TLoO: Chapter 9
The Language of Okoto
At this stage, we have reached what I think is, for all intents and purposes, “ground zero” for the language of Okoto. We have picked apart, decomposed, rendered down, and theoretically dismantled almost the entirety of the dataset established in Chapter 1 (to the near-exclusion of the names of the Masters, which continue to have an uncertain status). What more is there to do? Quite a bit, it turns out. This post will focus on tying up some loose ends and looking forward to the next chapter (Chapter 10), which will conclude this series of posts by outlining a pretty extensive grammar for the Okotoan Language.
For now, though, here’s what I’d like to do: In the interests of completionism, I’d like to reduce all of the lexical elements that we have so far down to their most basic forms and then define those forms as “stems” from which new words are/can be created. The meanings of these stems will be appropriately abstract, and it will be possible to define them as any word-category (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) depending on what they are combined with. This system will serve us well, I think, in the interests of future vocabulary-expansion, as well as the construction of a grammar.
With this goal in mind, we have, luckily, already done most of this work. Elements in the glossary like k- “acting, doing”, e “making, creating” and m- “covering” already provide examples of what I have in mind, but there are a few entries that could be further redefined as stems (the noun-markers -a and -i, for example, might be raised to the status of basic stems indicating “thing, object, person” and “animacy, intentionality”), and there is at least one entry to “largeness, greatness” that can be further broken down. We’ll focus on the latter entry first, and then return to the former, concluding with a glossary of basic stems:
Proposal 1: The element to can be dissolved into two elements: t- and -o. Let t- be a stem-element indicating the general concept of “plurality”, while o translates as “place, location”. Furthermore, let the semantic domain covered by o extend from “place, location” to the concept of “point, specific(ity)”, yielding, in combination with t-, t+o “plurality of points/locations; largeness/greatness”.
With that done, we have exhausted the repertoire of undissolved lexical elements, and all that’s left is to redefine the bulk of the entries that we have derived as basic stems, with appropriately abstract/expanded meanings. These “extended” meanings are somewhat arbitrary, although I hope the connection with the originally-postulated meaning remains clear (e.g. o “location, place” > “point, specificity” > “existing, remaining”; m- “covering” > “completion”, u “skill, ability” > “instrument(ality)”, etc.). I think the following list of stems provides a sufficiently rich pool for future vocabulary construction:
Proposal 2: The following entries constitute basic stems from which the majority of words in the Okotoan Language are derived:
a |stm.| “thing, object, person”
e |stm.| “making, originating; origination”
i |stm.| “animacy, intentionality”
k- |stm.| “acting, doing; action”
ko |stm.| “solidity, solid-ness; ?ice”
m- |stm.| “covering; completion”
o |stm.| “location, place, point; specificity; existing, remaining”
t- |stm.| “plurality, mass; non-specificity”
u |stm.| “skill, ability; instrument(ality)”
As mentioned, the next chapter will be the final chapter in this series. Stay tuned!