Kah

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Kah
Kah
Progress: 96%
Type
analytic oligosynthetic
Alignment
Neutral
Head direction
Initial Mixed Final
Primary word order
Subject-verb-object
Tonal
No
Declensions
No
Conjugations
No
Genders
animate/inanimate


Kah is a language designed to be easy to master and pronounce. The language was constructed by Yauh in 2012.

Phonology

Orthography

The orthography of Kah is derived from Swahili and consists of the following symbols of the Latin alphabet:

The Kah language.
Upper case: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y Z
Lower case: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v w y z

The c only occurs in the digraph ch (designating the palato-alveolar affricate /tʃ/). The letters q and x are not considered part of the Kah alphabet and occur in original spelling of foreign words only.

Consonants

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p /p/ b /b/ t /t/ d /d/ k /k/ g /g/
Fricative f /f/ v /v/ s /s/ z /z/ sh /ʃ/ h /h/
Affricate ch /t͡ʃ/ j /d͡ʒ/
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ ny /ɲ/ ng/n /ŋ/
Approximant w /w/ y /j/
Flap or tap r /ɾ/
Lateral app. l /l/

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close i /ɪ/ u /u/
Open-mid e /ɛ/ o /ɔ/
Open a /a/

In the orthography these are represented by:

  • a /a/, an open front unrounded vowel (as Spanish mal),
  • e /ɛ/, an open-mid front unrounded vowel (as Spanish el),
  • i /ɪ/, a close front unrounded vowel (as Spanish si),
  • o /ɔ/, an open-mid back rounded vowel (as Spanish no),
  • u /u/, a close back rounded vowel (as Spanish su).

Vowel sequences

Kah has no thrue diphthongs. In a sequence of vowels, each vowel is pronounced separately. The following vowel combinations are possible: ai, au, ea, eo, ia, io, oa, oi and ua.

Phonotactics

Kah allows a limited yet diverse number of syllabic structures. An extensive description of possible syllable structures along with examples can be found in the following table:

Structure Description Example
V one vowel in rime a
VN - plus nasal stop in coda en
VL - plus l in coda al
VS - plus s in coda is
CV consonant in onset, vowel in rime tu
CVN - plus nasal stop in coda bon
CVL - plus l in coda kal
CVS - plus s in coda sus
CGV consonant plus glide in onset, vowel in rime pyo
CGVN - plus nasal stop in coda kwan
CGVL - plus l in coda mwel
CGVS - plus s in coda pyus

Some more consonant clusters in word-medial position bring a great deal of audible diversity to it:

mb nd nj ng mp nt nch nk nz ns nsh mw
lp lt lk
sp st sk

Note the occurrence of the cluster ng which represents a velar nasal [ŋ] when it appears at the end of a word (song), but it expresses [ŋg'] in word-medial position (tengi). Confer the English words "song" and "hunger" respectively. This slight irregularity is permitted in order to sustain the legibility of the romanization.

Compounds

The bulk of Kah lexicon consists of compound words, made up from two of more roots. This means it is a vital process to understand truly how the language works. Compounding basically means that two or more words are combined in order to create a new lexeme with a new, unique meaning.

The advantage of this technique of word formation is, that the meaning of the new word can be derived from the individual elements it consists of. For example the English word bedroom means "a room containing a bed". This kind of logic can also be used on a much more basic level: the Kah word for "argue" is ruka which consists of a combination of the roots ru "conflict" and ka "speak".

Kah was designed an oligosynthetic language, meaning a language with a very limited number of roots, which put together form the lexicon from wich statements are made. Kah has a couple of hundred basic roots from which all of the lexicon was derived. This does not mean however the lexicon is self-explanatory and does not have to be memorized. Every word is a independent lexeme with a semantic value which is not limited to the sum of the roots it is built from and depending on its context.

Frequent roots

Some roots turn up quite frequently, like do for house or building:

yudo - house
talado - factory
angado - stable
fondo - prison
kwando - school

The following roots occur in compounds frequently:

do - house, building
ta - time
pa - money
pu - moral
ka - say, speech
bu - man
wana - woman
sa - shape
shi - manner, way, like
so - water, fluid
shum - powder, grains
ki - food
za - take
ze - back, behind
ku - front, before
no - direction
nu - go
ro - round, cycle, ball
yo - all
wi - many, much
ni - motorized vehicle

Logic

Not all compounds are entirely logical but merely a collection of basic ideas describing something.

zedodi - snail
ze + do + di
back + house + bug
raju - to be patient
ra + ju
sit + feel
sempe - bone
sen + pe
body + stick

This is a system which also exists in Chinese compounds like dong-zuo activity literally meaning "move-make".

Phonotactics of compounding

Situations may occur that contradict the phonotactical rules of Kah as explained in the chapter on phonology. In these situations the following adjustments are made for the words to fit Kah phonology:

  • When a root ending in a nasal stop (either -m, -n or -ng) is put in front of another root, the nasal stop is made homorganic with the initial consonant of the root following it:
chen + pe = chempe
kom + ka = konka
rum + so = runso
  • When a root ending in a consonant (either -m, -n , -s, -l or -ng) is put in front of f, v, h, lor r the final vowel of this root is reduplicated:
lam + vun = lamavun
  • When a root ending with -s is put in front of another root starting with anything other than p, t, k, w or y, the -s is followed by a reduplication of the vowel preceding it:
bas + no = basano
yus + do = yusudo
  • When a root ending with -s is put in front of a root starting with y, the combination of s and y results in sh:
mas + yun = mashun
papas + yun = papashun
bos + ya = bosha
  • When a root ending with -s is put in front of a root starting with p, t or k, the -s is left untouched and directly precedes the second root:
tus + ka = tuska
bas + tan = bastan
tus + pu = tuspu
  • When a root ending with -l is put in front of a root starting with anything other than p, t or k, the -l is followed by a reduplication of the vowel preceding it:
mel + mbe = melembe
  • When a root ending with -l is put in front of a root starting with p, t, or k, the -l is left untouched and directly precedes the second root:
mul + ka = mulka
bal + ka = balka

Parts of speech

Kah has four parts of speech:

  • verbs
  • nouns
  • conjunctions
  • interjections

Verbs

Verbs are the part of speech that can be modified by stative verbs in an adverbial manner, aspect and mood markers and canalize the grammatical roles of their arguments as the head of verbal clauses. There are two subclasses of verbs: active and stative verbs. Both subclasses can either be intransitive or transitive, which means they can either have one argument (a subject) or two or more (a subject and one or more objects). Verbs in Kah include states expressed by adjectives, prepositions and quantifiers in other languages such as English.

Verbs in Kah do not conjugate for person, aspect or mood. They have one basic form that is modified by individual constituents surrounding it. There is a distinction considering the following three aspects:

  • perfective (marked with kwi)
  • progressive (marked with la)
  • future (marked with denu)

Nouns

Nouns are a lexical category made up by words that can be modified by stative verbs, the possessive marker or deictic pronouns in an attributive manner and can serve as an argument to verbs. In the semantic aspect of the word this means nouns express items, persons, places, events, actions and such:

kaiko - book
ubu - man
ala - place

In Kah oblique phrases describing things like location, time and such circumstances are made up of nouns also:

ninye ben denu kwando
yesterday child go school
the children went to school yesterday
meo nyau tila ape ye
cat be stuck be on top tree that
the cat is stuck in top of that tree

This means they can function just like any other noun:

tau sinta ming
now moment bad
this is a bad moment
nong jo lai
not know there
I don't know that place

Conjunctions

Conjunctors connect clauses and phrases and describe the nature of this relationship. This part of speech is made up by words like:

ai - and
eom - or
en - that
eno - in order that
esto - but
eta - when

Interjections

Interjections are words that can show up anywhere and often coincide with emotions:

eo - yes, indeed
nong - no, not
wu - how very, what
nye - yay!
ha - question particle

Examples of their use are:

bukim eo de
king yes come
the king has arrived indeed
eo za!
yes take!
gotcha!
aki shu ha?
food be sweet q.
is the food nice?
nong keju
not want
I don't want it
wu nenyun kuku
how very be pretty face
what a pretty face!

Cross-class derivation

Cross-class derivation is a very active process in Kah in order to form new words. Most word roots in Kah occur in multiple word classes.

To verb

The bulk of cross-class derivation results in a verb. Most of those derivations constitute of a derivation from a verb to a verb even. The following verbs act like prefixes to derive verbs:

jam- to do, derives a basic transitive verb
tom- to become, derives an intransitive active verb
we- to be stative, in a state, derives an transitive stative verb
mun- to cause, derives a causative transitive verb
Source Verb
bo - to be inside jambo - to insert
biso - urine jambiso - to urinate
sin - to be small tonsin - to shrink
api - fire tompi - to ignite, combust
yun - to look weyun - to see
chu - to leave wechu - to originate
de - to come munde - to summon
jebo - to understand munjebo - to explain

The phonotactic rules of these prefixes differ slightly from those of normal compounds. When a common verbal derivational prefix ending in a nasal stop (either -m, -n or -ng) is put in front of f, v, h, l, r or another nasal stop, the final nasal is dropped:

jam + le = jale (and not: *jamale)
mun + ren = muren (and not: *munuren)
tom + reven = toreven (and not: *tomoreven)

Verb extensions

Verb extensions in Kah consist of prefixed verbs altering the meaning of the verb they are attached to. This means that a single verb stem can be used to built new verbs from in a standardized manner. This method has proved to be a rich source of verbal derivation in many natural and constructed languages. For constructed languages the main benefit lies in the instant recognizability and logic it adds to the lexicon as well as the fact it keeps the minimum number of roots needed for a mature lexicon beneath acceptable perimeters.

Reversive

The reversive extensions expressed the undoing of an action and is formed by prefixing the verb mon "to undo" to the original verb. Compare:

Verb Translation Reversive Translation
jo to know monjo to forget
mas to be stabile momas to destabilize
zon to sleep monzon to wake up
nenu to fly monenu to land

Permissive

Permissive verbs are formed with the root ten- expressing "to be able" and express something rather hard to describe. It denotes that an action or quality is possible, advisory or morally right.

Verb Translation Permissive Translation
yun to look tenyun to be visible
jo to know tenjo to be famous
kuka to predict tenkuka to be predictable
bum to explode tembum to be explosive

Causative

A causative verbs express an action is caused to happen. The verb mun to cause is prefixed to the basic verb stem:

Verb Translation Causative Translation
kwan to learn mukwan to teach
bas to stop mumbas to halt, make stop
him to hear muhim to play, make heard
yai to hurt munyai to inflict pain, hurt

Intensive verbs

Besides derivation by means of combining roots or attaching affixes, there is a more internal way of extending the meaning of words. This method involves a partial reduplication of the initial syllable of a word. This partial reduplication involves the initial consonant, stripped of an eventual glide following it, and only the initial vowel:

ka -> kaka
denu -> dedenu
chempe -> chechempe

Words with the syllabic structure CVN instead of prefixing this reduplication to the word root, add the reduplication to the end of the word:

dun -> dundu
ban -> bamba
jam -> janja


Intensive verb forms express a certain kind of intensity in an action or quality:

Word Translation Intensive Translation
nu to go nunu to move
si few, little sisi just, only
chau precise chachau exactly

Other intensive verbs have a more repetitive, habitual or continuative nature, meaning something is happening over and over again, see below.

Iterative

Iterative verbs express the repetition of an action:

Verb Translation Intensive Translation
pya to jump papya to hop
che to hit cheche to beat
pim to hang pimpi to dangle

Habituative

Habituative verbs denote actions that are carried out regularly or habitually:

Verb Translation Intensive Translation
denu to go dedenu to attend, go to
ka to say kaka to call
jam to do janja to have the habit

Continuative

Continuative verbs express an action is of a perpetual nature:

Word Translation Intensive Translation
nuda to spin nunuda to rotate
din light dindi to shine
fi play fifi to be playful

To noun

When a noun is created from another word, one of the the following prefixes is used:

u- noun expressing an animate object
a- noun expressing an inanimate object
i- noun expressing a state
Source Noun
shika - to instruct ushika - instructor
Bangal - Bengali Ubangal - Bengali person
fiti - to win ufiti - winner
toka - to tell atoka - story
ye - that, those aye - that thing, those things
vuka - to insult avuka - insult
namil - free inamil - freedom
lura - loyal ilura - loyalty

Then there are nouns which are derived by adding an prefix u- or a- to a resultative verb starting with o-, producing (u- + o-) wo- and (a- + o-) au-.

wo- noun expressing an animate object being the result from an action
au- noun expressing an inanimate object being a result from an action
Source Noun
ofono - accused wofono - the accused
okwara - assembled wokwara - assembly
oko - written auko - text
okwara - assembled aukwara - collection

Intensive nouns

Some intensive forms are nouns. Many of those express an occupation ("someone habitually carrying out an action"):

Root Translation Intensive noun Translation
muno to drive mumuno driver
zu to cook zuzu cook
ko to write koko writer

Note this practice is not compulsory. Many professions are expressed by words that are no intensive forms:

umukwan - teacher
udaiche - percussionist
urenka - judge

Inalienables

Another class of intensive nouns describing inalienables like family members and body parts ("things that are usually yours") is characterized by reduplication.

mama - mommy
baba - daddy
memea - sister
bamba - heart
sese - mustle
titi - head
Root Translation Intensive noun Translation
ma mother mama mommy
ban centre, core bamba heart
ti up, above titi head

Kinship terms expressed by a reduplication are informal terms expressing a personal relationship caracterized by endearment. Compare:

Root Translation Inalienable Translation
uma mother mama mommy
uba father baba daddy
bua brother bubua bro
mea sister memea sis

The basic roots used in the words above also occur in formal speech as honorifics:

ba - mister, sir
ma - miss, mrs.,ms., ma'am
bua - young man, used for male children or peers
mea - young woman, used for female children or peers

To conjunction

There is a very limited set of conjuntions in Kah. Some of these are derived from other roots by means of the prefix e-:

Source Conjunction
ano - direction eno - in order to
chu - to leave, from echu - so
ata - time eta - when
iwe - state, condition ewe - still, even then

Syntax

A short description of the syntax is represented below:

Feature Description Example
SVO Subject precedes verb precedes object Huan nenju shuki

Juan like candy
Juan likes candy

Topicalization Constituents which are the topic of the phrase are moved to the front shuki Huan nenju

candy Juan like
it's candy Juan likes

Possd na Possr Possessed items precede the possessor and are linked by a marker na shuki na Huan

candy of Huan
Juan's candy

Pro-drop Pronouns functioning as subject or object are omitted when the context is clear nenju shuki

like candy
He likes candy

N Mod Nouns are followed by their modifiers shuki yam sun ye

candy red two that
those two red pieces of candy

No inflection Words have one form and take no morphemes kaiko - book, books

kaiko wi - many books
kaiko yem - three books

Serial verbs Verbs can have more than one subject and a different object each Huan paza shuki pau mea

Juan buy candy give sister
Juan bought his sister candy

Nouns

There is no inflectional morphology involved with nouns anywhere. Nouns have one form only and don't inflect for case, gender or number. There are no definite of indefinite articles.

Case

Grammatical case is expressed by word order, logic and a topic marker when necessary. In unmarked word order, the subject precedes the verb:

uma janzu
mother cook
mother is cooking

Direct objects follow the verb:

uma janzu lanki
mother cook rice
mother is cooking rice

Indirect objects can either follow or precede the direct object:

uma janzu lanki wa
mother cook rice i
mother is cooking rice for me
uma janzu wa lanki
mother cook i rice
mother is cooking rice for me

There is no separate marking for indirect objects. The difference between direct en indirect objects is left to logic and context:

yu pau wa apa
he give i money
he gave me money
  • he gave me to the money

When one of the constituents is topicalized and moved to the front of the sentence thus breaking the basic unmarked SVO-order, there is the option to mark this constituent with the marker be which is placed directly after it:

lanki be uma janzu
rice top mother cook
it is rice mother cooked
  • the rice cooked mother
apa be yu pau wa
money top he give i
it was money he gave to me
  • the money gave him to me

Gender

There is no overt distinction between nouns with an intrinsic masculine or feminine load:

uba - father
uma - mother
wana - woman
bua - brother

The roots bu for "man" and wana for "woman" are used to make new words with this load in order to indicate the sex of a being when necessary:

ume - sheep
bume - ram
waname - ewe

These roots usually are prefixed, but sometimes they occur at the end of words too:

uva - spouse
vabu - husband
vawana - wife

Number

Number and definiteness is derived from the context or expressed with quantifiers or deictic markers:

nia
car
the/a car/cars
nia wi
car many
many cars
nia sun
car two
two cars
nia ye
car that
that car

Collective

Collective nouns express and usually are characterized by the ending in the root nyo meaning "collection, many of". Please keep in mind this is a closed class and not a suffix which can actively be applied to nouns in order to pluralize them. Examples of words containing this root are:

unyo - people, ethnic grouping
Majaranyo - the Hungarian people
penyo - forest
jinyo - band

Some words without this root nyo have an intrinsic collective meaning and are a mass noun on their own:

aso - water
shum - grains
apa - money

Also note substances like elements in general have no separate collective form altough in many instances they do express mass nouns:

vungu - gold
ninia - helium
kwengu - silk
fangu - iron

Mass nouns too can be modified by quantifiers or other nouns in order to denote a more specific amount:

binso yem - three (glasses of) beer
seo na aso - a cup of water
simbe chu vungu - a piece of gold

Pronouns

Kah has several sets of pronouns that can function as an subject or object of oblique utterance in a nominal way. Besides the set of personal pronouns, there is an impersonal pronoun, reciprocity is expressed by a pronoun, there is a set of reflexive pronouns, as well as deictic and interrogative pronouns.

Personal pronouns

There are eight personal pronouns in Kah. As you can see, the plural forms are simply a combination of the singular forms with the collective marker -nyo.

Singular Plural
wa - I wanyo - we
li - you linyo - you
yu - he, she, it yunyo - they
ya - it yanyo - they, the things

The difference between yu and ya is a matter of animacy. Animate objects are referred to with yu and inanimate objects with ya. All living beings such as human beings and animals, insect are referred to with yu, and anything else with ya.

There is no gender marking in pronouns. Yu can either mean he or she. When it is absolutely necessary to express gender, the pronoun can be swapped for a specific common noun or noun phrase such as ubu the man or wana the woman.

Indefinite pronoun

The pronoun al expresses the subject in impersonal utterances like:

al minza sunda
IMP steal bike
They stole my bike
al nong tengi yun kochi jesa kaiko
IMP not can look cover judge book
You can't judge a book by it's cover

To understand the difference between an personal "they" and an impersonal one, compare:

yunyo ka en rupunto la bandola
they say riot be at town
They (i.e. a specified group of people) say there are riots in the center
al ka en rupunto la bandola
imp say riot be at town
They (i.e. rumours, unspecified people) say there are riots in the center

Reflexive pronouns

In order to form reflexive pronouns, the focus marker lo is suffixed to the basic personal pronouns:

Singular Plural
walo - myself walonyo - ourselves
linyo - yourself lilonyo - yourselves
yulo - himself, herself yulonyo - themselves
yalo - itself yalonyo - themselves

Examples of the use of these pronouns are:

shim walonyo
wash self:1pl
we washed ourselves
yun yulo la shefan
look self:3sg LOC mirror
she looked at herself in the mirror
yun lilo!
look self:2sg
look at yourself!

They also function as logophoric pronouns. Please note the difference between:

Reflexive Logophoric
Susan ka yu jam

susan say she do
Susan said she'll do it
("she" referring to someone else)

Susan ka yulo jam

susan say herself do
Susan said she'll do it
("she" referring to Susan herself)

uba zenka yu fon wa

father warn he punish me
father warned me he'll punish me
("he" referring to someone else)

uba zenka yulo fon wa

father warn himself punish me
father warned me he'll punish me
("he" referring to father himself)

Reciprocal pronoun

Reciprocal pronouns express an anaphoric relation between the complements of a verbal clause which is expressed by means of the word each other or one another in English. In Kah, this relation is expressed by the pronoun noyom:

meo ai bau janja nong nenju noyom
cat and dog usually not like RECIP
cats and dogs don't like each other
uyu maika noyom
person greet RECIP
the people greeted one another

Pro-drop

A pro-drop language basically means that pronouns such as the subject and/or object of a verb can be omitted ("dropped") when it is obvious from the context who the agents are in a sentence. In Kah, this context-dependance is embraced:

Full version Pro-drop version
ya wepi

it burn
it is burning

wepi

burn
it is burning

yunyo kwan Nihonka

they learn japanese
they are studying Japanese

kwan Nihonka

learn japanese
they are studying Japanese

wa nong jo ya

i not know it
I don't know

nong jo

not know
I don't know

Pronouns involved in possessive constructions as possessor are dropped easily also, along with the possessive marker na:

Full version Pro-drop version
titi na wa yai

head of I hurt
my head aches

titi yai

head hurt
my head aches

uma na wa denu chipola

mother of i go market
my mother went to the market

uma denu chipola

mother go market
my mother went to the market

In this manner, depending on the conversation preceding a simple phrase, it gets to mean different things. Take for instance the following phrase:

weyun tanu
see movie

When accompanied by the following preceding questions, it gets to mean:

"Have you seen this movie?"
-Weyun tanu.
I saw the movie
"How does he know this already? Has he read this book before?"
-Weyun tanu.
He saw the movie
"What have they been doing?"
-Weyun tanu.
Watching a movie

This principle of terseness also extends to things like plurality or aspect:

paza binki
buy bread
"Have you bought anything?"
-Paza binki.
I bought a bread
"Did you bring the five loafs I asked for?"
-Paza binki.
I bought the bread
"Have you bought enough bread for the entire orphanage?"
-Paza binki.
I bought the bread

Also, note how none of the verbs in the example below are not marked for aspect, yet how this is obvious from the temporal expressions already. This shows aspect markers are dropped frequently as well.

ninye kwan
yesterday study
yesterday I studied
zemanta kwan
tomorrow study
tomorrow I will study
tau kwan
now study
now I'm studying

Demonstratives

Deictic marking in Kah has two gradations, one expressing objects close to the speaker, and one for objects further away:

wau - this, these
ye - that, those

These words are put after the nouns they modify like adjectival stative verbs:

nia wau - this car
yudo ye - that house

There is no marking of number when referring to plural objects:

nia jom wau - these five cars
wonyo wau - this group
ukwan ye - those students / that student

Their unbound nominal forms are:

awau - this (inanimate): awau kope - this is a pen
uwau - this (animate): uwau uma - this is my mother
aye - that (inanimate): aye nia - that is a car
uye - that (animate): uye bau - that is a dog

Quantifiers

In Kah quantifiers determiners indicating quantity such as three, all and many. They are stative verbs and behave as such, which means that in their most common attributive form they resemble common adjectives:

Numerals

Kah numerals are a subclass of stative verbs. They are designed to be easily distinguishable from one another:

Kah English
meng zero, nill
kwa one
sun two
yem three
pan four
jom five
vai six
teo seven
dia eight
sasta nine
nini ten

They are placed after the noun they modify:

nia vai
car six
six cars
bukim yem
king three
three kings

Tens

Tens are created by simply combining the words for a numeral with the word nini for "ten".

Numeral + nini Ten Translation
sun + nini sunini 20
yem + nini yenini 30
pan + nini panini 40
jom + nini jonini 50
vai + nini vainini 60
teo + nini teonini 70
dia + nini dianini 80
sasta + nini sastanini 90

When tens and basic numbers are combined, they are simply placed after one another:

nini pan fourteen
sunini teo twenty seven
sastanini yem ninety three

It is allowed to add the word ai "and" in between as well:

nini ai pan fourteen
sunini ai teo twenty seven
sastanini ai yem ninety three

Hundred and up

The powers of ten up til one billion are listed below:

Kah English
mel hundred
pol thousand
dua ten thousand
wisti hundred thousand
bena million
nungu ten million
goa hundred million
kas billion

Please note that this approach is different from the classic English decimal system, as it is dealing with powers of thousand instead. Powers of ten are treated the same way as ten and form compounds with basic numerals:

Tens Hundreds Thousands Millions
sunini - twenty sumel - two hundred sumpol - two thousand sumbena - two million
yenini - thirty yemel - three hundred yempol - three thousand yembena - three million
panini - forty pamel - four hundred pampol - four thousand pambena - four million
jonini - fifty jomel - five hundred jompol - five thousand jombena - five million
vainini - sixty vaimel - six hundred vaipol - six thousand vaibena - six million
teonini - seventy teomel - seven hundred teopol - seven thousand teobena - seven million
dianini - eighty diamel - eight hundred diapol - eight thousand diabena - eight million
sastanini - ninety sastamel - nine hundred sastapol - nine thousand sastabena - nine million

In a way, the division of powers of ten is a decimal system just like the basic numbers:

Ten - nini
Hundred - mel
Thousand - pol
Ten thousand - dua
Hundred thousand - wisti
Million - bena
Ten million - nungu
Hundred million - goa
Billion - kas
Ten billion - ninya
Hundred billion - nikwanya
Trillion - nisunya
Ten trillion - niyenya
Hundred trillion - nipanya
Quadrillion - nijonya
Ten quadrillion - nivainya
Hundred quadrillion - niteonya
Quintillion - nidianya
Ten quintillion - nisastanya
Hundred quintillion - suninya
Sextillion - sunikwanya
Ten sextillion - sunisunya
Hundred sextillion - suniyenya
Septillion - sunipanya
Ten septillion - sunijonya
10100 - melenya

These numbers combined look like the following:

11 - nini kwa
12 - nini sun
13 - nini yem
14 - nini pan
15 - nini jom
16 - nini vai
17 - nini teo
18 - nini dia
19 - nini sasta
20 - sunini
21 - sunini kwa
22 - sunini sun
23 - sunini yem
28 - sunini dia
36 - yenini vai
89 - dianini sasta
147 - mel panini teo
565 - jomel vainini jom ("fivehundred sixty five")
705 - teomel jom
50,824 - jondua diamel sunini pan
2,500,444 - sumbena jomwisti pamel panini pan

Ordinal numbers

Ordinal numbers are expressed by adding the possessive marker na before the number in question:

nia na vai
car of six
the sixth car
bukim na yem
king na three
the third king
kwanya na teo
lesson of seven
the seventh lesson, lesson seven

Unbound forms

Numerals can be marked with the nominal prefixes u- and a- in order to derive unbound forms of numerals:

Bound Unbound
uyu sun

person two
the two persons

usun

two:animate
the two persons

aya sun

two:inanimate
the two things

asun

two:inanimate
the two things, the pair

simbu pan

boy four
the four boys

upan

four:animate
the four (persons)

win sun ye

horse two
those nine horses

usun ye

two:animate that
those two (horses)

raya pesan yem

chair green three
the three green chairs

ayem pesan

three:inanimate green
the three green ones

Decimal fractions

Decimal fractions are characterized by a bastan "comma" like in most non-anglophone languages:

0.25 - 0,25 (meng bastan sunini jom)
0.347 - 0,347 (meng bastan yemel panini teo)
3.14 - 3,14 (yem bastan nini pan)

When the numbers get to complicated, they can be simply put after one another as well in speech instead of breaking them down in hundreds, tenths and such:

3.14159 - yem bastan kwa pan kwa jom sasta

Vulgar fractions

Vulgar fractions are built by adding the root -mbe "part, share" to a numeral:

Roots Fraction
sum + mbe sumbe - half
yem + mbe yembe - one third
pan + mbe pambe - one quarter, fourth
jom + mbe jombe - one fifth
vai + mbe vaimbe - one sixth
teo + mbe teombe - one seventh
dia + mbe diambe - one eighth
sasta + mbe sastambe - one ninth
nini + mbe sumbe - one tenth
mel + mbe melembe - one hundredth, percent
pol + mbe polombe - one thousandth, promille

These fractions can be modified by cardinal numerals in order to express more complicated quantities:

yembe sun -two thirds
pambe yem - three quarters
sunini-sastambe teo - 7/29

Common quantifiers

Common quantifiers behave like just numerals in respect to their place in noun phrases:

uyu wi
person much
many people
moso wi
milk much
much milk
wana yo
woman all
all women, every woman
wana sun yo
woman two all
both women

A list of common quantifiers in Kah is:

wimuch, many
wi tuntimore, more than
wi tiomost, most of all
vivi - too, too much
silittle, few
si tuntiless, less than
si tioleast, least of all
yoall, every
mengnone, no
siwisome, several
yinother
kakwaany
yosaenough
wishivarious
sun yoboth, each
kwambewhole
fafau - almost

Interrogatives

Interrogatives have in common they all start with ha-. The complete list of interrogatives is:

haya - what?
hayu - who?
hala - where?
hana - which?
hashi - how?
hasa - what kind of?
hata - when?
hamun - why?
hano - where to?
hachu - where from?
hawi - how much/many?

Examples of the use of each of these are:

haya jam?
what do
what did you do?
hayu weyun?
who see
whom did you see?
hala ya?
where it?
where is it?
hana san nenju?
which color like
which color do you like?
hashi jo?
how know
how did you know that?
hasa nia aye?
what kind car that?
what kind of car is that?
hata de?
when come
when will they come?
hamun nong haka?
why not ask?
why didn't you ask?
hano denu?
where go?
where are you going?
hachu umukwan?
where from teacher
where does the teacher come from?
raimos hawi tengi kiza?
how much chocolate can eat
how much chocolate can you eat?

Note how the adjectival forms hana and hasa tend to precede the noun they modify rather than to occur in the position following their head like modifiers usually do. This is due to topicalization again. This is very common for all question words. These rarely are marked by the topic marker be. Again, context is everything:

hayu be weyun?
who top see?
whom did you see?
hayu weyun?
who see?
Whom did you see?
(Or: Who saw it?)

Vocabulary

Swadesh list


No. English Kah
1Iwa
2you (singular)li
3heyu
4wewanyo
5you (plural)linyo
6theyyunyo
7thiswau
8thatye
9herelau
10therelai
11whohayu
12whathaya
13wherehala
14whenhata
15howhashi
16notnong
17allyo
18manywi
19somesi
20fewsi
21otheryin
22onekwa
23twosun
24threeyem
25fourpan
26fivejom
27bigwan
28longnai
29widewilu
30thickgai
31heavyjum
32smallsin
33shortfau
34narrowsilu
35thinchil
36womanwana
37man (adult male)ubu
38man (human being)
39childben
40wifevawana
41husbandvabu
42motheruma
43fatheruba
44animalunga
45fishgan
46birdune
47dogbau
48lousebandi
49snakenais
50wormlia
51treeape
52forestpenyo
53stickpepe
54fruitgun
55seedbenzoi
56leafpesho
57rootpevu
58barkpechi
59flowerafo
60grasspoi
61ropenaya
62skinsenchi
63meatseki
64bloodbanso
65bonesempe
66fat
67eggreo
68horntipe
69taillua
70feathernezi
71hairazi
72headtiti
73earahim
74eyeayun
75nosefuku
76mouthkiki
77toothdun
78tongueloilo
79fingernailrau
80footvuvu
81legvuvu
82kneevupil
83handlele
84wingnechi
85bellybibi
86gutsbino
87neckkenke
88backzeze
89breastmose
90heartbamba
91livervombi
92drinksoza
93eatkiza
94biterandun
95suckchum
96spitkicho
97vomitmonki
98blowfum
99breathehum
100laughhauka
101seeweyun
102hearwehim
103knowjo
104thinkje
105smellfufu
106fearyika
107sleepzon
108livehai
109dietomia
110killjamia
111fightjaru
112huntnumia
113hitche
114cuttu
115splitsunu
116stabpyutu
117scratchjarau
118digmomol
119swimganu
120fly
121walknuvu
122comede
123liehura
124sitwera
125standvuti
126turnnuda
127fallbon
128givepau
129holdleza
130squeezeponza
131rubnyom
132washshim
133wipenonyom
134pullkum
135pushpon
136throwmune
137tienayasku
138sewpyungo
139countmundau
140sayka
141singjika
142playjafi
143floatnengi
144flowsonu
145freezetoreven
146swelltonzeo
147sunnin
148moonmam
149starmangu
150wateraso
151raintiso
152riversonai
153lakeboso
154seafinso
155saltfim
156stoneadu
157sandshum
158dustsishum
159earthvushum
160cloudshina
161fogvushina
162skytiska
163windtihum
164snowmwere
165icerevo
166smokejem
167fireapi
168ash
169burnwepi
170roadnuno
171mountainwensa
172redyam
173greenpesan
174yellowjim
175whitelam
176blacksol
177nightmanta
178dayanin
179yeartiro
180warmsham
181coldven
182fullyobo
183newhen
184oldnaita
185goodnen
186badming
187rottenmwa
188dirtyboboi
189straightnosa
190roundrosa
191sharppyusa
192dullpyusang
193smoothmwesa
194wetoso
195drysong
196correctnenshi
197nearfafau
198farnainu
199rightzano
200leftyino
201atla
202inbo
203withlu
204andai
205iftonto
206becausechumun
207name

Babel text

Tau yula kwambe le yuka kwa
now world whole have language one
Now the whole world had one language
ai aka nyoshi.
and speech common
and a common speech.
Eta uyu nudora tinuno,
when people migrate east
As men moved eastward,
henyun huan la Shinaran ai nudora lai.
find plain be at Shanar and migrate there
they found a plain in Shinar and settled there
Yunyo ka noyom:
they say each other
They said to each other:
"Lo, om jam duzu ai shanzu tuntu."
foc, adh make brick and bake thorough
"Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly,"
Za duzu yompo adu, ai toisau yompo doshum.
take brick instead of stone, and tar instead of mortar
They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.
Tai ka: "Lo, om jando walonyo dola
then say: foc, adh build ourselves city
Then they said: 'Come, let us build ourselves a city
ya le wendo ya deche tilan,
it have tower it reach heaven
with a tower that reaches to the heavens,
eno jam walonyo senka
in order to make ourselves name
so that we make a name for ourselves
ai eno al nong membe wanyo
and in order imps not scatter us
and not be scattered
tunu kuchi na yula kwambe,"
across surface of world whole
over the face of the whole earth,"
Esto Tifa vunu
"but lord descend
But the Lord came down
eno yun dola ai wendo be uyu jando ya.
in order to look city and tower top people build it
to see the city and the tower that the men were building.
Tifa ka: "Tonto shi unyo kwa
"lord say: if like people one
The Lord said: "If as one people
la kaza yuka kwashi,
be at speak language same
speaking the same language
yunyo nuku jam awau,
they start do this
they have begun to do this,
tontoye yayang be yunyo jankuren jam ya teneng tos yunyo.
in that case nothing top they plan do it be impossible considering them
then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
Lo, om vunu ai moren yuka na yunyo.
foc, adh descend and confuse language of them
Come, let us go down and confuse their language
eno nong ke jebo noyom,"
in order that not opt understand each other
so they will not understand each other,"
Echu Tifa membe yunyo chu lai tunu yula kwambe,
so lord scatter them from there across world whole
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth,
ai yunyo bas jando dola.
and they stop build city
and they stopped building the city.
Amun chumunye en al kaka Babal --
reason because of that that imps call Babel
That is why it was called Babel --
chumun lai Tifa moren yuka na yula kwambe.
because there lord confuse language of world whole
because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.
Chu lai Tifa membe yunyo tunu kuchi na yula kwambe.
from there lord scatter them across surface of world whole.
From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.


External links

  • Kah homepage: [1]