Tutorial

"I created this language because I believe that the world would be better off if all of its inhabitants had a few hundred words in common. And if these words were selected carefully, a great deal of use could be gotten from them." - EBTX 1996

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hat To Do ...


To learn the language, the best thing to do is make sentences within the language, not trying to translate so much what you "want" to say but rather what you are able to say. Click on "Practice" to load a Javascript 'generator' (random sentences)... it's quick and pretty easy although it often doesn't make any sense. To memorize the lexicon of 261 words, just memorize a set of 6 with the same consonant beginning ... one after the other (there are 39 six member sets, and 7 sets with less than six members). The rules can be memorized very quickly, just read them once or twice.

When you have a good working knowledge of the directly available words, you should translate some body of English words into Earth Minimal as best you are able. You will find it difficult to translate "word for word". Just get the point across as best you can, i.e. find a work-around.


Theoretical Considerations

Human beings have identified about a million different things which warrrant the creation of a word (concept).
We only use about ~40,000-80,000 of them in the adult lexicon, i.e. the word set which allows us to sit in front of the tube and understand everything without opening a dictionary.

Such words are like file folders into which we put all the individuals which might be subsumed by the characteristics included in the "definition of the word".

Obviously, as civilization goes on, more concepts are added to our 'word pile'.
This pile is the hierarchical, pyramid-type thing, which you're not supposed to believe exists (because everything is equal-flat-blah blah blah).

At the top are the simplest words identifying the most common observations we make, e.g. place, time, direction, etc. Toward the bottom of the heap are more specific things like "elephant". So elephant is in the folder "animal" and is itself a folder if we subdivide the elephant population into say ... Indian and African types.

Clearly, we can subdivide until we get to an actual individual elephant (Horace-the elephant!).


What I think I'm doing in e-minimal is something akin to selecting "prime numbers". For instance, if you think of the first 80,000 numbers arranged in a pyramid with each successive level having one more member

              1
            2   3
          4   5   6
       7    8    9   10
    11   12   13   14   15

           ... 79999   80000
              

you'll find prime numbers mostly at the top of the pyramid.

Now, to "make" any number you just multiply a few primes together to "get it".
5 x 3 x 11 x 23 = 3795
gray x big x animal x longnose = elephant

Get it?


Some Other Considerations

Some people have objected to the lack of a complete English to e-minimal dictionary. This is because everyone expects (automatically) that a one to one correspondence exists (more or less) between any two languages.

That's not the case here.

Imagine that you're in a foreign country with a little bag full of words. You can have anything in the bag but nothing else. (Everyone else in this hypothetical country also has the same bag.)

Which do you prefer? Use the bagwords and piece together what you want to say or ... put your hand over your anus and make urgent grunting noises?

Pantomime might get you to the toilet and a meal but most people don't want to play charades as a way of transmitting information.

e-minimal is a lowtech solution to the translation problem. (High tech is the universal translator program --- not yet available --- you talk into a machine and the machine talks to the other person in the right language --- not too personal.)


A Little Tutorial

Here's an important word in "e"

SMU -----It means anything. Like "Smurf" in the Smurf cartoon. You know ... "Let's smurf this thing together and smurf it down to the lake!"

By the context, you mostly know what it's supposed to mean.

Here are the verb endings:

Transitive
SMUem = a verb in the past tense
.................. like "He smurfed the cat."
SMUen = a verb in the present tense
.................. like "He is smurfing the cat."
SMUel = a verb in the future tense
.................. like "He will smurf the cat."

Intransitive
emSMU = a verb in the past tense
...... like "He was smurfed by the cat."
enSMU = a verb in the present tense
..... like "He is being smurfed by the cat."
elSMU = a verb in the future tense
..... like "He will be smurfed by the cat."


Non-Verb Word Endings

Put nothing on a word and it's a noun.
......... like SMU = a smurf

Put "M" on the end and it's an adjective.
......... like SMUm = The smurfy cat

Put "J" on a word and it's an adverb.
......... like SMUj = He petted the cat smurfingly.

Put "EV" on the end and it's possessive.
......... like SMUev = The smurfs' cat

Put "N" on the end and it's "the thing which acts".
......... like SMUn = The cat was run over by the smun. I saw the smun.

Put "L" on the end and it's "the thing acted upon".
......... like SMUL = The smun ran over the smul. I saw the poor smul.

Put "Z" on the end and it's "plural".
......... like SMULz = The smulz were run over by the smunz. Smunz are bad.


Prepositions

Put "PRO" on the beginning of a word and it's a preposition. (The one related to that word.)
......... like proSMU ... like, you know ...
......... "Kwe" is 'similarity' so 'like' = prokwe
You don't need prepositions or conjunctions to make a language. They're shortcuts:

He went to the store. =
He went. His destination was the store.
or ........
She left the party because she was tired.
She left the party.
This was her reason.
She was tired.

See? Lots of extra words without these tools.

Having prepositions and conjunctions costs only two words ('pro-' and 'di-') so I employed them. It's a complication but most people who choose to learn a second language will want such linguistic "luxuries".

Form conjunctions ( i.e. the link between two related full sentence structures) by putting the syllable DI on the front of any word which will yield a reasonable 'related conjunction'.
Examples:

Dier = conjunction associated with "question" = If
Diple = conjunction associated with "result" = Then
Dier su smuen diple vi smuen.

Dilo = and
(not for "you lo you lo you" ... but rather...)
"You will stay dilo I will go."


Questions ?

Put "ER" in front of hu, ki, kaa, ta, go, ro and you get
Who - What - Where - When -
How/Why - How much/many.....
Example: kaa = place , so what question is associated with place?
Obviously, ERKAA must mean 'Where?'

Pronunciation

  aa = ah       i  = eye
  a  = ay       e  = ee
  o  = oh       u  = oo
em , en, el, ev, er are all pronounced with a short 'e' as in "get, wet, fed, led" and 'er' is like "air".
That's about all there is to it.
Put two or more "words" into one and some will be characteristics which help define the larger word.

See Rules for more stuff if you decide to take up this "hobby".


Thanks for stopping by ....
Here are some links to other language pages:


members.aol.com/langsource/jpltop.htm www.sys.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/conlang.html
www.akula.com/~dbell/conlangs.htm
www.quetzal.com/conlang.html
http://www.zompist.com/kit.html****