Awkaŋu is a noun language, i.e. there are basically neither verbs nor adjectives. The sentence structure can be described as SOV (subject object verb) where the verb part is really just a noun. Only its position in the sentence indicates that the action of the word is meant e.g. the word "eating" in the verb position would be understood as the action of eating i.e. "to eat".
Awkaŋu is an isolating language without any exceptions. Once the basic rules of grammar are understood, the learner can start speaking immediately because everything is logical and thus sentences can be made up on the fly.
There is no word for "to be".
Also, in Awkaŋu all words that are obvious from the context can be omitted. This is especially true for an established topic or agent/client. By inferring many words the sentences can become quite short without losing their meaning. However, context is very important to make a conversation possible.
There are no prepositions but almost all particles are postpositions.
There is no grammatical gender.
New: There is a German Version of this guide now, for those who care.
Keep in mind, that this is the romanization of the Awkaŋu script.
- a = [a]
- u = [u]
- i = [i]
- o = [ɔ]
- e = [ɛ]
- w = [w]
- ey = [ɛi]
- ai = [aɪ̯]]
- ou = [oʊ̯]]
- n = [n]
- ŋ = [ŋ]
- m = [m]
- b = [b]
- l = [l]
- d = [d]
- t = [t]
- f = [f]
- s = [s]
- sh = [ʃ] / [ʒ] before [d]
- g = [g]
- k = [k]
- h = [h]
- r = [ɺ]
In Awkaŋu there is no distinction between nouns and verbs (verbs are seen as nouns, too).
To solve this issue, Awkaŋu makes use of the so-called verb position.
As mentioned above, the sentence order is Subject-Object-Verb, all parts being nouns.
So actually it is:
|Noun describing the subject||Noun describing an object||Noun describing an action (Verb Position)|
Every sentence follows that rule (exception: see Inversion).
The verb position is that part of a sentence, which usually comes last and has no case particle attached to it. Nouns in the verb position are understood as the action corresponding to that noun. On the other hand, every noun that is not in the verb position is understood as the noun and never as the action.
There is a total of 25 cases in Awkaŋu. All cases are built by using particles that follow the respective part of the sentence.
The particle bu is only used, when an action takes place. If the agent does not "do" anything, then sa is used instead.
For examples of the use of each case particle look at the example sentences section.
Awkaŋu is based on subjectivism. Every sentence is seen as a subjective opinion or description of the environment. It is agreed upon that there are no objective truths apart from those that are defined in the believe system of the Awkaŋus. These things have an influence on the grammar.
The mood particles always come last in a sentence.
The particle shiaiga for the objective mood is used to express universal truths.
Because a sentence is always expressing a personal opinion, formulations such as "I find" or "to like" are not used.
Explanatory is archaic. It is used when a sentence is explaining or teaching something. It was used in the book of the Awkaŋus. Nowadays though, it's use has changed somewhat. People use it in other sentences as well. It makes the speaker sound more self-confident and more laid-back.
For examples of the use of each mood particle look at the example sentences section.
Pronunciation of mEdit
The particle m is pronounced [m].
If the m comes right after a consonant, it is pronounced [am].
There are three tenses in Awkaŋu. The respective tense particles are always added at the end of the verb position, but always before the mood particle.
For the present tense, there is no modification. No tense particle in the verb position means that the tense is present tense.
- Lou bu kula. (I eat)
Lou bu kula. I c.ERG eat 'I eat.'
The past tense particle is mi. Abbreviation: PAST
- Lou bu kula mi. (I ate)
Lou bu kula mi. I c.ERG eat PAST 'I ate.'
The future tense particle is lia. Abbreviation: FUT
- Lou bu kula lia. (I will eat)
Lou bu kula lia. I c.ERG eat FUT 'I will eat.'
Word chains / Noun GroupsEdit
In Awkaŋu words can be linked together without restrictions.
In such a chain of words, which can be called noun group, the very last word will be the base word.
The base word is the root of the whole noun group, it is the most important part.
All the words before the base word are called specificators. They describe the base word thus making it more specific.
- This is a blue tree house.
Kali sa dida maku teshu.
Kali sa dida maku teshu. This c.OBJ blue tree house 'This is a blue tree house.'
- The man ate a nice black nut bread.
Tou bu maŋal nolo ea tam sa kula mi.
Tou bu maŋal nolo ea tam sa kula mi. Man c.ERG nice brown nut bread c.OBJ eat PAST 'The man ate a nice brown nut bread.'
In Awkaŋu there is no distinction between singular and plural.
A noun is usually treated as the plural, depending on the context.
For expressing a definite number of a noun, numbers are used.
|amun||1, one, alone|
|ewi||2, two, both|
There are no other numbers in Awkaŋu except the rough equivalent of 'thousand' or 'a whole lot', represented by okukuo.
- I ate two slices of bread.
Lou bu ewi tam sa kula mi.
Lou bu ewi tam sa kula mi. I c.ERG two bread c.OBJ eat PAST 'I ate two slices of bread.'
- Why didn't you take four flowers?
Nui kawa dulin bosiwi sa ti diwa no.
Nui kawa dulin bosiwi sa ti diwa no. What c.FUNC four flower c.OBJ not take QUE 'Why didn't you take four flowers?'
- She hit her brother three times.
Wen bu saw kuka sa ewat na tili mi.
Wen bu saw kuka sa ewat na tili mi. She c.ERG NULL c.GEN brother c.OBJ three c.QUAN hit PAST 'She hit her brother three times.'
|dshu||multiplier by 5|
|wef||multiplier by 25|
For pure counting, a number system with base 5 is used. Examples should be best for explaining this.
|dshu amun||1 * 5 + 1||6, six|
|dshu ewi||1 * 5 + 2||7, seven|
|dshu ewat||1 * 5 + 3||8, eight|
|dshu dulin||1 * 5 + 4||9, nine|
|ewi dshu||2 * 5||10, ten|
|dulin dshu dulin||4 * 5 + 4||24, twenty four|
|wef||1 * 25||25, twenty five|
|wef ewi dshu dulin||1 * 25 + 2 * 5 + 4||39, thirty nine|
If something is multiplied by 1, the 1 is omitted.
In Awkaŋu, inversion is done by switching verb and object. As the verb is then no longer in the verb position, it has to get the verb particle ja attached to it to still be a verb.
|Lou bu ley sa tili.||I hit you.|
|Lou bu tili ja ley sa.||I hit you.|
Inversion is used, when the object is a more complex construction.
Instead of the object, other parts can be inversed as well, though it is not usual to inverse with the subject.
The particle "ja"Edit
The particle ja is used to turn a noun into a verb.
But the actual effect that this has on sentences can be huge.
Using ja means that an inversion happens most of the time.
As explained in the Inversion Section, this causes the things following the ja to be treated as the object of the sentence.
However, due to the fact that ja can be followed by an infinite number of words, the part after ja can be more than a simple object.
Compare these sentences:
- 1. Lou bu kula ja tam sa.
- 2. Lou bu wim ja ley bu kula.
Lou bu kula ja tam sa. I c.ERG eat c.VER bread c.OBJ 'I eat bread.'
Lou bu wim ja ley bu kula. I c.ERG see c.VER you c.ERG eat 'I see you eating bread.' / 'I see, that you eat bread.'
In the 1. sentence there is really only the object tam(bread), it is a normal inversion.
In the 2. sentence however, there is a complete sentence following the ja. Technically, this whole thing could still be seen as an object, but it may be easier to understand this by translating the ja as "that' in such a case, as done in the translation of the 2. sentence.
Questions are made by adding the question particle no at the end of a sentence. By doing so, the sentence becomes a quesion. No further changes have to be made.
- "Ley bu tam sa kula." becomes "Ley bu tam sa kula no."
Note that there is no "?" in Awkaŋu. Instead, the no functions as that.
As for tone, there should be no difference between a statement and a question, i.e. the voice stays low in either case.
Ley bu tam sa kula no. You c.ERG bread c.OBJ eat QUE 'Do you eat bread?'
As mentioned in the introduction, inference plays an important role in Awkaŋu. By inferring, so many words are omitted and so much time is saved. Inference shall be explained through a few example sentences.
Let's assume, John and Mary have an appointment. Mary is late, so when she arrives, John asks:
- "Nui tai mi no."
Nui tai mi no. What c.LOC PAST QUE 'Where have you been?'
This means: "Where have you been?" As you may have noticed, there is no ley and no sa in that sentence. That is, because being entirely obvious from the context they are omitted. Without inference the sentence would be "Ley sa nui tai mi no.", which means exactly the same thing. Only the word for "you" is added.
Another example: You call a friend and say "What are you doing?"
- "Nui sa ama no."
Nui sa ama no. What c.OBJ do QUE 'What are you doing?'
Again the ley sa (you) is omitted, because everyone knows who you are referring to. In colloquial language the sa may be dopped as well as the no to produce the sentence "Nui ama" that still means "What are you doing?".
Inference does not only work for questions though. You could say for instance: "Tam sa kula." ("I eat bread.") Here, the lou bu(I) is inferred.
In some cases of inference, it can happen that a case particle ends up isolated without any noun to refer to.
Many times, having the case particle refer to nothing involves two case particles following each other. This can lead to ambiguity if context is unclear.
In such a case, there is an invisible null morpheme in front of it. This doesn't effect the spoken language or the writing, but is useful for understanding some of the example sentences.
The null morpheme is abbreviated as 'NULL' in the examples.
Feature words can be treated as adjectives.
A feature is constructed by combining any group 1 word with any group 2 word.
- "Tam sa maŋal gwola" means "The bread tastes good" or "The bread is of good taste".
Tam sa maŋal gwola. Bread c.OBJ good taste 'The bread tastes good.'
- "Maku sa bà ikat!" means "The tree is very high!".
Maku sa bà ikat. Tree c.OBJ much height 'The tree is very high.'
The group 3 words can be added arbitrarily at the beginning of any feature construction. They can also be used for any other word and even for nouns.
- This is good enough.
Kali sa bilà maŋal.
Kali sa bilà maŋal. This c.OBJ enough good 'This is good enough.'
- This house is too cold.
Kali teshu sa kitsha àbu lum.
Kali teshu sa kitsha àbu lum. This house c.OBJ too little temperature 'This house is too cold.'
- Didn't you eat enough?
Ti bilà kula mi no.
Ti bilà kula mi no. Not enough eat PAST QUE 'Didn't you eat enough?'
- Will you do it some time?
Nou we ama no.
Nou we ama no. Any c.TEM do QUE 'Will you do it some time?'
In Awkaŋu there are two ways to express enlargement or an augmentative.
One has been explained in the Feature Words Section.
The other is even simpler, but is used less frequently.
To really emphasize the huge size, extent or amount of something, one can simply use reduplication of words.
Repeating a word accomplishes emphasis.
Note, that the effect of reduplication is way larger than that of using ba. Therefore, use it with causion.
- Her friend eats tons of bread.
Wen saw ata bu tam tam sa kula.
Wen saw ata bu tam tam sa kula. She c.GEN friend c.ERG bread bread c.OBJ eat 'Her friend eats tons of bread.'
- I will think deeply about this before I call you.
Lou bu kali ma dami dami lia ja ley sa ìta ben.
Lou bu kali ma dami dami lia ja ley sa ìta ben. I c.ERG this c.OBL think think FUT c.VER you c.OBJ call c.ANT 'I will think deeply about this before I call you.'
Apart from the personal pronouns, there are only four other pronouns in Awkaŋu. Two of them are demonstrative pronouns while the third is used to express uniqueness.
|Sawi ley||You (plural)|
|Nuru||That, of which there is only one / This specific one|
|Kali||This (here) / This, which is close|
|Lemba||That (over there) / That, which is far away|
|Kana||It / That, which has just been mentioned|
The pronoun kana is interesting. It can be used in two ways. The first way corresponds to the English use of it or that in a sentence like "He showed me the picture and I liked it". So instead of repeating the word picture the pronoun kana would be used. This works only, if it is clear from the context whether the subject or the object is referred to as kana. In a case in which this is unclear, the respective word or part of the sentence is marked by nuru beforehand.
- He eats a bread and falls down.
Nuru tou bu tam sa kula tsho kana bu lok.
Nuru tou bu tam sa kula tsho kana bu lok. This one he c.ERG bread c.OBJ eat and it c.ERG fall 'He eats a bread and falls down.'
- He eats a bread and it falls down.
Tou bu nuru tam sa kula tsho kana bu lok.
Tou bu nuru tam sa kula tsho kana bu lok. He c.ERG this one bread c.OBJ eat and it c.ERG fall 'He eats a bread and it falls down.'
Kana can also be used to refer to a whole sentence. Again, context is important.
Even though relative clauses are treated as a case in Awkaŋu, their use is not always easy. The relative particle is ye.
|Lou bu wim ja ye àlweal bu lomì sa tiwon.||The master, that I see, kills the pupil.|
|Lomì sa tiwon mi ye àlweal bu tam sa kula.||The master, that killed the pupil, eats a bread.|
|Kìwe tiwon ye àlweal sa kula ja lomì bu.||The master, that killed himself, is eaten by the pupil|
|Tam sa kula ye àlweal bu tsho lomì sa kula.||The master, that eats a bread, eats the pupil as well.|
Some of these sentences are quite advanced. Don't bother understanding them completely before the other grammar points, because they make use of multiple grammar rules at once.
Lou bu wim ja ye àlweal bu lomì sa tiwon. I c.ERG see c.VER c.REL master c.ERG pupil c.OBJ kill 'The master, that I see, kills the pupil.' Lomì sa tiwon mi ye àlweal bu tam sa kula. Pupil c.OBJ kill PAST c.REL master c.ERG bread c.OBJ eat 'The master, that killed the pupil, eats a bread.' Kìwe tiwon ye àlweal sa kula ja lomì bu. self kill c.REL master c.OBJ eat c.VER pupil c.ERG 'The master, that killed himself, is eaten by the pupil.' Tam sa kula ye àlweal bu tsho lomì sa kula. Bread c.OBJ eat c.REL master c.ERG and pupil c.OBJ eat 'The master, that eats a bread, eats the pupil as well.'
Note that in every relative clause with ye, there is one thing you have to look out for. If there is an object (objective case) anywhere in the ye-clause, this always means that the word after ye is the agent (ergative case).
If there is no object in the ye-clause, this always means that the word after ye is the object.
Keep these rules in mind, since they have to be followed in every case.
Alternative ways to construct relative clausesEdit
The construction with ye is the standard way of constructing a relative clause, and it is the one that won't cause ambiguity no matter what.
However, there are other ways as well, that should be mentioned.
One other method is basically just paraphrasing.
- The sentence 'What you did was bad.' is a case, in which you can either use ye or paraphrase the sentence.
In the ye-form it would look as follows.
Ley ama ye sa gwe mi.
Ley ama mi ye sa gwe mi. You do PAST c.REL c.OBJ bad PAST 'What you did was bad.'
Note, that there is no word following the ye but only another case particle. This can be done in some cases.
Using paraphrasing, the sentence would be:
Ley ama sa gwe mi. You doing c.OBJ bad PAST 'What you did was bad.' literally: 'Your doing was bad.'
This makes use of a word chain.
It is also possible to use saw (Genitive) to do the paraphrasing.
Ley saw ama sa gwe mi. You c.GEN doing c.OBJ bad PAST 'Your doing was bad.'
The use of saw is less ambiguous in many cases.
Opposites with "mu"Edit
The particle mu can be used to turn any word into its opposite. This applies to particles, too.
Mu comes right before the word that is "inverted".
There are no restrictions.
Mu is abbreviated: OPP
- To give and take.
Nan tsho mu nan.
Nan tsho mu nan. Give and OPP give 'To give and take.'
- The cat is in the front of the tree.
Shakai sa maku saw yabok tai.
Shakai sa maku saw yabok tai. Cat c.OBJ tree c.GEN front c.LOC 'The cat is in the front of the tree.'
- The cat is behind the tree.
Shakai sa maku saw mu yabok tai.
Shakai sa maku saw mu yabok tai. Cat c.OBJ tree c.GEN OPP front c.LOC 'The cat is behind the tree.'
Parallels with "Soo"Edit
Soo can be used to express "the more the better"-kind of formulations. This shall be explained here.
The formula is: <something> soo <something> soo.
The two (or more) parts followed by the soo exist in a conditional relation.
Soo can be translated as 'as much'.
- The more you laugh, the more beautiful you are.
Ley bu bà na hoana soo ley sa bà maŋal soo.
Ley bu bà na hoana soo ley sa bà maŋal soo. You c.ERG much c.QUAN laugh as_much you c.OBJ much beautiful as_much 'The more you laugh, the more beautiful you are.'
- The more friends you have, the more presents you get.
Ley sa bà na ata bulu soo ley sa bà na elena nan.
Ley sa bà na ata bulu soo bà na elena bokéo soo. You c.OBJ much amount friend c.SOC as_much much amount present receive as_much 'The more friends you have, the more presents you get.'
There are many basic kinds of possession. One is to own or to be responsible for something, the other is to have something at your disposal. Other uses include expressing affiliation or availability.
The particle sawEdit
The particle saw is used to express both ownership and responsibility and affiliation.
- This is my friend.
Kali sa lou saw ata.
Kali sa lou saw ata. This c.OBJ I c.GEN friend 'This is my friend.'
- She is responsible for that part of the garden.
Lemba sa wen saw dshitàni saw ìu.
Lemba sa wen saw dshitàni saw ìu. That c.OBJ she c.GEN garden c.GEN part 'She is responsible for that part of the garden.'
Saying "I have"Edit
To express availability of something, the sociative particle bulu is used. It corresponds to the English "I have", though literally it means "to be with something".
- I have a nice family. (I'm with a nice family.)
Lou sa maŋal ka madada bulu.
Lou sa maŋal ka madada bulu. I c.OBJ nice c.QUAL family c.SOC 'I have a nice family.'
- I have enough money(gold). (I'm with enough money.)
Lou sa bilà nal bulu.
Lou sa bilà nal bulu. I c.OBJ enough money c.SOC 'I have enough money.'
Tom: Hello! Anna: Hello. How are you? Tom: I'm fine, and you? Anna: Me too, tell me, where have you been? What have you been doing? Tom: Err, I was climbing mountains and then i went for a walk in the forest. Anna: Were you alone all the time? Tom: No! Not at all! There were many animals who allowed me to stay. I love animals. Anna: Wow! Will you do it again? Tom: Definitely. Do you want to come with me? We could go to the ocean, too. Anna: Yes, let's go together. Tom: Okay, I'm looking forward to it. Good bye. Anna: Yes, Good bye.
Tom: Elena la. Anna: Elena la. Nui kamta no. Tom: Maŋal kamta. Ley sa no. Anna: Tsho lou. Ley bu tuba mo ja nui tai mi. Nui ama mi no. Tom: Aa, lima sa lagùn mi tsho simyóu tai midewa mi. Anna: Bo we amun no. Tom: Si. Sàbo ìu. Ba waŋit emyu sa mi tsho mu ìa ja lou bu diebu. Emyu sa hiwo. Anna: Maŋal. Nane ama lia no. Tom: Alùt. Lou bulu midewa liwa no. Sawi lou bu tsho kuu enà midewa lia. Anna: Dio. Bulu etò midewa m. Tom: Maŋal. Bikàmi. Kana sa tadshìa. Elena mi. Anna: Dio. Elena mi.
There are several rules concerning stress, that all follow the same logic.
There is never a stress on a case particle.
If there is a word chain, the stress is always on the base word.
Reduplication is just another form of word chain, so the same rule can be applied. Always stress the base word.
tam tam (bold is stressed)
Questions follow the same rules as other sentences. As for tone, there should be no difference compared to a normal sentence. That means, the voice stays low in the end of a question as well.
There are no special rules regarding Yes/No-Questions.
In a Nui-Question, intonation is the same, but there is a stress on the nui
In every sentence, the speaker is free to put a stress on any word, if it helps conveying his or her intent.
|Case - Particle||Example Sentence||Translation|
|Ergative - bu||Lou bu kula.||I eat.|
|Objective - sa||Lou bu ley sa tili.||I hit you.|
|Locative - tai||Lou sa maku tai.||I (am) at the tree.|
|Genitive - saw||Ley bu lou saw tam sa kula.||You eat my bread.|
|Relative - ye||Ley bu tiwon mi ye bate sa lou saw ata mi.||The person you killed was my friend.|
|Instrumental - bi||Wen bu simbi bi kula.||She eats with/by using a knife.|
|Temporal - we||Ley bu nui we kula no.||What time will you eat?|
|Verbative - ja||Lou bu tili ja ley sa.||I hit you.|
|Quantitative - na||Nui na tam sa kula liwa no.||How many slices of bread do you want to eat?|
|Translative - go||Lou bu ley sa dshabai go wim.||I regard you as a father.|
|Instructive - eto||Wen bu tou sa wab eto tiwon mi.||She killed him singing.|
|Equative - nam||Teshu sa maku nam ba weno.||The house is bigger than the tree.|
|Benefactive - kawa||Ley sa mitu kawa ama mi.||I did it in order to help you.|
|Lative - ena||Lou bu maku ena midewa.||I go to the tree.|
|Perspective - u||Wen u ley bu lou sa mitu mo.||She thinks you should help me.|
|Conditional - inamu||Ley bu bawa inamu lou bu ley sa tiwon.||If you come, I will kill you.|
|Duration - tajete||Nui tajete diebu no.||How long will you stay?|
|Terminative - tola||Lou bu dsha diebu ja ley bu bawa tola.||I wait here, until you come.|
|Antessive - ben||Wen bu tou sa tiwon mi ja lou bu wen natu sa tili mi ben.||She killed him after he hit her mother.|
|Vocative - la||Àlweal la nui ama no.||Master, what are you doing?|
|Sociative - bulu||Wen bu tou bulu midewa mi.||She went with him.|
|Ablative - kalibu||Ley bu nui kalibu bawa no.||Where do you come from?|
|Essive - kamta||Wen sa feil kamta.||She is asleep.|
|Resive - kum||Kali sa kula kum.||This is food.|
|Oblique - ma||Maku ma maŋal shibi.||I am happy about the tree.|
|Cohortative - m||Maku ena midewa m.||Let's go to the tree.|
|Proximitive - bembe||Gwero sa galam awlea weno bembe.||The river is about five feet deep.|
|Voluntative - liwa||Ley sa wim liwa.||I want to see you.|
|Objective - shiaiga||Bo bola bu nàne koyo shiaiga.||Everything comes back.|
|Imperative - mo||Lou sa simbi nan mo.||(You shall) Give me the knife.|
|Optative - bikámi||Ley saw kem sa maŋal bikàmi.||I hope your night will be good.|
|Explanatory - win||Fuŋu sa swadu mi mo win.||I had to find my keys.|
Here is a vocabulary list with all the words that appear in the examples.
|may||particle for occupations|
|kaŋu||to make something happen|
Basawi ubeyo tsho neyma bu ambana mi ja nui nuru sa bà dshulo. We ja midewa may bu bà lum o bwi bulu dsha bawa mi. Mesha bu mafu mi ja midewa may saw o bwi sa samiku kaŋu asàl ye nuru sa bà dshulo. Tsho basawi ubeyo bu nay nam dshulo etò kupìgwa mi ewe bà dshulo etò kupìgwa mi soo midewa may bu o bwi sa bà bambu kaŋu soo. Tsho feytu we basawi ubeyo bu dshàlibu sa shwe mi. Tsho neyma bu bà lum etò ukiŋi mi tsho simaŋu etò midewa may bu o bwi sa samiku mi. Basawi obeyo bu dodshoma mi mo ja neyma sa bà dshulo mi.
Awkaŋu is basically already complete, but I didn't want to explain every grammar detail here or give all the words that exist. If someone is interested, I will clarify anything that is not clear. Any questions are welcome!
--Seladwa 11:00, 16 March 2009 (UTC)Siah
--Seladwa 20:44, 22 March 2009 (UTC)Siah
--Seladwa 19:34, 25 March 2009 (UTC)Siah
--Seladwa 22:17, 28 March 2009 (UTC)Siah
--Seladwa 21:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)Siah