- 1 Phonology
- 2 Morphology
- 3 Derivational Morphology
- 4 Syntax
Historically, /tʃ/ is an allophone of /t/ before /i/, and /f x/ are allophones of /p k/ before /e/, but these have acquired phonemic status through borrowing.
/tʃ ʈ θ x j/ will be spelled c ṭ th x y.
Thokyunèhòta distinguishes five tense vowes /a e i o u/ and five lax vowels /ɐ ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ/. The latter are spelled with a grave accent: à è ì ò ù.
Thokyunèhòta has a contrastive stress accent. Words have two possible stress patterns.
- By default the accent falls on the first syllable:
- In some words it instead falls on the second syllable. This is indicated by an acute: thèthí "boy (nom.)" /θɛˈθi/.
- If the second stressed syllable has a lax vowel, this is indicated by a circumflex: thèthûne "boy (dat.)" /θɛˈθʊne/.
A large number of words have been loaned from (slightly pre-Classical) Fáralo, especially vocabulary related to seafaring. The Fáralo consonants /b d g s ʃ l r/ are normally imported into Thokyunèhòta as /p t k θ x j j/: Fár. iozal "bow (of a ship)" > Thok. yotha; Fár. dašiəm "sail (n.)" > Thok. ṭaxim.
The Fáralo low front vowel /æ/ is borrowed into Thok. as /a/: Fár. ænal "hold (of a ship)" > Thok. ana. The low-mid vowels /ɛ ɔ/ are borrowed as /e o/, while the high-mid vowels, strangely, are both borrowed as /a/: Fár. goumoudu "cross-staff" > Thok. kamaṭu "astrolabe." This may reflect some idiosyncratic local pronunciation of Fáralo.
Sound Changes from Proto-Isles
1. Initial /s ħ w j ʔ/ were lost.
2. Initial /a/ was lost; if part of a diphthong (/aj/ or /aw/) then the following /j w/ become /i u/.
3. Intervocalic /j w/ were lost; intervocalic clusters of /jj ww jw wj/ were likewise lost. In some cases /jj ww/ reduced to a single /j w/ and remained.
4. Remaining /s ħ ʔ/ become /h/ except in the syllable coda.
5. /aj aw/ > /e o/.
6. /iw uj/ > /ju wi/.
7. Intervocalic /ts dz/ came to be pronounced [tθ dð], and were reanalyzed as clusters.
8. Coda consonants were lost, with compensatory lengthening of the previous vowel.
- 8a. If the coda consonant was laryngeal (/ħ/ or /ʔ/), then /a e i o u/ > /a: o: u: a: o:/.
- 8b. If the coda consonant was non-laryngeal (any of /m n t d s/), then /a e i o u/ > /e: i: i: e: i:/.
- 8c. /e i/ sometimes became /e: e:/ before a non-laryngeal, especially in the final syllable (e.g. the accusative and dative endings).
- 8d. The coda consonant was not lost if followed by a glide (/w/ or /j/).
9. Remaining /ts dz/ became /θ ð/.
10. Stops lenited before /e/: /p t d k g/ > [f θ ð x ɣ]. Frequently this was later analogically reversed where the original stop had been retained in related forms.
11. /t d/ palatalized to [tʃ dʒ] before /i/.
12. /d/ (except where lenited or palatalized) acquired a retroflex pronunciation [ɖ].
13. /ji wu/ simplified to /i u/.
14. In final position, short vowels /a e i/ were lost after /m n h/ or a vowel or glide, while corresponding long vowels /a: e: i:/ were in all cases shortened.
15. Sequences of vowels in hiatus simplified:
- 15a. If the first vowel was /i u/, these became glides /j w/, with the second vowel remaining.
- 15b. Otherwise, if the second vowel was long, then the first vowel was deleted.
- 15c. Otherwise, if the first vowel was /a a:/, then the sequence coalesced into /e:/.
- 15d. If the two vowels were of identical quality they merged into their long counterpart.
16. Voiced obstruents devoiced in all positions. Original /d/, now pronounced [ʈ], remained distinct from /t/.
17. Final /h j w/ were lost.
18. Long vowels /a: e: i: o: u:/ became lax vowels /ɐ ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ/.
19. Final /n/ became /m/.
20. At some point the pitch accent system of Proto-Isles evolved into a stress accent, with HL tone corresponding to initial stress and HH tone corresponding to second-syllable stress. This must have occurred after early deletions of initial sounds because these have no effect on placement of second-syllable stress (e.g. hápa-yi "sun (nom.)" > pa, but hápa-nim "sun (dat.)" > pané).
Nominal morphology is suffixing, distinguishing four cases. Nouns do not decline for number. The citation form is the nominative. This always ends in a vowel or -m. The other three cases are formed by dropping this final vowel, or vowel + -m, and substituting the stem vowel, plus a case suffx. The stem vowel, in most cases, is not predictable from the nominative. Occasionally it is not a single vowel but a glide + vowel sequence (kù "winter"; inst. kwòm).
The accusative is formed by adding -we after the stem vowel; the dative by adding -ne; the instrumental by adding -m. If the stem vowel is one of the lax vowels (à ò ù), then the accusative is instead formed from the nominative root, plus -hwe.
Some of the variation in stem vowels can be seen in the following declensions:
Nominatives in -m are an exception to the general rule: their stem vowels are completely predictable. Nominative -am always corresponds with stem -è-, and -im -um with -ì-. The accusative does not use the stem vowel, but adds -we to the nominative root.
Some monosyllabic nouns have underlying second-syllable stress, which appears when an ending is added.
Personal pronouns, likewise, decline for four cases. Unlike the nouns, they distinguish singular from plural. Otherwise, their declension patterns resemble those of nouns, except for the irregular 1s.
There is also a set of deferential pronouns, used when dealing with top-level superiors, restricted more or less to the king, the clan leaders, and their immediate families. The 2nd person is used for addressing them; the 3rd person for referring to a superior in the presence of another superior, or when referring to them while communicating through a proxy (speaking to their servants, for example). Otherwise, superiors are referred to with the normal 3rd-person pronouns.
Ipû, meaning "what," is the only unique root on this table; the rest are all transparent compounds formed from it and from the deictic prefixes i- "this" and a-"that." The standalone roots for "this" and "that" transparently mean "this-near" and "that-far." The other words on this table are nouns that belong here only due to frequency of use - ipáha "this place" being merely the most common way to say "here," likewise ináṭa for "now." They have no unique status as pronouns, and an equivalent construction can be substituted ad hoc: ipáci "this day," i.e. "today; now."
When pronouns from the "place" and "time" rows are being used adverbially, they are put in the instrumental: ipáhem "here (adv.)," ináṭom "now (adv.)."
Adjectives do not mark case or number. They do, however, form comparatives with a reduplicating prefix or via vowel mutation. The form of the prefix is unpredictable in nature and will be listed in the lexicon individually. The comparative form is invariably stressed on the second syllable.
- ta large > tatá larger
- uni strong > honí stronger
- nìte full > ninîte fuller
- kape warm > hakápe warmer
These "true adjectives" are a small and mostly closed class of words in Thokyunèhòta; foreign words are overwhelmingly borrowed as nouns, or occasionally verbs. Otherwise, adjectives exist as special derivations of nouns (see below). These nominal adjectives do not have special comparative forms, instead forming comparatives with mu "more" or yamu "even more."
These are adjectives that have been derived from nouns (xèmo "male" from xèma "man;" thòthô "boar-like" from thòthú "boar"). Their chief difference from the "true" adjectives is that they lack morphological comparatives. Also, they are more commonly used attributively than predicatively.
In general, any noun can be freely turned into an adjective meaning "[noun]-like," unless some specialized meaning of the derived adjective already exists (e.g. thipò "sociable" from thipu "meeting-place"). Nominal adjectives are essentially the same thing as the first element in a noun + noun compound: xèma "man" + nam "person" > xèmonam "husband," lit. "man-person" or "male-person."
This is a special class of words derived from the instrumental form of a noun, often a compounded noun, e.g. kyuxêthèm "sick," literally "with a sick liver." These are unique in that they can be used either as adjectives or adverbs indiscriminately.
The "true adverbs," like the adjectives, are a very small closed class composed mostly of words describing time:
- he often
- pahapa yesterday
- pahi now; today
Otherwise, adverbs can be derived from adjectives, of either the "true" or "nominal" variety (see below).
Adverbs can be freely derived from true or nominal adjectives (tomamwìthùm "slowly" from toma "slow"; ùmimwìthùm "despicably" from ùm "despicable," itself from ùmi "petty criminal"). Syntactically they function somewhat differently from "true" adverbs (see Syntax). Originally these were a special subset of the instrumental adjectives, but now can only be used adverbially.
Verbs are inflected for three tenses (present, past and negative - negative oddly clustering with the tenses) and three moods (indicative, potential and subjunctive).
The potential mood is marked by replacing the last vowel or diphthong of the indicative as follows:
|-a, -e, -i, -u, -wi||-i|
|-a, -ò, -ù||-ù|
Indicative -a can end take either -i or ù as the potential ending, but the latter is more common. Any t or ṭ palatalize to c before the -i of the potential.
The subjunctive mood is invariably formed by adding -pa to the indicative.
The past tense form is always stressed on the first syllable; the negative is marked by moving it to the second. The present is marked by reduplicating the first syllable of the past as an unstressed prefix, but the form of the prefix is highly irregular in the same manner as the comparative prefixes on adjectives.
Full paradigm of four verbs:
|hiha "to laugh"||hiha||hihi||hihapa||hihá||hihí||hihápa||hahíha||hahíhi||hahíhapa|
|nuha "to push"||nuha||nuhù||nuhapa||nuhá||nuhû||nuhápa||nunúha||nunúhù||nunúhapa|
|kìthe "to love"||kìthe||kìthi||kìthepa||kìthé||kìthí||kìthépa||kikîthe||kikîthi||kikîthepa|
|xepi "to remove"||xepi||xepi||xepipa||xepí||xepí||xepípa||kaxépi||kaxépi||kaxépipa|
|thòmo "to divide"||thòmo||thòmyu||thòmopa||thòmó||thòmyú||thòmópa||thuthômo||thuthômyu||thuthômopa|
|ṭatò "to hit"||ṭatò||ṭatù||ṭatòpa||ṭatô||ṭatû||ṭatôpa||ṭaṭátò||ṭaṭátù||ṭaṭátòpa|
|ìtù "to see"||ìtù||ìtù||ìtùpa||ìtû||ìtû||ìtûpa||ihîtù||ihîtù||ihîtùpa|
The past indicative is given as the citation form. Alternatively, the present indicative might be viewed as the least marked form, with the past formed usually by removing the first syllable.
A few verbs are only one syllable long; these form their negative by prefixing uhô-.
|ni "to be; do"||ni||ni||nipa||uhôni||uhôni||uhônipa||niní||niní||ninípa|
|ṭa "to walk; journey"||ṭa||ci||ṭapa||uhôṭa||uhôci||uhôṭapa||haṭá||hací||haṭápa|
|ci "to have; hold"||ci||ci||cipa||uhôci||uhôci||uhôcipa||hací||hací||hacípa|
Discussion of derivational morphology will be somewhat limited; Thokyunèhòta has very few bound morphemes and the preferred method of creating new words is by building NOUN + NOUN compounds, with the first noun in a modifying, adjectival role (i.e. a nominal adjective). The adjectival form of a noun is normally created from the bare stem.
- thipí bird (stem thipû-) > thipû birdlike
òha baby (stem òho-) > òho babylike; cute
Nominal adjectives used in compounds tend to remain semantically linked to their original noun, while in their "free" use the meaning is more prone to drift. For example, òho normally means "cute" by itself but in compounds means "of a baby" (òhomwipa "swaddling-cloths," etc).
Occasionally nouns have been turned into verbs via the same process (òto "to speak" from òta "tongue; speech"), but this has not been especially productive. The opposite transformation, from verb to noun, has historically been common, though no longer follows any consistent derivational process.
Verbs in their unmodified citation form can be used as gerunds; this is essentially turning the verb into an adjective.
- òha umyu the baby was smiling > umyu òha the smiling baby
An adverb can be derived from any adjective by attaching the suffix -mwìthùm. This suffix is the instrumental form of mwìthi "mind;" the compound derives from constructions such as "with a happy mind" meaning "happily," etc.
- ku happy > kumwìthùm happily
thipû birdlike > thipûmwìthùm in a birdlike manner
There are two deictic prefixes i- "this; here" and a- "that; there." They can be attached to any verb of location or movement, most often pahe "to be; stand": ipáhe "to be here;" apáhe "to be there." They may also be attached to nouns, though this formation is not the primary way of saying "this" or "that." It is used only when the objects referred to are visible and in sight (often with an accompanying pointing gesture).
These prefixes always trigger second-syllable stress.
-thì and -ci
-thì is a collective suffix. It converts a count noun to a mass noun describing either a collection of objects or a numberless expanse. Its usage is somewhat sporadic and is no longer particularly productive. It has the peculiar effect of mutating stem /a e i o u/ to /ɛ ɪ ɪ ɛ ɪ/ (lax stem vowels are unchanged).
- paha place (stem pahe-) > pahìthì country; realm
thumá stone; metal (stem thumá-) > thumêthì money; coins
-ci is a singulative suffix that derives a count noun from a mass noun, replacing -thì if present, and "borrowing" its stem mutation.
- thumêthì money; coins > thumêci a coin
ṭoṭèthi beehive; honeycomb > ṭoṭèci honeycomb cell
Sometimes -ci is used with count nouns, or with verbs, describing an associated or resulting object. Its usage is rather idiosyncratic, but it is somewhat more productive than -thì.
- mukí spider > mukîci spiderweb
ìthu sarong > ìthòci clasp; pin
cimu to pierce > cimuci piercing; small hole
-nam and -kuni
These are nouns meaning "person" and "group." They are frequently used in compounds to denote a single human agent or member in the first case and a collection of members in the second case.
- mìthú clan; lineage > mìthônam clan member; mìthôkuni (members of a) clan
ṭatò to attack > ṭatònam soldier; ṭatòkuni army
-nam and -thì can be combined to similar semantic effect as -kuni.
- ṭatònèthì band; division
-nam may be appended to a noun or verb to produce an agentive noun:
- winèci millstone > winècinam miller
-kuni can also be used with animals; here it denotes "herd," "flock," etc.
- mimá sheep > mimákuni herd of sheep
yuhi insect > yuhyukuni swarm of insects
This is a noun meaning "place," and historically meaning "house;" as the head of a compound it denotes various kinds of manmade locations and structures.
- mìthú clan; lineage > mìthôpaha chief town of a clan
tonám king > tonêpaha royal palace
piha household item > pihepaha cabinet; shelf
This suffix denotes an associated or resulting substance.
- ṭoṭa bee > ṭoṭohu honey
ma fur > mohú fur (as a material)
kìpí woman > kìpyúhu menstrual blood (polite)
The basic word order is subject-object-verb:
- thèthí tyukamwe kikîthe.
boy-NOM girl-ACC PRES-love
the boy loves the girl.
The object can be topicalized by fronting it; the semantic effect is similar to the passive in English.
- tyukamwe thèthí kikîthe.
girl-ACC boy-NOM PRES-love
the girl is loved by the boy.
The major sentence components are arranged in the order (instrumental noun)(dative noun)(subject)(object)(verb). Adjectives precede the nouns they modify, and can modify a noun in any case.
- ta pumwim a mimatù thonámwe ṭatò.
big fish-INS I narrow tree-ACC hit.
I was hitting the small tree with a big fish.
Derived adverbs are placed at the front of the sentence:
- kumwìthum ta pumwim a mimatù thonámwe ṭatò.
happy-ADV big fish-INS I narrow tree-ACC hit.
I was happily hitting the small tree with a big fish.
But "true" adverbs are placed directly before the verb:
- ta pumwim a mimatù thonámwe he ṭaṭátò.
big fish-INS I narrow tree-ACC often PRES-hit
I often hit the small tree with a big fish.
The Verb Phrase and Transitivity
One quirk of Thokyunèhòta syntax is a rigid distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs. Most intransitive verbs are unaccusative (kaheci "fall," wimi "die,"etc.); the few unergative verbs mostly describe locomotion or vocalization (ṭa "walk," kome "fly," hiha "laugh").
Contrary to English, there is a general tendency to use a transitive construction whenever possible: Thus where we use a construction like "he was hunting," Thokyunèhòta supplies an object, even if semantically vague or redundant:
- èthyú thuhimwe thokyu.
They were hunting (lit. "They were hunting animals").
The object can in fact be removed from such a phrase, but this carries a connotation of aimlessness or carelessness:
- èthyú thokyu.
They were hunting [but mostly goofing off].
The object is also often removed in yes/no questions and the resulting answers, if it is the verb that is under question:
- èthyú nta ci?
Were they fishing?
No, they were hunting.
The subject can also be deleted. This produces the equivalent of a passive or middle voice in English:
- kìpyúnam kwihwe uhwítù.
my wife is cooking (lit. "making food").
the food is cooking / the food is being cooked.
In the case of bodily functions which would seem to lack any logical semantic patient, the secreted or excreted substance is the object, with the verb being thohe "throw" suggesting violent or sudden release, or tayo "drop" suggesting a more passive dribbling (this obviates the need for separate verbs bleed, spit, piss, etc.):
- a tòthuhwe thohe.
a tòthuhwe tayo.
I was drooling.
Verbs describing locomotion are intransitive; but even these may carry a sense of aimlessness unless a locative phrase is supplied:
- kìpí ṭa.
the woman was walking around.
thoné wìhe kìpí ṭa.
the woman was walking in the village.
One consequence of this syntactical structure, seen in some of the examples above, is that verbs tend to be semantically vague, and few have been innovated since the Proto-Isles period. Semantic specificity belongs to the nouns and adjectives.
The verb ni "to be" is used to equate two nouns, or a noun with an adjective. Both nouns take the nominative.
- ityú nam kaxêma niní.
this man is the chief.
fepa nìta niní.
the fruit is ripe.
But if the second noun is put in the accusative then ni instead means "to do; make; effect."
- ityú nam kaxêma xè mwipawe niní.
this man makes the chief's clothes.
Adjectives of all subtypes can be used as predicates, except that there is a tendency not to use nominal adjectives as predicates when the adjective is not semantically distinct from its base noun: i thipû nam niní "he is a birdlike man" is preferred over nam thipû niní "the man is birdlike."
The adjectives ta "large" and mi "small" cannot be used as predicates, being suppleted either with their intensive/comparative forms, respectively tatá and mimí, or with matù "wide" and mimatù "narrow."
The nominative is used for the subject of a verb or for either object of the copula; the accusative is used for the direct object. The object may appear without a subject (see the Verb Phrase above).
- mimé ihatò the shepherd was counting [something]
mimé thuhimwe ihatò the shepherd counted the animals
thuhimwe ihatò the animals were being counted
The dative indicates the recipient or benificiary of the action.
- mimé mimáwe tathêthama the shepherd is singing to his sheep
The instrumental has various usages. It marks the use of an object to accomplish an action:
- thuhám a thonêmwe ìhaya I carved the wood with a knife
Or it may denote the material used in creation:
- thonêm a napiwe ìhaya I carved the bowl from wood.
With animate referents it often implies accompaniment of the action without direct involvement.
- ìhìm a thuhimwe thokyu the dog accompanied me hunting
The past tense of a verb denotes past actions, making no aspectual distinction between, say, completed, continuous, and repeated actions.
- kìpí punuhwe cò the woman wove a basket / wove baskets / was weaving a basket
Such distinctions are not especially important in Thokyunèhòta, but various adverbs can be used to refine the meaning. A habitual state can be indicated with the adverbs i "habitually, repeatedly," he "often," or with the instrumental form of nouns denoting durations of time, to form an adverb meaning "daily," "annually," etc.
- kìpí punuhwe i cò the woman wove baskets
- kìpí punuhwe he cò the woman often wove baskets
- pacím kìpí punuhwe cò the woman wove baskets every day.
The completion of an action can be emphasized with an adverb that specifies a time, though even here the meaning is not unambiguous and relies largely on context.
- kìpí punuhwe pahápa cò the woman wove a basket yesterday
Likewise, the present tense makes no formal distinction between progressive or habitual states, though the former are to some extent assumed by default. Habitual states may, as with the past tense, be indicated with various adverbs:
- kìpí punuhwe i cicô the woman weaves baskets
But use of such adverbs is never compulsory; just as often the surrounding context is relied on to imply a habitual meaning.
The present may also encompass certain future actions, where they are habitual in nature or relatively certain to occur.
- kìpí punuhwe pahyú cicô the woman will weave a basket tomorrow (as she does every day)
- pa pahyú kakóme the sun will rise tomorrow
The negative makes no distinction in tense. With verbs describing goal-oriented activity it normally refers to a completed state:
- kìpí punuhwe uhôcò the woman did not weave a basket
- thèthí pumwiwe mòthí the boy did not find a fish
Otherwise it is usually a progessive:
- a kìpyúwe kìthé I do not love the woman
- i ené mìthôkunihwe xèthé he does not belong to my clan
But as usual, a particular meaning can be reinforced with adverbs: i "habitually," uhôhapam "never," ináṭam "now," anáṭam "then," etc.
- ináṭam kìpí punuhwe uhôcò the woman is not weaving a basket
- uhôhapam a kìpyúwe kìthé I never loved the woman
The negative form, marked only by stress placement, is rarely allowed to stand by itself. Normally a negative verb is reinforced by a following particle kyu, especially in speech:
- a kìpyúwe kìthé kyu I do not love the woman
- i ené mìthôkunihwe xèthé kyu he does not belong to my clan
In archaic, very formal, or poetic speech the negative is instead preceded by the adverb uhô; this is now compulsory only for monosyllabic verbs.
- a kìpyúwe uhô kìthé I do not love the woman.
- i ené mìthôkunihwe uhô xèthé he does not belong to my clan
All cited forms so far have been in the indicative mood. There are, in addition to this, two irrealis moods: the potential and the subjunctive. The potential encompasses actions that are probable or intended; the subjunctive those that are doubtful, contingent, or the subject of desires, obligations etc.
The present potential indicates an action that is speculated to be happening in the present or is intended for the future; most future actions in fact use this form.
- ipáhene nìhe i tatóhi he is going to come here
- ìthyú òthêthìwe thathóhi we are going to cast the fishing nets
The past potential is somewhat rarely used, but refers to plans or predictions made in the past, or to the relative past of some future planned event (and thus may function as a future perfect):
- ipáhene nìhe i tohi he was going to come here / he will have come here
- ìthyú òthêthìwe thohi we were going to cast the fishing net / we will have cast the fishing net
The negative potential almost always implies a future meaning.
- ipáhene nìhe i tohí kyu he is not coming here
- ìthyú òthêthìwe thohí kyu we are not going to cast the fishing net
The subjunctive, by default, expresses either obligation or (especially in the first person) an implied conditional.
- ipáhene nìhe i tatóhepa he should come here
- ipáhene nìhe a tatóhepa I would go there [if...]
But the range of meaning can vary widely depending on modal particles:
- ipáhene nìhe i tatóhepa u I'm afraid he's coming here
- ipáhene nìhe i tatóhepa xe I really hope he comes here
In the past tense the conditional sense is usual.
- ipáhene nìhe i tohepa he would have come here [if...]
The negative subjunctive always expresses doubt.
- ipáhene nìhe i tohépa kyu I doubt he is coming here
Locative phrases can be divided into dynamic and stative types - the first denoting motion toward, from, or within a place, and the second denoting an unmoving location. Contrary to most languages, dynamic locative phrases in Thokyunèhòta are shorter and less marked than stative ones.
A dynamic locative phrase consists of a noun in the dative, denoting the source, location or destination of motion, followed by one of three postpositions: wìhe "in; at; around," nìhe "to; toward; into," or mahe "from; out of" (these descend from the case endings attached to the PI postposition qas; the dative ending was later replaced on the noun stem).
- thonêthìne wìhe [moving] in the forest
thonêthìne nìhe to the forest
thonêthìne mahe from the forest
A stative locative phrase is a somewhat extended version of this construction: the head noun is followed by the possessive particle xè, which is followed by a locative noun, also in the dative case, followed by wìhe.
- thonêthìne xè wine wìhe in the forest (lit. "in the inside of the forest")
thonêthìne xè yòne wìhe outside the forest
thonêthìne xè piṭùne wìhe under the forest
Replacing the postposition with nìhe or mahe thus encodes both location and movement.
- thonêthìne xè wine nìhe into [the interior of] the forest
thonêthìne xè wine mahe from within the forest
thonêthìne xè yòne nìhe towards the outside of the forest; away from the forest
thonêthìne xè yòne mahe from the outside of the forest
Possession is marked by the particle xè, which is put between the possessor and the possessed. These are both marked with the appropriate case ending.
- xèmá xè mimá the man's sheep
xèmóm xè mimám the man's sheep (inst.)
This particle is not used with the personal pronouns; instead the dative pronoun is used as a possessive:
- tòné ìhì your dog
èthîne pikì their house
A possessive construction is avoided where the possessor is extremely clear from context; particularly when talking about one's own relations, possessions, or body parts. I.e., it is preferable to use xèmónam "the husband" instead of ené xèmónam "my husband"; mimá "the sheep" instead of ené mimá "my sheep," except where disambiguation is required.
Yes/no question are handled with three particles which follow the verb. These are tuhá if the expected answer is "yes," kò if it is "no," and ci if no particular anwser is expected. This last is used sparingly, as it may sound rather peremptory.
All other questions are formed with the interrogative adjective ipû "what." The interrogative particle ci is still required at the end of the sentence.