Ring B: 8/22: Njaama

David J. Peterson
[ Relay 14 | Ring A | Ring B | Ring C | Conlangs | Participants ]
[ Njaama | Smooth English | Script | Grammar | Vocabulary | Abbrevs. ]

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Háme Aazu

Wá lánge. Héé siláw k'isyú v'uuyór yili s'iyele wá.
Suzunimá hézu, ngónu héé sáángi.
Mbotú: inimá wa súwiyele sázu, ngónu sáá k'isyú.

Syómu sáá k'isyú lí sáángi sa kewáázé sá:

T'ópa en k'isyú sáá Íyésyan.
T'ópa en sáángi sáá Malán.
Sáá lóómá sapo há!óluzu sázu.
Sapo su!ajnáá.
Sapo muzozo.
Lí Malán wa ká!óluzu sá.
Lí Malán yá!óluzu wa kiyuumyá sá.

Syómu li k'isyú wa kewáázé sá:

T'ópa en sáángi sáá Malán.
T'ópa en k'isyú sáá Íyésyan.
Sáá lóómá sapo há!óluzu sázu.
Sapo su!ajnáá.
Sapo muzozo.
Lí Íyésyan wa ká!óluzu sá.
Lí Íyésyan yá!óluzu wa kiyuumyá sá.

Tutu Aazu

Héé yólew ap'éémúlá i!aynáá sapo súwíméndan hézu.
Lí tyap'éé sapo keengú sá.
Wantá lángela en nuyu memetá: éélómuki yangwózí wantá kiyap'éé sápó.
Wantá lángela en hézi: w'áyli ansyónú sa kili wánta.
Wantá lángela en t'yóózu: lí !olíí en ánúme lundéysá sa kínów¢a wánta.
Wantá lángela en t'enuu‡é: we k'ípé sa kili wánta.
Wantá lángela en k'uumu: l'énle w'áyli ansyónú sa kili wánta.
Wantá lángela en aa: owe sa wantá !úndéwsa.
Wantá lángela en hóóvú: lí t'áwlaza we ndewme asyónú sa kili sá.
Wantá lángela en !áázaki: we mézi salá kili wánta.
Wantá lángela en tyamba¢óó: we yúli sa kili wánta.
Wantá lángela en nuyu: lí yáán siláw úúngá ngónu wantá yíyúúmbe wantá kiyap'éé sá.

We k'ánóze lúúmbe wantá howap'éé.
Yá!óluzu wantá hip'a.
Sáángi li k'isyú sa ká!óluzu sá.
K'isyú lí sáángi sa ká!óluzu sá.
Lí yúli ngónu wantá yíyúúmbe wantá kiyap'éé sá.
Sáá lóómá; tutu lóómá; yí.

Smooth Translation

First Part

I am a commander. A thin young girl wants to give me gold. Lie down there, underneath that man. Man: I want to lie down here, underneath this girl.

Then the girl says to the man:

The girl's name is Iyeshan.
The man's name is Maran.
Today they have sex here.
They come together.
They become the same.
I have sex with Maran.
I will have sex with Maran.

Then I say to the little girl:

The man's name is Maran.
The girl's name is Iyeshan.
Today they have sex here.
They come together.
They become the same.
I have sex with Iyeshan.
I will have sex with Iyeshan.

Next Part

The old hopers are ready to come together there.
They construct hope.
We are the commanders of beautiful breasts: always we hope to accompany them.
We are the commanders of the sun: it gives us good weather.
We are the commanders of fire: it allows us to avoid the path of destruction.
We are the commanders of the harvest: it gives us fertility.
We are the commanders of the moon: it gives us good weather at night.
We are the commanders of the water: we would die without it.
We are the commanders of the wind: it gives the ship suitable sailing weather.
We are the commanders of the trees: they give us shade.
We are the commanders of virtue: it gives us luck.
We are the commanders of beauty: we hope to possess that thin person over there.

We hope to go on a journey.
We start to have sex.
The man has sex with the girl.
The girl has sex with the man.
We hope to have luck.
Today; tomorrow; yes.

Native Script

Relay 14 Text in Njaama Native Script


(1) Njaama is an old SVO language moving to SOV. For that reason, every sentence will be structured in this way:

(Subject NP) (Object NP) (Other NP) (Subject Pronoun) Verb (Object Pronoun)

Any of these elements except the verb (and maybe the subject pronoun) can be omitted. When the subject is a pronoun, then there is no "subject NP"--just the subject pronoun. If there is no object, or the object is a place, then the object pronoun may be filled with a place adverb (like "there").

(2) Adjectives precede nouns, and determiners precede adjectives.

(3) Njaama is prepositional.

(4) There is no copula, so copular sentences look like this: X Y = X is Y. When giving a name, proper names are preceded by /sáá/, so those will look like name of X sáá Y, where Y is the name.

(5) Possession works like this: X en Y = X of Y or Y's X.

(6) Njaama makes abundant use of auxiliaries. Auxiliaries work somewhat bizarrely. The morphology differs depending on whether the subordinate verb is transitive or intransitive. Using /yele/ "to want", as an example, you mark the subordinate verb differently depending on whether its transitive or intransitive. If you say "I want to be free", you put an /l-/ in front of "to be free", /ulanpíndá/, and then that verb comes before the subject pronoun (referring to the structure in (1)), and you get /lulanpíndá wa yele/. If the subordinate verb is transitive, you use /i-/ (or /y-/ before a vowel). So if you want to say "I see you", you get /ikaané wa yele yáá/ (/yáá/ = you; /kaané/ = see). The important thing to note is that the subject and object surround the auxiliary, and not the subordinate verb, even though the object is the object of the subordinate verb.

The latter is important because of the different levels of morphology you see when the verbs don't match in class (knowing classes shouldn't be important for this translation). So if you want to say "I want to hug you", you have to change the auxiliary (/máálé/ = "hug"). By changing it, you change the class so that it matches the subordinate verb, and because its class has changed, the morphology changes. So, for example, the "hug" class of verbs requires a prefix when it takes an object. So "I want to hug you" will look like this: /imáálé wa kiyele yáá/.

None of this is important to getting the meaning necessary for the translation, so I tried to minimize the impact that this would have by listing, for example, /iyele/ as a variant of /yele/. For that reason, when it says "variant", treat it as identical. It has to be that way because that's the language is, but the change isn't in meaning; it's kind of like agreement.

[Note: Because of this, the same information may be expressed by different phonological material on different verbs.]

(7) There's one sentence involving an auxiliary that I couldn't simplify. It's form is similar to a sentence like "The man wants the woman to hug the girl" (/eelín/ = woman). I'm going to write this entire sentence out so you can see the form, and apply it to the one above:

-(Héé sáángi) (l'eelín) (li k'isyú) (limáálé) (sa) (kiyele) (sá). -(Subject NP) (Subordinate Subject NP) (Object NP) (Subordinate Verb) (Subject Pronoun) (Auxiliary Verb) (Object Pronoun).

(8) Possession is a bit unusual in Njaama. The preposition /ngónu/, "under", is used to indicate possession, such that if X is under Y, Y owns or possesses X. In order to get or obtain something, then, one has to move X under Y. When X is moved under Y, Y then possesses X.

(9) Just to reiterate, the verbs section of my website should prove useful if some of the auxiliary sentences are taking time to parse:


!ajnáá (v.) to bring together
!ááza (n.) tree
!olíí (n.) path, road
!ú- (pref.) irrealis (like "would" or "could" or "might")
á!óluzu (v.) to copulate with
aa (n.) water
aazu (n.) section
angwózí (v.) to accompany
ansyónú (n.) weather
ánúme (n.) destruction, annihilation
ap'éé (v.) to hope, to wish, to pray
áyli (adj.) good
éélómuki (adv.) always, reliably
eengú (v.) to build
en (prep.) of (genitive)
énle (n.) night
h- (pref.) reciprocal (the plural subject does the action with one
háme (n.) one; (adj.) first
héé (pron./adj.) that; (adj.) marks an unfamiliar/unknown subject
hézi (n.) sun
hézu (adv.) there
hóóvú (n.) wind
howap'éé (aux.) variant of /ap'éé/
i- (pref.) used with a subordinate verb (/y-/ before V's)
ili (v.) to give to (recipient = direct object; gift expressed with /we/)
íméndan (aux.) variant of /méndan/
ínów¢a (v.) variant of /nów¢a/
ip'a (v.) to start; (aux.) to start to
iyap'éé (aux.) to hope to (alternate form)
iyele (aux.) to want to (alternate form)
Íyésyan (nm.) a given name
íyúúmbe (v.) to move x (takes locative prepositional phrase)
iyuumyá (aux.) variant of /uumyá/
k'ánóze (n.) journey
ke- (pref.) transitive prefix used in the present tense
-ki (suf.) plural
k'ípé (n.) fertility; (adj.) fertile
k'isyú (n.) (young) girl
k'uumu (n.) moon
l- (pref.) used with subordinate verbs
-lá (suf.) plural
lánge (n.) commander, general
li- (pref.) used with a subordinate verb (similar to /i-/)
li (or lí) (prep.) preposes direct objects; (prep.) at (temp.)
lóómá (n.) day
lúúmbe (v.) subordinate form of /úúmbe/
Malán (nm.) a given name
mbotú (n.) man (colloquial)
memetá (n.) female breasts
méndan (v.) to be ready; (aux.) to be ready to
mézi (n.) shade
-mú (suf.) agent/actor suffix
ndewme (adj.) suitable, good for a specific purpose
ndéwsa (v.) to die
ngónu (prep.) under(neath); ngónu x y íyúúmbe z (v.) for y to bring z
into the possession of x
nimá (v.) to lay something down (with reflexive, to lie down)
nów¢a (v.) to allow; (aux.) to allow x to y (see note 7 above)
nuyu (n.) beauty; (adj.) beautiful
owe (prep.) without
s' (pron.) elided form of /sa/
-sá (suf.) same as /sa/, but expressed as a suffixal object
sa (or sá) (pron.) s/he/it
sáá (pron./adj.) this; (adj.) marks a familiar/known subject; (adj.)
precedes proper names
sáángi (n.) man
salá (or sála) (pron.) they (plural)
sapo (or sápó) (pron.) they two
sázu (adv.) here
s' (pron.) elided form of /sa/ before /i/ and /y/
siláw (adj.) thin
su- (or sú-) (pref.) reflexive
suw- (or súw-) (pref.) variant of /su/ used before vowels
suwiyele (aux.) to want to x oneself (subordinate verb is reflexive)
syómu (adv.) then, next
-tá (suf.) dual
t'áwlaza (n.) ship
t'enuu‡é (n.) harvest
t'ópa (n.) name
tutu (adj.) next
tyamba¢óó (n.) goodness, virtue
tyap'éé (n.) hope
t'yóózu (n.) fire
undéy (v.) to avoid
úúmbe (v.) to go (on a trek, for example, use /we/)
uumyá (v.) to think; (aux.) used to form the future tense
úúngá (n.) human being, person
w' (prep.) elided form of /we/; (pron.) elided form of /wa/
(or wa) (pron.) I
wantá (or wánta) (pron.) we two (first person dual exclusive)
wáázé (v.) to say to
we (prep.) with, by means of
y- (pref.) used with a subordinate verb (/i-/ before C's)
yáán (pron./adj.) that over there (far away)
yele (v.) to want; (aux.) to want to
(expr.) yes
yíyúúmbe (v.) variant of /íyúúmbe/
yólew (adj.) old
yúli (n.) luck, fortune


adj. adjective
adv. there
aux. auxiliary
C consonant
expr. expression
imp. imperative
n. noun
nm. name
pref. prefix
prep. preposition
pron. pronoun
suf. suffix
temp. temporal
V vowel
v. verb

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February 19th, 2007
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