|Native to||Nuba Hills, Sudan|
|(13,000 cited 1982)|
The Tagoi language is a Kordofanian language, closely related to Tegali, spoken near the town of Rashad in southern Kordofan in Sudan, about 12 N, 31 E. Unlike Tegali, it has a complex noun class system, which appears to have been borrowed from more typical Niger–Congo languages. It has several dialects, including Umali (Tumale), Goy (Tagoi proper), Moreb, and Orig (ŋóóriɡ, Turjuk)
The following describes the Orig dialect.
The consonants are:
Stops and sonorants may occur geminate. Some consonant clusters are allowed (almost invariably two-consonant), most involving sonorants; prenasalised ones are particularly common.
The vowel system is unclear; phonetically, it seems to be basically: a, e, i, o, u, ɛ, ɔ, ɪ, ʊ, ə.
There seem to be three phonemic tones: high, low, and occasionally falling.
The genders include:
- w-, pl. y-: this gender seems to consist mainly of persons and animals. E.g.: wùttar "chief" > yáttar "chiefs"; wín "snake" > yínét "snakes".
- bilabial-, pl. yi-, including several trees; e.g. wòr "um-kaddaqi tree" > yíwóórèn, púrn "upper arm" > yìbúrn.
- pl. with no initial change, including a number of kinship terms; e.g. màrá "road" > màrnát, àppá "father" > àppánàt
- t-, pl. y-: mostly body parts; e.g. tárák "skin" > yárák, téŋlàk "tongue" > yáŋùlàk.
- t-, pl. ŋ-: almost exclusively body parts; e.g. téŋlàk "tongue" > ŋéŋlàk, tìɲèn "tooth" > ŋìɲèn.
- t- with no plural: place names, mass nouns
- y-, pl. ŋ-: notably fruits and body parts, but also a wide variety of others. E.g. yé "egg" > ŋíye; yìmbó "knee" > ŋìmbó.
- ŋ- with no plural: languages, liquids, possibly verbal nouns; e.g. ŋə̹́gdìráá "Arabic" (< kə̀dráá "Arab"), ŋàì "water".
- k-, pl. s-: seems to be the commonest gender, includes all sorts of semantic fields; e.g. kábà "hut" > sábà, kám "hair" > sám, kàdìrú "pig" > sàdìrú.
- c-, pl. ɲ-: includes a wide variety of semantic fields; derives diminutives; e.g.: cíŋ "child, boy" > ɲín; cúdén "bird" > ɲúdén.
In genitive (possessive) constructions, the head noun is followed by a linking element which agrees with it in class, followed by the possessor noun; e.g. ɲín ɲi-adam "children of Adam"; kʊs ki-gai "skull (ie bone of head)".
Adjectives follow the noun, and agree in noun class, i.e. in gender and number; e.g. kús kàlló "a thin bone" > sús sàlló "thin bones".
Demonstratives too follow the noun, and agree in class. There are:
- three short : -i- "this" (with the agreement prefix copied after the i as well as before), -ur, -un "that". E.g.: gálám kɛ́k "this pencil" > sálmát sɛ́s "these pencils"; gálám kur "that pencil".
- three long, formed by adding (-)-an to the previous; e.g. wùskén wèwán "this knife", gálám kurkan "that pencil".
The numbers one to four are normal adjectives; e.g. yʊ́r yùkók "two hands". Other numbers' behavior is unknown. When used without a head noun, they appear as follows, with the prefix w- for numbers 1-5:
- wàttá, ùttá
The pronouns are as follows:
|Independent||Possessive (agree in class)||Verb subject||Verb object|
Examples of verbal personal inflection: Musa àdúbìr "Musa beat me"; yàyá "I drink".
Interrogative pronouns include agn "what?", tá̹jí̹n "who?", nɛ́gán "where?", cínàcɛ̀n "which (boy)?"
There appear to be at least four basic forms: present (e.g. y-ìlàm "I see"), past (e.g., y-ílàm "I saw"), imperative (e.g. k-ìlmɛ́ "see! (sg.)), and negative imperative (e.g., ánák w-èlm-ò "don't see! (sg.)). The difference between present and past is typically marked by tone: LH or occasionally LL in the present, HL in the past. Sometimes vowel changes are also observed. In the imperative, some verbs take a k- prefix, others do not; this may depend on whether or not the verb begins with a vowel.
The verb "to be" has different roots according to tense: -ɛ́n in the present tense, -ɪ́rɪ̀n in the past tense.
Negation of the verb is expressed by a prefix k-, followed by the verb "to be", inflected for person; negation of the verb "to be", by k-àrà in the present tense, k-ɪ̀rá in the past.
The basic word order is subject–object–verb, including in the imperative. Locative complements also precede the verb. Nominal sentences use the verb "to be". Modifiers consistently follow their head nouns.
- Thilo C. Schadeberg & Philip Elias, based on the notes of Fr. Carlo Muratori. A Description of the Orig Language (Southern Kordofan). Archief voor Antropologie Nr. 26. Centre Royal de L'Afrique Centrale: Tervuren, 1979.