Konwak (telling time)

Some important time vocabulary:

kenwak — hour
— minute
— second
— day
miwde — noon, midday; in time telling, any time from 12:00 to 12:59, or 12:00 PM to 12:59 PM.
natde — in general, the later part of the morning, any time after sunrise but before noon; in time telling, it refers to to any time from 1:00 AM to 11:59 AM.
sude — any time after noon but before nightfall; in time telling, refers to any time from 13:00 to 23:59, or 1:00 PM to 11:59 PM.
nuy — night
natnuy — late evening, any time after nightfall before midnight. Not used in time telling.
sunuy — late night before dawn, any time after 1:00AM before daybreak. Not used in time telling.
miwnuy — midnight; in time telling, any time from 0:00 to 0:59, or 12:00 AM to 12:59 AM.

Kon kenwak (telling the hour)
The hour is given with the word kenwak “hour, o’clock” followed by the number of the hour.
The word kenwak may be omitted if it is already understood, and can also be abbreviated to ken.

kenwak 11(day un) — eleven o’clock
kenwak 3(sam) — three o’clock

Kon riwak (telling the minutes)
To indicate a certain number of minutes after the hour, use the words i or me after the hour, followed by the number of minutes.
The words ri “degree/minute” or riwak “minute” can be placed after the number of minutes, but this is optional.

kenwak 11 i 30(samday) — eleven thirty

kenwak 3 i 10(day) — three ten

To indicate a certain number of minutes before the hour, use ni. However, this should only be used if the following hour is to be emphasized, never as the default way of giving the time.

kenwak 11 ni 20(tuday) — twenty minutes before eleven; 10:40

kenwak 3 ni 5(pan) — five before three; 2:55

The numbers delca “quarter” and deltu “half” can also be used instead of giving the exact number of minutes.
In the case of quarters, only one quarter (un delca) should be used.
In the case of halves, only i should be used, i.e. “half past” but not “half before”.

3(sam) i un delca — a quarter past three, 3:15

3(sam) ni un delca — a quarter before three, 2:45

3(sam) i un deltu — half past three, 3:30

Kon ponwak (telling the seconds)
Seconds are indicated in the same way as minutes, and are given after the minutes. The words ponwak “second” or pon “point” are always used.

kenwak 11 i 30 i 10 ponwak “eleven thirty and ten seconds”
miwnuy ni 10 ponwak “ten seconds until midnight”

Wepang 12 kenwak (12 hour system)
In the 12-hour system, time-of-day words are used for disambiguation in the same way as “AM” and “PM”.
12:00-12:59AM uses  miwnuy, abbreviated MN;
1:00AM-11:59AM use natde, abbreviated ND;
12:00-12:59PM uses miwde, abbreviated MD;
1PM-11:59PM use sude, abbreviated SD.
Time-of-day words are given after the minutes, so that 12:15PM is 12(day-tu) i delca miwde.
Here is the 12-hour system of counting the hours:

12(day-tu) miwnuy — 12:00 AM through 12:59 AM
1(un) natde — 1:00 AM through 1:59 AM
2(tu) natde — 2:00 AM through 2:59 AM
3(sam) natde — 3:00 AM through 3:59 AM
4(ca) natde — 4:00 AM through 4:59 AM
5(pan) natde — 5:00 AM through 5:59 AM
6(sis) natde — 6:00 AM through 6:59 AM
7(sap) natde — 7:00 AM through 7:59 AM
8(pat) natde — 8:00 AM through 8:59 AM
9(naw) natde — 9:00 AM through 9:59 AM
10(day) natde — 10:00 AM 10:59 AM
11(day-un) natde — 11:00 AM 11:59
12(day-tu) miwde — 12:00 PM through 12:59 PM
1(un) sude — 1:00 PM through 1:59 PM
2(tu) sude — 2:00 PM through 2:59 PM
3(sam) sude — 3:00 PM through 3:59 PM
4(ca) sude — 4:00 PM through 4:59 PM
5(pan) sude — 5:00 PM through 5:59 PM
6(sis) sude — 6:00 PM through 6:59 PM
7(sap) sude — 7:00 PM through 7:59 PM
8(pat) sude — 8:00 PM through 8:59 PM
9(naw) sude — 9:00 PM through 9:59 PM
10(day) sude — 10:00 PM through 10:59 PM
11(day-un) sude — 11:00 PM through 11:59 PM

Wepang 24 kenwak (24 hour system)
In the 24-hour system, midnight or 0:00 is read as ko “root, base, origin”, and no time-of-day words are used.
Here are the hours:

ko — 0:00 through 0:59
1(un) — 1:00 through 1:59
2(tu) — 2:00 through 2:59
3(sam) — 3:00 through 3:59
4(ca) — 4:00 through 4:59
5(pan) — 5:00 through 5:59
6(sis) — 6:00 through 6:59
7(sap) — 7:00 through 7:59
8(pat) — 8:00 through 8:59
9(naw) — 9:00 through 9:59
10(day) — 10:00 through 10:59
11(day un) — 11:00 through 11:59
12(day tu) — 12:00 through 12:59
13(day sam) — 13:00 through 13:59
14(day ca) — 14:00 through 14:59
15(day pan) — 15:00 through 15:59
16(day sis) — 16:00 through 16:59
17(day sap) — 17:00 through 17:59
18(day pat) — 18:00 through 18:59
19(day naw) — 19:00 through 19:59
20(tuday) — 20:00 through 20:59
21(tuday un) — 21:00 through 21:59
22(tuday tu) — 22:00 through 22:59
23(tuday sam) — 23:00 through 23:59

Weba me weji (phrasing and notation)
To indicate the current time, the stative verb la “arriving at” is used.

A la 2 i 30. “It’s two thirty (right now).”
A la mo wak? “What time is it (right now)?”

To indicate the time of an event, the stative verb ta “located at” is used.

A ta kenwak 2 i 30. “It’s at two thirty.”
A ta mo wak? “What time is it at?”

Numerical notation of time uses a period (jipon hol) between hours, minutes, seconds, etc. So, kenwak 8 i deltu is written 8.30.

Nom (numbers)

The number system of Bakom is very regular. Numbers may act grammatically as determiners, to express a quantity (tu intwo people”) or may be placed after noun as ordinal numbers (in tu “the second person; person two“).

The names of numerals are formed similarly to those of the letters of the alphabet: the word ji precedes the value of the numeral; for instance jino “the numeral 0”, jiun “the numeral 1”, jitu “the numeral 2”, etc.

As in English, a comma ⟨,⟩ (Bakom: jisaw) is placed before every third power of ten, and a period ⟨.⟩ (Bakom: jipon) is used for decimals, after which no commas are written.

These are the numbers 0-10 and the powers of 10:

no / но / نؤ
0 zero
un / ун / ون
1 one
tu / ту / تو
2 two
sam / сам / سام
3 three
ca / ча / چا
4 four
pan / пан / پان
5 five
sis / сис / سیس
6 six
sap / сап / ساپ
7 seven
pat / пат / پات
8 eight
naw / нав / ناو
9 nine
day / дай / دای
10 ten
cen / чен / چئن
100 hundred
cencen / ченчен / چئنچئن
A made-up number, used to indicate an unspecific or hyperbolic large amount of something.
mil / мил / میل
1,000 thousand
milmil / милмил / میلمیل
106 million (1,000,000)
bil / бил / بیل
109 billion (1,000,000,000)
milbil / милбил / میلبیل
1012 trillion (1,000,000,000,000)
milmil-bil / милмил-бил / میلمیلبیل
1015 quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000)
bilbil / билбил / بیلبیل
1018 quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000)

A number should be written with numerals in most cases, but should be written out when part of a compound, as for instance in fractions or the names of polygons.

Yap nom (number formation)
In the formation of numbers, a small number placed before a large number multiplies that number, and is written as a compound word.The multiplying number is accented.

tu + day > tuday
“twenty”, “two times ten”

pan + milmil > panmilmil
“five million”, “five times a million”

A small number placed after a large number is added, and is always written separately.

day + tu > day tu
“twelve”, “ten plus two”

Words for powers of ten (hundred, thousand, etc.) cannot stand alone, and must be modified by un “one” if they are not multiplied. So one-thousand is unmil, never mil.

un + milmil + pan + cen + sam + day + sap > unmilmil pancen samday sap
“one-million five-hundred and thirty-seven” (1,000,537)

Nom pangsek (ordinal numbers)
Ordinal numbers express place in a sequence, like English “first” or “second”. In Bakom there are two ways of forming ordinal numbers.

The first is simply by placing the number after the noun. For example:

ra 1 “the first one”

kitap 5 “the fifth book”

de 1,000 “the one-thousandth day”

However you may also add the word ri before the number.

ra ri 1 “the first one”

kitap ri 5 “the fifth book”

The generic noun ra can be used to form ordinal pronouns.

ra un “the first one”, ra tu “the second one”, etc.

The phrase e wak (ri) … indicates “for the Xth time”.

Mi a on o e wak 2 ta semyak ken-sapde go.
“I saw him/her for the second time at the party last week.”

Inay 1 mi a rom sim mi e wak 1.
“My first love broke my heart for the first time.”

E wak cencen, mi an on dombo ne domyo yakson.
For the gazillionth time, I don’t like that kind of music.”

Nomdel (fractions)
A fraction (Bakom: nomdel “division-number”) is formed with the word del “part, division” followed by a number. If the number itself is written without spaces, the fraction is also written without them. If the number is written with spaces, then the fraction is written separately.
For instance:

deltu “half”

delca “quarter”

delmil “thousandth”

delsamday “thirtieth”

del samday tu “thirty second”

A fraction, like the multiples of ten, must always be quantified with a preceding number. So, to say “half an hour”, you would say 1 deltu kenwakone half of an hour”, never just deltu kenwak.

Mixed numbers, including a whole number (nomhol) and a fraction, are given with the whole number first followed by the fraction with me “with, and” separating them.

1 me 1 deltu “one and a half”

9 me 3 delca “nine and three quarters”

Percentages are expressed with the phrase delcen “hundredth”. They should always be written with a percentage sign % (Bakom: jidelcen), which is read aloud as delcen.
The word for “percentage” as in “a number written as a percent” is nomdelcen.
“Percentage point” is ridelcen.

Si a e wa fa 50%(panday delcen) winci.
“You are to receive 50% of the revenue.”

Ya gi nomdelcen e mi.
“Give me a percentage.”

A jo muy nat sam ridelcen.
“The amount has risen three percentage points.”

Nompon (decimals)
Decimals are written with a period “.” as in English. This is read as pon “point”. For example:

0.75 no pon sap pan
3.14159265 sam pon un ca un pan naw tu sis pan

Nomli (exponential numbers)
Exponential numbers are formed with the word li “power”, similarly to English. The exponent is called the jili “power symbol”.
The word pe can be used to mean “times” or “multiplied by”.

1020 day li tuday “ten to the power of twenty”

1.5×1020 un pon pan pe day li tuday “one point five times ten to the power of twenty”

Nomdompe (frequency numbers)
Frequency numbers indicate how many times something happens. They are indicated with the stative verb pe followed by the number.
The phrase pe mo nom means “how many times.”

Mi a kan u belmot pe 1 nen.
“I’ve only watched this movie once.”

Mi a e wa ben kaw pe mo nom?
How many times am I to come back?”

This structure is also used for ratios of comparison. For example:

U ra a da pe 2 ne ra.
“This one is twice as big as that one.”

It is also used to indicate multiplication. For instance, the equation “3 x 2 = 6” is read as sam pe tu a so sis.

Rabanemhak (pronouns)

Pronouns (Bakom: rabanemhak) are words that can function by themselves as a noun phrase. They  refer to the participants in the discourse (e.g., I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g., she, it, this).

Pronouns refer mostly to people or personified objects or ideas, or to any entity that is perceived as acting independently and making decisions, such as an animal or a piece of artificial intelligence. There are no distinctions in gender, so the same word o means both “he” and “she”, but generally not “it”.
These are the personal pronouns of Bakom:

First-person singular: “I, me, my”

Second-person singular: “you, your”

Third-person singular: “he, him, his, she, her”

ote (accent on te)
Fourth-person singular or plural (see explanation below)

simi (accent on mi)
Inclusive first-person plural: “we, us, our (and you); me and you”

miya (accent on mi)
Exclusive first-person plural: “we, us, our (but not you)”

siya (accent on si)
Second-person plural: “y’all”

oya (accent on o)
Third-person plural: “they, them, their”

Inclusive and exclusive pronouns
Bakom, like Quechua, Mandarin Chinese, Tok Pisin, Punjabi, and many other languages, has a feature called “clusivity”. This means that it distinguishes between the inclusive we, which includes the listener (“me and you, we including you”), and the exclusive we (“we but not you”), which does not include the listener.

This distinction is not made in English, which results in some ambiguity. Consider this line from the Rocky Horror Picture Show where Riff Raff addresses Frank N. Furter:

“You see, when I said ‘we’ were to return to Transylvania, I referred only to Magenta and myself.”

If Riff Raff had been speaking Bakom, he would have used the pronoun miya “we but not you” to say,

A go miya kaw Transylvania.
We return to Transylvania”.

Then Frank N. Furter, understanding himself to be excluded, wouldn’t get a chance to sing I’m Coming Home.

Here are some example sentences using the two pronouns miya and simi.

A go miya, wa fa ra kay. Ma go si me wel?
We are going to get something to eat. Do you want to come along?” Miya here refers to a group that does not include si, the person being spoken to.

Ya go simi wa fa ra kay.
Let’s go get something to eat.” simi in this sentence refers to a group that includes both the speaker and the listeners.

The fourth-person pronoun
Consider the following sentence:

“Ahmed said that I hit him.”

In this sentence it is unclear whether “him” refers to Ahmed or to someone else. In Bakom, the fourth-person pronoun ote (which is the same for singular and plural) takes care of this ambiguity. It is mainly used in subordinate clauses (a clause with wa or wan).

When the third-person pronouns o or oya are used, they refer back to someone or something in the main clause. When ote is used, it refers to someone different.

For example, imagine a situation where some friends are at a party, and after going a little too hard all of them are tired and decide to go home. Here you would say:

A go oya min yu, oya wa ni cili.
[PARTICLE] [go] [they(3rd)] [away] [because of] [they(3rd)] [PARTICLE] [tired]
“They are leaving because they (the same people) are tired.”

Now imagine a different situation. This time it’s the person who is throwing the party that went way to hard, and they’ve decided to call it a night and put an end to the festivities, so everyone has to leave. Here you would say:

A go oya min yu, ote wa ni cili.
[PARTICLE] [go] [they(3rd)] [away] [because of] [they(4th)] [PARTICLE] [tired]
“They are leaving because he/she/they (someone else) is/are tired.”

Now imagine the next day one of the friends–Let’s call her Clarissa–wakes up remembering nothing of the previous night and gets a text from her friend Ahmed, telling her that she got into a fight with him. She would then say:

Ahmed a ba, mi wa bat o.
“Ahmed said that I hit him (Ahmed).”

However, if Ahmed was texting Clarissa on behalf of someone else, she would say:

Ahmed a ba, mi wa bat ote.
“Ahmed said that I hit him/her (not Ahmed).”

Another use of the fourth person pronoun is to distinguish the main subject or idea (the “salient” referent) from less important ones (the “obviate” referent). Here is another quote from the Rocky Horror screenplay to demonstrate this:

ROCKY breaks down completely. Although he despised FRANK, he was all that he had in the world.

In English, the word “he” confusingly refers to both Rocky and Frank N. Furter. In Bakom, the sentence would be rendered thus:

A rom ROCKY e dan hol. En dom wa bim sim o e FRANK, ote a so to ra ta mun, o wa i.
“ROCKY breaks down completely. Although he (Rocky) despised FRANK, he (Frank) was all that he (Rocky) had in the world.”

Since Rocky is the main focus of these sentences, the pronoun o is used to refer to him while the pronoun ote is used to refer to Frank N. Furter.

Domten (possession)
Possession for pronouns is exactly the same as for nouns. The pronoun is placed after the noun that it possesses, and optionally e “of, to, for” may be placed between them.

kitap > kitap si
“book” > “your book”

im > im oya
“house” > “their house”

raba > raba si
“word” > “your word; what you said”

A possessive pronoun in English (mine, yours, etc.) may be translated using the word ra “one, individual, thing”.

ra mi “mine, my one”
ra si “yours, your one”
ra o “his/hers, his/her one”
ra miya “ours, our one”

E ra an e mi, ra mi a biliw.
“This doesn’t belong to me, mine is blue.”

U awbi a ra si posay ra mi?
“Is this blood yours or mine?”

Rabanemhak so rabati (pronouns as determiners)
A first or second person pronoun can be used as a determiner with the meaning “that which is.” The pronouns o, oya, ote cannot be used in this way; the determiners ne “that” and u “this” must be used instead.

miya otekjan
[we] [student]
we students; we, the students”

miya muy nin, miya muy nin sim bo, miya domsem e bay
[we] [few], [we] [few] [happy], [we] [collection] [of] [sibling]
“we few, we happy few, we band of brothers”

siya omalim i kabot
[you (plural)] [guest] [honored]
you honored guests”

Mi oben domlo a ben domlo, si otikaw a sa en.
[I] [prosecutor] [PARTICLE] [bring] [litigation], [you] [defendant] [PARTICLE] [counter]
I the prosecutor present the case and you the defendant counter it.”

Rabahan me pangsek raba (verbs and word order)

There are two types of verb in Bakom: active verbs and stative verbs.

Active verbs (Bakom: rabahan sa “action verb”) indicate actions. Active verbs are further divided into two groups, transitive and intransitive verbs, although most if not all active verbs can be used as both transitive and intransitive. Here are some examples:

Mi a se kay la tal.
[I] [PARTICLE] [set] [food] [onto] [table]
“I set/put food on the table.”
Here, se “set” is a transitive verb with a subject, mi “I”, and an object, kay “food”.

Miya a nem o so Susie.
[we] [PARTICLE] [call] [he/she] [as] [Susie]
“We call him/her Susie.”
Here, nem “to call” is a transitive verb with a subject, miya “we”, and an object, o “him/her”.

A se kay ta tal.
[PARTICLE] [sit/stand] [food] [on] [table]
“Food is sitting on the table.”
Here, se “to sit/stand” is an intransitive verb with only a subject, kay “food”.

A nem o so Susie.
[PARTICLE] [call] [he/she] [as] [Susie]
“He/she is called Susie.”
Here, nem “to be called” is an intransitive verb with only a subject, o “he/she”.

Stative verbs (Bakom: rabahan dom “state verb”) indicate qualities, situations, and states of being. In English they would usually be translated with adjectives or prepositions. A few examples of stative verbs are bo “to be good”, ta “to be located at”, and yo “to be like”. Here are some example sentences:

Ciw a nin.
[city] [PARTICLE] [small]
“The city is small.”
Here, nin “to be small” is a stative verb and ciw “city” is the subject.

Bay mi a nan kan.
[brother/sister] [I] [PARTICLE] [ugly]
“My brother/sister is ugly.”
Here, nan kan “ugly” is a stative verb and bay mi “my brother/sister” is the subject.

Si ma sim bo?
[you] [PARTICLE] [happy]
“Are you happy?”
Here, sim bo “happy” is a stative verb and si “you” is the subject.

U kitap a bo.
[this] [book] [PARTICLE] [good]
“This book is good.”
Here, bo “good” is a stative verb and u kitap “this book” is the subject.

Bi a lam nin.
[life] [PARTICLE] [short]
“Life is short.”
Here, lam in “short” is a stative verb and bi “life” is the subject.

Kitap an ta ka, mi wa se.
[book] [PARTICLE] [located at] [place], [I] [PARTICLE] [put]
“The book isn’t where I put it.”
Here, ta “to be located at” is a stative verb with a complement, the phrase ka, mi wa se “the place that I put (it)”, and the subject is kitap “book”. (I’ll discuss complements in another post.)

Stative verbs can also be placed after a noun to describe it.

in sim bo
[person] [happy]
“happy person”

u kitap bo
[this] [book] [good]
“this good book”

bi lam nin
[life] [short]
“a short life”

in ta u
[person/people] [located at] [this/here]
“the people here”, “the person here”

Bakom exhibits a feature called ergative alignment, or ergativity. This means that rather than a nominative-accusative alignment, Bakom has ergative-absolutive alignment.
Ergative nouns are nouns that are performing an action on another noun, and are used with transitive verbs. The subjects of stative verbs are also ergative. Ergative nouns come before the predicate particle.
Absolutive nouns are nouns that perform the action of an intransitive verb, or nouns that act as the object of a transitive verb. Absolutive nouns come after the verb.
Here are some examples (ergative nouns are underlined, absolutive nouns are in bold):

Oya a mot ce.
[they] [PARTICLE] [move] [car]
“They move the car.”
Here, mot is a transitive verb meaning “to move something”, oya “they” is ergative, and ce “vehicle” is absolutive.

A mot ce.
[PARTICLE] [move] [car]
“The car moves.” Or, “The car is moved.”
Here, mot “move” is an intransitive verb meaning “to be set into motion”. Ce is again absolutive here.
If one were to say Ce a mot, this would mean “the car makes something move”, rather than “the car is in motion”, because ce would be ergative.

Oya a mot.
[they] [PARTICLE] [move]
“They move (something).”
Here, oya is ergative even though ce “car” has been left out. The word order makes this clear.

Ce a garaw.
[car] [PARTICLE] [gray]
“The car is gray.”
Ce is ergative here because it is the subject of a stative verb, garaw “to be gray”.

Copular sentences
Copular sentences are sentences that equate two nouns or noun phrases without a verb. In English, sentences like this use the verb “be”, as in “I am your teacher”, where I and your teacher are equated as the same person.
Here are some examples in Bakom:

Mi a ogijan si.
[I] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [you]
“I am your teacher.”

U kitap a ra mi.
[this] [book] [PARTICLE] [thing] [me]
“This book is mine.” (Literally, “This book is my one.”

U semyak a fokak.
[this] [party] [PARTICLE] [disaster]
“This party is a disaster.”

U ra a mo?
[this] [thing] [PARTICLE] [what]
“What is this?” (Literally “This thing is what?”)

Waki a mo?
[present time] [PARTICLE] [what]
“What’s the time?” (Literally “The present time is what?”)

Ne bom a mo domyo?
[that] [tree] [PARTICLE] [what] [kind]
“What kind of tree is that?” (Literally “That tree is what kind?”)

Rabasim (predicate particles)

Predicate particles are short grammatical words that are placed before the predicate of a sentence and carry information on the meaning of the sentence.

A “predicate” (Bakom: rabako, “base/support phrase”)  is the part of the sentence that tells the action, situation, quality, or identity of the subject.

“My teacher rides a motorcycle.”
“Rides a motorcycle” is the predicate which tells the action of “my teacher”.

“This person is my teacher.”
“Is my teacher” is the predicate which tells the identity of “this person”.

“My teacher is helpful.”
“Is helpful” is the predicate which tells a quality of “my teacher”.

“My teacher is here.”
“Is here” is the predicate that tells the situation of “my teacher”.

In Bakom, all predicates are shown with a predicate particle (Bakom: rabasim, “essence/core/heart word”). Predicate particles carry information about the function of the sentence: whether it is a statement, a yes-no question, a command, or a subordinated clause, and whether it is positive or negative.

Ogijan mi a mal cepukimot.

“My teacher rides a motorcycle.”

U in a ogijan mi.
“This person is my teacher.”

Ogijan mi a e gimen.
“My teacher is helpful.”

Ogijan mi a ta u.
“My teacher is here.”

Following are the eight particles (a, an, ma, man, wa, wan, ya, yan) with examples:

Positive statement.

U in a ogijan mi.
[this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me]
“This is my teacher.”

Ogijan mi a mal cepukimot.
[teacher] [me] [PARTICLE] [use] [motorcycle]
“My teacher rides a motorcycle.”

Negative statement.

U in an ogijan mi.
[this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me]
“This person is not my teacher.”

Ogijan mi an mal cepukimot.
[teacher] [me] [PARTICLE] [use] [motorcycle]
“My teacher doesn’t ride a motorcycle.”

Positive question.

U in ma ogijan mi?
[this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me]
“Is this person my teacher?”

Ogijan mi ma mal cepukimot?
[teacher] [me] [PARTICLE] [use] [motorcycle]
“Does my teacher ride a motorcycle?”

May also be used for an indirect question, translating the English conjunction “whether”:

Mi an jan, u in ma ogijan mi.
[me] [PARTICLE] [know], [this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me]
“I don’t know whether this is my teacher.”

Negative question. This is often used to stress the fact that something is true, but to ask confirmation.

U in man ogijan mi.
[this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me]
“Is this person not my teacher? Isn’t this person my teacher?”

Ogijan mi man mal cepukimot.
[teacher] [me] [PARTICLE] [use] [motorcycle]
“Does my teacher not ride a motorcycle? Doesn’t my teacher ride a motorcycle?”

May also be used for an indirect question:

Ya ba e mi, u in man in-gijan mi.
[PARTICLE] [say] [to] [me], [this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me]
“Tell me whether this isn’t my teacher.”

Positive infinitive or subordinating. Used for indirect statements, and to incorporate a sentence into another sentence to act as a noun phrase.

U in wa ogijan mi an po.
[this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me] [PARTICLE] [possible]
“It’s not possible for this person to be my teacher.”
(Literally, “That this person is my teacher is not possible.”

Mi a ba e si pe jo, u in wa ogijan mi.
[I] [PARTICLE] [say] [to] [you] [already], [this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [I]
“I told you that this person is my teacher.”

yu u in wa ogijan mi
[because of] [this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [I]
“because this person is my teacher”
(Literally “because of this person being my teacher”)

Negative infinitive or subordination.

U in wan ogijan mi an po.
[this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [me] [PARTICLE] [possible]
“It’s not possible for this person to not be my teacher.”
(Literally, “That this person is not my teacher is not possible.”

Mi a ba e si pe jo, u in wan ogijan mi.
[I] [PARTICLE] [say] [to] [you] [already], [this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [I]
“I told you that this person is not my teacher.”

yu u in wan ogijan mi
[because of] [this] [person] [PARTICLE] [teacher] [I]
“because this person is not my teacher”
(Literally “because of this person not being my teacher”)

The infinitive or subordination particles wa and wan also serve the purpose of relative pronouns in English; that is, to describe a noun with a verb phrase.

In, mi wa on.
[person] | [I] [PARTICLE] [observe]
“The person who I saw.”

In, wa on mi.
[person] | [PARTICLE] [observe] [me]
“The person who saw me.”

Ra, o wa ba e mi ta dego.
[thing], [he/she] [PARTICLE] [say] [to] [me] [at] [yesterday]
“What he/she said to me yesterday.”

In a tek not ra, si wan ba e tem ra, si wa ba.
[person] [PARTICLE] [take] [note] [thing], [you] [PARTICLE] [say], [in addition] [thing], [you] [PARTICLE] [say]
“People notice what you don’t say as well as what you do say.”

Positive command or suggestion.

Ya gi men e mi.
[PARTICLE] [give] [hand] [to] [me]
“Help me!”

Simi ya mal cepukimot.
[we] [PARTICLE] [use] [motorcycle]
“Let’s ride motorcycles!”

Ya go o la kamay.
[PARTICLE] [go] [he/she] [arrive.at] [store]
“Let him/her go to the store. May he/she go to the store. He/she should go to the store.”

Negative command or suggestion.

Yan gi men e mi.
[PARTICLE] [give] [hand] [to] [me]
“Don’t help me.”

Simi yan mal cepu-kimot.
[we] [PARTICLE] [use] [motorcycle]
“Let’s not ride motorcycles.”

Yan go o la kamay.
[PARTICLE] [go] [he/she] [arrive.at] [store]
“Let him/her not go to the store. May he/she not go to the store. He/she should not go to the store.”

Here are some example sentences. Try to place the correct particle in each one.

  1. Ogijan si __ ta u?
    “Is your teacher here?”
  2. A, ogijan mi __ ta u.
    “Yes, my teacher is here.”
  3. __ go min, mi __ kan kitap ta.
    “Go away, I’m reading.”
  4. Oya __ ba sin dan, __ mal li.
    “They threaten to use force.”
  5. Mi __ po wa gi men e si, e __ sa u?
    “Can’t I help you to do this?”
  6. Mi __ ba sin, __ ba ra e o, si __ ba mo.
    “I promise not to tell him/her what you said.”

1. Ogijan si ma ta u?
2. A, ogijan mi a ta u.
3. Ya go min, mi a kan kitap ta.
4. Oya a ba sin dan, wa mal li.
5. Mi ma po wa gi men e si, e wa sa u?
6. Mi a ba sin, wan ba ra e o, si wa ba mo.

Wepangji jirom (Latin alphabet writing system)

Bakom can be written using several alphabets. What follows are details for writing in the Latin Alphabet (Bakom: jirom).

There are 22 or 23 letters in the Latin Bakom alphabet. (The digraph ⟨ng⟩ may be replaced with the letter ⟨ŋ⟩.)

Pangsekji (alphabetical order)
The alphabetical order is different than that of most languages which use the Latin alphabet, and follows more closely the order of Devanagari, used to write Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, and Sanskrit.

Following is the alphabetical order (letters in brackets ⟨⟩), a loose IPA transcription in slashes //, and the name of each letter.
⟨a⟩ /a/ jia
⟨e⟩ /e̞/ jie
⟨i⟩ /i/ jii
⟨o⟩ /o̞/ jio
⟨u⟩ /u/ jiu
⟨k⟩ /k/ jika
⟨t⟩ /t/ jita
⟨p⟩ /p/ jipa
⟨c⟩ /tʃ/ jica
⟨g⟩ /g/ jiga
⟨d⟩ /d/ jida
⟨b⟩ /b/ jiba
⟨j⟩ /dʒ/ jija
⟨h⟩ /h/ jiha
⟨s⟩ /s/ jisa
⟨f⟩ /f/ jifa
⟨m⟩ /m/ jima
⟨n⟩ /n/ jina
⟨ng⟩ /ŋ/ jina jiga
⟨ŋ⟩ /ŋ/ jiang
⟨l⟩ /l/ jila
⟨y⟩ /j/ jiya
⟨w⟩ /w/ jiwa
⟨r⟩ /r, ɾ, ɹ/ jira

When spelling out words or reading acronyms, it is acceptable to omit the word ji “letter, symbol”. So, to spell out the word kabot “dignity, respect” one could say either ka a ba o ta or jika jia jiba jio jita.

Raba delmuy (compound words)
Bakom commonly uses compounds words, where multiple roots or compounding elements are combined to form new words, like English football from foot and ball.

There are a few rules for where to include spaces in compound words:

If the describing word is a stative verb, a space is written.
For instance sim bo “contentment”, from sim “heart” (a noun) and bo “good” (a stative verb).

Words like this are always written after a space.
For instance ji domyo da “capital letter”, where domyo da “large version” is written after a space because da “large” is a stative verb.

If the compound could easily be replaced with a phrase using a stative verb such as e “of/to/for” or ta “on” or so “as”, it is written with a space.

The compounding base o is never followed by a space.

Compounds with the prefixes no- “un-, non-” or te- “more, -er” are treated as one compounding element for the purposes of spacing.

Lo ji domyo da (rules of capitalization)

Capitalization (Bakom: ji domyo da “large version letter”) is always optional, but there are certain situations where its use is stylistically encouraged.

At the beginning of a sentence:

O a sum biwcay.
“He/she drinks tea.”

For proper nouns:

Si ma on Sofía pe jo?
“Have you seen Sofía?”

For any foreign word:

Mi a ting Baklava e be.
“I would like the baklava, please.”

In acronyms and abbreviations, in which case each individual element receives a letter: (However, acronyms should always be read out as the full words, never as the letters themselves.)

DC1 (decu un) “Monday”, PSA (paysemamik) “the U.S.A.”, D28L8S2016 (de tuday pat lu pat san tumil day sis) “August 28th, 2016”, etc.

Lo jipon (rules of punctuation)
The only obligatory punctuation marks are the period (Bakom: jipon hol “complete punctuation mark”) and the comma (Bakom: jipon del “partial punctuation mark”).

The period ⟨.⟩ is used after every sentence. It is not used between letters in acronyms.

The comma ⟨,⟩ has two main uses.
One is before a subordinate clause (one with a subordinating particle wa or wan). This does not mean that a pause is pronounced, but simply serves to increase readability. If there is a subject before the particle, the comma is placed before this subject.

Mi a on si ta wak, wa go mi ho we.
“I saw you when I was walking along the street.” (the subject mi comes after the particle)

Mi a ba e si pe jo, mi wan jan basapan.
“I told you that I don’t know Spanish.” (the subject mi comes before the particle)

The other use is between items in a list. A comma is placed after each item, akin to the Oxford Comma in English. (Note that no word translating English “and” is used.)

komal i po niwsay so silde, ronhaw, ronaw
“renewable resources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric

To in a i hak kay, aw, ham, kabot.
“Every person has a right to food, water, shelter, and dignity.”

A comma can also be used in any other circumstance in order to mark an important division of the sentence, such as before a quotation or to interject a comment.
O gijan mi, wa e gimen bo ri da, a jaw kitap ta. “My teacher, who is very helpful, is writing a book.”

The exclamation mark ⟨!⟩ (Bakom: jipon bepak, “command punctuation mark”) is optionally used to mark commands, which always have the particles ya or yan.

The question mark ⟨?⟩ (Bakom: jipon bejan, “question punctuation mark”) is optionally used to mark yes-or-no questions (with the particles ma or man) and questions with a question word like mo “what”.

There are also quotation marks ⟨’ ‘⟩ (Bakom: jipon mal baway “quotation punctuation mark”). The quotation marks are always placed before or within other punctuation marks. A quote-within-a-quote uses the double quotation mark ⟨” “⟩.

Jojirom (romanization)
Here is a list of preferred romanization systems for some common writing systems and languages:

Cyrillic: Scientific transliteration

Arabic: ALA-LC romanization

Persian: UN (2012)

Hebrew: Common Israeli

Mandarin: Pinyin
Cantonese: Yale

Devanagari: Hunterian system or Velthuis system

Japanese: Hepburn

Korean Han-geul: Revised Romanization

Persian: UN

Thai: ISO 11940-2

Greek (modern): Standard

Wesonba (Pronunciation)

Bakom has eighteen consonants and five vowels. These have relative flexibility of pronunciation, so a speaker may adapt the sounds according to their own linguistic background. Because of this, for most sounds multiple pronunciations will be given.
(The letter used to write the sound will be given in brackets ⟨⟩, and the IPA symbol in slashes //. The first IPA symbol is the preferred, neutral pronunciation. Click on the symbol to hear it pronounced.)

Sonban (vowels)
The vowel letters are always pronounced exactly the same, no matter what word they are in. This means that for instance the letter a is pronounced the same in dan “damage, injury” as in day “ten”.

⟨a⟩ /a, ɑ, ɐ, æ/
Like the a in father or in cat, or somewhere in between like the Spanish a in gato.

⟨e⟩ /, e, ɛ/
Like the e in red or the a in name, or somewhere in between like the Spanish e in perro.

⟨i⟩ /i/
Like the ee in green.

⟨o⟩ /, o, ɔ/
Like the o in more or the oa in road, or somewhere in between like the Spanish o in hora.

⟨u⟩ /u/
Like the oo in soon or the German u in gut.

An extra short vowel, like the e in ripen. This sound is optional, and is only used in the pronunciation of foreign words to break up difficult consonant clusters.

Sonfup (consonants)
The voiceless sounds /k/, /t/, /p/, /tʃ/ may or may not be pronounced with aspiration (a small puff of air after the consonant).

⟨k⟩ /k/
Like k in skin or in kin.

⟨t⟩ /t/
Like t in still or till.

⟨p⟩ /p/
Like p in spin or in pin.

⟨c⟩ /t͡ʃ, t͡ɕ, c͡ç/
Like ch in chill.

⟨g⟩ /g, ɠ/
Like English g in go, or like g in Jamaican Patois good.

⟨d⟩ /d, ɗ/
Like English d in dim, or like Jamaican Patois d in dem.

⟨b⟩ /b, ɓ/
Like English b bone, or like the Zulu b in ubaba.

⟨j⟩ /d͡ʒ, d͡ʑ/
Like English j in joke, or like Japanese j in 知人 chijin.

⟨h⟩ /h, x, χ, ɦ/
Like English h in hope, or Spanish j in jefe, or German ch in Bach, or Dutch h in hoofd.

⟨s⟩ /s, ɕ/
Like s in set.
Before the vowel /i/, it may also be pronounced like Mandarin x in 謝 xie or Japanese sh in 柴犬 shibainu or Polish s in sieć.

⟨f⟩ /f, ɸ/
Like f in feel.

⟨m⟩ /m/
Like m in me.

⟨n⟩ /n/
Like n in now.

⟨ng⟩ /ŋ/
Like ng in sing.

⟨l⟩ /l, ɫ, ɭ/
Like British English l in lean, or Russian l in малый malyj, or Korean l in 열 yeol.

⟨y⟩ /j/
Like the English y in yes.

⟨w⟩ /w, ʋ, v, ɰᵝ/
Like the English w in wing, or Dutch w in want, or German w in wollen, or Japanese w in watashi.

⟨r⟩ /ɾ, r, ɹ, ʁ, ȥ, ɻ/
This is the letter with the most varied pronunciation.
It may be pronounced like the English r in run, or Spanish r in hora, or Spanish rr in perro, or French r in rage, or Mandarin r in 人 rén.

This is the sound that appears in the English word “uh-oh”. It is never written, but it is pronounced when a word begins with a vowel. Its pronunciation is retained in compounds, so that the word ninaw “drought” is pronounced /ninˈʔaw/, as a compound of nin and aw.

Cayson (accent)
“Accent” (Bakom cayson “cadence of sound”) refers to a distinct emphasis given to a syllable in a word. In English, accent is what distinguishes the words recórd as in “to record something” (accented on the second syllable) and récord as in “a recording, a record” (accented on the first syllable).
(The accented syllable is indicated with an accent mark ´ in the following examples, but this is not how Bakom is normally written.)

In Bakom, unlike English, accent is always predictable.
In a root word, the accented syllable is always the one with the last vowel, as in kitáp “book”, ganám “sheep/goat”, or surí “Syrian”.

In compound words, the accent falls on the final describing word. For example banán “complaint”, kipfúy “effect”, or kimót foná “internal combustion engine”.

Exceptions to this are the prefixes no- and te- which are accented, as in nóbo “bad” and tébo “better”, and also the plural suffix -ya, which is never accented.

Here are some more examples.
galát “mistake”; the second syllable is accented because it is the last vowel in a root word.
rabá “word”; the second syllable is accented because it is the final element in a compound.
nókul “closed”; the first syllable no “un-, not” is accented because it describes the root kul “open”.
ténobo “worse”; the first syllable te- “more, -er” is accented because it describes the root nobo “bad”.
oya “they”; the first syllable o is accented because the plural suffix -ya cannot be accented.

Lopangson (phonotactics)
Phonotactics (Bakom lopangson “rules for arranging sounds”) refers to the way sounds may be arranged to form words.
Knowing Bakom phonotactics can help determine if an unfamiliar word is a compound; for instance, raba “word” must be a compound of ra and ba because neither rab nor raba are possible root words. It can also be helpful in recognizing the etymology of a word, for instance recognizing girin as based on English green.

These are the basic rules:

Consonant clusters (like in English frost or blink) can only appear between vowels, and generally don’t appear in word roots.

In general, a one-syllable root word is consonant-vowel-consonant, where both consonants are optional.
A two-syllable root word will usually be consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel-consonant, where the first consonant is optional. Root words of more than one syllable rarely end with a single consonant followed by a vowel (which is why raba cannot be a root word).

The sounds represented by r, g, d, b, j, and h can never come at the end of a word, and must always be followed by a vowel.

The velar nasal ng cannot appear at the beginning of a word, and only appears after a vowel.

The letter y can only come after a or u, and can only come before a, o, or u. Thus, ye, yi, ey, iy, and oy never occur.
Likewise, the letter w can only come after a or i, and can only come before a, e, or i. Thus, wo, wu, ow, uw, and ew never occur.

The vowels u and i cannot occur before ng.

The vowels e and o can never appear in an unstressed syllable of a root word. However, if they appear unstressed in a compound word like wepang “system”, they are still fully pronounced.

Here are some sentences for pronunciation practice, written first in normal orthography and then with all compound words hyphenated and accented syllables indicated with acute marks.

Suk si e kitap pe han, en a jo ka nokul pe jo.
Suk si e kitáp pe han, en a jo ka nó-kul pe jo.

“Thank you for your résumé, but the position has been filled.”

A jo mon kul ta, ya se la yum e be.
“The doors are opening, please stand back.”

A go boldi om sol i 30(samday) milmet pe riwak.
A go bol-dí om sol i sám-day mil-mét pe ri-wák.
“The Earth goes around the sun at 30 kilometers per second.”

Mi a ting wa jo domsem niw say.
Mi a ting wa jo dom-sém niw say.
“I’d like to renew my membership.”

U ra wan i pang e mi do.
“This still doesn’t make sense to me.”

Popkom a wel camyo pangpol motim la pay.
Pop-kóm a wel cam-yó pang-pól mot-ím la pay.
“The people want immigration policy reform.”

A jo muy hawak ta boldi da ta wak rabi wa fa sumlum pe cam.
A jo muy haw-ák ta bol-dí da ta wak ra-bí wa fa sum-lúm pe cam.
“Oxygen levels on Earth rose when organisms evolved photosynthesis.”