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Ati is my attempt at creating a true universal language based on linguistic tendency of the world's natural languages, as well as research into first- and second-language acquisition. I do not believe the world should have a universal language, as that would result in the mass destruction of culture and history. Ati is nothing more than an experiment.



The consonant system was developed with a serious look at Hawaiian, which has one of the smallest consonant inventories in the world. Unlike Ati, Hawaiian lacks /k/; [k] is an allophone of /t/. This is unusual in the world's languages, though, and speakers can distinguish the two phones with relative ease.

I included only one fricative as there is an entire language family that almost entirely lacks fricatives. Of the four modes of articulation, fricatives are also the most difficult to learn to produce.

The two most common nasals of the world are included as separate phonemes. Although they are difficult to distinguish to the ear, there are few languages that only contain one nasal. Those that do often have nasalized vowels, which Ati lacks, although a nasalized vowel may be considered allophonic with /n/ in coda.

Ati contains one more approximant than the language with the fewest approximants, and that is /r/. I've included it because languages that do not contain /r/ or /l/ in coda position almost always have vowel length as phonemic, so the inclusion of /r/ allows for that possibility for speakers who are accustomed to vowel length being differentiating, while still being understandable as a rhotic to other speakers.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Plosive p~f t k
Nasal m n
Fricative s
Approximant w r1 j
  1. Can be realized as any rhotic, lateral, rhoticization or lengthening of previous vowel, depending on the position and speaker.


There are many languages that in theory only have three vowels: /a/, /i/, and /u/. However, these languages often have diphthongization that adds /e/ (ie Blackfoot) or dialects that include /e/ (ie Arabic) that is recognizable to other speakers. This is sensible, as looking at a vowel chart, it is a further distance from /a/ and /i/ than any back vowel from /u/ and /a/. Ati's vowel system will be ruled by measurements of these distances.

Front Back
Close i o
Mid e
Open a


Many languages only allow for CV syllables, ie Hawaiian, Japanese, Blackfoot, and Pali. By my understanding, though, all of these languages have wiggle room: casual Hawaiian speech frequently omits vowels, Japanese allows for /N/ in coda and some consonants followed by voiceless vowels (ie su) can be analyzed as syllabic consonants, and Pali allows for gemination.

Ati is going to be more restrictive, allowing for consonantal codas only word-finally so that they may be followed by a voiceless high vowel or schwa if the speaker finds that particular coda difficult. It allows for /n/ or /m/ in coda position word-medially (regressively assimilating place from the following onset), which may be realized as a nasalized vowel.

Syllable structure is therefore (C)V / (C)VN / (C)Vr / (C)VC#.

V may be made up of a single vowel or a combination of two vowels of sufficient distance (ai, ao, eo, ia, io). Note that because of its proximity to schwa, no diphthong or vowel combination ends in /e/, to avoid confusion with a long vowel that may be realized as a vowel with a schwa offglide.

Asi vowels.jpg


As languages acquire more second-language learners, they become grammatically simpler and more analytical. Ati will therefore be entirely analytical, with a single morpheme to a word.

While SOV is a slightly more common word order, SVO language speakers greatly outnumber those of SOV languages. Ati will be SVO and will follow right-branching grammatical rules.

Verbal Grammar

Two aspect-tenses — imperfective (non-past), unmarked; and perfective (past): ta preceding the verb.

Negative - ne, preceding the negated phrase.

Passive - sar, preceding the verb phrase.

Nominal Grammar

Ati lacks nominal grammar almost completely at this point. Plurality, though common, is difficult to understand for speakers of languages without it. Gender is unnecessary and possession will be marked by a particle wo preceding the possessor, in a phrase following the head noun.



1s ja
2s kis
3s wan
1p jare
2p kire
3p ware


Precedes noun phrase.

this se
that ke


Base-10. The place value of a digit is given by the smallest value for that place in the following morpheme, ie "Fifty-four" literally translates to "five-ten-four".

1 pi
2 te
3 oki
4 ma
5 nina
6 ase
7 soso
8 awa
9 jai
10 ren
54 nina-ren-ma

Mood Particles

Mood particles are clause-initial.

Interrogative ka
Subjunctive osi


Ati's prepositions are based on comparing English, Finnish, Tagalog, Cree, and Japanese adpositions and removing those that did not have equivalents in all these languages.

about/around pao
after/from/than nan
among/between/with win
as/like ro
because/for te
before anan
behind asor
below anis
but rov
in si
near nar
of wo
on po
outside to
through nia
to a

Open Class


Hávamál 93-95


No man should ever ridicule
another’s love.
The lure of a beautiful woman often snares
the wise while leaving the fool.

A man should not heap abuse
on another for something
that happens to many men.
Powerful love makes fools of heroes and sages.

Only your own mind knows what is dearest
to your heart. You must counsel yourself.
There is no worse illness for a sage
than losing love for himself.


Ne ito atojo etaki
nosam wo aires.
Tekinsisim wo jose wakera sokam tetati
kasi ro rena nekasi.

Ito ne atojo mintoa
nosam te sinken
osi sar a ito rosis.
Karo aires meja nekasi kara ito kara o ito kasi.

Peri maosim wo kis sonsi nan pas sorjo sarik
te korok wo kis. Kis atojo ansi wit kis.
ne karisim ranem sarik sar te ito kasi
mer nomoa aires kara wan.