The Orthography of Tan Tyls

The orthography of Tan Tyls is inseparable from the phonology and morphology of the language. For Tan Tyls's's's orthography I tried to do something different which may not have been done before. The basic script is essentially an abjad—that is, there is one symbol for every consonant. However, for the purposes of this orthography, the standard (or tense or non-reduced or "big") vowels count as consonants. I tend to refer to these collectively as X's, for whatever reason. In addition to this, there is a a somewhat large set of characters which stand for particular prefixes, suffixes, infixes and circumfixes. These sometimes represent a single X; they sometimes represent a string of X's. They must simply be memorized. It helps to shorten long words in the orthography, though.

Now that that's out of the way, here's some more general information. The Tan Tyls orthography is simply called Páhmâ, "writing", in Tan Tyls. The script is written from left to right, and there are no case distinctions. Again, only X's (consonants and non-reduced vowels) are written, and the only somewhat complicated part about the script is the affix glyphs, which will be explained below.


Alphabet

Letter

Allophone

Example

Romanization

á á áíšas áíšas, "leaf"

p p pasakãm pasakãm, "fish"
  b nãbamãsî bamãsî, "man"

t t tsahp tsahp, "sky"
  d tapãndap tapãndap, "bluejay"

k k kaššóh kaššóh, "snow"
  g 'ãngãny 'ãngãny, "catfish"

q q qáyóó qáyóó, "root"
  ġ tânġó tânġó, "mouth (human)"

í í ísúâm ísúâm, "forest"
  é qésw qésw, "fog"

s s síly síly, "sun"
  z mânzâ mânzâ, "back (human)"

š š šaxamãt šaxamãt, "mountain"

x x xapahít xapahít, "buffalo"

h h hálá hálá, "orchid"

ó ó óátíl óátíl, "tree"

m m mlasãn mlasãn, "hand, arm"

n n nôwîn nôwîn, "quail"

ú ú úyn úyn, "mother"
  ó 'ólyax 'ólyax, "liver"

l l laxál laxál, "feather"

y y yólân yólân, "eye"

w w wáy wáy, "ivy"

' ' 'ásép 'ásép, "fruit"

Morphological Glyphs

Now I'll introduce you to the glyphs of Tan Tyls that are used morphologically, not phonologically. There isn't a glyph for every cell in every paradigm, but there are for a large number of them. The first to be introduced will be the noun case glyphs. There isn't one for the recusative, because it has no phonological form. This is what the rest look like:

An orthographic case table.

Next are the glyphs which mark number on nominals. These glyphs are attached to nouns to indicate whether they're dual, plural, partitive or paucal. The singular is the default case (no pun intended). This is what the number glyphs look like:

An orthographic number table.

Next are the glyphs for the various applicative prefixes. Because passivization is very restrictive in Tan Tyls, a large number of different types of applicative suffixes are used to form different types of passives. The first applicative is used only with human oblique arguments that aren't possessors; the second is used with goals; the third with sources; the fourth with locations; the fifth with instruments; and the sixth with possessors. This is what they look like:

An orthographic applicative glyph table.

And what would a language be without tense? Honestly, it might look like Tan Tyls. Tan Tyls doesn't encode the notion of tense (i.e., when an event occurred in time). Rather, the speaker lets the hearer know how reliable the information they're giving is. In Tan Tyls, you mark the verb with a primary evidential suffix if the speaker directly witnessed the event they're describing. If they were informed of the event by the one who directly witnessed it, then you use the secondary evidential prefix. If the information the speaker is conveying is less reliable than this, then you use the nonevidential infix. Those glyphs are shown below:

A table of the glyphs used for the Tan Tyls evidential system.

The person/number verbal agreement system is rather robust in Tan Tyls. Verbs agree with subjects, objects and indirect objects in person and number. The same suffixes are used for all three categories (position in the verb determines whether something is a subject, object or indirect object). The person/number agreement markers are: first person (singular and plural, with an inclusive vs. exclusive distinction in the plural); second person (singular and plural); third person (animate, inanimate and obviative, singular and plural). Note that there's only a two-way number distinction in the verbal agreement system, as opposed to a four- or five-way (depending on how you analyze it) distinction in the nominal system. You should also notice that the glyph for a couple of the cells below is identical to the glyph for the letter itself. Here is the table:

A table of the glyphs used for the Tan Tyls person/number verbal agreement.

Finally, there are some leftover affixes which I've grouped together for expository purposes. The first is merely an emphatic suffix which has a variety of uses (primarily on verbs as a kind of way of saying "indeed"). Next comes the causative suffix which adds an argument to a verb. Next comes the question suffix which is added to the end of a verb when the sentence is a question. Then comes the negative suffix, used for all forms of negation. Next is a passive suffix used to decrease the valency of a verb. Finally, there's a converb prefix, which has a variety of uses. This is what those glyphs look like:

A table of the glyphs of some leftover miscellaneous affixes of Tan Tyls.

That's it for the glyphs used in the normal writing system. Additionally, there are number glyphs which can be shown very quickly below. The system is base 8, so the glyphs below represent 0 through 7, from left to right:

Tan Tyls glyphs for the numbers 0 through 7.

And, just to show you an example of numbers beyond 7, here's 8:

Tan Tyls glyph for the number 8.

That, then, will do it. I hope you've enjoyed the Tan Tyls orthography page. I can assure you, it enjoyed being read by you.

Back to Tan Tyls Main

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