A-Rox Ŋʷoskʷuɣmʲa

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To Be Continued...
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A-Rox Ŋʷoskʷuɣmʲa
[ɐˈroxʷ ˈŋʷosʷkʷuɣʲmʲə]
Period c. 1 YP
Spoken in Tuysáfa Northwest Coast
Total speakers unknown
Writing system none
Classification Ronquian
 A-Rox Ŋʷoskʷuɣmʲa
Basic word order SOV/OVS
Morphology lightly isolating
Alignment NOM-ACC
Created by kanejam

A-Rox Ŋʷoskʷuɣmʲa (language of the Ngwoskwughmja) is a Ronquian language descended from Proto-Ronquian spoken by the u-Ʒʷimʲ Ŋʷoskʷuɣmʲa (people of the Ngwoskwughmja) in the Northwest of Tuysáfa. The language is lightly isolating, SOV, stress accented and notable for its large consonant inventory.


ARN is notable for its large consonant inventory, with most analyses placing it with 75 consonants. As such there is not a lot of allophony in the consonants. It has a simple five vowel system with two falling diphthongs.


Labial Dental Postalv. Retro. Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m mʲ nʲ n nʷ ŋʷ
Voiceless Stop pʲ p t tʷ tʃʲ tʃ tʂ tʂʷ kʲ kʷ qʲ q qʷ ʔ
Voiced Stop bʲ b d dʷ dʒʲ dʒ dʐ dʐʷ gʲ gʷ
Ejective stop pʲ' p' t' tʷ' tʃʲ' tʃ' tʂ' tʂʷ' kʲ' kʷ' qʲ' q' qʷ'
Voiceless Fric. fʲ f s sʷ ʃʲ ʃ ʃʷ ʂ ʂʷ xʲ xʷ χʲ χ χʷ
Voiced Fricative vʲ v z zʷ ʒʲ ʒ ʒʷ ɣʲ ɣʷ ʁʲ ʁ ʁʷ
Voiceless Trill r̊ʲ r̊ r̊ʷ
Voiced Trill rʲ r rʷ

The palatalised postalveolar series is realised as a palato-alveolar series, but patterns as a palatalised series.


Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

Phonotactics and Stress

Syllable structure follows this pattern: C(R)V(S/K), where R is a trill, S is a fricative and C is any consonant. A syllable can only end in a non-fricative consonant if it is the final syllable of a word; in this case it can finish in any of /p pʲ t tʷ tʃʲ kʲ kʷ rʲ r rʷ m mʲ nʲ n nʷ ŋʷ/ or any voiceless fricative, although /ʃ ʃʷ/ don’t contrast with /ʂ ʂʷ/ in this position. Trills don't occur after retroflex consonants.

Ejectives can only occur initially in a stressed syllable; the glottal stop patterns as an ejective. All clusters must be homogenous in terms of secondary articulation and voicing. In any cluster, secondary articulations is only marked once after the whole cluster, and a trill isn't marked as voiceless. Words may begin with a vowel.

Stress is always word-initial unless there is a pretonic syllable. Words are only allowed a maximum of one pretonic syllable. Pretonics are denoted by a following hyphen and have the structure (C). Any prefix will take a vowel depending on the secondary articulation of the initial consonant: using the paucal prefix (t-) as an example we have ta-dox̠ ‘a few mothers’, tu-ʃʷe ‘a few brothers’ and ti-bʲe ‘a few fathers’. Only those three vowels come before stressed syllables. Words beginning with vowels don't take vowels in their prefixes: t-on 'a few necks'.

Allophony and Sandhi

The vowels in prefixes are usually pronounced [ɐ ʊ ɪ]; high vowels in prefixes are lowered before uvular consonants. Final /a/ is pronounced /ə/ and often lost before another word starting with a vowel. Final /ʃ ʃʷ/ are usually pronounced retroflex by older speakers, but there is an increasing trend to pronounce them as postalveolar unless there is already a postalveolar sound in the word.

A word initial /i e/ is often pronounced with an on-glide [j] and /u o/ with an on-glide [w], especially after words ending in a vowel. These are the only hints of approximants in the language, other than the pronunciation of /ɣʲ/ as [j] by some females and elderly people in several eastern villages. /ʁʲ ʁ ʁʷ/ are always fricated.

Secondary articulations are not contrastive in coda position and are predictable from the following consonant or if word-final, the preceding vowel. The only exception is word final consonants following a diphthong, which may take any of the co-articulations. This is distinguished by variously spelling the diphthongs <ie ia io ue ua uo>.

/u/ is often unrounded after a plain consonant and fronted to [ʉ] after a palatal consonant. /i/ is usually unchanged by co-articulations, although in some younger speakers pronounce a schwa onglide after plain or labialised consonants. The same speakers tend to do the same with /e/.


Voiceless fricative codas become voiced before a word starting with a voiced consonant, although usually excluding trills. Most speakers voice them before another word starting with a vowel as well.

There is also consonant gradation. This pattern, along with adding an onsetless prefix is used for forming the construct state of nouns: ejectives become voiced stops, voiced stops become nasal stops, voiceless stops become voiceless fricatives and voiceless fricatives and trills become voiced. Voiced fricatives, nasal stops and the glottal stop don't lenit. /ʂ ʂʷ/ become /r rʷ/, /qʲ' q' qʷ'/ become /ʁʲ ʁ ʁʷ/, /dʒʲ gʲ/ become /nʲ/, /d dʒ dʐ/ become /n/ and /dʷ dʐʷ/ become /nʷ/. There is a small class of irregular nouns beginning in voiceless fricatives that 'lenit' to voiceless stops.

Here's an example of lenition chains: /t/ → /s/ → /z/, /t'/ → /d/ → /n/.

The formation of the perfective from the imperfective involves lenition and addition of an onsetless prefix, but is much less predictable than the formation of the construct and often features fortition. Voiceless stops still become voiceless fricatives, but voiced stops become ejectives and ejectives, nearly all voiced fricatives and nasal stops stay the same. Some instances of voiceless fricatives voice, but others remain voiceless. Some instances of /ʁʲ ʁ ʁʷ/ become ejective uvular consonants, some stay the same and a few even become glottal stops. /rʲ/ becomes /r̊ʲ/, but /r rʷ/ might become either /r̊ r̊ʷ/ or /ʂ ʂʷ/.


There are a few orthographies developed for ARN, but this article uses a mostly phonetic transcription. The few exceptions are: the secondary articulation of a cluster is only marked once after the cluster, so Ŋʷoskʷuɣmʲa is in fact pronounced with a rounded s and a palatalised ɣ; voicelessness of a trill is only marked if it occurs word-initially or intervocalically, so a cluster pr would actually be phonemically/pr̊/; and the secondary articulation of word final consonants isn't marked, even after diphthongs where they contrast where the contrast is instead marked on the diphthong, so the segments -iet -iat -iot would be phonemically /iətʲ iət iətʷ/, and same for -uet -uat -uot. This only occurs in inflected forms, and the secondary articulation is predictable from the uninflected form. In a few villages in the west, consonants don't have secondary articulations after the two rising diphthongs. To avoid issues with fonts, /χʲ χ χʷ/ are written x̠ʲ x̠ x̠ʷ and /r̊ʲ r̊ r̊ʷ/ are written hrʲ hr hrʷ.


ARN is lightly isolating and has a strong animate-inanimate distinction in nouns, most obvious in the OVS word order and ergative alignment of inanimate subjects.


Nouns are either animate or inanimate. There are three numbers for most animates and two numbers for inanimates as well as two states for every noun. The absolute state is the base state of any noun and used in subject and object position; the construct state is used with attributive stative verbs and possessor noun phrases such as a-nox̠ nʲe ‘my mother’.

State in Nouns

Nouns come in two states, the absolutive and the construct state. The construct state is used mainly when an attributive stative verb follows it, or when it is being possessed by a following noun phrase e.g. i-mʲuaʃe ʁʲer 'pleasant crickets' (whereas if crickets isn't in the construct state, it forms a predicate: nʲi mʲuaʃe ʁʲer 'crickets are pleasant'), na-rox̠ t'in 'the tiger's claw'. The absolutive state is used elsewhere.

To form the construct state, simply lenit the initial consonant (see morphophonology) and add an onsetless prefix, so if we take bʲuʃ 'hand', we lenit the onset to and add i- so we get i-mʲuʃ.

The prefix of a word never lenits, only the onset of the stressed syllable. With the exception of the paucal prefix which is removed, any prefix remains and no additional prefix is added, so na-hrox̠ 'tiger' becomes na-rox̠. Words beginning with vowels instead take a glottal stop prefix.

Some nouns beginning in voiceless fricatives 'lenit' to stops, and other nouns have outright irregular forms, such as pʲik 'one' → i-bʲik, ʃʷe ‘brother’ → i-vʲe.

Number in Nouns

Animate nouns are basically singular. Any animate noun without a prefix has a paucal form. This is formed by simply attaching the t- prefix to the singular, e.g. ti-ʁʲia 'a few men', from ʁʲia 'man'. Animate nouns with prefixes can take the optional modifier tʃ'e 'some' with the plural to specify a paucal amount of something.

Inaminate nouns in the 'singular' can be interpreted as either singular or paucal. To specify a singular meaning, the singular form can take the optional modifier fʲik. The same modifier can be used with either animate or inanimate nouns in the construct state, where neither of them distinguish paucal or singular as the paucal prefix of animate nouns is lost when forming the construct. For both inanimate nouns and animate nouns in the construct, the singular is assumed if there is no context.

There are several ways of forming the plural, and many irregular nouns, but most nouns fall into X broad categories. All animate absolute plurals take the modifier nʲi which is compulsory if no other determiner, adjective or quantifier is modifying the noun, and is often used then as well and can optionally take it in the construct as well.

The first category is filled mostly with animate nouns, and can be thought of as u-ablaut of the stressed vowel: a e become ua (e becomes ue if it is in the word-final syllable) and i o ia ua become u. Examples are dox̠ ‘mother’ becomes nʲi dux̠ 'mothers', tan 'friend' becomes nʲi tuan 'friends'. Words in i ia ua in this first class are very rare and in some dialects have been moved entirely to the second or third classes.

The second category is a mix of animates and inanimates, and involves modifying the secondary articulation of the onset of the stressed syllable. The changes are either Cʲ → C, Cʲ → Cʷ or C → Cʷ. There are a few nouns which undergo both the u-ablaut and secondary articulation change.

The third category is mostly inanimates and is pretty uncommon. It involves i-ablaut of the stressed vowel.

The fourth category is also a mix of animates and inanimates, and is filled with nouns which don't change in the plural. For ambiguous plural inanimates, see the quantifier section for ways to disambiguate.

Examples of irregular nouns are ʃʷe ‘brother’ → nʲi xʷua ‘brothers’.


In ARN, the counting system is base twelve, and all numbers pattern as nouns. In order to modify a noun, they must be placed before the noun in the construct state: u-dʷuq ta-mazat 'three birds'. The numbers one to four take a singular noun as their argument, although animate nouns may optionally take the paucal prefix after two, three or four. The normal word for two is x̠i, but things in a pair may be referred to as dat as in a-nat gʲot 'two eyes, both eyes'. Many numbers have irregular construct forms so they are listed as well in the following table.

1 pʲik i-bʲik
2 dat/x̠i a-nat/a-qi
3 tʷ'uq u-dʷuq
4 ʃʷaʃ u-tʃʷaʃ
5 ʃʷax̠ i-vʲax̠
6 ŋʷoʃkʲe u-ŋʷoʃkʲe
7 qroʃʲe a-x̠roʃʲe
8 ʃʲeʁi i-ʒʲeʁi
9 dʷuʃqʲe u-nʷuʃqʲe
10 pʲaʒʲe i-fʲaʒʲe
11 vʲaʒʲe i-vʲaʒʲe
12 ʂat a-rat
24 x̠oʃ a-qoʃ
36 u-dʷuq ʂat u-dʷuq a-rat
48 u-tʃʷaʃ ʂat / a-qi x̠oʃ u-tʃʷaʃ a-rat / a-qi a-qoʃ
144 sram / u-ŋʷoʃkʲe x̠oʃ a-tram
288 a-rat x̠oʃ -

Numbers higher than 12 other than 24 and 36 aren't usually used attributively, but when they are, all parts of the number are in the construct. a-qi ʂat is an uncommon poetic form used for 24. Higher numbers in ARN are additive, using the conjunction nʷo, such as x̠oʃ nʷo ʃʷaʃ for 28. Over 144, ARN only counts in twelves and lacks any real way to count above 288 and very rarely does it do so. The word sram is rarely used to mean exactly 144, and instead means "about a hundred (in base twelve)". The word (tʃʲe) sriam is used to refer to hundreds or thousands of something.

The first two ordinals are suppletive: ŋʷok 'first' and qa-zo 'second'. The rest of the ordinals are simply formed with the prefix nʲ-, e.g. nʲu-tʷ'uq 'third'. Ordinals past 12 aren't used.


Verbs inflect only for perfectivity. To form the perfective from the imperfective, simply gradate the initial consonant (see morphophonology) and add an onsetless prefix: nʲe rʲimro 'I kill' becomes tʷo nʲe i-r̊ʲimro 'I have been killed, I'm dead'.

The imperfective can be used simply as an imperative form, with the object coming after the verb: The first person imperative is formed by placing rʷoʃ in front of the verb.

Stative Verbs

A large proportion of intransitive verbs are stative verbs, taking over the role of English adjectives. Examples are bro 'be big' and daʁo 'be small'.


Singular Paucal Plural
1 excl. nʲe ti-nʲe ʔenʲi
1 incl. - ta-nat ʔenat
2 ŋʷux tu-ŋʷux vonrʷi
3 anim. kʲi ti-kʲi ʁixnʲi
3 inam. ŋʷa ŋʷa to

Adjectives, Adverbs, Determiners and Quantifiers

Adjectives and adverbs form very small closed classes. Most words corresponding to English adjectives are syntactically verbs and there is no separate category of adverbs. Most adjectives can function as adverbs, and there are syntactic methods for a stative verb to modify another verb.

The few adverbs are: tʷoto 'hopefully'


To be continued!

Sample Text

Ux̠ u-ʐʷos nox̠ar ʔeʁma, vo rʷoto saʁmox. Nʲi mʲat tu-sʷo i-fʲek pʲ'o akmʲa brakʲen. Ŋʷoskʷuɣmʲa baʒnʲan t'ax̠ ʁixnʲi tʷ'uk pʲek pʲ'o q'aʁtas kʲetʃ. Яixnʲi a-ʔana, mi-mʲisqi, tʷa-tʃaʃri sʷurʲam. U-ŋʷux u-ɣʷar pi-qʲ'if tʷo mʲevʲam sostʃa.


As the Sky Mother slept, the land was dark.
The stars hadn't yet started shining.
Our ancestors were young, so they didn't know how to make fire.
They moaned and shivered and were very cold.
The Scout of the white Xwar serves the Earth Father.

To be continued!

Swadesh List


1. I - nʲe

2. You (sg) - ŋʷux

3. we (incl) - ʔenat, pauc. ta-nat

4. this - ʃʷi

5. that - nʷu

6. who? - hro

7. what? - hrʲen

8. not - pʲek

9. all - ʔot (pauc), dʒe (pl) (nouns)

10. many - na-ʃa (noun)

11. one - pʲik

12. two - dat/x̠i

13. big - bro (verb)

14. long (not wide) - p'an (verb)

15. small - daʁo (verb)

16. woman - qʷiaq dʃʲe (irr. pl. dʐe)

17. man - ʁʲia bʲur (irr. pl. gʷur)

18. person - ʃim

19. fish (noun) - ʃʷakʲas

20. bird - mazat

21. dog - xʷot (male); ʃʷaqo (female)

22. louse - ʃia

23. tree (not log) - rʷoʒʲat

24. seed - a-boŋ daʁo (small fruit)

25. leaf - ta-ʒal

26. root - nʲiko

27. bark (of tree) - fox (or a-vox rʷoʒʲat 'tree skin')

28. skin (person’s) - fox

29. flesh - kʷos

30. blood - ʁʷar

31. bone - kʲ'itʃ

32. grease (fat) - dʐas

33. egg - mʲat

34. horn - bʲo

35. tail - p'anʲe

36. feather, wing - pʲ'iq

37. hair (on head of human) - ŋʷa-tʃu

38. head - p'aznʷux

39. ear - rʷa-qa

40. eyes - gʲot

41. nose - ŋʷon

42. mouth - rʷut

43. tooth (front) - nʷot (molar is x̠aq)

44. tongue - sox

45. claw - t'in

46. foot - nʲik

47. knee - fi-mʲik

48. hand - bʲuʃ

49. belly - kʲi

50. neck (not nape) - on

51. breasts - ʁa

52. heart - sʷuk

53. liver - tʃʲak

54. drink (verb) - ospagʲan

55. eat (verb) - x̠ʷux

56. bite (verb) - t'aʁa

57. see (verb) - nʲiʃ

58. hear (verb) - ufqor

59. know (facts) - tʷ'uk

60. sleep (verb) - ʔeʁma (irr. perf. xʲeʁma)

61. die (verb) - pozama

62. kill (verb) - rʲimro

63. swim (verb) -

64. fly (verb) - sataʃ

65. walk (verb) -

66. come (verb) - tʃ'ibra

67. lie (on side, recline) - rʲixnʷa

68. sit (verb) -

69. stand (verb) - ʂarʲan

70. give (verb) - qʲ'aʂ

71. say (verb) - ʔote

72. sun - mi-fʲi

73. moon - ma-ʔan

74. star - mʲat

75. water (noun) - urʷe

76. rain (noun) - rʷoxʷu

77. stone - mʲaq

78. sand (opposite to following) -

79. earth (soil) -

80. cloud (not fog) -

81. smoke (noun, of fire) -

82. fire -

83. ash(es) -

84. burn (verb intr.) -

85. path (not street) -

86. mountain (not hill) -

87. red (colour) - ʁʲir

88. green (colour) - gʷuʃ

89. yellow (colour) - nʷox

90. white (colour) - qʲ'if

91. black (colour) - tʃer

92. night - ʃax̠

93. hot (of weather) -

94. cold (of weather) - tʃaʃri

95. full -

96. new -

97. good -

98. round -

99. dry (substance) -

100. name - aftʃa


r̊ʲaʃri - necklace

rʷokʲi - chief

rʷobʲat - house of the chief