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Proto-Mawo-Caláic Grammar I.
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This public article was written by Aarnut, and last updated on 22 Mar 2020, 11:27.

[comments] Menu 1. 1. Phonology 2. 2. Syntax 3. 3. Morphology
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.

[top]1. Phonology


1.1 Consonants

ConsonantsBilabialLabio-dentalAlveolarPost-AlveolarPalatalLabio-velarVelarUvularGlottal
Nasalmnɲŋ
Plosive p pʰ b bʰt tʷ tʰ d dʰk kʷ kʰ g gʷ gʰq qʰ ʔ
Fricative fs zʃ ʃʷx xʷ ɣ ɣʷh
Affricatet͡ʃ t͡ʃʷ
Lateral approximantlʎ
Approximantjw
Trillr
Flap[ɾ]


1.2 Vowels

There are three vowel lenghts in PRMC: short, normal, and long. The short vowels are always unstressed.

VowelsFront unroundedFront roundedCentralBack unroundedBack rounded
Close short
Close normaliu
Close longi: (í)u: (ú)
Close-mid shortǒ
Close-mid normalo
Close-mid longo: (ó)
Mid normalə (ë)
Open-mid shortɛ̌ (ě)
Open-mid normalɛ (e)ʌ (ä)
Open-mid longɛ: (é)
Open shortǎ
Open normala
Open longa: (á)


1.2.1 Vowel harmony

The vowel harmony system of PRMC is relatively simple. It's a front-back system. Each front vowel has a back pair.

FrontBack
/i//u/
/e//o/
/a//ä/


If the first vowel is a front vowel, the following vowels also must be front vowels. If the first vowel is a back vowel, the following vowels also must be back vowels. When suffixing a word the vowel harmony might change the suffix. So, there are two versions for every suffix.

There is the /ë/ vowel, which is a neutral vowel. Vowel harmony doesn't affect it.

1.3 Syllable structure

Basic syllable structure is (C)V(C). Smaller consonant clusters are allowed, if the first one is not aspirated, or labilaized. For example:
  • bdh
  • ptw
  • pth
  • ǧtcw

  • Are completely legal, but:
  • twd
  • pht
  • xwcw

  • are not.

    We must remember these rule, when we affix a word.

    1.4 Stress

    Stress always falls on the first syllable with a non-short vowel.
    For example:
  • měhle
  • gwǒlogwó
  • tcagwa


  • 1.5 Allophony

  • Affixes will change according to the vowel harmony.
  • Labialised, and aspirated consonants turn into a plain consonant, if followed by another consonant.
  • /w/ turns into /u/ before consonants
  • Voiced consonants turn into unvoiced on the end of the stem word when the affix begins with unvoiced.
  • Unvoiced consonants turn into voiced on the end of the stem word when the affix begins with voiced.
  • Nasal consonants will turn into /m/ before bilabial consonants.
  • Nasal consonants will turn into /n/ before alveolar, and post-alveolar consonants.
  • Nasal consonants will turn into /ŋ/ before velar consonants.
  • /r/ pronounced /ɾ/ betveen vowels.


  • [top]2. Syntax


    2.1 Word order

    In PRMC the basic word order is SOV.

    [top]3. Morphology


    3.1 Verbs

    3.1.1 Affixation order

    VerbEvidentialAspectSub-aspectTenseMoodNumber of the subject
    0123456
    dhětwraměthánbhálǒt_lyú
    seeIDREIndirect evidential (evidentiality)
    speaker has indirect knowledge
    PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
    have verb-ed
    INCEPInceptive (aspect)
    beginning of an action
    PASPast
    action occurred before moment of speech
    INDIndicative mood (mood)
    a common form of realis
    DUDual (number)
    two


    Dhětraměthámbhálětlyí.
    /dʰɛ̌tramɛ̌tʰa:mbʰa:lɛ̌tʎi:/
    (I think) (both) were about to see (sth).

    3.1.2 Evidentiality

    There are two classes of evidentiality. Direct evidential is unmarked. It's used when the speaker has direct knowledge about the event, believes as a truth. Indirect evidentiality is expressed with the word ramě/rämǒ (take). It's also possible to express doubt with it.

    Twaq ǧatcwithánět.
    3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    come-PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
    have verb-ed
    -PASPast
    action occurred before moment of speech

    He have came.

    Twaq ǧatcwiraměthánět.
    3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    come-IDREIndirect evidential (evidentiality)
    speaker has indirect knowledge
    -PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
    have verb-ed
    -PASPast
    action occurred before moment of speech

    He must have come.

    3.1.3 Aspect

    There are 5 aspects in PRMC.

  • Imperfective/Continous (unmarked) - the action is incomplete, the end point doesn't matter

  • 'úb dhětw. - I see

  • Perfective (wá/wä) - the action is/was/will be completed

  • 'úb twaqké dhět. - I saw him.

  • Progressive (gwí/gwú) - incomplete action, has a definite end point VERB-ing

  • 'úb kéké lyaptexgwí. - I'm peeling it.

  • Habitual (ghan/ghän) - the action happens regularly

  • 'úb bokthäl athǎghan. - I stay here often.

  • Perfect (thán/thän) - focusing to the changed state, that the action causedhave VERB-ed

  • Twaq 'úběhebhǐl ngenggwáké mentethánět. - He have got us food.


    There are four subaspects

  • Inceptive (bhál/bhäl) - the action is about to start

  • 'úb kwǒybhälǒt. - I was about to hunt.

  • Semelfactive (nyág/nyäg) - the action is repeated within the event.

  • Twaqěhe twaqké bhǎtcnyágět. - They hit him again and again.

  • Cessative (kǐcma/kǒcmä) - the action is about to be finished, ended.

  • Twaqěhe twaqké bhǎtckǐcmaět. - They stopped beating him.

  • Subutive (eki/oku) - the action happens suddenly.

  • Twaqěhe twaqké laphekiět. - Suddenly they slapped him.

    3.1.4 Tenses

    PRMC distinguishes only two tenses: past and non-past. Only past tense is marked with the ǒt/ět affix. Future events can be expressed by using indirect evidential, or time specifying words, like later, tomorrow, ect.

    3.1.5 Mood

    Moods work in a similar way as tense, aspect, evidential suffixes. There are 6 mood in PRMC:

  • Indicative (unmarked) - The basic form of a verb.

  • Gwu' gwu'khäng dhál.
    sky blue COPCopula
    used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate

    Sky is blue.

  • Imperative (-rá/rä) - Marks command.

  • Dhu' twaqké bhǎtatc!
    2SSecond person singular (person)
    addressee (you)
    3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    -ACCAccusative (case)
    TRANS direct object; patient
    beat-IMPImperative (mood)
    command

    Beat him!

  • Interrogative (-khas/khäs) - Marks question.

  • Dhu' twaqké bhǎtatckhaswáět?
    2SSecond person singular (person)
    addressee (you)
    3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    -ACCAccusative (case)
    TRANS direct object; patient
    beat-INTERRInterrogative mood (mood)
    asks questions
    -PFVPerfective (aspect)
    completed action
    -PASTPast tense (tense)
    action occurred before moment of speech

    Did you beat him?

  • Necessative (-ǧǒh/ǧěh) - must/need to...

  • Dhu' twaqké bhǎtatcǧěh!
    2SSecond person singular (person)
    addressee (you)
    3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    -ACCAccusative (case)
    TRANS direct object; patient
    beat-NECNecessitative mood (mood)
    must, have to

    You must/need to beat him!

  • Abilitative (-kaxǎ/käxä) - can...

  • Dhu' twaqké bhǎtatckaxǎ.
    2SSecond person singular (person)
    addressee (you)
    3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    -ACCAccusative (case)
    TRANS direct object; patient
    beat-ABILAbilitative (mood)
    expresses ability

    You can beat him.

  • Causative (-twó/twé) - Make someone to do something

  • 'úb twaqké dhu'kho bhǎtatctwé.
    1SFirst person singular (person)
    speaker, signer, etc.; I
    3SThird person singular (person)
    neither speaker nor addressee
    2SSecond person singular (person)
    addressee (you)
    -INSTCInstrumental-comitative (case)
    'with' (instrument and/or company)
    beat-CAUSCausative (valency/mood)
    cause an action to occur, force another argument to act

    I make you to beat him.

    3.1.6 Negation

    There is a negative prefix (ǎ/ǔ) in PRMC.
    For example:
  • 'úb ké dhětw. - I see it.
  • 'úb ké ǎdhětw. - I don't see it.
  • Twaq kú hul. - He feels it.
  • Twaq kú ǔhul. - He doesn't feel it.


  • 3.2 Nouns

    3.2.1 Affixation order

    NounNumberCase suffix(es)
    dínsaěhekho
    facePAUPaucal (number)
    a few, some
    INSTCInstrumental-comitative (case)
    'with' (instrument and/or company)


    Dínsaěhekhe
    /di:nsaɛ̌hɛkʰɛ/
    with a few faces

    3.2.2 Number

    PRMC has four number distinctions; singular (unmarked), dual (lyú/lyí), paucal (more than two, but less than 12) (ěhe/ǒho), and plural (more than 12) (ghǐ/ghǔ).

    3.2.3 Noun cases

    PRMC has 10 noun cases that are expressed through affixation. The ten cases are:
  • Nominative (unmarked)
  • Accusative (ké/kó) - marks the direct object, patient.
  • Genitive (on/en) - marks posession, the NOUN's
  • Dative (bhǔl/bhǐl) - (give) to the NOUN
  • Locative (thal/thäl) - at, in, on the NOUN
  • Elative (sǎn/sän) - from/out of the NOUN
  • Istrumental-comitative (kho/khe) - with the NOUN
  • Lative (bhál/bhäl) - (going) to the NOUN
  • Causative-final (dhuc/dhic) - for/because of the NOUN
  • Perlative (gwól/gwél) - through, along the NOUN


  • 3.2.4 Alienablity

    PRMC distingueshes alienable and inalienable nouns. Inalienable nouns can not be used "on their own". We must include the posessor of the noun in the sentence. If we talk about something in genereal, the posessors are the following:

    ǧún - man in general, like:
    ǧúnon cinín - The man's/one's luck

    xwúǧ - child for parents, like:
    Xwúǧon mád - The child's mother

    alínggwä - something for non living things' components
    Alínggwäon tcimgwá - Something's door

    There are two different verbs for owning inalienable and alienable nouns. Dhǔr (bear/wear/ect...) is used for posessing alienable nouns. Thán (be part of sth/member/ect...) is used for inalienable nouns. For example:

    'úb nyaxwáké dhǔr.
    1SFirst person singular (person)
    speaker, signer, etc.; I
    horse-ACCAccusative (case)
    TRANS direct object; patient
    have.ALAlienable (possession)
    thing that can be gained or lost

    I have a horse.

    'úb culukó kwǎs thán.
    1SFirst person singular (person)
    speaker, signer, etc.; I
    hair-ACCAccusative (case)
    TRANS direct object; patient
    long have.INALInalienable (possesson)
    thing that can't be gained or lost

    I have long hair.

    But both uses the same genitive case suffixes.

    'úbon nyaxwáké
    my horse

    'úbon culu
    my hair

    Inalienable nouns are usually words for bodyparts, social relationships, ranks, names, feelings, states, components of bigger things, things, that can not be given to others.
    There are words, that are both alienable, and inalienable. These words have multiple meanings, like sún (woman/wife). If it's used as woman it's alienable, but if it's used as wife, it's inalienable.

    3.3 Pronouns

    Personal pronouns

    PRMCEnglish
    'úbI
    'úblyúwe (dual)
    'úběhewe (paucal)
    'úbghǔwe (plural)
    dhu'you (singular)
    dhu'lyúyou (plural)
    dhu'ǒhoyou (paucal)
    dhu'ghǔyou (plural)
    twaqhe/she/it
    twaqlyíthey (dual)
    twaqěhethey (paucal)
    twaghǐthey (plural)


    Interrogative and relative pronouns

    InterrogativeRelativeEnglish
    khaskíkhaswhat
    khastwékíkhastwéwhen
    khasangakíkhasangawhy
    khastweskíkhastweswhere
    kheskíkheswho
    khashabakíkhashabahow
    khasghǐkíkhasghǐhow many/much


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