Tu ta pasa Tiki, he mo vuhu so ka sina
|From:||Herman Miller <hmiller@...>|
|Date:||Monday, April 3, 2006, 1:36|
I've started an auxlang. [Am i going a bit crazy? :-)]
The good news is I don't intend it to be an auxlang for this world. But
maybe some other world (a parallel Earth) could use it.
Anyway, the recent discussion of auxlangs and why we don't frequently
discuss them here has reminded me that I used to have an interest in
them before all the politics and hostility that resulted in the
splitting off of the Auxlang list. If you don't like auxlangs, you can
always just imagine Tiki as an engineered language with particular
(vaguely specified) design goals. But the design requirements of an
auxlang make for an interesting challenge in language design, so I'm
thinking of it as an auxlang for a fictional Earth.
Tiki, or in full "ta pasa Tiki" (the Tiki language), started out as
another attempt to create a generic vocabulary list that I could borrow
definitions from for the basic vocabularies of new languages. But after
a while, I thought it might make a good fictional auxlang. The phonology
is right on the edge of being just complex enough to create a basic
vocabulary list, while not being too difficult to pronounce. Word
derivation and syntax are deliberately kept simple. I think I could
develop this into something that could be of some use as a second language.
Phonology: Tiki has the vowels /a e i o u/, and the consonants /p b t d
k g m n v s j h l/. These sounds have a range of acceptable variation,
to make it easier for speakers of languages such as Japanese (which has
no /v/ or /l/); /v/ for instance may be pronounced as [w], [v], or [v\],
and /l/ as /4/. It won't be possible to please everyone, but this seems
like a reasonable compromise. All syllables are CV (where the initial C
can be a glottal stop, which is not represented in the spelling as it's
not phonemic). This allows for 70 possible syllables, 4,900 possible
two-syllable roots, and 343,000 possible three-syllable roots. There
doesn't seem to be much of a need to go beyond 3-syllable roots even if
only a small fraction of the possible roots are actually used. Single
syllables are used only in grammatical particles and a handful of
frequently used words. So any 2- or 3-syllable word is a single root,
and any 4-syllable word is a compound of two roots. 5- and 6-syllable
words start getting potentially ambiguous, but hyphenation could resolve
any potential ambiguity.
Syntax: The structure of Tiki sentences is largely determined by single
syllable particles that could be described as proclitics; they attach to
the first word of a phrase or clause, and determine how that group of
words is related to the other phrases and clauses in the sentence. Other
single syllable particles are probably better described as prefixes
(which happen to be written as separate words), as they are attached to
particular roots, and used for purposes such as derivation or
inflection. But these are all just "le pake" (particles) in Tiki
vuhu - early
mo vuhu - most early; first, initial
sina - to see
ka sina - possible to see; visible
so ka sina - event of being visible; appearance
mo vuhu so ka sina - first appearance; introduction
The verb and its objects: All arguments of a verb are called "objects"
("le oje") in Tiki grammar. The o-object (patient) is like a direct
object in English, although it may be used without an overt subject. The
subject is generally marked with an e-object (agent or cause). There are
also other kinds of objects, like the de-object (source) and the
O ta lako mu vake!
PAT DEF dragon IMPF wake
The dragon is awake!
E ki ha vake o ta lako?
AGT who PERF wake PAT DEF dragon
Who woke the dragon?
A single Tiki verb such as "kopo" may represent more than one verb in
English (buy, sell, pay). The object structure makes clear which meaning
To mi ha kopo o he jabu.
DEST I PERF buy PAT INDEF apple
I bought an apple.
E vu vi kopo to mi o he jabu?
AGT you IRREAL sell DEST I PAT INDEF apple
Will you sell me an apple?
To vu vi kopo do sese deka senete o he jabu.
DEST you IRREAL buy INST six ten cent PAT INDEF apple
You may pay 60 cents for an apple.