Pronunciation /*soŋke/
Period ca. 10000BK - 9000BK
Spoken in South-Central Amutet
Total speakers Unknown
Writing system None
Classification Songke
Basic word order SOV
Morphology Fusional
Alignment Split-Ergative
Created by smappy

Phonology Edit


  Labial/Labiodental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
plain sibilant
Nasal *m *n
Stop/Affricate Voiceless *p *t *ts *ʈ <ṭ> *tʃ <č> *k
Voiced *b *d *dz *ɖ <ḍ> *dʒ <j> *g
Fricative Voiceless *f *s *ʂ <ṣ> *ʃ <š> *x *h
Voiced *v *z *ʐ <ẓ>
Lateral Approximant *l
Tap *ɾ <r>


  Front Central Back
Close *i *i: *u *u:
Mid *e *e: *o *o:
Open *a *a:


There are three tones in Proto-Songke: low <a>, high <á>, and rising <ǎ>, in order of frequency of occurrence.

Phonotactics and AllophonyEdit

The Proto-Songke syllable must take the form C(G)V(:)(G)(R)(X) where G represents a glide (either *w or *j <y>), R a non-glide sonorant (*n *l *r), and X a class consisting of nasals and non-glottal stops (*m *n *ɲ *ŋ *p *t *ṭ *k *b *d *ḍ *g). Every syllable must additionally take a tone.

If R is n and X is a nasal R may assimilate totally to X.



In Proto-Songke nouns may decline for possession only. In order to do so they take a suffix which varies depending on if the noun ends with a vowel or consonant. The final consonant in the noun stem may change, as may the tone of the stem.

There are two 3s forms: previously-named and new/unspecified. The difference is that the former is used when the possessor has previously been referred to, and the latter when the possessor is being introduced in this noun phrase. So the first is for *to:su 'his/her/its tree' and the latter is for *pél tǒ:k 'the wetland's tree' and *tǒ:k 'someone's tree'.

Possessive Suffix
Possessor Form
1 -va ~ -wa
2 -vo ~ -wo
3s (previously named referent) -su ~ devoicing + -u
3s (new/ unspecified referent) (low > rising tone) -k ~ devoicing
3p -gi ~ -i


Possessive Suffix Examples
Possessor to: 'tree' ʔi:g 'milk'
1 to:va ʔi:gwa
2 to:vo ʔi:gwo
3s (previously named referent) to:su ʔi:ku
3s (new/ unspecified referent) tǒ:k ʔǐ:k
3p to:gi ʔi:gi


Pronouns decline for case. There are three cases: default, marked accusative, and marked ergative. The use of the latter two is related to verb forms, as will be discussed in the Syntax section.

  Default Marked Accusative Marked Ergative
1 ŋwa ŋwaŋ ŋwalt
2 no:ŋ no no:nt
3 su:lt

Plurality may be indicated by the suffix *tswa and a change of tone in low tone pronoun stems to rising tone.


Proto-Songke has two demonstrative pronouns, *čí:l 'this' and *sú dya 'that'. Only the latter declines for case (*sú dya, *xú dya, *sǔ:lt dya). This declension becomes optional by about 8500BK.

Proto-Songke also has forms for *táy 'here' and *no:rk 'there'. An innovative expression *sú márt 'there', literally 'it where', comes into use in around 8000BK.


The verb stem may undergo affixation to produce a more specific meaning.

Verb template:



  • causative: devoicing of initial consonant


  • proximate future: backing of stem vowel
  • iterative/pluractional/reflexive: change short vowel to e, insert y after stem vowel, erasing any preexisting glide
  • inchoative: add insert y after stem vowel, erasing any preexisting glide, change stem tone to rising

Aspect 1:

  • perfective: set R position in stem syllable to n

Aspect 2:

  • static: stems with empty R and X position take l as R position, other verbs take -Ce where C is a copy of any consonant in X position, idiosyncratic tone changes may occur
  • dynamic: stems with empty R and X position take y as postvocalic glide, some verbs with t or k in X position erase them and take -ṭi suffix, other verbs take -i suffix or the -í suffix, idiosyncratic tone changes may occur

Out of these affixes the Aspect 2 suffixes are perhaps the most common and are mandatory on verbs in main clauses by about 8500BK. While causative inflection is also very common, it is on the verge of being unproductive in 10000BK and is entirely lexicalized by 9000BK. For this reason, causative forms are listed as separate stems in the Lexicon.


  • mwáɲ 'carry'
  • fwáɲ 'give (temporarily)
  • mwóɲ 'about to carry'
  • mwá:yɲ 'carry again', 'carry together', 'carry each other'
  • mwǎyɲ 'start to carry', 'pick up'
  • mwánɲ > *mwáɲ: 'carried', 'have carried'
  • mwaɲɲe 'be carrying'
  • mwaɲí > *mwǎɲi 'start to carry', 'carry'


Noun PhrasesEdit

Noun phrases usually take the form quantifier-modifier-modified.


Examples of quantifiers are *hǒy tsa ‘every’, 'all' and *tsáṭ ‘one’. Numerals need not take classifiers when modifying nouns, e.g. *tsáṭ to: 'one tree'.


Basic word order is S(O)V in main clauses.

Negation is expressed by the fronting of the negated element (noun or verb) preceded by the preposition *tyák.

Questions are expressed by in-situ question words and phrases such as *ho 'what' and *márt 'where'.

Morphosyntactic AlignmentEdit

Proto-Songke exhibits split-ergative alignment where accusative alignment is used with most verbs, while some verbs, including all those marked morphologically as causative, require nouns to follow ergative alignment.

For example, in pronouns the 'default' form is used for nominative with accusative verbs and absolutive with ergative verbs. A separate 'accusative' form is used with accusative verbs and an 'ergative' form is used with ergative verbs.

Nouns do not decline for case— alignment has to do with pronouns only.



hair - féy
hand - lya:
house - vek
meat - ɲo:k
milk - ʔi:g
snake - ɲó
tree - to:
wetland - pél


all - hǒy tsa
another - pyíyt tsa
every - hǒy tsa
few - hǔlt tsa
many - hǔlt tswa
some - hult


1 - tsáṭ
2 - ɲaṭ
3 - tswán
4 - ɲaṭ ɲaṭ
5 - lya:
6 - pyíyt tsa lya: tsáṭ
7 - pyíyt tsa lya: ɲaṭ
8 - pyíyt tsa lya: tswán
9 - pyíyt tsa lya: gwám
10 - lya: lya:

Question WordsEdit

how - ẓia:ŋ ho
what - ho
when - gyu:r márt
where - márt
which - sa:n
who - sa:n ŋwiŋ


Note: causative verbs marked by (C)

appear - tsyéyn
bring - šá:ynd (C)
carry - mwáɲ
close - gwám
come - lá:ynd
confused - ɲyǐ:nŋ > ɲyǐ:ŋ:
cook - kóy
force - ka (C)
give (temporarily) - fwáɲ (C)
give - ga (C)
push down - ṭab (C)
quiet - šenṭ
sit - ḍab
sleep - kwón
watch - tǎ:y