Ancient Kartara

Ancient Kart́ara
Romanization Ancient Kartara
AIL Name Ancient Kardara
Region Kartara
Structural Information
Morphological Type fusional
Word Order AVP/SV

Ancient Kartara (or, more properly, Ancient Kart́ara) is the oldest known ancestor of the human language families on the island of Kartara. It appears to have had some influence on the modern Karalome language, but does not show signs of being influenced in return. Its most direct daughter language is Eastern Kartara. Influence from the nearby Reems helped mold its other main daughter, Western Kartara.


Consonant Grid labial alveolar retroflex velar glottal
stops p t k *
fricatives f s ś h
nasals m n ń
approximants r
lateral approximants l ĺ
Vowel Grid front near-front back
close i u
near-close ĭ
mid e o
open a

Syllables can be generalized to be a vowel, optionally preceded and/or followed by a consonant. Words can only begin with a vowel, a stop, or a fricative, and always end in a vowel.


Typical Kartara does not differentiate between voiced and unvoiced stops and fricatives. The unvoiced versions are most commonly used, and do not aspirate. The lack of aspiration makes unvoiced consonants sound voiced to most foreigners. For instance: kart́ara is has been interpreted by continentals to be "kardara".

When two stops occur next to each other, the first stop is usually aspirated before moving on to the second. For instance: pat́ka is pronounced [paʈʰka].

Glottal stops are not written, but they always happen between equal vowels (Ex: iipke [iʔipʰke̞]). They often occur between any two vowels if both are unstressed, and after a stressed vowel before an unstressed i.

The sound r can fall under the alveolar or retroflex category, or somewhere in between, depending on the word being used. It is written as one symbol and is thought of as one sound, similar to how English has two ways of presenting it's L sound: clear in 'lake' vs. dark (velarized) in 'cool'. Kartara speakers do not register a difference. (Incidentally, l and ĺ are always 'clear'.)

The sound h does not sound like English h. It is the same as the 'ch' in the Scottish word 'loch' or the German name 'Bach'. It only occurs at the beginning of a word, or at the start or end of a stressed syllable.

Kartara f sounds similar to English f, but is made only with the lips.


Front vowels are unrounded, while back vowels are rounded. The vowel sound ĭ is used to form dipthongs, which gives Kartara the following nine vowels: a, e, i, o, u, aĭ, eĭ, oĭ, and uĭ. In IPA, therefore, the vowels are represented as [a], [e̞], [i], [o], [u], [aɪ̆], [e̞ɪ̆], [oɪ̆], and [uɪ̆]. Each vowel has its own separate notation.

Stress Rules

Verbs are stressed on the third syllable from the end of their participle form, and that syllable remains stressed when the verb is conjugated (e.g. akipaĭa and its 1st-person conjugate akipe are both stressed on the ki). For all other words, the next-to-last syllable of the root word receives stress. If the root word has only one syllable, then the stress stays on it. A secondary stress may be added to any important affix to denote importance.



Pronoun Table singular dual paucal plural
1st (inclusive) aĭkuki aĭkuru aĭkuńa
1st (exclusive) husa huki huru huńa
2nd pepa piki piru pińa
2nd (formal) esa esaki esiru esińa
3rd tahi taski tasaru taśńa
3rd (formal) empi emki emaru emuńa
3rd (inanimate) kafa kafaki1 kafaru1 kańa
reflexive pokaĭ pokaĭki1 pokaĭru1 pokaĭńa1
reflexive (formal) esokaĭ esokaĭki1 esokaĭru1 esokaĭńa1

1 These forms are made with the standard suffixes. Therefore, stress always falls on the syllables ka, po and so.

Grammatical Number

Kartara has four classes of grammatical number. Singular refers to one and dual refers to two. Paucal is relative, generally denoting 3-10, while plural denotes a quantity greater than that.

The paucal/plural marking can also be used to denote distinctions between parts of a whole. The plural is used to describe the entirety, while the paucal is used to denote a division of it, even if the division is more than ten or fewer than three. This generally happens when using uncountable nouns (sand, wind, etc) or large groups of people or flocks of animals.

For example, one may spill water (plural), and note that some water (paucal) got on the floor, some (paucal) on the drapes, and some (paucal) remained in the cup. Or, one may refer to the two Senators from Ohio (paucal) as opposed to all Senators in DC (plural).

This latter usage can be seen as more poetic, fanciful, or flamboyant if used for trivial distinctions, if not used to compare and contrast, or when it's just plain overused. Comparison: Sarcasm and irony in the English language.

Verb Inflection

Verbs are inflected for person, tense, number, formality and animacy. 1st and 2nd person are assumed to be animate, so only 3rd person has an inanimate inflection. The formal register is only inflected in the 2nd person.

Verbs are grouped into three or four categories based on their final consonant.

  • Group 1 consists of verbs with the labial consonants p, m and f.
  • Group 2 consists of the dental and retroflex consonants, but is split into two series.
    • Series 2a contains s, t and n.
    • Series 2b contains ś, and ń.
  • Group 3 consists of the velar consonants h and k.

Here are the verb inflections for the present tense.

G1 Singular DualPaucalPlural
1st (inclusive)  peopp
1st (exclusive) pepuopaepou
2nd paparapala
2nd (formal) papepareĭpaleĭ
3rd (animate) pipiropilo
3rd (inanimate) popoporopolo
G2a Singular DualPaucalPlural
1st (inclusive)  siosusus
1st (exclusive) sesussuaĭ
2nd sisarosalo
2nd (formal) sissareĭsaleĭ
3rd (animate) sosoresole
3rd (inanimate) saasarasala
G2b Singular DualPaucalPlural
1st (inclusive)  śuaśaśaś
1st (exclusive) śeśuśśuoĭ
2nd śuśurośuĺo
2nd (formal) śuśśureĭśuĺeĭ
3rd (animate) śośoreśoĺe
3rd (inanimate) śaaśaraśaĺa
G3 Singular DualPaucalPlural
1st (inclusive)  heehhuu
1st (exclusive) heheohoehoe
2nd haharahala
2nd (formal) hatehareĭhaleĭ
3rd (animate) haharohalo
3rd (inanimate) hikihirihili

Animation is used to cycle through the various final consonants. Note that certain 1st-person and singular forms use the final consonant twice!

Dual and paucal forms merge in the 2nd and 3rd persons. Formal/informal distinctions merge in the 3rd person; formality can be noted on the noun with the prefix es-.

Groups 2a and 2b merge together in other tenses, and almost completely merge in the 3rd person above.

The participle form is the standard citation form. It is used where English would typically use an infinitive, gerund or participle.

G1 and G3 paĭa
G2a and G2b soĭa

See the Verbs subpage for the past and future tenses.

Noun Inflection

Nouns may be inflected with prefixes or suffixes. Prefixes generally denote the uses of nouns, while suffixes generally denote qualities of nouns.

dual -ki
paucal -ru
plural -ńa
indefinite -pu

An uninflected noun is considered singular and definite. Marking the noun for number is obligatory, except for generic nouns (see below).

Pei kihiso.
The dog worries.
Peiki kihisore.
Both dogs worry.
Peiru kihisore.
Peińa kihisole.
The dogs worry.

The indefinite inflection is used to specify a noun that hasn't been previously identified (a thing instead of the thing) or is otherwise unknown. It can also be used when talking about a generic example of a noun, though it's optional when the genericness is implied by a quantity word. In either case, the noun takes no other number marker (dual, paucal or plural), and the verb is inflected for the plural (or paucal, if quantity is specified).

Pei kihiso.
The dog worries.
Peipu kihiso.
A dog worries.
Peipu kihisole.
Dogs worry.
Uso pei kihisore.
Some dogs worry.

Lative towards or into saĭ-
Ablative away from or out of fi-
Perlative through, along or across foĭ-

Simple movement is indicated by inflecting the noun being used as a reference point. Most of the time, the verb pufaĭa is used to indicate a change of location. However, it is usually omitted in the present tense. (Note that an initial h is always dropped before applying a prefix.)

Aulno pufio fiofpaĭa.
The cow came from the island.
Aulno fiofpaĭa.
The cow comes from the island.
Iomana pufiu saĭtatoimo.
The husband will go in the box.
Umu foĭatofańa.
The cat goes along the tree branches.

Typically, 'into', 'out of' and 'along' are the primary meanings. Other verbs, usually finoĭa, are used when context alone doesn't convey the full meaning intended.

Iomana finepe saĭtatoimo.
The husband will go to [the location of] the box.
Umu uiso foĭatofańa.
The cat falls through the tree branches.

Dative recipient of the action sol-
Locative in the location of oĭl-
Comitative accompanies; along with aĭk-
Instrumental using/with/by means of um[u]-

sol- is used for what in English would normally be called the indirect object of a sentence. Specifically, it indicates the noun that is the recipient of the action. Typically, it follows the patient (direct object) of the sentence, but it may precede it for emphasis.

Ketee opusa iruo solkaĭfohepe.
I gave the demon my soul.
Ketee solkaĭfohepe opusa iruo.
I gave the demon my soul (not you, Bob!)

oĭl- is used to indicate where or when the action is taking place. aĭk- marks a noun (almost always animate) that is accompanying the agent in the action. When the noun isn't a participant in the action, use the preposition si.

Aulno futo oĭluĭlno si toa.
The cow plays in the rain with happiness.
Aulno aĭktisite futore.
The cow and the pig play.

umu- is used when the noun marked is the instrument by which the action is accomplished. It follows either the patient of the sentence, or the verb if no patient is present. The final u in umu- is omitted when the noun it attaches to starts with a vowel.

Torteno tufio umutiaĭ.
The guest stabbed with the knife.
Aorma tatosoe torteno umauśa!
The mother hit the guest with the bed!

Locative at some point during oĭl-
Lative starting at saĭ-
Ablative until fi-
Perlative for as long as foĭ-

Prefixes of movement are also used with timeframes. However, the metaphor they utilize is different from the one used by most peoples.

In English, for example, time is thought of as static while you physically move through it. Therefore, the future is "ahead" of you and you leave your past "behind".

In Kartara, time is like a wind blowing from behind you while you stand still. The past is "in front" of you, where you can see and remember it, but the future is "behind" and unknown. This is most clear in the use of the lative and ablative, below.

The locative indicates that the action occurs at some point during or around the timeframe indicated, while the perlative indicates the action happens for the entire duration of the timeframe.

Fiaĭneke oĭlastoku.
I will dance (at some point) tomorrow.
Aulno futoe aĭktisite oĭltisia.
The cow played with the pig at noon.
Fiaĭneke foĭastoku.
I will dance (all day) tomorrow.

Depending on the tense of the verb, the lative and ablative indicate the action extends from now until the indicated timeframe, or from that timeframe on.

Elekoke fiastoku.
I will run until tomorrow.
Kihiseke saĭastoku.
I will worry starting tomorrow.
Oĭsienee fitisia.
I was digging since noon.
Iahii fipei osanae.
I laughed until the dog sat down.
(Note how the prefix attaches to the head of the noun phrase.)

When the time being referenced isn't the boundary of the event, use fiti (behind) or sopio (ahead), bearing in mind the wind metaphor and the tense of the action being used.

Elekoke sopio astoku.
I will run (at some point) before tomorrow.
Kihiseke fiti astoku.
I will worry (at some point) after tomorrow.
Tomorrow is behind you, so something after tomorrow is behind it, while something happening before tomorrow would be ahead of it, reaching you first.
Fiaĭnee sopio apopo.
I cried (at some point) before yesterday.
Kulo hafio fiti taĭefee tahi.
The boy lied (at some point) after I found him.
Yesterday and all past events are ahead of you, so something before that event is even farther ahead, while something since that event is behind that event, still closer to you.

Adjective Inflection

Adjectives and adverbs are interchangeable in Kartaran. They are inflected with suffixes.

Diminutive to a lesser degree -li
Augmentative to a greater degree -lo
Umili pufi tiaseli.
The kitten is a little sad.
T́ei pufi iatalo.
The mouse is very smart.
Comparative less than -moĭli
more than -moĭlo
Superlative to the highest degree -maĭ
Eli ipanoe ufamoĭli upeĭka a santupire?
Do you like the prison or the schoolhouse less well?
Portomaĭ peĭka kepisoe haeĭńa paĭ t́aśeĭ.
The most boring prisoner wanted eggs for breakfast.
Pufe t́aśkamoĭlo aheupu si foĭsu kaleĭlo.
I'm angrier than a crow with an ugly boyfriend.
Tafeme huĭumoĭlo eĭa t́aśka.
I'm more embarrassed than angry.

Formal Register

There are many situations where the formal register is used. Here are a few:

  • Many religious services.
    • Certain deities prefer not using the formal register.
  • Addressing the nobility.
  • Addressing one's superior, especially in the army and aboard ships.
  • For children: addressing one's teacher or parent.
  • Referring to older, wiser people.
  • Referring to the deceased.
  • Between guest and host, merchant and customer, business equals, etc.

Using the formal register denotes that the speaker has respect for the person being referred to. Mostly, it is confined to separate verb conjugations in the second person, but it also includes second and third-person pronouns and a benefactive inflection es-.

Espufeke eloĭ fiśi.
For your benefit, I will leave here.
I will be happy to go.
Seĭońe asaufofe husaso oesoĭa eloĭ aĭsta.
Please (sir) allow me to eat this bread.
Tasaru pakhaĭtire ańe sia.
They commanded many ships.

The benefactive has some use outside the formal register. It can attach to nouns to indicate who the action is for. That noun may either precede the subject or follow the patient.

Eskusa aki, pameke usolo aĭsta.
For the little girl, I will get more bread.
Panee eĭna tośiśamomo toaĭ eskaleĭsa.
I killed that fat tavern keeper for my girlfriend.

Derivational Morphology

Unlike inflections, derivations do change the stress of the word after affixes are applied. For example, inflecting eme (child) with the dual number (emeki) doesn't move the stress from "em", but deriving emekopa (childish) moves the stress to "ko".

Also note that, because the stress is changing, hs on a formerly stressed syllable are dropped. For instance, kaĭfohepe (demon) becomes adjectivized as kaĭfoepekoe (demonic). Unaccented hs at the beginning of a word are not dropped if they remain at the beginning of the word (huĭsenafo, via huĭsenoĭa).


Nouns -soĭo the characteristic use of [noun] (whipping, sawing, shopping)
-{ia}maĭa acting like [noun] (be friendly, burning [via fire])
-pamaĭa to make or get [noun] (fishing, mining)
AdjectivesAdjs -paĭa increase the quality of [adjective] (strengthen, beautify)
Verbs fo[a]- not doing [verb] (not speaking, not attacking)
se[e]- doing the opposite of [verb] (disagree, undo)
-esoĭo turns an intransitive verb into a transitive verb

-esoĭo has few uses, mostly confined to the effects of magic.

Uĭte tososamomo.
The water froze.
Taamomo tososameso opusa uĭte!
The wizard froze my water!


AdjectivesAdjs -{i}saĭ the abstract quality of [adjective] (redness, strength)
kum[u]- person with strong quality of [adjective] (genius [via smart])
-śi place strongly associated with [adjective] (unknown location)
Verbs -u[aĭ/oĭ] one who does [verb] formally or professionally (instructor, sailor)
-[aĭ/oĭ]no one who is capable of [verb] (driver, doer, amateur sailor)
-afo the abstract concept of [verb] (carpentry, hunting)
-[aĭ/oĭ]mi thing that is capable of [verb] (roller, dryer)
-[aĭ/oĭ]si thing that can be an object of [verb] (mount, potable)
-{ś}aĭ a completed instance of [verb] (instruction, drive, visit, motion)
-uti an incomplete, progressing instance of [verb] (the building of Ur)
-iśi place where [verb] is done (school [via teach], dining room)
-{n}a an object heavily involved with [verb] (sail, blade [via cut])
Nouns -śi place to keep [noun] (armory, stable [via horse], tool shed)
-{u}u land of [noun] (pasture [via cow], farmland)
-{i}saĭ characteristic product of [noun] (wool [via sheep])
tiś[i]- one who makes [noun] (watch maker, craftsman, shipwright)
-{a}momo one who owns or manages [noun] (barkeep, shopkeep)
kum[u]- person from [noun] (Texan, Dallasite, New Zealander, frontiersman)
-{e}to a large or old version of [noun] (bonfire, boulder, elder wyrm)
-{a}ti a small or young version of [noun] (pebble, puppy)
-ao group of [noun] (company [via soldier], gaggle of geese)


Nouns -koe like or akin to [noun] in quality (childlike wonder, moronic)
-kopa full of or made of [noun] (juicy lemons, brick house, spring days)
kam[o]- from or characteristic of [noun] (American, country music)
kaf[i]- from the direction of [noun] (from the city)
kas[aĭ]- toward the direction of [noun] (homeward, to the city)
op[o]- [noun]'s (genitive; the horse's mouth)
o[p]- [pronoun]'s (genitive; my, his, etc.)
Verbs -[aĭ/oĭ]mi able to be an object of [verb] (breakable chair)
-eso is/has been the object of [verb] (broken watch)
-[aĭ/oĭ]a able to [verb] (trawling ship, fainting goat)
-u having an abstract quality of [verb] (funny [via joke], talkative)
AdjectivesAdjs fo[a]- The opposite of [adjective] (antimatter, unscientific)

Fo[a]- typically only attaches to derived adjectives, but occasionally attaches to emotional states to indicate a lack of that emotion (as unhappy can be used in English).


A beginning...

Sentence Structure

Typical word order is Agent-Verb-Patient (transitive) or Subject-Verb (intransitive).

Noun Phrases

Typical noun phrase order is Determiner, Quantity, Value/Opinion, Purpose/Qualifier, Noun, Material, Color, Shape, Age, Temperature, Size, Origin. For instance, "my two overrated tiny new sleek red Italian sports cars" could be rendered as "my two overrated sports cars red sleek new tiny Italian".

Determiner Quantity Value/Opinion Purpose/Qualifier noun Material Color Shape Age Temperature Size Origin

Semantic Fields and Pragmatics

Writing System

A crude representation of the original nautical flags that predated the writing system.