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Wa Ñi Grammar
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This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 18 Jul 2017, 23:47.

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Menu 1. Intro 2. Phonological Processes 3. Nouns 4. Derivational morphology: Nouns 5. Possessive Suffixes 6. Noun Class Affixes 7. Particles 8. Discourse particles 9. Particle Forms 10. Quantifiers 11. Verbs 12. Derivational morphology: Verbs 13. Verb inflection 14. Adpositions 15. Other 16. Syntax: Overview 17. Serial Verb Constructions 18. Comparative constructions 19. Correlatives

This is a description of the  Wa Ñi language, which is mostly isolating, head-first, and loads complexity into noun classes, particles of many types, and syntactic movement.

[edit] [top]Phonological Processes

ni + o > ño
òa + e > òhe
VVV > VVxV in irrealis forms
i,u > y,w / V_V (usually)
o + o > o (in adpositions)
e + u > u (in the -Cu suffix)
u + u > u (adding -ur)

There are 10 noun classes which express number as well.

As a result, each noun can take one class for singular number and one class for plural number, which are limited to certain pairs.

Additionally, the last class is used for mainly dual number for things that occur in pairs, and combines with the other classes as either a 'singular' or 'plural'.

The classes are numbered from 1-11, minus 4.

Nouns may also take another suffix for pronominal possession, and an enclitic =wè for definiteness. (=à for definiteness tends to be used in phrases containing a quantifier, and =wè becomes =wò after a word whose last vowel is o). The suffix for G3 alienable possession is -o, which shrinks the previous syllable into just a C.

The possessive suffix goes before the noun class suffix if it is inalienable, otherwise can be either before or after the noun class suffix, usually before.

Adjectives are treated as nouns, following the nouns they modify and taking noun class marking just like the noun they agree with. Numbers are treated in a similar way, although numbers above five are seldom used to modify nouns (or in general). In some dialects, mainly in Terminia and the south of what is now Magali, the associative particles ti and are used with numbers and/or adjectives modifying nouns.

Demonstratives are treated similarly but decline for class too: they are è- 'this' and lì- 'that'. cè 'that, aforementioned' is used as well.

[edit] [top]Derivational morphology: Nouns

Verbs may be nominalized to express a process by adding the suffix -Cu. Such nouns are almost always put into 9/10 class.

To express the product of an action, the noun pe 9/10, alienable is used in front of the plain verb stem. For example, we have ñàxni 'to produce', and pe (x) ñàxni 'harvest'

The copula (which is null as a verb) takes the suppletive nominalized form , used in such expressions as yò ŋol 'being long'. However, many adjectives that are opposites combine to form compound words indicating the shared dimension, as in ŋol ñiľ, from ŋol 'long' and ñiľki 'short'.

Compounding is a very common process: such compounds are usually head-first. 'Looser' compounds usually have an explicit associative particle in them.

[edit] [top]Possessive Suffixes

1SE-ŋo-o, -ca
1I-ma-\oa, -wa
1PE-ŋwo-\ow, -wu
2P-i, -y-ir
G1-ho-\a, -a
G3-ño-ñ, -in
G5-ho-y, -i
G7-oo-\o, -o
G8-ho-he, -e
G10-ho-xe, -e

[edit] [top]Noun Class Affixes

5-ey, -V
7-\o, -ke
8tone changes

Class 1/2 is mainly for humans.
Class 3/3 is for things that seldom or never occur plural, as well as some mass nouns.
Class 3/6 is for body parts that are usually found in ones, as well as other things usually found alone.
Class 3/11 is for body parts that are usually found in pairs.
Class 5/6 is for plants and big things, as well as locations.
Class 5/8 is mainly for animals.
Class 7/8 is partly for things which usually occur in masses, as well as body parts and animals and some plants and fruits and other things.
Class 7/11 is for body parts that are usually found in pairs.
Class 8/8 is for animals that occur in swarms and bad things.
Class 9/9 is for loaned proper nouns.
Class 9/10 is the loanword class and also for many abstract concepts and derived nouns, as well as things usually found in masses, and some large locations.
Class 10/10 is for mass nouns.
Class 11/11 is for pairs.

Note: the class 2 form -p is used with vowel-final words, and -pa otherwise.

[edit] [top]Particles

Particles include the associative particle, which mainly modifies nouns, and various TAM, voice, and discourse particles which modify clauses or verbs. There is also relativizing and complement particles for clause subordination in a verbal context, and conjunctions which inflect for change in subject.

Discourse particles include ki, the verbal focus particle, and ni, the nominal focus particle.

The loosely-bound pronominal clitics on the verb are also treated as particles, as is the negative clitic on objects in negative clauses. Pronominal clitics include subject and object clitics. The former set precede the verb, and the latter set follow the verb in cases where there is no explicit subject.

Adpositions are also treated as particles, and decline for the person of the noun they modify. Similarly, since the boundary between adverb and grammatical particle is so fuzzy, adverbs may be considered particles as well.

The clausal conjunctions in Wa Ñi inflect for subject (same subject as preceding clause or different). However, the nominal conjunctions don't inflect (they're the ones you can find in the dictionary).

[edit] [top]Discourse particles

Besides the focus particles, there are also several other particles that express a discourse meaning. For example, there is yaa, the nominal emphasis particle, and tyaal, a particle that means the speaker is contradicting the listener forcefully.

[edit] [top]Particle Forms

Associative Particle
Noun possessive classForm

Negative Clitic
On objecttì=
On verb=(m)pa

Inflecting Conjunctions
ContextForm: 'after that'Form: 'because'Form: 'before that'Form: 'but'Form: 'meanwhile, and'Form: 'therefore'
Different subjectpèxtutiľokpèxkinpèxkuaŋiìřdu
Same subjectpèxtoľokkinkotìwaŋiru

Pronominal particles

Adpositional declinations
1SE-\o, -eŋ
2P-y, -i
3-y, -i

[edit] [top]Quantifiers

I wanted to write up a section about quantifiers in Wa Ñi since they follow a bit of a different pattern from many languages.

'other', 'another': ŋè ne 'I add' + X + reduplicated generic noun

'how many', 'how much': ni + reduplication of generic noun which classifies noun in terms of animacy. or juxtaposition of opposite adjectives

'all', 'every', 'many': reduplication of generic noun which classifies noun in terms of animacy (person, place, thing, time, animal)

'some, few': noun + 'may'

'entire, whole': dedicated adjective

'part of': dedicated adjective

Verbs change their tonal pattern to express changes in mood: the main distinction in the language is between realis and irrealis mood, although there is also a special conditional mood. Verbs may also take affixes for aspect.

Negation is achieved through a combination of the irrealis mood and a negative particle which either modifies the object of the verb or attaches to the verb in an intransitive clause.

[edit] [top]Derivational morphology: Verbs

Verbs may compound with nouns to modify their meaning: these nouns usually attach to the right of the verb.

To create a verb meaning 'having a tendency to X', 'X-able', generally the fossilized modal ŋaà is used following the verb, which then takes the suffix -e or occasionally -u if the verb's vowel is e. The modal is inflected while the nominalized verb does not conjugate.

To create a verb meaning 'able to X, experienced at X', the modal tray, a short form of atray 'know how to do something', is used following the verb, which takes the suffix -e.

Verbs may take a prefix with a body part or direction which serves to further classify the verb's meaning.

[edit] [top]Verb inflection

Verbs in Wa Ñi conjugate only for mood. There are three moods: realis, irrealis, and conditional/irrealis.

The realis form is the one given in the dictionary. They are usually characterized by a lack of low tones in the word, although a few verbs begin with a low tone and subsequently have all high tones.

The irrealis form is created by changing the first high tone to a low tone. If the first tone is already low, then TBD.

The conditional/irrealis form is created by changing the final high tone to a low tone and suffixing -V in the high tone for verbs longer than one syllable. For monosyllabic syllables, suffix -àwa.

Verbs may be reduplicated to indicate intensity.

[edit] [top]Adpositions

Most Wa Ñi adpositions are formed from body parts and express static locations. Movement is almost always expressed through a verb.

Other word classes in Wa Ñi include interjections and ideophones. Quantifiers are usually treated as nouns/adjectives but some may form their own class.

[edit] [top]Syntax: Overview

SVSO, where first S is the particle and the second one is an overt one if used.

Wa Ñi is pro-drop; however, subject particles are obligatory.

Modifiers follow the nouns they modify.

Wh-phrases tend to move to the end of the clause; however, they may move to the beginning if the clause is long.

The SV complex moves to the end in a polar question, preceded by the particle ki.

Relative clauses have the same order as regular ones; however they are restricted to S and O relativization, both with a gapping strategy. Subject particles may drop in these contexts.

Complement clauses are null-marked: that is, you say 'that I X' as 'n X'. When the subject of the complement clause is the same as the subject as the main clause, the subject particle on the complement clause may be optionally omitted. The mood and polarity values on the verb of the complement clause do not have to match those of the main clause.

[edit] [top]Serial Verb Constructions

Serial verb constructions in Wa Ñi usually serve to indicate voice and aspectual distinctions, as well as adverbial meanings and sequential and simultaneous events. It indicates a tighter cohesion of the clause than clauses connected with the subject-indexing conjunctions.

Serial verb constructions are identifiable by the identical mood and polarity marking on each verb, as opposed to subordinate constructions which may take different mood and polarity marking.

A common SVC is mo N N V 'N takes N to V', which is a common way of making verbs transitive.

Another common SVC is V N làw 'V N finish', which is a common way of marking the perfective aspect.

[edit] [top]Comparative constructions

In Wa Ñi, there are two types of comparative constructions. The first type, called the 'exceed' construction, uses a serial verb construction with the verb 'exceed'. This one can only be used with positive or desirable traits.

The second type of construction is the so-called 'particle' construction, where a particle meaning 'more' is used with the adjective, and the measure of comparison is listed without any governing verb or preposition. This is usually used with neutral or negative traits.

[edit] [top]Correlatives

In Wa Ñi, verbs may take a special pronoun for the 'correlative', forming a structure where two verb phrases are connected in some way: the roles marked by the 'correlative' are equated. For example:

ta ľàaxa ta pìn ñèxey 'those that come will cultivate corn'
CORUnknown code come.IRRIrrealis
CORUnknown code cultivate.IRRIrrealis
corn.G8Gender 8 (gender/class) 'COR come, COR cultivate corn'

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