Early Ular
Native maybe phũ, "talk"
Pronunciation /ùlăr/ [uʟaɾ], low tone => falling tone
Period ca. 7000BK-5000BK
Spoken in The high mountains
Total speakers about 500,000
Writing system Ular writing system
Classification Early Ular
Basic word order OSV
Morphology Isolating
Alignment Nominative–accusative
Created by Iyionaku

Early Ular was the first descendant of the Proto-Ular language. It mainly differs from Proto-Ular that it has developed an own writing system (The Ular Consonant Writing System), allowing scholars to examine the language and its history in some detail, although due to the nature of this writing system it is not possible to know much about the vowels and tonal system with certainty.


Bilabial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular
Nasal m n ŋ







Flaps ѵ ɾ
Approximant ɹ j


Lateral Fricative
Lateral Approximant *l
Front Back
High *u ʊ
Central *o
Assumed area of Early Ular

Assumed area of Early Ular

Early Ular did not distinguish voicing in its plosives, but aspiration was contrastive. The development of the semivowel ʊ in the Early Ular diphtongs au and ua may have been an independent innovation or an areal feature imported from an aboriginal language of the mountains.

Early Ular was a tonal language, but the exact nature of this tonal system is unclear due to the consonantal writing system. The view of most current scholars is that it had only five tones, having lost the mid-high tone of Proto-Ular, which is found today only in the very small ŋaŋatau-Language.

Altogether, there are five tones now:

1 = very high, marked with acute (á, ó, ú)

2 = falling from high to low, marked with breve (ă, ŏ, ŭ)

4 = low, marked with grave (à, ò, ù)

5 = increasing from low to high, marked with circumflexe (â, ô, û)

6 = "singing" around the middle-high tone, like in a treole, marked with tilde (ã, õ, u~)

The tones 4, 5 and 6 are still named with that numbers because of the sandhi of tone 3 (look below)

Writing SystemEdit

Main article: Ular (Writing System)


Early Ular was a strictly isolating language, as the southern Ular Languages still are today. The plural on nouns was unmarked, as was the object case; for verbs, tense, person, and number were also unmarked. If necessary, the plural was shown by reduplication of the noun (Example: òlh = problem, ŏlh òlh = problems) or by the addition of a particle ká (ngò rhán = a child, ká ngŏ rhán = children).

Tone 3 SandhiEdit

As Early Ular has lost the third tone, all inherited words with that tone changed to another. Which tone it is, is dependent from the previous tone and sometimes the subsequent tone. The rules are easy.

Previous tone is 1: Tone 3 changes to tone 2

Previous tone is 2: Tone 3 changes to tone 4

Previous tone is 4: Tone 3 changes to tone 5

Previous tone is 5: Tone 3 changed to tone 1

Previous tone is 6:

Subsequent tone is 1: Tone 3 changed to tone 5

Subsequent tone is 2: Tone 3 changed to tone 1

Subsequent tone is 4: Tone 3 changed to tone 2

Subsequent tone is 5: Tone 3 changed to tone 4


Early Ular might have lost lots of the origin roots due to some mountain languages, for example the hypothetic language of the Darhadu river people, who were assimilated by the superior Ular culture, but had a very strong influence on Ular's vocabulary, whilst the grammar didn't change at all (as far as the actual Ularistic research knows). As those languages might have disyllabic words, Ular also implemented those, mainly for concepts the Proto-Ular language didn't know or treated differently. For example, while range in Proto-Ular (hypothetically) only was ngù ngù (literally mountain mountain), the probably Darhadu word khotu was adapted (as khótù) . Another example: sky (lhú mù, literally cloud sun) => tagua ('tākwá).

Altogether, about 20-40% of the Early Ular vocabulary consisted of loan words from aborigin mountain languages. In condition, Ular didn't only develop plosive codas, but even voiced plosives like in the word for settling: it was *in Proto-Ular, but became mũg in a late stage of Early Ular.

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