Registers of Nìmpyèshiu

Formal Vs. Informal Speech


Formal speech was more conservative and tends to consist of purely native vocabulary. Where loans words were used in informal speech, calques tended to be used. These calques are the native readings of the characters use to represent loans words in written language.

The formal register was used when talking to a superior, and speaking to a superior in informal language was considered incredibly rude. Formal language should also be used by a superior when talking to an inferior, as using informal language is considered to ‘set a bad example’. The informal register was only considered acceptable among those of the same social rank.

Informal speech tended to use various contractions that were considered improper in more formal speech. These contractions were prefixed onto the following word, but only if the outcome is allowed by Nìmpyèshiu’s phonotactic constants.

ContractionFull WordGloss
h’heand
hy’heyoinclusive or
y’yoexclusive or
k’kathen
t’tesubclause marker
e’emto be
py’pyesome
m’includingincluding
E’sle̤radi̤sla̤ ki gà sle̤ ji ka ha ka tsa̤a ka gi̤ k’adi̤
be-elemental.hierarchy if at fog one then water then life then earth then fire
The elemental hierarchy is first fog, then water, then life, then earth, and then fire.
Ia wṳ t’ràn je shyá shiu.
love 1.PN SR-person SU study language
I love the person who studies language.

Nèm can be dropped if a number is specified.

Pa̤n pe̤i.
eight cup
Eight cups.

Religious Speech


A variant of formal speech was spoken on sacred sites and in places of worship. This register was similar to formal speech, but words containing certain morphemes were considered taboo. These taboo morphemes were replaced with euphemistic components.

MorphemeGlossEuphemism
dzuverb. to die am [end]
syenoun. pile of ashfen [powder]
shàiverb. to vomitfù [throw]
adinoun. destructionjam [fall]
gwànnoun. disasteriimáu [spill]
fidéverb. to beg hé [ask]
bìmadj. ill, sick; verb. to sufferlùm [swell]
shyo̤nadj. evil, fiercerà [bad]
tèiverb. to stabhlài [push]

Compounds

kiram – verb. to kill, to hunt [cause-end]
hyìariimáu – noun. relief [near-spill]
nìaniimáu – adj. anxious [think-spill]
jamba̤n – noun. piece of debris [fall-part]
lùmam – verb. to heal, to recover (passive) [swell-end]
lùmanja̤ – noun. doctor [swell–end-professional]
lùmhun – adj. dumb, stupid [swell–mind]
lùnlin – noun. hospital [swell–place]
lùnràn – noun. patient [swell–person]
che̤lùm – verb. to suffer [do-swell]
dwulùm – noun. strength, fitness [strong-swell]
dwulùmhun – noun. intelligence [strong-swell-mind]
gìdwulùm – noun. sport [test-strong-swell]
grèlùm – verb. to diagnose [mark-swell]
kilùm – verb. to infect [cause-swell]
ba̤nlùm – adj. healthy [not-swell]

Slang

Metathesis slang

Some slang words are formed by metathesis. The initial consonant moves in front the following vowel, splitting a long vowel or diphthong. This creates a VCV structure:

bau abu - jewel
béi ebi̤ - enough

ana – noun. older brother
ani – noun. younger brother
abu – noun. jewel
a̤ba – noun. walk
a̤bin – adp. now, at
a̤bun – adp. side
a̤bi̤ – adj. white
e̤bi – noun. back
ebi̤ – adj. enough
i̤bi – adj. northern
ibṳ – adj. happy
obo̤ – adj. each
abva̤ – noun. voice
ebve̤ – verb. to call
i̤bvi – adj. too much
ibva̤ – noun. friend
ibvṳ – adj. against
i̤chim – mod. please
ichi̤m – noun. whimp [nervous]
a̤da – noun. way
ada̤ – adj. big
i̤dam – cop. discrete copula
i̤du – adj. sorry
adzu – noun. bath
a̤dza̤ – verb. to show
i̤dza – noun. ring
afa̤ – adj. almost
efe̤ – verb. to make
efi̤ – noun. door
efe̤m – verb. to come
ifi̤ – verb. to ask
ifi̤n – verb. to find
ofo̤ – verb. to have
ṳfu – verb. to throw
a̤ga – adp. at, in
a̤gan – noun. older sister
aga̤m – verb. to glow
aga̤n – verb. to dare
egin – noun. younger sister
e̤ge – noun. arm
i̤gi – verb. to test
i̤gam – adj. certain, clear

With longer words, the initial and final segments can be removed:

se̤li – noun. Sle̤slipyè
kaya – noun. Hakyapyè
a̤tai – noun. Tsa̤atipyè
i̤ho – noun. Gi̤hopyè
i̤pi̤i – noun. Adi̤pyè

Swearing

Some swear words are derived from metathesis slang:

Epithets:

O̤ma – noun. swearword [from go̤mam]
O̤na̤ra – noun. swearword [from go̤nràm]
I̤cho̤m – noun. swearword [combination of ichi̤ and o̤ma]

Adjectives:

ete̤ – adj. swearword [from té]
i̤bim – adj. ill (swearing)
ichi̤ – adj. stupid (swearing)
ichi̤n – adj. moody (swearing)