Ring B: 16/22: Gaajan

Lars Finsen
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[ Gaajan | Smooth English | Grammar | Vocabulary | Abbrevs. ]

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Oluwek ugunutei sanen inik anjinainje:

"Adekutei utate ainge sosam ananin jusu.
Asute utate agai agi melekue analare anjila.
Utate angai kedul sagaila wanuam autitun iramisutu giula.
Ego egedai lalin utate angai sisamad agsu.

Jutei isiuteje lya ainjig kapen agi gainjesu.
Ustei lya aig soisinik ausa ise gasu.
Adetei lya aig tele eme ajaigesu.
Walutei lya aig kuto kedule eme anjiaigesu.

Iduwe wanikuken aki anjigai ugunute una anjigla uliwe eme anjinjaiglae.

Aku gate mauntananiai lya agai:
Aku mauntai oka amain oka kesonti ai,
aku mauntai oka kesonin oka amati ai."

Sam aig senituwe anim uruinek ewe ajunjila.
Alak animtiai asueken sos obi asuwinene wanalam ewe adainjela!

Smooth Translation


Say these words to the spirits:

"We thank Beauty that is in all of us.
We thank Day for bringing light and warmth.
We thank you for having the power to defend ourselves on the battlefield.
We thank you for the big amounts of grain that we have harvested.

We sing for Moon and Stars who shine in the night.
We sing for Wind who pours us beneficial air.
We sing for Hazel who gives us shadow.
We sing for Merriment who gives us health and power.

We raise our hands this moment to praise the spirits and that they may give us children.

For our good and young love we sing:
It's for the good love of one woman for one man,
it's for the good love of one man for one woman."

We pray for the fate of these two people to be happy.
May today and all other days in the future be happy for both of you!


In Gaajan, the unit of narration is the verb. A statement is made up of clauses of which each must contain one and only one verb. This verb though is most often composite, consisting of a main verb and an auxiliary following it. The main verb and the auxiliary always conclude the clause. The main verb is marked only for mood and aspect, while the auxiliaries handle the tense and the main relationships between the verb and other constituents of the clause, as well as between the various clauses. All personal pronouns including implied ones also are contained in the auxiliary.

There are two auxiliaries, the transitive a and the intransitive ju. Their translation is 'be', 'do', 'have' or 'yes' depending on the content of the clause and the choice of auxiliary. An auxiliary with no verb, noun or adjective functions as a confirmation (if it isn't marked with modifying clause markers). With no verb and one or more nouns or adjectives, the intransitive auxiliary relates identity or description and functions as a copula, whereas the transitive one relates possession. In the latter case, the possessor carries the ergative marker -ke. In a sentence, attributes always precede heads. Adjectives precede nouns and adverbs precede verbs. An adjective can follow a noun only when it plays an object role in a clause with an intransitive auxiliary and no main verb.

There are three moods, the indicative which is unmarked, the imperative which is marked with -k, or -ik after stops, and the mediopassive, which is marked with -tu or -itu after stops. In an indicative clause containing or referring to a subject and a direct object, even if the object is only implied in the auxiliary or is actually another clause, the subject has the ergative marker -ke and the auxiliary used is the transitive one. If there is no direct object, there is no ergative marking and the intransitive auxiliary is used. In a mediopassive clause containing a patient the patient has the benefactive marker -me if the verb is transitive and is followed by the transitive auxiliary and is unmarked if the verb is intransitive and is followed by the intransitive auxiliary. If the patient is missing, the auxiliary tells whether the verb has a transitive (passive) or intransitive (reflexive) function. The imperative marker will follow the mediopassive if both are present. If there is no main verb, any mood markers attach to the auxiliary.

There are several aspects, the most important being the imperfective and the perfective. The imperfective is unmarked, while the perfective is marked with a preceding s- in verbs with an initial vowel and is- in others except the ones with an initial s, which have si-. If there is no main verb, the perfective is marked on the auxiliary. Perfective werbs may be found without an auxiliary, in which case they function as an adjectival or even adverbial attribute.

Other aspects are marked with as- for repetitive, an- for habitual, l- or il- for conditional, t- or it- for comitative, -an for intentional, -jo for potential or the -ra- infix for causal. The -an and the -jo will follow the mediopassive -tu marker if it is present. The repetitive is used for repeated, reversed or returned actions. The conditional is used for verbs imposing a condition on another (conditional) clause, or to formulate a question. The comitative is used for actions common to a group of agents. The intentional is used for actions that are intended or imminent, implying readiness. But intent most often is expressed with a dative auxiliary and a subordinate clause. The potential expresses ability to perform the action.

Tenses are past, present and future. The present is not marked, while the past is marked with an initial i- on the auxiliary and the future with a- or ad-. The perfect is no tense. It is expressed by having the verb in the perfective aspect and the auxiliary in the present tense, or past if you need to express the pluperfect. Even constructions with a perfective main verb and a future auxiliary are allowed.

The auxiliaries are marked for the persons participating in actions. Generally it goes as follows:

1s -t
2s t-
3s -
1p -g
2p -n
3p -ni

But it is a little irregular and I provide a comprehensive list below.

There are three markers used to mark the type of clause: -la marking a subordinate clause or a subjunctive function of the verb, -su, or - esu after consonants marking a relative clause and -jo, or -io after stops marking a conditional clause. The main clause is usually unmarked and usually precedes any others, but sometimes a conditional clause may precede one for which it states a condition, and a subjunctive clause may precede one for which is expresses a reservation or wish. The following clause then bears the subordinate marker. The conjunctive marker -e means that the same relations apply to the clause as to the preceding clause. This marker also is used inside clauses to function as a conjunction, for example on nouns with identical relations to the rest of the clause.

Nouns are marked for plural with -u after 'a' or a consonant and -we otherwise, except if any next formant begins with a consonant. Singular is unmarked. The plural marker is always the first if the nouns has more than one marker. The dative marker is -ai, or -i after a, e or u. The genitive marker is -in, or -n after i or e. The locative is -am, or m after a or e. Vocative is -te, or -ete after stops. It has second priority after plural if the noun has several markers. The instrumental is -sa. The allative is -ti. And I could go on (and on). But you have all that's relevant here. There is no definite/indefinite and no gender.

The personal pronouns are ma (1s), si (2s), ni (3s), anani (1p), ti (2p), and wi (3p). They are rarely used alone, but when attached to the ends of nouns they functions as genitives. The 3p will have the form -ui after consonants and the 1s and 2p respectively will have the forms -ema and -iti after stops. Demonstratives are -ek (this), - da, or -ida after stops, (that) and -ju (yonder). Pronouns always are the last morphemes on nouns, and genitives precede demonstratives if both are present.

Attributes are unmarked if they function as adjectives, and marked with -en if they function as adverbs. Any noun can be made attributive to a verb by adding -en. This is for example useful when referring to time.

When morpheme additions result in two following equal vowels, a single short vowel will result. If the result is two unequal vowels, a short diphthong usually is the result. When adding morphemes, and also at word boundaries, the pairs i/j and u/w will often alternate to facilitate pronunciation.


ade (n) hazel
adeku (n) beauty
agi (n) light
agi (v) shine
aki (v) raise, lift, manage
aku (a) good
ama (n) married woman, adult woman, mother
analare (v) bring, lead
anim (a) 2, two, pair, both
asu (n) day
au (n) air, breath
autotu (n) battle, war, fight
eged (n) mass, heap, amount
ego (a) big
eme (v) give
ewe (a) happy
gat (a) young
kap (n) night
kedul (n) strength, power, ability
keson (n) married man, adult man
kinisu (v) sanctify, wed
kuto (n) health
idu (n) hand
ili (n) girl, unmarried woman
ini (v) speak
iramisu (v) protect, defend
ise (v) pour, pour over
isi (n) star
ju (n) moon
kedul (n) power, ability
lali (n) grain, wheat
lya (v) sing
maunt (n) physical love
meleku (n) warmth
obi (a) 2nd, other
oka (a) 1, one
olu (n) word
sam (v) ask, request, pray
sama (n) prayer, worship, ritual
samad (v) harvest
san (a) together
senitu (n) life, work, fate, career
soisinik (a) benevolent, beneficient, well-bringing
sos (n) all
syma (n) boy, unmarried man
tele (n) shadow
ugun (n) spirit, animating principle
uli (n) child, offspring
una (v) honour, praise
ur (n) human, person, pl:people
us (n) wind
utate (v) thank
wal (n) merriment, game, pleasure, music
wanala (n) future
waniku (n) moment
wanu (n) field, pasture

Intransitive auxiliaries

- pres past fut
1s jut ijut ajut
2s tiu itiu atiu
3s ju iju aju
1p giu igiu agiu
2p jun ijun ajun
3p junji ijunji ajunji

Transitive auxiliaries with subj>obj

- pres past fut
1s>1s atet jatet adatet
1s>2s tate itate atate
1s>3s at jat adat
1s>1p gat igat agat
1s>2p ant jant adant
1s>3p anjit janjit adanjit
2s>1s tat itat atat
2s>2s teta iteta ateta
2s>3s ta ita ata
2s>1p tega itega atega
2s>2p tan itan atan
2s>3p tani itani atani
3s>1s ate jate adate
3s>2s tade itade atade
3s>3s a ja ada
3s>1p ga iga aga
3s>2p ande jande adande
3s>3p anji janji adanji
1p>1s atge jatge adatge
1p>2s tag itag atag
1p>3s ag jag adag
1p>1p gage igage agage
1p>2p ange jange adange
1p>3p anjig janjig adanjig
2p>1s atne jatne adatne
2p>2s tan itan atan
2p>3s an jan adan
2p>1p gan igan agan
2p>2p anen janen adanen
2p>3p anjin janjin adanjin
3p>1s atinje jatinje adatinje
3p>2s tanje itanje atanje
3p>3s anje janje adanje
3p>1p ganje iganje aganje
3p>2p aninje janinje adaninje
3p>3p anjinje janjinje adanjinje

About the dative auxiliaries

A clause that contains or refers to an indirect object (for example an intent expressed in another clause), but no direct object, will have an intransitive auxiliary that looks like the transitive auxiliary but with 'ai' instead of 'a'. Example: ainjinje instead of anjinje. A clause that contains or refers to a direct object as well as an indirect object will have the usual transitive auxiliary, but with an attachment depending on the person of the indirect object:

1s -ait
2s -tai or -itai if the transitive auxiliary ends in a 't'
3s -ai
1p -aig or -jaig if the transitive auxiliary ends in an 'a'
2p -ain
3p -ainje

The ones beginning in 'a' will turn a preceding 'i' into a 'j', and they will remove a preceding e.


1p 1st person plural
1s 1st person singular
2p 2nd person plural
2s 2nd person singular
3p 3rd person plural
3s 3rd person singular
a attribute
n noun
p pronoun
v verb

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February 19th, 2007
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