A language for mother-in-law

“Tafresopl”, dear readers! A Krasnodar citizen invented the shortest language in the world. 43-year-old Ivan Karasev is known as the author of a logico-taxonomic language Arahau - one of the most unusual and capacious artificial languages in the world. So far it is spoken by only several people. But, according to the author, project Arahau is postmodern and does not have aim to be learnt by a lot of people. It is more of a Krasnodar attraction. The work on Arahau started in 1995. From the very beginning Ivan considered it as a game – every letter got certain meaning.

Heinlein’s theory

Krasnodar citizen is acquainted with famous artificial languages – Esperanto and Volapük, but he did not want to use them as a guideline. “lf you cannot learn a language, create your own one, – says Ivan Karasev. – I wanted to create a compact language that would be at most archaic, at the same time suitable for interpretation of present words and explaining the appearance of new ones”.
A theory of 1949 by American science-fictionist Robert Heinlein in his “Gulf” novel influenced the creation of Arahau. Really, if there is a stenography – shorthand and speed reading, why do not work out the ways of “speed speaking” and “speed thinking”? So adherents of the artificial language offer to compress our speech – up to separate sounds.

No grammar
Speaking of the rules of a new language, its creator underlines that it is a minimalistic linguistic project. There are no declensions and conjugations – there is almost no grammar and only two parts of speech – a verb and a noun in it. Vowels form roots of words and consonants specify the meaning. There are no exotic sounds, unknown to an European in the alphabet. Hearing the dialogue in Arahau, philologists say that it sounds like a mix of Finnish, Turkish and German languages.
Ivan admitted that to construct Arahau he used phonological system of Finnish language, principles of making words from Arabian (but here vowels are the main), polysynthetism of Asian and Indian languages of America. Roughly speaking, polysynthetism is ability of roots of the words to be “attached” to a verb, making one inseparable word instead of a sentence.

It is shorter in Arahau
But why one needs novodel? “Anything that can be said in Russian, in Arahau is several times shorter. If in Russian a phrase needs a sentence, here it needs one word. A friend of mine, having heard about it, joked: “I need to tell my mother-in-law to learn Arahau!” For example, a phrase “I live in Krasnodar” in Arahau sounds like “TmaGoisgaup” and Krasnodar region is “ÖdlöGoisgau”.
At the moment the creator of the language is finishing his work on an Arahau textbook and a vocabulary of 1500 words, that will be issued this autumn. “As I was told, from the time of decay of USSR, such editions have not appeared in our country. But in Soviet time such projects could be counted on one hand,” – admitted our interlocutor.
Would you like to greet somebody in new language? It is quite simple! “Frё” means “Good afternoon”, “arkё” is “welcome”. As a rule, fans of unusual language start their meetings with traditional “Tafresopl” – “We glad to see all of you”.

Andrew Koshik, "Yug-Times" ("Юг-Таймс", Краснодар),
№20, 31 July - 6 August, 2013
In Russian