Tristano grammar

This the grammar for Tristano, also known as “Common Speech” in some of my novels. It is what think Esperanto would eventually become if people actually used it.

The Tristano language

Tristano arose as an answer to this question: what would Esperanto evolve into, if people actually used it? True, many artificial languages exist out there, and some have managed to survive for a long time and have a stable fan base, but nobody is prepared to abandon his or her mother tongue for one of those. Esperanto has existed for over a hundred years, but its implementation as a universal language seems more in jeopardy than ever because English has reached the level of acceptance that Esperanto was devised for. In addition, Esperanto has a number of idiosyncrasies that make it less appealing than other artificial languages, especially those invented for fictional worlds. Of these, the languages devised by J.R.R. Tolkien (himself a supporter of Esperanto) are perhaps the best known. Quenya in particular, the ancient Elvish tongue, has grown in popularity in print and film due to its beautiful sound and suitability to poetry. It is a difficult language, with declensions, multiple verbal suffixes, and many irregularities. These features make it less desirable as a language for actual use, but also make it sound more natural and human.

The idea behind Tristano is that any constructed language would naturally become “humanized” through use. Actual use would have several important effects on the language:

  1. Sounds that are hard to pronounce (at least, by a large segment of speakers) would be modified or dropped. Likewise, grammatical constructs that are seldom used or alien to the speakers’ mother tongue would tend to be forgotten.
  2. Words would come into its dictionary from many sources. Those that are easier to remember, pronounce, or write would eventually dominate the others.
  3. Irregularities would start appearing, especially in the most commonly used words, such as auxiliary verbs and pronouns. Contractions would come into the language.
  4. Slang would make its appearance as well, with its preference for words that sound striking or different.

This, of course, would have to happen to a preexisting language. Since the most developed artificial language is Esperanto, Tristano derives mostly from it, but first we must tell the story behind it.

If you’re curious about how the idea of Tristano came to be, you can find it here.


Tristano spelling and phonetics

Tristano is based on the Latin alphabet, without additions or special symbols. Only twenty letters are used in Tristano:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, X

The names of the letters in the Tristano alphabet are:
a, be, ce, de, e, efe, ge, ha, i, je, ele, em, ene, o, pe, ere, es, te, u, xa

The letters K, Q, V, W, Y, Z (ca, cu, ebe, duebe, uai, set) are used as symbols or to spell foreign names. In addition to the capitals, Tristano uses the corresponding small letters without modifications. There are no grammatical accents or tildes in the language, but apostrophes are used whenever a part of a word is elided, which often changes the location of the emphasis.

The Tristano alphabet is strictly phonetic. Each letter represents one sound or range of sounds, which in some cases can be quite broad:
a: as “a” in “father”
b: as “b” in “bee,” or “v” in “vent,” or anything in-between
c: as “c” in “captain,” or softer, but not like “ace,” even when followed by “e” or “i”
d: as “d” in “do,” or “th” in “that,” or anything in-between
e: as “e” in “pet”
f: as “f” in “fun”
g: as “g” in “game”
h: as “h” in “ham,” or “ch” in Scottish “loch,” or anything in-between
i: as “e” in “be”
j: as “j” in “jam,” or the second “g” in “garage,” or anything in-between
l: as “l” in “land”
m: as “m” in “mother”
n: as “n” in “not”
o: as “o” in “force”
p: as “p” in “part” or softer, but without taking an “f” sound
r: as “tt” in “kitty” trilled rather than rolled, but it is all right to roll it
s: as “s” in “self,” or “z” in “zoo,” or “th” in “three,” or anything in-between
t: as “t” in “obtain” or softer, but without taking a “th” sound
u: as “o” in “move”
x: as “ch” in “church,” or “sh” in “she,” or anything in-between

Unlike other languages, where letters try to represent a precise sound as far as possible, the consonants in Tristano represent a wide interval of sound, to accommodate the speech habits of the original users. This is especially true of the degree of affrication given to the consonants. Thus, the sounds of “b” and “v” are blurred into one, as are “ch” and “sh,” “d” and “th,” “s” and “z.” In late Tristano, the more relaxed pronunciation tends to dominate, with frequent elisions and even confusion of “l” and “r” into an intermediate sound. The vowels, however, are to be pronounced distinctly, without the gliding effect common in English (where the pronoun “I” is actually pronounced as a gliding “ah-ee,” and so forth).
Words tend to be emphasized on the second-last syllable if they end in a vowel, -n, or -s (unless the last vowel is elided by an apostrophe). If the word ends in a different consonant (which is usually -r), the emphasis goes on the last syllable. For instance, A-mas, but a-MAR. When a strong vowel (a, e, o) is next to a weak vowel (i, u), a diphthong is formed (with few exceptions), the emphasis falling on the strong vowel. Diphthongs count as one syllable (thus: fa-MI-lio, CUA-si). Some speakers, however, stress words differently with no loss of intelligibility, and changing the location of the stress is a device often used in song and poetry.
Elisions and contractions occur frequently, replacing the elided part of the word with an apostrophe. The stress tends to remain where it would have been if the elision had not happened. For instance, “te sas falonta,” (you are going to fall), is most normally rendered in colloquial speech as “tes falon’ ” (pronounced tes-fa-LON).


Basic Grammar

A simple Tristano sentence has the following components, which may or may not be expressed in this order:

  • Sentence prefix
  • Subject
  • Verb
  • Object

Verbs have special grammatical endings, expressing time and mood, and may be accompanied by adverbs (usually ending in -e). Subject and object are nouns (ending in -o, or -i, unless elided) or pronouns, and may be modified by prepositions, adjectives (ending in -a), or other nouns. Subject and object are distinguished by order, by sense, or by adding -n to the direct object.

The whole mood of a sentence is determined by the sentence prefix, when present. When it not used in subsequent sentences, it is understood that the mood has not changed.
Sentence prefixes convey the intention of the speaker, or his judgment about the truth of the sentence. Those conveying intention are:
ien: emphatic.
cu: question.
xal: wish.
uol: polite request.
bes: need.
jur: promise.
ten: warning or threat.

Those conveying the perceived degree of truth of the sentence are:
uer: self-evident or deduced by logic
sen: felt (internally) to be true (but not rationally)
con: known (with emphasis) to be true
cre: believed or assumed true because of the source
pen: opinion of the speaker, aware that it might not be correct
pou: probable, likely true
dub: doubtful, likely false
reb: dreamed
foi: imagined, hypothetical

For instance:
“Reb flugis”: I was flying (in a dream)
“Cu ni benos?”: Are we going?
“Le diris dub le benos”: He said he didn’t think he’d come (though supposedly he would)
“Foi sas regulo”: T’was once a king
“Jur m’iros”: I’ll go (offering to go)
“Ien le bibas!”: Behold, it’s alive!
“Xal te benas itien”: I wish you’d come here
“Sen le ne benos”: I feel he won’t come
“Ten m’intensas le”: I mean it (beware)
“Con les justa”: I know she’s right.

The function of any word in the sentence can be deduced by its ending:
-a: adjective
-o: noun (singular), combined with the direct object ending as needed (-on)
-i: noun (plural), combined with the direct object ending as needed (-in)
-n: direct object (accusative), added to noun endings as needed (usually omitted)
-ua: possessive (genitive singular)
-ia: possessive (genitive plural)
-e: adverb
-as: verb (present tense)
-is: verb (past tense, usually imperfect)
-os: verb (future tense)
-ar (-aru): verb (infinitive, imperative)
Other grammatical groups are placed immediately before the ending:
-ant- (-an’): present participle (“doing something,” equivalent to the English “-ing”)
-int- (-in’): past participle (“having done something”)
-ont- (-on’): future participle (“about to do something”)
-at- (-a’): passive present participle (“being done something upon”)
-it- (-i’): passive past participle (equivalent to the English “-ed”)
-ot- (-o’): passive future participle (“about to be done something upon”)
-es- (-es’): passive (eg. “amesas” = is loved)

Words are constructed with a root (or compound root) and the appropriate ending. Thus: “amaru” = to love, “amo” = love, “amata” = beloved, “ame” = lovingly, “aminto” = (former) lover, “amanti” = lovers (plural).
The normal order of words is: subject-verb-object, with adjectives and adverbs usually preceding the words they modify. This order can be altered, however, to achieve emphasis. The direct object does no require any modifiers, but if it could be confused with the subject, it is common to add an “-n” to it (e.g. “abelo floron trincas” = the bee drinks (out of) the flower).
There is no grammatical article in Tristano, definite or indefinite. Thus, “the cat” is simply “cato,” and “a white horse” is “blanca xebalo.” When an adjective is used to refer to a particular thing, the ending -uno is used (-ulo, if it refers to a person). Thus: “blancuno” = “the white one”. Articles used to exist in Esperanto and its derivatives, but were lost under the influence of native Slavic and Oriental speakers, who do not use articles in their language.
Likewise, the distinction between masculine and feminine forms was lost, due to the influence of Oriental languages. The pronouns “ile” and “ele” (“he” and “she,” respectively) are rarely used in common speech, where the normal form is the gender-neutral “le” (plural “li”).
Questions are formed by preceding the sentence with the intention prefix “cu” (whether), which can replace a pronoun, or one of the cu- correlatives. Examples: “cu bidis cato?” (did you see the cat?), “cua cato?” (what cat?), “cuo, blancuno?” (which one, the white one?), “cu l’iris?” (did it leave?) “cuen l’iris?” (where did it go?). Placing the cu- word in a position other than the beginning expresses an additional meaning: “l’iris cuen?” (it went where?)

Pronouns

Pronouns possessive corresponds to
me, m’   mea  1st singular: I
te, t’  tea 2nd singular: you (singular)
le, l’ (ile, ele) lea (ila, ela) 3rd singular: he, she, it (he, she)
ni, n’ nia 1st plural: we
bi, b’  bia  2nd plural: you (plural)
li, il’ (ili, eli) lia (ilia, elia) 3rd plural: they (they men, they women)
on ona  impersonal: one, people
se sea 3rd person reflexive: -self, -selves

The final vowel is often elided if a verb beginning with a vowel follows the pronoun. For instance: m’amas = me amas, t’abas = te abas.
Possessive adjectives are formed by appending an “-a” to these forms. Adding “-o” or “-i” instead makes a possessive pronoun (examples: tea = your, meo = mine).
The gender-specific forms are rarely used, and then only when the gender is important for some reason.
It is common to omit personal pronouns when the sense is clear. For instance: iros = (I)’ll go, cu bidis le? = did (you) see it?

Correlatives:

Their function in the sentence is distinguished by the ending:
cua: what __ (adjective form)
cuo: who, which one (cui: plural; cuon: accusative) (noun form)
cue: how (way)
cuen: where (location)
cuam: when (time)
cuanda: how much __ (cuan __ with adjective; cuando: noun form) (quantity)
cual: why (reason)
cuoa: whose __ (possessor)

Similar correlatives are made with the same endings, by changing the root:
t-: demonstrative: ta (that) (irregular forms: tie, tien) (ita: this, ota: that over there)
cu-: question or pronoun: cua (what)
ul-: definite: ula (some)
ig-: indefinite: iga (any)
xi-: universal: xia (every)
ali-: other: alia (other)
n-: negative: nula (none)

As a table:

What  That (This)  Some   No  Every   Other
Noun    cuo (i,o)to  igo  nulo xio  alio
Adjective cua (i,o)ta iga nula xia  alia
Way  cue (i,o)tie  ige  nule xie  alie
Place cuen (i,o)tien igen nulen xien alien
Time cuam (i,o)tam igam  nulam xiam aliam
Quantity cuan-da tan-da igan-da nulan-da xian-da alian-da
Reason cual (i,o)tal igal  nulal  xial alial
Possessor cuoa (i,o)tua igua  nulua xiua  alua

Examples: cuen (where), to (that one), ita (this thing), igando (some quantity), igo (anyone), tie (thus), xiam (always), nulen (nowhere), otam (at that far time).
The adjective form is meant to accompany a noun, so that, when no noun is next to it, “ajo” (thing) is understood. The noun form can take the plural accusative endings: cion, igon, etc. General-meaning forms are made by adding the prefix xi-: xigo (anyone at all), xinulo (nobody at all), xicuo (whoever), xialien (everywhere else) (also, xibi: all of you, xilin: them all, etc.). Additional negative forms can be made by adding the prefix n- or ne-: nalien (nowhere else), nexio (not everyone), nigo (not anyone).


The 16 rules of the Tristano grammar

(modified from Zamenhof’s 16 rules of the Esperanto grammar)

  1. The general mood of a sentence may be given by a sentence prefix, which turns the normal declarative sentence into a question, a wish, and order, a threat, a promise, a tale, and so forth.
  2. The normal order of a sentence is: sentence prefix, subject, verb, object. This order can be altered for emphasis; if this causes the direct object to be ambiguous, the nouns in it take the accusative ending -n.
  3. There is no article, whether definite or indefinite. When an adjective is used to refer to a particular thing, the ending -uno is used (-ulo, if it refers to a person).
  4. Substantives end in -o, or -i for the plural, which is a replacement, not an addition. There is no grammatical gender. There are three cases: nominative (no additional ending); accusative, which adds an -n to the normal ending; and genitive, which uses the endings -ua (one possessor), or -ia (plural possessors). Other cases are expressed by the nominative and a preposition.
  5. Adjectives end in the fixed ending -a, which does not change with case or number. The comparative is made with the words pli (more), min (less), or tan (as) and the word cuan (than), superlative with plei (the most) or mein (the least).
  6. The cardinal numerals (not declined) are: un, du, tri, cuar, cin, sis, sep, oc, nau, dec, sen, mil. Tens, hundreds and thousands are formed by simple junction of the numerals. To mark the ordinal numerals, -a is added; for the multiple and collective -obl-, for the fractional -im-.
  7. The personal pronouns are: me, te, le, ile (he), ele (she), ni, bi, li, ili (masculine they), eli (feminine they), on (impersonal), se (reflexive), of which the gender-specific forms are only used when the gender is important to the sense; possessives are formed by adding -a. Pronouns are often elided if a word beginning with a vowel follows. They may be omitted if there is no confusion. If the subject of a verb is not explicit, it is usually understood to be first person singular, second person for the imperative.
  8. The verb undergoes no change with regard to person or number. Forms of the verb: time being (present) takes the termination -as; time been (past) -is; time about to be (future) -os; infinitive and imperative -ar, stressed on the last syllable, or -aru; there is no subjunctive or conditional tense. Participles (with adjectival or adverbial sense): active present -ant- (often elided to -an’); active past -int- (-in’); active future -ont- (-on’); passive present -at- (often elided to -a’); passive past -it-(-i’); passive future -ot- (-o’). The passive is rendered by a corresponding form of the verb “sar” and a passive participle of the required verb, or by adding the particle -es- before the other verb endings; the preposition with the passive is “da.” The present form “sas” is often elided to: ‘s.
  9. Adverbs end in -e; comparison as for adjectives.
  10. The correlative words, serving multiple roles, are made with these roots: cu- (relative), ti- or t- (demonstrative), ul- (definite), ig- (indefinite), ne- or n- (negative), ali- (other), and xi- (general), plus the endings -a (adjective), -o or -i (noun), -e (way), -en (place), -am (time), -al (reason), -an or  -anda (quantity), -ua (possessor). A correlative word may contain several roots.
  11. Every word is pronounced as it is spelled, though many of the consonants admit a wide range of pronunciation.
  12. The accent is on the second-to-last syllable, for words ending in a vowel, -n, or –s. Words ending in a different consonant (like verbs ending in -ar), and words whose end is elided by apostrophe are stressed on the last syllable. When the vowels “i” or “u” are next to another vowel, they are part of the same syllable as the other vowel, which receives the stress.
  13. Compound words are formed by simple junction of the words, with the chief word at the end. Grammatical terminations are also used as independent words.
  14. When another negative word is present, the word “ne” is left out, except for emphasis.
  15. Each preposition has a definitive and constant meaning, but if the direct sense does not indicate which it should be, we use the preposition “ie,” which has no meaning of its own.
  16. Foreign words undergo no change in Tristano, except to conform to its orthography.

Differences with other languages

Those readers who are familiar with Esperanto will find themselves at home with Tristano. There are, however, a few key differences:

  1. The spelling does not use any non-Latin characters, and even then many Latin letters are not used. A number of characters admit a broad range of pronunciation rather than a precise one.
  2. Intention and truth prefixes are more frequent than in Esperanto. These add a layer of meaning to Tristano, making it a more expressive language than its ancestor.
  3. Grammatical gender is seldom used in Tristano. People are normally referred to as “le” (he, she, it). The gender-specific words “ile” (he) and “ele” (she) and those derived from them are used only when gender is emphasized. Any noun can be given a gender, however, by adding a suffix: “-ixo” makes it a masculine, and “-ino” a feminine.
  4. There is no grammatical article (like “the” or “a”). The precise sense is figured out from the context and other grammatical words.
  5. The “-n” ending of the accusative case was retained in Tristano only when needed to distinguish the direct object from other nouns or add emphasis on the direct object. The plural noun ending (-i) is a replacement rather than an addition. Adjectives take neither plural nor accusative endings.
  6. Tristano has a genitive case, ending in “-ua” for singular possessor (“-ia” for plural possessors), which Esperanto did not have.
  7. Many words have lost letters. For instance, the Esperanto “esti” (to be) became simply “sar,” “frukto” (fruit) became “fruto.” Others gained letters, like “io” (someone), which became “igo” (anyone). The rules for word formation are not strictly followed. Tristano absorbed many foreign words without adapting them to strict rules; in most cases, only the changes needed to make them pronounceable were made.
  8. Similarly, verb tenses were lost. The main victim was the imperative form, ending in “-u” in Esperanto, which got merged with the infinitive or simply the verb root without any grammatical endings. The subjunctive, ending in “-us” in Esperanto, was also lost, so that conditional phrases are made with a past-present or present-future construction, depending on the sense. As in Esperanto (but unlike Ido) there are no perfect tenses, their function taken by “sar” plus a past participle (as in “sas falinta” = has fallen).

Word formation

Tristano follows most of the word formation conventions used in Esperanto and its derivative Ido, through a series of standard suffixes and prefixes. Therefore, many Tristano words can be found in an Esperanto dictionary, with the appropriate changes in spelling (k changes to c; c and z change to s; v changes to b; c^ and s^ change to x; j changes to i; u^ changes to u; g^ and j^ change to j; h^ changes to h), and taking into account that multiple-consonant groups tend to become simpler. In addition, Tristano took many other words, mostly from the Far East, into its dictionary. For instance:
Xacso: fork (from Mandarin)
Xiatso: massage (from Japanese)
Bixo: diamond (from Japanese)
Arigato: thank you (polite) (from Japanese)
Xindoga: not useful, goofy (from Japanese)
Bodco: vodka (from Russian)

In Tristano, a verb can be turned into a noun, adjective, or adverb by just changing the grammatical ending (thus amar = to love, yields amo = love, ama = loving, and ame = lovingly), and similarly a word that is normally a noun, adjective or adverb can change into the other parts of speech by the same process. In addition, there are some common prefixes and suffixes that have more precise meaning. Here they are, shown in their most common form when appropriate (noun, adjective, or verb).

Prefixes:

arci-: arch-
bise-: vice-, deputy
bo-: in-law
des-: direct opposite (like mal-)
dis-: separation
ec-: beginning, suddenness
ecs-: former
fin-: ending
mal-: opposite (like des-)
mem-: self
mi-: half
mis-: wrongly
ne-: un-, im-, ir-, non- (negative), -less
par-: thorough
pra-: remote
pre-: before
pos-: after
re-: repeated
reto-: backward
sam-: same
seudo-: false
sin-: lacking, without
stif-: step relative
xi-: all

Suffixes (shown in most common form; the grammatical ending can be changed):

-ado: repeated action
-agar: to cause a certain state
-ajo: stuff, thing
-ala: relating to
-ano: member, inhabitant
-ario: recipient of an action
-aro: group
-atoro: machine doing a certain function
-axo: disparaging
-ea: having a likeness to, -like
-ebla: possible
-edo: contents of
-ega: large
-eio: place for certain action
-ema: having a disposition, tendency
-enda: that must receive a certain action
-erio: establishment
-ero: that normally does a certain action (not professionally)
-esar: to receive a certain action (passive)
-escar: to begin doing something
-eso: quality
-estro: leader
-eta: small
-iba: capable of
-ido: descendant
-iera: characterized by
-ifar: to produce a certain thing
-isar: to provide with
-ilo: instrument
-imo: fraction
-ino: female
-inda: deserving
-ingo: holder
-io: country, place
-ismo: theory, system
-isto: person (professionally) doing a certain function
-ixo: male
-oblo: multiple or collective numeral
-osa: full of a certain thing
-uio: holder, container
-ulo: person
-uno: specific thing
-uro: result of a certain action


Summary Vocabulary

Auxiliary words:

a, al (before vowel): to, toward
aban: before (in space)
alen: into
alio: someone else
ance: also, besides
ancore: still, yet
ante: before (in time)
apud: near, beside (in space)
astate: instead (of)
atras: behind
idie: today
ce: that (conjunction)
contre: against
crom: besides (same as “ultre”)
crosi: unless
cu: whether (also used to introduce a question, like the French “est-ce que”)
cuam: when
cuan: than (with comparative word: pli, min, tan), how (with adjective)
cuan (pli, min) … tan (pli, min): the (more, less) … the (more, less)
cuancam: although
cuanda: how much, how many
cual: why, because
cuasi: as if, as though
cue: how
cuo: who, which
con: with
da: by (meaning author)
de: of (possession), often replaced by a genitive
denoue: again
diste: far
do: therefore
dum: while, during
e, ed (before vowel): and
ec: off (a place)
el: from, out of
en: in, at (on, when not referring to location)
ester: outside
ex: even
exi: even if
foie: once (dufoie: twice, and so on)
iere: yesterday
ia: yes, (also used as emphatic particle; me ia iris: I did go)
iam: already
ie: indefinite preposition
ien: generic demonstrative (ien cato: behold the cat)
igo: anyone
inter: between, among
jis: till
jus: just, just now
lau: along, according to
ma: but
malgre: despite
mein: the least
mem: even, self
min: less (often followed by “cuan”)
morge: tomorrow
multa: much, many
ne: no, not
nec … nec: neither…nor
nulo: no one
nun: now
nur: only (same as “sole”)
o, od (before vowel): or; (o … o: either … or)
per: by means of, through
plei: the most
pli: more (often followed by “cian”)
poca: few, little quantity
por: for, in order to
pos: after (in time)
presce: almost
preter: beyond
pri: about
pro: because of, on behalf of
sama: same
si: if
sin: without
sirce: around
sole: only
sub: under
super: over
sur: upon, on (in space)
tamen: however
tan . . . cuan: as … as (comparative)
tie: thus, so
til: until (time)
tra: through
tras: across
tre: very
tuta: whole (similar: “xia”)
ulo: someone
ultre: besides, in addition to
xe: at (house)
xi: all (sometimes used as a prefix: xibi = all of you)
xigo: anyone
xio: each one, every one

Numbers:

(0 to 10): nul, un, du, tri, cuar, cin, sis, sep, oc, nau, dec
11, 12, 13 . . . 19: dec un, dec du, dec tri . . . dec nau
20, 21, 22, 30, 40: dudec, dudec un, dudec du, tridec, cuardec
100, 200, 1000, 2000, 1000,000: sen, dusen, mil, dumil, milion
Days of the week (not capitalized):
lundio, mardio, mercedio, jaudio, uenedio, sabato, dimanxo.
Months of the year (not capitalized):
januaro, februaro, marto, aprilo, maio, junio, julio, agusto, setembro, octobro, nobembro, desembro.

Sample verbs (infinitive ending in –ar or –aru):

sar: to be (often considerably elided; le’s = le sas) (passive tenses can also be made with the suffix -es-; e.g.: “amesar”: to be loved)
abar: to have; to must (with infinitive) (never used as auxiliary)
debar: to owe, to ought to (with infinitive, less forceful than “abar”)
pobar: to be physically able to (can) (with infinitive)
eblar: to be likely to (may, might) (with infinitive)
emar: to tend to (with infinitive)
odar: to dare (with infinitive)
probar: to try
besar: to need
uolar: to want
indar: to deserve
escar: to start
finar: to end
Verbs like the preceding, which may complement infinitives, are often reduced to a prefix or suffix added to the main verb. For instance: me escis marxaru = me marxescis: I started walking; le finis manjar = le fimanjis: he (or she) stopped eating.
agar: to do, to act (never an auxiliary)
esar: to become
farar: to make
conar: to know
irar: to go
benar: to come
metar: to put
bidar: to see
audar: to hear
parlar: to speak
dirar: to say
legar: to read
scribar: to write
iasar: to affirm
negar: to deny
marxar: to walk
curar: to run
sidar: to sit
amar: to love
bibar: to live
manjar: to eat
trincar: to drink
dormar: to sleep
pensar: to think
prejar: to pray
sentar: to feel
regar: to control, to rule


The Tristano story

The novel “The Final Plague” narrates how the HPG vector struck the earth in the year 2033. This synthetic organism, originally developed to aid the reproduction of dairy cattle, caused women to become pregnant by themselves (hence its acronym, for “Human Partheno-Genesis”). The plague was eventually contained, but many victims remained in isolated “health camps” where the vector thrived generation after generation. Eventually the camps were concentrated into one, located in the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha. Then the world, now free from the Birth Plague, forgot about them.
At the Tristan camp, women from all over the world were forced into a life of bare survival, while their generations followed one another without interruption. The vector mutated, and so did they, until their normal way to reproduce had become the tamed HPG vector itself, now a symbiont within their bodies. They had become a new, single-sex human species, and their language came to reflect this fact.
At the beginning, the international agency running the camps had decided to provide its wards with a language they could use to understand each other. The chosen language was a variant of Esperanto without special characters (necessary since the keyboards available only had Latin characters). Within the first generation, the language had already changed in sound and grammar: similar sounds merged and irregularities appeared. Spelling itself was regularized a century later, along with the grammar, but that did not stop the evolution of the language, which eventually developed a considerable body of song and literature.
This is the status the people of Tristan and Tristano, their language, as they appear in the novel “The Hatching,” which takes place in a fictional 2255 AD. The people of Tristan disappeared at that time, only to reappear as a race under the influx of the Consciousness (“The Eye of the Dajjal,” “Virgo Sapiens”) and, as a language, with the resurgence of the old human race (“Chromosome Y”).


Sample texts

This is the way the Lord’s Prayer reads in Tristano:

Patro nia, cuo sas en xelo,
Xal santiga’ sos tea nomo.
Xal benos tea rego,
Xal plenumos tea uolo,
Cu’en xelo, tie ance sur tero.
Nia panon xidiala don’ a ni idie.
Pardonar nia debin,
Cue ance ni pardonas a nia debanti.
E no ducar ni alen tento.
Ma liberigar ni de mal’.
Amen.

And the Hail Mary:
Abe, Maria, grasua plena, ien Sinior sas con te; tes bendira’ inter birini, e bendirata’s fruto tea bentrua, Iesus. Santa Maria, matro de Deo, prejar por ni pecanti, nun ed en oro nia mortua. Amen.

And the Glory Be:
Xal glorio’s a Patro, ed al Ido, ed a Santa Spirito. Tie sis en esco, e nun, e xiam sin fin’. Amen.

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