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Nouvimiraaluitut Laañliiv
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Nuvimak Grammar
This public article was written by severy, and last updated on 1 Apr 2017, 01:57.

[comments] Menu 1. Phonology, orthography, & sound changes 2. Nominal morphology 3. Verbal morphology 4. Lexical derivation 5. Syntax
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.
Nuvimak is a creole language descended from Canadian French and Nunavimmiutitut Inuktitut. It is spoken in Nunavik, northern Québec, Canada, in a few Métis and French-Inuit settlements. It is an moderately synthetic language, based mostly off of Inuktitut's polysynthetic-agglutinative grammar.

The grammar overall more resembles Inuktitut, with a phonology and lexicon mostly consisting of French-derived terms, although some words - particularly in the domestic sphere - are of Inuktitut origin as well. There are also some words borrowed from the neighbouring Algonquin languages, Naskapi and Innu/Montagnais. In recent years, English loanwords have also permeated the lexicon.

[top]Phonology, orthography, & sound changes

Plosivept dc gq
Highi iiuou
Mid Oraleo
Mid Nasalêûô
Lowaaa â

Phonetic realizations:
  • Consonants -IPA except for:
    • ñ /ɲ/ in most contexts. [ŋ] is found word-finally, before velars, and in some other situations. [ɴ] appears before uvulars.
    • c - /k/
    • ch - /ʃ~ç/. Value depends on speaker preference and region. Sometimes voiced.
    • r - /χ/, sometimes /ʁ/

  • Vowels
    • ii - /i:/
    • u - /ʉ/
    • ou - /u:/
    • ê - /ɛ̃/
    • û - /ɞ̃/
    • o - /ɔ/
    • ô - /ɔ̃/
    • a - /ä/
    • aa - /ɑ:/
    • â - /ɑ̃/

Sound & orth changes: FR > NVI
  • Consonants
    • gn /ɲ/ → ñ /ɲ/
    • b → v
    • f → v, p
    • ch /ʃ/ + j /ʒ/→ ch /ʃ/
    • r /ʁ/ → /χ/
    • y /j/ → j /j/
    • /ɥ/ → v /v/ after labials, /j/ elsewhere
    • /w/ → v /v/

  • Vowels
    • u /y/ → /ʉ/
    • eu /ø/ → u /ʉ/, û /ɞ̃/
    • eu /œ/ → ê /ɛ̃/, û /ɞ̃/, o /ɔ/
    • /œ̃/ → û /ɞ̃/
    • /ə/ → Ø, û /ɞ̃/, e /e/, o /ɔ/
    • /a/ → a /a/, /ä/
    • ille /ij/ → ii /i:/, ij /ij/

Sound & orth changes: IKU > NVI
  • Consonants
    • ng /ŋ/ → ñ /ɲ/
    • q → c /k/, r /χ/
    • ll /ɬ/ → j /ʃ/
    • r /ʁ/→ r /χ/
  • Vowels
    • u /u/ → /ʉ/
    • uu /u:/ → ou /u:/
    • aa /a:/ → /ɑ/
    • in# → ê /ɛ̃/
    • un# → ô /ɔ̃/

Neither o nor e has a direct long correspondent. Instead, oo is /u:/ and ee is /i:/.

[top]Nominal morphology

Nominal morphology resembles Inuktitut, somewhat simplified. There are six cases (down from ten in Nunavimmiutitut) and three numbers. There are no word classes excepting some morphophonological groups, and no grammatical gender. Some words borrowed from French inherited an inherent noncount quality along with the article/prefix d(u)-, such as /do/"water" (from d'eau).

The Inuktitut noun paradigm has eight cases: absolutive, ergative, instrumental, allative, ablative, locative, perlative, and similative. In Nuvimak, the allative, ablative, and perlative are combined into the dative, and the similative into the instrumental. The system is therefore ergative, absolutive, instrumental, locative, and dative. The absolutive is the unmarked case.

The numbers are singular, dual, and plural.


As a general rule, it is clear that /m/ marks singulars, /ɲ/ duals, and /n/ plurals, although the absolutive nouns break this rule.

The -:c rule for DU.ABS indicates that the final vowel should be lengthened; a final consonant may need to be deleted. For example, do /dɔ/ "water" is douc /du:k/, while lasjel /läsjel/ "sky" becomes lasjeec /läsji:k/.

[top]Verbal morphology

[top]Lexical derivation

Most words have a French origin, but there are a good number of exceptions. Many nouns from French begin with la-, le-, du-, or û-, fossils of the articles le, la, les, du, un, une. Likewise, many of the basic verb stems take the ending -e from the infinitive -er and other verb endings with the value /e/ (-é, -ais, etc). However, there are many nouns that were borrowed without articles or endings; the selection appears to be somewhat random, but in some cases indicates the most common contexts those words appear in.

Words derived from Inuktitut generally refer to the domestic sphere; there are also many body parts and a few other core-vocabulary words from Inuktitut. Many of the core vocabulary words have doubles from both parent languages, although often the meaning of one has shifted slightly.


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