Málycanis

Málycanis is an artlang that adopts some interlang sensibilities. Specifically, it is a hypothetical sci-fi descendant from English as spoken by non Anglos (as French, Spanish, and Portuguese are descendants from Latin as spoken by non-Romans.) It may or may not show up in my sci fi stories.

I derive it by taking English and slashing out sounds and concepts that aren’t widely found in other languages unless I fancy them so much I couldn’t bear to part with them.

To be quite clear, if English actually turns into Málycanis, that would be tragic. But, as a toy language, I quite enjoy it.

Phonology

Phonotactics

Syllables of Málycanis take the form [C][L]V[C][s] where…

  • C = any consonant
  • L = s, w, l, or y,
  • V = any vowel or the ai/ay diphthong.
  • s = s, and as a second consonant in the coda, only follows a nasal (m or n) or unvoiced stop (p, t, c).
  • Any syllable after the first must start with a consonant.

Consonants

Romanization, followed by (IPA). Multiple IPA symbols indicate dialectical alternatives that are also considered correct. A given dialect will only use one of these pronunciations per character, with certain exceptions listed below, so it’s not technically kosher to use both, but there should be no ambiguity so it doesn’t really matter.

I know that parenthesis are not the right way to indicate phonology, but I can’t be arsed to look it up just now.

m (m)n (n)
p (p)t (t)c (k)
v (b/β)d (d/ð)g (g/ɣ)
f (f)s (s/ʃ)h (χ/h/ʔ)
w (ɰᵝ)l (l/ɾ)y (j)
  • “ts” before a vowel is always pronounced “tʃ” (that is, like the English digraph “ch”).
  • “ds” before a vowel is always pronounced “dʒ” (that is, like the English letter j).
  • Yes, I do use ‘c’ instead of ‘k’ for the unvoiced velar stop. Because I like it better.
  • I also especially like voiced fricatives, despite the fact they are uncommon, and so have them as alternate pronunciations of the voiced stops. I am liable to always pronounce the voiced stops this way, and you can’t stop me.

Vowels

I tried to cut them down to the three vowels found in e.g. Arabic, but my aesthetic sense forced in an interloper. Good thing this is an artlang and not an interlang.

  • a (a)
  • i (i)
  • u (u)
  • y (ɪ/ɘ)
  • The diphthongs ‘ai’ or ‘ay’ (both cases pronounced ‘a͞i’) are also allowed.
  • Due to Málycanis phonology, it should never ambiguous whether ‘y’ is a consonant or a vowel. It would be better to use ‘j’ as the consonant, but I don’t like it, and I’m not gonna.
  • An acute accent can be placed above a vowel to indicate that syllable is stressed. This is only done in words with two or more syllables, not counting affixes.
  • Any non dipthong vowel may be doubled, which merely indicates you pronounce it for twice as long.
  • These vowels are not meant to be super precise, and vary wildly across dialects. Because there are so few, as long as you land closer to one corner than the others, it’s going to be considered correct.

Vocabulary

There is, at present, little defined vocab. A good first start would be to steal the lexicon of Toki Pona for the core, and then only add words as needed.

Each Málycanis word should be a more or less direct conversion of an English word, favoring synonyms that avoid homonyms as much as possible, or a compound of two Málycanis words.

Here are some examples, to be amended as an official lexicon is compiled.

  • fight: fait
  • art: aat
  • walk: wac
  • run: fáswac
  • Jack: Dsyc

Grammar

Again, not so well defined as phonology. Subject – Verb – Object, obviously, but to be worked out in detail as needed for stories or what have you.

Verbs do conjugate for past and future tense, but it’s just a prefix or postfix.

  • run: fáswac
  • ran: fáswacyd
  • will run: ylfáswac

The plural of every noun is a ‘ys’ postfix.

  • Artist: aátman
  • Artists: aátmanys

Ay ylfait da aátmanys.

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