Zikãti (/d̻͡zikãti/) is an agglutinative language I am currently working on as an experiment. It doesn’t have any worldbuilding around it yet, and it may never have any. I’m mostly experimenting with vocabulary generation with a language relying heavily on affixes modifying the meaning of a root word.



Zikãti has a moderately small consonant inventory with seventeen phonemes. Three of these phonemes are prenasalized plosives, and its alveolar consonants are laminal.

  • b: /b/
  • d: /d̻/
  • g: /ŋ/
  • h: /h/
  • k: /k/
  • l: /ʟ/
  • m: /m/
  • mb: /ᵐb/
  • n: /n̻/
  • nd: /ⁿd̻/
  • nz: /ⁿd̻͡z/
  • p: /p/
  • q: /kʷ/
  • r: /r̻/
  • s: /s̻/
  • t: /t̻/
  • z: /d̻͡z/
nasalized plosivembnd   
nasalized sibilant affricate nz   
plosivep bt dkq 
affricate z   
fricative s  h
trill r   
lateral approximant  l  


Zikãti has a total of six vowels, which makes it relatively average in terms of size. Three of these vowels are nazalised:

  • a: /a/
  • ã: /ã/
  • ẽ: /ɛ̃/
  • i: /i/
  • õ: /ɔ̃/
  • u: /u/
Zikãti Vowel Featural Tree
Zikãti Vowels Featural Tree

Syllable and word structure

Cm n g mb nd nz p b t d z k q s h r l
C2g p b t d z k q r h
Vi u ẽ õ a ã
V[-nasal]i u a
V[+nasal]ã ẽ õ

Prefixes follow the (C2)V[-nasal] phonetic structure, with C2 being optional. Suffixes follow the CV+nasal structure with C2 being optional.

Roots are a bit more complex, with a C(V+nasalC)V-nasal structure.

The only consonants that can follow the vowels õ and are non-nasal plosive consonants. These two vowels cannot follow the consonants m, n, or g. If such an occurence is created be it while constructing a word or when they co-occur between words, a dummy /u/ is added.

A word may contain one or more core roots which affixes cannot separate but which can aggregate around this word core. A word can consist of its bare core only, or the core surrounded by affixes. The amount of prefixes and suffixes that can be possibly added is independent from the amount of compounds forming the core of a word.

An example is sahlud (life), which is a compound of sah (spirit, mind) and lud (breath, life).


Word structure


Most words in Zikãti is an agglutination of affixes around one or more roots or words. Roots are relatively rare to find by themselves since most of them are bound morphenes and not words by themselves, such as kãti which expresses the idea of a mountain but doesn’t really mean anything on its own, speakers of Zikãti cannot use it by itself.

For the meaning of some abbreviations in the list of prefixes and suffixes, see Abbreviations.

  1. Prefixes

    • hi-: INSTV
    • hu-: TOOL
    • i-: COL
    • ka-: POSSIB
    • pi-: DIM
    • qa-: AUG
    • qi-: ADJ
    • qu-: PROG
    • ra-: LOC
    • ru-: NEG
    • ti-: CAUS
    • zi-: PERS

    When the negative prefix is associated with a verb, it acts as a negative towards the verb itself.

    The prefix qi- produces adjectives most of the time, but its name as an adjectivizer is a bit misleading as it can occasionaly produce adverbs, e.g. qigi before from gi from (see gi).

  2. Suffixes

    • -dãt: PART
    • -gãs: AGAT
    • -hãr: NECESS
    • -hẽ: INTR
    • -kõt: PARTN
    • -nzẽz: AVER
    • -rã: TR
    • -sõr: NOMIN
    • -zãr: PASS
    • -qã: SUBJ, attaches to verbs only, see subclauses

Word order

Zikãti is a postpositional language following the SOV word order in main clauses, meaning the verb comes last whereas the subject comes first and the object slots itself between the subject and the verb. However, due to the language’s agglutinative nature, the speaker can omit them in the sentence if the verb’s agreement is enough in context to determine what is being talked about.



  • sah-hẽ-qu-lur
  • spirit.mind-INTR-PROG-2sg.NOM.PST

You were thinking


zimbi mbisõr mbirãilih

  • zi-mbi mbi-sõr mbi-rã-i-lih
  • PERS-meat.food meat.food-NOMIN meat.food-TR-3s.NOM.NPST-3s.ACC.NPST

The cook prepares a meal

Other elements that are not the subject or the object, such as a dative or an oblique element, get slotted between the subject and the object.


zimbi pimbi ziirailik timbirãhilih

  • zi-mbi pi-mbi zi-i-ra-i-lik ti-mbi-rã-hi-lih
  • PERS-meat.food DIM-COL-LOC-COL-person.human CAUS-meat.food-TR-3s.NOM.PST-3s.ACC.PST

A cook fed a villager a snack

Noun phrase order

In noun phrases, adjectives, relatives clauses, numerals, possessives, and genitives preceed the noun while determiners follow it. By order of element closest to the noun, they rank as follows:

  • determiner
  • adjective
  • numeral
  • genitive
  • relative

The genitive also holds the possessive of the name. In Zikãti, a noun cannot hold both a genitive and a possessive at the same time.


Possessive determiners

Possessive determiners are anaphoric clitics suffixed to a noun or the head of a noun phrase. They take the same form as the non-past accusative anaphoric clitics found in verbal agreement as shown in verbs.


pimbiqa / snack-1s / my snack

humbiup / knife-3p / their knife

These clitics take the place of the genitive element of nouns phrases as shown in noun phrase order.


Verbs in Zikãti agree with their subject and object in person and number, with anaphoric clitics, but these clitics also indicate the tense of the verb. Zikãti has two tenses: past and non-past which expresses present and future as well as near-past when its events still carry over to the present.

Anaphoric clitics are suffixed to the verb with the subject first followed by the object’s clitic.

 non-past nominativenon-past accusativepast nominativepast accusative


  • kãtikõthẽqa: I hike
  • kãtikõthẽbu: it hikes
  • kãtikõthẽgai: we (but not the interlocutor) hike

If the verb has an oblique argument, it will require an accusative anaphoric clitic and use a second one to agree with this third argument. If no object is available, a dummy accusative clitic lih or qur is used as a placeholder. The choice is made depending on whether the dummy object can be an animate or inanimate object respectively.


When using a subclause, the verb must be used in the subjunctive. This simply means speakers must add the -qã suffix at the end of the verb but before its anaphoric clitics, and the subclause itself must end with the nominalizer -sõr. The subclauses agrees with other verbs with the fourth singular person.


gi qusahsõr mbihẽhãrqãsõr sahrãraqqur

  • from PROG-spirit.mind-NOMIN meat.food-INTR-NECESS-SUBJ-1s.NPST.NOM-NOMIN mind.spirit-TR-1s.PST.NOM-4s.PST.ACC
  • gi qu-sah-sõr mbi-hẽ-hãr-qã-qa-sõr sah-rã-raq-qur

I remembered I have to cook


  • ACC: accusative
  • ADJ: adjective
  • adj.: adjective
  • adv.: adverb
  • AGAT: agative (prone to smth, liking)
  • AUG: augmentative
  • AVER: avertive, badness
  • CAUS: causative
  • COL: collective, collection
  • con.: concept
  • DIM: diminutive
  • INSTV: instantiative
  • INTR: intransitive verb
  • LOC: locative
  • n.: noun
  • NECESS: necessitive
  • NEG: negative
  • NOM: nominative
  • NOMIN: nominalisation, nominalizer
  • NPST: non-past
  • OBL: oblique
  • PART: participle
  • PARTN: partisan
  • PASS: passive verb
  • PERS: person
  • POSSIB: possibility, capacity, ability
  • PROG: progressive, process
  • PST: past
  • SUBJ: subjunctive, irrealis
  • TOOL: thing, tool
  • TR: transitive verb


Words in this vocabulary list are grouped based on their primary root which are themselves sorted in alphabetic order. But other than that, there is no particular order by which words are sorted, other than when I came up with them.

Other than the root itself, their meaning is pretty open to interpretation. The meaning I give here is my own vision, but other translations could also work.

banzi - hand

  • banzi (n.): hand

banzida - nail (hand)

See banzi and da.

  • banzida (n.): nail (of a hand)

da - bone

  • da (n.): bone

disur - body

  • disur (n.): body

disurda - skeleton

See disur and da.

  • disurda (n.): skeleton

disurtaq - core entity

See taq and disur.

  • disurtaq (n., con.): core entity or body, main entity or body

gi - from

  • gi (adv.): from
  • gisõr (n.): origin
  • higi (n.): past
  • qihigi (adj.): past
  • qigi (adv.): before
  • igi (n.): past of something, of someone, collection of all that happened to an entity
  • pigi (adv.): weak “from”, with uncertainty


pigi qusahsõr sahrãiqur

  • DIM-from memory remember-3s.NPST.NOM-4s.NPST.ACC
  • pi-gi qusahsõr sahrã-i-qur

He thinks about it, maybe remembers it

hiti - fire, light

  • hiti (n.): fire, light

hitimbi - hearth, coocked food

See hiti and mbi.

  • hitimbi (n.): hearth, coocked food

hitimiz - tea

See hiti and miz.

  • hitimiz (n.): tea

keti - mountain

  • kãti (n., con.): mountain
  • kãtisõr: a mountain
  • pikãti (n.): a hill
  • qakãti (n.): summit

lik - person, human

  • lik (n., con.): person, human
  • ailik (n.): house
  • iailik (n.): village
  • ilik (n.): family, group of people
  • ziiailik (n.): villager
  • ziilik (n.): family member, member of a group

lud - breath, life

  • lud (n., con.): breath, life

ludmiz - blood

See lud and miz.

  • ludmiz (n.): blood

mbi - meat, food

  • mbi (n.): meat, food

  • mbisõr (n.): a meal

  • mbihẽ (INTR): to cook, to prepare food



    • qu-mbi-hẽ-qa
    • PROG-meat.food-INTR-1s

    I’m preparing food / I’m cooking

  • mbirã (TR): to cook (something)


    zimbi mbisõr qumbirãiqur

    • zi-mbi mbi-sõr qu-mbi-rã-i-qur
    • PERS-meat.food meat.food-NOMIN PROG-meat.food-TR-3s.NOM-4s.ACC

    The cook is cooking the meal

  • mbirãzãr (TR): to be cooked by


    mbisõr zimbi qumbirãzãrbulih

    • mbi-sõr zi-mbi qu-mbi-rã-zãr-bu-lih
    • meat.food-NOMIN PERS-meat.food PROG-meat.food-TR-PASS-4s.NOM-3s.ACC

    The meal is being cooked by the cook

  • qimbi (adj.): edible

  • mbidãt (adj.): cooked

  • zimbi (n.): a cook, chef

  • rambi (n.): a kitchen

  • zirambi (n.): a chef

  • humbi (n.): a knife

  • humbihẽ (INTR): to stick a knife in something

  • humbirã (TR): to cut

  • zihumbi (n.): a butcher

  • zihumbihẽ (INTR): to prepare meat

  • zihumbirã (TR): to butcher

  • humbirãsõr (n.): a cut

  • timbirã (TR): to feed someone This verb can take up to three arguments

    • The agent, the thing or being doing the feeding
    • The patient, the thing or being being fed something
    • The oblique, the thing or being used as food



    • ti-mbi-rã-raq-qur-lih
    • CAUS-meat.food-TR-1s.PST.NOM-1pl.PST.ACC-4s.PST.OBL

    You were feeding it to us

  • timbihẽ (INTR): to feed oneself

  • qambi (n.): a meal, feast

  • pimbi (n.): a snack

miz - water, stream

  • miz (n., con.): water, stream

sah - spirit, mind

  • sah (n., con.): spirit, mind

  • sahsõr (n.): being with a mind

  • sahsõrnzẽz (n.): being without a mind

  • sahzãr (PASS): to be though of, to be remembered

  • sahhẽ (INTR): to dream, to have one’s mind escape, to mentally wander

  • sahrã (TR): to think about, to remember, to be aware of

    To explicitly say “to remember”, seakers can say “to think about something from memory”.

  • tisah (CAUS): to remind someone

    The subject is the agent, the object is the patient, and the objique is the thing brought to the patient’s mind by the agent

  • qisah (adj): mindful, attentive

  • qisahsõr (n.): mindfulness, attention

  • sahdãt (adj): though of, known, present in the mind

  • sahdãtrã (TR): to know

  • zisah (n.): philosopher, guru, scientist

  • rasah (n.): temple, school

  • husah (n.): deep though, important dialog, important speech (made to make people think deeply)

  • qusah (n.): thinking back, research

  • qusahsõr (n.): memory, knowledge

  • hisah (n.): idea, thought

  • rusah (n.): memory loss, memory lapse


    timbiaulihrãqãsõr rusahqalihrã

    • ti-mbi-au-lih-rã-qã-sõr ru-sah-qu-lih-rã
    • CAUS-meat.food-3pl.PST.NOM-3s.PST.ACC-TR-SUBJ-NOMIN NEG-spirit.mind-1s.NPST.NOM-3s.NPST.ACC-TR
    • the fact that they were fed it / I do not think it

    I do not think they were fed it

  • pisah (n.): light, small, shallow idea or though

  • qusah (n.): concept

  • kasah (n.): ability to think

  • kasahdãt sahsõr: sentient being (on a higher level than just sahsõr, beings with a mind)

  • sahŋãs (n.): philosopher, intellectual

  • asah (n.): inner, in our own mind, in our own being

  • sahkõt (n.): opinion

  • isah (n.): agreement

  • isahkõt (n.): belief

  • sahnzẽz (n.): mental illness or mental handicap

The Zikãti people categorize things, both living and inanimate, into three categories:

  • sahsõrnzẽz: things without a mind, which regroup objects but also a lot of living things that are not animals. Some exceptions do exist, such as some trees (generaly notably old trees) and water are ranked in the following category
  • sahsõr: things with a mind but not able to think. This regroups most animals, but also sometimes humans when the speaker wants to dehumanize them
  • kasahdãt sahsõr: beings able to think, regrouping mostly humans, but also higher or spiritual beings, such as ghosts, gods, or highly sacred objects or plants (the latter are generally trees that are extremely important in religious settings).

While they might not consider plants to have a mind, the Zikãti people believes all things are a conduit for the energy of the world, with some elements being able to move, flourish, and perish while some other things have the gift of being inanimate. These are simply considered as properties given by this universal energy flowing through all things and all beings.

Animate things are considered to be alive, and therefore have a mind and emotions, even possibly a will. However, they are not able of thought and are therefore limited in terms of intelligence and they cannot be reasoned with.

Beings with a mind capable of thought are beings able to have complex thoughts and actions, such as humans.

sahlud - life

See sah and lud.

taq - core, kernel

  • taq (n., con.): core, kernel

taqdisur - heart

See taq and disur.

  • taqdisur (n.): heart