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Tsɑkø is an extinct language west of the Nyji nations that influenced Early Nyji through trade and intermarriage. Most of the texts found were inventories, sales records, and recipes. It is known that it influenced the rise of paucal in Nyji as well as adding some phonemes. For simplicity's sake and to make it easier to compare to Nyji, in its various versions, the orthography is the same as IPA. Tsɑkø words and phonemes will be marked like this.

Table of Contents

Borrowings into Nyji
List of words
Notes for my reference


Labials Dentals Palatals Velars
Stops p b t d k g
Fricatives f β ɣ
Affricates ts dz
Nasals m n ŋ
Liquids l r
Semivowel j
closed neutral open
(front) i . y æ .    
e . ø
(back) ɯ .        . o ɑ . ɔ

(Vowels beside periods are: unrounded . rounded)

The scant Ocalan records and reconstructions indicate that it had vowel height harmony and minor rounding harmony. All vowels must match in height and a round vowel will be followed by another round vowel, unless seperated by two consonants.

Rounding Changes:
after y
e → ø
ɯ → o
after ø
i → y
e → ø
ɯ → o
æ → ø
ɑ → ɔ
after o
i → y
e → ø
ɯ → o
æ → ø
ɑ → ɔ
after ɔ
e → ø
æ → ø

It also has long vowels and closing diphthongs.

Tsɑkø diphthongs
closed neutral open
starting with e ei ey
starting with ø øy
starting with o oy
starting with ɯ ɯi ɯy
starting with ɑ ɑø ɑe ɑæ
starting with ɔ ɔø


Velar consonants (k g ɣ ŋ) and the semivowel j only appear medially. The labial fricatives (f β) only appear initially. The only fricative that appear medially is ɣ and no affricates appear medially.



Verbs end in l. Nouns formed from them simply remove the final consonant. To create a verb from a noun, l or el was added, with the needed sound changes.


Forming Paucals

Paucals were formed by suffixing them if the word ended with a consonant with ɑt for open vowel words and in for closed vowel words, or, by replacing the final vowel, with the needed modifications as shown in the table below.

The rounding of the suffix follows the rules of vowel harmony, thus, for example: (armlet) ojmøojmɑt, not *ojmɔt. If a word has neutral vowels except for the final vowel, which would be replaced, the word takes the open suffix, for example: (chest) femɣeyfemɣɑt, not *femɣin.

end closed open examples
consonant (unround) -in -ɑt (wheat) milelmilelin,
(pan) fɑkɑætfɑkɑætɑt
consonant (vowel harmony) -yn -ɔt (leather) ɯmekjøønynɯmekjøønyn,
(basket) tøntoøntøntoønɔt
short vowel (unround) din dɑt (wool) ʣɯirøʣɯirin,
(linen) βɑɑkkɑβɑɑkkɑt
short vowel (vowel harmony) ytɯytyn ɔtæɔtɔt (crystal) tøyroymotøyroymyn,
(rice) popød popødɔt
long vowel (unround) riidin ræædɑt (mill) mɯytrøbjeemɯytrøbjin,
(interest) togɑɑmeetogɑɑmɑt
long vowel (vowel harmony) yrɯɯyryn ɔreeɔrɔt (value) enokyyenokyn,
(court) ɑegɔnønooɑegɔnønɔt
diphthong (unround) mey (round) → mein (unround)
mɯy (round) → mɯin (unround)
mɑø (round) → (unround) mɑɑt
(cloak) ɯitreiɯitrein,
(rivet) bɑækɑdɑæbɑækɑdɑɑt
diphthong (vowel harmony)
(tool) pɯiløypɯiløyn,
(rum) mɑøʦɔømɑøʦɔɔt
with sound change
(baker) æteæʣeæteædɑt,
(grain) fɯmotyʦfɯmotytyn

Forming Plurals

Plurals had more steps.

  1. The last consonant in the word is doubled and followed by either the vowel (either short or long) right after it, or if the word ends in the consonant, by the vowel right before it.
  2. If the geminated consonant was preceded (or followed) by a diphthong, the diphthong is changed to a pure vowel of the first vowel.
  3. Illegal consonant clusters are changed:
    dzdz → dd
    tsts → tt
    ŋŋ, nn, ll, jj → j
    rr → r
    ɣɣ → kk
    mm → m
  4. Final neutral vowels are changed to the appropriate open or closed vowel (words with all neutral vowels are open), matching the vowel length:
    vowel to closed vowel to open vowel
    ø y ɔ
    o o ɔ
    e ɯ ɑ
  5. If necessary to avoid three consonants in a row, the final vowel is added before the geminated or altered consonant.
Examples illustrating the entire process:
(storage chest) femɣey → 1. femɣɣey → 2. femɣɣe → 3. femkke → 4. femkka → 5. femɑkkɑ
(amber) øyloyr → 1. øyloyrry → 2. øylorry → 3. øylory (done)
(basket) tøntoøn → 1. tøntoønnø → 2. tøntonnø → 3. tøntojø → 4. tøntojɔ (done)
(seam) feroøddee → 1. feroøddee → 4. feroøddɑɑ


Not many adjectives are known, but what is known is that adjectives end in edz and agree with the noun in number. Adjectives follow the noun.

dzɯmeytjo fokkeʣ rich winemaker
ætetɑt βiibleʣ poor beader
tænɑt yylømedin valuable rings (paucal)
ʦøpɔkkɔ ɑɑtjeddɑ well-made blankets (plural)


A handful of derivational prefixes are known. As above, some sounds have to be changed because they can't appear medially.

dz → dd
ts → tt
f, β → ɣ
if the stem starts with a vowel, the prefix drops its final vowel
ɯti- / æte = person who does something as an occupation
(money) teløy → (banker) ɯtiteløy
(judgement) βeŋor → (judge) æteɣeŋor
dzɯme- / tsome = person who makes (x)
(leather) ɯmekjøøn → (leather maker) dzɯmɯmekjøøn
(basket) tøntoøn → (basket maker) tsometøntoøn

Borrowings into Nyji

Many of the words borrowed into Nyji started with vowels, which isn't possible in Nyji. Therefore, the nouns were prefixed with mor or fɯje while the verbs were prefixed with tin (all of these vary depending on whether it's an open or closed vowel word - see the tables below) These prefixes are strong indicators that a Nyji word was borrowed from Tsɑkø.

Gloss singular plural open plural closed
'the' mor morrɔ morro
Gloss closed open plural
'a' or 'one'? / 'some'? fɯje fɑje ped
verb marker * tin ten --

* It's not known for sure what the meaning of this verb prefix was. Theories include it being a tense or aspect marker, an emphasis particle, or dozens of other things. There don't exist enough texts to be sure.

Adjectives beginning with a vowel are preceded with n if they're closed or t if they're open, presumably by taking the consonant from a paucal noun.

View the list of known words

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