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



Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal n ɲ ŋ
Stop t͡s t͡ʃ k
Fricative θ s ʃ h
Approximant j w
Rhotic ɾ~r
  • Dental consonants are laminal, with /θ/ being interdental in most environments.
  • Alveolar consonants are apical.
  • Palatal consonants are laminal.


  • Obstruents are voiced intervocalically, following a nasal, and are unvoiced otherwise.
  • The nasal consonants /n ɲ ŋ/ are only contrastive when before a vowel and are otherwise subject to extreme neutralization, with all three being realized as [n] word-finally and being subject to significant assimilation when in a cluster, being realized as:
    • [n̪] before or after a dental consonant, the sequence /nl̪/ is [l̪:];
    • [n] before or after an alveolar, the sequence /nɾ/ is [r], the sequence /ɾn/ is [n:];
    • [ɲ] before or after a palatal consonant; the sequence /nj/ becomes [ɲ];
    • [ŋ] before or after a velar consonant or /h/.
  • Short /r/ is tapped while geminate /r/ is trilled.
  • When affricates are geminate, the stop component is lengthened.
  • Dental consonants and alveolar consonants most often assimilate in place to each other regressively.
    • Regressive assimilation occurs when both consonants of cluster come from the set of consonants /n t̪ s l̪ ɾ/, or in the case of /nθ/, and except /l̪ɾ ɾl̪ nɾ ɾn/.
    • The clusters /l̪ɾ ɾl̪/ are realized as [r l̪:].
    • The clusters /nɾ ɾn/ are realized as [r n:]
    • The cluster /θn/ is realized as [θn̪].
    • /t͡s/ forces a preceding or following dental consonant to become alveolar, notably with /θ/ becoming [s].
    • /θ/ does not assimilate except to /t͡s/ and forces a following alveolar consonant to be laminal in articulation with /ɾ/ remaining apical. It may be important to note that /sθ θs/ remain the same.
  • Plain alveolar consonants will become palatal consonants (i.e. /n t͡s s ɾ/ > [ɲ t͡ʃ ʃ j]) before a palatal consonant, while the alveolar sibilants also become palatal (i.e. /t͡s s/ > [t͡ʃ ʃ]) following the palatal sibilants.
  • /nj t͡sj sj ɾj/ are [ɲ t͡ʃ ʃ j].
  • /h/ is subject to significant allophony and assimilation:
    • /h/ is realized as:
      • [h] at the beginning of a word, following a back vowel and before a voiceless consonant other than /k/, and following another consonant;
      • [ɦ] intervocalically and in between a vowel and a sonorant consonant;
      • [ç] word-finally after a front vowel and following a front vowel and before a voiceless consonant other than /k/;
      • [x] word-finally after a back vowel and always before /k/;
      • [x:] when geminate regardless of vocalic environment.
    • /h/ will assimilate to a fricative that precedes it, resulting in a geminate fricative, i.e. /sh/ is realized as [s:]. This does not happen following an affricate.


Front Back
Close i y u
Mid e ø ɤ o
Open-mid æ
Open ɑ


  • /i y u/ are realized as [ɪ ʏ ʊ] before sonorant consonants.
  • /e ɤ/ are lowered to [ɛ ʌ] following a syllable containing an instance of the same vowel and always if word-final.


Ukantel syllables minimally consist of only a vowel and maximally are CVC. The syllable structure can thus be transcribed as (C)V(C). Outside of nasal neutralization, any consonant can appear word-initially or word-finally, or as the coda or onset of syllables not at word boundaries. Consonant clusters thus are not allowed to be longer than two segments; anaptyxis is employed to avoid this. Certain clusters are subject to assimilation, which is detailed in the above consonant allophony section.

The syllable structure is obeed in roots and at the word level, however, affixes are not bound to syllabic structure and can take any form, even that of a single consonant or a string of two consonants and thus lacking a nucleus. 

Hiatus is preffered with strings of vowels, although a weak glide co-occurs when the first vowel in a sequence is /i/ or /u/ (with [j] or [w] appearing respectively).


Stress is non-phonemic and falls on the first syllable of a word. Stressed vowels are pronounced significantly longer than unstressed vowels, approximately 50% to 60% longer. Vowels are not regularly reduced when unstressed, although some phonological processes occur only with unstressed vowels. 


Ukantel is written using a modified variant of the Latin alphabet. There are no digraphs in the language, instead a diacritical system exists, making use of the cedilla to mark (historically) palatalized alveolar consonants and the diaeresis to mark additional vowel sounds. 


Aa Ää Cc Çç Ee Ëë Hh Ii Yy Kk Ll Nn
/ɑ/ /æ/ /t͡s/ /t͡ʃ/ /e/ /ɤ/ /h/ /i/ /j/ /k/ /l̪/ /n/
Ņņ Gg Oo Öö Rr Ss Şş Tt Dd Uu Üü Ww
/ɲ/ /ŋ/ /o/ /ø/ /ɾ/ /s/ /ʃ/ /t̪/ /θ/ /u/ /y/ /w/

Making note of the placements of y, g, and d, Ukantel alphabetical ordering is observably different than the average Latin alpabet. These deviations exist because it was decided that letters with similar pronounciations should be near each other in the alphabet, based off the idea that accented letters were to follow their unaccented base forms. 

Letter namesEdit

The vowel letters are named after the vowels themselves, except o (named or) and ö (named ör), named so to retain their original unreduced vocalic pronunciation. Consonant letters are named are named after the consonant plus e, with an exception in h (named ha).

a, ä, ce, çe, e, ë, ha, i, ye, ke, le, ne, ņe, ge, or, ör, re, se, şe, te, de, u, ü, we

Orthographic notesEdit

  • Nasal consonants are written according to their pronounciation when pre-vocalic and unclustered, otherwise <n> is utilized, even in clusters where the nasal pronunciation may be lost.
    • When words beginning in <ņ g> are used in compounds so that <ņ g> no longer is word-initial or intervocalic, their spelling is changed to <n> to reflect the neutralization of nasals elsewhere.
    • A number of roots with final <n> have irregular forms that result in <ņ g> when followed by a vowel-initial suffix; these alternations are indicated in writing.
  • <y> is omitted following palatal consonants <ņ ç ş>.


Vowel HarmonyEdit

With a few exceptions, native Ukantel roots contain either only front vowels /y e ø æ i/ or only back vowels /u ɤ o ɑ/. /i/ does not have a back variant and patterns largely as a front vowel. In back vowel words /i/ is transparent, i.e. it does not change the harmony to front. Roots that contain only /i/ take front vowel suffixes. Generally, archiphonemes are used in grammatical writings, being transcribed /U E O A/ and representing pairs /y~u e~ɤ ø~o æ~ɑ/. There is no harmonization according to roundedness and thus all Ukantel grammatical suffixes have two variants, although suffixes containing only /i/ have only a single variant. It is also worth noting here that some suffixes consist only of one or two consonants, with vowels being inserted epenthetically if necessary according to harmony. 

In native Ukantel roots, vowel harmony is rarely violated outside of a few roots, such as ayäceć, the Ukantel word for alphabet. Vowel harmony is not applied when compounding if roots contain differing sets of vowels. Loanwords, especially newer loans, do not necessarily adhere to vowel harmony. 


Anaptyxis, or epenthesis of a vowel, is necessary with certain grammatical suffixes as the stringing together of certain morphemes would violate the Ukantel syllable structure. A (C)V(C) syllable structure is obeyed at the word level, meaning consonant clusters can only be two segments long and must appear intervocalically, and that all syllables must have a vocalic nucleus. Some suffixes have already two forms outside of epenthesis in order to avoid consonant or vowel strings, such as the dative case suffix, which appears as -t following a vowel and as -Ot following a consonant. Consonant strings longer than two may appear due to suffixing, and an epenthetic vowel -E is inserted to avoid that. The epenthetic vowel follows a string of two consonants that would otherwise appear before another consonant unless it would appear within the suffix itself.

Non-verbal MorphologyEdit


Nouns are manditorily inflected for number and case and optionally for posession. The below table outlines the detail of the nominal structure.

Stem Number Posession Case


The stem includes nominal roots and any possible derivational suffixes attached thereto and is essentially the barest form of a noun found in regular speech, as well as being the dictionary citation form. The bare stem is identical to that of the nominative singular, and not always to the nominal root. 


Ukantel distinguishes between singular and plural. The singular is unmarked and the plural is formed with the suffix  (or -Eş if necessary).

There are homophones where a singular noun may appear to be plural in form (or in fact the plural form of a separate noun) due to ending in .


Posession is indicated by a suffix in Ukantel. The head in a genitive phrase is marked with a posessive suffix, agreeing with the posessor in person and number, which is sometimes called a construct state due to the influence of Semitic linguistics. Concerning the two-variant singular posessive suffixes, the first appears following vowels and the second following consonants. 

Posessor Suffix
1SG -k, -Ak
2SG -n, -Un
3SG -w, -Aw
1PL -kAş
2PL -nAş
3PL -wAş


Ukantel nouns decline for 8 cases, the suffixes of which are listed in the table below; the nominative is unmarked.

Case Suffix
Accusative -E, -yE
Dative -Ot, -t
Genitive -n
Instrumental -dA
Comitative -tE
Temporal -hU
Durative -lUk

The nominative case is used to mark the subject of a sentence, more specifically, the agent of a transitive verb and the patient (also called the experiencer) of an intransitive verb.

The accusative case is used to mark the patient (also called the object) of a transitive verb. When making a transitive verb causative, both the causee (the subject of the non-causal clause) and the original object appear in the accusative case, with the causee appearing second. -E is used following stems or a preceeding morpheme that end in a consonant and -yE following those ending in a vowel.

The dative case is used to mark the recipient or geographical destination of an object, the object of verbs implying transfer or perception, the purpose or beneficiary of an action. -Ot is used following stems or a preceeding morpheme that ends in a cononant and -t following those ending in a vowel.

The genitive case is used to mark the posessor of another noun, a noun which modifies another noun, description, geographic origin, and composition. 

The instrumental case is used to mark the means by which an action is done, whether physical or abstract. 

The comitative case is used to mark with whose company an action is done or to express adornment, and is extended in its latter usage to express ownership with the the verb copular verb tehe.

The temporal case is used to mark when an action is done and can be applied to numbers to mean at ___ o'clock, or to noun phrases to mean on _____

The durative case is used to specify the length of an action or during what the action took place, meaning effectively for x ____ (where x is a numeral) or during _____ or throughout ______.


Personal pronounsEdit

As in most languages, personal pronouns in Ukantel are irregular. The temporal and durative forms of the pronouns exist but are not used in colloquial speech, and thus are not listed in the table below. They are formed by suffixing the case edings to the nominative stem, except the first person singular, whose stem is äk. Ukantel is a pro-drop language, meaning subject pronouns are omitted unless for emphasis.Similarly, genitive pronouns are usually omitted in a posessor-posessed structure unless for emphasis.

Case 1S 2S 3S 1P 2P 3P
Nominative äk un a kaş naş waş
Accusative äksä unya awa kaşa naşa waşa
Dative äköt unut awot kaşot naşot waşot
Genitive äksen unën an kaşën naşën waşën
Instrumental äkdä unda awda kaşda naşda waşda
Comitative äkte untë atë kaştë naştë waştë

The third-person singular pronouns are only used for human referents, whereas the demonstrative pronouns are used for any other third-person referents. This distinction is not realized with other third-person indicators (i.e. the posessive suffix or verbal agreement), as they are used to refer to all third-person referents. Compare the following two sentences:

Hala yën!
that-ACC eat-2SG
Eat it/that!
Awa yën!
3SG-ACC eat-2SG
Eat him/her!

The accusative case pronouns are used as reflexive pronouns. The dative pronouns are used similarly for verbs that require a dative object.

Äksä aşuhtolhëk.
I didn't stand up.

The genitive pronouns can be used either attributively, although they are usually omitted in this usage unless for emphasis, or predicatively. 

Demonstrative pronounsEdit

Ukantel makes a two-way proximity distinction in its demonstratives, which pull double duty as both pronouns and adjectives, and are listed as pronouns on this page for simplicity. As adjectives they do not decline and simply precede the noun, while as pronouns, they decline regularly as nouns. The proximal demonstrative is regular while the distal demonstrative bears irregular forms with its stem eg- which appears as en- in isolation and when followed by a consonant.

Proximal hal
Distal eg

Interrogative pronounsEdit

Interrogative words and phrases are formed regularly from a few interrogative roots either on their own, declined across cases, or with modifiers or particles. 

What? ka
Who? löt
Which? eylä
How many?

Ka 'what' is the most common interrogative root used in forming interrogative compounds.

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Indefinite pronounsEdit


Modifiers in Ukantel can be separated into three categories:

  1. Numerals
  2. Non-numeral quantifiers
  3. Adjectives

Constituents of all three categories behave similarly to verbs. When used to modify a noun, there are no agreement markers and modifiers precede the head noun. When used as a predicate, modifiers take a derivational suffix and then verbal suffixes in order to agree with a subject. 

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Verbal morphologyEdit

Verbs in Ukantel are morphologically regular, bearing no suppletive forms. They take a multitude of suffixes to indicate finite grammatical information and suffixes that construct non-finite forms. 

Finite Verbal MorphologyEdit

Finite verbs serve as the main verb of a clause. Suffixes attach to finite verbs in a fixed order, illustrated in the table below.

Stem Voice Polarity Tense Aspect Mood Person


The stem of a verb in Ukantel is the bare form of the verb and is a bound morpheme. Stems do not have any restrictions insofar as their syllabic structure. 


The active voice in Ukantel is unmarked. More than one voice suffix may be applied to the verb, however, doubly causative verbs are not possible morphologically and instead use a periphrastic construction. The semantics of the voice suffixes are not always in line with their defined meanings and have unpredictable meanings with certain verb roots.  

Voice Suffix
Passive -hU
Reciprocal -sk
Causative -tO


Negation is indicated with the suffix -l


Morphologically, Ukantel distinguishes three tenses, of which the present tense is unmarked. Compound tenses are expressed periphrastically.

Tense Suffix
Past -in
Future -AyUr


Ukantel distinguishes between two aspects morphologically. Other aspectual meanings are conveyed using auxiliary verbs. 

Aspect Suffix
Perfective -hE


Mode Suffix
Admonitive -Ahid
Permissive -Eg
Abilitative -çO
Potential -wEr
Desiderative -ak
Imperative-Hortative -∅

The admonitive mode is generally used to indicate warnings and translates as "should", "must", "have to".

At öyleyä ņesähdit.
this man-DAT listen-ADM-1SG
I should listen to this man.

The permissive mode indicates that the action is allowed.

Sänken etültöleget.
I am not allowed to fell trees.

The abilitative mode indicates that the action is able to be performed.

Ükäntele sençöt.
Ukantel-ACC speak-ABIL-1SG
I can speak Ukantel.

The potential mode indicates that the action is likely.

Yön üney şün sokhëwër.
that-DIST dog 2SG.ACC bite-PRF-POT
That dog could have bitten you.

The desiderative mode indicates that the action is wanted.

Körhü unkaya astakut.
night-TMP sky-DAT see-DES-1SG
I want to see the sky at night.

The imperative-hortative mood (usually referred to solely as the imperative and likewise glossed as IMP) expresses command, request, suggestion, exhortation, and urging. The imperative cannot take tense or aspect suffixes. It can only be preceded by voice suffixes or the negative suffix, and followed by person suffixes, incluidng -hV to indicate a 3rd person imperative. First and third person imperatives are cross-linguistically referred to as the hortative or jussive moods respectively, and those terms are akin to their semantic meanings in Ukantel. 

First person imperatives have a hortative sense, whether singular or plural, suggesting that either the speaker or the speaker and addressee(s) perform the action. Second person imperatives have a general sense of command or request. Third person imperatives have a jussive sense, suggesting that a third party perform the action or be permitted to perform the action. Translations of first-person singular imperatives are often awkward when translated to English. Examples are given below.

Because it is not overtly marked, all imperatives sans 3rd person forms are phonologically identical to present imperfect forms of the verb.

Attë täyä sanaş.
that-ACC 1SG.DAT give-2SG
Give that to me.
Täyä yukuyşan.
1SG.DAT listen-2PL
Listen to me (spoken to multiple people)
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Person Edit

Person Suffix
1S -k, -Ak
2S -n, -Un
1P -kAş
2P -nAş
3P -wAş

Non-finite Verbal MorphologyEdit

Non-finite verb forms in Ükäntel are numerous and common in the language. This includes the infinitive, gerunds, and participles. and converbs. 


The infinitive form of a verb ends in -hE. As the infinitive is the citation form of a verb, this presents an ambiguitity concerning roots that end in vowels and roots that end in a consonant cluster or geminate consonant, as roots of the latter type end in -EhE due to anaptyxis. In a dictionary, an asterisk is placed before those forms with -EhE due to anaptyxis. In speech and writing, however, distinguishing these forms is unnecessary. The infinitive in Ukantel is found in constructions where one finite verb is a constituent of another.


The gerund in Ukantel is the nominal form of a verb that is not entirely deverbal, meaning it can take some of the morphological suffixes and arguments that a finite verb would. Entirely deverbal nouns are listed under derivational morphology. The gerund is marked with -Vr

Urënëşka neser şüyä çinäyür.
parent-2SG-DAT.PL listen-GER 2SG.DAT help-FUT
Listening to your parents will help you.


Participles in Ukantel function as verbal adjectives, meaning they serve to modify a noun. They use the same endings as normal finite verbs, with the addition of an ending for a present tense participle, but nothing marking imperfective aspect, both of which are unmarked in finite verb forms, and do not take personal affixes. Third-person singular verb forms are often indistinct from a similarly-constructed participle because of this. To show nominative arguments in a participial phrase, nominative-case pronouns are used. In this manner, as they are not restricted in what tenses, aspects, modalities, etc, they can appear in, participles often take the place of relative clauses. The present tense ending, which is only used in participial constructions, is -lA.

As participles, verbs govern the same cases as they would if used finitely, meaning some participles make take dative objects. 

Öttelä öyle ayëtda senes tin.
sit-PRS.PTCP man mom-1SG-COM talk-CONV be-PST
The sitting man was talking with my mom. 
Ośtala röne etülinhe.
burn-PRS.PTCP building fall-PST-PFV
The burning building fell.
Sanëtë nohhonë orrë ertäylä yetä astuwinhë üney täyä wiyü heşes te.
meat-ACC mouth-3SG-ACC in-STT hold-PRS.PTCP 1SG.NOM see-PST.PFV dog 1SG.DAT behind-toward run-CONV be
The dog that I saw holding meat in its mouth is running after me.

A construction meaning "when" is constructed using a participle before the temporal case of örüs "time".

Yetä şiwkoloşë esälätöwin örüshü kininahdiş. 
1SG.NOM bowl-2SG-ACC be.full-CAUS-PST time-TEMP ask-PST-ADM-2SG
You should have asked when I filled your bowl.


Converbs are verb forms that are dependent on another verb and usually express some form of adverbial subordination although some forms express coordination with the main verb of a clause. Converbial clauses most often appear in the absolute place of a sentence, i.e. before the verb and all of its constituents.

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-s describes a repeated action contemporaneous with the main verb. This is also used to construct the progressive aspect in conjunction with the verb tehe. In this use, the converb and verb appear together at the end of the sentence. 

Etüles yön sör önin.
fall-CONV that woman walk-PST
That woman stumbled (i.e. walked falling).
Yenehü ölöces täyürüt.
ten-TEMP leave-CONV be-FUT-1SG
I will be leaving at 10.

-OcE describes a single instance of or a sustained action slightly prior to or contemporaneous with the main verb. This often corresponds to the English "by doing" or "with doing."

Aş köyşül üneyhene eytäyöce höya çininheçötän.
one night-DUR dog-3SG-ACC take-CONV 3SG.DAT help-PST-PFV-ABIL-1PL
We were able to help him by taking his dog for a night.

Derivational MorphologyEdit


Particles in Ukantel are function words that must be associated with another word or phrase to impart their meaning. 

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Ukantel has postpositions which are used to mark primarily spatial and temporal relations. A large number of these postpositions are formed synthetically from morphemes that indicate location and motion state, akin to the locative case systems of many Caucasian languages. Each postposition requires the noun to be in a specific case.

Synthetic postpositionsEdit

The synthetic postpositions are each composed of two morphemes, the primary of which (the prefix) indicates orientation and the secondary of which (the suffix) indicates motion state. The vowels in suffixes harmonize to those in the prefix accordingly. Some combinations of these morphemes are not productive. These postpositions are used with the accusative case if the suffix is -rE or and with the dative for the remaining suffixes. 

Slot 1 morphemes
Meaning Prefix
in something hollow or-
in a mass, among sü-
at et-
on horizontally las-
on vertically ö-
under ke-
before, in front of hë-
behind wi-
near, next to, by äd-
Slot 2 morphemes
Meaning Suffix
Stationary (STT) -rE
Motion to
Motion toward -yU
Motion from -lA
Motion through -hA
Motion until -On

The following sentences exemplify the postpositions in use.

Äthene lasrë öttes tet.
chair-ACC on.horiz-STT sit-CONV be-1SG
I am sitting on the chair.
Röneyä orla heşes tin.
building-DAT inside-from run-CONV be-PST-1SG
He was running from inside the building.

Other postpositionsEdit



Cardinal numeralsEdit

Ukantel has a decimal numeral system. There are distinct numeral roots for each unit digit (1-10), and for powers of ten, namely koga "hundred (100)", hüttö "thousand (1,000)", and yalit "ten thousand (10,000)". In forming powers of ten higher than ten thousand, compounds of these roots and yalit are used, namely kine yalit "hundred thousand (100,000)", koga yalit "million (1,000,000)", hüttö yalit "ten million (10,000,000)", and yalit yalit "hundred million (100,000,000)". These bases denoting powers of ten and compounds thereof are not numerals in themselves, being true nouns instead, and thus may not stand on their own when acting numerically. The word "nothing" is used in place of zero. Other numerals are formed using decimal structural principles. Teens, twenties, thirties, etc are formed using the tens word (10, 20, 30, etc) followed by a unit digit, written as a single word. Tens, except for 10 itself, are formed semi-regularly from unit digits using the suffix -tUk. When forming tens with this suffix, some of the unit digits may drop or elide their final vowel.

The formation of larger numerals is somewhat irregular from a semantic point of view. Up to 10,000, numerals are formed similarly to English: cf. 2,304 two thousand three hundred four and öt hüttö salë koga şac or 5,649 five thousand six hundred fourty nine and saç hüttö ege koga aynutukäd .However, ten-thousands (i.e. 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, etc) themselves are formed using 10,000 eylit. For example, 10,000 is eş yalit (lit. one ten-thousand) and 20,000 is öt yalit instead of kine koga and öttük koga respectively. However, thousands in between are formed as in English, meaning 21,000 is öttükeş hüttö. This is true for other bases denoting powers of ten as well. 

A succinct amount of numeral forms are found in the table below.

0 20 öttük
1 21 öttükeş
2 öt 22 öttüköt
3 salë 23 öttüksalë
4 aynu 24 öttükaynu
5 şac 30 saltuk
6 ege 40 aynutuk
7 awço 50 şactuk
8 ņeli 60 entük
9 äd 70 awçotuk
10 kine 80 ņeltük
11 kineeş 90 ädtük
12 kineöt 100 eş koga
13 kinesalë 200 öt koga
14 kineaynu 1,000 öt hüttö
15 kineşac 30,000 salë yalit
16 kineege 55,000 şactuk şac
17 kineawço 140,000 kineaynu yalit
18 kineņeli 7,000,000 awço koga yalit
19 kineäd 80,000,000 ņeli hüttö yalit
10,741,056 eş hüttö yalit awço koga aynutukeş hüttö şactuk ege
236,800,599 öt koga saltukege koga yalit ņeltük yalit şac koga ädtükäd

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