Nacas language

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EthnicityNacas people
Native speakers~67,000  (2018)
Language family
  • Northeast
    • Nacas
CWS code

Nacas is an Gulai language spoken in eastern Goal and far northwestern Angnyaiq.


Nacas has the following phoneme inventory:

labial rounded labial linguolabial alveolar palatal velar glottal
nasal m mʷ <mw> n̼ <mn> n ɲ <ny> ŋ <ng>
stop p b pʷ bʷ <pw bw> t̼ d̼ <pt bd> t d k ʔ <q>
affricate ts dz
fricative f fʷ vʷ <fw vw> θ̼ <fs> s x ɣ <c g>
flap ⱱ <v> ɺ̼ <vr> ɾ <r>
lateral l̼ <wl> l
glide j <y> w

along with cardinal vowels /i e a o u/, which may be long or short. A syllable is defined as (C)V(:)(C). There are no phonemic diphthongs. There is no phonemic stress nor tone.


Nacas is a split-S language.

A and agentive S are marked by:

sg pl
1 -u -woa
2 -ir -riu
3 -caa -caaq

P and patientive S are marked by:

sg pl
1 -ow -(w)con
2 -an -ru
3 0 -qu

Nacas has two tenses, future and non-future. Non-future is unmarked. Future is marked by reduplication of the whole verb stem.

The default aspect for the non-future tense is perfective. Imperfective is marked by -pee and perfective by -itsiir. Telicity is marked by reduplication of the second syllable of the verb stem, or for monosyllabic verbs, by the whole verb. (E.g., the telic form of uvwui "drink" is uvwuvwui.)

The verb is by default indicative. Subjunctive is marked with -mwu.

Negation of a clause is marked by the clause-final clitic =fii.

Deontic and epistemic possibility and necessity are marked by clause-initial clitics.

epistemic deontic
possibility ivwui= iac=
necessity umwoy= oocu=

The basic structure of the verb phrase is stem[or aux](-subj)(-aspect)(-subject)(-object) (stem [if aux exists]) object/complement(=negative)


Nouns have singular, plural, and paucal numbers. The singular/plural correspondence is highly irregular and unpredictable. Paucals are formed with the suffix -ko. The suffixes -caa, -vru, and -woa mark proximal, medial, and distal, respectively. The suffix -yaw marks visibility (to the speaker, at the time of speech). An emphatic clitic vru= can precede the noun phrase.

The structure of the noun phrase is (prep) (emphatic) (quantifier) (poss) noun(-number)(-deixis)(-visibility) (adj (adv)) (limitation quantifier) (number) (prep phrase) (appositive) (rel).


Word order is SVOX. Phrase level conjunction (of both verbs and nouns) is formed through juxtaposition. Clause level conjunctions come between the causes. Complement clauses precede the object.

See also