- 1 Background
- 2 Pronunciation and orthography
- 3 Syntax
- 4 Example phrases
Taaluketti developed from Gaaziketti. It is considered by its creator to be better than Gaaziketti at fulfilling the goals of grammatical generality and flexibility. The below is an outline of the structure of this language at its most general level. It remains to generate a lexicon of morphemes that would enable this structure to be applied to achieving the expressive capabilities of natural language.
Taaluketti may be broadly categorised as a highly regular SOV type language which makes use of particles rather than inflexions to indicate such things as case and tense. Like Gaaziketti, it uses parsing markers to enable any sentence to be unambiguously parsed. However, while Gaaziketti took the noun to be basic, in Taaluketti the basic part of speech is the verb. In some ways Taaluketti is similar to Loglan. However, Taaluketti aims to be more flexible and intuitive than Loglan. Each "verb" (or rather, predicate) in Loglan has associated with it a certain place structure, and it is this place structure, rather than the use of adpositions or case endings, that enables one to know where each noun phrase stands in relation to the verb/predicate. In Taaluketti, however, a verb will come with no fixed place structure. Rather, any number of noun phrases may be coupled with a given verb, and their relation to the verb is indicated by the use of postpositions (such as ko to indicate the accusative case).
Pronunciation and orthography
The following 21 Roman letters are used.
a b c d e g h i k l m n o p q r s t u v z
The vowels are read approximately as in Spanish. But double vowels are pronounced long.
ai is pronounced like 'eye' in 'eye'.
au is pronounced like the 'ow' in 'cow'.
q is pronounced like the 'ni' in 'onion'.
c is pronounced like the 'ch' is 'chair'.
s is always unvoiced.
r is rolled.
The other consonants are pronounced as in English. But unvoiced stops are not aspirated. E.g. p is pronounced always as in 'spot', never as in 'pack'.
Double consonants are pronounced double, as in Italian, Finnish, etc..
ng is pronounced as in 'finger', not as in 'singer'.
In a word with more than one syllable, the first syllable takes the stress.
Parsing markers, modification, functors and phrases
Every word-token (i.e. individual occurrence of a word in a sentence) will take one of four parsing markers:
(null) "leftmost and only argument of its phrase"
-s "leftmost argument, but not only argument, of its phrase"
-n "final argument, but not only argument, of its phrase"
-k "neither the first argument, not the last argument, of its phrase"
Parsing markers are not treated as words – they are “spoken punctuation”. All other morphemes are treated as words except those which are sub-elements of a compound-word. (Compound words are treated as words. Compounds words are strings of morphemes which morphemes, if they were words, would be verbs – see below.)
Parsing markers clarify the structure of modification relations within a sentence. Modification is a relationship between one individual word-token, and another.
Each word-token is modified by some number (possibly zero) of other word-tokens. No word-token modifies more than one word-token. No word-token modifies a word-token in another sentence. No word-token modifies itself. No word-token modifies a word-token to its left.
Each word-token is in fact a functor, and the words that modify it are the heads of the phrases which are its arguments.
As functors, word-token always pick up their arguments from their left (the opposite of standard mathematical notation). So suppose you’ve got a chain of word-tokens each (except the first) being modified just by its predecessor. (The only parsing marker punctuating such a chain would be the null marker.) Then you would assume a “((wx)y)z” type of phrasal pattern - i.e. the default is that brackets cluster to the left.
A functor f together with its arguments forms a phrase, and f is said to be the head of that phrase. When a functor modifies some other functor, this means that the phrase of which the modifying functor is the head is an argument of that other functor.
The use of parsing markers to show what modifies what is perhaps best explained as follows. Parsing markers are shown in bold.
The structure of a phrase is like this: (x1, x2, ... xn)y.
Here y is the head of the phrase, and x1, x2, ..., xn are the n different arguments of y.
Suppose n=0. Then we have a phrase of this form: "y".
Suppose n=1. Then we have a phrase of this form: "x1 y".
Suppose n=2. Then we have a phrase of this form: "x1s x2n y".
Suppose n=3. Then we have a phrase of this form: "x1s x2k x3n y".
Suppose n=4. Then we have a phrase of this form: "x1s x2k x3k x4n y".
Suppose n=5. Then we have a phrase of this form: "x1s x2k x3k x4k x5n y".
Phrases (including word-tokens, which are themselves phrases) may be classified into types (also called classes).
The notation “[x…x>y]” means that an item of the type [x...x>y] is a functor which takes any number of arguments of class x and, together with these arguments, forms a phrase of class y. So the class of the functor itself is [x…x>y]. In other words, if a functor f belongs to the class [x...x>y], any phrase of which it is the head is of the class [y]; and each of its arguments is of the class [x].
The most general class is simply the phrase [F]. All phrases belong to type [F].
A very basic type is the statement [S]. Semantically, a statement may be thought of as a phrase which says of something that it is the case.
Adverbial phrases [A], noun phrases [N] and postpositions [N>A]
Another basic type is the adverbial phrase [A].
There are two kinds of adverbial phrase. There are nominative adverbial phrases, which are just noun-phrases [N]. And there are complex adverbial phrases, which consist of a noun-phrase followed by a postposition. Postpositions are functors which take a single argument of class [N] and form a phrase of class [A], i.e. postpositions are of class [N>A].
A common postposition is ko, which essentially serves to mark the accusative case.
In summary: any noun-phrase is an adverbial phrase. And any phrase consisting of a single noun-phrase modifying a postposition is an adverbial phrase.
A basic kind of noun phrase is the pronoun. Some common pronouns are as follows.
1st person singular qe
1st person plural quu
2nd person singular ve
2nd person plural vuu
3rd person animate singular taa
3rd person inanim. singular zo
3rd person plural (animate or inanimate) dau
Like other noun phrases, pronouns take postpositions, such as ko.
Words of the class [A…A>S] are called verbs. A verb in Taaluketti is a bit like a predicate in Loglan; however, it doesn’t have an order-based place-structure; and it doesn't have a fixed number of arguments. Syntactically speaking, a verb can take any number of arguments (including 0) (even though some combinations of arguments might not make sense semantically speaking). Each of the arguments of a verb will be an adverbial phrase [A]. The phrase thus formed will be a statement [S].
To make a noun-phrase [N], you need an article [S>N]. A common article is de, which, roughly speaking, corresponds to the definite singular article. A phrase of the form "Y de" ("Y" being some phrase that is an argument of de) is a noun-phrase [N], meaning "the (single) person/object x (in a given context) such that "x Y" would be a true sentence", i.e. "the x which satisfies "Y" ". If many Ys each modify de, then de picks out the single x that satisfies all of those Ys.
The four most common articles are the following.
de definite singular article
go definite plural article
so indefinite singular article
ve indefinite plural article
Verbal particles [V>V]
Verbal particles are added after a verb, and form an extension of the verb. These are generally used to indicate verbal aspect, tense and mood.
The following verbal particles come immediately after a verb and are used to indicate aspect.
The following verbal particles come immediately after the aspect particle (if there is one), and are used to indicate tense.
Present (usually omitted) nee
Past (sometimes omitted if context allows) co
Future (same as aspect marker for future) tau
The following verbal particles come immediately after the aspect and tense particles (if there are any), and are used to indicate mood.
Here are some example phrases (some of which are complete sentences), written first with the parsing markers, and then with brackets instead of parsing markers, in order to show the grammatical structure – the brackets surround a bunch of phrases each of which is an argument of the functor just after the brackets.
haara de <> the (one that is a) woman
hecci de <> the one that climbs
heccis haaran de <> the one that both climbs and is a woman; the woman that climbs
ko hecci de <> the one that is climbed
Gaazi de ko hecci. <> The hill is climbed.
Haara de hecci. <> The woman climbs.
gaazi de ko hecci de <> the one that climbs the hill
Haara des gaazi de kon hecci. <> The woman climbs the hill.
gaazi de ko heccis haaran de <> the woman that climbs the hill
kos haara den heccis gaazin de <> the hill which the woman climbs
Hecci de haara. <> The one that climbs is a woman.
kos hecci den heccis gaazin de <> the hill which the one that climbs climbs
kos haara len hecci de <> the one which the woman climbs