No, I really didn’t. I had no clue that my beloved first fictional language was actually turning out to be comparable to a real human language. But, if someone who holds a Masters degree in Linguistics tells me something like that, I tend to believe him.
Uhjayi is a conlang – a constructed language – spoken by the inlanlu tahori, a species of tribal shapeshifters on a world known as Alasa Ka. Their universe is half-science and half-fantasy: magic and natural selection shape evolution, and a person must use both logic and spirit to thrive. Uhjayi itself is designed to approximate the form of communication an alien culture might use, given that one of their skins is remarkably similar to the one we humans wear all our lives.
Uhjayi is not a simple cypher that switches one letter for another. Uhjayi actually has a root-based vocabulary, object-subject-verb structure, and syntax that, I’ve been told, resembles some Asian languages. (None of which I speak, for the record, nor am I familiar with their skeletons.) Uhjayi’s current syntax has come about from what I think makes the most sense; the script is phonetic, the pronunciation using the English alphabet is standard across all its words, and the structure is simple, yet flexible.
After working on Uhjayi for some while, the above-mentioned bloke recommended Pimsleur to me as a better language-learning method than Rosetta Stone. (In tandem with my martial arts, and mostly because of it, I wanted to learn Japanese.) Instead of computer software, it consists of thirty-minute audio lessons in three sets of thirty lessons – roughly equivalent to one lesson a day for three months. I started daydreaming about recording Uhjayi lessons.
On a lark, I wrote the tentative transcript for the first lesson, using Pimsleur’s standard conversation format, and shared it with some friends. They responded overwhelmingly favorably. I wrote more lessons, made a mini-site (well, sub-blog), compiled vocabulary, and even recorded five-minute audio lessons to showcase the correct pronunciation. Thirty-minute lessons are definitely coming, but I’m still working on learning – and finishing – my own language first.
If you’re curious, you can find everything housed in the Learn Uhjayi blogsitething: lessons one through five, a vocabulary list, and the of-questionable-quality recordings of me saying some very strange things.
So, tell me: have you ever dabbled in any kind of fictional language?