A. dullo=A=O A know of, learn O; A know, learn that CoCl
B. auxiliary V-dullo be able to V

Dullo means ‘know’. It can also mean ‘teach’ with causative auxiliaries. Its object can be a full complement clause (CoCl) rather than a noun phrase. Dullo‘s complement clause is not marked by any sort of marker.

Dullo comes from an obsolete noun dunu ‘eyes’ and the obsolete particle lo ‘up to’.

Auxiliary dullo can be used with any verb where it makes semantic sense.

Dullo-dullo uses both senses and means ‘can learn’.

Sentences with dullo as a main verb.

Sentences with dullo as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: callo and canno. Two verbs!


A. kuno=A=O A have, get O
B. kuno=CS CS become (CC, adjective)

Transitive kuno is derived from ku(wu) ‘hand’ and the verb no ‘come’. Its basic meaning is ‘get’ or ‘have’ as in physically possess. It can be used as a copula meaning ‘become’.

Kuno can also be used for sensory input like camme. Unlike camme, it is neutral in regards to deliberateness and volition. Also, since dunno exists, it is not used with doŋi. It is commonly used with sada and giŋi for hearing and smelling/tasting. Its negative is also the common negative of the camme-based verb phrases, primarily because one cannot easily judge if someone is deliberately not listening vs not hearing.

The causative forms of kuno mean ‘give’.

Sentences with kuno.

Tomorrow: dullo.


A. dunno=A=O A see O

Dunno means ‘see’, and contrasts with doŋi-camme ‘deliberately look at/watch O’ in that it is neutral with regards to deliberateness or volition. This makes dunno the more usual verb for ‘see’, though constructions with camme and with kuno (tomorrow) can be used for hearing and other forms of sensing.

Dunno-dunno, reduplicated dunno, means ‘see and see’ or ‘search for O’.

Dunno comes from an obsolete noun dunu ‘eyes’ and the verb no ‘come’ (which we will cover later, of course).

B. modo-dunno=S S dream

Modo-dunno incorporates the noun modo ‘moon’ to mean ‘dream’ or ‘see via a moon’. Unlike its base verb, modo-dunno is intransitive. The S argument usually comes from the O set, since dreaming is not considered to be volitional. Using an A clitic would imply that the subject is a shaman deliberately courting a vision.

Sentences with dunno.

Tomorrow: kuno.


A. camme=A=O A eat, consume, intake O

Camme is derived from casa ‘belly’ plus the obsolete particle me ‘into’, so ‘into the belly’. Thus, it is entirely appropriate that camme means ‘eat O’ when O is a class III food noun.

One peculiarity of Xunumi-Wudu verb phrases is that they can include a noun preceding the verb to describe an instrument or manner. Not all verbs do this, but camme certainly does. Camme can use body parts such as doŋi ‘eye’, sada ‘ear’, and giŋi ‘nose’ as incorporated manner nouns, and then means to deliberately intake via the noun. So doŋi-camme ‘deliberately look at/watch O’, sada-camme ‘deliberately listen to/for O’, giŋi-camme ‘deliberately sniff/taste O’. With all these verbs, the subject is the perceiver and the object is the sight, sound, smell, or taste perceived.

Sentences with camme.

Tomorrow: dunno.


A. degi=S S recline, lie
B. degi=A=O A lay O (down)

Degi is the third ambi-transitive stance verb, and means ‘recline’ or ‘lie (down)’ in the intransitive and ‘lay O down’ in the transitive. Again, as with all the stance verbs, location can be expressed in a peripheral phrase with su.

Degi is not in general use as a copula, except with the noun kini ‘land’, as in sidili=todu degi kini ‘the land is alive/blooming’ expressing the blooming of the desert after a rain. The noun gada ‘water’, and other nouns referencing water and land, will sometimes also be described with an attribute using degi. However, speakers might also use tene as the copula with these nouns.

While degi can use sede as a progressive auxiliary, degi-sede=le ‘I am lying down’, it does not have to use tene. Many older speakers will use degi-degi rather than degi-tene for a progressive construction with a non class I subject, particularly in more formal situations.

Sentences with degi.

Tomorrow: camme.


A. tene=S S sit
B. tene=A=O A sit O (down)
C. tene=CS CS is (CC, adjective, peripheral phrase)
D. auxiliary V-tene V-ing

Tene in senses A and B means ‘sit’. As an intransitive, the subject is the person or thing sitting. As a transitive, it acquires a causative meaning, with the object being the person or thing sitting and the subject is the cause. Tene behaves very much like sede, including in the use or not of a causative and a passive and with peripheral arguments.

As a copula and as an auxiliary, tene has all the uses of sede, except that where sede requires a class I subject, tene is used for all other classes of subject (II, III, IV). So, when a verb has a class I subject, use sede as the progressive auxiliary. Otherwise, use tene.

Sentences with tene as a main verb.

Sentences with tene as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: degi.

sede, part 2

C. sede=CS CS is (CC, adjective, peripheral phrase)
D. auxiliary V-sede V-ing

As a copula sede means ‘be’ and expresses identity: CS is CC; attribution: CS is adjective; assocation: CS is with ASSOCIATION=ne; and location: CS is at LOCATION=su. The CC and adjective arguments tend to come before the verb, and are not referenced within the verb phrase. The CS argument is always marked with the A set of pronominal clitics.

As an auxiliary, sede marks progressive aspect.

Sentences with sede as a main verb.

Sentences with sede as an auxiliary verb.

Sede as a copula and as an auxiliary is restricted to class I, rational animate nouns. Xunumi-Wudu has four main noun classes: class I, rational animates i.e. people, spirits, deities; class II, other animates, such as animals, trees, some natural phenomena; class III, edible and potable items, which generally also exist in class II or IV, but are marked with a different O clitic; and class IV, everything else, with subclasses.

The classes are distinguished by the use of different third person O clitics for class I, II, III, and IV. Class I A and O arguments are often tagged with deictic clitics, and these are used in place of the third person class I A and O clitics. Here is a list of all the A and O clitics:

A clitics O clitics
singular plural singular plural
first person le mi ce cena
first + second ñe te ño ñona
second person di ja ŋa ŋana
deictic here da dana mo mona
deictic there sa sana be bena
deictic yon ke kena yo yona
class I ŋe
class II ma
class III go
class IV nu

Tomorrow: tene.

sede, part 1

A. sede=S S stand
B. sede=A=O A stand O (up)

We’ll start with the ambi-transitive verb sede ‘stand’. As an intransitive, the subject is the person or thing standing upright. As a transitive, it acquires a causative meaning, with the object being the person or thing standing and the subject is the cause. A number of verbs in Xunumi-Wudu follow this pattern.

A note on word order: Word order of phrases is free. Word order within phrases is less so. The verb phrase consists of a head verb, like sede, possibly followed by an auxiliary verb (more later), with the last verb suffixed with a tense and evidentiality suffix (which I will ignore for now). The verb phrase then takes required pronominal clitics marking subject, then object. There are two sets of pronominal clitics, the A set used for subjects (S and A) and the O set used for objects (O). It gets a little more complicated with some verbs, as sometimes, especially with intransitive constructions, an O clitic can be used for a subject. When this happens, it signals that the subject is non-volitional or reluctant.

Peripheral arguments can also occur, though these are never marked in the verb phrase. Instead, these consist of a noun phrase of some sort, tagged with one of four enclitics: su, du, pe, or ne. With sede, the location where one is standing, or where one stands something up, is marked with su.

Auxiliary verbs include ones can change the valency of the verb, including causative and passive constructions. Since sede is ambitransitive, these auxiliaries can only be used with sense B. A causative adds an argument, A, relegating the original A to an O position so A makes O stand X up. X is relegated to a peripheral phrase marked with du. It makes no sense to use a passive with B, as sense A already covers making the O in sense B into S. Applicative and anti-passive constructions are rare, and do not require auxiliaries.

Sede can form a verb phrase with the adverb goli: goli-sede=S which means ‘dwell’.

Sede is also used as a copula and as an auxiliary.

C. sede=CS CS is (CC, adjective, peripheral phrase)
D. auxiliary V-sede V-ing

More on that tomorrow.


This year I will be participating in Verbruary (a verb a day for the month of February), but with a twist. See, Verbruary (and Lexember) are for new vocabulary, and I create languages with closed classes of verbs. So, beginning tomorrow, I will have write-ups on all 38 verbs in the new language, Xunumi-Wudu, spread out over 28 days.

Daedalus et Icarus, 7

Aqua quae eum recepit nomen ab illo tenet. At pater infelix, nunc non iam pater, “Icare,” dixit, “Icare, ubi es? Quo in loco te quaeram? Icare,” dicebat cum pennas notas in undis summis spectavit et damnavit suas artes. Tum corpus carum filii in sepulchrum posuit et terra a nomine pueri dicta est–Icaria.

la anhāri anakkāsimma pa jawēramma; ē masōwa mamāsa āl wa masōwa; samma ien λi īkarus; λi īkarus, la sāen sūkēñ; salla jarūna mo riēn sūkēñ; il samma ien λi īkarus il sema jatīāni jawāññi sū jatāoni ōl ī samma jatūrelil mo jakēlimma; ē ñamma mīsa macāna janōññū rā jajōste ī āl pa jekiēn mamōīñ jawēramma īkarja;

la anhāri anakkāsimma aqua quae eum recepit
pa jawēramma nomen ab illo tenet
ē masōwa mamāsa at pater infelix
āl wa masōwa nunc non iam pater
samma ien λi īkarus “Icare,” dixit
λi īkarus, la sāen sūkēñ Icare, ubi es?
salla jarūna mo riēn sūkēñ Quo in loco te quaeram?
il samma ien λi īkarus “Icare,” dicebat
il sema jatīāni jawāññi cum pennas notas…(spectavit)
sū jatāoni ōl in undis summis
ī samma jatūrelil mo jakēlimma et damnavit suas artes
ē ñamma mīsa macāna janōññū tum corpus carum filii…posuit
rā jajōste in sepulchrum
ī āl pa jekiēn et terra
mamōīñ jawēramma īkarja a nomine pueri dicta est–Icaria