Ŋaŋatau is a language in the tonh-wau-valley in eastern central Ular. It's spoken just from the homonymous tribe and so has about 1,200 speakers.

It's supposed to be the very first language to separate from Proto-Ular about 8400BK. The language was very useful for scholars because due to that language, they could reconstruct that Early Ular might have had six tones instead of the five earlier assumed.


Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular
Nasal m ɱ n ŋ
  • b
  • p
  • bʰ/pʰ
  • d
  • t
  • dʰ/tʰ
  • g/k
  • gʰ/kʰ
Fricative β f s z
Approximant ɹ j
  • ʟ
Lateral Fricative
Lateral Approximant l

The consonants have rarely changed in comparison to Proto-Ular. Ŋaŋatau invented labiodental phones and fricatives, but lost both flaps for the voiced, non-aspirated plosives /b/ and /d/. Still, there is no differentiation between /g/ and /k/, they have stayed allophones. In opposition of Proto-Ular, Ŋaŋatau allows it to put plosives at the end of a syllable.

Front Back

u ɯ ʊ

Central o ɔ

ɑ ʌ

Ŋaŋatau still has only back vowels, but has differentiated them a lot.


The Ŋaŋatau has very few grammar rules; normally you can just put word by word. The word order is normally SOV, but changes in questions to SVO. Ŋaŋatau has invented a plural suffix -ɔ after consonants and -nɔ after vowels.


Due to many sound shifts, there is nearly no affinity with Proto-Ular words any more. Therefore, long times many scholars wanted to set Ŋaŋatau as an isolated language, instead of putting it in the Ular Language Family. However, there have been some word equations that have proofed the thesis after the reconstruction of Ular, because you could set regular sound shift rules.

For example, [ŋ] at the beginning of a syllable changed to [ɹ]: Ŋaŋatau (human human small, so small people) > ɹʌtɯ. Also you can see that auslauting -aʊ changed to -ɯ.

Other equations: thăw (city) > sɯ, láw (high) > wɯ, ngõ (angry, anger) > ɹu.