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Adverbs are similar to adjectives, but while the latter modify a noun, adverbs modify a verb (phrase) or another word, such as an adjective, a numeral, or another adverb. Lugamun has two basic kinds of adverbs: plain adverbs and ku-adverbs. Both types are placed after the word they modify.

Note: This placement is for consistency with how adjectives are placed in Lugamun.

Ku-adverbs are easily recognizable by having the particle ku in front of them. Plain adverbs, on the other hand, have no specific marker in front of them. XXX Adapt this, since there are also adverbs derived through reduplication, such as gengen.

Plain adverbs

Plain adverb these words are only used as adverbs, they cannot modify nouns. (XXX Improve this wording since pia can also modify noun (phrases), see the examples.) They include:

  • baru – just, recently (refers to the recent past)
  • hata – even
  • kasi – almost
  • kixa – then, soon after, next
  • kvai – soon, be about to (refers to the near future)
  • mo – already
  • pia – also, too
  • rubama – perhaps, maybe (expresses that something is possible, but not certain)
  • sam – -self, -selves, own (used for emphasis)
  • takriban – approximately, about, roughly
  • tena – again, another time, once more
  • vapas – back
  • yexo – still, yet

Plain adverbs are typically placed at the end of the phrase they modify. This sometimes allows expressing nuances that are difficult to clearly express in English.

Mi pia xvo inglis. – I too speak English. (not just you)
Mi xvo inglis pia. – I speak English too. (not just Lugamun)
Mi nulis pia inglis. – I also write English. (I don’t just speak it)

In verb chains, adverbs are placed after the verb which they modify, which may not always be the last verb in the chain.

Mi amal tu miru kvai ya. – I hope to see her/him soon.

XXX Add another example where it’s not the last verb.

Adverbs and adverbial expressions referring to the verb (and hence the whole clause) may also be placed elsewhere in the clause, as long as they are placed between rather than within phrases and provided they are unlikely to be misunderstood as referring to the preceding phrase rather than to the verb. Such free placement is especially common with adverbs describing the time when an event took place. Note that anything placed at the beginning of the clause will always be considered as somewhat emphasized compared to neutral placement.

The following two sentences are relatively common ways of expressing the underlying notion.

Safirja (li) finu cvan kvai (yas) manto. – Soon the traveler took off his cloak. (this is the most typical and most neutral way of expressing this)
Kvai safirja (li) finu cvan (yas) manto.(same meaning, but with a slightly stronger emphasis on the “soonishness” of the act)

The following alternatives are also possible, but much rarer.

Safirja kvai (li) finu cvan (yas) manto.
Safirja (li) finu cvan (yas) manto kvai.

The meaning of plain adverbs can be found in dictionaries, just as with any other words. A few of them deserve special discussion, though. These are covered in the subsections that follow.


Rubama also has a derived alternative, ku mumkin. Both have the same meaning, though rubama may be a bit more common. While they are adverbs in Lugamun, in English they are sometimes translated using the auxiliary verb ‘may’ or ‘might’.

Rubama le lai den tali. – Maybe they will come tomorrow. / They may come tomorrow.
Rubama it li era ku sola. – Maybe it was just a mistake. / It might have just been a mistake.

Rubama and ku mumkin express a possibility according to someone’s knowledge about the world – they express that the speaker is unsure about whether or not something is true or will become true. In linguistics and philosophy, this is known as epistemic possibility.

Don’t confuse this with ability (somebody is able to do something) or permission (somebody has the right to something). To express these in Lugamun, one typically uses the auxiliary verb bisa ‘can, may, be able to’

Ya bisa main [tennis] ku hau hau. – She can play tennis really well. / She is really good at tennis.
Mi bisa go [party] ka? – Can I go to the party? / May I go to the party?

Rationale: In expressing situational possibility (ability and permission) with a verbal construction (the auxiliary bisa), Lugamun follows WALS (ch. 74). That it doesn’t use verbal constructions or affixes, but rather some other kind of markers (namely, in our case, adverbs) to express epistemic possibility likewise follows WALS (ch. 75). That these two kinds of possibility are expressed in different ways without overlap is likewise most typical according to WALS (ch. 76).


Sam is an intensifier, stressing the fact that the indicated person (or thing) will handle the indicated activity in person or that (maybe surprisingly) they themselves are meant rather than anyone else.

Mi sam ga fa it. – I’ll do it myself.
[President] sam li [visit] nas! – The president herself/himself has paid us a visit!
Nas li miru maraji sam! – We have seen the king himself!

Don’t confuse sam with the reflexive pronoun sin. Both are typically translated as '-self’ in English, but while sam adds emphasis, sin simply refers back to the subject, indicating that subject and object (for example) are the same.

When sam is added after a possessive pronoun or combined with a possessive noun phrase (sam de … or … ki sam), it stresses the importance of the possessive relationship, also indicating that it is exclusive rather than shared. In such cases, it is typically translated as ‘own’.

Mi yau mis sam ruma! – I want my own house! (I don’t want to share a house.)
Ta xi [car] sam de mis [boss]. / Ta xi mis [boss] ki sam [car]. – That’s my boss’s own car.


Most adverbs are derived from adjectives by placing the marker ku between the adjective and the word or expression it modifies.

Ya nulis ku hau. – She/He writes well.
ona daki ku [amazing] – an amazingly intelligent woman

Any adjective can be turned into an adjective in such a manner, if it makes sense to do so.

Ku-adverbs can be modified by determiners, which are placed before the ku.

Ya nulis ingi ku hau. – She/He writes very well.

(You could also express this using reduplication, saying: Ya nulis ku hau hau.)

They can also be modified by other adverbs, which are placed after the adverb to which they refer.

Ya li tenda ku daki ku [amazing]. – He/She acted amazingly intelligently. / He/She acted in an amazingly intelligent way.

Adverbial phrases

Some ideas that might be represented as adverbs in other languages are expressed using prepositional phrases instead. These include kom ta ‘such, like that’.

en/grammar/adverbs.txt · Last modified: 2023-02-17 12:23 by christian

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