Memon(or Memoni as some call it), is a verbal language that has very little written information that documents the rules of the language. This lack of documentation might even extend to the culture and various habits of the Memon people. In a previous blog post I mentioned how I planned to expand the scope of this blog. Today I am proud to present the first article about the Memon language.
One caveat about my efforts to document Memon is that the verbal tradition diverges from area to area and the different "types of Memons"(basically a reference to which tribe you originate from in India). My reference point(s) for documenting Memon are the people around me who fluently speak the language.
Today I will discuss the pronouns: you and your
Pronouns: you and your
"You and your" fall under the category of personal pronouns. I needed a starting point for writing an article about the Memon language, so I chose these 2 pronouns due to the frequency of usage in communication.
Languages like Arabic have 6 different ways to say 'you' and a further 6 different ways to say 'your'. Memon is closer to English in this regard, as there are just 2 ways to say 'you' and 4 ways to say 'your' and the you/your words use the same pronoun(see below).
Pronoun: you - tu/ain
The Memon equivalent of you is: tu or ain
Both words mean 'you' and they are gender neutral(meaning that tu/ain) can both be used for males or both be used for females.
Why the different words? This is where Memon gets interesting. 'tu' is used for your peers and people of a similar or younger background. 'ain' is used for your elders. Baked into the language is the idea of respecting older people.
'Tu' is pronounced like two.
The 'n' in ain is silent.
'Ain' is pronounced like eye.
tu kidaa si aaviye(n)? / ai(n) kidaa si aaviye? - Where did you come from? Pronounced: two kid-aah see aah-vee-yeh(soft 'h' sound) / eye kid-aah see aah-vee-yeh(soft 'h' sound)
Pronoun: your - tojo/toji + ainjo/ainji
The pronoun for 'your' gets a bit more tricky and it was harder to understand the context of usage. Here, the 'your' is is divided into male/female:
tojo/ainjo = male toji/ainji = female
My first assumption was that the male/female options were used when speaking to a male or female. But holds breath ... Memon (possibly) shares some familiarity with Arabic regarding this. The context of when to use 'ji' or 'jo' depends on the words within the sentence or the context(see below for the discussion) and not on the gender of the person you are speaking to. This made me assume(as yet not fully proven) that Memon has masculine and feminine words just like Arabic
'Tojo' - I will split this in 2. 'To' is pronounced like 'shore' but with the silent 'r'. Another way to understand it is the 'shaw' in "Shawshank". The 'jo' in 'tojo'/'ainjo' is pronounced like jaw. A spell-as-you-speak-it way of spelling it would be: tawjaw/eyejaw
The 'ji' in 'toji' is pronounced like 'bee'
tojo naalo lak hidaa/ainjo naalo lik hidaa - Write your name here Pronounced: tawjaw naa-law lak(pronounced like flip) he-daa / eyejaw naa-law lak(pronounced like flip) he-daa
Masculine and Feminine
Documenting the masculine/feminine will prove tricky. It is not clear whether it is the general context that determines whether to use 'jo' or 'ji' or if certain words are feminine by nature(like Arabic has). I will keep trying to find examples to pick out a pattern(or lack thereof).
Next post: Interrogative pronouns
In the next blog post, I will discuss the interrogative pronouns like: what, when, where, how and who
For any mistakes in this article, please email me and I will fix them.
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