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14. Pitak by Matt Haupt

Texts | Pitak | Grammar | Morphology Explanations | Glossary | Orthography
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Li pisu na mul kiso funefemu.
En molfos kotiko i a mol fimilu pumo.
Li tepo molfous netokwa i ama nami tilwato.
Li meno onos moulfosi pumisu puma.
Wo la tiko, li komanu kuso.
A molfos komanu moso sapwa i pumisu teko.
  Smooth English

Once, I sat near the sea
A wave broke the water swept over me.
I tried not the fight the wave and this made me happy.
I dreamt about the waves sweeping me away.
When it broke I felt it continuously.
The wave went on and on and took me far away.

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I'm sorry, I know this is a bit late, so this description of Pitak may be a little scatterbrained as I rushed to finish this. A few extraneous details about Pitak: It is supposed to have been the first language of my sci-fi congalaxy, Eastden, taught to Man by God, and made simple to understand but easy to add upon. It has only nine consonants and five vowels, and clusters and diphthongs are generally used to extend meaning. First of all, although you don't need to know how to pronounce it to translate, I'll just make it clear that all the vowels are pronounced as follows: I = ee as in beet, E = ei as in bait, A = au as in bought, O = as in boat, and U = oo as in boo.




Pitak is a SOV language, so Subjects, then Objects, then Verbs (ex. English is SVO, so 'I read the book' would become 'I the book read' in a SOV language). This S-O-V represents a basic phrase in Pitak and it is pretty rigid. I'll refer back to this as I describe morphology below. A few 'helper words' can come BEHIND a phrase, if they modify the entire phrase.


Morphology Explanations

All words generally have a CVC root. Words that break this rule are usually helper words; prepositions, pronouns, etc. This is important, because when you see a word that is not simply CVC, you need to figure out whats been added onto it. First, when a verb is a participle of another verb (i.e. I came to help — to help is a participle of came) an extra consonant will be put in after the last consonant of the root. So toka (fight/fighting — present tense) becomes tokwa (to fight/to be fighting). The consonant inserted depends on what kind of consonant it is being added to. W is added to all plosives and nasals (p, t, k, m, n), t is added to all fricatives (f, s). The other reason a word might have a cluster in it is if it is a combined word. An example in the text is 'molfos,' which we would translate as 'wave,' but literally means water-force and is a combination of mol (water) and fos (force).

Nouns can be modified to show specificity by adding another vowel to create a diphthong. Example in the text: 'mol' becoming 'moul.' This only happens to objects in sentences. So you could say 'I am carrying water' — Li mol kawa; or say 'I am carrying the water' — Li moul kawa.

Diphthongs are never added to subjects however; these are always pronouns or denoted with a helper word, such as 'en' (a) or 'a' (the).

There are six cases: existential case (basically nouns, and this it the 'default' case), descriptive case, past tense case, present tense case, future tense case, and plural case. These are all marked by what vowel the word ends with. If there is no vowel, the word defaults to the existential case and the word is basically a noun. If the word ends in —u, this connotes the descriptive case, and these descriptive modifiers generally come before the word they modify. If the word ends in —a, this connotes a present tense verb; in —o, a past tense verb, in —e, a future tense verb. If the word end in —i, it is a plural word. Thus, most words can be nouns or verbs. This can lead to some strange generalities in translation.

Some examples:

  • Mol = water.
  • La mola = It is watering (present tense, 'it is raining')
  • Li molo = I watered
  • Le mole = You will water
  • Moli = waters
  • Molu = watery/wet

Sometimes prefixes are added to describing words or verbs to add meaning. An example of how this works: "This is for you, from me" would be "Ama name sa. Ama tomi sa" Na means to or for, me is the object pronoun for you — name = to/for-you. Same thing with tomito means from, mi is the object pronoun for me = from-me. 'This to-you is- being. This from-me is-being." One more example, with a verb: "I sat up" would be "Li kokiso." Kis is the word for seat or sitting. Kiso means past tense, and the ko- means upwards — kokis = upward seat (this can be translated as high chair, like for a baby) kokisa = up-sitting in the present.

The past, present and future tenses are a little different from English. All tenses are continuous. Examples: Li tepo, li tepa, li tepe. These would probably be translated as I tried, I try, I will try, but the more literal transalation would be I was trying, I am trying, I will be trying. You can't say "Did you do it?" or "I did it." You have to say "You are- being to-it was-doing?" (Le sawa ma tawo?) and "I am-being to-it was doing" (Li sawa ma tawo); sort of like 'I am in the present state of having done that in the past."

Going back to the objects of sentences for a moment: when a describing word is used to modify an object, some interesting things can happen. "I dreamed of you non-stop" would be translated as "Li komenu meno." (I continuously-to-you was dreaming.") The word for time/continuum is kon, and konu would mean continue-y/timey/taking time, but you can see there's a -me- in there, and that is the object pronoun. When a describing word modifies the verb and has something to do with the object, they fuse in this manner. The object pronoun is inserted after the first two letters, then the third letter comes, then the —u which connotes the descriptive case. This happens many times in the text.



Subject pronouns: 
I  =  li 
You  =  le 
He/She/It =  la 
We  =  lo 
They  =  lu 
Object pronouns: 
Me/to me =  mi 
You/to you =  me 
Him/her/it-to =  ma 
Us/to us =  mo 
Them/to them =  mu 
Helper Words 
a/an  = en  
about, around = onos 
from  = to 
in a time = funefemu 
over  = fil 
the  = a 
this  = ama 
to/for  = na 
up/skyward = ko 
when  = wo

Words (where the noun/verb disparity might confuse, I've tried to clarify) 
ability/able = mos 
attempt/try = tep 
being  = saw 
break  = tik 
close/closeness= pis 
continuum/ = kon (this one is tricky to translate) 
doing  = taw 
dream  = men 
far  = pus 
feel  = kus 
happiness = tilwat 
take   = tek 
travel/go = sap 
sea  = mul 
seat  = kis 
sweep  = pum 
water  = mol 
wave  = molfos (water force)



An orthographic version of the Pitak text.

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