Ithkuil, with its variation called Ilaksh, is a constructed human language marked by outstanding grammatical complexity and an innovative system of writing.
The language’s author, John Quijada, presents Ithkuil as a cross between an a priori philosophical language and a logical language designed to express deeper levels of human cognition overtly and clearly, yet briefly. The many examples from Quijada’s original grammar show that, in the general case, a message would take significantly longer to explicate in a natural language than in Ithkuil.
Quijada deems his creation to be too complex and rational a language to have developed “naturally”, yet a one usable for general conversation and literature. No person is hitherto known to be able to speak Ithkuil; Quijada, for one, does not.
The word iţkuîl is a formative derived from the root k-l (abstractly meaning “speech, voice, interpretation”) through the addition of several morphological determinants:
Thus, the approximate translation of iţkuîl is “an idea/fantasy of a complete purposeful system of complementary speech elements”, or simply “an imaginary language”.
The vowels of Ithkuil are as follows:
The diphthongs in Ithkuil are . All other sequences of vowels are pronounced as separate syllables.
Along these lines, Kozlovsky likened Ithkuil to the fictional Speedtalk from Robert A. Heinlein’s novel Gulf, and contradistinguished these two languages from the Newspeak of the dull, cultureless society of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ithkuil is by far the most complete language of the three. John Quijada acknowledged the similarity of Ithkuil’ goals to those of Speedtalk, remarking that, “[h]owever, Heinlein’s Speedtalk appears to focus only on the morpho-phonological component of language[, whereas] Ithkuil has been designed with an equal focus on [morphology, lexico-morphology, or lexico-semantics]. Additionally, the apparent purpose of Heinlein's language is simple rapidity/brevity of speech and thought, while Ithkuil is focused on maximal communication in the most efficient manner, a somewhat different purpose, in which brevity per se is irrelevant.”
Ilaksh's writing system has been redesigned It now has two forms, a sequential "informal" system suitable for handwriting or compact typesetting, and a "formal" logographic system with artistic possibilities resembling Maya scripts.
In the "informal" writing system, several parallel sets of lines have shapes that sequentially correspond to the different parallel sets of lexemes and inflections. It is directly pronounceable. The author designed it to be conveniently hand-written. It also appears to permit compact, clear, black-and-white typesetting.
In the colorful "formal" writing system, a single complex glyph represents an entire sentence. Diversely shaped, shaded and superimposed “cartouches” represent the syntactic relations of the verb and noun phrases of a sentence. The edges of the cartouches have particular shapes describing one set of inflections, while the colors describe another set of inflexions, and the textures yet another set. On the cartouches, “letters” of hexagonal outline spell out the shapes of particular lexemes. The cartouches form phrases, with primary phrases overlapping subordinate phrases. The coloring system utilizes different color densities and texturing for different colors in order to be usable by color-blind people. These density conventions also allow the formal system to be inexpensively printed in black-and-white, or inscribed or imprinted on stone or other materials.
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