Adzamasi language

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This article is about the Adzamasi language. For the ethnic group of the same name, see Adzamasiin.
Native speakers15.2 million  (no date)
Language family
Early forms:
Old Adzamasi
  • Adzamasi
Writing systemAdzamic
Official status
Official language inTabiqa

Modern Standard Adzamasi, typically simply called Adzamasi, is the official language of Tabiqa and is spoken by over 40 million people, mostly in Ekuosia. Today, most of the approximately 19 million Adzamasiin speak a dialect of Adzamasi as their native language; together, the Adzamasi dialects represent the second most-spoken Adzamic language by number of native speakers, following Dzimraic, although Adzamasi likely has more second-language speakers, mostly among non-Adzamic Tabiqiri.

Adzamasi is an Ekuo-Lahiri language of the Adzo-Neviric branch, and a very conservative daughter of the well-attested historic Old Adzamian.



Labial Dental Alveolar Postalv. Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ń [ɲ] ŋ
Plosive b p d t j [ɟ] c g k
Ejective ṫ [t'] ċ [c'] ḳ [k'] q̇ [q']
Fricative f v ŧ đ [θ ð] s z š ž [ʃ ʒ] ś ź [ç ʝ] x [~ɣ] r [χ~ʁ] h
Approximant l y [j] w


Front Front Round Back
Close ī [i] ÿ [y] ū [u]
Near-close i [ɪ] ü [ʏ] u [ʊ]
Close-mid ē [e] ō [o]
Open-mid e [ɛ] ö [œ] o [ʌ~ɔ]
Open a ā [ɑ~ɒ]

Phonotactics and Allophony

(C)V(V/C)(C) is the maximal syllable.

There is both vowel harmony and consonant harmony. The non-low back vowels /u ʊ o/ become front-round /y ʏ œ/ if the preceding vowel is /i ɪ e ɛ/. (For some speakers, this also effects /ʌ/, which merges into /œ/ ; others have [ø] as an allophone of /o/, keeping /o/ and /ʌ/ distinct in fronted environments.) This is a 'chain reaction' that can spread across an entire word, although the low vowels /a ɑ/ function as buffers, halting further progression.

The low vowels also harmonize — rounding to /ɔ ɒ/ if the preceding vowel is back and round.

The consonant harmony changes alveolar stops /t t' d/ and postalveolar fricatives /ʃ ʒ/ into retroflex sounds /ʈ ʈ' ɖ ʂ ʐ/ when there is a nearby uvular sound /q χ/ — either in the same consonant cluster, or where separated only be a vowel. For some speakers this also effects the alveolar fricatives /s z/, resulting an an alveolar-postalveolar fricative allophonic merger.

The palatal stops /c ɟ/ are in free variation with postalveolar affricates /tʃ dʒ/, which is their more common realization in most modern dialects. For speakers who use /tʃ dʒ/, these consonants may also harmonize with uvulars, producing [ʈʂ ɖʐ].

Loaned clicks

Adzamasi does not natively have any clicks; however, a number of loanwords from Osuri have made their way into the language. Some dialects or individual speakers may pronounce the clicks accurately (or nearly-so — perhaps lacking a voicing distinction), but most will produce a complex cluster, along the following lines:

Source click Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal
Oral, initial pʔ, p'w t', t'θ t', t's c', c'ç
Oral, intervocalic k'p'w k't'θ k't's k'c'ç
Nasal, initial mak', mʔw nak', nʔ naq', nʔ ɲac', ɲʔ
Nasal, intervocalic ŋpʔw, mp'w ŋθʔ, nt'θ ŋt's, nt's ɲc'ç


(The romanization is largely per IPA.)

Adzamasi is written in the Adzamic script, a cursive, left-to-right alphabet.


((See the CWS page for many, many more details.)) A direct-inverse animacy-hierarchy language. Proximity is the primary deixis and tense is adverbial.


Nouns indicate their animacy and number. Verbs indicate proximity, mood, and some persons.


Word order is based on the animacy hierarchy; typically this means SOV order, but direct-inverse markers on the verb can change this.


Adzamasi has many dialects, with a variety of unique phonological and lexical properties, although most show little to no morphological or syntactic divergence.

The best-known variety besides the standard is Meshaarii, the traditional dialect of Mehyaran — the capital of Tabiqa. This dialect has been widely used in media, especially news media, and is often used (natively, or adopted) by politicians, government officials, lawyers, and the nobility. The most widely-spoken, however, is probably Kuyilari, which originated among working class Mehyarani.

Another major dialectical group are the so-called Kõzamasi varieties, which have been highly influenced by the native languages, and feature a high number of Osuri loanwords, giving them a comprehensive collection of clicks and nasalized vowels in their inventories. Kõzamasi is primarily spoken in Osuria by people of mixed Adzamic and Kõ descent, or by Osuri living in majority-Adzamasi settlements. Kõzamasi has at times been considered a creole; its history likely involves the development of multiple pidgins and creoles which were then so heavily influenced by Standard Adzamasi that they have been re-absorbed back into it.