1. Orthography and Pronunciation
Angos uses the Latin script with no diacritics. The chart below shows the majuscule and minuscule letters with their corresponding IPA symbol and an example sound in English (for optional/alternate pronunciations of sounds, see IPA for Angos at the bottom of the page). The use of majuscule letters is not obligatory at the beginning of a sentence or for proper nouns, but they may be used for distinction or emphasis if needed. The name of each consonant ends in "e", and the name of each vowel is just the vowel's sound (a, be ce, de, e, fe, ge...)
When writing Angos, capitalization is not required.
Diphthongs are two vowel sounds that merge into one syllable. In Angos, diphthongs can occur as follows:
au (word-final), aw [aw, aʊ] (English: cow)
eu (final), ew [ew, ɛʊ] (no English equivalent)
ou (final), ow [ow, oʊ] (English: slow)
ai/ae (final), ay [aj, aɪ] (English: tie)
ei (final), ey [ej, ɛɪ] (English: day)
oi/oe (final), oy [oj, oɪ] (English: boy)
3. Syllable Structures
The following is a schematic of the possible syllable structures in Angos.
C = consonant
V = vowel
S = semivowel (w or y)
Each syllable requires a vowel nucleus. You may have VSC (as in ayn) or SV (as in wo), but clusters such as VCS (e.g. ‘adw’) or SSV (e.g. ‘wya’) would not be allowable structures. A syllable combination of CV or CSV is preferred in multi-syllabic roots (e.g. moswo “moose” would be spoken as mo-swo instead of mos-wo).
Phonaesthetics is the study of how languages sound, whether they are euphonic (pleasant) or cacaphonic (unpleasant). The following are some guidelines for keeping Angos euphonic.
• The consonant [l] should not be adjacent to another consonant; a semivowel or vowel should precede/follow it.
• Stress is on the last syllable of the root (the penultimate syllable of an inflected word). Thus a compound word will have more than one stress point.
• Root-initial vowels have an unmarked glottal stop [ʔ] at the syllable onset ([ʔ] being the stopping sound in English “uh-oh”). This is a natural occurrence in many languages, including English, but it’s important to be aware of when putting roots together. This sound is treated as a consonant.
• Assimilation (the combining of adjacent sounds) does not occur at word boundaries. For compound words, the roots must be looked at individually. If they do not belong in any of the allowable syllable structures, then an [e] is placed at the syllable boundary.
Examples of [e] usage:
aksal-pulofo – [ʔak.`sa.le.pu.`lo.fo] “author”
yang-sesono – [`jan.ge.se.`so.no] “Summer”
aksal-ipo – [ʔak.`sa.le.`ʔi.po] “note, letter”
Root-initial vowels will always have [ʔ]:
omo – [`ʔo.mo] “person”
mek-omo – [`mek.`ʔo.mo] “engineer, director”
dawa-omo – [da.`wa.`ʔo.mo] “doctor”
boka-omo – [bo.`ka.`ʔo.mo] “actor/actress”
• Consonant gemination (elongation) may occur if the boundaries are identical: ays-sesono – [`ays:e`so.no]. This can be seen in English at the boundaries of two words with the same consonant sound (ex. “this sock”). Similarly, if two vowels are beside each other, the sound may be elongated: bisaa – [bi.`sa:]. Note that the stress in this word still falls on the penultimate written vowel.
II. Parts of Speech and Morphology
1. Part of Speech Classifiers
In Angos, every root is based on a noun. This is to regulate derivations and is based on the idea that nouns are the most stable concepts cross-linguistically compared to verbs or adjectives. For example, most languages have the same concept of “dog” (the friendly, barking mammal), compared to a verb like “to be” (which doesn’t even exist in some languages).
Angos uses a system of letter classifiers affixed to the root to designate a word’s part of speech in a sentence. Note that even though roots are already based on nouns, there is still a noun vowel classifier for the purpose of euphony.
Nouns end in o
Verbs end in a
Adjectives end in i
Adverbs end in u
Here is an example of the root ot with all vowel classifiers
and various meanings.
oto – fire
ota – burn, set fire to
oti – hot, flame-like
otu – hotly, in a flame-like way
2. Natuli and Om-sanati
Words are split into two aspects: natuli (natural) and om-sanati (constructed). The natural aspect is unmarked. The constructed aspect is marked with –s after the initial vowel classifier, and signifies that the root is man-made. The use of this distinction is to show a shared characteristic between the words, such as look or function. The meaning of the constructed aspects depends on context in which it is used.
leiso (cave, canopy) vs. leisos (house, bunker)
fao (tree) vs. faos (branched diagram, plastic tree)
ayso (ice) vs. aysos (ice cube, shaved ice)
Nouns in Angos are static; they do not change for definitiveness, number, or grammatical case.
houses (where le signals plurality)
to a/the house
As shown above, articles (a/an, the) are not present in Angos. Instead, determiners (this, that, some, any, etc.) are used to indicate definitiveness.
Following the use of the noun ending –o and the plural particle le, pronouns have the following configuration:
wo – I, me le wo – we, us
to – you le to – you all
lo – he/she/it, him, her le lo – they, them
Although there is no obligatory gender assignment, the following roots can be compounded with pronouns to denote gender:
na – male
na-omo – man
ni – female
ni-omo – woman
kwi – non-binary
kwi-omo – genderqueer individual
The generic pronoun is expressed with the word omo “person”:
omo bisaa finda lo ine buk-oyos
One can find him in the library
Possessive pronouns are formed be replacing the noun classifier o with the adjective classifier i.
wi – my, mine
le wi – our, ours
ti – your, yours
le ti – your, yours
li – his, hers, its
le li – their, theirs
Because there are no inherent verb roots in Angos, the meaning of a word with the verb ending is dependent on the context of the noun root used. For example, ota, from the root ot- meaning "fire", does not inherently mean "burn". It is instead any action related to the use of "fire" in context.
The tree is burning
wo ota momos
I light the candle
(in this sense, applying fire to something)
Verbs do not conjugate for person, number, tense, aspect, or mood.
I eat / I am eating.
wo ala tofao
I eat/I am eating an apple.
All verbs in Angos are ambitransitive; their meanings can change depending on the presence of an object. If an object is present, the verb will act transitively. If there is no object, the verb is intransitive, but the action is not directed back to the subject (see Reflexivity below).
I am talking
wo ansa angos
I speak Angos
wo sona lo
I cause it to sleep (also see Modality for causatives)
Reflexivity (when an action is directed back to the subject) can be expressed or emphasized with the adverb idu:
I collide (with something, habitually)
wo idu iska
I hit myself
6. Adjectives and Adverbs
Adjectives describe a shared quality or possession. The shared qualities may vary depending on context. For example, oti (from the root ot “fire”) could mean “hot”, “flame-like”, “red-orange”, or even “quick-spreading”, depending on context. Adjectives may take the function of nouns, making whatever they modify understood in context:
to desa ki?
Which [thing] do you want?
wo desa lafi
I want the small [one]
Adverbs describe the manner in which something is done. They are derived in the same way as adjectives, but may only modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.
"Particles" is a catch-all category that includes prepositions, conjunctions, determiners, some adverbs, and interjections. All these words end in -e and, if applicable, precede whatever they modify.
The present tense is unmarked. The general past is indicated by the particle me. The general future is indicated by ke. These particles are adverbial, preceding the verb.
wo me ala
wo ke ala
I will eat
The particle se is used to denote positivity or affirmation, while nae signals negation.
se, wo me ine leisos
Yes, I was in the house
se, wo se me ine leisos
Yes, I was in the house
nae, wo nae me ine leisos
No, I was not in the house
The existential particle tae is a special case, as it functions like a verb. The closest English translation is “there is” or “there are”. It may be accompanied by tense particles.
tae tin tofao
There are three apples
me tae tin tofao
There were three apples
ke tae tin tofao
There will be three apples
This particle is also used to express possession.
de wo, tae mao
At me, there is a cat (I have a cat)
Conjunctions link together two clauses and are split into two sub-groups: coordinating and subordinating. Coordinating conjunctions may be used to link words or clauses. Between the contents of lists, the conjunction ye is still obligatory if the contents are three or more.
to maya de tofao ye nesteos
You buy an apple and a drink
de to, tae mao ye tesemo ye ikano
You have a cat, a dog, and a fish
The coordinating conjunction oe is also obligatory between
each listed item.
to bisaa maya de tofao oe nesteos oe nano
You can buy an apple, a drink, or bread
Subordinating conjunctions require that the following clause be dependent on another clause. Note that the duplication of the verb in the subordinate clause is not required.
wo ke ala isue wo talua (ala)
I will eat because I must (eat)
wo ke ala be wo talua (ala)
I will eat if I must (eat)
The option also exists to front the dependent clause and include the adverb sayu (therefore) in the following independent clause:
isue wo talua, wo sayu ke ala
Because I have to, I will therefore eat
be wo talua, wo sayu ke ala
If I have to, I will therefore eat
Prepositions link words in a sentence with a spatial or temporal relationship. Prepositions are unique in that they may be inflected with a vowel classifier to denote a part of speech related to the preposition:
nife – near
nifeo – the near one
nifea – go near, put near
nifei – nearby
nifeu – nearly, almost
Temporal prepositions are distinguished from spatial prepositions with the prefix hi-:
fe – from
hife – since
ante – in front of
hiante – until, before
The prepositions mwe and tongwe both mean “with”, but mwe is used strictly with association, while tongwe is used for instrumental purposes.
wo gia mwe wi akio
I walk with my friend
wo aksala tongwe ink-olos
I write with a pen
All numbers in Angos end in -n, but may also be inflected further with part-of-speech classifiers.
ayn - one (of something)
ayno - the only one
ayna - do something singularly/one at a time
ayni/aynu - lone, only
0 - nun
1 - ayn
2 - don
3 - tin
4 - kan
5 - keyn
6 - sen
7 - sun
8 - okon
9 - nowan
10 - den
11 - den-ayn
12 - den-don
20 - don-den
21 - don-den-ayn
100 - (ayn) syen
121 - ayn-syen-don-den-ayn
1000 - (ayn) syon
1121 - ayn-syon-ayn-syen-don-den-ayn
10,000 - den-syon
100,000 – (ayn) syen-syon
million - eseon
billion - ospen
trillion - ohanen
quadrillion – lanun
infinity - ikwin
Ordinality is expressed with the root sol (series) compounded to the number, then with the number being inflected. These may be abbreviated in the format:
s + # + (classifier)
I am the third one
wo sol-doni omo
I am the second person
wo ke s1u ala
I will eat first
I am the second one
1. Word Order
Angos uses Subject-Verb-Object word order, with modifiers preceding what they modify.
mao ala nesumo
[The] cat eats [the] mouse
bali mao gatiu ala lafi nesumo
[The] big cat quickly eats [the] small mouse
For modal verbs such as bisaa "can" or desa "want", the secondary verb (if there is one), is placed after the modal.
lo bisaa aksala
He/She can write
Descriptors will still precede each of the verbs.
lo bisaa gatiu aksala
He/She can write quickly
2. Indirect Objects
Indirect object phrases are formed with the preposition de, and are placed after the direct object if applicable.
wo fema de le lo
I teach them (something)
wo fema espan-ango de le lo
I teach them Spanish
3. Passive Voice
The passive voice in Angos is formed with the particle te, placed immediately in front of the verb.
kalimo te aksala dafe ipos
[The] word is written on [the] paper
windawgos me te tayla fe wo
[The] window was broken by me
4. Comparative and Superlative
The comparative particles in Angos are sele for augmentative and naele for diminutive, with the particle de linking the comparison to another noun. These particles may also be used to mean “more of” or “less of” something, respectively.
wo sele cahai
I am taller
wo naele cahai de to
I am not as tall as you
wi cahao balansi de ti
I am as tall as you (lit. my height is equal to yours)
wo kala naele alo
I want less food
The superlative particles are sefe and naefe, rendered in the same manner as above.
wo naefe cahai
I am the least tall
wo sefe cahai de le to
I am the tallest (out of you all)
wo kala sefe alo
I want the most food
6. Multiple Modifiers
This is a list of priorities in case there is more than one modifier:
le + demonstrative + adjective + noun
fi seyni ni-omo
this old woman
le fi seyni ni-omo
these old women
When using possessive pronouns (wi, ti, li, etc.), the order changes slightly, in that the possessive pronoun (although an adjective) will precede all other modifiers. This is to prevent confusion with the plural possessive pronouns (le wi, le ti, le li):
wi sang-ami bukos
my red book
wi le sang-ami bukos
my red books
le wi sang-ami bukos
our red book
le wi le sang-ami bukos
our red books
(se, nae) + adverbs + (me, ke) + te + verb
kalimo te aksala
The word is written
kalimo me te aksala
The word was written
kalimo gatiu me te aksala
The word was written quickly
kalimo nae gatiu me te aksala
The word was not written quickly
7. Prepositional Phrases
Prepositional phrases are formed with a preposition, modifiers of the object, then the object(s) of the preposition. Prepositional phrases may only begin or end a sentence. If placed at the beginning, the prepositional phrase may be separated from the main clause by a comma.
ine leisos, mao ala nesumo
In the house, the cat eats the mouse
mao ala nesumo ine leisos
The cat eats the mouse in the house
The presence of a preposition can influence the meaning of the verb if context is unclear.
wo ansa mwe to
I talk to you/I talk with you
wo ansa de to
I tell you
8. Relative Clauses
Unlike some languages, Angos does not use pronouns to introduce a relative clause. Instead, the particle lae is used.
na-omo lae wo me wia
The man who I saw
oyo lae me cea
The place where it happened
leisos lae (lis) windawgos tayli
The house whose (its) windows are broken
9. Forming Questions
Questions can be formed with the polar question particle ce or an interrogative determiner (who, what, when, etc.). Ce demands a yes/no answer:
ce lo hefo?
Is it an animal?
ce to kala gi-gola?
Do you like to play soccer?
An interrogative determiner demands an answer that matches its function in the sentence.
lo ki omo?
Who is it? ("It [is] what person")
lo bali omo
It is a big person
to gia de semyao hie ki ceo?
When are you going home?
wo gia de semyao hie post-hio
I'm going home tomorrow
IV. Determiner Radicals
Angos uses a series of radicals to construct determiners by pairing them with vowel classifiers.
These determiners are syntactically bound to their classifiers (e.g. ku, like other adverbs, can only be placed before a verb or adjective). Other determiners, such as time, place, person, and reason, can be formed with adjective radicals.
Angos employs heavy use of endocentric compounding, in which the head of the compound modifies the following root. Compounds are formed by root junction, with a dash (-) separating each root. The root at the end of the compound is the focus, and is the one that inflects for part-of-speech. Compound words may have as many roots necessary to form the idea, though the majority of compounds are between two and three roots in length.
With the root tesem (dog) + leis (shelter) + constructed noun ending os. leis is the focus of the compound, and tesem describes the purpose or quality of the following root. In this context, it is a man-made shelter for a dog.
yel (sky) + hay (vessel) + oy (place) + os. Air describes vessel (airplane), and air vessel describes the place.
This gives rise to several category roots:
oyo – a place where one finds something
fa-oyo = tree place = forest
kon-oyos = study place = school
buk-oyos = book place = library
omo – a person who works with something
mek-omo = system person = engineer
lag-omo = law person = lawyer
kon-omo = study person = student
amo – the color of something
kafe-amo = coffee color = brown
fa-amo = tree color = brown
yel-amo = sky color = light blue
eyfo – an area or region of something
bal-eyfo = mountain region = mountain range
lahol-eyfo = drought region = desert
aluk-eyfo = hierarchy region = state
If two compounded roots break a phonological rule, an unmarked vowel sound [e] or [ɛ] should be placed between the roots to maintain phonaesthetics. Thus yel-hay (airplane) in the previous example would be rendered phonetically as [`je.le.`haj], as the consonant l should be succeeded by a vowel or semivowel.
Grammatical mood (how one expresses opinions, assertions, or needs) in Angos is unmarked, but some verbs indicate different modal aspects. When using a subordinate noun clause, a comma is placed after the verb.
wo talua gia
I must go
wo talua alo
I need food
wo talua, to maya de fo
I need you to buy this
wo desa gia
I want to go
wo desa, to ala
I want you to eat
Ability and Permission:
wo bisaa gia
I can/may go
wo hopa gia
I hope to go
wo hopa, to gia
I hope that you go
wo eska, fo istini
I believe that this is true
wo noa, lo me gia
I know that he/she left
wo koda, to gia
I cause/allow you to go
Because of the strict word order rules in Angos, cause can be expressed in a normal sentence (without koda) by the presence of an object. wo sona “I sleep” can change to wo sona lo “I cause him/her to sleep”. Because of the word order, you know that lo has to be receiving the action of sona. In this context, it is a causative action.
Evidentiality may be expressed with the adverbs bewisu (evidently, obviously), and bisau (uncertainly, possibly).
lo bewisu me gatia
He/she obviously ran
lo bisau me gatia
He/she probably ran
Commands are simply the verb form without a subject. Negative commands will have nae before them.
The deontic adverbial particles sefame or naefame indicate how the world should or should not be, respectively.
le wo sefame ala
We should eat
to naefame ala
You should not eat
Proper nouns, names of people or places, are treated like any other roots. They can be fully inflected as shown below:
cono - John
cona - do something associated with John
coni - John’s; like John
conu - like John does
beycingo - Beijing
beycinga - do something associated with Beijing
beycingi - Beijing’s; like Beijing
beycingu - like Beijing does
The use of these inflections is mostly stylistic, to replace prepositions or to adjust rhyme and meter. It is recommended that context be clear if these inflections are used.
wo gia de londono ≈ wo londona
I go to London
For transcribing names, they should be within the acceptable phonological structures for Angos. The name in its language of origin is preferred (ex. Nippon over Japan) Any sound that does not occur in Angos should be given the closest approximation.
IPA for Angos
Example Sound in Angos
Example Sound in English
oval (but without the rounding of the lips)
English Received Pronunciation (England) bog
uh-oh, English Received Pronunciation (England) button
(none, but similar to English Received Pronunciation “sew”)
bisaa “to be able to”
marks an elongated sound