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Language

Transitional English.

In a previous post I suggest that it is logical that English have a greater contribution to IALs than many current systems use. One possible approach is to “fix” English to address many of the less useful features, such as the numerous irregular verbs, eccentric spelling, numerous homophones, multiple affixes with the same meaning, single affixes with multiple uses and so on.

An idea of what this may resemble may be gained from “Transitional English” (TE). TE is intended as a learning tool. A stepping-stone for non-English speakers on the way to more traditional standard English.

TE represents its “long” vowels by single letters with umlauts rather than macrons (bars). Their system is a little different to that which I proposed for Diinlang on a previous post.

ä appears to be uses as an “o” sound being uses in häu (“how”) but also ¥än (“John”).
ë seems more like an “ah” sound, bëk (“back”). 
ï is a long e sound such as in sï (“see”) and bï (“bee”). Diinlang previously used ii for the long e, a convention it got from SaypYu. “ee” and “ii” are phonetically very close and the former is easier to distinguish graphically.
ö is “oh” as in toast (“töst”).
ü is a long u as in june or blue.

TE has a symbol for “schwa”, but oddly uses “û” with a circumflex rather than IPA’s “ə” or SaypYu’s “ɘ”.

Short vowels (and some consonants) are marked with an acute accent if stressed.

TE also uses “¥” for the sound “dzhi”, said to be the voiced equivalent of the unvoiced “ch”. This is a phoneme absent from most other phonetic systems for English.

Diphthongs in Transitional English are described as short vowels with the “semiconsonants” y and w. This includes in “ay” pronounced like “eye”, “uy” ‘as in’ “bouy” (American pronounciation, highly variable as it often is for this word!) and “aw” ‘as in’ “how”. I do not think these are the best choices, phonetically, but they may have been chosen to introduce some of the more eccentric phonemes of standard English.

Transitional English makes all verbs regular. Possession is indicated either with an apostrophe/ apostrophe S or by adding “av-” to the dependent noun/ pronoun. This is similar to the use of “vo” in Diinlang and suggests “vo” can be used to mark a dependent noun/ pronoun when both before and after a head noun.

Interestingly, TE uses a relatively short list of major affixes:

an- (un-) ‘produces a contrary meaning to the word to which it is attached:
  • bilïvabl (believable, ‘ ‘), anbilïvabl (unbelievable, ‘ ‘)
  • huk (to hook, ‘ ‘), anhúk (to unhook, ‘ ‘)
[Many of the uses of un-/ an- are probably better rendered as dis- or not-/ nat-/ no-/ non-]

dis- (dis-) ‘is similar to an- (un-), indicating separation or undoing:
  • asémbl (to assemble) ‘ ‘, disasémbl (disassemble)
  • agrï (agree) ‘ ‘, disagrï (disagree) ‘ ‘.’

eks- (ex-) ‘indicates a former condition:
  • eksprézidûnt (ex-president)
  • eksházbûnd (ex-husband)

get (get) ‘is a very versatile verb, which among other things means ‘reach, acquire, obtain, receive,’ and which can be combined with almost all prepositions, adjectives, adverbs and nouns in the language in order to indicate an action that   approaches the meaning of the preposition, adjective, adverb or noun: get ap (get up) ‘ ‘, get dawn (get down) ‘ ‘, get fët (get fat) ‘ ‘, get awéy (get away) ‘ ‘, get gift (get gift)

grup- (group-) ‘signifies a group or collection of things:
  • gruptíchrs (faculty), 
  • grupshïps (flock of sheep)
  • grupbrds (flock of birds)
  • gruppïpls (multitude)
  • gruptrïs (woods, forest)
  • grupbïs (swarm of bees) ‘ ‘, etc.’
[A similar construction would be useful for Diinlang]

nat- (not-) ‘negates the idea that follows, and it can also function similar to an- or dis-, producing a opposite idea of the original meaning of the word to which it becomes attached:
  • klowz (close) ‘ ‘, natklówz (open)
  • rich (rich) ‘ ‘, natrích (poor)
  • byútifl (beautiful) ‘ ‘, natbyútifl (ugly) 
  • pr’ti (pretty) ‘ ‘, natpr’ti (homely) ‘ ‘.’
[In Diinlang this is more likely to be served by no- or non-]

mis- (mis-) ‘to do something incorrectly:
  • print (print) ‘ ‘, misprínt (misprint)
  • reprizént (represent) ‘ ‘, misreprizént (misrepresent)

ri-    (re-) ‘to repeat an action:
  • kam (come) ‘ ‘, rikám (come back, return)
  • print (print) ‘ ‘, riprínt (reprint)
[Diinlang may use the more traditional “re-”. I like “rekum” to mean “return”. ]

-abl, -ûbl (-able) Possibility:
  • sï (see), ‘ ‘; sïûbl (seeable)
  • bilïv (believe), ‘ ‘; bilïvûbl (believable)

-er, -r (-er) ‘When joined to an adjective, it serves to form the comparative of the adjective, and is equal in sense to ‘more”:
  • gud (good), ‘ ‘; gúdr (better)
  • grïn (green), ‘ ‘; grïnr (greener)
  • töl (tall), ‘ ‘; tölr (taller)

-est, -ûst (-est) ‘Converts the adjective into a superlative form, equivalent to the meaning of ‘most…”: Although it is written -est the ending may be heard with the neutral vowel -ûst:
  • gúdest (goodest, best)
  • tölest (tallest)

-fl (-ful) ‘Adjectival suffix which denotes fullness’:
  • byútifl
  • saksésfl
  • kërfl
[Scots uses “fu” instead, which may be more compatible with Diinlang.]

-i (-ey, -y) ‘Diminutive which denotes affection’:
  • ¥ow (Joe), ‘ ‘; ¥ówi (Joey)
  • dëd (dad), ‘ ‘; dëdi (daddy)
  • dog (dog), ‘ ‘; dógi (doggey)
  • hors (horse), ‘ ‘; hórsi (horsey)

-ing (-ing) ‘A participial ending which converts the verb into an adjective or into a noun; while, when preceded by the verb bï , it produces the PROGRESSIVE TENSE which describes an action in progress:’
  • stënd (stand), ‘ ‘; stënding (adj. standing)
  • wrayt (write), ‘ ‘; wráyting (writing)
  • hi bï wráyting (he be [is in the process of] writing)

-ist (-ist) ‘Profession or occupation’:
  • mashïn (machine), ‘ ‘; mashïnist (machinist)
  • art (art), ‘ ‘; ártist (artist)
  • piëno (piano), ‘ ‘; píanist (pianist)

-lö (-law) ‘Indicates a relationship contracted by marriage’:
  • san (son), ‘ ‘; san-in-lö (son-in-law)
  • brádhr ( ), ‘hermano’; brádhr-in-lö (brother-in-law)