Old Fish River language
Pronunciation Unknown
Period ca. 4000BK - 1000BK(?)
Spoken in Fish River region, Eastern Amutet
Total speakers Unknown
Writing system
Classification Ulitan
Western Ulitan
Fish River
Basic word order SOV(earlier)/SVO(later)
Morphology aggulating/fusional
Alignment Nominative-Accusative
Created by k1234567890y

The Old Fish River langauge was an Western Ulitan language, it was spoken at the region of Fish River(Classical Uraki: Rualam Bawim ; Old Fish River language: Ngamen Golum), it is thought to be an ancestor of all Fish River Languages, to which the important literal language Classical Uraki belongs.

The Old Fish River language was probably the first written ulitan language, they used a writing system derived from that used by some Amutetikam-speaking peoples. Although the language was written, no known inscriptions have ever given the name of the language, the name of the speakers or the countries that the Old Fish River langauge was spoken, were not recorded, either.

It seemed that the speakers of Old Fish River language had several kingdoms along the west bank of the Fish River.

There seemed to be several stages of Old Fish River language, the Old Fish River language introduced here is of a middle stage.

It is generally thought that the Old Fish River language was actually a pretty conservative language.


labials dento-alveolars palatals velars/glottal
nasals m n ŋ
plosives p b t d k g
fricatives s z h
sonorants w r l j
  • in later stages, /h/ started to disappear, and /z/ started to merge with /r/.
  • it is possible that it had ejectives before the earliest writing records.
front central back
high i i: u u:
mid e ə o
low a
  • the distinction between /i/ and /i:/ and the distinction between /u/ and /u:/ only occured in some earliest inscriptions.
  • /u/ and /u:/ might actually be [ʉ] and [ʉ:] in some varieties.
  • /ə/ were never stressed.

/ŋ/ is transcripted as <ng>, /j/ is transcripted as <y>, /h/ is transcripted as <h>


word orderEdit

The word order of Old Fish River language was free, all possible orders between subject, object and verb have appeared in at least some inscriptions of Old Fish River language, and it seems that it used prepositions rather than postpositions, as most known texts use prenominal adpositions, but some texts have postnominal adpositions, and it is known that in most contexts where postpositions are used, they are used with pronouns, only some earliest inscriptions showed postpositions used with normal nouns. It is thought that the shift of the order of adpositional phrases was spontaneous and not due to language contact, as the word order of object and verb would have also changed if it were due to language contact.

At earlier stages, the most frequent word order was SOV, but in later stages, a verb second word order was developed in southern varieties, probably due to the influence of Amutetikam substrates, but word order shift didn't occur in northern varieties, despite northern varieties also use prepositions rather than postpositions.

relative clauseEdit

Old Fish River language did use a prenominal relative clause, but Old Fish River language also used a postnominal relative clause with initial relativizers.

In later stages, the use of postnominal relative clauses became increasingly common, and the earlier prenominal relative clause disappeared.

The main relativizer of Old Fish River language was ha and ya, when the relative clause is short, the relativizer can also be omitted.


it seemed that Old Fish River language didn't have any question word or affix, it seemed to have no interrogative word order, either, it was possible that they use intonation to indicate polar questions.


There were cases and numbers in nouns, unlike many other western ulitan languages, which used a marked nominative alignment system, the Old Fish River language used a "standard"(accusative-marked) nominative-accusative alignment system with a differential object marking pattern based on animacy, the original nominative mark had lost before the earliest writing records:


  • nominative: -Ø
  • genitive: -un
  • dative-locative: -um
  • accusative: -um(animate)/-Ø(inanimate)
  • ablative: -ək
  • comitative-instrumental: -əp
  • benefactive: -əs


  • nominative-accusative: -ət


  • nominative: -e
  • genitive: -en
  • dative-locative: -em
  • accusative: -e
  • ablative: -ek
  • comitative-instrumental: -ep
  • benefactive: -es

The dual number only appeared in some early inscriptions, eventually they were substituted by the plural number.




  • 1st sg: -em
  • 2nd sg: -er
  • 3rd sg: -e
  • 1st pl: -ek
  • 2nd pl: -es
  • 3rd pl: -i


  • 1st sg: -o
  • 2nd sg: -ar
  • 3rd sg: -a
  • 1st pl: -ak
  • 2nd pl: -as
  • 3rd pl: -e


  • 1st sg: -u
  • 2nd sg: -or
  • 3rd sg: -oti
  • 1st pl: -ok
  • 2nd pl: -os
  • 3rd pl: -ot

Negation: -hu(there were also an negation aux verb mahuw-/mow-)

The third person singular present form was also used as the infinitive form.

The verb ku-("to go") was irregular, its different forms are listed below:


  • 1st sg: ko/kem
  • 2nd sg: kes~ker
  • 3rd sg: ki
  • 1st pl: kek
  • 2nd pl: kes
  • 3rd pl: ki


  • 1st sg: ku
  • 2nd sg: kos~kor
  • 3rd sg: ke
  • 1st pl: kok
  • 2nd pl: kos
  • 3rd pl: ke


  • 1st sg: ku:
  • 2nd sg: kuwos~kuwor
  • 3rd sg: kuwoti
  • 1st pl: kuwok
  • 2nd pl: kuwos
  • 3rd pl: kuwot



  • 1st sg: ka/yam(emphatic)
  • 2nd sg: za
  • 3rd sg: ha
  • 1st pl: ke
  • 2nd pl: ze
  • 3rd pl: he


  • who/what: ma
  • which: ha


  • this: me(pronominal form: ame)
  • that: ya(pronominal form: aya)
  • here: amem
  • there: ayam


It seemed that they had a base-5 or base-10 system:

  1. one: muso
  2. two: taso
  3. three: aleso
  4. four: maleso
  5. five: zek
  • ten: tazek
  • twenty: munah
  • one hundred: tagatazek(lit: "long-ten")


  • and: e
  • or: tas
  • if: sa-m(lit: at the condition)

example sentenceEdit

  • zo torum ake - zo-Ø tor-um ak-e - the sun shines on the sky.
  • kan pinahum hekas? - ka-n pinah-um hek-as? - did you see my friend?
  • aruk Toruməs ehaye soren rangəs Kanzanan tiksazan anem munah e taso marakamese sorota. - aruk Torum-əs eha-e sor-en rang-əs Kanzanan-Ø tiksazan-Ø anem munah e taso marakames-e sorot-a - For Turam, the head of all deities, here Kanzanan the king sacrificed 22 sheep.(from an inscription on a stoneboard)