Type Oligosynthetic
Alignment Ergative-Absolutive
Head direction Head-initial
Tonal No
Declensions Yes
Conjugations No
Genders No
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect
Progress 0%
Nouns 0%
Verbs 0%
Adjectives 0%
Syntax 0%
Words of 1500
Creator [[User:|]]

Classification and DialectsEdit



Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive p t k (ʔ)
Sib. Fric. s
Approximant w j
Trill r
Lateral app. l

Glottal stop exists only in compound words between two roots with adjacent vowels, and is not a grammatically a phoneme.


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


  • Possible syllable structure is (C)V(C)
  • Plosive and approximant can not occur in syllable coda position
  • Palatal approximant can not occur in the same syllable with the front vowels
  • Bilabial approximant can not occur in the same syllable with the back vowels

Writing SystemEdit

Letter a e i j k l m n o p r s
Sound /a/ /e/ /i/ /j/ /k/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /o/ /p/ /r/ /s/
Letter t u w '
Sound /t/ /u/ /v/ (∅,ʔ)

Latin orthography follows almost perfectly the phonemic principle and has one-for-one correspondance. Only exception is the apostrophe, which is used to distinguish between different roots in compound words. It doesn't have any phonemic value, except between two vowels, where it is pronounced as glottal stop.

Kartuwale is also written using Kartu Alphabet. Kartu and Latin orthographies have one-in-one correspondance, except for numbers, which are written with letters in Latin orthography and with special symbols in Kartu orthography. The absence of capital letters is a result for maximising the correspondance between the writing systems as Kartu Alphabet has only letters in one size.



Nouns can be declined to eleven cases, but not according to number or definiteness. Kartuwale makes very extensive use of this case system.

Name Shortening Suffix Meaning
Absolutive ABS -∅ The subject of intransive sentence and object of transitive sentence(Cake fell to the ground), (He dropped the cake)
Ergative ERG -ko The subject of transitive sentence (He dropped the cake)
Genetive GEN -te Marks posession (Neighbour's cake) and is used in adjectival genetive (Water of pureness, pure water)
Lative LAT -wel Marks motion to somewhere (I go to the bakery) or to answer question "To whom" or "For whom" (I gave the cake to you)
Locative LOC -sen Indicates location (I am inside the house)
Ablative ABL -por Indicates motion from somewhere (I walked abay from the house), and reason or purpose (I tripped over because of my laces)(I did it for you)
Instrumental INS -kere Indicates that the action is done using an instrument (I baked the cake with owen) or in a certain way (Thus I baked the cake)
Comitative COM -kul Indicates that the action is done with someone or something (I baked the cake with my friend) or accompanient (Salad with ham)
Temporal TEM -roso Indicates that action is done in or during a certain time (Now we are going to bake a cake)(During my holiday I visited my granny)
Equative EQU -watu Indicates similarity or likening (Airplanes fly like birds) or order (He came the third here)
Vocative VOC -ner Indicates addression (My brother, come here!)


Verbs are formed by attaching "tu"-suffix to a noun. This creates a verb that is closely related to noun. For example, "tawil" means "life" in Kartuwale, and when the "tu"-suffix is attached to noun "tawil", there is a verb "tawiltu", which means "to live"

The meaning of the verb changes in accordance with the case of the subject and transitivity of the sentence

kur rultotu "I'm working"; kurko (kol) rultotu "I create (something)"

I-ABS work-VRB; I-ERG (something-ABS) work-VRB

Auxiliary verbs, such as "nuketu" or must, "murtu" or want, "towemtu" or could, can be used like in English. In this case, only auxiliary verb is marked with a suffix and the main verb follows unmarked the auxiliary verb

Kur nuketu rulto

I-ABS must-VRB work


The word order of Kartuwale is S-O-V, although the case system allows a considerable variation. Only forced rule is that subject and object, if they are marked either with absolutive or ergative, must always be before the verb in a sentence. This occurs because when using adverbs (which are derived from the nouns and un marked), one can mix them up with the subject/object if they occur after the verb.

There is no rules about alignment of qualifiers in Kartuwale and they can be used according to personal preferences. Nouns, that are declined in other cases than ergative or absolutive, can be placed anywhere in the sentence except between the auxiliary and main verb or verb and adverb.


Example textEdit

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Edit

Text Edit

"ulekartu sawapote pe watete kartuwatu arotu lawarekul pe relinkul. kenko nirto pe wendorestu uljotu, pe ken nemewatu kartukul malnetu tawil."

Text with cases and suffixes separated Edit

ule-kartu-∅ sawapo-te pe wate-te kartu-watu aro-tu laware-kul pe relin-kul. ken-ko nirto-∅ pe wendo-restu-∅ uljo-tu, pe ken-∅ neme-watu kartu-kul malne-tu tawil.

Gloss Edit

all-people-ABS free-GEN and equal-GEN people-EQU occur-VRB fame-COM and skill-COM. they-ERG sense-ABS and justice-knowledge-ABS posession-VRB, and they-ABS sibling-EQU people-COM must-VRB live.

Translation to English Edit

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

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