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Khulls is a name for a language spoken on planet Teppala by the Crystals, their allies, and many of their enemies.


Alternate names: Khulls

This language was originally spoken in AlphaLeap. It is the scriptural language of the Ridiam religion, although many scriptures were originally written in earlier forms of the language, going back to a stage where it was united with other neighboring languages as the Gold language.

  1. The velar fricatives h hʷ came to be spelled x xʷ.
    As /tanči/ "wine" demonstrates, a preceding coda /n/ did *not* assimilate to the /x/.
  2. tʷ dʷ nʷ shifted to tl dl nl.
  3. When not occurring after a labialized consonant, the vowel u, in all tones and lengths, changed to o of the same tone and length.
  4. The diphthongs əi ai changed to ĕ ē . əu au became ū ō .
  5. The plain schwa (which was always low tone) disappeared to Ø and labialized any consonant that preceded it. This was considered an allophone of /u/. Following consonants became syllabic. Where /ə/ collapsed, stress shifted syllables to the nearest adjacent one. This tone was mid-tone (ă), which was sometimes called the low tone since it behaved as such when joined to any other morpheme that carried stress. Thus all morphemes that had once contained a schwa came to be pronounced entirely with low tones.
    Note that any syllabic formed here always assimilated to a following consonant because they arose from a non-syllabic nasal, which had already been assimilated to a following consonant. By contrast, the primordial syllabic nasals /ṁ ṅ ŋ̇/ still did not assimilate, and thus words like /mṅpà/ "to ask" still existed.
  6. Sequences like aʕa became pharyngealized vowels; these could still have tones, but later all pharyngealized tones merged with each other except for sandhi effects. Pharyngealized vowels are spelled â ; though there is only one pharyngealized surface tone, pharyngealized vowels exhibited different sandhi effects depending on their origin, and this is not reflected in the Romanization. Note that /iʕV/ did not create pharyngealization, but /uʕV/ did.
  7. The cluster sg shifted to x.
  8. After a high tone, the voiced stop d shifted to .
  9. The clusters mh nh ŋh dh became mp nt ŋk t, except that replaces /nt/ before any /i/. These clusters were often morphologically /s/ + a voiced consonant, but the [h] pronunciation is actually the more archaic one.
  10. After the vowel [u] (any tone, any length), k ḳ in a syllable coda became coarticulated labial-velar stops kp ḳṗ . This change also took place after the /Ø/ that had replaced earlier schwa, since this was behaving as an allophone of /u/. The result of this was that words could end in unusual clusters; for example, a word could end in the cluster /-tp/, but no word could end in /-t/. The /p/ here still behaved as if it were a syllabic consonant.
  11. After a syllabic nasal, the final stops k ḳ (which was the only ones that did occur) changed to match the position of the nasal. However, these were written with the letters for "p ṗ".
  12. The voiced coronal stops d dʲ dʷ became r ž gʷ.
  13. In word-initial position, r shifted to l except when facing another /l/ across a vowel.
    This rule might be void .... I only created it to avoid having to call the name of the continent "Lilòla" ... but it would be more odd for Leaper to have /r/ only before /l/ than to have words with three /l/'s.
  14. Labialized coronals became velar.
  15. Labialization disappeared before any syllabic consonant.
    This shift makes it possible to interpret the syllabic consonants as sequences of short low-tone /u/ + C. Previously, this would have failed because there was a contrast between /ʷC/ and /ʷuC/.
  16. The sequences mmṡ ŋŋṡ shifted to mpṡ ŋkṡ.
  17. The sequences gp gṗ shifted to kp ḳṗ.
  18. In unstressed position after a vowel, the syllabic consonants ṁ ṅ ŋ̇ ḷ ṡ shifted to plain consonants m n ŋ l s. Thus unstressed closed syllables were created.
  19. Final raised the preceding vowel to a high tone à (á if it was long) and then disappeared, though it left an allophonic glottal stop in some positions. Then, final k disappeared and changed the preceding vowel to the long high tone á. The surface tone change did not apply to pharyngealized vowels, but the sandhi effects did. Thus there were two pharyngealized tones .... both pronounced the same, but with different effects on surrounding unstressed syllables.
  20. The labialized fricative šʷ became ħʷ . The ħ is a spelling convention to distinguish it from /x./.
    NOTE ON POLITICS: The Proto-Moonshine language breaks off here. (Year 3958)
  21. ya yo (on all tones) shifted to ye.
  22. The velar-palatal sequences ky ḳy ŋy hy xy gy shifted to č č ny š š ž.
  23. Nasal consonants followed by /y/ hardened to voiced stops: my ñy became by ǯy . (This includes the reflexes of /ny/ and /ŋy/.)
  24. The palatal glide /y/ was deleted when not before a high vowel (it was only /e i u/ by now anyway).
  25. sl>q, which is an allophone of /h/. This probably also shifts /lh/.
  26. The voiceless bilabial stops p pʷ shifted to h hʷ except after a high tone. The plain /p/ had a brief intermediate of /ɸ/ but this stage lasted mere years before shifting to /h/. The labialized stop shifted directly. This shift excludes /kp/ and any other context in which the stops were part of a cluster; note that since the high tone always ended in a glottal stop, this environment can be considered to be a cluster as well.
    NOTE THAT THE SPELLING OF /h/ as ħ is for clarity only, because in many names, /x/ is spelled with the plain "h".
  27. The sequence hy (from /py/) shifted to š again.
  28. The clusters ml nl ŋl changed to bl dl ġl , thus restoring voiced stops to a marginal phonemic position. WHAT ABOUT PALATALS?
  29. The labialized consonants mʷ ŋʷ changed to bʷ ġʷ .
  30. The sound /l/ disappeared after a voiced stop: the clusters bl dl ġl changed to b d ġ .
    The velar is here for symmetry, but it's not clear that the required earlier sequence /ŋl/ would ever have occurred. /ml/ might not have existed either, but /b/ also comes from other sources.
  31. Lastly, /l/ also disappeared after any other stop, even over a morpheme boundary.
  32. The coarticulated stops kp ḳṗ shifted to p ṗ. (If there ever was a voiced /ġb/, it too would shift.)

Note that the only /y/ is before /i/ and unlabialized /u/, the latter of which was rare. The only other clusters in the language had initial elements unmarked for place of articulation, possibly aside from a few marginal holdovers across morpheme boundaries involving inherited syllabic nasals.

Thus the final consonant inventory was

Rounded bilabials:       pʷ  ṗʷ  bʷ      hʷ          w
Spread bilabials:        p   ṗ   b   m   
Alveolars:               t   ṭ   d   n   s   r   l
Postalveolars:           č       ǯ       š   ž  (ł)  y
Velars:                  k   ḳ       ŋ   x   g
Labiovelars:             kʷ  ḳʷ  ġʷ      xʷ  gʷ
Postvelars:              q               h       ʕ
Labialized postvelars:   qʷ

And the vowels /a e i o u/ on six tones: à ă ā á â a͆, where the last two differ in sandhi effects only.

All five vowels are unrounded except when following a labialized consonant. Because /u/ almost always follows a labialized consonant, its unrounded form is very rare unless analyzed as /Ø/. This can be spelled /ʉ/.

A rare palatal lateral ł (IPA /ʎ/) can be added, which occurs only in environments where /y/ can also occur. Unlike the other five palatal consonants /č ǯ š ž y/, however, it is entirely of secondary origin, arising entirely from the sequence /ly/, and it cannot contrast with the sequence /ly/, even over a morpheme boundary.


See Khulls phonology for phonology.

Consonant-based gender system

See Khulls nouns#Gender.

Khulls inherited the consonant-based gender system of the Gold language. The genders are:

Conso	Applies to
-----	----
 p	Pregnant women; couples
 ʕʷ	Babies
 t	Adult men and sometimes boys
 r	Boys
 l	Young children 
 n	Girls and young women
 m	Adult women
 s	Epicene (groups of humans of all genders and ages)
 ʕ	Neuter (nonliving things)

The gender of a compound noun is determined by the rightmost member of the compound that has a non-neuter gender. Thus, inanimate objects can be promoted to animate simply by being joined in a compound by an animate noun, even if the animate noun is not the head noun.

Masculine genders

Note that unlike its contemporary neighbors Andanese and Babakiam (and their descendants Pabappa and Poswa), Khulls usually distinguishes between men and boys. In the other languages, men and boys are grouped into the same gender as if there were no important difference between them, whereas women and girls are always carefully distinguished. Khulls has also revived the distinct gender for babies, which is unisex, despite having merged it early in history with the /p/ gender for pregnant women and couples.

Additionally, it is not common in Khulls to casually refer to an adult male with one of the pronouns for young boys, even in a friendly manner. Instead, it is more common to hear boys referred to as men, particularly in terms of praise. Khulls speakers historically believed that this showed that their culture appreciated men's natural masculine powers whereas the peoples around them seemed to be ashamed of their male population and wished to keep them forever as boys.


Khulls is approaching becoming a monosyllabic language. It is the "Pfalz" to the neighboring languages' "Palatinate". In fact, Khulls even goes further than simple monosyllabicity, since it also has suppletive forms for many noun plurals (e.g. "eye" and "eyes" are unrelated words), and subsyllabic morphemes clamped on to the root syllable such as the single-consonant words listed above. However, a lot of the resultant consonant clusters reduce to single consonants: ʕʷ + lŏpṡ = ʕʷŏpṡ "sun, sunshine"; p + ḳā = "school", meaning that not many new words can be built this way. Also, Khulls does not go nearly as far as its daughter language Moonshine in compressing unstressed vowels: the only actual sound change that reduced syllable count in Khulls affected only /u/ (from the schwa /ə/), which had been the rarest vowel anyway. Thus Khulls stands out from its neighbors, but not from its descendants.

Much of the character of Khulls is due to the presence of the three labial stops that can stand alone as weords, and their use to make new words from others. This means Khulls has a lot of hypothetical compounds like pŋ̇ḳ "salt water clam's eye", yṅt "teacher of sleep camels", and more that are rarely used. The syllabic nasals also appear in many words like this, such as hṅ "sleeping chair" (ṡ "sleep" + ṅ "chair").

Noun compounds

See Khulls nouns.

Noun compounds behave in unusual ways. "wine" + "in a bottle" gives xîbe "wine in a bottle", but this is also used to mean "bottle of wine", i.e., the bottle itself. Khulls' other relatives would all use something cognate to xîmī, which uses two nominatives. Xîmī is not incorrrect, but it is less commonly used except when emphasis is needed. The reason why xîbe is preferred over xîmī is because despite being ambiguous, it fits the preferred stress pattern of Khulls nouns: first syllable accented, second unaccented.

Sentence structure

Like its neighbors, Khulls is predominantly an SOV language.

Permittence of nonsyllabic words

Note that, although syllables within words have moderately tight restrictions on consonant clusters, it is common to find extrasyllabic morphemes across word boundaries. For example, the nonsyllabic word "man, human being" is very often the subject of a sentence, and is pronounced very quickly, with no epenthetic vowel, as if it were merely a grammatical particle rather than the subject of the sentence.


Khulls is unusual in that it has preserved and greatly strengthened its tone system while also retaining noun and verb inflections that involve change and collision of tones. The parent language, Diʕì (also called "Gold"), also had a complex noun case system, but its tones had a much milder functional load and could even be analyzed as a two-tone setup where the other two tones are simply sequences of the first two. Because of a fairly recent sound change that caused final /ḳ/ and /k/ to disappear, changing the tone of the vowel that preceded, many homophones appeared in the language, and many of these were in monosyllabic words, because final consonants were more common in monosyllabic words all along. For example, "thorn" comes from Gold , but "dust" comes from Gold diḳ. In Gold, the accusatives of these two words were diḳ and diḳiḳ. In Khulls, one would expect the accusatives to be respectively (thus merging with the nominative) and liḳì, but because of analogy, both are now liḳì. Thus, even though the accusatives of these homophones are also homophones, they are at least distinct from the nominative form and this still useful and intelligible.

From the accusative, one could believe that Khulls resolves the aḳ --> à problem by always assuming a following ḳ, but this is not so. The locative case, for example, simply split into two cases depending on whether the ḳ was assumed previously present or not. This is why one can say "in the lake" instead of *moḳô. However, apart from compounds and some very common words such as mô, the longer locative form is indeed preferred, because the short form conflicts with the locatives of three other tones (all except the á tone).

Note that final -k (the aspirated form) changed a preceding tone to á instead of à, but is not used as a bare noun case, and so is much less common.

Question intonation

A rising tone contour is added to the accented syllable in the last word in any interrogative sentence.


Khulls preserves the original vowel alternations in noun cases fairly well, though some meanings are changed. Also, occasionally they lead to disruptive consonant sequences where the vowel /ə/ is lost instead of changing to /u/:

pàpo "student"

  • pàpo (nominative)
  • păp (accusative; pəḳ > pəḳṗ > pəṗ > p)
  • papol (genitive)
  • papos (possessive)
  • papon ("around, because of, affected by")
  • papô (locative: "in the student", etc)
  • papū (instrumental)
  • păpʷ (essive/partitive: "made of", but also used as a possessive)

A fwe other forms exist ,like papʷṅ (īn / î )

pʷŋ pʷn pm

Note that, unlike verbs, the stress shifts to the final syllable when inflected for case.


See Khulls verbs.

Although Khulls is a relatively compact language, its verbs are generally much longer than its nouns. This is due to the very large number of inflections that are placed on them, by comparison to the nouns. Khulls verb inflections are very similar to those of the Gold language and therefore include many infixes and suffixes. These are less fusional than the noun inflections, but are still highly fusional when taken together, and therefore learning verb inflection is very difficult.

ASking permission

One trait of verbs in Khulls is that "please" is translated by using a second form of the imperative mood, and that this is formed by actually removing a fusional element from the imperative rather than adding one. That is to say, the original form of the imperative was the polite form, and the less polite form was formed from it. This seemingly unnatural trait has remained in the language for thousands of years. However, the difference between the two forms is very small, and the "softer" feeling of the polite form is helped by the fact that the element it lacks is a voiceless ejective stop, , which is otherwise a very rare sound in Khulls.

Having a polite imperative shorter than the plain imperative is a common trait of related languages as well.


I swear I made a page for this. I write on this wiki only now. Khulls script. I even remember stressing out what to call it since it is the alphabet for the whole world and not just Khulls.


Khulls languages are spoekn everywhere. See Moonshine, Taryte, Ogili, Amade, Šima, Nama for major descendants. Also Gold Empire, an early fork of the Khulls people which evolved into most of these descendants.


See Khul languages.