2  Goals

Shókë is a thought experiment to explicitly reconstruct language evolution following Guy Deutscher’s The Unfolding of Language (occasionally referred to herein as TUoL). Another closely followed resource is David J. Peterson’s The Art of Language Invention (TAoLI).

I don’t define any linguistic terminology in this document; TAoLI or any introductory linguistic textbook will suffice as background.

The Old Shókë language is minimal, with a small paleolithic lexicon of nouns, verbs, and pointing words – onomatopoeic when possible. Syntax is unsophisticated isolating SOV. The Middle Shókë and New Shókë languages are artificial milestone-markings along the gradual path of change of the language over time, from (mild) agglutination to (mild) fusion.

The lexicon shown in this document is minimal – no attempt is made to make even a vocabulary which would get a person through even the most routine of days. In reality the language would have a bigger lexicon; one can think of this document as presenting a sample of it for discussion.

While I want to explore agglutination and fusion along with the formation of more complex grammar over time, in a strongly non-English/non-head-initial and ergative/absolutive context, I want to (perhaps unrealistically so) avoid “complex” grammar, e.g. what distinguishes Russian or Turkish from Bahasa Indonesia. There will be, for example, TMA markers for verbs but at no point do I intend to introduce words ten syllables long, or verb systems fully inflected for number, person, gender, tense, and so on.

While this is primarily a linguistic experiment – more conling than artlang, as it were – I choose to make things pleasant to my ear (although as of January 2023 Old Shókë comes off as a bit on the harsh side). Similarly, I’ll actively avoid gender affixes, primarily because I simply choose to do so. Likewise, I dislike complex vowel systems, as in English and French. A great many natural languages get along quite fine with aeiou or aiu – I hope to see where simulated evolution of this constructed language goes with its aeæiou vowels.