Hello and thank you for visiting my language page. This language I'm creating is called Caohi (/Kao̯hi/). Please see my other language called Bunakin. I am trying to make Caohi a very simple language that is easy to learn. The grammar of Caohi is influenced slightly by Welsh, which I can speak fairly well. The vocabulary of Caohi is completely a-priori, unrelated to any other language.


Caohi has a fairly small phonemic inventory consisting of 5 vowels and 11 consonants. The language has two front vowels /i/ and /e/, two central vowels /ə/ and /a/, and only one back vowel /o/. The vowel /o/ is pronounced with a height about three quarters of the way between a low vowel and a high vowel, significantly higher than /e/ and /ə/ which are true mid vowels. The vowel system contains no significant allophonic variance. Vowel quality is the only contrastive feature within the vowel system (features such as length and nasality are not phonemically contrastive). In addition to the five vowels there are ten phonemic diphthongs in the language, two of which are opening diphthongs (/e̯a/ and /o̯a/) and eight of which are closing diphthongs (/ei̯/, /eo̯/, /əi̯/, /əo̯/, /ai̯/, /ae̯/, /ao̯/ and /oi̯̯/). Diphthongs occur in about one in every eight syllables. The consonant system is small with only 11 consonants. The plosives /p/, /t/ and /k/ are unaspirated in all environments. The fricative /h/ is pronounced more raspy and with greater frication than the /h/ in English. Similarly to the vowel system, there is no significant allophony within the consonant system. The tables below show the vowels and consonants of Caohi:

VOWELS Front Central Back
High i o
Mid e ə
Low a

Diphthongs: /ei̯/, /e̯a/, /eo̯/, /əi̯/, /əo̯/, /ai̯/, /ae̯/, /ao̯/, /oi̯̯/, /o̯a/.

CONSONANTS Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive p t k
Fricative h
Nasal m n ŋ
Approximant l j w
Flap ɾ

Word stress

Stress in Caohi words is fairly weak and is not phonemically contrastive. Stress is predictable and falls on the penultimate syllable.

Root morphemes

There are about 2000 root morphemes in Caohi. Due to this fairly small root vocabulary size, Caohi relies heavily on the agglutinating of root morphemes to form compound structures. Caohi morphology is discussed in more depth in the grammar section of this page. Caohi root morphemes never exceed three syllables in length. The following word structures are found for Caohi root morphemes (C = consonant, V = vowel or diphthong): Monosyllabic: (C)V(C); Disyllabic: (C)VC(C)V(C) Trisyllabic: (C)VC(C)VC(C)V(C).


Caohi is written using the Latin alphabet. The following table shows each letter of the alphabet and its associated IPA pronunciation:

Letter a c e ë h i l m n ng o p r t w y
Pronunciation /a/ /k/ /e/ /ə/ /h/ /i/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /ŋ/ /o/ /p/ /ɾ/ /t/ /w/ /j/

Basic Grammar[]

Grammar overview[]

Caohi has a strict Subject-Verb-Object word order. The indirect object, however, precedes the verb. Caohi is predominantly right-branching, with modifiers following the parts of speech they modify in most environments. However, the language uses postpositions rather than prepositions to convey the meaning of grammatical case. Caohi has about the same level of agglutinativity as English. Verbs inflect for tense, aspect and mood. Many words in Caohi can function either as a noun or as a verb. The verbal forms in these cases may be followed by a postpositional marker to indicate the word is functioning as a verb. There are eight parts of speech present in Caohi; the noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, postposition, conjunction and interjection.


Nouns is Caohi are not marked by any definite or indefinite articles. Neither is there any class system for gender or animacy in Caohi. Nouns do not inflect for grammatical case or for any other parameter, but the meaning of many different grammatical cases can be indicated using pospositions. There are no pospositions to indicate the nominative or accusative case, however. The subject and object of a sentence are indicated by word order. Compound nouns are formed mostly by agglutinating together two root nouns, a noun and a verb, or a noun and an adjective into a longer word, rather than by the use of suffixes. Caohi is right branching when forming compound nouns, with the head preceding the modifier.


Caohi contains 1st, 2nd and 3rd person personal pronouns. Pronouns are not affected by gender, animacy or formality. The suffix /-han/ indicates reflexivity in personal pronouns. Caohi uses postpositions to indicate intensity, reciprocity and expletivity in personal pronouns. There are two different first person plural personal pronouns in Caohi, one for inclusivity and one for exclusivity. The table below shows the personal pronouns of Caohi:

Singular Plural
First person inclusive ca /ka/ cayo /kajo/
First person exclusive cëwi /kəwi/
Second person to /to/ tei /tei̯/
Third person ni /ni/ nam /nam/

Caohi uses the postposition 'hë' (/hə/) to indicate plurality in nouns and pronouns. As can be seen in the table, this postposition is not used to form plurals with personal pronouns.

Caohi only contains one demonstrative pronoun that corresponds to the both the word ‘this’ and the word ‘that’ in English. There are two relative pronouns corresponding to the English words ‘who/which/that’ and ‘whose’. There are also two interrogative pronouns corresponding to the words ‘who’ and ‘what’ respectively in the following English sentences: 1) Who is in the garden?; 2) What is his name?. Caohi has 19 different indefinite pronouns that are equivalent to the following English words: any; anybody/anyone; anything; each; either; enough; everyone/everybody; everything; little/few; more; most; much/many; one/you; other; plenty; somebody/someone; something; such; whatever. Negative indefinite pronouns are indicated by a postposition that means ‘opposite of’ (e.g. ‘anybody’ + [opposite] = ‘nobody’, ‘more’ + [opposite] = less, ‘either’ + [opposite] = neither).

Colour terms[]

Caohi has root morphemes for the primary colours red, blue and yellow, and for the secondary colours green, orange and purple. It also has root morphemes for black, grey, white and brown. Other colours can be formed by agglutinating two or more root colour words into a compound word.


Verbs in Caohi inflect for tense, aspect and mood. Postpositions are used to indicate mirativity and passive voice. Tense and aspect are marked simultaneously by the same suffixes. There are three tenses (past, present and future) and three aspects (perfective, habitual and continuous). There are nine different suffixes used to represent each aspect occurring in each tense. These are shown in the table below:

Perfective Habitual Continuous
Past tense -no -noi -not
Present tense -na -nai -nat
Future tense -të -tëi -tët

Suffixes are used to indicate the following moods in Caohi: imperative; conditional; subjunctive; optative; potential; cohortative. The infinitive form of a verb is formed by the suffix '-an' (/an/). The postposition 'nget' (/ŋet/) expresses mirativity. The following sentence makes use of mirativity:

To cëorennai ahit loni tëtaomoyan nget.

You play-PRES-HABIT. well/good very ball-foot MIR.

You play soccer very well!

Caohi has an active and a passive voice. The active voice is unmarked and the passive voice is indicated by the postposition 'mai' (/mai̯/) following the verb.


Adjectives in Caohi can take either the attributive, absolute, predicative or nominal form. The comparative degree for adjectives is formed by adding after the adjective the word 'mota' (/mota/) meaning 'more', and the superlative degree is formed by adding after the adjective the word 'mahi' (/mahi/) meaning 'most'. Attributive adjectives in Caohi tend to occur in the following order: quantity; color; size; quality; shape; age; opinion; purpose. Other orders are permissible also. Adjectives and other modifiers are not marked for restrictiveness.

Word order[]

Caohi has a strict Subject-Verb-Object word order. The indirect object precedes the verb. The language is strongly postpositional, with adjectives, adverbs, determiners, numerals, relative causes and other modifiers coming after the part of speech they modify. Caohi tends to order adpositional phrases in the format Time-Manner-Place instead of Place-Manner-Time.

Example text[]