**Last Updated: Nov/2/05**
Fixed my stupid mistakes, added numerals, expanded derivation.


Motatl is the language spoken by the Tymlasl people of the northerly island of Tymytỳs in the West Seas. The large island iss dominated by a single kingdom, but several small groups not directly connected to the kingdom also exist in the far north of the island and on several neighboring islands. Some of these groups speak dialects of Motatl or closely related languages, while others speak the languages of the Nals family.



Motatl has 13 consonants:

  Labial Dental Postalveolar Velar
Stop /p/ /t/   /k/
Affricate   /ts/ /tS/  
Fricative   /s z/ /S/ /* G/
Nasal /m/ /n/    
Approximant /w/ /l/    

The following transcriptions will be used:

*/x/ appears in lower class dialects, usually attached to the beginning of words that would otherwise begin with a vowel.


Motatl has 5 vowels and 2 diphthongs

  Front Middle Back
High /i iw/ /1/ /u/
Low /{/ /a aw/  

The following transcriptions will be used:

In addition these vowels snow also has three tones. All are level tones.


Motatl allows four types of syllables

The does appear at the end of syllables, but many speakers are realizing this as [s] and syllable final [S] is becoming rarer and rarer.


The only situations where recognizing syllable separations may be a problem is when there is an s or between two vowels.


In a case like this, the s or always acts as a final consonant for the preceding vowel.


Another point to indicate here is that when ao or io precede w the diphthong reduces to a or i. The orthography will, however be maintained in this document.

tiokows > /tiwkawus/


Nominal Morphology

Motatl nouns decline for number and case. There are 3 cases, as well as three different declension paradigms

  Nominative Accusative Dative
A Singular -s -sỳs -no
A Plural -tsos -tsỳs -tsno
B Singular -/-* -ỳs -no
B Plural -tsos -tsỳs -tsno
C Singular -l -ws -no
C Plural -tsos -tss -tsno

* Add no suffix when the root ends in s. Add - when the root ends in .

Nouns ending in y and will always be A nouns. Nouns ending in s and will always be B nouns. Nouns ending in ao or io will always be C nouns. Nouns ending a, i, or u in high tone will always be A nouns. Others ending in a, i, or u will almost always be C nouns, but some are A nouns.

While it is not necessary to use the plural form when the number is known from other sources (eg. numerals), it is often used anyway. Both forms are in common usage. Using the plural in these cases, however, is more common among the lower class citizens, particularly in urban areas.

Here are full paradigms for a few nouns.

A Noun: root is ta-t

"boy" Nominative Accusative Dative
Singular ta-ts ta-ts-ỳs ta-t-no
Plural ta-t-tsos ta-t-tsỳs ta-t-tsno

B Noun: root is -zs

"lemming" Nominative Accusative Dative
Singular -zs -zs-ỳs -zs-no
Plural -zs-tsos -zs-tsỳs -zs-tsno

C Noun: root is -ma

"sun" Nominative Accusative Dative
Singular -ma-l -ma-ws -ma-no
Plural -ma-tsos -ma-tss -ma-tsno

Case Usage


The nominative is used for the subject (agent for transitive, experiencer for intransitive):

gtiosỳny `s.
come-SPr-CS Speaker-NOM.
"I arrive here."

xmutspa tamyl pumỳsỳs.
find-NPr-IF tamy-NOM fish-ACC.
"Tamy* can't find the fish."

*Tamy is a male name


The accusative is used for the object of an action:

ggit`pao tiokows tats.
love-NPa-CF girl-ACC boy-NOM.
"The girl was loved by the boy, but she didnt love him back."

glion mioksỳs.
drink-SF water-ACC.
"Someone will drink the water."


The dative is used to indicate an indirect object, the intended recipient of an action.

gniot `tsno wyỳs tamyl.
give-SPa-CS Speaker-DAT-PL dog-ACC tamy-NOM.
"Tamy gave us a dog."

Verbal Morphology

Verbs are conjugated at both the beginning and end of the word. Aspect is marked at the beginning, while mood and tense are marked at the end.

Motatl has three tenses: Past, present and future. The two moods are sensory and non-sensory. Both moods exist for all three tenses, but are used slightly differently in each.

  Past Present Future
Sensory -* -ny -n
Non-Sensory -pao -pa -p

*Sensory Past is unmarked

The aspects marked at the beginning of verbs are combinations.

Aspect is not always marked, it is sometimes left off when it is considered irrelevant to the situation.

  Complete Incomplete
Success g(V)`- g(V)΄-
Failure* (V)`- (V)΄-

(V) indicates the vowel in the first syllable in the word. If that vowel is a diphthong, only the first half of the diphthong is used.

* In the lower classes the vowel is preceded by /x/

Verb Usage

Past and Present

In the past and present, sensory is used for events that are known to have taken place because they were witnessed.

gtiosỳ `s.
come-SPa-CS Speaker-NOM.
"I arrived here."

Non-sensory is used for for events that are known to have taken place, despite not having been witnessed.

gtaosopao ts.
go-NPa-CS Listener-NOM.
"You arrived there."


In the future tense, sensory is used for events that are expected or intended to happen. It can be called Intentive.

lion mioksỳs.
drink-SF water-ACC.
"Someone will drink the water."

gtukỳn tamyl tsaonosỳs.
cut-SF-CS tamy-NOM tree-ACC.
"Tamy plans to chop down the tree."

Non-sensory is used for events that are hypothetical. Those events that could happen.

gliop `s mioksỳs.
drink-FN-IS Speaker-NOM water-ACC.
"I might sip the water."


When an event is complete and successful the First aspect is used.

gmutspao tamyl pumỳsỳs.
find-NPa-CS tamy-NOM fish-ACC.
"Tamy found the fish."

When and event is complete but failed the Second aspect is used.

xmutspao tamyl pumỳsỳs.
find-NPa-CF tamy-NOM fish-ACC.
"Tamy couldn't find the fish."

Third is used when it is not complete but expected to succeed.

gmutspa tamyl pumỳsỳs.
find-NPr-CF tamy-NOM fish-ACC.
"Tamy is finding the fish."

Fourth is used when the event is incomplete and expected to fail.

xmutspa tamyl pumỳsỳs.
find-NPr-CF tamy-NOM fish-ACC.
"Tamy is searching for the fish."

Unspecified is used when the completion and success of the event are not known or do not apply to the situation. This can be used to talk about things that happen regularly, especially when they have varying degrees of success.

pumỳpa tamyl.
fish-NPr-U tamy-NOM.
"Tamy fishes."

To Be

The verb "to be" (root form "ni") is a special case; it does not function in the same way as other verbs. "To be" has only three forms: past, present, and future.

Past Present Future
ni niỳs ni

niỳs olaoỳs `s.
be-Pr goat-ACC Speaker-NOM.
"I am a goat."


Pronouns function as nouns, taking the regular case endings for the appropriate situation.

` I, we (1st person)
t you (2nd person)
s he, she, they (3rd person)
sa which
zu who
paom many
zwo all
pim few
gios some
ymos none

Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs work the same way, and most can be used as either. Adjectives do not agree with the noun or verb in any way. They can, however, be modified to alter their intensity.

least less base more most
g(V)΄- g(V)- - z(V)- z(V)΄-

Like the aspect markers, the adjective modifiers use a repetition of the first vowel in the root. When there is no initial consonant the prefix for "less" and "more" will simply be an initial z or g. When an initial consonant is present the vowel will be duplicated.

"less smooth"

"very cold"

For the "least" and "most" forms the prefix alters initial vowels. When the prefix attaches it gives the initial vowel high tone.* When there is an initial consonant the prefix duplicates the first vowel, but changes the duplicate to high tone.

"least smooth"


*Please note that the first vowel in adjectives is always low or mid tone.

There are also "more" and "most", "less" and "least" adjectives to modify others adjectives that are acting as nouns. These four adjectives only every appear in the base form.


The number system in Motatl is base-12. The third column contains the number in base-12 while the first and second are the numbers in English and Motatl.

zero u 0

one s 1
two ỳs 2
three 3
four kaz 4
five az 5
six zỳs 6
seven katǽ 7
eight ka 8
nine gaz 9
ten gaỳs A
eleven ztǽ B
twelve tǽga 10

thirteen tǽga s 11
fourteen tǽga ỳs 12

twenty-four itǽga 20
thirty-six tǽzǽga 30
forty-eight katǽga 40
sixty tǽga 50
seventy-two tsǽga 60
eighty-four katǽzǽ 70
ninety-six katǽ 80
one hundred eight gaztǽ 90
one hundred twenty gaỳtsǽ A0
one hundred thirty-two ztǽzǽ B0
one hundred forty-four tǽgatǽ 100

two hundred eighty-eight ỳs tǽgatǽ 200
one thousand five hundred eighty-four ztǽ tǽgatǽ B00
one thousand seven hundred twenty-eight tǽga tǽgatǽ 1000
three thousand four hundred fifty-six tǽzǽga tǽgatǽ 3000
twenty thousand seven hundred thirty-six gatǽga 10000

Following this pattern, the largest base-12 number one could create would be BBBBBB:

ztǽzǽ ztǽ gatǽga ztǽzǽ ztǽ tǽgatǽ ztǽzǽ ztǽ
ninety nine ten-thousand ninety nine hundred ninety nine
two million nine hundred eighty five thousand nine hundred eighty three"



Verbs in all aspects can be turned into nouns. This is done by simply applying the regular case endings. If the verb root ends in s or it is a B Noun; those ending in y and will be A Nouns, those ending in other vowels will decline as C Nouns. These will carry a meaning basically analogous to the meaning of the verb in the given aspect.

A verb can also be turned into an agentive noun. An agentive noun is "one who does" a verb. The agentive is formed by adding the nao suffix to the verb, the verb may or may not be marked for aspect.


Adjectives can also be used as nouns. This often used in cases of comparison.

ni tǽ taws tsaonol tno
be-Pr more big-ACC tree-NOM Listener-DAT
"The tree was bigger that you"


Nouns can be used as adjectives as well. This is used to indicate possession.

gsipao tasmy pumỳtsỳs kylozul
eat-PN-CS Tamy fish-ACC-PLU Kylozu-NOM
"Apparently Kylozu* ate Tamy's fishes"

*Kylozu is a female name

Verbs, when used as adjectives, are usually used to demonstrate that an object it used for a specific activity. For this meaning the root form, unmarked for aspect, is used.

ni m wytsỳs
be-F sleep place-ACC
"This will be a bedroom"