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  • nasals: /m n ɲ/ m n ny
  • plosives: /p t k kʷ/ p t k kw
  • affricates: /t͡ɬ/ tl
  • continuants: /l h~ɦ/ l h
  • semivowels: /j w/ y w

All plosives, except the glottal stop, can be prenasalized: /ᵐp ⁿt ᵑk ᵑkʷ/.


Kamalo only uses three vowels; /a e o/, occasionally they contrast for length. ā ē ō



Kamalo is an agglutinative and polysynthetic language that makes extensive use of compounding, incorporation and derivation. That is, it can add many different prefixes and suffixes to a root until very long words are formed, and a single word can constitute an entire sentence.



singular dual plural
1 wa- pwa- kwa-
2 ne- (m)pe- (n)ke-
3 (h)o- po- ko-


Possession is marked by the nominal suffix -o and a pronominal prefix attached to a stem.

  • kwamalo - 1pl-speak-NOM - our word
  • tlayemo - MASC-eat-NOM - his food
  • popato - 3du-be.aware-NOM - their awareness
  • wanyako - 1s-burn-NOM - my fire

pronominal prefixes

Verb arguments (i.e. subject, direct object, indirect object) are indicated with pronominal affixes which are added to verb stems. The pronominal affixes are inflected according to number (singular, dual, and plural) and person (1st, 2nd, etc.).

subject object verb tense / aspect / mood
ko- wa- kop -e
3pl 1sg harm PST
They harmed me.

noun modifiers

  • he- - color of ~
  • ye- - feminine; female [FEM]
  • tla- - masculine; male [MASC]
  • -o - marks noun; nominalizer [NOM]


Nouns are marked for various quantities:

  • pa- - dual; pair of; both [DU]
  • ka- - plural [PL]
  • te- - few; little [quantity]
  • ma- - many; much
  • mo- - group; collection; mass of
  • mwa- - all; every
  • no- - one; a
  • yo- - piece of


The kamalo verb is quite complex and inflects for many grammatical categories. The verb is composed of a root, prefixes, and suffixes. The prefixes indicate the person of the subject, and person and number of the object and indirect object, whereas the suffixes indicate tense, aspect, mood and possession.

  • wakoyemapotla
"I want to feed them"

verb modifiers

  • -a - active; present tense [ACT]
  • -ap- - causative [CAUS]
  • -at- - augmentative; large [AUG]
  • -atl- - tentative; possible [TENT]
  • -e - past tense; perfective [PST]
  • -em- - interrogative [INT]
  • -ok- - negative [NEG]
  • -otl- - desiderative [DES]


  • ma - interrogative particle [INT]; "is it that"
used to form questions of all types
  • oka - "no"
used as a negative response to polar questions
  • we - "but" / "or"
used in conjunctions, and in contrasts



  • pat- - be awake; aware; focused
  • t- - be; exist [COP]
  • kam- - symbol; write; mark
  • kop- - harm; hurt; corrupt
  • mak- - want; desire; love
  • mal- - speak; talk
  • n- - know; see
  • nay- - loud; noise; roar
  • nyak- - fire; burn; light
  • hen- - colored; non-white; non-ferrous (metals)
  • wap- - rhythm; pulse; meter
  • way- - go; move; walk
  • lom- - sleep; rest; relax
  • tlel- - bathe; wash
  • y- - have; belong; get
  • yam- - delight; happy; toy; glad
  • yap- - be green; foliage; plant
  • yat- - hand; five; grab
  • yem- - eat; nourish; bread


  • wanemaka - 1-2-love-ACT - I love you.
  • koyematloka - 3-eat-TENT-NEG-ACT - He might not eat.
  • newaneme - 2-1-see-INT-PST - Did you see me?

wordgen seed



kamalo meaning kamalo meaning kamalo meaning
pa dual plural [DU] (m)pe you (two) [2du] po they (two) [3du]
pwa we; us (two) [1du] pwe XX - -
ta XX te few; a little to XX
ka plural [PL] (n)ke you [2pl] ko they; them [3pl]
kwa we; us [1pl] kwe XX - -
ma many; much me XX mo group; collection of ~
mwa all; every mwe XX - -
na XX ne you [2sg] no one; a
nya reflexive [REFL] nye XX nyo XX
ha XX he color of ~ ho XX
la XX le XX lo XX
tla masculine [MASC] tle XX tlo XX
wa I; me [1sg] we indefinite [INDEF] - XX
ya XX ye feminine [FEM] yo piece of ~
a XX e XX (h)o s/he; it [3sg]


kamalo meaning kamalo meaning kamalo meaning
ap causative [CAUS] ep contrastive [CONT] op XX
at augmentative; large [AUG] et XX ot XX
ak XX ek XX ok negative [NEG]
akw XX ekw XX okw XX
am causative [CAUS] em interrogative [INT] om abilitative [ABIL]
an reportative [REPT] en XX on XX
any durative [DUR] eny XX ony XX
ah XX eh XX oh if
al XX el passive [PASS] ol dative passive [DP]
atl tentative; possible [TENT] etl XX otl desiderative [DES]
aw XX ew conjunctive [CONJ] ow XX
ay genitive [GEN] ey inceptive [INC] oy repetitive [REP]