aː ɔ ɔː o oː/.
- Stem-initial /p’ t’ k’ b d/ undergo lenition to b d g v r after the definite proclitic in all nouns.
- Stem-initial /v/ undergoes lenition to w when immediately preceded by the g= allomorph of the proclitic (i.e. in nouns of the human or animate gender).
- Stem-initial /h hw hj/ undergo lenition to Ø w y after the k= allomorph of the proclitic (i.e. in nouns of the human or animate gender).
- Underlying post-consonantal /wɨ wɨː jɨ jɨː/ are contracted into u uu i ii.
Examples (human & animate):
- nanà ‘mother’ → def gınanà
- trɛɛ ‘lamb’ → def gıtrɛɛ
- dip ‘beetle’ → def gırip
- k’a ‘ear’ → def gıgà
- ašak ‘eagle’ → def gašak
- le ‘dove’ → def gle
- vıı ‘deer’ → def guu (← *gwıı)
- šak ‘animal’ → def kšak
- he ‘mouse’ → def ke
- kaa ‘snake’ → def kıkaa
- tot ‘pants, trousers’ → def hıtot
- pe ‘ground, floor’ → def hıpè
- kšak ‘bread’ → def hıkšak
- su ‘axe’ → def hısù
- ŋɔɔ ‘door, gate’ → def hŋɔɔ
- rukii ‘mask’ → def hrukii
- ılɛhı ‘blanket’ → def hılɛhı
- akat ‘color’ → def hwakat
The indefinite proclitic (glossed as indef) exhibits more detailed animacy agreement, taking the basic forms tɛš= for human noun phrases, uš= for animate noun phrases, and iš= for inanimate noun phrases. The following morphophonological alternations occur:
- tɛš= uš= iš= become tɛšı= ušı= išı= before stem-initial consonant clusters beginning with a plosive or nasal and ending in a consonant other than /w j/.
- tɛš= uš= iš= become tɛh= uh= ih= before stem-initial /m n ŋ l ɾ/.
- tɛš= uš= iš= become tɛ= u= i= before stem-initial /s ʃ/ or before most consonant clusters beginning with one of /s ʃ h/ (but not before /hw hj/).
- Stem-initial /p’ t’ k’ b d ɡ v h hw hj/ become p t k p t k w w w y after the indefinite proclitic.
- Underlying post-consonantal /wɨ wɨː jɨ jɨː/ are contracted into u uu i ii.
- uruk ‘priest’ → indef tɛšuruk
- t’oo ‘man’ → indef tɛštoo
- roŋ ‘girl’ → indef tɛhroŋ
- šyuu ‘ancestor’ → indef tɛšyuu
- hoo ‘sibling’ → indef tɛšwoo
- gɛɛ ‘fish’ → indef uškɛɛ
- ašak ‘eagle’ → indef ušašak
- vıı ‘deer’ → indef ušuu (← *ušwıı)
- rıı ‘bee’ → indef uhrıı
- pu ‘nut’ → indef išpù
- ırɔtı ‘necklace’ → indef išırɔtı
- ŋii ‘house’ → indef ihŋii
- škum ‘meal’ → indef iškum
- šii ‘word, name’ → indef išii
- hwee ‘hill’ → indef išwee
In many situations, using the indefinite proclitic is in fact optional, so that indefinite noun phrases appear with no overt marking. This is most commonly the case when new participants are introduced into the discourse, and also with noun phrases in the plural number which are not qualified by an adjective. Overtly using the indefinite proclitic in these circumstances typically indicates non-specificity (i.e. that the speaker does not have a particular referent in mind) rather than indefiniteness (i.e. that the listener does not know which referent is meant).
No overt definiteness marking is also the standard for nouns that serve as the complement of a noun in the construct state (but here, the nouns are usually semantically definite). As an extension of this, implicit possessors are often unmarked for definiteness as well, especially when they act upon their own possessions.
Noun phrases inflected for the construct state and/or for the ergative case (see below) are by default definite and do not co-occur with the definite proclitic unless they are preceded by a demonstrative adjective (only for noun phrases not in the construct state) or an adjective. They may be marked as indefinite though. With ergative noun phrases, the indefinite proclitic exhibits the usual allomorphy, whereas with construct state nouns it shows up as tɛšı= ušı= išı= before all consonants.
Proper names are always definite by default, and never receive any overt definiteness or indefiniteness marking unless they are preceded by an adjective.
Noun phrases that are preceded by one or more adjectives must always be overtly marked for definiteness or indefiniteness, with the proclitic attaching to the first adjective instead of the head noun.
In some syntactic environments (including many but not all of the situations associated with a typical ‘ergative case’ crosslinguistically), Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa requires noun phrases in an agentive role to be marked for case, using an ergative proclitic which attaches to the first word of the noun phrase. The proclitic (which is glossed as erg) takes the form dı= for human and animate noun phrases and u= for inanimate noun phrases, with the following variations:
- dı= reduces to just d= before vowels, semivowels and liquids.
- dı= appears as t= before prevocalic sibilants /s ʃ/.
- dı= appears as s= before /p t k b d ɡ/ (optionally followed by /w j/), with voiced plosives becoming voiceless in the resulting consonant clusters.
- u= becomes v- before /u uː/, and w= before all other vowels.
- Stem-initial /p’ t’ k’/ lenite to b d g after the ergative proclitic.
- Stem-initial /b d/ lenite to v r after the u= allomorph of the ergative proclitic (i.e. in inanimate nouns).
Examples (human & animate):
- mıŋır ‘bull’ → erg dımıŋır
- kšaa ‘goose’ → erg dıkšaa
- k’ik ‘woman’ → erg dıgik
- rep ‘boy’ → erg drep
- uŋ ‘squirrel’ → erg duŋ
- tım ‘finger’ → erg stım
- babà ‘grandfather’ → erg spabà
- ŋɛɛ ‘arrow’ → erg uŋɛɛ
- hıdoo ‘knife’ → erg uhıdoo
- dɛɛ ‘claw’ → erg urɛɛ
- ıroo ‘wine’ → erg wıroo
Like nouns in the construct state, ergative noun phrases are by default definite and thus do not co-occur with the definite proclitic (unless combined with a demonstrative, see below, or an adjective). In order to mark ergative noun phrases as indefinite, the following combination forms of the ergative and indefinite proclitics may be used:
- erg.indef (human): stɛš= / stɛšı= / stɛh= / stɛ=
- erg.indef (animate): duš= / dušı= / duh= / du=
- erg.indef (inanimate): wiš= / wišı= / wih= / wi=
The distribution of these allomorphs follows the rules outlined above in the section about the indefinite morpheme.
- t’oo ‘man’ → erg.indef stɛštoo
- kaa ‘snake’ → erg.indef duškaa
- ŋɛɛ ‘arrow’ → erg.indef wihŋɛɛ
Personal pronouns make more distinctions than nouns, having separate forms for singular (sg), dual (du), paucal (pc), and plural (pl) number, as well as three distinct series of 3rd person pronouns which refer to human, animate, and inanimate entities respectively.
|3rd person human||gi||gut||ski||ŋgi|
|3rd person animate||puu||pon||spuu||mbuu|
|3rd person inanimate||do||ksıı||stıı||ndıı|
RRK has two demonstrative adjectives, t’ın ‘this’ and suu ‘that’. They appear before the full referent noun phrase, which must be overtly marked for definiteness or construct state. Demonstratives can also be used with 2nd or 3rd person pronouns.
When demonstratives are used in a syntactic position that also requires ergative marking, the ergative proclitic (unlike the definiteness marker) attaches to the demonstrative rather than the noun itself.
There are three different relative pronouns, one for each noun class:
- human: grɛɛ
- animate: gwɔɔ
- inanimate: kuu
The language uses a mixed base-6/base-24 counting system. The basic numerals are:
Most indefinite quantifiers in Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa have separate roots for use with human and animate nouns on the one hand, and for use with inanimate nouns on the other hand.
| human /
|some, a few||ŋıı||yee||pl|
|many, much, a lot of||de||hni||pl|
- še ‘no, none of’ appears with the singular if it is used to contrast zero against one referent, and with the plural when it is used in a partitive sense or to contrast zero against more than one referents.
- ne and hıt (both translated as ‘each, every’) are distributive in meaning and usually appear with the singular forms of nouns. The plural is only used when a partitive meaning is intended (‘each one of’).
- raa and ot (both translated as ‘all’) have collective semantics. Like ŋıı / yee ‘some, a few’ and de / hni ‘many, much, a lot of’, they typically govern the plural.
- When used with pronouns, all quantifiers except ŋıı / yee may also appear with the dual or paucal number. The semantics of such constructions are always partitive.
Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa has a fairly complicated system of verbal morphology, which is characterised by a combination of stem alternations, prefixes, phonologically dependent but syntactically independent proclitics, and auxiliary verbs which are phonologically as well as syntactically independent. Notably, several of the morphemes involved can appear in both bound proclitic forms and free-standing auxiliary forms depending on the presence or absence of certain other morphemes in the same verb.
The maximal structure of the RRK verb complex can be summarised roughly as follows:
- evidentiality (clause-level proclitic)
- polarity (phrase-level proclitic or auxiliary)
- interrogative (auxiliary)
- tense / aspect / modality (auxiliary or phrase-level proclitic)
- causative (prefix)
- passive (prefix)
- verb stem (inherently coded for transitivity and aktionsart)
These elements will be described in reverse order below. (Also note the lack of person/number agreement.)
The stem: Transitivity and aktionsart
The most basic categories of RRK verbs are transitivity and aktionsart, both of which are inherent properties of the verb stem. In this document, transitivity is treated as a lexical feature (i.e. every pair of stems with distinct transitivity values is regarded as two separate lexical entries), and aktionsart as inflectional (i.e. most verbs have two distinct stems which differ in aktionsart, but not in their core meaning).
For most verbs, the basic stem refers to a single punctual or semelfactive event, or for verbs with stative meaning to a momentary state (with no implication whether the state is temporary or permanent). This stem serves as the citation form for verbs. It may be referred to as the basic, simple, or aorist stem and is generally left unmarked in glosses.
The durative stem is typically longer, and is always glossed as dur. With action verbs it describes an extended situation which occurs regularly (habitual) or repeatedly (iterative), which takes a long time (protractive), which continues an earlier action (resumptive), or which has no specific goal (atelic). With stative verbs it usually indicates that the state is either permanent or at least holds for a long time, but it can also express shades of meaning similar to those mentioned for the durative stem of action verbs.
The most productive and regular way of forming durative stems employs reduplication of the first CV syllable of the basic stem.
- nap ‘choose, select’ → dur nanap
- šoor ‘pick, gather, harvest’ → dur šošoor
- vuu ‘be important, be relevant’ → dur vuvuu
- lırà ‘shoot’ → dur lılırà
- kıduu ‘protest against, oppose, disagree with’ → dur kıkıduu
If the basic stem begins with a consonant cluster, only the first consonant is reduplicated, followed by the reduced vowel /ɨ/:
- kree ‘share’ → dur kıkree
- tyup ‘discuss, talk about’ → dur tıtyup
If the basic stem begins with a vowel, the first VC syllable is repeated instead. In stems which consist of a single VC syllable with a final voiceless plosive, the reduplicated consonant becomes voiced, and in polysyllabic stems with non-initial stress, the first vowel is not reduplicated.
- aŋ ‘hurt, injure’ → dur aŋaŋ
- up ‘hear, listen’ → dur ubup
- isen ‘burn, be on fire’ → dur sisen
The first instance of two consecutive /ɾ/ will usually dissimilate to d:
- ruu ‘recite, tell (a story)’ → dur duruu
Stem-initial ejectives lenite to voiced plosives when reduplicated. In monosyllabic verbs with initial ejectives and final nasals, the nasal is repeated as well:
- t’oo ‘cut’ → dur dodoo
- k’it ‘drink’ → dur gigit
- t’aŋ ‘talk to’ → dur dandaŋ
Monosyllabic verbs beginning with a voiced plosive do not reduplicate, but instead form their durative stem by prefixing a homoorganic nasal:
- bat ‘kiss’ → dur mbat
- dor ‘paint, color, dye’ → dur ndor
- ge ‘hit, strike’ → dur ŋge
The above rules productively apply to loanwords and recent derivations. However, a large percentage of native verbs form their durative stems irregularly in various different ways, resulting in a situation where both stems have to be learned individually. Here are some examples of irregularly formed durative stems:
- arii ‘have sex with’ → dur agrii
- ɛɛnıšar ‘recognise’ → dur lɛɛnıšar
- hiiyum ‘wake up’ → dur ɛyum
- ıdup ‘be hungry’ → dur uudup
- ıŋgıı ‘dream’ → dur lɛkıı
- kšot ‘lend’ → dur šukšot
- pan ‘exhaust oneself; be tired’ → dur van
- pwɛɛ ‘love’ → dur pımbɛɛ
- stı ‘try, attempt’ → dur tıstî
- šuk ‘be slow’ → dur štuk
- vaŋ ‘eat’ → dur vambaŋ
- vol ‘form, sculpt, mold, knead’ → dur vul
The passive reduces the valency of transitive verbs by one, and promotes the direct object to become the new subject. (The original subject may optionally be added back to the statement, but must be marked with the ergative proclitic dı=/u=.)
The passive voice (glossed as pass) is marked with the prefix ku-, which becomes kw- before vowels (with underlying /wɨ wu wɨː wuː/ contracting to u u uu uu), and simply k- before the approximants /w l ɾ j/.
RRK verbs have a morphological causative which increases the valency by adding a new agent, demoting the original subject to direct object, and relegating any direct object to a prepositional phrase.
The causative (glossed as caus) is marked with a prefix that usually appears as šu- before consonants and as št- before vowels. When immediately preceded by an evidential proclitic, the causative appears as št- also before stressed stem-initial /w l ɾ j/ (with underlying /wɨ wɨː jɨ jɨː/ contracting to u uu i ii). When immediately preceded by a proclitic marking TAM or negation (but not when preceded by an evidential), the causative instead appears in the allomorphs u- (before consonants) or ul- (before vowels).
Tense, aspect, and modality
One of the most important parts of verbal morphology in Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa consists of various grammaticalised auxiliaries that encode meanings in the domains of tense, aspect, and modality (TAM). Although they do not form a unified group semantically, these auxiliaries are discussed together here for two main reasons. Firstly, they cannot easily be divided into subgroups along the traditional definitions of tense, aspect, or mood because many of them have several functions spanning two or even all three of these domains. And secondly, all TAM auxiliaries behave in a similar way morphosyntactically, variously appearing as proclitics or as phonologically independent words based on semantic and prosodic considerations:
- All TAM morphemes prototypically appear in the form of proclitics.
- All TAM morphemes appear as free-standing auxiliaries instead:
- if there are two inflectional prefixes or proclitics to the right of the auxiliary already.
- if there is at least one inflectional prefix (but not proclitic) to the right of the auxiliary, and there is also at least one proclitic to the left of the auxiliary which needs a host word to attach to (e.g. negation, an evidential, or another TAM morpheme).
- if the speaker wants to use Aux S V O word order for pragmatic reasons, but there is no earlier auxiliary that can stand alone and thus go before the subject.
- if the speaker wants to emphasize the auxiliary for pragmatic reasons.
- TAM morphemes which do not contain a long vowel appear as free-standing auxiliaries if they would otherwise form an unstressed syllable separated from the stressed syllable of the verb root by more than two other unstressed syllables.
- TAM morphemes which have a modal use always appear as free-standing auxiliaries if they express subject-oriented modality (e.g. ‘X has to do Y’), but tend to be proclitics if they express speaker-oriented modality (e.g. ‘speaker obliges X to do Y’) or epistemic modality (e.g. ‘it is necessary that X does Y’).
- The two imperative markers usually appear only as proclitics, but they appear as a free-standing auxiliary instead when they are negated, or when they are separated from the stressed syllable of the verb root by three or more unstressed syllables.
It is also worth noting that several of the auxiliaries are compatible only with certain types of predicates, or change their meaning to some extent when used with a different type of main verb. For example, in order to express inceptive aspect or immediate future, most telic predicates require the auxiliary t’uu (tuvaŋ ra hıkšak ‘I’ll eat the bread now’), whereas motion verbs require the auxiliary sii (sigee ra ‘I’ll leave you now’) and stative or atelic predicates require the auxiliary lo (liŋ ra ‘I’ll sleep now’).
Although most predicates contain no more than one of the TAM auxiliaries, it is possible to combine them, to the extent that it is semantically useful. When two or more of these morphemes are present, they generally occur in the order in which they are presented below.
The ‘future’ group
The first set of TAM auxiliaries is mostly used to talk about events in the (relative or absolute) future. They are not primarily tense markers though; the core of their semantics is modal.
The auxiliary dwa (glossed as pot for ‘potential’) indicates that a hypothetical or future event is considered possible, but not necessarily certain or even likely. In fact, this morpheme highlights the contingency of the event, and is often used even for dubitative or counterfactual statements. The proclitic form of this auxiliary is du= before most consonants, dw= before most vowels (with underlying /wɨ wɨː/ contracting to u uu), and just d= before /w u uː/.
The auxiliary ar (glossed as opt for ‘optative’) indicates that a hypothetical or future event is desirable and/or looked forward to. It can also be used to indicate prospective aspect, i.e. that a favorable event is about to occur. The proclitic form of this auxiliary has four different allomorphs: ɔɔ= word-initially before consonants, ar= word-initially before vowels, raa+ word-medially before consonants (causing following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’/ to lenite to b d g), and rag= word-medially before vowels.
The auxiliary so (glossed as obl for ‘obligative’) indicates that a hypothetical or future event is required to occur due to social obligation or logical necessity. It can also express epistemic certainty, especially if the dedicated certainty marker ii= (see below under Evidentiality) cannot be used because another morpheme occupies the latter’s syntactic position. The proclitic form of so appears as s= before vowels and non-ejective plosives which are not followed by a sibilant (causing following voiced plosives /b d ɡ/ to become voiceless, which results in sp- st- sk- respectively), and as sa= before all other consonants.
The ‘inceptive’ group
The second set of TAM auxiliaries may also be used to talk about future events, but only in a temporal or aspectual sense without a significant modal component, so that its meaning can be summarised as immediate future tense (indicating that the event is about to occur very soon) or inceptive/inchoative aspect (indicating that the event is about to begin, beginning already, or has just begun). The three auxiliaries belonging in this group, although quite distinct in form, are in complementary distribution based on the type of predicate that they appear with, and are thus strictly speaking allomorphs of each other. Accordingly, all of them will be glossed identically as inc (for ‘inceptive’).
The auxiliary t’uu is used to indicate inceptive aspect or immediate future tense with telic events which do not saliently involve motion. Its proclitic form is tuu= before most consonants (with the vowel being shortened if the next syllable carries stress), tw= before most vowels, and just t= before /w u uː/. (Note that the proclitic-initial consonant is still underlyingly an ejective /t’/, and may therefore undergo mutation when certain other proclitics are added.)
The auxiliary sii is used to indicate inceptive aspect or immediate future tense with motion verbs. Its proclitic form is sii~ before consonants (the vowel is shortened if the next syllable carries stress, and following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’ v ɾ j/ become m n ŋ m n ŋ) and usually appears as as sir= before vowels, but dissimilates to sin= if the onset of the next syllable in the verb contains one of /l ɾ/ or intervocalic /s ʃ/.
The auxiliary lo is used to indicate inceptive aspect or immediate future tense with atelic activities and stative predicates. Its proclitic form is la= before most consonants, lı= before /w j/, and l= before vowels; note that underlying post-consonantal /wɨ wɨː jɨ jɨː/ contract to u uu i ii.
The ‘progressive’ group
The third set of TAM auxiliaries is used to talk about events or situations simultaneous with the reference time, indicating progressive or continuous aspect or an emphatic present tense. Like the auxiliaries from the previous ‘inceptive’ group, the three auxiliaries in focus here are mostly in complementary distribution based on the type of predicate, and are thus normally all glossed as prog (for ‘progressive’).
The auxiliary bur is used to indicate progressive aspect or emphatic present tense with telic events which do not saliently involve motion. Its proclitic form has four allomorphs: bɔɔ= appears word-initially before consonants, br= appears word-initially before vowels, vɔɔ= appears word-medially before consonants, and vır= appears word-medially before vowels. The preconsonantal forms have their long vowel shortened if the next syllable carries stress.
The auxiliary tek is used to indicate progressive aspect or emphatic present tense with motion verbs. Its proclitic form is tii+ before consonants (the vowel is shortened if the next syllable carries stress, and following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’/ lenite to b d g), and tag= before vowels.
The auxiliary gaa is used to indicate progressive aspect or emphatic present tense with atelic activities and stative predicates. Its proclitic form is gaa~ before consonants (the vowel is shortened if the next syllable carries stress, and following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’ v ɾ j/ become m n ŋ m n ŋ), and gy= before vowels.
In addition to the above, the auxiliary bur has an important secondary use that may co-occur with all three types of predicates. In this function, it expresses commitment and determination on the part of the subject, or a stronger-than-usual intensity of the referenced action or state. Since this is rather different in semantics compared to its standard meaning, bur will be glossed as ener (for ‘energetic’) when used in this way.
The ‘perfective’ group
The fourth set of TAM auxiliaries is mostly used to talk about events in the (relative or absolute) past. They do not primarily express past tense though; instead, the main function of these auxiliaries is aspectual.
The auxiliary duk (glossed as perf for ‘perfect’) indicates that a past event is still relevant at the reference time, for instance because it has been completed only recently (retrospective aspect / immediate past tense), because its results are visible (resultative or perfect aspect), or because the event has happened before and is thus well-known (experiential aspect). It may also denote that the event has happened several times already (habitual aspect), especially when used with morphologically durative verb stems. The proclitic form of this auxiliary has four allomorphs: dɔɔ+ appears word-initially before consonants, dıg= appears word-initially before vowels, rɔɔ+ appears word-medially before consonants, and rıg= appears word-medially before vowels. The preconsonantal forms cause following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’/ to lenite to b d g, and have their long vowel shortened if the next syllable carries stress.
The auxiliary dɔɔšık (glossed as plup for ‘pluperfect’) indicates that an event had already finished or ended in the past, but that its results were still relevant at that point in time. The proclitic form of this auxiliary appears as dɔšk= before vowels and before stressed stem-initial /w l ɾ j/ (with underlying /wɨ wɨː jɨ jɨː/ contracting to u uu i ii), as dɔš= before non-ejective plosives which are not followed by a sibilant (causing following voiced plosives /b d ɡ/ to become voiceless, which results in dɔšp- dɔšt- dɔšk- respectively), and as dɔɔši+ before all other consonants (causing following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’/ to lenite to b d g). When preceded by another proclitic which ends in a vowel, the morpheme-initial /d/ is itself lenited to r.
The next two auxiliaries, šek and kwa, both indicate that an event has been completed in the past, focusing on the event itself rather than the resulting state. Depending on the context, the semantics vary between a preterite tense (highlighting that the event occurred before the reference time), a completive aspect (highlighting that the event is over), and an effective mood (highlighting that the action was successful). The two auxiliaries are in complementary distribution with each other based on the type of predicate: šek is used with telic events not saliently involving motion, and kwa is used with motion verbs. Both auxiliaries are glossed as cpl (for ‘completive’).
The proclitic form of šek appears as šii+ before consonants (the vowel is shortened if the next syllable carries stress, and following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’/ lenite to b d g), as šag= before the causative prefixes u-/ul- and before morphologically durative verb stems beginning with a vowel, and as šk= before non-durative verb stems beginning with a vowel.
The proclitic form of kwa is kwa= before most consonants, kw= before most vowels, and just k= before /w u uː/.
The auxiliary mam is somewhat more complicated both morphologically and semantically. Its proclitic form combines with following /p p’ b m v/ into mamb-, with following /t t’ d n ɾ/ into mand-, and with following /k k’ ɡ ŋ j/ into maŋg- (however, this does not happen before clusters of a plosive plus one of the sibilants /s ʃ/). Otherwise, it appears as maa= before consonants (with the long vowel being shortened if the next syllable carries stress) and as m= before vowels.
Semantically, mam has two main uses, which may at first appear quite contradictory. In the first of these, it functions a lot like a third sibling to šek and kwa, being used with atelic events and stative predicates to indicate that the activity or state has ended. Accordingly, it is glossed as cpl (for ‘completive’) in this role.
The second meaning of mam applies when the auxiliary is used with telic predicates. In this situation, it indicates more or less the opposite, namely that the event could not be completed successfully. Depending on the context, this may vary between an incompletive aspect (highlighting that the intended endpoint was not reached, saying nothing about the cause) and an abortive mood (highlighting that the action failed because it was not carried out properly). In this function, it is glossed as ncpl (for ‘non-completive’).
The ‘imperative’ group
Imperative statements, i.e. orders that an event should happen, can be formed with two specialised auxiliaries, which usually appear only as proclitics, except when they are separated from the stressed syllable of the verb root by three or more unstressed syllables. Both imperative markers have separate negated forms, which only occur as a free-standing auxiliary. The two imperatives are roughly similar in meaning, but differ by register:
- spɔ (glossed as imp) signals a strong imperative. Pragmatically it expresses urgency and may be considered rather blunt or even impolite, especially when not backed up by high social rank. The proclitic form is spɔ= before consonants and spır= before vowels. The free-standing negative form of this auxiliary is psavɔ.
- ɔɔvɔ (glossed as imp.pol) signals a weaker and more polite imperative. The proclitic form of this morpheme is ɔɔvɔ= before consonants and ɔɔvır= before vowels; its free-standing negative form is pagɔɔvɔ.
It should be noted that neither of the imperative auxiliaries may co-occur with any other TAM morpheme, with the interrogative auxiliary, or with any evidential marker.
Overview: Table of TAM auxiliaries
|group||free form||clitic form||gloss||description of meaning|
|‘future’||dwa||du=/dw=||pot||potential, hypothetical, dubitative or counterfactual mood, prospective aspect, future tense (focus on possibility or contingency of future event)|
|opt||optative mood, prospective aspect, future tense (focus on desirability of future event)|
|so||sa=/s=||obl||obligative mood, prospective aspect, future tense (focus on certainty or necessity of future event)|
|‘inceptive’||t’uu||tuu=/tw=||inc||inceptive or inchoative aspect, immediate future (used for telic events not saliently involving motion)|
|sii||sii~/sir=/sin=||inc||inceptive or inchoative aspect, immediate future (used with motion verbs)|
|lo||la=/lı=/l=||inc||inceptive or inchoative aspect, immediate future (used for states and atelic predicates)|
|prog||progressive aspect, simultaneous or emphatic present tense (used for telic events not saliently involving motion)|
|ener||commissive or energetic mood (with all verbs)|
|tek||tii+/tag=||prog||progressive aspect, simultaneous or emphatic present tense (used with motion verbs)|
|gaa||gaa~/gy=||prog||progressive aspect, simultaneous or emphatic present tense (used for states and atelic predicates)|
|perf||perfect or retrospective aspect, past tense (usually with relevance for the present); habitual aspect (especially when used with durative verb stems)|
|plup||pluperfect aspect, past anterior tense|
|šek||šii+/šag=/šk=||cpl||completive aspect, past tense (used for telic events not saliently involving motion)|
|kwa||kwa=/kw=||cpl||completive aspect, past tense (used with motion verbs)|
|mam||maa=/m=||cpl||completive aspect, past tense (used with stative verbs or atelic predicates)|
|ncpl||incompletive aspect, conative mood (only when used with telic predicates)|
|spɔ=/spır=||imp||imperative mood (focus on urgency, rather blunt)|
|ɔɔvɔ=/ɔɔvır||imp.pol||imperative mood (polite)|
- Where two proclitic forms are given, the first one generally appears before consonants and the second one before vowels. More complex distribution rules (including exceptions to the above rule) are explained individually for each auxiliary.
- As always, underlying post-consonantal /wɨ wɨː jɨ jɨː/ are contracted into u uu i ii. Also, proclitic-final /w/ is deleted before /u uː/, and proclitic-final /j/ is deleted before /i iː/.
- Long vowels in proclitic forms are shortened when the next syllable is stressed.
- Proclitics marked with + cause following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’/ to lenite to b d g.
- Proclitics marked with ~ cause following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’ v ɾ j/ to become m n ŋ m n ŋ.
- Verb stems beginning with prevocalic /b d/ will lenite their initial consonant to v r after all TAM proclitics which end in a vowel.
- Other morphophonemic alternations are explained individually for each auxiliary.
Questions are formed with a special interrogative auxiliary (glossed as q) which always appears as a separate phonological word. It has two separate forms for different polarity values: tsı (positive) and psek (negative).
Negative polarity of a verb (glossed as neg) is marked with a proclitic that appears as pii+ before an obstruent or a nasal and as pag= before a vowel or one of the approximants /w l ɾ j/. The former allomorph is shortened to pi+ if the immediately following syllable is stressed or contains a long vowel. The variants marked with + cause following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’ b d/ to lenite to b d g v r. (Note that the proclitic-initial consonant is underlyingly an ejective /p’/, and may therefore itself undergo mutation when certain other proclitics are added.)
If an imperative or interrogative auxiliary is also present, negative polarity is expressed with the special negative form of that auxiliary instead (see above).
The negative proclitic can only attach to verbal elements, so it must appear in its full auxiliary form p’ek when the sentence is phrased with Aux S V O word order and no TAM auxiliary is present. Occasionally, the free-standing form may also be used in other situations in order to lend more emphasis to the fact that the statement is negated.
Statements in Ree Rɛɛ Kıbyaa may optionally be marked for evidentiality, especially if the described event took place in the past but the speaker was not directly involved in it. There are four different evidentials, all of which are marked with proclitics that attach to the first element in the clause.
- kɛɛ= (kl= before a vowel; glossed as vis for ‘visual’) indicates that the speaker witnessed the event visually.
- hɔɔ+ (hıv= before a vowel; causes following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’/ to lenite to b d g; glossed as sens for ‘sensory’) indicates that the speaker has non-visual sensory evidence for the event, for instance by sound or by smell.
- hıı~ (hıv= before a vowel; combines with following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’ v ɾ j/ into hm- hn- hŋ- hm- hn- hŋ- respectively; glossed as infer for ‘inferential’) indicates that the speaker assumes the event to be true based on situational evidence, reasoning, or general knowledge. Note that this level of evidentiality is not distinguished from sensory evidence if the proclitic attaches to a stem that begins with a vowel.
- tee= (ty= before a vowel, with underlying /jɨ ji jɨː jiː/ contracting to i i ii ii; glossed as rep for ‘reportative’) indicates that the speaker has only second-hand evidence for the event, for instance through having been told about it by someone else.
In addition to the above, there is yet another morpheme which is not really a true evidential semantically, but is usually grouped with the evidentials both because it behaves in an identical manner morphosyntactically and because it is also mutually exclusive with the other morphemes in this class:
- ii~ (ıy= before a vowel; causes following prevocalic /p’ t’ k’ v ɾ j/ to become m n ŋ m n ŋ; glossed as aff for ‘affirmative’) indicates that the speaker is completely sure that the statement is true.
All long vowels in evidential proclitics become short when the next syllable is stressed, and all evidential proclitics cause following prevocalic /b d/ to lenite to v r. It’s also worth noting that all evidentials select the ‘word-initial’ allomorph of an immediately following causative prefix or TAM auxiliary (if the latter has distinct forms for word-initial and word-medial environments).
I am disoriented
Hašaŋ het lɛyeŋ ra, sto vivɔɔ ihnì rıvor kımıdwaa, o sto mik lıŋgii ndıı uŋ ra. Het lɛkıı ra ndıı, sto ɛyaŋ, iisto ka duudı išut rıkɛɛ kuu nanaabal ra do.
Kɛɛge hıvir tigrek ra skuu išpanɔɔ raa, ɛtuk teguu ra wot nırɛduu, ral sper, o šu krek p’ek duhlɛbuu ra re sap šudɔɔ.
Tı hɔɔhar sihŋɛɛ ıvaa lɛmaa, ral hiiyum, sto hiišu, o šu sımım ra skuu gugundɔɔ. Ɔpwɛɛ ra ka šıı ru tlin liŋ ra, o t’ɛɛ ra šıı iraa nu duhlɛbuu ra re sap!
(Written on Mar 12, 2015 as part of the LCC6 Relay; translated from Jan van Steenbergen's Interslavic. The full relay torch can be found here.)