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Tiki and French

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Friday, April 14, 2006, 1:23
I'm fairly certain now that Tiki is around 100 years old and created by
a native speaker of French. I'm still open to other possibilities if I
can think of something that makes more sense, but that's the current
assumption. As soon as I have something ready, I'll put together an
announcement celebrating 100 years of Tiki and put it up on my web page.
(I figure it might as well be exactly 100 years old this year.)

So now it looks like I'm going to have to make some changes based on
these assumptions. For one thing, the main vocabulary items should all
have glosses based on French vocabulary (and century-old French
vocabulary, if that makes a difference). That process could take a
while, but I could always quietly correct "errors" later if I discover
them after putting the page up, or explain them as "features" borrowed
from some other language. Probably also some features of French grammar
would be important to add; reflexive pronouns, verbs conjugated for
tense (rather than aspect), and so on.

A few obvious things come to mind:

* French, like many European langs including English, has a verb "to be"
with numerous uses. I was thinking that Tiki adjectives would be used
much like verbs, but this seems like an idea that would be unlikely to
occur to an early 20th century (non-linguist) French speaker. On the
other hand, "Dr. M" must have had some familiarity with Japanese
grammar, which has a category of adjectives that act much like verbs.
(I'm still assuming that Dutch and Japanese are the two foreign
languages that had the strongest influence on Tiki.) So it's possible
that adjectives might be used without "to be", but it'd probably be more
likely to follow the European model.

* Distinguish between pairs of words like "savoir" and "connaître"
(which isn't the best example since many other European languages
distinguish these, at least the ones I'm familiar with, although they're
both "to know" in English). (How does French express "to know how", by
the way?)

* Rather than having words for "hungry" and "thirsty", the French
expressions "avoir faim" and "avoir soif" could be used. Thus, the word
"to have" takes on a broader meaning than I was originally intending.

* Words that are compounds in French should generally be compounds in
Tiki. "Umbrella" (which would have been "kasa" from Japanese) would be
derived from "parapluie", which could turn out something like "pare-ame"
(I don't yet have a root for French "parer", which I'm assuming is the
source of "para-" in "parapluie", but "rain" is from Japanese "ame".)
Potato is "earth apple", which coincidentally is what the Dutch word for
potato means.

* Sequence of tenses could work in a similar manner to the way they're
used in French, but in a simplified form.

* A few words for concepts specific to French, like "chez", could have
simple Tiki equivalents. (Other examples?)

Is there anything else that comes to mind? It's been 25 years since I
studied French in high school, so I don't remember much.


Larry Sulky <larrysulky@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>