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Page history last edited by Don Boozer 10 years, 7 months ago


For the most up-to-date information on Dritok, click here for a PDF (current as of 2/2010)




Dritok /dritOk/ or r'.z*w. /tr_>i_0|\_O/ is the voiceless language of the beings known as Drushek. Along with vocalizations, the language employs an inventory of gestures which provide syntax. The name of the language, Dritok, literally means "sharing" since language allows one to share one's thoughts with another. The voiceless language evolved in earliest Drushek prehistory due to the need for communication as wandering tribes of Drushek coalesced and became settled. The villages provided protection and attracted other Drushek, until civilization became established.For a PDF Primer (in progress) of Drytok (notice new spelling to conform to UP transcription), go to http://www.geocities.com/donaldboozer/Drytok_TLoK1.pdf





Drushek Physiology


Drushek ((t)r'w.cq) stand approximately one meter tall, have long muscular tails, and travel most effectively by leaping great distances. They have a large mane of hair and a tuft at the end of the tail; other than that, they are hairless. They have no claws or sharp teeth or other natural defenses (other than their leaping ability) and also lack any vocal apparatus such as vocal cords, a syrinx, etc.





A Note On Transliteration Schemas



There are two schemas for transcribing Dritok: Phonetic-Gestural (PG) and Umod Phonetic (UP). PG strives to transcribe the vocalizations and accompanying syntax-gestures as closely as possible. UP is named for Umod, the language of the Tylnor (the beings which border the homeland of the Drushek and were the first to encounter them). UP uses the sounds of the Tylnor language to approximate the vocalizations of the Drushek. UP is most often used for the transcribing of individual words and therefore does not denote the syntax-gestures. If UP terms are used in a sentence, it is usual to see them used with Umod grammar. The difference between PG and UP can be illustrated (approximately) with analogies to Tibetan, i.e., Bstan-'dzin-rgya-mtsho and Tenzin Gyatso are the same exact names, although the first attempts to accurately reflect the orthography of Tibetan not its phonology.




Introduction to Dritok Gestural Syntax



There are 11 basic hand shapes and five basic orientations for each. The hand shapes are written as capital letters in the PG transcription; the orientations are written as numbers. For example, Q is the letter denoting a closed fist; 1 is the orientation for the hand shape to be held next to the chest with the palm facing in. Therefore, Q1 is a closed fist, held against the chest, with the palm (i.e., inside the closed fist) facing the chest. This letter-number combination is attached to its vocalization with =. Q1 denotes a first person pronoun or the topic of a sentence. Q1=r'w.cq. has the basic meaning of "I am a Drushek." The hand shape is held throughout the vocalization (NOTE: Drushek have 4 digits (including one opposable digit).




Hand Shapes and Orientations

The basic hand shapes are:                                                         Basic orientations are:



B = thumb extended fully, other digits curled inward against palm




C = a C-shaped gesture, thumb and fingers curled but not touching.

1 = palm held toward speaker, usually touching speaker's chest

D = fingers together and extended, thumb held against hand


2 = palm held toward person spoken to (reverse of 1)




I = index finger extended, other digits curled inward


3 = palm held upward, parallel to ground


L = thumb and index finger extended and held at right angles, others curled inward


4 = palm held downward, parallel to ground


(reverse of #3)


P = last digit extended, other digits curled inward


5 = hand held perpendicular to ground


Q = tightly curled fist




U = index finger and last digit extended, other digits curled inward




V = index finger and second finger in V-shape




W = all digits splayed out




Y = thumb and last digit extended, other digits curled inward





In addition to shapes and orientation, there are also motions which the gestures can make, such as:


& = a circling motion; orientations 1, 2, 5 circle perpendicular to ground; 3,5 circle parallel to ground


Q1&=r'w.cq. "We are all Drushek here."


Dritok also employs two-handed gestures. For example, D4/Q5 is a two handed gesture where hand-shape D is held in orientation 4 over a closed fist held in position 5 in front of the speaker. The two-handed gestures most often denote a locational relationship: i.e., D4/Q5 is used to signify the vocalization it is attached to is below (literally or figuratively) the preceding spoken morpheme. Q1=ps'.t*.k*. D4/Q5=qx.s't'. "The sky is above the land/The sky is superior to the land." In this case, context would provide guidance on which translation is proper.


Selected Summary of Dritok Orthography



Drushek orthography does not include any vowels. However, a system of voiceless vowels is added to X-SAMPA pronunciation of Dritok as spoken by the Drushek. This also carries over into the Umod pronunciations. Dritok words are divided into segments, separated by a period. In the summary below: italic=Drushek orthography


bold=Umod orthography/pronunciation





I. Stops (S) can only occur initially when followed by a Fricative (F): qs. /qE_0s/ kes /kEs/. When a S-F segment occurs within a word, no vowel is inserted: cq.qs.tx:n.


/s`E_0qs.tx@_0m_0_>/ shekstan.





II. When an Ejective (E) or F is initial:


       and unrounded: add /i/: r' /tr_>i_0/ dri



       and rounded: add /u/: r'w /tr_>u_0/ dru



        NOTE: A phoneme pronounced with rounded lips is specified by an added -w.





III. When a phoneme is followed by the semivowels:


       add @ when unrounded: sx /sX@_0/ sa


       add u when rounded: shw /sXu_0/ su



       NOTE: The voiceless vowel is pronounced concurrently with the semivowel.





IV. Clicks are written and pronounced in Umod as complete syllables (see chart). r'.z*w. /tr_>i_0!\_O/ dritok /dritOk/


s'.p*.t*. /ts_>i_0O\|\/ tsipoksik /tsipOksIk/











































/q/ or /k/2


































or /k_>/2










ch (tsh)








j (dzh)






































/p/4 or /f/
















































/X/ or /x/2








/X/ or /h/2






































/sIk/, /sOk/




/!/ or /=/12




/tIk/, /tOk/






























1 - X-SAMPA and Z-SAMPA values for the pronunciation of Dritok by the Drushek.


2 - Allophones. The value to the left is preferred, although both are valid.


3 - Voiceless nasalized velar trill ("oink" sound with the oral cavity closed). k* reversed.


4 - Voiceless bilabial fricative.


5 - Voiceless alveolar lateral fricative (as in Welsh ll)


6 - Voiceless palatal fricative (as in German "Ich")


7 - Voiceless retroflex fricative


8 - Values depend on whether phoneme is used as consonant, vowel, or is rounded.


9 - /tr/ is the default although <r> can be combined with both <p> and <q> as well.


10 - Bilabial click, similar to a kissing sound


11 - Dental click, similar to the English sound of disapproval "tsk, tsk"


12 - Postalveolar or palatal click


13 - Velar click with an ingressive nasal airflow. The reverse of <k'>.


14 - X-SAMPA values for Dritok as pronounced by the Tylnor.


15 - Unvoiced velopharyngeal is the sound one makes when snoring with mouth rounded.


16 - These are unrounded (left) (t*., z*.) and rounded (right) (t*w., z*w.) alternatives.













An Example of spoken Dritok:



Dritoklines6-12.wav (Slowed down to hear separate sounds and words)

The North Wind and the Sun in Dritok


The Great Wind and the Sun: Literal Interlinear:


1. V2&=sx:w.q't. s'.s' pr.np'. D5^Q5=V2&=zn.t'.z* P4&^D1>>tf.p*.o.

Those two, the Great Wind and the sun, with respect to 'their' strength were arguing.


2. P4=sx:w.q't. P4=D1>>s’.t*.ql. Q1=zn.t'.z*. D4/Q5=D2

The Great Wind he said: "My strength is superior to yours."


3. P4=pr.np' P4=D1>>s'.t*ql. Q1=zn.t'z*. D4/Q5=D2

The Sun he said: "My strength is superior to yours."


4. P4=tr'w.cq. V2&=D1>>xws.ql. P4=hr:.zp.th. I2>>lt'.q'.

A Drushek, the two of them saw, (he was) leaping along the path.


5. P4=sx:w.q't. P4=D1>>s'.t*.ql. P4=pln.t'. tr'w.cq. P4=D5((f.t'.q'.

The Great Wind he said: His cloak, the Drushek he will remove.


6. Q1=P4=D5((zp.p'tl. f.t'q'. Q1=D1((t'.qsx:n. D5^Q5= zn.t'.z*.

I him will compel the removing. I will be the winner with respect to strength.


7. sx:w.q't. P4=x:wn.hr:. P4=D1>>z*.z*.n. P4= D1>>x:wn.hr:. Q5/Q5

The Great Wind, his exhaling it began. He blew harder and harder.


8. tr'w.cq. P4=D1>>t'n.qxn.=P4 Q5/Q5 D5^Q5=P4=pln.t'.

The Drushek, he wrapped himself tighter and tighter in his cloak.


9. sx:w.q't. P4= D1>>px:w.zn P4=x:wn.hr:. P4= D1>>x:t.t'

The Great Wind, he was tired. His blowing he stopped.


10. pr.np' P4=pr.qt.px. P4= D1>>z*.z*.n. P4=pr.qt.px. Q5/Q5

The Sun, its "shining" it began. He shone brighter and brighter.


11. tr'w.cq P4=pln.t'. P4=D1>>f.t'q'.

The Drushek his cloak he removed.


12. sx:w.q't. P4=D1>>s'.t*.ql. D2=pr.np'. D2=zn.t'.z*. D4/Q5=Q1.

The Great Wind said, "Sun, your strength is superior to mine."


Dritok Script

Notice Hand-shapes are at the top; phonemes are at the bottom.




Comments (3)

Don Boozer said

at 10:50 pm on Apr 16, 2010

The following is a response to an email received 4/2010 part 1:


Thanks for the comments on Dritok. I've attached a PDF of the current information on the language, revised through 2/2010. I haven't updated the pbworks page in a while. I've responded to your questions inline below.

> Wondering which motion phonemes there are besides /&/.

If you check the PDF, you'll see the motions in section II.B.2.

> Since velar trills and clicks are not possible, wondering what you use to substitute for them when you speak.

Actually, I can do the velar trills and clicks (and thus anyone else could, too.) or at least what I interpret as a velar trill and click. Let me see if I can explain them: Both are done with the mouth closed, so air will pass through the nasal cavity. The trill is basically like doing a velopharyngeal but in reverse. The click is just a clicking of the back of the soft palate. Unfortunately, there are no k'.'s or k*.'s in the audio samples on the site.

> I assume the <n> must also be nareal, since AFAIK a simple nasal cannot be ejective. Should it be m_;_0 ?

Yes, <n> is also nareal. It's simply included in the ejective series due to its being a forceful puff of nasal air. m_;_0 might be a good transcription.

> I take it your handshape letters correspond to the Stokoe notation as follows:
> B <Å> (A-dot), C <C>, D <B>, I <D>, L <L>, P <I>, Q <S>, U <8> (actually more like ȣ), V <V>, W <5> (or did you mean <W>? 3 fingers up, or 3 fingers plus thumb?), Y <Y>.

I was unaware of Stokoe notation (but that may come in handy in the future. Thanks). The handshapes are outlined in section II.B.1. of the PDF.

Don Boozer said

at 10:50 pm on Apr 16, 2010

Part 2.

> The orthog seems a bit counter-intuitive to me, since it's so different from ASL conventions, or what would be expected from other SLs in Latin-script cultures.

It's meant to be an "alien" language and I also did not have any background in or any knowledge of ASL (other than the most rudimentary). Even if I did know ASL conventions, I would probably have purposefully not adhered to them.

> What's the diff tween <h> and <x>, if both are /X/?

From section II.A.1.d. of the PDF:

x can be pronounced as the sound at the end of German "Bach" or Scottish "loch." A more accurate pronunciation is as a uvular fricative, pronounced further back in the throat.

h also has two acceptable pronunciations: the German "Bach" sound or more like an English "h".

> Can all C's be labialized?

No, only the t', q', s', z', r', s, l, z, c, x, h, r, t*, z*, o (Note that <o> is a consonant, not a vowel. <o> is merely a transcription of the sound). You can try this and see why the ones not listed cannot be labialized.

> With <r'>, is it the [t] or the [r] that is ejective, or both?

<r'> is similar to <n> in that it's not "really" an ejective, but it's included in that series. <r'> is a trill that is expressed using only the air in the mouth/throat. To put it another way, it's possible to breath in through the nose while pronouncing <r'>.

> It would be helpful if you have sound files for individual phonemes.

My long-term goal is to have video and audio at some point, but just not enough hours in the day.

> Haven't gotten to parsing the grammar yet.

The PDF should start to shed some light on this.

Thanks again for commenting. Enjoy the PDF...although I must admit the language is a perpetual work in progress.

Don Boozer said

at 10:51 pm on Apr 16, 2010

A new writing system is also being devised for Dritok. More details much later.

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