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Name: Yinuqat

Type: ?

Alignment: mainly ergative-absolutive

Head Direction: Final

Number of genders: 3

Declensions: Yes

Conjugations: Yes

Nouns declined
according to
Case Number
Definitiveness Gender
Verbs conjugated
according to
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect
Gender Cases Numbers Tenses Persons Moods Voices Aspects
Verb Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Nouns Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Adjectives Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Numbers No No No No No No No No
Participles Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
Adverb No No No No No No No No
Pronouns No Yes Yes No No No No No
Adpositions No No No No No No No No
Article No No No No No No No No
Particle Yes Yes Yes No No No No No


A group Eskimo-Aleut people started to migrate westwards from Siberia or Alaska around 600 BC. Eventually they arrived in Northern Scandinavia where they stayed. Over time their isolated language developed uniquely from the other Eskimo-Aleut languages and took over loanwords and some grammatical features from other languages, most notably Finnic, but later also from Germanic and to a lesser extent also traces from Baltic and Slavic influence can be found. The language differs hugely from other Eskimo-Aleut languages because of the lack of differentiation in vowel and consonant length (even though this is also to be found in Finnic languages).

Phonology Edit

Consonants Edit

Place of articulation → Labial Coronal Dorsal Glottal
Bi­la­bial La­bio­dental Den­tal Al­veo­lar Post­al­veo­lar Pa­la­tal Ve­lar Uvu­lar
Manner of articulation ↓
Nasal    m        n        ŋ      
Plosive p   t k ʔ  
Fricative ɸ     (θ)1 s (ʃ)1   x (ɣ)2 χ4   h  
Approximant                j      
Trill        r      
Lateral Fricative ɬ3          
Lateral Approx­imant    l          
  1. Allophone of [s].
  2. Allophone of [x].
  3. Only as [tɬ].
  4. Allophone of [l].

Vowels Edit

  Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close (i)1           (u)2
Near-close   ɪ     ʊ  
Mid     (ə)3    
Open-mid ɛ          
Open a         (ɑ)4  
  1. [ɪ] is realised as [i] before nasal consonants.
  2. [ʊ] is realised as [u] before nasal consonants.
  3. [ə] is an unstressed allophone of [a], does not occur before nasal consonants.
  4. [ɑ] is a stressed allophone of [a], does not occur before nasal consonants.
  5. Vowels can be lengthened when being stressed.

Phonotactics Edit

There is only one common diphthongue: <ia>, which is realised as [ɪ̯a] or [ɪ̯ɛ] (before nasal consonants).

Consonant clusters never take up more than one consonant: CV(C), except for -nt and tl-.

<e>, <g>, <m>, <ŋ> and <v> never occur word initially.

Dialects Edit

There are several dialects which can be grouped into three branches. Typically every village has (or had) its own dialect. Below is a list of all dialects which were still spoken in the twentieth century. Behind the dialect there is the number of native speakers. A dagger (†) marks that the dialect is extinct.

  • Polar Yinuqat (features: voicing of v and g, pronouncing r as ʁ, devoicing of m, n and l)
    • East Yinuqat (features: aspiration of k, q, p, palatalisation)
      • Arvikunan dialect †
      • Negianan dialect †
      • Qarenan dialect †
    • North Yinuqat (features: bilabial consonants become labiodental, ŋ is pronounced as n̥)
      • Puyeyusan dialect †
  • Inland Yinuqat (features: common cluster -net is being pronounced as -nt, common cluster e- is being replaced by a short glottal stop, devoicing of v and g, ŋ has changed to n, except word final)
    • Central Yinuqat (features: l̥ is always accompanied by t, ia may be pronounced as ie)
      • Arviran dialect (±230 speakers)
      • Qamtakaman dialect (±20 speakers)
      • Qanantan dialect (3 speakers)
      • Qaŋavan dialect (±160 speakers)
      • Siliaqugrenan dialect (16 speakers)
      • Standard Yinuqat (Yuqarvites, originally spoken in Kapaqan, ±7000 speakers)
      • Yubetan dialect (unknown)
    • South Yinuqat (features: absence of different realisation of vowels before nasal sounds, ŋ is always pronounced as n, q is pronounced as h, g is pronounced as χ)
      • Imirgag dialect (±400 speakers)
      • Kamantun dialect †
      • Qankaman dialect (47 speakers)
      • Qivetan dialect †
  • West Yinuqat (features: palatalisation, glottal stop is being avoided, therefore allowing x, m, ŋ and v word initially)
    • Sakalman dialect (±5 speakers)
    • Satorfeman dialect †
    • Yalka dialect (28 speakers)

Orthography Edit

The Yinuqat language uses an orthography based on the Latin alphabet with the extra letter "ŋ".

Character IPA Example IPA Translation
a a aleqa ˈalɛqa grandmother
e ɛ nena ˈnɛna song
g x panig ˈpanɪx daughter
i ɪ iqalug ˈɪqalʊx fish
k k kayak ˈkajak hunger
l l luna ˈluna earth
m m qemi ˈqɛmɪ mountain
n n naparka ˈnaparka forest
ŋ ŋ aleŋ ˈalɛŋ nothing
p p puyu ˈpʊjʊ smoke
q q qana ˈqana mushroom
r r riret ˈrɪrɛt tongue
s s sigsik ˈsɪxsɪk squirrel
t t taru ˈtarʊ human being
tl tlamlu ˈtɬamlʊ chin
v ɸ nuvia ˈnʊɸɪ̯a cloud
y j yukarvit ˈjʊkarɸɪt language

Basic GrammarEdit

Adjectives Edit

Most adjectives end on -v and they are regular. "qativ" means white. To indicate masculine forms one can use -(g)i and to indicate feminine forms -(g)u.

number ergative absolutive genitive vocative postpositional equative postpositional 2
singular qativ qatip qatiq qati qatitl qatitut qatir
dual qativik qatipik qatiqik qatik qatitlik qatitutik qatirik
plural qativit qatipit qatiqit qatit qatitlit qatitutit qatirit

Irregular is f.e. "sen" (abandoned).

number ergative absolutive genitive vocative postpositional equative postpositional 2
singular sev sep seq sen senitl sentut ser
dual sekev sekep sekeq sek senitlik sentutik serik
plural setev setep seteq set senitlit sentutit serit

Adverbs Edit

Nouns Edit

Practically all nouns can be divided into two groups: ending on a vowel and ending on a consonant. A few nouns show somekind of an umlaut shift in the plural (and more rarely also the dual), f.e. anunt (man) -> anintet (men) and nukaq (brother) -> nikeqet (brothers).

Ending on a vowel: "qikmi" means wolf:

number ergative absolutive genitive vocative postpositional equative
singular qikmi qikmip qikmiq qikmi qikmisatl- qikmitut
dual qikmik qikmikip qikmikiq qikmik qikmikatl- qikmiktut
plural qikmit qikmitip qikmitiq qikmit qikmitatl- qikmivtut

Ending on a consonant: "arvir" means fox:

number ergative absolutive genitive vocative postpositional equative
singular arvir arvirpa arvirqa arvira arviriatl- arvirtut
dual arvirek arvirpak arvirqak arvirek arvirkiatl- arvirektut
plural arviret arvirpat arvirqat arviret arvirtiatl- arvirevtut

Most nouns are treated as being neuter. Only nouns related to people (man, woman, sister, etc.), activities typically attributed to a specific gender (hunting, fishing) and animals/trees (bear, wolf, dog, oak) can be masculine or feminine.

A rather common suffix is -ka, which is used to indicate "a group of something", f.e.: napar (tree) -> naparka (a group of trees; a forest). Another common one is -(e)s, which defines nouns, f.e. pitlun (a car) -> pitlunes (the car).

Postpositions Edit

Most postpositions are actually suffixes. For example "inlu" (house) -> "inlusatlas" (in the house): inlu- (house) + -satl- (postpositional case) + -a (in) + -s (definitive). Some postpositions however do show some number agreement. They are left overs of the older case system.

noun from sg. from pl. inside sg. inside pl. through sg. through pl. towards sg. towards pl. with sg. with pl.
arvir arviriamit arvirtianit arviriami arvirtiani arviriakut arviriatkut arviriamut arvirtianut arviriamik arvirtianik
qikmi qikmimit qikminit qikmimi qikmini qikmikut qikmitkut qikmimut qikminut qikmimik qikminik

The dual is constructed by using the plural form and replacing the plural marker -t- with the dual marker -k-. The dual forms are: arvirkianit, arvirkiani, arviriavkut, arvirkianut, arvirkianik and qikimiknit, qikmikni, qikmivkut, qikmiknut, qikmiknik. (originally the plural forms were "qikimitnit" and so on).

Pronouns Edit

Personal pronouns are very rare in Yinuqat, but they exist. They are only used to emphasize something.

person ergative absolutive genitive vocative postpositional equative
1ps ka kap kaq ka kiatl- aktut
2ps sa sap saq sa siatl- astut
3ps ta tap taq ta tiatl- avtut
1pd kak kapik kaqik kak kakiatl- aktutik
2pd sak sapik saqik sak sakiatl- astutik
3pd tak tapik taqik tak takiatl- avtutik
1pp kat kapit kaqit kat katiatl- aktutit
2pp sat sapit saqit sat satiatl- astutit
3pp tat tapit taqit tat tatiatl- avtutit

Possessive pronouns are suffixes that are added to the noun, f.e. inlusatla (in a house) -> inlusatlana (in my house) and arvirektut (like the two foxes) -> arvirektutinik (like the two foxes which are of you two). There are nine possessive pronouns. Words ending on -nt have the -nt dropped sometimes.

person 1ps 2ps 3ps 1pd 2pd 3pd 1pp 2pp 3pp
anunt anuna anuntin anunan anunak anuntinik anunanik anunat anuntinit anunanit
arvir arvirna arvirin arvirnan arvirnak arvirinik arvirnanik arvirnat arvirinit arvirnanit
qikmi qikmina qikmin qikminan qikminak qikminik qikminanik qikminat qikminit qikminanit

(demonstrative pronoun)

Verbs Edit

Verbs are highly inflected in the Yinuqat language. The verb qur- means to drink. Below are the normal present, past and future tenses (indicative first, then interrogative). Masculine forms are created by adding i(s)-, feminine by adding u(s)-. Note the umlaut change in the future tense.

tense/gender 1ps 2ps 3ps 1pd 2pd 3pd 1pp 2pp 3pp
present n. qurkuq qursuq qurtuq qurkuqik qursuqik qurtuqik qurkuqit qursuqit qurtuqit
past n. qurtutkuq qurtutsuq qurtuvtuq qurtutkuqik qurtutsuqik qurtuvtuqik qurtutkuqit qurtutsuqit qurtuvtuqit
future n. qurkuqin qursuqin qurtuqin qurkuqikin qursuqikin qurtuqikin qirkiqeten qirsiqeten qirtiqeten
present n. qurvuq? qurvit? qurva? qurvuqik? qurvitik? qurvak? qurvuqit? qurvitit? qurvat?
past n. qurtetvuq? qurtetvit? qurtetva? qurtetvuqik? qurtetvitik? qurtetvak? qurtetvuqit? qurtetvitit? qurtetvat?
future n. qurkuqin? qursuqin? qurtuqin? qurkuqikin? qursuqikin? qurtuqikin? qurkuqitin? qursuqitin? qurtuqitin?

The gerund is constructed by adding -iatlun (quriatlun), the present particle by adding -itiv (quritiv) and the past particle by adding -tutitiv (qurtutitiv). Sometimes an umlaut form is used, though this is very rare, f.e. yit- (to wash): yetiatlun, yetitiv and yetutitiv.

The imperative forms are: qur (drink!), qurik (you two, drink!), qurit (you all, drink!), uqurit (women, drink!) and so on. The conditional mood is constructed by adding -in to the past tense, though it's actually a mixture between the past and future tense, it also keeps the umlaut: qirtitkiqeten (we should drink).

Other forms: Reflexive forms are constructed by adding -(a)n, f.e.: yitkuq (I wash something) -> yitkuqan (I wash myself) and yitva? (does he wash something?) -> yitvan? (does he wash himself?). The passive forms are constructed by adding qia(q)-. If something is evident, one can place the -ikti- marker between the stem and all other suffixes. A reason/cause is indicated by adding -us- (or -uv-), f.e.: qurtuq (he drinks) -> qurustuq (because he drinks) and qursuq (you drink) -> quruvsuq (because you drink). Optional markers are: -sup- (wish/hope/desire), -pat- (or -pav-; probability), -taq- (emotional) and -paq- (possibility).

Some verbs are irregular, like the verb m-/yu- (to be): yuq (I am), qumek (we two were), mitit (they are) etc.

Ergativity Edit

(nominative-accusative constructions)



Example textEdit

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