Balak language

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. Balaakzem .
Native speakers67 million  (2016)
Language family
Early forms:
  • Proto-Eastern-Vaniuan
    • Proto-Kashisan
      • Old Kothlenic
        • Middle Jazaghan
          • Balak
Writing systemVaniuan script
Official status
Official language inBalakia
Regulated byInstitute of Balak Language and Linguistics at the University of Yercésven
Balak language map.png
Location of Balak speakers in Vaniua
  regions where Standard Balak is the language of the majority
  regions where Standard Balak is the language of a significant minority
  regions where Chindushi is the language of the majority
  regions where Chindushi is the language of a significant minority

Balak (. Balaakzem .; Balâkzem, [bɑˈla:ksɛm]) is a Kashisan language within the Eastern Vaniuan branch of the Vaniuan language family. Along with the Gushli language, Standard Balak is a national variant of the pluricentric Jazaghan language, and is somewhat more phonetically divergent compared to Gushli. Balak is written in the Balak alphabet, a modified variant of the Vaniuan alphabet.

The Balak language is considered a continuation of the Middle Jazaghan language, which was used as a trade language during the later years of the Great Horde. Throughout its history the language has been considerably influenced by the Khamaian language, the ancestor of which also served as a substrate for Proto-Kashisan, as well as the Koman language.

There are roughly 67 million Balak speakers worldwide, with the language holding official status in Balakia and Kunjut, and regional or minority status in Komania and Gushlia.

Geographic Distribution


Standard Balak is known natively as Balâkzem, pronounced [bɑˈla:ksɛm].


Modern Standard Balak is a Kashisan language descended from the Eastern Vaniuan branch of the Vaniuan languages. The Kashisan languages can further be subdivided into Kaatian and the Kothlenic languages, the latter of which includes Balak and the other standard varieties and dialects of Jazaghan, the Rasha, and the Covayan language.

The Kashisan languages in eastern Vaniua

Standard Balak is based on Central Balak dialects (no. 10 on the map), which are X.



Distinguishing features and differences between standards


Sociopolitical standpoints

Official status



Balak consonant phonemes
  Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive p b t d k ɡ
Fricative (f) v s sʷ z zʷ ʃ h
Affricate t͡s t͡sʷ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Approximant l j ɰ
Rhotic r


  • /f/ is only used in loanwords, though some speakers may substitute /f/ with /v/.
  • /sʷ, zʷ, t͡sʷ/ have a number of possible realisations and, in certain dialects, mergers:
    • Whistled sibilants [sᶲ, zᵝ, t͡sᶲ]
      • Distribution: Common in central and eastern Balakia, as well as other conservative varieties and the standard language. It is by far the most common realisation.
    • Consonant clusters [sv, zv, t͡sv]
      • Distribution: Occurs in transitional dialects spoken in Gushlia and close to the Balak-Gushli border.
    • Merger with plain sibilants [s, z, t͡s]
      • Distribution: Present in varieties spoken in southern Balakia and along parts of the east coast. Also occurs in some areas of western Balakia and eastern Gushlia.
    • Merger with post-alveolar sibilants [ʃ, ʒ, t͡ʃ]
      • Distribution: Reported to occur in the idiolects of some younger speakers, particularly in urban regions such as Sâcar.
    • Merger with labiodental fricatives [f, v, p̪͡f~f]
      • Distribution: Present in northwestern varieties, including Torosh Balak.


Balak has a system of 10 phonemic vowels. X. Vowel length is not always considered a distinctive feature in Balak phonology, because it normally co-occurs with changes in vowel quality. One feature or the other may be considered redundant, and some phonemic analyses prefer to treat it as an opposition of tenseness. However, even if not considered part of the phonemic opposition, the long/tense vowels are still realised as phonetically longer than their short counterparts. The changes in vowel quality are also not always the same in all dialects, and in some there may be little difference at all, with length remaining the primary distinguishing feature as in other standard varieties of Jazaghan.

Short/lax vowels
Front Back
Close ɪ ʊ
Mid ɛ ɔ
Open ɑ
Long/tense vowels
Front Back


  • X.


The syllable structure of Standard Balak is (C)V(C). Labialised or whistled sibilants /sʷ zʷ t͡sʷ/ may not occur word-finally.





Balaki is a moderately agglutinative language, though it does preserve fusional affixes for nouns and verbs. Nouns are divided into two animacy classes - animate and inanimate - and are inflected slightly differently depending on the class they are on; inanimate nouns don't inflect for plural number, while animate nouns do.

In Balak nouns are split into two genders - animate and inanimate - X.



Writing System