Untitled IAL

This is a sketch of a yet-to-be-titled global international auxiliary language (IAL).

Design Principles

  • Minimal phonology, inspired by classical Nahuatl, and simple phonotactics (CV(C) syllables with a restricted set of consonant clusters allowed word-medially). This gives the language a distinct flavor while keeping it easy to pronounce.
  • A priori lexicon and grammar. This affords easy creation of words within the phonotactic constraints, and guarantees a baseline level of cultural and linguistic neutrality.
  • A convention of directly borrowing endonyms from standard Romanizations of other languages. Words are indicated as foreign by typesetting them in italics or underlining them. The word for Germany is Deutchland. The word for Japan is Nihon.



Labial Coronal Dorsal
Nasals m n
Stops p t k
Fricatives s ʃ
Approximants ʍ l


Front Back
High i
Mid e o
Low a


The minimal phonemic inventory permits a high degree of allophony.

  • All consonants may be voiced or unvoiced. Stops may be aspirated or unaspirated.
  • /n/ assimilates to the POA of a following consonant, even across morpheme boundaries.
  • /ʃ/ may be realized [tʃ], [ɕ], [ʂ], [h], or [x].
  • /ʍ/ may be [w], [f], [ɸ], [v], or [β].
  • /l/ may be any lateral or rhotic.
  • /o/ may be [u].


Syllable structure is CV(C).

Allowed morpheme-medial clusters are: mp, nt, nk, pt, kt, ps, ts, ks, ʃm, ʃn, ʃp, ʃt, ʃk, ʃl, kʍ.

Allowed morpheme-final consonants are n, t, k, s, ʃ, l. Allowed morpheme-final vowels are a, i, o.


In cases where a consonant cluster is difficult to pronounce, an epenthetic /u/ may be inserted.


Phonemes are represented by the IPA values in the charts above, with two exceptions:

  • /ʍ/ is <w>
  • /ʃ/ is <ch>


Stress may be marked by emphasis or high pitch. The primary stress falls on the first syllable of each word. Secondary stresses are trochaic (i.e. fall on alternating syllables after the primary stress) with the exception that the final syllable of a polysyllabic word is never stressed. Some grammatical particles do not receive stress. Morphemes joined to a root by a dash are considered part of the same word for stress purposes.


Possessed and Unpossessed forms

Much of the grammar revolves around so-called possessive forms, which have a much wider range of uses than possessives do in English. Noun phrases and verb phrases are both analyzed as possessive.

When a word is part of a possessive construction, it takes a possessed suffix. This suffix is optionally marked for tense/aspect/mood.

  • mo talach my house (not marked for tense)
  • mo talach-in my old (former) house
  • mo talach-pal my old (long-time) house
  • mo talach-tan my dream house
  • mo talach-o my future house

Unpossessed nouns receive a suffix -li.

  • talach-li (the) house

Types of Possessors

There are two types of possessors: genitive and receptive.

  • The genitive is used when the possessor is the creator or originator of the thing possessed.
  • The receptive is used when the possessor is the recipient.

Benefactive possessors are unmarked. Genitive possessors are marked by the suffix -tik, often abbreviated to -k.

  • Ni topot A letter for you
  • Ni-tik topot A letter from you

  • mo-k ni talach The house I built for you


There is no definite article. Nouns can be explicitly marked as indefinite using the number one (so).

  • so mo talach-tol one of my houses


There is no separate class of verbs; verbs behave exactly like nouns. The two types of possessives can be reinterpreted as subject (genitive) and object (receptive) forms.

  • mo-k matsisin ni-k witsi-pal You've been going to my restaurant or your long-time custom at my restaurant
  • ni-k matsisin-tli witsi-pal You've been going to the restaurant or your long-time custom at the restaurant
  • ni-k matsi-tli mitsa Your love of food or You like food
  • ni-k matsi mitsa (people) love the food you make

witsipal nik matsisin mok witsipal nik matsisintli

m n b t k v s ch l y

i u e a

Word order:

VSO, SVO, or SOV in main clauses SOV in subclauses

head-final noun phrases, except for relative clauses:

Navinni elentu enial i alta kitu saidan earth-on tree-in house that king REF-in sat The house in a tree on the earth in which the king sat

Na im 'I eat' El im 'You eat' Vi im 'We eat' Sa im 'h'

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