Nen nqn

Family Morehead
Region Southeast Asia & Australia



Nicholas Evans

Australian National University

with data contributions by 1 native speaker
2 References

How to cite the Nen dataset  BibTeX

Evans, Nicholas. 2013. Nen Valency Patterns.
In: Hartmann, Iren & Haspelmath, Martin & Taylor, Bradley (eds.) 2013.
Valency Patterns Leipzig.
Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
(Available online at, Accessed on 2021-10-18)


101 Verb forms 22 Coding frames 17 Alternations (3.5% avail.) 221 glossed Examples


Characterization of flagging resources

Case (ergative/absolutive), around 12 case suffixes. ERG/ABS neutralisation in singular case forms of pronouns only.

Characterization of indexing resources

Verb indexes up to two arguments, undergoer by prefix and actor by suffix. Only around 25 verbs are morphologically intransitive: all but 4 of them belonging to a special 'positional' class, the rest being 'be', 'come' (lit. hither-be), 'go' (lit. 'thither-be') and 'walk'. Other syntactically monovalent verbs use a morphologically middle construction with a person/number-invariant prefix plus a person/number sensitive suffix. The 'undergoer' verb prefixes are used for both direct and indirect objects, though these are flagged by different cases (absolutive and dative) on the corresponding free NPs.

Characterization of ordering resources

Word order is predominantly SOV (i.e. APV), though with some flexibility allowed by discourse factors. However, in the very productive 'experiencer object' construction used for most physical sensations like pain or disease, however, the order is PAV, i.e. the experiencer of the pain is generally placed first despite the fact that on other grounds it is the undergoer: it takes absolutive case and is cross-reference by the undergoer prefix.