Ithkuil/Introduction

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Welcome to the course on learning the Ithkuil language! You may want to browse through the grammar on the official website before beginning here.

Originally posted in 2004, Ithkuil is a constructed a priori philosophical language designed to concisely convey information and express deeper levels of human cognition. Ithkuil (anglicized from the original Iţkûil) has been created by John Quijada over the course of forty-five years of painstaking work as an experiment in how languages can hypothetically function. Thus, its name roughly translates as "hypothetical representation of a language". Growing public interest and enthusiasm has pushed Quijada to largely revise the language's grammar and phonology to make it more "learnable", first in 2007 with Ilaksh, then in 2011 with the Ithkuil, and now again from 2016 with the work-in-progress language. There have been many texts written in and about Ithkuil, mostly scattered about the Internet. Colloquially, the official website Ithkuil is known as 'elartkʰa' and The New Ithkuilic Language is known as 'mamkait'. This course teaches the latter, the 4th version of Ithkuil still in development, and is therefore subject to change.

Ithkuil's grammatical categories are structured in matrices with vocabulary to flexibly recognize patterns and relationships between fundamental concepts on the cognitive level. So, consonantal and vocalic morphemes are short, carrying a lot of information and functioning in multiple roles with other morphemes. Ithkuil's lexicon contains over 4000 roots, each split into three complementary stems to better distinguish components. The formative represents objects or phenomena that can be considered as gestalts in spacetime. The morphology allows one to easily communicate evidentiality, subjectivity, and causality. These can also form the morphophonology of grammatical adjuncts. Both of these types of words will be discussed in great detail.

As an example of the density of the language, take the following sentence:

Ügrôç ekthafë’ë eddeliälbu öřda hlwikçö’jlukruiţofmá vňasidwe’e ílčälai

What follows will be a guided tutorial on forming sentences according to Ithkuil IV documentation. It is still a work in progress, but will feature use of the Ithkuil writing systems when complete. When you become frustrated, remember: nobody speaks this language at any level of fluency. Below are communities of learners if you have any questions.

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