|Official Language In||Southern Cynocephali, Rushmore|
|Spoken In||Southern Cynocephali, Rushmore|
|Top Nations Speaking Biscyno|| - ~350,000|
Biscyno is a creole language, one of the official languages of Southern Cynocephali. It is the first language of many of the Mwy Yipsi who live around the islands of Namtock and La Maddelena. The language is spoken at a primitive level by most other inhabitants of the nation.
More than 95% of Bilcyno words are of English origin; the remainder combines a few dozen words from French, as well as some vocabulary inherited from various indigenous languages of the Mwy Yipsi, essentially limited to flora and fauna terminology. While the influence of these vernacular languages is low on the vocabulary side, it is very high in the morphosyntax. Originating as a means of communicating between different regional Mwy Yipsi groups, Biscyno has evolved into a language in its own right with rules and an extensive wordstore.
Biscyno uses the standard English alphabet.
Many words in Biscyno are recognisable from their English (and sometimes French) origins, however the language is not pronounced at all like English or French.
The consonants in Bislama are: p t k b d g m n ng f v s h l r y w. The 'ch' sound in English is found in Biscyno, though it is written as j. Words are often pronounced with consonants dropped or vowels inserted between consonants when they come from English words that contain sequences of consonants together, e.g. 'district' becomes distrik, 'electric' becomes letrik, 'school' becomes sukul, 'six' becomes sikis. Sounds in English that are not found in Biscyno are also usually adapted to the nearest equivalent sound; 'sh' becomes s as in 'ship', which becomes sip.
There are only five vowels in Biscyno: i e a o u. Other vowels in English are generally adapted to the nearest equivalent vowel, so a word like 'burn' in English is pronounced as bon. Differences such as the vowels in 'kill' and 'keel' are not made, and both of these words come out simply as kil, which means either 'injury' (from 'kill') or 'keel'. The front rounded vowels of French in words such as legume loses its rounding to become plain front vowels, and the word for 'vegetable' is therefore legim. In addition to these pure vowels, Biscyno has a number of diphthongs, and the practice is to write these as ae (corresponding to the sound in English 'eye'), oe (as in 'boy'), ao (as in 'cow') (see below for further examples).
Ther is no formal definition of the intonation pattern of Biscyno, but it certainly seems to have a unique melody involving an unusual rise and fall of the voice while speaking.
The sounds in Biscyno are similar to those of English, although there are some significant differences. The key consonant sounds are:
- f; as in 'finger'
- h; as in 'house'
- k; as in 'skin'
- l; as in 'lamp'
- m; as in 'mouse'
- n; as in 'nothing'
- ng; as in 'sing'
- p; as in 'spin'
- r; as in 'run'
- s; as in 'swim'
- t; as in 'stand'
- w; as in 'water'
- y; as in 'yard'
The key vowel sounds are;
- a; as in 'but' or 'cut'
- e; as in 'bet', similar to French 'été' ('summer') for closed syllables, or similar to English 'day' elsewhere
- i; as in 'bit', 'fit' for closed syllables, as in 'machine' in open syllables
- o; as in 'long' in closed syllables and as in 'go' in open syllables
- u; as in 'put' in closed syllables and 'moon' elsewhere
Diphthongs do occur in Biscyno, such as ei, ae, ao and oe.
There is no official spelling for Biscyno, and as such there are often considerable differences in spelling between communities. However, the pronunciation variations do not cause much confusion, and the rules are as follows;
- f; may be realised as f, v or p. E.g, tufala may be heard as tufala, tuvala or tupala.
- h; pronounced in some dialects but dropped in others. E.g, em or hem, aos or haos.
- p; may be realised as p, b or mb. E.g, pig, big, mbig for 'pig'
- k; may be realised as k, g or ngg. E.g, kokonas, gogonas or even nggonggonas for 'coconut'.
- t; may be realised as t, d, nd or r. E.g, wota, woda, wonda, or wora for 'water'.
There is no 'ch', 'sh' or 'j' sound in Biscyno; borrowed words that contain such sounds are normally changed to 's'. Some speakers will however approximate the original English sounds in their pronunciation of such words depending on their level of education.
The major lexifier for Biscyno is English, with words such as brij for 'bridge' and buluk for 'cow' (from "bullock"). Some of the words of English origin in Biscyno are archaic, such as masket for 'rifle' (from "musket") or giaman for 'tell lies' (from "gammon"), or stylistically restricted, e.g. puskat for 'cat' (from "pussy cat") or bagarap for 'ruined' (from "buggered up"). Some words have more than one corresponding English term such as han, which means both 'hand' and 'arm', while leg means both 'foot' and 'leg'.
|Olsem wanem? I gud?||How are things? OK?|
|I gud nomo||Just fine|
|Tangkyu tumas||Thank you very much|
|Nem blong mi..||My name is..|
|Mi wantem sum..||I want some..|
|Lukim yu||See you later|
|Mi no save (pron. savvy)||I don't know|
|Yu save (pron. savvy)||Do you know|
|Karem wan X i kam||Bring me an X|
|Wet Smol||Wait a moment|
|Hareap plis||Please hurry|
|Mi glad tumas||I am very pleased|
Biscyno has no verb meaning 'be', so the words describing the two things are simply placed one after another
- Mi polis. 'I am a policeman.'
- Yu tosta. 'You are thirsty.'
When the first part of the sentence is a noun or a pronoun other than mi or yu, the second part of the sentence will usually be separated from the first part by the small word i, as in:
- Antoine i hanggre. 'Antoine is hungry.'
- Tufala i bos. 'Those two are the bosses.'
To indicate that an action is being performed, a verb follows a pronoun or a noun, with the word i coming between the two as described above, hence:
- Antoine i kukum kumala. 'Antoine cooks the Kumala.'
- Yumitu i ridim buk. 'We read the book.'
However, if the first noun is plural rather than singular, the word i is replaced by oli;
- Ol man oli kukum kumala. 'The men cook Kumala.'
- Ol bos oli tosta. 'The bosses are thirsty.'
To make a statement negative in Biscyno, the word no is put between the word i (or oli) and the verb;
- Antoine i no kukum kumala. 'Antoine does not cook kumala.'
- Ol paelat oli no dring alikol. 'The pilots do not drink alcohol.'
Two frequent words in Biscyno are "long" and "blong", which take the place of many prepositions in English or French.
Long as 'next to', 'by', 'beside' etc...
Stoa long haos: The store next to the house.
long as 'at' or 'to'
Mi bin stap long ples ia bifo: I have been to this place before.
Mi stap long stoa: I am at the store.
long as 'in'
Jea long haos: The chair in the house.
Long holds many other related meanings, and is sometimes used in improvisation.
Originally from Eng. "belong", blong takes the place of 'of' or the genitive case in other languages. Just like Eng. of, it is one of the most widely used and versatile words in the language, and can indicate possession, country of origin, defining characteristics, intention, and others.
- Buk blong mi: The book that belongs to me, my book
- Man blong Cynoceph: Man from Cynocephali, Cynoceph.
- Hemi woman blong saiens. She is a woman of science, She is a scientist.
- Man blong dring: Man of drinking i.e. a drinker
Verbs in Biscyno do not conjugate. Usually they consist of a stem word borrowed from English, French or indigenous languages and on many transitive verbs the ending -em, -im, or -um, depending on vowel harmony. There is a past tense and a future tense marker that usually goes at the beginning of the sentence or next to the verb. For example:
- Mi wantem bia ~ I want beer.
- Mi bin wantem bia ~ I wanted beer (bin=past tense marker, from the English "been")
- Bambae/Bae mi wantem bia ~ I will want beer. (Bambae/Bae=future tense marker, from English "by and by")
The plural is formed by putting "ol" before the word: bia=beer. Ol bia = "beers". "Ol" comes from the English "all". When used with numbers, the singular form is used. Tu bia, Tri bia, etc...
Biscyno features dual, trial, and plural personal pronouns as well as an inclusive and exclusive we (inclusive meaning I + you, exclusive meaning I + he/she/it/they, not you). Following are the Biscyno plural personal pronouns, in italics the English transliteration where useful to understand/remember, and the grammatical category.
- mi : I, me
- yu : you
- hem : him, her
- yumitu : (you me two) - us, inclusive (you and me)
- mitufala : (me two fella) - us, exclusive (me and someone else)
- yutufala : you two
- tufala/tugeta : those two
- yumitrifala : (you me three fella) - us three, inclusive (you two and me)
- mitrifala : (me three fella) - us three exclusive (us three)
- yutrifala : (you three fella) - you three exclusive (you three)
- trifala/trigeta : those three
- yumi : us inclusive (all of us)
- mifala : us exclusive (that person and me)
- yufala : all you
- ol : many of them
- olgeta : all of them
Pronouns do not decline.
Tense and Aspect markers
Verbs do not have endings to express meanings like present continuous or past tense in English. A verb can appear on its own, where it can have any tense depending on the context. But if you need to indicate the tense, this can be done by placing a special "auxiliary" between the word i (or oli) and the verb. Other meanings can also be expressed by words of this kind;
- Antoine i bin ridim buk. 'Antoine read the book.'
- Antoine i stap ridim buk. 'Antoine is reading the book.'
- Antoine i save kukum kumala. 'Antoine knows how to cook kumala.'
There are two exceptions. Firstly, the future tense is expressed by the form bae, which is not placed between i (or oli) and the verb at all, but it appears either before the word i (or oli), or before at the beginning of the sentence;
- Bae Antoine i ridim buk. 'Antoine will read the book.'
- Ol studen bae oli ridim buk. 'The students will read the book.'
Secondly, if you want to indicate that something has already happened, you do this by placing finis after the verb, e.g.
- Ol studen oli ridim buk finis. 'The students have already read the book.'
- Antoine i tosta finis. 'Antoine is already tosta.'
no : not
- hem i no kakae yam = he doesn't eat (a, the) yam
nomo : no/any more (placed before the predicate)
- hem i nomo kakae yam = he doesn't eat (a, the) yam any more
nomo : only / doesn't but
- hem i kakae yam nomo = he only eats yam
neva : never
- hem i neva kakae yam = he never eats yam
jes : shows an action that has just occurred
- mifala i jes wekap = we just woke up
stat : start, commencement of a process
- hem i stat kukum kumala = he/she has started to cook sweet potatoes
stap : ongoing or habitual action
- hem i stap kukum kumala = he/she is now cooking sweet potatoes / he/she usually makes kumala
gogo : continual action
- hem i kukum kumala gogo = he/she keeps on cooking sweet potatoes / he/she continually cooks sweet potatoes
bin : (been) - completed action
- hem i bin go longwe = he has gone over there
finis : finished, past tense (when before object)
- hem i finis kakae = he is finished eating
finis : already (when after object)
- hem i kakae finis = he has already eaten
mas : must
- hem i mas kakae = he must eat
traem : try
- hem i traem singsing = he tries to sing
wantem : want
- hem i wantem go longwe = he wants to go to there
save : can, know; from French savoir
- mi save toktok langwis biscyno = I can speak Biscyno
sapos : (suppose) if
- sapos yumitufala i faenem pig, yumitufala i kilim hem i ded = if we find a pig, we'll kill it
The standard english numbers are used, with a local pronunciation.
- 1 - Wan
- 2 - Tu
- 3 - Tri
- 4 - Fo
- 5 - Faef
- 6 - Sikis
- 7 - Seven
- 8 - Eit
- 9 - Naen
- 10 - Ten
- 20 - Twante
- 50 - Fefte
- 100 - Wan handred
- 200 - Tu handred
- 1000 - wan taosen
- 1,000,000 - wan milyan