Noyahtowa is a conlang of J. S. Burke's Proto-Central-Mountain (PCM) family; its parents are Hlholamelo and Qapakwonaq, and its major daughters are Hanoa?tsi, Shashuska and Oh?iyopa. The PCM family is heavily inspired by Algonquian and Iroquoian.
The simple Noyahtowa consonants are p, t, k, f, s, sh, x, lh, tl, m, n, w, y, and l. The last five are inherently voiced; the others are voiceless and lenis. The vowels are a, e, i, and o; they distinguish by three degrees of pitch. Of the consonants, p, k, f and lh are rare phonemes; the most common consonants are m, n, t, and x.
Noyahtowa features a unitary head-marking morphology which is highly fusional and capable of remarkable flexibility and specificity; the language is a paradigm case of the type generally called polysynthetic. Words are often long and descriptive to a degree unknown in English, and bring to mind Sapir's "tiny imagist poems" description of the Algonquian languages.
When speakers want to express something more complex than what a single given word encompasses, they do not add words to a sentence — they make the word larger by incorporating the extra elements into it. Lawamasanan, a scribe who worked alongside Kayasahta, described his native language this way, when comparing it to what was known of Bankaska at the time:
"Unlike [Bankaska], our speech abhors a single idea cut off from all others, sitting alone. Our words are clans of many varied members. The pieces of them all gather together, stand shoulder to shoulder, and run as one."
J. S. Burke says that Noyahtowa is intended to be kinæsthetic, meaning that it emphasizes touch and sensation rather than visual or abstract ideas. It is part of a theory in linguistics that the Algonquian and Iroquoian languages are based on a mindset quite different from that of English.
The language's pronominal system distinguishes four persons (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th or obviative), two numbers (singular and plural), animacy (animate and inanimate), formality (formal and informal) and inclusivity and exclusivity on the plural first person.