Monday, January 5, 2009

New Ik Alphabet!

Ik has never been a ‘written’ language; instead, it has been only an ‘oral’ language, spoken by the people for thousands of years, but not inscribed on paper, rock, or papyrus. Much of what I (Terrill) did for work last year was study the sounds of the Ik language so I could match alphabetic letters with those sounds. In the last two weeks before Christmas, I slaved away on a written description of the phonology (sound system) of Ik. This was to provide a scientific basis for the alphabet. We are at the stage in the project where we’re about to start using what’s called a ‘trial orthography’, meaning: a new alphabet ready to be tested in actual use. As we try out this new alphabet, we’ll probably have to make some changes over time. But for now, it’s an exciting milestone in our language development work among the Ik!


A, a
B, b
B’, b’
C, c
D, d
D’, d
Dz, dz
E, e
F, f
G, g
H, h
I, i
J, j
J’, j’
K, k
K’, k’
L, l
M, m
N, n
Ŋ, ŋ
O, o
P, p
R, r
S, s
Ŝ, ŝ
T, t
Ts, ts
Ts’, ts’
U, u
W, w
Y, y
Z, z
Ž, ž

(One symbol was left out and one changed to accommodate this font.)


raspberrylane said...

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, "I wish life was not so short. Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."

Happy New Year. Missed you guys and Keith for Christmas in Mobile.

Jennie said...

Congrats!!! What a huge milestone, well done Terrill!

The Fishers said...

Congratulations to you both!! I know that it is exciting to reach such a milesotne! Great work!!

Someone Who Follows Your Career With Considerable Interest said...

It's funny how weeks and months and a year can be boiled down into a few columns of text--and we're all not just OK but celebrating that. Looks pretty awesome. The simple, distilled thing at the end of the long hard complicated toil.

Rick said...

Great accomplishment Terrill. Congratulations.