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Aptaye is a conlang created by TheUnseen, meaning "the good/honorable language." It is spoken by the Yutlamsa . The Yutlamsa live in various villages and towns in a mountain range (specifically around only a few mountains), with most of the population on the foothills and the nearest plains to the east of the mountains and on a lake to the west of the main mountain which they call Istakrahiye . Their homeland is a large area for their population size and thus they live fairly spread out from each other. However, due to the domestication of horses and an intricate road and bridge system through the mountains, they trade and interact with each other with relative ease. There are two main dialects: Pakatloptaye , meaning "lake dialect" and Auyasoptaye, meaning "plains/foothills dialect." The names are obvious: Pakatloptaye is spoken by those people who are west of Istakrahiye, and so these people are mostly around the lake which is known as Pakatlo, meaning "the good/honorable lake." Auyasoptaye is spoken by people east of Istakrahiye who live in the foothills, forests, and plains collectively known as Auyaso , meaning "the good/honorable plains area." They don't differ much from each other in pronunciation, but moreso in pragmatics and lexical choice.


p t k tl /p t k t tɬ/

g l ll r y /ɰ l ʎ r j/

s z x v h / x v h/

m n /m n/

a e ē i o ō u ū /a e ɛ: i o ɔ: u u:/

ai au eu oi /ai au ɛu ɔi/

Auyasoptaye has ēōū as the falling diphthongs /ea oa uo/ instead.

Stress is always on the penultimate syllable.

Phonemes are pronounces as the represented equivalents above except in the following scenarios:

1. /x/ is [ħ] before /a/: xara [ħara]

2. /h/ is deleted intervocalically in all but careful speech, leaving only a syllable boundary:  nūhe [nu:.e]. There is a contrast between diphthongs and two vowels in separate syllables: lau [lau] and lahu [la.u]

3. The phonemic clusters /ph th kh/ are usually realized as [pʰ tʰ kʰ]: kophe [kopʰe].

4. The phonemic clusters /t ts̻ kx tl/ are treated as affricates /t ts̻ kx tɬ/.

5. /m n/ in coda become [ũ ĩ] in a nasal diphthong with the preceding vowel: paukam [‘paukãũ], nantekporo [nãĩtek’poro], kulim [kulĩũ]. This is not always the case in Pakatloptaye. It is always the case in unstressed syllables at the end of a word and the demonstrative -em: kulim [kulĩũ], kulim zem [kulĩũ ẽũ]. It is usually the case in syllables when the following consonant is voiced or in monosyllablic words, but sometimes the nasal stop here is retained in careful speech: kamya [‘kamja] or [‘kãũja], kom [kom] or [kõũ]. The nasal is preserved before voiceless consonants in stressed syllables: amsu [‘amu], but in unstressed syllables the two options freely vary: nantekporo [nãĩtek’poro] or [nantek’poro]. In Auyasoptaye, all of these options are the case. In fact, Auyasoptaye goes further: post-stress intervocalic /m n/ become nasal glides, nasalizing the previous vowel: lema [‘lẽũa], but nemastu [ne’matu]. There are various mergers of the nasal diphthongs according to sub-dialects and idiolectic variation which are too haphazard to go into depth here about.

6. The other alveolars /t l n/ are apical unless adjacent to /s̺/, when they are laminal.

7. In Pakatloptaye, /nɰ/ is [ŋ] and /x/ is [ʃ]. In Pakatloptaye, /nɰ/ does not undergo the nasalization stuff as detailed above: kulinga [ku'liŋa].

8. The apical sibiliant /s̺/ tends to be [ʃ] in Pakatloptaye before /a o ɔ: u u:/ or when adjacent to /k ɰ p m/. This is only a tendency because this is applied fairly inconsistently, varying in sub-dialects and idiolectically.



The root for a verb in Aptaye is the form V1C1(C2)V(C)(V): apta - speak, akrahi - climb, amsu - sing, ikporo - wander. All these examples include C2, as most verbs have them. Verbs which don’t tend to be stative or adjectival verbs: etemu - be sweet.

These reflect the basic form of the verb. There is a second form, the conjunctive form, which involves changing V1 and inserting a vowel identical to the new V1 between C1 and C2. Usually, if V1 is a, then conjunctive vowels will be o, and if V1 is i, then conjunctive vowels will be a. If there is no C2, the first vowel often changes to u, though this is less regular than the previously mentioned patterns. Examples: opota - then speak, okorahi - then climb, omosu - then sing, akaporo - then wander utemu - then be sweet. Then there is a third form, the imperative form. In this form, V1 is inserted between the two consonants and the original V1 is dropped. If there is no C2, V1 is simply dropped. Examples: pata - speak! karahi - climb! masu - sing! kiporo - wander! temu - be sweet!

Verbal Pronomial Affixes

Verbs in Aptaye are marked for the subject of the sentence with prefixes. Rel means relative clause prefix, R means rational gender, PrR means pre-rational gender, and PoR means post-rational gender.

     SG SGRel   Pl PlRel

1st n-    t-        vel- pel-

2nd v-   p-     pel- pay-

R     y- ty-

PrR z- tz-

PoR x- tx-

The verb takes the suffix -ri to denote distributive plural. 

Compound Verbs

Aptaye uses a very productive system of verb compounding. The main verb comes first and takes a subject prefix, and is compounded with the second, semantically salient verb without its V1. So nollopta - I want to speak: nollo - I want, -pta - speak. Here are some of the most relevant compounds: 

-ollo - want

-ante - necessary that

-osto- possible that

-agan(i) - love, be pleased that

-ekes(u) - hate that

-ara - good that

-oyō - bad that

-ne- perfect/emphatic perfective (from -ne “be outside of”)

Compounded verbs with vowels in parentheses do not use the vowels if not having them does not create an illegal cluster. Otherwise, the vowels are kept. nakespta - I hate to speak, but naganipta - I love to speak


Nouns in Aptaye are marked for three genders: rational, pre-rational, and post-rational. The post-rational gender is divided into four classes. All four classes receive the same post-rational prefix on the verb and other modifiers that agree, yet they are different morphologically on the noun. These genders and classes are divided into two cases: direct and oblique, and then subdivided into two honorific degrees: good and bad.

Gender Suffixes

In the following chart, the direct suffix is listed first and the oblique second. (/ means "or" - the option after the slash also exists but is less common than the option before the slash)

Pre-Rational -m/0 -nga

Good: -ka -kē

Bad: -kō -kōya

Rational -0/[change vowel] -g(a)

Good: -r -rya

Bad: -rō -rōya

Post-Rational 1 -ti -he

Good: -so -sē

Bad: -sū -sūya

Post-Rational 2 -tl -lla

Good: -tlo -tlē

Bad: -tlū -tlūya

Post-Rational 3 -pe -phe

Good:-pso -psē

Bad: -psū -psūya

Post-Rational 4/Verbal Noun -0 -0

Good: -ye -ye

Bad: -yū -yū

Collective Plural

There are two different types of pluralization in Aptaye - the collective and the distributive. The former is marked on the noun by means of reduplication: if C1...V1... is the root, then the reduplicated form is C1V1C1...V1. However, if the second C1 in the reduplicated noun is not in a consonant cluster (meaning if the original root did not start with an onset cluster), it is mutated. The following is a chart of what happens to each consonant:

p > v, h

t > r, l

k > g, h

m > v, h

n > l, r

tl > l, r

s > z, h

z > s, h

x > h, g

v > h, g

y > h, g

r > l, n

l > r, n

g > h, y

h > v/y, g

The first consonant choice listed is what normally happens: kulim - fish, kugulim - fish. The second choice is what happens if the next consonant occuring in the root is the same as the first choice: liru - arm, liniru - arms (not **liriru).




The verb takes the suffix -ri to denote distributive plural. This means that the action is done multiple times in succession or separately, either by multiple subjects or to multiple objects if the verb is transitive. In the 1st and 2nd person, the suffix can combine with regular plurals to make the distinction: kulinga velahpexiri - We ate fish (one after the other) kulinga nahpexiri - I ate fish (one after the other). When the distributive talks about the subject, it means that there are multiple people who did the action each for themselves and not together: Anga yaptaxiri - they spoke to me (one after the other). If the subject and object are both third person, context distinguishes the two possible usages. So Kulinga yahpexiri could mean “s/he ate the fish (one after the other)” or “they ate a fish (one for each of them, separately).” It is disambiguated if a collective plural noun is shown explicitly (see below in the Nouns section). A plural subject that acts collectively in an action does not receive distributive marking: Tē kulinga yahpexi - Many ate the fish (eating the one fish together). This is an example of a collective plural noun, as will be shown below. As a side note, the notion of the passing of time is marked with distributive plural: Xolvaxiri nga rē - Ten hours passed.


Two possible verbal nouns exist - the abstract verbal and the objective verbal. The abstract verbal is used to speak of an action in general separated from any particular scenario of it. It is formed with the verb root without the prefix vowel: pta - speech, the act or state of speaking (from -pta), krahi - rising, the state of rising. If the initial cluster is illegal, an epenthetic e is inserted: keporo - wandering, the state of listlessness (from -kporo), mesu - singing, music (from -msu). The objective verbal is used for a particular, observed instance of an action, or something which typically does that action (note that if this is so, it must be post-rational in nature, because pre-rational and rational things have a separate agentive form). Here, the prefix vowel for the inflected verb is maintained: apta - language, akrahi - mountain, ikporo - adventure, amsu - song.

Past Tense

The past tense is formed with the suffix -xi. It denotes tense only, not dealing with issues of aspect. So nahpexi - "I ate" does not distinguish between "I ate" and "I was eating." Different context clues delineate perfective and imperfective aspect.


Negation of verbs is maked with the suffix -me: aptaxime - I did not speak, nantemehpeme - It is not necessary for me not to eat.

Compound Verbs

Here are some of the most relevant compound verbs in Aptaye, with some semantic explanations (those which are not explained yet will have explanations eventually.)

-ollo - want

This expresses volition, but is also used like a future tense if the action is even at least somewhat desired: Taike nollomsu - Tomorrow I will sing (and I want to).

-ante - necessary that

-osto- possible that

These are akin to necessity and possibility in modal logic and philosophy and are not related to moral obligation/necessity. They are also used like future tenses if desire is not a relevant factor and/or the necessity or possibility of the action is most relevant. Yatl xantekrahi taike- The sun will rise tomorrow. Yatl xostokrahime taike? - It is possible that the sun will not rise tomorrow?

-agan(i) - love, be pleased that

-ekes(u) - hate that

-ara - good that

-oyō - bad that

-ne- perfect/emphatic perfective (from -ne “be outside of”)

Conjunctive Form

Each verb has a conjunctive form. A conjunctive form shows an action that is significantly separate in time or space from the previous verb, in succession of time from the previous verb .

Any sort of verbs in succession of time will mark the first form in basic form and all verbs in succession in conjunctive form. Nathamaxi, nohopexi, maro notovazkaxi - I woke up, ate, and then began to write. Note that maro is an optional conjunction meaning "and then," and the last verb is a compound verb, with the first part "began" atva being in conjunctive form.

The use of the succession sense occurs across sentences and also occurs no matter how long after the action occurs after the former, as long as they are together in a significant sense for the discourse. Nathamaxi, nohopexi, maro notovazkaxi. Yuko ngapau rē hilla togani nasagazkaxime. - I woke up, ate, and then began to write. Until I was satisfied fifteen hours later, I did not finish writing. This example shows that relative verbs can also take the conjunctive: togani meaning "I then was pleased, loved [it]" from agani (yuko ngapau rē hilla means literally "until fifteen hours after"). You can also see another example of compound verbs in conjunctive form, with asaga, from isga, "finish."

Imperative Form

Imperatives are used to express commands. A command is any sort of request that requires urgency or does not require any significant degree of politeness. The bare imperative form expresses a command for a second person singular noun. Pata! Speak (you must)! Yahe! Run (you must)!

Imperative forms are used for jussive commands. These are commands that someone else either than a second-person singular entity do something. They are formed from the imperative form by adding a suffix, which is the subject prefix + a: Patana! Let me speak! Patavela! Let us speak! Pataya! Let him speak! Yaheza - Let it run!

Locative Verbs

Locative verbs denote the location of the subejct that they agree with. They are also used as basic PPs, optionally agreeing with the noun they modify. If not, the prefix vowels are dropped (the ones shown in parentheses).

(a)gi - indefinite place

(i)xan - definite place

(i)mitl - inside place

(e)ne - outside place

Ex: Nenexi kalalla xir - I was outside that store. Kulim nūhe gi zistu - The fish in the water is large.


Noun Gender

Gender in Aptaye centers around the concept of rationality. Generally, something is rational is it can speak and reason. For the Yutlamsa, this only includes adult humans. Thus, all adult humans are apart of the rational gender: ko - man, adult human. Pre-rational gender includes those who are not yet rational but have the capacity to be. This obviously includes children, but it actually also includes animals: kom - child, kulim - fish. Post-rational gender includes everything else, and is divided into four classes. Class 1 and Class 2 are not clearly different semantically, but Class 1 tends to contain terms with more motile things and Class 2 with more sessile things: nūti - water, usatl - stone, usati - lava, molten rock. Class 3 nouns are usually (but not always) rational things which were once alive and are now dead: kope - ancestor. Class 4 are verbal nouns. Some varying applications of gender placement exist. Body parts are placed in the gender of the part they belong to: liru is rational arm/adult arm, and lirum is child's arm, monkey's arm, etc. Also, groups of people are in rational gender: taha - village, the people of a village, but tahatl - the place of a village, the sum of its buildings and roads, etc.

Collective Plural

The collective plural denotes more than one of a noun who are perceived as being together in a certain state, as opposed to the distributive plural: Kugulinga nahpexi - I ate the fish (pl) (in one sitting), Kulinga nahpexiri - I ate the fish (separate fish (sg) at separate times), Kugulinga nahpexiri - I ate the fish (separate groups of fish at separate times).


Nouns are marked for two cases: direct and oblique. The direct case is used for subjects of sentences, as a inherent possessive, and is an instrumental. Ko yamsu amsu xem - The man is singing this song. Ko liru yenennuku - The man's arm is broken (has been broken). Kazuratl llu usatl ninnukuxi - I broke the window with a stone. The oblique is used for all other functions, such the direct object and the indirect object. Kog sa nampaxi - I saw a man. Worth noting is the identity function, which is when two nouns are in an identity relationship: Anga Spartacus - I am Spartacus (anga being the 1SG oblique). This doesn't work when saying that one thing is a member of a set of other things. This instead uses the existential verb tlo: Kog natlo I am a man.


Honorifics are used to bring positive or negative attention to the noun. The good honorific does the former and the bad does the latter. I use the words good and bad because they are often attached to the moral concepts of the Yutlamsa. This is why the names of everything where the Yutlamsa live have honorifics: Aptaye - the good/honorable language, Istakrahiye - the good/honorable great mountain. For people, honorifics are used when mentioned people deserving of honor or whose honor is being highlighted. Vūnar yekhe - The good philosopher is wise. The bad honorific is used for those who are despised or in order to insult someone: Korō ir na kulinga yenexlō! - That bastard (lit. bad man) just stole my fish! Xelōrō yukkukaxi - The thief lurked.

Word Order and Pragmatics

Topic Marking

Topic marking in Aptaye is expressed with determiners that modify the nouns. Two features are relevant to topics: what I call "givenness" and "aboutness" (actually I think I stole them from TomHChappell in the L&L Museum thread, but they may not be exactly what he was talking about). Givenness means that the modified noun is given from knowledge or context - the speaker assumes that the addressee knows what the speaker is expressing. Aboutness means that the noun is supposed to be what the ongoing discourse is about, meaning what the speaker thinks is most important to note. Once an "aboutness" topic is presented, it is usually dropped in the rest of discourse because it is known to be what everything else is about.

-em/-ir [+givenness -/+aboutness] These are the demonstratives “this” and “that.” They take prefixes agreeing with the noun they modify, equal to the verbal prefixes. One exception is that rational gender form of -ir is  ir (not **yir). They convey that the modified noun is given from knowledge or context and that it is the most relevant noun in the sentence or the discourse, unless another noun in the sentence is modified by llu or sa. Paukam zir zitet. Zanteuko prasi. - That dog is old. It will die soon (lit. it is necessary that it will die soon).

llu [+givenness +aboutness] This conveys that the modified noun is given from knowledge or context and that it is the most relevant noun in the sentence or the discourse, superseding the demonstratives. It is also used if the location of the noun that the demonstrative would inform about is unknown or considered particularly irrelevant. Kulinga llu yahpexi kom zem. Zallataxi. - The fish was eaten by the children. It was delicious.

sa [-givenness +aboutness] This conveys that a noun is the most relevant noun in the sentence or discourse, superseding the demonstratives, but that is not given, acting a lot like an indefinite article. Kog sa nampaxi eleg. Yuktoyoxi nimpella - I saw a man yesterday. He was wearing a hat.

Adverbs can also be made topics, with either llu or sa. Eleg llu kog ir nampaxi - Yesterday I saw that man. Ita sa Tlosē nampaxi - One time I saw God.

Word Order

The “default” clause order is SOV, upon which the following variations occur in this order:

1) the topic is fronted. Kog sa nampaxi - I saw a man. Ko sa anga yampaxi - A man saw me.

2) If either the subject or the object is used contrastively, meaning that is attempted to be contrasted as opposed to another noun, it is moved after the verb: Nampaxi kog sa - I saw a man/It is a man I saw. Ko sa nampaxi anga- A man saw me/It was me a man saw.

Other phrase orders: ADJ-N, N-DET, N-PP, except when the adjective in the first case or the noun in the other two are used contrastively, in which case the order switches. vosulla xem gi - on the wall, gi xem vosulla - on the wall.

As shown, contrastivity is used to emphasize that the noun in question is that certain noun and not some other possible noun. It is also used to respond to certain questions if the questions ask for a specific answer that attempts to exclude other options: Eksepa xagi au? Gi xem vosulla - Where (at what place) is the painting? It's on that wall.

Relative Clauses

Relative clauses are built with verbs marked with relative subject prefixes as listed in the morphology section. If the subject of the verb relative clause is the modified noun, it is never mentioned with a pronoun. Other noun positions such as direct object may optionally mention the subject like any other clause - dropped if the noun is a previously established topic or if it is a first or second person pronoun, but otherwise usually mentioned. Relative clause verbs follow the noun they modify. They precede the noun if the noun is constrative, like any other clause. Examples: Ruvam zem pauyaxi zuhyu - The baby that you tickled is laughing. Usatl xir kazuralla ninnukuxi nūhe ximitl - This stone that I broke the window with is in the water. Kazuralla usatl xir ninnukuxi nūhe ximitl - It is this stone that I broke the window with, and it is in the water.

Complement Clauses

Complement clauses have normally inflected verbs. Since they are in the place of nouns, they take the word order of nouns. Also, they can take topic markers like other nouns. If a complement clause is a subject, the verb takes post-rational y-. Examples: Vitet yara - That you are old is good. Vūnag vatlo naina- I know you are a philosopher. Vūnag vatlo llu naina. Yazzaso vala ka vekhe. - I know you are a philosopher. It is obvious because you are so wise. Talla naina vantēna - You will never know what I know.

Adverbial Clauses

Adverbial clauses have normally inflected verbs. They take the place of normal adverbs - before the verb normally, after the verb contrastively, and fronted if topical. Kulinga zir vala nehevi nampexi. Zallataxi. - I ate the fish because I was hungry. It was delicious. Vala nehevi llu kulinga xir nampexi. Ka, ē! - Because of my hunger I ate the fish. Boy was I (hungry)!

Coming Soon




Tense and Aspect



Important Adverbs


Lexical Variation in Dialects

Basic updating and clarification of things which have already been written