|Setting||Umu, planet Earth|
Kirtumur is an Eastern language spoken for more than a thousand years in an eastern part of the continent, called Umu. It has been documented as a living language for at least 1500 years, according to the date of the earliest Kērsal documents. Though no longer spoken natively, Kērsalur continues to be used as a language of scholarship and cult, influencing Kirtumur, which is now the official language of Umu.
Along with Cirdamur and Kērsalur, Kirtumur belongs to the Kyrdan language family. Its position in a remote corner of the former interstellar empire shows it to be a last remnant of the ancient languages that preceded the arrival of Klīru and its sister languages, to which the Kyrdan languages are distantly related. The name "Kirtumur" comes from the Old Ķyrdum ķiur "proper (speech)" and the suffixes -tum of unknown etymology, related to "-dam" in Cirdamur. The Kirtumur speakers themselves used to call their language umunesal "the speech of Umu", but they changed its name to make it different from unstandardised varieties, spoken in that part of the continent. The southern alluvial plain where the Umunnak people lived is by itself hardly a hospitable region, but the climate is warmer and less windy, and together with plain terrain it made the are the centre of Umu with many relatively densely populated cities, which helped establishing Kirtumur as the new official language after the decline of Kērsalur.
Kirtumur belongs to the eastern branch along with Kērsalur and a few spoken varieties (also called Kirtumur dialects). The most important neighbour outside its close genetic relatives is Cirdamur, which has been in contact with Kirtumur for almost all of its history and both languages influenced each other, this is the most noticeable in their lexical similarity, for example supōlum "ship", which is a loanword from Cirdamur and has the same root as Kirtumur paulim "gliding"; or cilin "healthy" (another Cirdamur loanword) which is a cognate to Kirtumur kilin "whole, unbroken". There are two standard forms of written Kirtumur, Umunesal and Erepursal. Umunesal developed from the central and partially eastern Umu dialects, that replaced Kērsal (and later also Erepursal) as the elite language, while Erepursal developed based upon a north-western dialect group with a strong Kērsalur influence.
The two distinct varieties (Ilusal and Ruosal), usually called Kirtumur dialects, can be considered separate languages, since both are quite different from Kirtumur and are more similar to each other and extinct Kērsal dialects than to Kirtumur. There is yet another dialect, called kirtumur erepurnu, which has more old loanwords from Kērsal and is more conservative, preserving a distinct [y(ː)] sound which became [i] in other dialects. Erepursal was based primarily on this dialect. In the north and northeast of Umu Kirtumur dialects merge [s] and [ʃ], leaving only the latter and also tend to pronounce [x] as [h]. They also use zela or hela instead of ŋala "to live" and mi instead of ma "not", which is also common in the west and is shared with Ruosal. Dialects from different groups are in some cases so dissimilar as to be unintelligible to unfamiliar listeners.
There are also various sociolects, that vary in levels of prestige with the high nobility speaking almost completely in Kērsalur with Kirtumur grammar and using longer words, while people of a low social class using less complex grammatical structures and more dialectal words in their speech. The Erepur dialect is the only exception as it is associated with religion, viewed as a link between Kērsalur and common Kirtumur, through which people can understand ancient texts and inscriptions.
The analysis of Kirtumur phonology is based only on the standard language, though some additional data from dialects may also be included. The most important sound changes are discussed too.
All Kirtumur syllables have the structure V, CV, VC or CVC, the vowel being either long or short. The vowel-initial syllable are not as often as the consonant-initial ones, but vowel-initial words are quite common. The consonant clusters can only appear between vowels and vowel sequences are possible, after a consonant between them elided due to various sound changes.
|aspirated||ph /pʰ/||th /tʰ/||kh /kʰ/|
|Fricative||z /θ/||s||š /ʃ/||x||h|
Kirtumur distinguishes between aspirated and unaspirated plosives and affricates. It is unknown whether this was the original distinction or it was originally based on voicing like in Cirdamur, or a different contrast. Consonant length is phonemic in Kirtumur but only in word-medial position, that is to say, between vowels only, but it can also be interpreted as a consonant cluster, considering the origin of gemination, which is assimilation of certain consonants that would otherwise create a prohibited cluster (an example of which is the word kukkapir "column", itself a borrowing from Kērsalur, originally *gubgabir from the root *gub "to support". Here *bg became *gg which gave "kk" in Kirtumur). Certain consonants, like /r/, /w/, /j/, /h/ or any aspirated consonants can not be geminate.
Many speakers do not distinguish /x/ in their speach word-initially and medially, merging it with /h/. Mountain dialects typically pronounce "l" as [ɫ] when geminate or syllable-final and this is viewed as standard, though a denti-alveolar [l] is preferred. /r/ is usually a trill, though a tapped pronunciation (as [ɾ]) is possible too, mostly in fast speech of a common class, this is, however, considered inappropriate among the nobility. Just like Kērsal, the old Kirtumur writing system used signs for a specialized sound, romanised "ř", the exact pronunciation of which is unknown. Through a number of sound changes, /ř/ disappeared as an independent phoneme from all Kyrdan languages, but it likely sounded similar to /r/, since it merged with this phoneme in Kirtumur with several marginal exceptions, where it instead became pronounced [t], for example: eicat "it sold" (from *eiʒař), utun "meanwhile" (from *uřu "between").
The voiceless aspirated stops were generally lost in syllable-final position, merging with their plain voiceless counterparts or assimilating to the following consonant. In southwestern dialects the /tʰ/ irregularly became /r/ between vowels. This is also true for the standard, but limited to a few verbal prefixes before person markers. The consonants /h/, /w/ and /j/ are rare and can only be found word-initially or between vowels, they disappear when preceded by any consonant.
Here are the vowel phonemes in Umunesal:
|Mid||ē [eː]||ō [oː]|
Vowel length was phonemic in East Kyrdan, but in Kirtumur the only vowel that has both a short and a long versions is /e/, which is still differentiated by quality: the short counterpart is noticeably more open. Kirtumur also has two diphthongs: "ei" [eɪ] and "au" [aʉ], with the second being pronounced [ɛʏ] in the northeast. Erepursal variety has additional two vowels: "y" [y] and "ȳ" [øː], which usually correspond to "i" in Umunesal. The old East Kyrdan diphthongs *ai and *ei are still distinct in Erepursal with *ai becoming "ei" [ɛɪ] and *ei becoming "ui" [ʉɪ]~[ɵɪ], while both merged into [eɪ] in Umunesal.
Early in its history a sound change took place that gave rise to the Kirtumur vowel harmony. According to this rule, a front vowel differs depending on the vowel in the following syllable. When the next syllable contains a high vowel ([i] or [u]) or a diphthong, then the vowel is [i] and in other cases it is [ɛ], for instance: enethachē "she/he gave it to them", inišukē "she/he bought it for them". Certain prefixes, like the locative prefix, does not change, however. If the vowel is [ɛ], then both [i] and [ɛ] can appear before it, but the latter appears much more often then the former.
The number of permissible clusters is high, but not every consonant sequence is allowed. If a certain prohibited cluster would form, the first consonant usually assimilates to the second. but this is not always the case. Here, in the table below the most common assimilation types are shown. The first consonant of a cluster is in the topmost row, while the second consonant is in the leftmost column.
|ph, p||th, t||kh, k||ch, c||z||s||š||x||h||w||y|
Like other Eastern varieties, Kirtumur does not possess a strong stress and thus it generally does not cause any vowel reduction of unstressed syllables (a feature, shared with Kērsalur, but not with some westernmost dialects, like Ilusal). A stress is generally fixed on the root vowel of a word, but some suffixes can cause the stress shift to the right, like the inanimate locative marker -enei which receives stress on its first vowel ([ˈlum] "surface" - [lu.ˈmɛ.nɛɪ] "on the surface" ) or the negative active present conjugation, which shifts the stress to the person suffix ([ˈkʰɑ.tʰɑ] "to stop" - [kʰɑ.ˈtʰeɪ.ŋi] "I'm not stopping him/her". In composite words the stress always falls on the second root vowel or a suffix - [nɑm.sɑ.ˈlir] "speech, the manner of speaking".
Kirtumur has two written standards: Umunesal and Erepursal. Other Kirtumur dialects have are not standardised and the usage of Erepursal was later limited to only religious practices and as a local variety. However, neither of these two are spoken standards, even though both provide rules concerning the proper pronunciation, and most Kirtumur speakers use their native dialect in most or all circumstances, as no attempts at creating a unified spoken standard have been made. Erepursal is based primarily on western mountainous dialects of Kirtumur and thus was difficult to learn for speakers of various eastern dialects. It was later almost completely replaced with Umunesal in most areas, which is based on central lowland dialects instead and is slightly closer to some eastern dialects, than Erepursal, though neither standard was based on or included the eastern dialects. Thus, broadly speaking, Erepursal is widespread in western mountainous parts of Umu, though not in major urban areas, while Umunesal is used everywhere else. Umunesal is generally less conservative and allows a great variety of optional word forms; forms that are closer to its original central dialect and Cirdamur is called munulikhir ("conservative") and forms that are closer to other local dialects and/or Kērsalur are muatauŋir ("moderate").
The word is perhaps the most basic unit of grammar and morphology deals with the internal structure of words. Kirtumur is consistently classified as an agglutinative language. Although it differs from a standard agglutinative language, where each morpheme carries one meaning and they remain unchanged after their unions. Some of its morphemes act similarly to morphemes in a fusional language, which tend to use a single morheme to carry multiple meanings. For example, the verb misa ("to eat") has the first-person singular subject present tense form misi ("I eat it"); the single suffix -i represents both the features of the direct agreement between first and third persons and present tense, instead of having a separate affix for each feature (although the present tense morpheme can also be analysed as zero).
Prefixes and suffixes make up a single grammatical word together with the stem they are attached to. Thus, a verbal form makes a single word, as the parts of a verbal form always occur in a fixed order and cannot be separated from each other. Stem and affixes together make up a single linguistic unit that cannot be broken up in any way, while clitics (such as noun case clitics) are grammatical words, because they can be separated from the linguistic units they are attached to, but they are not separate phonologically from nouns they modify.
Main article: Kirtumur nouns
Nouns is an open class in Kirtumur. In principle, the number of nouns is unlimited. Apart from a large number of simple nouns, there are numerous complex nouns, most of them compounds, such as wimmuk ("basket", from wek- "cover" and muk "bundle"), but derivation by means of affixes is also common. Nouns are inflected for three grammatical categories: case, possession and number. The category of gender (or animacy) is tied to the former categories. Nouns are not marked for definiteness and there is no article.
Kirtumur has two nouns classes, based on animacy, which can also be called genders (animate and inanimate). The class of a noun is determined by its meaning. Humans, gods, all living organisms, stars and planets belong to animate gender, while everything else belongs to inanimate gender. Groups living beings are inanimate, even though the singular subjects that comprise them are animate. This animacy distinction is marked on nouns with different case forms, but it also shows itself in pronominal and verbal agreement. There is no sex-based gender in Kirtumur, although several nouns are gender-specific (e.g. masculine or feminine), such as: ŋiraŋi/(ŋir)pekhi ("woman/man"), or calme/alle ("feminine/masculine"). The addition of pekh ("male") or eraŋ ("female") to the noun usually signifies gender in other terms such as amapekhi ("father"), but it is rarely used, unless the speaker needs to specify gender, otherwise gender-neutral words are preferred. This sometimes leads to confusion, when the gender of a historical figure is unknown, because it was never mentioned. A different example of it is how different gods were sometimes portrayed as men and sometimes as women on ancient tablets, and most of the time they are considered androgynous because of this.
In terms of grammatical behaviour, the pronouns can be divided into three main classes: interrogative, demonstrative and indefinite. Their behaviour is mostly noun-like, meaning that they can receive case markers and form new pronouns by means of word composition.
Kirtumur has many demonstratives, which are usually formed from nouns. For instance, for expressing the meanings "here" and "hither", it uses the venitive prefix ni- with yum "the place", forming niyum "here" and neiyum "hither". Usually, however, the information that would be represented with these pronouns is marked on verbs instead: neithalapeyan "put it over there", where the andative prefix tha- indicates motion further away. Similarly, the noun thautra "during that time" is used to denote "then" and the like. There is special word for "now", though: yer, which originated from yira "this time" (also used as word for "now" by the nobility). Old words, like yi "this" or ta "that" became pronominal clitics and are the source of new words: yiŋiri "this person", which is treated as a separate word. A demonstrative clitic -(e)a ("this thing") can be used with both nouns and verbs, it can also be used with endophoric reference, referring back to something mentioned earlier: ōttōm nathaktēa "he/she has provided these supplies (mentioned earlier)".
There are only five interrogative pronouns: khar "who" and war "what", khim "when", kei "where" and khōn "how", all, except kei, likely are composites, based on the way they were written in Old Kērsal inscriptions, with two syllabic symbols rather than having their own separate symbols, like most other monosyllabic Kērsalur words. They behave like nouns: they make up noun phrases in their own right, having the case markers appropriate for the grammatical function they perform: War laxēwamti? "What have I learnt from you?" There is also an interrogative clitic kh(e)- which is usually attached to the main verb in a sentence and indicates a question, when no other interrogative pronoun is used: Khax Ilitmi kōlšu? "Is your name Ilitmi?"
Because Kirtumur lacks an article, only the context can make clear whether a given noun is definite or indefinite. Depending on the context, a word such as eraŋi "woman" means either "the woman" or "a woman". A few nouns that refer to ontological categories have usages similar to indefinite pronouns. Thus, with an indefinite meaning, taŋiri "that person" can also express "someone" and tanik " that thing" can also stand for "something": namšarkat taŋires ezikap "someone robbed me". In addition to these words, there is a prefix na- with the meaning "any" that creates various pronouns, for instance nam "anywhere" (although the Kērsalur word eyei is more widespread than nam: eyei ōkua nilua ōma "you can walk anywhere you want here"). Negative pronouns do not exist in Kirtumur, instead a particle ma "not" is used with the existing pronoun, for example: Ma nanik hakuakha ("I do not want anything"); Ma neilur inihatat kal lepamnu ("Nobody alive enters the realm of the dead"). The prefix na- can also form verb clauses: nanexa "whatever it is".
As to their syntax, numerals behave very much like nouns. Like a noun, a numeral can make up a noun phrase, having the case marker appropriate for the grammatical function. In their morphology, however, numerals differ from nouns slightly, as they have two forms: cardinal and ordinal, they can also form specific compounds that nouns can not form, which do not necessarily indicate a number (for example, when introducing a person: Yik Rinki "this is Rinki", where ik is the word for "one").
Numerals are written with separate symbols, which do not provide any information about how they are pronounced. Some numerals are simple, meaning that they consist of a single stem, while most numerals are compounds, made up from simple numerals. Compound numerals are either additive (hōik "seven" - "6+1") or multiplicative (yakhō "thirty" "5×6").
Here are some Kirtumur numerals:
As can be seen from the table above, Kirtumur uses a senary numeral system (base-6), which is common among the Aiwanic languages. Thus it employs separate words for powers of six: hō (6), mun (62), zōr (63), secek (64), other large numerals are compounds: yakhōmak (35 or 556, "5×6+5"), mun cehōška or mun-ka-cehōšek depending on a speech register (51 or 1236 "36+2×6+3").
Cardinal numerals are used attributively or independently. When used attributively, a cardinal is part of a noun phrase and quantifies a noun and an attributive cardinal always follows its head noun: Nihōktir khiŋ hōax "There are six days in a week"; Cuthur ninma mirimōma eškanu "the prophetic triplets of Cuthur (a large Umu city)". Rarely a numeral can behave like an adjective: yu eškax urireya "write down number three" (literally: "it, being three, write down"). A numeral can also be used independently from nouns: phak athaix "There were four (of them)", ŋeŋapnu hōškax "She/he has nine plates" (literally: "his/her plates are nine").
With the exception of the first six, ordinal numerals are formed from the cardinal ones by adding the suffix -in: ra ešezur "for the third time". An ordinal can make up a noun phrase in its own right: ešne sathukkatō "the fourth one has been received". An ordinal can also make up an adverbial phrase. The following phrases, for instance, occur frequently: ŋizur "firstly", mēzur "secondly".
Many fractions are expressed by a form of the phrase ik(i/e)-N-teš, where ik is "one", N represents a cardinal and -teš/-theš is a suffix that means "part". It behaves grammatically as a noun phrase, for example: ikeškathešnu nirinuxa "one third of this is on top of it". The only exception is 1/2 (one half) which is instead expressed with immau. Other fractions are compounds: cu k-ikeškatheš "two and a third".
Kirtumur has only a small amount of adjectives. In this it differs from languages such as English, where the number of adjectives is basically unlimited, as new adjectives can be formed from already existing words, e.g. it is an open class. In the East Kyrdan continuum (and possibly already in Proto-Kyrdan) adjectives formed a small closed class instead. This small class of true adjectives was completely reanalised in Kirtumur as either nouns or stative verbs. The remaining true adjectives of the standard Kirtumur variety express qualities, including such as have to do with dimensions (e.g., phas "wide", wō "big", chik "tiny"), colours (ōl "blue", cen "red, scarlet") and physical or cosmic properties (cikkim "immense", ulō "eternal, infinite", khi or anki "pure, holy"). In its spoken varieties, however, every adjective, except words for colours, became a stative verb. Since Kirtumur has far fewer adjectives, than a language like English, it often uses other types of words to express concepts which are adjectival from an English point of view. For instance, some adjectives are nouns morphologically: namalŋir thuttuknu "noble clothes" (lit. "nobility clothes-3Poss"), or ninamikim am "desolate place" (lit. "in solitude place"). Other (the majority) are verb-like: ŋiri hila "strong person" ("person-Abs. be-strong"), xōl eya "long container". In Old Kersal texts (and thus in the earliest form of Kirtumur) verb-like adjectives were differentiated from verbs by a process, called ablaut: fela "to be strong (verb)", itefele "to strengthen" – fili "strong (adjective)". Negation was also different: ma/mi fili "not strong". In later Kirtumur the forms coincided: hela "to be strong (stative)", hilekha "not to be strong, not strong", but hilela "to strengthen". Adjectival morphology is very straightforward, they have only two possible forms: the simple stem, without any modification, or the reduplicated stem. The latter is used to make other verbs or adjectives: sena "new (Cirdamur loanword)" – cencena "brand new, the newest"; lepa "old" – lillepa "former". However, reduplication does not apply to all adjectives in the same way: wō(-a) "big" – wauha "getting big".
Adjectives are not specified for degree, as in English (e.g. big, bigger, biggest). However, comparison can be expressed by a variety of constructions: yixōl yiwōnu tēxe (this-container this-large-3Poss that-Dat) "this container is larger, than that one" (comparative); yixōl yiwōnu antuxe (this-container this-large-3Poss all-Dat) or yixōl wawōa (this-container be.very.large) "this container is the largest" (superlative).
Adjectives are mostly used attributively to modify nouns. The normal word order is then for an adjective to follow the modified noun and to precede all other parts of the noun phrase: par khura "clean road", munušar sena "new shrine". True adjectives, on the other hand, precede the noun they modify and do not allow any words between them, thus practically attaching to the modified noun as a prefix: Ōl-entiri "the Blue God", ayu-ŋirak "the sky people". An attributively used adjective can have an adverbial function. This occurs particularly often with idiomatic combinations of verbs and nouns: Khaē kina "She/He does it properly", phas-ka/kha phasa "abundantly, in excess" (lit. "doing widely"). The predicative usage is also common, with or without the addition of the copula clitic: ōkina-x "you are right"; ixak ualennu "whose qualities are great"; i-ōtumta kina "what you have said is true".
Main article: Kirtumur verbs
A clause is a grammatical unit that consists of a predicate and the elements that accompany it. Kirtumur has nominal, copular and verbal clauses, the predicate of the latter is a verb. Verbs refer to a large variety of actions and states. The number and kinds of participants involved differ between different actions and states and thus between different verbs. Kirtumur distinguishes between intransitive and transitive verbs. An intransitive verbal clause is a construction with an intransitive subject and a predicate, while a transitive clause also includes one or more objects, different from a transitive subject. Thus different relations between the parts of a clause are possible: ergative, accusative and tripartite. Kirtumur is a tripartite language, because it treats all three functions (intransitive subject, transitive subject and objects) differently. Its case marking on nouns is entirely on an ergative basis, meaning that the transitive subject is in the ergative case, while both the direct object and the intransitive subject are in the absolutive case. On the other hand, intransitive verbs receive different person markers that transitive verbs, thus marking the intransitive subject and the direct object differently. The imperative form of verbs show the accusative system in which both the transitive and intransitive subjects are treated in the same way. Subjunctive forms also used to show the accusative system, but it fully changed to the ergative system early in the history of Kirtumur. Some archaic non-finite constructions also follow the accusative system, for example: Ikur xatathiweis entiru ualanu "the great gods (are) about to become one", where tatheis is a future active infinitive meaning "about to become". Here entiru "two gods" is in the absolutive, despite being a subject. These constructions are rare outside fixed expressions and old texts.
While direct objects are by definition only found in transitive clauses, indirect and oblique objects may occur in transitive and intransitive clauses alike. These two types of object show some overlap in form but are nevertheless formally and functionally quite distinct. If an indirect object is expressed by a noun phrase, it is in the dative case. An oblique object can be in the locative or the absolutive case, rarely also in the dative case just as an indirect object. On the verbs they are expressed with corresponding person prefixes. An indirect and an oblique object are not mutually exclusive. A clause may contain both at the same time:
Muzaktal cinathattē heim muzaktal-∅ ci-na-thatt-ē heim-∅ pendant-sg.Abs 3sg.IN.Obl-3rd.AN.IndObj-give.Perf-3sg.Subj.3sg.DO house-sg.Abs "She/he has given a pendant to her/him in the house".
Here the indirect object is marked on a verb with a prefix na-, while the oblique object heim ("house") is marked with a prefix ci-.
Ideophones are grammatical particles that represent a separate class in Kirtumur. The ideophones are onomatopoeic words expressing various kinds of noises or convey an emphasis or a strong feeling about something. They contain sounds that approximate the noises they express, but at the same time they also have a fairly rigid phonemic structure. Morphologically some are more similar to verbs, than to nouns, while others are equally different from both. An example of the first type:
nōka wōa ezatuttate tamanei nō-ka-∅ wō-a e-za-tut.tat-e ta-m-enei stone-PL-ABS big-INF PST-1SG.IO-clatter.RDUP-IPFV that-place-LOC "Big stones were clattering near me".
The structure of tuttata "to clatter" is typical for a verb-like ideophone, which is usually reduplicated.
The second type does not have such a straightforward meaning or structure, unlike the ideophones. For example, one of such particles is upa "even, also":
- upa wamēki – "even he/she doesn’t know it".
Another commonly used particle is hē, which has a broad range of meaning, but typically emphasises verbs:
- hē šiyikattei – "indeed, this was definitely going to happen";
- hē ektei – "I have barely done it".
The particle ha can be used with both nouns and verbs and acts as a topic marker:
- ha ka lileye – "and now the sun sets";
- ha araltax – "well, it is beautiful".
There are other particles with a similar function: nakōl "so, therefore" (lit. "for the name of it"), taur "thus", namēn "subsequently" (lit. "for the second one"), uterke "later, afterwards" (Kērsalur borrowing, lit. "on the back"), xenaterke "since, from now on" (also a Kērsalur borrowing). The particle kana means "now, already" and is typically used with verbs, mostly with optative:
- kurōkha kana – "do it already" .
Its reduplicated form can also be used on its own: kana-kana! "come on!" The particle nu/na is used as an interjection, similarly to ha and can be translated as "oh", "fine" or "okay":
- Nu kheisi – "all right, I’ll do it".
Finally the particle hi has a meaning of "so, very" but its usage broadly overlaps with ha. It is very common in Erepursal and its original dialect, while in the standard (Umunesal) it is rarely used, being substituted with ha:
- hi upara – "it’s so late";
- hi hakua – "yes, I want it".
In Kirtumur word order plays no role in the marking of syntactic functions and thus Kirtumur has a rather free word order in clauses. Because so many syntactic functions can be realized by verbal affixes, a verbal form alone is sufficient enough to make up a complete clause: enekhēkkurtē "he/she had made it clear for them" (AOR-3IO.PL-clear.CAUS-PRF-3AG.3PAT). Most clauses contain more words, though. The verbal form is then more likely the last word of the clause, being preceded by noun phrases, although this is not the default order, as the actual default order is not fixed.
yiŋirakes uheim iritē yi-ŋir-ak-es uheim-∅ e-rit-ē this-person-PL-ERG palace-ABS AOR-build-3S.AG.3S.PAT "These people built a palace".
In the example above, the basic order in a transitive clause is SOV or, more precisely, APV (agent-patient-verb). But a transitive sentence may have other clause elements inside, which can be placed in practically any position withough altering the meaning. For example:
yiŋirak Thikentiri muritaknues yēl aŋaranu uheim enaxiritē yi-ŋir-ak Thik-entir-i mu-rit-ak-nu-es y-ēl aŋar-a-nu uheim-∅ e-na-xi-rit-ē this-person-PL Green-God/Goddess-ABS AGT-build-PL-3POSS-ERG this-word be.straight-INF-3POSS palace-ABS AOR-3.SG.OBL-AND-build-3S.AG.3S.PAT "These people, the Green Goddess’ builders, built the palace with her direct order". Hayira khauni akaninax ha-yi-ra kh-auni akanin-ax-tai EMPH-this-time make-PST.PASS.PCP statue-be-PRF.STAT "At this time a statue has been made".
An interrogative particle or a verb form with the interrogative prefix is usually the first word of the clause. Topicalised nouns also precede all other words in a sentence, even the interrogative particle:
Reikentirarta kar athēl panawaŋē Reikentir-ar-ta kar ath-ēl pa-na-ōŋ-ē Yellow God-DAT-COMM who yonder-word-ABS SUBJ-3SG.IO-measure-3AG.3PAT "Who would give an order to the Yellow God".
Various exclamations, emphatic particles, vocative nouns are also typically placed before other words in a sentence. Conjunctions, such as ō "and" or mu "because", are almost exclusively clause-initial.