LotM - Sep 14: Shikathi
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September 2014 has rolled around the corner, and with it comes Vulcanman's creation Shikathi!
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 24 Jun 2015, 01:14.
[comments] shklotm sep 14lotm
Welcome to the September 2014 edition of the LotM! This month's user-chosen language is Vulcanman's a priori language, Shikathi (or, in Shikathi, shykāðī)! Shikathi is a heavily agglutinating language, and while it is described as being verb-less, it functions heavily with a small class of words known as verbalizers. Let's dive in.
[top]Verbs and Verbalizers
One of the most interesting aspects of Shikathi, at least as I saw it, is how verbs are handled. Vulcanman himself describes the language as not having "verbs per se" (via Shikathi's verbs article). Instead of a distinct class of verbs, Shikathi employs three verbalizers that can be used with virtually any other word to create the intended meaning. This particles are:
- intransitive: akām
- transitive: lator
- passive or becoming: ekrō
The following examples are right from the verb article, showing how these little verbalizers can be used:
- ora = fire
- ora akam = to be on fire
- orā lator = to set on fire
- ora ekrō = to be set on fire
The resulting verbs are conjugated according to the verbalizer used to construct it. The indepth conjugation tables can be seen [here] in the main verb article, as it's quite extensive and laden with examples of usage and translations to English.
While Shikathi's verbal (or verbalizer-al) system can seem daunting, the phonology is rather inviting. Although on the surface, the orthography seems to be radically different from English (or possibly anything else you've seen, except for maybe Ithkuil), the actual phonemes at work are easy to get through and not difficult to work with (at least for English speakers).
Perhaps the most 'difficult' (and I use that term loosely) aspect is the plethora of diphthongs found in Shikathi, but again, they're really not all that different from anything found in English. It's a definite breath of fresh air to not be pummeled by vowels that I can't pronounce as monophthongs, nevermind diphthongs. Maybe I need to work on that.
It's nice to see a language that is well-planned and not an English clone, but doesn't need to have an insane phonology to distinguish itself. Check out the table o' phonemes [here].
As mentioned before, Shikathi is described as being verb-less... but it does include another class of words that are definitely verby - pro-verbs. These are analogous to how pronouns and nouns are related - pro-verbs can replace verbs.
The actual mechanics behind it are breathtaking. Verbs can be replaced and further extrapolated on with a pro-verb, which can include conjunctions that further clarify the meaning of the verb being replaced. I hardly feel that I can do the system justice (partially because I am still wrapping my head around it), but please stop by Vulcanman's article on Shikathi Pro-Verbs and give it a good read. It will definitely blow your mind - it's a concept I had never even imagined.
[top]A Note on LOTM
Got suggestions for how the next LOTM should be written? See something in Shikathi that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Hate my guts and want to tell me? Feel free to shoot me (argylegasm) or Brandon a PM with your thoughts, suggestions, and hate mail. Also feel free to drop by the LOTM clan if you have other feedback, want to join in the voting process, or nominate a language!