Ithkuil/Roots and Stems

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Ithkuil has 45 consonants and 15 vowels. Because the script does not directly map phonemes to graphemes, a romanization system is used to help with pronounciation.


The consonantal characters explicitly mark the pronunciation of words. These are used in roots and proper nouns, as well as in word suffixes and mathematical expressions. Note that the digraphs dh and xh are individual consonants.

Symbol IPA Character Audio Description
b [b] Ithkuil-cons-b.jpg
c [ts] Ithkuil-cons-c.jpg
As in bits
c’ [ts’] Ithkuil-cons-c-ejct.jpg
Ejective c
[tsʰ] Ithkuil-cons-c-asp.jpg Aspirated c
ç [ç] Ithkuil-cons-c-cedilla.jpg
As in human
č [tʃ] Ithkuil-cons-c-hacek.jpg
As in chin; not aspirated or rounded
č’ [tʃ’] Ithkuil-cons-c-hacek-ejct.jpg Ejective č
čʰ [tʃʰ] Ithkuil-cons-c-haceck-asp.jpg Aspirated č
d [d̪] Ithkuil-cons-d.jpg
Tongue pressed against back of upper teeth
dh [ð] Ithkuil-cons-dh.jpg
As in the
f [f] Ithkuil-cons-f.jpg
g [g] Ithkuil-cons-g.jpg
h [h] Ithkuil-cons-h.jpg
When doubled, the upper and lower teeth come closer together. Alternatively pronounced double as Arabic ح
j [dʒ] Ithkuil-cons-j.jpg
Not rounded
k [k] Ithkuil-cons-k.jpg
Not aspirated
k’ [k’] Ithkuil-cons-k-ejct.jpg
Ejective k
[kʰ] Ithkuil-cons-k-asp.jpg Aspirated k
l [l] Ithkuil-cons-l.jpg
Lighter sound of Romance languages
ļ [ɬ] Ithkuil-cons-l-cedilla.jpg
Similar to l with forceful breathing of h
m [m] Ithkuil-cons-m.jpg
n [n̪] Ithkuil-cons-n.jpg
Tongue pressed against back of upper teeth
ň [ŋ] Ithkuil-cons-n-hacek.jpg
As in ringer, not as in finger
p [p] Ithkuil-cons-p.jpg
Not aspirated
p’ [p’] Ithkuil-cons-p-ejct.jpg
Ejective p
[pʰ] Ithkuil-cons-p-asp.jpg
q [q] Ithkuil-cons-q.jpg
Tongue pressed against uvula
q’ [q’] Ithkuil-cons-q-ejct.jpg
Ejective q
[qʰ] Ithkuil-cons-q-asp.jpg Aspirated q
r [ɾ], [r] Ithkuil-cons-r.jpg
Short and long (doubled) pronounciations given
ř [ʁ] Ithkuil-cons-r-hacek.jpg
As in French or German.
s [s] Ithkuil-cons-s.jpg
š [ʃ] Ithkuil-cons-s-hacek.jpg
As in shore; not rounded
t [t̪] Ithkuil-cons-t.jpg
Not aspirated; tongue pressed against back of upper teeth
t’ [t̪’] Ithkuil-cons-t-ejct.jpg
Ejective t
[t̪ʰ] Ithkuil-cons-t-asp.jpg
Aspirated t
ţ [θ] Ithkuil-cons-t-cedilla.jpg
As in thought
v [v] Ithkuil-cons-v.jpg
w [w] Ithkuil-cons-w.jpg
x [x] Ithkuil-cons-x.jpg
Similar to k with breathing of h
xh [χ] Ithkuil-cons-xh.jpg
Similar to a gargle without chord vibration
y [j] Ithkuil-cons-y.jpg
z [z] Ithkuil-cons-z.jpg
ż [dz] Ithkuil-cons-z-dot.jpg
As in roads
ž [ʒ] Ithkuil-cons-z-hacek.jpg
As in measure; not rounded
[ʔ] Ithkuil-cons-glottalstop.jpg
Pause between uh-oh or fattening

Below is a chart of the handwritten consonants.

Handwritten consonants


In addition, there are 29 extensions that can be placed on the bottom of consonantal characters as prefixes.

l+ Ithkuil-prefix-l.jpg m+ Ithkuil-prefix-m.jpg r+ Ithkuil-prefix-r.jpg ļ+ Ithkuil-prefix-l-cedille.jpg n+ Ithkuil-prefix-n.jpg
s+ Ithkuil-prefix-s.jpg š+ Ithkuil-prefix-s-hacek.jpg ň+ Ithkuil-prefix-n-hacek.jpg z+ Ithkuil-prefix-z.jpg ř+ Ithkuil-prefix-r-hacek.jpg
ç+ Ithkuil-prefix-c-cedille.jpg c+ Ithkuil-prefix-c.jpg č+ Ithkuil-prefix-c-hacek.jpg f+ Ithkuil-prefix-f.jpg k+ Ithkuil-prefix-k.jpg
p+ Ithkuil-prefix-p.jpg q+ Ithkuil-prefix-q.jpg t+ Ithkuil-prefix-t.jpg x+ Ithkuil-prefix-x.jpg ţ+ Ithkuil-prefix-t-cedille.jpg
b+ Ithkuil-prefix-b.jpg xh+ Ithkuil-prefix-xh.jpg d+ Ithkuil-prefix-d.jpg j+ Ithkuil-prefix-j.jpg ž+ Ithkuil-prefix-z-hacek.jpg
ż+ Ithkuil-prefix-z-dot.jpg g+ Ithkuil-prefix-g.jpg dh+Ithkuil-prefix-dh.jpg double Ithkuil-germinate.jpg

Below is a chart of the handwritten consonant extensions applied to the letters t, k and g.


There are also 13 diacritics that serve as suffixes, prefixes, or, as will later be seen, tone markings.

Ithkuil-cpt-epi-low-w.jpg Ithkuil-prc-alt-high-y.jpg Ithkuil-cpt-alt-mid-l.jpg Ithkuil-inc-rise-r.jpg Ithkuil-ine-alg-fall-r-hacek.jpg Ithkuil-pst-exv-fall-rise-m.jpg Ithkuil-efc-axm-rise-fall-n.jpg
+w +y +l +r +m +n
Ithkuil-sub-s.jpg Ithkuil-inc-alt-rfu-z.jpg Ithkuil-sub-s-hacek.jpg Ithkuil-efc-alt-thr-z-hacek.jpg Ithkuil-pst-alt-reb-f-v.jpg Ithkuil-ine-alt-ipu-t-cedille.jpg
s+ z+ š+ ž+ f / v+ ţ / dh+


The vowel extensions below only apply to proper nouns. They can be used alone with a top bar or with one of the above consonantal characters.

Symbol IPA Character Audio Description
a [a] Ithkuil-topextens02.jpg
As in Spanish or Italian la
â [ɑ] Ithkuil-topextens04.jpg
As in all
e [ɛ] Ithkuil-topextens07.jpg
As in bet; pronounced as a short ê when followed by a vowel other than u
ê [eː] Ithkuil-topextens08.jpg
As in Spanish este or Italian cadere or French dé
ë [ə] Ithkuil-topextens11.jpg
As in nut
i [I] Ithkuil-topextens09.jpg
As in sit; pronounced as a short î at the end or a word or when followed by a vowel other than u
î [iː] Ithkuil-topextens10.jpg
As in Spanish or Italian libro or French litre
o [ɔ] Ithkuil-topextens05.jpg
As in short
ô [oː] Ithkuil-topextens06.jpg
As in Spanish or Italian cosa
ö [ø] [œ] Ithkuil-topextens17.jpg Ithkuil-topextens16.jpg
As in French feu or neuf
u [ʊ] Ithkuil-topextens12.jpg
As in put or look; pronounced as a short û at the end of a word or when followed by a vowel other than i
û [uː] Ithkuil-topextens13.jpg
As in Spanish or Italian puta or crudo
ü [ʉ] [y] Ithkuil-topextens15.jpg Ithkuil-topextens14.jpg
As in a highland Scottish pronunciation of English book or good; alternatively as in French du or German über
- [æ] Ithkuil-topextens15.jpg
Used in transliteration.
- [ɯ]
Used in transliteration.

It is important to be able to distinguish between the main 13 vowels. For example, tal and tâl use different cases. The former means lifeform, while the latter is in a possessive case (lifeform's).

unrounded • rounded Front Central Back
High î • (ü) • ü • û
Mid-High i • • u
Mid ê • ö ë • • ô
Mid-Low e • ö • o
Low a • â •


The diphthongs ai, au, ei, eu, ëi, ëu, iu, oi, ou, öi, öu and ui are monosyllabic. They are pronounced aî, aû, êî, eû, ëî, ëû, iû, oî, oû, öî, öû, and uî respectively. All other vowel pairs are disyllabic. To mark them as disyllabic conjuncts, a grave is written over the second vowel unless it is stressed, in which case the accent becomes an acute.

By default, Ithkuil words have a falling tone and stress on the second-to-last (penultimate) syllable.

Vocalic allophones

The diacritics below are used in proper nouns to transliterate tone.

Ithkuil-cpt-epi-low-w.jpg Ithkuil-prc-alt-high-y.jpg Ithkuil-cpt-alt-mid-l.jpg Ithkuil-inc-rise-r.jpg Ithkuil-ine-alg-fall-r-hacek.jpg Ithkuil-pst-exv-fall-rise-m.jpg Ithkuil-efc-axm-rise-fall-n.jpg
low high mid rising falling fall-rise rise-fall

As an exercise, try to write your own name using the consonantal characters and character extensions.


Every root has three holistic stems (which are applied to three patterns): stem 1 refers to the general concept, stem 2 usually refers to a specific or tangible instance, and stem 3 usually refers to another reference or related concept.

Root: -d- Root: -x- Root: -q-
Pattern 1 Stem 1 (a)dal name and referent; being called Pattern 1 Stem 1 (a)xal sight Pattern 1 Stem 1 (a)qal higher-order being
Pattern 1 Stem 2 edal designation and referent; being referred to as Pattern 1 Stem 2 exal eye Pattern 1 Stem 2 eqal human
Pattern 1 Stem 3 udal label and referent; going by a nickname Pattern 1 Stem 3 uxal visualize Pattern 1 Stem 3 uqal beast

The three stems are complementary even if another pattern or format is used on the root. By default, Ithkuil words are stressed on the second-to-last (penultimate) syllable. Note that the a can be omitted before the root if there are no preceding characters and the stress is penultimate. In analysis, this word's stress would still be considered penultimate.

Root: -q- Root: -q- Root: -q- [formal]
P2 S1 oqal male higher-order being P3 S1 âqal female higher-order being P1 S1 aqál officially designated person / beast
P2 S2 öqal man P3 S2 êqal woman P1 S2 eqál authorized person
P2 S3 îqal /  ûqal male beast P3 S3 ôqal female beast P1 S3 uqál pet / zoo animal
-mm- -t-
P1 S1 nuclear family member P1 S1 living thing
P1 S2 male family member P1 S2 animal
P1 S3 female family member P1 S3 plant
P2 S1 parent P2 S1 male being
P2 S2 father P2 S2 male animal
P2 S3 mother P2 S3 male plant
P3 S1 child P3 S1 female being
P3 S2 son P3 S2 female animal
P3 S3 daughter P3 S3 female plant

formal roots

Stems and pattern[edit]

Pattern 1 Pattern 2 Pattern 3
Stem 1 Stem 2 Stem 3 Stem 1 Stem 2 Stem 3 Stem 1 Stem 2 Stem 3
(a)- e- u- o- ö- î- / û- â- ê- ô-



  1. Write the following names in the handwritten script, including epal prior to each:
    1. Platôn
    2. /Qin ~Shi /Huang
    3. gaius kaesar
    4. Cicero
    5. Jesus
    6. Muhammad
    7. Genghis Khan
    8. Martin Luther
    9. Galileo Galilei
    10. John Smith
    11. Rene Descartes
    12. Newton
    13. Bach
    14. Jefferson
    15. Mozart
    16. Nietzsche
    17. Gandhi
    18. Einstein
    19. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    20. Elvis Presley
  2. Translate the following places
    1. New York
  3. Write your name in the Ithkuil scriptǃ

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