Nouns in Proto-Ñyqy generally refer to defined entities, such as objects, people, concepts, or events. Regardless of their role during locution, a noun bears no morphological information such as its syntactic role or its number. However, nouns can associate with each other and act as adjectives.
Noun phrases in Proto-Ñyqy are head-first, meaning the noun in noun phrases come relatively early although the former is built around the former and not exclusively after it. Noun phrases are mainly found as agents or patients of a sentence, but they can also be found in genitive and dative constructions.
The nouns could most likely take genitive pronouns, but how they interacted exactly is yet unsure. The
Pronouns and Anaphoric Clitics
It seems only three pronouns existed in Proto-Ñyqy, one for each of the persons you would find in a typical language, as shown below.
It appears Proto-Ñyqy pronouns did not have any morphological rule to make them agree in number and due to the apparent lack of gender neither did they agree with it. However, it is possible that at some stage of the development of the language, Proto-Ñyqy began affixing cardinal numbers in order to its pronouns up until the number “six” *ñy which would have marked a general plural. It is very much possible all numbers up to *ñy were used with pronouns, however only remains of it as well as *qi (two) for some dual or paucal, and in the case of the Tiltinian family *nø (three) was used for trial and later on for paucal. No remains of *gø, *co or any number higher than *ñy is found in its daughter languages. It is also unlikely *mi (one) was ever used to mark the singular, or at least its usage never persisted in its recorded daughter languages as it cannot be reconstructed with our current knowledge.
*møgusqim qy ij
village towards 1sg go
I’m going to the village
*møgusqim qyqi ij
village towards 1 two/du go
We both are going to the village
*møgusqim qynø ij
village towards 1 3/tri/pauc go
We three are going to the village
*møgusqim ñyqy ij
village towards six/pl 1 go
We are going to the village
It doesn’t appear either that there was any morphology associated to their grammatical case. All of its daughter languages have at least a distinction between nominative, accusative, and genitive pronouns, but it appears they all evolved after the Proto-Ñyqy breakup, with no relation between the main daughter language families. The best example is the striking difference between the Andelian and the Mojhal families despite the fact they both come from Proto-Mojhal-Andelian which is the earliest known language to split off from Proto-Ñyqy, as well as Proto-Tiltinian and Old Pritian which again have no similarities regarding their pronoun declensions. The only common roots found are these three pronouns described in Personal Pronouns.
Personal pronouns are free pronouns which do not need to be bound to other elements in a sentence.
*qibú qy qe
du 2 1sg see
I see them both
*qyim ñocm qe
1sg DAT someone see
Does anyone see me?
Four levels of demonstratives seems to have existed in Proto-Ñyqy:
- *bœce: near the speaker
- *pue: near the interlocutor
- *yqe and *jœe: distant from the speakers
It is interesting to see here a common pattern among languages which is demonstratives pronouns coming from words meaning “here” or “there”. In that case, these pronouns are derived from *bœc, *pu, *yq, and *jœ.
We are not sure about the difference between *yq and *jœ. It is theorized they had differences in distance between the element described by the pronoun and the speakers, maybe one describing something that could be seen and the other not. In any case, only one of the two survived in each language family so we cannot compare their use in documented languages.