Tomē Nilōyi

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Extent of the Tomē Nilōyi language.

Tomē Nilōyi is the foremost member of the Tomic branch of the Team B languages, spoken in the northern foothills of the central highlands of Peilaš and in the upper valley of the θōsi river, hugging the equator. The contemporary range of what can fairly be called a single language or closely-knit dialect continuum is marked in red.

Its speakers engage in a general mix of pastoralism and agriculture, with the latter predominating along the river, in the mountains and during the rainy season, though trade with peoples downriver is not unheard of. As grant money is scarce, only one dialect has been documented so far.


Tomē Nilōyi possesses a relatively simple phonology, perhaps indeed the simplest of all Team B languages, with only twelve or thirteen consonants and four vowels plus length.


labial dental alveolar palatal velar labiovelar glottal
stop p t k kʷ <kw>
nasal m n
fricative θ s x h
approximant l j <y> w

We transcribe /j/ as <y> in all following material. /kʷ/ is not phonemically or phonetically distinguishable from /kw/, and will be transcribed as <kw> in all following material, but is regarded as a single consonant because no other cluster of the form CR exists.


front center back
high i iː
mid-high o oː
mid-low ɛ ɛː
low a aː

In all following material, /ɛ ɛː/ are transcribed as <e ē>, and long vowels are transcribed with macrons <ā ē ī ō>.


Tomē Nilōyi is heavily enamored of open syllables. As such, the only clusters that may occur (ignoring the question of /kʷ/) are of the form /h/ followed by a consonant, which may only occur medially. There are no word-final coda consonants, and no word-initial clusters (except, again, for /kʷ/).

Two synchronic phonological rules are given here. The fieldworkers have determined that all else belongs to morphophonology.

1. Second-syllable shortening.--In a chain of three syllables or (rarely) four syllables all containing long vowels, the second is shortened. No underlying chains of five long vowels or more have been found.

2. kw-unrounding.--Before /o/ (either short /o/ or long /ō/), /kw/ derounds to plain /k/.


The Tomē Nilōyi nominal (nouns and adjectives) is inflected in ten cases (nominative, genitive, instrumental, prepositional, comitative, dative, inessive, illative, adessive and allative); additionally, nouns have two numbers (singular and plural). There is no gender or animacy distinction, but we distinguish eight major classes (in Roman numerals) based on declension pattern, with various subclasses.

Adjectives agree with their head in case, but not number.

A note on stem alternation

A handful of common nominals show alternation of the first syllable of the stem across the paradigm. Most often, the prepositional, comitative and adessive (so-called "PCA" cases) possess a different stem from that used elsewhere; irregular nominatives are also sometimes met with, in both numbers.

Additionally, most nouns possess a regular-ish but not always predictable plural stem with the addition of an extra syllable. The plural takes the same endings as the singular, so it is regarded as part of the lexical entry and not a problem for inflection; it may also possess PCA irregularities or an irregular nominative. However, if there is no PCA alternation in the singular, there will be none in the plural (the converse is not always true; some nouns have PCA alternation in the singular but not the plural).

A noun entry in the lexicon will note, as its first two principle parts, its nominative singular and plural, then any additional irregularities, e.g.

ekwa, ēkwa n. Ia star

ekwa is a regular noun with plural stem ēkwa, and belongs to subclass a of declension class I.

Declension Class I

Nouns of Class I are characterized by a final vowel ending in the nominative that is changed in the oblique (= all non-nominative) cases. In a few instances, not shown below for convenience, a Class I noun may have a nominative ending in a long vowel plus -yi; an example is hesēyi, gen. hōsiyōwi 'bone'. All cases except the nominative decline as if the nominative were **hōsi.

case subclass A subclass B subclass C subclass D
nominative -a -a/-i -e -e
genitive -āwi -iyōwi -eyōwi -ōwi
instrumental -ayēni -iyēni -eyēni -oyēni
prepositional -āli -ēli -ēli -ōli
comitative -āwa -ēwa -ēwa -ōwa
dative -ānā -ēnā -ēnā -ōnā
inessive -ātōni -ētōni -ētōni -ātōni
illative -ōtōni -iyotōni -eyotōni -ōtōni
adessive -ākwe -ēkwe -ēkwe -ākwe
vocative -ōkwe -iyōkwe -eyōkwe -ōkwe

Remember, this isn't IE: plurality is marked by lexically-determined stem change, not by ending.

Paradigms ahoy, showcasing not only the endings but also some stem variation that occasionally arises: aha 'ancestor' has a PCA stem ap-, and tōle 'chicken' has a PCA stem tel-. Note also in several instances the second-syllable shortening rule at work, e.g. in tōlenā' 'to/for a chicken', underlyingly *tōlēnā. Additionally, the illative and allative of 'star' show derounding of /kʷ/ before /o/.

ekwa 'star' aha 'elder' hōni 'spring (of water)' tōle 'chicken' hōwe 'crow'
nominative ekwa aha hōni tōle hōwe
genitive ekwāwi ahiyōwi hōniyōwi tōleyōwi hōwōwi
instrumental ekwayēni ahiyēni hōniyēni tōleyēni hōwoyēni
prepositional ekwāli apēli hōnēli telēli hōwōli
comitative ekwāwa apēwa hōnēwa telēwa hōwōwa
dative ekwānā ahēnā hōnenā tōlenā hōwonā
inessive ekwātōni ahētōni hōnetōni tōletōni hōwatōni
illative ekōtōni ahiyotōni hōniyotōni tōleyotōni hōwotōni
adessive ekwākwe apēkwe hōnēkwe telēkwe hōwākwe
illative ekōkwe apiyōkwe hōniyōkwe tōleyōkwe hōwōkwe

The plurals of these nouns are "lexically determined"/semi-arbitrary, and will decline the same way as the singulars (nouns never switch declension classes between singular and plural). PCA alternation can only be present in the plural if it was also present in the singular, but some nouns only have PCA alternation in the singular. The plural will be marked in the lexicon, if there is a separate one. Some nouns have plurals identical to their singulars. Others have no PCA alternation, but have an irregular nominative plural distinct from the stem of the oblique cases: hekōni 'springs (nom.)' vs.hōxeniyōwi 'springs (gen.)'. Rounding out the example nouns are "ēkwa" 'stars', āha 'elders' (PCA āp-), telōle 'chickens' (oblique stem tōlel-), and hokōwe 'crows' (obl. hōxōw-).

Declension Class II

These nouns end in a long vowel plus -mi or -ni in the nominative, and their stem ends in a nasal that is subject to diseappearance in certain forms. The stem is best found in the genitive, not the nominative; the genitive will always end in -VNōwi where V is a short vowel and N is {m n}.

Certain endings may cause changes to the end of the stem as found in the genitive (this is orthagonal to PCA, plural marking and irregular nominatives). Here's a table of underlying endings. <N> means the nasal of the stem (either /m/ or /n/), and vowel changes will be marked with superscripts. V⁰ is the short vowel of the underlying stem, as found in the genitive.

nominative -V¹Ni
genitive -V⁰Nōwi
instrumental -V²θēni
prepositional -V⁰Nēli
comitative -V²ka
dative -V⁰Nēnā
inessive -V⁰Nētōni
illative -V⁰Notōni
adessive -V⁰Nēkwe
allative -V⁰Nokwe

In other words, the end of the stem will be found in three 'grades' . Whether the nasal is /m/ or /n/ is essentially irrelevant to declension; it will always disappear in the instrumental and comitative.

Happily, V¹ (the nominative) and V² (the instrumental/comitative) can be mechanically derived from V⁰:

V⁰ V¹ (nom.) V² (ins., com.)
-aN- -āNi -ēθēni, -ēka
-eN- -ēNi -ēθēni, -ēka
-iN- -ēNi -ēθēni, -ēka
-oN- -ōNi -ōθēni, -ōka

This is pretty simple, really. The vowel is lengthened in the nominative, but underlying /ĭ/ goes to /ē/. The vowel is lengthened and the nasal deleted in the instrumental and comitative, but all of underlying /ă ĕ ĭ/ go to /ē/ and only /ŏ/ goes to /ō/. In all other cases, the underlying/genitive stem is used.

Bottoms up for some paradigms.

'fish' 'river' 'similar-age male peer' 'back (of a leaf, other object)'
nom. ēwāmi hēni pēni nōyōmi
gen. ēwamōwi henōwi pinōwi nōyomōwi
ins. ēweθēni hēθēni pēθēni nōyoθēni
prep. ēwamēli henēli pinēli nōyomēli
com. ēwēka hēka pēka nōyōka
dat. ēwamēnā henēnā pinēnā nōyomēnā
iness. ēwamētōni henētōni pinētōni nōyomētōni
ill. ēwamotōni henotōni pinotōni nōyomotōni
adess. ēwamēkwe henēkwe pinēkwe nōyomēkwe
all. ēwamokwe henokwe pinokwe nōyomokwe

None of these nouns have PCA alternation--no Class II noun does. However, a few have irregular nominatives, like pēwāni 'island' (oblique stem pōwan-) and imēni 'bee' (oblique yēmen-).

Plurals as usual are lexically determined. Only two Class II nouns have an irregular nominative plural: 'river' has nom. pl. hekēni and oblique plural stem hōxen-, and 'dog' (sg. āni, anōwi) has nom. pl. apāni and oblique āhan-. Since no Class II noun has PCA alternation in the singular, none do in the plural either.

The plural stems of the other nouns given here are ēwam- 'fish' (singular and plural coincidentally equivalent in both Tomē Nilōyi and English), pēwin- 'male peers' and nōnoyom- 'backs'.

Declension Class III

The nominative of class III nouns always ends in either a long vowel alone (e.g. otā 'liver') or in a long vowel plus -si (e.g. θēwēsi 'axe'). The genitive gives you the underlying stem: it will take the form -Vpōwi, -Vtōwi or -Vkōwi, where V is a short vowel. Without fail, genitives in p and k correspond to long-vowel nominatives, and genitives in t correspond to a nominative in -si.

We will treat Class III endings the same way as Class II; the final -{p t k} of the stem found in the genitive undergoes various changes in juncture with the endings. Mercifully, however, there are no changes to the preceding vowel, except that stems in -ip -it -ik yield -ē -ēsi -ē in the nominative: hamē, hāmipōwi 'yarn'; nīwēsi, nīwitōwi 'glue, sap'.

p-stems t-stems k-stems
nom. -ːsi
gen. -pōwi -tōwi -kōwi
ins. -θēni -θēni -θēni
prep. -pēli -tēli -kēli
com. -hka -hka -hka
dat. -hēnā -sēnā -xēnā
ines. -hētōni -sētōni -xētōni
ill. -hotōni -sotōni -xotōni
ades. -pēkwe -tēkwe -kēkwe
all. -pokwe -tokwe -kokwe

Pretty simple, really. The underlying p t k of the stem is mutated to h s x in the dative, inessive and illative and deleted entirely before uniform instrumental and comitative endings. Again, no vowel changes, except in the nominative, which always has a long vowel and changes short /ĭ/ to /ē/.

No Class III noun has PCA alternation, but a few show an irregular nominative (beyond the regular changes found in the nominative), such as kilē, kēlikōwi 'sun'.

Bottoms up for paradigms:

'wind' 'axe' 'sun'
nom. otā θēwēsi kilē
gen. otapōwi θēwetōwi kēlikōwi
ins. otaθēni θēweθēni kēliθēni
prep. otapēli θēwetēli kēlikēli
com. otahka θēwehka kēlihka
dat. otahēnā θēwesēnā kēlixēnā
ines. otahētōni θēwesētōni kēlixētōni
ill. otahotōni θēwesotōni kēlixotōni
ades. otapēkwe θēwetēkwe kēlikēkwe
all. otapokwe θēwetokwe kēlikokwe

As usual, there are no changes to be made to declension in the plural. The plurals of these words are ōtā/ōtapōwi 'winds', θēsewēsi/θēsēwetōwi 'axes', and kēwilē/kēwilikōwi 'suns'.

Declension Class IV

Nominals of this class have a nominative in -āli, -ēli or -ōli, and a genitive in -Vlōwi where V is short. They all decline about the same way. A large number of adjectives ending in -ēli belong to this class. There are only two vowel grades, V⁰ and V¹: V⁰ /ă ĭ ŏ/ correspond to V¹ /ā ē ō/. (There are no Class IVs with V⁰ /ĕ/ or V¹ /ī/.)

The endings:

nom. -V¹li
gen. -V⁰lōwi
ins. -V¹θēni
prep. -V⁰lēli
com. -V¹ka
dat. -V⁰lēnā
ines. -V⁰lētōni
ill. -V⁰lotōni
ades. -V⁰lēkwe
all. -V⁰lokwe

Paradigms are almost unneeded:

'center' 'cloudy' 'seed'
nom. θāli āxanēli θilōli
gen. θalōwi āxanilōwi θēlolōwi
ins. θāθēni āxanēθēni θēloθēni*
prep. θalēli āxanilēli θēlolēli
com. θāka āxanēka θēlōka
dat. θalēnā āxanilēnā θēlolēnā
ines. θalētōni āxanilētōni θēlolētōni
ill. θalotōni āxanilotōni θēlolotōni
ades. θalēkwe āxanilēkwe θēlolēkwe
all. θalokwe āxanilokwe θēlolokwe
  • With second-syllable shortening; underlying /θēlōθēni/.

Declension Class V

This class contains many common nouns, including ōtamāni 'husband', ēmamāni 'nose', ahkomāni 'daughter', mēnimāni 'mother', and so forth. All nouns of this class decline the same way, with no PCA changes or special nominatives, but the endings are peculiar.

endings 'husband'
nom. -māni ōtamāni
gen. -manōwi ōtamanōwi
ins. -mēθēni ōtamēθēni
prep. -nanēli ōtananēli
com. -mēka ōtamēka
dat. -nēnā ōtanēna
ines. -nētōni ōtanētōni
ill. -manotōni ōtamanotōni
ades. -nēkwe ōtanēkwe
all. -manokwe ōtamanokwe

Separate plurals, of course, still exist: consider pīlimāni 'breast', pl. pīwilimāni 'breasts'.

Declension Class VI

A small but obnoxious class, including the adjective kwamēwi 'small'. Also in this class is ōnēwi 'river crab', which has the vowel changes of pēwi but with vowel length in the -ew/-ey formative following nipāwi.

small fire parrotfish sand louse
nom. kwamēwi isēwi kayāwi nipāwi pēwi
gen. kwāmiyōwi ēsiyōwi kāyawōwi nēhawōwi pēyōwi
ins. kwāmeθēni ēseθēni kāyoθēni nēhoθēni pēθēni
prep. kwāmiwēli ēsiwēli kāyawēli nēhawēli pēwēli
com. kwāmōka ēsōka kāyōka nēhōka pōka
dat. kwāmiwēnā ēsiwēnā kāyawēnā nēhawēnā pēwenā
ines. kwāmiwētōni ēsiwētōni kāyawētōni nēhawētōni pēwetōni
ill. kwāmīyotōni ēsīyotōni kāyāwotōni nēhāwotōni pēyotōni
ades. kwāmiwēkwe ēsiwēkwe kāyawēkwe nēhawēkwe pēwēkwe
all. kwāmīyokwe ēsīyokwe kāyāwokwe nēhāwokwe pēyokwe

Declension Class VII

A small class comprising the nominals pāwi 'large', hāwi 'mushroom' and θāwi 'hummingbird'. All decline exactly the same way.

large mushroom hummingbird
nom. pāwi hāwi θāwi
gen. pāwōwi hāwōwi θāwōwi
ins. pāwoθēni hāwoθēni θāwoθēni
prep. pāwēli hāwēli θāwēli
com. pāwoka hāwoka θāwoka
dat. pāwenā hāwenā θāwenā
ines. pāwetōni hāwetōni θāwetōni
ill. pāwotōni hāwotōni θāwotōni
ades. pāwēkwe hāwēkwe θāwēkwe
all. pāwokwe hāwokwe θāwokwe

Plurals of mushroom and hummingbird (remember, no plurals on adjectives) are hākāwi and θāsāwi, with uniform oblique stems hākāw- and θāsāw-.

Declension Class VIII

Two highly irregular nouns 'man, male' and ē 'spirit, being'.

'person' (sg.) 'people' (pl.) 'spirit' (sg.) 'spirits' (pl.)
nom. hēkwa ē iha
gen. hiyōwi hēkwiyōwi iyōwi ihiyōwi
ins. hiyēni hēkwiyēni iyēni ihiyēni
prep. hēli hikwēli ēli ipēli
com. hēwa hikwēwa ēwa ipēwa
dat. hēnā hēkwēnā ēnā ihēnā
ines. hētōni hēkwētōni ētōni ihētōni
ill. hiyotōni hēkotōni iyotōni ihotōni
ades. hēkwe hikwēkwe ēkwe ipēkwe
all. hiyokwe hēkokwe iyokwe ihokwe


Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns make a number distinction in all three persons, plus a clusivity distinction. Note that 3rd-person pronouns can only be used for animates; inanimates must use demonstratives.

sg. pl.
1 nōto pānoto
1+2 tēkoto
2 tēto tilēto
3 mōto momōto

The personal pronouns decline as regular nouns of the 1D subclass, but with an irregular nominative -o ending. Additionally, the singulars have irregular possessive forms nō, tiyō, mō separate from the regular genitives used for verbal and prepositional complements.

There exists a reflexive pronoun tōmāni which declines as a Class V.

There are two demonstratives ihpā 'this' and mepā 'that'. In modifying position before a noun, they do not have any agreement marking. As standalones (for example, as inanimate third-person pronouns) they may decline as class III k-stems, with oblique/non-nominative stems ihpak- and mōhak-. They do not have separate plural forms.

There are a few other declinable pronouns. hāme declines as a Class Ic noun and can be used either as an adjective 'some' or a noun 'something'; its animate counterpart hāma means 'someone', and declines as a Ia. Like these decline pāme 'everything', also used as an adjective 'every' or 'all', and pāma 'everyone'.

The interrogative pronoun 'who? declines as a Ia noun, with irregularly lengthened nominative. 'what? which? which one?' is somewhat more irregular:

'what? which? which one?'
gen. miyōwi
ins. miyēni
prep. mīli
com. mīwa
dat. mīnā
ines. mītōni
ill. miyotōni
adess. mīkwe
all. miyokwe

Other interrogative particles include mōse 'when?', ēxe 'where?', ēni 'how?' and lāni 'how much? how many?'; this last belongs to a group of quantity pronominals also including tāni 'this much', mewāni 'that much' and hetāni 'some amount of'. All four of these decline as Class II nouns, and put the noun quantified into the genitive. pāme distinguishes 'every' from 'all' similarly; in the meaning 'every/each', it acts as a dependent adjective and its head noun declines fully; in the meaning 'all', it takes case marking and puts its noun into the genitive as a dependent.

Additional demonstrative-like adverbs will be noted in the Lexicon.


The Tomē Nilōyi verb is moderately inflected, with approximately sixty forms. The following categories are present:

Personal/impersonal: If at least one of the arguments of the verb is first or second person, a finite verb takes the prefix θa-/θā-/θ-. Tense: Verbs have a present, past and 'general/future' tense in all four moods. Additionally, the indicative has a rather archaic tense, the narrative, used mostly in storytelling. Mood: Verbs possess indicative, subordinative, subjunctive and causal moods--the causal and subordinative are not really moods, in the usual sense, but form a single system with the indicative and subjunctive. Polarity: Negative marking is verb-internal.

Additionally, there are several non-finite forms.

This sounds easy-peasy. In practice, verb conjugation is somewhat complicated, because each verb may have up to four different stems, with both vowel and consonant alternation. In the lexicon, the four (note below) principle parts listed are the present indicative impersonal, present subordinative impersonal, present indicative personal and present subordinative personal, like so:

θitēli, θēsikōli {θēsi}, θāsitēli, θatēsikōli, vi, 'to stand up (once)'.

This is an intransitive verb (vi). Its stems are θitē-, θēsi-, -sitē-, and -tēsi-. The bracketed form is the impersonal present general positive, which always uses the same stem as the second principal part, but sometimes with a change to final vowel. Not all verbs have four different stems in these roots, but these forms are always distinguished, so this is what will be found in the dictionary. (...actually, I may just list the stems).

There is no aspect distinction in inflection, but most verbs have an inherent aspect, either semelfactive or iterative/habitual. There is, for example, a habitual counterpart θihkōli, θihkwekōli, θātihkōli, θatihkwekōli 'to stand up (repeatedly, habitually).' This distinction is lexical, not inflectional.

A few verbs have a suppletive number distinction, which agrees with the absolutive argument. An example is the highly irregular verb 'to see', with present indicative impersonal nikwēli 'sees (one thing)' vs. nehpōli 'sees (many things)'.

Due to the number of forms, we'll split all this into fourths.

Positive Polarity--Unprefixed

These are forms of the verb which take no prefix and are in the positive, not the negative. This means all the impersonal finite forms, as well as the supine, which can be used to indicate purpose (more on this in syntax).

The present indicative alone takes the root from the first principle part (purple cell); all other forms take the second (pink cell).

Note that there aren't any consonant-final stems among the regular verbs in Tomē Nilōyi. Except for a few very common verbs with serious conjugational irregularities, all verb stems end in a vowel.

indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present -li -kōli -kōkwe -yenēli
past -wāni -kāwāni -kwāwekwe -yēkāni
general -kwa -kwēme -yēli
narrative -xa
supine -kwāwa

A few notes.

- The general indicative always takes Stem II, but its final vowel is subject to change: final /-i/ or /-e/ alternating with Stem I /-ē/ becomes /-a/, and /-o ~ -ō/ becomes /-e/ or (after /k/) /-we/.

- The mood distinctions will be covered more in syntax, but in general, the subordinative is used in various subordinate constructions (like relative clauses, result clauses and conditionals), the subjunctive is used in purpose clauses and counterfactual conditionals, and the causal can almost always be translated with 'because'.

- There is an irregular morphophonological rule whereby -iye/-iyē between the root and a causal ending can be reduced simply to -e/-ē.

- The narrative is rare, mostly used in stories, and only occurs in the indicative. In other moods, the past is used.

- The supine has no mood or tense (it is lumped in with the indicative here merely for convenience), and is a general form used for purpose whose understood subject would be the same as the subject of the main verb. (For different subjects, the subjunctive is used).

Conjugated example:

indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present θitēli θēsikōli θēsikōkwe θēsenēli
past θēsiwāni θēsikāwāni θēsikwāwekwe θēsēkāni
general θēsa θēsikwa θēsikwēme θēsēli
narrative θēsixa
supine θēsikwāwa

Negative Polarity--Unprefixed

Same stems as the above, but different endings. Note that the subordinative and subjunctive use Stem I (the present indicative positive); all others use Stem II.

indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present -miyēli -mīyōli -mīyōkwe -menēli
past -mīwāni -mīwāwāni -mīwāwekwe -mēkāni
general -mi -mīwa -mīwēme -mēni
narrative -mīxa
supine -mikwāwa


indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present θēsimiyēli θitēmiyōli θitēmiyōkwe θēsimenēli
past θēsimīwāni θitēmiwāwāni θitēmiwāwekwe θēsimēkāni
general θēsimi θitēmīwa θitēmiwēme θēsimēni
narrative θēsimīxa
supine θēsimikwāwa

Note that the subordinative and subjunctive endings will always trigger the second-syllable shortening rule, but not always consistently in the same place.

Positive Polarity--Prefixed

Thre are really two different sets of forms here. One is the personal conjugation--the forms that show θa-. The tenses and moods here should be familiar; they're the same as those found in the impersonal conjugation, but the prefix θa- marks that at least one of the verb's core arguments (up to two, the subject and object) is first- or second-person.

The infinitive, gerund and adverbial forms of the verb don't have anything to do with the personal conjugation, except that they also take a prefix and so use the same stems (stems III and IV). The infinitive is essentially a verbal noun, and used as such, particularly as subject or object. The gerund is essentially a participial form that can only agree with the subject, and expresses simultaneous action. The adverbial expresses a sense of 'by...-ing'. We will cover them more in syntax.

Note that both prefixes show length alternation. The personal prefix θa- is always θā- in the yellow cells. Similarly, the non-finite prefix is always ē- in the positive, but i- in the negative. Note that the positive and negative forms are exact inverses of each other in terms of prefix length and stem choice.

indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present θā-...-li θa-...-kōli θa-...-kōkwe θa-...-yenēli
past θā-...-wāni θa-...-kāwāni θa-...-kāwekwe θa-...-yēkāni
general θa-...-Ø θa-...-kwa θa-...-kwēme θa-...-yēni
narrative θā-...-xa
infinitive ē-...tāni
gerund ē-...-tēka
adverbial ē-...-sēθēni


indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present θāsitēli θatēsikōli θatēsikōkwe θatēsenēli
past θāsitēwāni θatēsikāwāni θatēsikāwekwe θatēsekāni
general θatēsi θatēsikwa θatēsikwēme θatēsēni
narrative θāsitēxa
infinitive ēsitētāni
gerund ēsitētēka
adverbial ēsitēseθēni

Negative Polarity--Prefixed

Fairly straightforward. Note that the stem choice of the negative prefixed conjugation is exactly flipped from the positive.

indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present θa-...-miyēli θā-...-mīyōli θā-...-mīyōkwe θā-...-menēli
past θa-...-mīwāni θā-...-mīwāwāni θā-...-mīwāwekwe θā-...-mēkāni
general θā-...-mi θā-...-mīwa θā-...-mīwēme θā-...-mēni
narrative θa-...-mīxa
infinitive i-...-mitāni
gerund i-...-mitēka
adverbial i-...-misēθēni


indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present θatēsimiyēli θāsitēmiyōli θāsitēmiyōkwe θāsitēmenēli
past θatēsimīwāni θāsitēmiwāwāni θāsitēmiwāwekwe θāsitēmekāni
general θāsitēmi θāsitēmīwa θāsitēmiwēme θāsitēmēni
narrative θatēsimīxa
infinitive itēsimitāni
gerund itēsimitēka
adverbial itēsimisēθēni

Vowel-Initial Stems

Stems that begin with a vowel (or a y- for which see below)) in the unprefixed forms may deal with the prefixed forms one of two ways. Some insert a consonant between the prefix and the stem, generally -p- in Stem III (after a short prefix) and -h- in Stem IV (after a long prefix). An example is īli-, ili-, -hili-, -pīli- 'to approach, come near'.

A handful of verbs show coalescence between the personal prefix θa-/θā- and the stem. This is generally regular:

--if the initial vowel of the stem is a- ~ ā, the contracted form is θā-, without length variation --if the initial vowel of the stem is i- ~ ī, yē ~ yē or i ~ yē, the contracted form is θē-, without length variation. --if the initial vowel of the stem is o- ~ ō- (or we- alternating with ō-), the contracted form is θō-, without length variation.

The non-finite prefix is iy-/ēy- before initial /a/, /o/ or /e/. Before initial /i~ī/, /i~yē/ or /yē~yē/,it simply replaces/merges with the vowel, so that yēnakē-, yēnāxi-, θēnaxi-, θēnāxi- has infinitives ēnāxitāni and ināximitāni.

Irregular Verbs

Strange-looking stem changes notwithstanding, there are only a handful of truly irregular verbs in Tomē Nilōyi.

To be, as in many languages, acts quite strangely--at least in the positive:

positive impersonal positive personal
indicative subordinative subjunctive causal indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present ēli īkōli īkōkwe iyenēli θapēli θahkōli θahkōkwe θaθenēli
past īwāni īkawāni īkwāwekwe iyēkāni θahkāni θahkāwāni θahkwāwekwe θaθēkāni
general ē īkwa īkwēme iyēli θā θahkwa θahkwēme θaθēli
narrative īxa θahka
supine īkwāwa
infinitive ihtāni
gerund ihtēka
adverbial ihtēθēni

Its negative stems are somewhat better behaved: the impersonal has indicative/supine/causal ī(mi)-, subordinative/subjunctive i(mī)-, and universal personal θē(mi/mī)- with non-finite ihmi-.

Next up we have to be located:

positive impersonal positive personal
indicative subordinative subjunctive causal indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present θēli sīkōli sīkōkwe siyenēli θatēli θahkōli θahkōkwe θaθenēli
past sīwāni sīkawāni sīkwāwekwe siyēkāni θahkāni θahkāwāni θahkwāwekwe θaθēkāni
general ēsi sīkwa sīkwēme siyēli θāsi θahkwa θahkwēme θaθēli
narrative sīxa θahka
supine sīkwāwa
infinitive ihtāni
gerund ihtēka
adverbial ihtēθēni

Note the red cells, which are homophonous with the corresponding forms of 'to be'. This virtually never produces ambiguity, as the copula takes the nominative as its predicate, while the locative verb takes a bare prepositional.

The locative verb possesses a negative somewhat more regular than its positive. In the impersonal we have the indicative/supine/causal stem sī(mi)-, with subjunctive/subordinate stem si(mī)-. The personal negative stem is always θah(mi/mī)- or, in the non-finite forms, ēmi-.

to bear, carry, which takes a nominative object and optional dative recipient, is also irregular:

positive impersonal positive personal
indicative subordinative subjunctive causal indicative subordinative subjunctive causal
present kwēli kēkōli kēkōkwe kēyenēli θāwēli θōkōli θōkōkwe θōθenēli
past kēwāni kēkawāni kēkwāwekwe kēyekāni θōkāni θōkawāni θōkwāwekwe θōθekāni
general ēwi kēkwa kēkwēme kēyēni θāwi θōkwa θōkwēme θōθēni
narrative kēxa θōka
supine kēkwāwa
infinitive itāni
gerund itēka
adverbial itēθēni

Note the green cells, with prefixed θō- rather than θā-. The negative is fairly regular, with unprefixed kēmi-/kemī- (the latter found in the subjunctive and subordinate) and prefixed θāwīmi-, θāwimī- (non-finite imitāni, etc).

To be and to be located additionally have suppletive plural-subject versions, the only verbs to do so:

īwā-, īwa-, θahpa-, θahpā- 'to be (pl.)' sīwā-, sīwa-, θahpa-, θahpā- 'to be located (pl.)'

All prefixed forms of these verbs are identical.


Tomē Nilōyi Lexicon