Siye Syntax

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Basic Intransitive

The dominant and neutral intranstive word order in Siye is SV, in which the verb is a yi-conjugation verb. The subject prefix and number suffix agree with the subject of the clause. Note that /3/ indicates the third animate pronoun, while /4/ indicates the inanimate pronoun. If the subject is a pronoun, it may be dropped, since the relevant information is already encoded on the transitive verb.

Layelo itulosuna. Ilo itulosuna. Itulosuna.
laye-lo-0 i-tu-lo-su-na. il-lo-0 i-tu-lo-su-na i-tu-lo-su-na
woman-PL-ABS 3-move.PFV-PL-D4-P2 3-PL-NOM 3-move.PFV-PL-D4-P2 3-move.PFV-PL-D4-P2
The women left. They left. They left.

Basic Transitive

A basic clause with a transitive verb is SOV and uses a yi-conjugation verb. Although the agreement of the subject and object pronoun prefixes is nominative, the alignment of the number suffix is dependent on the aspect of the verb. If the verb is imperfective, the number suffix agrees with the Subject. If the verb is perfective, the number suffix agrees with the Object.

Layekesoya yetelo eyuluwesoma. Layekesoya yetelo eyuluwelona.
layeke-so-ya yete-lo-0 e-i-uluwe-so-ma. layeke-so-ya yete-lo-0 e-i-uluwe-lo-na
Girl-DU-ERG seed-PL-ABS 4-3-find-DU-P1 Girl-DU-ERG seed-PL-ABS 4-3-find-PL-P2
The two girls will find the seeds.. The two girls found the seeds.

If there is a pronoun as Subject or Object, and that pronoun is the one indexed by the number suffix, that pronoun may be omitted from the clause.

(Iso) yetelo eyuluwesoma. Layekesoya (elo) eyuluwelona.
(i-so-0) yete-lo-0 e-i-uluwe-so-ma layeke-so-ya (e-lo-a) e-i-uluwe-lo-na
(3-DU-NOM) seed-PL-ABS 4-3-find-DU-P1 Girl-DU-ERG (4-PL-ACC) 4-3-find-PL-P2
Both of them will find the seeds. The two girls found them (inanimate plural).

Indefinite Constructions

The construction with the indefinite pronoun (which can be animate or inanimate but is always Nominative rather than Ergative) as Subject or Object is also transitive. It is forbidden for both Subject and Object to be indefinite. Indefinite Subjects or Objects are singular by default, but may take non-singular number suffixes when appropriate. The pronoun indexed by the number suffix on the verb may be dropped.

Mukasaputamkima. Pelo (mu) mupeyopunanumo?
mu-kasa-tam-ki-ma pe-lo-0 (mu-a) mu-pe-yo-pu-na-na-umo
INDEF-be.cold/polar-CONT-D1-P1 2-PL-NOM (INDEF-ACC) INDEF-2-eat.PFV-SG-D2-P1-Q.POS
It is cold. Have you eaten something?
(Muke) susumsuyamso imulikesumhulunuma. Susumsuyamso imulipusumhulunuma. Iso imulipusumhulunuma.
(mu-ke-0) susumsuyam-so-0 i-mu-li-ke-sum-ulu-nu-ma susumsuyam-so-0 i-mu-li-pu-sum-ulu-nu-ma i-so-0 i-mu-li-pu-sum-ulu-nu-ma
Somebody will kill the two missionaries. The missionaries will be killed. They will be killed.

Definite Constructions

The pronoun prefix /me/ (also both animate and inanimate) is definite rather than indefinite. Unlike /mu/, the prefix is related to an demonstrative adjective rather than a noun. This prefix may not be used in the initial clause of a discourse. The prefix /me/ must refer to a definite entity previously referred to in the discourse and the number suffix must agree with the previous entity. Furthermore, this entity must not only be either the Subject or Object of the current clause, but also the Subject or Object of the preceding clause. Since a sentence which contains the noun phrase in which the definite adjective /me/ modifies the noun would use the third and fourth person pronoun prefixes on the verb, a transitive statement which contains the pronoun prefix /me/ must be SV in the imperfective and OV in the perfective.


This one was cold.


Le meleyemlona. (*Le melekopuma) Susumsuyamlo imelikesumnuma.
le-0 me-le-yem-lo-na susumsuyam-lo-0 i-me-li-ke-sum-nu-ma
1-NOM DEF-1-see.PFV-PL-P2 missionary-PL-ABS 3-DEF-die.IMPFV-CAUS-D3-P1
I saw these things. These few men will kill the missionaries.

Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs are functionally intransitive (since reflexivity is a valence-decreasing operation) but morphologically transitive (since the reflexive pronoun prefix fill the object pronoun slot). The pronoun , therefore, may be dropped, and the subject prefix is the only slot that can change person.

Umhimupuna. Ummepipumesum …
um-i-mu-pu-na um-me-pi-pu-me-sum
He knew himself. If this person (previously mentioned) knows himself …

Constructions with Ablative

Comparison of Nouns

Comparison of nouns in Siye uses the ablative for comparative, locative for equative, and adverbial for the standard of comparison.

simate me simate umsasum ponuyamku ekimpukima. simate me simate umsakem ponuyamku ekimpukima.
simate me-0 simate umsa-sum ponuyam-ku e-kim-pu-ki-ma simate me-0 simate umsa-kem ponuyam-ku e-kim-pu-ki-ma
canyon DEM-ABS canyon other-ABL wide-ADV canyon DEM-ABS canyon other-LOC wide-ADV
This canyon is wider than that other canyon. This canyon is as wide as that other canyon.

Constructions with the Dative and Allative

A basic ditransitive sentence has the structure Subject + Indirect Object + Direct Object + Verb. The subject may be in the Ergative or Nominative Case, the direct object may be in the Absolutive or Accusative Case, and the indirect object may be in the Dative or Allative Case.

Basic Ditransitive

Layekeya nusu inetu nesakam emupusuna.
layeke-0-ya nusu i-ne-tu nesakam-0 e-i-mu-pu-su-na
girl-SG-ERG sibling 3-GEN-DAT letter-ABS 4-3-give/take-SG-D4-P2
The girl gave the letter to her brother.

Reciprocal Verbs

Reciprocal sentences use the reflexive verb with a dative pronoun in the same person and number as the subject of the reflexive.

Isotu umhikosoma.
i-so-tu um-i-ko-so-ma
They (two) see each other


Possession is indicated in Siye by the intransitive verb /kim-ki/. The possessed item or quality is placed in the absolutive case, the possessor in the dative case. If the tense is clear from context, Spoken Siye allows dropping the verb.

Letu layekeso ikimsokima. Letu layekeso.
Le-tu layeke-so-0 i-kim-so-ki-ma Le-tu layeke-so-0
1-DAT daughter-DU-ABS 3-be-DU-D1-P1 1-DAT daughter-DU-ABS
I have two daughters. I have two daughters.

Constructions with the Locative Cases

Locative sentences use the Locative Case, one of the locative cases, or a locative postposition.

Lupatekem umlo ikimlokima. Silinemtu laye siline ikimpukima. Sakipone tekim tupi tumke ekimpukima.
lupate-kem um-lo-0 i-kim-lo-ki-ma sili-nemtu laye_sili-ne-0 i-kim-pu-ki-ma sakipo-ne tekim tupi tum-ke-0 e-kim-pu-ki-ma
mountain-LOC person-PL-ABS 3-be-PL-D1-P1 house-INE maid-GEN-ABS 3-be-SG-D1-P1 lake-GEN above bird INDEF-PAUC-ABS 3-be-SG-D1-P1
The people were on the mountain. The maid was inside the house. The few birds were above the lake.

Comparison of Nouns

See Comparison of Nouns under Ablative

Indefinite Locatives

Authorized 2217

Indefinite Locatives are formed with the Locative Case -kem followed by an indefinite locative postposition. These postpositions are derived from the indefinite pronoun 'mu' in the Genitive Case followed by one of the new locative prepositions.

Example Translation Derivation
silikem munemkim at a house mune emkim
silikem munemsum from a house mune emsum
silikem munemtu towards a house mune emtu

Constructions with the Equative Case

Predicative Construction

Predicative phrases in Siye place the predicate in the Equative Case.

Laye me kumayampu ikimpukima.
laye me-0 kumayam-pu i-kim-pu-ki-ma.
man DEM-ABS chief-EQ 3-be-SG-D1-P1
This man is a chief.


If the object of the clause is fronted, the verb changes from yi-conjugation to ya-conjugation. The examples are drawn from above.

Basic Transitive Construction

Example Translation Notes
Layekesoya yetelo eyuluwesoma. Yetelo layekesoya ayuluwesoma.
Layekesoya yetelo eyuluwelona. Yetelo layekesoya ayuluwelona.
Yetelo layekesoya ayuluwesoma. Yetelo (isoya) ayuluwesoma. The same pro-drop rules that apply to the yi-conjugation also apply to the ya-conjugation.
Yetelo layekesoya ayuluwelona. (Ilo) layekesoya ayuluwelona.
Yetelo (isoya) ayuluwesoma. Elo (isoya) ayuluwesoma.
(Ilo) layekesoya ayuluwelona. (Ilo) isoya ayuluwelona.

Object-Fronting with Definite and Indefinite Prefixes

Impersonal verbs with /mu/ have already reduced the strength of one of the verbal arguments, and therefore do not participate in object-fronting. Verbs with the definite prefix /me/ can participate in object-fronting, although the distinction is not as strong; in this case, /me/ becomes /ma/.

Le maleyemlona. Susumsuyamlo yamelikesumnuma.
le-0 ma-le-yem-lo-na susumsuyam-lo-a ya-me-li-ke-sum-nu-ma
1-NOM DEF.ACC-1-see.PFV-PL-P2 missionary-PL-ACC 3.ACC-DEF-die-PAUC-CAUS-D3-P1
These things are what I saw. These few men will kill the missionaries.

Object-Fronting with Ditransitive Verbs

Object-fronting may occur with ditransitive verbs:

Tupiso le layeketu yaletomsosuna.
tupi-so-0 le-0 layeke-tu ya-le-tom-so-su-na
bird-DU-ABS 1-NOM 3-1-commerce-DU-D4-P2
The two birds are what I sold to the girl.

Fronting the Indirect Object

If the Indirect Object is fronted, the verb remains yi-conjugation and the word order changes to IOSV.

Layeke metu yetelo le iletomlosuna.
layeke me-tu yete-lo-0 le-0 i-le-tom-lo-su-na
girl DEM-DAT fruit-PL-ABS 1-NOM 3-1-commerce-PL-DIR.ABL-P2
That girl, she's the one to whom I sold the fruit.

Subject 'Backing'

If the Subject requires more prominence, the verb remains yi-conjugation, but the subject follows the verb, creating an OVS word order. Originally, the postponed subject had to be the subject or object of the following clause, but this restriction no longer applies as of 2192. As of 2230, the 'backed' pronoun and any accomaying suffixes have become part of the verb complex and therefore should be written as a single word.


Lesupuwisuma lam petampuwisuma.
le-su-pu-wi-su-ma le-am pe-tam-pu-wi-su-ma
1-move.IMPFV-SG-OBL-D4-P1 1-COORD 2-remain-SG-OBL-DIR.ABL-P1
'Tis I must go, and you must bide.


Yete iluluwepuma le.
yete-0 i-le-uluwe-pu-ma le-0
fruit-ABS 3-1-find-SG-P1 1-NOM
'Tis I who will find the fruit.


Layeketu tupiso iletomsosuna le. Neneka yiyokanana tupisoyam ...
layeke-0-tu tupi-so-0 i-le-tom-so-su-na le-0 nene-ka-0 i-i-yo-ka-na-na tupi-so-ya-am
girl-SG-DAT bird-DU-ABS 3-1-commerce.PFV-DU-D4-P2 1-NOM bug-PAN-ABS 3-3-eat.PFV-PAN-D2-P2 bird-DU-ERG-COORD
'Twas I who sold the two birds to the girl. 'Twas the birds that ate all the bugs.

Clause-Final Suffixes on Backed Nouns and Pronouns

As the forms /lam/ and /tupisoyam/ illustrate, the postponing of the subject results in clause-final suffixes affixing to the subject rather than the verb (but see above for changes in 2230). The explanatory suffix -ya is the most misleading of these.

Nusu laye imelo yikoputemu i. Nusu laye imelo yikoputemu iya ...
nusu laye i-me-lo-0 i-i-ko-pu-te-mu-i-0 nusu laye i-me-lo-0 i-i-ko-pu-te-mu i-0-ya
sibling female 3-POSS-PL-ABS 3-3-see.IMPFV-SG-VOL-P5 3-NOM sibling female 3-POSS-PL-ABS 3-3-see.IMPFV-SG-VOL-P5 3-NOM-EXPL
He does not want to see his sisters. … because he does not want to see his sisters.

Suffixation of Backed Subject Pronouns

A further development of subject-backing is the suffixation of the pronoun (nouns cannot be incorporated in this way). Most pronouns can be suffixed without a problem, but the third person pronoun undergoes some changes. If the third person pronoun i- is singular and therefore zero-marked for number, and is followed by the coordinative suffixes -am, -i- becomes -y-. If the the third person pronoun i- is singular and follows any suffix which begins with a consonants, -i- acquires an epenthetic -n-, becoming -ni-.


Nusu laye imelo yikoputemuyam ... Nusu laye imelo yikoputemuniyam ...
nusu laye i-me-lo-0 i-i-ko-pu-te-mu-i-am nusu laye i-me-lo-0 i-i-ko-pu-te-mu-ni-ya-am
sibling female 3-POSS-PL-ABS 3-3-see.IMPFV-VOL-P5-3-COORD sibling female 3-POSS-PL-ABS 3-3-see.IMPFV-VOL-P5-3-BECAUSE-COORD
He does not want to see his sisters and ... Because he does not want to see his sisters.


Pesusotekasumepesosum ...
if you two would like to go ...

Unaccusative and Unergative Verbs


In Siye, unaccusative verbs have the syntactic form of the reflexives, but the verb root is intransitive.

Layeke isupunuma. Layeke umhisupunuma. Tom umhisupunuma.
layeke-0 i-su-pu-nu-ma layeke-0 um-i-su-pu-nu-ma Tom-0 um-i-su-pu-nu-ma
girl-ABS 3-move.IMPFV-SG-D3-P1 girl-ABS REFL-3-move.IMPFV-SG-D3-P1 Tom-NOM REFL-3-move.IMPFV-SG-D3-P1
The girl will go down. The girl will fall. Tom will fall.


Unergative verbs place the indefinite pronoun in the object slot and the relevant personal pronoun in the subject slot.

layekeya musupoputuma. Tom musupoputuma.
layeke-ya mu-i-supo-pu-tu-ma Tom-0 mu-i-supo-pu-tu-ma
girl-ERG Tom-NOM
The girl runs fast. Tom runs fast.


To place emphasis on the verb, Siye uses the 'infinitive'. The Siye infinitive is formed by a prefix ke- and and a suffix -pe-. The prefix and suffix are invariable.

I nusu laye imelo kekopetemu.
i-0 nusu laye i-me-lo-0 ke-ko-pe-te-mu
3-NOM sibling female 3-POSS-PL-ABS INF-see.IMPFV-INF-VOL-P5
He does not want to see his sisters.

Suffixed Infinitive

A pronominal subject may be suffixed to the verb.

I nusu laye imelo kekopetemuni.
i-0 nusu laye i-me-lo-0 ke-ko-pe-te-mu-n-i
3-NOM sibling female 3-POSS-PL-ABS INF-see.IMPFV-INF-VOL-P5-n-3
He does not want to see his sisters.

External Reversal Markers (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

Certain Converbal suffixes govern polarity, aspect, or mood. If the clause requires the polarity, aspect, or mood ruled out by the converbal suffix, an external inversion marker (ERM) immediately precedes the verb. A verb with an ERM, therefore, lacks a ya-conjugation.

to - Polarity

kulu - Aspect

nekem - Mood

Causative Construction

The causative construction in Siye is a valence-increasing operation. Many Position 6 suffixes can trigger a causative construction. Thus intransitives become transitive, and transitives become ditransitive. The normal rules for person and number marking apply to the newly transitive verb.

Example Translation
Ikelonuna. They died.
Peso ipekelosumnuna. You two killed them.

But: if the Causative suffix -sum- is nadded to a transitive verb, the new cases of the core arguments from the original clause depend on the aspect of the verb.

If -sum- is added to a transitive verb, the cases of the core arguments from the original clause depend on the aspect of the verb.

If the verb is imperfective, the nominative or ergative subject of the original clause becomes instrumental, while the accusative or absolutive object of the original clause remains accusative or absolutive. Prior to 2192, if the subject of the original clause was animate, it became expressed by a postposition preceded by a genitive or possessive. See the section on the Animate Instrumental Case for more details.

If the verb is perfective, the original nominative or ergative subject of the original clause becomes accusative or absolutive, while the original accusative or absolutive object becomes dative or allative. Position 6 suffixes do not take the Causative Construction when the subject and the semantic object of the Causative Construction are the same.

Causative Case Shift Original Case Imperfective Verb Perfective Verb
Nominative/Ergative Animate Genitive/Possessive + eki, Animate Instrumental Accusative/Absolutive
Nominative/Ergative Inanimate Instrumental Accusative/Absolutive
Accusative/Absolutive Animate Accusative/Absolutive Dative
Accusative/Absolutive Inanimate Accusative/Absolutive Allative
Leyakeya yetelo elipulunama. Pe leyakene eki (layekeneki) yetelo epelipusumhulunama.
leyake-0-ya yete-lo-0 e-i-li-pu-ulu-na-ma pe-0 leyake-0-ne eki (leyake-0-neki) yete-lo-0 e-pe-li-pu-ulu-na-ma
boy-SG-ERG seed-PL-ABS 4-3-eat.IMPFV-SG-TNS-D2-P1 2-NOM boy-SG-GEN INS (boy-SG-ANS seed-PL-ABS 4-2-eat.IMPFV-SG-CAUS-TNS-D2-P1
The boy will eat the seeds. You will feed the boy the seeds.
Leyakeya yetelo eyolulunana. Pe yetelosu leyake ipekepusumhulunana.
leyake-0-ya yete-lo-0 e-i-yo-lo-ulu-na-ma pe-0 yete-lo-su leyake-0 i-pe-yo-pu-sum-ulu-na-na
boy-SG-ERG seed-PL-ABS 4-3-eat.PFV-PL-TNS-D2-P2 2-NOM seed-PL-ALL boy-ABS 3-2-eat.PFV-SG-CAUS-TNS-D2-P2
The boy has eaten the seeds. You fed the boy the seeds.

The causative form of a verb often translates into a different English verb than the basic form. The meaning of the Siye basic form is simply broader than that of English.

Example Translation
Le lusilisu (sa) pelekopusumna. I showed you the city.

Examples with -sum-

(Le) lusili elekopuma. Le lusili eleyempuna.
le-0-0 lusili-0-0 e-le-ko-pu-ma le-0-0 lusili-0-0 e-le-yem-pu-na
1-SG-NOM city-SG-ABS 4-1-see.IMPFV-SG-P1 1-SG-NOM city-SG-ABS 4-1-see.PFV-SG-P2
I see the city. I saw the city.

(Le) peneki lusili elekopusumma. Le lusilisu (sa) peleyempusumna.
(le-0-0) pe-0-neki lusili-0-0 e-le-ko-pu-sum-ma le-0-0 lusili-0-su (sa-0) pe-le-yem-pu-sum-na
(1-SG-NOM) 2-SG-ANS city-SG-ABS 4-1-see.IMPFV-SG-CAUS-P1 1-SG-NOM city-SG-ALL 2.ACC-SG 2-1-see.PFV-SG-CAUS-P2
I show you the city. I showed you the city.

Examples with -te- and -ka-

(Le) keno elekoputema. Le keno eleyempukana.
le-0-0 keno-0-0 e-le-ko-pu-te-ma le-0-0 keno-0-0 e-le-yem-pu-ka-na
1-SG-NOM book-SG-ABS 4-1-see.IMPFV-SG-DES-P1 1-SG-NOM book-SG-ABS 4-1-see.PFV-SG-INTNT-P2
I want to see the book. I have resolved to see the book.
(Le) peneki keno elekoputema. Le kenosu (sa) peleyempukana.
(le-0-0) pe-neki keno-0-0 e-le-ko-pu-te-ma le-0-0 keno-0-0 sa-0 pe-le-yem-pu-ka-na
(1-SG-NOM) 2-ANS book-SG-ABS 4-1-see.IMPFV-SG-DES-P1 1-SG-NOM book-SG-ABS 2.ACC-SG 2-1-see.IMPFV-SG-INTNT-P2
I want you to see the book. I have resolved that you see the book.

Examples with -yam-

Example Translation
(Le) sa peleyopuyammu. I cannot hear you.
Le like layeke peme (sa) peleyopusumyamna. I can tell you about the death of your sister.
Kumayam ya isupusumtuyamme. The chief may be able to summon him.

Examples with -numu- and -mmu-/-num-

Le a elekopunumuma. Le peneki a elekopnumumu.
le-0 a e-le-ko-pu-numu-ma le-0 pe-neki a e-le-ko-pu-numu-mu
1-NOM 4.ACC 4-1-see.IMPFV-SG-PERM-P1 1-NOM 2-ANS 4.ACC 4-1-see.IMPFV-SG-PERM-P5
I am permitted to see it. I forbid you from seeing it.
Layeke mena tupilotu um lumsa yinumupummusuna.
layeke me-na tupi-lo-tu um lumsa-0 i-i-numu-pu-mmu-su-na
girl DEM-ERG bird-PL-DAT person foreign-ABS 3-3-give-SG-PERM-DIR.ALL-P2
This girl allowed the foreigner to steal (lit. take/receive) the birds.

Examples with -neme--

Ilo lusili ekelonemena. Kumayam lusilisu yalo yikelosumnemena.
i-lo-0 lusili-0 e-i-ke-lo-neme-na kumayam-0 lusili-su ya-lo i-i-ke-lo-sum-neme-na
3-PL-NOM city-ABS 4-3-make.PFV-PL-TERM-P2 Lord-NOM city-ALL 3.ACC-PL 3-3-make.PFV-PL-CAUS-TERM-P2
They stopped building the city. The Lord stopped them from building the city.

Examples with -kom-

I nesakam tum enesakampuluma. Le ineki (ine eki) nesakam tum elenesakampusumhuluma.
i-0 nesakam tum-0 e-i-nesakam-pu-ulu-ma le-0 i-neki (i-ne eki) nesakam tum-0 e-le-nesakam-pu-sum-ulu-ma
3-NOM letter INDEF-ABS 4-3-write-SG-TNS-P1 1-NOM 3-ANS (3-GEN INS) letter INDEF-ABS 4-3-write-SG-TNS-P1
He will write a letter. I promise that he will write a letter.

Basic Spoken Word Order and the Coordinative Suffix

Spoken Siye usually strings together clauses using the relational suffixes or the coordinative suffix.

Transcript from a tale from the marketplace.

Example Translation
“(Le) amakimsu letuputunam (la) um lumsa tumna layempumam letu i eyekena ... “ “So, I went to the market, and a foreigner spotted me, and he said ...”

Line from a folktale (adapted):

Example Translation
Ya ilekepununa le i laye lemepu ekimputekakimekuya. I have murdered her because she would not be my bride.

Relative Clauses

The core vocabulary of Siye is small compared to English. Relative clauses, formed with the relative suffix -(a)me, are a method of expanding a noun phrase. The nominalized noun phrase derives from a composite structure of Verb + Relative Suffix + Resumptive Pronoun. The nominalized noun phrase is always singular, but takes its animacy from the head noun of the relative clause.

Example Translation
Laye (ya) le yalekemputuname ilekepununa le. I have murdered the woman I loved.

/yalekemputuname/ has no overt case marking because the noun phrase is in the absolutive case.

Example Translation
Laye ya (le) yaliputumameya leya umsatu tumhitumpusumtuna. The woman I love has married another man.

The verb /yaliputumameya/ ends in /ya/, not /na/, because it derives from /yaliputuma-ame-iya/. The resumptive pronoun /iya/ has no nasal component, and therefore takes as the ergative suffix /-ya/ rather than /-na/. /yaliputumaya/, without the relative clause suffix /-(a)me/, derives from /yaliputuma-(e)ya/, the explanatory suffix.

Example Translation
Laye yaliputumaya leya umsatu ya iletumpusumkatuna (yaletumpusumkatuna). Because I love the woman, I have resolved that she not marry another man.


When cases are insufficient, Siye uses postpositions. Postpositions are nouns that have been grammaticalized and therefore have a limited assortment of case suffixes. The noun is in the Genitive Case, less commonly, the Possessive Case, depending on factors such as alienability and saliency. Locative postpositions are the most common. Although the postpositions refine the ablative-locative-allative trinity of the case system, the endings on the postpositions are -tu/-kim/-sum.

Allative Locative Ablative
Postpositional Suffixes -tu -kim -sum
Case Suffixes -su -kem -sum
Directional Suffixes -tu -ki -su
Pre-2192 2192 onward Translation
Ekiwa pewakine emkim ekimpukima. Ekiwa pewakinemkim eikimpukima. The heart is inside the body.
Le siline emtu letuputuna. Le silinemtu letuputuna. I went inside the house.
Le silisu letuputuna. Le silisu letuputuna. I went to the house.
Le silisum letupusuna. Le silisum letupusuna. I came from the house.
Le siline emsum letupusuna. Le silinemsum letupusuna. I came out of the house.
Tupiloya siline tekim itupilonama. Tupiloya siline tekim itupilonama. The birds are flying above the house.
Tupiloya kemhusakine tetu i ukulo yililonameki itupilonama. Tupiloya kemhusakine tetu i ukulo yililonameki itupilonama. The birds are flying down to the river that they might eat the fish.
Tupiloya kemhusakine tesum ukuloni itupulonama. Tupiloya kemhusakine tesum ukuloni itupulonama. The birds are flying up away from the river with the fish (in their mouths).
Amayamna lupatene pempetu ayaputekasume. Amayamna lupatene pempetu ayaputekasume. The merchant would like to sell (his wares) beyond the mountain.

Purpose and Result Clauses

Both purpose and result clauses use verbs ending in -(e)ki. Purpose clauses, however, are embedded within the matrix clause, while result clauses follow the matrix clause.

Example Translation Notes
Susumsuyam lusilisu itupusuna. The messenger went to the city.
Susumsuyam lusilisu i kumayam yikopumeki itupusuna. The messenger went to the city to see the chief. (The purpose of the trip was to see the chief)
Susumsuyam lusilisu itupusuna i kumayam yikopumeki. The messenger went to the city and saw the chief. (The purpose of the trip was not to see the chief, but it was a result of the messenger going to the city).

The result clause is similar in meaning to the following Siye sentence.

Example Translation Notes
Susumsuyam lusilisu itupusunam i kumayam yiyempuna. The messenger went to the city and saw the the chief.

Of these three compound statements, the first indicates intention, but not necessarily result; the second indicates result, but not intention; the third indicates a connection between the two clauses but leaves the nature of that connection vague.

Temporal Clauses

A clause with a verb ending in -(e)kem usually precedes the matrix clause.

Example Translation
Le layeke ekimpukimakem, le laye lu lemetu eleyepusumkina: pala lekimpumumo? When I was a little girl, I asked my mother: what will I become?

Explanatory Clauses

A clause with a verb ending in -(e)ya may precede or follow the matrix clause.

Example Translation
I la nimuku leyepusumkinaya, le itu a elemupusuna. Because he asked nicely, I gave it to him.
Itu a le elemupusuna, la nimuku leyepusumkinaya i. I gave to him (not you) because he asked nicely.

Conditional Clauses

In a conditional statement, the protasis clause with a verb ending in -(e)sum precedes the apodosis clause with a verb ending in -(e)su or -(e)sunam.

Example Translation
Peso yete upepome ipelisonamesum, pelisonumasu (umpelisosumnumasu). If you two eat the fruit of the tree, you will die.

Conditional clauses can use both aspects and both polarities of Position 8 & 9

Example Translation
Ya pe yapeyempunesum, pe ya ipekemputunesu. If you had seen her, you would have loved her.
I me enupumusum, ya le yalelipusumnumasu. If he does not do this, I will kill him.
Example Translation
Pe kumayamlo epesipunumesum, sa ilo sasisumtumesu. If you insult bosses, they will take you to court.

Multiple clauses ending in -sum and -su may be strung together using the coordinating suffix -(h)(a)m.

Example Translation
Le lusilike mesum lesupusumasumham lusilisu lesuputumasum, le tunamaki eluluwepumesu. If I leave this village and go to the big city, I might find success.

Interrogative Clauses

Interrogative clauses end in -umo if positive or neutral and in -ukumo if negative. There is a dialectal form -(a)mo which the astute reader may notice in older texts. The interrogative clause is usually the matrix clause and is always the final clause. It is found in the company of result clauses, purpose clauses (in conjunction with an interrogative clause, result clauses and purpose clauses are indistinguishable), temporal clauses, explanatory clauses, and conditional clauses.

Example Translation
Ilo ililonumeki, pe ilotu liyo epemupumumo? Will you not give them food, so that they will die?
Leso mu mulelipisonameki, liyo le aluluwetekamumo? Should I find food, that we two might eat?
Le yemku lesupulutumakem,pe la lapetumpusumhulutumumo? When I surely return, will you marry me?
Letu laye umsa ikimpukimaya, la pe lapetumpusumtekutumukumo? Do you not want to marry me because you have another wife?
Sa le koki salesupusumnamesum, la pe koki lapesupusumnamumo? If I help you, will you help me?

Reported Speech

Siye shows reported speech as it was said (with grammar corrected, of course) preceded by a sentence containing a verb of speaking or asking. The quoted speech is the inanimate direct object of the main clause and is considered to be in the paucal number.

Example Translation
Laye lu peme letu eyekena: itu peya pomi keke ekimpukekima. Your mother said to me: she is (too) young.
Le laye lu pemetu elemuketena: layeke peme iletumpusumtekatume. I asked your mother: I would like to marry your daughter.
Pe letu epesime: petu le lekimpulukima. You should say this to me: I will surely be yours.

There are numerous examples of reported speech in the text section.


The language of official contracts is extremely important to the Simayamka. Although one could write a book on the subject, and indeed many have, two exaples will suffice for now:

Example Translation
Layekeya kutumsum kokem tupiso yitomsosunam, i omnuyamtu kosokem (yaso) yitomsotuna. The girl bought the two birds from the priest for five, but she sold them to the painted lady for ten.

The girl (layeke-ya) is in the ergative case, as the subject of a transitive sentence. The two birds (tupiso-0) is in the absolutive case, as the object of a transitive sentence. The verb is 'to buy', so the seller, the priest (kutum-sum) is in the ablative case. The amount of the transaction (ko-kem) is in the locative case. In the second clause, a similar situation prevails, except that the buyer (omnuyam-tu) is in the dative-benefactive case.

A second example involves the verb 'to go/come' with a noun in various cases.

Example Translation
Kilusum Itemsu itupusuna. He has come from Chilu to Iteng.
Sakiki itupusuna. He has come by water (He has sailed)
Kumayampu itupusuna. He has come as an official
Pusitu itulosuna. They have come for Fushi.
Pusi Nusini itupusuna. Fushi has come with his partner Nushi.
Nusi kokem itupusuna. Nushi has come for the price of five.