Umu has no imperative marker. The first line may be commanding an unnamed topic (you) to see the man or may be stating that the man is seen (by something).

In line 3, we see how there is no verb to have. Here, the hat is a comment made about the topic, the man. The same sentence could also mean, “The
man is a hat.” Only context dictates.

The question particle (QP) appears in line 4. Particles come directly before the topic.

The last line introduces the notion of sub-topics. The boy runs; this event can be seen (by something). The main topic lets us know that it’s a man doing the seeing.

Another analysis would be that running modifies the word boy. The running boy is that which can be seen, the man is the seer.


Viw ra!
see | man
See the man!

Vi ‘ara waw ra!
see | boy and man
See the boy and the man!

‘Ariw ra.
hat | man
The man has a hat.

‘Ari nam ‘ara?
hat QP | boy
Has the boy a hat?

Jap vidu ‘ara.
can run | boy
The boy can run.

Jap vidu namö ra?
can run QP | man
Can the man run?

Jap vi vidú ‘araw ra
can see | run boy | man
The man can see the boy run.