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Date: 10-Nov-92 03:46 EST
From: Dan Maxwell [email protected]
Subj: Poliespo

I came across the following item in the October issue of *Esperanto*:

The 40 year old Nvwtohiyada Idehesdi Sequoyah (previously Billy Joe Waldon) was condemned to death last year in California. Not everyone believes that the Cherokee Indian, who created 'Poliespo' (Esperanto extended by Cherokee words), was guilty of murders. His defense committee is striving to save him from the death penalty [two addresses of his defense committee follow, one in Berkeley, USA, and one in Horgen, Switzerland].

speculation: Don Harlow lives near Berkeley, I think, so maybe this is one of the things taking up his time in place of conlang.

questions: Does Poliespo count as a new language for Rick H's list? Does Esperanto phonology have to be extended to accomodate Cherokee words? Esperanto orthography does not have 'y' or 'q', but the sounds apparently indicated by these letters can be approximated fairly well in Esperanto orthography. The real question to me is the nature of the consonant cluster at the beginning of the first name and how many others like it are found in Cherokee.

Perhaps this item raises more general questions about how/whether an existing IAL can be influenced by contact with other languages. In this case, the answer might depend on how the above story comes out.

[email protected]

Date: 10-Nov-92 08:56 EST
From: Mark E. Shoulson [email protected]
Subj: Poliespo

Nick Nicholas mailed me some information he had on Poliespo several months back. I was rather underwhelmed by the whole thing. It has some interesting points, but whatever positive side it has tends to be drowned out by the whole tone of the material. It appears to be, in Nick's words, the work of a crank. Oh, it's plainly based on real Esperanto, and I'm sure the Cherokee is genuine, but it looks to me like a combination of some of the worst aspects of both. There's also an invitation to join an obvious pyramid scheme for 'making money' (for him, not you), promises of how using Poliespo will somehow gain you a Cherokee soul, etc.

He uses some rather bizarre orthography, involving underscored and overstuck characters to handle the nasalizations and other characteristics of the Poliespo phonology, but I recall he also mentions another orthography, non-romic, which he claims has the advantage of disambiguating things like 'malica' from 'mal- + -*ica'. I'm not sure if this is the same as the old Sequoyah orthography, which he mentions. I haven't looked at the stuff in a while. If anyone's interested, I could probably make copies of what I have and mail it out.

I'll take another look and try to write something meaningful for you all...

I didn't know he was on trial, though....


Date: 11-Nov-92 11:58 EST
From: Mark E. Shoulson [email protected]
Subj: Poliespo

Well, I found the material Nick sent me about Poliespo. Started scanning over it again last night. It's worse than I remember it (though the linguistic work per se is a little better than I remember). I promised myself I'd get to show you the orthography (the romified orthography) for this. I'll try to explain what the characters look like. Hang on:

a, a-hat, a-with-a-slash-through-it, slashed-a-hat, b, b-breve, c, c-hat, d, e, e-hat, f, g, g-hat, h, h-hat, i, i-breve, i-breve-followed-by-colon, i-breve-with-an-acute-accent, i-hat, i-hat-followed-by-colon, i-hat-accented, j, j-hat, k, k-breve, l, m, m-breve, n, n-breve, o, o-hat, p, p-overstruck-with-w, s, s-hat, t, t-hat, t-overstruck-with-v, u, u-hat, u-breve, v, z, z-hat, z-breve, q, q-with-acute-accent, q-hat, q-hat-with-acute-accent, w, w-with-acute-accent, w-hat, w-hat-with-acute-accent, x, x-with-acute-accent, y, 2, 2-with-accent.

I wouldn't kid you about something like this. See below for notes on the acute accents. The i's-with-colons mean double length, used in something like two affixes (as in Cherokee, apparently). Elsewhere length is unimportant.

Nineteen(!) vowels (this from a pamphlet that has the gall to say, a few paragraphs later (translated from Esperanto): IN ESPERANTO AND IN CHEROKEE, BUT NOT IN ENGLISH (THE LARGEST EUROPEAN LANGUAGE), THE NORMAL 5-VOWEL PATTERN WITH ONE OR TWO SMALL MODIFICATIONS IS USED. (Part of a list of similarities between E-o and Cherokee, indicating the wonderful rightness of Poliespo or something)). Vowels are: a,e,i,o,u as in Esperanto. a-hat, e-hat, o-hat, and u-hat (NOT i-hat), are the same but nasalized. slashed-a is \ae, as in American 'ash', with a hat it's nasalized. i-breve is [I] as in 'ship', i-hat is nasalized i-breve (not i!). q is the sound in 'girl', etc. with a hat it's nasalized. w is the sound in 'awful', 'law' (pardon me for not using IPA, but I'm not going to trust *his* analysis, and I'm not going to trust mine, and I'd probably misrepresent anyway. So cope with the na�ve explanation by example), w-hat is nasalized. x is schwa, its nasal form is written 2 (so chosen because 2 resembles the author's hand-drawn symbol of the profile of a nose).

Consonants as in E-o, unfamiliar ones: b-breve, k-breve, m-breve, n-breve are as their E-o equivalents, but (near as I can understand) pre-aspirated (or just aspirated?) with a *nasal* h. t-hat is voiceless th, t-overstruck-with-v is voiced th. p-overstruck-with-w is 'pw' as one consonant (labialized p?). z-hat is 'kts' as one consonant, z-breve is voiced analogue (gdz). y is '^hy' (esperanto ^h) pronounced as one consonant (palalized ^h?). Glottal stops, sometimes required, are not generally written. And I don't think the tones(!) are either, though the tonal system and its significance are hard to make out. Then again, I didn't try very hard. Wait, my mistake. The acute accents are used to indicate stransition from tone 2 to tone 3 (rising). Something is also said about a fourth tone, and maybe a first, but it's not always easy to tell when he's talking about Cherokee, Poliespo, or the myriad versions and incarnations of the intermediate and related languages he's developed.

Also talks of the 'Arabic Poliespo alphabet', so named because it uses more Arabic numerals, nothing to do with that language's orthography per se. Uses other symbols for hard-to-get Poliespo symbols: z-hat --> 3, t-hat --> 4, a-hat --> 5, t-overstruck-with-v --> 6, slashed-a --> 7, p-overstruck-with-w --> 8, slashed-a-hat --> 9, z-breve --> %, i-breve --> ), i-breve-accent --> (, i-hat --> ], i-hat-accent --> [, w-hat --> $, w-hat-accent --> &, x-hat --> !, 2-accent --> 1/2, q-accent --> =, q-hat --> +, q-hat-accent --> #. He makes a point to say that the symbols were chosen to resemble what they represent in some fashion. To him, maybe.

Notes that getting the pronunciation shouldn't be too tough; it was developed from his accent, which he says is similar to fairly standard central/south/western US, so all you have to do is see some Hollywood movies or get English tapes from America, until the first Poliespo teaching cassette comes out. How convenient can you get?

I should note that he doesn't get into phonology until well into the paper, so you're sort of lost in the orthography earlier. If you think the phonology is rough, you don't want to think about the morphology and grammar. The language of discourse, for the most part, is reasonably correct Esperanto, but it's cramped and hard to read, and you have to watch out for his frequent abbreviations, which he uses as Esperanto roots with no marking, and at least one neologism, 'pi', which he uses as a gender-neutral, sentience-neutral third-person-singular pronoun.

There seem to be conjugational affixes to indicate both subject and object (cf. Okrand's Klingon, which, after all, took the idea from Native American languages), and apparently a dual in second person. The affixes have different forms depending on whether they precede consonants or vowels (allomorphy! Run! Hide!). If I read the table aright (probability about 60%), there are 65 combinations of subj/obj taken into consideration, with two sets of beforeC/beforeV versions for each. Not sure how many are distinct. Probably most. Words wind up being pretty damn large.

There seem to be agglutinative constructions for temporal and spatial tenses (rather fine-grained, I think, for some), some evidential markers (attested/not attested by speaker...), hmmm, do I see dasuinction between living and non-living subjects/objects in grammar? I think so, at least in some cases (I'm skimming tables with little understanding, so take with a grain of salt). I think there are 'try-to-X' contructions, as well as more complex ones.

Positive side to the paper: It includes a table of the Sequoyah Syllabary (which he periodically uses here and there when discussing Cherokee). If you trust what he has to say, that could be a useful addition to a lingvomaniac's collection.

Um, lessee... What else can I say, without actually going much into this mess? I suspect I've already said more than enough. Hey, as the paper says, "POLIESPO IS YOUR GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE AN IROQUOIAN SPIRIT." Lucky me. He's got plans for a few organizations as well, and Nick sent me some of their one-page flyers as well. And you know? If person A recruits person B, A automatically receives, credited to A's account, 20% of the membership dues of B, and 20% of the money paid to the organization by B during B's lifetime. But I magnanimously waive my rights to your dough under that policy if any of you decides to join up. Sounds like a pyramid scheme to me... Organizations I see: The 'Monda Esperanto-Organiza^jo' (World Esperanto Organization)... 'Monda Poliespo-Organiza^jo' (World Poliespo Organization)... 'Monda Homaranisma Eklezio' (World Humanitarian Church)... and the 'Unui^gintaj Nacioj de A^utonomiaj Popoloj' (United Nations of Autonomous Peoples). Each has its own little agenda, which I'll not get into here.

OK, I've gone on long enough...


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