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Sumosufa and other Umofa language games
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how to play with your words
This public article was written by dendana on 16 Oct 2017, 06:54.

5. Umofa
Menu 1. Sumosufa 2. Other infixing games 3. Reversing games 4. Vowel-shifting games 5. Spoonerism games

Sumosufa is the most popular language game in Umofa. You can think of it as like Pig Latin— people use it to speak secretly around children, or just have fun making words sound weird. Some of the other language games are used to make puns.

Sumosufa is actually the word Umofa changed through certain rules. You first add s- to any vowel beginning a word, and then put the new first syllable before the last syllable of the word. So from Umofa you get Sumofa, and then Sumosufa.

To take a longer example, arofa-ya axeda itikunyagira-kamu 'He said "I am going to school now."' becomes sarofasa-ya saxesada sitikunyagira-kasimu.

[top]Other infixing games

Ufimofa is a game where you add <fi> between the first and second syllables, and any word-initial syllables containing a consonant take a prefixed uku-, so Umofa becomes Ufimofa, and tofa becomes ukutofifa.

[top]Reversing games

The most popular reversing game is Umofa Akuru 'Backwards Umofa', and the concept is that you reverse all the syllables in a word, so tofa becomes fato.

There are three main strategies for dealing with syllables which do not already begin in a consonant. The most common are to add a f or s to the beginning of the syllable in question, but some people add a glide (y if any adjacent vowel is e or i, and w otherwise). So you may see famosu, famofu, or famowu as the equivalents of Umofa.

[top]Vowel-shifting games

Usually this only affects the first and last vowels of a word, and usually the vowels change in the cycle a > o > u > i > e > a and so on. So axofa becomes oxofo.

[top]Spoonerism games

There are a few variations, but the principle is that you switch sounds between words in the same phrase. This is usually dependent on context— it could be subject and verb, or noun and adjective. Usually the first vowels of each word are switched, but sometimes it's the final syllable. Since this game results in more ambiguity than the other games, people sometimes use this one to create puns.

For example, someone might turn ekucu ake udaya 'that jar of sugar' into ekucu, aya udake 'jars, you all are the world' if they want to be silly.
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