Difference between revisions of "Coastal Jutean"

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Revision as of 22:06, 21 May 2021

Coastal Jutean
Tahivi a net / Jute
Pronunciation/tɐhiʋi ɐ net/ / /net/
RegionYstel (Jute, Mermelia), Lahan (Tuyo), Puzimm (Congaval)
EthnicityCoastal Juteans (native), River Juteans, South Juteans, Klambari, Samwati (common second language)
Native speakers1,570,000  (2015)
Language family
  • Saru-Asuran
    • Sanju-Jutean
      • Proto-Jutean
        • Jutean
Early forms:
Ancient Jutean
  • Middle Jutean
    • Reformed Jutean
      • Colonial Jutean
        • Jutean
Official status
Official language inJute

Coastal Jutean, commonly known as Jutean, is a language of the Jutic branch of the Saru-Asuran language family, itself part of the Ebo macrofamily, spoken on the island of Jute as the official language and by 1,270,000 people as their native language. It is not to be confused with River Jutean, a related, but distinct language spoken mostly inland of the island.

First attested in around 300 BC, it is assumed to have developed after the first ancestors of present day ethnic Juteans arrived at the island at around 1000 BC. The people remaining on the coast would eventually speak what is today referred to as Jutean, or Coastal Jutean (Jutean: tahivi a net), whereas the people venturing inside would develop River Jutean (River Jutean: tahosoe val ma, /taho͡asoɛ vɐl mɐ/). It had no official status until after Jute regained independence , during and prior to the colonial era it was just one of the languages spoken on the island, albeit the most widely spoken one.

It is notable for its use of the Austronesian alignment, its lack of adjectives as a separate part of speech, and the absence of marked tense, aspect or number (with the exception of numbers in pronouns). Triggers or intransitive sentences are also used for passive meanings.

Personal pronouns, while having the standard 1st/2nd/3rd person, are unusual in other regards. There are three numbers (arguably four in the first person plural), clusitivity, gender and animacy distinctions.

The language also lacks possessive pronouns, reflecting the different concepts of the speakers of the language regarding ownership. A genitive-like construction is solely used for inalienable possession, for alienable ones relative nominalizations are used, such as "the land I live on", or "the boat I'm sailing" rather than "my land" or "my boat".


Ancient Jutean

Middle Jutean

Reformed Jutean

Colonial-era Jutean

Modern-day Jutean



Bilabial Labio-dental Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n [ŋ]¹
Plosive t, d k
Fricative f s, [z]² [ʃ]³ h
Approximant ʋ j
Lateral app. l

¹at codas when followed by /k/, allophone of /n/

²at syllable onsets before long vowels, allophone of /s/

³in a few dialects, allophone of /s/


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close i, i: u, u:
Close-mid e, e:
Near-open ɐ ɐ:
Open [a:]¹ ɑ, ɑ:, [ɒ:]²

¹in some dialects, allophone of /ɐ:/

²in some dialects, allophone of /ɑ:/


ɑi ɑe ɑu ie iɐ iɑ iu ui ue uɐ uɑ eɑ eu ei eɐ ɐu ɐi ɐe


iɑ: e:ɑ


Syllable Structure

(C)V(V)(V/C), though V, CV and VC are most common. More complex syllables such as CVC, CVVC appear less often and particularly CVVV is rare.

Consonant clusters can thus only appear at syllable boundaries, and only the geminations of /t/, /k/, /m/, /n/ and /l/ as well as two-consonant clusters starting with /n/, /m/ or /l/ are allowed.

VV are either long vowels or vowel diphthongs, and VVV are long diphthongs.

Stress information

Mostly on the penultimate syllable, sometimes on the last syllable with a long vowel/diphtong, but it's not fixed and can also be used to emphasize a part of a word, for example the negating suffix '-l' or '-al'.


This section is empty.


This section requires expansion: Information on the orthography of non-Terminic scripts missing

Aa /a/ Dd /d/ Ee /e/ Ff /f/ Hh /h/ Ii /i/ Jj /j/ Kk /k/

Ll /l/ Mm /m/ Nn /n/, /ŋ/ Oo /ɑ/ Ss /s/, /ʃ/ Tt /t/ Uu /u/ Vv /ʋ/

First word of a sentence has a capital letter, as do names.



Nouns have one of three genders or noun classes, either Common, Abstract/immaterial or Wilderness. Common includes everything related to daily life in a village or city, humans, and things made by humans. Abstract/immaterial is largely self-explaining, used for ideas and concepts, intangible as well as unknown things or sometimes for generic terms. Wilderness includes everything that has to do, or can be found with the jungle, the ocean or anything else seen as "wild". This includes animals, plants as well as some inanimate items. It can also be used in a more poetic way, for example for the subconscious, the "wild, untamed" part of the mind.

Gender is mostly predictable if you either know the meaning of a word or the spelling of it, however not all words ending in -i are of the "abstract" gender, nor are all nouns of that gender ending in -i, and the same is true for the other two classes.

Gender Common Abstract (-i) Wilderness (-u)
Noun dova (tree) dovi (tower, height) dovu (jungle tree)

Nouns also decline for three cases, with some exceptions. As a rule, names of languages (like tahiva a net, 'Coastal Jutean') don't decline, and the same is true for most nouns forming a temporal adverbial phrase, like in vuni 'at the beginning', though this is not followed by all speakers and has been a topic of contention.

The direct case more or less equals the absolutive or nominative (depending on the trigger used, see below for more information regarding them), where as indirect and oblique roughly correspond with the direct and indirect object respectively, however they can also have other functions. Most notably, words answering the question "where to?" need the indirect case, whereas the oblique one is used for inalienable possession, relationship or authorship.

If the declined word has more than five syllables because of the case ending, the ending can become a particle directly following the noun, iti for the indirect case and ede for the oblique case.

Case Direct Indirect Oblique
ending in consonant dovan (forest) dovaniti dovanede
ending in vowel saini (person, mind) sainiti sainide



Adjectives are not a distinct word class in Jutean, and instead either adjectival nouns or stative verbs.

The only difference between adjectival nouns and regular noun is that they generally don't decline, so for example dovi a haad is 'big tower', or dovi a hohi 'new tower'.

To intensify them, haad (here: 'much') is inserted after the noun in question, so hohi haad would translate to 'very new' (literally 'newness much'). Rarely a haada is used instead, which would translate to 'of biggerness'. Exceptions to this are 'very big', 'very good', and 'very bad', where haada, ukea and dohaa would be used instead.

Stative verbs, e.g. ildeso ('be sure/be strict') are always unergative and work identical to other unergative verbs.


Comparative of an (adjectival) noun is formed by adding a haada 'of biggerness' (or a ilhaada 'of smallerness' when the things a noun is compared to is smaller in degree or quality), and either hehe 'still, even' to the end of the sentence, or adding a construction with ilehe 'unlike, than'.

For example: No ta a nihaa a haada ilehe me na ma. 'I am older than you' be 1S of oldness of biggerness unlike OBL 2S OBL (literally 'I am of oldness of biggerness than you')

The noun following ilehe has to be in the oblique case, as with most adpositions.

Haad 'big', uke 'good' and dohaa 'bad' are the exceptions again, using a haada, a ukea or a dohaa.

Copular verbs use comparative in the same way, for example:

No ji a dovi a haada hehe. 'This is higher [still].' be this.ABST of highness of biggerness still

Stative verbs use the adverb haade to form a comparative, and a comparing noun phrase is introduced again with ilehe as in the following:

Ildeso fal haade ilehe me fa ma. 'They are stricter/surer [of it] than us' be_strict 3.COL more unlike OBL 1.COL OBL


The superlative is constructed with a haadat, 'of biggestness' after it, as in:

Nuno ta an mihonode a nihaa a haadat. 'I live in the oldest house.' dwell 1S in.C house-OBL of oldness of biggestness (literally 'I live in the house of oldness of biggestness')

The same three nouns (haad, uke, dohaa) are the exceptions here too, using a haadat, a ukeat and a doat for the superlative.

With copular verbs the superlative is again used the same way, for example:

No ji a dovi a haadat. 'This is the highest [one/thing].' be this.ABST of highness of biggestness.

With stative verbs, haadate 'most' is used for the superlative, for example:

Ildeso fal haadate. 'They are [the] strictest [about it]/surest [about it]' be_strict 3.COL most.ADV

Archetypive / 'Model X' constructions

The 'archetypive', also referred to as a 'Model X' construction is a special, sparsely used construction reserved to augment the superlative further, when something or someone is seen as the very embodiment of a quality or an abstract thing, or the very model or archetype of something or someone.

To make one, a regular adjectival noun is declined like a regular noun, giving for example:

No la saini a nesani. 'They are a person of knowledge' (=knowledgeable person, regular construction) No la saini a nesanide. 'They are a/the person of the knowledge, a knowledge-person' (=a perfect, archetypical example of a knowledgeable person, the very embodiment of knowledge)

However, this is not used in the humble (formal) register, which uses the otherwise unused oho 'to have'.

Oho la nesani. 'They have knowledge'

This carries with it both a kind of polite understatement, as well confers the person in question agency, which is seen as a highly respectful way of speaking.


Negation of a noun or verb is formed by adding -l (if the word ends in a vowel) or -al (if the word ends in a consonant) to the end of the word. If the verb already has a mood or trigger suffix, the 'al' particle is postponed instead. This can also be done with nouns with a case ending or gerund forms, however it is also possible to add -l to the end (however this is somewhat uncommon with declined nouns)



Verbs in Jutean (always ending in -o) are not marked for number, person or tense and are usually sorted into two main categories, objectless (the more scientific term being unaccusative or unergative), and split (or ergative).

The first category refers to verbs which, like their name implies, take no object, are therefore always intransitive, and in addition usually imply at least a vague sense of agency. These are usually verbs of motion, like to ('go'), ato ('come') or static, like nisaido ('feel energized'), though there are some other ones, like mihinido ('sleep') or moo ('meditate'). Unaccusative verbs (agent-lacking ones) are also usually in this category, such as no ('live, exist'). Of course these can all still use adverbs, as in to li tan ('to go to my home'). These also can't ever convey a passive meaning, aside from more convoluted constructions such as noitono mihinido ('be made to sleep', literally 'be lead to sleep), which use a patient suffix as a trigger on an auxiliary verb, but more on that later.

The second, 'split' or 'ergative' variety refers to more complicated ones. These can both stand in objectless (intransitive) sentences as well as sentences with objects (transitive ones), and depending on which is used convey either a passive or active meaning, similar to for example the verb 'to break' in 'The door broke' and 'I broke the door'.

Joo fal. 'They are all seen.' see 3.COL Joo fal kiove. 'They all see some thing.' see 3.COL something.C

Additionally, four smaller categories exist for verbs that do not properly fit into either main category.

The third category in total, called 'transitive', covers the verbs that always need an object, such as fuumo, 'to learn about'. These are rare and often homonyms or additional meanings of ergative verbs (e.g. fuumo, 'to meet, read, study) so they aren't always seen as a distinct category. A lot of secondary meanings of daho (base intransitive meaning: 'to have space'), such as 'to accommodate', 'to make room', to name a few, are transitive.

Daho ta he na haad. 'I (will) make much room for you.' Make_room 1S IDR 2S much

Finally, the fourth category is often essentially a combination of the first and second one. These verbs are called 'mixed' and behave like unergative ones in some circumstances, but ergatively in other ones. For example, toheno ('to return, go back, reflect') is an unergative verb in sentences where the subject is human (or otherwise sapient and using human pronouns), but ergative when the subject is another living being or inanimate (using the animate pronouns uvu/uvuf or the inanimate ones aha/ehi/uhu or ahaf/ehif/uhuf). However, like other unergative verbs it can’t take a direct object and is necessarily intransitive.

Toheno ta (ude vailitade li taniti). 'I return (with a vehicle to my home).' return 1S (with vehicle-OBL towards 1S-place-IDR) Toheno nova. 'The animal returns.' return animal Toheno vailita. 'The vehicle is/was returned.' return vehicle

The fifth category covers verbs like ilhoko (primary meaning: 'to ban, outlaw') that undergo a different grammatical change in intransitive sentences with sapient actors (i.e. ilhoko ta in comparison to e.g. ilhoko ji 'this is outlawed' or ilhoko ta ji 'I outlawed this'), where the default voice changes from middle to reflexive, e.g. 'to outlaw' becomes 'outlaw oneself', which is then understood to mean 'to break the law'. Thus the aforementioned ilhoko ta would translate as 'I outlaw myself' or 'I break the law'.

Ilhoko ta. 'I break the law.' outlaw 1S (‘I outlaw myself’) Ilhoko ji. 'This is outlawed.' outlaw this.ABST Ilhoko ta ji. 'I outlaw this.' outlaw 1S this.ABST

Syntactically irregular verbs with specific auxiliary usages

The sixth category finally is made of verbs, that depending on transitivity, context and amount of verbs in a sentence can act either like an unergative or an ergative word, and in addition to that also have a specific auxiliary usage. The auxiliary usage is activated when the verbs are followed by one or more other verbs, and operates with different syntactic rules than those. Among the most important ones are memo (primary meaning ‘to say’), as well as other ones such as foo (primary meaning ‘to open’)

Eeo (primary meaning ‘to generally be able to do something’) and hokono (primary meaning ‘to currently be able to do something), while belonging to this category, are special cases, being strictly unergative with no transitive meaning.

The standard five meanings of these verbs and ways how to distinguish them are listed here, using the example of memo:

to say: if an oblique or direct object or direct speech is present
to mention: same as above, essentially a synonym/secondary meaning of 'to say'
to tell so./be told to: auxiliary meaning/use, requires additional verbs (but not 'to be', can be both transitive - X tells/told Y to, or intransitive - X is/was told to)
to be said to be: with a gerund as subject / with no oblique object introduced by a (of) and no direct object present
to be said to Z: uses a noun or pronoun and 'tine + Z-GER' phrase (inside Z-ing) as the only oblique object

Some examples using all of them:

Memo la a hohi 'They say/mention [something] about the holding [of an event]' say 3S of hold-GER

Memo homo la 'They are told to hold [the/an unspecified event]' be_told_to hold-ANTIP 3S

Memo hohi 'There is said to be a holding [of an event]' / 'It is said that there is an holding [of an event]' be_said_to_be hold-GER

Memo hohi tine doonatohi 'There is said to be a holding [of an event] [that is] celebrated' be_said_to_be hold-GER inside.ABST celebrate-GER

Adverbs and adjectival nouns would be used to clarify time, place and manner.

Other verbs that work similarly, with their base transitive (I and II), auxiliary (transitive/intransitive) and intransitive (I and II) meanings listed:

saiho* ('think, ponder', auxiliary meaning: plan to do/be planned to, be thought to be (doing))

sahono ('assume, infer', auxiliary meaning: expect (so.) to have to do sth./be expected to have to do sth., be assumed to be (doing))

sahasio ('expect, take for granted', auxiliary meaning: expect (so.) to be able to do sth./be expected to be able to do sth., be expected to be (doing))

saihodo ('imagine, envision', auxiliary meaning: expect (so.) to be/do sth./be expected to be/do sth., be imagined to be (doing))

sehukato ('worry about', auxiliary meaning: worry about (so.) doing sth./be source of worries for doing sth., be sources of worries)

tesoamio ('think, opine, believe', auxiliary meaning: believe to have done or do/be believed to have experienced, be believed to be (doing))

*acts like a regular verb, using a base transitive meaning, rather than the auxiliary meaning in sentences with more than two verbs


Aspect is generally indicated through adverbs when necessary, although usually it's implied via context or the semantics of the verb of the sentence.

The general unmarked aspect with most verbs is progressive, but when needed, e.g. when talking about the past, can also be specified with the adverb he ('now'). It can also be used for emphasis.

Joo ta he na. 'I see you.'/'I am seeing you.' See 1S IDR 2S

Joo ta he na he. 'I am seeing you right now.' See 1S IDR 2S now

Joo ta he na he dote (doone ...). 'I was seeing you (when...)' See 1S IDR 2S now earlier (when...)

A perfective aspect can be specified with lomohe ('already'). Again, sometimes it is not strictly needed, but can be added for emphasis.

Lomoho ta amiti. 'I finish the work.'/'I am finishing the work' Finish 1S work-IDR

Lomoho ta amiti lomohe. 'I already finished the work.'/'I have finished the work' Finish 1S work-IDR already

Lomoho ta amiti lomohe dote. 'I already finished the work earlier/I had finished the work (already)' Finish 1S work-IDR already earlier

Both combined (lomohe he) form the terminative aspect, or alternatively a perfect progressive aspect, depending on context.

Lomoho ta amiti lomohe he (...). 'I just finished the work.'/'I have been finishing the work ...' Finish 1S work-IDR already now

Lomoho ta amiti lomohe he dote (...). 'I just had finished the work.'/' I had been finishing the work..' Finish 1S work-IDR already now earlier

For a habitual aspect, anti 'commonly, regularly' can be used.

Sao ta anti. 'I go swimming regularly.' swim 1S regularly

Memotilo tesohova anti. 'The message was repeated regularly.' be_repeated message regularly

Nuno fal hen anti (dee donafofede) dote. 'They used to live here regularly (during the wet season).' Dwell 3.COL here regularly (during wet_season_OBL) earlier

The resultative is split into three variants, volitional with amefe, 'voluntarily', non-volitional with eve, 'non-voluntarily', and the final/unchanging form with kilvune, 'unchangeably, irreversibly'.

Ileho ta hajefati amefe. 'I ended up changing plans.' Change 1S plan-IDR RES.VOL

Ileho ta hajefati eve. 'I ended up having to change plans' Change 1S plan-IDR RES.NVOL

Haado la ehe dovade eve (dote). 'She ended up growing like a tree.' or simply 'She is/was tall.' Grow 3S like tree-OBL RES.NVOL (earlier)

Ilvunito fesuu kilvune. 'The demon ended up being destroyed irreversibly.' or 'The demon has been destroyed forever.' Destroy demon RES.irreversibly


There are five: Indicative, Imperative, Conditional, Subjunctive and Hortative.


Used for describing reality, general truths and statements proven or, based on some kind of evidence, very likely to be true. It is the default mood and has no suffix.

File:Indicative examples.png


For commands and urges. It is formed by reduplicating the first two syllables of the infinitive, however some verbs are irregular here and only reduplicate part of the second syllable. The personal pronoun can be omitted in this case, or included for emphasis or clarification.

File:Imperative examples.png


In Jutean it's used for the hypothetical result of an assumed change in conditions of the world, or, in some cases, for the polite expression of instructions or wishes you don't have much confidence or interest in becoming reality or that are more or less impossible. It's generally seen as the "humble" mood used when talking to someone of high respect or someone you just like that much. It can also be used for exaggerations that are supposed to be a proof of that or just joking.

Formed by adding -ke to the end of the infinitive, which becomes -k in front of words starting with 'h' or in front of verbal particles.

File:Conditional examples.png


Among other things used for energetic proposals, declarations, resolutions, or wishes you have absolute or near absolute faith in becoming true at some point or the time you mentioned. Also a more polite way to command someone to do something.

Formed from infinitives with the -t suffix

File:Subjunctive examples.png


This mood can often be seen as being somewhere between the two last ones, used for example for unbinding, but nevertheless assertive or affirmative suggestions, reminders or instructions. This would be translated in some languages with an auxiliary like "let" or "should".

Formed with the -fe suffix attached to the infinitive.

File:Hortative examples.png


Triggers are used to mark the focus of a sentence. These are also sometimes used to express what other languages use voices or cases at nouns for.

To put it shortly, triggers are used in transitive sentences to signify a change in the morphosyntactic alignment from nominative-accusative or ergative-absolutive or vice versa, or to highlight specific objects.

The two most common triggers are patient (-no), agent (unmarked by default, but -mo can be used to emphasize/intensify). Instrumental (-de) and Locative (-hen) exist, but are rather uncommon. They are all also attached to the verb, unless it already has mood or gerundive marking. (See chapter "Suffixation" for more information)

Examples for the ergative verb joo (to see) Joo ta ja 'I see this.' See 1S this.C

Joono ja he ta 'This is seen by me / This is what I see' See-PV this.C IDR 1S

Joode dovauhi he ta. 'The glasses are what I use to see.' See.INSV glass IDR 1S

Joohen saanu he ta. 'The sea is where I see.' See.LOCV sea IDR 1S

Valency and transitivity

Valency can be used to express subject and object role in Jutean.

In intransitive sentences the meaning is by default understood as patientive. Here the agentive trigger/suffix -mo, otherwise used, as mentioned before in, in transitive sentences for emphasis, is used to make the subject agentive.

Joo ta. 'I am seen.' See 1S

Joomo ta. 'I see.' See-AV 1S

On the other side, the opposite is true for transitive sentences, where the subjects are by default agentive. As an alternative to turning it intransitive to make it have a patientive meaning as well, the patient trigger -no, as mentioned above, can be used as well.

The instrumental and locative trigger-suffixes are also repurposed and can be used to make an intransitive sentence have an implied impersonal subject:

Mihinidohen mihinon. 'The bed is where you sleep/one sleeps' sleep-LOCV bed

Joohen maja. 'The eye/Eyes is/are with what you see/one sees.' see-LOCV eye

Impersonal sentences can also be used for statements or sayings if they refer e.g. to general advice where other languages might use a dummy pronoun, similar to an implied 4th/5th person pronoun.

The only argument of such a phrase is the object of the equivalent regular transitive sentence or an equivalent sentence with an explicit subject and oblique object, as Jutean has no “dummy subjects” such as “it” in e.g. “It would be more intelligent to do that”

Hajeo evotono hemomo nana haade. '(It) is more intelligent to become a food organizer* yourself.' Be_intelligent become food_organizer you_yourself more *generic term for scavenger, fisher and farmer

This sentence uses a technique called “verb stacking”, more on that can be found in the syntax section below.


How many voices Jutean has been subject to discussion, as colloquially all inflections that aren't moods, negations or the gerund form have been called triggers. However, technically the triggers only refer to focus-changing inflections in transitive sentences, so causative (-vo), reciprocal (-hut) and reflexive (-he) "triggers" should more properly be analyzed as voices.

The causative suffix can only be used on ergative verbs (unergative verbs require an ergative verb as preceding auxiliary instead, most commonly noito, 'to direct, lead, force') and takes two or three arguments, where the causer takes the unmarked direct case, the recipient of the action takes the indirect case and the (optional) third argument is in the oblique case. Ergative verbs in phrases with a single argument retain their patientive meaning if turned into a causative.

Joovo ta he na. / Joovo ta he na dovade. 'I'm making you be seen.' / 'I'm making you see the tree.' See-CAUS 1S IDR 2S / See-CAUS 1S IDR 2S tree-OBL Noito mihinido ta he na. 'I'm making you sleep.' Make sleep 1S IDR 2S

Reciprocal and reflexive voices require intransitive sentences and can not take direct objects. Joohut fa. 'We all see each other.' See.RECP 3.COL.INCL Joohe fa. 'We all see ourselves.' See.REFL 3.COL.INCL

In addition, the intransitive agentive suffix -mo is usually regarded as an antipassive by my most grammarians nowadays, with some of the confusion stemming probably from the fact that it is also used in transitive sentences as an intensifier/emphasizing particle for agentive subjects.


A single gerund form exists, formed via suffixing -hi to a verb. It can also take a mood suffix, however voice suffixes become particles instead. It is used, among other things, to create nominalized subclauses, for example relative clauses. See the syntax section of this article for details.


If multiple suffixes would have to be added, for example mood and trigger or trigger and negation, only one of them is attached to the verb, with the other ones forming a particle. Which one is added to the verb is decided based on their position in this order: Mood < Trigger < Gerund suffix < Negation, meaning that if a mood morpheme is present, it will be the one added to the verb, with the other one or two forming a particle. If only the trigger and the negation are present, the trigger will be attached and the negation become a particle directly after the verb.


See the aspect subsection of the verb section above.


Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are rather complex, and some forms are thought to be almost unique to Jutean. The inanimate pronouns are gendered (common, abstract/immaterial, 'wilderness'), the 3rd person pronoun referring to humans (and other sentient beings) however doesn't make distinctions.

Person 1st 2nd 3rd 3rd (plants and animals) 3rd (inanimate, gender)
Singular ta na la uvu ehi, aha, ohu
Plural fa (incl.), fanal (excl. a single person),

fanafal (excl. several people)

naf laf uvuf ahaf, ehif, ohuf
Collective fa (incl.) fafanal (excl. of a group) fan fal uvuf, fuvu (rarely) ahaf, ehif, ohuf (a af/efi/uf)

Colloquially and in dialects like Sitti, aha, ehi, ohu might be used for both singular and plural, and af, efi, uf for collective and in some cases also plural.

For the indirect case, the particle he is put in front of the pronoun, for the oblique case the circumferential particle me ... ma is used.

Example: ta - 'I'

(li) he ta - 'me, (to) me'

(nuhe) me ta ma, (a) me ta ma - '(for) me, (of) me, (by) me' (etc.)

Demonstrative pronouns

They are distinguished by gender and distance (proximal, medial and distal).

Gender Common Abstract/Immaterial 'Wilderness'
Proximal ja ji ju
Medial jam jim jum
Distal jaha jahi jahu

Possessive pronouns don't exist. See Possession on how possession is expressed.


These can sometimes be gendered as well, for example ado/ido/udo 'at, by', etc. and come mostly in front of the noun, although some postpositions, e.g. todentije ('next'), exist as well.

Question particles

To form a question, question particles are attached at the end of a sentence, separated by a comma. They are usually formed by taking the basic particle haa and adding the thing/concept/detail in question to it, however making new forms "on the fly" is uncommon and very informal.


haaja/-ji/-ju 'what?' haan 'where?' haasin 'who?' hasooni 'when?' haava 'made of what?' haatoni 'how?' haano 'why?'

Derivational morphology

Main article: Jutean derivation

In general, these affixes can be used to derive nouns from other nouns or verbs. For adverbs, -e is usually added to the end, while verbs take -o or -ho, barring some exceptions.

Gender-changing derivations

-a Generic noun suffix for common, physically existing things not related to the wilderness. Derived from the ending of most Common-gender nouns, -a

Known synonymous suffixes: -ha (mostly if the word ends in o)

Examples: donosani 'experience' → donosana 'experienced person' niooni 'dream' → nioona 'picture, illustration'

-i Generic noun suffix for immaterial and/or abstract things, ideas, concepts etc., also used for some generic nouns and for deriving nouns from verbs. Derived from the ending of most Abstract/Immaterial-gender nouns, -i.

Known synonymous suffixes: -hi (particularly used when the word already ends in -i)

Examples: nesano 'to know' → nesani 'knowledge, knowing' vuha 'sun' → vuhi 'light'

-u Generic noun suffix for all wilderness-related things that physically exist, such as things to be found in jungles, oceans or other worlds, sometimes also outer space. Also has a few metaphorical uses. Derived from the ending of most Wilderness-gender nouns, -u

Known synonymous suffixes: none known

Examples: dova 'tree' → dovu 'jungle tree' saini 'mind, person, people' → sainu 'instinct, subconscious'

Changes in size or mightiness

-at General augmentative suffix, mostly quantitative. Derived from haadat, "biggestness"

Known synonymous suffixes: -aha, -haa, -haad, -ahad

Examples: saanu 'sea' → saanuahad 'ocean, ocean surface' seda 'pot' → sedaat 'cauldron'

-it Qualitative augmentative suffix, used when something exceeds something else in a defining quality, for example "magnifying glass" → "microscope". Derived from combining -at with -i.

Known synonymous suffixes: -at (rarely)

Examples: vunojahivo 'magnifying glass' → vujahivit 'microscope' dooni 'time' → doonat 'special occasion, celebration'

-fi General diminutive suffix. From 'ifi' (a bit, slightly, little by little).

Known synonymous suffixes: -fe (when used with adverbs), -ihame (for persons, rare, no longer productive), -ila/-ilu/-ili (gendered variants, rare, no longer productive)

Examples: dooni 'time' → doonifi 'moment' favefa 'meal, dish' → favefafi 'snack'


Since possessive pronouns are nonexistent, a + personal pronoun in the oblique case are used for inalienable possession, relationship or authorship.

Vunam a he laf ha 'Their parent' ("Parent of them")

Hotif a he ta ha 'My book' [a book that I wrote] ("Book of me")

Ova a vuhatatede 'The top of the mountain' ("Top of mountain")

For alienable possession, a relative nominalization is used.

Vailita a vohi a me ta ma 'Vehicle that I use' Vehicle of use-GER of OBL 1S OBL ('Vehicle of using of me')

Hotif a fuumohi a me ta ma 'Book that I read' Book of read-GER of OBL 1S OBL ('book of reading of me')

Nijauva a sehukohi a vunamede 'Cat that parent(s) care for' Cat of care-GER of parent-OBL ('cat of caring of parent(s)')



Strictly Verb-Subject-Object (VSO), including in questions. Subclauses are nominalized or otherwise incorporated into main clauses.

A complete order would be:

(0. Noun or sentence fragment put at the beginning for emphasis, separated by a comma, not seen as part of the sentence)

1. Conjunction (if two main clauses are connected)

2. Auxiliary verb

3. Auxiliary verb particle

4. Verb

5. Verb particle

6. Subject (Noun/pronoun in direct case)

7. Direct object (takes the indirect case)

8. Oblique/indirect object (usually takes the oblique case)

9. Adverbs (manner - place - time)

10. Question particle (separated by comma)

However, if the oblique object is animate, and the direct object is inanimate, sometimes the oblique object can come before the direct object.

Adpositions usually come in front of the noun they're referring to, with few exceptions such as the aforementioned todentije ('next').



Subclauses are usually avoided, often by turning them into main clauses, where possible. These are linked with a conjunction, (most of the time u, 'and').

In other case, when a subclause is needed, a nominalization is used, as is the case with, for example, relative clauses.

In general, subclauses are often avoided, especially in everyday speech. Usually they are turned into separate main clauses where possible, or incorporated into existing ones. These are then linked with a conjunction, most of the time u, 'and', or a connector phrase such as tonte ji 'after this', memo (...) ji 'this was said/... said this/', or ehe ji 'as a result, so'.

The same is the case with sentences like 'I think that' which often would be translated as Saimo ta ji: ..., 'I think this: ...' instead of resorting to gerunds.

This is especially the case when multiple nominalizations in a single sentence would have to be used, since this is seen as unnecessarily confusing and hampering speech and conversations. This still applies, albeit less so, for written language.

Word order in nominalized subclauses is still VSO and otherwise unchanged as well, though there is no need to always have a distinct subject, as subclauses can refer back to the subject of the main clause. They are usually introduced by a, 'of, from, by, about', followed by the gerundive form of the verb, though other conjunctions such as li ‘to, towards, in order to’ or ehe ‘as, like’ can in some contexts be used as well.

Single-argument subclauses

As long as main clause and sub clause refer to the same subject, there is no need to restate it, as subclauses can refer back to the subject of the main clause. In these cases, the object can come first and then be followed by a + gerund.

Joo ta tovohi a vailitade./Joo ta vailitati a tovohi. I see the car being driven / I see the car that is/was driven. See 1S drive-GER of vehicle-OBL / See 1S vehicle-IDR drive-GER (more literally “I see the driving of the car / I see the car of driving”)

Joo ta tovohi a sainide. / Joo ta sainiti a tovohi. 'I see the person who drives/drove.' See 1S drive-GER of person-OBL (more literally “I see the driving of the person / I see the person of driving”)

Sentences that in other languages would use a subjugator pronoun, such as 'that', are often rendered similarly:

Saiho ta (a) teohi/tehide a tohohi (a me ta ma). 'I think (that) I should go now.' Think 1S (of) need-GER/need-OBL of leave-GER (of OBL 1S OBL) (more literally: “I think of the need/the needing of leaving”)

In this case, the last part describing the person with the need can be omitted and simply deduced by context, unless it is to be emphasized. The introductory a can also be dropped in most cases, particularly informal speech or writing.

As can be seen, a + object in the oblique case can both be an agent or patient, and only context disambiguates.

Subclauses with two or more different arguments

However, if a subclause does have two distinct arguments, e.g. patient and agent strict VSO order applies and the gerund has to come first, followed by a + the patient in the oblique case and then na + the agent in the oblique case.

Joo ta tovohi a vailitade na sainide. 'I see the person drive a car.' See 1S drive-GER of vehicle-OBL by person-OBL (more literally “I see the driving of a car by a person”)

A phrase containing na + oblique object referring to an agent can’t stay on its own and has to be preceded by a full subclause including gerund and a + the patient.

If the second argument is not an agent, a different adposition, such as the previously mentioned li ‘to, towards, in order to’ or ehe ‘as, like’ is used, to avoid having multiple oblique objects introduced by a in the subclause with different roles.

Subclauses including chains of objects

The above mentioned is not the case if the arguments in a subclause all belong to a chain of oblique objects showing possession or relationship between two or more objects. Usually this is the case when personal pronouns are involved.

Deko ta a noitosanohi a tahivide a me na ma he. 'I hear that you are studying languages now.' Hear 1S of study-GER of language-OBL of OBL 2S OBL now (more literally “I hear about the studying of languages of you now”)

A sentence having both several arguments as well as one or more of them being chains of objects are rare and almost always avoided.


Jutean uses a base-5 counting system, so "ten" would be literally translated as "two five". Ordinal numbers (first, second, third) are formed by adding the oblique case ending -ede/-de. Numbers aren't declined.

Number Cardinal Ordinal
1 iki ikide
2 leke lekede
3 kiuki kiukide
4 kihaki kihakide
5 kiif kiifede
6 kiif-iki kiif-ikide
7 kiif-leke kiif-lekede
8 kiif-kiuki kiif-kiukide
9 kiif-kihaki kiif-kihakide
10 leke-kiivi leke-kiivide
11 leke-kiivi iki leke-kiivi ikide
12 leke-kiivi leke leke-kiivi lekede

Writing system

The predominant writing system used for Jutean is a native syllabary independent from, but loosely inspired by native proto-writing and the Adzo-Neviric script brought by Neviran officials in the 17th century, which had been the first people to introduce writing on Jute. It was developed in the 18th century as a form of cultural resistance to Neviran officials to prevent further assimilation and distinguish the native languages more clearly.

See also