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Au Nau Braun Kau

In English, dipthongs are represented by two letter combinations (digraphs). Of course, English being English, digraphs may represent more than one dipthong, and some dipthongs are represented by more than one digraph!
In English, the dipthong “//aʊ//” in IPA is represented by “ou” or “ow”, but is also used in the words “Maori”, “Mcleod”, “sauerkraut” and “umlaut”.
In Diinlang we try to improve on this, with each dipthong only being represented by a single digraph.
In the past, the dipthong represented by “//aʊ//” in IPA has been represented in Diinlang by the digraph “ou”.
Recently it has occurred to me that “//aʊ//” might be better represented by the digraph “au”. This will be more intuitive for users familiar with IPA. It also reduced the number of dipthongs in Diinlang that have digraphs beginning in “o-”.
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Euphony and Syllable Identification

I came across these passages of dialogue in a novel:
“Talekli lamo da ti saso ma, hasi de los padremaso tik de lama… Masa tu so gladji beri rama…”
“… saso ti da mati namo, zara ti raguesta di la ramo…”
“… maso si nami lama”
“Slami makto, shaba tlek na doura rashamateran…”
“Sama slektli, Tara oorsi sa mamda lami se tarakogla me so sani ta deloka de somata so se hakara de sao soma…”
Euphorically, I find this language quite pleasing. There is something of a Mediterranean feel to it, probably due to the numerous open syllables. This is somewhat ironic, since in the novel the languag is supposed to be demonic, or at least trans-dimensional!
There are clear advantages to having a conlang that is both clear and easy to listen to.
Why are these words so pleasing? Euphony is subjective, of course, and one factor will be how the reader will render these letters into sounds. For me, at least, even the longer words were easy to pronounce since my inclination was to treat the words as though composed of Japanese mora: for example “ra-sha-ma-te-ran”. Nearly all these words are treated as being composed of CV or CVn mora. Exceptions to this include “kli”, “tli” “dre” “gla” (CCV), “los”, “tik”, “slek”, “tlek” “es”, “oor” (VC), and “glad”.
This suggests that I have a tendency to treat certain letters as being more likely to terminate a syllable. -k or -d after a vowel are treated as the end of a syllable rather than the start of a following mora. Would the voiced/voiceless equivalents of these letters be treated the same? According to this article on cryptograms, the most common letters to end a word (rather than a syllable) in English are: e, s, t, d. The ending -t suggests to me a perfect or finished aspect. Odd that the word “stop” in English ends in a -p, although one sometimes encounters “stopped” spelt “stopt” in older texts .
Since Diinlang will attempt to utilize compound words, with each syllable being a corresponding “normal” word, there are obvious advantages if there are simple, consistent rules for recognition of where on syllable ends and another starts.
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Simple Punctuation for Diinlang 2.1

Punctuation in Diinlang is based on that of English, with a number of simplifications.
When spoken, punctuation of a sentence takes the form of pauses of variable length. When a punctuation symbol would be replaced by a spoken word, a word is used in preference to a symbol in the written form. This is the principle of “Punctuate like you pause”. Thus, one would write “…9 to 5…” or “…teacher or parent…” rather than “…9-5…” or  “…teacher/parent…”.
Full-Stop. When a heading finishes in a line-break it is not necessary to add a full-stop. This improves the aesthetics of the text. Items in a bulleted list do not need a full-stop unless they are a sentence. Items should not end in a comma nor semi-colon. Some style guides require the last item on a bulleted list to end in a full-stop. This is redundant unless the item is a sentence. In Diinlang ending with a full-stop may be seen as redundant when there is a line-break. Capitalization rules for Diinlang have yet to be finalized. For now, assume each item in a bulleted list begins with a capital letter.
Commas, The serial comma or “Oxford comma” is permissible in Diinlang. Its use is recommended when its use clarifies the meaning of a list.
Colon: A colon is used in much the same way as in English. It serves to introduce new information such as a quotation, an explanation, an example, or a series. Whether the information following begins with a capital letter will depend on whether it is a new sentence, a bulleted list, or not. It may be used for emphasis or to join independent clauses. A colon should not be followed by a hyphen or dash. When writing dialogue, an introductory clause does not need a colon, comma or full-stop if it is immediately followed by a quotation mark on the same line. eg She said “It is time…” An identifier that follows a quotation mark does not need to be capitalized. It is treated as the end of a sentence, however.
Question Mark? A sentence is made a question by adding a question mark to the end. In Diinlang this represents the word “ke” and is pronounced if the sentence is read-out-loud. Ke is placed at the start of a sentence to form the Diinlang of “Wh-” questions. In these sentences a “?” may be written at the start of the sentence rather than “ke”.
Exclamation Point! Used as in English. It should be used sparingly unless within dialogue.
Slash/ The slash symbol is used for a number of applications. The slash often represents an alternative. When used for sentence construction, in many instances it can be replaced by words such as “or”. If a slash is used, there should be no space between the slash and the following character, unless this would affect clarity. A slash with a space after is used to quote the lines of a poem when line breaks are not used. eg. She wrote “Challenge in the spring/ Autumn rain bathing in light/ Children laugh lightly/ ”
Semicolon; A semicolon joins independent clauses. The STE guide notes that the semi-colon is difficult to use correctly and suggests it is never used. It is preferable to use a comma, colon, or construct two sentences instead. The main use for the semicolon in Diinlang is to separate the items of a complex list. A complex list is one where one or more items contains a comma.
Hyphens and Dashes– Diinlang uses the keys found on a generic keyboard for punctuation. The hyphen (or more properly, “hyphen-minus symbol”) is used instead of an en-dash. The hyphen joins two or more words or numbers together so they are treated as a single unit. It may form compound modifiers or compound a modifier with a noun. When it joins two numbers, it indicates the numbers represent a unitary concept such as a period of time. Thus, “1914-1918 War”. Where two numbers are joined together to represent a range, then a word should be used rather than a hyphen. See 9-5 example earier. In some English uses the hyphen may be replaced by a colon. eg “My team won 3:1!” rather than “..won 3-1”
A double-hyphen is used instead of an em-dash. It is used in place of a comma, parenthesis, or colon. Using these latter symbols is preferable in Diinlang –the use of a double-hyphen or em-dash should be sparing. A double-hyphen or em-dash might be used when a clause already contained a comma, so could not be isolated with a comma. In this application the double-hyphen is treated like brackets. They are preceeded and followed by a space, but there is no space between them and the phrase or clause within.
A double-hyphen may be used instead of a bullet when making a bulleted list.
A double-hyphen is used instead of a double-em-dash when representing missing letters in a word–“J– told G– that it was ‘All S–!’”
A triple-hyphen replaces the three-em-dash to represent a missing word or the repeated name of an author in a bibliography or reference list.
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More Ideas for Diinlang 2.1

Proper Determiners

Capitalization is a problem for many in English. Hopefully a simpler set of conventions can be formulated for Diinlang.
A related idea that I had was s specific article or articles for proper nouns and phrases. In English one might write “Meet me at the hole.” or “Meet me at The Hole”. It is clear that in the second case the reference is to an establishment or place called “The Hole”. If spoken, there is no obvious distinction.
Possibly Diinlang could have distinct definite and indefinite articles for use with proper nouns.

Demonstrative Adjectives

I have been reluctant to introduce demonstrative adjective/pronouns for Diinlang. Instead I investigated the idea that the words for “here” and “there” (“vang” and “ving”), could be used instead. Where greater specificity was needed these were combined with the definite article (“ve”): ve vang (this), ve ving (that), vez vang (these) and vez ving (those).
Afrikaans seems for the most part to manage with just a single demonstrative: “dit”. This means “this” or “that” but also serves as a third person neuter pronoun with the meaning “it”. The definite article “die” may be used as a pronoun meaning “this one”, “these”; “that one”, “those”; “he”, “she”, “it”, “they”
Possibly “vit” could be used, with the shorthand “vt”. This would be pluralized as vitz/vtz when necessary. It could be combined with vang or ving when more specificity is needed.

Simple Grammar Rules for Diinlang Verbs

Verbs use the same word for the bare infinitive form and all tenses.
Use the Simple Present Tense for Habitual Actions: A marker for habitual actions may be used, however.
Use the Present Progressive Tense for Current Action: Formed by combining the bare infinitive with the auxilary “bi”: eg. “Em bi go” = “I am going.”
Simple past is made with the marker te and bare infinitive:Em te bi go” = “I went.”
Use Present Perfect for the Unfinished Past: Perfect uses the auxilary verb “he” : “Em he go” = “I have gone.”
Use Present Perfect Progressive for Unfinished Action and Past: “Em he bi go” =  “I have been going.”
Past Perfect for the First of Two Past Actions:Em te he nyam un e em te go on.” =  “I had chewed one and I went on.”
Passive Voice: Passive voice is rendered using the auxiliary verb “ge” with the bare infinitive. Passive statements in English often use the word “by”. In Diinlang equivalent words include po (from), de (nonspecific preposition) and kom (with).
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Some Ideas for Diinlang 2.1

I have had a number of ideas about Diinlang, but many are not worth a full blog post, and often I forget to jot them down and forget them.
I will attempt to recall some of them and will add some additional ideas and reflections.

Object Marking

A way to optionally designate the object of a sentence has been mentioned before. Rather than a suffix, I think a better route would be a particle, such as “om”. Is there a need for a distinction between direct and indirect objects? Probably not, since this will often be signified by their position in a sentence.

Agent Nouns

Agent-nouns are formed from verbs by the addition of -or for an animate creature, -er for an inanimate. The former can be gendered as -oro or -ora. Thus: “Ye kuker per ye kukoro” = “A cooker for a (male) cooker (chef).”

Complimentary Word Pairings

An idea I have not made much use of is that of reversed, complimentary words. For example, the genitive particle “vo” was derived by reversing the letters of “ov”, the phonetic rendition of “of”. Of course, currently “ov” is not used in Diinlang. Such a system could be used more in Diinlang, but for which specific word pairs.

Modifiers

In English, we often contract phrases “the wrong way”. “Automatic pistol” becomes “automatic”, giving no help as to the nature of the item to a non-native not familiar with the contraction. In Diinlang, where a noun and modifier combine to make a compound noun it may be prudent that one word takes its adverbial, adjective or genitive form. “hairy restorer”, “spider vo web” etc. An idea to further investigate.
It would facilitate learning and use of Diinlang if most modifiers had a distinctive form. While it is not necessary to distinguish between adjectives and adverbs, it may be necessary to distinguish between different types. Diinlang (and other ALs) would benefit from a breakdown of all modifier uses. Something similar for the various verb tenses and aspects would also be useful. Sapir mentions “point” and “linear”-aspects of speech. How would Diinlang deal with these, and how would the latter overlap with the habitual, for example?
Nouns and verbs that are used as modifiers will change form, probably taking a suffix. Logically, modifiers that are used as nouns or verbs should change form. Words that are primarily verbs or nouns do not change. As in English, such verbs can be used as nouns by adding a determiner or article, or used as verbs. Words that have a dual use as both adverbs and determiners would not change.
Sapir has the interesting observation on noun formation from modifiers: “English, for instance, has a great many formal resources at its disposal which it seems unable to use adequately; for instance, there is no reason why the suffix -ness should not be used to make up an unlimited number of words indicating quality, such as `smallness' and `opaqueness,' yet we know that only a limited number of such forms is possible. One says `width,' not `wideness'; `beauty,' not `beautifulness.'”

Flesch

Diinlang must also be relevant to how it will be used. This includes use on-line. Factors such as readability will contribute to this. Flesch Readability scores suggest that most words should have three syllables or less, and sentences be under 25 words. To facilitate the latter there must be clear ways to link the thread of consecutive sentences. Consider the English sentence: “The dog chased the ball into the lake. It was cold and wet.” Grammatically correct, but also unclear as to what was cold and wet. The dog, the ball or the lake? We may need pronouns that can be used to indicate if it was the subject, direct object or indirect object that is the subject of a following sentence.

Evidentiality

The Pirahã language has the interesting feature that it can be specified if an action was personally witnessed, deduced from circumstantial evidence, or based on here-say. Certain usages in Diinlang I would like to see as less specific than traditional languages. It is more accurate to say “the house appears/seems red” than “the house is red”. The house may just be reflecting the light of the setting sun.
This property is called Evidentiality. Some thought needs to be given to the most effective way to use this in Diinlang. A family of modal and/or auxiliary verbs might be used.

Also to be considered is the number and forms of evidentiality that will be used. For example:
• Something personally witnessed
• Something that can be proven to be true
• Something that is believed to be true but may not be provable
• Something from an unreliable source, such as internet forums, facebook, Wikipedia, gossip, newspapers, commercial media, etc.
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Basic Prepositions 2.1

A friend sent me the above graphic. I could not resist sending him the message “Keys are AT home, IN the lounge, ON the table” A perfectly logical statement in English which disproves the proposed rule. Words in English often have multiple meanings, some of them depending on context.
As a matter of fact I had been thinking about prepositions that day. As I typed in song titles in title case, I reflected how it would be nice if all the uncapitalized words belonged to closed groups. It would also be nice if all the prepositions were less than five letters, making the “five letter rule” redundant.
Choice of prepositions in Diinlang needs to be simple. In a previous post I proposed adopting some ideas from Italian. This is an update for Diinlang 2.1, and only deals with a handful of useful prepositions.
In” has a wider range of use than in English. When travelling, you travel in a vehicle rather than by a vehicle. The exception is when you are physically on top of something such as a horse, camel or bike. Then you travel on, rather than by or in. In can be used for when you are within a location, or for during a time period. You would be “in France” or “in Summer”. Italian also uses in for constructions such that indicate travel towards a large area. “Vai in Francia” rather than “go to France”.
On” sees less use as a preposition than in English. It is generally reserved for when physically on an object. You ride on a bike, meet on a bridge or are on a mountain. In most cases that English would use on, in Diinlang the preposition “at” would be used instead. You meet at the high street, at the bank, at one at Tuesday. “Veng” (near) may be used instead. The other use of “on” has the meaning “about”. Rather than having a book about Shakespeare or book of Shakespeare, in Diinlang the translation would be a book on Shakespeare.
At” is used to designate points in space or time, and in most cases replaces the use of “on” in English. It substitutes for “in”, although either can be used when the “within/ during” requirement is met.
Po” means “from” and is derived from “apo” used in a number of other languages. It is used with various verbs and directives for constructions such as “down-from” or “run-from”. Po is used to construct more logical terms. Rather than saying “a play by Shakespeare”, Diinlang would say “a play from/po Shakespeare”. There is no direct equivalent of the English word “by”. Other words are used in Diinlang to create more specific statements.
The use of “per” has been expanded further in Diinlang. It has the meaning “for/to” and now becomes the complement of “po”. It can also have the meanings “during” (per annum), “for each” (per person), “to each/ in each” (per metre, per hour), “in accordance” (per your request), “by means of” (Li skribis per plumo, Sono passato per il centro) and in some cases mean “as, with, by, via”. For the moment I will retain “ad” for “to”, but expect in most cases per can be used instead. Rather than “Book of Records” or “Book of Shakespeare” the Diinlang construction translates as “Book per Records” or “Book per Shakespeare”
De” remains in use as a non-specific preposition, to be used when the use of po or per is uncertain, or to substitute for on, in or at. It is the closest word that Diinlang has for “of” in that it complements “vo”: “Jon vo kanis” means “Jon’s Dog” while “Kanis de Jon” is “Dog of Jon”.
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Comparatives and Superlatives: Part Seven (Diinlang 2.1)

For Diinlang 2.1 I will attempt to simplify the comparative and superlative system once again. “Ta” and “ko” remain as the positives, with the meanings of large/big/great and small/little, and hence “taz” and “koz” mean many and few.
The suffix “mo-”, makes a comparative, hence mota, moko, motaz and mokoz have the meanings: bigger, smaller, more-numerous and fewer. To make a superlative add the definite article to the comparative, as is practised in many languages. ie “ve moko”=“the smallest”. For uses such as "most people like coffee" use a constructions such as “remo motaz”. (very many) or whatever word is selected for “majority”.
“Mo” is combined with “re”, the word for “repeat/again” to give a new word for “very”.
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Diinlang 2.1 Single Letter Contractions

The other night I was watching “Blue Planet II” again. David Attenborough said something about the majority of the Earth’s animal life living below the twilight level of the oceans. These creatures use light to communicate, making it likely that visual means is the most commonly used communication system on the planet. A few days later a friend notes that most personal communication these days is written. This is another example of visual communication. As I have noted before, many English speakers read at a higher word rate than they listen at.
It is logical that any auxiliary language (auxlang) project consider its visual as well as its phonetic elements. English partially does this already, using alternate characters or spellings to distinguish certain homophones. Consider “click” and “klick” or “saw” and “sore”. While creating new alphabets may be diverting, an auxlang should probably be compatible with the ISO standard alphabet. This approach allows me to utilize the non-phonetic letters for Diinlang.
One of the systems that I have looked at when designing Diinlang is Dutton Speedwords, and related systems such as Yublin. Clearly, making the most commonly used words short contributes to making an auxlang type-friendly. Dutton’s system has its good points and bad. One of the better is how the single letter word for “will”(r) and that for “was”(y) combine to make a word with the meaning “would”(yr).
Below is an attempt at some single letter codes that can be used when writing Diinlang. Since Diinlang uses a syntax that is similar, but simpler than English these letters may also be mixed into English, which is a good way to learn them.
Note that these single letter codes are contractions, rather than single letter words. When spoken, nearly all of them follow the simple rule of taking an “e/i” sound if a consonant and a “h” if a vowel. The exceptions to this rule are few and easily learnt.
    • The pronoun “u” is pronounced “yu”.
    • The pronoun “m” is pronounced or written as either “me” or “em”. They are interchangeable in meaning or use.
    • “y” and “n” mean “yes” and “no”. They may be pronounced “ye” and “ne” but “ya” and “no” are also permitted. These are also alternate written words if not contracted.
    • The non-phonetic letters (c, q, x) are treated as symbols and have pronunciations that must be learnt.
The proposed single letter contractions for Diinlang are:

a: "ah" future tense marker, the equivalent of "will" or "going to" in English. "a-t" gives "ah-te" for "would" and forms a subjunctive tense.
b: "be" verb "to be". a b (ah be) "will be", t b (te be) or bt (be-te) "was".
c: symbol standing for the word "kom", meaning "with".
d: "de" meaning "from", "for", "of". General purpose preposition.
e: "eh" means "and". The symbols "&" or "+" may be used instead and pronounced as "eh".
f: "fe" verb "to do". Placed with another verb creates an infinitive. This is a new change for Diinlang 2.1 and replaces the word "du".
g: "ge" verb "to get", creating passive voice when uses as an auxiliary with another verb.
h: "he" verb "to have", creating perfect tense when used as auxiliary. Note that the vowel sound is very short.
i: pronounced "ih", means "in".
j: "je" indefinite article. means "some". Gendered forms are ja and jo, specific plural jez. "jaz" and "joz" could potentially be used.
k: "ke" relative pronoun "that". This represents other English relative pronouns such as who, what, which.
l: "le" for "to say". "lt" is "le-te" and means "said".
m: "me" or "em" First person pronoun. First person plural pronoun is formed "mz" for "mez" or "emz".
n: "ne" or "no" negator.
o: pronounced "oh" means "or". "eo" is "eh-oh" and means "and/or".
p: "pe" means "per".
q: symbol pronounced as "kwe", means "what"(interogative or marks a clause or sentence as a question when placed at the start or end. Its resemblence to the Franco-Latin "que" may see it used as a relative pronoun (English "that") or for comparison (like English "than").
r: "re". On its own could be used for the word "again". re- is used at the start of some Diinlang words with the same or similar meaning to its use in English.
s: "se" reflexive pronoun.
t: "te" past tense marker when placed before a verb. Past-passive suffix on adjectives and adverbs. Creates a single word past tense form when used as a suffix on verbs
u: "yu" Second person pronoun "you". Optional plural formed "uz" or "yuz".
v: "ve" definite article, means "the". Gendered as "va" and "vo", plural as "vz" for "vez". "voz" and "vaz" are gendered plurals.
w: Unassigned. Given the problems with pronunciation it causes some nationalities this phoneme may possibly not be used in Diinlang.
x: symbol pronounced "eks" meaning "out".
y: "ya/ye/" means yes. Second form is pronounced "yeh" rather than "yee".
z: "ze" third person pronoun. Becomes zo (he), za (she), plurals are zz/zez, zoz and zaz.