Umu: Lesson One (Redundant)

MAA | good, well, very
PJU | to be well, comfortable

maa pju —
Hello! Hi!

FUU | unmarked question particle

maa pju fuu – – –

How are you? [Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, etc.]


DII | you/all of you

maa pju fuu dii – – – –
How are you?


KUZU | to thank, to decline, to wither (flowers, leaves), to go down

maa pju, kuzu – – | ..
Fine, thank you.


MAA | I/me/we/us

maa pju maa, kuzu – – – | ..
I’m fine, thank you.


MÖZÖ | what/about/how

dimz – / dii mözö – ..
And you?


comming soon


An Umu sentence has two parts: a Comment and a Topic.

The Topic is a Noun Phrase. A Noun Phrase is (1) a Noun, plus modifiers, determiners, etc. or (2) a Noun Substitute (pronoun, etc.). Topics are always phrase final.
Noun Phrase
dii –

The Comment is a Verb Phrase. A Verb Phrase is a Verb (or verbs) with optional preverbal elements and pre/postverbal compliments.
Verb Phrase
maa pju – –
(to be) well/fine

The Topic (NP) follows the Comment (VP), therefore a Sentence (S) can be written in this way:

S -> VP + NP

which means, ‘A sentence consists of a Verb Phrase followed by a Noun Phrase.
maa pju dii – – –
well.comfortable | 2
You are well/fine.

Questions can be formed by inserting a Question Word (Q) in between the Comment and Topic.

VP + Q + NP

maa pju fuu dii – – – –
well.comfortable Q | 2
Are you well?


4 thoughts on “Umu: Lesson One (Redundant)

Add yours

  1. Pronunciation question: Do double vowels like in “maa” represent a long vowel or do you pronounce the vowel twice (perhaps with a glottal stop in between)?

    1. Yes. This is something I must explain.

      Your first guess is correct, as the glottal stop is written ‘.

      I recently chose to pronounce every word the same length. So a one syllable word like ‘maa’ would have the same timing as two syllable ‘pija’. So ‘maa’ is one long sound ( – ) and ‘pija’ is two short sounds ( .. ).

      It gets interesting when a word contains the vowel ‘’, which is mostly silent. In theses ceases, the silent will lengthen the last syllable of the preceding word, leaving the other syllable short ( . ) e.g.

      maa-bijuw ma – . – .


      maa-biju maa – .. –

      Both maa (good/well/very) and maa (I/me/we/us) have syllables containing the vowel: (jma ..) & (‘ma ..) respectively.

      In isolation, these syllables don’t shine thru and we’re left with a single, long, non- vowel: both (maa -). When phrasal, we see the liaison above.


      One way to say ‘woman’ is (nma ..) normally pronounced (nma -) or simply (maa -). Find below the sentence, ‘The woman is well.’

      maa-bijun ma – . – .


      maa-biju nma – .. – | maa-biju maa – .. –


      I need to redo the romanization post, as the new software fried the old one and the project has since moved in a different direction.

      What do you think of the -/../. notion? It’s helpful for me, as I’m trying to move Umu away from stressed syllables to timed syllables. I’m not sure if it’s easy for non-me’s to follow though.

      I’ve made a video with sides and dialogue but WordPress is being a **** and glitching during upload.

      Thanks for the good question.

  2. Why does “biju” have a “w” at the end when “dii” is after it and a “f” when “fuw” is after it?

    1. The word “dii” is formally written ” ‘ödi” and “fuu” is formally “pövu”.

      But ö is silent theses days. That makes ” ‘di” and “pvu”.

      The glottal stop (‘) and ö don’t get along and the combination ‘ö produces a “w” sound, making “wdi” (in another dialect, ‘ = ng, making “ngdi”. In that dialect, ‘ and w become ng).

      In isolation, wdi and ngdi are pronounced “dii”. (The double i, I’ll explain soon).

      “pvu” creates an f like sound and is written “fuu”

      The reason for the double vowels and for w and f moving to the end of the previous word had to do with the rhythm of pronunciation.

      In Umu, some glyphs are one syllable (-) and some are two (..). Both are pronounced in one beat. There is also a half beat created by liaisons like those above. Musically:

      CVV, CVC, CCV = (-) = 1 whole note
      CVCV = (..) = 2 half notes
      CV = (.) = 1 quarter note

      I write the transliterations to aid pronunciation. That’s why in isolation, the words are dii (-) and fuu (-). In both cases, the formal CCV stricture are difficult to say. The first C is silent or morphs with the second C. But that would make CV, a half beat (.), and both these words are one beat long (-) so the vowel is doubled CVV to show this.

      In phrase, that silent initial is tacked onto the previous word, making the previous word’s lasts syllable half a beat longer, and shortening dii and fuu to half a beat, now written di (.) and fu (.). This produces the correct rhythm and that’s why it’s written this way.

      It’s one of those things that native streakers do instinctively but is hard for learners to master.

      I hope you follow. That was hard to explain.

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