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New Language: Njaama (Verbal System--Longish)

From:David Peterson <digitalscream@...>
Date:Monday, October 14, 2002, 7:22
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I've been working on a new language for awhile, which I finally decided to 
call Njaama [ndZa:(2)ma(1)], and I just worked out the verb paradigm (for the 
time being), so I thought I'd share it.

First, Njaama's not necessarily isolating, but it's pretty close to it.   
It's a pitch accent language.   It only has two tones (high and low), so I'm 
just putting a 1 or a 2 in parentheses after the syllable to indicate.   
There are prenasalized stops which I'll just indicate as [nd], [mb] and [Ng] 
(oh, for the name of the language, the first part is written /ndy/, which 
comes out [ndZ]).   The nasal just triggers nasalization, but I don't want to 
fiddle with ~'s 'cause they look funky.   Post-vocalic [n] also triggers 

Things to know: wa(1) = "I"; ja:(2) = "you" (accusative); wa(1)nta(2) = "we" 
(exclusive, dual).   [!] = dental click; [O] = back, open-mid, rounded vowel; 
[C'] = ejective.   There are rules for tone assignment, and underlying tone, 
but they don't need to be mentioned here.   /j/ > [Z] / _[i]; /w/ > [v] / 
_[O, u].

Okay, so here are the verbs:

Verbal Infixes:

Class I Verbs (Verbs describing emotions and sensory experience), ka:(1)nE(2) 
"to see":

1.) Imperfect:     --, wa(1) ka:(1)nE(2) ja:(2) (I see, I can see, I 
am/was/will be 
                                              seing, I will see you)
2.) Perfect:       -Et-, wa(1) kE(1)ta:(1)nE(2) ja:(2)   (I saw, I have seen, 
I did 
                                                        see, I will have seen 
3.) Intransitive: -um-, wa(1) ku(1)ma:(1)nE(2)   (I do see, I can see)
4.) Passive:       -a(1)w-, wa(1) ka(1)wa:(1)nE(2)   (I'm seen, I'm being 
seen, I was 
                                                     seen, etc.)
5.) Antipassive:   -ip'-, wa(1) ki(1)p'a:(1)nE(2)   (I do/can/am see[ing] 
6.) Causative:     -Ol-, wa(1) kO(1)la:(1)nE(2) ja:(2)   (I cause you to see, 
I was 
                                                        causing you to see…)
7.) Imperative:    -VC-, ka(1)ka:(1)nE(2)   (see!)   [Note: The vowel in the 
                                                  reduplicated infix is 
always short.]
8.) Uncertain:     -u(2)!-, wa(1) ku(1)!a:(1)nE(2) ja:(2)   (I 
think/believe/'m almost 
                                                           sure I'll see you 
                                                             combined with 
the perfect 
                                                           tense, it renders 
                                                           meaning, "I 
think/believe I
                                                           saw you"])
9.) Reflexive:     -u(2)s-, wa(1) ku(1)sa:(1)nE(2)   (I see myself)
10.) Reciprocal:   -O(2)m-, wa(1)nta(2) kO(1)ma:(1)nE(2)   (We [two] see each 

Class II Verbs (Verbs describing actions carried out by one person alone), 
ja(2)NdZi(1) "to cry":

1.) Imperfect:    --, wa(1) ja(2)NdZi(1)   (I cry, I'm crying, I do cry, I 
was crying,
                                          I will cry)
2.) Perfect:      -Et-, wa(1) jE(2)ta(2)NdZi(1)   (I cried, I did cry, I have 
cried, I 
                                                 had cried, I will have 
3.) Transitive:   -E(1)k-, wa(1) jE(2)ka(2)NdZi(1)   (I cry something [e.g., 
4.) Involuntary: -a(1)w-, wa(1) ja(2)wa(2)NdZi(1)   (I'm caused to cry, I'm 
brought to
                                                    tears [the causer is 
rendered in 
                                                    the same way as for a 
passive in 
                                                    class I])
5.) Beneficiary: -ip'-, wa(1) Zi(2)p'a(2)NdZi(1)   (I cry [for something] 
[the thing 
                                                   cried for can be expressed 

                                                   prepositionally in the 
same way an
                                                   oblique argument can])
6.) Causative:    -Ol-, wa(1) jO(2)la(2)NdZi(1) ja:(2)   (I cause you to cry, 
I was 
                                                        causing you to 
7.) Imperative:   -VC-, ja(2)ja(2)NdZi(1)   (cry!) 
8.) Irrealis:     -u(2)!-, wa(1) ju(2)!a(2)NdZi(1)   (I might cry, I could 
cry, I'm 
                                                    able to cry, I would cry)
9.) Intensive:    -u(2)s-, wa(1) ju(2)sa(2)NdZi(1)   (I cry heavily)
10.) Associative:-O(2)m-, wa(1)nta(2) jO(2)ma(2)NdZi(1)   (We cry for each 
other, we 
                                                          cry together)

Class III Verbs (Verbs describing actions involving an agent and patient), 
ma:(2)lE(2) "to hug":

1.) Stative/Habitual:         --, wa(1) ma:(2)lE(2)   (I'm a hugger, I'm one 
who hugs)
2.) Perfect (Habitual):       -Et-, wa(1) mE(2)ta:(2)lE(2)   (I used to be a 
                                                             one who hugs)
3.) Transitive:               -E(1)k-, wa(1) mE(1)ka:(2)lE(2) ja:(2)   (I hug 
you, I 
                                                                was hugging 
you, etc.)
3.) Perfect (Transitive):     -E(1)!-, wa(1) mE(1)!a:(2)lE(2) ja:(2)   (I 
hugged you, I
hugged you)
5.) Passive:                  -a(1)w-, wa(1) ma(1)wa:(2)lE(2)   (I'm hugged, 
I'm being 
                                                               hugged, I was 
                                                               hugged, etc.)
6.) Antipassive:              -E(1)k- (no object), wa(1) mE(1)ka:(2)lE(2)   
(I hug 
7.) Causative (Habitual):     -Ol-, wa(1) mO(2)la:(2)lE(2) ja:(2)   (I cause 
you to be 
8.) Causative (Transitive):   -O(1)lk-, wa(1) mO(1)lka:(2)lE(2) ja:(2)   (I 
cause you 
                                                              to hug 
[someone--can be
9.) Imperative:               -VC-, ma(2)ma:(2)lE(2)        (be a hugger!), 
                                    mE(1)mE(1)ka:(2)lE(2)   (hug 
10.) Uncertain (Habitual):    -u(2)!-, wa(1) mu(2)!a:(2)lE(2) ja:(2)   (I 
a hugger)
11.) Uncertain (Transitive): -E(1)ku(2)!-, wa(1) mE(1)ku(2)!a:(2)lE(2) ja:(2) 
might/could hug 
                                                                    you [with 
                                                                I think I 
hugged you])
12.) Reflexive:               -u(2)s-, wa(1) mu(2)sa:(2)lE(2)   (I hug 
13.) Reciprocal:              -O(2)m-, wa(1)nta(2) mO(2)ma:(2)lE(2)   (We 
[two] hug 

[Note: Ditransitive verbs are Class III, by default.   Rather than their 
indirect objects being expressed as indirect objects, though, they are direct 
objects.   So, the verb "to give" in Njaama is "to give to", so you'd say 
something like, "I give to you by means of a book", for the English "I give a 
book to you".]

Class IV Verbs (Adjectival, stative verbs), lO:(2)NgE(2) "to be tall/high":

1.) Nonpast/Imperfect: --, wa(1) lO:(2)NgE(2)   (I am tall, I will be tall)
2.) Past/Perfect:       -Et-, wa(1) lE(2)tO:(2)NgE(2)   (I was tall)
3.) Inchoative:         -um-, wa(1) lu(2)mO:(2)NgE(2)(2)   (I get/grow 
taller, I become 
4.) Passive:            -a(1)w-, wa(1) la(1)vO:(2)NgE(2)(2)   (I'm made tall, 
                                                              caused to be 
5.) Antipassive:        -ip'-, wa(1) li(2)p'O:(2)NgE(2)   (I make something 
6.) Causative:          -Ol-, wa(1) lO(2)lO:(2)NgE(2) ja:(2)   (I cause you 
to be tall)
7.) Imperative:         -VC-, lO(2)lO:(2)NgE(2)   (be tall!)   [Note: The 
vowel in the 
                                                             infix is always 
8.) Uncertain:          -u(2)!-, wa(1) lu(2)!O:(2)NgE(2) ja:(2)   (I 
                                                              almost sure 
you're tall)
9.) Intensive:          -u(2)s-, wa(1) lu(2)sO:(2)NgE(2)   (I am really, 
really tall)
10.) Reciprocal:        -O(2)m-, wa(1)nta(2) lO(2)mO:(2)NgE(2)   (We [two] 
make each 
                                                                 other tall)

Verbal Category Switching Prefixes:
1.) To Switch to Class I:    a(l)-, wa(1) a(2)ja(2)NdZi(1) ja:(2)   (I am sad 

for/because of you)
2.) To Switch to Class II:   hO(w)-, wa(1) hO(1)ka:(1)nE(2)   (I keep watch, 
I keep a 
3.) To Switch to Class III: i(j)-, wa(1) i(1)kE(1)ka:(1)nE(2) ja:(2)   (I 
look at you)
4.) To Switch to Class IV:   sE(n)-, wa(1) sE(2)ja(2)NdZi(1)   (I am a 

It looks a lot better in my word processing document with IPA and everything. 


"imDeziZejDekp2wilDez ZejDekkinel..."
"You can celebrate anything you want..."
               -John Lennon