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A Day of Flying Blind

From:Joe Mondello <rugpretzel@...>
Date:Saturday, July 15, 2000, 7:05
I started what I will henceforth call "the sketchbook project", my attempt to
develop a language from square one without aid of an existing language, only
pictures.  It's taking shape beautifully in my opinion.  contrary to previous
plans, It is not progressing from most abstract to least, as this seems
impossible for me at least.  the first word I coined was "eski", meaning
person, followed by:
some body parts
a word meaning "container" and "to contain"
light and "light-bearing things"
musical instrument (I didn't want to, but I decided I wouldn't define
anything with a picture of something that didn't already have a name, and
this was necessary for my subsequent definition of sound)
fish (see musical instrument)
water (using "fish" and "container")
speech/speak (via mouth and sound)
house (via container and person)
air/sky (via bird and in/at)
ground (via person and in/at)
***get*** (more on that later)
see/appear (via get and eye)
hear/make a sound (via get and ear)
to/go to (via copious abuse of arrows)
table/chair/stool/pedestal/anything that holds anything up
any flying machine
handle (n)/hold
fly (v)
walk (more precisely, move on land)
seafaring vessel
mouth parts
big/to enlarge
little/ to shrink/lessen
out/go out of
use (v)/by way of

the most interesting word, I think, is ne (get).  it began in sentences like
    obi ne spen
    eye get bird
only in order to later define the word oma:
    oma - obi ne
    see - eye get
However it later popped up in sentences such as
    ete ne lakol
    man get radio
    the man obtains/is given a radio
I was completely unsure as to how I was going to create/operate the word "to
give", until I created al (use/by means of/by) in the sentence:
    eski al dola ila lon
    person use water little fire
    the person/somebody shrank the fire with water
al then was carried over to sentences such as
    ene al ete ne spen
    woman by man get bird
    the man gives the woman a bird
of course the translation isn't perfect, i mean, the woman could have climbed
on the man's shoulders in order to pluck the bird out of a tree, but thats
the whole point of this project.  for now sentences usually don't get much
more complex than
    mal pa ete oma isto ti panto
    house in person see sky from plane
    the person in the house sees the plane land/fall out of the sky.
    toma mal pa liska gan ila ene oma ila lon mal ti toma staba
    big house at chair to little girl see little fire house from big dog
    the little girl who is going to the chair in the big house, sees a big
dog come out of a little burning house.
but I think it's a promising start.  I've set a sort of mini-goal for myself,
which is to derive/define the word "lie, tell untruth" in my language as soon
as humanly possible. as I look at it now, it seems hopelessly far off and I
have no idea what sort of approach I'm going to take to get to it.  another
word I'm having trouble defining (without use of the "thought bubble") is the
word thought/to think.  I'm sure that such words, however, will just come to
me while I'm working with the project, without me forcing them.  Its hard to
explain exactly how I want this to develop, but the word "organic" comes to

Joe Mondello