A Grammar of Vabungula

Part 2.1 - Parts of Speech - Nouns

Nouns - General Characteristics

Nouns in Vabungula have no gender. Noun declension is limited to denoting singular and plural.

Many nouns in Vabungula end with the letter L and carry the accent on the last syllable. This is especially the case with nouns formed from verbs.

     flogál "invitation" (from flógas "to invite")
     mênól  "touch"      (from mênó   "to touch") 
     misál  "life"       (from mísa   "to live")


Plurals are formed by appending the letter e if the noun ends in a consonant, or the letter n if the noun ends in a vowel.

      singular           plural

      logakam (door)     logakame (doors)
      solam   (place)    solame   (places)   
      êndwado (country)  êndwadon (countries)
      agu     (story)    agun     (stories)

There is only one exception to this rule: the plural of sum (person) is sumi (people).


In Vabungula there are no definite or indefinite articles. Thus sekara can mean "the tree" or "a tree".

Suffixes and Prefixes

Some nouns can be formed from suffixes.  (Read more about prefixes and suffixes in Part 4 - Word Formation and Roots).  Some common suffixes are:

      -KAM, -KA, -KO (from kamo, "thing")
         a thing, a tangible object  
      -SUM (person) 
         a person
      -LAM (from solam, "place")
         a place


    faidokam     toy; (from faido = play)
    famidokam    bed; (from famidor = sleep)
    krêkam       hammer; (from krêp = hit) 
    galesum      husband; (from ga = male, and le = with)
    kafagsum     servant; (from kafag = serve)
    lalsum       neighbor; (from lal = next to)
    afalulam     hospital; (from afaludo =- heal)
    džumnilam    school; (from džumni = learn)
    sisekûlam    library; (from sisekûlo = book)

Prefixes can be:

     E-   abstract concept
     ÊN-  abstract concept

There is no rigid distinction between E and ÊN. However, ÊN tends to be used primarily in words having to do with people, society, culture, and human institutions, whereas E tends to be used for abstract concepts and intangible things in general.


    ekamo     (intangible) thing (cf. kamo = tangible object)
    enelon    form (cf. nelon = shape)
    egres     seem (cf. gres = look like, appear)

    ênfal     custom, tradition; (from falê = do)
    êndwado   country, state, nation; (from dwado = land, ground)
    ênsul     society; (from sum = person, with the -L noun suffix)

Many adjectives can be converted into nouns by adding the suffix jêl. Note that jêl is itself a noun meaning "a being, a living thing". The resulting nouns almost always refer to human beings.


    fifadejêl  a poor person (from fifade = poor)
    nomlafejêl a humble person (from nomlafe = humble)
    dokejêl    a holy person (from doke = holy)

Passive forms of transitive verbs that end in ke can be converted into nouns by adding the nominal -L suffix. The resulting noun from the verb XXX denotes something or something that is XXX-ed.


    šanakel    someone who is persecuted (from šana = persecute)
    endžukel   someone or something that is chosen (from endžu = chose)
    alelakel   someone or something that is observed (from alela = observe)

Additionally, the prefixes mal- and mul- can be added to the above nominal passives to denote past and future passives respectively:

    malšanakel  someone who was persecuted
    mulendžukel someone or something that will be chosen
    malalelakel someone or something that was observed

Note that adding the suffix -sel to the above transitive verbs denotes the subject of the verb, i.e., a noun which performs the action of the verb. Alelasel thus means "someone who observes". For more discussion on this, see the section on participles in Part 2.6 - Parts of Speech - Verbs.

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Page last modified on February 5, 2015.
Vabungula is an artificial language invented by Bill Price in 1965.
Vabungula co nûsk mugola famêlêtke onudž Bill Price larla alara idekuzorekol.
Copyright © 1999 by Bill Price
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