Xuunu Midu

Xuunu Midu consists of three! documents and a torch.

The following non-ascii characters appear in the torch: ñ (n-tilde) ŋ (eng) ʃ (esh) ʒ (ezh).

Lononne wunnu, taatada deŋgada genne datase. Sejewa yeelele yekeke yeelele deŋga pideli genne monna setasa. Dadannewu sejewali nee yekekeli nee golinnestebo.

Deŋga bududa ceesu lañjawa ceñena gakugesteza xoo yebeda degisteze.

Dadastewa cumona canoba, tene ceñele niikena pee xooʒolinnenosteba nolo dodo. Gakugestewa ceñena soo danna doñjame kundebaya. Yebeda cendo danna daññesa nono.

Ceñena caskujeba, lañja yeejedi soo deŋga yeejedi soo danna seezaya. Yeejena benna kaakadesaya.

Deŋga tonoli noojeze; lañjaka pee yebeda haŋŋido kiidoki dase. Dadastewa cumona gakugestewa ceñena soo doñjamespezaya.

Wospe deŋgada yekekeli cendo tanno.

Xuunu Midu

Congratulations, you are the first person to see my new language, called Xuunu Midu. It is a daughter language, mumblety generations later, of Xunumi Wudu. Nouns have fused with their classifiers and then been reinterpreted to contain noun class markers. Verbs have simplified their auxiliaries into new aspect/tense markers, and the evidentials have fused with the enclitic pronouns and then been simplified into something an 18th century armchair linguist might call decorative.* Pronouns are now explicitly stated when needed. The deictic tags have become a third person animate pronoun set. And consonants and sometimes entire syllables have disappeared leaving behind lengthened vowels.

*I have seen an Aztec grammar that calls evidentials ornamental.

A note on pronounciation. Most letters are more or less IPA. Except, c and j are palatal stops or alveolar-palatal affricates. y is therefore the palatal glide. ñ is the palatal nasal. x is the palatal sibilant ( ʃ ). Long vowels are written double. z is actually an allophone of s (and ʒ of x) but I am writing them separately because in another few generations, after initial s becomes h, they will become separate phonemes.

Anyway, I am going to mix grammar and vocabulary a bit.


Nouns/Adjectives/Verbs/Time Words

budu mouth
cano think or feel or wonder or otherwise engage in mental activity
caskuje be angry
ceñe adult female person, woman
cumu adult male person, man, becomes cumo in plural
da go
dada travel or wander
data fall, come down
deŋga river
degi be, recline
doñjame watch, observe
gakuge wash (transitive), bathe oneself (intransitive)
goli long time, a long period of time
kaakade help, assist with a task
kiido rock, stone
kunde want, wish, need
lañja mountain
lono day
niike nearby, next, neighbor
nooje change, be changed or altered
pide edge, bank or a river
see talk to, speak to, say to
sejewa finishing, west
seta stop, pause in a journey
taatada rain
tanno flow
tene each with a singular noun; every, all with plural nouns
tono path, road
wospe from then on, since then
xooʒoli beautiful
yebe pool, lake
yeeje spirit, deity
yeele person, adult person
yekeke south

The above may or may not take the following suffixes:

Derivational Suffixes

These are closer to the word stem than other suffixes.
=nne turns a noun or adjective or adverb into a verb or a copula; turns a verb into a noun before adding a noun class marker
=no aspectual suffix for becoming, expanding, or contracting. Used with adverbs nolo/nota for more/less so of a quality
=ññe aspectual suffix for starting. Used with adverb nono
=spe aspectual suffix for failing at an intended task
=stewa turns a verb into an adjective describing something that is in the process of Ving
=wa turns a noun into an adjective of association (of the N)

Tense + Evidentiality + Person suffixes for verbs

=ba recent past + inferred + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject
=baya recent past + inferred + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject + 3rd person animate object
=sa recent past + reported + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject. Also –za
=saya recent past + reported + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject + 3rd person animate object. Also –zaya
=se recent past + reported + 3rd person inanimate subject. Also –ze
=steba current present + inferred + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject
=stebo current present + inferred + 3rd person inanimate subject
=steza current present + reported + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject
=steze current present + reported + 3rd person inanimate subject
=za see =sa
=zaya see =saya

Use of tenses/evidentiality/etc

Recent Past is the default tense. Present will be used when wanting to talk about a current or an imminent happening. There is also a zero marked non-past/present which does not mark evidentiality or person and is used for timeless events and past events continuing into the present and future. That is the base form of the verb, used in auxiliary constructions and so on. Reported is used for facts learned by being told or taught and for indirect speech. Direct is used for eyewitnessed events, events one has participated in, one’s own thoughts and feelings, and for direct speech reports. Inferred is used for supposition, reasoning, and deduction, including the deduction of what other people are thinking and feeling.

Noun Class Markers

These are only used on definite nouns. Indefinite nouns don’t get to have one. A noun can take different noun class markers with a corresponding change in meaning.
=da noun class marker for water
=di noun class marker for a spirit or deity
=ka noun class marker for large things, heaps, mounds, etc.
=ki noun class marker for many large things
=le noun class marker for an adult person
=li noun class marker for abstract nouns, paths, and uncountable or immeasurable things
=na noun class marker for multiple people or spirits, i.e. animate plural
=wu noun class marker for time periods and events

Full Pronouns

benna 3rd person animate plural object pronoun
danna 3rd person animate plural subject pronoun
monna 3rd person animate plural non-volitional subject pronoun
xoo relative pronoun for places, where

Postpositions and Adverbs

ceesu at, among, in an area
cendo towards
dodo marks a subordinate clause
haŋŋido around, to around
genne along a path, up and/or down a river, along an edge
nee via, along, with
nolo more and more
nono start (redundant with =ññe)
pee from. Denotes a source or cause or a standard of comparison
soo marks an object when an object needs to be marked
wunnu while, during. Marks a subordinate clause of scene-setting

Other Grammatical Quirks

Nouns in juxtaposition, particularly if the first noun has no noun class marker, make a whole – part construction. As in Sylvia kuuwu ‘Sylvia’s hand’.

Animate nouns include those denoting people, spirits and deities, and celestial objects (which are also spirits). Everything else is considered to be inanimate.

Word Order

XM is SOV where S is a full noun phrase. It is OSV where S is a pronoun. If S is divided from V by enough other stuff, it will sometimes be repeated as a pronoun just before the verb. Redundancy is good! Most of the times peripheral phrases (marked by postpositions) will come between the subject and the verb. Sometimes they won’t.

Also, particularly for verbs derived from time words, sometimes there is no stated subject.

O is not always marked by soo. Some pronouns are inherently O, so soo would be redundant. Redundancy is good, but not in this case. Also, if O is inanimate, it isn’t always marked because of course the inanimate argument will be the object.

Since the language is OV, adjectives come before nouns, relative clauses come before the relative pronoun which comes before the noun, and there are many postpositional modifiers. It is also strongly suffixing. Auxiliary verbs follow main verbs and aspectual adverbs follow verbs.

=== end of torch ===

And since the LCC7 relay isn’t online anywhere that I can find, here is the translation…

My translation of the previous torch:

As the day was growing*, the rain flowed on the river. Because of the water, those from the west and those from the south stopped at the riverbank as well. Travel to the west and to the south would probably be using for a long time. (take a long time)

At the mouth of the river was the lake where the mountain women bathed.

From Kalin: every sister will probably be more beautiful that the one before. However, the man of the quiet mountain was watching the women, and starting towards the lake and the place the women’s husbands will probably begin to hate.

The sisters spoke with the creator of the mountain and were angry. The spirit of the river helped them.

The river changed course and the men who went towards Quiet Mountain failed to watch the women who were bathing.

And the spirit of the mountain covered the lake all the way to the rocks. After which, the river is flowing only to the south.

*I love this metaphor!

My changes for translation purposes and cultural make-sense-of-it-ness:

During the day, rain fell on the river. Those from the west and those from the south stopped at the riverbank. Travel to the west and to the south takes a long time (inference).

At the mouth of the river was the lake where the mountain women bathe.

The traveling men thought, every woman was more beautiful than her neighbors (inference). They wanted to watch the bathing women. They started towards the lake.

The women were angry and spoke with the mountain spirit and the river spirit. The spirits helped them.

Boulders from the mountain went into the lake and the river’s path changed. The traveling men failed to watch the bathing women.

Since then, the river flows south.