Proto-Puntʰutsʰen is the common ancestor of the Puntʰutsʰen and [TBD] languages. It is notable for its smaller than average consonant inventory, having only 15 consonants (19 if you include the aspirated consonants) compared to 6 vowels, as well as its tripartite case system. Since all cases are marked, word order is free (see below for details).
|Plos.||*p, *b||*t, *d||*k, *g|
Syllable structure is (C)(y/w)V(n). The consonants */p, t, k, ts/ can be aspirated.
Morphology and Syntax Edit
Nouns have 4 genders (masculine [I], feminine [II], neuter [III], non-living [IV]. It's better to call them classes, though) and 8 cases (ergative, absolutive, accusative, dative, genitive, instrumental, ablative and locative). Nouns do not inflect plurality. Inflections are suffixed. The dative is used for the indirect object. Gender is lexical; for example, class I nouns can only take class I inflections (excluding pronouns).
Some inflections mutate final /n/:
- ACC: *n > NULL (leave behind the /n/ in the suffix)
- GEN: *n > nt
- LOC: *n > mb
Personal pronouns Edit
Personal pronouns take the same endings as nouns; pronouns in Proto-Puntʰutsʰen are agglutinative, but sound change has wrought havoc on the daughter languages, producing fusional pronouns. Personal pronouns, unlike ordinary nouns, only have two classes (I and II), and they are only differentiated on the second and third person pronouns (they are not differentiated on the root; they are differentiated on the suffix). First person pronouns take class III endings.
Verbs and Adjectives Edit
Verbs and adjectives work identically; that is, adjectives act like verbs. There are 3 tenses (non-future, near future, remote future), and verbs conjugate by the gender of the Agent (ergative in a transitive phrase, absolutive in an intransitive phrase).
Example sentence: molonkʰoa hamanoe deretane kenyai. "the man gave the woman a stone."
Example with adjectival verbs: warayao kʰantane "you are red (lit. you red)."
Word order Edit
Word order is completely free; However, word order does carry meaning, in that the emphasis of the sentence is always on the first word of the phrase; thus, the phrases dakʰoa nisikayane waranoa "I help you (implying nobody else has helped you)", waranoa nisikayane dakʰoa "I help you (implying I haven't helped anyone else)" and nisikayane waranoa dakʰoa "I help you (implying that I could have done something different)" imply slightly different meanings without changing any phonetic or lexical details.