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Ulok is a native Martian (Nemukik) language spoken on Nesak (Tharsis) in the early 23nd century. It is one of the two major Equatorial Martian languages along with Siye. It is the only extant descendant of Uloukw and has been heavily influenced both linguistically and culturally by Utu Nes, the language of the Emyuk Utu, which is unrelated to Ulok or Siye.

Pronounced: ['u.lo:k]
Timeline and Universe: EJL Universe, Early 23nd century CE
Species: Indigenous Martian Humanoid
Spoken: Mars
Total speakers: 9,000,000 (est.)
Writing system: syllabics
Genealogy: Ulok
Morphological type: Agglutinating
Morphosyntactic alignment: Accusative
Basic word order: SOV
Creator: Linguarum Magister


The Ulos were a nomadic tribe moving east until they reached the Mountain's western slope. There, in a place called Yuksulse, it is said that they first grew mighty in numbers. Some left Yoksulse and became the Eastern Ulos (Ilus). These swept past the citadel of Nesa, the city of dreams, stopping only briefly. The Eastern Ulos absorbed few words from Utu Nes and even less culture from the Emyuk Utu. They settled in what is now the Far Western Province of the Simakim (see the entry on Siye for more details), and the lower part of the Kingdom of Nesa, The rest of the Ulos, the Western Branch, left Yuksulse and settled around the city of Nesa. There they abandoned their traditional ways and learned civilzation from the Emyuk Utu. Later, the Western Ulos conquered their masters and expanded the Kingdom of Nesa to its current boundaries, absorbing the western portion of the Ilus.



Ulok contains

two nasals: /m/ [m] and /n/ [n]

three plosives: /p/ [p] /t/ [t] /k/ [k]

one sibilant: /s/ [s]

one lateral: /l/ [l]

two glides: /w/ [w] /y/ [j]


Ulok vowels have three heights (high, mid, low), two lengths (short and long), two tones (high and low), and two lengths in the non-high vowels.

/a/ [a] [a:] /e/ [e] [e:] /i/ [i] /o/ [o] [o:] /u/ [u]

/ah/ [à] /Vh/ (where V stands for any vowel) is an orthographic representation of a low tone. It seems to be derived from an earlier combination of a vowel and the archaic phoneme /k/ [q]


Ulok has two level tones – high and low. An Ulok word that does not contain an /h/ as the syllable coda begins as high tone. If there is a syllable in the word that does contain an /h/ as the syllable coda, that syllable and all following syllables are low tone. If the first syllable of the word contains an /h/ as the syllable coda, the word is entirely low tone. The drop from high tone to low tone can only occur once per word.

Epenthetic Vowels

If a suffix consisting of a single consonant follows another consonant, Ulok inserts a epenthetic vowel. This vowel is almost always based on the closest preceding vowel.

Kehtis kehmeyeses Nesakasas kehti-s kehmeye-s-s Nesa-k-s-s


Nominal Suffixes

Ulok nouns have two genders: animate and inanimate. The most peculiar feature of Ulok nouns is this: nouns do not take suffixes for cases, but rather for person and number. Although this feature is more intimately associated with verbs in many languages, it is critical to note that the addition of a person/number suffix to a noun root does not turn it into a verb. The homophony of the nominalizing suffix /-p/ and the third singular animate /-p/ suggests the reverse!

Nominal Suffixes, Animate Gender

Person/Number Suffix

1s -l 2s -w,f 3s -m, /-0/ [ʔ] Pl -s

/-p/ is the most common suffix for the third singular; /-0/ is reserved for the loanwords. The /-0/ suffix is the orthographic form; a study of Ulok phonetics indicates that the suffix is a glottal stop.


tàlol I, a king

tàlof you, a king; laffepef you, doing; lefalaf you, living

tàlop he, a king; mes, a god; tepe lady; mosup servant

tàlos they, the kings (you, kings/ we, kings); meses gods; mosus servants; laffop maker, doer

Ulok inanimates, unlike the animates, do not distinguish person or number.

Suffix and Function

-k Most common general inanimate suffix kumuk mudbrick

-0 Second most common general inanimate suffix lem town/land; nam place

-k(u) Forms abstract nouns (geograpnical and and truly abstract) tàloku kingdom; felloku life

-o Inanimate suffix for singulative nouns (These nouns are grammatically inanimate, but may be semantically animate)

-p Nominalizing suffix tokep temple; namap earth

-su Generality nemmosu everthing

The /-0/ suffix for the verbs is, unlike the animate /-0/ suffix, a true zero-marked suffix. The suffixes -k and -k(u), although semantically distinct, often look identical. The proper name of the language is Ulok, and the name of the territory where it is spoken Uloku, but most of the time the term Ulok is used for both concepts. The Ulos (speakers of Ulok) are not the language-obsessives that their Siye-speaking neighbors are.

tokuk temple (-k)

kumuk brick (-k)

lem town/land (-0)

tàloku kingdom/kingship (-ku)

sala children (-o)

motep pesepep greatest of the gods (-p)

Noun Phrases

The noun phrase in Ulok exhibits this feature: the possessor of a possessum-possessor noun phrase acquires the person/number suffix of the possessum as well as its own.

a tàlol Nesakal.

a tàlo-l Nesa-k-l.

1S king-1 Tharsis-INAN-V-1

I, the king of Tharsis.

tàlos Nesakas

tàlo-s Nesakas

king-PL Nesa-INAN-V-PL

the kings of Tharsis

Possessive pronouns use the same construction:

mesep ap

mes-p a-p

god-3 1S-3

my god

This construction can be extended to a three-noun set:

losotok mesep apak

losoto-k mes-p a-p-k

throne-hall-INAN god-3 1S-3-V-INAN

the throne-hall of my god

felloku nala pala-ku

fello-ku nala-0 pala-0-ku


the life of our children

The same construction is used for apposition:

tàlos amas as

tàlo-s am-s a-s

king-PL predecessor-PL 1S-PL

kings, my predecessors

Adjectives follow the noun they modify; in this case, the person/number suffix affixes to the adjective:




lumsìso motep

lumsìso mote-p

lord great-3

great lord

The superlative is treated with the same possessum-possessor construction, but in the case the adjective precedes the noun and requires the nominalizing suffix /-p/.

motep pesesep

mote-p pes-s-p

great-3 god-PL-3

greatest of the gods


Animate pronouns in Ulok display three persons, two numbers, and two cases. Plural number is indicated by forms ending in a glottal stop. The inanimate pronoun has a case but not a number distinction. The relative pronoun has a case but not a number distinction; its nominative and accusative forms are suppletive. The first form is nominative, the second accusative.

1sg a à

2sg po/pa pà

3sgan o/lo o/ò

1pl pole/pala palà

2pl pà/pane panè

3pl es/esso essò

Inan o/ò o/ò

Rel wini oku


Ulok and Siye have borrowed much vocabulary from the other in the last two millennia, providing valuable evidence of diachronic changes. In some cases, this has resulted in opposite meanings of mutual borrowings: for example /yete-/ and /lomo-/ mean 'fruit' and 'jam' respectively in Siye, but the reverse in Ulok! In other cases, the interaction created a new word: the old Siye word for 'to engage in commerce' was /apom/, that of Ulok /itam/, but in the late 22nd century both use /atom/. Siye borrowings from Ulok ignore the difference of high vs. low tone, while Ulok borrowings from Siye convert the first nasal syllable in a Siye word into the first low tone of the new loanword. Thus the Siye title /kumayam/ is borrowed as /Umayah/.


Uloti- “to pray”, semo- “to do”

Conjugation I Ulok verbs decline for number and person. The singular forms affix the appropriate suffix. The plural forms use a base suffix -l- (derived from the first singular?). The first plural suffixes -a to the base; the second plural suffixes -s from the second person singular and provides the appropriate epenthetic vowel; the third plural affixes -u or -f to the base. An alternate explanation is the infixation of -l- between the verb root and the singular suffixes for the second and third person plural forms. This theory, however, runs against the generality of suffixation in Ulok.

Conjugation I To pray To do

1s ulotil semol

2s ulotis semos

3s ulotiu semof

1p ulotila semola

2p ulotilis semolos

3p ulotilu semolu

The participles form the stems for the forms in Conjugations II and III. The perfect participle is formed by suffixing -n to the verb root, while the imperfective is forms by suffixing -k to the verb root. Thus the verb roots /uloti-/ and /semo-/ produce perfective /ulotin/ and /semon/ and imperfective /ulotik/ or /semok/.

Conjugations II and III are formed by suffixing the animate nominal endings to the perfective and imperfective participles, respectively, and inserting the appropriate epenthetic vowel.

Conjugation II (Perfective Participle +Nominal Endings)

1s ulotinin semonon

2s ulotinit semonot

3s ulotinip semonop

PL ulotinis semonos

Conjugation III (Imperfective Participle + Nominal Endings)

1s ulotikin semokon

2s ulotikit semokot

3s ulotikip semokop

Pl ulotikis semokos

Other forms of the Ulok verb include the perfective participle followed by the auxiliary verb /ne-/ with nominal suffixes (ulotin nen, net, etc.) and the imperfective participle in a similar construction (ulotik nen, net, etc.). Imperfective + ne- is used in durative, intensive, or volitional statements.

The optative mood is formed by suffixing -li to the Conjugation I verb root or to the Conjugation II (but not Conjugation III!) verb stem (ulotili, ulotinili).

The imperative forms are identical to the Conjugation I second singular forms (ulotis, semos). There is no separate plural form.

The prohibitive mood is formed by second person Conjugation III form preceded by the negative participle /eme/ (eme ulotikit, eme semokot).

The suffix -ipo- nominalizes a verb or verb phrases. The verb of the clause suffixes a gender agreement suffix before the nominalizing suffix if the head noun of the clause is a core constituent, but omits it if it is not.

ulotik kek semolukipo

uloti-k ke-k semo-lu-k-ipo


the temple which they built

meyeku kep umou > meyeku kep umouipo

meye-ku ke-p umo-u > meyeku ke-p umo-u-ipo

reign 3S-3 love-3SG > reign 3S-3 love-3sg-NMLZER

he loves the reign > whose reign he loves

Negative Declination

The negative marker /eme-/ declines according to the pattern of the nominal suffixes. It agrees not with the agent, as one might expect from a nominative-accusative language, nor with the patient, as one might expect from an ergative-accusative language, but rather with the topic of the clause.

Ulotik ipena emek semolu. They did not build the temple (they built the shrine).

Ulotik ipena emes semolu. They did not build the temple (someone else did)

Animate 1s emen 2s emet 3s emep 3p emes

Inanimate 3s emek



Nom Acc

1sg a à

2sg po/pa pà

3sgan o/lo o/ò

1pl pole/pala palà

2pl pà/pane panè

3pl es/esso essò

Inan o/ò o/ò

Resumptive Prononouns

Ulok uses resumptive pronouns extensively.

Lo a o ilesepel

Lo a o ilesepe-l

3S 1S 3INAN.ACC give-1S

I gave it to them (lit. to-them I it gave)

lop ehsep ap muwetili

lo-p ehsep a-p muweti-li

3S-3 inferior 1S-3 place-OPT

May you be under me (lit. him inferior of-me place-you-may)


Postpositions are rare in Ulok, but the most are:

oh - in

so - of

ih - and