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Karkin Language

Karkin Morphosyntax

This is a short work-in-progress on the morphosyntax of the Karkin language. Karkin has an agentive-patientive (or semantically aligned) verbal system and with APV word order. It also uses a series of verbal particles that appear as enclitics to determine the semantic category of the verb. It uses nominal and verbal suffixes to mark grammatical role, person, number, degree of pronominal familiarity, and verbal tense-aspect-mode. Plurals are formed by a series of complex morphophonological changes.

Verbal System

Karkin has an agent-patient (semantically aligned) verbal system. This means that verbal alignment follows thematic roles of agent and patient, marking voluntary agents on intransitives and involuntary patients on intransitives differently. See below:

(transitive sentence)

cə    -ʔə         pa     cəŋi-pa
earth-3sg.pat part dig-1sg.agn
‘I am digging the earth’

(involuntary or experiential intransitive)

si     qteχχəl               -a
part have.muscle.pains-1sg.pat
‘I have muscle pains’

(voluntary or agentive intransitive)

pa    kuniː-pa
part scrub-1sg.agt
‘I am scrubbing’

In the transitive sentence, -a is the patient morpheme for the first person singular and pa- is the agentive. Only -pa can be used on an agent of a transitive verb and only -a can be used for a patient of a transitive verb. However, both can be used for intransitives depending on the semantic value and lexical status of the verb. Scrubbing is considered a volitional action, while having muscle pains is considered experiential and involuntary.

All patients of transitive verbs are treated like involuntary intransitives (with the patientive) and all agents of transitives are treated like volitional intransitives (with the agentive marker).

Agentive/Patient Pronominal Verbal and Nominal Suffixes

Suppletive pronominal morphemes: 1st/2nd/3rd persons; singular/plural; familiar/formal; Agent/Patient

-a = 1st sg. PAT.        -xiː = 1st pl. PAT
-pa = 1st sg. AGENT       -kiː = 1st pl. AGENT

qsi =2nd sg. familiar PAT  -qsir = 2nd pl. familiar PAT
qsai = 2nd sg. formal PAT  -qsair- = 2nd pl. formal PAT
tχa- =2nd sg. familiar AGENT.  -tχar = 2nd pl. familiar AGENT
psu- = 2nd sg. formal AGENT.   -psur = 2nd pl. formal AGENT

-ʔə/-ə = 3rd sg. PAT   -nə = 3rd pl. PAT
-i = 3rd sg. AGENT.    -ni = 3rd pl. AGENT

These morphemes function as suffixed markers for agentivity and patientivity for nouns and independent pronouns as well as for verbs. It depends on whether there is a full (pro)noun in the clause or not. If there is a noun or pronoun as agent, the suffix is attached to the noun; if not, then it is used as a suffix for the verb to show the role of the implied pronoun.

A sentence with a full agentive noun/pronoun gets the affix on the noun/pronoun:

nakə-ʔə si siuq
woman-pat part bleed
‘the woman is bleeding’

Compared to a sentence without a full noun/pronoun, where the affix is attached to the verb:

si siuq-ə
part bleed-3sg.pat
‘she is bleeding’

Verbal Particles

All verbs in Karkin are preceded by a verb particle that marks the lexical category of the verb, which are based on semantically motivated lexicalized parameters. There are seven categories of verbs and seven different verb particles. These particles must always precede the verb, no matter what. Sometimes one verb can take more than one particle (though no verb can use two particles at once), depending on the implication the speaker wants to give about the verb. For example, the verb (ki) muŋi ‘dance’ is almost always used with ki, which is a particle for verbs relating to art, leisure, pastimes, or entertainment. But if one is referring to dancing as one’s profession, saying “I have to go dance now” (i.e. I have to go to work now), one might well use pa, which is used with verbs of work or practice. It all depends on context.

Note that in the lexicon, all verbs are followed by their corresponding particle in parentheses, like this: sipxaŋi (ki) – sing


pa is the particle used for verbs of practical or work actions.

puniŋi (pa) – go fishing
ləŋiŋi (pa) – hook
cəŋi (pa) – dig
kuniː (pa) – scrub
qila: (pa) – shoot 
kmili (pa) – split, cut in two; divine


ki is the particle is used for verbs relating to pleasure, art, pastimes, beauty, leisure, and also intellectual or emotional topics.

sipxaŋi (ki) – sing
ʃuŋi (ki) – socialize
maχti (ki)  -- give
poːŋi (ki) – relax
muŋi (ki) – dance
ciːɴuŋi (ki) – doze
muʃɲiː (ki) – apply cosmetics
aqra (ki) – adorn oneself with jewelry
aɲə (ki) – wonder, question, contemplate 
rəŋi (ki) – be sad, feel sorrow
tuja (ki) – be happy, feel joy
xesi (ki) – bathe


 is for verbs of motion, whether relating to human movements or non-human.

ʃuʃi (qə) – jump 
tpaː (qə) – fall
ɲeʎəː (qə) – bend over 
suŋi (qə) – sit down 
pəŋi (qə) – stand up
misə (qə) – walk, go forward


si is for verbs of necessity, basic nature, or involuntary functions

rəχku (si) – give birth
meni (si) – eat
kpiχə (si) – sleep
stoplaː (si) – mate
ʎpaː (si) – swallow
mŋər (si) – chew
tsqə (si) – bite
qtesi (si) – be wounded
torxiʃ (si) – fight
ʎiʎnə (si) – drink
hma (si) – urinate
kaː (si) – defecate
tqaiː (si) – vomit
siuq (si) – bleed
ʃən (si) – die
pitu (si) – sneeze
lqaqna (si) – cough
xupo (si) – hiccup
hai (si) – feel cold
oːʎ (si) – feel hot
hoːha (si) – be ill
kmuq (si) – have an attack/seizure
qteː (si) – feel pain
ʃəɴ (si) – feel pleasure
ɴəp (si) – itch
staːql (si) – feel stinging
oːʎoː (si) – get burned
haiha (si) – get frostbitten
qteχχəl (si) – have muscle pains
sktiːhoː (si) – have a rash
pqap (si) – burp


ho is for verbs relating to time.

sutə (ho) – begin, start
ŋape (ho) – end, finish
χeːlə (ho) – last, endure
qsak (ho) – stop
sutətə (ho) – restart
taːk (ho) – lapse, take a hiatus
tətaːk (ho) – wait


ja is a default or non-specific verb particle. A lot of common but general verbs use this. 

cuː (ja) – look 
ɴoː (ja) – do
qtəl (ja) – become 
χiːcə (ja) – possess
sine (ja) – take 
mxe (ja) – accept, receive
tkoːr (ja) – support, be underneath
imuː (ja) – remove 
kmaχtʁə (ja) – to count

Tense

There are four tenses that are recognized in Karkin. The present tense is not marked, and the infinitive/default form of the verb is used for the present. The other three tenses and their markers are as follows.

-o after verb stem – future tense
-aː after verb stem – past tense
-eː after verb stem – far (distant) past tense

These suffixes always come at the very end of a verb.

Sometimes tense suffixes merge with the final vowel of a pronominal suffix:

ki muŋi-pa-aː → ki muŋipaː 

si siuq-a-aː → si siuqaː

Aspectual Circumfixes

inceptive aspect im- + -i – beginning to do an action
prospective lo- + mo – thinking about or considering doing an action
semelfactive ʃa- + ta – single, punctuated action

si im-siuq-a-i-aː
part inc-bleed-1sg.pat-inc-fpst
‘I was starting to bleed’

ho ʃa-qsak-ə-taː
part sml-stop-3sg.pat-sml.pst
‘she stopped’
(note that the –ta of the semelfactive aspect circumfix and the -aː past tense merge here into -taː)

qə lo-ʃuʃi-tχa-mo-eː
part pros-sit-2sg.agn-pros-fpst
‘you had been thinking about sitting down’

Aspectual + Tense Fusion Morphemes

The iterative aspect is fused with tense in the following morphemes:

-ko – future iterative
-kaː – past iterative
-keː – far past iterative

These morphemes are put in the position where tense usually goes—at the very end of the verb. When these are used, no other tense marker is used, since these include tense as well as aspect.

Valency Decreasing: Turning a transitive verb into an intransitive

There is a special morpheme that is used as a valency decreasing function that effectively reduces a transitive verb (with two arguments) to an intransitive verb with one argument. It downplays or omits the former patient of the transitive verb entirely, when it less relevant or unknown. This is similar to the antipassive is some languages, but the difference here is that the case-marking of the remaining argument does not change with this construction in Karkin.

A typical transitive verb is si meni, to eat.

ʎuːki-i     puŋi-ʔə  si meni
child-agn fish-pat part eat
‘the child is eating the fish’

The intransitive marker on the verb turns this sentence into an intransitive verb phrase, where the patient is removed or made oblique. 

ʎuːki-i     puŋi mi meni-ri
child-agn fish to eat-intr

Or:

ʎuːki-i     si    meni-ri
child-agn part eat-intr
‘the child is eating’

In the first example, what used to be the patient is now an oblique, as indicated by the postposition mi. In the second example, the former patient is omitted entirely.  The suffix to mark an intransitive verb created from a transitive verb is –ri, which is attached directly at the end of a verb, before any pronominal endings or tense suffixes. 

Regular transitive:

Ava   -a           -i           ʃoʔonthe-ʔə  pa   ʃtuxtə-aː
father-1sg.poss-3sg.agn river     -pat part cross -past
‘my father crossed the river’

Created intransitive:

Ava   -a           -i     pa    ʃtuxtə-ri-aː
father-1sg.poss-agn part cross-intr-past
‘my father crossed’

Imperative Mode of Verbs

The imperative is marked on regular verbs with an ending of –ka. When the imperative is used, no verbal particle appears.

puniŋi ‘fish’ > puniŋika! ‘go fishing!’
qsak ‘stop’ > qsakka! ‘stop!’
suneɢaʁ ‘sit up’ > suneɢaʁkaǃ ‘sit up!’

Copulae

Nominal/Adjectival Copular Phrases

There is an invariable copula for adjectival and nominal copular phrases, which is ɲa. Historically, this derives from a verb, though it is not considered such now but a particle. Nonetheless, its position still reflects its past as a verb; it comes at the end of the clause, like a verb. There is no case marker on nouns used with ɲa.

tχoxa            piɲɲu     ɲa 
tχox.1sg.poss stubborn is
‘my tχox* is stubborn’

tχoxa            tkuː               ɲa  
tχox.1sg.poss young.female is
‘my tχox is a young female’

*tχox is a large reptile used as a beast of burden in Elta.

co   kaimiː      ɲa 
this incorrect is
‘this is incorrect’

co   məla                 ɲa 
this mother.1sg.poss is
‘this (woman) is my mother’


In tenses other than the present, specialized tense markers are added to the stem ɲa. Often these markers fuse with ɲa.

ɲa + u (future tense) = ɲu ‘will be’
ɲa + a (past) = ɲaː ‘was’
ɲa + e (far past) = ɲe ‘had been’

Aspects do not affect ɲa (though they used to, back when ɲa behaved in a more verb-like manner).

Postpositional Copular Phrases

For postpositional copular phrases, there is another particle used, also deriving from a historical verb. This is ti.

ʃtumə hmal qsoː     ti
fiɡhter wall behind is
 ‘the fighter is behind the wall’

Demonstrative Pronouns/Adjectives

There are three degrees of demonstrative, co, χə, psi. co basically corresponds to “this”, χə to “that”, and psi indicates something that is even further from the speaker than “that”. It is kind of like “that way over there” (cf. Japanese ano/are). These words can function as adjectives or pronouns.

As adjectives:

co puni ‘this fish’
χə pʃuʎəʔ ‘that sand’
psi nakə ‘that woman way over there’

As pronouns:

co paʎ ɳa ‘this is good’
χə ftoʎə ɳa ‘that is a flower’

Negation

Standard negation of verbs is accomplished through the negative verbal suffix, -ʃe. This suffix is placed after tense, pronominal, and mode suffixes. 

ki     muŋi -p[a]     -aː  -ʃe 
part dance-1sg.agn-pst-neg
‘I did not dance’

To emphasize negation of a verb, ʃe is sometimes placed before the verb (but after the verbal particle) as a negative particle. 

ki ʃe muŋi-p[a]-aː-ʃe 
part neg dance-1sg.agn-pst-neg
‘I did not dance’

To negate a single constituent of a clause that is not a verb, the particle əs is used.

Verbal Affix Order

The order of possible affixes co-occurring on a verb is as follows:

(Verbal particle) + (left-most part of aspectual circumfix)-(Verb stem)-(pronominal suffix)-(tense suffix)-(right-most part of aspectual circumfix)-(negation)-(serial verbal linker)

Examples:

ki lomuŋitχaeːmoʃelə ki sipxaŋieːʃe
ki     lo-     muŋi-tχa        -eː   -mo    -ʃe  -lə    ki   sipxaŋi-eː-ʃe
part prosp-dance-2sg.agn-rem-prosp-neg-lnk part sing-rem-neg
‘you had not considered dancing and singing’ 

As mentioned previously, an instance of a long vowel juxtaposed with a short version of that same vowel is reduced to simple one long vowel. So instead of verb like:
Sipxaŋi-pa-aː

It becomes: sipxaŋipaː to indicate the 1st person singular, past tense.

Relative Clauses

The relative clause is pre-nominal, meaning that it precedes the head noun. Karkin has a few relativizers. They do not take any markers besides postpositions that are sometimes applied to twə.

twə ‘who, which, what, that’ 
noː ‘when, at which time’ 
ɣeŋ ‘how, in what manner/way’  
qəʎ ‘why, for what reason’  
bviɲ ‘where, in what place’
ʒox ‘how, with what attributes/characteristics’  

twə joχiː ɲa nimmə 
rel truthful be man
‘the man who is truthful’

twə si siuq nakə-ʔə
rel part bleed woman-3sg.pat
‘the woman who is bleeding’

twə mi nakə-jə caːma-ʔə maχti-[a]-aː ɲa 
rel to woman-pl axe-pat give-1sg.agt-past be
‘those are the women to whom I gave the axe’

twə nakə-ʔə ja cuː-a
rel woman-pat part see-1sg.agt
‘the woman whom I see’

Notice that postpositions are applied to the relativizer, while agent/pat marking is applied to the precedent noun. 

noː kja ɲa tsqeri hain ɲa
where.rel 1pl.be sitting.room cold be
‘the sitting room where we are is cold’	

ɣeŋ ən-ə psi nakə-i aːʎam-aː co ɲa 
how.rel 3sg-pat that woman3sg.agn kiss-pst this be
‘this is how that woman kissed him’

qəʎ         ki     tuja      -i            kunqaː ɲa
why.rel part be.happy-3sg.agn my.son is
‘my son is the reason why she’s happy’

Complementizers

Karkin has several relativers. Many are identical in form to the relativizers. 

du: ‘that’
du:ga: ‘if/whether’
du:ɲə ‘for/that’ 
noː ‘when, at which time’ 
ɣeŋ ‘how, in what manner/way’ 
qəʎ ‘why, for what reason’ 
bviɲ ‘where, in what place’
ʒox ‘how, with what attributes/characteristics’ 

Complementizers allow for entire clauses to act syntactically as patients/agents of a verb. 

 [du: ki     tuja         -i]          ɣoŋa-pa
that part be.happy-3sg.agn know-1sg.agn
‘I know that she is happy’

 [duːɡaː    ki    tuja          -i]         ɣoŋa –pa        -ʃe
whether part be.happy-3sg.agn   know-1sg.agn neg
‘I don’t know whether she is happy’

Serial Verbs

Serial verbs are linked by the linker –lə, which is suffixed to the very end of the first verb.

nakə    -i             ki    sipxaŋi-aː-lə   ki muŋi    -aː
woman-3sg.agn part sing-past-lnk part dance-past
‘the woman sang and danced’

If the subject of the second verb is the same as that of the first verb, the second verb remains unmarked for person. 
However, if the subject of the second verb is different, it is unmarked for person.

nakə    -i           nimmə-ʔə      ja         cuː -aː    -lə   ki     tuja       -i          -aː
Woman-3sg.agn man-3sg.pat part look.at-past-lnk part be.happy-3sg.agn-past
‘the woman saw the man and he was happy’

Compare with the unmarked second verb, where the subject remains the same:

nakə-i nimmə-ʔə ja cuː-aː-lə ki tuj[a]-aː
woman-3sg.agn man-3sg.pat part look.at-past-lnk part be.happy-past
 ‘the woman saw the man and was happy’

Verbalization

To create verbs from nouns or adjectives, the suffix -ŋi is often used. An appropriate verbal particle also appears before the newly created verb.

puni ‘fish’ → pa puniŋi ‘go fishing’
ləŋi ‘hook’ → ləŋiŋi ‘catch’

Adjectivization

-in is a common adjectivizer for changing nouns to adjectives:

χoχ ‘flour’ → χoχin ‘floury, powdry’

ʎuː- is another adjectivizer, usually used for verb to adjective changes. Sometimes it functions in the capacity of a present particle, where otherwise just a verb would be used.

kuniː ‘scrub’ (verb)
ʎuːkuniː ‘scrubbing’ (adjective) 

nakə    -i            pa    kuniː 
woman-3sg.agn part scrub
‘the woman is scrubbing/scrubs’

nakə     ʎuːkuniː  ɲa 
woman scrubbing is
‘the woman is scrubbing’

Nominalization

Agentive

For animate agents of a verb, there is a suffix –i

puniŋj → puniŋii ‘fisher’

For inanimate agents of a verb, there is a suffix -oɴ

puniŋi → puniŋioɴ ‘fishing machine; fish trap’

An alternate inanimate agentive marker is –he. This is used often for objects that are physically larger than –oɴ objects, but not always. Often the semantics of these words is more metaphorical and vague, and they are less productive. Sometimes they don’t even act like agentives. 

luχ ‘heavy’ + -he = luhe ‘mountain’
ʃtuxtə ‘cross’ + -he = ʃtuhe ‘bridge’
hmexta ‘ink’ + -he = hmehe ‘printer’
ʃoʔont ‘steal’ + -he = ʃoʔonthe ‘river’
siuq ‘bleed’ + -he = siuqhe ‘knife; weapon’
sxati ‘lover’ + -he = sxatihe ‘sex appeal’

Place nominalization

xuxa ‘bake’ → xuxaɲi ‘bakery’
ʎuːki ‘baby’ → ʎuːkiɲi ‘nursery’ 
ʃoʔonthe ‘river’ → ʃoʔontheɲi ‘riverbed; a place carved out in the earth where a river flows’

Thing Relating to X

-ʔən
This suffix functions to make a noun out of verbs, adjectives, and other nouns. Its meaning is close to ‘thing relating to x’, where x = stem.

kiciː ‘blow’+ ʔən = bellows
lqaqna ‘cough’ (v.) + ʔən =lqaqnaʔən ‘cough syrup’

Superlative and Comparative Adjectives

ɲex ‘weak’ → naiɲex ‘weaker’ → nanaiɲex ‘much weaker’

ɲex → ɲexut ‘(the) weakest’ → ɲexutu ‘really the weakest by a lot’

ɲex → ɲexdə ‘less weak’ → ɲexdəda  ‘much less weak’

ɲex → ɲexpwə ‘(the) least weak’ → ɲexpawa ‘really the weakest by a lot’

Postpositions

Postpositions function similarly in Karkin as they do in many languages, but in Karkin they are notably few. There are six main postpositions that constitute most of the usage in the language. 

mi – to, toward, at, in, on, with
tai – from, of, away from, out of
tiːʃə -- around, surrounding 
qsoː -- behind
ɲe – under
huna – in front of

mi is also used as a genitive particle.

Postpositions can combine to create new meanings:

nakə mitai ‘moving to and from the woman’
nakə taitai ‘far from the woman’

The Genitive Construction

In Karkin the genitive marker is attached to the head noun. The genitive noun usually comes after the head noun in a clause. The marker used is mi, which is also used in other contexts as a postposition (see above). 

taʔen mi kuniːpaɲ 
lady  gen bath
‘the lady’s bath’

puni mi qahə 
fish gen house
‘the fish’s home’

The genitive can express many kinds of relations between two nouns. This includes but is not limited to:

Possession: Possessing, owning, or having something. taʔen mi kuniːpaɲ. The lady has the bath.

Quality: One noun has the quality of another. pjotir mi qahə, junk GEN house = a messy house. The house has the quality of junk.

Material: This is similar to the quality genitive, except it relates to physical quality rather than abstract. qstaʔən mi leluɲi, glass GEN. house = a house of glass (i.e. a house made of glass). 

Location: takuri mi jamul ‘the bay of the Takuri’. This can be thought of as relation by merit of location.

Pronominal Possessive Adjectival Suffixes

In order to express a possessive relationship wherein a pronoun is the possessor, there is a series of suffixes, each corresponding to a person/number/degree of formality, which attaching to the possessed noun. The suffix indicates who the possessor is, and gives no further information about the possessed noun.

1st p. sg. – -a ‘my’
2nd p. sg. fm. – -i ‘your’
2nd p. sg. frm. – -iː ‘your’ (formal)
3rd sg. – -ə            ‘his/her/its’

1st p. pl. – -iː     ‘our’
2nd pl. fm. – -ai  ‘your’ (plural, formal)
2nd pl. frm. – -ai ‘your’ (plural, informal)
3rd pl. – -iː          ‘their’

məl ‘mother’ → məl-a ‘my mother’
                         məl-ə ‘his/her mother’
                         məl-i ‘your mother’
                         etc.

puni ‘fish’ → puni-a ‘my fish’
                → puni-ə ‘his/her fish’

qahə ‘house’ → qaha* ‘my house’
                        qahəː ‘his/her house’
                        qahə-i ‘your house’

rəχnə ‘daughter’ → rəχna ‘my daughter’
                              rəχnəː ‘your daughter’
                              rəχnə-iː ‘our daughter’
                              
*Note the contraction of the two vowels; ə + a = a, and also that of ə + ə = əː

If a word’s default form already ends with a sound that is the same as one of the possessive suffixes, there is no change in the word in the possessive form.

kunqaː ‘son’
kunqaː ‘my son’

Note: This is does not apply to genitive constructions with a full head noun (something other than a pronoun implied).  For these cases, see the full section on genitive constructions.

Pronouns

Pronouns are usually only used as an object of a transitive verb or postpositional contexts. Sometimes a pronoun is used for emphasis of an agent. 

1st sg. – ame                     1st pl. – kja
                                      
2nd sg. fam. –  χu              2nd pl. fam. – χuli
2nd sg. form. – qa              2nd pl. form. – qi

3rd sg. – ən                        3rd pl.– ənen

These pronouns will take agent/pat. markers as all other nouns. 

ənen-ə ja cuː-pa
3pl-pat part look.at-1sg.agn
‘I’m looking at them’

ən-i ame-a ja cuː
3sg-agn 1sg-pat part look.at
‘He/She looks at me’

Plurals

There are three types of pluralization processes in Karkin, each with a corresponding semantic value. The “regular” plural indicates from two to infinite multiples of something. This plural is formed via the following morphophonological rules:

For words that have a final consonant:

[-cont] → [+cont] / __#
[+cont] → [+voi] /__#
 
ʃusut ‘nail’ → ʃusus ‘nails’
qos ‘bit’ → qoz ‘bits’

taʔen ‘woman’ →taʔez ‘women’

Note above that voicing in words that undergo rule (1) does not change. So since /n/ is [+voi], it turns to a [+voi] continuant of the same place of articulation, /z/. 

Below is a chart of which consonants change to which in plurals.
Labials: Alveolars: (Alveo)Palatals: Velars: Uvulars: Glottals:
-p → -f
-b → -v
-m → v
-f → v
-v → -v
-w → -w
-t → -s
-d → -z
-n → -z
-s → -z
-z → -z
-r → -z
-l → l
-c → -ʃ
-ɟ → -ʒ
-ɲ → -ʒ
-ʃ → -ʒ
-ʒ → -ʒ
-j → -j
-ʎ → -ʎ
-k → -x
-g → -ɣ
-ŋ → -ɣ
-x → -ɣ
-ɣ → -ɣ
-q → -χ
-ɢ → -ʁ
-ɴ → -ʁ
-χ → -ʁ
-ʁ → -ʁ
ʔ → h
h → h
More examples:

qtiːn ‘fork’ → qtiːz ‘forks’
rəχnəʔ ‘daughter’→ rəχnəh ‘daughters’
tχox ‘large domesticated reptile’ → tχoɣ ‘large domesticated reptiles’
taɲ ‘wrist’ → taʒ ‘wrists’

With words ending in a vowel, the suffix –jə is used.

sxati ‘lover’ → sxatijə ‘lovers’
kaʃʃi ‘grain’ → kaʃʃijə ‘grainsʼ

Dual

Karkin has a dual pluralization system, but it only applies to nouns that appear in twos in nature, such as eyes, feet (from a humanoid perspective), etc. It also applies to things that usually come in pairs, such as parents, twins, shoes, etc. Some of these items can grammatically take normal plurals, but it is far more common to see them with a dual.

The formation of the dual is created via initial reduplication. The copy direction is left to right. If the first syllable is consonant-initial, the first syllable’s onset and nucleus are copied; if it is vowel-initial, the nucleus of the first syllable and the onset of the second syllable are copied.


vcuː ‘eye’ → vcuːvcuː ‘eyes’
toːn ‘foot’ → toːtoːn ‘feet’
hmat ‘hand’ → hmahmat ‘hands’
qəʁ ‘breast’ → qəqəʁ ‘breasts’
mnix ‘hip’ → mnimnix ‘hips’

eːrmu ‘heel’ → e:re:rmu ‘heels’
oraːjχe ‘kidney’ → ororaːjχe ‘kidneys’

Group Plural

The third and final type of pluralization in Karkin is called the group plural. It is used to indicate multiple items, in groups of three or (usually) more. It is most commonly used for large groups.

ʃu ‘person’ → ʃuxi ‘(large group of) people’
niʔ ‘insect’ → niʔɲi ‘group of insects’
nakə ‘woman’ → naɲikə ‘group of women’
sixpa ‘song’ → sixʃipa ‘group of songs’
qosaci ‘reptile’ → qoʔisaci ‘group of reptiles’

The rule for group pluralization is to insert –Ci- after the first syllable, where C=the first consonant of the first syllable, but one place of articulation back. If there is no onset for the first syllable just –i- is placed after it.

For example, for /ʃu/, the onset of the first syllable is ʃ, so the same consonant one place of articular back is /x/. This plus –i- is –xi-, so this is the syllable inserted.

ʃuxi -- ʃu +xi
niʔɲi -- niʔ + ɲi
naɲikə -- na + ŋi +kə
sixʃipa -- six +ʃi + pa
qoʔisaci -- qo + ʔi + saci 

If there is no directly corresponding consonant one place of articulation back (i.e. it doesn’t exist as a phoneme in Karkin), some adjustments are made:

haqtə ‘measurement of land’ → ha-hi-qtə ‘many measurements of land’

So since there is no consonant further back that /h/, /h/ is just reused with the -Ci- infix.

A similar effect happens with /ʎ/: 

ʎaχ ‘lick (n.)’ → ʎa-ʎi-χ ‘many licks’

Syntax and Word Order

General word order is APV. That is, agent-patient-verb. To emphasize a certain constituent, it is often moved to the front. 

nakə-i hmol-ʔə pa qtiːŋŋi 
woman-3sg.agn wall-3sg.pat part split
‘the woman is splitting the wall’ (agent-patient-verb)

kunqaː        -ʔə         si      haih[a]      -aː 
son.1sg.poss-3sg.pat part get.frostbite-past
‘my son got frostbitten’ (subject (pat./involuntary)-verb)

kunqaː-i                   ki    muŋi -aː 
son.1sg.poss-3sg.agn part dance-past
‘my son danced’ (subject (agent/voluntary)-verb)

Nouns precede adjectives, except for a few categories of adjectives, as well as some very common adjectives. A few examples are shown below.

Special adjectives that come before the noun:

Demonstrative adjectives:
co ‘this’
χə ‘that’
psi ‘that (unseen/over there)’

Colors:
ruʃʃe ‘dark’
kərə ‘grey-blue
kuːm ‘red’
oːpʒuː ‘light green’

Words describing physical shape:
ptoːx ‘round’
soːŋ ‘flat’
tkor ‘square’
tχun ‘pointed’

Size:
ka:nə ‘big’
liuʎ ‘little’
taːxnə ‘gigantic’

Common adjectives:
ʃxok ‘bad’
paʎ ‘good’
qsuːw ‘strong’
hain ‘cold’
oːʎən ‘hot’

But otherwise adjectives follow the noun, as below:

ʃu        ʃəɴin
person delightful
‘a delightful person

Adverbs function in a similar fashion to adjectives, being that they usually follow the word they modify except for very common adverbs, which precede the modified constituent instead.

Common adverbs that precede the modified constituent:
teŋə ‘badly’
muɲ ‘well’
toː ‘a lot, much’
miːvə ‘a little’
daːwqi ‘often’
ʃaːwqi ‘seldom’
kiːm ‘soon’
qəlmi ‘later’
hmeːsi ‘sometimes’
ʃumje ‘always’
qoʎuː ‘still’
kaije ‘never’

Negative adverbs, such as kaije ‘never’, are used with negative verbs. This is not considered a “double negative = positive”.