Limli: Syntax

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와ㅞ 포와 레 이 림리 레
Wawe Fowa le i Limli le

Table of Phonemes

dental alveolar palatal glottal vowels
/φ/ /β/ /w/ /n/ /t/ /l/ /s/ /ŋ/ /k/ /ɣ/ /j/ /h/ /ä/ /e/ /o/ /u/ /i/
f v w n t l s ń k ǵ y h a e o u i
Name Mi


General Notes

  • 01. The word order in Limli is VSO, verb-subject-object.
  • 02. The word is accented on the penultimate syllable.
  • 03. Limli syllables have the structure (C)V. All consonants can appear in the initial position.
  • 04. There are no diphthongs.
  • 05. In Limli words are not specific to any one function. Function is determined by the absence or presence of pronouns, prepositions, particles, etc., e.g., the word lońo, make, cause.
Verb: I made/caused the fire. The pronoun ilo and the past particle u show that lońo is a verb.
U lońo ilo ui isu ae.
PST cause I OBJ fire the
Noun: The rain is the cause of the flood. The definite article ae shows that lońo is a noun.
Loyi ae lońo ae yitile ae.
rain the cause the flood the
Preposition: Because of the rain I stayed home. The particle ve shows that lońo is part of a compound preposition.
U yaka ilo ao sita ya lońo ve loyi ae
PST remain I at home INDF because PRT rain the
Conjunction: Because he is sick, I can't go. With no indicators, lońo is a conjunction.
Fia ito ilo ta lońo vui ńivilu.
able go I not because he sick

Verbs - Ńiyu Hoǵo le 끼유 호코 레

  • 06. Verbs are a class of words that convey an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), an occurrence (happen, become), or a state of being (be, exist, stand).
  • 07. There is no change in the form of the verb for subject agreement. Other semantic notions are expressed by verbal particles.
  • 08. The base form of the verb refers to the present tense, the future tense, or an habitual action:
He speaks Limli.
Wawe vui ui Limli ya
speak he OBJ Limli INDF
  • 09. The verb particle u indicates the past tense:
The woman arrived yesterday.
U yiawe sisu ae ua.tihi
PST arrive woman the
  • 10. The verb particle ke indicates that an action occured before another past action, i.e., the past perfect tense:
I ate (had eaten) before I left.
Ke liu eo ńoi u ito ifo
PSTPRF eat I before PST go away
  • 11. To indicate that an action or state is in progress at the moment of speech, the progressive verb particle (PRG) fe is used:
The woman is arriving now.
Fe yiawe sisu ae miki.
PRG arrive woman the now
This particle is also used to express an action or state happening in the past simultaneously with another past action or state:
It was raining when I arrived.
U fe loyi iyai u yiawe ilo.
PST PRG rain when PST arrive I
  • 12. Modal auxiliaries, and verbs with a dependent infinitive, are placed immediately before a plus the main verb. They may be preceded by verbal particles:
Ability: fia, be able:
Can you swim?
Fia a hio hea mau? INF swim you Q
Wish: yuyu, want, wish, desire:
I didn't want to get up.
U yuyu a ǵuhu ilo ta
PST want INF get.up I not
Permission: foloi, to permit:
He permitted her to leave.
U foloi a vui a ito ifo vui.
PST permit INF he go away she
Preference: vutu, prefer, would rather:
I'd rather drink water.
Vutu a umo ilo ui kiyu ya
prefer INF drink I OBJ water INDF
Habitualness: vana, usual:
I usually get up early.
Vana a ǵuhu ilo ńeifi.
usual INF get.up I early
Obligation: ǵeme, have to, ought, must:
I have to awaken her.
Ǵeme a siliwi ilo ui vui
ought INF awaken I OBJ her
Need: ńifai, need:
The child needs to sleep.
Ńifai a ńea laulu ae
need INF sleep child the
  • 13. Mood is a grammatical category by which the speaker expresses his attitude toward what he is saying.
  • 14. The subjunctive mood is formed with the verb marker te:
She may love me.
Te weyi vui ui ilo
SBJ love she OBJ me
  • 15. The imperative mood uses the base form of the verb without a subject:
Love me.
Weyi ui ilo
love OBJ me
A more polite form of the imperative uses the phrase ńa fia, if able, rather like 'please': If able, love me.
Ńa fia weyi ui ilo.
if able love OBJ me
Ńa fia is also the polite response when given a command.
  • 16. The cohortative and jussive moods are formed with the particle lui with the appropriate pronoun following:
Let him sing.
Lui kiufu vui
JUS sing him
  • 17. The conjunction ńa, if, is used to express conditions.
If the action or event linked to the condition is likely to occur or is real, no verb marker is used in the conditional clause:
If the breadfruits are good, I'll buy some.
Ńa hoto le yoe yele ilo ui afi.
if breadfruit the good buy I OBJ some
If the conditional action or event is doubtful or hypothetical, the verb particle ke is used in the protasis and ǵe in the apodosis:
If the breadfruits were good, I'd buy some.
Ńa ke yoe hoto le ǵe yele ilo ui afi.
if PRO good breadfruit the APO buy I OBJ some
  • 18. The passive form of the verb is formed with the verb particle sui:
The banana was cooked.
U sui fomo ńiuhi ae
PST PASS cook banana the
  • 19. A verbal noun is formed by using the definite article with the base word. This verbal noun functions as an infinitive or gerund:
Swimming strengthens my limbs.
Uliu lońo hio ae ui titi le ilo
strong make swim the OBJ limb the my
  • 20. Sentence negation is indicated with the word ta:
The woman is not here.
Sisu ae lemau ta.
woman the here not
  • 21. A question is indicated by the use of the interrogative particle (Q) mau:
Do I love you?
Weyi ilo ui hea mau?
love I OBJ you Q
The interrogative particle is not used when the sentence contains an interrogative word.
  • 22. Dependent verbs, such as infinitives and gerunds, follow the verb or adjective upon which they are dependent:
I was afraid to touch a toad.
U ńihu a yehe ilo ui ǵitili ya.
PST fear INF touch I OBJ toad INDF
A direct object is placed before the infinitive:
I wanted him to go.
U yuyu a ui vui ito ilo.
PST want INF OBJ him go I
  • 23. There is no copulative verb to be. The subject and predicate are stated, predicate first:
The child is in the house.
Ao sita ae laulu ae
In house the child the
If the predicate is a simple adjective, it is treated as a verb:
The woman was happy.
U ohetu sisu ae.
PST happy woman the
The verb aya is used at the beginning of a sentence to identify and define:
It's an eagle.
Aya hiafe ya. eagle INDF
There was a storm.
U aya isi ya.
PST storm INDF
  • 24. There is no verb to have. This is expressed with a prepositional phrase using i, of:
I have a flower.
Ǵoili ya i eo.
flower INDF of me
This flower belongs to me.
Fama ǵoili ae i eo.
this flower the of me

Nouns - Yunei Hoǵo le 유네이 호코 레

  • 25. Nouns are a class of words that function as the names of some specific thing or set of things, such as living creatures, objects, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.
  • 26. There are no noun classes in Limli.
  • 27. The direct object precedes the indirect object:
I will give the pearl to the woman.
Yiku ilo ui ńeńu ae a sisu ae.
give I OBJ pearl the to woman the
  • 28. Possession is indicated with the preposition i. The genitive noun follows the head noun:
The boy's basket is empty.
Ǵofoi fiuli ae i fińi ae.
empty basket the of boy the
  • 29. Plurality is not indicated on the noun. It is indicated by changing the definite article ae to le: ǵifo, stone; ǵifo ae, the stone; ǵifo le, the stones.
If plurality is evident, the definite article is not used: fovi ǵifo, two stones; taya ǵifo, many stones; weǵo ya laulu ya, a crowd of children.
A possessive pronoun follows its noun:
fiuli hea, your basket; fiuli le hea, your baskets.
  • 30. Abstract nouns are derived from verbs and adjectives by using a determiner with them: leta, short; leta ya, shortness; fuńi, begin, fuńi ya, beginning.
  • 31. Abstract nouns are derived from other nouns with the suffix -ni: brother, foili; brotherhood, foilini.
  • 32. Nouns naming a person characterized by an adjective are formed with the word fio, person: heǵue, young; heǵue fio, youth; liyu, old; liyu fio, elder.
  • 33. The agent of a verb is also formed with the word fio, person: ońata, sing; ońata fio ae, the singer.
  • 34. The instrument for performing the action of a verb is formed with the word ńai, thing: helu, cut; helu ńai ae, the knife.
  • 35. Nouns are formed from verbs with the addition of an adjective or a determiner: hili, laugh; hili vui, his laugh, his laughter:
Laughter came from the house.
U yiawe hili ya oi sita ae
PST come laugh INDF from house the
  • 36. Diminutives of nouns are formed with the prefix fu: yikiu, river; fuyukiu, stream.
  • 37. A noun may be specified as masculine or feminine by using the adjectives fimi and oyi respectively: ńimo, bird; fimi ńimo, cock; oyi ńimo, hen.
  • 38. Collective nouns are formed from nouns or adjectives by using the word weǵo, group: weǵo ae ńimo ya, the flock of birds; weǵo ae uli ya, the school of fish; weǵo ya rotu ya, an archipelago.
  • 39. Nouns may be used to modify other nouns; the modifying noun precedes the modified noun: ńihomi fuyukiu ae, the mountain stream.

Modifiers - Silila Hoǵo le 시리라 호코 레

  • 40. In Limli grammar adjectives, adverbs and determiners are classed together as modifiers.

Adjectives - Siliyo Hoǵo le 시리요 호코 레

  • 41. Adjectives are a class of words which qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified.
  • 42. Adjectives and determiners precede the nouns they qualify.
  • 43. The one degree of comparison, the comparative, is formed by reduplication: tiyu, big; tiyutiyu, bigger, biggest.
If the adjective has more than two syllables, only the last two are duplicated: heǵue, young; heǵueǵue, younger, youngest.
The standard of comparison follows the adjective. In comparisons than is translated by the preposition iu, with respect to:
He is younger than I.
Heǵueǵue vui iu ilo.
CMPR~young he than I
He runs faster than I do.
Eńi vui fawafawa iu eo.
run he CMPR~fast than I
I can run faster than he can.
Fia a eńi ilo fawafawa iu fia vui.
able run I CMPR~fast than able he
  • 44. The absolute superlative is formed by reduplication of only the first syllable.
He runs very fast.
Eńi fafawa vui.
run ASUP~fast he
  • 45. Negative comparison is formed with the adverb ańu, less: fisu, distant; ańu fisu, less/least distant.
  • 46. The comparison of equality is formed with the word tufa, as:
This flower is as red as blood.
Sawe tufa fefe ya fami ǵoili ae.
red as blood INDF this flower the
  • 47. Participles are a form of a verb that is used to modify a noun, noun phrase, verb, or verb phrase, playing a role similar to an adjective or adverb.
  • 48. There are two participles in Limli.
a. The present participle is formed by using the present form of the verb as an adjective: hio uli ae, the swimming fish. This also means "the fish is swimming". Context will distinguish and the form with the participle would have a predicate: The swimming fish was sick.
U ńivilu hio uli ae
PST sick swim fish the
b. The past participle is formed by using the past form of the verb as an adjective: u feyo kili ae, the sunken canoe.
  • 49. Nouns of material may be used like adjectives: ǵifo sita ae, the stone house.
  • 50. Word negation is indicated by the use of the prefix ta-: ohetu, happy; taohetu, unhappy.
  • 51. Adjectives denoting similarity, likeness or resemblance to what is named in the noun root (-ish, -like) are formed with the prefix sili-: ńimo, bird; silińimo, like a bird.
  • 52. Adjectives with the meaning without are expressed with the preposition eu, without: hetimi, hope; eu hetimi ya, hopeless.
  • 53. The adjective precedes the dependent verb:
I am happy to help.
Ohetu a leloi ilo
happy to help I

Determiners - Yeyete Hoǵo le 예예데 호코 레

  • 54. Determiners are a class of words that serve to express the reference of that noun or noun phrase in the context. They may indicate whether the noun is referring to a definite or indefinite element of a class, to a closer or more distant element, to an element belonging to a specified person or thing, to a particular number or quantity, etc.
  • 55. The singular definite article is ae and the plural is le. These are placed after the noun: sisu, woman; sisu ae, the woman.
  • 56. The singular indefinite article is ya and the plural is ye. It is placed after the noun: sisu, woman; sisu ya, a woman.
The indefinite article is also used when no other modifier is present:
Morning comes early.
Yiawe ńeifi yuili ya
come early morning INDFSG
Mornings come early.
Yiawe ńeifi yuili ye
come early morning INDFPL
  • 57. Numerals precede the noun in the absence of the definite article:
Three women are cooking.
Fomo feto sisu.
cook three woman
They follow the noun if the noun is preceded by or followed by a determiner:
These three women are cooking.
Fomo fama sisu ae feto
cook this woman the three
  • 58. The demonstrative determiners are, this; fama...le, these; and, that, lama...le, those: lama ńimo ae, that bird; fama ǵoili le, these flowers.
  • 59. The elective indefinite determiner is fafi, any.
  • 60. The assertive indefinite determiner is afi, some.
  • 61. The alternative determiner is afiyu, other.
  • 62. The distributive determiner is fihu, each.

Numerals - Yato le 야도 레

  • 63. Limli has an octal numeral system.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
ivi 이비 fovi 포비 feto 페도 fińe 피께 ǵia 키아 eme 에메 yufo 유포 kimo 기모
  • 64. The numerals 9-15 are formed by suffixing the proper cardinal to kimo, eight: eight + one, etc..
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
kimoivi kimofovi kimofeto kimofińe kimoǵia kimoeme kimoyufo
  • 65. The numerals 16-64 are formed by prefixing the proper cardinal stem to kimo, eight: two eight's, etc..
16 24 32 40 48 56 64
fovikimo fetokimo fińekimo ǵiakimo emekimo yufokimo kimokimo
  • 66. Additional numbers are formed by adding the needed number to the cardinal stem: fovikimoivi, 2 8's + 1, 17; ǵiakimofeto, 5 8's + 3, 43.
  • 66. Compounds of 64 can be made by prefixing the proper cardinal stem to kimokimo: fovikimokimo, 2x8x8, 128, but the Limli very rarely need to count that high.
  • 67. The ordinals are made by prefixing fo- to the cardinal stem: fofovi, second; fofovikimokimo, 128th.
  • 68. The adverbial numbers are formed with the word lu, time : ivi lu, once; kimo lu, eight times (v. #29).

Adverbs - Fulini Hoǵo le 푸리니 호코 레

  • 70. Adverbs are a class of words that modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a determiner, a noun phrase, a clause, or a sentence. They typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc.
  • 71. They have the same form as the adjective, but follow the verb they modify: fehi lima ae, the brave man;
He acted bravely.
U ńiyu fehi vui
PST act brave he
  • 72. The comparative of these adverbs is formed in the same way as for adjectives; fehi, bravely; fehifehi, more bravely.

Pronouns - Wusu Hoǵo le ᆍ수 호코 레

  • 73. Pronouns are a class of words that substitute for a noun or noun phrase. There are seven types of pronouns in Limli.
  • 74. The personal pronouns have only the one form which is used for the subject, the object and the possessive.
  Subject Object Adjective
ilo I me my
hea you (sg.) you your
vui he, she, it him, her, it his, her, its
ńile we us our
hele you (pl.) you your
tile they them their
  • 75. There are three interrogative pronouns: kiu, who; iyi, what; and ayai, which.
  • 76. There are no relative pronouns. Two independent clauses are spoken:
I have a friend who speaks Limli.
Yei ya i ilo. Wawe vui ui Limli wawe ae.
friend INDF of me speak he OBJ Limli language the
  • 77. The reflexive pronouns are translated by using the personal pronoun as both subject and object:
I hurt myself.
Siwi ilo ui ilo.
hurt I OBJ me
  • 78. The intensive pronouns are formed with the adjective suwe, self, placed before the pronoun:
I myself will go.
Ito suwe ilo
go self I
  • 79. The demonstrative pronouns are the same as the demonstrative determiners, famae, this; famale, these; lamae, that; lamale, those:
I want those.
Yuyu ilo ui lamale
Want I OBJ those
  • 80. The indefinite pronouns are made from the indefinite determiners:
fafi fio, anyone, anybody, fafi ńai, anything
afi fio, someone, somebody; afi ńai, something
liwa fio, no one, nobody; liwa ńai, nothing
ǵio fio, every one, every body; ǵio ńai, every thing
  • 81. There are no possessive pronouns; the concept is expressed with a possessive expression, i + pronoun:
This is your flower, that (one) is mine.
Fama ǵoili ae i hea lamae i ilo
this flower the of you that of me

Prepositions - Ńoi Hoǵo le 꼬이 호코 레

  • 82. Limli uses prepositions, a class of words that express spatial or temporal relations (in, under, towards, before) or mark various semantic roles (of, for).
  • 83. The prepositions are classed as either simple or compound.
a. Simple prepositions are single words:
The egg is on the mat.
Yalu ae ao siti ae.
egg the on mat the
b. Compound prepositions are composed of a noun and the particle ve:
Our village is near the mountain.
Lete ilo le lele ve ńihomi ae.
village we PL near PTC mountain the

Conjunctions - Yefe Hoǵo le 예페 호코 레

  • 84. A conjunction is a part of speech that connects words, phrases or clauses.
  • 85. In Limli there are three types of conjunctions.
a. A coordinate conjunction joins two or more items of equal syntactic importance:
My brother and I like coconuts and breadfruits:
Wali foili ilo na ilo ui muho le na hoto le.
like brother my and I OBJ coconut PL and breadfruit PL
b. Correlative conjunctions work in pairs to join two or more items of equal syntactic importance:
You will either eat your supper or go to bed.
Ǵiyi fumi hea ǵiyi filefe
either sup you or lie.down
c. Subordinating conjunctions join an independent clause and a dependent clause:
Although she is sick, she ate her breakfast.
Yilei ńivilu vui u ǵiwilo.
Although sick she PST eat.breakfast

Octal Table

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
ivi 이비 fovi 포비 feto 페도 fińe 피께 ǵia 키아 eme 에메 yufo 유포 kimo 기모
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
kimoivi kimofovi kimofeto kimofińe kimoǵia kimoeme kimoyufo fovikimo
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
fovikimoivi fovikimofovi fovikimofeto fovikimofińe fovikimoǵia fovikimoeme fovikimoyufo fetokimo
26 27 28 29 30 31 32
fetokimoivi fetokimofovi fetokimofeto fetokimofińe fetokimoǵia fetokimoeme fetokimoyufo fińekimo
34 35 36 37 38 39 40
fińekimoivi fińekimofovi fińekimofeto fińekimofińe fińekimoǵia fińekimoeme fińekimoyufo ǵiakimo
42 43 44 45 46 47 48
ǵiakimoivi ǵiakimofovi ǵiakimofeto ǵiakimofińe ǵiakimoǵia ǵiakimoeme ǵiakimoyufo emekimo
50 51 52 53 54 55 56
emekimoivi emekimofovi emekimofeto emekimofińe emekimoǵia emekimoeme emekimoyufo yufokimo
58 59 60 61 62 63 64
yufokimoivi yufokimofovi yufokimofeto yufokimofińe yufokimoǵia yufokimoeme yufokimoyufo kimokimo