Gur language

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Introduction

Phonology

Consonants

Gur consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative s z ʃ x h
Trill r
Lateral approximant l
Approximant j w

Note:

  • The consonants /j/ and /w/ are analyzed as non-vocalic vowels /i̯/ and /u̯/.
  • N is pronounced /ŋ/ before velar consonants.

Vowels

Gur has a simple system of five vowels, which can be either short or long.

Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close i u
Open-mid ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː
Open a

Stress

Words are stressed on the antepenultimate syllable. The stress falls on the penultimate syllable if the last syllable has a long vowel or the penult is heavy. A syllable is heavy if it ends in a long vowel or in a vowel and a consonant.

Grammar

Nouns

First declension

Masculine nouns
First declension: aχkas, m. (boy)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative aχk-as aχk-in aχk-ai
Genitive aχk-ȗ aχk-an aχk-ain
Dative aχk-ȋ aχk-ȃni aχk-ȃsi
Accusative aχk-i aχk-ȇni aχk-un
Ablative aχk-ak aχk-am aχk-ais
Locative aχk-ȋ aχk-an aχk-ain

The vocative case (used to address someone in direct speech) is identical to the nominative form, except in the masculine singular of the first declension (-as-e).

Feminine nouns in -a
First declension: miwa, f. (tongue, language)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative miw-a miw-in miw-ai
Genitive miw-ȗ miw-an miw-ain
Dative miw-ȋ miw-ȃni miw-ȃsi
Accusative miw-u miw-ȇs miw-es
Ablative miw-ak miw-am miw-ais
Locative miw-ȋ miw-an miw-ain
Feminine nouns in -ȋa
First declension: mantȋa, f. (blackberry)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative mant-ȋa mant-ȋn mant-ȋes
Genitive mant-iȗ mant-ȋan mant-ȋain
Dative mant-ȋ mant-iȃni mant-ȋsi
Accusative mant-ȋu mant-ȋs mant-ȋes
Ablative mant-ȋak mant-ȋam mant-ȋais
Locative mant-ȋ mant-ȋan mant-ȋain
Neuter nouns
First declension: luri, n. (evening)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative lur-i lur-in lur-ia
Genitive lur-ȗ lur-an lur-ain
Dative lur-ȋ lur-ȃni lur-ȃsi
Accusative lur-i lur-in lur-ia
Ablative lur-ak lur-am lur-ais
Locative lur-ȋ lur-an lur-ain

Second declension

Masculine and feminine nouns
Second declension: kar, m. (fish)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative kar kar-in kar-un
Genitive kar-as kar-an kar-ain
Dative kar-ȋ kar-ȃni kar-si
Accusative kar-u kar-in kar-un
Ablative kar-ak kar-am kar-ais
Locative kar-ȋ kar-an kar-ain

If the stem does not end in vowel + l, n, r, ś, χ, the dative plural ending is -ȇsi.

Neuter nouns
Second declension: śendil, n. (wing)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative śendil śendil-in śendil-un
Genitive śendil-as śendil-an śendil-ain
Dative śendil-ȋ śendil-ȃni śendil-si
Accusative śendil śendil-in śendil-un
Ablative śendil-ak śendil-am śendil-ais
Locative śendil-ȋ śendil-an śendil-ain

Third declension

Masculine and feminine nouns
Third declension: drenis, m., f. (deer)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative dren-is dren-in dren-un
Genitive dren-as dren-an dren-ain
Dative dren-ȋ dren-ȃni dren-si
Accusative dren-u dren-in dren-un
Ablative dren-ak dren-am dren-ais
Locative dren-ȋ dren-an dren-ain
Neuter nouns
Third declension: mendu, n. (house)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Nominative mend-u mend-in mend-un
Genitive mend-as mend-an mend-ain
Dative mend-ȋ mend-ȃni mend-ȇsi
Accusative mend-u mend-in mend-un
Ablative mend-ak mend-am mend-ais
Locative mend-ȋ mend-an mend-ain

Adjectives

Types

First-declension adjectives are declined like first-declension nouns for the masculine, feminine, and neuter forms; for example, olmas, olma, olmi “holy, sacred”.

Second-declension adjectives are declined like second-declension nouns. They have one form for the masculine, feminine, and neuter nominative singular (such as raś “green”).

Comparative and superlative forms

Comparison of adjectives is formed by suffixing. Adjectives have three degrees: positive (the normal form of the adjectives), comparative, and superlative.

The suffixes are:

  • comparative: -ial / -al (olmial, raśal)
  • superlative: -ȇmas, -ȇma, -ȇmi (olmȇmas, raśȇmas)

The suffix -eg- corresponds to “too”; for example, olmegas “too holy”.

Adverbs

Types

A first-declension adjective is made into an adverb by adding onto its base (olmȃ). A second-declension adjective is made into an adverb by adding -en onto its base (raśen).

Comparative and superlative forms

The comparative is made in the same way in which the comparison of the adjective is formed (olmial). However, adverbs from second-declension adjectives form the comparative by using an additional infix (raśawal).

Both types of adverbs have regular superlative forms (olmȇmȃ, raśȇmȃ).

Verbs

The infinitive of the verb ends in -ȃn.

Indicative

Active voice
Person Singular Dual/Plural
1st -a-m -ȃ-mi
2nd -a-s -ȃ-si
3rd -a-t -ȃ-ti
Passive voice

In the passive voice, the grammatical subject of the verb is the recipient (not the doer) of the action denoted by the verb.

The passive voice is made up of the passive participle of the main verb and a form of the auxiliary verb ejȃn “to be”, such as miś śarbamȇnas jam “I am beloved”.

Middle voice

The middle voice is in the middle between the active and the passive voices because the subject cannot be categorized as either agent or patient but may have elements of both; for example, nȗbȃn “to sweat”.

Person Singular Dual/Plural
1st -ȃ-ma -ȃ-mai
2nd -ȃ-sa -ȃ-sai
3rd -ȃ-ta -ȃ-tai

Subjunctive

The subjunctive is used for statements contrary to fact. It can be formed from the indicative mood by replacing the vowel -a- (-ȃ-) with -e- (-ȇ-); for example, miś zalem “I would sing”.

Tenses

The verbs are conjugated in six main tenses (present, past, and future imperfect and perfect, respectively). The perfect tenses are formed by adding the imperfect tenses of the verb ejȃn onto the main verb.

Tense Imperfect Perfect
Present -a-m -a-jam
Past -ȇs-a-m -a-siam
Future -ȇr-a-m -a-χam

Derivational morphology

Syntax

Constituent order

Word order is subject–object–verb.

Dependent clauses

Example texts

The Lord's Prayer

Men bȋain (“Our Father”)

Men bȋain kan helnȋ,
jośtas enȗ olmeśamȇnas juśȃta.
Hudhurta enȗ ermuśat.
Kurȃdan enȗ kes kan helnȋ
zan aśtu ȃ hurtȋ juśȃta.
Beki ekhilaki bȋain bȋsi ekhilas kena
si diχkȃdan bȋain bȋsi dakaśkena,
kes bȋes lodȃśsi bȋain dakaśkenȃmi.
Si niś bȋun mȋ berzeltuśas,
saχ bȋun ber ruzak kanzalmeśa.

Other resources