Birthing Jaar

2020/10/16 § Leave a comment

a pidgin-midwifery conlang

by meika loofs samorzewski

September 2020

Version 1.3

Below is a paste of a PDF in which the ideas were first composed.
There is also a Jaar card PDF with the basic vocbulary defined, you'll have to read Birthing Jaar below on how to use it (until a short introductory guide is written). I hope to get it translated into other languages as time goes by. I'll add the links here (please, yes please, if you can help translate these please get in contact).

Other writing projects can be here.

1. Introduction

to imagine a language means to imagine a form of life1

This description of a new pidgin ennabler, or pidgin midwife, is an organised brainstorm, however anything that got too brainstormy and not deleted was pushed out into the footnotes or an appendix. I admit I did not delete much.

The general idea pushing out Jaar

Constructed langauges (conlangs) often seek to ease communication, and bring world peace, by developing a common language to avoid misunderstanding or community isolation. There is often an attempt to maintain a broadly level linguistic accessibility2 by all populations. This leads to a design that is hoped to be easier to learn and speak than a foreign natural language (natlang) with all of its idiosyncratic rules and exceptions developed over the course of time and fashion. Such “conlangs” are further described as auxialiary constructed languages (auxlangs). These “auxlangs” can be defined in deference to “artlangs” which are constructed for the purposes of world-building fiction and story-telling, vice -versa, or simply as a joke.

Jaar is, roughly speaking, an auxlang, however, as it does not seek to to serve as a lingua francaper se, but act as a method to intentionally hybridise the speakers’ languages into a pidgin. As such it can be described as a pidgin ennabler rather than as an auxlang as generally understood in the conlang community. But the term auxlang does applies in a more general sense of supporting a common communication.4

Whether it is a “-lang” at all is up for debate. Maybe Jaar is a meta-pidgin (metagin). It will likely produce a more isolating “lang”, even if not perhaps technically a natural pidgin “natgin”. Conlangs are the inspiration though.

Compared to most conlangs Jaar will appear deficient:

  • It has no set phonology.
  • It has no set orthography.
  • It has a very limited vocabulary. The target is less than a dozen words.5

These three elements (phonology, orthography & vocabulary)(and more no doubt) are basically BYO (bring-your-own) by whoever is engaged in the conversation in which Jaar is agreed to be used.

Thus the aim of Jaar is not to defined the perfect world-peace-channelling language, but to offer a method of communication from which a common tongue could emerge. I.E. to ease us past gesticulation to verbal communication, while accepting where we come from, and what we bring with us.

If no pidgin emerges, Jaar may just begin a conversation which supports learning each other’s language, and then like a ladder be thrown away once it has been climbed up to the place one already is.

As such it will have more in common with slangs (interslang?). Especially where “languages” pretend that they are natural (organically magical) and never constructed by usage & agreement, let alone by a group of grumpy old men in some fossilized-wood-panelled chamber, who reserve the right to agree on language, in the name of a tradition that grumps on williy-nilly into the future.

My background

I am a native English speaker. I learnt German as a 5-6 year old, and forgot it on my return to Australia6. As an adult I have re-learnt German to an advanced beginner, and stalled. I can read it okay, as well as having a smidgin of French and Russian, and ongoing efforts in Polish. All lamentably European, and burred with an Australian laziness.

Basically I love-hate learning languages, and never given it enough time. I totally support any argument that natural languages are the way they are — because babies learn them, and then as teenagers languages get re-tooled and slanged out to annoy their elders, while old grumps worry it’s all gone to pot because they have no memory of their own earlier phases in this life-cycle process.

However, when younger I disparaged conlangs for attempting to design what came naturally, now I do not believe that any language, let alone any national language, is a pure “natlang”.

So I basically stand in a place, where as I writer I love knowing how other languages work, the worlds they build, but as a modern human I hate some elements of “natural” languages, and the biggest hurdle (besides effort & time) in learning languages with gender-based noun-classes, in particular, lies with the gender-based noun-classes.

I do not want to learn Polish (perhaps the worst offender in this silly Indo-european grammar choice). Fuck that shit. I hate gender. Instead I want to change Polish, or German, or Russian, or French. Particularly French. It’s more a hate-hate relationship with French.

How did later English loose it noun-classes based in gender? Because, it is suggested, Norse and English speakers, in attempting to communicate with each, said fuck that shit. Gender-based noun-classes in English were un-denatured in a conversational moment of annoyance. I can relate to that.

I am a grumpy teenager who wants to baby talk.

Eureka moment

The other personal element is learning-about those languages, mostly outside Europe, that structure some part of their grammar with reference to the quality or source of the information. I.E. how certain they are, whether they witnessed it directly, was it reported to them only, …. is it complete BS?7

I’ve been wondering of-and-on for years how to add this feature to English. As a new declension? A flavouring particle? A modal verb thing? Tonal signification?

Then I thought, of course, if you add it to English why not add the same thing to any or every language?

“Ah ha!” <insert lightbulb emoji here>. I had this last thought as I fell asleep one night, after watching too many conlang critic youtube reviews one after the other… This after months of watching LangFocus, NativLang, and language acquisition channels like EasyGerman, EasyPolish etc. “Yes,” I thought, “add it to all of them.

“Bastardise them!”

And combine those degrees of un/certainty with an element that recognises the speaker/audience not as pronoun so much but as…. Zzzzzzzz. I slept. I dreamed. I woke up renewed.

Norbert Wierzbicki’s Ecolinguist guess-a-word youtube videos are also a major influence here. I even guessed correctly before Norbert did once. The guessing is often between more closely related languages (Romance, Germanic, Slavic) but what if….?

Jaar seeks to bootstrap what speakers of closely related languages can already do. Thanks Norbert.

Maybe with more gesticulation.

And even more smiles.

2. Wording Jaar

As an interrogating & connecting meta-pidgin Jaar seeks to ride the ebb-and-flow of active conversation where speakers without a common language try to communicate —with the language/s they do have. This meta-language provides a conscious & attentive learning space, where the use of Jaar is a divergent or parallel method belonging to neither natural language (nor conlang as we know them) (this qualifier may be lost in time). With both sides of the conversation using Jaar, it is hoped, speakers can end up creating (perhaps more easily) a new pidgin, which simplfies and combines both langauages, and so, perhaps, moves towards that possibility we call a common tongue, or, even better, a Common Tower of Babel. Confusion creates potential.

Once a pidgin has succesfully launched from Jaar, it is no longer Jaar. Then there may be strong and weak pidgin forms of Jaar birthed pidgins. A pidgin which strongly maintains what is described below is a Jaar-based pidgin (and perhaps a Jaar based creole in the far future). A pidgin which does not, or only weakly, maintains the description below is a Jaar-booted pidgin (or creole).

First I’ll describe the deficiencies, both as it’s a shorter list and as these lacks, particularly the third, actually define Jaar. Thus, it has:

  • No set phonology. Let those talking listen and gesticulate to each other and work out what works.
  • No set orthography, let those conversing scribble it out for each other. (I’ll make IPA guesses8 of the stuff I do use.)
  • No set vocabulary. It is Bring-Your-Own (BYO) and then to be agreed9 (except that described below for querying, the degrees of certainty and the speech-based locational points of view).

Jaar does have:

  1. A small vocabulary. (ASPIRATION: less than a dozen terms);
  2. Some initial rules of interruptive/investigative grammar;
  3. Use of Subject Verb Object (SVO) word order (Nominative–accusative alignment is assumed herein as the creator only really knows this alignment form in his weak English-speaking way);
  4. A mix of epistemic modality with a point of view, sprinkled with hints of evidentiality;
  5. Nod for yes and shake of head for no; and,
  6. General gesticulation.

2.1 Vocabulary

The ten words of basic Jaar are of three types:

  1. three to locate speech and its audience, or neither;
  2. a questioning interrogative particle czy (t͡ʂi)10. Used used like Polish czy, but not just to prompt for yes-no answered questions in Jaar, but to make all Six Degrees of Confidence queries; and,
  3. six used to indicate certainty or confidence, by way of modal elements, called Six Degrees of Confidence (DOCs)

A) Initial Pronouning – three speech centric locations (SCLs)

The speech centric locations are:

1jaʝɑːI, me, we, us, the speaker, those speaking — e.g. I/We say – speech from the Point of View (POV) of the speaker or speech act
2juʝuːyou, yous, the audience, those listening — e.g. you hear (hear ye)– from the Point of View (POV) of all those who hear or correspond
3perpərthose neither speaking nor listening (but capable of speech)11 — people not here.

These locations may well be used as pronouns, though the first two positions refer to a POV of the speech rather than the entity as person that holds the POV producing the speech. 12 No doubt this is not clear, and a pointless distinction at this point in the description.

ASPIRATION: That is, from the point of view of a imagined pure Jaar, ja & ju are located by the speech act or conversational gesture (and the topic of conversation in relation to the members of the conversation) (or sprachbund even). This relativity provides the platform from which the six degrees of confidence initially open-up, or operate from, to imagine a form of life. Jaar itself is a world-building exercise. Jaar supports multiple attempts at world-building, real or imaginary.

Thus, there is no “4. xxx — they…”, because ‘they’ are not speaking. I or we (ja) can report what they say, but not speak from their location per se. One cannot speak for others. Nor listen for them.13

These three speech centric locations (SCLs) are the intialising boot-set mechanics for pronoun support.14 You can call them pronouns for short, even though they would be / are a derived feature15.

So anyways, more pronouns can be developed by the Jaar users in conversation. Like one for the English “it” (or that which cannot converse in any language, and so may relate to notions of animacy). And their conjugations for that matter.

B) >Asking? — the interrogative particle czy (t͡ʂi)

Not just for creating yes/no-answered questions in Jaar, but for all Six Degrees of Confidence (DOCs). (I.E. more broadly used than the Polish czy16, from which it descends.)

Comment: This is a late addition when I decided that swapping word order for questions (for example) added more complications than a dedicated questioning word (tho I am trying to have less than 12 words.) It became obvious that a querying prompt is an absolutely basic part of conversation though17.

C) Six Degrees of Confidence (DOC) or certainty


1arɑːr or aɹyesI say the modality of confidence on this is 100% positive18. (I agree with myself.)+nod
2susuːyesWe agree. It is agreed. It is traditionally accepted.++nod
3titiːprobablyLikely, might, shall (modality of confidence above 50% positive)~
4mamɑːpossibleCan, could, may (modality of confidence above 0% positive)^
5nonoʊnoThe modality of confidence on this is 100% negative. (No agreement.)– –shake
6raːra or ɹanuhAn attempt has failed – (No, but can imply try again.)shake

Three “similar” or colour pairs of DOCs are structured in tension and contrast, and hopefully this pairing may help speakers “point” the way forward in a conversation more broadly than a guessed yes (nod) or no (shake of the head) can achieve alone:

  • ar and su are tensed by the conversation itself, if not the moral urge in us to build a world by talking. While statements using either of these forms may agree, they may also disagree with each other. What is conventionally agreed may not be what I think. I.E. They may not be identical with each other. And what is idiosyncratically declared as certain by an individual may not be maximally certain at an intersubjective, traditional or consensus level19. As such, curiously, they are the most fictional modallties or certainties, if only because their confidence is at 100%. They are a pretence, a laziness or a working shortcut that imagines a world as it is, and hopefully they will not forget that absolute fuzziness, and be proud of it.
  • ti and ma are in tension in everyone’s head (between acting/doing and investigating/intuiting in the world) — between what is possible and what is likely (things that make you go hummann.) They are the least pretentious.
  • no and ra are in tension where falsehood does not equal complete failure. (no, but or yeah nah).

Petalled pentagon of modal tensions. Which of the pair should you choose, and when?

(This can be drawn with su & ar positions swapped, i.e the centre oscillates in all worlds of conversations.)

NOTE: su and ar can both be used for the copula, which depends on who/how that modality for/of 100% confidence is determined. See 4. Verbing.

3. Conversing

3.1 Key for Conversations

In this text Jaar words are italicised but source or new loanwords are not italicised when used in Jaarish sentence/phrases.

Italicised loanwords imply agreement and acceptance in the Jaar conversation/pidgin. (The distinction is canonical but not the orthography here used below to indicate it).

In addition Six Degrees of Confidence can also be used as follows:

  1. ar == yes == nod == +
  2. su == we are agreed or have solved it == ++
  3. ti == almost == hand twist == ~
  4. ma == maybe == hand twist == ^
  5. no== no == headshake == —
  6. ra == no, try again == shrug == –

3.2 Initialising protocol = Hello

Canonical protocol or verbal handshakes for attempting to converse using Yaar. Also the first line is the equivalent of “Do/Can you speak X-language?”

1st speaker: ja ar! == I say I am maximally certain I speak.

= (Greetings, I am speaking Jaar) Hello!

2nd speaker: ar ja!20 == I am maximally certain I say I am speaking.

= (Greetings, I am speaking Jaar) Hello!

Both speakers : ja su! == (We agree to use Jaar to converse.) = Yes, we speak Jaar!

And off you go folks. == ju ma!21

3.3 Querying = checking-in with the correspondent

Examples: (might be best to read 4. Verbing below first)

Czy? == Umm? == querying prompt = (possibly then also) who, what, when, how, and/or why? = What? == Que?

Czy ar? == Am I right? = Have I got this right?

Czy ju ar? == Is that right? = Is that, what you said, maximally certain? = Would you say that is 100% certain? = Have I understood you correctly?


Czy ja. == (something like) Who/what is it speaking [gack22] that/who speaks I/us? = Who am I? Who are we?

Czy could be agreed / used as a verb to mean “to ask” = “to question”.

Ja czy. == I ask = we ask.

Ja ma czy? == May I ask? = May we ask?


Czy ja ma? == (might mean) Can I? Am I allowed?

3.4 the redundancy between SCLs & DOCs

Just to be clear:

Ja ar [XXX] == i say / I am [XXX]

Ja su [XXX] == we say / we are [XXX]

Ju ar [XXX] == You say / you is [XXX]

Ju su [XXX] == yous say / yous are [XXX]

SCLs & DOCs overlap in their responsibilities.

4. Verbing – what grammar?

These six Degrees of Confidence (DOCs) can be used as verbs, as well as be used as other parts of speech23. So they are both verbs and not-verbs. I suggest people will verb with them a lot, because….

These Degrees of Confidence (DOC) are designed to displace the natural speakers’ verbing systems, in particular those verbs of a modal and auxiliary use. These DOCs interrupt the native speaker, so that rather than learning a new language they use Jaar as an intermediary clunky adaptive mechanic24. Speakers use Jaar to interrogate themselves and the speaker they are trying to converse with. It’s all trial and error, and so support that pidgin formation, and work towards a useable outcome. And rather than memorise and practise an entire language (foreign or auxlang) from the start, you just have to remember what you agree to use, which the pronouning locations (SCLs) support directly.

Thus su and ar can both be used for the copula, and how it is used depends on who/how that modality for/of 100% confidence is determined. I have no opinion currently on which should be used for what other auxiliary verb purposes, if any at all at this stage of description. However the modal verbs should be replaced extensively, as described and then as agreed, with the following serving suggestions below and in the appendices.

More subjunctive forms (could, should, must, dare, would, were) could be formed by combining these six elements if agreed by the speakers using Jaar. Working out useful or clearer deontic modalities might a fun parlour game later in the conversation.25

As might various tenses.26 Basically, like pronoun conjugations the speakers using Jaar will have to work out their own agreements on these matters.

This is a lightweight boot set with some examples, or implications based on my own undertanding of the languaes I have some knowledge of.

4.1 Identity and the copula, the modality of a certain confidence.

It is recommended that ar and su be used to replace verbs indicating identity or predication: to be, sein, być etc. Why? Because from the position of a imagined pure Jaar, the copula represents a modality of 100% certainty and confidence.

Use ar when it is the speaker/s’ POV that stresses the confidence or certainty— I/we are certain that…

Use su where it is the speaker/s’ POV that agrees collectively in the intersubjective conventionality of the truth or certainity. This includes socially constructed knowledge, scientifically deducted consensus knowledge, and traditional beliefs & customs. Where this is consistent with their modality of maximum or agreed certainty or confidence.

A small example:

The truck is red. == Truck ar red.


== Truck su red.

However, back translation would include:

Truck ar red. == I say the truck is red.

Truck su red. == We agree/say the truck is red.

Thus the following is also possible:

(Truck ar red. ≠ Truck su red.) == (I say the truck is red. ≠ We agree the truck is red.)

Thus the end of the exchange will end up somewhere, if only through efforts gesticulatory and lots of head-nodding/shaking (assuming that is common to the speakers).

This usage as a copula is where a statement or proposition can be queried/refused/judged. This is a different construction to descriptive phrases:

Red truck == red truck in a Jaar-boosted pidgin, but not if the other speaker/s does not get it or agree.

Dialogue example:

First speaker points at truck: truck.

Second speaker nods and checks: czy truck?

First Speaker: ar.

Second speaker: czy truck ar red? ar. truck ar red. (How do we know colour is involved?)(maybe they have already talk about colours)

Second speaker: ju truck ar red? == you say truck is red

First Speaker: ja truck ar red, czy truck su red? == I say yes truck ar red. Do we agree/say truck is red?

Second speaker nods: truck su red.

First Speaker: su. red truck. == Yes we agree. [It is a] red truck.

Second speaker <shakes head>: ra! camion rouge! == (nice try!) Camion rouge!

These two may take a while, if ever, to create a pidgin, understanding is not agreement. Agreement to a meaning is not the same as agreeing to use a particular form.

4.2 (The other) modal verbs of not-so-sure and wrong

Modal verbs replaced by tiand ma.

czy ju ti angielsku == Can you speak [in] English?

no. ja Deutsch == No. I speak German.

czy ju ma Deutsch == Are you perhaps German?

no. ja ar Schweizer. Ja Hochdeutsch. == No. I am Swiss. I am speaking High German.

Context can supply missing arguments27:

czy ju ma coffee == Are you likely coffee [to drink]? = Would you like a coffee?

czy ju ma trinken == Vielleicht du trinkst? = Möchtest du [etwas] zu trinken.

5. Resources & references:

 Language Creation Society (USA)

5.1 Youtube:


Conlang Critic “jan Misali





5.2 References:

Halley, Mitch. 2018. My First Conlang – How NOT to Make a Language. Conlang Critic — jan Misali.

———. 2020a. Conlang Critic: Kēlen. Conlang Critic — jan Misali.

———. 2020b. Conlang Critic: Viossa. Conlang Critic — jan Misali.

———. 2020c. Community Contributions Are Going Away (Rant). Conlang Critic — jan Misali.

loofs samorzewski, meika. 2019. Why we should. Hobart: meika loofs samorzewski

Wierzbicki, Norbert. 2019. Carpatho Rusyn Language | Can Polish and Czech Understand It? Ecolinguist.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations, Translator G.E.M. Anscombe, (Oxford, Blackwell. 1953).

Appendix 1 Dictionaries & usages

The above is the outlineof the absolute basics, and it’s prescriptions are canonical for Jaar.

But below in all these apendicies are included some minimum suggestions, and perhaps in time, this will become expected default usages when two or more Jaar speakers without a common language or previous communication wish to begin to use Jaar to construct a common tongue between themselves, and build a world.

So at the moment they are thought experiments, or possible pathways of agreement. Of course, as I write I am the only speaker and I get to agree on everything with myself…

A1.1 Canonical word list

ja == speaker or ageement of utterance – I me us we etc who speak this speech

ju == listener / correspondent (you, yous — real or imagined, implied or assumed)

per == not in conversational remit but capable of speech (they say)

czy == turns any statement / phrase / gesture into a query

ar == yes == nod == +

su == we are agreed or have solved it == ++

ti == almost == hand twist == ~

ma == maybe == hand twist == ^

no == no == headshake == —

ra == no, try again == shrug == –

A1.2 Possible things to be pidginned in…

And agreed on fairly quickly for that which is lacking and thus follows from everything above, or their equivalent from languages which do things differently or not at all:

  • Pronouns, demonstrations and their conjugalities
  • Possessives and cases, things that relate indications in the conversation
  • cases and prepositions, things that indicate relations in the world
  • Tensing to the rhythm of time and its in/completions

A1.3 Possible implied usages and meanings

As derived from canonical grammar & word list – a (strongly) suggested list.

A1.3.1 Lack of an object (SV-O)

Can indicate capabilities, content, and thus reflexivity as it doubles-down on the speaker-centric assumptions POV of the speaker/s.

ja ar == I speak me = I am who speaks. = I myself speak “ja ar”. = Jaar.

Ja su == those who converse, correspond/agree/create.

ja comb == I comb myself = I comb my hair.

A1.3.2 Lack of a subject (-SVO)

To indicate more passive forms:

ar bite man == I state, man was bitten.

(per? or no ja?) ar trash conlangartist (ConlangCritic)== (They-not-here-in-this-conversation stated) The constructed language maker was rubbished (by the Conlang Critic). [???]

A1.3.3 Lack of a verb (S-VO)

Without any verb, or more particularly no DOC, nothing can be inferred. However this could be used to indicate being confounded or astounded.

ja tree == i speak tree = I am amazed into speaking by this tree. = I, amaze, the tree. OR I, tree, myself.

This is a pathway for gerund formation when we verb nouns or noun verbs.

In Jaar there is a strong possibility that all nouns can verb. And that all verbs can noun. Obviously this will create confusions that will have to be agreed by speakers of Jaar where a sentence with no DOCs does not indicate if the SVO order is altered and a word is not obviously a noun or a verb.

A1.3.4 Reversing subject verb order (VSx)

Emphasizes or redoubles again the (un)certainty (and or reflexivity where there is no object (VS-O)

(some verb) ja (some object) === I am 200% sure of VO = Absolutely! VO is true.

Expresses shock, joy, and glad agreement.

Ar ja! == I do indeed myself speak Jaar. Joy!

A1.3.5 Presently tensed

Use of modal forms of strong certainty or identity ( ar & su) can be use to imply/ indicate a process, the results of which have ended, or continue presently, or indicate the process has begun as we speak.

A1.3.6 Future tense

Using the unsure modalities to create the future.

ja ma walk == I say I may walk = I will walk. == Ich werde gehen. == pójdę (będzie chodzić)

ja ti walk/ed == I will have walked

A1.3.7 Possible Imperative

no DOC and use ju & verb:

ju run == Run!

With DOC :

ju no == Stop! (also == you are wrong)

ju ra == back off!

ju ma == off you go == śmiało

A1.3.8 Evidentiality

See also Agreed definitions and derivatives.

Use of modal forms of certainty or identity ( ar & su) can instruct a locational speech (pronoun) usage to bear evidentiality when they either initiate a morpheme and (thus) word order, i.e. go first:

arya == I saw this = I bear witness = this is my story and I am sticking to it.

super == they say they saw this, they bear witness as follows, their story is

super tasmaniantiger yesterday == They say they sensed/heard/saw/tracked a Tasmanian Tiger yesterday.

maper dolphin morze == they say it is possible they see/sense a dolphin in the sea

A1.4 Agreed: derivatives & definitions


ja ar = jaar == name of meta-pidgin Jaar (reification of reflexive phrase ja ar) – implies usage of reification then as gerund as in su jaar == we speak Jaar.

per su== they who are not hear agree that = they


ergative == headache, and thus broadly any non nominative-accusative aligned language.

Appendix 2 Exercises & experiments

  1. Fluent speakers of toki pona and Esperanto with no common language to try using Jaar to converse.
  2. Use in linguistic studies, i.e. actual experiments to collect more controlled data.
  3. Jaar users could iterate their experiences with different languages and take note of what pathways are similar or repeated, and which are localised to particular speakers.
  4. if repeated enough, then we can take note of what pathways are similar between similar language pairs, and which are localised to particular pairs of languages.
  1. How it might be used outside the Anglo-cacophony-sphere?
  2. Aliens!

Appendix 3 speech centric locations – a chart

Appendix 4 Out-takes, works-in-progress & bloopers

These do not even make it to footnote status. Or need their own sections in Jaar-booted pidgins. Or are too hard for an imaginary pure Jaar, or even the canonical lightweight toolkit.

  1. Words can come in with their bits (declensions/conjugations) and loose them as we converse.
  2. Sign language (more than gesticulation) in the basic cononical vocabulary.
  3. Habits from a native tongue and literacy skills are no banned but accommodated and or eventually ignored becoming useless.
  4. Jaar is a philosolang. But what began as a POVlang… turns into a qualifying range. [WTF]
  5. Jaar is a boardgame. A card game.
  6. Degrees of certainty revlve around their impact on the “V” of SVO.
  7. Worldbuilding is key, world-building is the moral urge. Conspiracy theorists prove this with their fantasies.
  8. How does one tell apart, with gerunds, when/if it is a failed noun identity?
  9. When the other DOCs come first (ti & ma) what grammatical elements might that allow?
  10. Degrees or moments of doubt.
  11. Are there too many puns?
  12. Nothing in this would upset Chomsky? What have I done wrong?
  13. ja snuck in from Polsih with no conscious effort on my part, but czy was comepletely conscious.
  14. Jaar is the opposite to toki pona. Jaar does not interrogate your vocubulary, but interrogates who says what and how sure are you about that? toki pona offers a divergent method of interrogation as you try to translate dedicated morphemes into even more toki pona morphemes, but Jaar does the opposite, you just bring inwhat you have and then try and work it out together and out of that usage it is both created and rememebred.
  15. There is no present tense. There is only present agreement. A tense is not an agrement.
  16. The locations of speech and DOCs are tight seeds that can unfurl in different directions, if they were just pronouns and only modal verbs then they could not do this. Jaar is a set of potentials that allow an ease of conversational interviews.
  17. Tensing time. The present is either an outcome of the past, or a cause of the future. The The shortcut is that the DOCs of negation and maximum positive certainty are for all time, including right now, all time is a shortcut for the present tense.
  18. The verb “to be” equivalent in Alya [later Yaar then finally Jaar] is a modal verb use to indicate certainty/identity (a certain identity) Alya removes this modality from the verbs, it de-verbs. 15 August 2020 [at type of typing 6 September 2020 I say “WTAF”] [it was the last thing written in my handwritten notebook].
  19. The other cases and all prepositional type things (instrumental, imperative, dative, oblative, recessive28) will have to be agreed on by the speakers. Start with your languages preferred method.
  20. I prefer world buiding to world peace in my conlangs, even if they are actually the same things. == Ja ma worldbuilding, ra worldpeace, even they ar samething. Ja imagine.
  21. What is the imaginary pure Jaar? It is that which need never exist.
  22. What will happen to the entire world? Ask the children what the world is.


1Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, Translator G.E.M. Anscombe, (Oxford, Blackwell. 1953).

2Forgetting of course that more accessibility increases interference from the native speakers’ language.

3Feel free to glottal stop the ja·ar of Jaar.

4It is also more an interrupt-o-lang than an interlang.

5Probably less than 10 percent of Toki Pona, at the time of the first draft 1.0 Jaar had 9 words.

6I have no memory of being aware of gendered noun-classes.

7The basic Jaar described here has a weak evidentiality.

8From …tho these will probably be badly formed as I have never studied it. But IPA can be canonical, just not my attempts in interpreting them. This goes for anything seriously linguistic, in which I am a noob.

9I swear I had not heard of Viossa at this time. So jealous.

10 Or even more like t͡ʂi.

11A linguistic or speech based animacy. Also, see Appendix 3.

12 I.E. the difference here is that pronomial systems do not always have a self-awareness about where they have come from and wander off into noun-class gendered hells. No doubt this may be eventually forgotten as well in subsequent Jaar booted pidgins. Whatevs. This “language” ‘s purpose is to help create a pidgin not maintain it.

13[Possible work around— “per su” (== them not in this conversation who agree that).]

14[(And not pronouns.) (Yes they are.) (No they are not, they are not just pronouns.)(Yes they are.)(We agree to disagree == ja su ra su)] — [Compare ja su no su == we agree to not agree = we agree we cannot agree = we agree we will never agree]

15“would be / are” <thinks> maybe a eigenstate superposition modality might be useful – combine irrealities via the subjunctive with a mix of potential quantum physics realities</thinks> save thought for later Jaar expansion pack “Flip that quark!”. (Also, Jaar-like pidgins could midwife between specialists to become more inter-disciplinary.)(or a grammaer that supports scientiic inquiry…)

16I first thought of using “um” for this. I’m using the Polish form here czy and not chi (or something) because I used no for no, and in Polish no is used positively, and I am aiming for some auxlang attempts at ease of access by speakers of different language groups. ja snuck in all by itself. Nothing to do with me I swear.

17Grumprammarians don’t seem to worry about this but. No doubt because children are better seen and not heard, so orders & imperatives are more important anyway.

18Originally, before the first typed draft, in pencil, this DOC ya was al and ra was la, but I had actually changed it before I saw the video Conlang Critic: Kēlen at, wherein I learned Kēlen, an alien artlang by created by Sylvia Sotomayor had a similar word for a similar idea…

19Please note I chose to not divide these up further into modalities to cover intersubjective experimented certainty, traditionally accepted wisdom, or actively agreed consensus. Feel free to develop those evidential modalities from here… This is supposed to be a lightweight toolkit.

20See Appendix 1 Dictionaries & usages: Reversing subject verb order (VSx) and Lack of an object (SV-O).

21See Appendix 1 Dictionaries & usages: Possible Imperative

22This translation is beyond my nominative alignment capabilities. ja ma ja know = ja mathink

23Please remember this project is an ennabler not a dictat of fine filligree.

24The useage of the word “mechanic” is heavily influenced by the word when used in describing boardgame structures of play.

25See my “Why we should” essay about the moral urge in more general terms. (Though its Australian references may may it details unavailble to North American readers.)

26Some comments at this stage. I should add here, that Jaar is also built on the notice that the most conservative parts of a language (and the most irregular) belong to the oldest stems of a language, and widely shared with its language family members, both in cognate forms and irregularit., In Indo-European languages these are often the most basic elements, particularly verbs dealing with identity and the work of the copula: to be, sein, być etc. (Amazingly, their irregularity may arise because they survive from a form of language which used completely different alignments and grammar structure to the descendant languages). In the Indo-european case Jaar replaces these most ancient and thus irregular bits, and makes them common to people attempting to communicate. (No, they are not direct replacements, that’s what makes it Jaar.) No idea how this would work in the case of an ergative language. Might be okay if both sides are ergative speakers. I am happy if Jaar creates a new forum for the broader development of auxliary but interrogatively constructing “languages” (method might be a better term) of pidgin development, and language extension (consciously re-modelling natlangs). Currently I love the idea of a speaker of toki pona and a speaker of Esperanto with no common language to try using Jaar.

27See Appendix 1 Dictionaries & usages: for objectless phrases Lack of an object (SV-O).

28I made recessive up.

MetaSource_DATE_DataPoints for genealogy & other microhistory projects, a pathway, directory/folder and file naming system

2017/03/11 § 9 Comments

I am of an age to begin genealogical projects. While younger the interest was the same as it is now, but not to begin, even if then there was more time, or because there was more time.

Of course, in the course of time people die, data disppears. And contra, in modern times technology progresses, access to archives of data get easier. Swings and roundabouts.

About seven years ago I started with some genealogy software and learnt about GEDCOM files. Played around a bit with various applications. Looked at some inherited documents. Scanned them. Saved them. Went online, search some strings from 1980s typewritten family trees, and discovered ancestors on Learned some ancestors were actually born in New Zealand.

kaiapoi firestation earthquake

And then it was seven years later. Somehow.

At some time in those seven years I had discovered GRAMPS, opensource genealogy software, but had never actually used it. So a month ago I started using GRAMPS and looked at my mess of digital files, scans of old letters and documents, and downloads. Where to begin?

But I did begin.

Apparently some of my decisions were the usual ones for beginners. By family, by person, by official docs, by correspondence, by photo. Not mistakes but on going onto the GRAMPS email group and sharing my directory/folder structure, someone went yeahbut.

They mentioned the French way of archiving. And so I went off learned about Respect des fonds, Original orderProvenienzprinzip and so on.  Now I already knew about Provenance and how to cite so my file naming was okay, I thought, so that didn’t change much, what did change was my folder structure, and the big picture.

And how file name and their directory/folder structure could contain implicate order.

In citing it doesn’t matter which copy of the book you actually used. Most citation systems assume that there are libraries you can go to and find some copy or other of a book or article to check out. (There are many styles of citation. I’ll just note Harvard.)

In archiving however, which actual physical copy becomes more important. History works with source material and so this information is vital to the work, not just what book, but which book where and when. And whose.

Genealogy is a microhistory, so we should learn its lessons. The history of the source material needs to be tracked and made available. I have family trees from the 1980s but some I do not know who made them, and none have supporting material.

The folder structure I had originally designed was organised according to how I was researching, not how the information might be useful later to someone else. I was focussing on my own methods of hunting down the next link in the chain, the next clue, completeing the picture in my head, and not how that picture would appear to someone else. So at this point the question became, as my project was relying on the work of others in creating the chain in the first place —was my work going to help that chain go on? And if so, could it be done better?

These days a lot of genealogy is online. There are the commercial suppliers, which now include DNA matching. As well there are the digitised and more recently computerised actual sources of information i.e. NSW Registry of Birth Deaths & Marriages.

I was looking at how to make my file names and directory/folder names be more helpful to someone else looking at the data. This is important because while GRAMPS has a excellent support for citation, source through to repository for events and places in a lifespan, it only links to what you put on the harddrive. You have to think about how to organise it.

This is a good thing.

And even if there were no GRAMPS, (software disappears over time, orphaned, abandoned, scrapped, turned into useless subscription models which dumbdown the use through time [yes I mean you Adobe]) the question would become would that bunch of files and pathway names be good enough for someone else to work out what was going on?


What is interesting at this point in writing this very blog post is that the time taken so far to write it is a gazillion times longer than the time it took to work out the following:


It is important to point out here that a moment before I decided on this structure for the entire pathway (directory structure & file name) I decided against an abbreviation system, i.e. coding.  E.G. “B” for birth certificate– B1980-ClaudeManning.pdf or something. I’d try to be as obvious as possible and use the word Birth not “B”. Abbreviations are not banned, but their dismissal lead to a eureka moment. Yes, I was in the bath.

(Abbreviations which have a recognised life out in the real world are admitted e.g. NSW for ‘New South Wales’ and BDM for ‘Births, Death and Marriages’ (Registry).

My pathways were going to include as much non-abbreviated infomation as possible, but be as succint as possible. I also decided that it did not matter where the info was placed, in a many layer pathway system with many folders, or a flatter system with fewer folders. Or more likely, both, so they could integrate depending on load.

Constraints on this are operating systems abilities with respect to pathway and file name length, as well as forbidden characters. This is a big issue as I want my system to be useful to other people across time and space and strange operating systems— across which information might be conveyed (without being looked at). But I’ll describe that detail at the end.

I’ll now breakdown the three elements of MetaSource_DATE_DataPoints.


This is all the Respect des fonds, Provenienzprinzip and Provenance stuff, as informed by Original order. The MetaSource is comprised of the elements:

① Repository (where the information/ material is located)
② Source (a registry, a letter, a book)
③ Authority (author)

Some MetaSources are the one and the same, for example the NSW Registry of Birth, Deaths, and Marriage (NSWBDM) is ① ② and ③ all rolled into one. Clarifying bits may go in the pathway/filename structure after the…


This is the pivot where we move from the big world to the micro details. It uses the ISO 8601 standard, e.g. 2017-02-14.

Having the ③ Authority immediately before the DATE  acknowledges the Harvard AUTHOR-DATE citation style often used in the humanities.


This gets the item level stuff. The DataPoints is a an arrangment of:


ⓐevent: birth, death, marriage, occupation, etc

ⓔsource pointer (page number, record ID)

⑤Type: map, photo, scan, downloaded, screenshot, can include secondary DATE
⑥MISC: original file name, original URI

Number ④ Subjects — one can list all or none.

Number ⑤ Type — one can list all or none possible types… for a photo of a scan or a printed screenshot.

Substitution gives:



If an element can appear twice it may do so, but usually just use the earlier placement.



Imagine a hard drive or some memory device or even somewhere in the cloud where there is an archive of digital and digitized documents. Here is the MetaSource_DATE_DataPoints schema to a birth certificate. The datapoint order need not be consistent, but it would help to do so when one eyes scan down a directory’s listing.


“_” underscore separates elements

“-” appends or supplements an element with some qualification or further detail and resolution, as what it does in a DATE 2017-02-14.

One could introduce subfolders under NSWBDM each for Birth, Deaths and Marriages, but keep the file name as is, and don’t drop birth from the filename.  Now just looking at the one example it looks very ugly, but with a dozen on screen in one repository folder an order does become apparent.

Also, I’ll admit that with digitisation and online resources the lines between a fonds and a provenance or even authority get real blurry, but the whole thing is in my metaFonds now so that’s the way I do it.







A PROTIP or two

Anything you wanted to do by naming or organising directories according to Family Branch, Family, Person, types of documents, photos (as I did start) with the above MetaSource_DATE_DataPoint system in place — can be done with virtual folders (or saved searches or what Apple Mac OS calls smart folders) because all those datapoints are in the filename. Nothing is lost, a lot is gained.

Keep datapoint elements in the same order, this will help pseudo-folderise files on screen.

Thus, LastnameFirstname for organizing families.

Separate files of scan of the same document? Number the type element with a padded suffix:


(Scan the backs of your photos, they can contain more information than you realise.)

I will also add GRAMPS ID numbers to various elements, particularly for clarity and consistency.


Devil in the Detail : Characters

Remove characters which some computer operating systems find difficult or special:

/ \ . 

& Windows in particular: from Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces (Windows)

< (less than)

> (greater than)

: (colon)

” (double quote)

/ (forward slash)

\ (backslash)

| (vertical bar or pipe)

? (question mark)

* (asterisk)


Imagine you grab a USB drive and copy stuff to it and not look at it and then copy it elsewhere and realise data is lost because it was some old FAT formatted thing, and you don’t even have Windows in the house!

Windows also finds long file pathways (this includes both file name & nested folder/directory structure) very difficult, as these are going to be long file names, keep the folder nesting structure as simple as possible. (If burning to an optical disc DVD or CDROM it would be best to compressed the entire structure first to .zip or similar, and burn that file. Optical disks do not support very deep pathways and lengthy filenames.)

Also remove spaces or hyphens from surnames or phrases and CamelCase them. And use CamelCase when removing spaces generally.

I use “~” the tilde to indicate the orginal (format). For example


I’ve also reserved ‘ ` ‘ or tick to indicate primary date.

Maybe keep white space for original file names, but you will have to remove the dots from any original file names or URIs and leave only the one dot to separate the file extension.


NOTE: File type extensions (i.e. .txt .jpg .odt) may not be included in the above descriptions. Obviously they are another type of DataPoint.

Thus we have all the:-


What are the rules for art?

2017/02/14 § Leave a comment


When I walk into a gallery, and I look at an artwork, I wonder, how was it made?

This is always my first question.

Sometimes this is too obvious particularly in the case of flat art like oil painting and we drift immediately into curatorial and collectimaniacal discussions, perhaps of style, technique and brushstroke.

Other times the types of process is more technological than the personality in practice, technique and presentation —and I get caught up in lost wax, sprues and welding.

Interesting. I pace hither and thither, lost in thought and admiration. And so more questions, all sorts of questions.

I may venture into what the maker intended, but in any case, the last question I ask is —how was it marketed?

It is the last thing I ask not because of its import but because as soon as it floats into the periphery of notice — I walk away from the art and into the light.

Any other questions that might arise (subject matter, historical significance, the artist’s early death, the skill, the late success, the naive approach) all of them are subsumed by marketing, by the market, by the marketeers, the curators, the auctioneers, the gallerists and #bignames curating their own careers.

And my first question, in context of the marketplace, means nothing at all.

So I walk away.

Marketing stops my curiosity, marketing is a mind killer. It is the magic that must hide its power even as it consumes everything.

I try to walk away.

My first question makes me lonesome, and perhaps proud. The other questions make me a member of the market, an atom of nothing in a sea of commodities, a see of POVs of likes and dislikes, of subjective demographics. And I cannot walk away even when I think I have.

And the last question reminds me the rules for art are the rules of the marketplace. There is no alternative.

I crawl in circles.

My Journey through a Book of the Dead with the Three Jays and Then Some

2014/12/23 § Leave a comment


On opening night J¹ said she felt sad. “I don’t want to make art. It all… I don’t feel like making any anymore.”

Industrial Egyptpunk

Numbed ghosts walk by lots of found objects touched by a lesser Midas. A gallery plonked with faux ready-mades from the factory floor. Technically brilliant foundry work. Lovely copper. I get bored with people saying they are underwhelmed.


I could make all of this. I would make none of this. I am a year older.

The pitch: Mad Max versus Stargate

Norman Mailer as a car, a character in an adaption of his own novel, see… like… you know… c.f. Ka, Egyptian soul-double. Ha-ha. Haw-haw. Crow bars as was:- bull’s blown bits as magical scepters, jawbreakers. But there is no release, no transfiguration. So us psychopomps, like K, flatline  ___________________________


Please read Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings and produce a 6 tonne bronze by Thursday morning.

The Nile as an autobahn of progress, a physical series of tubes. Discuss.

Closing the book on his desk J² shakes his head, “If only Barney had joined the 27 club.” After dusk on Wednesday, J² pours petrol over his copy of The Cremaster Cycle, drops his joint and stands back but forgets to video it for youtube.

Satan’s Skin

Milton Moon covers the walls, “the devil gets the best tunes” we jest. It’s a shade, not a colour. Just wait until the flouros flicker.

J³ crumples into a corner groaning. He wants to cower but there are no shadows here. No hidden depths.

Remote control

I like process. I like review. I like books. There are copies of Barney’s tomes. He says this show is a bit remote. He says he is not a theatrical filmmaker, it’s about the objects. J² says there is nothing there. In the book of interviews Barney says he doesn’t do interviews. Or catalogs. Pick two.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Pyramids as immortality machines; a form of conspicuous consumption showering society with law and order.

Or poo machines of fertility.

Either way, ancient eternal lives for the rich and powerful, opera for the bored in spirit; over-laboured, groaning, constipated, inappropriating, and signifying nothing.

Get behind me

C said antithetical to Beuys but I can’t spell that in this light.


This is a response to Matthew Barney - River of Fundament - MONA

Which own photographer are you? Selfie or POV screen-shottie?

2014/09/04 § 1 Comment

POV screen-shottie

POV screen-shottie

I’m quite keen on screen shots.


And again it is the mobile cell phone that makes all the difference in how new formats move on in to popular culture. It is the technological format that is defining us.

Our Aesthete Brains Evolving to Desire Beauty but Relax Into Art

2014/08/26 § Leave a comment

I have been reading The Aesthetic brain : how we evolved to desire beauty and enjoy art by Anjan Chatterjee.

Key message is that the diversity of form is directly related to environmental and selective pressures.

Where there is strong selective evolutionary pressure then, as an example, birdsong will be as unchanging as Egyptian art over millennia. Or, when there is strongly repressive government then art will be restricted to pro-government propaganda i approved form and genre, and as unchanging as the wild birdsong.

Where conditions relax then there can be a survival in a diversity of form, as in the diverse songs of domesticated songbirds compared to their wild cousins.

The middle bit of the book surveys the recent writing in neuroaesthetics and a number of evolutionary arguments about “why art?”. Unsatisfied by the answers involving “art instinct” or “by-product” he argues for a third way involving that relaxation of selective pressures mentioned above.


I still feel Ellen Dissanayake‘s work is the best of “why art” in a evolutionary context, and I can see it fitting in with Anjan Chatterjee’s suggestions of relaxation to allow the diversity we see through time and across geographies. Both are at base material arguments, one for raising children, one for how they, and we, survive.

Suggestions of relaxed environments, if not attitudes, will probably work for any Dissanayake’s “making special” activities covered by other modern words like ‘religion’.

“Art” after all is primarily a marketing category, a very modern form. And perhaps one not relaxed enough yet to be any good. Especially all that conceptual art that just looks like bad science fiction made for people who do not read science fiction.

Bombastic Distributor, or how I got published in one easy step

2014/05/19 § 2 Comments

Often I write to find out why I am writing. This precludes me from being published, at least in traditional human tradeable publishing. Or, until I have established a market for what I write-as-I-find-out-why-I-am-writing. Traditionally, publishing rewards those who write for humans.

This is no longer the case.

Now I can write to find out why I am writing and be published at that exact same moment.

Consider the appellation “bombastic distributor”.

My partner Mona was in conversation with Tony describing me as an “enthusiastic initiator” and herself as a “conscientious completer”.

Having heard all this before I butted in with, “Yes, but what about those ‘bombastic distributors’?”

I made this term up. It was a throw-away line. Days passed and the conversation was forgotten, but the phrase stuck in my mind.

I wondered if “bombastic distributor” was truly new, if it was actually a novel construction.

So, as you do, I put the search phrase “bombastic distributor” into a search engine.


I was hoping for a return less than a googlewhack.

There were no googlewhacks, but there were four results for the search string.

Of these four only one had the phrase “bombastic distributor” without punctuation between the words e.g. “bombastic; distributor”

And that one result actually lead to the page where “bombastic distributor” could actually be seen, at the time all the other results returned pages that could not be found (404s).

bombasticdistributor original search bombastic distributor original search

It was part of some word salad generated content for a Korean link farm. Non-human produced writing, for the English on the page was mechanically made up. It was almost human but not quite. It was in an uncanny valley of meaning, if only creepy because of the serious-looking Korean guy in the banner advert.

Now it was done for humans should they happen upon the page, but only a little bit. It was more for humans indirectly, by conning other algorithms that it was a human created webpage, in order to direct other humans via pagerank to whatever page they want to boost with their link farming. It was obviously word salad.

It didn’t really have to fool humans, merely other machines, other algorithms. Currently this is quite a low bar.

So my phrase “Bombastic Distributor” was only nearly unique, almost novel. At least for humans, it was thus partial googlewhack. A virtual googlewhack. It appears no human but me had previously put the two words together and documented it. It had been auto-published by some page where English was at best a second language (if it had been created by humans). But as it was most likely robot written without context, it was no ordinal numbered tongue at all.

Virtually virtual, literally. It had involved no conversation at all. Especially not with Mona, Tony, or me, or any human.

It was part of some fill to support the Korean banner ads for some serious but shonky looking Korean guy. Politician?

The banner advert was gone by the time I starting writing this piece about it. Documenting it days after the search, a week after the conversation. I should have got a screen grab, such things can be so fleetingly available on the web. Bookmarking a favourite is not enough. He was gone at the time I was first writing this up.

Elsewhere, I’ve said that I no longer write for humans.

Now I am not saying I am also merely a wetware salad generator.

No, no, no. I am not the one with issues here.

When I searched for “bombastic distributor”, when I typed each letter of “bombastic distributor” and hit enter, sending the query away to the search engines, it was at that moment I published my writing.

The internet has issues. Not me.

When I, or you, or anyone hits an enter key to initiate a search, it becomes another bit of data produced by a living human. This is when the phrase “bombastic distributor” was first published. And those first results were a review of the first edition.

Published forever, or as long as the internet exists, at least within the data collected and collated by the meta-manipulation of the search engines queries. Certainly forever compared to the conversation between Mona & Tony & me in which “bombastic distributor” occurred. Unless documented, conversations are not taken as published. There is no record. But my search had been recorded the moment I made it, if not before with auto complete and search suggestions,

The search returns might be my reward for a query, but the query itself is the piece of data used to structure further involvement by all users of the engine … and then the data is on the internet somewhere, as are the queries’ results.

A search query is a published work.

Publishing is primarily a economic activity, search engines are massively profitable activities, thus using a search query is a form of publishing. Perhaps not completely open, but real libaries are rarely as available 24/7 as is a search engine.

Serving Suggestion: Have you written an unpublished novel? Well all you have to do to get it published now is to cut and paste the entire work into a search engine query box and hit return. You novel is now published, for as a search query it is now part of the economic order. Now go and publish all the earlier versions. No, no one human will have read it, perhaps they never wouold have anyway, but this is one reason why I no longer write for humans.

Since I made those searches for “Bombastic Distributor” and remember there were only four returns a week or so ago, it has now blossomed into six, as spam results seek to attract my attention, somehow they have accessed my previous query and now pretend to answer to it, which they don’t but they do prove that the search query “bombastic distributor” is a published work. My non-human readership is taking notice!


The form of books (on paper)

2014/03/30 § Leave a comment

Wink reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday.winkssmall “We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.”

How to write a science news story based on a research paper

2014/03/29 § Leave a comment

Something useful at The Guardian.

A how-to in 10 points plus Dos and Don’ts. First of a series on this topic.


How to …
• interview a scientist
• write a science feature
• establish a successful science blog
• report from a science conference
• set up a science podcast
• pitch your articles to editors.

However the contest is only for those who live just off Europe in the North Atlantic, but not too far off.

less signs, more symbols

2013/03/21 § Leave a comment

A sign is less.
A symbol is more.

Less is more.
A sign is a symbol.

They are signs and symbols of each other.

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