deŋi & kaŋŋi

A. deŋi=A=O A scratch, dig O
B. kaŋŋi=A=O A pierce, poke O

Deŋi can be seen as a more intense form of kugi, as it involves touching with some force. Kaŋŋi would be even more intense. The etymologies of both these verbs are unknown. Kaŋŋi is used sometimes used with other verbs to add a sense of puncturing, as in:

C. dello-kaŋŋi=S S sprout (piercing the soil)
D. kuppe-kaŋŋi=A=O A throw O through something, piercing it
E. kaŋŋi-kaŋŋi=A=O A kill O (by stabbing or cutting)

Reduplicated deŋi-deŋi=S is the standard, polite way to describe sexual activity. It is intransitive, usually with a plural subject. With a singular subject, a companion an be added with the peripheral phrase marker ne. The other sexual verbs, kugi-kugi=S (referencing manual stimulation), kaŋŋi-deŋi=A=O (A penetrates O), and kaŋŋi-kuno=S (S is penetrated), are not polite and should not be used with people one doesn’t know.

Sentences with deŋi.

Sentences with kaŋŋi.

And that’s it. That’s all 38 verbs in Xunumi-Wudu.


A. kugi=A=O A touch, rub O
B. gada-kugi=A=O A wash O (with water)

Kugi appears to be derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and some unknown particle. Gada-kugi incorporates the noun gada ‘water’ as an instrument or manner adverb. Another kugi compound is kugi-kenni:

C. kugi-kenni=A=O A shake O
D. kugi-kenni=S S shake

Reduplicated kugi-kugi is one of the verbs used to describe sexual activity.

Sentences with kugi.

Tomorrow: deŋi and kaŋŋi.

kuppe & kenni

A. kuppe=A=O A throw O
B. kenni=A=O A hit O

Kuppe is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and pe ‘from’. The derivation of kenni is unknown. Both are straightforward.

A reduplication of kuppe is not attested, but kenni-kenni means ‘A beat O’, a logical interpretation of ‘hit and hit’ or ‘hit with some duration’.

Reduplication generally adds a sense of duration to the verb, unless the verb also occurs as an auxiliary. Since, with the introduction of auxiliaries, reduplication no longer productive, some reduplicated forms, such as kadde-kadde, have a less predictable meaning.

Sentences with kuppe.

Sentences with kenni.

Tomorrow: kugi.

kullo & deggu

A. kullo=A=O A pull, drag O
B. deggu=A=O A cover, hide O

Kullo is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and the obsolete particle lo ‘up’. Aside from its base meaning, kullo occurs in occasional compounds, such as kuje-kullo ‘weave’. The reduplicated form kullo-kullo means ‘pull for some time’.

Deggu is probably derived from degi and some unknown particle, possibly the old form of ‘hand’ kuwu. Adding the auxiliary kutta makes deggu-kutta ‘cover completely’. The reduplicated form would have the meaning ‘cover for some time’ but it is not attested.

Sentences with kullo.

Sentences with deggu.

Tomorrow: kuppe and kenni.


A. kutta=A=O A push O
B. auxiliary V-kutta V with force

Kutta is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and the obsolete particle ta ‘down’. As a verb it means ‘push’. It is more common to see kutta as an auxiliary.

I glossed the auxiliary as meaning ‘with force’. It can also mean ‘quickly’ with da and no and any of their compounds (data, dello, deye, nolo, nota, nome, noye), ‘tightly’ with kuje, ‘thoroughly’ or ‘carefully’ with dunno and callo, ‘strongly’ or ‘passionately’ with canno, ‘well’ with dullo, ‘loudly’ with se, and adds a sense of ‘very’ withe the copula verbs. It is not used with verbs of stance or starting or ending.

The reduplicated kutta-kutta yields a straightforward ‘push with force’.

Sentences with kutta as a main verb.

Sentences with kutta as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: kullo and deggu.


A. kuje=A=O A twist, turn O
B. kuje=S S twist, turn

Kuje is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and the obsolete particle ye ‘out’.

As a simple intransitive, kuje means ‘twist, turn’ where the subject is the person or thing twisting or turning. Kuje can also be used to describe braiding (twisting together) and other activities done with long strands of something. Weaving can also be described with kuje (though kuje-kullo is the usual verb, but I haven’t covered kullo yet.). If one is creating something with all this twisting, the thing being created is generally the object and the material being twisted can be in a peripheral phrase marked with pe. One can also make the material the object and thing created can be in a peripheral phrase marked with du.

Sentences with kuje.

Tomorrow: kutta.

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.