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Marq's Website

Ta Ti

Introduction

Ta Ti is a stealth language. I created it because I often find myself in situations where my friends and I wish to converse in secret in public. However, rarely does one of my friends and I have a language other than English and/or Spanish in common. Considering the prevalence of both of these languages where I live, I can't really be sure that anything that I say in either of them will go uncomprehended by prying ears.

One of my friends suggested that I learn Russian with him. Another that I learn Portuguese with him. Neither Russian nor Portuguese is currently on my list of languages to know, tho' Portuguese was at the time I was asked. I suggested that each of them learn Toki Pona but neither was willing, claiming that it would take too much time for a language of such little use. Three days for 118 words that can be used to say everything important is too much time!?

See what I'm up against? They can't be bothered to spend their spare time for 3 days learning a language for me, but one of them wanted me to spend months learning a language that wasn't even on my then insanely long list of languages to know, just so we can communicate in secret. As for the other: Altho' I was actively learning Portuguese, it would have been several months before I could converse in it. Considering that that friend has the attention span of a fruit fly and that I have had no indication that he had commenced study, I somehow doubt that he would have actually followed thru with learning the language.

My solution: I would create a language that was easier to memorize than Toki Pona. I decided to use Toki Pona as my base (i.e. as the mother language) and derive my language from it. Noting the very few excesses in Toki Pona vocabulary, I was able to reduce the word count from 118 to 98, then I added one to make 99, then later I dropped one. So the current word count is 98. Yes, Ta Ti is a language with less than than 100 words (barely)! and I intend never to allow Ta Ti to have more than 99 words! But that wouldn't be sufficient.

One of the three things that bothered me about Toki Pona was that despite the fact that its euphony allowed for more than enough possible words of one or two syllables, it had a number of three-syllable words. I decided that all the words in Ta Ti would have only one syllable.

Next: Altho' I had reduced the word count by 20 words, I still needed to make the language easier to memorize for my friends. Most of my friends are native English speakers, altho' a number are native spanish speakers, and a few speak other languages as their mother tongue, but most of them know English. Therefore, I decided that almost all words in Ta Ti would be derived in a consistent fashion from English words. If practical, I would use the English word that had a cognate in Spanish to make the language easier for my Spanish-speaking friends. Thus, 94 of the 98 words are derived from English words, and 40 of those have Spanish cognates. Of the other 4 words, three were created arbitrarily and I couldn't resist deriving one from Esperanto.

I figure that this ought to make the language sufficiently easy to memorize, however, two more things about Toki Pona bugged me. The use of the words for "good" and "bad" seemed to indicate that "good" and "bad" were qualities of places, things, ideas, and other people rather than judgements of the author. I modified these words to better fit my view of life.

The last thing that bugged me about Toki Pona was the way that it was inadequate for expressing very large numbers precisely. This is part of the beauty of Toki Pona, but it made it rather impractical for my purposes. I improved the number system in Ta Ti, but not really as much as I could have.

Since its conception on September 4th, 2004, Ta Ti has been evolving and distinguishing itself from a simple code of Toki Pona. It has developed some idioms unique to it and its grammar is slightly different.

My thanks go out to Sonja for creating and publishing Toki Pona. And thanks to Carlos Jr. who helped me when my Spanish-English dictionary refused to. I dedicate Ta Ti to all my friends and family who are too lazy to get off their duffs and learn a real language. I thank all those of my friends and family who have actually made an effort to learn and use this language, and in doing so, have helped to establish the pragmatics of this language and helped to provide material for the webpage of sample texts, especially Flamekaat who was already using the language within the first few hours of publication! Now, on to learning Ta Ti...

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Last Updated: 2009-05-02