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No-verb conlang: shaquelingua

From:Remi Villatel <maxilys@...>
Date:Thursday, July 31, 2003, 2:01
Hi everybody,

This is my first week here and the first thing I saw was the thread about an
all-verb language. Funny coincidence!

Well, the description of my conlang isn't as complete as I intended but the
major elements to understand the "philosophy" within are already here:

In french only, yet.

This conlang is supposed to be the interlingua of an alien planet named
"Shaquie" [Saki], hence its name "shaquelingua" [SakeliNwa] in english;
"çakesaax" [Cakesa_ax] (the language of Shaquie) in shaquelingua.
(falling-raising tone in between the two "a".)

For those who don't read french, I'll present you herebelow some principles.
It's also interesting for those who will visit the pages. The narrator of
the pages doesn't explain the work of the conlanger. (My different
personalities don't talk to each other.)  ;-)

I didn't intend to create a no-verb conlang when I began 9 or 10 years ago
but I met the conlangers' world in the mean time and I heard that a language
without verb can't exist. I couldn't resist the urge to break that
psychological barrier.

To be true, I only know 2 attempts: Kélen and AllNoun. My own attempt
doesn't look like AllNoun (I finally accessed pages about AllNoun only
a few days ago) but it's a bit like Kélen: There is an "alien particle" that
holds the sentence together. But unlike the 4 relationals of Kélen,
Shaquelingua has 32 such particles (enclitics and proclitics with
phonotactical and grammatical rules that let this number reach 76).

Talking about phonotactics, the narrator of the pages introduces you to a
human pronounciation so the sounds are not very alien... except maybe the
soft glottal stop and some consonant clusters like "kf" or "kt". (Just to
make the life more interesting.) And sorry for those who don't like the
diaereses (Umlaüte) but our alphabet hasn't enough vowels and I wanted an
almost phonetic script.

Besides, there are articles, an infinity of articles built with tiny
syllabic bricks. For example, zereçüratvorükä [zexeCyxa:.tvoxyk9] is a valid
article which means "A lot of parts of almost all these". The long "a" [a:]
in the middle is a declension and "tv" [.tv] is just another interesting
cluster. There is also a plural and dual but the nouns don't reflect them,
only the articles and the pronouns.

So there are pronouns, singular, dual, plural, and dualist to talk to the
one whose life you share. The pronouns carry the declension, and so do the
articles. There are resumptive pronouns that allow you to introduce easily a
specific part of the previous sentence or this whole sentence in a new one.
There is a reflective/logophoric pronoun to clear the ambiguities in
sentences like "He said that he will come".

ite'taj esej-to-folya'tu. [ite.^taj e:sej^to^fo.lHa.^tu]

(indicative past)'he (self future coming)'("expression of")

"expression of" is just one meaning of the particle "tu" which actually
means "gift of an immaterial object".

= He expressed his own future coming.
= He said he will come.
ito'çi-taj e-folu'ya ; ite'ga-taj fer'ut.
[ito.^Ci^taj e:^folu.^wa] ; [ite.^ga^taj fex.^ut]

(indicative future)'distant-he (toward closer)'(physical quality) ;
(indicative past)'close-he (previous sentence)'("expression of")

= (distant)he will come ; (close)he said (so).
= This one said: that one will come

By the way, I hope you noticed how to "conjugate" the agent of the sentence.
That the way shaquelingua works. A modal/temporal particle glues itself as
prefix to the agent.

he-reelka'su itsi'kja. [x\e:^xe_elka.^su i.tsi.^kja]

(unidentified quantity of)-explanation'(immaterial objet)
(indicative must/need progressive)'I

= I'm having/needing to feel some explanation(s).
= I need some explanations.
ilateo'kja e-saarajuç'iv. [ilate_o.^kja e:^sa_axajuC.^iv]

(indicative negation retrospective)'I linguist'(immaterial quality)

= I have not the quality of linguist.
= I'm not a linguist.
söji-çakesaax bea, risjeo'rja hej'ut?
[sOji:^Cakesa_ax be_a xi.sje_o.^xja x\ej.^ut]

generality-shaquelingua instrumental, (interrogative potential
retrospective)'thou self'("expression of")

= With (the) shaquelingua, can thou express thyself?
= Can thou speak shaquelingua?

This "conjugator" concentrates in one particle more than what's possible
with our europeans conjugations:

- an aspect real, unreal, narrative;
- a mode indicative, conditional, implicative, interrogative, imperative,
volutive (want), potential (can), obligative (need/must);
- a tense, (2 past, 2 future and 3 retrospective ones);
- temporal aspects, terminative (stop), initiative (begin), perdurative
(yet), anticipative (not yet)
- modal aspects, repetitive (again), negation (not)
- emotional aspects (like/dislike and more).

This "conjugator" can also become prefix of almost anything and act like
some kind of temporal/modal adjective.

të-hej'uv idröte'kja. [tE^x\ej.^uv i.dxOte.^kja]
(indicative past retrospective)-self'("behavior")
(terminatif indicative past)'I

"behavior" is the most common meaning of the particle "vu" which means
"modification of an immaterial quality".

= I ceased to behave like my former self.
= I'm not what I used to be anymore.
erje-ke-kebiis'öbi iko'rait! [e.xje^ke^kebi_is.^Obi iko.^xa_it]

my-(imperative past)-work'(physical object) (imperative future)'(you all)

= Do my (imperative past)work, you all!
= Do what I ordered, you all!
utej-tei-vudaza ; e-saelövi'ya ite'kja.
[utej^te_i^vudaza e^sa_elOvi.^Ha ite.^kja]

(about)his-(progressive past)-sleep ; (out in move)'(physical quality)
(indicative past)'I

= I entered his (progressive past)sleep.
= He was sleeping when I entered.

There are no real nouns and adjectives but "concepts" that can have the
value of "object" or "quality". One single word can become the one or the
other depending on the context.

ske-kfislëj'af iteo'tvoa-kfilsëj. [ske:^kfilsEj.^af ite_o.^tvo_a:^kfilsEj]

none-tree'(physical quality) (indicative retrospective)'this-tree

= This tree has the quality not-a-tree.
= This tree is not a tree.
The first occurence of "kfilsëj" (tree) is a quality according to the
enclitic "fa". The second occurence is an object as indicated by the
agentive declension.

söje dee-bajbu tikee'fa iteo'gjafar.
[sOje de_e^bajbu tike_e.^fa ite_o.^gjafax]

generality like-bamboo grass'(physical quality)
(indicative retrospective)'(agent of previous sentence)

= It's a grass, like the bamboo.
Here, "dee-bajbu" qualifies "tikee" which is also a quality according to the
enclitic "fa". Prefixes are a way to make an "only-quality" out of a

As you see, in shaquelingua, the qualities can have a real article.
Adjectives can't do this. That's a real pleasure to break such unwritten
rules... amongst all the grammatical rules I broke to create this conlang.

More on the website or on request. This message is already long enough for a
first contact. I don't want that everybody imagines that I'm talkative.  ;-)

See ya,

Remi Villatel


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Dennis Paul Himes <himes@...>