|Timeline and Universe:||Semiramis Universe, Post-Catastrophe|
|Total speakers:||c. 3,000 in 9 villages|
|Genealogy:|| Proto-Náŋifi Fasúxa
|Morphological type:||Isolating, Root-based|
|Basic word order:||V1|
Náŋifi Fasúxa (the Common Language) is the native language of the Pínaax (the People).
- 1 A Brief Note on the Syntax
- 2 A Brief Note on the Earliest Diachronics of the languages of Kámanu
- 3 Phonology, Morphology, and Phonotactics
- 4 Nouns, Adjectives, and Prepositions
- 5 Verbs and Adverbs
- 6 Indicative Sentences
- 7 Predicate Sentences
- 8 Interrogative Sentences
- 9 Imperatives
- 10 Conjunctions
- 11 Auxiliary Verbs
- 12 Numbers
- 13 Comparisons
- 14 Naming Practices
- 15 Future Developments
- 16 Links
A Brief Note on the Syntax
In the Post-Catastrophe universe, one of the features of various hominid races is particular violations of pre-Catastrophe Universal Grammar. In the case of the languages of Kámanu, this violation is a rigid V1 order regardless of other grammatical-syntactical restrictions. Náŋifi Fasúxa is a nominative-accusative language, tense-based rather than aspect-based, and strictly paratactic.
A Brief Note on the Earliest Diachronics of the languages of Kámanu
Nothing is known of the languages of pre-Catastrophe (c. 14000 CE) Kámanu.
In this document and other research notes on the languages of Kámanu, PNF, ONF, and NF indicate different stages of Náŋifi Fasúxa.
PNF indicates Proto-Náŋifi Fasúxa, the language spoken in the survival shelter and in the very earliest stages of emergence; at this stage the bisyllabic roots were self-segregrating from the monosyllabic suffixes. If the PNF singular and the plural were phonetically distinct, there is no trace of it in the writing system.
ONF indicates Old Náŋifi Fasúxa, the language spoken in the early day of reestablishing surface life and early expansion. The language acquired the necessary administrative terms for survival, but lost much of the more scientific terms used in the shelter. By this time, roots were trisyllabic, but an examination of the reduplicated forms (the primary grammatical innovation of this stage) shows that the speakers were analyzing the roots by the radical syllables..
NF indicates Náŋifi Fasúxa, the contemporary stage of the language (at least in the central of the nine villages). The roots have stabilized as trisyllabic, but the NF reduplicated forms, with one exception, show that they are analyzing the spoken syllables. The creation of autonomous villages and chieftainships and the movement away from the ONF conciliar structure, has resulted in the semantic shift of numerous roots, most notably, the use of workplaces to indentify persons.
Further research on the traditions handed down among the Pínaax about the Shelter family of languages has revealed that construction of artificial languages was a tradition within the Shelter to pass the time. Particularly popular was the "Game of Nine", in which the constructors could only use nine phonemes in constructing the artificial language. A further extension of the "Game of Nine" was "Nine to Nine," in which the participant derived a new artificial language from the previous one, but beginning and ending phoneme sets had to be identical. PNF was one such artificial language. The tradition holds that Náŋiix the Wise devised PNF to remedy the increasing numbers of homophones in his native tongue (if an artificial language can be deemed such). But these increasing number of homophones had to descend from a different language. What was this artificial language? A team of Transpositive Men from the caretaker administration of Kámanu, with the aid of the God-Men of Septuagint, decrypted and analyzed the logs of the Shelter in the generation preceding the appearance of PNF. Pre-Proto-Náŋifi Fasúxa (PPNF) had the same phonemes as PNF, but the diachronic changes indeed created a high number of homophones. Since the rules of "Nine to Nine" required that the participants make a record of their changes, researchers discovered the exact changes.
PPNF had a three vowel system and six consonants. The sixth consonant, represented as Q in the literature, seems to be a glottal stop as an onset and a velar nasal as a coda.
The first change was the disappearance of the sixth consonant (represented as Q).
- tumu < *tumuŋ 'dwell'
The second change was the reduction of the four vowel system to a one-vowel system, with concomitant palatalization and labialization of the consonants preceding the former high vowels.
- məmjə < *mami
- mwənə < *muna
- njənwə < *ninu
- pəpjə < *papi
- pwətə < *puta
- tətjə < *tati
- kəkjə < *kaki
- kwəmə < *kuma
- twəmwə < *tumu 'dwell'
Then the stops became fricatives if immediately followed by ə.
- fəpjə < *pəpjə
- sətjə < *tətjə
- xəkjə < *kəkjə
The combination of nasal and palatal became a palatal nasal.
- məɲə < *məmjə
- ɲənwə < *njənwə
The combination of nasal and labial became a nasal, but the reflexes were distinct.
- ŋənə < *mwənə
- ɲəmə < *ɲənwə
- twəŋə < *twəmwə
The combination of stop and labial underwent a similar process.
- kətə < *pwətə
- təmə < *kwəmə
- pəŋə < *twəŋə
The combination of stop and palatal became a palatal stop.
- fəcə < *fəpjə
- səcə < *sətjə
- xəcə < *xəkjə
In the final stage, the palatal consonants were depalatalized.
- mənə < *məɲə
- nəmə < *ɲəmə
- fəsə < *fəcə
- səsə < *səcə
- xəsə < *xəcə
- təmə < *kwəmə
- sə < *sa, *si, *su, *pi, *ti, *ki, *ta
- nə < *na, *ni, *mi
- mə < *ma, *nu
- ŋə < *mu
- pə < *tu
- tə < *ku
- kə < *pu
- fə < *pa
- xə < *ka
- ə < *Qa, *Qi, *Qu
This, then was the system in use at the birth of Náŋiix the Wise. He assigned vowels in a three vowel system as best he could, thereby breaking the "Nine to Nine" pattern, but some have suggested that he could have been more systematic.
Phonology, Morphology, and Phonotactics
The orthography of NF is deceptively simple. There are nine consonants (p,t, k, m,n, ŋ, f, s, x) and three vowels (a, i, u). There are many processes, however, that affect the surface pronunciation of NF.
NF roots consist of three C+V syllables, but the order of V and C can be CV or VC. In mathematical circles (the older layer of NF shows a surprisingly high level of deeply embedded mathematics) this is known as a series of unordered syllables. The order will in part determine whether the root is being used as a noun or verb; femine or masculine; singular or plural; basic, causative, reflexive/impersonal, or benefactive.
The trisyllabic structure of NF is further broken down into a root (CVCV) and a suffix (-CV). The first syllable of the root can be any of the twenty-seven possible underlying syllables on NF. The second syllable of the root can be any syllable except the immediately preceding one. The same rule applies to the suffix; suffixes, however, have meaning. If a suffix had the same C and V as the preceding syllable, it cannot be attached. In a different language, with a more extended bank of roots, this would not be a problem; NF, however, has such a paucity of roots, that the custodians of knowledge within the shelter, especially one whom the Pinaxa remember as Ŋaniix the Wise, devised a solution. The NF called suffixes 'tákaaf' 'endings'; this one, -ta, they call 'tákafa fasúsi', 'the reluctantly shared ending', If a NF root and a suffix have the same C and V, the Tákafa Fasúsi' replaces the regular suffix.
Every NF word has an underlying syllable with a high tone. The choice of syllable indicates whether the word is a noun or active verb;an adjective or passive verb; a preposition or adverb. If the high tone appears in the surface form, it will coincide with the stressed syllable. If the creation of a diphthong has changed the vowel that carries the high tone into a consonant, the entire word is low tone.
The three underlying can form long vowels and diphthongs. Two like vowel contract to a long vowel, although the high tone is only preserved if it is on the first mora of the long vowel. Unlike vowels combine in the following ways – any high tone vowel transforming into a semivowel loses the high tone; /ai/ [aj] ?au/ [aw], /ia/ [ja], /iu/ [ju], /ua/ [wa], /ui/ [ui]. The diphthongization process reduces many trisyllabic underlying forms to disyllabic surface ones.
Assimilation and Post-Tonic Voicing
In NF, the first consonant in adjacent consonants assimilates. Recently / ŋ/ [ ŋ] has become [ʔ] everywhere. /n/ [n] becomes [l] before another consonant. /m/ [m] becomes the homorganic nasal [m], [n], or [ŋ] before another consonant. The voiceless stops /p/ [p], /t/ [t], and /k/ [k]become [b], [d], and [g] before a nasal or [ʔ] (the assimilation predated the change of [ŋ] to [ʔ]). Likewise, the voiceless fricatives /f/ [f] , /s/ [s], and /x/ [h] become [v], [z], and [ɣ] before a nasal or [ʔ]. Word-final consonants, however, remain voiceless. Thus /kuŋa'ti/ is pronounced [ku.'ʔɛ.di] but /kua'ŋti/ is pronounced ['kwɛʔdi].
Post-tonic voiceless consonants become voiced. Thus the noun /fásuxa/ is pronounced ['fá.zo.ɣa], while the adjective /fasu'xa/ is pronounced [fa.'só.ɣa].
There are three different processes of umlaut in NF: i-umlaut, a-umlaut, and u-umlaut. The process only affect the ultimate and penultimate syllables of a NF word. I-umlaut raises /[a] to [ɛ]. U-umlaut raises [a] to [ɔ]. A-umlaut lowers [i] to [e] and [u] to [o]. Note the differences in surface pronunciation: /kuŋáti/ [ko.'ʔɛ.di] /kuŋáit/ [ko.'ʔajt] /kuáŋti/ ['kwɛʔ.di] /kuáŋit/ ['kwɛ.ʔit] /úkŋati/ ['ug.ʔɛ.di] /úkŋait/ ['og.ʔajt] /úkaŋti/ ['u.gɛʔ.di]/ /úkaŋit/ ['u.gɛ.ʔit]
When a NF word ends in a vowel and the next word begins in a vowel (quite common in the verbal system), the two vowels undergo dipthongization, but not umlaut.
Nouns, Adjectives, and Prepositions
The form of the noun in NF indicates gender (masculine/feminine) and grammatical number (singular/plural and collective/singulative). Nouns always receive stress on the initial CV syllable. The masculine singular or singulative has the form 'CV.CV.CV. To form the plural or collective, the order of C and V in the final syllable is reversed, resulting in the form 'CV.CV.VC. Thus /pínaxa/ ['pí.na.ɣa] “man, resident of Kámanu' becomes /pínaax/ ['pe.na:h] “men”. To form the feminine singular or singulative, the order of the C and V in the medial syllable is reversed, resulting in the form 'CV.VC.CV. Thus the word for “woman” is /pianxa/ ['pjal.ɣa] and “women” pianax ['pja.nah]. In cases where there is no obvious masculine/feminine distinction, the feminine often has a diminutive sense. Do not rely on that solely, however, because NF has a diminutive suffix on many masculine nouns.
The majority of NF nouns use singular/plural axis for grammatical number. The singulative/collective axis, however, is not uncommon. The singular indicates one of something. The plural indicates more than one. Nouns on the singular/plural axis take the singular as the basic form and the plural as derived. Nouns on the singulative/collective axis take the collective as basic and the singulative as derived. The noun /pínaxa/ is an example of the singular/plural axis. An example of the singulative/collective adjectives is /ŋúxauf/ ['ʔó.ɣawf] “firewood”. This is the citiation form which the language informants consistently provided. The singulative, /ŋúxafu/ ['ʔú.ɣɔ.vu], means “a piece of firewood”, The feminine forms are /ŋuaxuf/ ['ʔwɔ.ɣuf] “kindling” and /ŋuaxfu/ [ʔwɔɣvu] “a handful of kindling”. There is no overt marker for which nouns are collective, nor is there a strong masculine versus feminine preference in the collective nouns. One must learn them by rote. Adjectival agreement, however, sometimes indicates whether a noun is singular/plural or singulative/collective.
Adjectives in Náŋifi Fasúxa may be divided into two categories: quantifiable (Q) and non-quantifiable (non-Q). Q adjectives have their own intrinsic number and gender, while non-Q adjectives agree in number and gender with the noun that they modify. This section addresses non-Q adjectives. The Q adjectives will be addressed in the next section along with prepositions.
The form of the adjective in NF indicates gender (masculine/feminine) and grammatical number (singular/plural). Adjectives do not use singulative/collective grammatical number. Adjectives always receive stress on the medial CV syllable and follow the nouns they modify. Thus, using the noun /pínaxa/ “man” and /kuŋáti/ “great, big”, we derive the following phrases, agreeing in gender and number:
pínaxa kuŋáti ['pí.na.ɣa ku.'ʔɛ'.di] a great man
pínaax kuŋáit ['pé.na:h ko.'ʔájt] great men
pianxa kuáŋti ['pjal.ɣa 'kwáʔ.di] a great woman
pianax kuáŋit ['pja.nah 'kwɛ'.ʔit] great women
Agreement with the singulative/collective is more complicated. A collective noun takes a singular adjective; a singulative, however, can take either a singular or a plural adjective. The choice of singular or plural adjective creates slightly different meanings. While the phrase /ŋúxauf kuŋása/ can only mean “a small amount of firewood”, the phrase /ŋúxafu kuŋa'sa/ means “a small piece of firewood” versus /ŋúxafu kuaŋsa/ “small pieces of firewood”. Note that the distinction between /ŋúxafu kuŋása/ and /ŋúxafu kuáŋsa/ is only overt in the noun phrase.
Prepositions, Q Adjectives, and the Generic Preposition
NF uses prepositions, which are derived from nouns. The prepositions are accented on the final syllable; thus they have the possible forms CV.CV.'CV, CV.CV.'VC, CV.VC.'CV, or CV.VC.'VC. They do not agree in gender and number with either noun, although the “masculine singular form” is rarer than the three other forms, which have disyllabic surface forms.
They agree with the noun which the prepositional phrase modifies in gender and number, but not with the object of the preposition. Thus:
páŋasa kaanúp múfaxa ['pá.ʔa.za kɔ:.'núp 'mú.va.ɣa] the house above the village
páaŋas kaaníx múfaxa ['pá:.ʔas kɛ:.níh 'mú.va.ɣa] the huts below the village
Q adjectives have intrinsic gender and number and therefore cannot be made to agree with the nouns they modify. NF has a generic preposition (GP), /ŋafinú/or /ŋaifnú/; the form varies among the nine villages. In rapid speech, the GP is often shortened to /nú/ Thus:
tíŋaif ŋaifnú puamfa ['te'.ʔajf ʔɔjv.'nú 'pwam.fa] my (fsg) sons
Pronouns are subset of nouns, and therefore inflect for gender and number. The gender and number is derived from the noun which they replace; pronouns, unlike adjectives, agree in form with nouns on the singulative/plurative axis. There are three grammatical persons in NF: first, second and third (he, she, it). There are three basic pronominal roots
ŋásiup they (masculine)
ŋáisup they (feminine)
nátufi you (masculine singular)
nátuif you (masculine plural)
náutfi you (feminine singular)
náutif you (feminine plural)
púmafa I (masculine)
púmaaf we (masculine)
puamfa I (feminine)
puamaf we (feminine)
In addition to these three pronouns, there are five other personal pronouns referring to relative rank of the speaker and the addressee or irrelevance thereof:
púmapu me (higher rank than addressee)
púmaxi me (lower rank than addressee)
púmasu me (no rank reference; often used affectionately)
nátupu you (higher rank than speaker)
nátuxi you (lower rank than speaker)
nátunu you (in general; often used contemptuously)
Verbs and Adverbs
Verbs and adverbs in NF have VC in the initial syllable. Verbs do not agree in gender or number with the subject or direct object of the clause.
Active verbs are accented on the initial syllable. The inversion of the consonant-vowel order in the medial and final syllables, however, does not indicate number and gender, as it does in the noun system; the alternations in the verbal system are derivational.
The basic form of the active verb is 'VC.CV.CV. Thus in the sentence /ápkaxu atkamí púmafa ŋúxuku/ “I washed the tool”, /ápkaxu/ means “wash”, /púmafa/ is the subject, and /ŋúxuku/ is the direct object.
The causative form of the active verb is 'VC.CV.VC. In the sentence /ápkaux atkaim púmafa pianxa/ “I caused the woman to wash”, /ápkaux/ means “cause to wash”, /púmafa/ is the subject, and /pianxa/ is the direct object.
The reflexive form of the active verb is 'VC.VC.CV. In the sentence /ápakxu atakmí púmafa/ “I washed myself”, /ápakxu/ means “wash oneself”and /púmafa/ is the subject.
The benefactive form of the active verb is 'VC.VC.VC. In the sentence /ápakux atakim pu'mafa pianxa/ “I washed (something) for the woman”, /ápakux/ means “ wash (something) for someone”, /púmafa/ is the subject, and /pianxa/ is the direct object.
An active verb may function as an active participle after a noun. Thus:
páŋaas úŋxauk ['pá.ʔa:s 'óʔ.ɣawk] the burning houses
pianxa átamxi ['pjal.'ɣá:tɛŋ.xi] the women who are descending
The active participle may not be used as a substitute for the equivalent nouns. Thus there is a difference between:
táamxi ['tɛ:ŋ.ɣi] the descending one (feminine plural) vs. pianxa átamxi ['pjal.'ɣa.tɛŋ.ɣi] the woman who is descending
Passive verbs are accented on the medial syllable. The alternations in the verbal system are derivational.
The basic form of the passive verb is VC.'CV.CV. Thus in the sentence /apkáxu atkamí ŋúxuku (púmafa)/ “The tool was washed (by me)”, /apkáxu/ means “wash”, /púmafa/ is the subject, and /ŋúxuku/ is the subject, and /pu'mafa/ is the agent. .
The causative form of the passive verb is VC.'CV.VC. In the sentence /apkáux atkaim pianxa ŋúxuku/ “The woman was made to wash the tool (by me)”, /apkáux/ means “be made to wash” /pianxa/ is the subject, and / ŋúxuku/ is the direct object.
The reflexive form of the passive verb is VC.'VC.CV. Since a passive is formed by deleting the subject of the active verb and promoting the object to subject position, the passive of the reflexive deletes both subject and object, since they are the same. The NF reflexive of the passive, therefore, is used as an impersonal verb. Thus /akámku atakmí/ means “There was a gritstorm”.
The benefactive form of the passive verb is VC.'VC.VC. In the sentence /apákux atakim pianxa púmafa/ “For the woman (the tool) was washed by me”, /apákux/ means “ For someone (something) was washed by me”, /pianxa/ is the subject, and /púmafa/ is the direct object..
A passive verb may function as a passive participle after a noun. As with the active form, the passive participle is strictly adjectival. Thus:
páŋaas uŋxáuk ['pá.ʔa:s uʔ.'háwk] the burnt houses
There is no nominal equivalent of the passive participle.
Reduplication of NF verbs involves the addition of a consonant as the onset of the initial syllable. The basic active and causative active forms affix the consonant of the second syllable to the vowel of the first syllable; thus /ápkaxu/ and /ápkaux/ become /kápkaxu/ and /kápkaux/. The reflexive and benefactive active forms affix the consonant of the first syllable to the vowel of the first syllable; thus /ápakxu/ and /ápakux/ become /pápakxu/ and /pápakux/. The basic passive and causative passive forms affix the consonant of the third syllable to the vowel of the first syllable; thus /apkáxu/ and /apkáux/ become /xapkáxu/ and /xapkáux/. The impersonal (reflexive passive) and benefactive passive affix the consonant of the second syllable to the vowel of the first syllable; thus /akámku/ and /apákux/ become /makámku/ and /kapákux/.
The Verbs "To Be"
The verbs “to be' are an anomaly in Náŋifi Fasúxa. They behave like preposed adjectives, agreeing in number and gender with the subject of the clause. Since they contain a time reference, they do not require a temporal adverb. They only have active forms. The three basic verbs “to be” are átkami, ítŋafi, and íxpunu, past, present, and future respectively. These are the active verbal forms of the temporal adverbs. Thus:
átkami tákaxu ['át.kɛ.mi ,tá.gɔ.ɣu] he was an elder
ítaŋfi táakxu ['í.tɛʔ.vi 'tɔ':gɣu] she is an elder
íxpuun tákaux ['íh.pu:n 'tá.gawh] they (mpl) will be elders
Adverbs are accented on the final syllable. They agree in syllable structure with the verb they modify. The chief adverbs are the temporal participles atkamí (past), itŋafí (present), and ixpunú (future). Just as adjectives follow the noun they modify, so too do the adverbs follow the verb.
átmaxi atkamí pianxa the woman descended
átmaxi itŋafí pianxa the woman descends
átmaxi ixpunú pianxa the woman will descend
Adverbs may modify adjectives, including active and passive participles.
páŋasa kuŋáti ukŋatí the very big house
páŋasa úŋxaku ukŋatí the great burning house
túnasi uŋxáku ukŋatí the big burned stone
The order of adverbs after the noun is descriptive, then numerals, and finally demonstratives.
Basic Indicative Active
An affirmative basic indicative active sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Subject + Object..
ánŋixi ixpunú náŋixa náŋiti the village crier will berate the teacher
A negative indicative active sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Negative Adverb + Subject + Object.
ánŋixi ixpunú aŋsixí náŋixa náŋiti the village crier will berate the teacher
Causative Indicative Active
An affirmative causative indicative active sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Subject + Indirect Object (+Causee)
ánŋiit atkaim náŋiti xipuax (púmaŋa) the teacher taught (caused to know) the children the skill.
Reflexive Indicative Active
An affirmative causative indicative active sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Subject + Reflexive Pronoun ŋásifa
ínixfu atakmí múfaxu ŋásifa the chief smelled himself.
Benefactive Indicative Active
An affirmative benfactive indicative active sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Subject + Beneficiary (+Direct Object)
aníŋit atakím náŋiti xipuax (púmaŋa) the teacher taught the children the skill.
Basic Indicative Passive
An affirmative indicative passive sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Object + Agent (of Passive Verb)
anŋíxi ixpunú náŋiti náŋixa the teacher was berated by the village crier
A negative indicative passive sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Object + Agent (of Passive Verb) anŋíxi ixpunú aŋsixí náŋiti náŋixa the teacher was not berated by the village crier
Causative Indicative Passive
An affirmative causative indicative passuve sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Indirect Object + Subject (+Causee)
anŋíit atkaim náŋiti xipuax (púmaŋa) the children were taught (the skill) by the teacher.
An affirmative causative indicative active sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Indirect Object + Subject + (+Causee)
iníxfu it stinks.
Benefactive Indicative Passive (Anti-Benefactive)
An affirmative benfactive indicative active sentence in Náŋifi Fasúxa has the following construction: Verb + Temporal Adverb + Beneficiary + Subject (+Direct Object)
aníŋit atakím náŋiti xipuax (púmaŋa) the children were taught the skill by the teacher.
Náŋifi Fasúxa predicate sentences have the structure Verb + Predicate Adverb + Subject or Verb + Predicate Noun + Subject. The verb in predicate sentences is the verb "to be". Thus:
ítaŋfi akansá páaŋsa a hut is circular
ítŋafi páŋasa kuŋása páaŋsa a hut is a small house
Náŋifi Fasúxa sentences with a predicate adverb can drop the verb. This only works for tenseless (and often gnomic) statements. It is important to note that this adverbial transformation only works for adjectives, not nouns or noun phrase.
akansá páaŋsa a hut is circular
Strictly speaking, Náŋifi Fasúxa has no interrogatives (a vanishingly rare but attested custom on pre-Hegemonic Earth). The construction of a yes/no question is the same as an ordinary declarative sentence; the interrogative sense comes from context. If the answer to the question is negative, it can easily be denied; if the answer is positive, the question is as much a statement as a question. Thus:
úŋxauk itŋaif páŋaas are the houses burning?
úŋxauk aŋsiix itŋaif páŋaas are the houses burning?
For who/what questions, the indefinite pronouns ŋásixu (somebody) and ŋásinu (anybody) are inserted into the interrogative sentence.
úŋxaku atkamí ŋásixu páŋaas who burned the huts?
uŋxáku atkaim páŋaas ŋásinu by whom were the houses burned?
The Náŋifi Fasúxa imperative is the bare stem of the verb. Thus one might say
The negative form adds the negative adverb to the bare stem. Thus one can say,
ínxipi aŋsixí' don't speaks!
The grammatical person of the imperative is inherently second person. The syntax of a complete imperative sentence is thus: Verb (+ Negative Adverb, if any) + Vocative + Patient. Negative and affirmative examples follow:
ínxipi aŋsixí ŋítaif sisters, do not speak!
úmfasa xípufi (ŋaif)nú puampu tákafi (ŋaif)nú nátufi (said by a mother) my son, obey your father!
There are no true conjunctions in Náŋifi Fasúxa, since the language is entirely paratactic (but it does love its adverbs!). If coordination is necessary, specific adverbs are placed after the canonical temporal and negative adverbs. Even when a coordinating conjunctive adverb is present in a sentence, the sense of conjunction is closer to a semi-colon rather than a comma. The temporal conjunctive adverbs fit a seven-point scale of time, based on the words for days; from the farthest past these are: atkatí (before) - atkasú (before) - atkasá (before) - itŋasá or itŋasú(when/now) and itŋafá (now/while) - ixpusá (after) - ixpusú (after) - ixputí (after). The adverb "where" is either antuxú or antuxá.
Interrogative Conjunction Displacement
All of the adverbs meaning “before”, “when”, “now”, “while”, or “after” can be used as an interrogative "when?" in the appropriate context – in these case, the conjunction takes the place of the temporal adverb if the temporal adverb agrees with the the anteriority or posteriority of the interrogative conjunction. Thus, itŋasá or itŋasú may substitute for the temporal adverb itŋafí, but not the past temporal adverb atkamí or the future temporal adverb ixpunú. In those cases, the the interrogative conjunctional adverb comes after the temporal adverb and the negative adverb, if present, but before the first noun of the sentence.
Auxiliary verbs (want to, be able to, be ready to) precede the main verb of a NF sentence.
útanfi utanxá itaŋfí pianxa ŋúxauf.
"The woman will collect firewood"
In contrast, the sentence (with a future temporal adverb and the two possible verbs reversed)
útanfi ixupnú utanfí pianxa ŋúxauf
means “The woman will collect firewood readily (with the appropriate tools).”
As of this writing, only three NF numbers have been identified: ŋáfisu (one), táfusu (two), and fáputu (three); the Pínaax appear to prefer relative quantity (much, few) over absolute quantity (one, two, three) in speaking. Note that the number used as an independent count noun is masculine singular. A cardinal number agrees with its noun in number and gender, as all non-Q adjectives agree. An ordinal number is a Q adjective, and therefore uses a preposition. A distributive number other than "one" uses a prepositional construction and /ŋafisú/ as a preposition. Similarly, /tafusú/ means “two by two” A singular distributive number ("individually, each one") uses reduplication. Thus:
páŋasa ŋafísu one house, a house
páŋaas fapúut three houses
páŋasa ŋafinú ŋáfisu the first house
páŋaas ŋafinú fáputu the third house
páŋasa ŋafisúsu each house
páŋaas ŋafisú fáputu every third house
The proper way to form comparisons in Náŋifi Fasúxa is by placing two or more sentences next to one another. [kuŋati' greater than kuŋasa' less than]
úŋxasa itŋafí tíŋasu. úŋxasa atkamí aŋsixí tákati.
Today it is warm. The day before yesterday it was not warm.
Today is warmer than the day before yesterday.
ukŋatí múfaxu pumapú púmaup. úkŋati itŋafí aŋsixí múfaux ŋásiun.
Our (mpl) chief is great. Any (other) chief is not great.
Our (mpl) chief is the greatest.
NF names need not have any significance beyond personal identification, but for names that are or seem to be legitimate roots (nominal or verbal), the number and gender does matter. Thus Natuni and Antuni are percieved as masculine, and Nautni and Anutni as feminine. Within one's own village, a Pínaxa or Pianxa will generally use a single-word name. If he (or she) visited a different village, he will generally use the name of his village or some other geographical designation. If there is a need to identify a lineage, or a distinct benefit to doing so, the Pínaxa may choose a patronymic, a matronymic, the name of a close relative, a loosely defined clan name, or a line of apprenticeship. Thus "Kuisfi Káitni" is the "[the woman] Kuisfi, [female relative/female apprentice] of Káitni", while "Kuisfi Káitin" is the "[the woman] Kuisfi, [female relative/female apprentice] of [the blood or craft lineage of] Káitni [or the Káitin 'guild']". Note that the genitive relationship of the two names here does ""not"" use the genitive prepositional construct. Its use in a NF name would be pretentious, even for the most exalted chief. Such use is typical of ONF names, but the genitive prepositional construct has lost that sense in NF.
[ai] > [e:]
[au] ? [o:]
[ia] > [æ:]
[iu] > [ʉ:]
[uɒ] > [ɔ:]
[ui] > [y:]
[i(:)] > [e(:)]
[u(:)] > [o(:)]
[y:] > [ø:]
[ʉ:] > [ɵ:]
[u(:)] > [y(:)]
[ɐ(:)] > [ɛ(:)]
[o:] > [ø:]
[ɔ:] > [œ:]
[ʉ:] > [y:]
[i(:)] > [ɨ(:)]
[y:] > [ʉ:]
[e:] > [ə:]
[ɐ:] > [ə:]
[ɐ] > [ɜ]
[ɐ] > [œ]