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a Tech FAQ, finally!!

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 25, 2002, 22:35
I just posted this to the Files section of the Yahoo! Groups page. I'll post
it here too if y'all are interested. This is version 1.0


Q: What is Tech?
A: Tech is a classical-type language spoken by the Techians, a race in my
work in progress, a novel/RPG setting called FourHorse. This takes place on
Earth in the semi-distant future, probably the mid-to-late 21st century or
the early 22nd century. The world has been united under one government, like
a United States of Earth of sorts. A liberal, democratic-socialist
government becomes replaced by a right-wing imperialist régime, and obvious
conflicts ensue, especially between the humans and two humanoid races,
tentatively called Elves and Orcs (borrowing from JRR Tolkien of course).

Q: Who are the Techians?
A: The Techians are a race of humanoids, much like the Elves of Tolkien's
Middle Earth, which are actually incarnated spiritual beings, like angels or
djinn, or in some cases demons. They are fragile yet fair physically, and
highly advanced technologically and intellectually. Though for the most part
benevolent, they can be mischevious at times. They are also aloof and often
nomadic, avoiding too much contact with humans. A few, however, are evil,
tempting the morally weak with powerful dark magics and the powers of death
and Hell. They have an ancient naturalistic and pantheistic religion, but
many today have converted to Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
There are a tiny number of Techian Jews, who have their own distinctive
dialect, like Yiddish is in relation to German or Ladino to Spanish.

Q: Where do Techians live?
A: The Elves have three main ethnic varieties: Caucasian (or "Armenian"),
East African (or "Ethiopian"), and Himalayan (or "Tibetan"). Though they are
based in mountainous areas, they enjoy forest or savannah settings and
travel very far and very often. Techian caravans can be anywhere in the
world, and many have migrated to the New World long before Columbus.

Q: What are Techians like?
A: They're smaller and slightly shorter than humans, and relatively
physically weak. They make up for that in their beauty and charm. Some in
the Islamic world say the females are really houris, the maidens of
Paradise. They live about twice as long as humans, sometimes upwards of 120
to 150 years. They move swiftly and quietly, and are unconquerable in
natural settings.

Q: How does Tech sound?
A: It's a very "exotic" language in Western terms, as it has many consonants
particular to Semitic languages like Arabic, as well as "ejectives" found in
Georgian and other Caucasian languages. Some might say it is "guttural" or
"rough", yet beautiful and powerful. This is because of the number of
glottal and pharyngeal consonants as well as the many fricatives, like "th"
in thorn or "ch" in Scottish "loch". There are also front rounded and back
unrounded vowels, like the Turkic languages. Even retroflexes exist, as in
the languages of India. The sound of a Spanish trilled "r" and a French
guttural "r" can both be heard.

Q: Is there a grammar?
A: There needs to be, indeed. Tech will be a highly inflected language, with
some polysynthetic elements. The main inspirations: Arabic and Semitic in
general (root system, verbal derivations, internal inflections, verb-first
word order, Hebrew shva vowels and consonant lenition), Georgian
(polypersonal verbal construction and mixed-ergative subject-object
relation), and the many Indo-European languages (eight-case system,
Germanic-style Umlaut and Grimm's Law for IE roots, Celtic-style mutation
and Slavic-style hard/soft consonants, Armenian-style consonant clusters).

Q: Is Tech finished yet?
A: Not even close! All I have are the phonology (consonants and vowels) and
the geography and demography made out. I have plans for several dialects,
based on various tribes, regions and religions. I got a few hundred -- maybe
a thousand or more -- basic word roots from Bomhard's version of Nostratic,
as well as Semitic and Indo-European.

Q: Is Tech related to any natural language?
A: Yes, very much so. But by current science of comparative linguistics, it
might be considered an isolate. Ultimately, it is a unique branch of the
Nostratic superfamily of languages, a hypothetical "missing link" common to
a huge number of languages, including Indo-European, Afro-Asiatic
(Hamito-Semitic), Ural, Altaic, Kartvelian (South Caucasian) and Dravidian,
and possibly even Eskimo-Aleut and Sumerian. The language will have a large
number of loanwords from numerous classical languages: Hebrew, Arabic,
Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Avestan, and others. Currently, I'm concentrating a
lot on Arabic, since that's the language I'm so interested in now (as well
as the Islamic religion and Middle East culture in general, not to mention

Q: Who is actually making up this thing?
A: I'm just a guy from Lufkin, Texas, 31 years old going on 32, didn't go to
college much but I taught myself a lot of linguistics on the internet and at
the library at Stephen F. Austin State in Nacogdoches (20 mi/32 km north of
Lufkin). My main vocation is music: I sing and play a few instruments and do
all styles, mostly alternative/progressive rock. I'm also a freelance
composer of neo-classical music, much like my idol, the late Frank Zappa.
Languages are my second big interest. I'm also off-and-on into sci-fi and
fantasy literature; right now I'm on a big Tolkien fix because of the recent
movies (great work, Peter Jackson!). I'm about to move to Washington, DC, to
further my education, and to be with my soon-to-be wife, who was born in
Iran and is studying to be a lawyer.

Q: Why Tech?
A: Several reasons. First, for fun. Second, as an extension of my love of
real-world languages. Third, as an experiment to really understand general
linguistics from the inside-out. Fourth, because I'm creative by nature.
Fifth, to use as a "secret code" with close associates perhaps, or at least
for talking to God, my cat and myself. Sixth, because I'm a Tolkien/Lucas
wannabe (read about his "Secret Vice" sometime). Seventh and finally, this
is just something I've done off and on since I was a teenager, an ongoing
project that started as an alternative phonetic alphabet for English (like
Deseret), which I don't even remember.

Q: When is this going to be finished?
A: Years from now. Actually it'll never be finished, until I'm dead at
least. Or maybe someone may be bored enough to take on this project after

Last update: 25 December 2002