A Grammar of Vabungula

Part 4 - Word Formation and Roots

About Roots

A distinctive characteristic of Vabungula is word formation from a pool of roots. Most roots consist of one syllable of the form consonant + vowel; others consist of two syllables; others may be of the form vowel + consonant. Every root has a basic meaning and can be used as a component in building new words. (For a more detailed discussion on Vabungula roots, see Part 4.1: More About Roots.)

     JA   big

neago  hill    janea    mountain ("big hill")
sekûp  stick   jasekûp  tree trunk ("big stick")
zûmba  hole    jazûm    cave ("big hole")

     RO   music

ge     sound   rogel    music ("music sound")
pêntês mouth   pênêros  whistle ("mouth music")

     AGU  speak  (also AG or GU)

agula  speak 
agu    story
aguda  discuss   (da = about, concerning)
aguk   promise
gulen  express
fwiag  deny      (fwi = no, not)

Common Roots

A few common roots are:

     AGU   speak          MA(S)   go
     KA(M) thing          SU(M)   person
     LA(R) time           LAM     place
     F(W)I no, not, un-   FA(L)   do, make
     DA    cause          DO      good; up
     NA    bad; down      SI      small
     JA    big            HA(LJA) dead; dark
     DŽU   take; give     DŽÛ     give
     NI    think          PE      part of the body
     AL(E) see            GE      sound
     EN    want           GA      male
     PO    female         MU(G)   word; language
     MU(H) sky; blue      RA(P)   water; liquid
     HA    light          DWA     ground; soil; floor
     MO    opposite       MOM     center
     PA(K) end            FJA(L)  cover
     SE(K) tree; wood     ON      one; whole
     ÛN    part, piece    TO      laugh; humor
     NO(S) animal         ZE(R)   same
     ŽU    deep           BI      picture

Using Roots

The meaning of many Vabungula words may be deduced from a knowledge of the roots:

     from the roots: GEZ         motion
                     AL(E)       see
                     BI          picture
                     LAM         place
     the words:      gezal       motion 
                     (-al is a noun ending)
                     gezalbi motion picture, movie
              (here the noun ending -al and the root ALE
              happen to coincide)
                     gezalbilam movie theater
     from the roots: FA          do, make 
                     LU(N)       health
                     NI          know; think
                     SUM         person 
     the word:       falunisum   doctor
     from the roots: MU          word, letter
                     DŽU         give
                     KA(M)       thing
     the words:      džula       put
                     džulakam    table (put-thing)
                     famu        write (make-letters)
                     famudžulak  desk

Prefix and Suffix Roots

Some roots function mainly as prefixes:

     FI   not, non-, un-      figas   artificial 
    (sometimes shortened to FJ) 
     LE   intense             lešim   love
     ÊN   abstract            ênsul   society
     E    abstract; a concept ekamo   thing (intangible)

Others function mainly as suffixes:

     -SUM  person       gasum      man
     -KAM  thing        famidokam  bed
     -LAM  place        karalam    restaurant
     -LAR  time         kaclar     summer

False Roots

Although the large majority of Vabungula words are made of roots, some words are not, and have no relation to any existing roots, even though they appear to contain them. The most important class of non-root words are names of most plants and animals:

     samela  mouse     (no relation to SA, ME, or LA)
     kanto   pig       (no relation to KA or TO)
     saro    oak       (no relation to SA or RO)
     havara  coffee    (no relation to HA, VA, or RA)
     nava    chocolate (no relation to NA or VA)
     vedel   frog      (no roots)

However, some names of plants and animals have roots:

     matore      Matoga recemisa, plant of Matoga (a kind of plant)
     hodere      hodela recemisa, moon plant (a kind of plant)
     sekano      sekara nosule, tree animal (squirrel)
     ugekos      Uprênda + ge + komanos, 
                 Uprênda noisy bird (red-winged blackbird)

Other categories of non-root words are the names of most heavenly bodies, the Lorêm number system, and the names for letters of the alphabet:

     hodela  moon      (no relation to HO, DE, or LA)
     Vedo    Jupiter   (no relation to VE or DO)
     kolo    five      (no relation to KO or LO)
     hanto   "H"       (no relation to HA or TO)

A limited series of words have roots that are based on place names. The roots in these words have nothing to do with the standard pool of Vabungula roots.

     Lolarêm   Sunday    
     Kolarêm   Monday    
     Kaplarêm  Tuesday   
     Daklarêm  Wednesday 
     Bolarêm   Thursday  
     Êsilarêm  Friday    
     Ularêm    Saturday    

and also:

     fobijar   southwest
     wanope    southeast
     kwanaku   northwest
     saromi    northeast

Grammar of Vabungula | Alphabet | Nouns | Pronouns | Adjectives | Prepositions | Conjunctions | Verbs | Interrogatives | Word Order | Word Formation | Roots | Prefixes and Suffixes | Miscellaneous | Numbers | Word Studies | Miscellaneous Discussions | Basic Vocabulary | DICTIONARY | English Index | Vabungula in Cyrillic | Gospel of John | Gospel of Mark | Book of Revelation | Babel Text | Story of Peter Rabbit | Grammar Notes | Vocabulary | Three Little Pigs | Vocabulary | Jack and the Beanstalk | Three Bears | Old Woman and Pig | Frog Prince | Poppy Seed Cakes | Jolly Tailor | Little Prince | Boris Sergunenkov | Relativity | Jokes | Vabungula Main Page | Languages | Bill Price Home Page

Page last modified on December 29, 2009
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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