Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Linguistics quiz - Toki Biket

Earlier this month, on 10 February, a new language was discovered by a linguistics teacher in North Cotes. The language is called "Toki Biket" and there is only one known native speaker of the language.

Can you help decipher this language? Below are 10 sentences in Toki Biket with an English translation. There is just one question for you to answer at the end...

toki biket todotobo                                       I speak Michael’s language.

tokii bakdatena tododotobo                       We speak Magdalena’s language.

tekii baria tedotebe                                      I will eat Mary’s meal.

banuet kusookubo bakdatena                    Magdalena loves Manuel.

bok bososobobi utu baria                            They taught Mary a lesson.

fon banban tesotebi biket isi kof                Michael ate two bananas in the igloo.

toki biket tobobotobe                                  You (pl.) will speak Michael’s language.

kon bokbok bodobobebodobobe              I will be taught three lessons.

kusokubokusokubo banuet                        Manuel is loved.

ban tesosootebe bakdatena aka baria     Magdalena and Mary will eat a banana.

Question:        How do you say “you (masculine, singular) are taught” in Toki Biket?

If you think you have figured out the answer, please post it in the comment section below. Everybody has only one attempt. There will be a prize for the winner and the answer will be revealed in the comment section of this blog post one week from today, on Tuesday, 6 March 2012.

This language is actually an assignment that I had to do for my linguistics class where we had to create our own language. Certainly the most fun assignment we had to do! :-) The above photo is from something I was working on in linguistics on another day (not posed!).


Rebekka T. said...

oh boy, this is harder than anything we are doing in grammar at the moment. My guess is "bosobobe", but I do not really have a clue...

Michael Schmid said...

Here are some other answers that were given via Facebook:

bosobobo (Kristine S.)

bosobobo (Leah K.)

I'm not giving away the answer until next week, so have a go and see what answer you come up with. And try to post your answer here in the comment section of the blog, so we can have all the answers in one place. :-)

Anonymous said...

dificilícimo, pero aquí va mi propuesta:

escrito así parece una tontería, sobre todo para mí que hablo español donde "bobo" tiene significado, pero después de casi una hora dándole vueltas a las frases me pareció encontrar cierta lógica, lo que no sé si será la lógica correcta :-)

(se me va a hacer difícil esperar una semana para conocer la respuesta)

Anonymous said...

uy! ya no sé escribir en mi propio idioma:
se escribe "dificilísimo"


Michael Schmid said...

One week ago, I had asked how you would say "you (masculine, singular) are taught" in Toki Biket.

Here is the correct answer:

Explanation to follow when I have a bit more time (maybe in another week)... =)

Michael Schmid said...

Thank you to all who tried! :-)

Michael Schmid said...

Time for an explanation... :-)

-The verb root for "to teach" is "bo".
-Add to that the 2nd person singular suffix which is "-bo".
-Then the verb root "bo" is repeated (reduplicated) to indicate the indicative mood.
-This is then followed by the suffix for the past tense which is "-bo".
-Finally, the whole above construction is reduplicated to express the passive voice.

All clear?