The Tulukēman language had developed before circa -200 EA from the relatively conservative Tulukeilani dialect of the Saalani language in the forests to the north of the Yon region. Tulukēman is an autonym meaning "language of the forest people".

This language was spoken by the Tulukē people. As the people of Xunamaru and elsewhere in the Yon Islands began to expand circa -100 EA, they displaced the Tulukē, who retreated north into the taiga. The Tulukē had very recently adopted antelope husbandry from the islands, and in the taiga these refugees adopted the lifestyle of nomadic antelope pastoralists, ranging thousands of miles over the Borean tundra.



Front Back
Close i u
Open-Mid ɛ
Open ɑ


Labial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Plain Affricate
Nasals m n ŋ
Plosives p t ts k ʔ
Fricatives s x h
Lateral l
Trill r


The romanized Tulukēman alphabet consists of 17 letters: ' a e i u m n ŋ p t k c s x h l r. The apostrophe represents the glottal stop, and <c> represents the affricate /ts/. The only diacritic used is a macron, which marks a vowel that is pronounced twice as long.


Tulukēman is a mora-timed language. Tulukēman is a very simple syllable structure, (C)V(V)(n). Many roots conform to the pattern CVCV, while many function particles conform to the pattern CV or VCV.


Tulukēman developed from Saalani, an isolating, right-branching language in which adjectives followed nouns, direct objects followed verbs, and adpositions were prepositional.


Nouns are inflected to indicate singulative-collective-plural number. The collective form is the unmarked form of the noun. The singulative form is marked by the clitic adposition lu. The plural form is marked by the clitic adposition si for animate nouns and -n for inanimate nouns.

Swadesh listEdit

English Tulukēman
1 I tēlu
2 you (sing.) mālu
3 he kūlu
4 we tēn