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Afrihili

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Afrihili (K. A. Kumi Attobrah) 1973

Kwaku na Akua mai atapiro atajirin we^na liwa yide fu kusa. Ni atapiro atajirin mai imulezi ibarin we^na ye^ f'amotsoala. Ni amotsoala ye^ arenobo kika Kwaku na Akua baitu fu duka ye^ ukuetu upapam tare.

Ku atapiro mai afu okisiwa so nehi nesa be^, na ni imao no inta tabonadi you. Fumai arafi f'amotsoala to` okisiwa


Afrihili: an African IAL

  • Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996
  • From: Paul O Bartlett
  • To: Conlang List <conlang@diku.dk>
  • Subject: CONLANG:

Yesterday, I was browsing at the U.S. Library of Congress, and I came across a rather unusual auxiliary language. As the readers of CONLANG know, the overwhelming majority of international auxiliary language (IAL) projects are of European ambiance: their authors are from Europe or North America, with a few from Latin (i.e., European) America. Afrihili is different: it comes from Africa.

K. A. Kumi Attobrah

Ni Afrihili Oluga: The African Continental Language, Accra, Ghana; 2nd ed., 1973

Lib. of Cong. call no. PM8063.A8 1973 no ISBN

Language of discussion is English, and the physical format is a bit odd. Although I did not measure it, the dimensions of the book were perhaps 12x35 cm. It was a book of ten lessons. Regrettably, there was no English key for many of the examples.

In the introduction, the author wrote,

El-Afrihili is an African language which has been created incorporating grammar and words from the languages of the African continent. It also contains words from many other sources so Africanized that they do not appear foreign.

...

El-Afrihili has been created with a view for it being adopted as the lingua franca of Africa.

Unfortunately, the author does not identify his source languages, and as I have no experience with such, all I can say is that the result was totally unintelligible at sight to an Indo-European-only speaker.

From what I could tell, the phonology of Afrihili would not be too difficult for Indo-European speakers. The orthography used the unaccented Roman alphabet with the addition of two non-Roman letters: an e-vowel much like the vowel in French meme (SAMPA IPA /E/) and shaped much like a backwards Arabic numeral '3', and an o-vowel much like the vowel in English nought or naught (SAMPA IPA /O:/) shaped like the IPA symbol representing the same sound. In the sample, I will represent these letters by e^ (e-circumflex) and o` (o-grave).

Afrihili's grammar, at first perusal, was definitely non-Indo-European. It used categories and made distinctions unknown to IE tongues of my acquaintance. However, I did not have the time to copy down copious examples, but I noted such things as different kinds of future tenses, and so on. Consider nouns. As a somewhat schematized synthetic language, in Afrihili all nouns, and only nouns, both begin and end in vowels. To form the plural of a noun, convert the initial vowel into the terminal vowel! There were also various kinds of infixes which change the meaning of a word, such as relationship to the speaker.

The following is a short sample of Afrihili. Again, because there was no key, I cannot give a translation of it.

Kwaku na Akua mai atapiro atajirin we^na liwa yide fu kusa. Ni atapiro atajirin mai imulezi ibarin we^na ye^ f'amotsoala. Ni amotsoala ye^ arenobo kika Kwaku na Akua baitu fu duka ye^ ukuetu upapam tare.

Ku atapiro mai afu okisiwa so nehi nesa be^, na ni imao no inta tabonadi you. Fumai arafi f'amotsoala to` okisiwa

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