Typological Outline of Proto-Ñyqy

Proto-Ñyqy is a language that appears to be strongly analytical and isolating. It relies mainly on its syntax when it comes to its grammar and seldom on morphological rules if at all. It wouldn’t really make much sense to say whether the language is postpositional or prepositional since the only rule defined in Hawkin’s Universals Proto-Ñyqy respects is relative clauses and possessives before the noun, though it tends to make Proto-Ñyqy slightly more postpositional than neutral. Most of its words contain either one or two syllables and its sentenses often revolve around linked morphemes which could be interpreted as grammatical particules. You can find some examples of Proto-Ñyqy and its translation below as well as its glossing.

  1. *yq ñe pom qy

    dem.prox3 home gen 1sg.abs

    This house is mine

  2. *cø ne

    1sg.poss.incl house.abs

    This is my house

  3. *pim bú qi coq op

    mango 2sg.erg du eat pst

    We (two) ate a mango

  4. *cø pim i bœ mygú coq ug mún op zø qy zúmu op

    POSS.1sg mango undef.art(ABS) def.art monkey(ERG) eat SUBJ PROG PST 3sg(ABS) 1sg(ERG) see PST

    I saw the monkey that would have been eating a mango of mine

In the first and second examples, we can notice the absence of a verb “to be” or any equivalent, this shows existential predicates did not need a verb in order to express the existance of something and its attributes. This also reveals the word order of the genitive form in Proto-Ñyqy, the genitive particle follows the element it propertizes and is followed by its property. For instance, in *yq ñe pom qy, *yq ñe “this house” has the property of being mine *qy is the first person singular). I characterize this house, therefore this house is of me, this is my house. The main difference between the first and the second examples is the first example is the accent in the first example is on the fact that said house is mine, whereas in the second example “my house” is simply presented to the interlocutor.

As you can see in the third example, Proto-Ñyqy used to have a dual number which has been lost in most of its decendent languages, and the remaining languages employ the former dual as their current plural dissmissing instead the old plural. Only does the Énanon keep it with its plural, using the former dual as a paucal. As indicated by its name, the dual was used when referencing to two elements when an otherwise greater amount of elements would have required the plural. Hence, in this example, you could consider *bú qi to be kind of a 2DU pronoun.

Finally, the fourth example gives us an overview of Proto-Ñyqy syntax, such as a different position depending on whether we use an indefinite or definite article, as well as a subclause inserted in the main clause defining a noun phrase, here * refering to *mygú. We can also clearly see the word order of main clauses presented as Patient-Agent-Verb. Although most of its are nominative languages, Aarlerte (3652) postulates in her recent papers Proto-Ñyqy might have been primarily ergative. The loss of this trait in its closest descendent languages such as Proto-Mojhal-Andelian and Proto-Tiltinian might indicate this feature was already unstable in Proto-Ñyqy. Ergativity might have been in use only in main clauses, and Aarlerte argues this might have been the last trace of ergativity in an otherwise nominative language.

Note that although linguists suppose Proto-Ñyqy was a mostly analytical language, some people like to write related morphemes together as one word, hyphenated or not. Thus, the third example could also be written as *pim búqi coqop or *pim bú-qi coq-op by some. It is due to the fact Proto-Ñyqy was for a long time thought to be an agglutinative language like Proto-Mojhal-Andelian and the habit of writing related morphemes as one word stuck around. However, nowadays we know an analytical Proto-Ñyqy is instead most likely and scolars began writing morphenes separated from each other instead.