|created in: 2021|
|kind:||breadth-first; first of its kind|
|script:||Latin, Duployan shorthand|
|specification:|| (in English)|
Hýyban (/çə˦.ə˨.bä˨n/) is an experimental constructed language designed to explore the bounds of what a human-usable language can be by using a breadth-first grammar which appears in few if any natural or constructed languages created by Beefman starting in late June 2021.
Hýyban was originally inspired by xkcd 2407. It follows a handful of abandoned sketches and reuses some pieces from those sketches. Initially it was a joke-project, but each sketch became a little more serious until it landed where it is today. It is happenstantially a loglang due to the creator’s comfort with loglangs, and doubt about how ambiguity would work in conjunction with an already confusing grammar.
Hýyban is the creation of Beefman, aka la bakre’u, aka jan Nule, aka za ekrehupre, an American graphic designer with no formal education in linguistics.
Hýyban was created to explore the bounds of what a human-usable language can be by using a breadth-first grammar which appears in few if any natural or constructed languages. With a secondary goal of making the syntax as simple as possible to minimize the number of things a speaker or listener needs to think about.
The name "Hýyban" is derived from “ban” a common trait shared among languages inspired partially by Lojban, and “hýy”, which at the time of naming, was a collection of the phonemes most unique to the language.
A number of people contributed to the development of the language through discussion and feedback with the author. It uses a modified consonant inventory from unrelated language sketches from December 2020, a vowel inventory copied from Lojban, a tone system copied from Láadan, and the grammar system is heavily inspired by toki pona.
Hýyban is written using a slightly modified Latin alphabet and an acute accent/apostrophe:
Hýyban also has the following digraphs, not considered their own letters:
The correspondence between letters/diagraphs and phonemes is exactly one-to-one, however, due to a number of allophony and phonotactics rules, it is not one-to-one with phones.
It is conventional to write Hýyban in all lowercase characters with the first letter of each word uppercase. Spaces are used between written words as a visual aid, though not required for segregation. Punctuation is typically not used.
Hýyban has thirty-seven phonemes depending on the analysis, divided into twenty-seven consonants, six vowels, and between four tones, though it may be analyzed as fewer. The IPA symbols used in this article were selected to indicate the typical preferred allophone of each phoneme.
|plosive||p b||t d||k g||ʔ|
|fricative||f v||s z||ʃ||ç||x|
A syllable is composed simply of a required consonantal onset, which may be the unwritten glottal stop, followed by a required vocalic nucleus, followed by an optional nasal stop.
An onset consists of any of the single consonants.
A nucleus consists of any single vowel, with one of the four possible tones.
The coda consists of a nasal stop assimilated the place of the following phone or no phoneme.
The phoneme sequences /xu/, /çi/, /wu˨.u˦/, and /wu˦.u˨/ are illegal.
There are thus 27 possible onsets, with the 24, 2 codas, and 20 illegal syllables; 1276 syllables are possible.
Hýyban has a fairly extensive (for a loglang) set of phonotactics:
- The same vowel may not occur on both sides of a glottal stop word internally.
- /j/ is realized as [ʒ] before /i/ or /ɛ/.
- /i˨.i˦/ is realized as [jiː˨˦] unless it follows /ʔ/, /pʼ/, /z/, /s/, /x/, /ɾ/, /l/, or /w/.
- /i˨.i˦/ is realized as [iː˨˨˦] when follows /ʔ/, /pʼ/, /z/, /s/, /x/, /ɾ/, /l/, or /w/.
- /i˦.i˨/ is realized as [jə˦˨] unless it follows /ʔ/, /ɾ/, or /l/.
- /ä˨.ä˦/ is realized as [äi̯˨˦].
- /ä˦.ä˨/ is realized as [äu̯˦˨].
- /ɛ˨.ɛ˦/ is realized as [ɛi̯˨˦].
- [tj] is realized as [t͡ʃ].
- [tʼj] is realized as [t͡ʃʼ].
- [dj] is realized as [d͡ʒ].
- [nj] is realized as [ɲ].
- /ʔi/ is realized as [ʔji].
- [ʒ] is realized as [ʑ] before [j].
- [ʃ] is realized as [ɕ] before [j].
- /k/, /g/ and /ɠ/ is pronounced as palatal before [j].
- [kʼj] is realized as [cç].
Stress, tone and quantity are not contrastive and are undefined.
Hýyban is a morphologically isolating language; every morpheme is a word, and every word is a single morpheme, with the exception of lexicalized phrase, where multiple words make up a single morpheme.
Word weight in Hýyban is crucial to understanding word boundaries and can be calculated by adding up the total number of front vowels, voiced consonants, and dual tones. Syllables bind to the prior syllables to form multisyllabic words if the prior syllables collectively weigh less than two. When the collective weight of the syllables becomes two or more, the word ends and a new word can begin. /j/ is treated as unvoiced for this process unless it precedes /ɛ/ or /i/. /w/ is treated as unvoiced for this process unless it precedes /o/ or /u/. /ä/ is treated as a front vowel for this process.
There are thus roughly 1300 possible monosyllabic words.
There are three word classes in Hýyban. Particles are a closed class of words that take two arguments and return a new combined meaning. Prefixes (not actually prefixes in the traditional sense) are a semi-open class of words that behave like particles but only accept one argument. Finally, leaves are content words and never accept any arguments.
The basic unit of Hýyban’s syntax are extremely simple :
- Particles always accept exactly two arguments, prefixes always accept exactly one argument, and leaves never accept any arguments.
- Words are assigned as a tail to the oldest unfilled argument slot.
- A sentence with remaining unfilled slots is grammatically incorrect until all the slots are filled at which point the sentence becomes finished.
The self-segregation strategy is relatively complex but very unintrusive.
Phonemes have certain weights, and when the total weight of all phonemes in a word passes a certain point, you know it’s the final syllable of the word. Therefore the boundaries of words are clear with the exception of potentially a few words at the start if you begin listening mid-conversation.
Foreign expressions can be incorporated by using the word “ṕan” which is a pronoun that solely refers to the information in the closest non-Hýybanic information stream.
Tense, aspect, modality
Words in Hýyban are nearly all aposteriori; they are loaned from whichever language has the easiest word to loan in, with no regard for the rarity or recognizability of the language. Proper names and nonce loans can be made using the words “an” and “sókale” respectively. If the words fit within Hýyban morphology and phonotactics, they can be directly placed as the tail of the prefixes. If they don’t, they should be adapted as well as is possible. If that is impossible or impractical, for example referring to a concept expressed in sign language, “ṕan” may be used with the prefix instead.
Loglan (1955)[stub] • Lojban (1987)[stub] • Voksigid (1991)[stub] • Gua\spi (1991)[stub] • Liva (1995)[stub] • Lojsk (2002)[stub] • X-1 (2005)[stub] • Trari (2009)[stub] • Xorban (2012)[stub] • Toaq (2013)[stub] • Tanbau (2014)[stub] • Eberban (2020)[stub]