Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ithkuil language added to OmegaWiki

Ithkuil is a constructed language which is different from other constructed languages. In “classical” constructed languages, like Esperanto, the vocabulary and grammar is based on existing languages, so that people who know some languages can easily learn and use the constructed language with people from other countries.

On the contrary, Ithkuil starts from the idea that existing languages limit the way people can express their thoughts. Therefore, instead of being based on existing languages, the Ithkuil grammar and vocabulary is constructed to correspond to how we think, and to make it possible to express the subtleties of human reasonings or feelings in a logical and concise way.

For example, if you would like to describe in Ithkuil the abstract painting of Marcel Duchamp: “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” (above), you would logically follow the steps explained at http://ithkuil.net/texts.html#duchamp to construct the sentence, and obtain something like this:

which is pronunced quite shortly:

Aukkras  êqutta  ogvëuļa  tnou’elkwa  pal-lši  augwaikštülnàmbu.

but actually the equivalent in English is not concise at all:
‘An imaginary representation of a nude woman in the midst of descending a staircase in a step-by-step series of tightly-integrated ambulatory bodily movements which combine into a three-dimensional wake behind her, forming a timeless, emergent whole to be considered intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically.’

As can be seen above, the Ithkuil has its own nice script. However, this script is not available in UTF8 and therefore cannot be used in OmegaWiki. The people who use Ithkuil actually use the romanized form on forums, facebook, etc. , which is also what we use at OmegaWiki. This is why the language is actually called "Ithkuil (romanized)".

Some words in Ithkuil:
ithkuîl ( the language itself )
pʰal ( a tree )
Ithkuil also uses the bustrophedon writing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boustrophedon, where the first line is written from left to right, the second line from right to left, etc. like a snake. This is unfortunately not yet supported by modern browsers.