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Hútala is written with the Latin alphabet. Diacritics can be used to indicate stressed vowels : á, é, í, ó, ú, but they are often omitted. They will be used in this article.

A a /a/
B b /b/
D d /d/
E e /e/
F f /f/
G g /g/
H h /h/
I i /i/
J j /ʒ/
K k /k/
L l /l/
M m /m/
N n /n/
O o /o/
P p /p/
Q q /ʔ/
R r /r/
S s /s/
T t /t/
U u /u/
V v /v/
W w /w/
X x /ʃ/
Y y /j/
Z z /z/

Digraphs include : Dj, dj /d͡ʒ/ ; Tx, tx /t͡ʃ/ ; Ng, ng /ŋ/ ; Ts, ts /t͡s/ ; Dz, dz /d͡z/.


Bilabial Labio-dental Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d k g ʔ
Fricative f v s z ʃ ʒ h
Approximant j w
Trill r
Affricate t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Lateral approx. l


Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open a





The syllable underlying structure is most usually (C)V, but consonant clusters can appear at the surface in morpheme boundaries as a result of derivative and especially of inflectional morphology. Consequently, such clusters only show up word-internally and are limited to two consonantal phonemes. However, there is no restriction on the consonants which can make up the cluster, or on their identity as C1 or C2. On the other hand, there are phenomena of voice assimilation : if one of the consonants is voiced and the other unvoiced, the voiced one gets devoiced, unless it is a nasal (although some level of devoicing might be observed in practice for nasals too). There is also an assimilation of place of articulation of the nasals /n/ and /ŋ/ and their homorganic counterparts. A word or a syllable can start with any phoneme. On the other hand, coda consonants or consonants at the end of a word are rare and diachronically restricted to nasals and stridents, but in synchronic, spoken Hútala, other coda consonants have appeared as a consequence of the elision of final vowels.




Hútala has so-called noun classes. There are 12 singular noun classes and 12 corresponding plural noun classes. They are numbered as follows : CL1a to CL12a for the singular, and CL1b to CL12b for the plural. Class is marked on the noun by a prefix ; every noun belongs to one class, often following some semantic grouping. Adjectives and verbs agree in class with the noun and are marked in the same way.

Noun Class Singular Plural
CL1 : human/sentient hu- hi-
CL2 : land animals ma- me-
CL3 : sea and sky animals ba- be-
CL4 : bugs za- ze-
CL5 : sweet edible plants su- ʃi-
CL6 : savory edible plants sa- se-
CL7 : sensations/feelings se- sei-
CL8 : tools, useful objects ʔu- ʔi-
CL9 : clothes, buildings ro- ra-
CL10 : other artefacts, dishes de- d͡ʒi-
CL11 : soft, warm, light ru- rui-
CL12 : hard, cold, dark t͡ʃo- t͡ʃa-

Thus, nouns are marked for class, and consequently for number, but also for definiteness. As has already been mentioned above, class is marked by a prefix ; definiteness, however, is marked by a suffix : CL-noun-DEF. There are four definiteness suffixes to choose from ; historically, they correspond to the fusion of two "sorts" of definiteness for which the noun had to be marked. The first kind of definiteness, DEF1, corresponds to whether the referent is known or has been mentioned, or if on the contrary it is unknown or new in the conversation. The second kind of definiteness, DEF2, corresponds to whether the referent is a specific one, or instead a typical, unspecified one. Morphosyntactically, the noun inflectional structure would be : CL-noun-DEF1-DEF2. In the pair "specified vs typical", typicality was unmarked, so that eventually the morphemes DEF1 and DEF2 fusionned into 4 definiteness morphemes such that DEF1 would be either unmarked or marked for specificity.

Definiteness Suffix
known/mentioned ; typical -nde
known/mentioned ; specific -nd͡ʒi
unknown/new ; typical -t͡sa
unknown/new ; specific -t͡se


Verbs are marked for class, polarity, evidentiality, volition, frequency, tense, aspect and mode : CL-POL-EVD-verb stem-VOL-FRQ-TAM


Class is a mark of agreement with the subject noun. However, there is no marking for class in the case of the passive voice. The prefixes are the same as for nouns, but there is some degree of fusion with the following affixes.


Polarity has three values : affirmative, negative, and neutral, which is unmarked and used for questions and irrealis modality.

Value Affix
affirmative ʃi-
negative no-
neutral -


Evidentiality also has three values : whether someone knows something from perceiving it with their own senses, or instead from a source of authority (this typically includes professors, scientists, books...) or from simple hearsay. Verbs are also not marked for evidentiality in the case of questions or irrealis.

Source of evidence Affix
senses, perception tu-
authority kit-
hearsay ded-


Volition has only two values : an action is voluntary/controlled, or it is unvoluntary/out of one's control.

Value Affix
controlled, voluntary -wi
uncontrolled, unvoluntary -t͡sa


Frequency also has only two values : occasional vs repetitive.

Value Affix
occasional -ŋa
repetitive, recurrent -ses

Tense and Aspect

There are four values for the past tense ; two values for the present, one of which corresponds rather to the progressive aspect ; and three values for the future, one of which corresponds rather to the inchoative aspect.

Value Affix
immemorial past -suʃ
further past -fa
recent past -te
earlier in the day -kate ; -kaʔ
going on / progressive kiŋa ; -ŋa
present, habitual present -
about to start / inchoative -koa
near future -re
far future -sar

Allomorphy and surface form

In practice, there is a lot of boundaries fusion going on between the affixes, so that the surface forms are different from the mere agglutination of the inflectional affixes.

Before the verb root : CL-POL-EVD

Class POL:aff, EVD:sense POL:neg, EVD:sense POL:aff, EVD:auth POL:neg, EVD:auth POL:aff, EVD:hearsay POL:neg, EVD:hearsay
CL1a 'huʃtu 'huntu hu'ʃ:it 'huŋkit 'huʒded 'hunded
CL1b 'ʃ:itu 'hintu hi'ʃ:it 'hiŋkit 'ʃ:ided 'hinded
CL2a 'maʃtu 'mantu ma'ʃ:it 'maŋkit 'maʒded 'manded
CL2b 'meʃtu 'mentu me'ʃ:it 'meŋkit 'meʒded 'mended
CL3a 'baʃtu 'bantu ba'ʃ:it 'baŋkit 'baʒded 'banded
CL3b 'beʃtu 'bentu be'ʃ:it 'beŋkit 'beʒded 'bended
CL4a 'zaʃtu 'zantu za'ʃ:it 'zaŋkit 'zaʒded 'zanded
CL4b 'zeʃtu 'zentu ze'ʃ:it 'zeŋkit 'zeʒded 'zended
CL5a 'suʃtu 'suntu su'ʃ:it 'suŋkit 'suʒded 'sunded
CL5b 'ʃiʃtu 'ʃintu ʃ:it 'ʃiŋ̍kit 'ʒided 'ʃinded
CL6a 'saʃtu 'santu sa'ʃ:it 'saŋ̍kit 'saʒded 'sanded
CL6b 'seʃtu 'sentu se'ʃ:it 'seŋkit 'seʒded 'sended
CL7a 'seʃtu 'sentu se'ʃ:it 'seŋkit 'seʒded 'sended
CL7b 'seiʃtu 'seintu 'seiʃit 'seiŋkit 'seiʒded 'seinded
CL8a 'ʔuʃtu 'ʔuntu ʔu'ʃ:it 'ʔuŋkit 'ʔuʒded 'ʔunded
CL8b 'ʔiʃtu 'ʔintu ʔi'ʃ:it 'ʔiŋkit 'ʔiʒded 'ʔinded
CL9a 'roʃtu 'rontu ro'ʃ:it 'roŋkit 'roʒded 'ronded
CL9b 'raʃtu 'rantu ra'ʃ:it 'raŋkit 'raʒded 'randed
CL10a 'deʃtu 'dentu de'ʃ:it 'deŋkit 'deʒded 'dended
CL10b 't͡ʃi:tu 'd͡ʒintu 't͡ʃi:ʃit 'd͡ʒiŋkit 'd͡ʒiʒded 'd͡ʒinded
CL11a 'ruʃtu 'runtu ru'ʃ:it 'ruŋkit 'ruʒded 'runded
CL11b 'ruiʃtu 'ruindu 'ruiʃit 'ruiŋkit 'ruiʒded ruinded
CL12a 't͡ʃ:oitu 't͡ʃontu 't͡ʃ:oikit 't͡ʃoŋkit 't͡ʃ:oided 't͡ʃonded
CL12b 't͡ʃ:etu 't͡ʃantu 't͡ʃ:ekit 't͡ʃaŋkit 't͡ʃ:eded 't͡ʃanded

After the verb root : VOL-FRQ-TAM

FRQ/TAM VOL: voluntary, controlled VOL: involuntary, uncontrolled
FRQ:occ, TAM:immemorial 'winsuʃ 't͡sansuʃ
FRQ:occ, TAM:far past 'wimfa 't͡samfa
FRQ:occ, TAM:recent past 'winte 't͡sante
FRQ:occ, TAM:earlier 'wiŋkate ; wiŋ'kaʔ 't͡saŋkate ; t͡saŋ'kaʔ
FRQ:occ, TAM:progressive wi'ŋ:iŋa ; 'wiŋ:a t͡sa'ŋ:iŋa ; t͡sa'iŋ:a
FRQ:occ, TAM:present 'wiŋa ; wiŋ 't͡saŋa ; t͡saŋ
FRQ:occ, TAM:inchoative 'wiŋkoa ; 'wiŋka 't͡saŋkoa ; 't͡saŋka
FRQ:occ, TAM:near future 'wiŋgre 't͡saŋgre
FRQ:occ, TAM:far future 'winsar 't͡sansar
FRQ:rep, TAM:immemorial 'wis:uʃ 't͡sas:uʃ
FRQ:rep, TAM:far past 'wis:fa 't͡sas:fa
FRQ:rep, TAM:recent past 'wis:te 't͡sas:te
FRQ:rep, TAM:earlier 'wis:kate ; wis'kaʔ 't͡sas:kate ; t͡sas'kaʔ
FRQ:rep, TAM:progressive wi's:iŋa t͡sa's:iŋa ; 't͡s:iŋa
FRQ:rep, TAM:present 'wises ; wis: 't͡sases ; t͡sas:
FRQ:rep, TAM:inchoative 'wis:koa ; 'wis:ka 't͡sas:koa ; 't͡sas:ka
FRQ:rep, TAM:near future 'wis:re 't͡sas:re
FRQ:rep, TAM:far future 'wis:ar 't͡sas:ar

Also, while the root form of a verb usually follows a CVCV pattern, if there is more than one syllable, the last vowel is dropped.


Adjectives qualify nouns. As such, they agree with the noun they qualify in class and, depending on the syntax, in definiteness : while usually placed immediately before the noun and not marked for definiteness, for emphatic or poetic purposes it can be placed after the noun and is then marked for definiteness, in agreement with the noun.


Adverbs qualify verbs or adjectives. They are usually placed before the verb or adjective they qualify. Adverbs and adjectives are usually formed on the same lexical base and differ formally only by which inflectional marks of agreement they take. When an adverb qualifies a verb, then it agrees with the verb in polarity and tense : POL-root-TAM. When an adverb qualifies an adjective, then it agrees with the adjective in class, and with the verb of the sentence in polarity, if applicable : CL-POL-root.


Constituent order

The basic constituent order for transitive phrases is SVO, while for intransitive phrases it is VS. It is also VS for expressions in the passive voice. Constituent order changes in the case of questions : they are verb-final, so that we get SOV and SV.

Noun phrase

Most usually, the adjective precedes the noun. In this case, the adjective is not marked for definiteness. For emphatic or poetic effects, the adjective will follow the noun, in which case it will be marked for definiteness, in agreement with the noun. If an adverb qualifies an adjective, then it will be placed between the noun and the adjective. NP : (Adj) (Adv) N or N (Adv) (Adj)

Verb phrase

If an adverb qualifies a verb, it usually precedes it.

Sentence phrase

Dependent clauses


SYntactically, questions are formed by placing the verb in final position : SV, SOV. Verbs are not marked for polarity or evidentiality : CL-root-VOL-FRQ-TAM

Passive voice

The passive voice is formed by placing the "patient" in a subject position and not marking the verb for class.

Example texts

Other resources