What a pan-Turkic auxiliary language might look like

Monday, May 31, 2010

There are probably two reasons why a pan-Turkic auxiliary language hasn't been created:

1) Independent and stable Turkic-speaking countries are a relatively recent phenomenon in modern times. Incorporation in the Soviet Union, very short periods of independence etc. didn't bode well for the fostering of a pan-Turkic language, and
2) Turkey has a much, much larger population and cultural influence than the rest of the Turkic languages put together. Compared to this, Slavic and Romance languages in particular are on a much more equal footing.

But let's say a pan-Turkic language were to be created. The general concept behind these types of languages is that they should be 1) immediately comprehensible to native speakers of the source languages, but also 2) fairly easy for others to learn as well. They would also rely on vocabulary common to as many of these languages as possible. Siberian Turkic languages would have to be removed from this as they are very different from the others...except for perhaps the odd time when reference to one could serve to break a stalemate over which word to use. Persian could also be referenced from time to time given the vocabulary they share. Grammar would probably resemble a mix between Turkish and Uzbek, and since the latter has no vowel harmony that could be taken out of the pan-Turkic IAL as well.

So here's a quick and very incomplete overview (basically thinking out loud) what one might look like. It's a pretty bare outline but if anyone has any questions I'll be happy to do some more thinking out loud and perhaps fill it out a bit.

First of all, pronouns are pretty easy:

men - I
sen - you
on - he/she/it
biz - we
siz - you (plural/polite)
onlar - they

Plural would always be -lar, as in Uzbek.

A lot of Turkish words with v would become b as this is seen often in Turkic languages and b is easier to pronounce for most than v. Var thus becomes bar.

Ready for the first sentence? Here it is:

Bu yerda su bar mi? - Is there water here? In Turkish this is burada su var mı? Burada (here) is bu yerdä / bu yärdá / bū yerde in Uzbek/Uyghur/Turkmen, and using a construction with yer (place) makes it easier to understand as it literally means "in this place".

Da means in. Now we're on that subject, let's look at the other cases.

ni - accusative
da - locative
ga - dative (showing movement towards)
dan - "from"

i vs. ni will be explained in a bit, but first let's show how to show possession. In Turkish you can indicate it with just a suffix, or with a pronoun plus the suffix, so it's redundant. In this IAL it would probably be either or. For example:

Turkish araba + m = arabam, but ben + im also means mine, so benim arabam just means my car, and benim araba is wrong. In this language it would be:

my = menim (noun) or noun + im
your = senin (noun) or noun + in
his/her/its = onin (noun) or noun + i/si
our = bizim (noun) or noun + imiz
your = sizin (noun) or noun + iniz
their = onlarin (noun) or noun + ilar / silar

Some examples:

dost = friend

dostim or menim dost = my friend
Onin dost bar mi? - does he/she/it have a friend?
Dostiniz yok. - You don't have a friend.
Sizin dost yok. - You don't have a friend.
Dostlarinizga ket - (imperative) go to your friends. To go might be getmek or ketmek, not sure.
The i/si there depends on whether it ends with a vowel or not. Araba (car) would then become arabasi (his/her/its car).

Examples of the accusative mentioned above:

Bu yerda su bar. - There is water here.
Bu yerda dost bar. - There is a friend here.
Menga suni ber. - Give me water.
Menga sunizni ber. - Give me your water.
Onga dosti ber. - Give him/her/it a friend.
Onga dostinni ber. - Give him/her/it your friend.

Present tense would be the verb minus -mek and then the following endings added:


So ketmek (or getmek), to go, would be:

getirim - I go, getirin, you go, getir - he/she/it goes, etc.

Progressive would be:


So "they are going" is getiyorlar. Dostlarimiz getiyorlar mi? - Are our friends going?

Future tense would be a bit different from these (pretty much just vowel harmony-free Turkish) as Turkish has the acak/ecek suffix where the k turns into ğ (unpronounced, just lengthens the preceding vowel) and an IAL shouldn't have that complication. Luckily Uzbek has a nice system so it would look like this:


Nice and easy. So Dostlari getadilar means "their friends will go". Okulima getasan? - Will you go to my school?

This word for school (okul, same as Turkish) shows where a lot of difficulty might be in this language, as the word for school in other Turkic languages sounds like the Turkish word for letter (a letter you send through the mail), mektup, and okul is a more 'international' word. The biggest area of contention might end up being whether this is a Turkic-based international language, or a pure Turkic constructed language.

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