Talossan language

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Talossan
Flag of the Talossan language.svg
Created by R. Ben Madison
Date 1980
Setting and usage Talossa
Users 12 fluent  (date missing)[citation needed]
Purpose
Sources a posteriori language (Romance)
Official status
Regulated by La Comità per l'Útzil del Glheþ (Kingdom)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tzl
Glottolog talo1253[1]

The Talossan language (El Glheþ Talossan) is a constructed language created by R. Ben Madison in 1980 for the micronation he founded, the Kingdom of Talossa.

Overview[edit]

The Association of Talossan Language Organisations (ATLO) maintains talossan.com, a website describing the language for new learners, providing language information, research, and online translation to and from English.[2]

Talossan is perhaps one of the best-known examples of the micronational language genre of conlang. The language is spoken and used in the Kingdom of Talossa (El Regipäts Talossan), a "constitutional monarchy" with its own parliament and a bicameral legislature, founded by Madison on December 26, 1979.

Talossan is also one of the best-known artistic languages on the Internet. It garners perennial interest and respect from online conlangers and conlang aficionados.[citation needed] Of particular interest to them is its large vocabulary—with over 28,000 words in its official dictionary, it is one of the most detailed fictional languages ever invented.[3]

The language is overseen by the Comità per l'Útzil del Glheþ (CÚG; the Committee for the Use of the Language), a group formed in the Kingdom of Talossa by Madison in the 1980s. This group periodically issues Arestadas (Decrees) which describe and document changes in the usage of the language, and Pienamaintschen (Supplements), which list updates to the vocabulary. The CÚG maintains a multi-lingual website providing access to the recent recommendations of the Committee.[4]

The language, and its corresponding micronation, are mentioned in the book Conquering Consumerspace: Marketing Strategies for a Branded World by Michael R. Solomon, and the language is documented in two self-published grammars.[5]

The most significant recent development in the language was the issuance of the Arestada sür Speliçaziun (Decree on Orrthography) of December 12, 2007. This Arestada instituted a rule for stress that allowed many extraneous stressmarks to be omitted, simplified the vowel set by recognizing certain letters as allophones of other vowels, and respelled a few strange consonant graphemes. This Arestada is widely accepted, although some Talossan writers choose to retain pre-Arestada conventions.

Linguistic properties[edit]

Classification[edit]

Talossan is a constructed Gallo-Romance language, inspired by French and Occitan, and very naturalistic[citation needed] (with quite a few irregularities). In an effort to create a kind of "national mythology" for his micronation, Madison discovered in 1985 that one of the Berber sub-tribes of Morocco was called the Talesinnt, and decided that Talossans were "inexplicably and inextricably connected somehow to Berbers." This resulted in the Talossan language being inspired by Berber languages. More recently however, words are derived from Romance roots and given a French/Provençal feeling to them (some see a Romanian influence as well), but there is no one set of rules for derivation through which every word can be predicted. The word "Talossa" itself is not Romance, but Finnic in origin: it comes from the Finnish word for "inside the house" (Talossa began in Madison's bedroom).

Phonetics and phonology[edit]

The pronunciation of Talossan has been described in a variety of sources.[6][7] The tables here are based on the descriptions in those sources.

Consonants[edit]

  bilabial labio-
dental
dental alveolar post-
alveolar
palatal labio-velar velar glottal
plosive p  b     t  d       k  ɡ  
nasal m     n   ɲ   ŋ  
fricative   f  v θ  ð s  z ʃ  ʒ     x  ɣ h
affricate         tʃ  dʒ        
approximant       ɾ   j w    
lateral approximant       ɬ  l   ʎ      

Vowels[edit]

  Front Near- front Central Near- back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i · y
ɪ  
 
 
e · ø
 
ɛ · œ
 
 
 
  Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open
Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel.
Speakers who prefer a later pronunciation merge the rounded vowels with the unrounded one.

Writing system[edit]

The Talossan uses the Latin alphabet, but contains some letters not (or no longer) found in English—including the Germanic sharp s (ß) [known as "eseta" in Talossan], and the Old English letters thorn (þ) and eth (ð), and the cedilla-c (ç). The eseta can be replaced by the equivalent digraph ss, and the thorn by the digraph tg. Prior to the 2007 Arestada, the eth was often seen written using the digraph th; the 2007 Arestada recognized the eth as replaceable in modern Talossan by the letter d.

The letters of the modern Talossan alphabet are:

a, ä, b, c, ç, d, ð, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, ö, p, q, r, s, ß, t, u, ü, v, w, x, z, þ

In alphabetical ordering, c and ç are not distinguished from one another, nor are s and ß, nor any vowel from its marked counterpart.

Through the Arestada of 2007, the vowel system was simplified by the adoption of a default stress rule, which made explicit stress marking necessary only in words that are stressed irregularly. The Arestada further standardized the stress marking system so that the vowels a, e, i, o, and u are stressmarked using acute or grave accents (as in á or à), and the vowels ä, ö, and ü are stressmarked using circumflexes (as in ô and û).

In pre-Arestada Talossan (known as "Classic Orthography"), a number of other vowel forms are retained (such as ê, ë, å, and î), and no stress rule exists. In Classic Orthography, words are often marked with multiple diacriticals, which often have different meanings, sometimes indicating stress, sometimes a difference in pronunciation, sometimes both, and sometimes the same mark indicates neither. The consonant ñ was also removed by the 2007 Arestada.

In speech, Talossan exhibits a system of consonant mutation (lenition and eclipsis) very similar to that found in Irish Gaelic. This system is indicated in orthography only rarely, typically only in prepositional phrases, and even then typically only with pronouns. For example, the pronoun tu (meaning "you") experiences lenition after a vowel to become pronounced "hu" (this mutation is indicated orthographically by spelling the word as thu), and experiences eclipsis after a consonant to be pronounced "du" (indicated orthographically as dtu). Thus à thu (meaning "to you") and per dtu (meaning "for you").

In addition to this system of consonant mutation, Talossan exhibits some other unusual consonant combinations, including c'h, gn (which in Classic Orthography is written gñh), glh, rh (pronounced as English "sh"), tx, and xh.

Unusual features[edit]

In general, Talossan is a straightforward Romance language, true to its mythical heritage as a Latin derivative. However, it also has a number of unique features not typically found in Romance or other languages, including:

  • A genitive marker (similar to the apostrophe-s in English). For example, Ian sè casa (= John's house).
  • The (evolved, not created) merger of the first- and third-person plural verb conjugations, indicative of a unique "group mentality", in which the concept “the group” is the more important semantic aspect being communicated, and whether the group does (“we”) or does not (“they”) include the speaker is somehow tangential. For example, te burlescarhent (= some group, perhaps including the speaker, perhaps not, will laugh at you).
  • The (evolved, not created) merger of the verbs corresponding to English "to go" and "to come", creating in Talossan a single "verb of motion", irh (originally only "to go"). Motion in space is described exclusively by this verb, with the prepositions à (= to) and da (= from) determining direction if necessary.
  • The corresponding evolution of the Talossan verb viénarh (originally equivalent to "to come") to indicate motion in time, in the same sense that irh indicates motion in space, again with prepositions indicating approach or departure. For example, viennent da menxharh (= the group just ate).
  • The corresponding evolution resulting in the ability and use of the prepositions à and da to indicate the positive or negative meaning of any dependent infinitive. For example, os neceßent à menxharh (= they need to eat) and os neceßent da menxharh (= they need to not eat; that is, they need to avoid eating).

Sample comparison to similar languages[edit]

John 3:16 in Talossan and other Romance Languages, with English (a Germanic language) and Interlingua (an artificial language based on Romance languages) for reference:
Latin Sic enim Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret, ut omnis, qui credit in eum, non pereat, sed habeat vitam æternam.
Talossan (Modern Orthography) Cair Díeu sa ameva el mundeu, qe O zoneva sieu Figlheu viensplet, qe qissensevol créa in Lo non pieriçarha, mas tischa la vida eternal.
Talossan (Classic Orthography) Cair Dïeu så ameva el mundeu, që O zoneva sieu Figlheu viensplet, që qissensevol créa în Lo non pieriçarha, más tischa la vidâ eternál.
French Car Dieu a tellement aimé le monde, qu'il a donné son Fils unique, afin que quiconque croit en lui ne périsse point, mais qu'il ait la vie eternelle.
Provençal Car Déu a tant amá lo monde qu'i a doná son Filh solet, per que tot ome que crèi en elh non perigue, mai ague la vida eternala.
Catalan Car talment ha estimat Déu el món, que donà son Fill unigènit, a fi que tot el qui creu en ell no es perdi, ans tingui vida eterna.
Spanish Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que cree en él, no perezca, más tenga vida eterna.
Portuguese Porque assim amou Deus ao mundo, que lhe deu seu Filho unigénito, para que todo o que crê nêle não pereça, mas tenha a vida eterna.
Italian Infatti Dio ha talmente amato il mondo da dare il suo Figliuolo unigenito, affinchè chiunque crede in Lui non perisca, ma abbia la vita eterna.
Romanian Fiindcă atât de mult a iubit Dumnezeu lumea, că a dat pe singurul Lui Fiu, pentru că oricine crede în El, să nu piară, ci să aibă viaţǎ eternǎ.
Rhaeto-Romance Perche cha Deis ha tant amâ il muond, ch'el ha dat seis unigenit figl, acio cha scodün chi craja in el non giaja a perder, ma haja la vita eterna.
English For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Interlingua Proque tanto Deo amava le mundo que ille dava su Filio unigenite a que quicunque crede in ille non va perir ma va haber vita eterne.

Lexicon[edit]

The full dictionary of Talossan has over 28,000 words. Talossan requires only a single word (fieschada) to say "love at first sight".[3]

Criticism[edit]

Criticism of Talossan includes:

  • That the vocabulary and grammar are invented and have no regular derivation from Latin, belying the claim that Talossan is a Romance language. Supporters, however, claim that although Germanic and Celtic influences are certainly also seen (a trait explained by the mythical migratory nature of the language), this argument is refuted by consistent obvious similarities between Talossan words and corresponding (cognate) words from many Romance languages.
  • The use of too many unnecessary accents and letter combinations, although a series of revisions by the 2007 Arestada (see above) has served to remedy this problem.

State of the language[edit]

The most extensive study of Talossan is given by the English language edition of the book A Complete Guide to the Talossan Language (Ün Guizua Compläts àl Glheþ Talossan), first published in 2008 and in a revised second edition in 2011.[5] An earlier grammar (La Scúrzniâ Gramáticâ del Glhetg Talossán), last revised in 1996, has been put offline by its author.

Extensive learning material is also available online.[8]

Example of the language[edit]

The following are the first two tercines of the first stanzas of Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ode to the West Wind translated into el glheþ Talossan:

Post-Arestada:

Oh traversa salvatx, tu and d'Otogneu s'eßençù,
Tu da qissen presençù unvidat els listopätsilor
Sint driveschti com'els spiritzen d'iens encanteir escapind,
Vermel, es negreu, es brançéu, es roxh gripesc,
Pestidonça-cünsütats plenitüds! Oh tu,
Qi apoartás à lor auscür þivereu lict.

Pre-Arestada:

Ô traversâ salvátx, tú ånd d'Otogñheu s'eßençù,
Tú da qissen presençù ûnvidat els listopätsilor
Sînt driveschti, com'els spiritzen d'iens encantéir escapînd,
Vermél, és negreu, és brançéu, és roxh gripesc,
Pestidonça-cünsütats plenitüds! Ô tú,
Qi apoartás à lor auscür þivereu lict.

English:

O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes! O thou
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Talossan". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ El Glheþ Talossan | Information and Resources for the Student and User of the Talossan Language
  3. ^ a b Alex Blumberg "It's Good to Be King" Wired 8.03, March 2000
  4. ^ Comità per l'Útzil del Glheþ (Committee for the Use of the Talossan Language)
  5. ^ a b La Mha, M.; A Complete Guide to the Talossan Language, Second English Edition (2008). ISBN 978-1-4537-7729-9.
  6. ^ Válcadác'h, Gödafrïeu. 2006. "Talossan Pronunciation and Spelling with IPA". November 2006.
  7. ^ Donatüs, R. Ben, Tomás Gariçéir, Vál Taloçáit, T. Cartéir Adrár, Marcüs Pitz. 1997. El Treisoûr del Glheþ Talossán
  8. ^ Introduction to Talossan (Series of instructive lectures/lessons on the Talossan language)

External links[edit]