Waku (lessons)

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Waku (lessons)

Post by Xing » 30 Jul 2016 18:09

Since there seems to be some interest in Waku lessons, I've finally decided to create this thread.

Table of contents:

Lesson 1

A few introductory notes:

1) I have an offline-life. I'll be starting a new job soon, which mean I'll have to move to another city. I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to spend on these lessons – but I hope I'll be able to provide you with new, fresh Waku-lessons once in a while.

2) The "official" reference grammar for Waku will be found at http://www.xingoxa.net/waku – if you encounter any contradictory information on Waku, it's simply wrong. The website is always right.

A few introductory remarks on pronunciation:

Stress generally falls on the last or penultimate syllable. If the word ends in a long vowel (marked by doubling) or a diphthong, stress falls on the last syllable. Otherwise, it falls on the second-to-last syllable. If a stressed second-to-last vowel is followed by a doubled consonant, this vowel is short. Otherwise, it's long. (In unstressed syllables, the distinction between long/doubled and short sounds is neutralised).

Me kinne...To be continued...

Now how learnt your first expression in Waku – me kinne "to be continued". "Me" is the imperfective aspect marker, though in this case it's used to indicates future tense. "Kinne" is – in this context – means "(to) continue". So, the most literal translation might be, simply, continuing.

Key to exercises
Last edited by Xing on 06 Aug 2016 13:51, edited 4 times in total.

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Waku – Lesson #1

Post by Xing » 31 Jul 2016 20:24

Lesson one / Kumui teki

Who are you?

–Mwei ngou? Or, alternatively, ngou mwei?Who are you?
–Mai… or … mai. – I am…

You might fill in the blanks with your name. If the context is right, you might also respond like:

–Miakeili mai – I am the teacher.

You may also ask:

–Mwei ana o ngou? or ana o ngou mwei? – What is your name?
–Ana o mai…My name is…


What do we have here? To begin with, we have encountered our first interrogative pronoun, mwei, who(m). It has a slightly irregular pronunciation. It's pronounced as if it was spelt mwi – that is, [mˠiː] or [mᵂiː]. Note that mwei – though it can usually be translated as "who", is used when asking about someones name. It's as if you would ask who is your name? rather than what is your name?

We have also met our first personal pronouns – ngou, you (singular) and mai, I. I'll give you the full list of pronouns, for reference:

mai – 1st person
ngou – 2nd person
kia – 3rd person

demai, mana – 1st person
dengou, ngoura, teu – 2nd person
kikia, era – 3rd person

The rest of the vocabulary:

There are three more words in the simple dialogues above:
oof – In this case, it serves as a genitive particle/preposition. In other cases, it can mean different things.

Now we can conclude that the phrase ana o ngou should be translated your name, and ana o mai my name.

Note that no copula is needed in the sentences above.


Now it's time for some very simple exercises. You might, by studying the dialogues above, try to figure out how the following sentences should be translated into Waku:

1) Who are they?
2) Who is she?
2) What is her name?
3) Who is his teacher?
4) What is his teacher's name?

Key to exercises
Last edited by Xing on 09 Aug 2016 17:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Waku (lessons)

Post by Lambuzhao » 05 Aug 2016 01:30

Once upon a time there were 1 or 2 :yout: videos about Waku (Wakeu, Wateteu). Quo vadunt?

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Waku – lesson #2

Post by Xing » 06 Aug 2016 10:38

Lesson two / Kumui oa

This is basically a continuation of lesson one.

In lesson one, we learnt how to ask simple questions of the kind: Who are you? There is also another kind of questions, which we shall have a look at in this lesson.

Are you the teacher?

–Miakeili ngou?
–Lio. Nea ngaa kia.
–Mwi ngou?
–Miatima mai.

lio – no
nea – to be (in the sense of being located)
ngaa – there
miatima – pastor
–Are you the teacher?
–No. I'm not the teacher. He's over there.
–Who are you?
–I'm the pastor.

To ask someone if they are the teacher (or whatever), you normally put the word teacher first: Miakeili ngou? To ask someone in a more general sense of they are a teacher, you put teacher last: Ngou miakeili. This is a general feature of the language. Waku has no definite or indefinite articles, so the placement of a noun might indicate is definiteness. Definite nouns typically come first in the sentence. We'll talk more on this later.

The words for yes and no are tawi and lio. Waku is an agreement language. Tawi and lio indicates that you agree or disagree with what's stated in the question. Suppose you ask a negative question:

Kuri miakeili ngou? Are you not the teacher?

You might respond:

Tawi. Kuri miakeili mai.No (lit. yes), I am not the teacher.
Lio. Mirakeili mai.Yes (lit. no), I am the teacher.

Questions are usually indicated by rising intonation.

What's your occupation?

–Me lemei ngou ke mwea?
–Mai miakeili. Me lemei i marokeili mai. E ngou? Ngou me konai mwea ke lemei?.
–Mai miakullu. Me lemei i maromatte mai.

lemei – work, occupation (noun), to work (verb)
ke – as, for
mwea – what
marokeili – school
e – and
konai – to do, to perform
miakullu – cook, chef
i – in, at, on
maromatte – restaurant
–What do you work with? ("You work as what?")
–I'm a teacher. I work in a school. And you? What do you do for fork?
–I'm a cook. I work in a restaurant.

Miakeili translate as teacher. Mia- is a prefix that is commonly used to form various kinds of agentive nouns. Some examples include:

mialannga – pilot, aviator
miakairu – butcher
miaayoo – hunter
miarire – farmer
mianganna – musician
miamiwi – dancer
miapolo – shopkeeper

Maro, which in itself means house, is frequently used to form compounds indicating various forms of locations:

marowatti – shop
marokeili – school
marokolo – hospital
marokopi – café, coffee shop
maromalla – cinema, movie theatre

You have encountered a couple of prepositions: ke and i. The later is one of the most commonly used prepositions in Waku, indicating various forms of location.


Translate the following sentences into Waku:

1) Are you a dancer?
2) No, I am a musician.
3) Do you work in a restaurant?
4) No, I work in a shop.
5) Aren't you the shopkeeper?
6) No, I work at the school.

Key to exercises
Last edited by Xing on 09 Aug 2016 17:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Waku lesson #3

Post by Xing » 08 Aug 2016 06:47

Lesson three / Kumui kore

In this lesson, we shall have a look at some basic sentence construction, and on negation.

A simple intransitive sentence may consist of a verb – usually preceded by an aspect marker – and a subject nominal.

Me lemei mwena. – The man is working.
Me miwi einga. – The woman is dancing.
Me mota nare. – The child is sleeping.

me – imperfective aspect marker
mwena – man (male, usually not used in the generic human sense)
nare – child

A transitive sentence also have a direct object, which may be put in different places in the sentence.

Me ila a mai einga. – I love a woman.
Einga me ila a mai. – I love the woman.

Here we can see, that if the object is definite, it goes before the verb (or at least tends to do so). If it is indefinite, it (tends) to come after the subject.

Note further that the subject is preceded by the ergative particle a.

Subjects are often by default interpreted as definite. If one specifically wants to stress the indefinite nature of the subject, one can use the verb nea – which may often be translated as there is or there are.

Nea mwena me ila ngou. – There's a man (who) loves you."

To negate a verb, one use the word kuo.

Me kuo lemei mai. – I'm not working.
Me kuo mota kia. – She's not sleeping.
Me kuo ila a kia ngou. – She doesn't love you.

We've already briefly encountered the little word kuri. We saw that it could be used to negate nouns:

Kuri miakeili mai. – I'm not the teacher.

It also serves as the negative counterpart so nea.

Kuri einga me ila ngou. – There is no woman that loves you.


Translate the following sentences into Waku:

1) The teacher is sleeping.
2) He's not working.
3) No teacher is working.
4) There's a man dancing in the house.
5) I'm not dancing.

Key to exercises

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Waku lesson #4

Post by Xing » 12 Aug 2016 19:30

Lesson four / Kumui appa

How old are you?

–Mwenne roko ngou?
–Mai kore tenga oa roko.
–Nea o ngou nare?
–Tawi. Nea o mai oa nare. Teki ngami e teki loki.
–Kikia mwenne roko?
–Ngami ikka roko, e loki kore roko.

mwenne – how many? how much?
roko – year
kore tenga oa – thirty-two
nare – child
ngami – girl
loki – boy
Numbers 1-10
1 – teki
2 – oa
3 – kore
4 – appa
5 – ikka
6 – ikkateki
7 – ketai
8 – palo
9 – buni
10 – tenga
–How old are you?
–I'm thirty-two years old.
–Do you have any children?
–Yes. I have two children.
–How old are they?
–The girl is five, and the boy is three.

Two ask how old someone is, use the phrase mwenne roko – "how many years". It can be placed either before or after the subject:

Ngou mwenne roko?
Mwenne roko ngou?

Mwenne can translate as how many, or how much, depending on context.

The numbers 1-10 are given above. To say 20, 30 etc, simply put a simple numeral before tenga ten:

Oa tenga – 20
Kore tenga – 30
Appa tenga – 40

A lower numeral place after a higher one is added to it:

Tenga teki – 11
Tenga oa – 12

Oa tenga oa - 22
Oa tenga roke – 23

Kore tenga appa – 34
Kore tenga ikka – 35

In the dialogue, we can see how to form possessive statements. On uses the predicate nea ("there is", "there are"), and the genitive particle/preposition o.

Nea o ngou nare? – "Do you have (any) children?" ("Is there of you child(ren)?" Is there to you (any) child(ren)?).

You might respond:

Nea o mai nare.I have children. ("There is to me child.")
Nea o mai teki nare.I have one child.
Nea o mai oa nare.I have two children.
Kuri o mai nare.I have no children.

It is possible to use a slightly different word order:

Nea nare o ngou?Do you have (any) children? ("Are there any children of yours?"
Nea teki nare o mai.I have one child.


1) The girl is twelve years old.
2) He has three children.
3) They have no children.
4) He is ninety-nine years old.
5) How old is your teacher's child?

Key to exercises
Last edited by Xing on 26 Aug 2016 17:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Waku lesson #5

Post by Xing » 21 Aug 2016 21:08

Lesson five / Kumui ikka

Where is the cat?

–Nea aki wara?
–Nea i puili o kelu kia.
–Mwe kelu?
–Kelu i mettepana.
–E aki luki?
–Me kutaa kia i penngo o paee i lere.

aki – where?
i puili o – beneath, under
kelu – table
mettepana - living room
luki – dog
kutaa – to hid
i penngo o – behind
paee – tree
lere – garden
–Where is the cat?
–It's under the table.
-Which table?
–The table in the living room.
–And where is the dog?
–It's hiding behind the tree in the garden.

Here we encounter yet another interrogative word – aki "when". In contrast to other interrogatives, it does not start with mw-. It can be used with or without the word nea:

Nea aki wara? – Where is the cat?
Aki wara? – Where is the cat?

The word mette can translate as "room". It is used in compounds:

mettepala – "living room"
mettekullu – "kitchen"
mettemota – "bedroom"
mettekena – "bathroom"

Now we shall have a look at the prepositional system in Waku. There are a few basic prepositions.

i – in, on, at (locative)
o – to, of (genitive, allative or dative)
mo – to (used as an alternative to o in its allative uses)
a – from, by (ablative)
me (perlative, instrumental) – through, with

It's possible to use locational nouns to form compound prepositions, indicating more specific kinds of locations:

apo – "above", "over"
puili – "beneath", "under"
loka – "inside"
kuima – "outside"
penngo – "behind"
naki – "before", "front"

Examples of compound prepositions:

i apo o... above…
i puili o… beneath
i loka o… – inside…
i kuima o… – outside…
i penngo o… – behind…
i naki o… – in front of…

Nea wara i loka o maro – "the cat is inside the house"
Nea wara i kuima o maro – "the cat is outside the house"
Nea wara i penngo o maro – "the cat is behind the house"

Ko laka wara o kuima o maro – "the cat went into the house"
Ko laka wara me kuima o maro – "the cat went through the house"
Ko laka wara a kuima o maro – "the cat went out of the house"

Extra vocabulary:
ko – perfective particle (more on this in a later lesson)
laka – to go (more on it's use in a later lesson)


Translate the following sentences into Waku:

1) Where are you?
2) I'm inside the house.
3) Where is the house?
4) I'm hiding in the schoolhouse.
5) The cat is not under the table.

Key to exercises

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Re: Waku lesson #6

Post by Xing » 03 Sep 2016 17:34

Lesson six / Kumui ikka teki

Dialogue 1

–Ko laka o aki kia?
–Ko laka o miakairu kikia. Ko naee a kia watti lonngu.
–Maro ko laka a kia teki idde i takii.

laka – to go
naee – to need
watti – to buy
lonngu – sausage
idde – hour
i takki – before, earlier, ago
–Where did he go?
–He went to the beach. He needed to buy sausage.
–He left the house one hour ago.
Dialogue 2

–Kannabwakku ngii me laka o aki?
–Me laka kia a mera o lonna.
–E kannabwakku ngaa?
–Me laka o kara kia.

-Where is this bus going?
–It's going from the town to the beach.
–And that bus?
–It's going to the mountains.
kannabwakku – bus
mera – town, city
lonna – beach, shore, coast
kara – mountain
e – and

The word laka can translate as either "go" or "leave". When it's intransitive, it means "to go". When it's transitive, it means "to leave".

Ko laka kia o maro. – "He went to the house."
PFV go 3d ALL house

Ko laka a kia maro. – "left the house."
PFV leave ERG 3s house

Technically, you could also say:

Ko laka kia a maro. – "He went from the house."
PFV go 3s ABL house

In the first sentence, we can see an example of how to express when something happened: [...] i takii means "[...] ago".

Ko laka a kia maro kore idde i takii. – "He left the house three hours ago."
Ko mite kia appa pana i takii. – "She arrived four days ago."

In a similar way, [...] i penngo means "[...] later", or "in [...]", and refers to a coming event:

Me laka a kia mana appa idde i penngo. – She'll leave us in five hours.

In the second dialogue, we can see one way to form demonstratives in Waku – the equivalents to "this" and "that":

kannabwakku ngii – this bus, these buses
kannabwakku ngaathat bus, those buses

Note that the words ngii and ngaa can be used in both singular and plural.


Translate the following sentences into English:

1) She went to the city two hours ago.
2) She needed to buy milk.
3) She needed to go to the city.
4) She bought milk in the city.
5) She will leave this city in six hours.

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Re: Waku (lessons)

Post by KpTroopaFR » 07 Oct 2016 20:15

Waku lessons ? That's crazy, I made a thread about my conlang called "Vaku lessons" ! xD
Valdorian Alphabet

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