26 December 2010

the language Tango (a reverie/update)

Since about 1995 I have been haunted by this desire to have a conlang made of 5-letter nouns and verbs with 2-letter conjunctions and particles. The 5-letter words all have their consonants and vowels arranged in CVCCV or CCVCV patterns. I suppose these word-shapes are inspired by Early Loglan, but I have no sympathy for loglang grammars.

Early drafts of this language were named Penta. Eventually I changed the name to Zengo, and later Dengo. Now that its form is becoming clearer, I realize I have to call it Tango. Yes, this will be a constructed language named Tango. From the Vorlin word tan combined with the Tango word lengo.

Tango pulls its vocabulary from every available source: bidza from Italian pizza, lindu from Finnish lintu, hamba from Fanagalo hamba, lengo from Japanese gengo and Papiamentu lenga with a tip of the hat to Playful English lingo.

What can you do with a language made up of 2-syllable 5-letter words and 2-letter monosyllables? One use that seems obvious is poetry. Haiku might appear spontaneously in Tango, like weeds sprouting up in freshly tilled soil. With voiced consonants being much more common than their harsh voiceless counterparts, Tango might become a good medium for singing, chanting, oratory and liturgy.

Finding vocabulary for Tango is sometimes difficult. Sometimes I can’t locate any natlang words of the right shape for a given concept. But finding a grammar has been even harder. I’m craving some sort of an English-Japanese hybrid syntax but I don’t feel confident that I can arrange such a thing.

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