Report: On Revising and Reorganizing the Language of Jibhaga reports on the findings of a commission to increase the efficiency and efficacy of the official language used across Parallelium.
According to the manuscripts of the earliest pori, Jibhaga was designed to be both more concise and more descriptive than the language that Porrair had conceived. Jibhaga was created to fulfill two functions. In theory, Jibhaga would be able to convey simple messages with fewer characters and words when necessary. The language would—unlike Ontrett which varies its grammatical structure based upon how abstract an idea is—have a single structure whether simple or complex. This interior reorganization would substitute word-strings in the place of simple abstract words when necessary, or could be left to simple structures.
However, we must examine the language to see if it meets either of these goals and in particular both. The characters of Jibhaga (seen below) exist in a monospaced grid. If thought about as points, the grid is nine (9) points wide, though it is more accurate to say it is a five by five (5×5) point grid, with spaces on the interior of all spaces. One line of the grid with its five (5) points also contains four (4) unused points that exist to space out lines and dots that make phoneme. The phoneme is the basic block of Jibhaga. A phoneme represents one sound, though when written with the Omnel alphabet can contain multiple letters. Each phoneme is represented by a single grid structure. Words are constructed by writing, carving, typing, or some other method of arranging multiple grids in succession—a combination of phonemes. Vowels are clearly distinguished from consonants; vowels are made by arranging several unconnected points on the grid while consonants connect points with straight lines.
In a spatial analysis of several test strings (sentences that can contain inherent meanings simple or complex, as well as sentences containing words with repeated phonemes, repeated words, sentences that use nearly all or all phonemes, and other oddities) Jibhaga fails to be concise when compared to Ontrett. This is due in part to the latter language’s scripts not being monospaced, though in many test strings a modified version of Jibhaga that dynamically spaced phonemes fails as well. This dynamic spacing aimed account for thinner phonemes such as ‘EE’, ‘I’, ‘L’, ’N’, and other phonemes that use less than the full width of the grid to illustrate that monospacing is not the sole issue. For several reasons that require their own reports, the majority of functional Jibhaga (the kind used in every-day conversations) contains three-phoneme words or larger. The same meanings in Ontrett contain less phonemes. This phonemic issue, along with monospacing width and the average width of a phoneme on Ontrett being smaller than that of the dynamically spaced Jibhaga creates a language that is less concise.
On the matter of description, Jibhaga’s success is nuanced. As explained previously in this report, Jibhaga’s grammatical structure enables the language to swap out word-strings for words without changing the structure of the sentence when necessary. Unlike Ontrett, which requires a full-sentence rewrite if the meaning intended to be transmitted becomes more complex, Jibhaga scales internally within the structure. This prevents the common and difficult to follow problem of antecedent confusion or omission of those not extremely proficient in the language. However, because of the long-term evolution of many words whose etymological routes are inconsistent these word-strings can be confusing to construct and ultimately require several more phonemes than a comparable meaning in Ontrett. This is to say some complex ideas in Ontrett are expressed through modifiers, while other ideas of similar complexity have their own unique words. The governing body’s standards on the construction or creation of these words has shifted, and each shift creates several words that ultimately stick in the lexicon and cause more contradiction within the language.
In setting out to remedy these issues observed in the language, we required clear objectives. These would guide us in revision or creation of new etymological standards, grammatical changes, or any other results likely to remedy the what has been discussed so far. We thought it prudential to begin with Jibhaga’s original purpose. Any changes to Jibhaga must bring the language closer to its dual purpose: to be both more concise and have the ability to offer more description when necessary. Additional goals would include the following: reformatting of phoneme symbols to enable dynamic spacing, and a standardization of how the language scales from simple to complex. These objectives were agreed upon after the result of much work in examining the language and identifying its shortcomings, but these objectives preclude years of work.
A New Language
This report will not contain all of the methodology, correspondence, and previous iterations of the proposal. Instead, this section will contain what we propose as an evolution of Jibhaga. This sprung forth from the desire to not create an entirely new language, but instead to create a language that could feel like a natural transition and progression in terms of both writing and speaking. The new language will be called Jibhari.
To transition, we must start at the basic level. Jibhari will keep all of the phonemes in Jibhaga, and the alphabet when written in Omnel will remain the same. The phoneme is the building block of Jibhaga and Jibhari. Rather than express these phonemes through monospaced symbols for each phoneme, the language will be read as diphoneme symbols. In these pairs, there are thirteen (13) vowel phonemes and twenty-four (24) consonant phonemes. Each of these phonemes have new, dynamically spaced symbols to represent their phoneme in Jihari, though some are inspired by the symbol for the same phoneme in Jibhaga. In writing Jibhari, these pairs of phonemes—or diphonemes, for short—will be expressed as one symbol. To prevent future generations of pori and Jibhari-learners from having to memorize more than 700 symbols, a predictable and reliable system for creating diphoneme symbols will be used. Seen below, each phoneme that makes up a diphoneme will have a truncated variant of its symbol with variation on whether it is the leading or trailing phoneme. For leading phonemes, the truncation will place emphasis on the upper part of the phoneme’s symbol, and trailing phonemes will emphasize the lower part so that a diphoneme is read from top to bottom. The image below shows each phoneme’s symbol in black; its leading variant is shown in red and trailing in blue.
These phoneme pairs can be trios, in rare cases. In all of these trios, the phoneme ordering must be consonant-vowel-consonant. Specifically, these trios are a modification to the vowel-consonant diphonemes, with one of six (6) consonant phonemes: ‘B’, ‘D’, ‘J’, ‘P’, ’S’, and ’T’. These trios add another one-thousand nine-hundred ninety-two (1,992) phoneme sets to Jibhari. Again, in order to prevent the need for memorization of an increasingly large number, the symbol for the vowel-consonant diphoneme will be prefaced by one of the six consonant phonemes with no spacing, as opposed to between diphonemes with minimal spacing and words with larger spacing.
To make Jibhari more consistent internally and more in line with our objectives, the following adjustment has been made to vowel phonemes: to produce a hard vowel—such as the ‘A’ sound in “name”—the desired vowel is followed by the ‘E’ letter in the Omnel spelling. To avoid the problems posed when scaling meanings from complex, a system similar to how phonemes are truncated will be adopted. A survey of descriptive usage of Jibhaga will form the basis of which words have the most simplest forms in Jibhari. The most commonly used words will be reduced to sets of three and pairs of diphonemes, and modifiers will build them to the next stage of complexity. For example, colour is ‘anga’, and yellow is ‘pianga’. Red is ‘laanga’, while red-yellow is ‘lapian’. In this example, the second diphoneme in colour has been truncated to save space. Contextually, we have two colour descriptors so we can infer that ‘an’ is a truncation of ‘anga’. Additional ways in which Jibhari will scale from simple to complex will be outlined in forthcoming documentation that is to be distributed to instructors across Parallelium as defined by the proposal.
In total, there are two-thousand six-hundred eighty-eight (2,688) groupings between the diphonemes and diphonemes with one of six consonant phonemes leading. One of the six leading consonants—an entire three-hundred thirty-two (332) sets of three (3) phonemes—are reserved for arithmetic. However, not all of of the sets are used. For example, to count from one (1) to ten (10), one would use the following sets that are set aside as words of their own: ‘sab, sad, sag, sak, sam, san, sap, sar, sat, saw”. The tens place will use the vowel phoneme ‘E’, while the hundreds place will use the vowel phoneme ‘I’. The number two-thousand six-hundred eighty-eight (2,688) would be written as “sadsinsersar”. Like Jibhaga, there is no concept of thousands, millions, etc. in terms of place. All numbers will repeat in this triplicate sense when not isolated; two-thousand would be written as sadsoes. When isolated, the vowel phonemes are as follows: zero (0) uses ‘U’, thousand (#,000) uses ‘OH’, million (#,000,000) uses ‘OO’, billion (#,000,000,000) uses ‘OW’, and trillion uses (#,000,000,000,000) uses ‘OI’. Any isolated numbers larger than trillions have not been considered.
All of the above is proposed with the additional criteria:
- Beginning by 994 A.T. a basic version of Jibhari—approximately 20% of the language—most notably the alphabet and its symbols will be taught at all pori institutions
- In 1000 A.T. the government of Parallelium will publish all official documentation in both Jibhari and Jibhaga
- In 1014 A.T. all pori leaving primary institutions will be expected to be fluent
- In 1020 A.T. the government of Parallelium will cease using Jibhaga in signage, and all documentation that is not integral to voting infrastructure
- By 1034 A.T. expected primary language rate of Jibhari is above 50%, with only pori born before the 994 adoption as non-primary users of Jibhari
- By 1054 A.T. all pori are expected to be fluent in Jibhari, except for an estimated 12% of the pori-population born before the adoption period
- By 1074 A.T. usage of Jibhaga across Paralellium will be confined to translated materials and past records
The primary objective of language adoption is for pori who engage in primary learning immediately after the adoption date to be taught Jibhari as a primary language and Jibhaga as a second, with the expectation that Jibhaga will see more use in their lifespan. By the end of their lifespan, pori who engage in primary learning see little-to-no use of Jibhaga. Should the proposal not pass, a different timeline may be agreed upon by this report’s authors and submitted additionally at a later date.