Poswa irregular nouns

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Poswa has a very large number of irregular nouns. Some short nouns can change their entire stem; for example, vwi "wood" changes, in its essive case, to džol. Likewise, blem means "bottle", but the word for "my bottle" is mio.

Syncopating nouns

Most irregular nouns are syncopating nouns who drop a medial vowel that is present in the nominative form but not in any other forms. These generally end in a consonant in the nominative form, meaning that syncope is impossible. Some nouns behave differently in the possessive stem as compared to the oblique.

Nominative stem meaning Oblique stem 1st person
Possessive stem
fuvas spear fuffa- fuffo
piput honey pippo- pippo
wimas pillow wimma- wimpo
žašap birch tree žašpo- žašpo

Other irregular nouns

Some nouns are prone to syncope in their oblique form and forms derived from the oblique.

Syncope is not the only irregularity, however. Some nouns have other unusual quirks, and could be called the irregulars' irregulars. Some of them feature syncope in addition to their other changes.




The declension of baby "all, whole, entire" is below. This is an unusual word because, although it is considered a noun, it is almost always used immediately after another noun and therefore is seen as a modifier. Thus, it becomes unstressed. It thus has undergone the common sound change bVb ---> b in some of its forms but not others.

Note that this word is etymologically identical with the less common plural ending -by and with the pronoun baby meaning "we", but that the three words diverged long enough ago that the meanings have changed:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative baby babo babe baba babo
(Oblique) bo babo
Accusative bop babop babep babap babop
Locative bom babom babem babam babom
Possessive bos babos babes babas babos
Essive babi babi babul babel babi
Instrumental bub babub babi babob babub


The declension of bivibos "skin" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative bivibos bivibo bivibe biviba
(Oblique) bivibo bivibo bivibe biviba
Accusative bivibop bivibop bivibep bivibap
Locative bivibom bivibom bivibem bivibam
Possessive bivibos bivibos bivibes bivibas
Essive bivibi bivibi bivibul bivibel
Instrumental bivibub bivibub bivibi bivibob
Pisfufi bivibap bomby mabiub.
I covered all of her skin with soap.

This word is historically a compound meaning "soft skin", where the original word for skin was bivi and was compounded with bos "soft object". Thus, it became irregular as it inherited the irregular declension pattern of bos. Bos is no longer used as a standalone noun, but it can appear as a suffix on other nouns, sometimes with the simple meaning "soft" and sometimes with the extended meaning "skin, peel".


The declension of bis "substitute, replacement" is below. Note that this word, like baby, was originally an unstressed form of another noun; in this case, biris, which was first syncopated to bris and then simplified to bis. These were both regular sound changes for unstressed syllables, but not for stressed syllables:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative bis bebo bebe beba bebo
(Oblique) bebo bebo bebe beba bebo
Accusative bebop bebop bebep bebap bebop
Locative bebom bebom bebem bebam bebom
Possessive bebos bebos bebes bebas bebos
Essive bebi bebi bebul bebel bebi
Instrumental bebub bebub bebi bebob bebub

Note that the inflected forms of this word (that is, all but the nominative standalone form) do not have syncope, and thus retain the original /i/ as -e-, because another sound change happened first that removed the environment necessary for the syncope. Also, in some words, the sound change of bris --> bis did not happen, but these words decline the same way as the words ending in bis since the -r- had been removed in all of the inflected forms by another sound change anyway. Also, the full form of the word, biris, is still used as a word by itself, and it has a similar series of forms, the only difference being that the original -i- remains -i- instead of changing to -e-. Thus one can say

Bamba mumbebap pypembaba.
The baby is holding up her pacifier.


Below is the declension for blem "bottle":

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative blem mio mie mia mia
(Oblique) mia mio mie mia mia
Accusative miap miop miep miap miap
Locative miam miom miem miam miam
Possessive mias mios mies mias mias
Essive miel mie miul miel miel
Instrumental miob miub mie miob miob


Below is the declension for blub "milk":

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative blub blwo blwe blwa blwo
(Oblique) blwu blwo blwe blwa blwo
Accusative blwop blwop blwep blwap blwop
Locative blwom blwom blwem blwam blwom
Possessive blwos blwos blwes blwas blwos
Essive blwi blwi blwul blwel blwi
Instrumental blwub blwub blwi blwob blwub

Thus one can say:

Tus,₁ bom₂ blwe₃ miom?₄
Is that₁₂ your milk₃ in my bottle?₄


Note that another common, and very similar, word for milk exists: bub. Bub specifically denotes human breast milk.[1] The two words are related at a very deep level, as blub was long ago originally a compound with bub as its second element, despite the fact that blub has a wider range of meaning. The two declensions are exactly identical save for the presence or absence of the -l- in all forms. Below is the declension for bub "breast milk":

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative bub bwo bwe bwa bwo
(Oblique) bwu bwo bwe bwa bwo
Accusative bwop bwop bwep bwap bwop
Locative bwom bwom bwem bwam bwom
Possessive bwos bwos bwes bwas bwos
Essive bwi bwi bwul bwel bwi
Instrumental bwub bwub bwi bwob bwub

Thus one can say

Plefi!₁ Tus₂ nobellam₃ bufeba₄ bwul?
Whoa!₁ This₄ ice cream₃ is₂ made from your breast milk?



The declension of fefappo "metal; hard firm object" is below:[2]

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative fefappo fefappypo fefappype fefappypa
(Oblique) fefappwo
Accusative fefappwop fefappypop fefappypep fefappypap
Locative fefappwom fefappypom fefappypem fefappypam
Possessive fefappwos fefappypos fefappypes fefappypas
Essive fefappwi fefappypi fefappypul fefappypel
Instrumental fefappwub fefappypub fefappypi fefappypob
Puvapopi tallobi šaliašub fefappwiba.
I opened the door with my metal key.
Pwawam, swombyži potibemwop fefappwi.
Please, buy me the hard candy.




The declension of kuvar "asymmetrical sphere; irregularly shaped bubble" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative kuvar
(Oblique) kuvvo
Accusative kuvvop
Locative kuvvom
Possessive kuvvos
Essive kuvvi
Instrumental kuvvub



The declension of labal "bed" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative labal lablio lablie lablia lablo
(Oblique) lablo lablio lablie lablia labžo
Accusative lablop labliop labliep labliap labžop
Locative lablom labliom labliem labliam labžom
Possessive lablos lablios lablies lablias labžos
Essive labli lablie labliul labliel labži
Instrumental lablub labliub lablie labliob labžub
Lablies sentažwum boša.
Your bed's pillows are soft.



The declension of mimap "clumsy person, cripple" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative mimap mimpio mimpie mimpia mimpo
(Oblique) mimpo mimpio mimpie mimpia mimpfo
Accusative mimpop mimpiop mimpiep mimpiap mimpfop
Locative mimpom mimpiom mimpiem mimpiam mimpfom
Possessive mimpos mimpios mimpies mimpias mimpfos
Essive mimpi mimpie mimpiul mimpiel mimpfi
Instrumental mimpub mimpiub mimpie mimpiob mimpfub

This word is often used to denote someone with a disability. It originates from a term denoting something draped over a person, as if to imply that if that person could remove what was on top of them, they could be healthy again. Thus, mimap is often preceded by a word describing a disease or disability.


The declension of mipis "sweetheart, lover" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative mipis mipsio mipsie mipsia mipso
(Oblique) mipso mipsio mipsie mipsia mipšo
Accusative mipsop mipsiop mipsiep mipsiap mipšop
Locative mipsom mipsiom mipsiem mipsiam mipšom
Possessive mipsos mipsios mipsies mipsias mipšos
Essive mipsi mipsie mipsiul mipsiel mipši
Instrumental mipsub mipsiub mipsie mipsiob mipšub


The declension of mom "mom" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative mom mama mamap mamas
(Oblique) mio mamwa mamma
Accusative miop mamap mamwap mammap
Locative miom mamam mamwam mammam
Possessive mios mamas mamwas mammas
Essive mie mamel mamwel mammel
Instrumental miub mamob mamwob mammob

For auditory precision, the 3rd possessive forms are often replaced with the otherwise archaic mia- stem, which is the original regular stem of the word. Thus one can say

Mammas! Mias!
His mom's! His mom's!

The mama forms were originally a formal word, and mom was a familiar term, but the two partially switched places when Poswa changed its grammar somewhat and the words for "my mother", "your mother", and so on became three syllables long. For example, the mia above that survives as an alternate form was, at the time, *mugwaba. Mama came to take over because it was a noun of such an old type that it had effectively monomorphemic forms for its possessives, not needing to take a suffix such as -abo.


The declension of mum "nipples (dual)" is below:

Case Free Possessed
1p 2p 3p
Nominative mum vo ve va
(Oblique) miu
Accusative miup vop vep vap
Locative mium vom vem vam
Possessive mias vos ves vas
Essive miel vi vul vel
Instrumental miob vub vi vob

Because of their brevity, the possessed forms of this noun are convenient but can be easily missed in a conversation since the stem of the noun is reduced to a simple v-. They are also homophonous with several short words, although due to the grammar of Poswa, this does not often lead to confusion. Nevertheless, the possessed forms of this noun are often avoided in favor of using the compound noun mumblop "nipple eyes", or papom "breast nipples" (which declines in the same way as mum).




The declension of pamaš "winter" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pamaš
(Oblique) pampo
Accusative pampop
Locative pampom
Possessive pampos
Essive pampi
Instrumental pampub

Thus one can say

Swo, blob blubo nambvap pampos.
I sleep with my window open in winter.


The declension of pes "hands; hand (plural)" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pes pifo pife pifa pifa
(Oblique) pipa pifo pife pifa pifa
Accusative pipap pifop pifep pifap pifap
Locative pipam pifom pifem pifam pifam
Possessive pipas pifos pifes pifas pifas
Essive pipel pifi piful pifel pifel
Instrumental pipob pifub pifi pifob pifob

This noun does not normally take a plural suffix since it is seen as plural by default.

Pwopwa₁ pifas₂ plopum₃ pilabel.₄
The children₁ dipped₄ their hands₂ in the paint.₃

Note that the verb is intransitive and that the word for "their hands" is in the possessive case rather than the accusative.


The declension of pešaf "book, poem, work of literature" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pešaf pešio pešie pešia pešfo
(Oblique) pešfo pešio pešie pešia pešfo
Accusative pešfop pešiop pešiep pešiap pešfop
Locative pešfom pešiom pešiem pešiam pešfom
Possessive pešfos pešios pešies pešias pešfos
Essive pešfi pešie pešiul pešiel pešfi
Instrumental pešfub pešiub pešie pešiob pešfub

Thus one can say:

Pešiom₁ pwaefae!₂
You're sitting₂ on my books!₁

Note that this is an intransitive verb and that there is no object in this sentence.

Pešaf is a variant of the more common peššaf, which is regular. There is also another variant, pepaf, which declines the same way as pešaf.


The declension of pfop "hips (dual)" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pfop putšo putše putša putša
(Oblique) puwa putšo putše putša putša
Accusative puwap putšop putšep putšap putšap
Locative puwam putšom putšem putšam putšam
Possessive puwas putšos putšes putšas putšas
Essive puwel putši putšul putšel putšel
Instrumental puwob putšub putši putšob putšob

Note that this is the dual form of the word, not the plural, and thus is only used to describe one person's two hips.

Many of this word's forms collide with those of the unrelated word pwap "buttocks" (see below). The primary verb for walking, puwap, is originally derived from pfop, as one walks by moving the hips, but because of the collision, it appears equally proper to relate it to pwap "buttocks" instead. Indeed, pwap is also an acceptable variant form of puwap, as it has been reanalyzed.

For further clarity, fep "side" can be added to specify the hips, which turns the word into a regular noun. However, this is mostly done with the singular word for hip rather than the dual.

Note that Poswa uses the dual form in many cases where an English speaker would expect the singular:

Putšos mupawabub babužvabbi.
My hip measurement is seven hands.

Using the singular form puvos would be generally understood but would imply that only one hip was measured.


The declension of pfwu "diaper" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pfwu pfwo pfwe pfwa
Accusative pfwup[3] pfwop pfwep pfwap
Locative pfwum pfwom pfwem pfwam
Possessive pfwus pfwos pfwes pfwas
Essive pfwi pfwi pfwul pfwel
Instrumental pfwub pfwub pfwi pfwob

Thus one could say

Bwumbom₁ pfwem?₂
What's that₁ in your diaper?₂

The 2nd person possessed forms of this word collide with the free forms of the historically related word #pypae "hat". Though neither word is analyzed as a compound in modern Poswa, historically both were compounds, with the shared initial element indicating that hats and diapers are both articles of clothing worn to protect people from unwanted moisture. In modern Poswa, both pfwu "diaper" and pypae "hat" are used as standalone words, but compound forms such as plumpypae "rained-on hat" are not unknown. An example of an analogous form that is a synonym for diaper is pompwu. This word is difficult to translate into English morphemically because all possible English translations are euphemisms.

note, they would just use pfwupop.


The declension of piraf "goal, planned victory" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative piraf piffo piffe piffa piffo
(Oblique) piffo piffo piffe piffa piffo
Accusative piffop piffop piffep piffap piffop
Locative piffom piffom piffem piffam piffom
Possessive piffos piffos piffes piffas piffos
Essive piffi piffe pifful piffel piffi
Instrumental piffub piffub piffe piffob piffub

Note that piraf and pešaf do not follow similar patterns because the origins of their final /fʷ/ are different. Pešaf comes from Babakiam peišafu, and piraf comes from Babakiam pivafiu.

Note also that this word is often seen as the second element of the compound bespumpiraf which has the same meaning.


The declension of pobba "oak tree" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pobba pupo pupe pupa
(Oblique) pobba pupo pupe pupa
Accusative pobbap pupop pupep pupap
Locative pobbam pupom pupem pupam
Possessive pobbas pupos pupes pupas
Essive pobbel pupi pupul pupel
Instrumental pobbob pupub pupi pupob

Thus one can say

Pupopi bipempupebi.
I climbed up my oak tree.
Lypel pobbam pwabapaba.
The squirrel is hiding in an oak tree.
Pampeftio pobbel.
My arrow is made of oak wood.


The declension of pobbas "war" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pobbas pobbavo pobbave pobbava
(Oblique) pobbava pobbavo pobbave pobbava
Accusative pobbavap pobbavop pobbavep pobbavap
Locative pobbavam pobbavom pobbavem pobbavam
Possessive pobbavas pobbavos pobbaves pobbavas
Essive pobbavel pobbavi pobbavul pobbavel
Instrumental pobbavob pobbavub pobbavi pobbavob
Potibi pobbavas fub bibubbies.
I fought in the war against the spiders.
Bum pobbavopub waporbub!
Let us win our war!


The declension of pop "bathtub, bathing area; shower stall" is below:[4]

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pop poppo poppe poppa poppae
(Oblique) poppe poppo poppe poppa popfwe
Accusative poppep poppop poppep poppap popfwep
Locative poppem poppom poppem poppam popfwem
Possessive poppes poppos poppes poppas popfwes
Essive poppul poppi poppul poppel popfwul
Instrumental poppi poppub poppi poppob popfwi

Thus one can say

Bwumbebe₁ pwarbiep₂ poppem?₃
What did you do₁ to the bubbles₂ in the bathtub?₃


The declension of poppel "pen for writing, especially one made from a feather" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative poppel popfo popfe popfa
(Oblique) popfa popfo popfe popfa
Accusative popfap popfop popfep popfap
Locative popfam popfom popfem popfam
Possessive popfas popfos popfes popfas
Essive popfel popfi popful popfel
Instrumental popfob popfub popfi popfob


Poty can refer to either of two unrelated words in Poswa. One means "candy", the other means "soldier". Confusion does not usually present itself as the two meanings are very distinct. Both nouns are irregular and are irregular in the same way. They have been homophonous for more than 4000 years. Both are used primarily in compounds, either as the first or last element, although using them in free-standing form is not incorrect. The declension of poty "candy; soldier" is below:

Case Free Possessed
1p 2p 3p
Nominative poty popo pope popa
(Oblique) poto
Accusative potop popop popep popap
Locative potom popom popem popam
Possessive potos popos popes popas
Essive poti popi popul popel
Instrumental potub popi popub popob

This pattern would be considered regular if the noun were longer; the sound change /tʷ/ > /p/ is found regularly in longer nouns. However, in words of only one syllable, because the first syllable is always stressed, the expected change is /tʷ/ > /pf/. The discrepancy exists because the shorter form was generalized from compounds.


Pube is a stem-changing noun, like most nouns that end in -be. This is due to a very old sound change of /bi/ > /ž/ when followed by a vowel. The declension of pube "plant, plants in general" is below:

Case Free Possessed
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pube pužo puže puža
(Oblique) pube pužo puže puža
Accusative pubep pužop pužep pužap
Locative pubem pužom pužem pužam
Possessive pubes pužos pužes pužas
Essive pubul puži pužul pužel
Instrumental pubi pužub puži pužob

Thus one can say

Pubes₁ beblalio₂ rappa,₃ bubum?₄
What's₄ the name₃ for these plants₁ growing on me?₂


The declension of pumes "hip" is below. Pumes is a partly suppletive noun which also has a suppletive dual and plural form (listed separately):

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pumes puvo puve puva pumpae
(Oblique) pumpe puvo puve puva pumpe
Accusative pumpep puvop puvep puvap pumpep
Locative pumpem puvom puvem puvam pumpem
Possessive pumpes puvos puves puvas pumpes
Essive pumpul puvi puvul puvel pumpul
Instrumental pumpi puvub puvi puvob pumpi

Thus one can say:

Puvo puvapwop sapwel.
My hip opened the swinging door.
Puvo pamwiržom bavbažel.
My hip was injured by the wine glass.

Note that nonliving objects such as wine glasses are inanimate in Poswa, and thus cannot be the subject of a sentence even when they are in motion and would be considered the agent of the verb in languages such as English. Thus, a passive verb is needed. The sentence above translates literally as "My hip was injured on the wine glass," with the wine glass in the locative case.


The declension of pupu "round object" is below. Note that this word does not normally occur by itself, as it is homophonous with several other words.[5] Rather, it appears as the second element of various compounds:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pupu puppo puppe puppa
(Oblique) pupo
Accusative pupop puppop puppep puppap
Locative pupom puppom puppem puppam
Possessive pupos puppos puppes puppas
Essive pupi puppi puppul puppel
Instrumental pupub puppub puppi puppob

Note that the very common word pobby "wheel" uses this morpheme (technically, a related one) at the beginning of the word, rather than the end, and therefore does not follow this pattern of declension. Instead, it declines normally.


The declension of pwap "buttocks (dual)" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pwap pwatšo pwatše pwatša
(Oblique) puwa pwatšo pwatše pwatša
Accusative puwap pwatšop pwatšep pwatšap
Locative puwam pwatšom pwatšem pwatšam
Possessive puwas pwatšos pwatšes pwatšas
Essive puwel pwatši pwatšul pwatšel
Instrumental puwob pwatšub pwatši pwatšob

Note that this is the dual form of the word, not the plural, which is pres (which is also irregular) or prebum (which is regular).

Pintatšopi pwatšom pampam pebwebi.
I placed my ticket into my back pocket.

Note that only pwatšom "butt" is marked with a possessive suffix, because the possessive does not carry over to modifiers, even if they are semantically also possessed.

The free forms of the word, except for the nominative, are the same as those of pfop, the dual form of the word for hips. This has led to the verb for "to walk", originally derived from pfop "hips", to be reinterpreted as having been derived from pwap "buttocks" instead, as pwap was a more common word and the two stems were homophonous. More recently, that verb, originally derived from the accusative, has been reinvented as a nominative stem by analogy with most other verbs, which overwhelmingly build from the nominative. But it is the nominative form of pwap, rather than the original pfop, which is used. Thus in Poswa both pwap and puwap are verb stems meaning "to walk", and have no significant difference in meaning.


The declension of pypae "hat, cap, protection from rain" is below:

Case Free Possessed
1p 2p 3p
Nominative pypae pypo[6] pype pypa
(Oblique) pfwe
Accusative pfwep pypop pypep pypap
Locative pfwem pypom pypem pypam
Possessive pfwes pypos pypes pypas
Essive pfwul pypi pypul pypel
Instrumental pfwi[7] pypub pypi pypob

Many of the forms of this word collide with forms of #pfwu "diaper". The two words are related, as they both describe articles of clothing that protect the wearer from wetness. This has led to the neologism plumpypae, by analogy with plumpapa "umbrella". The second morpheme in plumpypae declines identically to pypae except that it loses its -f- in all forms in which it appears in pypae. Thus one hears

Plumpwepi swombebi.
I bought a hat.

However, some speakers prefer to switch the other morpheme out in place of pfwu itself, effectively making the word for hat into a word that means "rain diaper". This has the advantage of being a syllable shorter in the possessed forms. Since both forms are acceptable, an individual speaker can vary between one and the other in the same sentence, meaning that the resulting hybrid word has suppletive possessives.




The declension of sabas "man, adult male human" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative sabas sapšo
(Oblique) sapsa sapšo
Accusative sapsap sapšop
Locative sapsam sapšom
Possessive sapsas sapšos
Essive sapsel sapši
Instrumental sapsob sapšub




The declension of tos "capable" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative tos tatio tatie tatia
(Oblique) tato
Accusative tatop tatiop tatiep tatiap
Locative tatom tatiom tatiem tatiam
Possessive tatos tatios taties tatias
Essive tati tatie tatiul tatiel
Instrumental tatub tatiub tatie tatiob


The declension of tones "party, celebration" is below:[8]

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative tones
(Oblique) tonto
Accusative tontop
Locative tontom
Possessive tontos
Essive tonti
Instrumental tontub


The declension of twu "water" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative twu tšio tšie tšia two
(Oblique) two tšio tšie tšia tšio
Accusative twop tšiop tšiep tšiap tšiop
Locative twom tšiom tšiem tšiam tšiom
Possessive twos tšios tšies tšias tšios
Essive twi tšie tšiul tšiel tšie
Instrumental twub tšiub tšie tšiob tšiub

Note that most of the forms of this word collide with those of #twub "urine". Thus one should be careful using sentences like

Tšiopi bwurbub!
Let me drink my water!

Without being mindful of the pissibility of alternative interpretations. Nevertheless, just as Poswobs generally do not have a problem with mentioning potty problems in polite company, they do not find coincidences such as this as disturbing as most of their neighbors do, and have happily gone on using a word that means both "water" and "urine" for hundreds of years (in the much longer history before the recent sound changes, the two words were still distinct, as they still are in Pabappa). Nevertheless, when clarity is needed, other words can be pulled into use, such as rumu,[9] a synonym for water in general, or a compound with more specific meaning such as satwu "drinking water" or listwu "bathwater". There are some semantic differences here; for example, putting the two words in the locative case, twom means "wet", but rumom means "in the water", implying that the water is stably surrounding something.

On the other side of the divide, one can use a compound such as potwub "down-(flowing) urine" or replace the term entirely with a word such as pypo, which literally means water flowing downhill but has come to be used as another word for urine. Nevertheless, none of these terms have driven the tw- words out of their positions as the primary terms.


The declension of twub "urine" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative twub tšio tšie tšia two
(Oblique) two tšio tšie tšia tšio
Accusative twop tšiop tšiep tšiap tšiop
Locative twom tšiom tšiem tšiam tšiom
Possessive twos tšios tšies tšias tšios
Essive twi tšie tšiul tšiel tšie
Instrumental twub tšiub tšie tšiob tšiub
Tšie poppu, vwom waebwos.
My urine sample is ready for the lab.

Most of the forms of this word are identical to the forms in the same positions for #twu "water". This is a coincidence, as the two words are unrelated and are distinct in close relatives such as Pabappa, where the word for urine is wupur and the word for water is wap. The coalescence happened only a few hundred years ago, and although the Poswobs have alternate words available to express these concepts, they are generally pushed into use only when confusion could result. The situation is plain enough that it would be seen as strange to substitute one of the less-used words solely for the sake of euphemism.


Note that the corresponding verb forms are formed from the nominative, which is the only form wherein the two words differ. Thus, the verbs are distinct, and both are regular:

Sambvabiepi₁ tuwebi.₂
I watered₂ the flowers.₁
Žuftam šoššam twirebi.
I peed in the puddle on the floor.[10]





The declension of wiwi "tooth; sharp object; to blow forcefully" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative wiwi wiwio wiwo
(Oblique) wiwe wiwio wiwio
Accusative wiwep wiwiop wiwiop
Locative wiwem wiwiom wiwiom
Possessive wiwes wiwios wiwios
Essive wiwi wiwie wiwie
Instrumental wiwub wiwiub wiwiub
Tašepi₁ nabi₂ wiwiub.₃
I carried₂ the apple₁ with my teeth.₃
I need something sharp!

Note that the corresponding verb is regular.

Džopfabbiopi wiwibebi.
I blew on the candles.


The declension of wup "message, information, data" is below:

Case Free Possessed Attached
1p 2p 3p
Nominative wup wupio wupie wupia
(Oblique) wupwo wupio wupie wupia
Accusative wupwop wupiop wupiep wupiap
Locative wupwom wupiom wupiem wupiam
Possessive wupwos wupios wupies wupias
Essive wupwi wupie wupiul wupiel
Instrumental wupwub wupiub wupie wupiob
Wupiopi puvebe, pa?
Did you hear my message?


Nouns utilizing contracted forms of the membership infix -s-


Many nouns use contracted forms of this affix. For example, ta "human" does not become taso "I'm a human", but rather to. Thus, there exists a Poswa word with more morphemes than phonemes. However, this word is normally used as a suffix appearing at the end of a longer word such as sittuta "doctor". The necessary sound changes to make this contraction could not have happened in the standalone form, and were generalized from the much more common suffix form.

Most of these nouns are words for humans, since only humans could use the 1st and 2nd person forms of the resulting contracted verbs. However, some of the nouns that contract are words for animals, such as džimi "snail, slug":

Mapsipufos džimpa pummatšem batia.
My pet, a slug, is crawling up your leg.

Or even common inanimate objects such as wupe "book, learning resource". That is, someone writing a book on biology might title it something such as

Peppapa wa pubebum pupipum: Wupa
Animals and plants of the world: A book

Examples of nouns with membership contractions

Most nouns with membership contractions are those in which sound changes have silenced the -s- that normally marks membership in a class. Those that were irregular in other ways but retained the -s- tended to be quickly restored to a regular form. Words in which the bare form is obsolete in standard speech are marked in the left column with an asterisk; however, educated speakers may sometimes use them when context is clear.

Noun stem Meaning 3rd person form Notes
mapo girl mappa earlier maptsa --> mappsa --> mappa
pypub boy pypwa
ta human; agentive suffix ta Used almost exclusively as the agentive suffix in words such as sittuta "doctor"[11]
poty soldier potwa Not usually applied to the homophonous word poty meaning "candy".
wenub dead body wenta
piššop mouse piššopwa collides with theoretical verb "to mouse"
*sum dolphin sympa The bare form sum is not normally used in general discourse
sumpapapa dolphin sumpapapa sympa (see above) is more common
tama small boy tampa
taepe slave taepa
tabo mollusk, that which has a seashell tapwa this is a fossil word, using infixed -a- instead of suffixed -a
*uma woman umpa Not in dictionary; this word is rarely used in bare form
popa child, offspring popa Not used in the sense "child; young person", but rather only to indicate descendants
wembapop parent(s) wempa Membership contractions are independent of number, so the dual suffix -pop disappears
pwopol mature, elderly pwopa -pui > -pol, but -puis- > -pes- > -ps- > -p-
pipa toddler pipa behaves in many cases as a suppletive for pwopwa
pavy student, trainee, recently enlisted soldier panta originally regular; Babakiam pa niu ----> pavy, but pa nius ba --> panysa --> panisa --> pantsa --> panta
baemu nurse baempa This word might make more sense if it began with be-
*pib man, adult male human pipwa
wampa babysitter wampa Implies a teenage girl; however, sometimes used by small children for their teachers
pappi teenager (boy or girl) pappa
tae toddler tapa used primarily in the 2nd person
šyso[12] young adult (man or woman) šyssa
wupe book wupa
pisa young (said of animals) pissa
potta flower potta
šul fish šes An example where -s is preserved

In terms of address, membership contractions are so common that Poswobs have subconsciously selected for words that have them over words that do not. In some cases, the agentive suffix -ta has been added to words in order that they fit into this category. For example, the military ranks bapsata, sužata, and boprata were originally standalone nouns without the suffix -ta, in keeping with the terms for lower ranking soldiers such as poty and pavy, but because their phonetic shape did not allow them to change during the time when membership contractions were taking place, the speakers of Poswa added the -ta by mental association with other words and they therefore came to have membership contractions after all. Words ending with the suffix -ta are not listed above because they are considered to be accounted for in the entry for ta itself.

Use of terms of address

Poswobs of both sexes are more likely to use words for children to address others and to denote oneself than to describe third parties. This is largely because context allows a two-person conversation freer use of terms of address, including those that are not literally true.

In fact, one of the most popular terms of address for adults of both sexes is tae "toddler". This word is rarely used literally, appearing almost exclusively in membership words and in compounds such as taempom "playground, place where toddlers play". However, the word pipa, which also means toddler, is usually reserved for literal usage; calling out

Hey, kid!

Could turn the faces of nearly an entire room around, but someone who says Pipe! instead will draw the attention only of the very young.

The only commonly used words for adults, uma and pib, are both obsolete as standalone terms, rarely appearing outside of compounds. However, unlike tae, they are still commonly used for third-person address:

Pupsafos umpa kuva.
My female boss is sick.

Use of tense markers with membership verbs

Membership verbs, like other verbs, conjugate for tense as well as person. Thus one can say

Pipipies, pipepaži.
When I was a toddler, I was blonde.


blank noun table:


The declension of NOUN " " is below:

Case Free Possessed
1p 2p 3p


  1. And no, it's not a loan from English.
  2. Seems to rely on a double sound change, which is impossible. The expected outcome is actually fefappytos, etc.
  3. earlier pfwop
  4. This is /popʷ/, not related to pop "couple, double, twins". Previously wrote ;DELETE THIS. IT CHANGES FROM STRONG O TO WEAK O, AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH STRESS.
  5. This is actually a regular noun, although the declension pattern is found only in nouns ending in -pu. Also, this could possibly provide suppletion for pyp "insect", as that noun was found mostly as the second element of a compound, and in some compounds pupu ---> pyp anyway.
  6. From a previously existing pybžo. Normally, this would actually change to bybžo, but inflections that change the entire word are often analogized.
  7. If analogy kicks in. Previously, it would have been pfwu, which is also the word for diaper. But this collision would have happened more than 4000 years ago, so it would likely have been resolved at a very early date.
  8. Could be an error for tobwes. Since this is just ton with an infix, this word assumes the infix was regularized to treat -ui-- as a single unit, thus becoming a plain /e/ rather than /ʷe/.
  9. Earlier had umu, possibly a typo.
  10. However, it could be twurebi if we assume that the original form was retained instead of changing due to analogy with most other -ub verbs.
  11. Note that the theoretical standalone form of this would actually be pa, not *ta, because the earlier forms of these syllables were /psa/ and /tsa/, and Poswa had never allowed word-initial ts-, instead automatically replacing it with ps-.
  12. Help?! Where does this word come from?