One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

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One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Adarain »

I ran this challenge on a conlanging chat, but I figured maybe some people here wanted in on the fun. The challenge is this:

Within one hour, create a conlang sketch sufficient to translate the following text idiomatically:

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. - Leonardo da Vinci

My personal progress:

0:00 — put on :yout:this album for timekeeping and background music
5:30 — got a phoneme inventory
10:00 — got syllable structure
18:45 — got basic nominal morphology, lacking cases (will make up on the fly when I need them)
22:30 — figured out a verbal template
29:30 — got a bunch of verbal morph done, unsure if I’ve got all I need
35:30 — made some vocab, starting translation now
38:50 — decided to introduce converbs
48:45 — second clause done
60:00 — finished translation just in time (youtube was about 2 minutes in on the next video by the time I finished, so pretty much perfect timing)


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p pʰ b | t tʰ d | c cʰ ɟ | k kʰ g | kʷ kʷʰ gʷ | ʔ
f    v | s    z | ʃ    ʒ | x    ɣ | xʷ     ɣʷ | h
     m |      n |        |      ŋ |        ŋʷ |
       |      l |      ʎ |      ʁ |        ʁʷ |
       |        |      j |        |        w  |
i u a
/c cʰ ɟ/ are realized as [c cʰ ɟ] before /i/ and palatal consonants, [ʦ ʦʰ ʣ] before /u/ and labial(ized) consonants and [ʧ ʧʰ ʤ] otherwise. Velars labialize in clusters with labials and labialized consonants.

Maximal syllable structure is CCVC, where the coda consonants can only be plosives. In onset clusters, the first consonant must be higher up in the consonant table than the second (e.g. plosives can precede anything but plosives, nasals only liquids and glides). The glottal stop only occurs in codas.
The final syllable is stressed and carries contrastive tone, which can be high or low. If the final syllable is not checked, then the vowel is lengthened, and on top of high and low, falling tones are also possible. There is no contrastive tone on unstressed syllables, and if a syllabic suffix is added to a word then both tone and stress move rightward.

Nominal Morphology
Nouns take a prefix marking definiteness and number, as well as, if applicable, a possessive prefix. They also take a suffix marking case:
(possessor) - number×definiteness - STEM - case
I’m not gonna list the affixes here, but I would like to note that the possessor prefixes are homophonous to the oblique agreement markers on the verbs.

Verbal morphology
Verbs follow a more complex templatic pattern:
person - (inverse) - (oblique) - tense - (voice) - (mood) - STEM = clitic
Person marks the higher animate of the core participants. Inverse is used to mark if person does not mark the A (and therefore that the actor is less animate than the marked person). Oblique agrees with a particularly important oblique argument, if there are multiple this is determined by pragmatic choices I have not worked out. Tense is one of three markers which mark past/present/future relative to the matrix clause or discourse topic. Voice can be a passive voice. Mood is one or multiple modal or evidential prefixes. The three that show up in this text are personal experience, inferential and desiderative (EXP, INF, DES in glosses). Finally the clitics are essentially conjunctions.

There are also converbs. These take the following simplified template:
(oblique) - (mood) - STEM = clitic
Converbs take a different set of clitics. The two that appear in the text have the meanings “while doing X” and “with the goal of X”.

I made the following words:
  • cwí — to fly
  • hu — to walk
  • huhu — to walk around, wander
  • kʷŋʷá — earth, ground (plurale tantum)
  • sí — eye
  • nisí — to see, look
  • la — that
  • žicu — forever
  • satli — sky (plurale tantum)
  • tá — to be at ACC
  • nu — to go to ACC
Translation and gloss

Siutkʷiyacwík žicu šikʷňʷát šisatlib gʷnisixʷít siisuphuhud. Láá siutkʷiyatáa žicu láá gʷutašáʔ siisupgʷuʔtenúú.
[si.ut.kʷi.ja.ˈʦwík ʒi.ˈʦù ʃi.ˈkʷŋʷát ʃi.sat.ˈlìb gʷˈxʷítˈhùd ‖ ˈláː si.ut.kʷi.ja.ˈtǎː ʒi.ˈʦu ˈláː gʷu.ta.ˈʃáʔ si.i.sup.gʷuʔ.te.ˈnúː]


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“When you have flown”

žicu šikʷňʷát šisatlib gʷnisixʷít siisuphuhud

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žicu    ši-kʷňʷá-t       [ši-satli-b     gʷ-nisí=xʷit]    si-i-sup-huhu=d
forever [ 3obl-look=while] 2-FUT-INF-wander=then
“then you will forever wander the earth while looking to the sky”

láá siutkʷiyatáa

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la-á     si-ut-kʷiya-tá=a
that-ACC 2s-PST-EXP-be_at=because
“Because there you have been to”

žicu láá gʷutašáʔ siisupgʷuʔtenúú

Code: Select all

žicu    la-á     [gʷ-tá=šaʔ]       si-i-sup-gʷuʔte-nu=ú
forever that-ACC [3.obl-be_at=for] 2s-FUT-INF-DES-go_to=and 
“and there you will always want to return (go with the goal of being there)”

Feel free to translate a different text of similar syntactic complexity.
At kveldi skal dag lęyfa,
Konu es bręnnd es,
Mæki es ręyndr es,
Męy es gefin es,
Ís es yfir kømr,
Ǫl es drukkit es.
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Creyeditor »

I did it. I did it.

My personal progress:
00:00 read the sentence again
00:01 decided to have an experiential passive (s.o. once have done something)
00:02 started thinking about how I want to connect the clauses.
00:03 Thought about it really hard.
00:04 got distracted by thinking about idioms
00:05 decided to have a conditional mood and a causal mood
00:06 Thought about the ordering, decided for dependent clause before main clause
00:07 started thingking about syllable structure.
00:08 thought about word stress. Actually I don't want word stress, only phrasal stress and utterance stress.
00:10 Started thinking about phonology. I definiteley want prenasalized voiced stops, lax mid vowels, ATR harmony and voiced (non prenasalized) stops having heavy allophony
00:15 Rough segment inventory. Started with phonological processes
00:23 Take a break to eat
00:25 Thought about syntax some more.
00:26 Started thinking about vocabulary
00:28 Decided that I will need a nice indefinite future tense
00:30 Thought about vocabulary again and derivational morphology
00:34 and idioms again
00:38 Started with the translation
00:51 translation done, but need to adjust for vowel harmony
00:52 let's see if I can do the rest of the phonetic transcription
00:58 two minutes left, need to check palatalization
00:59 done
The unordered grammar and lexicon sketch:

Utterance stress is going to be on the verb root unless there is marked focus. Stress on the verb minimizes other phrasal stresses, but focus stress on the last syllable of a noun phrase does not allow any other phrasal stress to surface.

/ⁿb ⁿd ⁿg/<mb nd ng>
/b d g/<b d g>
/pʰ tʰ kʰ/<p t k>
/m n/<m n>
/r j w/
/i u/<i u>
/e o/<e o>
/ɛ ɔ/ <ẹ ọ>
+ distinctive vowels lenth <VV>
Syllable structure

Q=/pʰ tʰ kʰ m n/
K=/b d g pʰ tʰ kʰ/


Vowels in a word have to agree in ATR. In cases of conflict the rightmost vowel wins. Clitics do undergo and trigger harmony

{r,j,w} are devoiced after aspirated stops

Intervocalic lenition
Intervocalic voiced stops lenite (also across word boundaries).
{b,d,g} become {w,l,j} but {d} becomes {z} before {i}

Before {i,e,u} coronals become postalveolar {ⁿd, d, tʰ} become {ⁿdz, dz, tsʰ}.


experiential perfect suffix /di/ , triggers lengthening of the final vowel
Indefinite future suffix /ro/
conditional clitic /ⁿga/ and causal mood clitic /ne/
another modal mood clitic, similar to an adverbializer /ga/

A lot of pronouns, they also mark definit noun phrases. Word order is SOV
Noun phrase are noun initial

'counting days' means 'for ever'

mbẹ - embedding verb - to try something out
du - embedding verb - to want to do something
ngọja - adverb - flying
ndidi - adverb - returning, back
mi - intransitive verb - to move
rarẹ - transitive verb with oblique object - to look in a direction
tribi - transitive verb - to count
baga - noun - days
bi - pronoun -you (sg, used only when the hearer is younger or of inferior status)
gwibjo - transitive verb- to visit a place
kraa - noun - a place; a container; a region, an area
ọọ - pronoun - it
bowa - noun - sky
And finally the glossed translation:

Bi ngọja mi mbẹẹdẹnga, bi kraa ọọ gwibjoodine, bi ndidi mi durone, bi baga trẹbẹrọga, bi bowa ọọ rerero.
[ˈbi ⁿgọja mi ˈˈmbɛːlɛⁿga, bi kraː ˈˈɔː gwibjoːzine, ˈbi ⁿdzidzi mi ˈˈdzurorone, ˈbi baˈga ˈˈtrɛbɛrɔga, bi bowa ˈˈɔː rerero]
bi ngọja mi mbẹẹ-di-nga, bi kraa ọọ gwibjoo-di-ne, bi ndidi mi du-ro-ne, bi baga tribi-ro-ga, bi bowa ọọ rarẹ-ro.
2SG flying move try-EXP-COND, 2SG place it visit-EXP-CAUS, 2SG back move want-FUT.INDEF-CAUS, 2SG days count-FUT.INDEF-MOD, 2SG sky it look-FUT.INDEF
`Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.'
Edit: Maybe also a more literal translation:
If you have once tried moving flyingly, because you will have visited the place once, because you will want to move back, counting the days, you will look to the sky.
"Thoughts are free."
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by chridd »


19:13 GO!
19:31 done with phonology stuff, mostly
19:59 I spent THAT long on basic grammar stuff‽ HURRY UP!
20:21 and, done! okay that was almost ten minutes past time. wait, it needs a name!
20:23 okay, NOW done.

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m	n		<m n>
p pʰ	t tʰ	k kʰ	<b p d t g k>
f v	s z	ɦ h	<f v s z ' h>
pf	ts		<pf ts>
w ʍ	l ɬ	j ç	<w wh l lh y yh>
/a(ː) e(ː) i(ː) o(ː) u(ː) ai au/

Syllable structure: (C)(G)V(F)
Onset can be any single consonant, or a stop or voiceless fricative (other than /h/) plus an approximant (other than /j/). In onset clusters, aspiration is not distinguished, and the two consonants can't be at the same place of articulation. Thus, possible onset clusters are

Code: Select all

		tw	kw		sw
	pl		kl	fl
Final can be null or /f/, /s/, or /h/, or a duplication of the following consonant (except the final syllable). If the final is not null, the vowel has to be short.
Stress is on the penult if it's heavy (has a final consonant, long vowel, or diphthong), otherwise the antepenult. The final syllable does not distinguish vowel length.
/wo wu ji je ʍo ʍu çi çe/ are not possible.

If a suffix starting with a fricative or approximant is added to a word ending in a fricative, the two sounds combine into a geminate voiceless version of the suffix's fricative, unless the sequence is allowed in a syllable onset.

Sentence structure: SVO
The main verb of the sentence is marked with suffixes for TAM and the person of the subject and object:
no marking - non-future
-ga - certain future
-hef - uncertain future
-zu - intentional future

-ne - first person singular subject
-do - second person singular subject
-li - first and/or second person plural subject
no marking - third person subject

-bi - first person singular object
-bido - second person singular object
-pli - first and/or second person plural object
no marking - third person or no object
Pronouns can be omitted. Certain and uncertain future can also be used as inferential evidentials or to mark guesses (anything the speaker hasn't directly observed).

Subordinating conjunctions come before clauses they modify, like in English.

No case marking, except prepositions.

baa - be (present/future), also used as an auxiliary for anything present tense
- baf - uncertain future form
zii - be (past)
tis - when (conj.)
ma - while (conj.)
eku - because (conj.), cause (v.)
a - on (prep.)
ene - towards (prep.)
sada - here
feda - there

lef - v. to want, to long for
koona - v. to be familiar with something; also used as an auxiliary for something like the perfect aspect

whaffa - v. to fly (movement verbs are intransitive)
fa - n. sky
dana - n. ground
galas - v. to walk, to go
koloh - v. look
emmef - adv. forever
lau - adv. back
hemes - v. say; n. language, speech

Tis koonado whaffa, emmef galasgado a dana ma kolohgado ene fa, eku koonado fada, emmef lefgado galas lau.
/tʰis ˈkʰoːnado ˈʍaf.fa, ˈem.mef ka.ˈ a ˈ ma kʰoˈ ˈ ˈfa, ˈe.ku ˈkʰoː ˈfa.ta, ˈem.mef ˈ ˈka.las ˈlau/
when be_familiar-2s fly, forever go-FUT-2s on ground while towards sky, because be_familiar-2s there, forever want-FUT-2s go back.
~ chri d. d. /ʧɹɪ.di.di/ (Phonotactics, schmphonotactics) · they (for now, at least) · My conlangs · Searchable Index Diachronica
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by jimydog000 »

Friendly bump.
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Khemehekis »

Hmmmm . . . it seems that YouTube video has been taken down.

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by DesEsseintes »

Khemehekis wrote: 19 Oct 2020 01:29 Hmmmm . . . it seems that YouTube video has been taken down.
I wonder if there are other ways of measuring the passage of time.
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Backstroke_Italics »

00: start phonology
05: start initial grammar sketch
12: start breaking down the passage into elements
24: start filling in vocabulary and inflections
40: start writing the orthography

Here is... Afontẹ

Consonants: p t k kp m/w n/l N/j Nm/H r\ p t k kp m/w n/l ŋ/y ŋm/yw r
Vowels: i e E a O o u i e ẹ a ọ o u
The resonants vary based on whether the following vowel is nasal or oral. Vowels can be nasal or oral, high or low tone. Nasalization is indicated with a coda n, and tone is indicated by an acute. Adjacent vowels must both be nasal or oral, but may disagree on tone, creating rising or falling contours. Syllables only come in the (C)V variety.

kpoŋín awérapa yoyuu, líkẹ́ akáa ọlọ́funen noón yosẹká innínnínmon, páré mányo tọpi ẹ́ẹ, kpíi atẹnwá yohẹ́ẹ́n.
"After you have tried flying, then you (will) wander the ground while looking (at) the sky, because (it is) known to you, so you want to return."
Ignoring tone, marked by the acute, here it is in X-SAMPA:
kpoNi~ awerapa yoyuu, likE akaa OlOfune~ no~o~ yosEka i~ni~ni~mo~, pare ma~yo tOpi EE, kpii atE~wa yohE~E~

We can break it down grammatically like so:
kpoŋín a-wéra-pa yo-yuu
after 2nd-sample-PERF PART-fly
Here we see person agreement, aspect (this is the only overt aspectual distinction, since non-perfective is unmarked), and a complex verb construction using a main verb and a participle. Verbs and participles also inflect for voice, but this doesn't come up in the passage.

líkẹ́ a-káa ọl-ọ́-funen noón yo-sẹká inn-ín-nínmon
then.always 2nd-wander DEF-3-ground while PART-look DEF-2-sky
Each noun has a classificatory prefix (class 3 and 2 here). The definite article matches the vowel of the prefix, and gives it a high tone. Note that adverbial clauses often use participles with no main verb.

páré mányo tọpi ẹ́-ẹ, kpíi a-tẹnwá yo-hẹ́ẹ́n
because familiar there to-2nd, therefore 2nd-want return
No surprises here, except for the inflected preposition. I left out "always" because tẹnwá implies an abiding desire.

Basic Grammar
Sentences are VSO, and syntax is generally head-initial. Adjectives and possessors follow their head noun, while articles precede them. First and second person pronouns fuse with prepositions, and possessive first and second person pronouns fuse with nouns as possessive suffixes. Verbs inflect for aspect and voice with suffixes, and agree with the subject in person and number with prefixes. Complex verb phrases use a main verb and a participle, which inflects for aspect and voice but not person or number. Topics may be fronted ahead of the main verb, including non-subjects or adverbial phrases. This is frequently done when forming content questions, although the only necessary element when forming questions is the sentence-final particle lé. Negation is done at the phrase level with the phrase-initial particle anán. This means that, for example, a negated sentence will usually start with anán, but fronted elements will appear before the particle. Multiple phrases in the same clause or sentence may be negated.
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Khemehekis »

DesEsseintes wrote: 19 Oct 2020 03:35
Khemehekis wrote: 19 Oct 2020 01:29 Hmmmm . . . it seems that YouTube video has been taken down.
I wonder if there are other ways of measuring the passage of time.
I remember seeing some other YouTube videos that claim to be exactly 1:00:00 long, but I can't recall any of their titles offhand . . .

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Omzinesý »

I cheated a bit in that so much of the lang is based on my old ideas, but I think no one can really start from blanco.

21:00 Started
21:27 Phonolygy and morphosyntax are more of less ready
21:50 Translation is ready
21:57 The lang has this stage

p t t͡ʃ k <p t ch k>
(m)b (n)d (n)d͡ʒ (ŋ)g (ɴ)ɢ <b/mb d/nd j/nj g/ng q/nq>
β ɹ ʒ ɣ ʁ <bh/b r gh/g qh/q>
f s <f s>
v z <v z>
m n <m n>
l <l>

If a phoneme has two letters, the first marks it word-initially and the second in other environments.
The voiced (prenasalized) stops are prenasalized after a vowel only.

i u
e o

je, wo <ie> <uo>
jɑ, ɰɑ <ia> <ya>

Stress lies on the penultimate syllable.

Morphosyntax things
The basic word order is VSO. But the word-order is rather based on animacy hierarchy, the noun of the higher entity appearing first.


Verbs have four ”voices”: Active, Inverse, Applicative, and Antipassive. All appear in the same slot after the last consonant of the stem. If the stem has a vowel, the voice marker appears before it. Inverse voice entails that the clause is bivalent, so the Applicative suffix is omitted if it appears. Antipassive cannot appear with the inverse marker.

zero ‘Active’
-in- ‘Inverse’
-eg ‘Applicative’
-oz ‘Antipassive’

Nouns have Gentive formed by mutating its first consonant. In the consonant inventory first-row vowel is replaced by a second-row vowel, second-row vowel by third-row vowel, and fourth-row vowel by a fifth-row vowel. Third and fifth row vowels cannot appear wrd-initially. Other vowels are not affected.
[tu'kempɑ 'piɣɑ se'ɣiɹɑ 'dɑte t͡ʃi βe'niɣɑ pɑso'ʒeɣe e'ⁿdelu]
Tukenpa piga segira, date chi bheniga pasojege endelu.
tu-kempa piga segir-a, date chi MUTATION-earth pasoj<eg>e endelu
after-feel you fly-AN, walk LOC GEN-earth look<APPL> sky
‘After you feel flight, you walk on the earth and look at the sky.

['tuɰɑn 'piɣɑ 'feti 'nemo oɴ 'ɢɑʁe]
Tu’an piga feti, nemo on qaqe.
tu-an piga feti, nemo on qaqe
after-be_located you that_place, want COMP return
‘After you have been there, you want to return.’
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Pāṇini »

So, I didn't make it. Finished at around the two hour mark. Better luck next time, right? [:D] Anyways, the resulting speedlang came out pretty nicely, I think. The phonemic inventory reminds me of Mesoamerica (a constant inspiration of mine lately), though the phonotactics give it some archaic Semitic vibes.

m n
t' c' k'
t c k
b d ɟ g
r j w h

i iː u uː
a aː

phonotactics: (C)V(K), category K representing an approximant or nasal. /w/ cannot appear in the environment of /u(ː)/, nor /j/ in the environment of /i(ː)/.

mm nn rr jj ww hh → mb nd rj jc’ wp’ hk’

Our pronouns are:
uːm, ni, bar, jaːr
1, 2, this_one, that_one

Pronouns (not that it really matters in this excerpt) take the same case particles and number markings as regular nouns.

number markings:
singular: -∅
dual: -hiː
plural: -n/-a

prefixed case particles
accusative: ɟu
allative: kaj
locative: tuː

affixed possessives:
-w/u, -j/i, -r/na, -r/jaː
Working from a template verb structure for the first time in a while.

root + complement + TAM + definite marker

complement affix:
the same as the affixed possessives

TAM affixes:
preterite: -h/ki-
prophesied future: -baː

marker for a definite complement: -w/u
Converbs and verbal nouns
verbal root → converb root
…CV(K) …CVː(K) → V…CVː(K) Vː…CV(K)

can have complement affixes after the root much like verbs

-mur: indicates an action already performed by the time of the finite verb

verbal nouns:
-n(i): infinitive
-tu: forms an abstract noun from a verb, usually denoting a physical motion
The syntax is mostly SVO, but SOV in subordinate clauses. Intransitive verbs operate with active/stative alignment, but in this case it's irrelevant. All adverbs must precede a finite verb.


ɟu aːhatu ic’iːwmur, ni t’iːmna rumduːbaː, waːhk’iː kaj gadaː ukuːjc’amuruː; ni iɟiː bunjaːkiw tuː jaːr, ni a wimdiːrbaː jaːr.

ACC flight experience_CVB-CVB
you forever wander-FUT
eye-DU ALL sky-PL aim_CVB-3-CVB-DEF
you that be-3-PRT-DEF LOC that_one
you and miss-3-FUT-DEF that_one
/tʰiæn ɣɑm tsʰieŋ.hɑ́i dʱɑ́u ‖ ʑʱeŋ dʱəu ᵑgyæɾ tsʰiæn lí/
The sky swallows the road to Kokonor. On the Great Wall, a thousand miles of moonlight.
—/lí ɣɑ̀/ (李賀), tr. A. C. Graham
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Re: One hour challenge - Da Vinci Quote

Post by Plusquamperfekt »

Around 20 minutes...

p t ch k (p t tɕ k)
m n nh ng (m n ɲ ŋ)
f s sh h (f s ʃ h)
w l y (w l j)
r (r)

a e i o u ay aw uy (a e i o u aɪ aʊ uɪ)
aa ee ii oo uu (aʔa eʔe iʔi oʔo uʔu)

Other double vowels like "ae", "ei", "oa", "ua" etc. are not diphthongs, but pronounced in separate syllables.

Lexicon/ nominal morphology:

fly - wana
flight - wanan
flights - wanaʔan

earth - kuni
earths - kunii

eye - laki
eyes - lakii

wilo - sky
wiloo - skies

No cases, the plural is formed by reduplicating the final vowel.

uy - 1SG
aki - 2SG


Once AKI have tasted WANAN, AKI will forever walk the KUNI with your LAKII turned WILOward, for there AKI have been, and there AKI will always long to return. - Leonardo da Vinci

naka = once (conjunction)
ne = possessive postposition (of)
ye = directional postposition (towards)
tay = because (conjunction)
wan = and (conjunction)
kuya = always (adverb)
kuya kuya = forever (adverb)
kaesi = modal postposition (with, bay)

NAKA AKI have tasted WANAN, AKI will KUYA KUYA walk the KUNI AKI NE LAKII WILO YE KAESI, TAY there AKI have been WAN there and there AKI will always long to return.

sana = taste
sanai = have tasted
sanao = will taste

kunu = walk
kunui = have walked
kunua = will walk

ayak = there

yasi = locative postposition (at)

hak = locative postposition (on)

yara = was located

atao = wish

wak = copula

aytay = again
haka = come

once tasted flight, you will-walk forever earth on you of eyes sky to with.

because was.located there and always you of wish be come again there to.

Naka sánai wanan, aki kúnua kuya kuya kuni hak aki ne lákii wilo ye kaesi,
tay yara arak, wan kuya aki ne atao wak haka aytay ayak ye.
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