deme & tello

A. auxiliary V-deme ought to V
B. auxiliary V-tello must V

Both of these verbs are auxiliary only. Deme expresses mild obligation and tello expresses strong obligation. Tello is used for polite imperatives, as in: Kuno-tello=di=nu! ‘You must get the thing!’ or ‘Get the thing!’.

Deme is probably derived from da ‘go’ and the obsolete particle me ‘in’. Tello is derived from tene and the obsolete particle lo ‘up’.

Deme and tello are used with kuno to express want and need. Kuno-deme with a complement clause is ‘want to’ and kuno-tello with a complement clause is ‘need to’.

These two auxiliaries exist because as a native English speaker I cannot imagine not having them. I know of no work-arounds to expressing obligation than using ‘should/ought’ or ‘must’ (or ‘need’ or ‘got to’). I am sure there are other ways to express obligation, but I have no idea what they are or how they work. Of course, I haven’t gone looking recently for other ideas because the existing system works so well!

Sentences with deme.

Sentences with tello.

Tomorrow: kuje.


A. kadde=S S act, do a task
B. kadde-kadde=A=O A help O

Kadde is an intransitive verb meaning ‘act, do something, perform a task, work’, with the person or thing acting as the subject. The task or action is not named as an object. If it must be specified, it would be marked with ne. A companion would also be marked with ne. A beneficiary of the action can be marked with du.

Kadde can incorporate nouns that specify the type of task. Jede-kadde ‘do a game, play’ is common. Here a companion in play is marked with ne. In contrast, a co-locution like gehe kadde, which could be interpreted as ‘behave’ is not considered to be a verb phrase, as gehe here really modifies the entire clause ‘act well’.

The reduplicated form kadde-kadde specifically means ‘help’ and is transitive. The task one is helping O with would be marked with du.

Kadde and kadde-kadde take all the appropriate auxiliaries. Additionally, the form kadde-seje ‘finish a task’ is attested in addition to the expected kadde-tetta ‘stop or finish a task’.

The derivation of kadde is unknown.

Sentences with kadde.

Tomorrow: deme and tello.

setta, tetta & seje

A. setta=S S stop moving
B. setta=A=O A stop, thwart O
C. seje=A=O A finish O
D. *auxiliary V-seje finish V-ing
E. auxiliary V-tetta stop V-ing

These three verbs all refer to cessation of activity. Setta is derived from sede and the obsolete particle ta ‘down’, tetta is from tene plus ta, and seje is from sede plus obsolete ye ‘out’.

Setta is not used with the auxiliaries no, da, nolo, or nota. Nor is it used with noye or tetta in sense A, though it can be with sense B. Seje is not used with noye or tetta either.

V-tetta is the most common way to stop V-ing, and can be used with most every verb. It is not, however, used with data. Instead seje is used in place of an auxiliary as it implies coming to a natural end. Aside from these and a few other verbs, seje is not used as an auxiliary. Some of the other verbs are:

F. dello-seje=S S expand to fill a space. Dello can also use tetta.
G. dello-tetta=S|A(=O) S stops rising, A stops O rising.
H. noye-seje=S S appear, finish emerging. Noye does not use tetta.
I. setta-seje=S S die. Setta does not use tetta

Sentences with setta.

Sentences with tetta.

Sentences with seje.

Tomorrow: kadde.


A. noye=S S emerge, come out
B. noye=A=O A emit O
C. N-noye=A(=O) A do bodily function N (at, to, for O)
D. noye-deye=A=O A be transformed into O
E. noye-nome=A=O A create, make O
F. auxiliary V-noye start to V

Noye, another opposite of deye, is derived from the verb no and the obsolete particle ye ‘out’. It means emerge or come out with no volitionality whatsoever. Noye is not used with the auxiliaries da or no.

In sense C noye is used for bodily functions and noises. These constructions are treated as intransitive and any O argument is considered to be a beneficiary. So wudu-noye=S ‘ S emit breath, breathe’, butu-noye ‘S defecate’, dini-noye=S ‘S laugh’ and dini-noye=A=O ‘A laugh at, mock O’.

Noye interacts with the causative auxiliaries in a less than transparent manner, as shown in senses D and E. The material or source of the transformation or creation is marked with pe.

Sentences with noye as a main verb.

Sentence with noye as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: setta, tetta, and seje.

kanne & wo

A. auxiliary V-kanne passive for transitive V
B. auxiliary V-wo not V
C. imperative wo! don’t!

Taking a small break here from da– and no– verbs to discuss another valency changing auxiliary.

Kanne creates the valency-decreasing passive construction by either removing the A argument or relegating it to a peripheral phrase marked by pe. It is not used with intransitive or copular verbs.

The other valency-decreasing construction, the antipassive (removes the O argument) is not used. Though one could, I suppose, leave off the O argument in the mental activity verbs callo and canno to make them intransitive. The O argument could even be relegated to a peripheral phrase marked with ne, making it a true antipassive construction.

So: increase valency with causatives (old A moved to O and old O marked with du) and applicatives (add an O to an intransitive), and decrease valency with passives (old A argument marked with pe) and antipassives (old O argument marked with ne).

Sentences with kanne.

Wo is the negative auxiliary. It is boringly regular. It can also form the negative imperative interjection ‘don’t’.

Sentences with wo.

I don’t have any sentences (yet) with wo! But, something like Gada cammedigo, wo! ‘Drink the water, don’t!’ would work.

Tomorrow: noye.


A. nome=S S come out, appear
B. nome=A=O A pull O out, make O come out
C. auxiliary V-nome let V

Nome is in some ways the opposite of deye, and comes from the verb no and the obsolete particle me ‘in’, though nowadays it means more ‘come out’ or ‘pull out’. As an auxiliary, it is used for an indirect or weak causative ‘let V’.

Nome is not used with the auxiliaries da or no.

Nome-nome=A=O is ‘let O appear’.

Sentences with nome as a main verb.

Sentences with nome as an auxiliary verb.

Causatives are the most common valency increasing construction in Xunumi-Wudu, being created in three ways: by directly transitivizing an intransitive verb, by using the auxiliary deye, and by using the auxiliary nome. Deye and nome can be applied to transitive verbs as well, demoting the original A argument to O, and either removing the original O or relegating it to a peripheral phrase marked with du.

The other valency increasing construction, the applicative (adding an O argument to an intransitive) is not used, though one could argue that the audience O with se is optional and thus creates an applicative construction when present.

Tomorrow: kanne and wo.


A. deye=S S go out, leave, fade
B. deye=A=O A make O go out, leave, fade
C. auxiliary V-deye make V

Deye is derived from the verb da ‘go’ and the obsolete particle ye ‘out’.

Deye is not used with the auxiliary no.

Deye as an auxiliary is the strong causative, implying a use of force,  not necessarily physical, to make V happen. It can be used with any verb.

Deye-deye=A=O is ‘A make O fade, leave, disappear’.

Sentences with deye as a main verb.

Sentences with deye as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: nome.

dape & seppe

A. auxiliary V-dape V again
B. auxiliary V-seppe fail to V
C. dape-seppe=S S stumble, trip

Dape and seppe occur only as auxiliaries, except for dape-seppe ‘stumble, trip’, which is the only time dape appears as a primary verb. The obstacle stumbled upon or tripped over is marked with su.

Dape as an auxiliary can also mean ‘back, behind, after’ as in

D. da-dape=A=O A follow, go after O
E. se-dape=A(=O) A say back, reply to O

Dape is derived from da plus the particle pe ‘from’.

Seppe is used to mean try but fail to V, or intend but then end up not V-ing. Some less transparent constructions are:

F. da-seppe=S S avoid, shun, fail to go (AVOIDED=du)
G. se-seppe=S S misspeak

Seppe is derived from sede and pe.

Sentences with dape.

Sentences with seppe.

Tomorrow: deye.

data & dello

A. data=S S fall
B. data=A=O A make O fall
C. dello=S S rise
D. dello=A=O A make O rise; A raise, lift O
E. data-data=S S fall and fall
F. dello-dello=S S rise and rise

Data is da plus the obsolete particle ta ‘down’ and dello is degi plus the obsolete particle lo ‘up’. Data implies a non-volitional downward movement in contrast to nota. Dello is neutral in volitionality, probably because of gravity. It takes effort to overcome gravity. Again, location wherein the motion is taking place is marked with su and destinations are marked with du.

Neither verb uses the auxiliaries nolo or nota.

Dello can be compounded with the body part instrumentals kuwu ‘hands’ and bana ‘feet’ to produce:

G. kuwu-dello=A=O A pick up O
H. bana-dello=A=O A kick (up) O

Dello can also be compounded with doŋi ‘eye’ to produce:

I. doŋi-dello=S S wake up; S open one’s eyes

Doŋi-dello is always intransitive. It is possible that kuwu-dello and bana-dello have intransitive forms ‘raise one’s hand(s)’ and ‘lift one’s foot’, but I’ve had no cause to use those yet, so maybe not.

Sentences with data.

Sentences with dello.

Tomorrow: dape and seppe.

nolo & nota

A. nolo=S S climb, ascend
B. nota=S S descend (volitionally)
C. nolo=A=O A make O climb, ascend
D. nota=A=O A make O descend
E. nolo=CS CS be more ATTRIBUTE
F. nota=CS CS be less ATTRIBUTE
G. auxiliary V-nolo V more (and more), increasingly V
H. auxiliary V-nota V less (and less), decreasingly V
I. nolo-nolo=S S climb higher and higher
J. nota-nota=S S descend lower and lower

These two verbs, opposites, pattern together. Nolo is no plus the obsolete particle lo ‘up’ and nota is no plus the obsolete particle ta ‘down’. Nota is never used to mean ‘fall’ as it implies deliberate descent. Nolo likewise denotes deliberate ascent.

As auxiliaries, neither is used with the verbs of stance. Nor are they used with each other.

Sentences with nolo as a main verb.

Sentences with nota as a main verb.

Sentences with nolo as an auxiliary verb.

Sentences with nota as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: data and dello.