Coastal Jutean

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Coastal Jutean
Tahivi a net / Jute
Pronunciation/tahiʋi a net/ / /jute/
EthnicityCoastal Juteans (native), River Juteans, Klambari, Samwati (common second language)
Native speakers1,570,000  (no date)
Language family
  • Proto-Jutic
    • Ancient Jutean
      • Middle Jutean
        • Reformed Jutean
          • Colonial Jutean
            • Jutean
DialectsSitti, Laina
Official status
Official language inJute
CWS code
[[File:Languages of Jute.png|]]

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 (tahivi a net in Jutean, pronounced roughly tah-HEE-vee ah neht), whereas the people venturing inside would develop River Jutean (tahosoe val ma, pronounced roughly tah-HO-so-eh vahl mah, with the 'o' as in 'not'). It had no official status until after Jute regained independence 1723, 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, articles, and number (except for pronouns). Triggers or intransitive sentences are also used for passive meanings.

Personal pronouns, while having the standard 1st/2nd/3rd person, are unusual when it comes to other aspects. There are three numbers (arguably four in the first person plural), clusitivity, gender and animacy distinctions. See below, 3.6 Pronouns.

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".



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 CVC, CVVC and particularly CVVV are used sparingly. CV or VC are preferred.

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'.


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 decline for three cases, with some exceptions, and have a gender or noun class, 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 Common Abstract (-i) Wilderness (-u)
Noun dova (tree) dovi (tower, height) dovu (jungle tree)

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.

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

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.


They don't have a distinct morphology and are seen as nouns. The only difference is that most adjectival nouns don't decline, like for example haad "bigness".

To intensify them, a haada "of biggerness", is used, so hohi a haada would translate to "very new" (literally "newness of biggerness"). An exception would be "very big", where just haada would be used.

Comparative of a adjectival noun is formed by adding a haada "of biggerness", and either hehe "still, even" to the end of the sentence, or adding a construction with ehe "than", like for example: No ta a nihaa a haada ehe he na "I am older than you" (literally "I am of oldness of biggerness than you")

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" ("I live in the house of oldness of biggestness")


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 (or three, or four) categories, objectless (the more scientific term being unaccusative or unergative), and split (or ergative). Object-taking or transitive verbs are not always classified as a separate verb class.

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 English verb to break in The door broke and I broke the door. An example in Jutean would be hemo ('to eat'), where Hemo fal would translate to 'They are all eaten', but Hemo fal kiove would mean 'They all eat something'.

The third one, called 'transitive', covers the verbs who always need an object, such as to learn about. These are rare and often homonyms or additional meanings of ergative verbs, 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.

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, atteo ('to run into, to crash') 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.

Other verbs, like ilhoko (primary meaning: 'to ban, outlaw') 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'.

Syntactically irregular verbs like 'memo'

Verbs like memo can be seen as another example of the fourth category. Depending on context and meaning, it can act either like an unergative or an ergative word.

The five meanings of the verb and ways how to distinguish them are listed here:

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 (Say 3S of hold-GER) - They say/mention [something] about the holding [of an event] Memo homo la (Be_told_to hold-ANTIP 3S) - They are told to hold [the/an unspecified event] Memo hohi (Be_said_to_be hold-GER) - There is said to be a holding [of an event] / It is said that there is an holding [of an event] Memo hohi tine doonatohi (Be_said_to_be hold-GER inside.ABST celebrate-GER) - There is said to be a holding [of an event] [that is] celebrated

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

Other verbs behaving similarly include saiho (to think, plan to do, be thought to be doing), sahono (to assume, expect to have to do, be assumed to be doing) sahasio (to expect, expect to be able to do, be expected to be doing) and saihodo (to imagine, expect to be/do, be imagined to be doing)


Several exist: habitual, progressive/continuous and perfective are the most common ones. They are usually indicated by adverbs, but sometimes verbs or nouns can also be used for that.


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 into English with an auxiliary like "let" or "should". Formed with the -fe suffix attached to the infinitive.

File:Hortative examples.png


Since Jutean has the Austronesian alignment, it uses triggers to mark the focus of a sentence. These can also be 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 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

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

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.


How many voices Jutean has is up to discussion. Colloquially, all inflections that aren't moods, negations or gerund forms 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.

Joovo ta he na 'I'm making you see.' See-CAUS.trigger 1S IDR 2S

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 gerund form exists, formed via suffixing -hi, and used to create nominalized subclauses. (See below)


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.


To follow.


Personal pronouns are rather complex, and some forms are thought to be almost unique to Jutean. The inanimate pronouns are gendered, 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)
Singular ta na la uvu ehi, aha, ohu
Plural fa (incl.), fanal (excl. of 2SG),

fanafal (excl. of 2PL)

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

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

he ta me, to me

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" below on how possession is expressed.

Other pronouns to follow.


These can sometimes be gendered as well, for example ado/ido/udo at, by, etc.

Question particles

To form a question, these 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

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: (tba)

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: (tba)

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. Etymology unclear.

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'

Instrumentals and resultatives

-ivo General instrumental suffix, for things that are needed or very useful for something. Probably related to vo 'use'

Example: hotio 'to write, be written' → hotivo 'pen, quill, writing implement'

vaili- Tool or machine derivation prefix, used for tools or machines that, rather than making a job easier, complete it for the most part themselves, like soap vs. washing machine.

Example: to 'to go' → vailita 'vehicle'

To be expanded.

Resultatives and causatives

-efa 'Resultative' derivation suffix, used to derive results from dynamic verbs. Assumed to be related to the causative 'trigger' vo, possibly in combination with a 'of, about, by'

Known synonymous affixes: -eefa

Examples: favo 'to cook' → favefa 'meal, dish' to 'to go' → tefa 'destination' vano 'to burn' → vaneefa 'ash, residue from fire'

-fo Causative verb derivation suffix, used to derive dynamic verbs from a noun. Probably related to the causative trigger vo, similar to the resultative derivation suffix -efa (see above)

Example: vuhi 'light' → vuhefo 'to lighten (deliberately)'

-vo Causative verb derivation suffix for a derivation from another verb, similar in function to the causative 'trigger' and identical with the form it has. Used especially with unergative verbs that don't allow it being used.

Example: to 'to go' → tovo 'to send, bring in'

-vi Causator noun derivation suffix, to describe the originator or the thing or being causing the existence of a thing, a state of being, or an action.

Example: ami 'job, work' → amivi 'energy'


-na Endonym/Exonym derivation suffix, used to derive nouns referring to groups of people, mostly ethnicities or populations of a nation/state. Etymologically most likely related to no (to live, be).

Known synonymous affixes: -ana (after consonants)

Example: Jute 'Jute' → Jutena 'Jutean, Juteans'

-ehi Suffix for the derivation of a person sharing a trait/profession/etc. with another one, that is 'a fellow X'. Derived from ehe (too, like, likewise etc.)

Known synonymous affixes: -hehi (after vowels)

Example: ama 'worker' → amahehi 'fellow worker, colleague'

-afa Noun derivation suffix for things or places owned or done collectively, probably from a (of, by) and fa (inclusive collective first person pronoun)

Known synonymous affixes: -fa (after words already ending in -f, particularly -af)

Examples: mihonon 'house' → mihonafa 'community hall' vettaf 'fight, conflict' → vettaffa 'war'

-mo Agentive derivation suffix used for referring to professions, (more) permanent states or occupations or jobs. Can be used on both nouns and verbs. Originally from amo (to do, work).

Known derivation suffixes: -amo (after consonants) -Ø (when the original word already ends in -mo)

Example: noitosani 'teaching' → noitosanimo 'teacher'

mo- -he Temporary agentive derivation circumfix, for momentary or transitional states, acts etc. Can also be used both on verbs and nouns. Probably originating by prefixing the aforementioned, more permanent agentive suffix mo and suffixing he

Example: letafo 'to travel' → moletafohe 'traveller'


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, for example vailita a vohi a me ha ma "vehicle that I use" (literally "vehicle of using of me").



Strictly VSO, including in questions. Adverbs come last, with locations preceding time adverbs. Auxiliary verbs precede the other verb directly. Subclauses are usually nominalized, especially relative ones.

The complete order would be:

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.


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.

Multiple subclauses in a single sentence are almost always avoided, since they can easily become confusing for the listener or let the speaker "trip" over their own words and cause you to lose your train of thought. 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.


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