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Spoken in: nowhere
Conworld: none
Total speakers: 0
Genealogical classification: a priori engineered language
Basic word order: VSO
Morphological type: agglutinating; polysynthetic; oligosynthetic
Morphosyntactic alignment: active/stative
Created by:
Jörg Rhiemeier 2006-

Quetch, also known as X-3, is an experimental language by Jörg Rhiemeier. It is a speedtalk-style language with a huge phoneme inventory allowing for very short words - one phoneme per morpheme, such that a word of three segments may contain an entire sentence.

"Quetch" is an anglicization of the language's "native" name, kʷətç, which means 'language of small time', 'speedtalk'.

In Quetch, each morpheme is just one segment long. The only exceptions are proper names which can be of any length and are enclosed in glottal stops (which otherwise do not occur in the language). To keep the number of phonemes to a finite value, the language is oligosynthetic. It is planned to base the root vocabulary on that of Toki Pona. Concepts not in the root vocabulary are expressed by compounding.

The purpose of Quetch is to test the proposition of Speedtalk that a more rapid communication can be achieved by building a language in which every root morpheme is just one segment long. The plan is to build a speedtalk-type language, translate texts into it, measure the lengths of the original and the translation, and compare the results.

There is some reason to doubt that an actual "speeding up" would be achieved: the brevity of the morphemes is certainly to some measure cancelled out by the larger number of morphemes needed because many concepts other languages have root words for need to be expressed by multi-member compounds due to the oligosynthetic nature of the language.


There are two classes of morphemes: lexical and grammatical morphemes. Lexical morphemes function as content words: nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, also pronouns. A lexical morpheme either consists of a single consonantal segment, or is a proper name. Proper names consist of a sequence of one or more segments of any kind except glottal stops, which is enclosed by two glottal stops. Examples of proper names are ʔaʔ, ʔjœrgɣimajɚʔ, ʔkʷətçʔ. Further content words can be made from lexical morphemes by compounding. Compounds are head-initial. Example: kʷətç, which consists of the lexical morphemes 'to speak; language', t 'time' and ç 'small', put together: 'language of small time, speedtalk' (the ə is just a pronunciation aid). Grammatical morphemes express relations between content words. They function as prepositions or case markers, and conjunctions. A grammatical morpheme consists of a single vowel.