Head direction
Head initial
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect

General informationEdit

Ban'si is the language of the raccoon-ish inhabitants of Bassa, who were originally human, but were the victims of a widely propagated transformation virus. They are slightly shorter than humans, and are known for being swift, agile and ressourceful.

Ban'si descends from the Romance languages that its once human speakers used to speak. It has evolved a lot from there, and grammar in particular has become very different. It has also had some limited influence from asian (a bit of vocabulary) and african languages (mostly grammar-related).

Phonetically, Ban'si is a fairly dense language, so it has moderately short words despite having a relatively simple phonemic inventory. It has 18 consonants, 7 vowels (plus nasal variants), phonemic length in both vowels and consonants, and a tone system that isn't based on levels or contours but rather on upsteps and downsteps.

Grammar-wise, Ban'si has the unusual feature of removing upstep and downstep tones in words to convey grammatical information (possessive). Ban'si also relies on reduplication and a wide variety of pronouns and clitics to indicate information such as person, voice, transitivity, negative, plural, verb tense and mode, and so on. It is generally a rather analytic language - not completely isolating, but it still has very few true inflections. The sentence order is SVO, and modifying adjectives and adverbs always follow what they are modifying.



Labial Dental


Velar Uvular
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative f v s ʒ (j)
Nasal m n ŋ (ng) ɴ (nr)
Liquid w l j (y) ʁ (r)

- Some regions pronunce "r" as /ɾ/.


Front Central Back
Close i ĩ (i in) ɨ ɨ̃ (u un) u ũ (ou oun)
Mid e ẽ (e en) o õ (o on)
Open a ã (a an)

- Ambiguous sequences are separated with a silent "h" (ex: "ohu" /oɨ/).


Upstep ↑ (')
Downstep ↓ (-)

- Tone step up is spelled with an appostrophe (ex: ka'mi).

- Tone step down is spelled with a dash (ex: ra-son).

- Words without any tone steps fall into the category of "toneless" words, and will have a small step added before the last syllable. For instance, the word kolimaso will be pronounced as kolima'so (non sentence-final) or kolima-so (sentence final), but with the step about half as large.

- When part of a possessive, the word's tone step is moved and the whole word is pronounced on the same tone. This is indicated by an appostrophe at the end of the word. The word's syllables get a medium or low tone if the removed step was an upstep, or a high tone if the step was a downstep.


- Permitted syllables are (C)V only.


Gender Cases Numbers Tenses Persons Moods Voices Aspects
Verb No No Yes No No No No No
Nouns No No Yes No No No No No
Adjectives No No Yes No No No No No
Numbers No No No No No No No No
Participles No No Yes No No No No No
Adverb No No Yes No No No No No
Pronouns No Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No
Adpositions No No No No No No No No
Article No No No No No No No No
Particle No No No No No No No No

Word orderEdit

Word order in Ban'si is SVO, with adverbial phrases and locatives coming at the end, and expressives at the very end of the sentence. Possessors/adjectives/relative clauses following the noun. Ban'si is strongly head-initial and has lots of prefixes, and very few suffixes.


In Ban'si, possessive is indicated in one of two ways:

- By removing the tone step (spreading the word's initial tone). For instance, "Kami' papa" ("Dad's truck").

- With the "na" particle: "Ka'mi na papa" ("Dad's truck"). "Na" is mostly used in longer noun phrases or with relative clauses or following words that use upstep.

- Attributive adjectives also use this construction: "Kami' bile" or "Ka'mi na bile" ("Blue truck").

- Relative clauses also use this construction: "Kami' o ve" or "Ka'mi na o ve" ("The truck I see").

- Locatives also use this construction: "Kami' Pari" or "Ka'mi na Pari" ("The truck in Paris").

- This is also used with possessive adjectives, demonstratives and interrogatives, as in "Kami' men" ("My truck"), "Kami' ga" ("This truck"), "Kami' wa" ("Which truck?").

- An emphatic form of possessive can be constructed when adding a possessive pronoun between the noun and possessor: "Kami' sen' papa" ("DAD's truck").

- Possessive pronouns are generally used with the step up possessive. Ex: "Papa' men" ("My dad).

Noun definitenessEdit

Nouns in Ban'si generally don't have articles and are normally unmarked for definiteness. But if definiteness really has to be marked, it can be done by using the number one "U" for indefinite, or using the demonstrative pronoun "Ga": "Ka'mi" ("A truck"/"The truck"), "U ka'mi" ("One truck"), "Kami' ga" ("That truck").


The copula ("to be") is indicated simply by juxtaposing the subject with the attribute. This can be distinguished from a noun phrase by the absence of possessive tone change.

- This is used with adjectives: "Ka'mi bile." ("The truck is blue").

- This is also used with nouns: "O papa." ("I am a dad").

- This is also used with locatives: "O Pari." ("I am in Paris").

- This is also used with possessive pronouns: "Kami' ga men" ("This truck is mine").


The existential is expressed with a locative pronoun + the noun group.

- By defalut, the 'close' pronoun "Ga" ("Here") is used: "Ga ka'mi." ("There's a truck" / "There's a truck here").

- When the object is far, the prounoun "La" ("There") is used: "La ka'mi." ("There's a truck there").

- This is also used with impersonnal verbs: "Ga pile." ("It's raining"), "La pile." ("It's raining there").


Negative is indicated with the "kou" prefix. This can be used with verbs, adjectives, nouns, locatives or pronouns:

- Verb: "O kou ve i." ("I don't see it").

- Adjective: "O kou bile." ("I'm not blue").

- Noun: "Kou ka'mi bile." ("No trucks are blue").

- Locative: "Ka'mi kou Pari." ("The truck is not in Paris").

- Pronoun: "Kou me!" ("Not me!").


Plural is indicated by reduplicating the first syllable (but without the nasal vowel) and is similar to the negative. Plural is optional in Ban'si. It can be used with verbs, adjectives or nouns (pronouns form their plurals differently):

- Verb: "O ve've." ("I see them"). This can indicate plural object or intensive or rarely plural subject, depending on transitivity and context.

- Adjective: "Ka'mi bibile." ("The truck is very blue"). Plural adjectives generally indicate intensive rather than the plural of the attached object.

- Noun: "Kaka'mi bile." ("The trucks are blue"). Note that plural is optional in Ban'si.


Locatives are a special kind of noun that always has a locative meaning. For instance, "Pari" always means "in Paris", never just "Paris". To form a non-locative expression, you must use a possessive: "Li' Pari" ("the place of Paris"). Locatives generally follow the object in a sentence (so they are generally at the end).

Ban'si doesn't have prepositions: all prepositional meanings are expressed using locatives in a possessive phrase. For instance, "in" is expressed with the locative "Nran" ("inside"), forming phrases such as "Nran' ka'mi" (inside the truck).

Some locatives also indicate time information, such as "Aye" ("yesterday").

Ban'si doesn't distinguish adverbs from adjectives: adverbs are simply adjectives used as if they were locatives. For instance, the adjective "san" means "together", and can be used as an adjective ("Me e papa san." - "Me and dad we are together"), an adverb ("Si ve i san." - "They see it together") or, using the possessive, as a preposition ("Me ve i san' Papa" - "I see it with dad").


Expressives are sentence-final particles that modulate the expression of the whole sentence. They often have strange tone patterns such as rises and falls. Some common expressives are:

- "Ni": interrogative. Yes/no questions end with this expressive, ex: "Te ga ve ka'mi ni?" ("Do you see the truck?"). It is also used in other questions, ex: "Kami nga ni?" ("Where is the truck?"). "Ni" is pronounced with a rising intonation (it could be spelled as "ni'i").

- "Da": exclamative. Statements expressing new, urgent information often use this, ex: "I ve ka'mi da!" ("He sees the truck!"). "Da" is pronounced with a high intonation, sometimes falling.

- "De": imperative. Ex: "Va de." ("Go.")

- "Nro": 1st person plural imperative. Ex: "Va nro." ("Let's go.")

- "Ja": forceful. Statements expressing self-gratification or a sense of self-superiority often end with "Jo". Ex: "O-niniki ja!" ("I am very strong!").


Ban'si has conjunctions that are rather similar to European ones:

- "E": "and". Ex: "Oto e ka'mi" ("The car and the truck").

- "Jou": "or". Ex: "Oto jou ka'mi" ("The car or the truck").

It also has sentence initial conjunctions:

- "Don": "So"

- "Vu": "Because"

- "Pou": "For", "Because"

- "Ki": "If"

- "Konsa": "So that"


Ban'si pronouns have 3 different forms: subject, object(default), possessive. The 3rd person pronouns don't distinguish plural.

Person Subject Object Possessive
1s O Me Men
2s Te Ne Nen
3s/3p I Si Sen
1p Jo Ji Jen
2p Vo Vi Ven

- For reflective verbs, object pronouns are used before the verb, instead of after it: "Me ve" ("I see myself").

- Ban'si doesn't distinguish transitivity: "O ve" ("I see it" or "I see").

- 3rd person subject pronouns can be dropped if an object pronoun is used: "Ve me" ("It sees me"). - In addition, Ban'si has a few bi-personal pronouns used with transitive verbs:

Subject Object Pronoun
1s 2s No
2s 1s Men

These pronouns are used after the verb: "Ve no" ("I see you"), "Ve men" ("You see me").


Ban'si verbs are conjugated using a wide set of auxiliary verbs. The verb stem itself is invariable. Imperative is formed using the lone verb stem with an intensifier at the end of the sentence.

Aux.Verb Meaning Usage Example
"va" "To go" Future "O va fe' u kanga" ("I will make a change")
"po" "To be able to" Possibility "O po ve i" ("I can see it")
"fe" "To make"/"To do" Causative "O fe santi ben" ("I make it feel good")
"ten" "To hold" Perfective "O ten fe kanga" ("I made a change")
"vo" "To want" Desiderative "O vo va" ("I want to go")
"do" "To have to" Necessitative "O do manje" ("I must eat")


Example textEdit

- Translation of "Man in the Mirror" (nb: tones aren't correct)

O va fe u kanga (I will make a change)
U fa' nran' vidi (One time in life)
Me va santi beben (I will feel very good)
O va fe difera (I will make a difference)
O va fe koja' ben (I will make a good thing)

Moman' o deroulo kolo' (The moment I unroll the collar of)
Manto' pefere' men (My favorite coat)
Van soupou esipi' men (The wind blows my spirit)

O ve ananfan nran' ru (I see kids in the street)
Asan' kou se' manje (With not enough to eat)
O ngi pou' o avu (Who am I to be blind)
Fe pare' kou ve bijen' sen (Pretending not to see their needs)

Negijan' u ete (The negligence of a summer)
Goulo' boute' rije (The broken neck of a bottle)
E esipi' u go (And the spirit of a man)

Si sivi jakun su' eli' van (They follow each one on the wings of wind)
Te se  (You know)
Vu' i kou ga kepa' va (Because they don't have somewhere to go)

E pou' an' ga vo se no (And for that I want you to know)

O koman depa' go' nran' miro' ga (I start with the man in that mirror there)
O deman kanga fason' sen (I ask to change his ways)
E jajame ga mesa' po kele' pu (And never ever there could be a clearer message)

Ki te vo fe mon'no i anda' miju (If you want to make the world a better place)
Ne riga beben de (Look at yourself well)
Ape' fe kanga (After make a change)

O ten vitin' amou' (I' was a victim of a love of)
Tipi' egoisi (An egoist type)
Menan' moman' me rankon (Now I realize)

Ga jan kou ga mejon (There are people that don't have a house)
Kou ga sen sou' pete (Don't have a 5 cent to loan)
An po me veman ni (Can really it be me)
Fe pare' i kou tousu (Pretending they're not alone)

Solo' ga sikati (A scarred willow)
Koro' rije' kekun (Someone's broken heart)
E reve' fade (And a faded dream)

I sivi momotivi' nran' van (They follow the patterns in the wind)
Te se (You know)
Vu' i kou ga kepa' vi (Because they don't have somewhere to live)

Don' o koman depa' me (So I'm starting with me)

O koman depa' go' nran' miro' ga (I start with the man in that mirror)
O deman kanga fason' sen (I ask to change his ways)
E jajame ga mesa' po kele' pu (And never ever there could be a clearer message)

Ki te vo fe mon'no i anda' miju (If you want to make the world a better place)
Ne riga beben de (Look at yourself well)
Ape' fe kanga (After make a change)

- First few verses of the Babel text

Moman' ga mon'no' tota ga u langa tousu. Moman' gogo va direjon' ese, i touve pelen nran' sinara e si insala la. Si di jakun "Asan fe biri e kukuji tota nro." I utili biri oyu' pije, e goudou oyu' motije. I di "Asan ji bati vi nro, asan' tou' aten' sije, konsa' jo po fe non' jen e ji kou va separe desu' mon'no' tota.

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