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SKETCH: Left-handed language :)

From:Amanda Babcock <langs@...>
Date:Friday, April 19, 2002, 20:28
A brief sketch in honor of my dumping a mug of boiling water on my right
hand, something that I can type without it :)


The language contains the following phonemes (chart looks best in non-
proportional font with tab stops set every 8 characters):

        Bilabial        Labiodental     Alveolar        Alveopalatal    Velar

Stops   b                               td
Affric.                                                 c               g
Fric.                   fv              sz              q               x
Liquids w                               r

Plus the vowels a and e.

(Interesting that the only stops missing are p and k, which happen to be
the only stops *available* in the Dvorak version of left-handed-language...)


The language, unlike its Dvorakian cousin, is largely unpunctuated, having
only the exclamation point, and on some keyboards, the tilde.


The number system is base five, but not a place value system; it lacks zero
and has a character for five.  Numbers are constructed as in Japanese:
anything over 5 is indicated by a multiplier, then 5, then the remainder.
So 254 is read "two fives and four".  The numbers from one to twenty-five:

        1 2 3 4 5 51 52 53 54 25 251 252 253 254 35 351 352 353 354
        45 451 452 453 454 55

Larger numbers would be indicated as x55y5z, or "x times 25 and y times 5
and z", and so on.


It's ergative, agglutinating and non-fusional.  No difference between verbs
and adjectives.  Verb-initial.  Absolutive case unmarked.  Indication of
number is optional and occurs only on nouns and pronouns.  Tenses and moods
can't be combined, only room for one on the verb.  No noun-verb agreement.

All suffixes, no prefixes.  If a verb comes after a noun, that verb is the
start of a relative clause modifying the noun.  The end of the relative
clause is unmarked, causing ambuguity in the written language.

Verbs end in 'a', nouns in 'e', pronouns in either, case/tense/mood endings
are consonants.  The plural is -ve on pronouns, -v- before the final 'e'
on nouns.


ae      exclamation of surprise or pain
bada    v. to be hot
feva    v. to be cold
veza    v. to be painful
xaza    v. to be cursed
waca    v. to jump, to be thrown
bava    v. to fall, to be dropped
reta    v. to be more of something
gaza    v. to be available
qade    n. water
rese    n. microwave
bege    n. cup, mug
vere    n. hand
wa      1st person pronoun
be      2nd person pronoun
ze      3rd person pronoun
-v- or -ve      plural infix/ending
-g      present tense ending
-r      past tense ending
-b      subjunctive mood ending
-t      optative mood ending
-x      imperative mood ending
-q      question ending (what's the linguist-ese for this?)
-d      genitive case ending
-c      ergative case ending
-f      elative (from) case ending
-s      illative (toward, into) case ending
-w      comitative case ending
-z      dative case ending
-v      reserved for future expansion :)


In order that you not have to scroll back up to the chart, q is sh, x is kh,
c is ch.


ae!  badag qade!  vezag!
Ay!  The water is hot!  Ow!

xazat rese!
Curse the microwave!

gazaq qade fevag bew
Do you have some cold water? (Lit.: is-available water which-is-cold with-you?)

wacar qade begef veres wad!
The water jumped from the cup to my hand!

bavar bege wac
I dropped the cup. (Lit.: fell/dropped cup by-me)

retaq begve wavew
Do we have more cups? (Lit.: are-more cups with-I-plur?)



Tim May <butsuri@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>