Indefinite Pro-forms

The indefinite pro-forms are sets of deictic words which can be placed into a table.

object place action manner state
proximate mari majja marila madusi marika
distal kasi kasuja kalisa kadusi kasika
interrogative sama satta sulla lara saqqa
negative cu’i qa’i buni - -
universal ’aba batuja ’abala - -
existential ’umi mituja ’amila fana fana

Proximate forms have referents physically or psychologically near the speaker, whereas distal forms are used when the referent is far away. Interrogative forms are used in questions, and negative forms are used in negative sentences. Universal means “all” or “every”, and existential means “some” or “any”.

Indefinite Pronouns

Unlike some personal pronouns, indefinite pronouns are not marked for animacy.

The pronouns in the object column are used for people and things.

The place column pronouns are used for locations in both space and time.

The ‘object’ indefinite pronouns can modify a noun when used as a suffix. When cu’i nothing is used as a suffix, it loses its last syllable. When ’umi something is used as a suffix, it loses its first syllable.

takacu no sound

manafamari this country

lulanimi some monarch

kulu’aba every fork

nullisama which mountain?

ʔusu’aba filli’aba-ta every me and every you

The existential markers are used in complements.

ʔusu li xaha-disi ’umi ru padissu.

1int com name-3ani;gen something prs;gno learn.

“I learned what her name is.”

The dative marker is not applied to distal pronouns.

Reduplicated indefinite pronouns with suffixed -ta and are used for emphasis.

sama samata what the hell?

cu’i cu’ita nothing and no one

qa’i qa’ita never ever

’aba ’abata absolutely everything


The action terms are pro-verbs, which can be used to replace ordinary verbs in sentences.

Filli sulla qixa?

2int do_what pst;dyn?

“What did you do?”


The manner column is used to refer to the way in which an action is undertaken, and the state column refers to the condition of a thing. These are used as modal adverbs.

Possessive Markers

An item possessed by the third-person subject of a matrix clause need not appear with a genitive marker, whether the possession is alienable or inalienable.

Sabba ’usa tu.

Father see daughter.

“Dad saw his daughter.”

If a genitive marker does appear, it takes the form su’a own.

Sabba ’usa tusu’a.

Father saw daughter-own.

“Dad spoke to his daughter.”

The usual genitive markers refer to possession by some other party, not the subject.

Sabba tu li dasi raninidisi lanu hiqa.

Father offspring com eat potato-dim-3ani;gen fut;dyn order.

“Dad asked his daughter to eat her chips.”

Sabba tu li dasi raninisu’a lanu hiqa.

Father offspring com eat potato-dim-own fut;dyn order.

“Dad asked my daughter to eat his chips.”

None of the above applies for first- and second-person subjects; these use their normal genitive markers.