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Kalo is intended to be a minimalist artlang, not an auxlang. It draws primarily on vocabulary from the five most spoken languages in the world; Mandarin, Spanish, English, and Arabic (Hindi is used sparingly although it is spoken by more speakers than Arabic). The grammar is mostly isolating with very few elements of inflection, mostly to show plurality or possession.

Kalo is NOT meant to mimic, replace, or be inspired by Toki Pona or any IAL. Any similarities are based on design aesthetic coincidences and the minimalist nature of the language.


kalo has nine consonants (/p, t, k, s, m, n, l, j, w/) and five vowels (/a, e, i, o, u/). Stress is word final.


Labial Coronal Dorsal
Nasal m n
Plosive p t k
Fricative s
Approximant w l j (y)


Vowels Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


There are two diphthongs [ai̯] ai, and [au̯] au. These are rare and typically only occur word-finally.

syllable structure

All syllables are of the form (C)V(N), that is, optional consonant + vowel + optional final nasal, or V, CV, VN, CVN.


A few syllables sequences are disallowed; /ji, wu, wo/. Also, a syllable-final nasal may not occur before /m/ or /n/ in the same root.


a ka sa ta na pa ma ya la wa
i ki si ti ni pi mi li wi
u ku su tu nu pu mu yu lu
e ke se te ne pe me ye le we
o ko so to no po mo yo lo
a ka sa ta na pa ma ya la wa
i ki si ti ni pi mi li wi
u ku su tu nu pu mu yu lu


All of the Kalo syllables in Hangul
Kalo Hangul

If desired, an adaptation of Hangul may be used to write Kalo.

  • ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ
k n t l m p s -
  • ㅏ ㅑ ㅓ ㅕ ㅗ ㅘ ㅛ ㅜ ㅝ ㅟ ㅠ ㅡ ㅣ
a ya e ye o wa yo u we wi yu - i


  • 와로 너 고머 사
walo ne kome sa
1pl NEG eat FUT
We will not eat.
A katakana method for writing Kalo
Kalo Katakana


The nasal at the end of a syllable can be pronounced as any nasal stop, though it is normally assimilated to the following consonant. That is, it typically occurs as an [n] before /t/ or /s/, as an [m] before /p/, as an [ŋ] before /k/, and as an [ɲ] before /j/. Because of its small phoneme inventory, kalo allows for quite a lot of allophonic variation. For example, /p t k/ may be pronounced [b d ɡ] as well as [p t k], /s/ as [z] or [ʃ] as well as [s], /l/ as [ɾ] as well as [l], and vowels may be either long or short. Both its sound inventory and phonotactics (patterns of possible sound combinations) are found in the majority of human languages and are therefore readily accessible.


Classical Arabic is primarily VSO, but MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) tends to be SVO, favoring full agreement over partial. Chinese is classified as an SVO language. Transitive verbs precede their objects in typical simple clauses, while the subject precedes the verb. Spanish unmarked word order for affirmative declarative sentences is SVO; however, as in other Romance languages, in practice, word order is mostly variable. English word order is almost exclusively SVO. Hindi is primarily an SOV language.

Based on the above information about the main source languages for Kalo, it is primarily an SVO (subject-verb-object) language. Modifiers generally follow what they modify, as do prepositional phrases and subordinate clauses.

  • wa kome - 1S eat - I eat. (SV)
  • wa amo ko - 1S love 3S - I love her. (SVO)
  • o mala amo - DO woman love - The woman is loved. (OV)


The interrogative particle ma (taken from Chinese () is used in conjunction with various nouns, adverbs, and adjectives to form specific questions.

non-polar questions

  • ma - what; which
  • ma ko - who, whom
  • ma koyo - whose, of whom
  • ma tenpo - when
  • ma loka - where
  • ma moto - how
  • ma laka - how much, how many
  • ma sapa - why

polar questions

Any statement can become a polar question by adding the interrogative particle ma at the end of the sentence.

  • wa wite le kasa
1S see PST house
I saw the house.
  • ni wite le kasa ma
2S see PST house Q
Did you see the house?


Nouns only decline for number and possession. They are altered with -lo to show plurality, and possessiveness with -yo.


kalo has three basic pronouns; wa [1sg], ni [2sg], and ko [3sg]. These do not indicate gender. These can be made plural using the suffix "-lo", and possessive with "-yo".

singular plural possessive
1st person wa
I; me
we; us
my; mine; our(s)
2nd person ni
you (all)
3rd person ko
he; she; him; her; it
they; them; those
  • walo wite ni - 1pl see 2s - We see you.
  • kolo ne kono wa - 3pl NEG know 1s - They don't know me.


Verbs do not change and are only ever modified by particles. There are three basic tenses in Kalo, past, present, and future. The simple present is not marked, the past is marked by le from the Chinese particle (), and the future is marked by sa from the Arabic construction (سَـ).

tense/mood particle example translation
present - wa ila I go
past le wa ila le I went
future sa wa ila sa I will go
conditional kisa wa ila kisa I would go
  • wa kome le - 1s eat PST - I ate.
  • aki koyo kome - brother 3sg.GEN eat - His brother eats/is eating.
  • nilo ne wite sa ko - 2pl NEG see FUT 3sg - You all will not see her.

Uncertainty is marked by ki, kisa, or kile. These are taken from Spanish (quizá) and used across the three basic tenses. It can also act as a subordinating conjunction, and conditional constructions, “if, whether”. It is also used to express possibility or probability.

  • tela wa ki ni wite ko - tell 1s if 2s see 3s - Tell me if you can see her.
  • ki ni amo yawe te pu yuma ne inpo - if 2sg like weather of today NEG important - Whether you like today’s weather does not matter.
  • kisa pu yuma yuwa - maybe this day rain - It may rain (later) today.

positional verbs

Kalo does not use prepositions, but instead uses positional verbs as auxiliaries. These are also used as temporal adverbs in certain situations.

  • yu - in; at; within; inside; during; between | from ()
  • ila - be toward; at; in the direction of; go; walk; travel | from (إلى)



Determiners in kalo precede the noun they modify.


  • pu - this; these
  • su - that; those


  • aku - many; much (one hundred)
  • kula - all; every; each
  • ne - no; none; zero
  • poka - some; several; a few
  • meno - less; fewer / few; a little
  • maso - more


  • asi - such
  • ayo - whichever; whatever
  • oto - other
  • tonye - same


Kalo number English Kalo number English
sunya 0 zero na 7 seven
wa 1 one pa 8 eight
li 2 two nun 9 nine
san 3 three ye 10 ten
si 4 four aku / -ku 100 (one) hundred
pen 5 five mila 1000 (one) thousand
we 6 six

When numbers one through ten occur independently, the indicator "ke" precedes the number.

  • ko yo le o kasa ke li
3s have PST O house NUM two
She had two houses.
  • wa wite o nano ke si
1s see O man NUM four
I see four men.

Higher Numbers

  • yewa - 11; eleven
  • yeli - 12; twelve
  • liye - 20; twenty
  • liyesi - 24; twenty-four
  • kuyeli - 112; one-hundred-twelve
  • sankuweyepen - 365; three-hundred-sixty-five


The working lexicon for Kalo.

  • ARA - Arabic
  • ELL - Greek
  • ENG - English
  • FRE - French
  • GER - German
  • HIN - Hindi
  • JPN - Japanese
  • KOR - Korean
  • PIE - Proto-Indo-European
  • SPA - Spanish
  • TUR - Turkish
  • ZHO - Mandarin
  • adj - adjective
  • n - noun
  • num - number/numeral
  • part - particle
  • prep - preposition
  • pro - pronoun
  • v - verb


  • kasa /ˈ from SPA casa
n - house; building
v - dwell; reside
  • kan/a /ˈ from ARA كان
n - existence; occurrence
v - be; exist; occur
  • kai /kaɪ̯/ from ZHO
v - should; ought to; need to; have to
  • kisa /ˈ from SPA quizá
part - perhaps; maybe; if; conditional particle [COND]
  • kula /ˈ from ARA كل
n - all; whole; entire; every; complete; each
v - listen; hear
  • kun /kun/ from SPA/ZHO con/
prep - with; by means of
v - use; employ
  • ke /ke/ from ZHO
part - number marker
  • ko /ko/ from JAP
n - person; individual
pro - he; she [3sg]
n - knowledge; awareness; understanding; recognition
v - know; understand; be aware (of); recognize
  • kome /ˈ from SPA comer
v - eat; consume; drink
  • koyo /ˈ from KALO
part - whose; of who(m)


part - future tense particle [FUT]
  • saka/na /ˈ from ARA سخن
v - be hot; be warm; burn
n - heat; warmth / fire
  • san /san/ from ZHO
num - three; 3
  • sana /ˈ from ARA سنة
n - year; 365 days
  • sapa /ˈ from ARA سبب
n - cause; reason; purpose; rationale; motive
  • salama /sa.ˈ from ARA سلم
n - peace; calm; tranquility; quiet
v - be peaceful; be calm
intj - Peace! Hey! Hi!
  • sawa /ˈsa.wa/ from ARA زوج
n - spouse; husband; wife; sweetheart; mate
v - marry
  • si /si/ from ZHO
num - four; 4
  • siya /ˈsi.ja/ from ZHO
prep - below; under; beneath
v - be under; be lower
  • su /su/ from TUR şu
part - that; those (over there)
num - zero; 0
n - nothing
v - be empty; be void
  • se /se/ from SPA se
pro - reflexive / reciprocal pronoun
  • sosa /ˈ from SPA salsa
n - juice; sauce; gravy; dressing


  • ta /ta/ from ZHO
v - be large; big; grand
v - to thank; show appreciation; express gratitude
part/intj - thank you; thanks
  • tapo /ˈta.po/ from ZHO 打破
v - damage; wreck; break; destroy
n - destruction; damage
  • tipa /ˈ (or tupa /ˈ from ARA طيب (or טוב)
v - be good; pleasant; agreeable; nice; sweet; OK
intj - great! good! thanks! OK! cool! yay!
  • tiya /ˈti.ja/ from SPA tía
n - aunt/uncle; extended family
  • te /te/ from SPA/ZHO de/
v - to move away from
prep - of; from
  • tenpo /ˈtem.po/ from SPA tiempo
n - time; moment; period
  • tela or talo /ˈ or /ˈta.lo/ from ENG tell
n - language; talk; speech
v - talk; speak; discuss; say; tell
  • tonpa /ˈ from ZHO 同胞
n - sibling; compatriot; friend
  • tonye /ˈto.ɲe/ (or ton /ton/) from ZHO 同一
v - be identical; same; equivalent; equal


num - seven; 7
  • nai /naɪ/ from ZHO
v - be inside; within
prep - inside; within; during; while
  • nano /ˈ from ZHO
n - man; male
  • nama /ˈ from ARA نام
v - sleep; rest; relax
v - be new; fresh; young
  • nalu /ˈ from JPN なる
v - succeed; finish; complete; accomplish; become; turn into
  • ni /ni/ from ZHO
pro - you [2sg]
num - nine; 9
  • ne /ne/ from ENG nay
part - no; not; negative [NEG]
v - need; require; must
n - obligation; need
  • nen/ka /ˈnen.ka/ from ZHO
v - be able to; be capable; be possible
n - potential; possibility; capability
  • note /ˈno.te/ from SPA noche
n - night; darkness


  • pa /pa/ from ZHO
num - eight; 8
  • pan /pan/ from SPA/ZHO pan/
n - bread; food; sustenance
n - word; morpheme; lexeme
  • pina /ˈ from ARA ابن
n - child; offspring; kid
  • pu /pu/ from TUR bu
part - this; these (here)
n - evil
v - be bad; spoiled; be broken; to break down; be wicked; be evil
num - five; 5
  • po /po/ from SPA por
prep - by; for; [be] about
v - [go] through; [move] across
  • poka /ˈpo.ka/ from SPA poca
v - be small; little
v - be few; less
  • ponte /ˈpon.te/ from ENG ponder
v - think; ponder; consider; weigh
n - thought; idea; consideration
  • pone /ˈ from SPA poner
v - to put, to place, to set


  • ma /ma/ from ZHO
part - interrogative particle [Q]
  • maka /ˈma.ka/ from ENG make
n - cause; action; happening
v - do; make; cause; happen
  • maso /ˈ from SPA más
part - more; again
n - layer; repetition; addition
v - add; repeat; layer
n - woman; female; wife
  • mila /ˈ from SPA mil
num - thousand; 1000
  • muki /ˈ from ARA مهم
n - importance; significance
v - be important; matter
  • muna /ˈ from ENG moon
n - moon; month
  • me /me/ from FRE mais
part - but; however; although
  • moto /ˈ from SPA modo
n - mood; manner; way; method


  • ya /ja/ from ARA يا
part - vocative marker [VOC]; hey; let's ~
  • yati /ˈja.ti/ from ARA يد
n - hand; arm
v - give; transfer
  • yapu /ˈja.pu/ from ARA عفا
n - pardon; excuse; forgiveness
v - pardon; excuse; forgive
  • yame /ˈ from ARA جمع
n - collection; gathering; group; set
v - gather; collect; assemble; unite
  • yu /ju/ from ZHO
v - be in; at; out of
prep - in; at; to; by; than; out of
  • yuma /ˈ from ARA يوم
n - day; daylight; 24 hour period
  • ye /je/ from KOR
num - ten; 10
  • yeko /ˈje.ko/ from ZHO 以后
prep - back; behind; rear; afterwards; after; later
adv - from now on; henceforth
  • yo /jo/ from ZHO
v - have; possess; carry; hold; keep


  • laka /ˈla.ka/ from ARA رقم
n - number; digit; amount
v - count; enumerate
  • lata /ˈla.ta/ from SPA lata
n - box; bucket; basket; container; vessel
v - carry; tote; transport
  • li /li/ from ZHO
num - two; double; duo
pro - some; a few
  • le /le/ from ZHO
part - past tense marker [PST]
  • loka /ˈlo.ka/ from SPA local
n - place; location; point; spot


pro - I; me [1sg]
num - one; 1; single
v - be alone; be singular
  • wan /wan/ from ENG want
v - want; desire; wish for
v - grow; mature; develop
n - adult; mature thing
  • wite /ˈwi.te/ from PIE weyd
v - look; see; observe; watch; read
  • wino /ˈ from SPA vino
n - alcohol; beer; wine
v - drink ~
num - six; 6
  • weko /ˈwe.ko/ from SPA hueco
n - door, hole, orifice, window; port
  • wento /ˈ from SPA viento
n - air; wind; void; essence; spirit
  • wela /ˈ from SPA fuera
prep - outside; exterior
v - leave; exit


n - a very many, lots, a lot; much
num - hundred; 100
  • alima /a.ˈ from ARA علم
v - to discern, to find out, to learn
n - learning; education; knowledge
  • amo /ˈ from SPA amor
n - love; affection; adoration
v - love; adore; like
  • ante /ˈan.te/ from SPA ante
n - front side; chest; fore area
prep - before; in front; forward; ahead
  • asi /ˈ from SPA así
part - like this/that; as [such]; thus; so
  • awa /ˈa.wa/ from ARA أو
part - either; or; other
  • ayo /ˈ from ARA أي
part - whichever; whatever; something [INDEF]
  • e /e/ from SPA/ZHO e/
part - and; also; too
prep - toward; at; in direction of
v - go (toward); walk; travel
  • o /o/ from JPN
part - direct object particle
  • ola /ˈ from SPA hola
part - hello; goodbye; general greeting/farwell




  • ola - Used for "hello; goodbye; farewell; welcome" (analogous to aloha)
  • kan/a - "yes; it is"
  • ne - "no; it is not"
  • yapu wa - "Excuse me."
  • nenka ma - "Please." [lit: is (it) possible?]
by extension "Do you mind?"
  • tanka (ta) - "Thank you (very much)."
  • tipa - "(That's) OK."

Greetings & Goodbyes

  • ola yuma - "Good morning/day/afternoon"
  • ola note - "Good evening/night"
  • salama - "Hey/Hi/Hello/Bye"


  • moto (niyo) ma - manner 2s.POSS Q - How are you?
    • tipa - "Good/OK/Fine."
    • ... - "Not bad."

  • tenpo ta ne wite - time big no see - Long time no see