[] Jörg Rhiemeier's Conlang Page



1. Introduction

2. Phonology
2.1. Consonants
2.2. Vowels
2.3. Syllables
2.4. Accent
2.5. Sound changes from Proto-Western

3. Morphology
3.1. Nouns
3.1.1. Number and case
3.1.2. Possession
3.1.3. Noun classes
3.2. Adjectives
3.2.1. General adjectives
3.2.2. Numerals
3.2. Pronouns
3.2.1. Personal pronouns
3.2.2. Phoric pronouns
3.2.3. Demonstratives
3.3. Verbs
3.3.1. Agreement
3.3.2. Tense
3.3.3. Evidentials
3.4. Sentence particles
3.5. Derivation
3.5.1. Nominalizers
3.5.2. Verbalizers
3.5.3. Other derivatives

4. Syntax
4.1. The Noun Phrase
4.2. The Clause
4.2.1. Intransitive clauses
4.2.2. Transitive clauses
4.2.3. Nominal predicates
4.3. Complex clauses
4.3.1. Complement clauses
4.3.2. Relative clauses
4.3.3. Adverbial clauses
4.3.4. Coordination
4.4. Transformations
4.4.1. Deemphasis
4.4.2. Topicalization

5. Sample Text
5.1. The text
5.2. Translation
5.3. Interlinear

6. Lexicon

1. Introduction

Çetázó ('of the outflow') is a language of the Western language family in the world of Akana. It was spoken around -2000 YP around the area where a river (called simply Γañejægi 'Big River' in Çetázó) flows out of a lake called Γañeɬina 'Big Lake', somewhere in the west of Peilaš, hence its name.

2. Phonology

2.1. Consonants

Çetázó has 34 consonant phonemes, tabulated below.

Labial Dental Alveolar
Palatal Velar Labialized
Voiceless stops/affricates p t ts c k kw
Voiced stops/affricates b d dz dl ɟ g gw
Voiceless fricatives f θ s ɬ ç x xw
Voiced fricatives v ð z γ γw
Nasals m n ñ ŋ ŋw
Approximants l j w

There are two productive consonant alternations which occur in compounds and when a word receives a prefix. Lenition affects stops; under lenition, voiced stops become voiced fricatives (dz, dl and ɟ become z, l and j, respectively), and voiceless stops gain voice. Nasalization changes voiced stops into homorganic nasals and voiceless stops into voiced stops.

2.2. Vowels

Çetázó has 8 short and 8 corresponding long vowels. The short vowels are given below:

High i y u
Mid e ø o
Low æ a

For each of the eight short vowels there is a corresponding long vowel, transcribed with an acute accent: á ǽ é í ó ǿ ú ý.

When two vowels get into contact, they contract, giving a long vowel, according to the following chart:

First Second vowel
vowel a e i o u
a á é é ó ó
e é é í ó ú
i é í í í í
o ó é í ó ú
u ó ú ú ú ú

A productive vowel alternation is i-umlaut. If the following syllabe contains the vowel i (or í), the vowels a, o and u are fronted to æ, ø and y respectively; long vowels accordingly.

2.3. Syllables

A syllable consists minimally of a vowel. Syllables without onsets occur only word-initially; all other syllables have at least one consonant in the onset. No syllable has more than two consonants in the onset; if a syllable has two onset consonants, the first is a stop, affricate or fricative, and the second a nasal, a lateral or an approximant. A syllable may have a single coda consonant.

2.4. Accent

Çetázó is characterized by a pitch accent which falls on the last syllable if it contains a long vowel, otherwise on the penultimate syllable.

2.5. Sound changes from Proto-Western

  1. V~ > Vn
  2. n > m / _C[+labial]
  3. u > o / _C[+nasal]
    i > e / _C[+nasal]
  4. e > a / _C[+velar]
  5. a > o / _(l, ɬ)
  6. e > o / C[+labial]_
    i > u / C[+labial]_
  7. ph > f
    th > θ
    tsh > s
    h > š
    kh > x
    kwh > xw
  8. mp > b
    nt > d
    nts > dz
    ntš >
    nk > g
    nkw > gw
    mf > v
    > ð
    ns > z
    > ž
    nx > γ
    nxw > γw
    mb > m
    nd > n
    ndz > n
    ndž > ñ
    > l
    > ŋ
    w > ŋw
    nl > l
    nj > ñ
  9. b > v / V_V
    d > ð / V_V
    dz > z / V_V
    > ž / V_V
  10. p > b / V_V
    t > d / V_V
    ts > dz / V_V
    > / V_V
    k > g / V_V
    kw > gw / V_V
  11. nj > ñ
  12. > c / _(e, i, j)
    > ɟ / _(e, i,j)
    š > ç / _(e, i, j)
    ž > j / _(e, i, j)
    k > c / _(e, i, j)
    g > ɟ / _(e, i, j)
    x > ç / _(e, i, j)
    γ > j / _(e, i, j)
  13. j > Ø / C_
  14. ʔ > Ø
  15. aa > á
    ae > é
    ai > é
    ao > ó
    au > ó
    ea > é
    ee > é
    ei > í
    eo > ó
    eu > ú
    ia > é
    ie > í
    ii > í
    io > í
    iu > í
    oa > ó
    oe > é
    oi > í
    oo > ó
    ou > ú
    ua > ó
    ue > ú
    ui > ú
    uo > ú
    uu > ú
  16. >
    > dl
    š > ɬ
    ž > l
  17. This change is triggered by and affects short and long vowels alike.
    "C+" means "one or more consonants".
    a > æ / _C+i
    o > ø / _C+i
    u > y / _C+i

3. Morphology

Çetázó is a moderately synthethic (more synthetic than Proto-Western) language whose morphology is mostly agglutinating with a small degree of fusion. Çetázó is an ergative language.

3.1. Nouns

The Çetázó noun is inflected for case, number and possessor; also, nouns fall into several noun classes, which are not overtly marked on the noun, but everything that agrees with the noun (adjectives, phoric pronouns and verbs) carries class markers.

3.1.1. Number and case

There are three numbers: singular, dual and plural; and seven cases: absolutive, ergative, oblique, instrumental, locative, allative and ablative. Nouns fall into five declension classes (not to be confused with noun classes; there is nothing agreeing with a noun's declension class!) which are defined by the noun's final phoneme: There are thus a-stems, e-stems, i-stems, u-stems and n-stems. (The very few long-vowel stems are declined like their short-vowel counterparts.)

The absolutive case is used for the subject of an intransitive clause and the direct object of a transitive clause. The ergative case is used for subjects of transitive clauses. The oblique case is used for possessors, indirect objects and objects of postpositions. The instrumental case is used for the means by which something is done; the locative, allative and ablative cases are iused for location, movement towards and movement away from, respectively.

Singular A-stem
Absolutive çelna cufe føji kwuɬu padazun
Ergative çelné cyfí føjí kwuɬú padazyni
Oblique çelnó cyfí føjí kwuɬú padazunu
Instrumental çelnómek cyfímek føjímek kwuɬúmek padazunumek
Locative çelnóma cyfíma føjíma kwuɬúma padazunuma
Allative çelnóɟe cyfíɟe føjíɟe kwuɬúɟe padazunuɟe
Ablative çelnóza cyfíza føjíza kwuɬúza padazunuza
Dual A-stem
Absolutive çelnoɬ cufeɬ føjiɬ kwuɬuɬ padazul
Ergative çelnøɬi cufeɬi føjiɬi kwuɬuɬi padazuli
Oblique çelnoɬu cufeɬu føjiɬu kwuɬuɬu padazulu
Instrumental çelnoɬumek cufeɬumek føjiɬumek kwuɬuɬumek padazulumek
Locative çelnoɬuma cufeɬuma føjiɬuma kwuɬuɬuma padazuluma
Allative çelnoɬu;ɟe cufeɬuɟe føjiɬuɟe kwuɬuɬuɟe padazuluɟe
Ablative çelnoɬuza cufeɬuza føjiɬuza kwuɬuɬuza padazuluza
Plural A-stem
Absolutive çelnak cufek føjik kwuɬuk padazuk
Ergative çelnagwi cufegwi føjigwi kwuɬugwi padazugwi
Oblique çelnagwu cufegwu føjigwu kwuɬugwu padazugwu
Instrumental çelnagwumek cufegwumek føjigwumek kwuɬugwumek padazugwumek
Locative çelnagwuma cufegwuma føjigwuma kwuɬugwuma padazugwuma
Allative çelnagwuɟe cufegwuɟe føjigwuɟe kwuɬugwuɟe padazugwuɟe
Ablative çelnagwuza cufegwuza føjigwuza kwuɬugwuza padazugwuza

3.1.2. Possession

In Çetázó, alienable possession (e.g., legal ownership) and inalienable possession (e.g., of body parts and kinship relations) are treated differently. Alienable possessors are inflected in the oblique case and placed before the noun (e.g., ɬikoɬpaðajó tudza 'the healer's house'). Inalienable possessors are marked, in addition to that, by a possessive prefix on the possessed noun. These possessive prefixes are (using ɬaŋa 'soul' as example; the soul is treated like a body part):

Singular Dual Plural
1st person nalaŋa ilalaŋa igwalaŋa
2nd person celaŋa tɬelaŋa igwelaŋa
3rd person elaŋa ɬelaŋa kwelaŋa

For instance, ɬikoɬpaðajó elaŋa 'the healer's soul'. As can be seen from the above, nouns with possessive prefixes undergo lenition.

3.1.3. Noun classes

Now to an important part of Çetázó morphology - the noun classes. There are nine of them, defined more or less by consistence and edibility, also sapience and tangibility. The class markers, while not appearing on the nouns themselves, appear on adjectives, anaphoric and cataphoric pronouns and verbs agreeing with them.

Nr. Marker Description
1 wa Humans and other beings capable of speech
2 ta Solid edible objects (e.g., meat, ripe fruit)
3 tsa Solid inedible objects (e.g., stones, inedible lifeforms)
4 γun Solid, stick-like objects (e.g., sticks, spears, legs)
5 ɬki Granular masses (e.g., grains, sand)
6 ce Mushy edible objects (e.g., mashed foods)
7 xiw Mushy inedible objects (e.g., mud)
8 je Tangible fluids (e.g. water, wind, flames)
9 çi Intangible things (e.g., air, celestial objects, spirits)

All class markers except 4 and 7 trigger lenition in a following morpheme; class 4 triggers nasalization.

3.2. Adjectives

3.2.1. General adjectives

Adjectives in Çetázó agree with their head nouns in noun class, number and case. This works such that the appropriate class marker is suffixed to the adjective stem and the resulting word is inflected like a noun for case and number. If the adjective stem ends in a vowel, the class marker is lenited; if it ends in n, it is nasalized (and the stem-final n drops out). Examples:

(1) cigada kɬama
ciga-ta kɬama
yellow-NC2(ABS) berry(ABS)
'a/the yellow berry'


(2) cigadza tudza
ciga-tsa tudza
yellow-NC3(ABS) house(ABS)
'a/the yellow house'


(3) çeñaŋunumek jeɟímek
çeñan-γun-umek jeɟi-umek
thin-NC4-INST arrow-INST
'by means of a/the thin arrow'

3.2.2. Numerals

The class of adjectives includes numerals and some other determiners. Çetázó has a base-8 numeral system. The numerals are:

Dec. Oct. Cardinal Ordinal
1 1 tagwa tagwaðu
2 2 çi çiðu
3 3 naɬtu naɬtuðu
4 4 medza medzaðu
5 5 uza uzaðu
6 6 meɟi meɟiðu
7 7 nælçi nælçiðu
8 10 ñaγwa ñaγwaðu
64 100 móla mólaðu
512 1000 γañemóla γañemólaðu

These numerals are inflected like ordinary adjectives. The numeral '1' is inflected as singular, '2' as dual, all other cardinals as plural. Multiples of 8, 64 and 512 are expressed by combining the ordinal of the multiple with the cardinal of the power of 8, e.g. çiðumóla '16'. Numerals are added with -dza-: çiðumóladzameɟi '16+6=22'.

Other quantifiers, such as γiba 'some' and ladza 'many' work the same. Examples of noun phrases with numerals and quantifiers:

(4) nælçidzak tudzak
nælçi-tsa-k tudza-k
seven-NC3-PL(ABS) house-PL(ABS)
'seven houses'


(5) nælçiðudzóma tudzóma
nælçi-ðu-tsa-uma tudza-uma
seven-th-NC3-LOC house-LOC
'in the seventh house'


(6) ladzadzagwumek ɬæjigwumek
ladza-tsa-kw-umek ɬæji-kw-umek
many-NC3-PL-INST horse-PL-INST
'by means of many horses'

3.2. Pronouns

3.2.1. Personal pronouns

Çetázó has personal pronouns for the first and second person. For the third person, phoric pronouns (see below) are used. The personal pronouns are:

1sg. 1du. 1pl. 2sg. 2du. 2pl.
Absolutive na naɬ sa ta taɬ tak
Ergative næɬi tæɬi tægwi
Oblique naɬu taɬu tagwu
Instrumental nómek naɬumek sómek tómek taɬumek tagwumek
Locative nóma naɬuma sóma tóma taɬuma tagwuma
Allative nóɟe naɬuɟe sóɟe tóɟe taɬuɟe tagwuɟe
Ablative nóza naɬuza sóza tóza taɬuza tagwuza

3.2.2. Phoric pronouns

There are two phoric pronouns. The anaphoric pronoun ja- refers to a noun already mentioned in discourse; the cataphoric pronoun kwi- refers to a noun that will be mentioned in the following discourse. Both pronoun stems require the suffixation of the appropriate noun class marker; the resulting form is then declined like a noun for number and case.


(7) Sé tó ceθunan xaxwazanenwa.
sa-i ta-u ce-θunan xaxwaza-nen-wa
we-ERG you-OBL 2SG-father(ABS) mock-1PL.ERG-NC1
'We mock your father.'
Tsadza jawó éjeni jawa xaxwazagawa.
tsadza ja-wa-u e-ajen-i ja-wa xaxwaza-ga-wa
even ANA-NC1-OBL 3SG-wife-ERG ANA-NC1(ABS) mock-3SG.ERG-NC1
'Even his wife mocks him.'

3.2.3. Demonstratives

Çetázó has a four-way deixis in demonstratives: near me, near you, distant but visible, distant but invisible. The forms are:

ɟe- near me
da- near you
ce- distant, visible
θa- distant, invisible

These stems require the suffixation of the appropriate noun class marker and agree with the noun in case and number.

3.3. Verbs

The Çetázó verb is inflected for tense and evidentiality and agrees with subject and, if transitive, object. There is no aspect or modal marking, though the future tense is often used as an irrealis (subjunctive, imperative) mood.

3.3.1. Agreement

The verbal agreement markers operate ergatively: the marker for the intransitive subject is the same as the one for the transitive object. The markers are suffixed to the verb. The third person ergative marker does not distinguish number; for the third person absolutive, the appropriate noun class marker is used.

Ergative Absolutive
1sg./du. -ne -na
2sg./du. -çe -θa
1pl. -nen -nan
2pl. -çen -θan
3. -ga (class)

3.3.2. Tense

Çetázó has three tenses: present, past and future, with the expected meanings, though the future tense is also used as a subjunctive and imperative form. The present tense is unmarked; the past tense is marked with the prefix suj-, and the future tense with the prefix sul-. The tense prefixes are an innovation of Çetázó; they derive from reduced forms of the words for 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow'.

3.3.3. Evidentials

Evidentiality marking is optional; the evidential suffix is placed between the verb stem and the agreement markers. There are the following evidential suffixes:

Suffix Meaning
-ja Visual experience
-ji Heard/felt experience
-bun Taste/smell experience
-lçi Hearsay but certain about
-ban Hearsay and uncertain about
-luki Inferred from physical evidence
-u General knowledge
-gwe Past experience

3.4. Sentence particles

Çetázó has a number of sentence particles which modify the clause as a whole. The negative and interrogative particles are placed at the end of the clause (after the verb); the others introdcue the clause.

Particle Meaning
je negative
γwej interrogative
tsaɬ 'also'
dlan 'but'
duk 'therefore'
fan 'then'
xeɟi 'instead'
ɟet 'however'

The particle γwej can also be used, with a noun class marker suffixed, as an interrogative pronoun, or an interrogative quantifier ('which X'?). In both cases, the particle also appears at the end of the sentence.

3.5. Derivation

This is a list of derivational suffixes. In this list, the symbol V represents a vowel which repeats the stem vowel.

3.5.1. Nominalizers

Abstract noun (gerund) for verb action or state
Agent noun from verb
Instrument noun from verb
Result of verb action
Location of event or object
Offspring of base noun (vowels contract regularly)
Derives abstract noun from concrete noun or adjective.
Derives a noun which has a relation of some sort to the base noun.
Person with connection to base noun.

3.5.2. Verbalizers

Stative verb from noun ('be an X')
Non-stative from noun
This suffixes increases the valence of the verb by one, creating transitives and causatives.
Movement towards focus point (usually, speaker)
Movement away from focus point

3.5.3. Other derivatives

Derives adverbs from nominals and verbs.

4. Syntax

The syntax of Çetázó is strongly head-final: in the noun phrase, modifiers precede the head noun, adpositions follow the NP, and verbs are placed at the end of the clause. Basic word order in Çetázó is SOV. Usually, only sentence particles follow the verb.

4.1. The Noun Phrase

The noun phrase consists of a noun preceded by zero or more modifiers (adjectives, genitives, nouns in apposition, relative clauses). Example:

(8) ɬaŋlawó iɬma dleka
ɬaŋlawa-u iɬma dleka
priest-OBL without tribe(ABS)
'the tribe without priest'

Postpositions, which express specific local and other relations, follow the NP and govern the oblique case.

(9) dlujú jægí melan
dlu-je-u jægi-u melan
long-NC8-OBL river-OBL along
'along the long river'

4.2. The Clause

While the noun is the head of the noun phrase, the verb is the head of the clause, and as the noun stands at the end of its noun phrase, the verb stands at the end of the clause.

4.2.1. Intransitive clauses

An intransitive clause (i.e., one with an intransitive verb) has the subject in absolutive case or an absolutive marker on the verb; besides that, it may contain adverbs and adverbial phrases (noun phrases in cases other than ergative or absolutive, or postpositional phrases). The subject (if expressed by a NP or independent pronoun) usually comes first, and the verb comes last.

(10) mædli azu sujγejeda
mædli azu suj-γeje-ta
bear away PAST-run-NC2
'The bear ran away.'


(11) xabadzunuma pɬawana
xabadzun-uma pɬawa-na
forest-LOC walk-1SG.ABS
'I walk in the forest.'

4.2.2. Transitive clauses

A transitive clause has two core arguments: the subject in the ergative case, and the object in the absolutive case. The subject usually precedes the object.

(12) mædlí ɟinixa xabadzunuma sultɬufegaɟe
mædli-i ɟinixa xabadzun-uma sul-tɬufe-ka-ce
bear-ERG honey(ABS) forest-LOC FUT-find-3.ERG-NC6
'The bear will find honey in the forest.'

Indirect objects are expressed with the oblique case:

(13) dzufuðajé kɬagen éjenu sujendagadza
dzufu-ðaja-i kɬagen e-ajen-u suj-enda-ka-tsa
hunt-AGENT-ERG skin(ABS) 3SG-wife-OBL PAST-give-3ERG-NC3
'The hunter gave his wife the skin.'

4.2.3. Nominal predicates

The third basic type of clause does not contain a verb; instead, it has a nominal predicate: the predicate is a noun or adjective in the absolutive case. The subject is also in the absolutive case and precedes the predicate.

(14) na ceθunan
na ce-θunan
I(ABS) 2SG-father(ABS)
'I am your father.'

Predicative adjectives take no class marker:

(15) ɟeda ɬæji γwegu
ɟe-ta ɬæji γwegu
this-NC2 horse(ABS) fast
'This horse is fast.'

Another possibility is to change the predicate noun into a verb by adding the suffix -aja. This is used when a membership in a class of objects is expressed:

(16) ɟeda klefan ɬajéjada
ɟe-ta klefan ɬæji-aja-ta
this-NC2 animal(ABS) horse-be-NC2
'This animal is a horse.'

4.3. Complex clauses

Of course, that is not all. Clauses can be embedded and otherwise combined, as in any human language.

4.3.1. Complement clauses

Clauses may be used as arguments of verbs. A complement clause consists of a clause followed by an anaphoric pronoun that carries the class 9 (intangible) class marker.

(17) sujwajezagawa jæçí alpazagane
suj-wajeza-ka-wa ja-çi-i alpaza-ka-ne
PAST-kill-3.ERG-NC1 ANA-NC9-ERG anger-3.ERG-1SG.ABS
'That you killed him angers me.'

4.3.2. Relative clauses

A relative clause modifies a noun. The clause precedes the modified noun, which is cross-referenced in the clause by a cataphoric pronoun.

(18) kwiɬki sujɟufuneɬki γylçi lummagæɬki
kwi-ɬki suj-ɟufu-nen-ɬki γylçi lumma-ka-ɬki
CAT-NC5(ABS) PAST-gather-1PL.ERG-NC5 millet(ABS) grind-3.ERG-NC5
'She is grinding the millet which we gathered.'

4.3.3. Adverbial clauses

Adverbial clauses add further information to the main clause. They are formed with a verbal noun (suffix -γin) with the arguments in the oblique case:

(19) tó jíltsæγinu suljézunan
ta-u je-iltsa-γin-u sul-je-azu-nan
2SG-OBL move-toward-VN-OBL FUT-move-away-1PL.ABS
'We will leave when you arrive.'

4.3.4. Coordination

Clauses can, of course, not only be subordinated, but also coordinated. The coordinating conjunction (tsa 'and', saw 'or') is placed between the two clauses.

(20) mædli sujxulpagada tsa sujwajezagada
mædli suj-xulpa-ka-ta tsa suj-wajeza-ka-ta
bear(ABS) PAST-hunt-3.ERG-NC2 and PAST-kill-3ERG-NC2
'He hunted the bear and killed it.'

Similarly, noun phrases can be coordinated:

(21) tuga tsa xejasɬun sujxiñaθgadza
tuga tsa xejasɬun suj-xiñaθ-ka-tsa
house(ABS) and wall(ABS) PAST-build-3.ERG-NC3
'He built the house and the wall.'

If the noun classes conflict, the resulting noun class is NC9:

(22) ɟinixa tsa plamak sujtɬufegaçi
ɟinixa tsa plama-k suj-tɬufe-ka-çi
honey(ABS) and flower-PL(ABS) PAST-find-3ERG-NC9
'He found honey and flowers.'

4.4. Transformations

The sentence structure can be transformed to emphasize or deemphasize clause constituents.

4.4.1. Deemphasis

In a transitive clause, the agent can be omitted:

(23) né çefu suljeguneda
na-i çefu sul-jegu-ne-ta
1SG.ERG deer(ABS) PAST-eat-1SG.ERG-NC1
'I ate the dear.'


(23') çefu suljeguda
çefu sul-jegu-ta
deer(ABS) PAST-eat-NC1
'The dear was eaten.'

The patient can be incorporated into the verb and thus the verb detransitivized, with the agent in the absolutive case. The incorporated object is indefinite.

(24) θawé tuga sylxiñaθagadza
θa-wa-i tuga sul-xiñaθa-ka-tsa
DEM-NC1-ERG house(ABS) PAST-build-3.ERG-NC2
'He (not present) built the house.'


(24') θawa sylxiñaθadugawa
θa-wa sul-xiñaθa-tuga-wa
DEM-NC1(ABS) PAST-build-house-NC1
'He (not present) built a house.'

If the direct object of a ditransitive verb is incorporated (indirect objects cannot be incorporated), the indirect object becomes the new direct object:

(25) sé ló besazun sulenaneŋun
sa-i la-u besazun sul-ena-nen-γun
1PL-ERG man-OBL knife(ABS) PAST-give-1PL.ERG-NC4
'We gave the man the knife.'


(25') sé la sulenabesazunnenwa
sa-i la sul-ena-besazun-nen-wa
1PL-ERG man(ABS) PAST-give-knife-1PL.ERG-NC1
'We gave the man a knife.'

The patient of a verb cannot be omitted, but the word tagwa 'one' can be used as a dummy.

4.4.2. Topicalization

A clause element can be topicalized by moving it to the front of the clause.

(26) sé igwæminak ɟeçíma dlegóma jæjinenwa je
sa-i igwa-mina-k ɟe-çi-uma dlega-uma jæji-nen-wa je
1PL-ERG 1PL-mother-PL(ABS) DEM-NC9-LOC tribe-LOC marry-1PL:ERG-NC1 not
'We do not marry our mothers in this tribe.'


(26') ɟeçíma dlegóma sé igwæminak jæjinenwa je
ɟe-çi-uma dlega-uma sa-i igwa-mina-k jæji-nen-wa je
DEM-NC9-LOC tribe-LOC 1PL-ERG 1PL-mother-PL(ABS) marry-1PL:ERG-NC1 not
'In this tribe, we do not marry our mothers.'

5. Sample Text

5.1. The text

Γwejúma ɬæñí meŋuk sujçeldagada. Açeni tagwaðú meŋú θula sujbesagadza, kwelé çidu meŋu sujγlatagada, lé naɬtuðu meŋu sujwaɟezagada, jawaó xajómek medzaðu meŋu sujkwegwuda.
ɬæñí meŋú kwiçi sujdzæçigæçi: "Jamajǽgwi meŋuk θaθagada jaçí ujazagana."
Tagwadé meŋú ɬæŋí kwiçi sujdzæçigaçi: "Γijaçena cijeneçi. Kwida γweguzu γejeda ɬæji fafatajeɟida tsa jeguda çeldaneda ja-çí ujazagana. Jamajagwi tó γwegudu θaθagæçi jæçi benagæçi je. Dlan wetwenan jawé sulbenagaçi. Fan tsaɬ ta jamajagwu sulγelbójada."
Çeçí γijaγwinu kwudzu ɬæçi tagadlóɟe sujγejeda.

5.2. Translation

A horse on a hill saw some sheep. A woman was cutting away the wool of the first sheep, a child was milking the second sheep, a man was slaughtering a third sheep. On their fire, a fourth sheep was being cooked.
The horse said this to a sheep: "It pains me to see humans using sheep like this."
One sheep said this to the horse: "I want you to listen to me. It pains me to see the horse who runs swiftly being shot and eaten. Humans do not know how to use your swiftness. But next year they will know. Then you too will be the slave of the humans!"
Having heard this, the horse fled into the plain.

5.3. Interlinear

γwejúma ɬæñí meŋuk sujçeldagada
γweje-uma ɬæñi-i meŋu-k suj-çelda-ka-ta
hill-LOC horse-ERG sheep-PL(ABS) PAST-see-3.ERG-NC2
'A horse on a hill saw some sheep.'

açeni tagwaðú meŋú θula sujbesagadza
açen-i tagwaðu-u meŋu-u θula suj-besa-ka-tsa
woman-ERG first-OBL sheep-OBL wool(ABS) PAST-cut-3.ERG-NC3
'A woman was cutting away the wool of the first sheep,'

kwelé çidu meŋu sujγlatagada
kwela-i çidu meŋu suj-γlata-ka-ta
child-ERG second(ABS) sheep(ABS) PAST-milk-3.ERG-NC2
'a child was milking the second sheep,'

lé naɬtuðu meŋu sujwaɟezagada
la-i naɬtuðu meŋu suj-waɟeza-ka-ta
man-ERG third(ABS) sheep(ABS) PAST-kill-2.ERG-NC2
'a man was slaughtering the third sheep.'

jawaó xajómek medzaðu meŋu sujkwegwuda
ja-wa-u xaja-umek medzaðu meŋu suj-kwegwu-ta
ANA-NC1-OBL fire-INST fourth(ABS) sheep(ABS) PAST-cook-NC2
'On their fire, the fourth sheep was being cooked.'

ɬæñí meŋú kwiçi sujdzæçigæçi
ɬæñi-i meŋu-u kwi-çi suj-dzæçi-ka-çi
horse-ERG sheep-OBL CAT-NC9(ABS) PAST-say-3.ERG-NC9
'The horse said this to a sheep:'

jamajǽgwi meŋuk θaθagada jaçí ujazagana
jamajá-gw-i meŋu-k θaθa-ka-ta ja-çi-i ujaza-ka-na
human-PL-ERG sheep-PL(ABS) use-3.ERG-NC2 ANA-NC9-ERG cause.pain-3.ERG-1SG.ABS
"It pains me to see humans using sheep like this."

tagwadé meŋú ɬæŋí kwiçi sujdzæçigaçi
tagwa-ta-i meŋu-i ɬæŋi-u kwi-çi suj-dzæçi-ka-çi
one-NC2-ERG sheep-ERG horse-OBL CAT-NC9(ABS) PAST-say-3.ERG-NC9
'One sheep said this to the horse:'

γijaçena cijeneçi
γija-çe-na cije-ne-çi
hear-2SG.ERG-1SG.ABS want-1SG.ERG-NC9
"I want you to listen to me."

kwida γweguzu γejeda ɬæji fafatajeɟida tsa jeguda çeldaneda ja-çí ujazagana
kwi-ta γwegu-dzu γeje-ta ɬæji fafata-jeɟi-ta tsa jegu-ta çelda-ne-ta ja-çi-i ujaza-ka-na
CAT-NC2(ABS) quick-ADV run-NC2 horse(ABS) shoot-arrow-NC2 and eat.meat-NC2 see-1SG.ERG-NC2 ANA-NC9-ERG cause.pain-3.ERG-1SG.ABS
"It pains me to see the horse who runs swiftly being shot and eaten."

jamajagwi tó γwegudu θaθagæçi jæçi benagæçi je
jamaja-kw-i ta-u γwegu-du θaθa-ka-çi ja-çi bena-ka-çi je
human-PL-ERG 2SG-OBL quick-ness use-3.ERG-NC9 ANA-NC9(ABS) know-3.ERG-NC9 not
"Humans do not know how to use your swiftness."

dlan wetwenan jawé sulbenagaçi
dlan wetwenan ja-wa-i sul-bena-ka-çi
but next.year ANA-NC1-ERG FUT-know-3.ERG-NC9
"But next year they will know."

fan tsaɬ ta jamajagwu sulγelbójada
fan tsaɬ ta jamaja-kw-u sul-γelbu-aja-ta
then also 2SG(ABS) human-PL-OBL FUT-slave-be-NC2
"Then you too will be slave of the humans."

çeçí γijaγwinu kwudzu ɬæçi tagadlóɟe sujγejeda
çe-çi-u γija-γwin-u kwudzu ɬæçi tagadle-uɟe suj-γeje-ta
DEM-NC9-OBL hear-VN-OBL after horse(ABS) plain-ALL PAST-run-NC2
'Having heard that, the horse fled into the plain.'

6. Lexicon

A B C Ç D DL DZ E F Γ Γw I J ɟ K Kw L ɬ M N Ñ O P S T TS Θ U W X


adj. adjective.
adv. adverb.
conj. conjunction.
n. noun.
n.ip. inherently possessed noun.
pp. postposition.
vi. intransitive verb.
vt. transitive verb.


adja vt. to fear.
agwa n. rain.
ajen n.ip. wife.
ama pp. with.


baxe n. holiness.
bena vt. to know.
besa vt. to cut.
besazun n. knife.
bevesa vt. to split.
blula n.ip. belly.
bɬama vi. to fart.


ce pp. to.
celda vt. to see.
ceɬdza n. heart.
cenu adj. full.
ciga adj. yellow.
cije vt. to want.
cika adj. continous.
cufe n. water.


çe pron. that over there (visible).
çe pp. down.
çeçewa n. star.
çeda vt. to sing.
çedu vi. to lie down.
çeduza vtz. to place.
çefu n. deer.
çeja n. soil.
çejægwi n. sand.
çejasɬu n. wall, rampart.
çejbu n. worm.
çeɟi pp. instead.
çelna n. horn.
çeɬka n. stone.
çeña adj. together.
çeñan adj. thin.
çeñaθa vt. to build, to make.
çetáza vi. to flow out.
çetéɬtsa vi. to flow in.
çeza n. dung.
çezoɬpa vi. to defecate.
çi adj. two.
çibɬa adj. dry.
çigan vi. to stand.
çigana vi. to stick in the ground.
çilpu n.ip. arm.
çiɬta vt. to teach.
çina n. palm of hand.
çinoɬpa vt. to count.
çiwka vi. to float.
çiwkáza vi. to float downstream.
çuwa n.ip. guts.


da- pron. that near you.
damu adj. thick.
dadɬe adv. here.
dalan vi. to swim, to fly.
daγa vi. to shout.
daγaza vt. to call to.
duγa adj. good.
duje n. sky.
duk conj. therefore.


dla pp. for.
dlé n land.
dleka n. tribe.
dlun adj. long.


dzalan vt. to stab.
dzaldajan n. bird.
dzama adj. red.
dzæɟi vt. to say.


ej conj. if.
el conj. because.
ena vt. to give.
enda n. feather.


fa- pron. everything, everyone, all.
fafata vt. to shoot, to launch.
fan conj. then, next.
fata vt. to throw.
fola adj. far.
fola vi. to swell.
folla n. cloud.
føji n. seed.
føɬi n. tree bark.
fuða n. chief.
fuwa vi. to breathe, to blow.
fuwaza vt. to inflate.


γañe adj. big.
γaña n. leaf.
γañemóla adj. 512.
γaw pp. outside.
γeje vi. to run.
γelçi n. fat, grease.
γema adj. bad.
γiba adj. some.
γiçe n. day.
γija vt. to hear.
γinwa n. pine.
γlata vt. to milk.
γɬuna adj. green.
γølçi n.ip. neck.
γuga n. pig.
γyɟi n. fish.


γwazu n. bone.
γwegu adj. quick.
γweguðu n. eagle.
γweje n. hill.
γwelej n. mountain.
γwida n. wind.
γwive vt. to drink.
γwiwa vi. to live.
γwiwaza vt. to give birth, to engender.
γwoɬka n. spit.
γwoɬkaɬpa vi. to spit.
γwoɬki vt. to wash.
γwuje adj. heavy.


iða adj. slow.
iñe n. name.
ilsa n.ip. hand, bird's wing.
iɬa vt. to fish.
iɬma pp. without.


ja- pron. anaphoric stem.
jada adj. old.
jaga vi. to play.
Jama n. the Sun.
jamajá n. human.
jamu n.ip. mouth.
jamuɬpa vt. to suck.
jaθa vt. to tend.
jaθaba n. garden.
jaza n. meat.
jæçi vt. to own, to marry.
jægi n. river.
je conj. not.
jedza conj. and not.
jegu vt. to eat meat.
jegwe conj. but not.
jeɟi n. arrow.
jelu adj. other.
jema vi. to row.
jeza vt. to push.
jezaw conj. nor.
jézu vi. to leave.
jíɬtsa vi. to come.
jíɬtsaza vt. to pull.


ɟe pp. through.
ɟe pron. this near me.
ɟeña n.ip. fingernail.
ɟet conj. but, however.
ɟeza vi. dance.
ɟiɟi adj. straight.
ɟufu vt. to gather, to hunt.
ɟømɬi n.ip. breast.


ka pp. on behalf of.
kadza n. friend.
kadla vt. to make dirty.
kæɟi adj. dirty.
kaman n. fear.
kaθa adj. correct.
kænci pp. towards.
kluwa n.ip. leg.
kɬage n. skin.
kɬaɟe n. mix.
kɬama n. berry.
kɬefan n. wild animal.
kɬuθa adj. short.
kuda vi. to sleep.


kwaðu n.ip. tail.
kwe conj. but.
kwenu n.ip. head.
kwegwu vt. to cook.
kwela n. child.
kwi- pron. cataphoric stem.
kwisa vi. to make felt.
kwisa vt. to squeeze.
kwudzu pp. after, behind.
kwuɬu n. wolf.


la n. man, husband.
ladza n. egg.
ladza n. many.
laγwa n. smoke.
lalaña vt. to dig.
lapa vt. to steal.
lat pp. under.
lazu n.ip. back.
lejfa vt. to wipe.
loɬka n.ip. ear.
lumen n. right, east.
lumma nt. to grind, to mill.


ɬagwa adj. near.
ɬaγa n.ip. eye.
ɬaŋa n. spirit, soul.
ɬaŋlawa n. priest.
ɬæji n. horse.
ɬaxan n. earth.
ɬija n. snake.
ɬikoɬpa vt. to heal.
ɬina n. lake.


ma n. place, location.
maje vi. to shine.
maje adj. rotten.
Majeγen n. the Moon.
mædli n. bear.
mazan n.ip. nose.
maze n. sea.
mazu adj. wide.
modza adj. four.
molan pp. along.
moɬi n.ip. tongue.
moɬka adj. sharp.
moɬu vt. to sew.
mona n. dog.
moŋu n. sheep.
móla adj. 64.
mu adv. completely.
munkwa adj. wet.
muña adv. the day before yesterday.


na pron. I.
nadun n. left, west.
naje adj. rare.
naɟe adj. tame.
namu vi. to think.
naŋu n.ip. foot.
nat pp. above.
neγla adj. white.
nifa n. fog.
noɬtu adj. three.
pp. up.


ñaje adj. frequent.
ñeji adj. smooth.
ñoɬdu adj. pale, blunt.


oɬpa n. rage.
oɬpaza vt. to anger.
oɬu vt. to smell.


pada vi. to find one's way.
padazun n. road, path.
plaga adj. new.
plama n. flower.
pɬawa vi. to walk.
pɬawázu vi. to walk away.


sa pron. we.
sag pp. inside.
savaja vt. to fight.
saw conj. or.
sæji n. night.
søɬtin adj. surprising.
sudla adv. tomorrow.
sulla adj. round.
suj adv. yesterday.


ta pron. you(sg.).
taga n. grass.
tagadle n. grassland.
tagala n. rope.
tagw adj. one.
tave pp. on.
tjoɬa n. hair.
tubi adj. few.
tudza n. house, home.

tɬaga vi. to sit.
tɬagaza vt. to seat.
tɬagazun n. chair.
tɬandlan adj. repeated.
tɬedle vi. to make leather.
tɬedle vt. to rub.
tɬufe vt. to find, to discover.
tɬuwa n. blood.


tsa conj. and.
tsadza conj. moreover.
tsoɬ conj. also.
tsuba n. fruit.
tsufu vt. to itch.
tsufuðaja n. louse.


θa vt. to do, to make.
θa- pron. that over there (invisible).
θadle adv. there.
θaja n. milk.
θamu vi. to fall.
θana adj, cold.
θaθa vt. to use.
θwa vt. to bend.
θwdzun n.ip. knee.
θempi n.ip. daughter.
θuja vt. to become.
θula n. wool.
θunan n.ip. father.
θunján n.ip. uncle.
θunu vt. to have sex with.
θuva n. root.


uda n.ip. tooth.
udaɬpa vi. to bite.
uja n. pain.
ujaza vt. to cause pain.
uwa n. vomit.
uwoɬpa vi. to vomit.
uza adj. five.


wadja adv. the day after tomorrow.
wafa n. bean.
waje vi. to die.
waldza vt. to hit.
wæji adj. steep.
wæjiza vt. to kill.
weda vi. to turn.
wedzu vt. to eat vegetables.
wenan n. year.
wetɬu n. liver.
wetwenan n. next year.


xaba n. tree.
xabadzun n. forest.
xaja n. fire.
xajoɬadzun n. ashes.
xajoɬpa vt. to burn.
xalu vt. to fasten.
xana adj. black.
xawa adj. narrow.
xaxwa vi. to laugh.
xaxwaza vt. to mock.
xulpa vt. to hunt.
xulu n.ip. anus.
xuɬda n. boat.

© 2009-2011 Jörg Rhiemeier
Last update: 2011-04-19