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Kʰajlun is an island-highland (team B) language, spoken in the southern Peilaš.



labial dental palatal velar glottal
plain stops p t t͡ʃ <c> k ʔ <'>
aspirated stops t͡ʃʰ <cʰ>
nasals m n
fricatives β <w> s ɣ ~ ɰ <ł>
approximants r, l j
  • /m n β r l j ɰ/ are devoiced after aspirated consonants, which themselves lose aspiration in this position.
  • Although /β ɰ/ pattern more like approximants, they have a strong tendency to fricativise in positions other than in front of front vowels.


front back
high i, y u
mid-high e
mid-low ɔ <o>
low a

Stress always falls on the ultimate or penultimate syllable.

  • If either of those is closed, the stress falls on the last closed syllable.
  • Otherwise, stress is phonemic and marked with an acute accent.


Throughout this section, a suffix, containing an acute accent, indicates that the corresponding syllable attracts stress if the previous syllable is open.


Nominals include nouns, pronouns and adjectives. They have the category of animacy, possessedness and case, exhibiting case concord and including four cases:

  • Absolutive
  • Ergative
  • Genitive
  • Oblique

The category of animacy exists only in ergative case and for the third person singular pronoun. It is based on semantics.

Each nominal belongs to one of three declension classes - N1, N2 or N3. N1 encompasses consonant-final nominals while N2 and N3 - vowel-final nominals.

Case N1 N2 N3
Absolutive -∅ -V ¹ -∅
Ergative (anim.) -ú ² -'ú
Ergative (inan.) -cun ³ -jun -jun
Genitive -lú ⁴ -lú ⁴ -lú
Oblique ⁵ -al -Vl -l

¹ V is the last stem vowel. Where not indicated, it drops in the corresponding caseform.

² N2 nominals, ending in -u, take -u'ú instead.

³ N1 nominals, ending in t, tʰ, c, cʰ take -jun instead.

-tlú after s, n, r, l, ł.

⁵ Nominals ending in -lun, as well as the nominals morkʰum 'finger' and enkʰun 'long', change their last stem vowel to y in this case.

Adverbs are formed from adjectives using the prefix pʰu- (allomorph pʰu'- for adjectives begining with a vowel).

The last nominal in a noun phrase may be marked for possessedness, after inflecting for case:

Sg Pl
1.EXCL -nú -płu
1.INCL -plu
2 -tú -tlu
3.ANIM -tlu -pú
3.INAN -mú
REFL -mlu
  • Should homorganic or another awkward consonant cluster arise due to a possessive marker, -a- is inserted to break it up.

Personal pronouns

Kʰajlun is split-ergative, splitting for 1. and 2. person vs. everything else.

Sg Pl
1. Excl nu płan
1. Incl panka
2. ta tanka
3. Anim tu pon
3. Inan mo
Nom/Abs nu ta tu mo płan panka tanka pon
Acc/Erg nul tul tu'ú mjun płarol pankol tankol parú/poncun
Genitive nulú tulú tlu mlu płalú panklu tanklu palú
Oblique nal tal tol mol płaral pankal tankal paral


thing person time place manner, quality quantity
proximal at atú nukʰ akʰý apʰú tʰon
distal amý mytú ron / tanokʰ ¹ kʰy pʰu
indefinite kʰom kʰmu kʰonto kʰonko kʰonal kʰonton
interrogative mi mu mutʰ makʰ man mimpror
universal pom pimú ynty pontipʰ pompral pom
alternative ul ulmu ultu ulcim ulnal
negative mímy múmy mutʰmu makʰma mamna mimpromo

¹ Ron is used for occasions before the present and tanokʰ - for occasions after it.

Some correlatives decline irregularly:

this (inan) that (inan) some (inan) what all (inan) sth. else nothing
absolutive at amý kʰom mi pom ul mímy
ergative acun amjun kʰomcun meljun pomcun ulcun memjun
genitive atlú amlú kʰomlú melú pomlú ultlú memlú
oblique atal amyl kʰomyl mel pimyl ulal mimyl
this (anim) that (anim) somebody who everybody smb. else nobody
absolutive atú mytú kʰmu mu pimú ulmú múmy
ergative atu'ú mytu'ú kʰmu'ú mu'ú pimu'ú ulmu'ú mumú
genitive atlú mytlú kʰmolú polú pemlú ulmolú mumlú
oblique atol mytol kʰmol pol pimol ulmol mumyl


There is a synchronic rule in Kʰajlun, due to which, if an aspirate happens to be in front of a plain stop because of a morphological process, a metathesis in aspiration occurs:

TʰT → TTʰ

This rule is most prominent in the verbal morphology.

Some verbs have two or three principal forms, or rather principal stems. In this section they are referred to as P1, P2 and P3. If a verb lacks P3, P1 is to be used instead in P3's morphological slots. The first two principal forms of some three principal form verbs coincide, but they are listed independently anyway for clarity's sake.

Verbs are divided in four conjugation classes, named V1 through V4. Prefixes/prefixal parts of circumfixes depend on them:

V1 tʰ- ¹ ka- ma- a-
V2 tʰo- ky- ² my- ² a-
V3 ³ tʰoj- koj- moj- aj-
V4 tʰ- k- m- ∅-

¹ s- in front of stops.

² k-, m- in front of sonorants.

³ If the verb has initial vowel in its stem, it drops.

All verbs also have a thematic vowel, which is part of the lexical definition of the word, and is marked with V in the morphology section.

Finite verb forms

Finite verb forms have the categories of person, number, negation, tense, aspect, mood and evidentiality.

Present tense

Some verbs change their last root vowel in plural non-habitual forms of present tense forms. This is denoted in the lexicon.

consonant stems SG PL SG.NEG PL.NEG
1.INCL P3-rV P1-pVj P3-rVm P1-pVjmo
1.EXCL T-P2-pVj T-P2-pVjmo
2 T-P2 T-P2-pV T-P2-mV T-P2-pVm
3 P1 P1-pV P1-mV P1-pVm
IMP K-P2 K-P2-pV M-P2 M-P2-pV
1.INCL.HAB P3-rVkV P1-kyj P3-rVkVm P1-kyjmy
1.EXCL.HAB T-P2-kyj T-P2-kyjmy
2.HAB T-P2-kV T-P2-ku T-P2-kVm T-P2-kúmu
3.HAB P1-kV P1-ku P1-kVm P1-kúmu
vowel stems SG PL SG.NEG PL.NEG
1.INCL P3-j P1-łoj P3-jmV P1-łojmo
1.EXCL T-P2-łoj T-P2-łojmo
2 T-P2 T-P2-ł T-P2-m T-P2-łom
3 P1 P1-ł P1-m P1-łom
IMP K-P2 K-P2-ł M-P2 M-P2-ł
1.INCL.HAB P3-jkʰV P1-kʰyj P3-jkʰVm P1-kʰyjmy
1.EXCL.HAB T-P2-kʰyj T-P2-kʰyjmy
2.HAB T-P2-kʰ T-P2-kʰú T-P2-kʰum T-P2-kʰúmu
3.HAB P1-kʰ P1-kʰú P1-kʰum P1-kʰúmu
Past tense

A couple of verbs change their last root vowel in past tense forms from u to y. This is denoted in the lexicon.

consonant stems SG PL SG.NEG PL.NEG
1.INCL P1-ktʰopʰ P1-ktʰuj P1-ktʰómo P1-ktʰujmo
1.EXCL T-P2-ktʰoj T-P2-ktʰojmo
2 T-P2-ktʰu T-P2-ktʰo T-P2-ktʰúmo T-P2-ktʰom
3 P1-ktʰe P1-ktʰu P1-ktʰémy P1-ktʰum
1.INCL.HAB P1-kupʰ P1-kuj P1-kúmo P1-kujmo
1.EXCL.HAB T-P2-kVtʰoj T-P2-kVtʰojmo
2.HAB T-P2-kú T-P2-kVtʰó T-P2-kúmo T-P2-kVtʰom
3.HAB P1-ké P1-kú P1-kémy P1-kum

Verbs with stems ending in a consnant add the thematic vowel in front of the past tense endings.

The copula

The copula is rather irregular and doesn't have the category of aspect.

1.INCL tʰopʰ kyj tʰopkʰum kyjmy
1.EXCL tʰyj tʰyjmy
2 tʰo tʰu tʰokum tʰúmu
3 e ku ekum kúmu
IMP kytʰó kytʰú mytʰó mytʰú

The copula uses e as past stem and the habitual past affixes to form its past tense.

Other morphology of finite verbs

Verbs are obligatorily marked for evidentiality. Evidentiality markers are stacked on top of TAM-person-number-negation (TAM-PNN) markers.

Direct visual -y -l
Direct (other senses) -kon -łan
Indirect, inferred -cV -s
Hearsay -kV
Renarrative -ki -wy

Verbs can also optionally be marked for some sort of clausal relationship. These markers are stacked on top of TAM-PNN and evidentiality markers.

because ... -al -l
when ... -ajła -jła
before ... -ajron -jron
after ... -ajta -jta
in order to ... -kol -łal
absolutive relativiser -kú -kʰú
erg. & oblique relativiser -kukú -kʰukú

Inifinite verb forms

There are three infinite verb forms, derived from the bare verb stem:

  • P1-mency is the verbal noun / nominaliser.
  • A-P2-cun (C) / A-P2-jun (V) is used to derive adverbs from verbs. It denotes that another action is done by doing the action of the verb, from which the form has been derived.
  • A-P2-ton (C) / A-P2-tʰon (V) denotes that the agent is doing another action simultaneously while also performing this action.


The numeral system is base 10.

1 kʰen
2 kʰul
3 tʰal
4 pʰal
5 or
6 umpʰen
7 umpʰul
8 kytʰal
9 kypʰan
10 ron
50 oron
100 puron
  • Teens are formed by ron(k)- + a number from 1 to 9. K is inserted when the number begins with a vowel.
  • Tens are formed by a number from 2 to 9 + -tron, with the exception of oron 'fifty', which has a seperate form.
  • Tens and units are joined by a suffix -ko onto the ten.


  • Ability is expressed by the suffix -cʰu. Lack thereof is expressed by the suffix -cʰum.
  • Permission is expressed by the suffix -ko. Lack thereof is expressed by the suffix -kom.
  • Necessity is expressed by the adverb nylky, which follows the verb. Lack thereof is expressed by the adverb tylme.
  • Obligation is expressed by the adverb tóko, which follows the verb. Lack thereof is expressed by the suffix tylme. No distinction is made between lack of necessity and lack of obligation.


Word order is SOVX with absolutive morphosyntax. Word order of noun phrases is:

  1. Relative clause
  2. Determiner
  3. Numeral
  4. Noun
  5. Adjective
  6. Genitive NP
  7. Postposition

Relativisation of oblique arguments is done with retention strategy and the relativised argument directly before the relative verb. Evidentiality is optional on relativised verbs - if omitted, it's understood to be the same as the one of the main clause.


Kʰajlun Lexicon