Friday, January 27, 2023

A first Koa publication

In response to my children's repeated requests, I decided late last year that I would do my best to assemble a printed, kid-oriented, concise Koa dictionary in time for the Solstice. As the project took shape it grew beyond my original intention, eventually including a phrasebook and mini-grammar as well, and in the end I was pretty pleased with it as a snapshot in time of the development of this language.

It was also an opportunity to buckle down to some serious vocabulary creation, which had been languishing a bit in recent years; I'm pretty happy to finally have words like siki "particle," mohi "predicate," lelo "sentence," cóepo "alphabet" and címihale (or halecimi...more on that soon) "grammar."

In fact the process of creating needed vocabulary for the Úputusi Énasi sort of unblocked me and I've been on a bit of a rampage since then, coining around 200 new words over the past two months. What's been amazing is discovering that all that toiling in the syntactical, pragmatic and morphological mud I was doing in 2021 moved the structure of Koa to a place where now vocabulary is its primary need. Suddenly having all these words available, I'm finding that the language is much more speakable than I had previously expected, and with surprising expressive power.

As of today at noon, 774 of Koa's 3330 possible predicates have been defined. Emotional vocabulary has been my focus of late, but I'm starting to wonder what other thematic categories deserve some attention. Materials? Science? Botany? Civics? Geography? I've always been so intensely focus on word-worthiness and concerned about running out, but after 23 years I've still only used up a quarter of my possible roots!

Anyway, this was such a fun project that really jump-started some major progress after a pretty slow year. Unfortunately the dictionary doesn't seem to have inspired my girls toward total Koa fluency yet, but surely it's only a matter of time...

...And if you'd like to download the whole thing, a PDF is available here.

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