Pu u Lamu
|Pu u Lamu|
|Pu u Lamu|
|Pronunciation||[pu u lamu]|
|Native speakers||~5 million (2016)|
|Official language in||Tuju|
|Recognised minority language in||Kawui|
|Flap or tap||ɾ|
- /n/ assimilates to the place of articulation of a following consonant, merging with /m/ before labials and being realised as [n̠ʲ] before palatals, [ŋ] before velars and [ɴ] before uvulars respectively.
- /n, l, w, h/ palatalise to [n̠ʲ, l̠ʲ, ɥ, ç] before front vowels, /w/ is also realised [ɥ] when preceded by a front vowel in a closed syllable.
- /h/ is realised as [ɸ] before /u/.
- Voicless obstruents [p, t, k, ɸ, s, ɕ, ç, χ, h, t͡ɕ] are voiced [b, d, g, β, z, ʑ, ʝ, ʁ, ɦ, d͡ʑ] word medially.
- Close vowels /i, y, u/ are lowered and centralised to [ɪ, ʏ, ʊ] in closed syllables.
- Close vowels /i, y, u/ are lowered to [ɛ, œ, ɔ] when in contact with /χ/.
- /ə/ is lowered and backed to [ʌ] when followed by /w/ in a closed syllable.
- In casual speech /y, u/ are often elided in unstressed syllables, allowing for otherwise impermissible consonant clusters and coda consonants to occur, a phonemic contrast between the close vowels [y, u] and near-close vowels [ʏ, ʊ] and between palatalised and unpalatalised consonants, phonemic labalised consonants, and stress to shift to the last syllable. This is considered non-standard and subpar, however.
Standard Pu u Lamu has a (C)V(C) structure where only /m, n, l, j, w/ can occur in the coda. Consonant clusters can only appear at syllable boundaries and geminates do not occur except for /m, n, l/, which are analysed as consonant clusters. Two consecutive vowels cannot occur next to each other.
Pu u Lamu features vowel harmony where the front vowels /i, y, æ/ can only appear in a word together and the central and back vowles /ə, u, a/ can only appear in a word together however some loanwords do not comply to this rule.
Stress is fixed on the penultimate syllable with the exception of some loanwords.
Pu u Lamu is traditionally written in a syllbary.
Pu u Lamu is romanised as follows:
Aa /a/ Cc /t͡ɕ/ Ee /æ/ Hh /h/ Ii /i/ Kk /k/ Ll /l/ Mm /m/ Nn /n/ Oo /ə/ Pp /p/ Qq /χ/ Rr /ɾ/ Ss /s/ Šš /ɕ/ Tt /t/ Uu /u/ Üü /y/ Ww /w/ Yy /j/
Pu u Lamu vowels are categorised as "light" and "dark", /i, y, æ/ being light and /ə, u, a/ being their dark equivalents. A word may only contain vowels pertaining to one category, with the exception of some loanwords. Vowel harmony changes how nouns, personal pronouns, and verbs inflect, as affixes must harmonise with the root, for example: papotoy ("father" in the patientive case) vs. kewiltiy ("lizard" in the patientive case) are both animate nouns declined into the same case but imploy different suffixes to match the vowels in the root. Vowel harmony also changes the form of derivational and classifier suffixes and particles, as a result most particles have two forms eg. pu and pü, the dark and light forms of the instrumental particle. Not all particles, however, are affected by vowel harmony, eg. ey ("in") is always ey even if the word preceding it has dark vowels, and some suffixes even cause the root to change form instead of the other way round. In loanwords that do not comply to typical vowel harmony rules, the last vowel is used to determine which suffix to use.
Nouns belong to one of two genders: animate or inanimate. Gender generally cannot be predicted from the form of a word besides some suffixes such as a the inanimate nominaliser -o/i and the agentive suffix -mu/mü (equivalent to English -er) which is always animate. Gender can, however, often be predicted from the meaning of a word as words denoting living beings are generally animate and words denoting objects are often inanimate.
Nouns are declined for three cases: agentive, patientive, and oblique, and for definitiveness. How they are declined depends on the noun's gender and whether it has light or dark vowels. They are very regular with few irregularities, although irregularities do exist.
Animate, light vowel, example word "hiy" (bird):
Animate, dark vowel, example word "tupoy" (tree):
Inanimate, light vowel, example word "rüy" (hair):
Inanimate, dark vowel, example word "kuw" (fingernail):
In a transitive sentence, the agentive case marks the agent (or subject) of the verb and the patientive the patient (or object):
Yimüw kantoyo unu.
Man.AGN.DEF fruit.PTN.DEF eat
"The man eats the fruit."
However, as Pu u Lamu is an active-stative language, either the agentive or the patientive case can mark the subject of an intransitive sentence. Which case to use depends on the degree of volition or control of the action, with the agentive marking a higher degree of volition or control and the patientive makring a lower or lack of volition of control. This can give single verbs certain nuances that would be expressed using separate words or expressions in English:
"The woman is going to sleep." (by her own volition)
"The woman is falling asleep." (by accident)
Awpumuw hühüyüyi ey püw.
hunter.AGN.DEF ground.OBL on slide
"The hunter slides across the ground."
Awpumutoyu hühüyüyi ey püw.
hunter.PTN.DEF ground.OBL on slide
"The hunter slips on the ground."
The patientive case can also be used to convey empathy:
Ona ru meyü.
GEN.2S dog.AGN die
"Your dog died." (sounds cold, like it is just a fact)
Ona rutoy meyü.
GEN.2S dog.PTN die
"Your dog passed away." (sounds more empathetic)
The oblique case is used any time a noun is not the agent or patient of a verb and the form of the oblique case depends on the gender of the noun, unlike the agentive and patientive cases.
Nouns are also marked for definiteness by a suffix which depends on gender and vowel harmony, but it is only marked on the agentive and patientive cases, not the oblique.
Verbs do not inflect for tense or person but rather for the indicative, imperative, conditional, and hortative moods and the causative and reciprocal voices. Each mood and voice has a negative, comparative and negative comparative form as well:
Light vowel, example word "yüwü" (finish)
Dark vowel, example word "kampu" (walk)