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Waku is a conlang created by Xing at the CBB.

Pronounced: waːː
Morphological type: analytic
Morphosyntactic alignment: ergative-absolutive (case-marking), nominative-accusative (syntax)
Basic word order: VSO, OVS
Creator: Xing at the CBB



Labial, palatalised Labial, labiovelarised Alveolar Palatal Velar
Voiceless stops t k
Voiced stops d g
Nasals n ŋ
Taps/flaps/trills r~ɾ
Laterals l
Glides j w


Front Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a~ɑ

Phonotactics and word-structure

Most roots are bisyllabic. They can have one of three shapes:

  • CVːCV
  • CVCːC
  • CVCVː

Noun phrases

Nouns do not inflect for number, definiteness, or anything else. Nor are there any articles.

Adjectives follow, and numerals precede the nouns:

Ta wara ngokko - a black cat

Oa wara dengokko - two black cats

In contrast to nouns, many adjectives have plural forms.


Verbs in Waku are often preceded by a tense or aspect marker. There are two common tense/aspect markers:

  • ko - indicates perfective aspect, and is used mainly to talk about events that occurred in the past.
  • me – indicates imperfective aspect, and can be used to talk about events that have been occurring, or is occurring.

Non-derived mono-morphemic verbs are reduplicated to indicate plural (that the subject is plural):

'Me mota mwena' - "The man is sleeping."

'Me momota mwena' - "The men are sleeping."

Some verbs are not reduplicated. Those include:

  • Verbs that are made up of more than one morpheme.
  • Verbs that are derived from nouns.


The most neutral word order is VSO.

Ko teke a mwena luki. - "The man hit the dog."

PFV hit ERG man dog

Note that the subject in a transitive clause is preceded by the ergative marker a.

However, the word-order is often rearranged for various pragmatic effects. Often either the subject or the object is fronted, and placed before the verb. This typically involves some form of topicalisation, and usually presupposes that the fronted constituent is definite. Object fronting is very common, as is often preferred when the object is definite.

Luki ko teke a mwena. - "The man hit the dog", or maybe "the dog, the man hit (it)."

dog PFV hit ERG man

Subject fronting is also rather common, but perhaps not as common as object fronting.

Mwena ko teke luki. - "The man hit the dog", "the man hit a dog".

Not that the ergative particle a is not used when the subject comes before the verb.

Note that if there is an adverbial phrase - such as a locative or temporal determination - before the verb, no subject or object fronting can occur.

I nguru ko teke a mwena luki. – "In the night, the man hit the dog."

It is as if there only is one slot before the verb - and if that slot is already taken by an adverbial phrase, no other constituent can take it.

See also

The Waku-English dictionary

External links

The Waku Website

The Waku thread on the CBB

The Waku thread on the ZBB