reply to post by arpgme
Well, it would be a way of researching linguistic determinism. With such a limited morphology, it would certainly reveal some cultural concepts in the
process of creating metaphor.
That is, actually, ultimately why I would believe it to be a failure. The lack of ability to specify concepts that will inevitably intrinsic to small
area will create the need for metaphoric usage, which inevitably is part and parcel of language change and language differences.
Culture and Language cannot be divorced entirely, whether you favor the Strong Whorfian Hypothesis or the weak one.
Consider something as simple as fresh water (as compared to sea water, salt water, or brackish water). In English the distinction is made by using the
word "fresh" to denote the potable one and "salt" to denote the salty kind.
However, this distinction is not made in the same way in many European languages. For example, in German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian (and
I'm sure many others), the term referring to sea water is still salt water, but the kind that refers to what we call "fresh" is known as "sweet
In Tika, the word for fresh (also denoting young, new, juvenile) is "niu". However, there is no word that applies to sweet, sugar, or candy. In a
natural extension, we also find no words for fruit, berry or even nut. Additionally, no words for salt or sour exist, so making a combination with
"nai" cannot even be achieved to say something like "not sour" or "not salty" mean 'sweet'.
This very fact alone will require an extreme amount of creativity by cultures that inevitably need to classify fruits, nuts and other foods into
different categories. It means that only a very Orwellian Newspeak process of assigning things to the qualities "good" or "bad" would be possible.
However, bad and good are very abstract and include "morality" (for good) and "wickedness" (for bad).
However, how is one to make such a leaping generalization about the tastiness of something and speak about it in terms of "sin" or "benevolence"?
The language would break down immediately upon its inception because each family group, local community, subcultures (sports clubs, music-adherents,
etc.), domain-specific jargon (engineers, doctors, lawyers, academia, the sciences, etc.), non-geographic social hierarchies (religions, political
institutions, etc.) and environmental areas (because food, animals and geographic features will naturally be different from place to place) would all
require their own vocabularies to explain specific phenomena they put stock and importance in.
Even as small as gender. We speak about sex in terms of euphemism to avoid taboo. Tika has only one term (pina) to apply to both genders, their
reproductive organs and sexuality in general. Pina would no more remain the word for both penis and vagina than "cuny" remained the word for
"rabbit" in middle English, once the Norman-French import "connie" (vagina) became taboo.
Likewise, "linia" (line, straight) may determine penis and "puita" (door, opening) may label vagina. Think about it like this if you doubt such
evolution, vagina comes from the same root as "vanilla", that of sheath for a sword. The sword should be obvious in our human understanding of the
sex act. Similarly, a lack of a word for "vanilla" led to the Spanish creating a metaphor (vainilla, small sheath, from vaina [related to vagina],
but meaning strictly sheath at the time of Spanish Discovery).