Build on some simple and powerful principles :

  • Universal phonological system
  • Phonetic language
  • Rich, differenced and extensible lexicon
  • Simple and rigorous grammatical system
  • Strong and unambiguous expressiveness
  • Flexible and varied using

1) An universal phonological system

Kotava has a simple and flexible phonological system, restricted to the 5 basic vowels, 17 consonnants that are used in almost every language, and 3 semi-vowels.

 5 vowels : A, E, I, O, U
 17 consonnants : Bilabial B, P
Swishing J, C
Dental D, T
Labiodental V, F
Velar G, K
Hissing Z, S
Liquid L, R
Nasal M, N
Guttural X
 3 semi-vowels : H, W, Y

As for the vowels Kotava doesn’t make, for instance, any distinction between brief and long vowels, though brief forms are more usual. Also, they can be pronounced more or less closed (typical case of the « o »). Kotava doesn’t use nasal vowels either.

About the consonants, they are all simple consonants. Each one is a one and only phoneme.

Last, Kotava is a soft language that has a vocalic rate a bit superior to 50%. Moreover, the rule of euphonic reference contributes to strengthen its harmonious aspect.

2) A phonetic language

Kotava is an absolutely phonetic language, that is to say it is spelled like it is pronounced and does not tolerate any exception.

Thus, for instance, in ” feralia ” you distinguish the ” i ” from the final ” a ” without making a diphtongue. Or in ” tcastaf ” the combined sound ” tch “, which is expressed with a single letter in some languages, is made by ” t ” +  ” c “.

As for the stressing, Kotava adopted an extremely simple system. All the words with a final vowel are stressed on the penultimate syllable. The others on the ultimate. The only exception is that of the first person singular in the verbal conjugation, which is stressed on the ultimate syllable despite of the final vowel, analogically to the other verbal forms which have a final consonant. Graphically, you can ute an accute stress to symbolize it.

3) A rich, differenced and extensible lexicon

Kotava currently has a 17 000 radical lexicon, covering pratically all the domains of human thought and expression, and allowing elaborate shades.
But overall, Kotava is practically unlimitedly extensible. Indeed, its complete system of affixing allows to derive dozens of new terms from a substantive, a determinative or a verb, each one wearing a specific expression. There are no limits to these possibilites, other than those of mutual understanding.

 Ex.  tawa  (earth)
 Ø tawak  (animal’s) hole)
 Ø tawaxo  (field)
 Ø tawiskaf  (earthless)
 Ø tawolk  (earth particle)
 Ø tawopa  (agronomy)

Let’s add to this the rules of composition. Very powerful, they allow to generate new terms and concepts by combining several lexemes.

4) A simple and rigorous grammatical system

Kotava has a simple and easy to apprehend grammatical system, which is very rigorous.
Here are the main features of this system :

  • Differenced morphological forms. A determiner, a verbal form or a substantive immediately distinguishable. Even when totally isolated, a word can be understood without precisions.
  • Invariability of nouns. Kotava doesn’t have any declension. Substantives and pronouns are invariable and no particular mark of number is added to them.
  • Absence of gender. Kotava doesn’t know any notion of gender. Thus, there are no male or female nouns. You can tell that all words are neutral, and if you really want to specify one’s gender you just have to use gender suffixes (« ye » for males and « ya » pour females).
  • Simple verbal system. Only 3 tenses : Present, Past and Future. 4 moods : Indicative, Imperative, Conditional, Participle (or Relative).
  • Regular verbal conjugation. A unique type of conjugation for all verbs, without exceptions, including 7 persons.

First, in a morphological point of view, every word can immediately be recognized. Either it is a determinative, a verbal form, an adverb or a substantive, there cannot be any confusion or doubt. One of the advantages of this is to allow a great syntaxical flexibility. Thus, for instance, there is no imposed word order. Although the most frequently used order is CSV (complement – subject – verb) expressions of different types are not rare.

All the complements must be introduced by a preposition. You can use a great varety of them that answer all the needs of the expressiveness. In Kotava, there are not direct complements strictly speaking (corresponding to the accusative case in declensive langages). Object complements, or transitive complements, are introduce by the transitive « va » preposition. Thus, an isolated substantive or pronoun is inevitably a subject predicate.

5) A strong and unambiguous expressiveness

Kotava has a ric hand very diversified vocabulary that allows all its speakers to always be able to express any idea or sentence.

Each Kotava term carries an unique meaning, they are monosemic in a way. Furthermore, there are no homonyms and therefore never any ambguity. This monovalence of the words obviously goes with a rich system of affixing and composition that allows to express the slightest subsleties, shades and connected ideas. Kotava uses its possibilities a lot, thanks to what it offers an almost unlimited creativeness and flexibility.

About the verbal system, the nouns or the determinatives, affixing rules are very simple and do not admit any exceptions. Consequently, the speaker never faces any difficulty of construction or understanding. The same way, great morphological rigour of Kotava eliminates every ambiguity as for the type and the role of each word in the sentence.

Basic radicals and the whole lexicon grow regularly, in relation with the new fields of thought and expression that appear in our modern societies. The inner mechanisms, the logics and the own genius of the Kotava allows it to easily answer them and to break new ground without difficulty. Let’s bet that in the end Kotava would be a driving force in the field of new suggestions and developments which would be used by all the other languages.

6) A varied and flexible using

Kotava was featured to allow speakers with very different thoughts and language systems , in one hand to understand each other of course, but also to be able to express themselves the most intuitive way possible, by using patterns of expression and construction near to their mother language.

A few examples :

  • With Kotava, you can express direct speech as easily as indirect speach, active, passive or relative propositions.

    Ex.  va pruva Paul estur : (Paul is eating the apple) : direct speech.
     gan Paul pruva zo estur : (the apple is eaten by Paul) : indirect speech
    – Paul dan va pruva estur : (Paul who is eating the apple) : relative speech
    – Paul va pruva estus : (Paul eating the apple) : active speech
    – pruvestus Paul : (Paul apple-eater) : determinative construction
    – pruva estuna gan Paul : (the apple eaten by Paul) : passive construction
    – pruva va dana Paul estur : (the apple that Paul is eating) : relative construction

  • « Traditional sentences » with CSV (complement – subject – verb), or SVC, ou even SCV.

    Ex.  va pruva Paul estur : (Paul is eating the apple) : CSV
     Paul estur va pruva : (Paul is eating the apple) : SVC
    – Paul va pruva estur : (Paul is eating the apple) : SCV
    – va pruva estur Paul : (Paul is eating the apple) : CVS

  • Sentences with explicit subject and verb and those with understood ones.

    Ex.  batcoba tir listafa : (this is beautiful) : explicit subject and verb
     listafa                 : (this is beautiful) : understood subject and verb

  • The composition-agglutination of determinatives and substantives or the segmentition of terms.

    Ex.  fadxabilaga        : (coffee cup) : composition of 2 terms
     bilaga tori fadxa : (coffee cup) : segmentation

  • The using or not of subject personal pronouns.

    Ex.  va pruva in estur : (he is eating the apple) : expressed personal pronoun
     va pruva estur    : (he is eating the apple) : omited personal pronoun

  • Undifferenced genders or using of gender suffixes.

    Ex.  jagadesik     : (business manager) : indifferenced gender
     jagadesikya : (business manager) : female gender
     jagadesikye : (business manager) : male gender

A Chinese speaker will be susceptible to the invariability of words.
A Turkish or Finnish speaker will be totally at ease with the affixing principles.
A German speaker will find in the composition principles well-known features.
An English speaker will certainly work the flexibility of syntaxical constructions.
A French speaker will enjoy shaded Cartesian constructions allowed by the language.


Kotava has some particular features that make of it an original and very coherent system :

  • transitivity by preposition
  • plural by meaning
  • linking conjunctions
  • locative prepositions
  • the 4th person plural
  • the complete imperative mood
  • the 3 tenses of the verb
  • the 10 aspects of the verb
  • the 5 states of the verb
  • the 7 modalties of the verb
  • the verbs of movement
  • the serial pronouns
  • the euphonic reference

7) Transitivity by preposition

In most declensive languages, complements of object are expressed by the accusative case. In non-flexional languages, they are mostly rendered direcly (hence their name of direct complements of object), generally using their place in the sentence.

By difference, in Kotava those complements are called “transitive” since they are introduced bytransitive verbs and must be introduced by the transitive preposition « va ».

Ex. va pruva Paul estur is translated by (Paul is eating an apple) and is analyzed the following way :
– va pruva  : (an apple) as a transitive complement
– Paul         : (Paul) the subject of the sentence
– estur        : (eats, is eating) the verb, in the present 3rd person singular

With this principle, the place in the sentence is minor in Kotava.The order above, CSV, is the most classical one, but any other unambiguous order is possible.

8) Plural by meaning

In Kotava, substantives and pronouns are invariable and do not get any specific plural mark. Plural is expressed by context, either by conjugation or by the using of plural-meaning determinatives.

Ex. bat listaf batakaf okol vulted (these beautiful white horses are running)
– the 3rd person plural mark « -d » indicates unambiguously the plural feature of the subject predicate

9) Linking conjunctions

Kotava has twelve linking conjunctions that play an important part and, overall were featured in such a way they offer un great flexibility and a great accuracy in expression, with an extraordinary conciseness.

 is, ise, isu  (and)
 ok, oke, oku  (or)
 ik, ike, iku  (and/or)
 mei, meie,meiu  (neither, nor)
 vols, volse, volsu  (but not, opposition)
 az, aze, azu  (then)
 vox, voxe, voxu  (nevertheless, but)
 num, nume, numu  (thus)
 kir, kire, kiru  (because)
 lodam, lodame, lodamu  (rather than)
 lidam, lidame, lidamu  (as well as)
 ledam, ledame, ledamu  (failing…, otherwise)

Simple conjunctive forms are used in a simple linking, within the same proposition.

Ex : va atela is ilt sin estud (their are eating meat and fruit)
                   va Paris vols London in albar (he likes Paris but not London)

The « -e » forms are used out of precise listings and link different propositions.

Ex : karvol estur ise ulir (the cat is eating and drinking)
                   va Paris in albar volse va London akler (he likes Paris but he hates London)

The « -u » forms are called “distributive”. In a simple proposition, if various terms are qualified by the same determinatives, they allow to avoid repetitions and to “distribute” those determinatives. Thus the determinatives that qualify the first term are also applied to the following terms linked by a “-u” conjunction.
Ex : listaf batakaf karvol isu vakol isu okol vulted (the beautiful white cat, the beautiful white dog and the beautiful white horse are running)
The determinatives « listaf » (beautiful)  and « batakaf » (white) are applied to the three linked substantives.

10) Locative prepositions

The 53 locative prepositions of the Kotava play important parts. And overall make up an original group, that allows to express all the desirable shades in matter of moving and positioning in space.

Each locative preposition actually has four distinctive forms, all constructed on the same logic :

  •  Form n° 1 : it expresses the place where you go.
    It constitutes the basic form on which the three others are constructed.
  • Form n° 2 : it expresses the place where you are.
    It is constructed on the principle : form n° 1 + « e ».
  • Form n° 3 : it expresses the place from where you come.
    It is constructed on the principle : form n° 1 + « u ».
  • Form n° 4 : it expresses the place through where you go.
    It is constructed on the principle : form n° 1 + « o ».
 Ex.  ko  (in, to) (with. mov.)  mo  (on) (with mov.)
 Ø koe  (in) (without mov.)  Ø moe  (on) (without mov.)
 Ø kou  (from)  Ø mou  (from above)
 Ø koo  (by)  Ø moo  (through above)


11) The 4th person plural

Kotava uses a 4th person plural, unknown in most of the other languages, that covers an exclusive “we”. In English, the “we” expresses two different ideas. In Kotava, you can see two persons and two differenced pronouns : « min » and « cin ».

« Min » is the 1st person plural that he represents have an inclusive meaning, that is to say the speaker includes in the “we” the person or the people to whom he is talking. On the contrary, “cin” (th person plural) is exclusive – the interlocutor or locutors are excluded of it.

Ex. min betlize kenubeyet (we slept anywhere). The interlocutor is included in the “we”
cin betlize kenubeyev  (we slept anywhere). The person I am talking to is not concerned

12) The Imperatif, complete mood

In Kotava, contrary to numerous other languages, the Imperative is a complete mood and has in particular all the persons and tenses. It can also be used with every meaning, aspect and state. It is only quite incompatible with the uncertain state (as for the meaning at least).

The Imperative mood is based on the Indicative, with some differences :

  • The forbidden using of personal pronouns
  • An exclamative and clearly stressed speaking.
 ke !  (I must wait !, wait !) (talking to myself)
 kel !  (wait !)
 ker !  (he must wait !)
 ket !  (let us wait !)
 kec !  (wait !)
 ked !  (they must wait !)
 kev !  (let us wait !)

13) The tenses of the verb

Kotava only uses three tenses : present, past, future.

  • The Present expresses that an action is occuring at the moment of the enunciation. It is also used to indicate that an action happens frequently, usually.

  • The Past expresses accomplished actions.
  • The Future expresses that an action will occur, with few doubts on it.

All the other shades rendered in other languages by other tenses or compound ones are often expressed by the meaning or the aspects.

Past and future are constructed by specific suffixes that are added to the verbal radical (with a basis « -y » for the Past and « -t » for the Future). There is no exception.

Ex. in dankar     (he sings)
in dankayar (he sang)
in dankatar  (he will sing)

14) The 10 aspects of the verb

Next to the three tenses, Kotava has, in order to decline all the time notions, an original system which is called aspects. Ten aspects exist :

  • The Simple Durative. It is the implicit meaning of a verb. It expresses that the action of the verb lasts for a certain time.

  • The Progressive. It indicates that an action is running, currently, in the past or in the future.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  dun ».
  • the Continuous. It indicates that the action continues, continued or will continue to run. It is still in progress.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  wan ».
  • The Anterior. It indicates, preserving the basic durative notion, that an action occurs, occured or will occur right before another one, which is in a way something subordinate to it.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  al ».
  • The Later. Opposite to the anterior, indicates an action that occurs, occured or will occur right after and in relation with another one.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  di ».
  • The Instantaneous. It indicates that, contrary to the basic durative notion, the verbal action ends in an instant, it is just a dot in time.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  ve ».
  • The Linked Perfect. It indicates that an action has, had or will have just occured, without the notion of subordination with another action of the anterior.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  su ».
  • The Linked Future. Opposite to the linked future. It indicates that an action is, was or will be going to occur, like above without subordinating notion.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  fu ».
  • The Inchoative. It indicates that an action begins, began or will begin to occur.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  toz ».
  • The Terminative. Opposite to the inchoative. It indicates that an action is, was or will be going to end.
    It uses the invariable preposed particle «  ten ».

15) The 5 States of the verb

Kotava have five states :

  • The Positive. It is the normal, usual state, that merely indicates an action is occuring. The positive state is understood and doesn’t have any specific mark.

  • The Affirmative. It is a strengthened positive that insists on the occuring of the action. Notion of ‘really’.
    It uses the adverb « en », which alone means « yes ».
  • The Unsettled. It is the notion of the ‘maybe’, the possible
    It uses the adverb « rotir » (maybe).
  • The Negative. The action does not occur, without a particular insistance.
    It uses the adverbs « me », « mea » and « men », (not, not … anymore, not … yet).
  • The Oppositive. It is opposed to the affirmative. The action does not occur and everything is precisely done so that it does not. It uses the adverb « vol » (roughly ‘on the contrary’).

16) The 7 modalties of the verb

Kotava has an original modalties system, which allows to express for every verb notions that are often rendered by separate and complexe constructions in other languages. There are sixmodalties :

  • The Effective. The effective. It is the main modalties of a verb. It is understood and does not bear any specific mark. A basic verbal form will always be in the effective. It indicates what is occuring basically.
    It exists in all the verbal forms by definition.

  • The Possibilitive. It is the modalty which expresses that an action may occur, that it is possible.
    It exists in all the verbal forms and uses prefix on the verbal radical « ro ()– ».
  • The Obligative. It indicates that the action must be done, that it is necessary
    It exists in all the verbal forms and uses prefix on the verbal radical « go ()– ».
  • The Abilitive. It indicates that you are able to do something.
    It exists in all the verbal forms and uses prefix on the verbal radical « gru ()– ».
  • The Willing. It is the modalty which indicates that you want to do an action.
    Toutes les formes verbales sont susceptibles d’être affectées de la modalité volitive.
    It exists in all the verbal forms and uses prefix on the verbal radical « dju ()– ».
  • The Usual. It is the modalty which indicates that you are used to doing something.
    It exists in all the verbal forms and uses prefix on the verbal radical « gi ()– ».
  • The Absolutive. It is the modalty which indicates that an action or a fact is something constant, especially physical truthes or scientific premises.
    It exists in all the verbal forms and uses prefix on the verbal radical « so ()– ».

17) The Movement verbs

In Kotava, some verbs called movement verbs, can be made up with any locative preposition (in any form). This way, all kinds of subtleties and precisions you can think of can be expressed.

Those made up verbs become transitive and thus build their object complements by the preposition « va ». The locative idea remains fully contained in the preverbalised preposition.

Ex : va mona jin kolaní (I go into the house)
                   va mona jin koelaní (I come and go in the house)
                   va widava in remtalar (he flies through the town)
va widava in remetalar (he flies all over town)
in malvulter (he runs away)

18) The serial pronouns

In Kotava, there are 85 relative or other pronouns (demonstrative, collective, undefined, etc.), 60 of which are in pronominal series. These are based on a compound relative pronoun and a composer (on the same principle as relative adverbial series).

The compounds are :

 coba  (what)
 tan  (one, the one)(unknown)
 tel  (one, the one)(known)
 tol  (one of the two)

The composers are :

 bat  (this)  Near demonstrative
 ban  (that)  Far demonstrative
 mil  (same)  Demonstrative of equality
 ar  (other)  Alternative
 kot  (all, every)  Collective
 me  (none, zero)  Negative
 kon  (some)  Near undefined
 bet  (any)  Far undefined
 lan  (a certain)  Simple undefined
 man  (such a)  Precise undefined
 yon  (a number of)  Plural undefined
 abic  (few)  Undefined little number
 konak  (several)  Undefined medium number
 jontik  (many, much)  Undefined high number
 slik  (too many, too much)  Undefined excess
 dik  (not enough)  Undefined insufficiency
 um  (enough)  Undefined sufficiency
 le  (less)  Inferiority quantifier
 li  (as many, as much)  Equality quantifier
 lo  (more)  Superiority quantifier
 tok ?  (which ?, what ?)  Direct interrogative
 kas ?  (is there ?)  Interrogative of existence

Ex : batcoba  (this)
                  bancoba (that)
                  kotcoba  (everything)
                  kontel    (someone) (known)
bettan    (anyone) (unknown)
toktol ?  (which of the two ?)

19) The euphonic reference

Although Kotava does not have any notion of genders, which would for example depend on a termination, the « euphonic reference » rule plays a large part.

All the determinatives (adjectives, articles, numerals and participles), the possessive pronouns and total suffixes are indeed submitted to this rule. It states that these must euphonically match the substantive to which they refer ; that is to say having a similar euphonic termination. This way :

  • substantive (or pronoun) with a final consonant or semi-vowel will imply a determinative, possessive pronoun or total suffix with termination zero (necessarily a consonant)

  • substantive (or pronoun) with a final « -a » è desinence « -a »
  • substantive (or pronoun) with a final « -e » è desinence « -e »
  • substantive (or pronoun) with a final « -i » è desinence « -i »
  • substantive (or pronoun) with a final « -o » è desinence « -o »
  • substantive (or pronoun) with a final « -u » è desinence « -u »

Ex :      listaf patctoy (a beautiful landscape)
baroye blujte (three clothes)
bati sveri (this bird)

Beside the strenghening in Kotava’s harmony, this rule also allows to unambiguously express syntaxical constructions which are sometimes complex. The euphonic termination is in a way a relative pointer that clearly send to the predicate that the determinative represents.

Ex :   listafa mona poke savsafe iaxe vegeduyuna bak 1840 va dotagadesik ware dulapar
    (the Mayor is still interessed by the beautiful house near the old factory build in 1840)
Thanks to the “a” termination, we can say without a doubt it is the house (mona) that was built (vegeduyuna) in 1840, not the factory (iaxe).

Comment: Even more neutral than Lidepla

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