These following charts specify which phonemes are in Sayala [sajalɑ~sajɑla], and how their romanisation looks.
There are 16 consonants and 5 vowels.

The Consonants

Consonants Bilabial Alveolar Postalveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m (m) n (n) ɲ (ny)
Stop p∼b (p) t∼d (t) k∼g(k) ʔ (◌)
Fricative s∼z (s) ʃ∼ʒ (x) h∼ɦ (h)
Affricate ts (c)
Approximant tɬ/tl (tl) j (y)
L. Approximant ɹ (r) l (l)
Semivowel w (u)

The Vowels

Vowels Front Central Back
Close i∼ɪ (i) ɯ∼u (u)
Close-Mid e∼ɛ (e) o~ɔ (o)
Open a∼ɑ (a)


There is a limited set of syllables, of the type CV (consonant-vowel). The phonotactics does not typically allow the onsets of adjacent syllables to be identical, nor both to be labialized or palatalized. Syllables beginning with /l/ do not occur as the first syllable of a headword (except in loanwords and toponyms).


It is typically made up of open syllables of the type CV (consonant-vowel) with most lexemes having syllables exclusively of this type. The exception to this rule are the endings -m (indicating general plural), and -ka (indicating negative mood). These endings all are word final. In detail a syllable can be analyzed thusly:

C([b])V([a, o, i])([n])

where (n) indicates nasalization, and b indicates labialization.


Onsets such as: nyb, nyp, nym, nyn, mm, mn, nn, nm, tb, tp, tm, tn, kb, kp, km, kn, sb, zb, zp, zn, zm, xb, xp, xn, xm, cb, cp, cm, cn, tlp, tlb, tlm, tln, jp, jb, jm, jn, rb, rp, rm, rn

Duplicated vowels at the end: ee and uu


Stress generally falls on the penultimate syllable, which means that stress is de facto initial in most lemma given that stems are most often (CVCV). Monosyllabic words are not stressed.


Sayala is a mostly agglutinative language that makes extensive use of compounding, incorporation and derivation. That is, it can add many different prefixes and suffixes to a root until very long words are formed, and a single word can sometimes constitute an entire sentence. The words of Sayala can be divided into two basic functional classes: verbs and nouns as content words, and particles and others as functional. Adjectives exist, but they generally behave like verbs and there are very few adjectives that are not derived from either verbal pronominal roots. The few adverbs that exist fall into the class of particles or are derived from verbs. The most important element of Sayala lexemes to keep in mind is that they may function as a verb, noun, adjective, or an adverb based on where they fall in the phrase, and any various endings that may be affixed.


When pluralizing words that end in a m, mp or p syllable, you use the ending -lo and -tlo.

Nouns Singular Plural Collective
Number -m / -lo -xa⠀ ⠀
Size -li (Dim.) / -mai (Aug.)

Noun Cases:

Cases Affix
Genitive -yo
Instrumental -ha
Nominative (form verbs into nouns) -ko / -tlo
Vocative o-


Pronouns are often omitted when the person is obvious from context. There are four persons in Sayala. The 4th being inanimate, or indefinite. The 3rd person plural is irregular, all other pronouns decline regularly. Pronouns do not inflect for gender.

Pronouns Agent Patient Reflexive Possessive Reciprocal
1st Person Singular na hena nai nayo
2nd Person Singular ta heta tai tayo
3rd Person Singular ha heha hai hayo
4th Person Singular sa asma sai sayo
1st Person Plural nam henam nami namyo nanku
2nd Person Plural tam hetam tami tamyo tanku
3rd Person Plural kam hekam kami kamyo kanku
4th Person Plural nam henam nami namyo sanku


Verbs rely on analytic serial constructions, and can therefore get by with very little verbal morphology. Each verb has at most two possible forms: the active and the stative. Passivity is marked on the subject thus verbs are unmarked and must be analyzed based on surrounding morphology. Active verbs solely denote actions and occurrences and never states. Stative verbs are the words that modify nouns in an attributive and often adjectival way. They often express a state like a quality or result. Verbs can be marked with several suffixes to add or change meaning. The modals and tense affixes can be added in different order to a verb to create a new meaning; their placement is not always fixed. The negative and adverbial endings are always final, while other affixes can be varied, but in general they should be ordered:

Verbs Affix
Size -li (Dim.) / -mai (Aug.)
Mood -ta (Abil.) / -me (Prop.)
Aspect -ko (Prg.) / -pu (Prf.) / -no (Inch.) / -la (Freq.)
Tense -tle (Pst.) / -tli (Fut.)
Negative -ka

Compound Sentences

Two sentences may be joined together to form a longer compound sentence. Both sentences must be able to stand alone as properly formed sentences. When combined, they simply come one after the other, joined by a conjunction.

Conjunctions Meaning
pa although, despite, even
po so, thus
ku and, also, too
ua or, either
henke neither X or Y
yima both X and Y
yo if X then Y, therefore
xu but, however
ro between X and Y


Particles in Sayala exist to build up concepts inside the sentences, or to enrich nouns. They cover many semantic purposes.

Particle Meaning
ke Object
no Adjectival
ka Question
a Topic / Copula
nake Adverbial
la Verbializer


Numerals in Sayala follow their normal forms in ordinal, and then, by adding the prefix ki- (from kiyate meaning order), one gets the ordinal form.

Numeral Ordinal Cardinal Multiple Fraction
0 aho
1 naho kinaho tinaho inaho
2 taho kitaho titaho itaho
3 haho kihaho tihaho ihaho
4 maho kimaho timaho imaho
5 yaho kiyaho tiyaho iyaho
6 tlaho kitlaho titlaho itlaho
7 kaho kikaho tikaho ikaho
8 paho kipaho tipaho ipaho
9 saho kisaho tisaho isaho
10 uaho kiuaho tiuaho iuaho
11 uanaho kiuanaho iuanaho
20 tauaho kitauaho itauaho
100 nyaho kinyaho tinyaho inyaho / pasen
1000 tleho kitleho titleho itleho


Sayala does not have prepositions (or postpositions) as a distinct part of speech. Instead, many locative verbs can be used as adpositionals, in which case they precede the noun they modify. There is one general locative -he which is affixed to nouns (and occasionally verbs) to indicate the sense of “at; in; on”. Here are some common verbs used as adpositions:

The suffix -ru (from kuru “go; walk; travel”) forms an allative (or motive) preposition, expressing movement in the indicated direction, stopping at the position indicated by the locative:

The locative/allative pair works like English on/onto, in/into, but in Sayala this distinction is made for all locatives, you must distinguish between them.


Sayala has a simplistic view on demonstrating objects in space, relative to the speaker. It is neatly put into two words.

The use of the demonstrative requires the noun to be affixed with the locative, as seen above.