|Native speakers||~95,000 (2018)|
The Walyavalywa language is an endangered language spoken by the indigenous Valywa people of insular Quaxin Xun. Like the other languages of Quaxin Xun, it is a Ngerupic language, but it is not especially closely related to them. It is a language of the Ounyu branch, related to the Yatååkåå language of Magali and the Yashuhay language of Shohai.
The Walyavalywa language has been spoken on the islands a long time, since it has loans directly from the Xuni substrate language, which is hypothesized to have gone extinct more than 3000 years ago.
|Plosive||p b||t d||ɖ <dr>||c ɟ <j>||k g||q||ʔ <ʼ>|
|Lateral flap||ɺ <l>|
|Lateral approximant||ʎ <ľ>|
Stress and tone
Walyavalywa has a pitch accent system, in which the accented syllable can be either rising or falling. In running speech, this is usually pronounced as a high tone syllable, with effects on the tones of other syllables in the utterance depending on the accent type.
Morphology and syntax
Walyavalywa has a complex nominal morphology, with a large number of cases. These include nominative and accusative cases which mark the core arguments of a verb, allowing word order to be relatively free. Morphology is largely prefixing.
Walyavalywa also has a noun class system similar to other Ngerupic languages, especially other Ounyu languages. The noun classes determine the singular and plural marking of a noun, but do not interact with the case marking. The noun class system is somewhat opaque, and noun class cannot be easily determined from the formal or semantic properties of a given word. Younger speakers often simplify the noun system into a smaller number of more semantically clear classes.
The Walyavalywa verb has a large number of affixes. Subject is typically marked by a prefix, with object only being marked in negative clauses. There are also prefixing coverbs. Other affixes are typically suffixes. There are also a variety of verbal auxiliaries, marking categories like future tense, perfect, desiderative, and mirative.
The vocabulary of Walyavalywa is mostly derived from Proto-Ounyu (WWM), with vocabulary for Soltennan flora and fauna, as well as maritime terminology, largely coming from the Xuni substrate language. There are also a large number of loans from Hlung relating to modern life.