Welcome! My name is Ty, and I’ll be your guide as you venture into the brambled wilderness of a brand new language that literally no one else on Earth can speak yet.
Uhjayi is a work of fiction, the native tongue of the inlanlu tahori, a species of tribal shapeshifters on a world known as Alasa Ka. Their universe is half-science and half-fantasy: magic and natural selection shape evolution, and a person must use both logic and spirit to thrive. Uhjayi itself is a conlang – a constructed language made to simulate the form of communication an alien culture might possibly use, given that one of their skins is remarkably similar to the one we humans wear all our lives.
Inspired by Pimsleur‘s audio learning method, which heavily emphasizes conversational language and repetition, I dreamed of one day writing and recording Uhjayi scripts in thirty-minute lessons. Like most languages that Pimsleur offers, there would be thirty lessons per level, and three levels to reach functionality/fluency in any given language. The novice is encouraged to reach about 80% proficiency with each lesson before progressing, which can often be done with only one listen-through of the recording.
On a lark, I figured out and jotted down the first would-be lesson on Uhjayi, using the Pimsleur conversation that is universal across the languages offered. My readers responded with startling enthusiasm and encouraged me to continue–and so this blog is born.
This is not my finished product; there are not thirty-minute audio recordings accompanying these texts. There are, instead, under-five-minutes recordings of myself reading through the conversation and then guiding the listener through pronunciation of individual words – and, yes, you do have to say them aloud if you hope to develop the accent and kinetic memory for this language.
Each lesson’s texts begin with a fairly plausible scenario with you-the-learner as the human speaking to the inlanlu, going through the English translation, the literal translation, and then the Uhjayi conversation itself. I provide about five points of interest (Notes) on concepts and important words in the lesson, then three do-it-yourself questions (Extra Credit) to help integrate the concepts shown and/or explained. You are strongly encouraged to post your answers as a reply to the post for review and encouragement.
After every five lessons, I will post a cumulative review, going into a little more detail on the concepts so far discussed and expanding the vocabulary that was glossed over in previous lessons. There will also be a small quiz to test your retention and comprehension; again, post your answers for feedback and gold stars!
You can do all of this at your own pace; I will respond to comments on every post, no matter how old the post may be when you reply to it. For myself, I don’t promise to be perfectly consistent on a posting schedule; I’m learning as I create and polish these lessons, and some of them will be a little slower in coming than others.
You’re always welcome to contact me however you’d like – ask questions, suggest tweaks, or share your own linguistic geekery. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my Twitter is @tybarbary. You can also just leave a note in reply to this page.
Let’s get started!