Before mocking my childhood project, do read my Artificial Languages page. It sets the context for this little linguistic study: and why I need not be embarrassed to have spent so much time on it all those years ago.
The Nature of the Language
Baanzish is an artificial language which I composed as an intellectual exercise and an amusement.
It is Germanic. It is almost wholly uninflected. Its grammar is regular. Its vocabulary is far more regular than other languages’. As with the natural Germanic languages Baanzish is basically an isolating language but with a range of common prefixes and suffixes, which can be combined. (As a contrast look at my other nascent project: “Marklendsk”.)
Baanzish has many differences from the two famous artificial languages, Volapük and Esperanto. I wanted to keep a flexible word order, just as in Old English or Icelandic. (That is Volapük’s great advantage.) However Baanzish is mostly uninflected.
I borrowed a couple of tricks from Esperanto but that is all. Esperanto vocabulary is a weird mixture of languages, leaving no consistency. Its grammar is largely latinate. Baanzish vocabulary and grammar start with spoken English. (Indeed some phrases still sound like stilted English.) The English words used are, for consistency’s sake, almost all of Germanic origin, with gaps filled by Old English and Norse (and even a sprinkling of Welsh and Hebrew in places.)
I would welcome any constructive suggestions anyone has on my humble efforts. Schleyer set Volapük congresses up to develop his language and then took fright when they disagreed with him. I should make it clear that this is my project and I reserve autocratic power over it, with a smiling face and a listening ear.
Spelling and pronunciation
b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, t, v, w & z are as in English
|c||English “ch”||as in “church”|
|j||English “y”||as in “yellow”|
|q||German light “ch”||as in English “loch”|
|r||as a Westcountry / East Anglian “r”|
|s||unvoiced English “s”||as in “sister”|
|cg||soft g||as in “general”|
|ch||as “k”||as in “chlorine”|
|dh||voiced “th”||as in “that”|
|sh||English “sh”||as in “shift”|
|th||unvoiced “th”||as in “thin”|
|wh||aspirated “w”: “hw”||as in Scots “what”|
|a ; ant||aa ; arm||ai ; ice||au ; out|
|e ; egg||ee ; air||ei ; raid||ey ; earn|
|i ; ink||ie, ij ; eel|
|o ; otter||oi ; oil||oo ; order||ou ; oats|
|u ; foot||ue ; hoop|
|y ; utter|
Generally the stress falls on the first syllable of a word. However when there is a prefix it will be unstressed. Words beginning “tu-” however still have the emphasis on that first syllable.
( Names of the Letters:
aa, bie, ec, die, ee, ef, gie, hei, ij, jei, ek, lee, mee, nei, oo, ep, qei, rie, es, et, ue, vie, wei, exks, ey, zie )
The only inflections are for the plural and the genitive.
One slight irregular noun is allowed due to its frequent use:
Add “-s”, or “-es” after “s” or “z”. “Ov” is not so used. The genitive is placed before the main noun. Where that would be messy or need two articles next to one another it can be placed after the noun.
Thus: “In a corner of the playing field” can be “In a dha pleifields nuk” is better put as “In a nuk dha pleifields“.
Also a postpositioned genetives are useful for titles, for example:
“In dha Halag Magarethe, Kingais Danmarks and Albert, King dha Belgierns aad.“
(“In the Palace were Margarethe, Queen of Denmark and Albert, King of the Belgians”.)
Note: “Henrys dha Eitths siks kingaisen“.
As with all Germanic languages, noun pairs are used, and pairs can be condensed into a single noun. Examples are too numerous and obvious to list, but just looking in front of me I have as examples;
ei rekenervjel printert (computer printer), ei pipbood (keyboard), ei flatraund boks (disc box).
Another use is in titles, for example:
King Malcolm (King Malcolm)
Stadag London (The City of London)
In translating Hebrew word pairs, there are several forms to use. The the genitive form given above is often the most useful. For example:
Gods weyd, Davids haus, Shalom Foost, or perhaps King kingens, Hailij heiliens
A simple word pair is used in other circumstances:
Dha ee beyden, dha sie fishen jei and dha field biesten.
“Ov” is used where it expresses “containing” (like the Welsh “o”):
Ei kin ov broon (A family of brothers), or indeed Ei paund ov spyden (A pound of potatoes).
|hoo / hais|
|hoos / haiss|
In the third person “hoo”, “hais” and “it” are he, she and it respectively. “Dhuen” is the plural of he or she while “dhin” is the plural of it. If a sentence would refer to each of two people as “hoo” or as “hais” then alternative forms “dhoo” and “dhais” are available to label the latter or more distant of the two.
All verbs in Baanzish are regular. They come in four moods:
Indicative; Subjunctive ;Imperative & Interrogative.
Within each mood (apart from the imperative) there are tenses:
Past (expressed in Simple Past, Completed Past and Continuous Past)
Present (expressed in Simple Present and Continuous Present)
Future (in four variants).
All the detailed description of the tenses are given for the Indicative mood. The sections on the other moods give the tenses in those moods as necessary. In the Imperative though there are no tenses. In the Interrogative the contruction is a simple one from the Indicative. Only the Subjuctive requires care.
The simple present tense is used as it is in English. In the indicative mood the present tense is simply the uninflected infinitive (without “tu”). See above examples.
As in English there is a present continuous tense formed from tu aa, with the present participle (verb + ing).
Tu wook (“to walk”):
|Mie aa wooking||Wie aa wooking||Wit aa wooking|
|Thie aa wooking||Jue aa wooking||Jut aa wooking|
|Hoo aa wooking||Dhuen aa wooking|
Simple Past (“Imperfect”)
The simple past is used as it is in English. It is created by adding “-d” to the infinitive, or “-ed” if preceeding a “-t-” or “-d-“. See above examples.
Completed Past (“Perfect”)
The completed past is used as it is in English. It is created by adding “-d” to the infinitive, or “-ed” if preceeding a “-t-” or “-d-“. See above examples.
The past continuous is closer to the French past imperfect, or the English past tense version of the present continuous. Indeed it is just a past tense version of the present continuous. As the continuous present is created by “aa” and the “present participle” with “-ing”, so the continuous past uses “aad” and the “-ing” participle.
As the Completed Past is formed with the present tense of “tu hav” and the past participle with “-d“, so to express the Pluperfect (“By yesterday I had eaten it all“) use the simple past tense of “tu hav“:
“Bai foodei mie havd ieted al it.”
The future is not a simple concept in life nor philosophy, and so it is not simple in Baanzish. The future is uncertain, or contingent, or just wished-for. In Baanzish therefore the future can be expressed in four ways:
The present tenses can express the future, where the context suggests it, as in English.
“Shal” expresses obligation or compulsion to a future event.
“Wil” expresses a desire or intent for the future event.
“Mun” is a pure future (still found in some Northern English dialects and in the Icelandic/Old Norse “munir“.
All verbs are regular and do not inflect nor alter with person nor number. The only inflection is in creating the past tenses (see below). The indicative is the main mood. The various tenses
Tu aa (“to be”):
(we [two] are)
(you [two] are)
|Past Imperfect||Past Perfect||Pluperfect|
|mie hav aad|
(I have been)
|mie havd aad|
(I had been)
|mie mun aa or|
mie shal aa or
mie wil aa see below
(I shall/will be)
Tu iet (“to eat”):
(we [two] eat)
(you [two] eat)
|Past Imperfect||Past Perfect||Pluperfect|
|mie hav ieted|
(I have eaten)
|mie havd ieted|
(I had eaten)
|mie mun iet or|
mie shal iet or
mie wil iet see below
(I shall/will eat)
|mie havi kumd||mie kumdi||mie kumi||mie shali kum|
Use of the Subjunctive
Use the same tense as the contingency.
1. If / indic. present + indic. future
2. If / subj p. imperfect + subj p. imperfect
3. If / subj p. perfect + subj p. perfect
1. “Mie shal aa hysh if thie teil tu mie dha teil.”
I shall be quiet if you tell me the story.
“If thie aa lyging mie shal smait thie.”
If you are lying I shall hit you.
2. “If mie ietedi dha il fruet mie kendi dhe it aad il.”
If I had eaten the bad fruit I would know that it was bad.
“Mie wildi fee awei if mie kandi.”
I would have gone away if I had been able to.
“Mie spiekd dhe if hoo havdi biekd dhat, it havdi beerd hoos neim.”
I said that if he had written that it would have borne his name.
Most often the imperative is second person singular or plural (“Run!”, “Open your books.” etc, but it can exist in any person.
Tu gan (“to go”):
|gan-hoo / -hais||gan-dhuen|
“Rysh-thie bak” = “Hurry back” (2nd p. sing.)
“Blesd aa-hoo dha Lood” = “Blessed be the Lord” (3rd p. sing.).
“Prei-wie” = “Let us pray” (1st p. plur.),
For questions there is no reversal of word order in Baanzish. Questions beginning with a question word (What, Whic, Whee, Whue, Whai, Whau, When etc.) just add that word or use it as a subject or object. Where there is no such word the sentence begins with the interrogative particle “Whej”.
Whue leted thie in? or
En what thie aa ieting?
Whej thie aa kuming?
Whej Fred riellij feed al hat dhaanes fey tu sie thie?
Must: Mie must due dhat.
I must do that.
Kan: Mie kan due dhat.
I can do that.
Mei: Whej mie mei gan hen?
May I go now?
Mait: Dhat mait hap.
That might happen.
Shal: Ajaftdei dhat shal hap.
Tomorrow that shall happen.
Wil: Mie wil due dhat.
I will do that.
Out: Thie out due dhat.
You ought to do that.
Not: Hoo nij not due enimat whic help.
He does not omit to do anything which helps.
Let: Mie leted hoo win dhat ten.
I let him win that time.
Get: Mie geted hoo oupen dha doo fey mie.
I got him to open the door for me.
Reflexive and Co-ordinate Verbs
As in English simply these are just the basic verb without a stated object. That said, I came to conclude that the language should us a Scandinavian-style -s passive to distinguish the two and serve as a halfway passive, as in the Scandinavian languages.
Subject – verb – indirect object – object.
This is however flexible. To aid flexibility in word order there are prepositions and particles. Thus unlike English an indirect object should always have a preposition (“tu” (to) usually).
The Accusative Preposition “en“
If the direct object wanders a new accusative preposition is needed: “En”.
“Him I don’t like” is
“En hoo mie nij laik.”
“What are you eating?” is
“En what thie aa ieting?”
Since “Him” and “What” in these cases are each their verb’s direct object even though they appear at the beginning of their sentences.
Interrogatives, Demonstratives & Concepts
3,557,861: thrij megjon fifhynd fiftij-sen thau eitxhynd sikstij-ein.
Fractions are the ordinal, with an added -t. For example:
twaatht (half), thrietht (third), thrie fjoothten (three-quarters)
PREFIXES & SUFFIXES
|Ge-||Getting someone or thing do something|
|Le-||Letting someone or thing do something|
|Tu-||Beginning to do something|
|In-, Med-, etc.|
|-aang||: being.||Gladaang = gladness|
|-nes||: as English -ness|
|-hud||: rank or class.||Friehud = freedom|
|-er||: actor.||Kyter = one who cuts|
|-ert||: tool.||Kytert = a cutting tool|
|-th||: (makes a noun)||Trueth = truth, Flaith = flight|
|-oo||: masculine||Oksoo = bull|
|-ais||: feminine||Oksais = cow|
Med, widh, ov, on, in, aut, thrue, twien, myng, foo, hind, aft, jond, bai, genst
Yp, anedh, on, in, aut, thrue, twien, foo, hind, jond
Awej, along, akros, amid, asaid, (afoo), (ahind), (ajond)
Verb Modifying Postpositions
Motion prepositions as above. Also:
aus (to exhaustion), oon (continuance), in, footh (going forth), yp (yielding), bak
Comparative and Superlative
Add “-or” and “-ost” to the adjective or adverb. Thus:
“Mie aa baagor dhan thie, byt hoo aa dha baagost”
I am bigger than you, but he is the biggest.
“Mies haus aa lik baag lik thies haus”
My house is as big as your house.
Alternatively use “muc“, “mor” and “most“. (“Muc” means “much” and “very“.)
“Less” and “least” are “les” and “lest“.
The concepts are “taim” (time) and “deit” (date). The usual questions:
What dha taim aa?
What dha deit aa?
The divisions of time:
A date may be given as, for example:
Loodsdei twaatij-fifth Appmunths Tij-nain hynd naintij-nain (or Loo 25 App 1999)
(Sunday, 25 Apr 1999)
Note that the month is genitive: “Appmunths” not “Appmunth”
The time may be given as, for example:
Tiem thrie aftmiddei (3:00 am) (3:00pm)
Tiem tij-ein and twaatij-sen foomiddei (11:27 fm) (11:27 am)
or: Tiem twaa-ein les tij (Ten to eleven)
Afoodei (yesterday), Ahatdei (today), Ajaftdei (tomorrow)
(Though the A- is dropped if the day itself is described:
It hapd afoodei (It happened yesterday) but
Hatdei hav aad ei gud dei (Today has been a good day)
Most of the words in Baanzish are from Germanic English, as mentioned before. Those words are mostly as spoken, in a whimsical mixture of Northern and Southern pronunciations. For aesthetic reasons there are some pre-vowel-shift vowels and most “al” words (eg. “all”, hall”, “falcon”) are still “al”: (al, hal, falk).
There is much Norse: eg. “wiktij” (“important”) is from Norwegian and “vjel” (“machine”) is Icelandic. There is even some mangled Hebrew (eg. “shav“, “sab” & “shosh” for “week”, “army” & “root”). At least one word, tiek (“fine”) is Hindustani.