Outer Poswob languages

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Outer Poswob languages (Poswob wawolpem papap) is the name given to languages native to the islands of Laba which are spoken by the ancestors of the Poswob people.

Grammar was of the same type as the very early Tapilula languages. That is, it had noun classifiers for both object and subject. It is impossible to say, for example, "the boat fell off the dock" since boats do not have verbs. Stated another way, putting "boat" in the nominative case would be interpreted by most Poswobs as referring to a person in the boat, although it does not have a specific defined meaning, rather being roughly equivalent to "boat man".

Thus sentences were quite long due to the repetition of prefixes. However, synthetic and suppletive forms of some prefix combinations existed, which reduced SOV sentences by two syllables. In the Tapilula branch, the prefixes were gradually replaced by infixes where the prefix was spelled in reverse; this counterintuitive change came about by analogy with certain reduplicated forms. These infixes still survive in Poswa and Pabappa, but have come to be seen as part of the verb and not removable. Below is a description of "POP3", the ancestor of all Outer Poswob languages, spoken around 3470 BC along the east coast of Laba.


The phonology is very simple compared to its parent language as there is only one coronal series instead of three and the voiced stops along with most of the fricatives are gone. However, the number of vowels has risen from three (/a i u/) to four (/a e i o/).

Consonants: p m f t n s l r č š k. /k/ is rare, thus the language is almost entirely free of dorsals. This is a pattern common in the (very distantly related) Poswob labnguages that emerged much later. POP3 shares with Poswa a preponderance of labial consonants, especially /p/, and propensity for consonants to become stronger over time instead of softer. Thus the parent language word /nafi/ changed into /toši/. Hwoever some sounds did weaken and die: /ṇafa/ "owl" become /poo/.

Vowels: a e i o. Few allophones exist, because the four vowels here emerged from the allophones of a much older system and were only recently merged into four. However, /o/ is the only back vowel and thus it has a wide height space dependent on the surrounding vowels. A mid-height /o/ is the pronunciation of the vowel in isolation. In an unstredded syllable, its heught matches that of the stressed vowel.

  • /e/ is a true /e/, unlike most surrounding languages where it is used for the schwa and the vowel system is more symmetrical. Schwa does not generally occur in POP3, even as an allophone, because in an earlier stage of the language all central vowels were either deleted or pushed to the front. Thus schwa tended to evolve into /e/.

Unlike the Tapilula branch of the family, POP3 /a/ is not immune from sound changes. Common vowel sequences are aa ai ao ia ii io oa oi oo; that is to say, /e/ mostly avoids vowel sequences. However, they still occur in compounds such as čeipa "horse ears".


  • popan lowland, coastal plain
  • poo owl
  • poo blood
  • messe fire
  • reki diaper, clothes
  • nala to love
  • tir ankle
  • po tree
  • raife pineapple
  • pomope leaf
  • lašin ant, crawling insect
  • čaifi house, cave, shelter
  • poppom boat
  • toši human
  • poši sword, weapon grasped in the hands
  • por pregnant woman
  • mo sun
  • ropi mountain
  • šiin buoy
  • ašifi key
  • foppon rabbit
  • asin spear
  • assa palm tree
  • possa palm tree
  • topim urine
  • čipfop seagull
  • rešes hand
  • fattom cactus
  • poppor carrot
  • ipa ear, ears
  • čelan fern
  • če horse
  • fif legs
  • ani lemon
  • iffe lobster
  • mommo nation, country
  • pi onion
  • fesef night, darkness
  • opo roads, traffic
  • fipop room, place where people gather
  • seppa table for eating
  • ra tongue


Compounds are head-initial, i.e. "ears of corn", unless one party is animate, in which case the animate partner goes first: "horse ears".


Proto-Outer-Poswob split apart around 6000 BC, and its people lived mostly in isolated mountain valleys even before the asteroid strike, which caused the language to split apart by the time of impact into several independent and, to the uneducated, seemingly unrelated language families. Nevertheless, the grammar of each POP family remained fairly similar, both to other POP languages and to their relatives in the lowlands (particularly to the east).


  • Haswaraba (not the actual name of the lnaughage, kust means "moon")