Toaq

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Toaq (loglang)
mı Tỏaq
created in: 2013-2017
by: Miles Forster (a.k.a. Solpahi)
kind:tonal
influenced by:Gua\spi, Lojban
script:Latin, Hoelāı
specification:toaq.org (in English)
regulated by:Solpahi (i.e. creator)
community:Discord, Reddit

Toaq ([ˈtʰoʊ̯.ɑŋ] or [tʰoʊ̯.æŋ]; natively [ˈtʰo.aŋ] ‘language’) is a tonal logical language created by Miles Forster, better known as solpahi, during the years 2013–2017. As a loglang, it draws heavily from Gua\spi (it could even be considered as a continuation thereof); as an artlang, it takes after East Asian tonal languages (Chinese, Vietnamese), as well as Thai.

History

Solpahi was most known as an active Lojbanist. He has got several rap songs [1] [2] on his account, as well as a plethora of translations, short stories, and essays concerning Lojban [3] [4] [5].

The first known version of Toaq — “The Toaq Dzu Alpha Primer” (see Toaq Dzu) — was published in 2013. This version is in most aspects completely different from the current version. In September 2017, a “public beta” document under the name “Toaq. A Tonal Logical Language” (hereafter referred to as ‘the document’) was released; it can currently be found on the Toaq website's main page. After this, he started to disengage from the Lojban community, prompted by the various issues surrounding the BPFK committee (which oversaw Lojban until 2018), Lojban's design, and controversy surrounding Lojban dialects.

The language has received updates and tweaks not yet reflected in the main 2017 document. Notably, two consonants, /ʔ/ and /d͡z/, and one vowel, /ə/, were added in late 2019 to make space for more roots and particles. Other information can be found on the Toaq language blog.

Design

Orthography

Initially, Toaq was typically written only using the Latin script. Later, a unique script called Hoelāı was crafted for Toaq.

Latin Orthography

Toaq's Latin graphemes display an unusual dictionary order[verify]:

grapheme a u ı o e y b c ch d f g h j k l m n p q r s sh t z '
phoneme a u i o e ə b t͡sʰ t͡ɕʰ d f g h d͡ʑ l m n ŋ r s ɕ d͡z ʔ

Notable conventions include the use of ⟨q⟩ for /ŋ/, the use of dotless ⟨ı⟩ (for legibility reasons), and the use of the digraphs ⟨ch⟩ and ⟨sh⟩ for /t͡ɕʰ/ and /ɕ/. The apostrophe, representing /ʔ/, is omitted word-initially.

Toaq's Latin orthography is also notable for its diacritics, which are placed over the first vowel in a vowel sequence in order to indicate tone. These symbols are described below.

Hoelāı

The Hoelāı script was invented by Toaq's creator in 2019, partially to give an identity to the language. The script draws inspiration from the Thai, Tibetan and Hebrew’s scripts. Hoelāı is a left-to-right abugida with the inherent vowel /a/. A dot placed under a consontant mutes this vowel. The initial consonant is the center of the written syllable. Some vowel letters have different shapes when they come at the beginning of a word.

Phonology

Toaq has twenty-six phonemes, divided into twenty consonants and six vowels. The phonotactics of consonants tend to be restrictive and that of vowels permissive. There are eight tones, including a neutral tone.

Consonants

labial alveolar palatal velar glottal
nasal m n ŋ
plosive pʰ · b tʰ · d kʰ · g ʔ
affricate t͡sʰ · d͡z t͡ɕʰ · d͡ʑ
fricative f s ɕ h
tap ɾ
lateral l

Some alternative realizations are sanctioned: for /ŋ/, homorganic [m]~[n]~[ɲ]~[ɴ]; respectively for /t͡ɕʰ/, /d͡ʑ/, and /ɕ/, postalveolars [t͡ʃ], [d͡ʒ], and [ʃ]; for /h/, fricatives [x] and [χ]; for /ɾ/, trill [r].

Vowels

front central back
close i u
mid e [ɛ] ə o [ɔ]
open a

In closed syllables, /i/ and /u/ may realized as lax [ɪ] and [ʊ]; /o/ is generally realized as [ɔ] but is raised to [o] before /a/ (as in Toaq [tʰo.aŋ]); /e/ is generally realized as [ɛ] but is raised to [e] before /a/ and /o/; /ə/ may vary among [ə], [ɯ], and [ɤ], though by convention it is realized as [ɯ] when following a consonant and [ə] when following a vowel.

Syllables

Syllables are conventionally analyzed as an onset followed by a rime.

The onset consists of any single consonant except /ŋ/. /ʔ/ can be dropped after a pause (e.g., when saying words like elū, ao), but not within fluid speech (e.g., in the middle of suq'āı).

The rime consists one of the following sequences: a aq aı ao ay u uq ua uaq uı uo uoq ue ueq uaı uao uy uyq ı ıq ıa ıaq ıo ıoq ıe ıeq ıaı ıao ıy ıyq ıu o oq oa oaq oı oe oeq oaı oy oyq ou e eq ea eaq eı eo eoq eaı ey eyq y yq ya yaq yı yo yaı.

In addition to this, every syllable is given a tone.

Phonotactics

Consonants are allowed only in onset, except for /ŋ/, which occurs only in coda. There are no clusters except where /ŋ/ meets a following consonant, in which case /ŋ/ may assimilate homorganically.

The tones

Tones
No. Name Diacritic IPA Function
1. Flat ā ˩, ˧, ˥ Compound
2. Rising á ˩˥, ˧˥ Argument
3. Rising glottal ä ˧ʔ˥ Relative clause
4. Falling ˥˩ Predicate
5. Rising-falling â ˧˥˩ Content clause
6. Low falling à ˧˩ Preposition
7. Falling glottal ã ˧ʔ˩ Adverb
8. (Neutral) a (꜌, ꜊, ꜈) (Particle)

There are seven tones, plus one neutral tone. The first tone is the continuation tone, which glues a syllable with the one that precedes it. The remaining six tones are used to ‘conjugate’ predicate words and phrases. Some of the tones have an incorporated glottal stop /ʔ/. The neutral tone is not a real tone — syllables which bear it tend to be particles which do not function as predicates. It may be pronounced in any way — as any other tone — except for the first tone, which would make the particle a part of a compound; neutral syllables are most commonly pronounced short and light.

Grammar highlights

Basic structure

Toaq has VSO word order: predicates in the falling tone come first; arguments follow them, and an illocution comes last:

Mảı súq da.
love I you (assertive)
I love you.

Predicates are inherently variadic (including full support for nulladicity) — depending on the number of arguments supplied, they may assume different semantics:

suaı⁰ ‘There is quickness’ ⇒ Sủaı da. There is quickness.
suaı¹ ‘x₁ occurs quickly’ ⇒ Sủaı hóq da. This is quick. / This happens quickly.
suaı² ‘x₁ does x₂ quickly’ ⇒ Sủaı hóq da. I do this quickly. / I am quick in doing this.

To preface the predicate with arguments, pa is used; to specify the topic (prenex), is used:

Níaı núq pa gỉ da.
the animal(s) (end prenex) the snake(s) (are) good (assertive)
As for the animals, I like the snakes.

Definite references to the x₁ of a predicate are created with the rising tone:

nıaı ‘to be an animal’ → níaı ‘the animal(s)’
‘to be good’ → ‘the good thing(s)’
chuq ‘to eat’ → chúq ‘the eater(s)’

Compounds use the flat (‘continuation’) tone:

ku ‘to be a dog’

Since each string of syllables boundSa together with the flat tone is considered to be a lexical unit, we will no longer mark the flat tone as separate:

níaı, kúnē
the animal(s), the dog(s)

The meaning of a compound is opaque. For some compounds, the syllables that comprise them often hint towards their meaning: nuogāı is composed of nuo ‘sleep’ and gaı ‘perceive’, so it most probably means ‘to dream’. Others are apriorisms or compound words: kunē ‘dog’ is related to PIE *ḱwṓ, ḱunés, while bagā ‘pull’ was made up.

Conjugation

Predicates conjugate for tone in a regular fashion:

‘to be present at’ (This is the dictionary form and will never appear in practice.)
  • : those which are present somewhere
  • : which are present at…
  • tỉ: are present at [various functions]
  • : that… are present at…
  • : which is at; at [preposition]
  • : which is there; there [adverb]

Quantification and binding

Quantifiers are a family of particles, which includes e.g.: sa ‘some’, ‘which’, ja (marks the subject of a property). A quantifying term is constructed from one of those, optionally followed by a predicate in the falling tone:

Gảı sa pỏq sıa da.
see some people no(thing) (assertive)
Some person doesn't see anything.
Some people don't see anything.

Toaq uses plural logic, which means that sa pỏq means ‘some people’ (i.e., some group of people) and not just ‘some person’.

A predicate phrase which has been treated with a quantifier is considered to be bound; any rising tone argument phrase featuring the same predicate phrase will refer back to the quantification:

Sa pỏq gỉ póq da.
some people (end prenex) good the people (assertive)
For some people, the people are good.
There exist people such that they are good.
There exist good people.
Some people are good.

Serial predicates

Predicates can be strung together to form what is called a serial predicate. A predicate phrase consists of a sequence of predicates, among which the first conjugates for tone, and the following all bear the falling tone. Let us consider a simple example:

jıa: x₁ will be the case.
dua: x₁ knows that x₂ is the case.
jıa dủa: x₁ will {know that x₂ is the case}.
dua jỉa: x₁ knows that {x₂ will be the case}.

Curly brackets delimit the inner (nested) proposition. Apart from simple nesting, properties and relations admit own treatment, where the first places of the governed predicate are stripped as the subjects of the properties:

suaı: x₁ does x₂ quickly.
muıdūa: x₁ understands x₂.
suaı mủıdūa: x₁ understands x₂ quickly; [x₁ does {understanding x₂} quickly].
cheo: x₁ do relation x₂ to each other.
paı: x₁ is a friend of x₂.
cheo pảı: x₁ are friends with each other; [x₁ do relation {being a friend of} to each other].

Serial predicates can be chained and conjugated for tone:

jıa dủa chẻo pảı: x₁ will {know that {x₂ {are friends} with each other}}.
jía dủa chẻo pảı: the one(s) who will know that some people are friends with each other

They are often lexicalized, in which case the order of the constituents is reversed (as compounds are right-oriented):

dua jỉa ‘to know that x₂ will happen’ → jıadūa ‘to expect x₂’

Sources

External Links

Language Descriptions
Logical Languages

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]

Other Languages

Láadan (1982)[stub]Ceqli (1996)[stub]Latejami (1995)[stub]Ithkuil (?)[stub]TNIL (?)[stub]LIT (?)[stub]CycL (?)[stub]IKL (?)[stub]