- This article is part of Project Exodus.
Above: Mák’ai-wa written in traditional Mák’ai logographs.
Below: Mák’ai-wa written in Mák’ai script calligraphy.
|Region||Central Ejawe, Makaigan|
|Mák’ai script (officially), Mák’ai logographs (often), Kto script (historically).|
|Makaiganic Sign Language|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Institute of Language, Mk'ái-t̗ir̗|
The Mák’ai language, or Mák'ai-wa (, /mákʼɐ̀ɪwɐ̀/ (help·info), literally 'people's language'), sometimes anglicised as Mak'ai or Makkai is a Pan-Ejawan language spoken in central Ejawe, predominantly on the island of Makaigan. It is the national language of Mák’ai where it is spoken by approximately TBD million people, although significant groups of Mák’ai-speakers also exist outside of Mák’ai proper. Traditionally, Mák’ai was also an important regional language as the language of the political elite in many countries under the political and/or military influence of Mák’ai, such as TBD and TBD, although gradually came to be subsumed by Coastal Makaigan as a trade language beginning around TBD. Nowadays, although not as widely spoken outside of Mák’ai as it once was, the influence of Mák’ai-wa on neighbouring languages may still be found, primarily through loan words and borrowings.
Modern Mák’ai-wa is a polysynthetic language that implements split ergativity and is characterised by complex verbal morphology, the use of noun classifiers, and a relatively strict VSO sentence structure. Sentences consist at a minimum of an unconjugated lexical verb and a highly-inflected auxiliary verb, which is marked for person, number, tense, aspect, modality, evidentiality, and, to a certain extent, degree. These auxiliary verbs also exhibit incorporation, whereby other parts of speech, typically nouns or adjectives, may be incorporated into the verb itself. Nouns in Mák’ai-wa are declined by case, of which there are six, with declension realised on obligatory but variable noun classifiers, which exhaustively divide all lexemes in Mák’ai-wa into 13 categories on the basis of function. Noun classifiers are also declined by number, of which there are three - singular, dual, and plural. Mák’ai-wa, as a Pan-Ejawan language, employs a base-12 counting system which is based on counting with the hand.
As a Pan-Ejawan language, Mák’ai-wa shares a number of demonstrable geneological similarities with other Ejawan languages, in particular the Raa-Makaiganic languages of western Ejawe. During the ancient Mák’ai period, Mák’ai-wa began to split off from Proto-Raa-Makaiganic in isolation on the island of Makaigan, forming Proto-Makaiganic. After the settlement of the Mák’ai people near what is today Mkái-t̗ar̗, Mák’ai-wa came to be steadily influenced by the neighbouring Ktoic languages, in particular Kto. During this period the Mák’ai both adopted the Kto writing script and concurrently developed Mák’ai logographs, themselves derived from earlier divination practices. These two writing systems would coexist during this period until the emergence of the Mák’ai as a regional political power around TBD, at which time Mák’ai-wa developed a new script better suited to writing the language. Earlier forms of writing, in particular Mák’ai logographs, persisted for many centuries, acting as important sources for information on the earlier stages of Mák’ai-wa. By TBD, Mák’ai-wa had become mutually unintelligible with most other varieties of Makaiganic languages, and would continue to develop as the prestige language variety in Makaigan under the Mák’ai Empire in subsequent centuries.
Note that throughout this article the terms 'Mák’ai language' or 'Mák’ai-wa' will be used interchangeably, as both terms are conventionally used to refer to the language. The term 'Mák’ai-wa language' is generally incorrect and will be avoided here.
History[edit | edit source]
1. Old Mák’ai-wa[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Old Mák’ai-wa.
Modern evidence suggests that Mák’ai-wa first began to deviate from Proto-Makaiganic, itself a subbranch of the Raa-Makaiganic languages, around TBD. At this stage, the Makaiganic languages formed part of a broader dialect continuum running north-south in Makaigan. As a result, Mák’ai-wa distinguished itself from the northern Makaiganic languages of Northern Tjuwa and T'umak at a much earlier stage than it did from the southern languages of Wák'ai and Ngumaya-wa, maintaining a relatively high level of mutual intelligibility well into the TBD century. It was around TBD, after Mák’ai's initial deviation from northern and central Makaiganic languages, that Mák’ai-wa began to be written down. As a result of extensive trade and contact with the much more advanced Kto people of eastern Makaigan, Mák’ai-wa came to be written using Kto script. The earliest documentation of the Old Mák’ai-wa language from this period come from Ktoic documents describing the language of the Mák’ai, with whom they traded. Later, literacy would increase among the Mák’ai themselves, as they began using a modified version of the Kto script for early poetry and trade documents.
Concurrently to the adoption of Kto script, traditional Mák’ai-wa shamans also developed Mák’ai logographs as a form of early divination. Gradually, the use of Kto script came to be at least partially supplanted by these Mák’ai logographs, largely as a result of the unsuitability of the Kto script to convey phonological differences in Mák’ai-wa. By the TBD century, almost all Mák’ai-wa texts were written exclusively using logographs. The logographic systems used through Mák’ai were, however, disunified, and uses of characters varied significantly across Mák’ai territory. This problem was exacerbated by political disunity during this period, which prevented the creation of a single, codified logographic system.
Old Mák’ai-wa was itself substantially different from modern Mák’ai-wa in terms of its grammar and vocabulary. Mák’ai-wa has remained relatively phonologically stable since its evolution from Proto-Makaiganic but has undergone significant grammatical changes. Most dramatic of these is the significant reduction in grammatical complexity for verbal paradigms. Notably, verbs in Old Mák’ai-wa were additionally conjugated for politeness, with a four-tiered system of deference. Additionally, there were multiple auxiliary verbs which could be used which had their own semantic meanings depending on the type of action occurring. An example of this is given below, with the same sentence in Old Mák’ai-wa and Modern Mák’ai-wa for comparison:
Old Mák’ai-wa: T̗ák’ísnuduwkh'a'nkhámut̗ kh'ung ayír'thá butuk nawwa
t̗á-k’ís-nu-duw-kh'a'l-khámut̗ kh'ung ayír'thá butuk nawwa
DIST-2.SG.NOM-DU.MASC-3.SG.INANIM.ACC-move.using.hands.PST-DEF throw stick red NC:tool.SG.INST
'You two Ngárduk, whom I highly respect, threw the red stick.'
Modern Mák’ai-wa: Nngaírul k'ung átá-na káiya
nngaí-ru-l k'ung átá-na káiya
2.DU.NOM.MASC-3.SG.ACC.INANIM.PROX-PST throw stick-NC:tool.SG.INST red
'You two Ngárduk threw the red stick.'
Note the high level of grammaticalization that has occurred in the Modern Mák’ai-wa auxiliary - the original semantic distinctions based on movement type have disappeared, and productive agglutinating processes for pronoun formation have since become more obscure. Note that the degree of similarity between older and modern pronominal forms in Mák’ai-wa varies considerably. For example, the dual '-nu' suffix is absent in the Modern Mák’ai-wa second person dual, but present in the third person dual form kúngnu. Besides these differences in pronominal forms, there is also no grammatical means of encoding the politeness information present in the Old Mák’ai-wa example. Syntactic change is also evident in the broader clause - in Old Mák’ai-wa, noun classifiers existed as postpositions appended at the end of the entire phrase, rather than as nominal affixes, as is the case in Modern Mák’ai-wa.
2. Middle Mák’ai-wa[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Middle Mák’ai-wa.
By the Middle Mák’ai-wa period, beginning around TBD, the state of Mák’ai itself had centralised to the point that efforts towards language unification became viable. Under TBD, a new Mák’ai script was developed to replace the disjointed logographic system. An alphabetical system based off the Kto script, which was still in limited use for documenting Mák’ai-wa itself, was created. For subsequent centuries, the new Mák’ai script came to be used almost exclusively in court, with the supplementary use of particular common logographs. This blended orthographic system was common until well into the modern era, when the Mák’ai state officially decreed Mák’ai script as the sole means of writing Mák’ai-wa in the Literacy Act of TBD.
During this period, Mák’ai as a political entity came to be increasingly influential. As a result of political expansion and increased contact with neighbouring languages, Mák’ai-wa changed both in terms of its grammar and its lexicon. Numerous new loan words were adopted for foreign concepts, particularly from the eastern Kto people and the people of Nungái-la. In particular, as a result of the increased number of foreign-language learners of Mák’ai-wa who had been brought into the Mák’ai state, Mák’ai-wa's grammar began to simplify. Many of the most complex aspects of Old Mák’ai-wa grammar, such as the formality distinctions and differences in auxiliary verbs, ceased to be productive. This process of grammatical simplification was long and uneven over the course of the Middle Mák’ai-wa period, but eventuated in a grammatical system much more similar to what is found in Mák’ai-wa today.
An example of a sentence in Middle Mák’ai-wa is given below:
Middle Mák’ai-wa: Nngaínuruwal k'ung áytá káiya naw
nngaí-nu-ruw-al k'ung áytá káiya naw
2.NOM.MASC-DU-3.SG.ACC.INANIM.PROX-PST throw stick red NC:tool.SG.INST
'You two Ngárduk threw the red stick.'
Note the relative simplification of the verbal morphology when compared to the Old Mák’ai-wa example above, as well as the adoption of the foreign loan word káiya from Ktai. It is also important to note that Mák’ai-wa syntax was in a considerable state of flux during this Middle Mák’ai-wa period, most notably in that nominal classifiers were transitioning from phrasal clitics to nominal suffixes. This is seen in the mutual attestation of the sentence given above as well as the alternative form nngaínuruwal k'ung áytá-naw káiya, dated to TBD and TBD respectively. The Middle Mák’ai-wa period can hence be seen as a period of grammatical flux between the more complex grammatical structures of Old Mák’ai-wa and the grammar of Modern Mák’ai-wa found today.
3. Modern Mák’ai-wa[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai-wa came to resemble what is now considered its modern form beginning around TBD, when a series of legal reforms under TBD resulted in the establishment of the centralised Institute for Language in Mk'ái-t̗ir̗. This was coupled with the production of the first Mák’ai-wa dictionary in TBD and saw a period of rapid linguistic codification and standardisation of rules of spelling and grammar. While Mák’ai-wa grammar has unavoidably continued to change in subsequent centuries, speakers of Mák’ai-wa usually have very little difficulty understanding Mák’ai-wa texts from the Modern period as a result of this standardisation, with the exception of changes in lexical meaning.
This period also saw the rise of many of Mák’ai's greatest literary figures who helped establish Modern Mák’ai-wa as an important cultural language. Figures such as Káiya Lak, Girá Nggút̗ir̗, and Makawu R̗ú are well known authors who helped establish the Modern Mák’ai-wa language.
Distribution[edit | edit source]
Official language (Mák’ai only)
Unofficial regional language with high number of speakers (Imai and Mtasai)
Countries with a significant portion of Mák’ai-wa speakers in diaspora, or where Mák’ai-wa has had historic importance (Nga, the Ktoic Confederacy, and Kstania)
As of TBD, there are approximately TBD million speakers of Mák’ai-wa globally. In the modern world, Mák’ai-wa is only an official language in one state - Mák’ai - which is also the state in which the majority of its speakers are found. Historically, however, Mák’ai-wa was spoken to a much higher extent outside of Mák’ai proper as a result of the expansion of the Mák’ai Empire in TBD. As a result, minority groups of Mák’ai speakers are now found in many of the places where Mák’ai-wa was formerly spoken to a much larger extent, including western Ejawe, primarily Mtasai, and in some parts of Nga. The largest groups of Mák’ai speakers outside of Mák’ai proper are found in Mtasai and Imai, although Mák’ai-wa is not recognised as an official language in either state.
As a result of the regional importance of Mák’ai in Ejawe, however, Mák'ai-wa has a growing number of second language learners in addition to its communities in diaspora. The largest countries in which Mák’ai-wa is taught as a second language are its closest neighbours of Mtasai, Imai, and Nga, themselves unsurprisingly the countries with the highest populations of Mák’ai-wa speakers outside of Mák’ai. Outside of Ejawe proper, many university-level Mák’ai-wa programs exist, most notably in the countries of TBD and TBD. The relatively limited use of Mák’ai-wa within Ejawe has meant, however, that foreign language programs are usually limited to specialised areas of study abroad. As a result, Mák’ai-wa is rarely taught below a university level in countries outside of Ejawe.
Classification[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai is a Pan-Ejawan language belonging to the Makaiganic subgroup of the Raa-Makaiganic subfamily. As a Pan-Ejawan language, Mák’ai exhibits characteristics common to most other languages in Ejawe, including noun classifiers, VSO sentence structure, and the use of an undeclined lexical verb in combination with a morphologically complex auxiliary verb. Mák’ai, along with the other Raa-Makaiganic languages, split off from Proto-Pan-Ejawan with the isolation of the western Ejawan people on Makaigan around TBD. As continued migration westward led to the isolation of the Makaigan Ejawans from the Raa-Mtasaic peoples of Mtasai and Raa, Proto-Makaigan began to separate itself from other Ejawan languages, losing many of the phonological features of its related languages and developing simple tone systems. Mák’ai-wa would later diverge from other languages on the Makaiganic dialect continuum around TBD. Its most closely related living languages today are the minority languages of Ánagai and Lárk'ai-wa, as well as the endangered languages of Wák'ai and Ngumaya-wa, all of which are southern and central Makaiganic languages. Mák’ai is also closely related to the derived language of Coastal Makaigan - a form of trade creole derived primarily from Mák’ai-wa, Nga, and Kto during the TBD century as a common trading language around the Ejawan Sea and Sea of Nga.
Mák’ai-wa was subject to a number of significant phonological shifts in its early stages, which further served to differentiate it and the other Makaiganic languages from other Pan-Ejawan languages. Most notable of these changes was the near complete loss of fricative sounds, which are maintained in all other subfamilies of Pan-Ejawan to a greater or lesser extent. This decrease in consonantal breadth is hypothesized to be part of the cause for the laminal-apical consonant distinction that emerged in Makaiganic languages to a greater extent than other Pan-Ejawan languages, although a scientific consensus is yet to be reached to confirm that this was the case.
Mák’ai-wa vocabulary is considerably different from other western Raa-Makaiganic languages as a result of the influence of the neighbouring Ktoic languages, in particular Kto, which was instrumental in influencing earlier stages of Mák’ai as a prestige language variety on Makaigan. Around 15% of modern Mák’ai's vocabulary originates from Kto, a much higher proportion than any other Raa-Makaiganic language. As a result, Mák’ai is not mutually intelligible with any other language in Ejawe with the possible exception of the endangered Wák'ai language, itself having also been subjected to the influence of Ktoic languages to a similar extent. Furthermore, dialects of Mák’ai-wa spoken in areas near Ktoic languages, in particular in the east of modern-day Mák’ai, exhibit higher degrees of Ktoic influence on their vocabulary than Standard Mák’ai, with a large degree of language mixture having historically occurred in this region.
Phonology[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mák’ai-wa phonology.
1. Consonants[edit | edit source]
The Mák’ai language has a consonant inventory consisting of five places and six manners of articulation, along with a lateral/central distinction for approximants. Mák’ai-wa employs both pulmonic and non-pulmonic ejective consonants. Modal voice is its only form of phonation, although creaky voice may sometimes occur allophonically in low tones (see section on tone below). Oral stops and ejectives come in contrasting aspirated/unaspirated pairs, with aspirated stops having an average voice onset lag of approximately 150 milliseconds and unaspirated stops an average lag of approximately 15 milliseconds. True voicing is only contrastive for nasals, which come in voiced/devoiced pairs. These contrasts are summarised in the table below. Note that the orthographic representation of each phoneme is given in angled brackets before the corrosponding IPA symbol.
|Ejective plosive||⟨t̗'⟩ t̪ʼ||⟨t'⟩ t̠ʼ||⟨k'⟩ kʼ|
|Pulmonic plosive||Aspirated||⟨p⟩ pʰ||⟨t̗⟩ t̪ʰ||⟨t⟩ t̠ʰ||⟨k⟩ kʰ|
|Unaspirated||⟨b⟩ p||⟨d̗⟩ t̪||⟨d⟩ t̠||⟨g⟩ k|
|Nasal||⟨m⟩ m||⟨n̗⟩ n̪||⟨n⟩ n̠||⟨ng⟩ ŋ|
|Trill||⟨r̗⟩ r̪ ~ r *|
|Approximant||⟨w⟩ <w>||⟨r⟩ ɹ̠||⟨y⟩ j||⟨w⟩ <w>|
|Lateral approximant||⟨l̗⟩ l̪||⟨l⟩ l̠|
2. Vowels[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai-wa has a very simple three vowel system, consisting of three monophthongs and one diphthong. The lack of significant distinction within the vowel space means that there are great deals of allophonic variation in the production of vowels in Mák’ai-wa, some of which is unpredictable. The vowel system of Mák’ai-wa may be illustrated as follows:
|Close||⟨i⟩ i~ɪ||⟨u⟩ u~ʊ|
There has been some historical debate over the status of the phonemic status of the diphthong /aɪ/ above, with some theorists arguing that it is better analysed as a series of two vowels. Modern analysts tend to note two distinct phonotactic patterns in Mák’ai-wa which have different realisations resulting in this possible interpretation. Firstly, /aɪ/ can occur as a single phonemic diphthong with one tonal segmental over the entire vowel, as in a word like áigu 'warm', or /aɪ/ can occur as a sequence of two syllables, hence rendering it more accurately /a.ɪ/. In this latter case, high tone on one but not the other segment may lead to a rising or falling contour tone, as in ngaí (a pronoun).
3. Tones[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai-wa is a register tone language with two tone levels - high, marked orthographically by an acute accent, and low, which remains unmarked in its orthography. Tonemes occur on both vowels and sonorants. There is a marginal third, central tone, which appears only in reduced syllables in particular phonemic environments. Contour tones also occur in some words, but usually occur only as a result of morphological or historical processes. Examples of the tones of Mák’ai-wa are as follows:
|Reduced/Central||nk'a w k'á||[ǹ̠kʼà w̄ k'á]||'bird and horse'|
|Rising||nka-á||[ǹ̠kʼǎ]||'the Bird-God (accusative)'|
4. Phonotactics[edit | edit source]
Syllables in Mák’ai-wa are relatively simple. All consonants consist of a nucleus which may either be a vowel, liquid, or nasal. Syllables may have a single consonant onset and/or coda, with only non-bilabial aspirated plosives or nasals or rhotics being possible coda consonants. Syllables where the nucleus is a nasal or liquid consonant cannot have an additional onset or coda syllable. Furthermore, diphthongs typically do not take codas. As such, the following syllable structures in Mák’ai-wa are as followsː
Writing system[edit | edit source]
Modern Mák’ai may be written using a number of different writing systems. By far the most common and standardised in the modern day is the use of Mák’ai script, an alphabetic writing system developed during the Middle Mák’ai-wa period. Historically, however, Mák’ai has also been written using Kto script, a syllabary designed for the Ktoic languages of Eastern Makaigan that was poorly adapted to Mák’ai-wa phonology. In response to the early use of the Kto script for Mák’ai, ancient Mák’ai-wa literates developed Mák’ai logographs based on earlier divination pictograms. Mák’ai logographs were heavily used throughout the Middle Mák’ai period but had limited standardisation due to political instability and low levels of general literacy. In the 1st century tk, a mixed system of logographs for key words and Mák’ai script for grammatical particles was common, but was gradually replaced with the exclusive use of Mák’ai script in the modern day. Nowadays, Mák’ai logographs are commonly used as an unofficial shorthand, particularly in businesses and in personal names.
For countries which do not use the Mák’ai script, the Institute of Language in Mk'ái-t̗ir̗ has developed an official romanisation using the Latin alphabet (see Mák’ai language#Phonology above). Alternative romanisations exist and are also given in section 5.3 below.
1. Mák’ai script[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mák’ai script.
Mák’ai script is an alphabet consisting of 26 core segmental characters, 2 ligature (representing the high-tone diphthong ái and the syllable yí), and 3 diacritics. The script is written top-down and left-to-right. Individual segments have varying forms depending on their position in a word as initial, medial, final, or in isolation. Tones are indicated through the use of separate segmental characters in the case of high-tone vowels, or through the use of diacritics in the case of low-tone vowels. These are shown below. Mák’ai script also includes numerals corresponding to the base-12 counting system in Mák’ai-wa. These are given in the section Mák’ai language#4. Numbers below.
|ai tak||ai||àɪ||Exclusively low-tone, see ligature below for high-tone variant.|
|á r̗í||á||á||Medial form may optionally be connected to subsequent segment, but is traditionally separate.|
|í r̗í||í/y||ɪ́, j||See ligatures below for yí, which would otherwise result in this segment duplicated.|
|ái r̗í||ái||áɪ||Used exclusively for high tone. Individual segment used for low tone.|
|yí||yí||jɪ́||Used instead of duplicating the segment for y/í.|
|Low-tone vowel diacritics:|
|a tak||a||à||Placed to the right of the main segment to form a syllable. Typically placed in the bottom right, unless main segment has a right-facing descender (ie, k), in which case placed in the top right.|
|i tak||i||ɪ̀||Placed to the centre left of the main segment to form a syllable. May be placed to the right instead if the main segment is left heavy (ie, m).|
|u tak||u||ù||Placed to the centre right of the main segment.|
|áwuk tak||-||n/a||Used to link noun classifiers to their head nouns. Converts final segment of preceding noun to a medial form with an extended tail that links to the classifier.|
|n̗ajún̗||.||n/a||Equivalent to a full stop in English. Not connected to main word.|
|taktak||,||n/a||Used as a comma in lists. Not connect to main word.|
2. Mák’ai logographs[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mák’ai logographs.
Mák’ai logographs were historically used as the primary means of writing Mák’ai-wa, and in most cases texts from earlier stages of Mák’ai-wa are written exclusively using logographs. Following the development and official adoption of the Mák’ai alphabet four centuries ago, however, the use of Mák’ai logographs in everyday contexts has gradually decreased. Of the some 40,000 documented Mák’ai logographs that exist in the historical record, less than 1,000 are in common usage today. A much higher number of logographs are maintained in personal names, in particular last names, of which there are relatively few in modern Mák’ai. Logographs are otherwise commonly used in shorthand or in signs, such as the character TBD, which is usually used to indicate a grocery store or supermarket. School children in Mák’ai are taught the most common characters in school, but are typically not taught enough to be able to exclusively write using logographs. A few common logographs are given below (hover to see the translation):
3. Alternative romanisations[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai-wa also has a number of alternative romanisations. The most common of these is given below, and is predominantly used in cases where it is difficult to type diacritics:
- Tones may be written as double letters - 'á' as aa, 'í' as ii, and 'ú' as uu.
- Laminals may be written with a 'h' rather than a subscript acute accent - 't̗' as th, 'd̗' as dh, 'l̗' as lh, and 'n̗' as nh.
- The trilled 'r' is written in some transcriptions as rh, thereby representing the trill as part of the laminal series, or in others as rr.
- Ejectives are written as double letters - k' as kk, t' as tt, and t̗' as tth.
As an example, compare the following two transcriptions of the Lord's prayer (see below) in standard romanisation and in the alternate romanisation that avoids diacritics:
át̗á-a tai-áyú nga mk'angán
raguyán juŗ-wa nga laingán
túnangayí pákuyí t̗'ur̗gín-d̗al̗a nga laingán
baranangayí d̗ai l̗ámúgai-a nga laingán
úr̗t̗á-d̗ar, t̗ak tai-áyú
aathaa-a tai-aayuu nga mkkangaan
raguyaan jurr-wa nga laingaan
tuunangayii paakuyii tthurrgiin-dhalha nga laingaan
baranangayii dhai lhaamuugai-a nga laingaan
uurrthaa-dhar, thak tai-aayuu
Grammar[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Grammar of Mák’ai.
1. Verbs[edit | edit source]
1.1 Basic structure[edit | edit source]
All basic sentences in Mák’ai-wa contain an obligatory auxiliary verb, which is the main inflected verb in the sentence, as well as a typically unconjugated lexical verb. In an unmarked sentence, the auxiliary is sentence-initial and is followed immediately by the lexical verb. The auxiliary verb is polysynthetic and is the most morphologically complex aspect of Mák’ai-wa grammar.
The auxiliary verb is, at a minimum, conjugated to encode information about the grammatical subject, object (if present), tense/aspect, and evidentiality. Person agreement with the subject and object is typically such that a separate subject or object pronoun is not required. As such, the most basic sentence in Mák’ai-wa can consist of simply an auxiliary and lexical verb. Additionally, the auxiliary verb may also encode information about grammatical mood,evidentiality, and qualifiers. Noun incorporation is also common place and is used to refer to a generic nominal object.
To summarise, the auxiliary verb can contain the following grammatical components, strictly in the following order. Optional components are given in brackets.
(Causative + causer pronoun)
|(Direct object pronoun)
|(Indirect object pronoun)
(Applicative + benefactor pronoun)
|(Adverb qualifier)||Tense/aspect||(Mood marker)||Evidentiality marker|
Given this, the most complex auxiliary verbs in Mák’ai-wa can therefore consist of up to nine individual components. The following example illustrates the maximum possible complexity of Mák’ai polysynthetic auxiliary verbs:
Ex. 1.1.1. Yangak’awun̗uluyarálurmaugaí aya
'it appears that I could have almost made you cook for him'
Contrastingly, an example of the most basic sentence in Mák’ai-wa is as followsː
This sentence consists of two parts. The lexical verb, palí, simply conveys the meaning 'see'. The auxiliary verb, ngák'an, consists of three parts - the final tense/aspect root n, which denotes a present action, the initial subject prefix ngá-, which denotes a first person singular nominative subject of the Márduk gender, and the medial object prefix k'a-, which denotes a second person singular accusative object. As the auxiliary already conveys information about the subject and object, separate subject and object pronouns are not required.
In the case where a specific noun is used for the subject, the auxiliary verb must agree with the subject in both person, number, and case. For exampleː
Ex. 1.1.3. Nguk'an palí Mák’ai-pa
Ngu-k'a-n palí Mák’ai-pa
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC-2.SG.ACC.MASC/FEM-PRES see Mák’ai-CLːMASC.NOM
'The nearby (Mák’ai) man sees you (non-T̗’úkai).'
This also applies when one wishes to specify the object but not the subject. For example:
Ex. 1.1.4. Ngák'un palí Mák’ai-pak
Ngá-k'u-n palí Mák’ai-pa-k
1.SG.NOM.FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-PRES see Mák’ai-CLːMASC.ACC
'I (Márduk) see the nearby (Mák’ai) man'
Both may simultaneously be done simultaneously to specify a particular subject and object. For example:
Ex. 1.1.5. Nguk'un palí Mák’ai-pa Mák’ai-pak
Ngu-k'u-n palí Mák’ai-pa Mák’ai-pa-k
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-PRES see ák’ai-CLːMASC.NOM Mák’ai-CLːMASC.ACC
'The nearby (Mák’ai) man) see the (other) nearby (Mák’ai) man'
In example 1.1.5 above, omitting the nouns following the verb will produce the less specific meaning 'he (nearby) sees him (nearby)'. As such, it is usually unnecessary to add the noun outside of the verb unless introducing a new actor in a sentence.
The maximum number of arguments which can be incorporated into an auxiliary verb is three, typically for ditransitive verbs or by using valence-increasing processes to transitive verbs (see Mák’ai language#Applicatives and Mák’ai language#Causatives below). An example of a sentence using three incorporated arguments is as follows:
Ex. 1.1.6. Kúngnur̗úgun̗ulul púkú mpalá-yun̗u
Kúngnu-r̗úgu-n̗ulu-l púkú mpalá-yun̗u
3.DU.NOM.PROX.MASC-bread-3.SG.DAT.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST give child-NC:FEM.SG.DAT
'those two nearby men gave some bread to the nearby girl'
1.2 Incorporation[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai exhibits incorporation, wherein the slot normally occupied by a direct object pronoun can be replaced by a noun, adjective, or location. Noun incorporation occurs when the speaker wishes to form an indefinite construction, as specifying any kind of noun outside of the axuiliary verb necessitates that that noun be definite. In other words, if a noun is incorporated, it translates to as 'an X' or 'some X', whereas if it is external to the auxiliary verb it may translate to 'the X'. To illustrate this, consider the following sentence, which includes a specified (unincorporated) noun:
Ex. 1.2.1. Ngárul n̗ígu kábá-nak
Ngá-ru-l n̗ígu kábá-nak
1.SG.NOM.FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.INANIM-PST buy bed-CLːtool.ACC
'I (Márduk) bought the (nearby) bed'
To create the indefinite meaning 'I bought a bed', as opposed to 'I bought the bed', we can incorporate the generic noun kábá in the place of the object pronoun, as in the following example:
Ex. 1.2.2. Ngákábál n̗ígu
'I (Márduk) bought a bed'
It is important to note that noun incorporation in Mák’ai can only occur for a particular set of nouns (typically concrete objects) and never for the subject. Furthermore, only the head noun can ever be incorporated into the verb. If the incorporated noun is modified in any way, the modification must be included in a separate clause in most cases, as in the following example:
Ex. 1.2.3. Ngákábál n̗ígu, lákíd̗ímakul már
Ngá-kábá-l n̗ígu, lá-kíd̗ímak-ul már
1.SG.NOM.FEM-bed-PST buy, 3.SG.ERG.INANIM-comfortable-PST very
'I (Márduk) bought a very comfortable bed' (lit. 'I (Márduk) bought a bed, it was very comfortable').
If special emphasis needs to be placed on the attribute to the incorporated noun, then the modifier may be placed after the incorporated noun's classifier, as in the following example:
Ex. 1.2.4. Ngákábál n̗ígu nak kíd̗ímak már
Ngá-kábá-l n̗ígu nak kíd̗ímak már
1.SG.NOM.FEM-bed-PST buy NC:tool.ACC comfortable very
'I (Márduk) bought a very comfortable bed'
Incorporation of adjectives and location phrases can also occur, but only in the context of subject-predicate compounds (such as 'I am tall' or 'she is at the beach' in English). In both of these cases, the attributive phrase is simply incorporated into the auxiliary in the place of an object, including any classifiers if necessary. Any further modifiers are simply included after the auxiliary as if the auxiliary was the head of the adjective/location phrase. The following two examples illustrate this:
Ex. 1.2.5. Tánguyanáiyun ń̗gut̗íwu
'he/she is a renowned doctor'
Ex. 1.2.6. Gangdar̗anaran múk'ulu k'igá-nal̗a
Gang-dar̗a-nar-an múk'ulu k'igá-nal̗a
3.DU.ERG.DIST.INANIM-table-NC:tool.LOC-PRES old book-NC:tool.ERG
'those two (distant) books are on the old table'
1.3 Pronouns and pronoun incorporation[edit | edit source]
Pronominal forms used in verbs form very complicated paradigms with several categories. These include case (nominative/accusative or ergative/absolutive depending on the agents involved, or dative for indirect objects, see Mák’ai language#Case below), person (first, second, and third), number (singular, dual, and plural), exclusivity (inclusive or exclusive, for first person only), proximity (proximal or distal, for third person only), animacy (inanimate and animate), and gender (for each of the three Mák’ai genders, as a subcategorisation of animate pronouns). Historically Mák’ai also had five separate pronoun paradigms according to which part of the body the movement involved, however, this system is no longer fully functional in modern Mák’ai. Many irregular pronominal forms are derived from this earlier five-type system. A typical example of a pronoun declension chart is given on the left for the nominative case. For a full list of pronouns, see Mák’ai language/Lexicon.
These pronominal forms may also be used externally to the verb with the suffix -ngán. In these cases, the reduplication of the pronoun serves to emphasise the pronoun, and is therefore only done under particular discourse conditions. An example of this is as follows:
Ex. 1.3.1. Tánguk'ulka palí? - R̗u, tángut'úl palí t'úngán
tángu-k'u-l-ka palí? - r̗u, tángu-t'ú-l palí t'ú-ngán
3.SG.NOM.DIST.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST-INTER see - no 3.SG.NOM.DIST.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST see 3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PRO
'did he see him?' - 'no, he saw him (where the second 'him' refers to a different person standing further away)'
In the above example, the independent pronoun t'úngán is only used outside of the verb to emphasise that it was another person the subject saw rather than the one initially supposed in the question.
1.4 Adverb incorporation[edit | edit source]
Auxiliary verbs in Mák’ai-wa can also incorporate up to one qualifying adverb that indicates the extent to which the action was completed. Eligible adverbs for incorporation include certain temporal adverbs ('already', 'yet') and degree adverbs ('almost', 'somewhat'). Other adverbs cannot be incorporated into the verb and must be used separately after the auxiliary verb. An example of adverb incorporation in Mák’ai is as follows:
Ex. 1.4.1. Jágun̗jíyarálur aya
'those distant T̗’úkai have almost finished cooking the meat'
1.5 Tense and Aspect[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai verbs also conjugate according to tense and aspect. Mák’ai has three main tenses, which are given below:
- l - past tense, ie, ngak'al palí, 'I saw you'
- n - present tense, ie, ngak'an palí, 'I see you'
- r̗ - future tense, ie, ngak'ar̗ palí, 'I will see you'
Note that these affixes sometimes exhibit allomorphic variation when the preceding segments end in a consonant or a diphthong. In these cases a vowel, usually 'u', is inserted before the affix, as in kúngwatágáiul palí, 'those nearby men saw those far-away women'.
Mák’ai also has an additional affix -ai which may be used after the past tense or future tense marker to indicate an event in the distant past or future. For example,:
- ngak'alai palí - 'I saw you (long ago)'
- ngak'ar̗ai palí - 'I will see you (far in the future)'
Typically, the -ai affix is used in literary or story-telling contexts, or for hyperbole in everyday speech.
Mák’ai also employs a distinction between perfective and imperfective aspect. The default form of a verb is imperfective and implies that an action is ongoing or uncompleted. The perfective form is created by using one of the following affixes instead of the above forms in the past or future tense:
- lur - past perfective.
- na - future perfective.
The perfective aspect is used to view an action as a completed whole, as opposed to being ongoing/uncompleted. Examples of the differences between the imperfective and perfective aspect in Mák’ai are given below:
Ex. 1.5.1. Ngalul párla
'I (Márduk) called for you (T̗’úkai) (and there was no result)'
Ex. 1.5.2. Ngalulur párla
'I (Márduk) called for you (T̗’úkai) (and there was a result, ie, you answered)'
Example 1.5.1 above uses the imperfective aspect, and therefore describes the action as having been ongoing or uncompleted. The emphasis in this example is on the action in general as occurring without any particular result or outcome - that is, 'I was calling for you'. Example 1.4.2 uses the perfective aspect, and therefore focuses on the result of the action. Here, there is an implication that something came out of the speaker calling for his interlocutor - ie, the interlocutor answered him, etc.
Other more subtle distinctions in aspect can also be produced in Mák’ai by using various other linguistic processes. For example, the progressive is formed through reduplication of the lexical verb, as in example 1.5.3 below:
Ex. 1.5.3. Nugun̗jír̗ r̗ákí aya-aya
Nu-gun̗jí-r̗ r̗ákí aya-aya
1.SG.NOM.NEUT-meat-FUT soon cook-cook
'I (T̗’úkai) will be cooking some meat soon'
1.6 Mood[edit | edit source]
Mood in Mák’ai is indiciated by the use of affixes on the auxiliary verb. A lack of any explicit affix automatically implies the indicative mood. There are six irrealis moods that are communicated through the use of affixes. The first of these is -ma, which marks the conditional mood. -ma is used when the event described is dependent on another condition - that is, it can only be realised if something else happens. This is roughly translated with 'would' or 'could' in English. For example:
Ex. 1.6.1. Gánai d̗a laid̗arlur Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lait'úlurma palí t̗'ur̗-pak
Gánai d̗a lai-d̗ar-lur Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lai-t'ú-lur-ma palí t̗'ur̗-pak
when POSS.ALIEN 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-NC:space.LOC-PST.PERF Mk'áit̗ar̗-NC:space.LOC 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF-COND see king-NC:MASC.SG.ACC
'you (T̗’úkai) could have seen the king when you were in Mk'áit̗ar'
The affix -ngayí is used to mark the optative mood. -ngayí is used when the event described is hoped, expected, awaited, or desired/wished by the speaker. Usually it is used to express that the speaker wants something to be a certain way, but it isn't. For example:
Ex. 1.6.2. Gánai d̗a laid̗arlur Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lait'úlurngayí palí t̗'ur̗-pak
Gánai d̗a lai-d̗ar-lur Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lai-t'ú-lur-ngayí palí t̗'ur̗-pak
when POSS.ALIEN 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-NC:space.LOC-PST.PERF Mk'áit̗ar̗-NC:space.LOC 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF-OPT see king-NC:MASC.SG.ACC
'you (T̗’úkai) had hoped to have seen the king when you were in Mk'áit̗ar'
The affix -baru is used to mark the necessitative mood. -baru is used when the event described is necessary but not necessarily desired, when an event is destined to be, or when the event has been predetermined or prescribed. The necessitative is roughly translatable as "to be to" in English. For example:
Ex. 1.6.3. Gánai d̗a laid̗arlur Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lait'úlurbaru palí t̗'ur̗-pak
Gánai d̗a lai-d̗ar-lur Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lai-t'ú-lur-baru palí t̗'ur̗-pak
when POSS.ALIEN 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-NC:space.LOC-PST.PERF Mk'áit̗ar̗-NC:space.LOC 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF-NEC see king-NC:MASC.SG.ACC
'you (T̗’úkai) were to see the king when you were in Mk'áit̗ar'
The affix -tak is used to mark the potential mood. -tak is used when the event described is considered probable or likely to occur. For example:
Ex. 1.6.4. Gánai d̗a laid̗arna Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lait'únatak palí t̗'ur̗-pak
Gánai d̗a lai-d̗ar-na Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lai-t'ú-na-tak palí t̗'ur̗-pak
when POSS.ALIEN 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-NC:space.LOC-FUT.PERF Mk'áit̗ar̗-NC:space.LOC 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-FUT.PERF-POT see king-NC:MASC.SG.ACC
'you (T̗’úkai) will probably see the king when you are in Mk'áit̗ar'
The affix -ji is used to mark the dubitative mood. -ji is used when the event described is uncertain, doubtful, or dubious. For example:
Ex. 1.6.5. Gánai d̗a laid̗arna Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lait'únaji palí t̗'ur̗-pak
Gánai d̗a lai-d̗ar-na Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lai-t'ú-na-ji palí t̗'ur̗-pak
when POSS.ALIEN 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-NC:space.LOC-FUT.PERF Mk'áit̗ar̗-NC:space.LOC 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-FUT.PERF-DUB see king-NC:MASC.SG.ACC
'you (T̗’úkai) might see the king when you are in Mk'áit̗ar (although it is unlikely)'
The affix -bu is used to mark the imperative mood. -bu is used when the event is directly ordered or requested by the speaker. It may also be used to express desires or to plead. For example:
Ex. 1.6.6. Gánai d̗a laid̗arna Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lait'únabu palí t̗'ur̗-pak
Gánai d̗a lai-d̗ar-na Mk'áit̗ar̗-d̗ar lai-t'ú-na-bu palí t̗'ur̗-pak
when POSS.ALIEN 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-NC:space.LOC-FUT.PERF Mk'áit̗ar̗-NC:space.LOC 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-FUT.PERF-IMP see king-NC:MASC.SG.ACC
'(you (T̗’úkai)) see the king when you are in Mk'áit̗ar'
1.7 Evidentiality[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai verbs also contain information about evidentiality - that is, what the source of the information given in the statement is. Strictly speaking, Mák’ai distinguishes between indirectivity rather than evidentiality, in that a distinction is made between whether there is a source for the statement or not, but not as to what the source itself is. Modern Mák’ai has a three-way distinction between different kinds of evidential marking - direct, reported indirect, and unreported indirect. The direct form is unmarked and implies that the information is being reported directly - that is, that there is some kind of evidence for it. It focuses on the fact of the statement as an event. Contrastingly, the indirect forms focus on the recipient of the information by the speaker, rather than the factualness of the information itself. This is seen in the following examples:
Ex. 1.7.1. Mk'árlul palí
'we Márduk (not you) saw them (T̗’úkai) (direct)'
Example 1.7.1 above is unmarked and therefore shows direct information, focusing on the event that occurred. Example 1.7.2 below is marked with unreported indirect marking. As such, the focus is not on the actual event that actually occurred, but rather on the speaker's reception of the knowledge of the event.
Ex. 1.7.2. Mk'árluluk palí
'allegedly, we Márduk (not you) saw them (T̗’úkai)'
Mák’ai further distinguishes two types of indirect marking - reported and unreported (or non-reported in some sources). Reported indirect marking focuses on the reception of information through a secondary source - ie, one which 'reports' the event to the speaker. This could be through hearsay, writing, or rumour, for example. The reported indirect marking is also used in quotative contexts, where the speaker is reporting someone else's speech. Non-reported indirect marking instead focuses on the reception of information through perception - ie, by witnessing or observing the event. Example 1.7.2 above uses the reported indirect marking -uk. Example 1.7.3 below conversely uses the non-reported indirect marking -ugaí:
Ex. 1.7.3. Mk'árlulugaí palí
'it appears that we Márduk (not you) saw them (T̗’úkai)'
The non-reported indirect marking can also be used to show inference. Hence, 1.7.3 above could also be translated as 'as far as we understand, we Márduk (not you) saw them (T̗’úkai)'.
The differences between these three different evidentials are summarised in the table below:
|Indirectivity type||Meaning||Marking||Example||Possible translations|
|Direct||A stated fact, focus is on the information itself||n/a (unmarked)||ngák'al palí||'I saw you'|
|Indirect||Reported/Quotative||Focuses on the reception of the information by the speaker via a secondary source (ie, it is reported to the speaker). Also used for quoted speech.||-uk||ngák'al-uk palí||'I allegedly saw you', 'I reportedly saw you', 'they said that I saw you', etc.|
|Non-reported/Inferential/Experiential||Focuses on the speaker's experience of receiving the information through perception or inference.||-ugaí||ngák'al-ugaí palí||'it appears that I saw you', 'I saw you (with my own eyes)', 'one could see that I saw you', etc.|
2. Nouns[edit | edit source]
2.1 Noun classes and case[edit | edit source]
Nouns in Mák’ai are marked for case, gender, and number, but not definiteness. Both case and gender are marked through the use of post-nominal classifiers, of which there are thirteen. Classifier use is obligatory, but the assignment of a particular noun to a set noun class is not determined. Rather, the choice of classifier used reflects the exact way the object is used. For example, the classifier mú is used for nouns belonging to the vegetation class, as in átá-mú, 'stick'. Conversely, the classifier na is used for nouns belonging to the tool class. The classifier na can therefore be used with átá to form átá-na, with the new meaning of 'stick as a tool', rather than 'stick as a stick' (ie, a branch used as a walking stick, etc.). In this way, classifier membership is not fixed, but fluid depending on the way the object is used.
Mák’ai has eight cases - nominative/ergative, accusative/absolutive, dative, genitive, instrumental, and locative. Mák’ai also exhibits split-system ergativity, meaning that the choice between nominative/accusative marking and ergative/absolutive marking depends on the particular context of a sentence. This is explained further below in Mák’ai language#Split-system ergativity. A full table illustrating the declension of noun classifiers for case is included below:
(non-Mák’ai person, most animals)
(food, edible substances)
(water, aquatic animals)
(time and space)
2.2 Number[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai has three numbers - singular, dual, and plural - which are reflected in both its pronominal system and its noun declension. Singular nouns are unmarked while dual and plural nouns take an additional suffix on to the noun's classifier. Typically, dual is indicated by affixing -n̗ and plural by affixing -r to the end of the noun classifier where the noun classifier ends in a vowel. For example, consider the following:
- mpalá-pa - boy-NC:MASC.NOM.SG - 'a boy'
- mpalá-pan̗ - boy-NC:MASC.NOM.DU - 'two boys'
- mpalá-par - boy-NC:MASC.NOM.PL - 'boys'
Note, however, that there are many exceptions to this rule, and that this rule does not apply where the classifier ends in a consonant. The following charts therefore show the form of classifiers in the dual and plural forms respectively.
(non-Mák’ai person, most animals)
(food, edible substances)
(water, aquatic animals)
(time and space)
(non-Mák’ai person, most animals)
(food, edible substances)
(water, aquatic animals)
(time and space)
2.3 Non-personal pronouns[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai-wa has a number of non-personal pronouns which can be divided into various functions (ie, to express things, places, reasons, etc.) and types (ie, queries, 'some' words, 'many' words, etc.). Some non-personal pronouns in Mák’ai-wa decline according to case, particularly where these pronouns would replace whole nouns - ie, to fill the 'thing' or 'person' function. A list of these is given below, along with their approximate English translations. Note that question words of this type also decline according to case. These are outlined in Mák’ai language#Questions below.
'to this one'
'of this one'
'with this one'
'at this one'
'to that one'
'of that one'
'with that one'
'at that one'
'in something, at something'
'to no one'
'of no one'
'with no one'
'at no one'
Mák’ai-wa additionally has the following additional non-personal pronouns which do not decline. The following non-personal pronouns typically function in adjuncts (ie, for place or reason pronouns) or as adjectives. In the latter instance, these pronouns behave syntactically like adjectives - that is, they occur after the head noun in a noun phrase. These non-personal pronouns are given below:
'in this way'
'in every way'
'in many ways'
'in most ways'
'in any way'
'for this reason'
'for that reason'
'for some reason'
'for no reason'
'for any reason'
Some examples of the use of non-personal pronouns are given below:
Ex. 2.3.1. Tákatalal palí r̗úk'ai párák mbágan
Táka-tala-l palí r̗úk'ai párák mbágan
3.PL.NOM.DIST.MASC-3.PL.ACC.DIST.INANIM-PST see no_one.NOM anything.ACC in_many_ways
'in many ways, no one saw anything'
Ex. 2.3.2. T̗atjú tjáit'úlur jíyí múk'ait̗ák d̗a tángut'ún mát̗'íník'ai-pa pá
T̗atjú tjái-t'ú-lur jíyí múk'ait̗ák d̗a tángu-t'ú-n mát̗'íník'ai-pa pá
when 3.SG.NOM.DIST.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF meet someone.ACC POSS.ALIEN 3.SG.NOM.DIST.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PRES artist-NC:MASC.SG.NOM any
'when has that person ever met someone who is any kind of artist?'
3. Adjectives and adverbs[edit | edit source]
3.1 Adjectives[edit | edit source]
Adjectives, adverbs, and other modifiers in Mák’ai are relatively simple. Modifiers of nouns occur after the head and are introduced by the particle d̗a or nga. d̗a is used for alienable possession - that is, where the attribute given to the noun is something which can be lost; while nga is used for inalienable possession - that is, where the attribute given to the noun is something which cannot be lost. Note that this is used seperately to the genitive case, which is used where one noun possesses another. Furthermore, adjectives are not modified in any way to agree with the noun, as syntax always indicates which noun the adjectives are modifying. Examples of these are as follows:
Ex. 3.1.1. Ngárul kángá yába-n̗ik (d̗a) l̗al̗a káiyá
Ngá-ru-l kángá yába-n̗ik (d̗a) l̗al̗a káiyá
1.SG.NOM.FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.INANIM-PST eat apple-NC:food.ACC (POSS.ALIEN) delicious red
'I ate the delicious red apple'
Note that the possessive marker d̗a is not required to be uttered in the above example, as context makes it obvious that the subsequent words are modifiers. There are instances, however, where d̗a is not optional, as will be shown later on. The example below shows modification of both the subject and the object. Again, d̗a is optional as it is obvious from context what the modifiers are modifying.
Ex. 3.1.2. Ngáirul pí Mák’ai-ja (d̗a) r̗ak'ul wá-wák (d̗a) ukála
Ngái-ru-l pí Mák’ai-ja (d̗a) r̗ak'ul wá-wák (d̗a) ukála
3.SG.NOM.PROX.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.PROX.INANIM-PST drink Mák’ai-NC:t̗'úkai.NOM (POSS.ALIEN) young water-NC:water.ACC (POSS.INALIEN) cold
'the young t̗'úkai drank the cold water'
The example below shows the use of the inalienable possessive marker nga to mark possession by a pronoun. Here, the use of nga is not optional.
Ex. 3.1.3. Ngurul bit̗'a púpúk-pak nga ngungán
Ngu-ru-l bit̗'a púpúk-pak nga ngu-ngán
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.INANIM-PST hurt foot-NC:MASC.ACC POSS.INALIEN 3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-PRO
'the old (non-Mák’ai) man hurt his foot'
The example below shows the use of the genitive case to mark possession, as well as both inalienable and alienable possessive markers.
Ex. 3.1.4. Ngutárun t̗íwu ál̗a-pa ungú-par (d̗a) múk'ulu ikáya-wak ínga-par nga ngungán
Ngu-táru-n t̗íwu ál̗a-pa ungú-par (d̗a) múk'ulu ikáya-wak ínga-par nga ngu-ngán
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.DIST.INANIM-PRES know son-NC:MASC.NOM non-Mák’ai-NC:MASC.GEN (POSS.ALIEN) old history-NC:language.ACC family-NC:MASC.GEN POSS.INALIEN 3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-PRO
'the old (non-Mák’ai) man's son knows his family's history'
Where a noun is incorporated into the verb, the same process as above occurs, but with the noun classifier standing by itself outside of the verb. Compare example 3.1.2 above with the example below:
Ex. 3.1.5. Ngáiwál pí Mák’ai-ja (d̗a) r̗ak'ul wák (d̗a) ukála
Ngái-wá-l pí Mák’ai-ja (d̗a) r̗ak'ul wák (d̗a) ukála
3.SG.NOM.PROX.NEUT-water-PST drink Mák’ai-NC:t̗'úkai.NOM (POSS.ALIEN) young NC:water.ACC (POSS.ALIEN) cold
'the young t̗'úkai drank some cold water'
Here, the incorporation of the noun results in a more general interpretation of 'water' - hence some water rather than the water.
3.2 Adverbs[edit | edit source]
There is no principle difference between adjectives and adverbs in Mák’ai. To modify a verb with an adverb, simply use d̗a or nga after the lexical verb followed by the modifier. To modify an adjective with an adverb, simply use the adverb after the adjective. There is no need for an additional particle. Both of these cases are illustrated below.
Ex. 3.2.1. Tángnul wurang (d̗a) tjatju n̗ad̗ága-d̗ak (d̗a) múk'ulu már
Tángnu-l wurang (d̗a) tjatju n̗ad̗ága-d̗ak (d̗a) múk'ulu már
3.DU.NOM.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST run (POSS.ALIEN) quick building-NC:space.ACC (POSS.ALIEN) old very
'those two far-away men ran quickly to the very old building'
3.3 Comparatives and superlatives[edit | edit source]
Comparatives in Mák’ai are formed by using the particle bayí between the two nouns being compared, after which a normal adjective is used introduced by a possessive particle if required or incorporated into the verb, as in the following example (see section 1.2 above).
Ex. 3.3.1. Láráigun ága-gul̗a bayí jín̗í-ar
Lár-áigu-n ága-gul̗a bayí jín̗í-ar
3.SG.ERG.DIST.INANIM-warm-PRES day-NC:fire.ERG COMP night-NC:spirit.ERG
'the day is warmer than the night'
An example using a possessive particle is as follows:
Ex. 3.3.2. Ngal yí maká-d̗ak bayí laru-d̗a (d̗a) narla
Nga-l yí maká-d̗ak bayí laru-d̗a (d̗a) narla
1.SG.NOM.MASC-PST go place-NC:space.ACC COMP forest-NC:space.NOM (POSS.ALIEN) quiet
'I went to a place quieter than the forest'
Note that the above sentence can also be rephrased using a subordinate clause, as below:
Ex. 3.3.3. Ngal yí maká-d̗ak d̗a lárnarlal bayí laru-d̗al̗a
Nga-l yí maká-d̗ak d̗a lár-narla-l bayí laru-d̗al̗a
1.SG.NOM.MASC-PST go place-NC:space.ACC POSS.ALIEN 3.SG.ERG.INANIM-quiet-PST COMP forest-NC:space.ERG
'I went to a place that was quieter than the forest'
In the second clause in the above example, bayí is used between the auxiliary and the noun subject to act in effect as a kind of adverb. An more typical example of this when used outside of subject-predicate compounds is as follows:
Ex. 3.3.4. Ngak'an bayí t̗íwu
Nga-k'a-n bayí t̗íwu
1.SG.NOM.MASC-2.SG.ACC.MASC-PRES COMP know
'I know more than you'
Where two nouns are not being directly compared, but one noun is still being described with a comparative, bayí is used after the adjective, as in the following example:
Ex. 3.3.5. Ngárul palí ngut̗ak jál̗áwa bayí
Ngá-ru-l palí ngut̗ak jál̗áwa bayí
1.SG.NOM.FEM-3.SG.ACC.INANIM-PST see NC:generic.ACC interesting COMP
'I saw something more interesting'
Superlatives are formed simply by adding the particle pái after the given adjective, as in the following example:
Ex. 3.3.6. Mlantúl pí mwalak-wák dár̗ugai pái
Mlan-tú-l pí mwalak-wák dár̗ugai pái
2.DU.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.INANIM-PST drink wine-NC:water.ACC expensive SUPER
'you (more than two t̗'úkai) drank the most expensive wine'
Note that the possessive particle d̗a has been omitted in the above example, as would likely occur in regular speech.
4. Numbers[edit | edit source]
4.1 Basic forms[edit | edit source]
Like all Pan-Ejawan languages, Mák’ai uses a base twelve system which is based on counting using the hand. The following key terms are used to build numbers:
- yú - the little finger
- t̗a - the fourth finger
- wu - the middle finger
- mán - the index finger
- du - the hand
- gí - the tip of the finger
- bá - the first bend from the tip of the finger
- ju - the second bend from the tip of the finger
- payu - the fist
- bar̗úk - the chest
- t̗an̗ - the thigh
Numbers are then formed from combining these terms, as follows:
|1||yúgí||13||yúgí du yúgí||25||yúbá du yúgí|
|2||yúbá||14||yúgí du yúbá||26||yúbá du yúbá|
|3||yúju||15||yúgí du yúju||27||yúbá du yúju|
|4||t̗agí||16||yúgí du t̗agí||28||yúbá du t̗agí|
|5||t̗abá||17||yúgí du t̗abá||29||yúbá du t̗abá|
|6||t̗aju||18||yúgí du t̗aju||30||yúbá du t̗aju|
|7||wugí||19||yúgí du wugí||31||yúbá du wugí|
|8||wubá||20||yúgí du wubá||32||yúbá du wubá|
|9||wuju||21||yúgí du wuju||33||yúbá du wuju|
|10||mángí||22||yúgí du mángí||34||yúbá du mángí|
|11||mánbá||23||yúgí du mánbá||35||yúbá du mánbá|
|12||mánju||24||yúgí du mánju||36||yúbá du mánju|
The process above continues until 144 (mánju du mánju) and then repeats with the addition of payu - hence, 145 is (yúgí) payu yúgí du yúgí, 146 is yúgí payu yúgí du yúbá, etc. This then continues to 20,736 (mánju du mánju payu mánju du mánju) and then repeats with the addition of bar̗úk - hence, 20,737 is (yúgí) bar̗úk yúgí payu yúgí du yúgí. This then continues to 2,985,984 (mánju du mánju bar̗úk mánju du mánju payu mánju du mánju) and then repeats with the addition of t̗an̗ - hence, 2,985,985 is (yúgí) t̗an̗ yúgí bar̗úk yúgí payu yúgí du yúgí. There are no native words for numbers higher than 429,981,696 (mánju du mánju t̗an̗ mánju du mánju bar̗úk mánju du mánju payu mánju du mánju) in Mák’ai, and hence loanwords are used from other languages for these forms.
Where numbers are used in combination with nouns, they are added like adjectives, coming after the noun-classifier combination but before any other adjectives preceded by a possessive particle if required, as in the following example. Note that numbers are not required for 'one' and 'two', as these are implied by the singular and dual number already.
Ex. 4.1.1. Kúngwatágáiul palí Mák’ai-par t̗agí Mák’ai-yurak mánju d̗a yán̗á már
Kúngwa-tágái-ul palí Mák’ai-par t̗agí Mák’ai-yurak mánju d̗a yán̗á már
3.PL.NOM.PROX.MASC-3.PL.ACC.DIST.FEM-PST see Mák’ai-NC:MASC.PL.NOM four Mák’ai-NC:FEM.PL.ACC twelve POSS.ALIEN beautiful very
'those four nearby (Mák’ai) men saw twelve very beautiful far-away (Mák’ai) women'
4.2 Ordinals and other number derivations[edit | edit source]
Ordinals in Mák’ai are formed by adding the particle kí before the number. For example, 'first' is kí yúgí, 'second' is kí yúbá, 'tenth' is kí mángí, etc. Fractions are formed using genitive nominal classifiers in combination with an ordinal, as in kí yúgí t̗abá-ngur, 'one fifth', or literally, 'first of five'. Note that the generic classifier nga is always used for fractional numbers.
4.3 Writing numerals and ordinals[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai uses Mák’ai numerals for numbers and ordinals in writing. Numerals are written using a place-value system in which there is a basic character for each of the 12 basic numerals. Moving from right to left, each number represents one place value. The corresponding word for that place value (ie, du or payu) is therefore not written, but pronounced when the number is read aloud. For example, 472 in Mák’ai is t̗agí payu t̗agí du yúju, which would be written as 4-4-3, or (note however that numbers are normally written top-down, as is the rest of Mák’ai script).
The basic forms of these 12 numerals are as follows. They are derived from pictographs of the hand, based on the traditional counting method of the Mák’ai people illustrated in the video above.
5. Syntax[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai-wa syntax is relatively free on the basis of information flow. Unmarked sentence structure is VSO, consisting of an obligatory auxiliary verb inflected for person, number, and agreement, followed by an uninflected lexical verb, the subject nominal phrase, the object nominal phrase, and any additional oblique phrases.
5.1 Split-system ergativitiy[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai employs split-system ergativity with regard to its morphosyntactic alignment, meaning that at various points the language will use either nominative/accusative alignment or ergative/absolutive alignment depending on the participants involved in the action. Generally speaking, the distinction between nominative/accusative and ergative/absolutive is based on animacy, wherein agents that are animate will require the use of nominative-accusative alignment. Typically, if the subject is a pronoun, animal, or human, nominative-accusative alignment is used. Elsewhere, ergative-absolutive alignment is used. Note that this distinction is not set in stone, and that an unexpected alignment may be used for narrative effect. Consider the following for example:
Ex. 5.1.1. Nguk'ul palí Mák’ai-pa Mák’ai-yuk
Ngu-k'u-l palí Mák’ai-pa Mák’ai-yuk
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST see Mák’ai-CL:MASC.NOM Mák’ai-CL:FEM.ACC
'the (Mák’ai) man saw the (Mák’ai) woman'
This sentence uses nominative-accusative alignment, and produces a standard interpretation. As contrast, compare the following example:
Ex. 5.1.2. Mát̗'al palí Mák’ai-pal̗a Mák’ai-yu
Má-t̗'a-l palí Mák’ai-pal̗a Mák’ai-yu
3.SG.ERG.PROX.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ABS.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST see Mák’ai-CL:MASC.ERG Mák’ai-CL:FEM.ABS
'the (Mák’ai) man saw the (Mák’ai) woman'
In this case, it is implied that the man is somehow 'forced' to see the woman - that is, that he is not really agentic in this situation. Note that this usage is highly marked and generally restricted to particular literary contexts.
The table below gives examples of common sentence types in Mák’ai, illustrating the differences in use in nominative-accusative and ergative-absolutive systems.
|nguk'un palí yuk'á-kíyak|
he.NOM-she.ACC-PRES see woman.ACC
'he sees the (non-Mák’ai) woman'
|lán bálagai ángu-wal̗a
it.ERG-PRES blow wind.ERG
'the wind blows'
|lát̗’an ngúmaya wá-wál̗a mpalá-pa|
it.ERG-him.ABS-PRES wash water.ERG boy.ABS
'the water washes the boy'
5.2 Passive and Antipassive[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai employs the passive and antipassive voices as valence-reducing processes for both its nominative-accusative and ergative-absolutive systems respectively in order to focus on a particular argument. In the passive, the normal agent pronoun is replaced by ba in the auxiliary verb. The former patient is then put into the respective case of the former agent (nominative). If the agent is still included, it is placed after the object syntactically and uses the instrumental case. Examples of this are given below:
Ex. 5.2.1. Nguk'ul palí Mák’ai-pa Mák’ai-yuk
Ngu-k'u-l palí Mák’ai-pa Mák’ai-yuk
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST see Mák’ai-CL:MASC.NOM Mák’ai-CL:FEM.ACC
'the (Mák’ai) man saw the (Mák’ai) woman'
Example 5.2.1 above is active and uses nominative-accusative allignment. Example 5.2.2 below is passive. Note the use of ba- where the subject pronoun is normally used in the auxiliary verb, the use of the nominative for the patient, and the use of instrumental for the now oblique agent.
Ex. 5.2.2. Bangul palí Mák’ai-yu (Mák’ai-pawá)
Ba-ngu-l palí Mák’ai-yu (Mák’ai-pawá)
PASS-3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST see Mák’ai-CL:FEM.NOM (Mák’ai-CL:MASC.INSTR)
'the (Mák’ai) woman is seen (by the (Mák’ai) man)'
The antipassive, conversely, reduces the verb's valency by removing the object of the transitive sentence, thereby instead placing focus on the 'doer' of the action. Note that the use of ergative-absolutive alignment in Mák’ai implies a sense of inagency for the subject of transitive sentences, much in the same way the object of transitive sentences is inagentic in nominative-accusative sentences. As such, the antipassive places emphasis on this less agentic role, in a similar way to passive, although it is actually the object of the transitive sentence, rather than the subject.
To form the antipassive, the prefix bal̗a takes the place of the subject pronoun in the auxiliary verb. What was formerly in the ergative case now takes the absolutive case, and the optional object may be included using the dative case (not the instrumental, as in the case of the passive). The following examples illustrate this:
Ex. 5.2.3. Lát̗’al ngúmaya wá-wál̗a mpalá-pa
Lá-t̗’a-l ngúmaya wá-wál̗a mpalá-pa
3.SG.ERG.PROX.INANIM-3.SG.ABS.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST.IMPERF wash water-NC:water.ERG child-NC:MASC.ABS
'the water was washing the boy'
Example 5.2.3 above uses the active voice. Example 5.2.4 below uses the antipassive. Note the use of bal̗a where the subject pronoun would normally be located, the use of absolutive rather than ergative for the subject, and the optional use of the direct object with the dative case as an oblique phrase.
Ex. 5.2.4. Bal̗akáil ngúmaya wá-wá (mpalá-pan̗u)
Bal̗a-kái-l ngúmaya wá-wá (mpalá-pan̗u)
PASS-3.SG.ABS.PROX.INANIM-PST.IMPERF wash water-NC:water.ABS (child-NC:MASC.DAT)
'the water was washing (the boy)'
Note that while the translation of 5.2.4 above may make it seem identical in meaning to the active voice, this is not actually the case, as there is no way to capture the nuance of this sentence in English. In 5.2.4, the emphasis is on the fact that the water was washing the boy - that is, it emphasises the inagentic thing which does the action. In 5.2.3, however, it is the boy which is emphasised as the recipient of the action. The differences between active and antipassive therefore reflect differences in focus, in the same way that active and passive voice in nominative-accusative systems reflect a difference in focus from the agent to the patient.
5.3 Applicatives[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai possesses an applicative morphological construction which may be used to increase the valency of certain verbs. Typically, the applicative may be used with intransitive or transitive verbs to add an additional argument that represents the benefactive of an action. In an intransitive verb, the applicative marker wu- is used before the pronoun corresponding to the benefactive, which takes the dative case, as in the following example:
Ex. 5.3.1. Nguwan̗ulun gíyar múmuk'u-pan̗u
Ngu-wa-n̗ulu-n gíyar múmuk'u-pan̗u
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-APPL-3.SG.DAT.PROX.MASC/FEM-PRES sing old_person-NC:MASC.SG.DAT
'she sings for the old man'
The same is also the case for transitive verbs, with the benefactive argument coming after the direct object, as in the following example:
Ex. 5.3.2. Ngur̗úguwan̗ulun gíyar múmuk'u-pan̗u
Ngu-r̗úgu-wa-n̗ulu-n gíyar múmuk'u-pan̗u
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-bread-APPL-3.SG.DAT.PROX.MASC/FEM-PRES sing old_person-NC:MASC.SG.DAT
'she cooks some bread for the old man'
Note that applicatives cannot be used with existing ditransitive constructions, as it is impossible to form auxiliaries in Mák’ai with more than three arguments.
5.4 Causatives[edit | edit source]
Mák’ai also uses causatives to introduce a new argument that corresponds to the semantic causer of the action. Like the applicative, the causative is a valence-increasing process which increases the number of arguments in the auxiliary verb by using a prefix ya- before the introduced argument. Unlike the applicative, however, the causative argument takes the place of the subject, as in the following examples:
Ex. 5.4.1. Lálur aya wá-wál̗a
Lá-lur aya wá-wál̗a
3.SG.ERG.PROX.INANIM-PST.PERF boil water-NC:water.ERG.SG
'the water boiled'
Example 5.4.2 below uses the causative:
Ex. 5.4.2. Yanguwálur aya Káiya-pa
Ya-ngu-wá-lur aya Káiya-pa
CAUS-3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC-water-PST.PERF boil Káiya-NC.MASC.NOM.SG
'Káiya boiled the water (lit. 'caused the water to boil')'
When adding a causative to a verb which already has two arguments, the semantic role of causer takes the case and position in the auxiliary of the subject, the former subject moves to the accusative/absolutive case, and the former direct object takes the dative case. This is seen in the following examples:
Ex. 5.4.3. Ngugun̗jílur aya Káiya-pa
Ngu-gun̗jí-lur aya Káiya-pa
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC-meat-PST.PERF cook Káiya-NC:MASC.NOM.SG
'Káiya has cooked some meat'
Ex. 5.4.4. Yanguk'an̗ulur aya Liwu-pa Káiya-pak gun̗jí-n̗in̗u
Ya-ngu-k'a-n̗u-lur aya Liwu-pa Káiya-pak gun̗jí-n̗in̗u
CAUS-3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-3.SG.DAT.PROX.INANIM-PST.PERF cook Liwu-NC:MASC.NOM.SG Káiya-NC:MASC.ACC.SG meat-NC:food.SG.DAT
'Liwu made Káiya cook some meat'
5.5 Relative clauses[edit | edit source]
Relative clauses in Mák’ai-wa are introduced using the possessive particle d̗a after the antecedent noun, with the modifying clause occurring afterwards. In this way, the structure of a relative clause mimics the structure of adjective modifiers. An example of a relative clause is as follows:
Ex. 5.5.1. Ngumúmuk'un pa lúrba d̗a ngák'ulur lúrága palí
Ngu-múmuk'u-n pa lúrba d̗a ngá-k'u-lur lúrága palí
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-old_person-PRES NC:MASC.SG.NOM grumpy POSS.ALIEN 1.SG.NOM.FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF yesterday see
'that's the grumpy old man who I saw yesterday'
Example 5.5.2 below is a rewording of 5.5.1 above demonstrating alternative uses of relative clauses in Mák’ai-wa:
Ex. 5.5.2. Ngulúrban múmuk'u-pa d̗a ngák'ulur lúrága palí
Ngu-lúrba-n múmuk'u-pa d̗a ngá-k'u-lur lúrága palí
3.SG.NOM.PROX.MASC/FEM-grumpy-PRES old_man.NC:MASC.SG.NOM POSS.ALIEN 1.SG.NOM.FEM-3.SG.ACC.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF yesterday see
'the old man who I saw yesterday is grumpy'
5.6 Questions[edit | edit source]
Yes-no questions in Mák’ai are formed by adding the particle -ka to the end of the auxiliary verb. Additionally, the particle n̗a can be added after another element of the question to emphasise that that is the part of the statement being questioned. Without using n̗a, the default interpretation of the question is that it is a question about whether the event happened or not. Examples of this are given below:
Ex. 5.6.1. Ngít'úlurka palí?
'did you see him?'
Ex. 5.6.2. Ngít'úlurka palí ngíngán n̗a?
Ngí-t'ú-lur-ka palí ngí-ngán n̗a
2.SG.NOM.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF-INTER see 2.SG.NOM.MASC/FEM-PRO INTER
'did you see him?'
Ex. 5.6.3. Ngít'úlurka palí t'úngán n̗a?
Ngí-t'ú-lur-ka palí t'ú-ngán n̗a
2.SG.NOM.MASC/FEM-3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF-INTER see 3.SG.ACC.DIST.MASC/FEM-PRO INTER
'did you see him?'
Note that it is impossible to use the emphatic interrogative particle n̗a within an auxiliary verb. As such, to emphasise a particular argument of the auxiliary, the argument must be reduplicated externally, as in examples 5.6.2 and 5.6.3 above.
Other questions may be formed by using interrogative pronouns. A list of interrogative pronouns in Mák’ai-wa is given below:
Note that there are a few question words in English which are not given in the above table. These include 'when' - ganái-kí (lit. 'which time'), 'how' - rur, and 'why' - át̗aí (lit. 'for what').
To form a question using an interrogative pronoun, simply replace the position in the sentence where the desired answer would occur with the interrogative pronoun. Note that the interrogative pronouns above behave like noun classifiers syntactically. This is seen in the following examples:
Ex. 5.6.4. Ngílayíkulur palí?
'who did you see?'
Ex. 5.6.5. Tákarulur pí mwala-kíkí?
Táka-ru-lur pí mwala-kíkí
3.PL.NOM.DIST.MASC-3.SG.ACC.PROX.INANIM-PST.PERF drink wine-which.ACC
'which wine did they drink?'
Ex. 5.6.6. Nngaír̗úguwan̗ulul ít̗'ak Liwu-pan̗u t̗awaí?
Nngaí-r̗úgu-wa-n̗ulu-l ít̗'ak Liwu-pan̗u t̗awaí
2.DU.NOM.MASC-bread-APPL-3.SG.DAT.PROX.MASC/FEM-PST.IMPERF cut Liwu-NC:MASC.SG.DAT what.INST
'what did you two cut the bread for Liwu with?'
Note that in example 5.6.6 above the interrogative pronoun t̗awaí can move fairly freely in around the sentence. Hence Nngaír̗úguwan̗ulul ít̗'ak t̗awaí Liwu-pan̗u?, Nngaír̗úguwan̗ulul t̗awaí ít̗'ak Liwu-pan̗u?, and T̗awaí nngaír̗úguwan̗ulul ít̗'ak Liwu-pan̗u? all translate as 'what did you two cut the bread for Liwu with?'.
5.7 Negation[edit | edit source]
Negation in Mák’ai is relatively simple. To create a negative sentence, simply use the negative particle ga before the auxiliary verb, as in the following example:
Ex. 5.7.1. Ga ngák'an ái
Ga ngá-k'a-n ái
NEG 1.SG.NOM.FEM-2.SG.ACC.MASC/FEM-PRES love
'I don't love him'
The negative ga can also be used at the end of the sentence emphatically to form a double negative. Hence, ga ngák'an ái ga would mean something like 'I don't love him at all'.
5.8 Adjunct phrases[edit | edit source]
Adjunct phrases in Mák’ai are more syntactically free than their complement counterparts, and can usually occur in one of three places - before the auxiliary, after the lexical verb but before the subject, or at the end of the sentence. In an unmarked sentence, it is typical for time phrases to occur at the beginning of the sentence and location phrases at the end, as in the following example.
Ex. 5.8.1 Jín̗í lúrága parák ngaírulur yí ḿt̗ayikáyar-d̗ak jál̗áwa már t̗ar̗-d̗ar
Jín̗í lúrága parák ngaír-ulur yí ḿt̗ayikáyar-d̗ak jál̗áwa már t̗ar̗-d̗ar
night yesterday early 1.DU.EXCL.NOM.MASC/FEM-PST.PERF go museum-NC.place.SG.ACC interesting really city-NCplace.SG.LOC
'we two (not you) went to a really interesting museum in the city early last night'
In the above example, the time phrase jín̗í lúrága parák ('early last night') occurs before the auxiliary verb, the target location complement occurs in the object position, and the locative adjunct t̗ar̗-d̗ar ('in the city') occurs at the end of the sentence. Note that the location and direction of movement are distinguished by differences in case - a destination of movement is marked with the accusative case, while a location is marked with the locative case.
Dialects[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mák’ai-wa dialects.
Mák’ai-wa possesses a number of dialects which vary according to pronunciation, grammar, and lexicology. The primary dialect chain existing in the state of Mák’ai runs north-south from north-eastern Makaigan to the far southern islands in the Ejawan Sea. Dialects spoken in diaspora have their origins in earlier stages of Mák’ai-wa, but have since deviated significantly from Standard Mák’ai-wa as a result of geographic and political isolation. A much higher degree of dialectal variation existed for Mák’ai-wa in the past, however, as a result of higher levels of education and exposure to national media, Standard Mák’ai-wa has displaced many of these formerly more divergent dialects.
Within Mák’ai itself, Mák’ai-wa may be differentiated into roughly six dialect groups - Central Makaiganic, of which Standard Mák’ai-wa is a form; Eastern Makaiganic, spoken in northern Kto-la; Southern Makaiganic, spoken in southern Kto-la; Nungái, spoken in the western and far northern Mák’ai islands; Wuk'ái, spoken in the eastern islands; and Insular, which is spoken in the far southern islands in the Ejawan Sea. These are illustrated in the map below:
The most divergent dialects from Standard Mák’ai-wa are naturally those further away from the Central Makaiganic dialects - namely, Eastern Makaiganic and Insular. In particular, Eastern and Southern Makaiganic dialects have been strongly influenced by neighbouring Ktoic languages, both in terms of their more distinctive phonology and the high quantity of foreign loan words. Insular dialects tend to have the largest internal variation as a result of their geographical isolation, and have been particularly influenced by Coastal Makaiganic as an important regional trade language.
The following illustrates six productions of the same basic sentence ( 'hello! my name is Liwu. Do you cook the fish?' ) in a sample dialect from each of the six main groups, to illustrate primary differences between the various Mák’ai-wa dialectal groups. For more information on detailed phonological, grammatical, and lexical differences between dialects, see Mák’ai-wa dialects.
|Ít̗ák! Tákangakun ábá Liwu-pak. Ngírunka aya gíd̗uba-n̗ik n̗a?|
|Eastern Makaiganic||Lbak||Éyak! Taakakhakun aabá Liwu-pak. Gírunka aya gd̗eva-n̗ik n̗a?|
|Southern Makaiganic||Tjurgúl Kat̗'ái||Ét̗ák! Tákanggakun ábá Liwu-pak. Gírunka aya gd̗ubva-n̗ik n̗a?|
|Nungái||Nggái-t̗ir̗||Ít̗ák! Tákongakun ábá Liwu-pok. Ngírunko ayo gíd̗ubä-n̗ik n̗o?|
|Wuk'ái||Wárala||Ít̗í-ít̗í! Tákonggakun bwen Lwu-pok. Ngírunko yo gíd̗ubä-n̗ik n̗o?|
|Insular||Patji||Yí! Tákõgakũ bwẽ Lwu-pok. Ngírũko yo gdubä-n̗ik n̗o?|
Sample Texts[edit | edit source]
The Lord's Prayer[edit | edit source]
- See also: Mák’ai language/Poetry and songs for a corpus of poems and songs in Mák’ai-wa.
át̗á-a tai-áyú nga mk'a-ngán
father-NC:spirit.SG.NOM heaven-NC:spirit.SG.LOC POSS.INALIEN 1.PL.INCL.NOM.MASC-PRO
ra-guyá-n juŗ-wa nga lai-ngán
3.SG.NOM.INANIM-hallowed-PRES name-NC:language.SG.NOM 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-PRO
tú-na-ngayí pákuyí t̗'ur̗gín-d̗al̗a nga lai-ngán
3.SG.ERG.DIST.INANIM-FUT.PERF-OPT come kingdom-NC:space.SG.ERG POSS.INALIEN 2.SG.NOM.PROX.NEUT-PRO
ba-ra-na-ngayí d̗ai l̗ámúgai-a nga lai-ngán
PASS-3.SG.NOM.PROX.INANIM-FUT.PERF-OPT complete-NC:spirit.SG.NOM POSS.INALIEN 2.SG.NOM.PROX.NEUT-PRO
úr̗t̗á-d̗ar, t̗ak tai-áyú
Earth-NC:space.SG.LOC like heaven-NC:spirit.SG.LOC
áyága lai-ru-n̗k'a-na-bu r̗úgu-n̗ik áyága d̗a mk'a-ngán
today 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.SG.ACC.PROX.INANIM-1.PL.INCL.DAT.MASC-FUT.PERF-IMP bread-NC:food.SG.ACC today POSS.ALIEN 1.PL.INCL.NOM.MASC-PRO
w lai-lem-n̗k'a-na-bu tjúngai d̗ak'úr-ngurak d̗a mk'a-ngán
and 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-3.PL.ACC.PROX.INANIM-1.PL.INCL.DAT.MASC-FUT.PERF-IMP forgive sin-NC:generic.PL.ACC POSS.ALIEN 1.PL.INCL.NOM.MASC-PRO
t̗ak mk'a-gai-n tjúngai gai-ngán d̗a kúngwa-mgu-n d̗ak'úr
as 1.PL.INCL.NOM.MASC-3.PL.ACC.PROX.MASC-PRES forgive 3.PL.ACC.PROX.MASC-PRO POSS.ALIEN 3.PL.NOM.PROX.MASC-1.PL.INCL.ACC.MASC-PRES trespass
w ga lai-mgu-na-bu n̗awula-ár
and NEG 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-1.PL.INCL.ACC.MASC-FUT.PERF-IMP temptation-NC:spirit.PL.ACC
r̗u lai-mgu-na-bu k'ángú búr-áyú tjai
but 2.SG.NOM.NEUT-1.PL.INCL.ACC.MASC-FUT.PERF-IMP deliver evil-NC:spirit.GEN from
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
On Earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Notes[edit | edit source]
- ^ Note that having a causative moves the role of thematic subject to the position of the direct object, and the thematic direct object to the position of the indirect object. See Mák’ai language#Causatives for more information.
- ^ For the purposes of this article, the more traditional glossing conventions of MASC for masculine gender, FEM for feminine gender, and NEUT for neuter gender will be used to correspond to the Mák’ai genders of Ngárduk, Márduk, and T̗’úkai respectively.
- ^ Note that in the second person the distinction is only between Ngárduk/Márduk and T̗’úkai.
- ^ Márduk is one of the three Mák’ai genders, roughly equatable to 'feminine' women. For more information, see Gender and sexuality in Mák’ai .
- ^ Ngárduk is one of the three Mák’ai genders, roughly equatable to 'masculine' men. For more information, see Gender and sexuality in Mák’ai.
- ^ See note 3 above.
- ^ T̗’úkai is one of the three Mák’ai genders, roughly equatable to 'masculine' women or 'feminine' men. For more information, see Gender and sexuality in Mák’ai .
- ^ See Mák’ai language#Questions.
- ^ See Mák’ai language#Questions.
- ^ For body parts, the noun class used matches the gender of the person whose body part it is.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Mák’ai lexicon - for a lexicon for Mák’ai-wa.
- Book:Mk'anbu mruk'í Mák’ai-wawá! - Chapter 1 - a textbook for learning Mák’ai-wa!
- Mák’ai language/Poetry and songs - a corpus of poems and songs in Mák’ai-wa.
- Project Exodus