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Letaale [leˈtaːle] is a constructed secret language used by tahu, members of the tagahu, a secretive and technologically advanced male-only military government ruling the known parts of the space habitat Oru. Little is known of the designer(s) of the language however its use follows a long tradition. It is taught to all hiitaahii (boys who are raised to be tahu) from a young age, adhering to a strict prescriptive standard. As far as is known, all speakers are male and all are also fluent in Guaru, generally speaking both natively. In informal situations, many tahu engage in extensive code switching.

Tahu is a built on a system of triconsonantal noun roots and trivocalic verb roots with a system of conversion from one form to the other based on consonant-vowel pairs. With few exceptions, each word is a clause on its own and longer sentences are formed by stringing these clause-words together, with word order mostly constrained only by pragmatic considerations.


The name Letaale comes from the trisyllabic lemma letaale literally meaning "the Letaale speaker speaks Letaale". This is not the name of the language as such but is used to refer to speaking the language, as in nemaane ("I speak Letaale"). The name of the language in Letaale, although used rarely, is xialetaale [ʔialeˈtaːle], which uses the identifier prefix xia- for abstract things.

In the Guaru language, Letaale is known as guaru ttahu [ˈŋuaɾu ˈtːahu] or simply "language of the tahu". It is also known as uoriuo [ˈ(ʔ)uoɾiˌuo]. This is probably borrowed from the word volivo [ˈvolivo]~[ˈwoɾiwo] which is essentially the accusative form of "you" (literally "you are physically affected") as this may be a word that is heard in interactions with the tagahu.



Labial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal Romanisation
Nasal m n ŋ ⟨ m n g ⟩
Plosive t~d k~g ʔ ⟨ t k x ⟩
Fricative v~w s~z ʒ~j h ⟨ v s j h ⟩
Liquid l~ɾ ⟨ l ⟩

Most allophones listed below exist in more or less free variation.

  • All of /n t l/ are usually dental but may also be alveolar.
  • Both /t/ and /k/ are unaspirated.
  • The consonants /t k s/ may be pronounced as voiced [d g z], especially when non-initial.
  • /v/ has a wide range of pronunciation, being essentially anywhere in the realm of [v β ʋ w] although it generally tightens towards [β] or [v] when either of the adjacent vowels is is /u/. It may be romanised as either ⟨v⟩ or ⟨w⟩. The former is used here.
  • /ʒ/ likewise has a range of pronunciations, somewhere in the viscinity of [j ʝ ʑ ʒ ʐ]. When either of the adjacent vowels is /i/, /ʒ/ is usually pronounced tenser and with more friction, further from [j] or [ʝ].
  • /l/ may be pronounced as a lateral [l], a tap/flap [ɾ] or a lateral flap [ɺ]. It may be romanised as either ⟨l⟩ or ⟨r⟩, with the former preferred here.


Letaale has a simple system of five-vowels qualities, with a long and a short version of each, as in Hawaiian.

Single vowels
front central back
close i u
open mid e o
low a

When stressed, these vowels have the tense cardinal pronunciations of [i e a o u]. When unstressed and short, they tend to weaken towards [ɪ ɛ ɐ ɔ ʊ].

Long vowels are indicated in the romanisation either by by doubling or using macrons ⟨ā ē ī ō ū⟩. The doubling method is used here.

In addition, there are the diphthongs /ai au eo ia io iu oe ua ue ui/.


The allowable syllable structure of Letaale is CV(V) (C = consonant, V = vowel). All syllables begin with a consonant and may contain one or two vowels, if counting long vowels and diphthongs as two. All combinations of consonant and vowel are allowed and no vowel-initial syllables are permitted.


In words without a prefix or infix, word stress falls on the last long vowel or diphthong in a word. If all the vowels are short, stress falls on the first syllable. Prefixes, all of which contain a secondary vowel (i.e. a diphthong other than /ai/), are never stressed. Infixes are placed immediately following the stressed vowel in a word. They are generally unstressed, but when emphasised will "steal" the word stress from the preceding syllable.


The vowels of Letaale can be divided into two types:

  1. Primary vowels: the monophthongs /a aː e eː i iː o oː u uː/ and the diphthong /ai/
  2. Secondary vowels: the remaining diphthongs /au eo ia io iu ua ue ui/

Each of the eleven primary vowels is associated with a single consonant and vice versa. These pairs are relevant for inversions and conversions in trisyllabic word-clauses, such as the noun k_j_m_ ('the dog') which converts to the verb _uu_o_i ('be a dog').

(noun form)
(verb form)
n a na
l e le
m i mi
j o jo
g u gu
t aa taa
x ee xee
h ii hii
s oo soo
k uu kuu
v ai vai

All trisyllabic lemmas are composed of three of the resulting syllables. For example jotaale is allowable as a lemma whereas jitaale is not because j and i are not a pair.

Secondary vowels are not associated with any particular consonant and only appear in infixes and identifier prefixes. These prefixes are always unstressed.



The majority of words in Letaale consist of three syllables and are thus called trisyllabics. Each trisyllabic consists of two triphonemic roots:

  1. a noun root (or subject root), which consists of three consonants (triconsonantal), for example m_g_v_ "banana", and
  2. a verb root, which consists of three vowels (trivocalic), counting the long vowels and the diphthong /ai/ as one vowel each, for example _i_u_ai "be a banana".

Because all trisyllabics contain a subject and a verb, each one constitutes an entire clause in its own right.

Lemmas (citation forms) of trisyllabics consist of a noun root together with its equivalent verb root. These are related by the one-to-one correspondence of consonants to primary vowels, meaning that lemmas consist only of the syllables na, taa, le, xee, mi, hii, jo, soo, gu, kuu, and vai. Like all trisyllabics, lemmas make up a valid clause on their own, however, the relationship between noun forms and verb forms is consistent to the the point that trisyllabic lemmas are always, by definition, self-evidently true sentences of the structure "the X is an X" (or "that which X-es X-es"), and therefore mostly rather void of pragmatic purpose. Here are some examples of trisyllabic roots in their lemma forms.

Trisyllabic roots
Lemma Translation Noun Translation Verb Translation
namina I am me. n_m_n_ I _a_i_a be me
vailevai You are you. v_l_v_ you _ai_e_ai be you
taaguhii The taaguhii* is a taaguhii. t_g_h_ taaguhii, he _aa_u_ii be taaguhii
hiitaahii The hiitaahii** is a hiitaahii. h_t_h_ hiitaahii, he _ii_aa_ii be hiitaahii
levaile The woman is a woman. l_v_l_ woman, she _e_ai_e be woman
soovaigu The civilian man is a civilian man. s_v_g_ civilian man, he _o_ai_u be civilian man
kuumixee The monkey is a monkey. k_m_x_ monkey _uu_i_ee be monkey
kuujomi The dog is a dog. k_j_m_ dog _uu_o_i be dog
minataa The cat is a cat. m_n_t_ cat _i_a_aa be cat
vaijokuu The bird is a bird. v_j_k_ bird _ai_o_uu be bird
milena The fish is a fish. m_l_n_ fish _i_e_a be fish
miguvai The banana is a banana. m_g_v_ banana _i_u_ai be banana
jomijo The physically affected one is physically affected. j_m_j_ physically affected one _o_i_o be physcally affected
lejole The perceiver perceives. l_j_l_ perceiver _e_o_e perceive
lesoomi The sleeper sleeps. l_s_m_ sleeper, sleeping one _e_oo_i sleep
xeenami The eater eats. x_n_m_ eater, eating one _ee_a_i eat
kuunagu The hitter hits. k_n_g_ hitter, hitting one _uu_a_u hit
gunagu The killer kills. g_n_g_ killer, murderer _u_a_u kill, murder
taanagu The big one is big. t_n_g_ big one _aa_a_u be big
hiijole The beloved one is beloved. h_j_l_ (be)loved one _ii_o_e be (be)loved
vaimina The visible one is visible. v_m_n_ visible one _ai_i_a be visible
hiimijo This one is here. h_m_j_ one near me _ii_i_o be near me
xeenajo That one is there. x_n_j_ one near you _ee_a_o near you
taamitaa What is what? t_m_t_ what, who, which _aa_i_aa be what, be who, which?


Identifiers are generally equivalent to proper nouns. They consist of one (or, occasionally, more than one) classifying prefix, which indicates various classes of people and things, followed by a trisyllabic.

For example, the personal name Tuakuumoxu consists of the prefix Tua-, indicating a tahu in active duty (a taaguhii), followed by the trisyllabic kuumoxu, meaning "the monkey plays" (k_m_x_ "the monkey" + uu_o_u "play").

Prefixes for personal names often change during an individual's lifetime. When Tuakuumoxu retires from active duty and enters administration, his name will become Xuakuumoxu, with the prefix Xua-indicating a tahu in an administrative role. The vocative prefix generally replaces any other prefix although it can sometimes be stacked on to the beginning. For example, the vocative form of Tuakuumoxu may be Xoekuumoxu or Xoetuakuumoxu.

Identifiers are also used for more specific descriptions of things than are available with trisyllabics, such as names of specific types of plants and animals, towns, rivers, hills and other topographical features, rock types, metals, foods etc.

Identifier Prefixes
Prefix Use
hau- geography: topographic features such as rivers, hills, cliffs, valleys
jua- personal names of taajona, equivalent to generals/commanders in the tagahu
jui- personal names of nahiixee, a partner or long-term-guest of a tahu
kiu- personal names of civilian women who are not nahiixee
kui- inanimate physical objects
lua- personal names of the daughters of tahu
mui- edible things
nia- motile animals (Animals may also sometimes take mui- or kui- prefixes.)
niu- personal names of civilian children
nui- personal names of hiitaahii, boys raised to be tahu. It is also used for men who have failed initiation into the tagahu
teo- geography: migutaa, tubes within Oru
tua- personal names of taaguhii, tahu in active duty
xau- abstract qualities
xia- abstract things
xio- personal names of civilian men who are not nahiixee
xoe- vocative indicator prefix for personal names (It may attach directly to the indicator's trisyllabic or, more formally, before another indicator prefix.)
xua- personal names of xeeguhii, tahu in an administrative role
xue- geography: towns
xui- onomatopoeia, loanwords and direct quotation of one trisyllabic


Infixes in Letaale are single-syllable morphemes beginning with a consonant and containing secondary vowels which contribute grammatical information in a sentence. They are inserted into the word they refer to (or into the first word in a phrase that they refer to), which is termed the "host", directly after the stressed syllable. They may, themselves be unstressed, but can also be stressed for emphasis, taking the primary stress away from the syllable before it.

Clitic Gloss Use Example Counterpart
hua Q question infix, turns the word it is attached to (ie. its "host") into a yes/no question Veehualavi?
"Do you eat?"
leo NEG negative infix, "not", negates its host Veeleolavi.
"You do not eat."
gui AFF affirmative infix, "indeed", emphatically affirms its host Veeguilavi.
"You do eat."
heo NEG.Q negative question infix, "not?", turns its host into a question with an expected negative answer Veeheolavi?
"You don't eat, do you?"
hui AFF.Q affirmative question infix, "indeed?", turns its host into a question with an expected affirmative answer Veehuilavi.
"You do eat, don't you?"
tui FOC focus infix, indicates its host is the focus of the sentence, the new information that is being claimed Veetuilavi
"(the thing is:) you eat"
nau TOP topic infix, indicates its host is the topic of the sentence, known information about which something is claimed in the focus veenaulavi
"(as for the fact that) you eat"
xeo IMP imperative infix, indicates its host is an imperative phrase, an order to do or be something veexeolavi
geo NEG.IMP negative imperative infix, indicates its host is a negative imperative phrase, an order not to do or be something veegeolavi
"Don't eat!"
kia OPT optative infix, indicates its host is an intended or desired situation veekialavi
"You should eat."
keo NEG.OPT negative optative infix, indicates its host is a situation which is not desired veekeolavi
"You should not eat."
sau or inclusive disjunctive infix, "or", "and/or", indicates an alternative which is not exclusive veesaulavi vilaivaasau
"you (either) eat or you dance (or both)"
tau XOR exclusive disjunctive infix, "or" "or ... but not both", indicates an exclusive alternative veetaulavi vilaivaatau
"you (either) eat or you dance (but not both)"
tia although causal adversative infix, "although", "even though", indicates the context under which some other fact is unexpected or contrastive vilaivaa(jeo) veetialavi
"you dance although you eat"
jeo but effective adversative infix, "but", "however", "nevertheless", indicates something surprising given another fact or situation vilaivaa(tia) veejeolavi
"you dance, but you eat"
vui and simultaneous conjunctive infix, "and", indicates a simultaneous addition veevuilavi vilaivaavui
"you eat and dance (at the same time)"
nua first initial conjunctive infix, "first", "initially", indicates its host occurs first in a sequence veenualavi vilaivaasua
"first you eat, then you dance"
sua subsequently subsequent conjunctive infix, "then", "subsequently", indicates an addition that follows in time vilaivaa(nua) veesualavi
"you dance, then you eat"
kua when simultaneous punctual temporal infix, "when", indicates that another event or situation occurs at the same time as what is marked with kua Veekualavi vilaivaa(tui).
"When you eat, you dance."
tui / nau / kua / jau
jau while simultaneous continuous temporal infix, "while", indicates that its host is the temporal context for for another event or situation Veejaulavi vilaivaa(tui)
"While you're dancing, you eat."
tui / nau / kua / jau
mua before antetemporal punctual infix, "before", indicates that its host comes after another event or situation Veemualavi vilaivaa(tui).
"Before you dance, you eat."
tui / nau / nio
goe until antetemporal continuous infix, "until", indicates that its host represents the end point of another event or situation Veegoelavi vilaivaa(tui).
"Until you dance, you eat."
tui / nau
nio after posttemporal punctual infix, "after", indicates that its host comes before another event or situation Veeniolavi vilaivaa(tui).
"After you eat, you dance."
tui / nau / mua
joe since posttemporal continuous infix, "since", "from", indicates that its host represents the starting point of another event or situation Veejoelavi vilaivaa(tui).
"Since you ate, you've been dancing."
"From the time when you eat, you're going to dance."
tui / nau
gua because specific causal infix, "because", "since", "as", indicates that its host is the cause of another event or situation Veegualavi vilaivaa(tui).
"Because you eat, you dance."
tui / nau / noe
noe therefore specific effective infix, "therefore", "so", indicates that its host is the effect caused by another event or situation Vilaivaa(gua) veenoelavi.
"You've been dancing; therefore, you eat."
tui / nau / gua
vue if.REAL generic/potential causal infix, "if", indicates that its host, if it does turn out to be the case, is the cause of another event or situation Veevuelavi vilaivaa(jue).
"If you eat, (then) you dance."
jue then.REAL generic/potential effective infix, "then", indicates that its host is the effect caused by another possible event or situation Veevuelavi vilaivaajue.
"If you eat, (then) you dance."
viu if.IRR irrealis causal infix, "if", indicates that its host is a hypothetical event or situation that, if it were true, would the cause of another event or situation Veeviulavi vilaivaa(jiu).
"If you ate, (then) you would dance."
jiu then.IRR irrealis effective clitic, "then", "would" indicates that its host would be the effect caused by another hypothetical event or situation Veejiulavi vilaivaajiu.
"If you ate, (then) you would dance."
gau preparatively telic causal clitic, indicates that its host is done in preparation in order to achieve another event or situation Veegaulavi vilaivaaneo.
"You eat (preparatively) in order to dance."
neo so.that telic effective clitic, "so that", "in order that", indicates that its host is the intended goal behind another event or situation Vilaivaa(gau) veeneolavi.
"You dance in order to eat."

Personal pronouns

First and second persons

Letaale a system of trisyllabic pronouns for the first and second persons.

Person Clusivity Stance Singular Plural
1st exclusive
of 2nd p.
guarded namina mitaami
vulnerable namijo mitaajo
of 2nd p.
guarded - vainami
vulnerable - vainajo
2nd - - vailevai xeevaile

Stance indicates the approach of the speaker towards the addressee. The vulnerable stance pronouns indicate a kind of "weapons down" stance. The singular pronoun namijo must be used when speaking to superiors. It is also used, when off duty, in the presence of close friends, where all use this form and where the inclusive plural form used is vainajo. The plural exclusive form mitaajo is only used when all members of the group referred to would use the vulnerable stance with the addressee — if not, the guarded form mitaami must be used.

Third person

There are no dedicated third person pronouns. To refer back to an already mentioned third person entity, the triconsonantal noun-form of that word is simply repeated.


Spatial demonstratives

Spatial demonstratives are used to indicate things that have a real, physical location in space. They are connected to grammatical persons, with forms indicating proximity to the speaker, proximity to the addressee and proximity to neither. They are frequently accompanied by pointing, which is generally done with the whole hand except when pointing at something very small and close.

Spatial demonstratives
Lemma Translation Noun Translation Verb Translation
hiimijo The one near me is near me. h_m_j_ one near me _ii_i_o be near me
xeenajo The one near you is near you. x_n_j_ one near you _ee_a_o be near you
kuugujo The one over there is over there. k_g_j_ one near me _uu_u_o be over there

Because of the tendency of nominal roots to be interpreted as definite and verbal roots to be interpreted as indefinite, these tend to be equivalent to "this, this, that, those" (ie. the thing by me, etc.) as nouns and "be here, be there" as verbs (ie. be a thing by me).

When something is equally close to speaker and addressee, such as a building that both are standing in, it is customary for xeenajo to be used among equals and to superiors, with hiimijo used with subordinates.

Discourse demonstratives

There are two types of discourse demonstrative: future and past.

There is only one form of future demonstrative: that which is associated with the first person. The lemma gumina, in its nominal translation, means "that which I am about to say/do" and can be used to introduce another clause as the complementiser "that".

Past demonstratives can be used to refer to words, ideas or actions associated with certain grammatical persons. In the third person, there are also rank distinctions.

Spatial demonstratives
Person Rank Lemma Nominal Translation
1st all jonami "that (which I said/did)"
2nd all jovaile "that (which you said/did)"
3rd Taajona jotaajo "that (which the Taajona said/did)"
Tahu jotaagu "that (which the Tahu said/did)"
Civilian Man josoovai "that (which the civilian man said/did)"
Woman/Child jolevai "that (which the woman said/did)"


Trisyllabic clauses

Trisyllabic clauses consist of a single trisyllabic, which itself consists of two triphonemic roots a noun root (or subject root), consisting of three consonants, and a verb root (or predicate root), consisting of three vowels. The following table shows examples and is sortable by column.

Trisyllabic Translation Noun Translation Verb Translation
xaanijaa What is that? x_n_j_ one near you _aa_i_aa be what/who?
himujai This is a banana. h_m_j_ one near me _i_u_ai be banana
huumijee This is a monkey. h_m_j_ one near me _uu_i_ee be monkey
huumiiji This is a house. h_m_j_ one near me _uu_ii_i be house
haamijaa What is this? h_m_j_ one near me _aa_i_aa be what/who?
xinujai That is a banana. x_n_j_ one near you _i_u_ai be banana
xuunijee That is a monkey. x_n_j_ one near you _uu_i_ee be monkey
xuuniiji That is a house. x_n_j_ one near you _uu_ii_i be house
nimunai I am a banana. n_m_n_ I _i_u_ai be banana
magiva The banana is me. m_g_v_ banana _a_i_a be me
viluvai You are a banana. v_l_v_ you _i_u_ai be banana
maigevai The banana is you. m_g_v_ banana _ai_e_ai be you
neemani I eat. n_m_n_ I _ee_a_i eat
xanima The eating one is me. x_n_m_ eater _a_i_a be me
veelavi You eat. v_l_v_ you _ee_a_i eat
xainemai The eating one is you. x_n_m_ eater _ai_e_ai be you
keejami The dog eats. k_j_m_ dog _ee_a_i eat
xuunomi The eating one is a dog. x_n_m_ eater _uu_o_i be dog
kejoomi The dog sleeps. k_j_m_ dog _e_oo_i sleep
kijumai The dog is a banana. k_j_m_ dog _i_u_ai be banana
nemone I perceive. n_m_n_ I _e_o_e perceive
nameeno I exist. n_m_n_ I _a_ee_o exist
meegovi The banana exists. m_g_v_ banana _ee_o_i exist
xijumai There is a banana. x_j_m_ existing one _i_u_ai be banana


Inversion is the process of swapping the converting the noun root into a verb root and vice versa within a trisyllabic word. Many of the examples given above are inversions of another given example.

For example, to invert the word veelavi "you eat", the noun root v_l_v_ "you" is converted to its corresponding verb root _ai_e_ai "be you" and the verb _ee_a_i "to eat" becomes the noun x_n_m_ "eater". This produces xainemai "the one that eats is you". Inversion usually results in radically differently looking words with an often fairly subtle shift in pragmatic meaning. Veelavi "you eat" and xainemai "the eater is you" don't share a single phoneme in common, and yet the meanings differ only in terms of topic and focus.

Identifier use

Because identifiers do not have slots available for a noun's consonants or a verb's vowels to fit in, they must accompany a classifying noun or verb which indicates their role in the sentence. The identifier most commonly follows their classifying verb or noun but they can also precede it. For people's names, the most common classifier used is hiilemi "the named one is named".

Niimeni Xuatonugo.
[ˈniːmeni ʔua̯ˈtonuŋo]
n_m_n_ I _ii_e_i be named
Xua- IDENTIFIER: Name of xeeguhii
t_n_g_ big one _o_u_o be strange
My name is Xuatonugo.
I am Xuatonugo.

Halima Xuatonugo.
[ˈhalima ʔua̯ˈtonuŋo]
h_l_m_ named one _a_i_a be me
Xua- IDENTIFIER: Name of xeeguhii
t_n_g_ big one _o_u_o be strange
Xuatonugo is me.

There are a range of other name classifiers, such as nia-, which is used for animals.

Xaijomuu niamalaixuu malima.
[ʔai̯ʒoˈmuː nia̯malai̯ˈʔuː ˈmalima]
x_j_m_ an extisting one _ai_o_uu be a bird
nia- IDENTIFIER: Name of animal species
m_l_x_ blue one _a_ai_uu fly high
m_l_m_ owner _a_i_a be me
I have a hyacinth macaw.

Multiclausal sentences

Multiclausal sentences are formed by simply placing trisyllabic word-clauses next to one another. Modifiers generally follow their heads but word order is quite flexible, with different orders being used to shift emphasis.

Namaina kimaixaa.
[naˈmai̯na kimai̯ˈʔaː]
n_m_n_ I _a_ai_a cause
k_m_x_ monkey _i_ai_aa dance
I make the monkey dance.

Kimaixaa namaina.
[kimai̯ˈʔaː naˈmai̯na]
k_m_x_ monkey _i_ai_aa dance
n_m_n_ I _a_ai_a cause
The monkey dances (because) I make it.

Kimaixaa navina.
[kimai̯ˈʔaː ˈnawina]
k_m_x_ monkey _i_ai_aa dance
n_v_n_ cause _a_i_a be me
The monkey dances because of me.

Navina kimaixaa.
[ˈnawina kimai̯ˈʔaː]
n_v_n_ cause _a_i_a be me
k_m_x_ monkey _i_ai_aa dance
Because of me, the monkey dances.


There is no explicit transitivity in Letaale. The direct object of a verb is frequently indicated using a root of jomijo, which indicates that something is physically affected by another action.

Keemaxi mogivo.
[ˈkeːmaʔi ˈmoŋiwo]
k_m_x_ monkey _ee_a_i eat
m_g_v_ banana _o_i_o be physically affected
The monkey eats the banana.

Jomijo is, however, not simply an equivalent of an accusative case. In many instances, another root is used to indicate the role of the object.

Tuxanu keemuxee.
[ˈtuʔanu keːmuˈʔeː]
t_x_n_ hunter _u_a_u kill
k_m_x_ monkey _ee_u_ee die
The hunter kills the monkey.

Vijaaka lavitee.
[wiˈʒaːka lawiˈteː]
v_j_k_ bird _i_aa_a construct
l_v_t_ nest _a_i_ee come into being
The bird builds the nest.

Helumai Tuakuumoxu kimaixaa. Koomixuu togiho.
[heluˈmai̯ tua̯ˈkuːmoʔu kimai̯ˈʔaː | koːmiˈʔuː ˈtoŋiho]
h_l_m_ named one _e_u_ai force
Tua- IDENTIFIER: Name of taaguhii
k_m_x_ monkey _e_ee_ii play
k_m_x_ monkey _i_ai_aa dance
k_m_x_ monkey _oo_i_uu bite
t_g_h_ taaguhii / he _o_i_o be physically affected
Tuakuumoxu forces the monkey to dance. It bites him.

Tuamaagavu halaima kuheemii.
[tua̯ˈmaːŋavu hiˈla̯ima kuheːˈmiː]
Tua- IDENTIFIER: Name of taaguhii
m_g_v_ banana _e_ee_ii be big
h_l_m_ named one _a_ai_a cause
k_h_m_ house _u_ee_ii be on fire
Tuamaagavu sets the house on fire.

Verbs that don't result in something being physically affected (such as "love", "see") are often present in Letaale as passives and the experiencer is indicated as a perceiver.

Nemone viilove.
[ˈnemone ˈwiːlowe]
n_m_n_ I _e_o_e perceive
v_l_v_ you _ii_o_e be (be)loved
I love you.

Nemone vailiva.
[ˈnemone ˈwai̯liwa]
n_m_n_ I _e_o_e perceive
v_l_v_ you _ai_i_a be visible
I see you.


There are no articles, but the subject of a clause is generally definite and the verb deals with something indefinite. Inversion (swapping the subject and the verb within a clause) is used to achieve this effect. The resulting transformations produce entirely different looking words, such as the change from mogivo (≈ "the banana") to jimujai (≈ "a banana") in the following sentences.

Keemaxi mogivo.
[ˈkeːmaʔi ˈmoŋiwo]
k_m_x_ monkey _ee_a_i eat
m_g_v_ banana _o_i_o be physically affected
The monkey eats the banana.

Keemaxi jimujai.
[ˈkeːmaʔi ʒimuˈʒai̯]
k_m_x_ monkey _ee_a_i eat
j_m_j_ physically affected one _i_u_ai be banana
The monkey eats a banana.


There are no verb tenses in Letaale. The word indicating time is hiimixee and this can be combined with other roots to specify what time is meant.

Time words
Lemma Translation Noun Translation Verb Translation
vaimigu The past one is in the past. v_m_g_ past one _ai_i_u exist in past
vaixeele Yesterday's one was yesterday. v_m_g_ yesterday's one _ai_ee_e exist yesterday
hiinami The current one is current. v_m_g_ current one, ongoing one _ii_a_i be current, be ongoing
kuumisoo The future one will be in the future. k_m_s_ future one _uu_i_oo be in future
lelemi Tomorrow's one will be tomorrow. v_m_g_ tomorrow's one _ai_i_u exist yesterday

Haimeexe nuumiinu javaite Xuekahomai.
[hai̯ˈmeːʔe nuːmiːnu ʒaˈwai̯te ʔue̯kahoˈmai̯]
h_m_x_ time _ai_ee_e be yesterday
n_m_n_ I _uu_ii_u fly
j_v_t_ destination _a_ai_e be town
Xue- IDENTIFIER: Name of town
k_h_m_ house _a_o_ai be circle
Yesterday I flew to Xuekahomai.


Locations are indicated with nataami.

Neemani mogivo kahaami.
[ˈneːmani ˈmoŋiwo kaˈhaːmi]
n_m_n_ I _ee_a_i eat
m_g_v_ banana _o_i_o be physically affected
k_h_m_ house _a_aa_i be location
I eat the banana in the house.

Neemani mogivo nuutiimi.
[ˈneːmani ˈmoŋiwo nuːˈtiːmi]
n_m_n_ I _ee_a_i eat
m_g_v_ banana _o_i_o be physically affected
n_t_m_ location _a_aa_i be house
I eat the banana in a house.


Subordination is frequently not overtly indicated syntactically, just as in English.

Nemano velove niimone.
[ˈnemano ˈwelowe ˈniːmone]
n_m_n_ I _e_a_o know
v_l_v_ you _e_o_e perceive
n_m_n_ I _ii_o_e be (be)loved
I know (that) you love me.

Subordination can, however, be indicated using the root gumina ("what I'm about to say is what I'm about to say"). In this following example, it is only necessary if one wishes to indicate that one's perception was visual

Nemone (gaimina) keemaxi mogivo.
[ˈnemone (ˈŋai̯mina) ˈkeːmaʔi ˈmoŋiwa]
n_m_n_ I _e_o_e perceive
g_m_n_ next thing I say _ai_i_a be visible
k_m_x_ monkey _ee_a_i eat
m_g_v_ banana _o_i_o be physically affected
I see the monkey eat the banana.


Repetition of either a noun or a verb is used as an equivalent to "and".

Keemaxi neemani mogivo.
[ˈkeːmaʔi ˈneːmani ˈmoŋiwo]
k_m_x_ monkey _ee_a_i eat
n_m_n_ I _ee_a_i eat
m_g_v_ banana _o_i_o be physically affected
The monkey and I eat the banana.

Tuugahu nomino komixo kojimo.
[ˈtuːŋahu ˈnomino ˈkomiʔo ˈkoʒimo]
t_g_h_ taaguhii / he _uu_a_u hits
n_m_n_ I _o_i_o be physically affected
k_m_x_ monkey _o_i_o be physically affected
k_j_m_ dog _o_i_o be physically affected
The taaguhii hits me, the monkey, and the dog.
He hits me, the monkey, and the dog.

Menooti menote jaleeto.
[meˈnoːti ˈmenote ʒaˈleːto]
m_n_t_ cat _e_oo_i sleep
m_n_t_ cat _e_o_e perceive
j_l_t_ dream _a_ee_o exist
The cat sleeps and (the cat) dreams.

A common equivalent of the word 'but' is gomaane (what I'm about to say is surprising) or occasionally its conversion jutila (what's surprising is something I'm about to say).

Tuugahu lovilo gomaane levole tiigohe.
[ˈtuːŋahu ˈlowilo ŋoˈmaːne ˈlewole ˈtiːŋohe]
t_g_h_ taaguhii / he _uu_a_u hit
l_v_l_ woman / she _o_i_o be physically affected
g_m_n_ next thing I say _o_aa_e be surprising
l_v_l_ woman / she _e_o_e perceive
t_g_h_ taaguhii / he _ii_o_e be (be)loved
He hits her but she loves him.


Modification is chiefly accomplished by repeating what is to be modified in another clause. Often, this will not look like repetition from the surface forms because what is repeated may be in verb form in one clause and noun form in the modifying clause.

Keemaxi jimujai maagavu.
[ˈkeːmaʔi ʒimuˈʒai̯ ˈmaːŋavu]
k_m_x_ monkey _ee_a_i eat
j_m_j_ physically affected one _i_u_ai be banana
m_g_v_ banana _aa_a_u be large
The monkey eats a big banana.

Nemone viilove haajiilaa.
[ˈnemone ˈwiːlowe haːʒiːˈlaː]
n_m_n_ I _e_o_e perceive
v_l_v_ you _ii_o_e be (be)loved
h_j_l_ beloved one _aa_ii_aa be extreme
I love you very much.

Nemone laajiilaa viilove .
[ˈnemone ˈwiːlowe kaˈhaːmi]
n_m_n_ I _e_o_e perceive
l_j_l_ perceiver _aa_ii_aa be extreme
v_l_v_ you _ii_o_e be (be)loved
It is clear to me that I love you.



Word Letaale (lemma) Guaru Explanation
hiitaahii hiitaahii kia tahu A hiitaahii or kia tahu is a boy who is raised to be a tahu. This word is often used for adult men who have failed their initiation into the tagahu and are not permitted to live with civilians. Some may be permitted to reinitiate to become xeeguhii.
primary vowel The primary vowels are the short vowels /a e i o u/ ⟨a e i o u⟩, the long vowels /aː eː iː oː uː/ ⟨aa ee ii oo uu⟩ and the diphthong /ai/ ⟨ai⟩. Primary vowels can occur in trisyllabics whereas secondary vowels cannot. Each primary vowel is associated with one consonant, with which it alternates in conversion from a verb root to its equivalent noun root.
taaguhii taaguhii A taaguhii is a tahu in active duty, roughly equivalent to a soldier or police officer.
tagahu tagahu The tagahu is an all-male secret society which functions more or less as the government and military/police force of the known parts of Oru. Its members are known as tahu. The leaders of the tagahu are believed to be in contact with the creators of Oru and they consequently have access to very sophisticated technology.
tahu taahiigu tahu A tahu is a man who has been successfully initiated into the tagahu.
trisyllabic A trisyllabic is a word consisting of three syllables, each of which is made up of a consonant phoneme and a primary vowel phoneme. Trisyllabics represent a full clause consisting of a triconsonantal noun root and a trivocallic verb root. For example, the trisyllabic neemani "I eat" consists of the noun root n_m_n_ "I" plus the verb root _ee_a_i "eat".
xeeguhii xeeguhii An xeeguhii is a tahu who works in an administrative role. This includes both the equivalent of senators as well as lower government workers.


This conlang has been inspired by Abakwi and Iljena. Check them out! - Imralu