Trari is a new language begun by Bruce R. Gilson on August 30, 2009. It was developed as a result of an inquiry made somewhat earlier about Voksigid to its creator, asking whether it was open for learning by the Conlang learner's group. Though ultimately Voksigid was not chosen, the interest that was shown in it encouraged the creator of Voksigid to do some more public language construction. Not to do anything that would hurt the chances of somebody learning Voksigid, but to put some more of his ideas in a form that could be used in a later project of the same type. Trari is the first of his creations to be compiled into such a form.
Trari is what some people have called an "engineered language" or "engelang," though its creator prefers to call these types of constructed languages "experimental languages." That is to say, it is designed to provide features that the constructor might want to see whether they would be interesting, perhaps even to see if the mental processes involved in composing thoughts into a special language might give some insights into meaning. Probably the best-known of these languages are the "logical languages" such as Loglan and its offshoot, Lojban. Voksigid also falls into this category, but the particular ideas behind Trari are almost 180° removed from Voksigid.
The inspirations for Trari are three in number:
- Lojban was designed to have self-segregation, which means that the word divisions are obvious in a stream of spoken sounds in the language. While self-segregation was rejected for Voksigid, the idea has some interest to its creator, and, after seeing some ideas for how to produce self-segregation in a constructed language very recently, felt that some of them seemed rather far-fetched in terms of whether anyone could actually employ the rules on the fly, and others would so restrict the phonology of the language that the number of reasonably different sounding words would be exceedingly small. In Trari, an attempt was made to avoid both these problems; whether the attempt has succeeded is one of the things that will be found out if anyone chooses to learn it.
- Many years ago the language creator saw the specifications of Vorlin, created by Rick Harrison. While there were not a lot of things that he liked about in it, there was one that he thought extremely interesting: its radically limited inventory of verbs. (Vorlin has gone through many changes in the ensuing years; apparently this particular feature of Vorlin changed in about 1996, but the reference here is to the particular phase in Vorlin's development which was seen by the Trari's creator.) Actually, it was only the basic verbs that were so few in number; Vorlin made a lot of verb-plus-noun compounds that functioned as verbs, but the need to combine these into single words was not really there; the fact is that only four verbs sufficed for the whole language: be, become, and two others. Trari is based on this concept of having a minimal inventory of verbs, with copulative-verb-plus-noun phrases used to replace nearly all of the verbs of typical languages. (The comparison to Voksigid, where verbs are basic and nouns are verb derivatives, illustrates how oppositely-conceived Trari and Voksigid are.)
- In the design of Voksigid, the use of large numbers of prepositional phrases led to a problem in analyzing the dependencies. If there are two prepositional phrases in a row, do they both modify the same noun, or do they nest, with the second phrase modifying the object of the preposition in the first? While a solution was arrived at (see rule 6 of the Voksigid syntax document), the language creator was not totally happy with it. The Trari "circumposition" rule was designed as a different way of handling such typs of syntax problems, which really occur in all languages with prepositional phrases.
Trari was not intended to be proposed as an international auxiliary language. The self-segregation requires that the morphemes/lexemes be fitted to a fairly strict phonological pattern, which means that it is impossible to make maximal use of internationally-recognizable forms, which to the language creator is an indispensible requirement for an IAL.
Trari vs. Praet
While developing Trari, the creator of the kanguage came up with some additional ideas which seemed inappropriate to change Trari to incorporate, so he began another project, Praet. Praet incorporates some concepts shared with Trari, and differs in some ways. Because of the priority of Trari, the discussion of Trari here will not generally refer to Praet at all, but the discussion of Praet will reference Trari where it is useful to do so.
Trari, at present, has an extremely limited vocabulary. This is not a deliberate design feature; it merely means that only those words that were needed to demonstrate how Trari works. If anyone is interested in the language, the creator of the language should be contacted so the vocabulary can be expanded to something usable.
As Trari has not been planned as an IAL, the vocabulary has been derived in a fairly arbitrary manner: some words/morphemes from existing languages (nye from Russian, smao from English and Scandinavian, etc.) looking for forms that meet Trari's word structure rules, without any consistency in the choice of sources, while randomly constructing others in an a priori manner.