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General Information
Name Type Alignment Head-Direction Word Order Tonal Gender Conjugation Declension Naniuk [n.k] / Begonian Agglutinative Ergative-Absolutive Final SOV No No Yes; According to: (Tense), Aspect Yes; According to: Number, Case

Begonian is the English name for this conlang. I will use those two names synonymically.

Naniuk (endonym) is the official language of Begonia, one of 33 countries of a fictional seventh 21st-century continent. Each of these countries is thought to represent now-former classmates. Those people who are in cliques are thought to have languages related to each other and form a genealogic family. Which is why Naniuk has the status of an isolate (*forever alone*). Begonia itself is situated in the northeast of this continent with subarctic climate, approximately 4,5 to 5 million inhabitants with two major cities and economic centres called Karkana (capital, ~480k people) and Pyran (~550k). The country has been first settled in the late 8th century and was first mentioned some 300 years later as the result of the merging of two minor states called Kargis and Byran (hence the city names, and the development of a dual number) nowadays theres a mostly friendly rivalry between those two, especially visible in sport competitions. During the late Medieval age until the 17th century Begonian armed forces fought a violent war against attackers from Hattuku, which was eventually won and integrated into the country. Hattukan language stood out by having an elaborate set of ejectives and pharyngealized sounds, which influenced the Begonian language and were for a short time integrated as separate phonemes, but relatively quickly dropped however voiceless plosives may appear geminate in writing (only ones to do so within the same morpheme along with < r >) which still points to this. Also many dialects kept pharyngealization and a bunch of other distinctive features in the region of backthen Hattuku. Desired Aesthetics Naniuk is aimed to be a fusion of Turkish, Basque and some own ideas Ive gathered reading papers about the grammatical properties common to language families I dont remember . Whether thats reality, I dunno. Also, wherever I travelled, the local language influenced my conlang to some extent. So probably youre about to find a bunch of similarities to Korean.


Pulmonic Glottalized Pulmonic

Alveolar AlveoloPalatal

k <k> k <k, kk> k <kx>



p <p>



Pulmonic Glottalized

Nasal Liquids Approximant

m <m>

t <t> t <tt> t <ts> ts <ts> ( t ~t s ) ts <tss> <tz> ts <tts> s <s> ~s s <ss> <z> s <ss> n <n> L <r, rr>

x <x, ch> x <hh> x <hx> <> n j <j> w <u>

h <h>


/(+obstruent, +pulmonic)/


V_V[-stress], C[+voice]_V[-stress]

Only happens when the following syllable is unstressed. Is valid for all phonemes X of Naniuk except diphthongs: Long plosives (P:) lengthen the preceding sound. Some speakers apply the same process to the other long obstruents aswell. Examples: /at:a/ [a:ta] /t:a/ [t:a] /st:a/ [st:a] Long word-initial plosives change the tone of the following vowel from low to rising-falling and changes to its short counterpart. This occurs even if it causes the initial syllable to contain three morae.

except word-initially



except word-initally: There is no prelengthening if the preceding syllable contains more than two morae






[ ] [l, l] [n]

In onset position In coda position _N, N_

/L/ becomes [n] when surrounded by nasals. Sometimes there are further

assimilation effects (see below)


[n] with PoA X

Preceding obstruent with PoA X except /h/ _CV[+stress]

/nk/ [g], Nasals and /L/are devoiced when preceding syllables with some type of stress containing an obstruent in the onset.

/(+nasal) or L/

[(-voice)] Preceding front vowels /i, y, e, / [+(post-alveolar)] Preceding a coronal sound with different PoA (C2) and 1same MoA, 2different MoA

/(+velar)/ /(+fricative or affricate)(+alveolar)/

[(+palatal)] following [i] or [y]

1[--] 2[(+coronal)]

/is/ [i] /yts/ [yt]

with PoA of C2


is compensatorily lengthened.

/(+coronal)/ (C1) Back vowels (Dialectal) [(+coronal, pharyngealized)]

Many dialects still obtain the pharyngeal fricative [], and contrast it with [h]. Also many speakers pharyngealize many sounds when in the environment of back vowels: [s], [L], [n], etc. <nj, ni(V)(C)> [], <tj, ti(V)(C)> [], <sj, si(V)(C)> [], <s:j, s:i(V)(C)> [:], etc.

/(+alveolar)/ /(+velar, +ejective)/

Preceding < j > or a < i(V)(C) > sequence some speakers

[(+alveolo-palatal)] [(+uvular)]

Plosives: Begonian differentiates voiceless bilabial, alveolar and velar plosives. There is both a

length and glottalization contrast for /t, k/ vs. /t:, k:/ vs. /t, k/, although underlyingly long plosives surface as their short counterparts, but lengthening the preceding sound this is not true if the preceding sound is a diphthong where long plosives surface as such. Additionally, plosives may surface with up to three differing types of aspiration: Preaspiration, Postaspiration, no aspiration. (check Aspiration for more). Pulmonic non-aspirated plosives are voiced when surrounded by voiced sounds. The velar glottalized plosives may be backed.
Affricates: Begonian employs coronal affricates as phonemes contrasted by length/glottalization.

These sounds are considered phonemes as they can fill the coda position which generally can only be filled by a sound considered to have one time unit. Depending on the analysis a dental sibilant affricate is also accepted to be phonemic.
Fricatives: There are dental, alveolar, velar and glottal fricatives. Alveolar obstruents become

post-alveolar following high-front vowels. Velar ejective phonemes tend to be backed by many speakers and/or fronted when surrounded by high-front vowels. Alveolar and velar fricatives are contrasted by length and pulmonic vs. non-pulmonic. The dental fricative may be a non-sibilant // (typically in onsets) or a its sibilant counterpart /s/ (typically in codas).

Nasals: Bilabial, alveolar and alveolo-palatal nasals. Each of them can go to either onset or coda

position. Nasals cause any surrounding obstruents to become voiced. They tend to nasalize and heighten preceding vowels.
Liquids: Begonian is considered to have only one phonemic liquid noted by /L/ in the overview

above. /L/ is realized as [] in onset position and [l] in coda position. [l] may additionally be velarized after low-back vowels. Until some point in the past there used to be phonemic contrast between flapped and continued trills which is still obvious in modern orthography as /L/ may be written using <r> or <rr> within the same morpheme. Furthermore it becomes a nasal when surrounded by nasals.
Semivowels: Begonian uses /j/ and /w/ as phonemic semivowels. Both can freely cause clusters

with any other sounds. /w/ may not appear in coda position and is furthermore not attested to appear word-initially.

Vowels Monophthongs
Front Close Close-Mid Open-Mid Open Back

i y <i, y> e <e, > a <a>

u <u, ui/iu> o <o> ~ <oi> <oa>

Begonian vowel system looks like it was stolen borrowed from Germanic and Uralic/Altaic(oid) languages. Heres the phonetic details:

Begonian vowels
1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 0 500

/a/ // /o/ /u/ // // // /y/ /e/ /i/

F1 [HZ]



2000 F2 [HZ]





Additionally, Begonian employs the following diphthongs:

[a ]/[a ] [e ]/[ ] [i ]/[ ] [ ] [u ] [y ]/[ ]


<> <> <> <> <> <>

Monophthongs Plain
/i/ /y/ /e/ // /a/ //~// //~/ / /o/ /u/ //

_C (+dor) [e ] [ ] [] [] [] []~[] []~[ ] [] [o ] [ ]

[] [y] [] [] []~[] [] [] [] [u] []

_C (+lab) [a ] [ ] [e] [] []~[] [ ]~[] [] [] [] []~[]


_C (+cor) [i] [y] [e] [] [a] []~[] []~[ ] [o] [u] []

[a ] [ ] [] [] [] []~[] [] []~[o] [u] [] [, i, a ] []~[y] []~[]~[] [] [a]~[] []~[] []~[] [] []~[] []~[]

Stressed (Plain)
/ /a / / / / / / / /u / /

[]~[] [] [] [] [] []

As can be seen, the pronounciation of vowels largely depends on the surrounding consonants. A few patterns are apparent though: Nasal sounds heighten any preceding vowels. Labial sounds tend to front them, whereas dorsal ones and /h/ tend to lower them. Vowels pretty much retain their underlying features when around coronal sounds, and if word-finally without coda and stressed. Another criterion is whether a vowel is in a syllable with some degree of stress or not. Unstressed vowels tend to be more central. However in other cases, /i/ becomes a diphthong, /u/ fronts to [], and /e/ and /o/ are heightened. However, there are some restrictions to that: /i/ only becomes a diphthong if neither of the surrounding syllables contain a diphthong. /e/ is only heightened, if its not in the final syllable of a word, where it tends to be centralized to a schwa. /a/ becomes [] only word-finally. In all other cases, the two/three mentioned pronounciations of unstressed vowels ([]~[y] for /y/, etc.) appear to be arbitrary and somewhere on a continuum between that.

Underlying diphthongs are vastly turned into long vowels if in unstressed position. Usually the first vowel of the diphthong becomes long. However there is one exception to that pattern, in that / <> becomes []~[] if unstressed. /a Vowel Harmony

Front /i, y/ /e, / /a/

Back /, u/ /o/ // //

The Begonian 10-vowel system greatly offers itself to the classical type of front-back vowel harmony. Here are the vowel phonemes corresponding with each other with the vowel of the front version of the affix on the left and the vowel in the back version on the right:

/i/ /y/ /e/ // /a/ /, / /, / / /a / /

// /u/ //~// /o/ //~// / /u / /

/, / /, / /. /u/ 6ob e6 back pendant to all of /a / The first part of the diphthong determines whether its 6ob e treated as front or back, so /a functions as front diphthong. Most prefixes are not subject to vowel harmony and only have one invariant surface form.

Syllable Structure

(C1)(j, w) V (C2)
V ~ any mono- or diphthong, C1 ~ any consonant apart from semi-vowels. Underlyingly, all consonants can fill the C2 position however, long/ejective obstruents become their short/pulmonic counterpart in the surface form in coda position, unless followed by an onset-less syllable. In the same manner, /ts, ts, ts/ all surface as [t].

Phonotactical Restrictions Forbidden sequence


Repair mechanism
Inserting the preceding vowel.

The position of the epenthetic vowel always lies between morpheme boundaries.
M ~ monophthong, P ~ Plosive, F ~ Fricative, S ~ plosive and nasal

is one of /t, k/ 2P is /p/



D ~ diphthong: between a diphthong and another plosive /p/ is elided. M ~ monophtong The position of the epenthetic [n] depends on morpheme boundaries. How the language handles diphthong clashes is explained in 3.1.2


M[n]MM or MM[n]M

Stress/Prosodic Features
There are two main ways of stressing syllables, either by articulating syllables with low fundamental frequency and high volume (called low stress, LS) or by articulating with high fundamental frequency and unmarked volume (called high stress, HS). Length isnt used to denote stressing, as its inherent to each syllable in a word. Every word with at least two syllables, has low stress on the first syllable. Words with more than three syllables, have LS on the first syllable and HS on the fourth. In words with clusters of prefixes and suffixes, the first syllable has LS regardless, but the first syllable belonging to a lexical morpheme has HS if its not the second syllable in the word overall. Also, the first syllable belonging to a suffix has HS.
Examples: Syllable Structure R1-R2 R1-S1 R1-R2-R3 R1-R2-R3-R4 R1-R2-S1 P1-R1-R2-R3-S1 P1-P2-R1-R2-S1-S2 Stress Pattern LS-X LS-X LS-X-X LS-X-X-HS LS-X-HS LS-X-X-X-HS LS-X-HS-X-HS-X

R = syllable in the root, P = syllable in the prefix cluster, S = syllable in the suffix cluster. LS and HS cant directly follow each other, there has to be at least one acoustically unmarked syllable in between.

Only the pulmonic plosives and affricates can be aspirated in some way. At the beginning of a word or in the onset of a syllable with low stress plosives are postaspirated by default. Between two vowels with the following syllable containing high stress plosives are preaspirated by default. If any of these sounds are in a consonant cluster, aspiration is blocked altogether. Or in other words consonant clusters with aspirated plosives are not allowed by phonotactics. Additional < h > changes the aspiration sequence: While < natatat > would be [nadadat], < natahtat > would be [nadahtat]. No aspiration is articulated when /h/ is in the onset of a syllable. Intervocally voiced plosives cannot bear aspiration. All plosives in onsets of syllables containing either high or low stress are always aspirated in some way.




P = Plosive or Affricate, B = Plosive voiced intervocally, C = any other consonant, V = any mono-/diphthong

Aspiration can vary in pulmonic plosives: Consider the following pairs: taja [ta.j] ~ right (direction) htaja [ta.j] ~ curious thaja would be pronounced [ta.j]. h nikhn [ne .k n] ~ of nikn [ne .gn] ~ of the the two towels (towel- Nhkun [ne .hkn] ~ name of a mountain towel (towel-GEN) DUAL-GEN) zotta [o.d.ta] ~ because of the street zottha [o.d.ta ] ~ because of the two streets (street-CAUS) (street-DUAL-CAUS) Postaspiration for word-terminal ruihk [ .rhk] ~ small ruik [ .rk] ~ ban slip of paper plosives has not been attested: *riukh

/p/ and the voiceless affricates are also postaspirated word-initially and preaspired before syllables with high stress, however words with manipulated aspiration for these sounds are not attested.

Further Observations Utterance-Final Falling Tone

There is a tendency among some speakers to pronounce the last syllable of an utterance with a low tone: Pakka xin jurrat. [() ju.t] = The man shot the bear. ] = The dancer cries because his foot hurts. izrok tstotta imra tumk. [() t.m k Furthermore, if by the stress rules the last syllable ends up with a high tone, it may or may not be pronounced with a falling tone instead: Jk hititu kmrin tata. [a .a.ta] = I give you the book. I have however not paid attention to these non-phonemic tonal processes in the transcriptions in this overview.

Vowel Devoicing Among Female Speakers

Female speakers often devoice vowels where they are typically pronounced with a high tone, consider the above sentence: Jk hititu kmrin tata. Where women will often pronounce <hititu> as [hi.a .tu .a.ta], removing the ], and <tata> as [a preaspriation and high tone and devoicing the vowel instead.

Spectrograms for Typical Utterances

Summarizing, heres the spectrograms for exemplary pronounciations/tone contours for declarative (without any foregrounded constituents), declarative (with a topicalized and focalized constituent), declarative (with a phonologically complex subclauses embedded) and interrogative sentences: (1) Jk hititu kamrin tata. = I give you the book. [audio: hi.a .t km.na n [jk .a.ta]

(2) Jk hititu ta kamrin kata. = Its the book which I give to you. [audio: hi.a .t [jk .a km.na n ka.]


(3) Jk hititu sym kxnetsem stij kamrin tata. = I give you the book so you can study for the big test. [audio: File2.wav ] sm hi.a .t s [jk m k.n.t .i.n km.na n .a.ta] s

(4) Jk hititu ta hjtta? = What do i give you? [audio: ] hi.a .t [jk .a hj.t]

(5) Hik jrrtu kamrin ptassa! = Give me the book! [audio: [he k jl.d km.na n pa .a.sa]


Nouns may take any form the phonotactical rules allow and inflect for number and case and may pick up a number of affixes. The canonical morphological sequence for nouns is as follows: Negation Stem Possession Number Case

Nouns can be transformed to verbs using zero derivation: hrza (~ sports) (j) hrzak (~ I do sports); suffixing uk yields adjectives: Saxka (~ England) Saxkuk (~ English).

Nominal Morphology
There are a total of 25 cases one of the characteristic trademarks of Begonian grammar:


-, -a -k, -ka/-ha1 -n/-n -ty/-tu -em/-oim -/-, -hara/-hoara2 -kkyta/-kkuta -ych/-uch -ssata/-ssoata -mina/-miuna -t/-to -kk/-kk -raj -ahta -m -hh/-hh -ik/-uik -t/-t -han -rus/-rus -sse/-ssoi -ta, -hi/-hui, -nam4 -je/-joi -/- -hxym/-hxum -ra/-ra -i/-ui -taka

The declension depends on whether the nucleus of the last syllable in the root is front (then the endings at the left apply) or back (then the right endings apply.) Sometimes, if the ending


contains no vowels other than /a/ no front-back differentiation is compulsory (see Ergative past, Subessive or Apudessive) Begonian employs general number, i.e. if context is sufficiently disambiguating, nouns neednt be marked for number markings for number include h for dual number, and za for plural. These number endings are grammatical only if used to mark pragmatically specific nouns (see Definiteness for more). It is also possible to insert akn/akn for zero number. If number marking is used, the absolutive case marker becomes a. Mass nouns generally arent marked for number.

Ergative: Marks the grammatical agents/forces in sentences when there are direct objects involved. It is also used with abstract objects like sentences or nominalized verbs. Even if an action occurs without the control of the agent (more like patient), ergative has to be used but an atelic marker on the verb represents the patient-status of the subject. The ergative case marker is k in non-past tense and often either ka or ha in the past tense. The ergative case marker exhibits suppletion if the verb is inflected for past tense and has to be remembered with each new noun learned. Absolutive: Default form for each noun. Subjects in sentences without direct objects involved and direct objects themselves take this zero marker independently of semantic properties (e.g. whether the subjects does something willingly or not). Dative: Marks indirect objects. Personal pronouns taking the absolutive or dative case marking may also be incorporated into the verb. Genitive: Marks the possessor of objects (not in all dialects). Also plays an important role in nominalization in subordinate clauses. Instrumental/Comitative: Both mark things with whose help someone achieved something. The latter implies a human component, i.e. a living helper, or alternatively, an object/state/etc. that is extremely helpful. The comitative case marker is hara/-hoara if used in combination with a name and /- elsewhere. The former implies a non-living helper, e.g. a tool. In word formation, things with which the head part of a compound consists of or is filled with, etc. takes the instrumental case marker. Jk himt pma ptimnoin/hit muitmtatata. ha .mt pu [j k .mn pa ..m.n n (...)] [(...) hi.d m .dm.ta.a.] = I am setting up the TV with the manual/with you. J sym ikkat sym kymiz pura joizoak. ] [j s me .kan .t s m k .m a .b. j.k

1.ERG far see-NMLZ-ABS manual-INSTR/2-COM DUR-go-make_do=1SG.NPST jk himt pm-- ptim-oin/hit- muit-m-tata=ta

1SG.ABS great health-(1SG.POSS)-COM great year NDEF-ALL reach.PST=1SG.PST j sym ikkani-t- sym kymiz py-ura joizoa=k

= I have made it to an old age thanks to my great health. Locative/Movement Cases: Allative marks movement towards something, Ablative movement away from something. Though ablative marking also has a metaphorical meaning as in avoiding something or is used in personal pronouns to signalize something happens to someones detriment. In compounds it is used to determine what is intended to be mitigated, avoided or fought (e.g.: ravtuk axk ~ breakdown service). Perlative marks objects through (locally) which an action occurs, some older speakers use it to denote the patient in antipassive constructions.


The surface form of the movement cases Allative, Perlative and Ablative depends on whether the referent through/to/from which a movement happens has a fixed position versus a movable position. Prolative is one of the most seldomly used cases and nearly no longer used productively, its usage is restricted to objects making a certain action systematically happen/possible. Haru kenem / kenhh / kenik / koent kagzepimak. / kn ] [ha. k. nm / kn .x / k. na k .t .gag.z.pa .mk

cat-ABS house-ALL / house-PERL / house-ABL / house-PRO EGEV-runATEL=3SG.NPST haru- ken-m / ken-hh / ken-ik / koen-t k-agzep-im=k

= I see the cat is running towards/through/away/by means of the house. Jt hituk mstomt hj. m [ja t hi.dk s.t.mt ha j] = That was too fast for you. Ablative may also be used for dependents in noun phrases: [Irkoita menozra] mazok extua py azkota.
[mayor-CAUS decision-ABL] people-ERG hand NDEF-ABS be_high-CAUS=3SG.NPST irkoi-ta menoz-ra maz-k extua py- azko-ta=

DEM-ABS 2-ABL fast-INT COP.PST.FIN jt- hit-uk msto-mt hj

= The people who are against the mayors decision are demonstrating. Locative/Stative Cases: Adessive and Abessive mark things that either present or absent. Inessive objects within an action, Superessive whereupon, Subessive under which, Apudessive near what an action occurs. Marks involuntary possession aswell. Jttaha pr ukjtaka jrrmuina / jrrssoata zoihkat. [j.ta.ha p lo .gj.t.g jl.m.n / jl.s.d h.kt]

boy-ERG ball-ABS window-ABL 1-ADESS / 1-ABESS kick.PST=3SG.PST jtta-ha pr- ukj-taka jrr-muina / jrr-ssoata zoihkat=

= The boy kicked the ball out of the window under my presence/without me. Jga mitssnem hjtt ttrato / ttrakk / ttraraj / ttrahta mazak. s.nm ] [j .g mi.t t t .a.to / t .a.ku / t .a.aj / t .ah.t ma..k h

1.ERG beer-INSTR cup-(1.SG.POSS)-ABS table-INE/table-SUPE/tableSUBE/table-APUD place.PST=FIN jka mitss-em hjt-t- ttra-to/-kk/-raj/-ahta maz=k

= I put my cup of beer in/on/under/near the table. Furthermore, Inessive can be used to mark countable objects in a non-completed action: J uzk kamrint itsmnumak. km.a n.d is.m.n.mk ] [j u.k

1.ABS three book-INE read.PST-ATEL=1SG.PST j uzk kamrin-t itsm-um=k

= Ive read three books. (but not completely) Essive-Formal: Used within constructions making use of equal comparison. Marks objects with certain properties equal to others. ( copular verbs) May also be used as an introduction:


Hik etuuk akus poim ixaaztu hozum py ihtama itt rjnatkui kut hajtk. e..n .gs a ] [he k o k .bm e .xa.n a.t ho.m a .b a h.ta.m r j.nas.k. kut haj.k

2.ERG money-ADJZ problem NDEF-INSTR buy-NMLZ-PL-DAT solution NDEF-ABS suggest TOP bank.teller-ESS 2SG.NPST.TEL CNJ.ABS expect=FIN hik etu-uk akus py-oim ixa--z-tu hozum py- ihtama itt rjnat-kkuta kut hajt=k

= As a bank teller, you are expected to suggest solutions to the customers regarding financial problems. Semblative: Oftentimes fused with the Essive case: Marks objects with certain properties similar to others. Comparative: Important for comparisons. Marks the standard an object is being compared to. (
comparative clauses)

Translative: Often used with predicative adjectives: Marks what an object turns into/becomes. (
copular verbs)

Causative: Used to denote the reason an action/state occurs and in antipassive constructions to denote the oblique patient. ( valence) Theres a number of different surface realizations of the causative case marker but fortunately for the foreign language learner they pretty much carry identical semantics. Terminative: Offers a time frame for an action, marks the object representing a point in time until which an action occurs. In combination with a time duration it expresses (with)in X. Hiti muitmttathan kentt smeimsse. [hit m .m.n a m.s] s.m.tat.hn kn .t

2.ABS DUR-sleep-(1.SG.POSS)-TERM house-(1.SG.POSS)-INE OBL:NEG-talkATEL=2SG.NPST hiti muit-mtta-t-han ken-t-t s-meni-im=sse

= As long as Im sleeping you shouldnt talk in my house. Jk pury pyn kuim zujhhan uptakut. [jk .b.r a .by.n km u.j.hn .b.t.gt]

1SG.ERG poor.N NDEF-BENE project-ABS two week-DU-TERM finish=1SG.TEL jk pury py- kuim zuj-h-han up=takut

= I will have finished the project for the poor within two weeks. Concessive: Marks nouns despite who/which an action or state is occurring. J zutjjo rzak. ] [j ut.j.jn r .k

1.ABS tired.N-CONC do_sports=1SG.PST j zutj-jo rza=k

= I worked out despite being very tired. Benefactive: Often fused with the Dative case: Marks the beneficient of an action. Marks intention and purpose/finality in nominalized verbs. ( purpose clauses) May also be used as dependent of a Noun: Jt ytmt mazok jk jk t tinata akjoizta itmarrashak.
[DEM one-AUG-BENE people-ERG] 1SG.ERG 1SG.ERG REL.ABSTR-ABS say=1SG.NPST PART-ABS DUMMY-not_know=1SG.NPST CNJ.ABS be_stupid-MIR1=3SG.NPST.LOW jt yt-mt- maz-k jk jk t- tina=ta ak-joiz=ta itm-arras=hak

= The people supporting this party are so nave that I dont know what to say. Temporative: Marks the time frame during which an actions occurs. Jka jhmetn okr pynn tyka azkmhxum muithajrazakut. 13

[j .g jh.mn .tn .gl a .by.nu n t .gn a.km.xm m t.haj.a..gt]

1.ERG conlang-(1.SG.POSS)-GEN sound NDEF-GEN use-NMLZ-ABS class-TEMP DUR-make.PST=1SG.TEL jka jhmeni-t-n okr py-n tyk-- azkm-hxum muit-hajr=zakut

= I made the phonology for my conlang during class. Cases can be stacked to express multiple dimension in one: kenem mithhkk / mithhraj smkut. [ k. / mis.x m.gt] .ka .raj sa nm mis.x = He went to the house over/under the hill.

3.ABS house-ALL hill-PERL-SUPE/hill-PERL-SUBE go.PST=3SG.TEL ken-m mit-hh-kk / mit-hh-raj sm=kut

The Perlative marker shows he went through the hill and the Superessive/Subessive marker additionally shows he went on top of/below the hill.

Morphonological rules
These rules decide which vowels have the right of way when affixes being attached to lexical stem causes vowel clusters:

Underlying Representation

Surface Representation

f.e.: pyna + -us pynu(:)s*, **, *** 2f.e.: pynoa + us pynoa(:)s exception: f.e.: pynoa + u pynoanu (epenthetic [n] if the affix consists only of a single monophthong)

-RM-SM- (nouns) RM is one of <a, e, i, o, u, y> 2RM is one of <, iu/ui, oi, oa>

-SM(:)-* -RM(:)-

-RM-SD- (nouns) RM is one of <a, e, i, o, u, y> 2RM is one of <ae, , iu/ui, oi, oa>

1-SD- -RM-[n]-SD-

1f.e.: pyna + -n pynn f.e.: pynoa + n pynoann

-AM-RV- AM is one of <a, e, i, o, u, y> 2AM is one of <ae, , iu/ui, oi, oa>

-RV(:)- 2-AM(:)-

1f.e.: pe + ari pa(:)ri f.e.: pe + oari poa(:)ri 2f.e.: poa + eri poa(:)ri 1



f.e.: p + ari pnari f.e.: p + oari pnoari f.e.: p + ri pnri f.e.: tur + ys turnys




f.e.: tur + n turon -V-V- both V are one of <ae, , iu/ui, oi, oa> each -D-D- (both D are the same) -V-V- (two syllables) -D- f.e.: pynoa + s pynoas / py.ns/ f.e.: hna hna

*Yields RM(:) for the ergative, comparative, allative and possessive-singular affixes. **Compensatory lengthening is facultative. ***Suffixes attaching to nouns subject to vowel harmony assimilate to second right-most syllable in a word if the final syllable is elided. Further processes include: Especially when obstruents, long obstruents and ejectives meet at morpheme boundaries:

Underlying Representation

Surface Representation

Long plosives turn the preceding short plosive into its correspondent long fricative and make the preceding vowel pronounced with a rising-falling tone:
/atk:/ [as:k]

/V1PX:V2/ P is one of /t, k/ X is any long obstruent


/MpX:V/ /DpX:V/ /VP:X/ /MP:X:V/ /DP:X:V/

[M:XV2] [DX:V] [VF:X] [M:F:XV] [DF:XV]

/apk:/ [a:k] pk:/ [ k:] / /ikt/ [i:xt] / [esk ] /et:k t:k / [ sk ] / X is a plosive or nasal. /a tspa/ [aspa] exception: /a tsta/ [at:a],



/(ts, ts, ts)X/

2[Tx] 3[X:]

X is a liquid/approximant /a tsLa/ [ata],

X is a fricative or affricate. /a tsxa/ [ax:a]

Affricates retain their underlying pronounciation if followed by a vowel.

/(s, s, x, x)X/


x)X] 2[X]


is any sound but a fricative/liquid: /as:ta/ [asta] /axk:/ [axk:]



is a fricative: /as:xa/ [axa]

Fricatives retain their underlying pronounciation if followed by a vowel. F includes all alveolar and velar fricatives:

/A+L/, /F+L/

/as:La/ [ata] /axLa/ [aka]

/VPE/ where P is one of /t, k/ /MpE/ /DpE/ /VEPV/ /MP:E/


/itk/ [isk]

[M:E] [DE] [VEV] [M:FE]

/ipk/ [ik] pk/ [ k] /

Plosives are elided when following ejectives.

/ott/ [ost]



The ejective and long plosive metathesize and the latter lenites into a fricative.
/ott:/ [ost] tt:/, / t:t/ [ st] /

/DP:E/, /DEP:/ /E1E2/ /P#/

[DFE] [E2:] [P ]

In a cluster of two ejectives the first one is elided with the second lengthening. Only sentence-finally or if the next word doesnt start with a vowel.

P ~ plosive, P: ~ long plosive, E ~ ejective, M ~ monophthong, D ~ diphthong, V ~ works for any of D and M, F ~ Fricative, p ~ /p/

These processes arent restricted to morpheme boundaries, but also occur between words, however in the phonetic transcriptions I havent paid attention to this detail. Also, all the processes explained in the allophony section apply between morpheme boundaries aswell. An underlying word-initial length contrast in plosives becomes a tone contrast in the adjacent vowels instead:
/taj/ [tj], /t:aj/ [taj]

Exceptions to the morphonological processes laid out above include (approximate phonetic transcriptions): Underlying Representation /np/ /XY/

Surface Representation
[m:] <mm> [XaY]

/ixunpar/ [ixum:ar] If a suffix consisting only of a single


phoneme Y is attached to a host X with a closed syllable at the end an epenthetic [a] is added, unless the resulting consonant sequence can be combined to a long obstruent: /atk/ [atak] This is to avoid two consonants in coda position; but: /att/ [a:t] If all segments in a syllable are long, they tend to be collectively shortened. /a:s:/ [as] /i:t:/ [it]



/nL/ /Ln/ /Lm/, /L/ /ks/, /ps/ /xs/ /kx/ /iu/, /io/ /ui/, /oi/ /u/, /i/, /u/, /i/, /o/, /i/, /i/, /o/ /eu/, /ue/, /eo/, /oe/ /u/, /e/, /u/, /e/, /o/, /e/, /e/, /o/

[l:] <rr> [n:] [m:], [:] [gz], [bz] [gz] [x:] [y] <y> [] <u> [] <> [] <> [:] <>

L ~ phonemic liquid
/aranLaj/ [aral:aj] /araLnaj/ [aran:aj] /amaLma/ [amam:a] /amaLa/ [ama:a] /iksan/ [igzan] /axsa/ [agza] /akxa/ [ax:a] /atios/ [atys] /atois/ [ats] /atos/, /atis/, [ats] /atoen/ [atn] /atun/, /aton/, [at:n]

Orthographic adaptations
If a stem ends in an alveolo-palatal nasal written with <ni>, the <i> is left out and a caron is added to <(X)> if the added affix does not have a zero onset: jarrkoini (mathematics-ABS) jarrkoit (mathematics-PERL) rjani (question-ABS) rjamat (question-TRANS) If a stem ends in <k> and the added affix begins with <i, , y> or <> an <u> is added in between to signalize theres no change in pronounciation: pak [pk ] (man-ABS) paku [p.g] (man-COM) In many cases, its up to choice whether to write a word according to its underlying features or adapt it to the allophony: In <paku> the <k> became voiced by adding the comitative suffix, so it may be written <pagu> - but thats not compulsory. Further examples include iksa (AUX.(1.ERG-3.DO.)), written either <iksa> or <igza>. Word-initial long obstruents are written <tt, ts, kk, hh, >


To express indefiniteness add the particle py (optional): The house: hjem A house: hjem py py is used when one wants to refer to something in general (e.g. as in I love cats (py).) or to non-specific/non-definite entities. The house A house/Any house/Houses (in general) The one house Any one house This one house These two houses The postposited article takes any genus suffix of its head noun: Haktpar hiti tech pyn hsse?
[h.gs.pal hitj tx a .by.n ha .s:] work-like FOC 2SG.ABS children NDEF-COM Q~2SG.NPST hakt-par hiti tech py- h~sse

kn kn py yt kn yt kn py yt jt kn tx jt kn(ha)

= Do you love to work with children? The plural form of nouns depends on whether the nouns refer to specific/definite entities or not: Jk mpatto uzk mzza pmtakut. m [j k m.ba.t u.k . pu m.da.gt]

1SG.ERG park-INE three people-PL-ABS see=1SG.NPST.VOL jk mpat-to uzk mz-z-a pm=takut

= I want to see these three people in the park. Jk mpatto uzk mz py pmtakut.
1SG.ERG park-INE three people NDEF-ABS see=1SG.NPST.VOL jk mpat-to uzk mz py- pm=takut

= I want to see any three people in the park.

Word Formation
The core part of the compund comes after the modifier, which comes in different cases: Noun + Noun rokkuta-tsja (snow-ESS=ball) jottauk-mtoch (autumn-ABL=jacket) rz-etsjni (sport-BENE=clothes) zroim-mena (milk-INSTR=bottle) zrkkuta-mena (milk-ESS=bottle) snowball (Essive: Ball as snow) autumn jacket (Ablative: Jacket against autumn, Jacket saving from (the effects of) autumn sport clothes (Benefactive: Clothing for sports) milk bottle (Instrumental: Bottle with milk) milk bottle (Essive: The bottle consists of milk)


Verb + Noun taka-pjkka (sit-NMLZ-BENE=place) sitting place/spot

The case suffix taken by the left part of the compound depends on the intended semantics: The word breakdown assistance can be translated as (glossing only) breakdown -ABL assistance for the intended meaning that the assistance serves to avoid/repair breakdowns. Alternatively it could be translated as breakdown-BENE assistance if one were to talk about an assistance causing breakdowns. Formally, compounds are indicated by a hyphen. Acoustically, the right part of the compound is included in the metric realization: zroin-vena would have HS on the first syllable of the first word and the first syllable of the second word if they were to be treated as separate words. As a compound, it bears HS on the first syllable and LS on the fourth syllable. Also, morphophonemic processes between word boundaries apply (e.g., realization of roz-etsjni as [() ()]. Begonian speakers also make extensive use of verb+verb compounds when creating new verbs, where the first part is invented and the second part is an already existant verb, mostly with high frequency, that inflects for tense. The reason why this is done is that there is no standard way of inflecting verbs for past tense which could be used for new words, its exclusively lexical.

Derived Nouns Agent Noun, Inhabitant Noun Patient Noun Action Noun Status Noun Instrumental Agent Noun Instrumental Patient Noun -r/-ttona (free variation) -ikx - - -em/-oim -oizen
huizo (to dance) huizr/huizottona (dancer); Saxka (England) Saxkattona (Englishman) ttsazu (to train sb.) ttsazikx (trainee) husn (to complain) husn (complaint) tech (child) techa (childhood) hmu (to make music) hmoim (music player) taka (to sit) takoizen (seat) hmu (to make music) hmoizen (instrument) nohhak (shelf) tixnohhak (little shelf) husn (to complain) tixhusn (that miserable/laughable complaint) nohhakmt (large shelf), hmu (to make music) hmumt (great/awesome song) zekut (new) zekutoni (newness)

Diminuitive / Action Noun Pejorative


Augmentative / Action Noun Honoured Quality Noun

-mt -oni


hitaj (kitten) hitajpy (group of kittens), ryz (friend) ryzpy (clique);

Mass Noun


Can also be used in combination with names (associative plural): Mits Mitsnpy (Mits and his guys)

Let me just bring up an example of how action nouns are used in sentences consider the base sentence: Ujatk tumot rasnrus ahmak.
vet-ERG dog-1SG.POSS-ABS careful examine=3SG.NPST ujat-k tum-t- rasnrus ahma=k

= The vet examines my dog carefully.

When nominalizing the main verb ahma ~ (to) examine, the following structure is yielded: Rasnrus ujatta tumtu ahmaka k tumtta ikke tinakas tatarak.
careful vet-CAUS dog-DAT examine-NMLZ-ERG.PST 3SG.ERG dog-1SG.POSS-CAUS be_healthy-NMLZ-ABS say=3SG.NPST.HON CNJ.ABS CAUS-3SG.DO=3SG.PST rasnrus ujat-ta tum-tu ahma--ka k tum-t-ta ikke-- tina=kas tata=rak=

= The vets careful examination of the dog led him to say hes likely healthy. Expressed in tables, the following restructuring happened: S Agent (Ergative) // ujatk Obl Causer of the nominalized action (Causative)
// ujatta

O Patient (Absolutive) // tum

V X=FIN // ahma=k S X-NMLZ-ERG(.PST) The nominalized verb now serves as the grammatical agent of the sentence.
// ahma--ka

IO Receiver of the nominalized action (Dative) // tumtu

Pronouns Possession
Well, actually, possession doesnt really belong in this chapter, as Begonian employs affixes rather than actual pronouns, but for the time being Ill file possession under pronouns anyway:
1. Prs. 2. Prs. 3. Prs.



hjem(e)t (-(oi)t) hjem(e)ni (-(oi)ni) hjem(e)n (-(oi)n)

hjemjt (-jt) hjemjni (-jni) hjemjn (-jn)

hjemttj (-ttj) hjemtteni (-zoni) hjemttsan (-ttsoan)

If possession and case markers combine, possession markers precede the case markers, e.g.:


without my two houses: kn-et-h-aj without our (two) houses: kn-zet-h-aj without our (two) two home: kn-jt-h-aj

This gives two possibilities for expressing possession which have gained contrasting function: Nratok hoakun itta izpatrak.
h.gn i.d. i.pat.k ] [n .a.tk brother-(1SG.POSS)-ERG pencil-(3SG.POSS)-ABS NEG=give.INF AUX.(3SG.ERG1SG.IO-3SG.DO.NONABSTR) nra-t-k hoaku-n- it-ta iz-pat-rak

= My brother wouldnt give me his (= the brothers) pencil. Nratok n hoaku itta izpatrak.
brother-(SG-1.POSS)-ERG 3SG.GEN pencil-ABS NEG=give.INF AUX.(3.ERG-1.SG.DO3.SG.IO.NONABSTR) nra--t-k n hoaku- it-ta iz-pat-rak

= My brother wouldnt give me his (= somebody elses) pencil.

Furthermore, theres a (copula) + Possessor in oblique case (typically Apudessive or Superessive) like in Uralic languages used to mark involuntary possession: Jrrkk moizu ittroamjohak!
] [ju l.k m.n it.m.kn .hk
1SG-SUPE ill-NMLZ-ABS ITER-be_bad-CONT=3SG.LOW jrr-kk moizu-- itt-roam-jo=hak

= My illness keeps getting worse and worse!

Pronominal Pronouns
1. Prs. incl. excl.

j hiti 3 / t (abstract4)

Dual rakj muin hiti1 ekm t (abstract)


Plural zaj jhzaj hiz ekz / t (abstract)

2. Prs. 3. Prs.

t is exclusively used to refer to syntactic information like statements, questions, etc. and intangible things. Tangible inanimate object would be referred to using eks. (Abstract/NonAbstract Distinction) The third person pronouns do not inflect for gender. There is no overt distinction in singular vs. plural number for the second person pronouns and not overt number distinction overall for the abstract third person pronouns. Also, Naniuk has a specific word for Me and him/her, the person being addressed excluded (muin) as opposed to Me and you, the person being addressed included (rakj): Muinok hran py pmparak.
ha ] [m .n a .b pu m.ba.k .nk

1.and.3-ERG film NDEF-ABS see-like=3SG.NPST muin-k hran py- pm-par=k

We (me and him/her) enjoy watching films.

Furthermore inclusive (zaj) and exclusive (johzaj) first person plural pronouns are differentiated. 21

Declension of pronominal pronouns

Absolutive j rakj muin zaj jhzaj hiti (Sg.) hiti (Du.) hiz ekm ekz Ergative (Non-Past), Ergative (Past), Genitive, ... jk, jga, jrrn, rjk, risak, rukn, muinok, muinoga, muinn, zajok, zaha, zajn, jhzajok, jhzak, jhzajn, hik, higa, hitn, hitus, hittik, hittiga, hittn, hizok, hikaz, hizn, k, ga, yty, m, , kkyta, ych, ssata, mina, (benefactive: y) kmek, kmha, egzemn, kzek, kgzo, egzizn,

The declension of personal pronouns does not follow the vowel harmony behind the declension of open class words. This also adds a second possibility to express possession: koapjutereni vs. hitn koapjuter (= your computer). Though using the second version as standard unmarked way to signalize possession is a bit old-fashioned and not really used by younger speakers. There is also a third way to express possession circulating around in some dialects, namely by marking possession on the possessed object: majatot koapjuteren ( mother(1.SG.POSS) computer-(3.SG.POSS) my mothers computer); Negation in general is yielded by prefixing it- to whichever part of the sentence should be negated (negation on the verb is unmarked); however negated personal pronouns may be irregular and have their own negated forms: SG mk


1Prs 2Prs 3Prs

PL mz ekuin

zt nn (abstract)


Mkka mtsatraxak.

] [mu .k m.tat..xk NEG.1SG-ERG.PST eat.PST-(3SG.DO.NONABSTR)=1SG.PST mk-ka mtsat-rax=k

= It wasnt me, who ate it. vs. unmarked: Jga itmtsatraxak. I didnt eat it.
] [j .g is.m.tat..xk 1SG.ERG.PST NEG=eat.PST-(3SG.DO.NON-ABSTR)=1SG.PST

ga nn sjoraoik. 22

] [ n sjo.a.n k .g n 3SG.ERG.PST NEG.3SG.ABSTR-ABS work_on/improve.PST=3SG.PST.HON ga nn- sjora=oik

It wasnt that, what he improved.

Relative Pronouns
Begonian employs the following relative pronouns:

who which (abstract)

s (sek, sn, ) t (tok, tn, )

Relative pronouns initiate the relative clause which ends with the finiteness marker right before the referent of the relative pronoun (basic unmarked sequence is Rel-N). For more about relative clauses check the chapter under Syntax. Jt jga s hajrak pak n.
pk n] [ja t j .g .s haj.k DEM 1SG.ERG.PST REL-COM make.PST=1SG.PST man-ABS COP.NPST jt jga s- hajra=k pak- n

This is the man with whom Ive made this.

Demonstrative Pronouns
this/that these/those (two) these/those (more than two) jt (jtok, jtn, ) jhat (jhatok, jhatn, ) jzos (jzosok, jzosn, )

There is no differentiation between whether the object being referred to is close to the speaker or further away. <m (mok, mn, )> can be used to refer to objects from previous sentences or objects that are very far away (comparable to German jene). OK, so there is some kind of distance contrast. Moreover, it also serves as reference contrast: Jt tssjahh mpoparsata. Hrak itjthh (mpoparhan).
it.jt.x [ja t ts .ja.x m.b.pal.sa. | k ] u DEM park-PERL go_about-like=1SG.NPST.HON | but NEG=DEM-PERL (go_aboutlike=1SG.NPST.LOW) jt tssja-hh mpo-par=sata | hrak it=jt-hh (mpo-par=han)

= I enjoy walking through this park... but not through that one (park).

Indefinite Pronouns
Statement Adjective NonAbstract Abstract Place
sti (nonabstract) / ti (abstract) stets



py hkapy, py pak hkkapy, jxak

akon akon pak hkkur stetsur

mk, hakin hkmer hkim tuts







Time Modality Cause

mpo hku heku

mpot hkut


mputs hkuts hekuts

mpur hkur


Synutmt jhzaj sam m otoni otak.

[sy.ns.m j h.j sm m o.dn o.dk ] t often-INT FOC 1.EXCL.ABS go.PST go.PRES that.time TOP~1PL.PST synut-mt jhzaj sam m otoni ot~k

= Back then we used to go outside more often. n uxt tumhxum pykoxoatuzk meturhh kxze hku mtsat itkapak.
me.l.x ] [ no x.tn a x.tm.xm p .g.x.a.d.k ka .n h .g m.ta.t is.ka.pk 3SG.GEN twelve second-TEMP hundred metre-PERL run.PST-NMLZ-ABS how head(1.SG.POSS)-INE NEG=appear=3SG.NPST n uxt tum-hxum pykoxoatuzk metur-hh kxze-- hku mt-t-t it-kap=k.

= How he ran 100 metres in 12 seconds is beyond me. ga tiki it hkuts mtsat izrak.
m.tt i.k ] [ .ga it h .gt .g te 3SG.ERG.PST chocolate NEG=ABS some.reason eat.PST AUX.(3.ERG-3.DO.NONABSTR) ga tiki it= hkuts mtsat iz-rak

= He ate no chocolate for some reason. Akn pakk soaksuarijetton artuk s.g.swa.i.j.t.nan al.dk ] [.gn pk
zero man-ERG defeat-Sweden-NMLZ-ABS DDY=3SG.NPST akn pak-k soak-suarije-tton-- artu=k

= Nobody knows how to defeat the Swedish

Numbers & Quantifiers

Begonian employs a base-8 number system: 1 3 5 7 9 17 32 65 512 2046 yt uzk zam tserre ytu ytoat uzkoat pykyt pupyk ttran 2 4 6 8 10 25 64 128 1024 8192 tt uxt pizk pu tx txooat pyk ttpyk rn pajtani

Nowadays it is usual to employ loanwords for common number terms like million (mirjon), billion (mirjar) or trillion (pirjon). Quantifiers teme timet tihk tesym few, little fewer, less; least some, moderately many many


tsymt mk, hani hkkur, hkur (abstract)

more; most every, all none

Tihk maz hani rratto tsymt akmtak. Teme maz timet rratto hkur akmtak. m ] [ta .hk . hn .mt x.m.tk .a.to t
some people-ABS all country-INE more-ABS DUMMY-know=3SG.NPST || few peopleABS few.COMP country-INE nothing-ABS DUMMY-know=3SG.NPST tihk maz- hani rrat-to tsymt- ak-mt=k || teme maz- timet rrat-to hkur- ak-mt=k.

= Some people in all countries know more. Few people in fewer countries know nothing. Cardinals (suffixing -t/-to) first, second, third, etc. (literally: in one, in two, etc.); these work morphosyntactically just like adjectives. pu erkkot yt (eight tail-PERL one) uzkoatuzk erkkot uxtzam (35 tail-PERL 13) special cases: Diminutive + Number tixtt (DIM-two) tixuxt (DIM-four) uzk tixuxtz (three DIM-four-PL)

ytt, ttto, uzkt, etc.

Fractionals (with erkko (= tail) + Perlative) 1.8 13.35 1/2 1/4 3/4

Operations: Addition (tsymt), Substraction (timet), Multiplikation (ttty), Division (ttem) + ja (to be) yt yt tsymt tt jn tt tt ttty zam z 1+1=2 (one one addition two COP.DUAL) 2+2!=5 (two two multiplication NEG=five COP.PL)

Distributive Numerals
Another thing to address is the methods underlying deambiguating numerals in sentences such as... Jk zaryztek uzk kamrin itsmk.
1SG.ERG CONJ=friend-1SG.POSS-ERG three book-ABS read.PST=1PL jk za=ryz-t-k uzk kamrin- itsm=k

= Me and my friend read three books. The question remains how many books have been read in total: The interpretation of (1) below is that six books have been read total, three by the two persons instantiated in the sentence above each. For that, the reflexive marker ax has to be suffixed to the numeral. (2) yields the interpretation the three books have been read together. Here the word for one yt is postposited to the numeral: Jk zaryztek uzkax kamrin itsmk.
1SG.ERG CONJ=friend-1SG.POSS-ERG three-REFL book-ABS read.PST=1PL.PST jk za=ryz-t-k uzk-ax kamrin- itsm=k

= Me and my friend read three books each. Jk zaryztek uzk yt kamrin itsmk.


1SG.ERG CONJ=friend-1SG.POSS-ERG three one book-ABS read.PST=1PL.PST jk za=ryz-t-k uzk yt kamrin- itsm=k

= Me and my friend read three books together. Another example showing something else: Hik zapatok uzkt ssuoz hoipnoitsse.
2SG.ERG CONJ=father-2SG.POSS-ERG three-PROL suitcase-ABS carry-NEC=2SG.NPST hik za=pat-ni-k uzk-t ssuoz- hoip-noit=sse

= You and your father should take the suitcases three by three. The question remains whether three suitcases are to be taken in one go by the two people together or whether both should take their own three suitcases at once. The way to clarify this ambiguity is similar to the two sentences above. For (3), postposit the reflexive marker to the second part of the subject. For (4), postposit yt to the numeral taking the Prolative case marker: Hik zapatok ax uzkt ssuoz hoipnoitsse.
2SG.ERG CONJ=father-2SG.POSS-ERG REFL three-PROL suitcase-ABS carryNEC=2SG.NPST hik za=pat-ni-k ax uzk-t ssuoz- hoip-noit=sse

= You and your father should both, each on your own, take individual suitcases three by three. Hik zapatok uzkt yt ssuoz hoipnoitsse.
2SG.ERG CONJ=father-2SG.POSS-ERG three-PROL one suitcase-ABS carryNEC=2SG.NPST hik za=pat-ni-k uzk-t yt ssuoz- hoip-noit=sse

= You and your father should together take the suitcases three by three.

Verbs are the core part of Begonian syntax as they formally head the entire sentence and take up the highest load of morphemes/semantic information. The internal morphological structure of verbs is as follows: Incorporated objects Experiencer verbs
Affixed Conjunctions
(see: Syntax Conjunctions)




Finiteness Marker

Internal sequence of the prefixes: OBL:POS/CONF ( p. 34) Negation Other Prefixes

The internal sequence of the other prefixes attaching to the root is determined by pragmatics with the most salient morphemes being put closest to the stem. Zoomed into the suffixes: Personal Specifiers Aspect Other suffixes Nominalization Possessive Affixes Relative Marker/Antipassive, Causative


The placement of aspect and personal specifiers and relative/antipassive markers can be freely swapped. Do note that aspect markers do not qualify for high stress: mzudusaak (kill-ALE-3.DO=FIN) [ m..d.s.n k] HS goes to the fourth syllable even though the third syllable (the aspect marker) is not part of the lexical stem.

General / Lexical Verbs

Verbs can begin and end with any phoneme, as long as the ph onotactical rules arent breached. Basically its not possible to tell verbs apart from nouns in isolation. The lexical entry of verbs is of the pattern X + pan (=to do), although it doesnt ever appear like that in any grammatical construction. The conjugation of the verbs is as follows: Person 1. Prs. 2. Prs. 3. Prs. Unmarked Non-Past -ta -sse -k Unmarked Past -k -k -a, -, - Telic* (NP/Past)
see Aspect

Honorifics Non-Past -sata -ssa -kas

Honorifics Past -ssoi -ssoi -oik

Pejorative -han -han -hak

-takut -kxessut -kut

*While there is a suffix p- that expresses somebody wants/wishes to do somethings, the telic endings are increasingly used for that instead. The only verb to feature a separate future form is the copula: Unmarked Non-Past ta sse n Unmarked Past haj haj haj Telic (NP/Past)
see Aspect

Person 1. Prs. 2. Prs. 3. Prs.

Future nik ni ni

Honorifics Non-Past sata ssa kas

Honorifics Past ssoi ssoi oik

Pejorative han han hak

takut kxessut kut

Jk hitys kamrin tata.

[j k hi.d s km.ra n a.dk] 1.ERG 2-DAT book-ABS give=FIN jk hiti-us kamrin ta=k

= I give you the book. Verbs do not inflect for number. There is no morphological method (yet?) to tell apart unreal, potential, ideal actions/states from real ones, however the words gzan (= here), ytik (= from one) and hajtkotoim (= with my heart) are in the process of grammaticalization to express just that idea. Further it seems some speakers use the first word to indicate conditional, the second word to describe potential events and the third word for ideal states: Jk hititu kamrin ta gzan k / ytik yk / itt hajtkotoim ak. [ a. .gzn k / y.da k k / it haj.d.ko.dm k ]
1.ERG 2-DAT book-ABS give here TOP~FIN / one-ABL TOP~FIN / TOP heart(1.SG.POSS)-INSTR FIN jk hiti-tu kamrin- ta gzan ~k / yt-ik y~k / itt hajtk-t-oim ak


= I would give you the book. / = I could give you the book. / = I wish I could give you the book. Of course these arent the only words floating around currently, but these seem to be the most widely-used.

Verbs inflect for two tempora: Past and non-Past. On top of employing different conjugation endings, all non-stative verbs use an entirely different stem for past tense: Jk hititu kamrin mutak.

hi.a .t k m ] [j k .m.tk .a n 1SG.ERG.PST 2SG.DAT book-ABS give.PST=1SG.PST jk hiti-tu kamrin- muta=k

= I gave you the book. There however do seem to exist some vague rules verbs follow when comparing their present and past stems: Short vowels tend to lengthen to diphthongs: hrychut (= to leave, presens stem) hrchut (= to leave, past stem); upzar (= to open, present stem) paz (= to open, past stem) Front vowels appear to back: myro mro (= to contain, past stem), although the reverse is happening aswell, just not as frequently: agzep (= to run) egzep (= to run, past stem) The low-back vowel //, represented by <oi>, appears to retain its original pronounciation in past stems: moit (= to lose, present stem) mojat (= to lose, past stem) <oa> frequently changes to <>, <aj> or <oj>: koara (= to wait) kajra or kojra (= to wait, past stem), hoarmat (= to darken) hrmat (= to darken, past stem) However, even though an action occurred in the past relative to the time of the speech act, using the past verb stem is not necessary and only done to stress past tense. Past tense-formation in stative verbs and predicate adjectives: Morphosyntactically the latter work like verbs. This happens by attaching the finiteness marker to the predicate adjective. When expressing past tense the verb hj (past stem from ja ~ to be) is postposited: Hiti zkossa. (2SG.ABS be_beautiful=2SG.NPST.HON) = You are beautiful. Hiti trjato poizu haj. (2.ABS Austria-INE reside.INF PST.STAT) = You used to live in Austria. Hiti zko ssoi. (2SG.ABS be_beautiful to_be.2SG.PST.HON) = You were beautiful.

Immediate/Remote Distinction
Basically, immediate past is used when the the action referred to has happened not too long before and still has consequences until speakers time. However, the definition of not too long is relative: One uses the immediate past to express that one thinks something happened not too long ago, so for the sentence:
The last big war happened (only) 1000 years ago.

You would want to use the immediate past, when you think 1000 years is not much time in this case or another example:
Dinosaurs have gone extinct (only) 65 mil. years ago.


whereas one uses the remote past to express something happened a long time ago in relation to the context:
Man, its been over 50 years since Schalke 04 last won the German championsship.

--> would warrant for the usage of the remote past, even though 50-odd years is by far not as long a time span as 1000 years or 65 million years. To make things more drastic:
Ive already come home 3 hours ago (instead of, lets say, 1 hour as expected).

--> would also warrant for the usage of the remote past. Morphological realization: The past stem appears in its non-finite form followed by the correspondent present stem in its finite form: Jga hititu kamrin mutak.
1.ERG.PST 2-DAT book-ABS give.PST=1SG.PST jga hiti-tu kamrin- mut=k

= I gave you the book. Jga hititu kamrin yt tssarohxum hxem muta tahan. [j .g hi.a .t km.a n yt tsa .m. a .da.hn] ..xm xm = I gave you the book a week ago already. Future tense is routinely expressed through usage of relevant tempus adverbials: Jk hititu kamrin ta uxt raphan rapta. hi.a .t km.a n a [j k . o x.t p.hn .d]
1.ERG 2SG-DAT book-ABS give.PRES four day-TERM in TOP~1SG.NPST jk hiti-tu kamrin- ta uxt rap-han rap~ta

1.ERG.PST 2SG-DAT book-ABS one week-TEMP ago give.PST give.PRES=1SG.PST.LOW jga hiti-tu kamrin- yt tssaro-hxum hxem muta ta=han

= I will give you the book in four days. The phrase uxt rapzp contains the information the action happens in the future and is moved to the topic position ( syntax).

Zero-Conversion (N V)
It is possible to convert nouns into verbs, but their exact meaning has to be inferred by context: rza (sports, noun) rza pan (to do sports) haj (chicken, noun) haj pan: to do chicken: can be anything from to eat chicken, to cook chicken to to keep chicken J aittoirahta rezajarrkoita. [j a..t.h.t ..a.jal.gn.ta]
1SG.ABS desk-APUD sit=CONJ-do_mathematics=1SG.NPST j aittoir-ahta re=za-jarrkoini=ta

= I am sitting at the desk studying Mathematics. These derived verbs behave like stative verbs when inflected for past: J aittoirahta rezajarrkoini hj.
= I was sitting at the desk studying Mathematics.


Another example with a subordinated serial verb ( see Conjunctions under Syntax for more) where one component is stative: Mtmajattok noasstkk hani rapurhxum hinhjzamthanta moizarrasak. n.ss.ka ] [m hn .bl.xm hi.n.ha j.a.mt.han.tn m.a.a.sk s.ma.ja.tk
grandmother-(1SG.POSS)-ERG bed-(1SG.POSS)-SUPE all day-TEMP lie.NPSTPST.STAT=CONJ-worry.PST-(1SG.POSS)-NMLZ-ABS be_ill-MIR1=3SG.NPST.LOW mtmajat-t-k noass-t-kk hani rapur-hxum hin-hj=za-mthan-t-- moizu-arras=hak

= My grandmother is so ill I just lied in my bed and worried the whole day.

In addition to whether an action occurs with or without the control/intention of someone, Begonian speakers have to conjugate verbs according to what they think of a certain action by adding the honorific endings one can express their appraisal or approval of something: Nraniga sikxur zazekut tmjo hajrakas!
[n .a.ne .g se .kl a..gt t m.jn haj.a.kas]
brother-(2SG.POSS)-ERG.PST great CONJ=new sing-NMLZ-ABS make.PST=3SG.PST.HON nra-ni-ka sikxur za=zekut tmjo-- hajra=kas.

= Your brother made a great new song!

Pakn zirsoizenek hiti kuttatu remmt pmattagas.

hit ku.ta.t .mt pu [p.gn i..s..nk .ma.t.gs]

man-GEN wear-NMLZ-ERG 2SG.ABS eye-DAT well_formed-INT look-CAUS=3SG.NPST.HON pak-n zirs-oizen-k hiti kutta-tu ren-mt pmat-ta=kas

= I think the suit fits you very well. Hiti ttymtton ssamt. [hit t .m.t.n .sa.m t]

2SG.ABS help-ADJZ 2SG.COP.HON-INT hiti ttym-tton ssa-mt

= You are really a helpful person. Likewise, by adding the correspondent pejorative/low (for want of a better term) tells the listener the speaker disproves of/looks down on/feels disappointed/sad about something or talking about unfortunate events: Jrrkk hkutrpy mrap miuna ithjhak.

] [ju m l.k ha .g.ta ..b m.np .n it.hj.hk

1SG-SUPE work-NMLZ-NMLZ-ABS yesterday here NEG=PST.STAT=3SG.PST.LOW jrr-kk hkut-r-py- mrap miuna it=hj=hak

= Some of my coworkers didnt show up yesterday. Uzk rapurhxum t j ittsukhan.

sk.hn] r.bl.xm [u.k t j is.t

three day-TEMP FOC since 1SG.ABS NEG=sleep.PST=1SG.PST.LOW uzk rapur-hxum t j it=ttsuk=han

= I havent slept in three days.

This system is not be confused with honorifics as they can be found in the mainstream eastern Asian languages. It is not compulsory to use honorifics when talking about people with higher social status and at times not recommended when somebody can clearly tell this is only done to please the listener.


In the same vein, there is a suffix jo used when the number of listeners one is speaking to is unknown. It is used in situations like being a reporter, holding a speech infront of many people, etc. This suffix goes to the berth other suffixes in the verb template.

Zekut ssuiki agzepmjo jrap ess jagas!

[.gt s .ga g.z.bm.jo ja .pe.s j.gs] new age-ABS run-INCH-ADD today as.of TOP=3SG.NPST.HON zekut ssuiki- agzep-m-jo jrap ess ja=kas = (*holding a speech*) Today marks the beginning of a new era!

Periphrastic Conjugation
Alternatively, when direct and indirect objects are involved, the verb stem may stand on its own and an auxiliary at the end of the sentence bearing finiteness carries all the information regarding who did what to whom. Jk pak muitpmta.
1SG.ERG man-ABS DUR-see=1SG.NPST jk pak- muit-pm=ta

= Im observing the man. means the same as: Jk pak pmum ikrak.
pk p.mm e ] [j k k.k 1.ERG man-ABS see-ATEL AUX.(1.ERG-3.DO.NONABSTR) jk pak- pm-um ik-rak

= Im observing the man. Also, one can paraphrase the sentence from the last chapter as: Jk kamrin ta ikpetrak.
km.ra n a.d e [j k x.pt.rk] 1SG.ERG book-ABS give AUX.(1.ERG-2.IO-3.DO.NONABSTR) jk kamrin ta ik-pet-rak

= I give you the book. Overview: PPVA Paradigm (Agent) SG DUAL PL PPVA Paradigm (Indirect Object) SG DUAL PL PPVA Paradigm 3Prs 1Prs ikakits1Prs -pa(t)-poa(t)-pe(t)1Prs 2Prs iraritx2Prs -pe(t)-p(t)2Prs nonabstr. izisjisj3Prs nonabstr. -tar-toar-ter3Prs abstract -tsar-tsoar-tserabstract ezesjesj-


(Direct Object) SG DUAL PL -sa -soa -sa -s -su

nonabstr. -rak -roak -rak

abstract -sak -soak -sak

The auxiliary verbs in PPVA are always in the order Agent-Indirect Object-Direct Object: Jk egzemty ta ikperak.
g.zm.ty a ] [jk . e x.p.k 1.ERG 3.DUAL-DAT give AUX.(1.ERG-2.DUAL.DO-3.IO.NONABSTR) jk egzem-ty ta ik-pe-rak

= I have given it to the two. Personal/Aspectual affixes and causative markers can be added to the non-finite part/verb stem of this conjugation type: Jk pak pmum ikrak.
pk p.mm e [j k k.k] 1SG.ERG man-ABS see-ATEL AUX.(1.ERG-3.DO.NONABSTR) jk pak- pm-um ik-rak

= Im observing the man. Jk pak mkota ikrak.

1SG.ERG man-ABS eat.INF-CAUS AUX.(1SG.ERG-3SG.DO.NONABSTR) jk pak- mko-ta ik-rak

= Im feeding the man. Hik haru ittmkozoatta akrak.

ha. is.m.g.s.t k.k ] [he k 2SG.ERG cat-ABS ITER-eat.INF-as_expected-CAUS AUX.(2SG.ERG-3SG.DO.NONABSTR) hik haru- itt-mko-zoatt-ta ak-rak

= As expected, youre feeding the cat repeatedly. Expressing past tense with PPVA: Jk pek man ikrak.
1SG.ERG man-ABS see.PST AUX.(1SG.ERG-3SG.DO.NONABSTR) jk pak- man ik-rak

= I saw the man. Usage

The periphrastic alternative is preferred in spoken speech for sentences without or only with one

subordinate clause, whereas the agglutinative alternative is found more frequently in more complicated sentences and in written speech. Though neither way it'd be considered unacceptable. Periphrastic conjugation cannot however be used in intransitive sentences: *J pum ik. (1.ABS
see AUX.(1.ERG) PPVA can only be used to replace verbs with neutral endings. Like mentioned above, PPVA endings can also be incorporated into finite verb forms for personal

pronouns: Nratok hjpy tiki ittixasoakas.


hja [n .a.tk .b te .ga i.ta .xa.sn .gs] sister-(1.SG.POSS)-ERG some chocolate-ABS ITER-buy-(1.IO.PL)=3SG.NPST.HON nra-t-k hjpy tiki itt-ixa-pe(t)=k

= My sister is buying us some chocolate again.

For verbs, negation is yielded by prefixing it- to the verb stem: Nratok hjpy tiki itittixape(ta)hak.
sister-(1.SG.POSS)-ERG some chocolate-ABS NEG=ITER-buy(1.IO.DUAL)=3SG.NPST.LOW nra-t-k hjpy tiki it-itt-ixa-pe(t)=hak

= My sister isnt buying us two some chocolate again. For all other parts of speech, negation surfaces as a postposition it taking all suffixes regarding case and number for the noun: Nrat itek hjpy ittixapetak.
sister-(1.SG.POSS) NEG=ERG some chocolate-ABS ITER-buy(1.IO.DUAL)=3SG.NPST.LOW nra-t it-k hjpy tiki itt-ixa-pe(t)=hak

= Not my sister is buying us two some chocolate again.

Gerund is formed by adding /-(i)rut-/ to the verb stem and by adding the same endings as for nouns: Rizannut jttak harn tyrit esjetnem agzepimkut.
rizan-rut jtta-k haru-n tyrit esjet-n-em agzep-im=kut ha.ln ty.a t es.js.nim g.z.pa m.gt] [i.a.nt j .tk

sit-GER boy-ERG cat-GEN tail-ABS stick-(3.SG.POSS)-INSTR run=3SG.NPST.TEL

= The sitting boy tries to chase the cats tail with his stick. ignore the semantics Gerunds may be used morphosyntactically like any other adjectives.

Strong Ergative Verbs

Begonian treats verbs containing a very classic sense of agent and patient differently. These verbs include (to) kill, (to) hurt, (to) hit, (to) beat, etc. Instead of treating them separately plus Absolutive case the direct objects of these actions are typically incorporated into the verb: (1) Inoim pakka poaremoim juzussoihoik.
] [i.n.m p.k p.l.mm .j..s.h.n k
courage-INSTR man-ERG.PST knife-INSTR kill.PST-lion(DO)=3SG.PST.HON ina-oim pak-ka poarem-oim juz-ussoih=oik

= The courageous man killed the lion with his knife.

Note that the sentence is ambiguous: The phrase knife-INSTR probably refers to the act of killing, may however also refer to the lion. Also, even though (1) appears to be a grammatically intransitive sentence, the agent takes the ergative case marker.


The direct objects of these kind of verbs need not necessarily be incorporated into the verb, however this brings about a slight change in the semantics: (2) Inoim pakka ussoih poaremoim juzoik.
courage-INSTR man-ERG.PST lion-ABS knife-INSTR kill.PST=3SG.PST.HON ina-oim pak-ka ussoih- poarem-oim juz=oik

= The courageous man killed the lion with his knife.

In (1) the lion was likely fighting the man and didnt choose to be killed, whereas in (2) with the direct object treated separately, the lion didnt mind being killed too much. It is not a classic patient anymore, so no longer incorporated. Another example: Jga mirajoim joamrato khtytxinzakut.
[j .g mi.a.jm j.m.n .d k .xn..gt] h.ty..ta
1SG.ERG.PST gun-INSTR end-NMLZ-INE hit.PST-bear(DO)=1.VOL jga miraju-oim joamr--to khtyt-xin=zakut

= I finally managed to shoot the bear.

Stative Verbs
Stative verbs in Begonian differ from dynamic verb overtly when inflected for past tense: J agzepta. = I run. / I am running. (1SG.ABS run=1SG.NPST) J hhazek. = I ran. / I was running. (1SG.ABS run.PST=1SG.PST) J hhaze agzepta. = I had run. / I had been running. (1SG.ABS run.PST run.NPST=1SG.NPST) J sjta. = I stand. / I am standing. (1SG.ABS stand=1SG.NPST) J sj hj. = I stood. / I was standing. (1SG.ABS stand PST.STAT) J hj sjta. = I had stood. / I had been standing. (1SG.ABS PST.STAT stand.NPST=1SG.NPST) An example of stative verbs inflected for past when used in nominalization: Kntahta oizui sj hja ithztsak.

] [k n.dah.ta . sja ha .jn it.h.tk house-(1SG.POSS)-APUD in.front.of stand.NPST PST.STAT-(2SG.POSS)-NMLZ-ABS NEG=expect.PST=1SG.PST kn-t-ahta oizui sj hj-ni-- it=hztsa=k

= I didnt expect that you had been standing in front of my house.

SCM Verbs
Theres a number of verbs selecting oblique cases rather than the typical dative/absolutive structure for ditransitive and absolutive for transitive verbs (special case marked verbs). For example, the verb se (to teach) selects Instrumental case for the object that is being taught. As such the agent semn (the teacher) takes the absolutive case marker due to the consequent lack of an object that takes the absolutive case marker. jarrkoinioim sek. ] [ jal.g.n m s .k 34

3.ABS Mathematics-INSTR teach=FIN jarrkoini-oim se=k

= She teaches Mathematics. Once a recipient needs to be specified it takes the absolutive affix - and functions as the direct object, thus eks would convert into its ergative form again. Another example for a SCM verb is rryk (~ to support) which selects Benefactive: Majattoni renozn krrykkas. [ma.ja.tn r. .g.y.kas] n.nu

mother-(2.PL.POSS)-ABS decision-(3.SG.POSS)-BENE CONF-support=3SG.NPST.HON majat-ttoni renoz-n- k-rryk=kas

= Im certain that your mother will support his decision. More examples will follow once the vocabulary is sufficiently fleshed out.

Dummy Stems
Some lexical meanings are expressed solely through affixes. Which, should they be the only lexical morpheme in the verb complex, have to be accompanied by a dummy ak: (1) J tstjet mparsata. (2) J akparsaksata.
(1) 1.ABS park-PERL walk-like=1SG.NPST.HON (2) 1.ABS DUMMY-like-(3.DO.ABSTR)=1SG.NPST.HON

(1) j tstje-hh m-par=sata / (2) j ak-par-sak=sata

(1) = I like walking through the park. (2) = I like it. Other examples include: -miz- (to hate), -mt- (to know); it is mostly the group of experiencer verbs receiving this kind of treatment. Also, these inherently incorporated verbs tend to frequently combine with honorific/low conjugation endings. Lexical suffixes cant combine with other affixes to form an acceptable verb complex so an obligatory dummy is inserted.

Begonian doesnt make use of verbal participles. To say written story a relative clause without agent has to be used: t aticha mpati REL-ABS write.PST=3SG.PST story-ABS = written story smza pak REL.ABS-kill.PST=3SG.PST man = killed man Gerund can be used to say writing author, aswell as author that used to be writing in the past: axtam-irut axtamttna write-GER author


= writing author atich-irut axtamttna write.PST-GER author = author who used to write

Modal Verbs
Begonian does not make much use of modal verbs, most information regarding likelihood, expectation, permission, source of knowledge, etc. is encoded by affixed that are attached to the verb stem. However the word aertu (~ can, be able to) survived in this position along with a few others: Non-Past Stem artu p itn tich Past Stem hz hajp itaj pakuyt Semantics ~ can; deontic dynamity (DDY) ~ shall; commissive modality (DES) ~ strongly doubt, convinced something is not true (ALE) ~ semelfactive, doing something only once; or something happens at once (SEM)

However, all of these have affix counterparts with a similar but contrasting meaning: Suffixing aer to the verb stem means someone is allowed to do or capable of doing something. Suffixing p means someone wants to do something, etc. (see chapters Aspect, Evidentiality): (1) Jk kujra mhh mynysoa artuta. (2) Jk kujra mhh mynysoaoirta.
(1) 1SG.ERG window-ABL through throw-NMLZ-(2SG.DO)-ABS DDY=1SG.NPST (2) 1SG.ERG window-ABL through throw-(2SG.DO)-PER=1SG.NPST

(1) jk kuj-ra m-hh myny--soa artu=ta (2) jk kuj-ra m-hh myny-soa-oir=ta

= I can toss you out of the window. The verbs headed by the modal verbs are nominalized and function as objects. The first sentence yields the interpretation that the agent is capable of throwing someone out of the window (i.e. he has the necessary force/muscles/etc.), but makes no comment about whether hes allowed to do that thing. In the latter sentence the agent may throw someone out of the window without consequences, but makes no comment about whether he can actually execute that plan. (1) Jk hani ets tixmttatta. (2) Jk hani ets mko pakuytta.
(1) 1SG.ERG all cake-ABS DEL-eat.PST=1SG.PST (2) 1SG.ERG all cake-ABS eat-NMLZ-ABS SEM.PST=1SG.PST

(1) jk hani ets- tix-mttat=ta (2) jk hani ets- mko- pakuyt=ta

(1) = I ate a little bit of the cake. (2) = I ate a whole cake once.


Predicative adjectives function as verbs for the non-past tense, in that case just add the correspondent verb affixes: Jt hozum itpzjaxak.
jt hozum- it-pzjak=k ] [ja t ho.m is.p.ja.xk
DEM assignment-ABS NEG=be_boring=3SG.NPST

= This assignment is not boring. For nouns and adjectives in the past tense, the verb ja (to be) functions as copula: Haru py s akparmtsata hezeni py gas.
[ha.l a .by s x.pal.m a .by .gs] t.sa. he.n

haru py- s- ak-par-mt-sata hezeni py- kas

= Cats are my favorite animals. Ja is one of only two verbs to have a separate future form ni. Inflected for past tense, youd get hj. Notice that m (~ to go) serves as copula with a temporal complement: Nykkit mrap mak.
nykki-t- mrap m=k ] [n .kt m.np .mk
job_interview-(1.SG.POSS)-ABS tomorrow go=3SG.NPST

= My job interview is tomorrow. Furthermore, its become standard to use sj (~ to stand) as the copula with a locative stative complement: Hagzum poim symmt jarrku trjamekk sjk.
] [hg.zm a .bm s .mt jal.g a t.ja.m.ka sja k

mountain NDEF-INSTR big-INT number-ABS Austria-SUPE stand=3SG.NPST

hagzum py-oim sym-mt jarrku- trjame-kk sj=k

= The biggest amount of mountains is in Austria. For all other types of complements ja serves as the copula.

Predicative Possession
s ytik ttm msto mrjata artuk ptut jk. t p ] [ s y.da k m m s.t m.nja.tn al.dk .t ja k

s yt-ik tt-m msto mrjat- artu=k ptu-t- jk

= I have a car which can drive from A to B very fast. The verb ja (~ to be) also serves as existential marker in sentences with the possessed object as the complement. Adding possessive markers to the possessed object in combination with the existential marker yields a predicatve possession construction. Patonn uzk okkaza jk. 37

.ka.a ja ] [pa.d.n n u.k k

father-(2.SG.POSS)-GEN three son-PL-ABS EXIST.NPST

pat-ni-n uzk okka-z-a jk

= Your father has three sons. Possessors not referred to with personal pronouns take the Genitive case.

Existential Marking
mrap s irjetahak zk py jk.
a ] [ m.np s i..j.t.hk k .by ja k

mrap s- irje-ta=hak zk py- jk

= There are trees that need to be fallen down tomorrow. Jk is the existential marker in the above sentence and historically derived from the demonstrative pronouns jt. The existential marker inflects for tense (jko ~ future existential, hj ~ past existential, identical to the past copula); Symmt joizuhtaza trjamet amn jk.
sym-mt joizuhta-z-a trjame-t amn jk ] [s .mt j.h.ta. a t.ja.m.t .mn ja k
big-INT flood-PL-ABS Austria-INE now EXIST.FIN

= There are huge floods in Austria right now.

Predicative Direction
The particle ak + a suitable case marker serves to mark the direction or place where an action happens: Pymsttonzok ahn pyza akk mtak.

] [p .ms.t.n .hn a .by. .k m.dk


pyms-tton-z-k ahn py-z-a ak-kk m-ta=k

= The people in the village are sending the cows up.

Copular Verbs
If the content of the sentence is about some type of change for the agent/subject of the sentence, the complement takes the translative case marker: k texzek s ttakas semnssoi hajrapetkas.

tx.k [k s .ta.kas s ..ma n.s haj.a.pes.ks]


k tex-z-k s- tta=kas se-mn-ssoi hajra-pet=kas

= He has become a teacher who would be really popular with the children. If the content is about some type of state the agent/subject finds himself in, the complement takes the essive case marker: Ojtrien muithkusonjo akn pakkuta sjhak.
] [oj.t..n .n m n.jn .gn p.k. sja .hk t.h.gs.n


success-(3.SG.POSS)-BENE DUR-work.PST-NMLZ-(3.SG.POSS)-CONC normal man-ESS stand=3SG.NPST.LOW

ojtri-n- muit-hkus--n-jo akn pak-kkuta sj=hak

= Despite working hard for his success he remains a normal man.




Used to stress the length factor of actions. Usually occurs in the company of temporal adverbials. Can be used for continuous actions along side the atelic affix. Atelic marks actions that (continuously or not) happen without a specific goal in mind. May be combined with the iterative prefix. The telic marker only verb-related affix to fuse with the finiteness marker: Used when an action happens continuously implying theres a specific goal/intention. Can also be used to stress the fact an action has been completed (~ perfective). But telic in combination with past does not mean the intended action has been completed, just that it was supposed to be/it was the subjects goal. In sentences with PPVA auxiliaries the telic marker becomes an affix (-yt/-ut) attaching to the verb stem. Can only be used in combination with verbs taking a direct object and marked for past tense: A certain direct object has been achieved by means of another action/state: k ojtarn kuthkuskas = he has worked for the success, he has been working so that he has success now (German.: Erfolg erarbeitet.) The former is used to express something which happens frequently (can be combined with the progressive affix), the latter is used when an action reverts something into an old/former state, e.g.:






itt-, irr(prefix)

txe = (to) treat, doctor so. ittxe = (to) look after, take care of irrtxe = (to) heal Restitutive is also used if an action starts over again: irrmtta. = He went to bed again. The above marker used as a suffix means an action has been reverted. This usually has an undertone that this is happening to someones detriment: k muturrsoa. = He took it away from you. vs.: k irrmutasoa. = He gave it to you again. An additional application is signalizing an action happening without someones volition because of incompetence/failure, somewhat the opposite of Resultative:




k ojtarn mtsurrhan. = He has lost success by sleeping. / He missed out on success by sleeping. Another usage is to signify something has been changed/modified or redone with a certain action: zoartam ikuznirra = he reserved another seat, he rereserved his seat; Used when an action is about to start, slowly begins to do so or is already occurring. pjoka = (to) drive pjokm = (to) start the engine Combined with the negative marker actions/states are describes not yet happening: itpjokmak = shes not driving yet Used when an action has not yet been completed/is still occurring; used to stress the fact one continuous action is going on for a surprisingly long time with no end in sight: pjokajoak = he drives on and on / hes still driving / he drove and drove Continuative -je-/-joCombined with the negative marker actions/states are indicated to not happen anymore: itpjokajoak = hes not driving anymore In conjunction with predicate adjectives: roamjohak = he gets worse and woese Egressive -n-/-nUsed when an action slowly comes or is brought to an end: pjokn = (to) stop the car Prefixed to a verb when an action is carried through only with little intensity (identical with the diminuitive marker): tixmttata = she ate (only) a little Suffixed to a verb when an action is carried through with high intensity, opposite to the aspect above; another usage of this suffix is to stress the truth value in a sentenve: mttatmta = she ate a lot/heavily; she really did eat Marking verbs for antipassive and leaving out the oblique patient is increasingly used in a way to express universal truths or actions/states occurring without interruption.








see Decreasing valence for more

Hik xin jurratkxessut.

a.xn ju.as.ke.st] [he k 2SG.ERG bear-ABS see.PST=2SG.PST.TEL hik xin- jurrat-kxessut

= You looked at the bear (you wanted to see him). 40

Hik xin jurratumak.

2SG.ERG bear-ABS see.PST-ATEL=2SG.PST hik xin- jurrat-um=k

= You saw the bear (accidentally, you didnt want to see him). Hik xin muitjurratumak.
2SG.ERG bear-ABS DUR-see.PST-ATEL=2SG.PST hik xjin- muit-jurrat-um=k

= You were seeing the bear (accidentally for a longer time). (1) Jk jarrkoini ittstimta. (2) Jk jarrkoini ittstizakut.
(1) 1SG.ERG Mathematics-ABS ITER-study-ATEL=1SG.NPST (2) 1SG.ERG Mathematics-ABS ITER-study=1SG.TEL (1) jk jarrkoni- itt-sti-im=ta (2) jk jarrkoni- itt-sti=zakut

= I keep studying Mathematics. The first sentence implies someone is studying Mathematics but really doesnt know what to do with it or its use. The second sentence implies an intention, e.g. hes studying Mathematics to land a well-paying job or score good grades. Jk jarrkoini irrstita.
jal.gn [j k il.s..ta] 1SG.ERG mathematics-ABS RES-study=FIN jk jarrkoini- irr-sti=ta

= I am studying Mathematics again. This means someone had learnt Maths at some point but forgotten all of it and know tries to regain all the lost knowledge. Jk jarrkoinioin hani aran py irrmojata tixzakut.
jal.g.n [j k n hn a.n a .by il.m.ja.tn tex.a.gt] 1SG.ERG.PST Mathematics-INSTR all skill NDEF-ABS RES-lose.PST-NMLZ-ABS DAT=1SG.TEL jga jarrkoini-oim hani aran py- irr-mojat-- tix=zakut

= I suddenly lost all my Mathematics skills. Someone suddenly ( DAT), effectively ( TEL), relost ( RES-lose.PST) all his Maths skills. Poor guy.

Voice & Valence

This chapter illustrates the methods ready for employment in Naniuk to background pragmatically unimportant participants. For the foregrounding (topicalizing) operations, see the chapter Topic & Focus under Syntax.

The first type of backgrounding is an often used strategy to background the agent of a sentence with low topicality. Any transitive sentences however demand there to be an overtly stated agent so this position is filled by the dummy ak. Simultaneously, no other changes happen to the verb or other participants:


Pakka xin mzukut.

man-ERG.PST bear-ABS kill=3SG.PST.VOL pak-ka xin- mzu=kut

= The man killed the bear. Aga xin mzukut.

ERG bear-ABS kill=3SG.PST.VOL ak xin- mzu=kut

= Somebody killed the bear. / The bear has been killed. This structure forbids reintroducing agents in an oblique case: Ak xin mzukut (*pakta). (ERG bear-ABS kill=3SG.PST.VOL man-CAUS) The general structure changes occurring in this type of backgrounding can be summarized as this: S Agent (Ergative) S Unexpressed Agent (Dummy: aga) O Patient (Absolutive) V X=FIN V X=FIN

O Patient (Absolutive)

Patient-Backgrounding / Antipassive Voice

Typical for ergative-absolutive languages, antipassive voice is found in Naniuk: Haru pm ikrak.
] [ha. pu me k.k cat-ABS see AUX.(1.ERG-3.DO.NONABSTR) haru- pm ik-rak

= I see the cat. Jk haru pmta.

1SG.ERG cat-ABS see=1SG.NPST jk haru- pm=ta

= I see the cat. becomes: J pmjak haruta.

ha..ta] [j pu m.jk 1SG.ABS see-AP=1SG.NPST cat-CAUS j pm-ja=k haru-ta

= I see (the cat). The patient of a sentence can be backgrounded by inserting the antipassive marker -ja- to the verb and deleting the patient of the active phrase altogether - though that doesn't always have to happen, the patient can be added in the causative case - and put after the verb. This serves to downplay the salience of the absolutive NP and focus on the agent originally with Ergative case. Furthermore, this poses an exception to the otherwise strict SOV order and causes some syntactic abnormalities ( object relative clauses). S O V


Agent (Ergative) S Subject (Absolutive) samjak mezmiuna kuintta.

Patient (Absolutive)

X=FIN V X-(ja)=FIN

O Patient (Oblique: Causative or Benefactive/Ablative see below)

me..m [ .ta] .am.jk .n k n.dn frown_upon-AP=3SG.NPST people-ADESS nose_grab-NMLZ-CAUS sam-ja=k mez-miuna kuint--ta

= (Someone/General) frowns upon (because of picking ones nose in public). The oblique patient may be introduced in the Benefactive case if the action performed on it occurs to its advantage. If to its detriment, it may take the Ablative case suffix: Jttaha s myrumu xuime khtythak kujra.
u [j .ta.ha s my..m xwa .m k .g.ju .] h.tyt.hk boy-ERG.PST REL-ABS throw.PST=3SG.PST snow-ABS hit.PST-AP=3SG.NPST windowABL jtta-ha s- myrumu= xume- khtyt-ja=k kuj-ra

= The snow thrown by the boy hit (because of the window). Likewise, antipassive may be used to signalize the direct object of an ergative verb is equal to a blank X where anything can be inserted: Pizkaj ikkusjak. / Motsia py ajak.
fire-ABS melt-AP=3SG.NPST / bird NDEF-ABS fly-AP=3SG.NPST pizkaj- ikkus-ja=k

= Fire melts (anything). / Birds fly. This can also be done with intransitive verbs like (to) fly as the second example demonstrates: This kind of construction comes closest to what could be called gnomic aspect. Absolute passive: There is one more construction worth mentioning that allows the backgrounding of both agent and passive: Huit. (Base sentence: Ras py huit. = The women are dancing.) / Ak ojzja. (Base sentence: Ras pyka xin py juz. = The women were killing the bears.) /
dance=3SG.PST / kill.PST-ANTIP=3SG.PST huit= / ojz-ja=

= There is dancing. / There was killing. spjukuijasse!

NEG:OBL-feed-ANTIP=2SG.NPST s-pjukui-ja=sse

= Please do not feed *.

*(any of the animals): This could be on a sign in front of a zoo entrance.

For intransitive base sentences: S Agent (Absolutive) // Ras py V X=FIN // huit=


S Transitive base sentences: S Agent (Ergative) // Ras pyka S Expletive dummy. // Ak O Patient (Absolutive) // xin py

V X=FIN // huit=

V X=FIN // juz= V X-(ja)=FIN // juz-ja=

O Increasing Valence (Agent Adding) Naniuk uses two different methods for increasing the valency of a verb depending on the control of the causee over the situation. In case (1), the causee has been forced to perform an action, whereas in (2) the cause is understood to have given permission to the causer or could have easily stopped the causer. Base sentence: Haru ttsukk. (cat.ABS sleep.PST=1SG.PST) = The cat slept. (1) k haru ttsukta.
3SG.ERG cat-ABS sleep.PST-CAUS=3SG.PST k haru- ttsuk-ta= = She made the cat sleep. (by force/without the objects volition)

(2) k haruta ttsuka tata.

3SG.ERG sleep.PST-(1SG.POSS)-NMLZ-ABS CAUS=3SG.PST k haru-ta ttsuk-- tata= = She made/let the cat sleep. (with the objects volition or consent)

For (1) the structural algorithm looks as follows: S Agent (Absolutive) // haru V X=FIN // ttsuk=k

S* Causer (Ergative)
// k

S Patient of the caused action (Absolutive) // haru

// ttsuk-ta=

For (2) the lower part looks like this: S* Causer (Ergative)
// k

S Patient of the caused action (Genitive or Causative) // haruta

// ttsuk--

V* tata

Mind you this is only valid for when the base sentence is intransitive; examples with sentences where the verb of the caused action is transitive follow: Base sentence: Pakk xin jurrat. (man-ERG bear-ABS shoot=3SG.PST) = The man shot the bear. (1) k pakk xin jurrattak.
3SG.ERG man-ERG bear-ABS shoot-CAUS=3SG.NPST k pak-k xin- jurrat-ta=k


= She makes me the man shoot the bear. (by force/without the objects volition) (2) k pakk xin jurrat tatak.
3SG.ERG man-ERG bear-ABS shoot=3SG.NPST CAUS=3SG.NPST k pak-k xin- jurrat= tata=k = She makes/lets the man shoot the bear. (with the objects volition or consent)

In (2) tata (CAUS) functions as the sole verb stem from which jurrat (shoot.PST) with all its markers depends on. In (1) these two words are incorporated to form a more complicated verb complex. In many cases though, increase of valence is expressed lexically. Furthermore, (1) carries the meaning that the causer was directly involved in the action, (2) may also be interpreted as such that the causer was temporally/locally disconnected from the caused action. For (1) the structural algorithm looks as follows: S Agent (Ergative) // pakk S* Causer (Ergative)
// k

O Patient (Absolutive) // xin

V X=FIN // jurrat=k

S Patient of the causing, Agent of the caused action (Ergative)

// pakk

O Patient of the caused action (Absolutive) // xin

// jurrat-ta=k

For (2) the lower part looks like this: S* Causer (Ergative)
// k

S Agent of the caused action (Ergative) // pakk

O Patient of the caused action (Absolutive)

// xin

// jurrat-

V* tatak

Furthermore, an example with a ditransitive verb in the base sentence: Pakka kamrin rastu huizo. (man-ERG.PST book-ABS woman-DAT give.PST=3SG.PST) = The man gave the woman the book. (1) Semnka pakka rastu kamrin huizota.
teach-NMLZ-ERG man-ERG.PST woman-DAT book-ABS give.PST-CAUS=3SG.PST se-mn-ka pak-ka ras-tu kamrin- huizo-ta= = The teacher made the man give the book to the woman. (by force/without the objects volition)

(2) Semnka pakka rastu kamrin huizo tata.

teach-NMLZ-ERG man-ERG.PST woman-DAT book-ABS give.PST=3SG.PST CAUS=3SG.PST se-mn-ka pak-ka ras-tu kamrin- huizo= tata= = The teacher made/let/allowed the man (to) give the book to the woman. (with the objects volition or consent)

Epistemic Modality
Unless noted otherwise, the following morphemes are suffixed. The correspondent glosses Im using are in brackets.



k(prefix) -hhej-/hhoj-hx-/-hx-tssi-/-tssu-

The speaker is sure something happened. (CONF) The speaker believes he has sufficient evidence for something and wants to express something is extremely likely to have happened but may also be false. (POT) Used when the speaker rather doubts a state or an action happened, but doesnt consider it to be impossible. (DUB) The speaker is sure something cannot possibly have happened. (ALE)

Zexmeka sek mez py mzukut xin kjurratkut/jurrathxkut.

me. a [x.m.ka .sk .by m..kt a .xn k.j.as.kt / ju.at.x:.hkt] police-ERG.PST REL-ERG people NDEF-ABS kill.PST=3SG.PST.TEL bear-ABS CONFshoot.PST=3SG.PST.TEL / shoot.PST-DUB=3SG.PST.TEL zexme-ka s-k mez py- mzu=kut xin- k-jurrat=kut / jurrat-hx=kut

= The police definitely shot the bear who killed people. / I doubt the police [] k k sum rejz tatahhoj.
[k k s .m ej. ta.a.xoj] 3SG.ERG.PST 3SG.ERG.PST school-ABS quit.PST=3SG.PST CNJ.ABS CAUS.PSTPOT=3SG.PST k k sum- rejz- tata-hhoj=

= He supposedly caused her to quit school. Ton msek sym rj ittjoizutatssuk.

sk ] [t.n m m ra j it.j..ta.t .k s Danube river-ERG big city-ABS ITER-flood-ALE=3SG.NPST Ton ms-k sym rj- itt-joizuta-tssu=k

= Theres no way the Danube will flood the capital again.

k(prefix) -n-/-n-met-/mot-/ -pyn-/-punSignalized when the speaker knows something, because it has been seen/heard/felt/etc. by the speaker himself or from other first-hand sources. (EGEV) The speaker has come to know about something using his own evidence, knowledge and logic. Denotes personal conclusions about an acation or state independent of external influence. (INF) The speaker has evidence from other people familiar to him. For example the speaker has got to know something from a friend or refers to evidence one of his friends has collected. (OPE)
The speakers uses common knowledge. Used when evidence for an action or state didnt come from oneself or a certain known person, but it something that is assumed to originate from the common perspective of all people. (CKL)

Higa xin kuitmanumssa.

[he .g a .xn .gs.m.nm.s] 2SG.ERG.PST bear-ABS EGEV-NEG=see.PST-ATEL=2SG.PST higa xin- k-it-man-um=ssa

= You were definitely not looking at the bear. / Im sure you weren't looking at the bear. Higa ryzeni etuan ikxoit juznkxessut.
[he .g ry.n e.d.n n e .ks.n .j.n.ke.st] 2SG.ERG.PST friend-(2.SG.POSS)-ABS money-(3.SG.POSS)-ABS obtain-NMLZ-BENE


kill.PST-INF=2SG.PST.TEL higa ryze-ni- etu-n- ikxoit-- juz-n=kxessut

(context: I found the weapon in your car.)

= So I gather you murdered your friend to get his money. Hik ysjarut kymizhxym sum jzymetsse.
ys.ja.t k [he k .m.x m s .m a j.y.mt.s] 2SG.ERG follow-GER year-TEMP FOC school-ABS quit-OPE=2SG.NPST hik ysja-rut kymiz-hxym sum- jzy-met=sse

= Ive been told you are going to quit school next year. Haru py isjukpunak.
] [ha. a .by is.jx.p.nk cat NDEF-ABS be_evil-CKL=FIN haru py- isjuk-pun=k

= They say cats are evil.

-pa-/-poa-net-/-noitThe speaker thinks something must absolutely necessarily happen. (OBL:POS) Something should happen. While the speaker doesnt consider a certain action/state to be a bare necessity, he clearly indicates he wants it to happen or it would be for the better for it to happen. (NEC) Used when the speaker either doesnt care whether a certain action or state occurs or not or explicitly gives his approval, or in other words when something is allowed/has the external permission to happen. (PER) Opposite to NEC: The speaker expressed a clear preference for an action or state not to occur or it would not at all be for the better for it to occur. (PROH) Opposite to OBL: The speaker thinks something must not happen under any condition. Used when theres no alternative. (OBL:NEG)


xin jurratpoak.

] [a .xn ju.as.pk bear-ABS shoot.PST-OBL:POS=1SG.PST xin- jurrat-poa=k

= I had to shoot the bear. Ryzen hjemtt mttoirak.

] [ry.n hjm.t ma .t.k friend-(3.SG.POSS)-ABS house-(1.SG.POSS)-INE sleep-PER=FIN ryze-n- hjem-t-t mtta-oir=k

= Her friend can sleep at my place (I dont care). Higa xin jurratnthan.
[he .g a .xn ju.as.nt.hn] 2SG.ERG.PST bear-ABS shoot.PST-NEC=2SG.PST.LOW hik xin- jurrat-nt=han

= You shouldnt have shot the bear. Hiti jt sykkt shnisse!

[hit jat ..ka .t .h.ni.s] 2SG.ABS DEM building-INE OBL:NEG-smoke=2SG.NPST hiti jt sykk-t s-hni=sse

= You must not smoke in this building!


Reflexivity & Reciprocality

To express reflexivity use "ax, axok, axn,..." and add it right next to the subject its referring to. This at the same time works as the intensifier myself, yourself, etc. and as reciprocality marker: Jk ax jenumtak.
[j .g x j.n.m .k ] 1SG.ERG.PST REFL-ABS be_good-INT=1SG.PST jga ax- jenu-mt=k

= Ive improved myself. Jttaha k pr kujra zoihkat akhxum ax kkojoimhak.

] [j .ta.ha k p l u .g.ju . zh.ktk.xm x .k.jm.hk boy-ERG.PST 3SG.ERG.PST ball-ABS window-ABL kick.PST=3SG.PST CONJ-TEMP REFL-ABS CONF-hurt.PST-ATEL=3SG.PST.LOW jtta-ha k pr- kuj-ra zoihkat= ak-hxum ax- k-kkojoi-um=hak

= Im sure the boy hurt himself kicking the ball out of the window PPVA can also be used to express reflexivity: Jga ax jenumt igza.
[j .g x j.n.m te g.zn ] 1SG.ERG.PST be_good-INT AUX.(1SG.ERG-1SG.DO) jga ax jenu-mt ik-sa

= Ive improved myself.

Zaj axz hkuszakut.
[aj x. h .g..gt] 1SG.INCL.PL.ABS RECP-PL-BENE work.PST=1PL.TEL zaj ax-z- hkus=zakut

= We used to work for each other.

Personal Specifications
Theres an array of affixes a speaker can employ to concisely express his personal opinion about an action or statement: The speaker is surprised about a perception of one his five senses and expresses his astonishment. derives from arrase ~ jump The speaker is surprised about something hes heard from somewhere but isnt entirely sure whether its actually happened derives from ujuini ~ rumour Identical to the intensive marker in the aspect section, but goes to a different slot, used to underline the truth value of a statement: hkusmtakut = he was really working.

Mirative 1


Mirative 2







Used to underline something which happened does not surprise the speaker/meets his expectations: hkuszoattakut = he was working, as expected
originally derived from zoattani ~ disappointment; but nowadays has a neutral undertone.



Opposite of above: Something surprises the speaker. Hrak also exists as free grammatical morpheme vaguely having the same meaning as the conjunction but: hkushraxakut. = he was actually working, didnt see it coming that he was working. The speakers expresses either his remorse, sorrow or compassion; derives from ytza ~ grey The speaker expresses hes not taking a certain action seriously. Not necessarily of a pejorative/negative manner, the speakers may use this marker to signalize hes either laughing with or about someone/something. Also serves to remove the steam of a heated discussion; derives from pvi ~ finger Opposite of above: The speaker wishes to break the pointless funny small talk and switch to a serious tone. derives from tspre ~ word Concise way of adding a bitter tone to a statement or to mock someone/something. Theres a host of different dialectal realizations for this marker. Also used when a speaker wants to express displeasure about an action or state occurring because of other peoples/societys expectations/not shared opinions. derives from voadi ~ cucumber Many different realizations that are quickly changing: Used when someone overtly wants to outright insult an action or someone/ something. derives from jiutn ~ knight











The list is by no means exhaustive and is subject of heavy variation over the dialects. These affixes are often combined with the sutable conjugation endings and are exclusively used to further specify the speakers personal assessment or attitude about an action/state. They appear to be created by taking a lexeme with a correspondent semantic content, dropping one or two syllables towards the end and subjecting at least the first vowel of the remainder to vowel harmony. The border between grammatical and lexical morphemes gets blurred here. Hik sum sjzytsrkxessut.


sl.k.st] [he k s .m .j.y.t 2SG.ERG school-ABS OBL:NEG-quit-serious=2SG.NPST.TEL hik sum- s-jzy-tsr=kxessut

= Seriously though, you must not quit school. Higa ukjhh arraseta itmarrasumhan.
[he .g o .kj.h a.a.s.tn i..ma.a.sm.hn] 2SG.ERG.PST window-PERL jump.PST-(1SG.POSS)-NMLZ-ABS be_stupid-MIR1ATEL=2SG.NPST.LOW higa ukj-hh arrase-t-- itm-arras-um=han

= Youre so stupid, that I jumped out of the window. Muinok ken piznuhtoznoithan.
kn [m pi..nh.to.nt.hn] .nk 1DU.EXCL-ERG house-ABS pull_down-sadly-NEC=1DU.NPST.LOW muin-k ken- piz-uhtoz-noit=han

= Sadly we need to pull down the house. Tmahxum j pizk uzmemasspoata!

[ta .ma.xm j pi.k u.m.ma.s.b.ta] Saturday-TEMP FOC 1SG.ABS 6-INE wake_up-cynic-OBL:POS=1SG.NPST Tma-hxum j pizk uzme-mass-poa=ta

= Fuck this shit, I have to wake up at 6am on a Saturday! Kgzo ken jga jt itpana narasaak akjo kottahjuithak.
k.jn ] [k t is.pa.nn na.a.s.n k ko.ta.h.j j.g ja g.z kn t.hk 3PL.ERG.PST house-ABS 1SG.ERG.PST DEM-ABS NEG=make-(3SG.POSS)-NMLZ-ABS tell-(3PL.DO)=1SG.PST CNJ-CONC pull_down.PST-PEJOR=3SG.PST.LOW kgzo ken- jga jt- it=pan-- nara-sa=k ak-jo kottah-juit=hak

= Them fuckers pulled down the house despite me telling them not to!

There's no affix or anything of the sort to mark a word as an adjective. Adjectives precede the things they describe (Adj-N) and don't take any endings unless they work like nouns and form the head of a phrase.

Facilitative Relational/Attenuative Agentive Intensive Proprietive/Privative

-artu mto (to eat) mtartu (edible) pagzirit (king) pagziritnus (king-like, royal) -nus me (talk) mettna (talkative) -ttna zekut (new) zekutmt (very new, latest) -mt Instrumental The object possessed or not possessed takes the correspondent case marker. / Abessive Adjectives

Here the usage of specifiers depending on their function: Attributes Atrributive adjectives do not inflect for any of the properties of its head referent which they always directly precede: 50

[1] Ekz [2] prujt [3] kentik [4] Nanimn [5] symrjom prah.

nn..m [.k p ..ju n .t kn.da k n s m.n.jm p .h] 3PL.ABS car-(2DU.POSS)-PRO house-(1SG.POSS)-ABL Begonia-GEN capital-ALL drive.PST=3PL.PST ekz pru-jni-t ken-t-ik Nanime-n symrj-m prah=

= They were driving with your car from my house to the capital of Begonia. Inserting adjectives at position [1] would further describe ekz, in position [2] it would further describe the speakers car, and so forth. Adverbs Adverbs are formed by positing them right ahead of the verb they describe. No overt morphological marking has to be added. trjamn tssohoim prn pakani hroam mejthak.
s.hm p [a t.ja.mn a .t .n p.gn m mej.d.hk] Austria-GEN foot-DUAL-INSTR ball-GEN team-ABS awful play.PST=3SG.PST.LOW trjame-n tsso-h-oim pr-n pakani- hroam mejt=hak

= The Austrian football team was playing awfully. Or using the example from Attributes:
Ekz prujt kentik Nanimn symrjm ______ prah. ~ They were driving with your car from my house to the capital of Begonia _______ly.

Predicate Adjectives Adjectives in predicate position show the morphosyntactic features of verbs, i.e. the finiteness marker k attaches to the adjective stem: Hezenn erkko zurram py msata artu ytzak.
] [he..n .by m.sa.tn al.d.n u y.d.k n el.k u.m a animal-GEN tail-ABS enemy NDEF-ABS distract-NMLZ-ABS DDY-NMLZ-BENE be_grey=3SG.NPST hezeni-n erkko- zurram py- msat-- artu-- ytza=k

= The tail of the animal is grey so it can distract enemies. The construction reverts to adjective stem + copula for the past tense (example from another chapter): Hiti zko hj. (2.ABS be_beautiful COP.PST) Substantive Adjectives used substantively take over the morphosyntactic features of nouns, i.e. they take case markers, inflect for number and may take other affixes (e.g. possession). puryk zp opxk hravantuch jroni mtasik.
a .mn.to ] [ p.xk .b. k p x ju .n m .a.se k poor.SUBST-ERG and-INCL rich.SUBST-ERG green.SUBST-(1.SG.POSS)-COMP blue.SUBST-(2.SG.POSS)-ABS prefer=3PL.NPST pury-k z-p opx-k hravan-t-uch jr-oni- mtasi=k

= Both the poor and the rich prefer your blue ones over my green ones.


The suffix mt serves as intensifier of adjectives and is used in comparative constructions: Matjuttonk hjamur py rukux pgziritnusmt myrynkas.
hj.ml a [mat.j.t.nk .by o .gx pa g.z..t .ns.mt my.y .kas] play-NMLZ-ERG baseball NDEF-ABS 2DU-COMP king-ADJZ-INT throw=3SG.NPST.HON matju-tton-k hjamur py- ruk-ux pgzirit-nus-mt myryn=kas

= The player throws baseballs more king-like than us two. Theres no separate superlative form in order to express that someone is the best at something one uses the comparative form without comparing anyone: Vatjunmnok hjamur py pgziritnusmt myrynak. = The player throws baseballs the most king-like. = The player throws baseballs very king-like. (another possible translation)

Equal Comparison
Matjuttonk hjamur py rukkuta pgziritnusmt myrynak.
play-NMLZ-ERG baseball NDEF-ABS 2.DUAL-ESS king-ADJZ-INT throw=3SG.NPST matju-tton-k hjamur py- ruk-kkuta pgzirit-nus-mt myryn=k

= The player throws baseballs as king-like as us two. Instead of comparative the standard of the comparison takes the Essive case suffix.

Comparison with VPs

Ryztek mko artuuch tsymt armiar ittixak.
m ] [ry.tk al.d.n o x t .mt m.jl i.ta .xk .gn friend-(1SG.POSS)-ERG eat-NMLZ-ABS DDY-NMLZ-(1SG.POSS)-COMP more cereal-ABS ITER-buy=3SG.NPST ryz-t-k mko-- artu--ux tsymt armiar- itt-ixa=k

= My friend keeps buying more cereal than I can eat. The main verb of the standard VP is nominalized and takes the comparative case suffix.

Comparative Specifiers
Ryztek mko artuuch [*] tsymt armiar ittixak.
friend-(1SG.POSS)-ERG eat-NMLZ-ABS DDY-NMLZ-(1SG.POSS)-COMP more cereal-ABS ITER-buy=3SG.NPST ryz-t-k mko-- artu--ux tsymt armiar- itt-ixa=k

= My friend keeps buying more cereal than I can eat. [*] is the place for specifiers for the adjective with the intensive marker mt. e.g.: teme ~ a little:
Ryztek mko artuuch [teme] tsymt armiar ittixak.. My friend buys a little more cereal than I can eat.

Begonian is a predominantly head-final/left-branching and mixed-marking language.


Basic word order is strictly SOV both for main and subordinate clauses. Pragmatically non-salient objects and adjuncts themselves may be freely scrambled though (see below).

Basic Declarative Sentence Structure

Agent Focus Neutral Verb-Stem Topic Finiteness

Agent-Position: If a sentence contains a grammatical agent, its positioned exclusively at the very beginning of a sentence. Subjects are placed to the neutral position. Focus: Introduces new information in a sentence and occupies the position right after the agent. The heads of the phrases in this position are followed by the postposition . Theres no limit to the number of phrases. Neutral: Place where anything else in the sentence goes, may be freely scrambled, although the absolutive direct object tends to directly precede the verb stem. Verb-Stem: Place where the verb-stem, but not the conjugation ending goes Topic: Central information in a sentence followes the verb stem. Furthermore, the onset/nucleus of the first syllable of the head of the topic phrase is reduplicated and placed as a separate word right after that phrase, if the word in question doesnt contain high stress. In the other case, the preposition itt is added instead of reduplication. Finiteness: The place where the conjugation ending and/or the auxiliary that is part of the polypersonal conjugation go. If the topic position is empty, it is directly suffixed to the verb stem. Otherwise it is either directly suffixed to the reduplicated part of the topic phrase (if phonotactical restrictions arent breached by this) or placed as a separate word. Either way, either the finiteness marker or the PPVA auxiliary exclusively end a sentence. Jk hititu kamrin data.
1SG.ERG 2SG-DAT book-ABS give=1SG.NPST jk hiti-tu kamrin- ta=ta

= I give you the book. Rjk jt ujtn ittsuk hozum axh hakunoim mr jrap jahan.
1_and_2.ERG DEM assignment-GEN NEG=correct solution-ABS FOC RECP-DUAL-BENE work-NMLZ-INSTR find.PST today TOP~1PL.PST.LOW rjk jt ujte-n it-tsuk hozum- ax-h- hakun--oim mr jrap ja~han

= Today, we two couldnt find the solution to this assignment by working for each other. Synutmt jhzaj sam muitm otoni otak.
[sy.ns.m j h.j sm m o.dn o.dk ] t often-INT FOC 1PL.EXCL-ABS go.PST DUR-go.PRES that.time TOP~1PL.PST synut-mt jhzaj- sam muit-m otoni ot~k

= Back then we used to go outside more often. Ak hik etuuk akus poim ixaaztu hozum py ihtama itt rjnatkui kut hajtk.
ERG 2SG.ERG money-ADJZ problem NDEF-INSTR buy-NMLZ-PL-DAT solution NDEF-ABS suggest TOP bank.teller-ESS 2SG.NPST.TEL CNJ.ABS expect=3SG.NPST hik etu-uk akus py-oim ixa--z-tu hozum py- ihtama itt rjnat-kkuta kut hajt=k

= As a bank teller, you are expected to suggest solutions to the customers regarding financial problems. Agent
Jk Rjk

jt ujtn ittsuk hozum

hititu kamrin axh hakunoim


jrap ja-

-ta -han


tapeJk kamrin ta Ak Hik synutmt jhzaj [Hik itt rjnatkui kut] etuuk akus poim ixaaztu hozum py sam (muit)m hajtihtama otoni ot(a) itt rjnatkui

-ta ikpet -k -k kut

Case Stacking
Instead of adding all the endings to each word, one can choose to leave them away and instead stack them in front of or after the verb... an example: Rizannut jttaha xuime harra uriztssata mrumu.
sa. m [i.a.nt j .ta.ha xwa .m ha.. u.a .t .m] sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS FOC cat-ALL admission-(1.SG.POSS)-ABE throw.PST=3SG.PST rizan-irut jtta-ha xuime- haru-ra uriz-t-ssata mrumu=

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without my admission. The following sentence has the exact same meaning: Rizannut jttaha xuime haru urizet rassata mrumu.
sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS FOC cat admission-(1.SG.POSS) AUX.(ALL-ABE) throw.PST=3SG.PST rizan-irut jtta-ha xuime- haru uriz-t ra-ssata mrumu=

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without my admission. It is important to keep the right order in the case marking clusters. The following sentence... Rizannut jttaha xuime haru urizet ssatra mrumu.
sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS FOC cat admission-(1.SG.POSS) AUX.(ABE-ALL) throw.PST=3SG.PST rizan-irut jtta-ha xuime- haru uriz-t ssata-ra mrumu=

...would translate to: The sitting boy threw snow at my admission without the cat.

Negation in generally is yielded by prefixing it- to whichever constituent is supposed to be negated. In negating heads of NPs however, the prefix it- takes case and number markers of the noun and is postposited instead:
Rizannut jttaha xuime harra uriztssata itmrumu. (= He didn't throw it.)

but: Rizannut jtta itha xuime harra uriztssata mrumu.

sit-GER boy NEG=ERG.PST snow-ABS FOC cat-ALL throw.PST=3SG.PST rizan-irut jtta it=ha xuime- haru-ra uriz-t-ssata mrumu= admission-(1.SG.POSS)-ABE

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without my admission.


Imperative Voice
There are three degrees of imperative used in colloquial speech: Most polite: Putting hit (= for you) in the topic position: Jt pjekkjkk rizan hit hisse.
[ja t pj.kj.ku i.n hi. hi.s] DEM place-SUPE sit 2SG-BENE TOP~2SG.NPST jt pjekkj-kk rizan hit- hi~sse

= Please be seated on this place. (most formal) Less polite/more urgent: Inflecting the verb for the aspect OBL:POS (equivalent to to have to do something) + occasionally inflecting the verb for high attitude: Jt pjekkjkk parizanssa.
[ja t pj.kj.ku pa.a .an.sa] DEM place-SUPE OBL:POS-sit=2SG.NPST.HON jt pjekkj-tus pa-rizan=ssa

= Sit down on this place. To negate this demand, the OBL:NEG prefix can be used: Jt pjekkjkk srizanssa! = Dont sit down on this place! Least formal (Most colloquial/urgent): Moving the verb stem to the front + optionally putting amn (= now) into the topic position and inflecting the verb for low attitude: Parizan jt pjekkjkk amn ahan!
[pa.a .n ja t pj.kj.ku .mn .hn] OBL:POS-siti DEM place-SUPE (ei) now TOP~2SG.NPST.LOW pa-rizani jt pjekkj-kk (ei) amn a~han

= Sit down on this place already! Analogously, this demand can be negated by using the OBL:NEG prefix: srizan jt pjekkjkk amn ahan! = Dont sit the fuck down on this place!

Relative clauses
Relative clauses routinely precede their heads and show differing morphological surface structures depending on restrictiveness and what grammatical roles are contained within the RC. Naniuk allows relativization on all core constituents (Agents, Direct and Indirect Objects) as well as Obliques, although speakers will often circumlocate the modifying CP in the latter case.

Jga [higa tza ptam akpat] htjakeza man stetsur ehan.
[j .g he .g a t. pu .m x.pt tj.g.a mn s.tt.sl .hn] 1SG.ERG.PST 2SG.ERG.PST REL-PL-ABS show.PST AUX.(2SG.ERG-1SG.DO) place-PLABS see.PST nowhere TOP~1SG.PST.LOW jga [higa t-z-a ptam ak-pat] htjake-z-a man stetsur e~han

= Nowhere did I see the places youve shown me.


The internal structure of restrictive relative clauses is identical to that of declarative sentences. The head of the relative clause (RC) is referred to with s (non-abstract) or t (abstract) within the RC taking the appropriate case. The whole phrase then goes in front of the head htjakeza. The head of the RC place-PL-ABS is referred to within the relative clause with REL-PL-ABS. Jk [haru shh hhzum] ken akparsata.
ha. [j k s.x xa .m kn x.pal.sa.] 1SG.ERG cat-ABS REL-PERL run.PST-ATEL=3SG.PST house-ABS DUMMYlike=1SG.NPST.HON jk [haru- s-hh hhze-um=] ken- ak-par=sata

= I like the house through which the cat was running. example with an abstract referent: [Higa t jttatu hajrak] uriz itsmuxak.
] [he .g a t j .ta.t haj.ku.a it.s.m.xk 2SG.ERG.PST REL-ABS boy-DAT make.PST=2SG.PST admission-ABS be_unlikely=3SG.NPST [higa t- jtta-tu hajra=k] uriz- it-smuk=k

= The admission youve given the boy is unlikely. If the referent of the relative clauses takes the Absolutive case marker within the RC and no other subject in Ergative case is specified, a gerund construction has to be used instead: [ropahh niumbarumnut] pakk me itt Saxkukoim ak.
mn ] [ ..ba.x n it sx.k.km k m.ba.m.nt pk Europe-PERL travel-like-ATEL-GER man-ERG speak TOP England-ADJV-INSTR 3SG.NPST [ropa-hh nium-par-um-rut] pak-k me itt Saxka-uk-oim k

= The man who likes travelling to Europe doesnt speak English. *s ropahh niumbarumak pakk (.)

Non Restrictive
Rizannut jttaha xuime harra (k) urizetssata jmrakz mrumuhak.
] [i.a.nt j .ta.ha xwa .m ha..a u.a .et j m.na.ka .sa. m ..m.hk sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS cat-ALL (3SG.ERG) admission-(1SG.POSS)-ABE need.PST-REL-REL:ABS=3SG.PST throw.PST=3SG.PST.LOW rizan-rut jtta-ha xuime- haru-ra (k) uriz-t-ssata jmrak-z-= mrumu=hak

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without my admission, which he would have needed. Non-restrictive relative clauses are headed internally: Urizet stands within the RC. However it takes the Abessive case marker, while the verb takes up a relative clause morpheme (here: REL z); though, there is a second position in the verb functioning is some type of applicative that serves to overtly state the connection between the main clause and the relative clause: Rizannut jttaha xuime harra () urizetssata hjoiszta mrumuhak.
sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS cat-ALL (3SG.ABS) admission-(1SG.POSS)-ABE be_sad-REL-REL:CAUS=3SG.PST throw.PST=3SG.PST.LOW rizan-rut jtta-ha xuime- haru-ra () uriz-t-ssata hjoisa-z-ta= mrumu=hak

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without my admission, because of which he was very sad.


The head of the RC uriz still takes the Abessive case marker, while the main verb in the RC receives the causative applicative that tells the listener that its because of the missing admission that the boy is sad. Another example: Pakk j ropahh niumzhhk niumparumak.
man-ERG 1SG.ABS Europe-PERL travel-REL-REL:PERL=1SG.PST travel-likeATEL=3SG.NPST pak-k j ropa-hh nium-z-hh=k nium-par-um=k

= The man likes travelling through Europe, through which I travelled last year. The relative affix and relative case applicative have to be in direct succession of each other. Majatnjo s ropahh niumbarumak jtta xtoha.
j [ma.jas.njo s ..ba.x n .t x.t.ha] m.ba..mk mother-(3SG.POSS)-ERG.PST REL-ABS Europe-PERL travel-like-ATEL=3SG.NPST boy-ABS scold.PST=3SG.PST majat-n-jo [s- ropa-hh nium-bar-um=k] jtta- xtoh=a

= The mother scolded her boy, who likes travelling through Europe. Non-restrictive RCs with referents taking the Absolutive case within the RC are headed externally with the relative marker taking the Absolutive case marker within the RC, in total forming the analogous construction as restrictive RCs with non-absolutive referents. Furthermore, its possible to use participle construction in place of RCs for CPs to further describe someone in the Ergative case ( Participle clauses).

AP Relative Clauses
Antipassive relative clauses are handled by using the causative case for the relative pronoun and the suffixing the antipassive marker ja to the verb within the clause: (1) Pakka s choja niz menttus mtykas. (restrictive) (2) Pak chojaja sta niz menttus mtykas. (restrictive)
(1) man-ERG.PST REL-ABS catch.PST=3SG.PST fish-ABS tongue-(1SG.POSS)-SUPE dance=3SG.NPST.HON (2) man-ABS catch.PST-AP=3SG.PST REL-CAUS fish-ABS tongue-(1SG.POSS)-SUPE dance=3SG.NPST.HON (1) [pak-ka s- choja=] niz- men-t-tus mty=kas (2) [pak- choja-ja= s-ta] niz- men-t-tus mty=kas

(1) = The fish caught by the man tastes excellent. (and tastes no different) (2) = The fish caught by the man tastes excellent. (caught by no one else) Majaton xtohz jttanamha xuime harra mrumu. (non-restrictive)
[ma.ja.tn j .ta.nm.h xwa .m ha.. m ..m] x.t.h mother-(3SG.POSS)-ABS scold.PST-REL=3SG.PST boy-CAUS=ERG.PST snow-ABS catALL throw.PST=3SG.PST [majat-n- xtoh-z= jtta-nam]=ha xuime- haru-ra mrumu=

= The sitting boy, who was scolded by his mother, threw snow at the cat. Antipassive relative clauses cause case marking clusters, as the oblique patient of the antipassive construction is identical to the agent of the matrix sentence and follows the finiteness marker. In the main sentence the sitting boy is referenced merely by ha which attaches to the causative marker. 57

Free Relative Clauses

The referent of the free clause is realized as the relative marker s and redundantly referred to in the matrix sentence as t, which serves as a dummy reference element of the RC: [ga pamiutnn kenem mumahxum s nara issa] t itmrek.
] [ n k.nm .mm.n .xm s na. i.sn a tis.m.k .g p.ms.nu 3SG.ERG.PST grandparent-(3SG.POSS)-GEN house-ALL head_for.NMLZ-TEMP REL-ABS say.PST AUX.(3SG.ERG-1SG.DO) PART-ABS NEG=be_true=3SG.NPST [ga pamiut-n-n ken-m mum--hxum s- nara iz-sa] t- it-mre=k

= What he said to me while walking to his grandmothers home, isnt true. Free RCs may follow the above structure, even its subject appears in Absolutive case: [ sta mttmak] tok raztgzaak.
] [ s.t ma .t.mka .k a.tg.z.n k 3SG.ABS REL-CAUS sleep-CONT=3SG.NPST | PART-ERG surprise-1SG.DO=3SG.NPST [ s-ta mtta-m=k] t-k raztx-sa=k

= Why hes still sleeping, surprises me.

Adverbial Relative Clauses

Adverbial clauses follow the same scheme as declarative sentences and are separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma. The anaphoric particle t serves as a reference to link the two parts of the sentence together: [ Saxkuk me st sekas] itnza tta sym jenumtkas.
m n [ sx.kk s.t s ..kas i.a n.a a .t s m j.n.m s.ks] 3SG.ABS England-AJVZ speak-NMLZ-ABS REL-INE teach=3SG.NPST.HON student-PLABS PART-CAUS significant good-INT=3PL.NPST.HON [ Saxka-uk me- s-t se=kas] itn-z-a t-ta sym jenu-mt=kas

= Wherever she teaches English, the students improve significantly. Here, the inessive case marker of the relative pronoun s serves as a dummy to signalize the adverbial clause is meant to specify the location that the part of the sentence following the comma is about. [Hiti st poizusse] jk kuttit tom mem tata.
ku.ta ta [hit s.t p..se j k .m m.nm a .a.ta] 2SG.ABS REL-INE live=2SG.NPST 1SG.ERG package-ABS PART-ALL go-NMLZ-ALL send=1SG.NPST [hiti s-t poizu=sse] jk kuttit- t-m m--m ta=ta

= Im sending the package to where you live. Again, sts serves to mark the importance of the location of the action in the left part of the sentence. The allative case marker on tom marks the direction of the action in the right part of the sentence to the place of the action of the left part, i.e. where he (unspecified) lives.

Non-Finite Relative Clauses

(1) Ukkyseni pn jam hoaruk k k.


ukkys-eni py-n j-am hoaruk k ~k.

= Should you face any problems, shes the person to ask. (2) Ukkyseni pn jam hoaruka artu k.
difficulty-(2SG.POSS) NDEF-GEN EXIST.NMLZ-ABS=if ask-NMLZ-ABS DDY 3.ABS TOP~3SG.NPST ukkys-eni py-n j-am hoaruk-- artu ~k

= Should you face any problems, shes the person to ask. (1) Yields the interpretation that should any problems occur, shes the person to ask; in other words, she (Agent) will then ask you questions: The third person personal pronouns takes the ergative case marker and is then moved to the topic position to increase pragmatic salience. (2) Interpretation that in case of problems, shes the person to ask; i.e. you can ask her ( Object) questions. Here, the pronoun takes the absolutive case marker and is again moved to the topic position.

Extrapositioning of Relative Clauses

Complex relative clauses embedded in long sentence with two or three further subordinate clauses are extremely taxing on the brain. Thats why in such situations, RCs may be separated from the main sentence and restructured into an extraposited clause: Rizannut jttaha xuime harra (k) urizetssata jmrakz mrumuhak. Rizannut jttaha xuime harra urizetssata mrumuhak, ga jmrak uriz u.
sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS cat-ALL throw.PST=3SG.PST.LOW | 3SG.ERG.PST need.PST admission-ABS TOP~3SG.PST rizan-rut jtta-ha xuime- haru-ra mrumu=hak | ga jmrak uriz- u~

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without my admission, which he would have needed. Typically the constituent made reference to appears in the topic position within the extraposited clause.

Dependent Clauses
This section focuses on how clauses can be embedded into other clauses theoretically ad infinitum. The structure underlying embedding depends largely on the valency of the verb.

Argument Clauses
Kamrin mutapatoka knets turuk smukrakoik.
s a sa ] [km.na n .m.a.pas.n n .g k.nt ..n k .mk.x.n k book-ABS give.PST-(1SG.IO)-NMLZ-(2SG.POSS)-ERG.PST exam-ABS fail-NMLZ-ABL save.PST-(1SG.DO)=3SG.PST.HON kamrin- muta-pat--oni-ka knets- tur--uk smuk-rak=oik

= That you gave me the book saved me from failing the exam. The stem of the main verb in the argument clause is nominalized and functions as the grammatical agent of the sentence. As such, it can take the ergative case marker, while incorporating personal and possessive affixes.

Adverbial Clauses


Jhzaj meizn jruta esmk hrchutak.

] [jh.j m.n a n . n j ..tn s.mk .x.tk 1PL.EXCL-ABS speech-PL-GEN end.PST-NMLZ-ABS after leave.PST=1PL.PST jhzaj mei-z-n jrut-- esmk hrchut=k

= We left after the speeches ended. The conjunctions serving as heads of the SC are posited towards its end right in front of their own heads, much in a similar fashion as relative pronouns. For a list of relevant conjunctions see the chapter nouns pronouns. If the agent of the SC is identical to that of the matrix sentence nominalization is employed: ixpyn kapp atsi chasi.
s. xa.sa ] [ e x.p.nu k.n a.t 3SG.ABS polite appear-NMLZ-BENE quiet sit.PST=3SG.PST ixpyn kapp-- atsi chasi=

= He sat quiet in order to appear polite. So-that constructions are connected using a linking affix (glossed ST:LINK) identical to the mirativity 1 marker: ga raztchta jenu mttumarrasoik.
] [ j.n m.t.ma.as.n k .g a.tx.tn 3SG.ERG.PST be_shocked-(1SG.POSS)-NMLZ-ABS good play.PST-ATELST:LINK=3SG.PST.HON ga raztch-t-- jenu mtta-um-arras=oik

= He was playing so well that I was shocked. Without the specifier clause headed by that the third person personal pronoun would surface in its absolutive form. In the sentence above it takes be_shocked-NMLZ-(1.SG.POSS)-ABS as direct object and surfaces in its ergative form. ga jga hrnamt mutaraxak jenu mttumarrasoik.
] [ .g .n a.m k .g j t j.n m.t.ma.as.n 3SG.ERG.PST 1SG.ERG.PST white-NMLZ-AUG-ABS give.PST(3SG.DO.NONABSTR)=1SG.PST CNJ.ABS good play.PST-ATEL-ST:LINK=3SG.PST.HON ga jga hrn--mt- muta-rak=k jenu mtta-um-arras=oik

= He was playing so well that I congratulated him. The same happens if the subject of the subordinate clause is ergative for the different syntactic constructions in the last two sentences check the next chapter Noun Clauses.

Noun Clauses
Hik jtn ryame gzanhan.
ja [he k .n ry.a.mn o g.zan.hn] 2SG.ERG DEM-GEN be_fun-NMLZ-ABS think=2SG.NPST.LOW hik jt-n ryame-- gzan=han

= You think this is going to be funny. Subordination is yielded by marking the subject of the subordinated clause (SC) in genitive case and nominalizing the verb, which would correspond with the finite verb in SCs in English or German. This structuring occurs when there is no grammatical agent in the SC. Note that the ergative form of the second person pronouns is used here taking be_fun=FIN-NMLZ-ABS as its direct object.


[a] gai (AGENTi) mrap ttsomaton hojt nara.

[ m.np ts.ma.tn hoj.n na.] .g 3SG.ERG.PST tomorrow FOC room-(3SG.POSS)-ABS tidy_up-NMLZ-ABS say.PST=3SG.PST ga mrap ttsomat-n hojt- nara=

= Hei said hei is going to tidy up his room tomorrow. However, the main verb of the SC is also nominalized when the SC contains a grammatical agent that is identical to that of the matrix sentence. Here the agent does not need to be overtly marked within the SC, as noted by the AGENT gap above. Higa majattok ttsomaton hojt pat pak narapatak.
ts.ma.tn hoj. pat pk na.a.pe.k ] [he .g ma.ja.tk 2SG.ERG.PST mother-(1SG-POSS)-ERG room-(1SG.POSS)-ABS tidy_up soon TOP~3SG.NPST CNJ.ABS tell.PST-(1SG.DO)=2SG.PST higa majat-t-k ttsomat-n hojt pat pa~k nara-pat=k

= You told me my mother was going to tidy up my room. If the subordinated clause contains a grammatical agent not identical to that of the matrix phrase, the agent is marked with ergative case and the correspondent conjugation ending of the verb is used. This also serves to tell apart third person pronouns referencing different participants, compare to [a]: [b] gai kj mrap ttsomaton hojtk nara.
3SG.ERG.PST 3SG.ERG tomorrow FOC room-(3SG.POSS)-ABS tidy_up=3SG.NPST CNJ.ABS say.PST=3SG.PST ga k mrap ttsomat-n hojt=k nara=

= Hei said hej is going to tidy up his room tomorrow. Any subordinate clauses further specifying anything in the first-level SC tend to be circumlocated, and a SC:LINK marker is added to the verb stem of the matrix sentence: Semnoka hkmer tezehak narapatk hiti azkmnahxum axutumhan.
na.a.pa.k hit a.km.na.xm .x.tm.hn] [s ..ma .nn .g ha x.ml ...hk teach-NMLZ-(2SG.POSS)-ERG everyone-ABS complain.PST=3SG.PST.LOW CNJ.ABS tell.PST-(1SG.DO)-CNJ:LINK=3SG.PST 2SG.ABS class-(3SG.POSS)-TEMP dream.PSTATEL=2SG.PST.LOW se-mn-oni-ka hkmer- teze=hak nara-pat-k= hiti azkm-n-hxum axuti-um=han

= Your teacher told me everyone was complaining that you were absent-minded during his class. If the SC containts two layers, the first layer shows identical structure to that of other SCs with one layer, except no linking affix is being attached to the verb of the first layer SC, but to the verb of the matrix sentence instead. This linking affix serves to signalize a second layer SC further specifying the first layer SC is added after the main verb of the matrix sentence. This second layer SC shows identical structure to that of a declarative sentence. Note the ergativity marker in Semnoka. As such, there has to be a direct object involved. Yet there is no overt direct object in the surface structure so there is assumed to be a conjunction with the absolutive marker in the underlying representation taking over the function of direct object. However, the subject of the SC in the first layer takes the absolutive marker (hkmer-).


Moreover, the CNJ:LINK suffix can be replaced by applicative morphemes: Semnoka hkmer tezehak narapatta/narapatjo/narapathxum hiti azkmnahxum axutumhan.
teach-NMLZ-(2SG.POSS)-ERG everyone-ABS complain.PST=3SG.PST.LOW CNJ.ABS tell.PST-(1SG.DO)-APPL:CAUS/CONC/TEMP=3SG.PST 2SG.ABS class-(3SG.POSS)-TEMP dream.PST-ATEL=2SG.PST.LOW se-mn-oni-ka hkmer- teze=hak nara-pat-ta= hiti azkm-n-hxum axuti-um=han

= Your teacher told me everyone was complaining because/even though/while you were absentminded during his class. Here an overview of all the (un)grammatical specifier constructions depending on grammatical context:

Restrictive Gerund construction External: Head of RC referenced by relative pronoun s/t External: Head of RC referenced by relative pronoun s/t (participle construction eligible)

Non-Restrictive External: Head of RC referenced by relative pronoun s/t Internal: Head of RC within the RC, verb of RC takes relative affix -z Internal: Head of RC within the RC, verb of RC takes relative affix z (participle construction eligible)

Referent in Absolutive within RC and no Ergative subject within RC Referent is Ergative subject within RC

any other condition

Purpose Clauses
If there is no phrase in Ergative case involved the verb of what corresponds with the dependent clause in English is nominalized and takes the Benefactive case marker: ga haru itirrisjuk pjukui.
[ pjo .g] .g ha. i.ta .i.jx.n 3SG.ERG.PST cat-ABS NEG=RES-be_angry-NMLZ-BENE feed.PST=FIN ga haru- it-irr-isjuk-- pjukui=

= He fed the cat so she wouldnt get angry again. If there is an agent involved subordination is used with the particle ak (~ so that): gai harukj motsia py itirrmzuhak ak (DOj) pjukui.
mo.ta .n [ a .b i.a . m..hk.g pjo .g] .g ha.k 3SG.ERG.PST cat-ERG bird NDEF-ABS NEG=RES-kill=3SG.NPST.LOW so.that feed.PST=3SG.PST ga haru-k motsia py- it-itt-mzu=hak ak pjukui=

= Hei fed the catj so shej wouldnt kill birds again. The direct object of feed.PST=3SG.PST does not need to be overtly stated if its referent is identical to the agent of the SC. If the referent is a(n in)direct or oblique object within the SC it is moved to the DOj position and instead referred to with the corresponding personal (non-abstract) or relative (abstract) pronouns:


gai harukj ekzk itirrmzuhak ak motsiak py pjukuioiki.

3SG.ERG.PST cat-ERG 3PL.NONABSTR.ABS NEG=RES-kill=3SG.NPST.LOW COMP-BENE bird-ABS NDEF feed.PST=3SG.PST.HON ga haru-k ekz it-irr-mzu=hak ak- motsia py- pjukui=oik

= Hei fed the birdsj so the cat wouldnt kill themj again.

Verbal Constructions
k ttsomaton hojt hjosuk.
ts.ma.tn hj.n ] [k hjo.sk 3SG.ERG room-(3SG.POSS)-ABS tidy-NMLZ-ABS promise=3SG.NPST k ttsomat-n hojt- hjosu=k

= He promises to tidy up his room. k sytnetamt mtt pmk (k) knets omzk.
s m.k sy..ns.n k.nt ] [k .mt m.t pu .mk 3SG.ERG learn-NEC-NMLZ-INT-ABS head-INE see-CNJ:LINK:BENE=3SG.NPST (3.ERG) exam-ABS pass=3SG.NPST k syt-net--mt- mt-t pm-=k (k) knets- omz=k.

= He predicts he will have to learn a lot to pass the exam. The agent of the SC following the CNJ:LINK marker may also be omitted if its identical to the agent of the matrix sentence. k majattatu ttsomaton hojtna hjosuk.
3SG.ERG mother-(1SG.POSS)-DAT room-(3SG.POSS)-ABS tidy-(3SG.POSS)-NMLZ-ABS promise=3SG.NPST k majat-t-tu ttsomat-n hojt-n- hjosu=k

= Hei promises my motherj (PROi) to tidy up his room. The agent of both the matrix and the subordinate clause (SC) are identical, so the main verb of the subordinate clause is nominalized and functions as the object of the matrix sentence. ki majattokj ttsomaton hojtk (DOj) murkkk.
ma.ja.tk ts.ma.tn hj.k mul.kk ] [k 3SG.ERG mother-(1SG.POSS)-ERG room-(3SG.POSS)-ABS tidy=3SG.NPST CNJ.ABS beg=3SG.NPST k majat-t-k ttsomat-n hojt=k murkk=k

= Hei begs my motherj (PROj) to tidy up his room. In the other case subordination is employed with the help of the conjunction (more on conjunctions below). The internal canonical constituent order of the SC is identical to that of main sentences. Also, instead of specifying the agent of the SC the direct object of the begging is left implicit (DOj): If the patient of the begging (a) and the agent of the SC (b) refer to different persons the DOj position would be filled; if its left empty, a and b are identical. If the referent is a direct or oblique object within the SC it fills the DOj position and its position within the SC is taken by a personal pronoun for non-abstract referents and a relative pronoun for abstract ones: ki majattok j hojtk ttsomatonj murkkk.


3SG.ERG mother-(1SG.POSS)-ERG 3.NONABSTR.ABS tidy=3SG.NPST room-(3SG.POSS)ABS beg=3SG.NPST k majat-t-k hojt=k ttsomat-n- murkk=k

= Hei begs my roomj that my mother tidies itj up.

Chaining clauses with semantically different referents yields the following structure: ki j tinxak tinak kk l tinxak tinak
3SG.ERG 3SG.ABS say=3SG.NPST CNJ.ABS say-CNJ:LINK=3SG.NPST 3SG.ERG 3SG.ABS say=3SG.NPST CNJ.ABS say-CNJ:LINK=3SG.NPST k tina-k=k tina=k k tina-k=k tina=k

= Hei says that hej says that hek says that hel says that [he says that]n The basic unit of this chain is 3SGi.ERG 3SGj.ABS sayj=3SG.NPST CNJ.ABS sayiCNJ:LINK=3SG.NPST that can be repeated infinitely. Chaining clauses with semantically identical referents: ki tina tinxak nara tinxak
3SG.ERG say-NMLZ-ABS say-CNJ:LINK=3SG.NPST say-NMLZ-ABS sayCNJ:LINK=3SG.NPST k tina- tina-k=k tina- tina-k=k

= Hei said that hei said that hei said that hei said The unit say-NMLZ-ABS say-CNJ:LINK=3SG.NPST may be repeated infinitely with the unit at the rightmost corresponding to the finite verb of the first subordinate layer in English and leftmost corresponding to the finite verb of the deepest SC.

Questions Polar Questions

To form questions, pull the verb stem into the focus position, and put the marker h to the original verb stem position: Agent Verb Stem + Focus Neutral Question Marker Topic Finiteness

Hik huem j hsse? / Hik huemsa hsse?

] / [he hwm.zn [he k hwm j ha k k ha .s] 2SG.ERG love FOC 1SG.ABS AUX=2SG.NPST / 2SG.ERG love.INF-(1SG.DO) FOC Q=2G.NPST hik huem j h=sse / hik huem-sa h=sse

= Do you love me? Nranok ta hititu jtety hozum hk?

] [n .a.nka . hi.a .t u ..ty ho.m ha k sibling-(3.SG.POSS)-ERG give FOC 2-DAT assignment-DAT solution-ABS Q=3SG.NPST nra-n-k ta hiti-tu jte-ty hozum- h=k

= Will her brother give you the solution for the exercise?


With verbs conjugated periphrastically the word order is as follows: Agent Verb Stem + Focus Neutral Question Marker Topic PPVA Auxiliary

Hik huem h agza?

[he k hwm ha g.zn ] 2SG.ERG love FOC Q AUX.(2SG.ERG-1SG.DO) hik huem h ak-sa

= Do you love me? The pronoun hik may also be omitted, given the auxiliary already contains all information regarding 2SG.ERG. Nranok ta jtety hozum h izpesak?
sibling-(3SG.POSS)-ERG give FOC assignment-DAT solution-ABS Q AUX.(3SG.ERG2SG.IO-3SG.DO.ABSTR) nra-n-k ta jte-ty hozum- h iz-pe-sak

= Will her brother give you the solution for the exercise? Yes/No-questions are answered either by replying with (using the above sentence as example): tak. = Yes, he does. confirmation by repeating the verb stem in the question + finiteness marker; n. = No, he doesnt. this word works very much like a simple no.

Tag Questions
Nranok ta izpesak jtety hozum h? Would imply the speaker expects a yes/tak as answer; achieved by moving the finiteness marker or PPVA auxiliary to the front right after the verb stem and omitting the focus marker. Nranok itta izpesak jtety hozum h? Implies a no/n as answer, achieved by adding negation to the verb stem and otherwise same word order as in the sentence above.

H Questions
Originally all question words were derivable from a common root hk by suffixing the correspoding case markers but a few expections have developped: Adjective Non-Abstract Abstract Place Time Modality Cause Agent hjat(ok)? hk? hka?/hjt? hkets? hkom? hku? haku? Neutral Verb Stem H Question Word Topic Finiteness/PPVA Auxiliary

Nranok ta hititu jtety hozum hk? (Will her brother give you the solution for the exercise?)


Nranok hititu jtety hozum ta hketsak? (Where will her brother ?) Nranok jtety hozum tapet hkomak? (When will her brother ?) Nranok jtety hozum ta hku izpet? (Why will her brother ?) Nranok tapet hxak? (What will her brother give you?) Note that no focus particle is necessary for non-polar questions. The question word hjat may also be moved out of the topic position: Hjat nratok hititu jtety hozum tak? (= Which of her brothers will give you the solution fort he exercise?) Nratok hititu hjat jtety hozum tak? (= Her brother will give you the solution to which exercise?) Further examples: Zexmeka ska maz py ojzhak xin jurrat hkets/hkom/hku?
s / ha [x.m.ka s.k m . a .by o.j.hka .xn ju.t ha .gt .gm / ha .g] police-ERG.PST REL-ERG.PST people NDEF-ABS kill.PST=3SG.PST.LOW bear-ABS shoot.PST Q~3SG.PST zexme-ka s-ka maz py- ojz=hak xin- jurrat hkets/hkom/hku=

= Where/When/How did the police shoot the people-killing bear? Hik ithuemsa hakusse? / Ithuem haku agza?
[he k it.hwm.sn h.g.s] [it.hwm h.g g.zn ] 2SG.ERG NEG=love.INF-(1SG.DO) Q~2SG.NPST / NEG=love.INF Q AUX.(2SG.ERG1SG.DO) hik it-huem-sa haku~sse / it-huem haku ak-sa

= Why do you not love me? Zajok t mraphxum tanoitta jte hka n?
[a.jka t m.nap.xm t.n.ta u j.t ha .g n] 1PL.INCL-ERG REL.ABSTR-ABS tomorrow-TERM do-NEC=1PL.NPST exercise-ABS Q.ABSTR 3SG.COP.NPST zaj-k t- mrap-hxum ta-noit=ta jte- hka n

= What is the exercise we should do for tomorrow?

In-Situ Questions
However there's a couple of instances where question words remain in-situ - this happens every time something that is not the head of its phrase is asked about: Hkn nrak jtety hozum tapetak?
[Q.NONABSTR-GEN brother-ERG] assignment-DAT solution-ABS give2SG.IO=3SG.NPST hk-n nra-k jte-ty hozum- ta-pet=k

= Whose brother will give you the solution for the exercise? Hk mazok extua py azkotak?
[Q.NONABSTR-BENE people-ERG] hand NDEF-ABS be_high-CAUS=3SG.NPST hk- maz-k extua py- azko-ta=k

= The supporters of who are demonstrating? Furthermore, it is possible to restructure the question in a way where the question word is moved to the position after the verb stem:


Extua py azkotarut mazok rryk hkk?

hand NDEF-ABS be_high-CAUS-GER people-ERG support Q.NONABSTRBENE=3SG.NPST extua py- azko-ta-rut maz-k rryk hk-=k

= Who do the demonstrating people support?

Relative clauses
It is eligible to ask about things within external relative clauses. The question words remain in-situ in this case aswell: Jk s manak rask tech ttse.
1SG.ERG REL-ABS see.PST=1SG.PST woman-ERG baby-ABS look_after=3SG.PST jk s- man=k ras-k tech- ttse=

= The woman I saw looked after the baby. Hkk s man rask tech ttse?
Q.NONAB-ERG REL-ABS see.PST=3SG.PST woman-ERG baby-ABS look_after=3SG.NPST hk-k s- man= ras-k tech- ttse=

= Who saw the woman who looked after the baby? If the speaker wants to ask what the woman was doing the general verb "to do" may be used: (1) Jk s manak rask pan hka?
1SG.ERG REL-ABS see.PST=1SG.PST woman-ERG do Q.ABSTR=3SG.NPST jk s- man=k ras-k pan hka=

= What does the woman do who I saw? (2) Jk s manak rask tech pan hka?
1SG.ERG REL-ABS see.PST=1SG.PST woman-ERG baby-ABS do Q.ABSTR=3SG.NPST jk s- man=k ras-k tech- pan hka=

= What does the woman do who I saw with the baby? Regarding extracting constituents out of internal relative clauses, consider the following sentence from the chapter about internal relative clauses above: (3) Rizannut jttaha xuime harra hk uriztssata hjoiszta mrumuhak?
sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS cat-ALL Q.NONAB-ABS admission-1SG.POSS-ABE be_sad-REL-REL:CAUS=3SG.PST throw.PST=3SG.PST.LOW rizan-rut jtta-ha xuime- haru-ra hk- uriz-t-ssata hjoisa-z-ta= mrumu=hak

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without my admission, because of which who was sad? (4) Rizannut jttaha xuime harra hkassata hjoiszta mrumuhak?
sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS cat-ALL (3SG.ABS) Q.ABSTR-ABE be_sad-RELREL:CAUS=3SG.PST throw.PST=3SG.PST.LOW rizan-rut jtta-ha xuime- haru-ra () hka-ssata hjoisa-z-ta= mrumu=hak

= The sitting boy threw snow at the cat without what, because of which he was very sad? The question words in (3) and (4) are in-situ because the question words form a part of the relative clause. Compare this to (5) and (6):


(5) Rizannut jttaha xuime uriztssata hjoiszta mrumu hkomhak?

sit-GER boy-ERG.PST snow-ABS admission-(1SG.POSS)-ABE be_sad-RELREL:CAUS=3SG.PST throw.PST Q.NONAB-ALL=3SG.PST.LOW rizan-rut jtta-ha xuime- uriz-t-ssata hjoisa-z-ta= mrumu hk-m=hak

= The sitting boy threw snow without my admission, because of which he was very sad, at who? (6) Rizannut jttaha harra uriztssata hjoiszta mrumu hkahak?
sit-GER boy-ERG.PST cat-ALL admission-(1SG.POSS)-ABE be_sad-RELREL:CAUS=3SG.PST throw.PST Q.ABSTR=3SG.PST.LOW rizan-rut jtta-ha haru-ra uriz-t-ssata hjoisa-z-ta= mrumu hka=hak

= What did the boy threw at the cat without my admission, because of which he was very sad? "The cat" and "snow" are not part of the relative clause, hence the question words move to the position right after the verb stem. Likewise, if one wants to inquire about who looked after the baby in (1) - the resulting question would be this: (7) Jk s manak hkk tech ttsek?
1SG.ERG REL-ABS see.PST=1SG.PST Q.NONAB-ERG baby-ABS look_after=3SG.NPST jk s- man=k hk-k tech- ttse=k

= Who, who I saw, looks after the baby? The first two question words in the list at the beginning of this subchapter declense: Consider: [Hiti st poizusse] jk kuttit tom mem tata. = I'm sending the package to where you live. (8) Hik kuttit mem ta hkamsse?
2SG.ERG package-ABS go-NMLZ-ALL give Q.ABSTR-ALL=2SG.NPST hik kuttit- m--m ta hka-m=sse

= Where are you sending the package? Where the question word takes the Allative case marker just like the particle "tom" in the base sentence does.

Dependent Clauses
Naniuk allows asking for things that are inside nominalized subordinate clauses: (9) Zajok hka esmk hrchutak?
1PL.EXCL-ABS Q.ABSTR after leave.PST=1PL.PST zaj-k hka esmk hrchut=k

= After what did we leave? (10a) hk atsi chasi?

3SG.ABS Q.ABSTR-BENE quiet sit.PST=3SG.PST hka- atsi chasi=

= He sat quiet in order for what?


You are right in saying that the latter sentence can also be restructured in a way where the question word is moved; the following sentence pretty much has the exact same meaning: (10b) atsi chasi haku?
3SG.ABS quiet sit.PST Q=3SG.PST atsi chasi haku=

= Why did he sit quiet? It is however ungrammatical to put question words in-situ within non-nominalized subordinate clauses: (11) *Higa hkk ttsomatt hojt pat pak narapatak?
2SG.ERG.PST Q.NONABSTR-ERG room-(1SG.POSS)-ABS tidy_up soon TOP~3SG.NPST CNJ.ABS tell.PST-(1SG.DO)=2SG.PST higa hk-k ttsomat-t- hojt pat pa~k nara-pat=k

= Who did you tell me was going to tidy up my room? (12) *ga haruk hk itirrmzuhak ag pjukui?
3SG.ERG.PST cat-ERG Q.NONABSTR-ABS NEG=RES-kill=3SG.NPST.LOW so.that feed.PST=3SG.PST ga haru-k hk- it=irr-mzu=hak ag pjukui=

= He fed the cat so she wouldnt kill who again? There are a couple of ways to come up with so that question words don't have to be put within SCs many speakers would break up the latter sentence in two parts: (13) ga haru pjukui, k hun itirrmzu hkhak?
3SG.ERG.PST cat-ABS feed.PST=3SG.PST | 3SG.ERG then NEG=RES-kill Q.NONABSTR=3SG.NPST.LOW ga haru- pjukui= | k hun it=irr-mzu hk=hak

= He fed the cat. So she won't kill who? In sum, question words remain in-situ for relative and nominalized subordinate clauses, aswell as certain conjunctions such as esmk (see the list under Conjunctions). Question words are moved if the asked word is modified by adjectives: ga pjukui msto hk?
3SG.ERG.PST feed.PST fast Q.NONABSTR-ABS=3SG.PST ga pjukui msto hk-=

= He fed what fast thing? Higa man koir hxak?

2SG.ERG.PST see.PST horrible Q.ABSTR-ABS=2SG.PST higa man koir hka-=k

= What horrible thing did you see?

Multiple Question Words

(14) Aga hktu hka hajr hk?
ERG.PST Q-DAT Q.ABSTR-ABS do.PST Q.NONABSTR=3SG.PST Aga hk-tu hka- hajr hk=


= Who did what to whom? Two important observations here: The position right to the next of the verb stem may only be filled by one question word. It is grammatical to add multiple question words but they will remain in-situ. When asking for the agent of an action an overt trace in the agent position has to be left. Furthermore, how to decide which of the question words to move to after the verb stem? Naniuk speakers follow some type of hierarchy here: Q (Agent) > Q (Direct Object) > Q (Indirect Object) > Q (Oblique Case, +part of argument structure of verb) > Q (Oblique Case, -part of argument structure) (14) involves an Agent, DO aswell as IO question word. According to the hierarchy, the agent question words gets to be moved while the others remain in-situ. (15) and (16) further exemplify this hierarchy: (15) Patohoz etu hkato huizo hktu?
father-2SG.POSS-ERG.PST money-ABS Q-INESS give.PST Q.IO/DAT=3SG.PST pat-ni-hoz etu- hka-to huizo hktu=

= Your father gave the money to who where? (16) hk se hkoimak?

3SG.ABS Q-COM teach Q-INSTR=3SG.NPST hk- se hka-oim=k

= He/She's teaching what with who? (16) contains the SCM verb se ~ (to) teach which has as part of its argument structure an object taking the Instrumental case marker and thus takes precedence in movement over the other (Comitative) question word. Focusing Replies: Typically when answering a question, the one part that the questioner has asked for is focalized. I.e., moved to the focus position. For example, answers to the questions (5), (8) and (10) would look like this: (5) ga harra xuime mrumu.
3SG.ERG.PST cat-ALL FOC snow-ABS throw.PST=3SG.PST ga haru-ra xuime- mrumu=

= He threw snow at the cat. (8) Jk kenem kuttit mem tata.

1SG.ERG house-2SG.POSS-ALL FOC package-ABS go-NMLZ-ALL give=1SG.NPST jk ken-ni-m kuttit- m--m ta=ta

= He threw snow at the cat. (10) Ixpyn kapp atsi muitchasi.

polite appear-NMLZ-BENE FOC quiet DUR-sit.PST=3SG.PST ixpyn kapp-- atsi muit-chasi=

= He sat quiet in order to appear polite.


In everyday/fast speech these types of replies often shorten to just the focalized part + the focus marker.

List of some of the most important subordinate conjunctions: etn/-tspat/-sparmu/-amjhha
despite because if either

mpo tset sap/-saj

when where although neither

esmk/-mesmar/-mheku ttsza

after (konj.) before (konj.) why both

Some conjunctions may also be incorporated into the verb under the category affixed conjunctions. The incorporating alternative is primarily used when there's only one subordinate clause in a sentence, otherwise the isolating alternative is preferred, although neither way the structure would be deemed unacceptable: Jhzaj hmenizn jrutames hrchutak.
] [j h.j m.nn . n j .s.n a.mes .x.tk 1PL.EXCL-ABS speech-PL-GEN end.PST-NMLZ-after-ABS leave.PST=1PL.PST jhzaj hmeni-z-n jrut--mes- hrchut=k

= We left after the speeches ended. Additionally, the unmarked conjunction stem ak can be used in combination with case markers to use as complementizers: ak (~ so that: COMP-BENE), akjo (~ despite that: COMP-CONC), akt (~ because; regional: COMP-CAUS). Harujt k pajkurakm isjuk hj.
paj.g..gm is.jk ha [h..ju tk j] cat-(1DU.POSS)-ABS 3SG.ERG feed.PST-(3SG.DO.NONABSTR)-before=3SG.PST be_mad COP.PST.FIN haru-jt k pajku-rak-m= isjuk hj

= Our cat had been mad, before he fed her. Theres a number of conjunctions exclusively introducing a new sentence rather than a subordinate clause, e.g. the word hrak: Horatiusn tssysza zkokas. k hrak Kornerin mzato itjkanam itakparsaxak.
sj.su s.a a k k.n.. ] [h.a.t n a .t .k.kas || k m.a.to it.jx.n .nm .ax.pl.za.xk n Horatius-GEN dream-PL-ABS be_beautiful=3SG.NPST.HON || 3SG.ERG but Cornelia-GEN 3PL.ABSTR-INE NEG=EXIST-NMLZ-CAUS NEG=dummy-like(3PL.DO.ABSTR)=3SG.NPST Horatius-n tssys-z-a zko=kas || k hrak Korneria-n m-z-to it-jk--nam it-ak-par-sak=k

= Horatius' dreams are beautiful, but he does not like them because Cornelia is not in them. These conjunctions either directly follow the grammatical agent or precede the subject taking the absolutive case marker. The proclitic za is used to link two phrases: Karmaka ojtarn zasum tajn itt oxethxum o. 71

[kal.maka oj.da m o] n a.s.m ta.jn it .xtx deity-ERG.PST heaven-ABS CONJ=earth-ABS create.PST TOP beginning-TEMP FIN karma-ka ojtarn- za=smi- tajn itt oxet-hxum o

= In the beginning The Spaghetti Monster created the heaven and the earth. The same word is used as a separate conjunction if connecting two CPs: J imhan mttata majattok ttsomatjni hojt zakut.

ts.mat.j [j a .m.hn ma .ta.ta ma.ja.tk n hoj.t .gt] 1SG.ABS noon-TERM sleep=1SG.NPST mother-( 1SG.POSS)-ERG room-(2DU.POSS)ABS tidy_up.INF CONJ=3SG.NPST.TEL j im-han mtta=ta majat-t-k ttsomat-jni- hojt za=kut

= Im sleeping until noon and my mother is tidying up your room. In general, conjunctions cliticize to the head of the connected phrase, in the case of a connected CP, that means attaching itself to the finitess marker while splitting it off the verb stem. Another example with two connected NPs: Jk proim jtta zamajatnok zekut ukj ixzak itmanak.
p .gt o ] [j k .m j .t .ma.jas.nk .gj e .x.ks.ma.nk 1SG.ERG.PST ball-INSTR boy-ABS [CONJ=mother-(3SG.POSS)-ERG new window-ABS buy-REL:ABS=3SG.NPST] NEG=see.PST=1SG.PST jk pr-oim jtta- za=majat-n-k zekut ukj- ixa-z=k it-man=k

= I havent seen the boy with the ball nor his mother, who buys a new window. A few other things to be observed here: The conjunction splits off the finiteness marker from the verb stem within the internal relative clause; and the conjunction does not inflect for polarity: It maintains the same form za even if the verb is negative. The conjunctions h (either or, but not both, same as question marker), p (either or, or both) work analogously. Verbs may be concatenated in a similar fashion but are also available for serialization if the action/state indicated by the two or more verbs are temporally or causally connected to each other: (1) uhtumzamoannum. / (2) k niz chojazekooa.
[ h.tm.a.m.n.nm] [k .n xo.ja..g.] (1) 3SG.ABS sing.PST-ATEL=CONJ-dance.PST-ATEL=3SG.PST / (2) 3SG.ERG fishABS catch.PST=CONJ-fry.PST=3SG.PST (1) uhta-um=za-moan-um= / (2) k niz- choja=za-ekooa=

= (1) She sang and danced. (temporal) / = (2) She caught the fish and fried it. (causal)

The condition for the usage of verb serialization is that both verbs need to have identical valence and if theyre (di)transitive, they need to have the same subject and direct and indirect objects. Verb serialization is considered rather ungrammatical if CPs as direct objects are involved. It is possible though to use it in combination with antipassive voice:
chojajazekooaja nizta. = She caught and fried (because of the fish). 3SG.ABS catch.PST-AP=CONJ-dance.PST-AP=3SG.PST fish-CAUS

Seralizing implies two actions happen simultaneously and/or are connected to each other temporally/causally.


Apart from the stem of the two verbs, none of the affixes are required to be repeated, so the above sentence (1) may be restructured to: (1) uhtazamoannum. where the atelicity marker only appears once suffixed to the second verb stem. Verb concatenation is ungrammatical with incorporated objects other than personal pronouns. The second most widely used conjunction is hrak. It may be translated as but, i.e. is used to show contrasts or introduce information that breaks expectations: J hjemtt tmjoparta. Hkapyk kttsesaamak jk hrak ax ppohan.
s.s.n k j kx pa [j hjm m.j.pal.d] [ha .ga.bk .t a.mk k .b.hn] .t t 1SG.ABS home-(1SG.POSS)-INE sing-like=1SG.NPST || someone-ERG hear(1SG.DO)-if=3SG.NPST 1SG.ERG but REFL-ABS shame=1SG.NPST.LOW j hjem-t-t tmjo-par=ta || hkapy-k kttse-sa-am=k jk hrak ax- ppo=han

= I like to sing at home but would be ashamed if anyone heard me.

This kind of conjunctions demand a separate sentence and are placed in the neutral slot of neutral (matrix) declarative sentences, i.e. they follow agent, focus and some subordinate clauses. A different conjunction, jenu (same word as for good), is used to introduce CPs with information serving to correct the addressee: tazumtak jenu k kttajosoatakas.
ku [ ta..m.tk j. .ta.jn .sn .da.gs] n k 3.ABS be_old-INT=3SG.NPST CONJ 3SG.ERG sink-CONT-(2SG.DO)CAUS=3SG.NPST.HON tazu-mt=k jenu k ktta-jo-soa-ta=kas

= Shes very old. She would still kick your ass.

The conjunction zata is used to chain phrases where the phrase to the right is a logical/causal consequence of the former: Hik sum jzyhan zata hiti hjemat jahakuthan.
s [he k .m a j..hn a. hit hjm.n a.t j.ha.gt.hn] 2SG.ERG school-ABS quit=2SG.NPST.LOW CONJ.CAUS 2SG.ABS home-(2SG.POSS)INE RE-work=2SG.NPST.LOW hik sum- jzy=han zata hiti hjem-ni-t ja-hakut=han

= Quit school and you wont get a job.

The conjunction tnich is used when connecting two phrases where the action of the second phrase occurs later than that of the first one (implying temporal sequence): J rjanra samak tnich jga etuot nikxak.

t ] [j r .ja.nu . s.mk .nx j .g e..n ot ne .kk 1SG.ABS bank.office-ALL go.PST=1SG.PST then 1SG.ERG.PST money-1SG.POSSABS take.PST=1SG.PST j rjan-ra sam=k tnich jga etu-t- nikxa=k

= I went to the bank and took my money.

Topic Marking
As described at the beginning of this chapter, constituents can be moved into a topic position:


Rjk jt ujtn ittsuk hozum jrap axh hakunoim mrhan.

1_and_2.ERG DEM assignment-GEN NEG=correct solution-ABS FOC today RECPDUAL-BENE work-NMLZ-INSTR find.PST=1PL.PST.LOW rjk jt ujte-n it-tsuk hozum- jrap ax-h- hakun--oim mr=han

= Today, we two couldnt find the solution to this assignment by working for each other. Below shows how a complex phrase is moved into the topic. Only the head is reduplicated: Rjk jrap axh hakunoim mr jt ujtn ittsuk hozum hohan.
1_and_2.ERG today RECP-DUAL-BENE work-NMLZ-INSTR find.PST DEM assignmentGEN NEG=correct solution-ABS TOP~1PL.PST.LOW rjk jrap ax-h- hakun--oim mr jt ujte-n it-tsuk hozum- ho~han

= The solution to this assignment is what we two couldnt find by working for each other. It is possible to stress a certain constituent or even affix part of a phrase even though the entire phrase has to be moved. This is achieved by reduplicating exactly what should be rendered more salient in the moved phrase: Rjk jrap axh hakunoim mr jt ujtn ittsuk hozum jahan.
1_and_2.ERG today RECP-DUAL-BENE work-NMLZ-INSTR find.PST DEM assignmentGEN NEG=correct solution-ABS TOP~1PL.PST.LOW rjk jrap ax-h- hakun--oim mr jt ujte-n it-tsuk hozum- ho~han

= The solution to this assignment is what we two couldnt find by working for each other. Alternatively if the word ujstn should be stressed the last word in this sentence would change ujk. Its even possible to lay the attention just on the genitive suffix n in ujstn by saying: [] mrr jt ujtn ittsuk hozum uk. When moving an agent with its ergative case marker to the topic position, the agent appears without the case marker in the topic position in the original position of the agent sentenceinitially a trace ak (non-past) or aha/aga/etc. (past) is left: Aga xin manum ryzet ry.
[.g .xn m.nm ry.t ry] TRACE.ERG.PST bear-ABS see.PST-ATEL friend-(1SG.POSS) TOP~3SG.PST aga xin-0 man-um ryz-t ry

= It was my friend who saw the bear. Another thing to remember is to use ssa as topic marker if a phrase that is not part of the argument structure of the verb is moved to the topic position: Ryztaka xin manum mrap omssa.
[ry.t.ka a .xn m.nm m.npm.s] friend-1SG.POSS-ERG.PST bear-ABS see.PST-ATEL yesterday TOP~FIN ryz-t-ka xin- man-um mrap om-ssa

= It was yesterday when my friend saw the bear. Ryztaka aktaka agzepa rchax xinn ych mstomtje messa.
[ry.t.ka x.ta.g g.z.pn .xx a .x.n n x m s.t.ms.n n me.s] friend-(1SG.POSS)-ERG.PST PART-ABL run-NMLZ-ABS try.PST bear-GEN 3SG.COMP be_fast-INT-NMLZ-CONC TOP~TOP.FIN ryz-t-ka ak-taka agzep-- rchax xin-n ych msto-mt--je me~ssa


= My friend tried to run away, even though the bear was clearly faster.

Pro Drop
Redundant pronouns may be dropped e.g. when the agent or objects are already sufficiently specified by the PPVA auxiliary: (Hik) huem h agza?
(2SG.ERG) love FOC Q AUX.(2SG.ERG-1SG.DO) (hik) huem h ak-sa

= Do you love me?

General Statements
~ are handled by omitting the subject and leaving everything else unchanged: Hiti st poizusse tto ikkek. Kenik smta!
] [k.na k [hit s.t p..s a .t e .kk .ta] .m 2SG.ABS REL-INE live=2SG.NPST PART-INE be_healthy=3SG.NPST || house-ABL OBL:POS-go=1PL.NPST hiti s-t poizu=sse t-to ikke=k || ken-ik s-m-ta

= Where you live, one is healthy/people are healthy. Lets go outside. As stated in the chapter about valency manipulating operations, a dummy ak is inserted if the agent of a sentence is backgrounded: Zajok s huzota mko ak huzo ahkuizrttjn ssatata itartuk.
1PL.ERG REL-ABS sell=1PL.NPST food-ABS DUMMY.ERG sell cook-NMLZ-1PL.POSSGEN be_away-NMLZ-CAUS NEG=DDY=3SG.NPST zajok s- huzo=ta mko ak huzo ahkuiz-r-ttj-n ssata--ta it=artu=k

= The food we sell cant be sold because our cook is gone.

In phrases where more than one person is being referred to, it is possible to add markers to avoid ambiguities: Pynarok yt raztgzaak, (pynarok) tt it(raztgzaak). Ytek / Ittk
(...) t [py.na.kyt a.tg.z.n k t(...)] person-ERG one shock-(1SG.DO)=3SG.NPST (person-ERG) two NEG(shock(1SG.DO)=3SG.NPST) || One-ERG / Two-ERG () pynar-k yt raztch-sa=k, (pynar-k) tt it(raztch-sa=k) ||. Yt-k / Itt-k

= The one person shocks me, the other doesnt. The former / The latter ... Alternatively the same clarification can be brought about using jt (~ this) for tt and m (~ that) for yt. Tsonka za Merisaka yt ozkamha tt nukuchpa. Hrak tt kanyt hj.
[ts.g a me.a .sa.ka yt o.kam.h t no .g.x .b] [k t k.nt ha j] John-ERG.PST CONJ=Melissa-ERG.PST DET ticket-DUAL-ABS DET buy.PSTDES=3DU.PST || but DET be_sold_out 3SG.COP.PST Tson-ka za=Merisa-ka yt ozkam-h-a tt nukuch-p=a || hrak tt kanyt hj


= John and Melissa wanted to buy concert tickets, but they ( the tickets) were all sold out. Itt serves to indicate that the subject of the right part of the phrase is not the same as the agent as in the left clause. Now if you were to add a second sentence: (2) Ekz ____ nt mezra sm hkets hyssa. = They instead went to the people in the bar. (3PL.NONABSTR.ABS _____ bar-INE peopleALL go.PST instead TOP~FIN) What is they referring to? Adding yt next to ekz means its John and Melissa who went to the people, adding tx means the people in the bar got the tickets instead. Since pronomina dont inflect for gender, these markers come in handy very often. Another example:
zroim suun zatoitsa

MILK-INSTR tea CONJ=coffee

suun zroim zatoitsa

Theres milk in the tea but not in the coffee.

tea MILK-INSTR CONJ=coffee

zroim suun zaptoitsa

Theres no milk in the tea but in the coffee.

MILK-INSTR tea and.PART=coffee

ikixa suun zroim zatoitsa

Theres milk in both the tea and in the coffee.

NMLZ-buy tea MILK-INSTR CONJ=coffee

ikixa (za) zroim suun zatoitsa

The tea is bought and the coffee contains milk.

NMLZ-buy (CONJ)=MILK-INSTR tea CONJ=coffee

ikixa zpzroim suun zptoitsa

The tea is bought and contains milk and the coffee is neither.

NMLZ-buy and.PART=MILK-INSTR tea and.PART=coffee

Both the tea and coffee contain milk and are bought.

There is no obligation to use yt and tt for markers, one could use whatever s/he wants, as long as everything remains pragmatical. Hik tech prussoata ttsmsse.
sm.s] tx p [he k ..s. ta .t 2SG.ERG child-ABS car-ABE look_after-ATEL=2SG.NPST hik tech- pru-ssoata ttse-um=sse

= [Youre looking after a child] without a car. Pruraj modifies the verb: He does the looking after without a car. Hik prussoata tech ttsmsse.
2SG.ERG car-ABE child-ABS look_after-ATEL=2SG.NPST hik pru-ssoata tech- ttse-um=sse

= Youre looking [after a child without a car]. Pruraj is in the same phrase as tech and thus modifies that.


Hik ___ (1) tech _____ (2) prussoata ______ (3) ttsmsse. (jrap)
2SG.ERG car-ABE child-ABS look_after-ATEL=2SG.NPST hik pru-ssoata tech- ttse-um=sse

= Youre looking after a child without a car today. When further complicated, f.e. with a temporal adverb jrap (today): 1. He is looking after the child on that day (but after others on other days) 2. He is looking after the child, but for this specific day without a car. 3. He is looking after the child on that day. (but may do something else on other days)

Switch Reference
To express that the object of one clause is not identical to that of another, negated personal pronouns can be used either independently or as postpositions: Jarrkonioim seraka rchaxak toich (1) zt / (2) zt hjemm prahak.
t.n ] [jl.g.n m s ...gn .xa.xk a x () a t hjm p .a.hk (1SG.ERG.PST) Mathematic-INSTR teach-(3SG.DO.NONABSTR)-NMLZ-ABS try.PST=1SG.PST then (1) NEG.3SG-ABS / (2) 3SG.ABS NEG.3SG home-(3SG.POSS)ALL drive.PST=1SG.PST jarrkoni-oim se-rak-- rchax=k tich (1) zt- / (2) zt hjem-m prah=k

= I tried to teach him mathematics, later I drove him (another him) home. The opposite intention is yielded by postpositing zap (~ too): (Jga) jarrkonioim seraka rchaxak toich zap hjemem prahak.
(1SG.ERG.PST) Mathematic-INSTR teach-(3SG.DO.NONABSTR)-NMLZ-ABS try.PST=FIN then 3SG.ABS too home-(3SG.POSS)-ALL drive.PST=1SG.PST jarrkoni-oin se-rak- rchax=k tich zap hjem-m prah=k

= I tried to teach him mathematics, later I drove him (the same him) home. If the subject of the main and subordinate phrase is identical, one can use m, mok, ... in the subordinate phrase aswell:
Jga jarrkonioim seraka rchaxak toich m hjemm prahak.

Dialectal Variety
Given the population and geographical heterogeneity of Begonia there is quite significant dialectal deviance from the standard language. Listed below are some of the most common dialectalisms. Dialects may show a smaller or bigger number of these features, but not all as some of these features are mutually exclusive.

Phonology Alveolo-palatal series shifts into true palatal. This never happens without also backing the velar
series a bit, most frequently in the environment of back vowels. Devoicing of vowels preceding preaspirated sounds. Preaspirated consonants are dropped and instead the preceding vowel is devoiced. Extending/Removing pulmonicity(?)/length contrast to other sounds. Syncope of unpronounced syllables with [] or []. Fusion of /a/ with //, // and/or //. Dropping nasals after vowels and just nasalizing those preceding vowels instead. Pharyngealization between back vowels. 77

Replacing /h/ with its pharyngeal counterpart [] when /h/ appears together with another
consonant in onset/coda.

Diphthongs lose their second component + compensatory lengthening, also in stressed position:
[a]/[a] <> [e]/[] <> [i]/[] <> [] <> [u] <> [y]/[] <> Among other also these shifts: [al]/[al] <r> [el]/[l] <r> [il]/[l] <r> [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []

Avoiding of verb nominalization in subordinate clauses with identical agents and instead using the complementizer Marking possession on the possessed object rather than the possessor: e.g. Karkana jazon (Karkana street-PL-(3.SG.POSS)) ~ The streets of Kargana; instead of Karkann jaz Polypersonal Verb Agreement is used far more often. Various strategies for introducing a productive and predictable method of signalizing past tense in verb stems (e.g. affixes, different word order, marking tense on the agent/subject) Not suffixing case and number markers to the postposited definiteness/negation marker. Verb-First Word Order for questions.

Some speakers may use different words for the same concepts than others, mostly nature or cuisine vocabulary.

Sample Texts
to be added.


Flag / Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms with the motto translating to Striving for happiness in both good and bad times
bad and-INCL good state-INESS NDEF happiness-ALL continue