Theodian language

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Theodian
ʼə́ plə fyɔ́ tya
Created by Miles B Huff
Regulated by The Theodian government
(via the Jury of Linguistics)
Spoken in Theodia
Total speakers 0
Writing system(s) Theodic
Family Language isolate (Theodic)
Type Engelang
Influenced by EsperantoLingálaLojban, Tok Pisin; ergonomics, relativism

Theodian is the primary official language of the Technocratic Republic of Theodia. It is a micronational engelang/explang (a type of constructed language, or 'conlang'). It is being designed by linguist Miles Bradley Huff (known in the micronational sphere as Swena), and is a formal language that will eventually -- once the language is operational -- be governed by the Theodian Jury of Linguistics. Informal varieties are not stigmatized; the formal variety exists mainly to mitigate the communicational difficulties posed by linguistic change-over-time and dialectal variation, especially when it comes to formal documents.
The Theodian language is ceaselessly changing, so please note that this article was current as of 2017, August. Work began on the language in early 2010, although precursors were created as early as late 2009, with the original writing system dating back to 2005.

Note that, although Theodic, the script in which Theodian is conventionally written, is a vertical script; it has generally been written horizontally in this article, so as to better fit English typesetting constraints.

History

Theodian was begun as Þeodspraask, which was itself a continuation of Libraskë, an earlier conlang designed ad hoc by Miles. Etymologically speaking, "Þeod-spraask" meant "nation's language". It utilized a complicated runic writing system, and was lexically and grammatically influenced primarily by Old English and other Germanic languages. Miles developed it throughout the year 2010. The language originally had a very relativistic bent, and was about causing Theodians to think in a certain 'optimal' way.
The language's runic alphabet gradually simplified into the current Milic fuþark, which is no longer used by Theodian, having been replaced by an a priori featural alphabet. The language went through several name-changes as well, from the original Þeodspraask, to Þeodspråxa, to Þeûdspråx, to Cavdzut Sprago, to BlabyJodi, to the modern ʼЭbləFiodia; and the the English word for it similarly changed, from the original Theodspraask, to Theodspraughsk, to the modern Theodian. It was originally fairly kitchen-sink-ish, including large numbers of linguistic features without having much of a reason to do so.
Its original article, which was over 80KiB's of text (a record not surpassed by this article until 2016, February), was one of a handful of "Good Articles" on the original MicroWiki. The article was mangled by the switch to MicroWiki.org.uk (the ancestor of the current Microwiki), and lost "Good Article" status some time later. Theodspraughsk was one of the first official languages of the Runic Union, and for a short time adopted the Union's official runic script, before returning to Milic Runes.
The lexicon of Theodian has been completely redone several times throughout its history, and Miles has attributed this to the difficulty of finding objective ways to derive words. Work is being done in this area, as modern Theodian seeks to utilize phonosemantics and IAL (International Auxiliary Language) derivational tactics in word-creation, but neither is a hard science, and the former is not yet well-understood by linguistics.

Development

In keeping with Theodian culture, there are two general kinds of Theodian: Formal, which is developed by the legislative Linguistics-Jury; and Informal, which develops naturally. This latter one has no official governance, and its use is also not stigmatized. The existence of a formal Theodian is just to ensure the highest communicational quality of important documents, especially as pertains to law, to facilitate adoption into the language of recent developments in linguistics and related fields, and to provide a neutral lingua franca for the country. It is expected that there will eventually be a sort of creolization, with formal Theodian as the acrolect, and the most informal of Theodians as the basilect.
Under the country's current transitional government, the Linguistics-Jury is comprised of just Swena, and lacks a highly structured development-environment; but it will eventually become a conventional legislative jury, and Formal Theodian will be governed by linguistic legislation.

Phonology

Phonology at a glance

Isochrony Regular pitch‑accent
Vowel-system T8C

Number of consonants 15
Number of monophthongs 8
Number of diphthongs 4

Airstreams 2
Suprasegmentals 5 (via allophony)
Tones 1

Phonological analysis of Theodian generally concentrates on, or uses as a point of reference, Formal Theodian as specified in the latest ESR (Extended-Support Release) legislation-release. Considerable variation may exist in dialects of Informal Theodian.

Phonemes

The tables below show the phoneme-inventory of Formal Theodian. The symbols are from the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet).

Vowels
Monophthongs
Front Near‑
front
Central Near‑
back
Back
Close i u
Near‑close ə
Close‑mid e o
Mid
Open‑mid ɛ ɔ
Near‑open
Open a
Diphthongs
a-stem o-stem
i-end a͡i̯ ɔ͡i̯
u-end a͡u̯ ɔ͡u̯
  • Note that the monophthong-chart shows the approximate ranges wherein each vowel may vary freely.

As can be seen above, Theodian has a T8C vowel-system (ie, an 8-point triangular vowel-system with extraneous central vowel(s)). In addition to these 8 qualities, the language also contrasts nasalization, rhotacization, pharyngealization, and voicing in its vowels (but via allophony); and its diphthongs are all closing.
The amount of vowels needed by the orthography (see below) was 8, so the 8 most common simple qualities in the world's languages (per the data at PHOIBLE) were chosen. The average frequency of a Theodian monophthong among the world's languages is about 64%.

Consonants
Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
Bi LD LL De Al PA AP Pa Ve Uv Ph EG Gl
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p t k ʔ
Fricative f s x h
Approximant w l j w ʕ
Trill
Semivowels
Front Central Back
Close j w
Mid (l)
Open (ʕ)
  • Note that this table shows allophony via extended boxes; but only phonemes have been explicitly written.

Theodian's consonants are positioned fairly regularly along the place-manner axes, with approximately 4 consonants per manner and place, the only exceptions being the nasals and laryngeals (which only have three), and the dorsals (which could be said to have 5, due to /w/). Notable is the lack of a voiced or aspirated set among the obstruents. The approximants could all be considered semivowels in some sense, with [w] being equivalent to [u̯], [l] being close to [ɚ̯], [j] being equivalent to [i̯], and [ʕ] being equivalent to [ɑ̯̈].
The consonants were selected after the orthography was first prototyped, and so it was known that they would need to fit into a 4x4 grid (more details about the orthography can be found below). As such, the 4 most common manners and the 4 fundamental places were selected. Initially, the consonants were going to be completely regular; but this resulted in a rather strange phoneme-inventory; so they were revised such that each individual consonant would be the most common consonant cross-linguistically in that particular broad category (ie, [f] is the most common fricative among the labial places), using the data available at PHOIBLE. The average frequency of a Theodian consonant among the world's languages is about 65% (70% without /ʕ/).

Comparison to other languages

Theodian's vowel inventory is present in a number of languages, such as Catalan and Slovene. There is, however, no known natural language with Theodian's exact consonant-inventory. In terms of individual features, though, Theodian happens to share a fair amount in-common with Danish, having a nearly identical R-sound (/ʕ/) as well as creaky voicing in vowels, among other similarities.
Per the data available at PHOIBLE (which has information on the phoneme-inventories of around 2000 languages), the average number of consonants per language is just under 24, and the average number of vowels is about 10.5. Therefore, compared to most documented languages, Theodian has a smallish consonant-inventory (with 15 consonants) and a medium-sized vowel-inventory (with 8 vowels). If only vowel-qualities are counted, then Theodian, relative to the most common vowel-inventory (/a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/), has a bigish vowel-inventory.
The average frequency of a Theodian phoneme (excluding diphthongs) among the world's languages is about 65%, with consonants at around 65%, and monophthongs at around 64%.

Allophony

Formal Theodian's allophonic processes can be described with 12 rules, 3 of which are collections of other rules (When expanded, there is a total of 18 rules.). Like with all allophonic transformations, they are ordered; but there are, of course, times when the order does not necessarily matter, due to following rules neither (1) being fed/bled by nor (2) counterfeeding/counterbleeding the preceding rule(s). Where feeds and bleeds occur or could occur is indicated after the name of each rule.
These rules, in total, describe the maximum amount of allophony allowable in formal Theodian. Careful speech (speech with reduced allophony) is also acceptable.

  • Theodian consonants change depending upon what vocoids follow them. These changes are regular, and are as follows:
    1. Coronal/dorsal retraction: (2 rules in 1) (bleeds coronal tapping)
      • Before [+back] vocoids: [+coronal] consonants receive [-anterior], and [-approximant +dorsal] consonants receive [+back].
      • A similar, but less exact, way of saying this, is that /t/, /s/, /n/, /l/, /k/, /x/, /ŋ/ become retracted (/t̠/, /s̠/, /n̠/, /l̠/, /k̠/, /x̠/, /ŋ̠/, respectively) before /w/, /u/, /o/, /ɔ/.
    2. Coronal/dorsal advancement: (2 rules in 1) (bleeds coronal tapping)
      • Before [+front] vocoids: [+coronal] and [-approximant +dorsal] consonants receive [+front].
      • A similar, but less exact, way of saying this, is that /t/, /s/, /n/, /l/, /k/, /x/, /ŋ/ become fronted ([t̟], [s̟], [n̟], /l̟/, /k̟/, /x̟/, /ŋ̟/, respectively) before /j/, /i/, /e/, /ɛ/.
    3. Coronal laminalization: (bleeds coronal tapping)
      • Before [+front +tense] vocoids: [-approximant +coronal] consonants receive [+distributed].
      • A similar, but less exact, way of saying this, is that /t/, /s/, /n/ become palato-alveolar ([ȶ̟], [ʃ], [ȵ̟], respectively) before /j/, /i/, /e/.
    4. Coronal palatalization: (bleeds coronal tapping)
      • Before [+front +tense +close] vocoids: [-approximant +coronal] consonants receive [+dorsal].
      • A similar, but less exact, way of saying this, is that /t/, /s/, /n/ become alveolo-palatal ([ȶ], [ɕ], [ȵ], respectively) before /j/, /i/.
      • Hence, ⟨fjɔ tja⟩, which is phonemically /ˈfjɔ.tja/, is phonetically [ɸɥɔ́.ȡa].
  • Theodian obstruents vary somewhat, both freely and allophonically:
    1. Obstruent voicing-variation: (feeds obstruent voicing-assimilation)
      • Their voicing varies freely.
    2. Word-inital obstruent-aspiration: (feeds obstruent voicing-assimilation) (bleeds coronal tapping)
      • They receive aspiration word-initially.
    3. Obstruent voicing-assimilation:
      • They must be [αVoice] with any neigbouring obstruent in the same syllable.
  • Some Theodian consonants, when they occur in the coda, recursively merge with the rest of their syllable. These changes are regular, and are as follows:
    1. Coda-reduction: (5 rules in 1) (bleeds coronal tapping)
      • //σʕ////σ̴//  : //_$// (ie, /ʕ/ applies uvularization/pharyngealization to the syllable).
      • //σl////σ˞// : //_$// (ie, /l/ applies rhotacization to the syllable). Note that this effect ceases propagation through the syllable upon hitting a phone which is [+consonant -vowel].
      • //σN////σ̃//  : //_$// (ie, nasals apply nasalization to the syllable). Note that this effect ceases propagation through the syllable upon hitting a stop.
      • //σʔ////σ̰//  : //_$// (ie, /ʔ/ applies creaky voicing to the syllable). Note that this effect ceases propagation through the syllable upon hitting a voiceless sound.
      • //σh////σ̤//  : //_$// (ie, /h/ applies breathy voicing to the syllable). Note that this effect ceases propagation through the syllable upon hitting a voiceless sound.
  • Some Theodian consonants change intervocalically. These changes are regular, and are as follows:
    1. Coronal tapping:
      • [+coronal +anterior -strident -SG] ➔ tap : //V_V//
      • [t], [n], [l] become tapped ([ɾ], [ɾ̃], [ɺ], respectively) when between two vowels, even between words.
  • At least one of Theodian's phonemes is rather unstable in its realization. More details can be found below:
    1. Rhotic variation:
      • /ʕ/'s place is generally somewhat unstable, being anywhere between fully uvular and fully pharyngeal. Its manner is also fairly unstable, being variously realized as a trill, a tap, a fricative, and an approximant. The approximant realization is most common in isolation, whereas the others are most common after an obstruent (example: ⟨fran sɛ⟩, /ˈfʕan.sɛ/, [ˈfʁ̝aⁿ.zɛ], which means 'France').
  • Theodian phones change depending on the roundedness of nearby sounds. These changes are regular, and are as follows:
    1. Consonant rounding-assimilation: (applies recursively within a word)
      • [+consonant][+round] : //_[+syllabic +round]//
      • A similar, but less exact, way of saying this, is that /f/, /j/, and all other consonants become rounded ([ɸ], [ɥ], etc, respectively) before a rounded sound in the same syllable.
      • Hence, ⟨fjɔ tja⟩, which is phonemically /ˈfjɔ.tja/, is phonetically [ɸɥɔ́.ȡa]; and ⟨fjɔ tja⟩, which is phonemically /ˈfjɔ.tja/, is phonetically [ɸɥɔ́.ȡa].
    2. Vowel rounding-assimilation:
      • [-consonant][+round] : //[-syllabic +round]_//
      • A similar, but less exact, way of saying this, is that /i/, /e/, /ɛ/, /a/, /ə/ become rounded (/y/, /ø/, /œ/, /ɶ/, /ɵ/, respectively) after /w/.
Conventions

As is the case with many language-specific adaptations of the IPA, Theodian's follows certain conventions. This article follows some, and others not:

  • Conventions followed by this article:
    • Unless voicing is relevant, aspirated sounds are often assumed to be voiceless, and unaspirated sounds to be voiced.
  • Conventions not followed by this article:
    • Unless aspiration is particularly relevant, it is often left out when the above convention is followed.
    • /ʕ/ is often transcribed as <r>, as it acts as a rhotic in Theodian.
Design-notes

Although it might seem that having no unnecessary allophony would be ideal in any language seeking to be "optimal", there are various reasons for its inclusion in Theodian, foremost among them being ease of pronunciation. Most of the above rules result in place-assimilation, which reduces the total amount of articulation; one results in a simplification of a consonant-cluster (coronal palatalization); one is a simple lenition (coronal tapping); a couple are there to allow for free variation (obstruent voicing-variation, rhotic variation), and thereby less precise pronunciation; one is designed to make word-delineation clearer (word-inital obstruent-aspiration); one is more or less unavoidable (obstruent voicing-assimilation); one dramatically simplifies codas (coda-reduction); and two are largely present only for the sake of logical regularity (coronal/dorsal retraction, coronal/dorsal advancement).
There are three rules (coronal laminalization, consonant rounding-assimilation, vowel rounding-assimilation) which are partially artistic in nature (Miles liked the sounds they bring in, but couldn't justify making them phonemic), but all three are assimilative, and so do help simplify articulation somewhat.

Phonotactics

Theodian has the following phonotactical rules:

General
  • Every syllable has an onset and a nucleus, and may have a coda.
  • The onset may be occupied by up to 2 consonant-phonemes, and may not be empty.
  • The nucleus may be occupied by any single phonemic vowel-quality, and may not be empty.
  • The second quality in a diphthong patterns as a consonant.
  • The coda may be occupied by up to 2 consonant-phonemes, and may be empty.

By implication of the above constraints:

  • Hiatus is not permitted.
  • The least complicated Theodian syllable is //CV//.
  • The most complicated Theodian syllable is //CCVCC//.
Restrictions on αFeatures
  • With the exception of /s/, consonants may not cluster with a consonant of a comparable place of articulation (ie, dorsals can't cluster with dorsals).
  • Consonants may not cluster with a consonant of a comparable manner of articulation (ie, fricatives can't cluster with fricatives).
Miscellaneous constraints
  • With the exception of /s/, syllables follow the sonority-hierarchy, with consonants further from the nucleus having to be less sonorant than consonants closer to the nucleus; but with the onset's sonority of course independent from the coda's.
  • Nasals can only cluster with /s/ in the onset.
  • Neither /ʔ/ nor /h/ may occur in any complex onset.
  • All possible complex syllable-onsets take the form of: //sPFNA// (where P ≡ Plosive, F ≡ Fricative, N ≡ Nasal, and A ≡ Approximate); where any individual component of such rules may be left out, and where no other rule(s) would be violated.
For example, //Nf// is not allowed, because it would violate the sonority hierarchy; //sf// is not allowed, because it would violate the restriction on αFeatures; and //sPA// is not allowed, because it would violate the limit of 2 consonants per onset. As such, it is very important to apply the above constraints to this formula, in order to divine what is, and what is not, a valid syllable onset in Theodian.
  • All possible syllable-codas are an ordered subset of the following set of elements: {A, N, L}; where A ≡ Approximant, N ≡ Nasal, and L ≡ Laryngeal.
For example, /ʔh/ is not allowed, because {L, L} is not a subset of {A, N, L}; /ʔʕ/ is not allowed, because it violates the sonority-hierarchy; and //ʕNʔ// is not allowed, because it would violate the limit of 2 consonants per coda. /ʕʔ/, /ʕ/, and ////, however, are, for example, allowed, because they are subsets of {A, N, L}, follow the sonority-hierarchy, and have an index no greater than 2.
Design-notes

These rules were designed to give Theodian the ability to approximate cluster-rich languages, while also remaining relatively easy-to-pronounce, itself. The coda, in particular, is seen by Miles as particularly neat, as the nucleus and coda are phonemically distinct; but phonetically, they are merged into a monolithic rime. This allows the language to approximate final consonants, while still remaining comparable in articulatory ease to a language with no final consonants.

Isochrony & prosody

The form of isochrony and accent used in Theodian are, respectively, syllable-timing and pitch-accent. This means that all syllables have effectively equivalent lengths and amplitudes, and that stress is indicated via pitch alone. Theodian's pitch-accent is regular, applying a high tone (˥) to the first syllable of every lexeme (thus effectively making every lexeme a trochee), and applying a neutral tone (˧) to all other syllables. So, the word /təˈxju.ʕi/ would sound like [tʰə˧.ʝu˥.ʕi˧], as /ˈxju/ is the first syllable of a lexeme, and the other syllables are not.
Syllable-timing was selected to avoid the vowel-reduction of stress-timing, as vowel-qualities are integral to Theodian's grammar. Lexemes were chosen to be trochees, so as to provide a clear contrast between them and any surrounding lexemes or clitics. By happenstance, the ends of words are already distinguished from the beginnings of others by aspiration as all Theodian words start with obstruents when properly inflected; so Theodian's isochrony does not need to distinguish them. Pitch-accent was selected for to indicate prominence, because using vowel-length for this purpose would, given the trochaic nature of the language, have likely devolved into a distinction based upon amplitude (since trochees tend towards accent by amplitude, and iambs to accent by length), and thence into a stress-timed system (which, again, is strongly associated with vowel-reduction processes, something which would dismantle Theodian's agglutinative grammar). Coincidentally, the average number of tones in each language is approximately 1 (per the data at PHOIBLE), which yet again places Theodian into a sort of phonemic middle-ground. Part of the selection of pitch-accent was inspired by the pitch-modulation of GLaDOS, from Portal; but it would not have been chosen if not for the reasons above.
Theodian diphthongs are all falling diphthongs, which means that the first quality in each diphthong is more prominent than the second. This was chosen to be the case, as this is the norm for closing diphthongs.
Intonation is not widely used distinctively, as the grammar is used to indicate things such as questions and sarcasm.
Prosodic stress is realized by lengthening and amplifying the syllable.

Orthography

Theodic

Created by Miles B Huff
Regulated by The Theodian government
(via the Jury of Linguistics)
Family a priori
Type Featural alphabet
Influenced by Roman alphabet, Runes, Hangul, Bimodular numerals; ergonomics
Language(s) Theodian

Writing direction BTB-?LtR V-BTB-LtR.png
Number of styles 7
Number of characters 24
Number of diacritics 3
For more information regarding the script as a whole, please see: Theodic script

Theodian's orthography is a language-specific adaptation of basic Theodic, and everything that implies. This means that the language, except where otherwise specified, uses a vertical writing-direction (BtBtB-LtR between syllables and LtR within syllables); multiple 'styles', with support for everything from telegraphs to blind people; etc. Theodian, however, has a particular advantage to being written in Theodic, just as Korean does with Hangul: The script was custom-made for it; and, in Theodian's case, the language was also custom-made for the script.

Differences from the standard

Theodian uses only 24 of the 25 letters provided by the basic Theodic script, with <Th R yy.png> being discarded. As well, the underline-diacritic is, in Theodian, used to indicate aspiration, as opposed to secondary stress or tone.

Letters

Letter Name Transliterations
 #  Theodic IPA Theodic IPA ASCII Cyrillic Greek Hangul Latin
 1 ʼ /ʔ/ ʼáuʼ /ˈʔauʔ/ ` ӏ ᾿ ʼ
 2 x /ⁿ/ ʼáux /ˈʔauⁿ/ x н ν n
 3 p /p/ páiʼ /ˈpaiʔ/ p п π p
 4 r /ʕ/ ráu /ˈʕau/  r р ρ r
 5 k /k/ kɔ́uʼ /ˈkɔuʔ/ k к κ k
 6 m /m/ máix /ˈmaiⁿ/ m м μ m
 7 h /h/ háuh /ˈhauh/ h г h
 8 j /j/ jɔ́u /ˈjɔu/  j ь ι y
 9 f /f/ fáih /ˈfaih/ f ф φ f
10 ŋ /ŋ/ ŋɔ́ux /ˈŋɔuⁿ/ q ң γγ ŋ
11 c /x/ cɔ́uh /ˈxɔuh/ c х χ kh
12 w /w/ wái /ˈwai/  w в β w
13 t /t/ tɔ́iʼ /ˈtɔiʔ/ t т τ t
14 n /n/ nɔ́ix /ˈnɔiⁿ/ n н ν n
15 s /s/ sɔ́ih /ˈsɔih/ s с σ s
16 l /l/ lɔ́i /ˈlɔi/  l л λ l
17 ə /ə/ ʼə́ /ˈʔə/   y ъ α ə
18 a /a/ ʼá /ˈʔa/   a а αα a
19 ɛ /ɛ/ ʼɛ́ /ˈʔɛ/   e э ε ɛ
20 e /e/ ʼé /ˈʔe/   ee е εε e
21 i /i/ ʼí /ˈʔi/   i и η i
22 u /u/ ʼú /ˈʔu/   u у ου u
23 o /o/ ʼó /ˈʔo/   oo оо ο o
24 ɔ /ɔ/ ʼɔ́ /ˈʔɔ/   o o ω ɔ
Note: Transliterated text has its spacing restructured to be between lexeme-boundaries.
Design-notes and history

Theodian uses all but ⟨Th R yy.png⟩ from the basic Theodic script, giving it a total of 16 consonants and 8 vowels. This total was deliberately selected, so that the total number of letters in the alphabet would equal 24 — a multiple of 12, the language's numerical base. 24 letters was seen as superior to 12 as a total, since 12 would have given Theodian one of the smallest phonemic inventories in the world, as well as drastically reduced the amount of grammar that could be stuffed into a single syllable. Note also that the alphabet's consonant:vowel ratio, at least graphemically, is effectively 2:1, which brings in some ternary symbolism (nice, since Theodian's logical base is 3).
At first, the letters' phonic values were very strictly constructed from their features; but the place axis was later broadened (alveolar -> coronal, for example), and the most cross-linguistically widespread phone in each place-manner combination was chosen for each box in the graph (see the Phononlogy section above for more info).
The names of the letters were originally based on the ICAO spelling alphabet, in the interest of increasing the ease by which one might spell in the presence of interference; but using these had the potential to result in confusion in the event that the Theodic and Latin alphabets ever be mixed, and ICAO spellings do not support several of Theodic's letters.
Resultantly, a novel naming system was derived. In it, the name of every letter, apart from ⟨x⟩ and the vowels (due to their inabilities to occur in onsets in Theodian), begins with the sound it represents, and the aforementioned exceptions begin with ⟨ʼ⟩. For their nuclei, vowels receive themselves, and consonants receive one of four diphthongs, according to their places: /au/ for laryngeals, /ɔu/ for dorsals, /ɔi/ for coronals, and /ai/ for labials. For their codas, vowels and approximants receive nothing; while the remaining letters receive one of four codas, according to their manners: /ʔ/ for plosives, /h/ for fricatives, and /ⁿ/ for nasals. Resultantly, every consonantal name -- apart from ⟨x⟩'s, which lacks redundancy in manner -- is fully redundant, with the consonant's features encoded for not only by the consonant itself, but also all following letters (The nucleus encodes place, and the coda encodes manner.).
Diphthongs were chosen for the nuclei of consonants in order to differentiate them from the vowels, which use monophthongal nuclei. The codas were designed such that they would match the manners of their corresponding letters' sounds. Consonantal approximants were not given a coda, as doing so would have required breaking the phonotactic preference against having matching approximants in the onset and coda. The diphthongs themselves were also chosen for phonotactic reasons: the laryngeals couldn't use a diphthong starting with /ɔ/, since this sound cannot occur after a /ʕ/; the dorsals couldn't use a diphthong ending in /i̯/, since this sound matches /j/; and the labials couldn't use a diphthong ending in /u̯/, since this sound matches /w/. The remaining diphthongs were decided per the following reasons: the alveolars' diphthongs were chosen to end in /i/, since /u/ is closer to /ɫ/, a cross-linguistically somewhat common degeneration of /l/; and the labials' were chosen to start with /a/, since /ɔ/ would have forced these sounds into allophonic forms.
Originally, the diphthongs were /ɔi/ for laryngeals, /ai/ for dorsals, /au/ for coronals, and /ɔu/ for labials; but this forced more sounds into allophony than was desired, and violated newer revisions to the phonotactics.
The letters are ordered such that consonants which double as numbers come first. The remaining four consonants were then appended, in the interest of compatibility with hexadecimal; they were generated akin to the dozenal numbers. The vowels were then ordered in a circular direction, starting from ⟨Th R y.png⟩ (/ə/) (which is used throughout the language as a "default" vowel, and should therefore come first), and working up through the unrounded vowels and down through the rounded vowels until ⟨Th R o.png⟩ (/ɔ/) is reached. To make this order as useful as possible, many schematic portions of Theodian have been designed such that their alphabetical order matches some other order (eg: color-terms, when alphabetized, become ordered by luminance, hue, and chroma).

Numerals

Theodian's numerals' values are, apart from ⟨Th R w.png⟩'s, actually identical to their alphabetical indices. Although they can be inferred above, the table below re-enumerates the forms of these numerals, as well as their equivalents in western Arabic numerals, for your convenience.

Theodic ʼ x p r k m h j f ŋ c w t n s l
Arabic   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     A     B     0     C     D     E     F  
Design-notes and history

The system of numerals has changed somewhat over the years. This section not only explains the reasoning behind the system, but also the reasoning behind its changes. It will begin with the system as it was originally.
In March of 2015, Miles discovered "Bimodular" numerals, and later applied the thought behind them to the basic shapes of Theodic consonants in order to derive a set of positional numerals which were internally both linguistically and graphically meaningful. The numerals may appear, at first glance, to be in a random order; but this is not the case, as they are actually a mixture of half-quaternary placement of manner, and ternary placement of place. This means that, every 2 and every 4 numerals, a pattern is repeated in the numeral's manner, ie the top half of the numeral; and that, every 3 numerals, a pattern is repeated in the numeral's place, ie the bottom half of the numeral. This, essentially, is just generating numerals based on the prime factorization of the base (twelve, in this case), which would be (2*2)*3; but using sounds to do so. Because the Theodic script is so schematic, this results in numerals that have three layers of patterns both phonetically and orthographically.
Although some may worry that having letters and numbers be identical to each other may cause confusion; Miles considered the facts that (1) the Theodian language has the positional system heavily baked-in; (2) letters are frequently used for enumeration even where separate, dedicated numerals do exist; and (3) combining the two means less symbols that need to be created, learned, and typed.
The sequence of [+Voice] and [-Voice] features (in Theodian, only plosives and fricatives can be devoiced) was chosen for evens and odds, respectively. This, in addition the the phonetical contrast, causes a graphical distinction between rounder (bowl/hook) and flatter (bar/stem) letters. ⟨ Th R h.png⟩ and ⟨ Th R r.png⟩ were chosen to represent higher values (ie, more plural values) over ⟨ʼ⟩ and ⟨x⟩, as the formers are more sonorous, and a lower sonority was taken by Miles to align more closely with a lower value. Place, which doesn't have sonority, was treated identically, due to graphical similarity.
The sequence of ⟨ʼ⟩, ⟨x⟩, ⟨ Th R h.png⟩, ⟨ Th R r.png⟩ was originally chosen for manner, in accordance with the above principles. The sequence of ⟨Th R k.png ⟩, ⟨Th R t.png ⟩, ⟨Th R p.png ⟩ was chosen for place, so that non-multiples of 3 would start in a sound produced by the tongue, while multiples of 3 would start in a sound produced by the lips; which provides a great contrast, both phonetically and orthographically, between the two conditions. The graphically simpler sequence of ⟨ʼ ⟩, ⟨Th R k.png ⟩, ⟨Th R p.png ⟩ was not originally chosen, because it would have generated ⟨x⟩, which, in the numerical-positional case system in use in Theodian at the time, would have had no way of being pronounced, as this system required that each numeral's name begin with its associated phoneme -- but ⟨x⟩ is not allowed in syllable-onsets.
Resultantly, the key to deciphering the relations between the numerals, is to look for the rounded bits. Every time you see a ⟨x⟩ or a ⟨ Th R r.png⟩ in a numeral, it's even. Every time you see a ⟨ Th R r.png⟩ in a numeral, it's divisible by 4. Every time you see a ⟨Th R p.png ⟩ in a numeral, it's divisible by 3. The system was then extended to be capable of mostly (⟨x⟩ was still a problem) supporting hexadecimal notation, by adding the four remaining consonants in order of place.
In late 2016 -- after numerical-positional case was discarded and, resultantly, the names the symbols had as letters being used also for when they are numbers -- there was no longer any reason to use ⟨Th R k.png ⟩ and ⟨Th R t.png ⟩ instead of ⟨ʼ⟩ and ⟨Th R k.png ⟩. As such, to simplify digits and maximize the graphemical distance between those numbers which are, and those which aren't, multiples of 3; ⟨ʼ⟩, ⟨Th R k.png ⟩, and ⟨Th R p.png ⟩ were adopted for the bottom combinant portions. The top combinant portions were largely kept the same, but with the caveat that the first 6 numerals would use a sequence of ⟨ʼ⟩, ⟨x⟩, ⟨ʼ⟩, ⟨ Th R r.png⟩; while the latter 6 numerals would use a sequence of ⟨ Th R h.png⟩, ⟨x⟩, ⟨ Th R h.png⟩, ⟨ Th R r.png⟩. This not only simplifies most of the digits (especially 1, 3, and 5), but also makes it such that the first 6 numerals effectively fit graphically in any number they are a multiple of. It should be noted that this is simply an unintended side-effect of the intentionally encoded meanings, which are shown exclusively via either place or manner. The numerals 5 and 7, it should be noted, received the place opposite that which they were supposed to receive. That was done so that 5 would remain graphically separate from 1, and 7 from 11. Although this resulted in non-labials not all matching in place on each side of the 6, it did result in all odds on either side being either plosives (if less than 6) or fricatives (if greater than 6). Due to this change, the auxiliary hexadecimal numerals all ended up being coronal, the place with perhaps the most visually complex symbol.

Romanization

About

Although there is an official Theodian:Latin transliteration-scheme which is suitable for general use, there is also an official Romanization scheme, which is designed to work more comfortably for people used to orthographies based on the Latin alphabet. This Romanized version of Theodian is the one that is most typically used by foreign publications, whereas the Latin transliteration is mostly only used educationally, and the ASCII transliteration between speakers of Theodian; this is largely because the transliterations are so different from most Latin-based orthographies that they can be rather opaque to those unaccustomed to them.
The goal of the official Romanization scheme is to create an orthography that can be read by as many Roman alphabet readers as possible. In this light, certain letters with inconsistent cross-language pronunciations, like 'z', are largely eschewed; and in order to make the results seem more familiar, several of the Roman script's quirks have been incorporated.

Conversion

The standard way to Romanize Theodian from an ASCII transliteration is this: (note that each step should done in order)

  1. Spaces are placed between lexemes.
  2. All letters are decapitalized.
  3. <q> becomes <gn> at the beginning of a word or lexeme, <n> before a <k> or <j>, and <ng> elsewhere.
  4. <`> becomes <q> word-finally.
  5. <`> is deleted word-initially.
  6. <`> becomes <ʼ>.
  7. The codas <xh>, <rh>, and <lh> respectively become <hx>, <hr>, and <hl>.
  8. <x> becomes <n>.
  9. <n> before <p> or <f> becomes <m>.
  10. In word-final codas, <n> becomes <m> after <o> or <u>.
  11. <m> before <q> becomes <n>.
  12. <w> becomes <u>.
  13. <o> becomes <å>.
  14. <åi> becomes <oy>.
  15. <au> becomes <ao>.
  16. <åu> becomes <ou>.
  17. <y> becomes <ə>.
  18. <j>, when at the beginning of a word/lexeme becomes <y>.
  19. <j> becomes <i>.
  20. Any monosyllabic open-class lexeme whose syllable nucleus is <i> adds a <y> to its end.
  21. <i>, when at the end of a word/lexeme or when between two other vowels, becomes <y>.
  22. <yy> becomes <yi>.
  23. <ai> becomes <aiy>.
  24. <cj> becomes <hj>.
  25. <c> becomes <kh>.
  26. <si> and <se> respectively become <ši> and <še>.
  27. <e> becomes <ä>.
  28. <ää> becomes <e>.
  29. <e>, when at the end of a syllable, becomes <ey>.
  30. <ə> becomes <ë>.
  31. All consonants except the beginnings of words and lexemes become voiced (consonants without voiced equivalents: ʼ f h s š).
  32. <dš> becomes <dj>.
  33. <g> becomes <k> when before <i>, <e>, <y>, <ue>, or <ui>.
  34. The first letter of each sentence, as well as all names and other proper nouns, is capitalized.
  35. The rest of the letters stay the same.

History

At its start, the Theodian language used a variation of the runic alphabets used by the Germanic tribes of lore. It had over time grown from the basic runes of the Anglo-Saxon fuþorc in 2005 (as represented in The Dragonology Handbook - a Practical Course in Dragons by Dr. Ernest Drake), into an alphabet of around 46 different runes by 2009. Upon Miles (the creator of Theodian)'s gradual introduction to conlanging and linguistics, the alphabet began to simplify, eventually becoming the circa-31 minuscule and majuscule forms in use prior to 2010's June 14th, when Theodia adopted the standard runes of the Runic Union. Just a few months later, however, both member states of the Runic Union unadopted its standard alphabet, and returned to their own, with Theodia expressing discomfort with some of the runes' forms, and West Germania feeling that its original script had been divinely inspired. In the early part of 2011, a cursive form of the Theodian runic alphabet was developed, and the alphabet came to be known as the Milic fuþark, after its developer, Miles. As well, during this period, a new font was developed for the script, based on the "AngloSaxon Runes" font, coincidentally also the one used in the Dragonology handbook. This form of the Milic script remained the official alphabet of Theodian until mid-2013, when the alphabet was replaced with one generated a priori from rune-like shapes. Despite its lack of official endorsement, the Milic fuþark has continued developing, reaching its current state in late 2014. It is now primarily used to write English, containing several runes that represent sounds not found in modern Theodian, and lacking runes for several sounds which are. Its cursive and shorthand styles have generally fallen out of use.
The alphabet which replaced Milic runes has gradually evolved into the three currently standard styles of Theodic. Today, the legacy of Theodia's runic past lives on in the Carving style of the standard script, which uses minimalistic runic forms similar to those of the Milic fuþark. However, unlike in the past, this style is a derivative of the Reading style, and is no longer truly runic. The Theodic script, itself, has undergone substantial change since its introduction in 2014, and more about these changes can be found in the Theodic script article.

Grammar

Grammar at a glance
Morphological typology Agglutinative
Morphosyntactic alignment Semantic nom‑acc
Head direction Pragmatic head‑initial
Constituent order Pragmatic V1
Adpositional order Pragmatic PMT
Element origins Mixed

Summary

Theodian is an agglutinative language, having easily identifiable and separable morphemes and a high morpheme-to-word ratio: around 3:1.
Every open class word consists of a prefixial clitic containing two pieces of information: the word's part of speech, and an inflection indicating the thematic role it has or agrees with. Following this, comes any reasonable number of lexemes, after each of which may come any reasonable number of derivational suffices.
In several cases, individual lexemes can be broken down into morphemes (perhaps most notably, the colour vocabulary); but these operate outside the typical morphemical clockwork. In addition to this, many morphemes (especially schematic ones) can be further broken down into a number of fuzzy phonesthemes (for example, the relativizing lexeme "Ru`" can be broken into three phonesthemes: /ʕ/, representing a bend; /u/, representing focus; and /ʔ/ representing breaking something up; thus creating a collective meaning somewhere along the lines of "bending and breaking the focus").
Please know that the grammar of Theodian is yet incomplete and, although relatively robust, cannot yet express all that a language must. The features discussed in this article are those which are most stable and most likely to make it in to the first formal release of the language; however, even they are not set in stone, and are quite liable to change at any given time.

Word-order

General info

Theodian, being a highly inflected language, has very free word order, having word-order tendencies more-so than word-order rules: in phrases that contain a verb, the verb usually comes first; in sentences with a topic-comment structure, the topic usually comes first; and in phrases with wh-questions, the wh-word usually comes first (wh-fronting). Theodian also permits extreme amounts of scrambling. An example: "QUA-ACC-Very RFR-ACC-Egg RFR-NOM-Me DESC-ACC-Green RFR-VB-Eat DESC-VB-Previous". This means "I ate very green eggs".
Any arbitrary element of a sentence may be left out, so long as the sentence continues to make sense. As such, passivisation can effectively be achieved by simply deleting the original subject -- no promotion of the object is required. An example: "RFR-VB-Eat RFR-ACC-Egg". This means "Eggs are eaten."
It is also important to note that Theodian allows multiple heads. The way that this works, is that all items at the same phrasal level and of the same inflection are treated identically by the grammar. Some examples:

  • "RFR-VB-Eat RFR-VB-Enjoy RFR-ACC-Egg RFR-ACC-Ham DESC-ACC-Green." is, in English: "Both eggs and ham, both of which are green, are both eaten and enjoyed.".
  • "RFR-VB-Eat RFR-VB-Enjoy RFR-ACC-Egg RFR-ACC-REL RFR-NOM-Ham DESC-NOM-Green REL." is, in English: "Both ham and green eggs are both eaten and enjoyed.".

In both of these examples, eggs and ham are not only being eaten, but also enjoyed. Additionally, in the first example, both the eggs and the ham are green; but in the second example, only the ham is green. The embedding of 'ham' and 'green' into a relative clause insulates the scope of 'green', as it can only apply to identically inflected items in the same level.

Restrictiveness

As well, descriptions, degrees, and determiners, when placed after their head(s), are generally considered to be unrestrictive; whereas those placed before their head(s) are considered to be restrictive. Words can theoretically be placed almost anywhere in a phrase, so note that descriptions, degrees, and determiners do not need to immediately precede their head(s) in order to be restrictive -- they simply have to occur earlier in the phrase (and vice-versa to be unrestrictive).

Compounds

Compound words are constructed head-initially, by stacking bare lexemes onto the end of another lexeme. All of these lexemes are interpreted as being of the same PoS as the clitic attached to their headmost lexeme; and compound-words' subclasses are determined ad-hoc by their constituents' meanings. Where it is needed to express a compounded concept which would require constituents of differing PoS's, like 'skyscraper', a phrase consisting of these ideas can be assembled, and then placed into a relativizing lexeme, like so: RFR-NOM-REL RFR-VB-Scrape RFR-ACC-Sky REL.
Compounding does not influence the placement of stress within the compounded words.

Reduplication

Reduplication, as a distinct grammatical phenomenon, does not exist in Theodian. Seemingly reduplicated words exist; but they function identically to any other compound word, and an adjectival phrase would be capable of expressing the same meaning. An example of a seemingly reduplicative phrase in Theodian, is "milk-milk", which means "real milk", as opposed to various non-animal-milks. Essentially, the reference of the expression is tightened, moving it closer to its prototypical meaning. This is especially useful for de-innuendoizing words, and is, coïncidentally, similar to how English often handles reduplication.

Prefixes

Theodian uses a set of clitics to inflect for part of speech (PoS) and thematic role. These clitics must occur immediately before their head, and may not be at all estranged from it. They do not affect stress. These clitics may stack, thus allowing for subderivations of PoS's without the need for a true relative clause. As an example: "RFR-NOM-RFR-VB-Run" means 'a running', because it takes the bare lexeme 'run', makes it a verb, and then makes that verb a noun.
Nouns and verbs were originally separate, but were later merged into one part-of-speech in order to minimize grammatical duplicity (an additional description and degree PoS were needed when verbs were separate) and to simplify inflection (this merger cut out 7 inflections).
As well, the language originally used tripartite alignment. However, this required the use of a superfluous case; which ultimately made it simpler to merge A with either S or O. Since it's cross-linguistically much more common to merge A with S, Theodian did so as well.
Nominative-absolutive alignment might seem to make more semantic sense than nominative-accusative, but it would make the most commonly used morphosyntactic case *not* the unmarked default. It is, however, possible, that being topic-prominent might make nominative-absolutive alignment superior; but more theoretical work is necessary in Theodian to decide if this is the case.

Part of speech

The parts of speech and their associated meanings, prefixes, and openness are as follows:

PoS Morpheme Open?
Name Abbr Theodic IPA
Referrer RFR k k Open
Descriptor DESC s s Open
Qualitator QUAL m m Open
Determiner DET l l Closed

It is important to note that a lexeme's part of speech can be changed simply by changing this morpheme; so that kiy skåʼ means to shoot, and kǝ skåʼ means a shot — a system inspired by that of Esperanto. The use of prefixes instead of another kind of *fix was originally inspired by Lingála, and has remained in the language so that how a word is being used is evident before the word is used.
Lastly, possession is, in Theodian, expressed by means of adjectivized nouns. So, "Your house" would be "DESC-TOP-RFR-NOM-You RFR-TOP-House". This was done to avoid creating another PoS and because possession and description are syntactically nearly identical.

Referrer-specific prefixial morphemes

All referrers are inflected for case. This inflection occurs immediately after the part of speech morpheme, and is always a vowel. All possible case inflections are as follows:

Case Abbr Morpheme Thematic relation(s)
Topical TOP a a topic
Nominative NOM ə ə [unmarked default], agent, experiencer, force
Accusative ACC ɛ ɛ patient, theme
Case Abbr Morpheme Thematic relation(s)
Dative DAT ɔ ɔ destination (time or space), recipient, benefactor
Locative LOC o o location (time or space)
Ablative ABL u u origin (time or space), beneficiary
Instrumental INS ɔi ɔi way, manner, instrument, equipment
Case Abbr Morpheme Thematic relation(s)
Causal CAU au au purpose, cause
Evidential EVI e e evidence
Verbal VB i i action

It is important to note that cases in Theodian are primarily concerned with thematic role, rather than syntax. Because of this, any sentence can theoretically take any number of referrers in any case, so long as the phrase is semantically coherent. As well, Theodian lacks a passive (as well as most other forms of verbal voice), as verbs are not inherently required to have an adjunct of any particular case; so, instead of "it was hit", Theodian can simply delete the subject without any other changes to the sentence: "RFR-VB-Hit RFR-ACC-It".
The one exception to the above is in the case of copulas, for which syntactic subjects are in the nominative case, and syntactic predicates are in the accusative case -- although it is still entirely possible that, due to Theodian's topic-comment nature, there may not actually end up being a copula in the language.
The vocative is expressed by using a lexeme without a prefix. Adjectives etc treat vocative nouns as if they were in the nominative case.
Theodian does not have prepositions, but rather expresses more complex relations by means of diction (example: "RFR-INS-Center DESC-INS-RFR-NOM-Road" instead of "Through the center of the road"). Of particular interest are the four words (translatable to "interior", "surface", "adjacency", and "state") which, when combined with the relational cases, allow 16 different physical relations to be expressed.
As well, Theodians typically conceive of time as a fourth spatial dimension, so the egressive, locative, and terminative cases are temporal as well as 3D-physical (ie, start-time, current time, end-time).

Other prefixial morphemes

The vowels in the other part-of-speech prefixes always agree with those of their head(s).

Logical constructions

Connectives

The Theodian language makes use of only the following three non-polar logical connectives: and (defined as taking the minimal truth-value), or (defined as taking the maximal truth-value), and iff (returns 'true' if the values are identical (alternatively defined as taking the product of all truth-values, but this definition is base-specific)). These connectives, rather than appearing among the items they connect, are placed anywhere in the sentence (typically at the beginning), and are inflected for PoS and case/mood, thus marking any matching elements as being a part of a particular logical phrase. As well, all connectives in Theodian are effectively unary, and the item they affect can be thought of as a set.
For example, the sentence "Se and I like eggs or fish" can be grammatically translated as "DET-AND-RFR-NOM DET-OR-RFR-ACC RFR-IND-Like RFR-NOM-Se RFR-NOM-Me RFR-ACC-Eggs RFR-ACC-Fish", and logically written as ∧{Se, I} Likes ∨{Eggs, Fish}. Accordingly, infinitely many items may be included within these sets without any association to the right or left.
The default connective is conjunctive, so conjunctive statements do not need to be explicitly marked; so, "DET-AND-RFR-NOM RFR-NOM-Eggs RFR-NOM-Fish" and "RFR-NOM-Eggs RFR-NOM-Fish" are equivalent. As well, given the nature of its unary operatorial system, Theodian logical statements have neither antecedents nor predicates. Accordingly, one-way implications are not expressed as single operators, but are instead expressed either via logical equivalencies (eg, pq becomes ∨{p, ¬q}), or via lexical expressions (eg, "p if q" becomes "p, causes q").
Sets can, of course, be embedded within one another, and via the same way that anything else in Theodian is embedded: with the recursive lexemes. As an example, the English sentence "Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana" (which can be a bit confusing in English, especially without the Oxford comma) is, in Theodian grammar: "RFR-NOM-Barbados RFR-NOM-REL RFR-NOM-Trinidad RFR-NOM-Tobago REL RFR-NOM-Guyana", logically symbolized as: ∧{Barbados, ∧{Trinidad, Tobago}, Guyana}. Although the way that Theodian embeds can make this particular logical notation somewhat counter-intuitive, the more exact representation (in this case: {∧(Barbados, {∧(Trinidad, Tobago)}, Guyana)}) is comparatively notationally cumbersome, so the simplified notion used here is typically preferred. The system has also been interpreted n-arily (eg, Barbados ∧ (Trinidad ∧ Tobago) ∧ Guyana), but this doesn't reflect the way the system is spoken quite as clearly.
The similarities between Theodian's logical notation and "Polish" notation are purely coincidental, as Miles actually came up with these ideas completely independently, only learning about Polish notation a year after having devised the basis of the above system. Advantages of this "Theodian" notation include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) arbitrary associations are unneeded, (2) all connectives have equivalent valencies, and (3) Set-Theory is brought into the realm of conventional formal logic. Having the connectives typically appear early in a phrase, rather than appearing late, was chosen to be the case, so that people, having heard a set and assuming it to be conjunctive, aren't then shocked by the sudden revelation that the set was actually disjunctive. Note that not even by convention do connectives need to occur at the beginning of a phrase; rather, they need only occur before their relevant set.

Polarity

Theodian makes use of a three-valued logic (specifically balanced ternary), rather than the much more common two-valued logic. This means that not only are there words and grammatical forms for 'yes' and 'no', but also for 'maybe', which makes expression of ambiguity rather convenient and which should theoretically train Theodian-speakers to picture reality in balanced ternary rather than in binary. Although English and other languages can express ternary logic, it's the default in Theodian, and very well-catered-to in the language. It's more that English can express it, but Theodian must.
The available polarities in Theodian are: positive (leaves the truth-values unchanged), unknown (sets all truth-values to 'unknown'), and negative (inverts all truth-values). The default polarity is positive, so, just like in English, 'indeed' et al do not need to be stated before positive verbs, adjectives, etc.
Polar connectives, rather than modifying everything of a particular grammatical persuasion, only modify the immediately postceding morpheme, and present one of the few examples of word-order inflexibility in Theodian.

Double negatives

In Theodian, double negatives do not make a sentence more negative, but rather cancel each other out, as is proper in logic (and, coïncidentally, in most standard forms of English).

Mathematical constructions

As with logical operators, mathematical operators are, as much as possible, made into set operations. This works well for operators with the commutative property (such as addition and multiplication), but poses some problems for operators without it (such as subtraction and division). Additionally, the total number of operators is deliberately kept small, but not so much so that things become particularly cumbersome. The basic operators are as follows:

  • Negatives are indicated with an operator akin to, but seperate from, logical "NOT", which we will call "NEG". For example: "negative two" becomes "DET-NEG RFR-NOM-Two".
  • Addition is performed with an operator akin to, but seperate from, logical "AND", which we will call "PLUS". For example: "two plus three" becomes "DET-PLUS-RFR-NOM RFR-NOM-Two" RFR-NOM-Three".
  • Multiplication is performed with a multiplicative operator. The operator itself will be referred-to as "MULT", for the sake of this article. Due to the nature of the language, adjectives can also be used for multiplication if the PLUS operator is present, but this isn't as scalable as a dedicated MULT operator.
  • Exponentiation is not yet defined in its realization.
  • Equality is expressed as it is everywhere else in Theodian: either with a copula, or with topic prominence.

These operators are then combined to create additional operations, as follows:

  • Subtraction: "two minus five equals negative three" can be realized as "DET-PLUS-RFR-TOP RFR-TOP-Two DET-NEG RFR-TOP-Five DET-NEG RFR-NOM-Three"
  • Division: This requires exponentiation, and so cannot yet be expressed.
  • Radicals: This requires exponentiation, and so cannot yet be expressed.

Although this can result in somewhat wordier versions of smaller math problems than English, complex problems become far easier to express, and mathematics is able to use the language's normal grammar without virtually creating its own subset of it. Even so, a reduced form of the language does exist for math, whereby case inflections and the like are left out:

  • "2 - 5 = -3" ("two minus five equals negative three") becomes "+ 2 -5 = -3" (PLUS two NEG five BE NEG three), with each item being only one syllable.

Here are some examples of more complex problems in English vs Theodian:

  • "5 * (3 - 1)". EN: "Five times parentheses three minus one". TH: "DET-MULT-RFR-NOM RFR-NOM-Five RFR-NOM-REL DET-PLUS-RFR-NOM RFR-NOM-Three RFR-NOM-One REL".

Suffixes

TODO

Lexicon

A preliminary preview of the lexicon is available here: User:Swena/TheodianWordlist. Where discrepencies exist between it and this article, this article takes precedence.
This section will only cover the generalities of the lexicon and those portions of it which are generated schematically.

Colours

Theodian colours are derived systematically from an HSL model in the order of LHC (where 'L' and 'C' stand, respecively, for 'luminence' and 'chroma'). This order was somewhat derived from the typical development of colour-terminology in languages, such that lightness vs darkness is inflected for first. The hue was chosen to be represented by a vowel due to the large number of both items. Chroma was chosen for the syllable-coda so that it could 'colour' the quality of the nucleus.

Connectives

(wip)

Directions

(wip)

Numbers

Theodian numbers, as touched upon earlier, use a modified "bimodular" method to derive 10twelve Theodic consonants, each of which is taken to represent a different integer. Each number's name is identical to that of the letter to which its numeral corresponds.
There are no multiplicative words for "hundred", "thousand", "million", etc. Instead, a reduced form of scientific notation, where only myriadic exponents are used, is preferred. Even though Theodian does not make use of lexical multipliers, the language, like Chinese, is myriad-based -- this is so that subitization is maxmally taken advantage of (humans instinctively, accurately, and nearly immediately identify the number of objects in a group of such objects so long as the objects number four or less). To indicate where each myriad begins, the first of every four numbers receives stress. When an incomplete myriad is encountered (as in 10 0000), the first number in that incomplete myriad receives stress, and the other myriads are treated normally (alternatively, 0s can be prepended until there is a complete myriad: 0010 0000).
The radix-point is indicated by a stressed morpheme 'wa'.
Additionally, -- and in-line with the language's preference for head-initiality -- numbers in Theodian are little-endian.
Originally, the language was going to inflect each number's position; but it was decided that this reserved too large a portion of the lexicon to be worthwhile.
The language was also going to have a complete set of multipliers; but these were later forgone for the sake of simplicity, and to maximize subitizational effects.
The <a> in 'wa' comes from when numbers had <ə> (indicating their being the 'default' situation), and multipliers left of the radix point had <ɛ> (further forward in the mouth), and multipliers right of the radix point had <ɔ> (further back in the mouth), since /a/ was the only sound remaining which was intermediate between /ɛ/ and /ɔ/.

Inflectional pronouns

Theodian has a unique set of pronouns that can refer to anything in the current shell by its part of speech and case/mood inflection. This is done by simply using that PoS+case/mood as a lexeme. For example: RFR-VB-Laquer RFR-NOM-Gorilla RFR-ACC-RFR-NOM; or, in Theodian: "ki lá kə kə kó ri la kɛ kə́"; in romanized Theodian: "ki lakə korila kɛ "; and in English: "The gorilla laquered itself".
This not only creates a robust system of pronouns for all parts of speech, but also eliminates the need for special reflexive pronouns; and also effectively fulfills the purposes of obviate and proximate pronouns.

Personal pronouns

Theodian personal pronouns are derivable from a simple combinatorial system.
It should be noted that, although some pronouns may appear to be dual (eg, 'Th R 12p.png') or plural ('Th R 123p.png'), and although it is certainly the case that some pronouns are inferentially singular (eg, 'Th R u Name.png'); no pronoun actually states the exact number of items in its anaphor(s).

Personal pronouns
Persons Theodic IPA
1   Th R u Name.png /ʔú/  
 2  Th R i Name.png /ʔí/  
  3 Th R a Name.png /ʔá/  
12  Th R 12p.png /wí/  
1 3 Th R 13p.png /wá/  
 23 Th R 23p.png /já/  
123 Th R 123p.png /ʔúja/
Design notes

Theodian's personal pronouns were, to some extent, inspired by those of Tok Pisin, and use combinations of pronomial primaries in order to create a coherent system of pronouns. The sounds chosen to represent each primary were not arbitrary. To maximise the acoustic differences between these sounds and to allow them to be replaced with phonemic semivowels when they were combined, only the sounds /u/, /i/, and /a/ were used. /u/ was chosen for the 1st person because the tounge points roughly towards the speaker, /i/ was chosen for the 2nd person because the tongue points towards the interlocutor, and /a/ was chosen for the 3rd person because it was the remaining sound. The sounds were then combined, and ordered from 1st person to 3rd person. Where necessary to match phonotactical constraints, /u/ and /i/ were replaced with their associated semivowels, and glottal stops were added to the fronts of words that would otherwise have started with a vowel.

Pragmatics

Like all languages, Theodian has certain pragmatic maxims, which differ somewhat between its different channels of communication (speaking, writing, and signed).

All
  • Repetition of words is acceptable; it's more important to be accurate than florid.
Spoken
Written
  • Grammatical parallelism is important
Signed

Examples

English:

an assembly jury of the Republic of Theodia
The soldier should shoot an arrow.

Theodian:

Native:
kə hjú-ri móx-tə sə ré-pu-pliʼ fjɔ́-tja
ki skɔ́ʼ kə máix kɛ sái-pə .
Romanization:
kë hiury mondë së Reybubliq Fiådia
Kiy skåq kë maiyn kä saiybë.

ToDo list

This is an incomplete listing of things which have not yet been implemented in Theodian:

  • Comparison
  • Copular expressions
  • Derivational suffices
  • Lexical realizations of:
    • Directionality
    • Connectives
    • Particles
  • Restrictiveness
  • Selective 'or'

External links

See also