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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.



09:52, 8 May 2022 (PDT)

Leaper's method of forming simple possessives (with one argument, not translatives) is similar to Play's and was inherited from their shared ancestor. The possessive morpheme is inserted before the classifier, and then accent is retracted back to its original position. Thus nòṭiḳa "house" becomes nòqʷiḳa "my house" and nŏrika "your house". Third person is indicated externally, but the base form still inflects to nŏriḳa, different from the second person because of the ejective /ḳ/.

The internal consonant gradations resemble those of the Lava Bed languages, and the presence of this alternation in Leaper may have helped the Leapers better understand the Lava Bed languages. However they are of secondary origin, as Leaper lost its Lava Bed morphology early on. Instead, they are related to Play's verbal embedding.

Polite forms of nouns and verbs

See Play_language#Comparison_with_Leaper_and_Gold. Essentially, Leaper will be able to turn any noun into a polite version by adding an infix that means "___ which you have given me", "___ which you have shown me", etc. It may or may not be possible to also use other person combinations in Leaper. The system is fully alive in Play but may have decayed in Leaper down to just the politeness infixes.

The deep structure of the word is


The private verb always has the pharyngealized tone so long as the SAP's are 2>1. This corresponds to the Play sequences /aa ii upu/. Note also that /ky/ > /s/, respecting a sound change from 3,000 years earlier. Strictly speaking, what is really happening is that /sg sy/ > /k s/, partly through analogy and partly through true sound change.

Thus for example tăkaye "leash" turns into takaʕʷâsa "leash you showed me", because the stress shifts to the infix, and the classifier suffix -ye is replaced by -sa.

It is possible that the infix could come through with the short mid tone ă instead of the pharyngealized tone â, since in either case analogy has taken place. But assuming a primordial high tone (that later became pharyngealized) is the only way to get /k/ where there once was /h/.

An absolute minimal form of the infix could be -ʕâk- ~ -âk- (see the Play page for derivation). This requires /w/ > /ʕ/ through analogy from the words in which it followed a labial consonant; or else, a dummy verb could be created that was later assumed to have been synonymous with the inherited /wa/ root. The /k/ must stay. The medial vowel, however, could perhaps also appear as /i/ and one of /o/ or /u/, meaning that there will be three variant forms of the politeness infix depending on situation; for example /ʕàk/ probably only covers visible objects since it means "that you show me". This form also cannot distinguish person since the forms for 2>1 and 1>2 would both be /-âk-/.

Because /ʕ/ is a "transparent" consonant, the vowel of the root would form a unit with the following vowel. Thus, the number of syllables would be mostly the same as in the oblique. So săhoga "fish" would just be sahʷâka, and so on.


It is possible that the most minimal form of the infix evolves into no more than a polite way to mark an object as visible. In Moonshine, this would be linked to gender-based speech registers, with men using the polite forms when addressing women, and the plain forms being used otherwise except in the case of emphasis.

Emphatic possessives

The forms above could also be used to derive standalone possessives, since if the infix form is used, the 1st and 2nd person will melt together as -V̀k- due to the /h/ > /k/ rule. A possible escape, thoug, it to assume differnt priovate verbs for the differenet person, even though this would break the "living" Play system where they were in fact personless and part of the lexicon rather than grammatically bound morphemes.

These would be kʷas and xas for 1st and 2nd person genitive respectively, and could function as pseudo-pronouns, though it's not clear that there would be a nominative case to go with them, and instead one might find words like "my body", "my self", etc making the genitives the basic forms. The -s is not the genitive /s/ but may be mistaken for it as knowledge of the original construction fades. Nonetheless, if the /-s/ is reinterpreted as genitive, the Leaper language would lose an important function that languages like Poswa still retained 4,000 years later on.

Here, the labialization was lost from the 2nd person form to make it more distinct; this was through analogy, and since there was no /kʷ/ > /k/ path to follow, the analogy could only have proceeded in this way. Remember that the labialization strongly colors the following vowel.

Play-Leaper relations

04:34, 26 January 2022 (PST)

Remember that AlphaLeap governed the Play speakers' territory for more than a thousand years, at a time when both languages were confined to single small nations, and that they therefeore had a close relationship, even if asymmetrical. Leaper may have been greatly influenced by Play while Play would have taken very little influence from Leaper. Only later did both languages blossom throughout the world as wide-ranging language families.

Culture and sociolinguistics

08:29, 24 January 2022 (PST)

It is possible that the Matrixes taught themselves to speak Leaper and not Dreamlandic. Their association with Dreamlandic would come from the fact that not all Matrixes were able to learn Leaper, "let alone Play", and therefore they were stuck with Dreamlandic, the easiest language in the region, even though it was not the native language of most Matrixes. Note, though, that many of the Matrixes were in fact of Play ancestry originally, so this does not make perfect sense.

Leaper was typically considered a difficult language to learn, both because of its phonology and its grammar. Play's phonology was much simpler, but its grammar was even more complex than Leaper's. Play in many ways seemed to be "just simple enough to be complicated" whereas Leaper was less extreme than Play but more consistent in its complexity.


Alternate names: Khulls

(Dummy edit link)

This language was originally spoken in AlphaLeap.

  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/. This also implies nx shifted to nt in Leaper but not in Play; it is possible that the shift was pre-Gold, but was then undone in Play due to its close attention to morphology, but it would make more sense to have the shift appear after the separation.
  2. tʷ dʷ nʷ shifted to tl dl nl.
  3. When not occurring after a labialized consonant, the vowels ŭ ù ū shifted to ɜ̆ ɜ̀ ɜ̄. (This is spelled differently from schwa to ease confusion.) This was a low back vowel comparable to IPA [ɤ].
  4. The sequences ə əi əu (all syllables with inherited /ə/ were toneless) shifted to ʉ ɜi ɜu.
  5. In a closed syllable, the new ʉ vowel disappeared and created a syllabic consonant. In an open syllable, ʉ changed to ʷ, thus labializing the preceding consonant and then disappearing. Where /ʉ/ 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 əʕV/ did, and both caused labialization.
  7. The cluster sg shifted to x. This is actually a tone shift, since it had been [x] all along but was previously abound to a high tone.
  8. The clusters pʷn kʷn shifted to pʷt kʷt.
    Note that this shift, needed to process the placename Gatupəna, is unsatisfactory, and would not help explain what would happen to the ejective cluster /ḳʷn/. Syllabic nasals are a possible answer, since the only clusters considered unwieldy are stop+nasal (so /pʷl/ etc were fine). This would produce the forbidden clusters /pṁ tṅ kŋ̇/ and these would probably lose the stop and become high tones.
  9. After a high tone, the voiced stop d shifted to . This includes a shift of dl to ṭl after a high tone as well.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 /ʷ/ that had replaced earlier schwa, since this was behaving as an allophone of /u/. Likewise, it took place after /au/, but not /ɜ̄/, even though both ended up as /ō/ later on.
  12. 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 "kp ḳṗ".
  13. The voiced coronal stops d dʲ dʷ became r ž gʷ. The sequence rl (always from Gold /dʷ/) became ll, which in word-initial position then changed to a simple l.
  14. In word-initial position, r shifted to l.
  15. Labialized coronals became velar.
  16. 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/.
  17. The sequences mmṡ ŋŋṡ shifted to mpṡ ŋkṡ.
  18. The sequences gp gṗ shifted to kp ḳṗ.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. The labialized fricative šʷ became ħʷ . The ħ is a spelling convention to distinguish it from /x/. The cluster gʷš (which had always been [gʷšʷ] because of syllable metrics) most likely became ħʷ as well, not /xʷ/. The /sg/ > /x/ shift above is different from this because /sg/ had never been phonetically realized as such.
    NOTE ON POLITICS: The Proto-Moonshine language breaks off here. (Year 3958) The tropical survivor language must have also broken off shortly afterward; what remains is for the language of the ruling class of Baeba Swamp.

Post-Moonshine changes

All of these changes take place in just 800 years, despite the list being nearly as long as that for the preceding 2,000 years.

  1. The diphthongs ai au shifted to ē ō unconditionally. Then aiʕ auʕ became ê ô. Note that the sequence /uʕ/ was distinct from a coda /ʕʷ/.
  2. The diphthongs ɜi ɜu shifted to ĕ ū unconditionally. If pharyngealized forms existed, they followed the rule above.
  3. The sequences ya yɜ (on all tones) shifted to ye of the same tone. Later, all /ye/ became /e/, but this was not phonemic because of intervening consonant changes. Note that this does NOT include /yau yɜu/, which had escaped the change by shifting to /yō yū/. This /ō/ is distinct from the one that forms below.
  4. The mid vowels ɜ̆ ɜ̀ ɜ̄ shifted to ŏ ò ō unconditionally. Likewise, any remaining unstressed ɜ became o.
  5. The velar-palatal sequences ky ḳy ŋy hy xy gy shifted to č č n̆ š š ž.
  6. Nasal consonants followed by /y/ hardened to prenasals: my n̆y became mby n̆ǯy . (This includes the reflexes of /ny/ and /ŋy/.) These later became stops.
  7. After a high tone, the fricatives x xʷ ħ ħʷ shifted to k kʷ q qʷ.
  8. sl>q, which is an allophone of /h/. This shift is essentially a restating of a consequence of the above, since there never was an /sl/, but only a coarticulated /lh/ cluster. Likewise, posttonic ħ ħʷ (spelling here used for emphasis) shifted to q qʷ.
  9. 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".
  10. The sequences ly hy (the latter only from /py/) shifted to λ š.
  11. The clusters ml nl changed to mbl ndl, thus restoring voiced stops to a marginal phonemic position.
  12. The labialized consonants mʷ ŋʷ changed to mbʷ ŋġʷ .
  13. The remaining clusters tl ṭl shifted to `l . This is a plain /l/ but makes the preceding vowel high-toned.
  14. The sound /l/ disappeared after any stop, even over a morpheme boundary.
  15. The voiced prenasals mbʷ mb nd nǯ ŋġʷ shifted to plain voiced stops bʷ b d ǯ ġʷ. There may have been an extremely rare plain voiced velar stop, arising only from the sequence /ŋ̇l/, which would have changed to /ŋġl/, then to /ŋġ/, and finally to /ġ/. Note that the original velar nasal must be syllabic for it to occur before another consonant.
  16. The coarticulated stops kp ḳṗ shifted to p ṗ. (If there ever was a voiced /ġb/, it too would shift.)
  17. The voiced velar fricative g came to be pronounced as a voiced stop ġ asfter a high tone. This was allophonic, and occurred at least a thousand years after the shift of /d/ > /ṭ/. Thus the two are not connected and this newer shift is not represented in the script.
  18. Probably the sequences ăʕʷ ĕʕʷ ĭʕʷ ŏʕʷ ŭʕʷ shifted to ô ô û ô û, thus finally eliminating diphthongs from the language, even those that had arisen from VCV sequences. But it is possible (remember the ʕʕ>ʔ rule) that pharyngealization was not pronounced in this position even in a closed syllable (it had been eliminated for sure in an open syllable). It is also possible that the diphthongs simply remained and that /ʕʷ/ was seen as a consonant.

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  (λ)  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 λ (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.

The w is always phrayngealized as the onset of a stressed syllable.

The sounds q̇ q̇ʷ z are not part of Leaper's phonology, but have distinct letters in the script because they occur in loans from Qaš and different speakers replace them with different Leaper phonemes. Specifically, q̇ q̇ʷ can be replaced either with /ḳ ḳʷ/ or with /q qʷ/, and some speakers even pronounce the original phonemes after all; likewise z can be replaced either with /ž/ or with /s/, and some speakers pronounce the /z/ as in Qaš as well.

Late dialectal changes

One late change might be the deletions of all word-initial g, thus creating many vowel-initial words. Then, old word-initial e- deletes, but the new e- is unaffected. This change is difficult to explain, even assuming the two /e/'s had different sounds (because the old one was always preceded by /j/ and the new one never was).


See Khulls phonology for older notes on phonology.

See above for inventory.

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.


See Khul languages.