Spec Tech: Conlanging 8 – Toyo sa ti fi menke fi Kohen, hake?
This is the eighth in a series of posts “live-blogging” the creation of a fictional language from scratch, with the help of our readers. We plan to construct a functional language one piece at a time, incorporating suggestions and preferences from our audience along the way. You can find a listing of our previous installments here, and a spreadsheet listing the words in our language here.
Toyo sa ti fi menke fi Kohen, hake?1
(You’ll find a full translation of this paragraph in the comments.)
Kohe nga2 lusau-feying3 nofa4 pa nahu sa Kohen. Wa5 kohe nga ti wa sa Kohen! Nen sa man6 fi menke lenata7 fi Kohen. Wa nen sa man fi wake fi ku nga himu8 kusa9 mala si10 lusau-feying mempi11. Hewi12 sa Kohen, wa nen sa ti fi falo13 fi ku! Nen sa ti fi hempo fi mom nofa. Hau14 wake sa ti fi tanti15 pa ti nga nahu. Hei16 falo fi hewi sa Kohen! Toyo sa ti fi hempo fi hafuta17?
[a] We haven’t dealt with how to combine two verbs in a single clause yet, but I’m thinking it should work like this — the second clause stays as it is, minus whatever person is the subject of the first verb if they’re the same. Some examples. Menke sa ti fi Kohen “You are learning Kohen” ; Toyo sa ti fi [menke ∅ fi Kohen] “You want to learn Kohen” ; Toyo sa na fi [menke sa ti fi Kohen] “I want you to learn Kohen.” Note especially that, in this last example, the second part of the sentence (“you to learn Kohen”) is exactly the same as the first example. You’ll see this construction used a number of times throughout this short text.
[b] hake – This is a tag question, which goes on the end of a phrase and asks for confirmation from the listen, e.g., “…, isn’t it?” or “…, you know?”; we might also translate the English as “So you want to learn Kohen, do you?”
 Literally, “to”, but here in the sense of “for”
 lusau-feying - Literally, “soil-sky”; a compound for “planet, world”.
 nofa - “new”
 wa – “and” at the beginning of a clause, “also” when after a verb.
 man – This marks an indefinite subject, used for generic statements. In English, this is often rendered by you or they — e.g., “You can’t ride a dugong!”
 le- – “adverbializer”; nata - “easy”. Thus, lenata - “easily”.
 himu – “person, people, humanity”
 kusa – This is a relative clause marker; e.g., the who in “people who come from….” Don’t worry about this too much at the moment; we’ll have more to say about it later.
 si - “from”
 mempi - “complete, entire”
 hewi – “grow”
 falo – “help”
 hau – “or”
 tanti – “thought, idea”
 hei – The imperative marker; this, together with the missing subject, make the phrase an command.
 hafuta – “what (thing)”. This looks a bit different than what we talked about in our sixth post, but it’s actually quite similar; I just decided that using ha, our question particles, as the first syllable of questions words (instead of the previously-suggested-but-arbitrary te-) is more transparent and makes these words even more transparent.