rickharrison.comArtificial Language Lab

from Journal of Planned Languages
14th edition: May-June, 1992
copyright © 1992 by J. Biarujia & R. Harrison


by Javant Biarujia

Taneraic is the English cognate given by its author, Javant Biarujia, to his constructed language, tanerai. It was created in 1968 as the language for his private journal, begun in 1970. It was not constructed from the point of view that natural languages are somehow imperfect or that a neutral universal language is the answer to the manifold problems facing humanity. On the contrary, Taneraic looked inward from the start. It extolled cryptic and anfractuous language and therefore had no aversion to ambiguity or multi-levelled interpretation. It is a constructed language characterised by a significant homonymy, for example. (Biarujia was not concerned how easy it was for others to learn his language.) Taneraic was born of the desire to express thoughts in private; to conceal them, not to broadcast them. It was imperative, therefore, that the language presented problems of translation to uninvited or would-be readers. In all, more than 3,500 pages were written in Taneraic - recording approximately 7,000 radicals - before the author adopted English for his Journal. Since it was no longer the vehicle for his Journal, it became possible for Biarujia to offer his contribution to the art of constructed language to a wider audience.

Taneraic is a language with an a posteriori syntax and morphology but an a priori vocabulary - Taneraic words have no relation to any other natural or constructed language (loan words in general text are indicated by italics; here, italics are also used to clarify a point of grammar.) Below is a basic outline of a few aspects of the language.

Generally speaking, there are no articles in Taneraic: Ava vayole jitou Australia, I am [an] Australian. The suffix -(a)t conveys a) the sense of the English use of the definite article when being specific: Ava vayole dargehanat bileqa nunieni, I am the writer of this article; b) the sense of the English use of the definite article before cardinal numbers: Beqi meinut butova' sediadi darete yorou, All [of the] four men are architects. Demonstrative adjectives may be used in the sense of articles: Vamas aibandi nuni beiji, I fed the cat.

There is no number, gender, or agreement. Auxiliary words or affixes may be employed if the context be ambiguous. There are four cases which involve flexion: genitive (or, ablative), dative (or, allative), instrumental and prepositional. There is no special adverb form - either the adjective form or instrumental case will suffice. Comparative and superlative degrees are formed with auxiliaries. Prepositions may be followed by either the dative or prepositional case. Personal subject pronouns are prefixed to the verb. Free- standing forms are used for emphasis, and, inflected before the verb, for the accusative (indirect object). The direct object pronouns are the same, suffixed to the verb stem.

As Taneraic should be regarded as "phonetic" (in the non-linguistic sense), every word is to be read as it is written - there are no silent letters. The alphabet consists of 23 single letters and two digraphs: A B C Cy D E G H I J L M N O P Q R S Sy T U V X Y Z. The letters f, k, and w are not employed in Taneraic orthography. Consonants b, d, g, j, l, m, p, s, t, v, x & z are pronounced as in Lojban; c as in Esperanto; cy as Vorlin c ('ch'); h as in Bahasa (always aspirated, even in final position); n as in French (nasal before a consonant; "hard" before a vowel); q as in Syrian Arabic (glottal stop); r as in Italian (trilled); sy as in Glaugnea or Vorlin q ('sh'); and y as in Vorlin j. Vowels a, e, i & u are pronounced as in Vorlin; and o as in British English hot. Diphthongs ai, au and oi are pronounced as in Lojban (the second element is penumbral); ei is pronounced as in Italian Lei; eu is pronounced as in Sudanese or French; and ou as in British English boat or boutique. Palatalised vowels after a consonant are written ia, ie, ii, io, iu; and initially or after a vowel ya, ye, yi, yo, yu (the same for palatalized diphthongs). Glides after a consonant are written ua, ue, ui, uo & uu (there are no initial glides or glides after a vowel). There are also rules for consonantal modifications (e.g. the sounds b and g never stand together - in affixation such a combination is simplified to gg) and optional "schwa" pronunciation of i or u under certain conditions. The tonic accent is monotone.

Compound words are formed with the principal radical or idea standing first, followed by the unattached qualifying or relative radical (opposite to the way most English compounds are formed). Grammatical terminations affect only the last part of the compound. Derivatives are formed by the use of affixes.

There is no single verb "to be" in Taneraic. The equational sentence is expressed using the copula vayole between the subject and the predicate when they are nouns or noun equivalents (subject pronouns, etc). Nuni tou vayole ayoi esnula, That person is his [her / their] friend. Similarly, the copula is used in more complex noun equivalent constructions: Nun esnula' avi vayole jitou Australia, That friend of mine is an Australian. Some equational sentences in English are transitive in Taneraic. Compare the subtle difference in meaning between "That man is a teacher" and "That man is my teacher." The latter is equational in Taneraic (Nuni butou vayole avi darpauran) but the former is expressed by a transitive verb related to the verb "to become" (Nuni butou sediadi darpauran).

The intransitive ending is employed in attributive and temporal sentences: Toussa lesqovada, The dog is happy. Pepamevanat buja' avi uziyohatta, My uncle leaves next month (lit. The departure of my uncle is next month ).

The quantitative possessive sentence is expressed using Das: Epa das birin pireda, The weather is hazy. Budas bihari au, You have blue eyes. This type of sentence is actually an attributive sentence.

The causative sentence is expressed using Mas: Vamas aibandi nuni beiji, I fed the cat. Vamas abui yeudi daya, I sent you a book.

The locative, habitual or existential sentence is expressed using Vas: Daya vas au zabo, The book is on the table. Tou vas paqiounda, People are lazy.

Reflexive sentences are expressed using the preposition Uma (toward): Uma vaqessoda, I relaxed.

Reciprocal sentences are expressed using the preposition Ya (between): Ya vibosonda, we fought [each other].

Subject pronouns stand alone when preceding the copula: An vayole esnula, We are friends. Abu vayole avi darpauran, You are my teacher. Subject pronouns are bound to the subject verb in all other cases: Vasediadi darpauran, I am a teacher. Busediadi dareteares, You are a painter. Subject pronouns are omitted when the context is unambiguous: Abui vaqussada or simply abuiqussada, [I] love you; Abui gozuab yenda yole abui qussada, Your sister says that [she] loves you.

To give some idea of the workings of Taneraic, a portion of the article "About African talking drums" from vidpuni 12 (January 1992) has been translated, along with a gloss. Abbreviations: {dv} donative verb, {affirm} affirmative particle, {pl} plural, f: female.

E   Sedini   Loumoq  Lesqa  Afriko.    Remou rai eher mas yeudi 
About conversing pail-hit  Africa:at.  manner-deed for make-send 

savaten  ronu loumoq lesqa    pebutati   assesiqida. 
speech medium:by pail-hit:of last:truth non:complex:be.

Loumoq lesqiaris nesinmida e tansya yaunida eher lourdi renbeq nuyole
pail-hitter rhythm{dv} and accent-sound{dv} for indicate phrase which

svai    yomas      yeuda.     Yosejandi  mincya renbeq  ye  remi
would-like s/he:make-send. s/he:compose  chain-phrase  from many

stasyiti    uzo renbeq.   Ai qaizeti     bulu   Kameruna,
again:known unit-phrase. in the language Bulu Cameroon:of,

nuni qasyan eher ``gotou''  das yabnu uzo qasyana  sedirga   ye
that word for    f:person have two unit-word:of  be:consist-from

lebovi tansya yaun.   Gi nunieni qasyan rah das habirati mamalei
high accent-sound.    Why this word no have distinctive individual

vemiq tansya,  	  gin   loumoq lesqiaris mas yevustadi   renbeqi
pattern-accent, why-then pail-hitter     make-send-must   phrasal

ayon te mfendek  dayole yes ilirsyen 	yole 	ha 	das 	habirati
ayon te mfendek  which same mean:like that {affirm.}    have  distinctive

mamalei 	vemiq tansya 	busai ilirda e 
individual pattern-accent and mean as

``tovi 	reta cen     uzeus  visau.''
``bodily type-family without penis.''

Biarujia is currently at work on a basic Taneraic-English dictionary. More information on Taneraic may be obtained by writing to Javant Biarujia, GPO Box 994-H, Melbourne 3001, Australia.


Update (February 2001): There is a Taneraic website called Taneraic on the Web

Update (October 2004): The URL is now www.phreacs.com.au/tanerai/