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Pronunciation /pine'kakʉ/
Created by z2a
Spoken natively in Pinek Leʉv
Ethnicity Shunfoh
Native speakers 30,835  (111)
Language family
Shunfoh languages
  • Ongo Xeutyhuflone
    • Kukʉp
Early forms:
  • Kukʉp
Writing system Ongo (Kukʉp alphabet)
Official status
Regulated by Edwoa Xechode tuv Pluthe (The Sworn Keepers of Memories)
ISO 639-3

Kukʉp /kukʉp/ (pronounced /kukup/ in True Ongo, also called Pinekatʉ /pine'kakʉ/), is the native language of the Pineti, a Shunfoh culture that exists primarily at sea. In its modern form, it is a Kukʉp-based Shunfoh utyhuflone, heavily saturated with Ongo vocabulary, but also influenced by Buw, Vasále, and Richi. Although Kukʉp is spoken by almost 117,000 people world wide, less than 31,000 of them are native speakers, as the language has found great popularity being used in trade over the last three decades.

While Kukʉp has a number of features that distinguish it from Ongo, the amount of vocabulary shared allows, in most situations, the languages to be partially mutually intelligible. The usage and education of Kukʉp is seen by some XeShunfoh as controversial, due to a perceived lack of overall cultural unity its continued use displays. Kukʉp is not the only Ongo utyhuflone, but it does have more variance from True Ongo than any other Shunfoh dialect or utyhuflone. The Pineti have showed no signs of reducing or discontinuing its use in favor of True Ongo and some have claimed that its ease of use for the other peoples of the world and its popularity among various major ports of trade has played a major role in gaining XeShunfoh the recognition from the other peoples that they've sought for so long.


The word utyhuflone is of True Ongo origin, a term meaning "a familiar stranger." The term was originally used to indicate any Shunfoh that did not speak True Ongo, but eventually came to refer to the mixed language that such Shunfoh passed down to their children.

Pinekatʉ is a term used by the Pineti to refer to their own language. With alleged use dating back to before Old Kukʉp, the word is often translated to mean "water speak" or "wet words". The Pineti have been known to disapprove of and discourage the use of the term by non-native speakers.







Consonant inventory: /h k l m n p t v w ŋ ɾ ʔ/

Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Stop p t1 k2 ʔ
Nasal m n ŋ3
Fricative v4 h
Approximant w5
Tap ɾ
Lateral approximant l
  1. /t/ turns into /k/ between vowels
  2. /k/ turns into /t/ when ending a word
  3. /ŋ/ turns into /k/ when beginning a word
  4. /v/ turns into /w/ when beginning a word
  5. /w/ turns into /v/ between vowels


Vowel inventory: /a e i o u ɒ ɛ ʉ/

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

Diphthongs: None


Syllable structure for is, in most cases, (C)V(C). Stress pattern is normally penultimate, meaning stress is placed on the second to last syllable. Because of the extensive use of loan words, exceptions to this rule are relatively common.

  • Word initial consonants: h, k, l, m, n, p, t, v, w, ŋ, ɾ
  • Mid word consonants : h, k, l, m, n, p, t, v, w, ŋ, ɾ, ʔ
  • Word final consonants : k, l, n, p, t, v, w, ɾ, ʔ


Kukʉp uses Subject-Oblique-Object-Verb for word order, with adjectives placed before nouns and suffixes used when adpositions are necessary.

  • "Mary opened the red door with a key" = Mary with a key the red door opened. (or "Marya kep evo nihue lil a'o inu kutet.")


Kukʉp uses gender (Person, Land, Sea, Sky) to indicate the source of nouns. While nouns will be assumed to have a particular gender (ee means wood and is normally Land gendered), gender can be changed to show that a specific noun came from a different source (Sea gendered wood might indicate drift wood, while Person gendered wood would imply that someone shaped or carved the wood in question).

Noun Morphology

Kukʉp is an ergative-absolutive language, meaning the object of a transitive verb and the single core argument of an intransitive verb are treated the same (absolutive), while the agent of a transitive verb is treated differently (ergative). In English, this would read as follows:

  • He (agent) found me (object).
  • Him (argument) traveled.
Singular Plural
Absolutive Person child nevo /’nevɒ/ children Suffix: -(e)v /-(ɛ)v/
nevov /’nevɒv/
Land tree erku /’ɛɾku/ trees Suffix: -a /-a/
erkua /ɛɾ’kua/
Sea fish kure /’kuɾɛ/ fishes Suffix: -i /-i/
kurei /’kuɾɛi/
Sky bird roi /’ɾoi/ birds Suffix: /-ʉ/
roiʉ /ɾo’iʉ/
Ergative Person child Suffix: -(o)t /-(ɒ)t/
nevot /'nevɒt/
children Suffix: -(e)' /-(e)ʔ/
nevo' /'nevɒʔ/
Land tree Suffix: -(e)v /-(e)v/
erkuv /'ɛɾkuv/
trees Suffix: -(u)wi /-(u)wi/
erkuwi /ɛɾ’kuwi/
Sea fish Suffix: -(o)t /-(o)t/
kuret /’kuɾɛt/
fishes Suffix: -(o)'o /-(o)ʔo/
kure’o /ku'ɾɛʔo/
Sky bird Suffix: -(u)p /-(u)p/
roip /'ɾoip/
birds Suffix: -(ɒ)v /-(ɒ)v/
roiv /’ɾoiv/

Definite Article

Singular Plural
Absolutive Person the [child] kit /kit/ the [children] kit /kit/
Land the [tree] men /men/ the [trees] men /men/
Sea the [fish] ket /kɛt/ the [fishes] ket /kɛt/
Sky the [bird] ting /tiŋ/ the [birds] ting /tiŋ/
Ergative Person the [child] wit /wit/ the [children] vin /win/
Land the [tree] man /man/ the [trees] wen /wen/
Sea the [fish] kow /kow/ the [fishes] 'ak /ʔat/
Sky the [bird] tin /tin/ the [birds] no' /noʔ/

Uses of definite article that differ from English:

  • Used to talk about countable nouns in general: English's ‘I like cats’ would translate to ‘I like the cats’
  • Not used for mass (uncountable) nouns: English's ‘Walking in the mud’ would always translate to ‘Walking in mud’
  • Used for languages: ‘The English’
  • Used with place names: ‘The London’

Indefinite Article

The numeral for ‘one’, evo, is used as the indefinite article.

Personal Pronouns

Absolutive Ergative Genitive Dative
1st. Singular I lo /lɒ/ me le /lɛ/ mine li /li/ to me lo li /lɒ li/
2nd. Singular you po /po/ you pem /pem/ yours pep /pɛp/ to you po li /po li/
3rd. Singular he/she/it vit /wit/ him/her/it ven /wɛn/ his/hers/its vem /wem/ to him/her/it vit li /wit li/
1st. Plural we he /hɛ/ us hup /hup/ ours hu /hu/ to us he li /hɛ li/
2nd. Plural you rok /ɾot/ you rov /ɾov/ yours ro' /ɾoʔ/ to you rok li /ɾot li/
3rd. Plural they i /i/ them in /in/ theirs 'in /ʔin/ to them i li /i li/


Kukʉp verbs don't use indicative mood (past, present, or future tense). Instead, those details are determined through context.

  • Perfect aspect -- uses the word 'reletʉ' before the main verb -- "have studied" or reletʉ petʉp
  • Progressive aspect -- uses the word 'tip' before the main verb -- "am studying" or tip petʉp
  • Imperative -- uses the word ' ni' ' before the main verb -- "study!" (as a command) or ni' petʉp
  • Negation -- adds the suffix -(ʉ)ho /-(ʉ)hɒ/ to the verb -- "do not study" or petʉpʉho
    • Tense affixes come between the root verb and the progressive affix


Useful phrases

English Kukʉp IPA
Welcome * /’evɒ/
Hello (General greeting) * /’evɒ/
How are you? * /’evɒ/
Reply to "how are you?" * ("Still alive") /’evɒ/
What's your name? * /’evɒ/
My name is ... * /’evɒ/
Where are you from? * /’evɒ/
I'm from ... * /’evɒ/
Pleased to meet you * /’evɒ/
Good morning (Morning greeting) * /’evɒ/
Good afternoon (Afternoon greeting) * /’evɒ/
Good evening (Evening greeting) * /’evɒ/
Goodbye (Parting phrase * /’evɒ/
Good night * /’evɒ/
Good luck! * /’evɒ/
Cheers! Good health! (Toasts used when drinking) * /’evɒ/
Bon appetit/ Have a nice meal * /’evɒ/
I understand * /’evɒ/
I don't understand * /’evɒ/
Yes * /’evɒ/
No * /’evɒ/
Maybe * /’evɒ/
I don't know * /’evɒ/
Please speak more slowly * /’evɒ/
Please write it down * /’evɒ/
Do you speak English? * /’evɒ/
Do you speak Kukʉp? * /’evɒ/
Yes, a little (reply to "Do you speak...?") * /’evɒ/
Speak to me in *** * /’evɒ/
How do you say ... in ***? * /’evɒ/
Excuse me * /’evɒ/
How much is this? * /’evɒ/
Sorry * /’evɒ/
Please * /’evɒ/
Thank you * /’evɒ/
Reply to thank you * /’evɒ/
Where's the toilet? * /’evɒ/
I love you * /’evɒ/
Get well soon * /’evɒ/
Help! * /’evɒ/
Fire! * /’evɒ/
Stop! * /’evɒ/
Christmas and New Year greetings * /’evɒ/
Easter greetings * /’evɒ/
Birthday greetings * /’evɒ/
One language is never enough * /’evɒ/
My hovercraft is full of eels * /’evɒ/

See also