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Introduction Edit

Pkalho-Kölo is the language of the ancient city of Pkalho, the language of the epic poem the Löme-Lëmo-Cälpa, or Book of the Two Eyes, of which only fragments have survived; of the collection of ancient poems, mostly love-songs, called the Rlepa-Këlta, or Birch-wood Chest; and of the later anthology intended to rival it, the Kwiupho Pruya Prökwö Pkwiri (defies translation). Only the classical form of the language is known: it continued to be used, for centuries after the fall of the city itself, mainly for poetry, but also for prose works such as Mithu Melcupkolhi’s Täthu Lilhpwa Mauko Phëya, or Thousand Leaves of Grief over Ancient Times.

Though the people of Pkalho were always proud of their language, they didn’t become aware of its distinctive character until after regular contact was established with the people of the far south, a region long considered almost mythical, and known as Fhilki-Pkane, literally Clove-Scented Sugar. Around the same time increasing incursions by the Empire of the north led to the payment of tribute, a development that some (correctly) saw as an impending existential threat. This was the period when Tarkwi Pëlhwapelya composed the first grammar of the language, the Pkalho-Kölo Kwila Alhu, which always retained its authoritative status, despite some dubious analyses and a penchant for folk etymology.

Pkalho-Kölo has a distinctive sound. The labial-velar plosives pk and pkw are not found in any familiar language; the hard-to-describe labialised palatals written cw and fw may also be unique. Other factors are the striking predominance of labial and labialised consonants, the presence of three lateral approximants, and the absence of sibilants.

The grammar too is unfamiliar. The concept of 'parts of speech' is unknown to grammarians of the language: there is no noun/verb distinction; no class of adjectives or adverbs; grammatical words such as particles, conjunctions and pre/postpositions are also absent. A small group of pronouns and demonstratives exists, 34 words in all, so it could be argued that content words and these 34 form the two word-classes. Pkalho-Kölo is an agglutinative language: stem-modification is used to generate aspectual forms, otherwise morphology and syntax rely entirely on affixes.

Yet the number of affixes is modest. The number is traditionally given as 34. In fact there are 33 affixes of the form CV, 27 suffixes and seven prefixes, plus one disyllabic suffix. But there are also four suffixes of the form -nCV, and an infix that forms the Inceptive aspect, a total of 39 affixes, still a small number. This is possible in Pkalho-Kölo because of the ubiquitous combination of affixes with other affixes: the seven Directional Prefixes in particular can be used to modify almost every suffix.

Though vowels are elided in some situations, affixes are remarkably invariant, so that it would almost be possible to treat them as separate particles: the original script is written without breaks, so it offers no help in deciding where words should end. In some cases I write a sequence of affixes as a separate word, mainly to prevent words becoming unmanageably long.

Chapter 1: Phonology Edit

1.1 Consonants Edit

Pkalho-Kölo has 24 consonants. The traditional order, known as pamapha, is as follows, reading top to bottom, then left to right:

p pk pkw pr t c cw kw k
m v pw rl lh l y w n
ph fh th fw hw h

In a table they look like this (those between slashes are allomorphs):

Plosive Fricative Nasal Lateral/Flap Approximant
Labial p ph m
(Labialised) pw
Labial-Velar pk fh
(Labialised) pkw
Labio-dental v
Interdental th lh
Alveolar t n /ɾ/
Post-Alveolar (pr) rl
Palatal c /ɲ/ l y
Labio-palatal cw fw
Velar k /ŋ/
Labio-Velar kw hw w
Glottal h

1.1.1 Plosives Edit

p, t, c, k, are /p/ /t/ /c/ /k/. They are always lenis and unaspirated. c is formed by pushing the body of the tongue up against the hard palate, with the tip touching  the alveolar ridge: there is never any breathiness or friction in the release.

Labialised pw, /pʷ/ and kw, /kʷ/ however are noticeably aspirated at the beginning of words and between vowels. They largely lose this aspiration when they follow a nasal or approximant.

cw is not simply the labialised variant of c: it contrasts with c in its manner of articulation. The tip of the tongue rests on the bottom teeth, while the top of the tongue touches the back of the alveolar ridge, and the lips are strongly rounded. The release is breathy, resulting in a distinctive chirping sound.

pk is a consonant peculiar to the city of Pkalho, double-articulated, a simultaneous implosive p and plosive k, which could be written /ƥk/. Form the lips to pronounce a p and the back of the tongue to pronounce a k. The lips then open with an audible pop, and at the same moment the k is released.

pkw is the labialised version /ƥkʷ/. pk is formed with the lips flat and pressed together, pkw with the lips strongly rounded. All labialised plosives occur before the vowel u; in the case of cw the breathy release makes cwu clearly distinct from cu.

The remaining plosive pr could be written /pɭ/ The tip of the tongue is turned back behind the alveolar ridge as the lips are pressed together. Release is simultaneous, there is never any breathiness. As with pk, native speakers regard it as a single sound. No other sequence of consonants occurs at the beginning of syllables.

1.1.2 Fricatives Edit

The fricatives ph and th are /ɸ/ and /θ/. h is /h/. hw is the voiceless labio-velar fricative /ʍ/. It should be distinguished from ph, which is formed by pressing the lips together quite flat and letting breath escape, while hw is formed by strongly rounding the lips, so that breath is felt on their interior surfaces.

fh is the fricative corresponding to pk: its realisation depends on the following vowel. Before e and i it is /fç/; before ö it is /fj/; before the remaining vowels it is /fħ/. v is /v/.

fw is the fricative corresponding to cw. It is close to /ɕʷ/ but pronounced with the tongue-tip turned down, touching the bottom teeth, while air escapes between the top of the tongue and the alveolar ridge. Writing this sound ‘fw’ makes no sense at all, but it is a custom going back to the origins of the language, which I am not now disposed to change. fw and hw occur before u.

1.1.3 Nasals and Approximants Edit

There are three lateral approximants: lh is interdental, close in sound to /ð/ but without any friction.  It sounds “dark”, that is, velarised, compared to “clear” alveolar l.

rl is the fully post-alveolar lateral of South Indian languages /ɭ/ at the beginning of words and before or after any consonant. Its intervocalic allopone is the alveolar flap /ɾ/.

w and y are /w/ and /j/. w occurs before u and y occurs before i without any weakening of sound. In words like lhälwu and kwëlwu the w is always clearly heard. However yi occurs rarely except as the initial syllable of a fairly small number of words.

m is /m/. n is /n/ at the beginning of words, between vowels, and before t and n. Before c, cw, y and fw it is /ɲ /, and before or after any other consonant it is /ŋ/

1.2 Vowels Edit

There are eight vowels, four rounded and four unrounded:

Unrounded a ë e i
Rounded ä ö o u

a, e, i, o, u are the cardinal vowels. ö is /ø/; at the end of a word it tends to /y/.

ä is /ɐ/ the low rounded back vowel of British English “swan”.

ë is a central vowel, between /ɜ/ and /ɨ/.

Twelve diphthongs occur, six ‘Like’ (unrounded with unrounded, rounded with rounded) and six ‘Unlike’ (one unrounded, one rounded):

Like ea ei ou ie ou
Unlike au äi ëu öi iu ui

The realisation of u in ui and iu, and the realisation of e in ie, and o in uo, is lower than usual, and similar to the vowels in, respectively, British English ‘put,’ (/ʊ/) ‘pet,’ (/ε/) and ‘port’ (/ɔ/).

1.3 Phonotactics: Some Points Edit

1. All root words end in a vowel

2. Syllables can end only in a vowel, one of the nasals, or one of the laterals. In syllable-final position l and lh are clearly distinguished by their “bright” (palatalised) versus “dark” (velarised) sound.

3. A syllable can contain a diphthong or a final consonant, but not both. The exception is when a one-syllable word containing a diphthong is followed by the Relative suffix in its reduced form –n (see 2.3.1), or the -n of N-Conjunctives (see Chapter 12.)

4. Words do not begin with a diphthong, but three words, au, ea and ui consist of a diphthong.

5. All words beginning with a vowel have glottal onset. Elision occurs when the neutral demonstratives e and o follow the suffixes -la, -or -. Thus iturë en, “(someone) said the following” becomes itur’en. The word erä, ‘person, human being’, also loses its first vowel in compounds: velya (to play music) > velyarä (musician). Elision also occurs in the formation of numbers (see 20.1)

6. When a word beginning with a vowel takes a directional prefix (Chapter 8), or is extended by aspectual stem-modification (see 14.1), an r is inserted. Thus olkwela (it resembles) > pkärolkwela (they resemble each other), ilurë (a light shone) > yërilurë (a light flashed for a moment). But word-initial rl keeps its pronunciation /ɭ / even after a prefix.

7. After m, the consonants k and kw are realised as pk and pkw. The sequences m+kw and m+pkw I always write mkw, regardless of the original script.

8. The sequence l+pr, as written in the original script, is pronounced identically to r+pr, /ɭpɭ/.

9. After m, r and l the consonant hw becomes the labialised bilabial fricative /ɸʷ/ an allophone that occurs only in this context. The sequence l+hw I write lphw to distinguish it from the sequence lh+w.

10. The double consonants mm, nn, rll and ll all occur frequently, but doubled lh seems to have been replaced by the sequence lh+th, which I write lth. Before ph, v, or th, lh tends to be realized as /ðˠ/.

1.4 Intonation Edit

Pkalho-Kölo has accent: accented syllables are pronounced a little more forcefully and at a higher pitch. But vowel quality remains the same in unaccented syllables: there are no weak or reduced vowels. The placement of accent can be described approximately by four rules:

1. The Directional Prefixes have an accent which they almost never lose.

2. Two and three-syllable words have an accent on the first syllable, which they lose if preceded by a Directional Prefix.

3. One-syllable words do not normally have an accent. (But see 14.1.1 and 14.1.2)

4. If three or four unmarked two-syllable words in succession precede a word with a suffix, the middle one or two lose their accent.

List of Abbreviations Used in Examples: Edit

ABL Ablative DIST Distant PL Plural
ACT Active Order DL Dual PREC Precative Mood
AD Adessive EXCL Exclusive PROL Prolative
ALL Allative EXP Expective Mood PROX Proximate
AN Anaphoric HAB Habitual Order PURP Purposive Mood
AND Andative Direction HORT Hortative Mood REC Recognitive Mode
APPR Apprehensive Mood IMPL Implicative Mode REL Relative
CAT Cataphoric IN Inessive RES Resultative Order
CAUS Causal Mode INC Inceptive Aspect REV Reverse Direction
CONC Concessive Order INCL Inclusive SEM Semelfactive Aspect
CONJ Conjunctive Order INJ Injunctive Mood SEQ Sequential Mode
CONL Conjectural Order INT Interrogative Order SER Seriative Aspect
CONT Continued Direction IT Iterative Aspect SG Singular
CONV Continuative Aspect LOC Locative SIM Similar Direction
DEL Delimitative Aspect MUT Mutual Direction STAT Stative Order
DEN Denominative Order OPP Opposed Direction SUBJ Subjunctive Mood
DIR Directive OPT Optative Mood SUBL Sublative
DIS Distributive Aspect PART Partitive VEN Venitive Direction

Chapter 2: Orders and SubordinationsEdit

2.1 Orders 1-3 Edit

Because of the lack of familiar landmarks in Pkalho-Kölo, I reluctantly use two ad hoc technical terms, Order and Subordination, roughly translating the words Niulu and Kwiumu. These are the most basic grammatical concepts. In any clause, the first word with a suffix will determine the nature of that clause; this word will have an Order suffix (or one of the 12 suffixes that can replace them); only unmarked modifiers can come before it. A word with an Order suffix will often be translated by a verb, but can be an adjective, or may be the noun in a “There is/are” construction. Subordination is used here in a sense different from the most common one, but in line with the most general: words with Subordination suffixes depend syntactically on the head word of the clause. Again, only unmarked modifiers can precede them. There are nine Orders:

Stative STAT Interrogative INT Denominative DEN
Active ACT Conjectural CONL Conjunctive CONJ
Habitual HAB Concessive CONC Resultative RES

The first two are the most fundamental. Most other suffixes are said to “replace” either the Stative or the Active, that is, they are Stative or Active in meaning unless another affix is added. The exceptions are the Denominative (See 3.2,) and the Habitual, which combines gnomic and customary meanings, events that are predictable as part of the nature of things, and those that occur as part of a routine. The suffixes and meanings of the first three Orders are as shown:

Stative STAT -la State, situation Space
Active ACT - Action, event Specific time
Habitual HAB -mu Rule, custom Non-specific time

With the word wilu, to bend:

wilula it is bent (state) wilurë it bent (event) ëphu wilumu it bends easily (rule)

Words with Order suffixes have no compulsory arguments: one-word sentences are normal. So wilurë means, ‘bending occurred,’ and the speaker decides if any more information is required. Since in English a verb needs a subject I insert it when necessary; elsewhere I use he, she or they at random; and I, we or you where the sense demands it.

2.2 Clause Structure Edit

Just as Pkalho-Kölo lacks a separate class of nouns, so its clause structure fails to conform to familiar models. It is neither Nominative-Accusative nor Ergative-Absolutive. English SVO sentences, in which an Agent does something to a Patient, as illustrated by the examples, His dog bites me, and, Topology intrigues me, have no one reliable counterpart. Many different interactions of Subordinations will be needed to translate such sentences.

Some examples, using the pronouns pa, I, me, and lhu, he/she, him/her:

He knows me Pamela pan lhuwe
He remembered me Mathörë pan lhuli
He hit me Tepkurë pakö lhuhi
He told me Ceirë pali lhuhi
He frightens me Yafhëla pawe lhuvo
He admires me Pamyula papkwe lhuwe

Though the Subordinations are in effect a case system, basic cases such as Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Ergative are absent, and the use of Subordination suffixes is not restricted to words that would translate as nouns. Pkalho-Kölo fails to distinguish between Core and Oblique Arguments, or Grammatical and Locative Cases. In fact all events and interrelations are modelled in literal or metaphorical space.

2.3 Subordinations: Overview Edit

The ten Subordinations are listed below, with some indication of their scope and meaning:

Relative REL -n(i) Non-separateness
Allative ALL -li 'to' Goal; recipient
Ablative ABL -hi 'from' Origin; originator
Locative LOC -we 'at' Position; locus
Prolative PROL -thu 'along' Route; means of movement
Adessive AD - 'on' Surface; site of impact
Inessive IN - 'in' Environment; receptacle
Partitive PART -vo 'of' Material; entirety
Sublative SUBL - 'under' Influence; constraint
Directive DIR -pkwe 'towards' Orientation; destination

Traditionally the first three are associated with Rest, Arrival and Departure; the next four with Point, Line, Surface and Volume.

2.3.1 The Relative Edit

The Relative is used when the state or event and the subordinated word are inseparable, or when they are synonymous. Intrinsic qualities, words denoting movement and change, events affecting only a single term, are situations where it is likely to be used. Only the Relative has two forms, -ni and -n. If the shortened form is used, the word depends on the immediately preceding word with any suffix: thus words in the Relative can depend on words with other Subordination suffixes. Words with the full form -ni depend on the preceding word with an Order suffix only.

kullu            cilola             phoän                                               ‘the flowers are dark blue’

deep/dark    blue-STAT     flower-REL

hölki      nerirë       phoän                                            ‘the flower suddenly fell’

sudden   fall-ACT   flower-REL

elma          nurmomu      phoän                                                 ‘the flowers open in the morning’

morning    open-HAB     flower-REL

As can be seen there is no compulsory marking of singular or plural. If the meaning is not clear from the context, words such as veru, ‘group (of things),’ prëmo, ‘group (of people),’ or cuma, ‘crowd,’ can be used. Tense is also not a compulsory category, so that the Stative can mean ‘is, are’ or ‘was, were.’ If necessary tense can be specified by the use of a time word.

2.3.2 Allative and Ablative Edit

Allative and Ablative express, in general terms, origin and goal. They have literal spatial meanings, but they also often correspond to, respectively, the indirect object and subject of a transitive verb in English and other European languages. The direct object will then be in the Relative Subordination. The literal spatial meaning:

cwallorë     tännuhi           kuphili                                 ‘they travelled from the mountains to the sea’

travel-ACT  mountain-ABL  ocean-ALL

With verbs of giving, telling, etc:

mucwa        kwearë     cälpan      pali        lhuhi                        ‘yesterday she gave me a book’

yesterday  give-ACT   book-REL 1SG-ALL 3SG-ABL

In Pkalho-Kölo, thoughts and perceptions are also ‘received.’ They are not something you do, but something that comes to you, and so the Allative Subordination is used:

änniwa         mathörë           pan           lhuli                          ‘apparently she remembered me’

apparently  remember-ACT 1SG-REL   3SG-ALL

vielo      keirë       lömprin      pali                                            ‘in the evening I saw fireflies’

evening see-ACT  firefly-REL 1SG-ALL

Another participant can be added without any other change:

vielo       keirë       lömprin       pali         lhuhi                        ‘in the evening she showed me fireflies’

evening  see-ACT  firefly-REL 1SG-ALL  3SG-ABL

Words with the Active suffix, most often translated by verbs, are neither transitive nor intransitive, neither active nor passive, but essentially impersonal. Pronouns included here for the sake of illustration would be omitted in speech unless there was a possibility of ambiguity. The word order given, turning SVO sentences into VOS, is the most natural, but not the only possible order. Words ending with the Relative suffix in its reduced form -n must immediately follow the word on which they depend, except for unmarked modifiers; apart from that word order is free. A sentence like the following, with the order of terms closer to English, is also quite normal:

mucwa        kwearë      lhuhi        pali        cälpani                                  ‘yesterday she gave me a book’

yesterday  give-ACT  3SG-ABL  1SG-ALL  book-REL

2.4 Locative Subordinations Edit

The next four Subordinations, Locative, Prolative, Adessive and Inessive, have locative meanings roughly equivalent to ‘at, by,’ ‘along, across,’ ‘on,’ and ‘in.’

tullela           kaulorän         thuomä  kwalowe                           ‘the gardener stood by the back door’

stand-STAT  garden-er-REL  back      door-LOC

cwake  pafwirë               prutë  prëmon     cwënëlkäthu ‘the children skated swiftly across the glassy-hard ice’

skate   speed/glide-ACT child  group-REL hard-ice-PROL

möila            pkwänyo     mimwen   pamphokö             ‘the calico cat was asleep on the quilt’

sleep-STAT  three-colour cat-REL   quilt-AD

keila        täiphe     ilhon      veima         kuphimä        ‘bright-coloured fish could be seen in the dark green water’

see-STAT colourful fish-REL dark-green sea-IN

hëula      tänhwi       nömwen          thencu         cäntomä        ‘the shell necklace was in the sandalwood box’

put-STAT shell/coral necklace-REL sandalwood box-IN

(Pkalho-Kölo has no word corresponding to ‘to be.’ When this means ‘to be in a place,’ it is often translated by the Stative of words such as hëu, ‘put, place,’ and këu, find.’)

2.4.1 Invariance of Locatives Edit

In Pkalho-Kölo things that are ‘in’ and ‘on’ are always ‘in’ and ‘on;’ they never take on the role of grammatical subject as they would in a European language:

ahola               harhwin           hotha  mantomä                         ‘the old barn was full of the smell of hay’

pervade-STAT  hay-smell-REL old      barn-IN

nalila         fhapro   prayun      körömpikö                                ‘the princess wore a brocade dress’

put-on-STAT brocade dress-REL princess-AD

The odour doesn’t ‘pervade the barn,’ it always ‘pervades in the barn,’ and the princess never ‘wears a dress,’ the dress is always ‘on the princess.’ When it comes to putting on the dress, if the princess performs the action herself, she takes the Ablative, otherwise those who actually perform the action take the Ablative:

nalirë        fhapro    prayun      körömpihi                   ‘the princess put on her brocade dress’

put-on-ACT  brocade dress-REL  princess-ABL

nalirë         fhapro     prayun     körömpikö   nomyähi  ‘servants dressed the princess in her brocade dress’

put-on-ACT  brocade  dress-REL princess-AD  servant-ABL

2.4.2 Locative, Adessive and Inessive Edit

Locative and Adessive have uses that are not neatly matched by English prepositions. In Pkalho-Kölo the mind is the location ‘at which’ knowledge, memories and emotions are found, and so the Locative Subordination is used:

milthola      elphu     vëllun        touräwe                                   ‘the old man knew a hundred stories’

know-STAT hundred story-REL old-man-LOC

vamyola    nilkwe     kimpron  cwëllewe                       ‘the little girl wished she had such a beautiful doll’

envy-STAT beautiful  doll-REL  little-girl-LOC

The Locative also marks the instrument of an action: the point of its occurrence:

pelumu      täthu    erwin          käho  phönyewe                      ‘they write ancient poems with a long brush’

write-HAB  ancient poem-REL  tall     brush-LOC                                                             

cölkirë          niphu  cwilwan            cimkwäwe              ‘they cut out paper stars with scissors’

cut-out-ACT  paper  star-shape-REL  scissors-LOC

Locative is also used for momentary location:

tauhwerë    pomön    këlyuwe                                      ‘he threw the ball through the window’          

throw-ACT  ball-REL  window-LOC

The Adessive is used for the place of impact of an action or event:

tepkurë       prufho   nukwukö  lhimorähi                                  ‘the priest struck the bronze bell’

strike-ACT  bronze  bell-AD     priest-ABL

fwakërë   lhu  cweakö   yuhi                                         ‘she slapped his face’

slap-ACT 3SG  face-AD  4SG-ABL

If the impact goes beyond the surface the Inessive is used:

kalpkirë  lhumä   pkieviwe       vilnarähi                                   ‘an enemy stabbed her with a dagger’

stab-ACT 3SG-IN  dagger-LOC  enemy-ABL

käpkerë     lukamä           kolkewe                                 ‘he chopped into the beech-tree with an axe’

chop-ACT  beech-tree-IN  axe-LOC

2.5 Partitive, Sublative and Directive Edit

The core meaning of the Partitive is the whole from which something is taken or the material from which it is made:

piecwimu  cimpun    ulhi      malwivo                           ‘they make shirts of dark blue linen’

sew-HAB   shirt-REL  indigo  linen-PART

By extension it is used for the underlying stuff of emotions, discussions, etc:

yafhërë    pwenyawe        cuori     rlupevo                      ‘the little boy was afraid of the friendly dog’

fear-ACT  little-boy-LOC  friendly dog-PART

nephörë     nulpeli   hwäina    tämovo                          ‘the girl dreamt about a house she had never seen’

dream-ACT girl-ALL unknown house-PART                                                                   

kwilarë        cäilohi       höhwa   nömivo                            ‘the friends talked about the strange news’

speak-ACT  friend-ABL  strange  news-PART

The Sublative can be used with its literal meaning ‘under’:

leihwela            kwalto   kwonutë                                 ‘there were hyacinths under the oak-trees’

hyacinth-STAT  oak        grove-SUBL

But often it has meanings like ‘influenced by, affected by’:

cwallorë     fhina  wöllivetë 'they travelled in the winter wind and snow'

travel-ACT  winter  wind-snow-SUBL

hwallu     lhomirë  kwëlnatë                                    ‘they say he died by poisoning’

they-say  die-ACT   poison-SUBL

The literal meaning of the Directive is ‘towards’:

paurërë        kwolton               rloä     tännupkwe                    ‘the companions set out towards the distant mountain’

set-out-ACT  companions-REL distant  mountain-DIR

Orientation, where something is headed, or directed towards, includes the beneficiary of an action, and the target of an attitude or emotion:

proärë    näihwe             nërkwin          upepkwe                   ‘I bought a mother-of-pearl pen-knife for my brother’

buy-ACT mother-of-pearl pen-knife-REL younger-brother-DIR                    

pamyula        pwenyawe  teithuräpkwe                                    ‘the boy admired the athletes’

admire-STAT boy-LOC      athlete-DIR

It also includes things seen when facing in a particular direction:

keila          cwean      lhurpo          thilkopkwe               ‘I could see a face in the old discoloured mirror’

see-STAT  face-REL  discoloured  mirror-DIR

2.6 Sigh. I Give Up. Edit

5. Demonstratives / Pronouns. Edit

There are six demonstratives:

Neutral Reference ahead e
Reference back o
Proximate Near me pe
Near you ce
Remote First mentioned lho
Next mentioned yo

The demonstratives frequently take Order suffixes: pela - it’s here; look!; lhola it’s there; look!; lepekë - come here; hepekë - go away; ela - the following is the case; ola - what came before is the case; yes. The neutral demonstratives play an important role in the grammar of Pkalho-Kölo, being used, among other things, to create relative clauses. More about that later.

As in Japanese, pronouns are omitted unless this would cause ambiguity. However, Pkalho-Kölo has a full set of personal pronouns:

sing. dual plural
1st person excl. pa apë päi
incl. epka pkui
2nd person ca acu cäi
3rd person excl. lhu elha lhau
incl. ulle ui
4th person yu enya yau

In the first person the exclusive /inclusive distinction is the familiar one: epka = me and you; apë' = me and someone else. The fourth person, as in the Algonquian languages, is used to distinguish one person or group from another, usually one spoken of first from one spoken of next, but sometimes more significant from less significant. The exclusive/inclusive distinction is less familiar here but quite straightforward. If lhu is Person A and yu is Person B, ulle is the two together, elha is Person A and someone else; ui includes Person B, lhau excludes him/her. Pronouns are only used to refer to people, animals, deities, and anything regarded as person-like. For inanimate objects the demonstratives are used.   

Possessive. There are no possessive pronouns. The pronouns can be used as modifiers: pa cäilo - my friend : lhu cälpa - his/her book : epka tämo - our house. Or Subordination suffixes can be used with the Relative -n added: tauthola nölkevo cäihin - I am grateful for your kindness : horula lhuwe wönäni yuwen - she couldn’t understand his feelings. The Allative is used to translate “whose.” peku mäili? - whose is this? : lhoku mäili pewito? - whose are those shoes?

6. Indefinite Words Edit

Indefinite words form a small closed class of 12 words.

au something what?
mäi someone who?
pea somewhere where?
kui at some time when?
hwea in some way how?
pwea by some means how?
rlui some kind of what kind of?
mie to some degree how...?
voä some; to some extent how much?
toä a number of how many?
kwëu one particular which?
phiu for some reason why?

The meaning differs depending on which Order they follow:

Stative: Keila mäin - (I) see someone

Interrogative: Keiwo mäin? - Can you see anyone?

Concessive: Keiku mäin? - Who can you see?

Likewise when they are used by themselves:

Mäila - Someone is there/here

Mäiwo? - Is there someone there?

Mäiku? - Who’s there?


Those referring to time, place, manner, reason, etc, can be used as modifiers, or with a Subordination suffix:

Pwea pkälëtäkumu höpin? - How do ants communicate with each other?

Veakumö lapkwan mäili? - Who will win the prize?


With the neutral demonstratives e and o:

Horula ephiun hölki nacwikurë lhaun - I don’t understand why they suddenly left

Hunyëla epean paltokuphi lhaun oli - I don’t know where they went to go shopping

Indefinite words can also be used as modifiers with another word, as follows:

Nolwu voä kapula thelkan - The rock was as big as an elephant   

Cwilpwi hwea ëfwula pawe - I feel as cold as an icicle   

Indefinite words form compounds with the demonstratives; in the case of au an “r” is inserted: perau, cerau, lhorau, yorau. Indefinite words also form compounds with other words in which, unexpectedly, the modifier comes after the head-word: au nipro - precious things; au vihwë - things wished for, etc. Likewise: mäi pame - people you know; acquaintances; mäi lhema - people you don’t know, strangers. If more than one word is used the word order reverts to normal: hwea pelu - ways of writing; but rlipu pelu hwea - ways of writing letters (of the alphabet).        

Idioms using indefinite words: mäiwo pkämen cali? Is there someone - brother/sister - to you = Do you have any brothers or sisters? / ekuiwo keila kilwun cali? Is there such a time - is visible - a giraffe - to you = have you ever seen a giraffe?

Further Grammar Edit

Grammar continues on Pkalho-Kolo 3

I'm going to add two pages of Pkalho-Kölo in its own writing system. These were written a couple of years ago and the language has changed slightly since then, but not the writing system.
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