A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
Post Reply
Posts: 18
Joined: 05 Jan 2021 04:37


Post by teotlxixtli »


Khalsngaa is the first language I've devised in my most modern method of language creation, spoken by semi-nomadic herders from the land of Kãkuu, a mountainous land sandwiched between a desert plateau and a tropical rainforest. It's exciting to have it finished and be able to share it all with you! Hopefully its many daughter languages will be posted here as well!


Khalsngaa has sixteen consonants at four places of articulation (bilabial, alveolar, velar, and glottal) and six degrees of closure (nasal, stop, sibilant fricative, non-sibilant fricative, approximant, and lateral approximant), with an ejective distinction in its bilabial, alveolar, and velar stops. Khalsngaa features the lateral consonant /l/.

m n ŋ (ng)
p t k ʔ (')
p' t' k'
ɸ (f) x (kh) h

/k k’/ are realized as /tʃ tʃ’/ respectively prior to /i i:/, as in kĩ (pronounced /’tʃĩ/), meaning “spirit”; and k’i (pronounced /’tʃ’i/), meaning “reach”
/s ɸ x/ are realized as /z β ɣ/ respectively between voiced segments, as in aansã (pronounced /a:n’zã/), meaning “fool”; imfaam (pronounced /im’βa:m/), meaning “tin”; and ããkhu (pronounced /’ã:ɣu/), meaning “difficult”

Khalsngaa has three vowels at two heights (close and open) and two degrees of frontness (front and back) as well as a contrastive length distinction and a nasalization distinction, resulting in four variations of each of the three vowels. Khalsngaa also features the semivowel /w/.

i i: u u:
ĩ ĩ: ũ ũ:
a a:
ã ã:

Syllable structure is (C)(C)V(C), with a number of rules about what consonants can occur in what positions:
- /ʔ/ does not occur word-initially
- /ŋ/ does not occur word-initially except in consonant clusters
- /ɸ/ does not occur prior to /u u: ũ ũ:/
Onset clusters can take the following forms:
- nasal + approximant (except /ŋw/ word-initially)
- nasal + lateral approximant (except /nl/ word-initially)
- sibilant fricative + nasal
- sibilant fricative + approximant
- sibilant fricative + lateral approximant
Note that /mw nw ŋw sw/ do not occur before /u u: ũ ũ:/.

Vowels cannot appear adjacent to one another and must be separated by at least one consonant. In compounds /ʔ/ is inserted between vowels to avoid illegal syllables.
Only nasals and lateral approximants appear in the coda, and any resulting geminate consonants are pronounced doubly long, as in aammi (pronounced /’a:mmi/), meaning “sick”, although /ŋ/ does not appear in the coda. Geminate consonants do not occur prior to another consonant, so a sequence like *nnw would not appear.

Stress falls on the penultimate syllable of the word unless the final syllable is long, nasalized, and/or closed, in which case stress falls on the final word.

aamli (pronounced /’a:mli/), meaning “poor”
hanguu (pronounced /hə’ŋu:/), meaning “slight”
iingũ (pronounced /i:’ŋũ/), meaning “support”
kaalmil (pronounced /ka:l’mil/), meaning “couple”
lãlaam (pronounced /lã’la:m/), meaning “temple”


Khalsngaa is a Subject-Verb-Object language with a Nominative-Accusative alignment. Adjectives precede nouns, possessors precede possessees, auxiliaries follow lexical verbs, and there are postpositions rather than prepositions.
- Faamwĩĩ hanuul – the brown dog
- Uula faamwĩĩ hanuul – my brown dog
- Uul wãnũ nũ kha – I will go stand there
- Mwaa sngi – by the tree

Nouns in Khalsngaa are marked for number and case. There are three grammatical numbers: the Singular (referring to one of something), the Dual (referring to exactly two of something), and the Plural (referring to three or more things).
The Singular form is unmarked: naanwaa means “neck”
The Dual form is marked with the prefix kaal-: kaalnaanwaa means “two necks”
The Plural form has three forms depending on the consonant the word begins with or used to begin with before it was lost to sound change.
- If the word begins with a vowel or a consonant cluster beginning with /s/, the Plural prefix is mwan-; mwaniisluun means “ceilings”
- If the word begins with a nasal, the prefix is mwa-; mwamal means “fires”
- If the word used to begin with a /ŋ/, the prefix is mwã-; unfortunately these words are truly irregular and must be memorized; mwãngu means “soils”

There are eight grammatical cases in Khalsngaa: the Nominative, the Accusative, the Genitive, the Dative, the Ablative, the Locative, the Instrumental, and the Comitative. The Genitive and Comitative take different forms depending on if the noun ends with a vowel or a consonant.

hal - boy
halt'a - boy
hala - of the boy
kuu'a - of the land
halkhaan - to the boy
halmlaa - from the boy
halsngii - at/in/on the boy
lilmuul - using the gold
haluum - with the boy
mi'u'uum - with the cat

Case markings can change when the noun being suffixed ends in a nasal. In that case the nasal will assimilate to the following consonant in the Accusative, Locative, and Instrumental Cases, becoming an /n/, /n/, and /m/ respectively. In the Dative the vowel of the root ending in a nasal is nasalized and the nasal lost. In the Ablative the nasal is lost altogether.
- haam – sea
- haant’a – sea
- haama – of the sea
- hããkhaan – to the sea
- haamla – from the sea
- haansgnii – at/in/on the sea
- haammuul – using the sea
- haamuum – with the sea

Verbs in Khalsngaa are marked for tense, aspect, and evidentiality. There are two tenses: Non-Future (which refers to the Present and Past) and the Future tense. The Non-Future is unmarked, while the Future tense is marked with –nũ:
- Uul mu hakhal nã, meaning “I run/ran over the hill”
- Uul munũ hakhal nã, meaning “I will run over the hill”
There are two aspects: the Perfective (which marks completed actions) and the Imperfective (which marks ongoing actions) aspect. The Perfective is unmarked, while the Imperfective aspect is marked by reduplicating the first syllable of the verb.
- Uul mu hakhal nã, meaning “I run/ran over the hill”
- Uul mumu hakhal nã, meaning “I am running/was running over the hill”
- Uul mumunũ hakhal nã, meaning “I will be running over the hill”

There are seven verbs that take a different form for the Imperfective aspect, with the suffix –na rather than reduplicating. When this suffix combines with the Future tense marker they form a separate Future Imperfective, -nunna. They are as follows:
- ĩĩ (v) – have, hold; ĩĩna – be having; ĩĩnunna – will be having
- nwa (v) – say, speak; nwana –be saying; nwannunna – will be saying
- nũ (v) – go, leave; nũna –be going; nũnunna – will be going
- a (v) – know, understand; ana – be knowing; anunna – will be knowing
- luul (v) – see, witness; luulna – be seeing; luulnunna – will be seeing
- hiim (v) – come, approach; hiimna – be coming; hiinnunna – will be coming
- al (v) – like, enjoy; alna – be liking; alnunna – will be liking

There are three degrees of evidentiality in Khalsngaa: Eyewitness (which indicates the speaker saw what they describe or that it is common knowledge), Secondhand (which indicates the speaker heard about the event from someone else), and Deductive (which indicates the speaker can detemine the event happened from context). The Eyewitness is unmarked, while the Secondhand is marked with the suffix –snaammuul and the Deductive is marked with the suffix –kĩĩmuul. When appearing with tense or aspect suffixes they follow them and the stem in the order STEM-FUT-IMP-EVID
- Iil p’an kha nã am khaa, meaning “He sits/sat over there every morning”
- Iil p’ansnaammuul kha nã am khaa, meaning “I heard he sits/sat over there every morning”
- Iil p’ãkĩĩmuul kha nã am khaa, meaning “I can tell he sits/sat over there every morning”
- Iil p’annũsnaammuul kha nã am khaa, meaning “I heard he will sit over there every morning”
- Iil p’amp’annũsnaammuul kha nã am khaa, meaning “I heard he will be sitting over there every morning”
Evidential markers follow the –na suffix on irregular verbs as well as their unique Future Imperfective –nunna; Iil ĩĩnasnaammuul, meaning “I heard he is/was having” and Iil nwanunnasnaamuul, meaning “I heard he will be saying”.

Personal pronouns in Khalsngaa are distinguished by person (1st, 2nd, 3rd Person) and number (Singular, Dual, and Plural). Personal pronouns take case marking like nouns but not number marking.

1st Person uul kaaluul swam
2nd Person laal kaallaal slam
3rd Person iil kaaliil aam

Adjectives agree with the nouns they modify, taking number marking as well as case marking, though numbers do not take any agreement with the nouns they modify
- Mwansnit’a mwammi’ut’a – big cats (Accusative)
- Ni mi’ut’a – three cats (Accusative)

Numbers in Khalsngaa are base-6. Numbers greater than six are created by prefixing the number greater than six with the word for six, khãã up to twelve, which is hãã, which follows the same pattern up to twenty-four, which is k’il, which follows the same pattern and so on.

- pil (#) – one
- kaal (#) – two
- ni (#) – three
- hĩĩ (#) – four
- aal (#) – five
- khãã (#) – six
- khaamil (#) – seven
- khaangaal (#) – eight
- khaanni (#) – nine
- khããhĩĩ (#) – ten
- khaangaal ĩ ni (#) – eleven
- hãã (#) – twelve
- haamil (#) – thirteen
- haangaal (#) – fourteen
- haanni (#) – fifteen
- hããhĩĩ (#) – sixteen
- haangaal ĩ ni (#) – seventeen
- hããkhãã (#) – eighteen
- hããkhaamil (#) – nineteen
- hããkhaangaal (#) – twenty
- hããkhaanni (#) – twenty-one
- hããkhããhĩĩ (#) – twenty-two
- hããkhaangaal ĩ ni (#) – twenty-three
- k’il (#) – twenty-four

Comparatives are formed with the word haa meaning “than”; Uul uu il sngĩ haa laal means “I am taller than you”
Yes-no questions are formed by following the stated question with either lum, “yes”, or ãã, “no”, depending on the expected answer to the question.
- Laal luul fim, lum? means “You see/saw a bear, yes?”
- Laal luul fim, ãã? means “You see/saw a bear, no?”
Other questions are formed by inserting the appropriate interrogative pronoun into the sentence without fronting or other syntactical changes and are indicated only by rising intonation:
- Laal luul un? means “Who/what did you see?”

There are a few other irregularities in Khalsngaa. Words that end in a nasal will have that nasal assimilate to the following consonant when suffixed unless that nasal is /ŋ/, in which case it will be lost and the previous vowel nasalized. Words that once began with /ŋ/ will have that /ŋ/ reappear when prefixed, though these must be memorized. Words that once began with /ʔ/ will have that /ʔ/ reappear when prefixed with a prefix that ends in a vowel; otherwise it will dissapear, and these words must be memorized as well.
User avatar
Posts: 4340
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 19:32

Re: Khalsngaa

Post by Creyeditor »

That looks like a great start. Is there some vowel allophony? I might have missed it.
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]
Posts: 18
Joined: 05 Jan 2021 04:37

Re: Khalsngaa

Post by teotlxixtli »

Thanks, man! /a/ is realized as /ə/ when unstressed, though I anticipate its daughter languages will have much more allophony and irregularity in general.
Post Reply