Common and proper nouns are open classes; the pronouns are closed.

Common Nouns

Common nouns can refer to abstract or concrete items.

lu’i Wi love

bata bt caution

’ahati ahT happiness

caga cg mouth

purissiji oR;SJ circle

Stem Nouns

Stem nouns are those that are neither compounded nor derived.

Mass Nouns

Mass nouns refer to an undifferentiated aggregation rather than separate units. These cannot take numbers, except for a postpended xita one to denote the smallest individual piece of that aggregate.

’iti iT milk / ’itixita iTXt drop of milk

marru m;w flies / marruxita m;wXt fly


This determines which derivational suffixes can be applied, and which pronouns are used as reference.

Animate Noun

These refer to people and other multicellular organisms capable of independent movement.

gusu %z person

lulani WlN queen

kitisu KTz father

sula zl goat

Inanimate Noun

These refer to things such as natural phenomena, plants, fungi and unicellular life.

tissa T;s wind

linu LI tree

hurru V;w yeast

Abstract Noun

This category encompasses concepts, ideas and other intangibles. They are referred to by inanimate pronouns.

sutti z;T fear

’adda a;d past

tuhhi e;H agriculture

laru lw year

sajja s;j silence

Compound Nouns

The first part of a compound noun must be a noun, and the subsequent parts specify the meaning of that noun. These parts can be nouns or verbs. The whole noun is usually written without spaces. The syllabification and stress of nonce words are determined on a stem-by-stem basis. However, a compound in common use will start being treated whole.

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns begin with a capital letter in the transliteration. These are names that refer to individual people, places or things.

Ra’ani raN Ryan (name of a person)

ʔikinnisa iK;Ns Eakins (name of a family)

Sa’imi siM Caemi (name of a deity)

Tinalli Tn;L Tinellb (name of a universe)

ʔirri’a i;Ra Irìa (name of a city)

Lulani WlN Lulani (name of a language)

Xucipura Cula ZCor / yl The Crackled Egg (name of a story)