Tyl-Sjok is an artificial isolating language with mono- and bisyllabic stems and a totally regular grammar using a fixed word order: agent verb patient (SVO). A summary of features will be given in Section 1.3.
Each word stands by itself and cannot be modified in any way by other words or particles that are added. This means that there is neither declension nor conjugation in Tyl-Sjok nor any other form of stem modification.
Tyl-Sjok was designed to be as simple as possible and as easy to learn for people no matter what their mother tongue is. Many languages have influenced the author for the design of Tyl-Sjok. This is his second artificial language, which is hoped to be less complicated than his first one, Fukhian, although that language was absolutely free of irregularities, too, but in Fukhian, there are still too many rules.
Although Tyl-Sjok is designed to be simple, it is not meant to be a lingua franca for the inhabitants of the earth, but the goal of the design is to have a piece of art, an artificial language, that is elegant by its simplicity and expressiveness. One principle is that imprecise sentences are short and need a lot of context, but can be extended to express every shade the speaker wants to stress. Tyl-Sjok shall not be linked to any fictious culture, but is designed for humans.
The references to a fictious proto-Tyl-Sjok language, Ancient Tyl-Sjok, should be kept minimal. Only very few words (like numbers) should be constructed with a more primitive language underneath. Tyl-Sjok is meant to be an elegant language without irregularities from ancient times. It is the starting point for other languages to develop. This is why there shall not be words that are contracted from old words. Tyl-Sjok also should not have any loan words from other languages.
Currently, this goal is violated by numbers only, which are contracted from older words.
The main language that has influenced Tyl-Sjok is Mandarin Chinese, which is the most recent language the author has started to study before the creation of Tyl-Sjok. Mandarin grammar made many things in other languages seem superfluous and complicated. Aspects of many languages and the need for a grammar that is free of any irregularities then finally led to Tyl-Sjok.
The following list shows some aspects that seem to be a problem when learning a foreign language. Tyl-Sjok tries to eliminate (or at least minimise) the problem of all of them.
Derived forms may still be unpredictable when you happen to know the gender (although in German, this often helps). Some examples for plural forms in German: `der Hals' `die Hälse' vs. `der Rand' `die Ränder' vs. `der Strahl' `die Strahlen' vs. `der Schal' `die Schals' vs. `der Wal' `die Wale' vs. `der Saal' `die Säle'.
Sometimes, the plural form is different for different meanings of a word, e.g., the plural of `die Bank' (E.: `the bank') is `die Banken' but for `die Bank' (E.: `the bench'), it is `die Bänke'.
Agglutinating languages are more regular, but usually have harmony rules that apply when an affix is added and which can change the stem and/or the affix. Examples are Finnish (`katu' (E.: `Street') `kadulla' (E.: `on the street')) or Turkish (`ev' (E.: `house') `evler' (E.: `houses') vs. `adam' (E.: `man') `adamlar' (E.: `men')).
In Tyl-Sjok, it was tried to keep out any semantic concord, too, although this is very hard. One thing is a `default verb': for a `car' the most natural thing will be to drive it, for `food' to eat it. When it's clear, the verb may be left out to reduce this kind of concord.
Note that excluding articles does not mean that demonstrative pronouns do not exist.
Mandarin and many other languages classify every noun by a unit word to count objects. E.g., cats are counted in another way than dogs. And horses are counted in yet another way. Furthermore, words that happen to be unity words may be counted without another unit word, e.g., cups (Mand.: `bēi'). This does not seems to be necessary, so both Tyl-Sjok and Fukhian allow counting everything without the help of unit words.
German gender becomes even trickier nowadays as people try to use more logical gender assignments. E.g., grammatically, `das Mädchen' (the girl) is neuter. Adjectives and articles in concord will therefore use neuter forms. But modern German tends to still use feminine gender in subsequent sentences that refer to the word: `sie' is used.
Number also has its problems. English dialects differ in which number `the couple', `the crowd', etc. have. Other words like `the police' is always clearly plural. All of the previous are unmarked for plural, though.
Many languages show that only very few tenses are sufficient to express everything. All languages the author knows have at least some basic forms of tenses and moods. Tyl-Sjok, however, will be free of complicated tenses and moods. Auxiliary words like `formerly' or `in the future' or `possible' will be available, of course, in order to get the full expressiveness.
In contrast to that, Mandarin has many composite words. Theoretically, this should be easier to learn. But because Mandarin often uses bi-syllabic words, monosyllabic words are often extended to two syllables (e.g. `dao' (knife) is extended to `daozi' (knife) just to be longer) and longer words, resulting from composition, are reduced to fewer syllables (e.g. `déyu' (E.: `German') and `hànyu' (E.: `Mandarin') are composed to form `déhàn' for a `German-Mandarin' dictionary. Or the word `airport' reduces to `jīchang' from `fēijī' (E.: `plane') and `chang'). Needless to say, the process of extending and reducing words to two syllables follows no general rule. This makes Mandarin vocabulary very complex, too.
Many languages also use foreign words that have to be learned instead of an easy composition. European languages often borrow words from Latin and Greek: `church' `ecclesiastical'. This even happens if the stem has the same origin. Then one of them may undergo the pronunciation shifts for that language, the other one does not. E.g. in French: `église' (church) `ecclesial' (ecclisiastical).
Mandarin, because of its semantic writing, does not incorporate foreign words well, e.g., the writing of the word for `Sandwich' (Mand.: `sānmíngzhì') starts with the characters for `three' and for `bright'.
In Tyl-Sjok it was tried to use simple, maximally bi-syllabic stems together with logical composition in order to make vocabulary as easy as possible. The creation of vocabulary, however, is one of the hardest tasks and hopefully the goals can be achieved.
This is in contrast to most natural languages. I chose the design, because underspecification is a principle. It is elegant to be done this way. If you mean a man, add the word `man'. If you mean a woman, add `woman' (where `woman', of course, is not derived from `man' in Tyl-Sjok).
All these aspects have led to the structure Tyl-Sjok now has. It is intended to be as elegant as possible. The word for elegant by being simple and logical in Tyl-Sjok is `tyl': tyl. That's way Tyl-Sjok is called `tyl sjok' tyl sjok.
The following is a brief overview of features of Tyl-Sjok.
The agent slot is (usually) assigned when an entity is in control. Other possibilities would be to distinguish events from states.
However, the following constraint holds: embedded clauses where the entity is referenced will be analysed as attributes (`I like red cars.'), whereas the others (those that are not embedded or those that have other references) will be analysed as predicates (`I like that cars are red').
Throughout this document, phenomena of Tyl-Sjok may be explained as if it were a non-artificial language. For example, it is assumed that Tyl-Sjok is spoken somewhere, say in a country, and that one can distinguish dialects by locations in that country.
Another point is that development of the language is assumed to have occurred in the past.
This is not done in order to construct a fictional world where Tyl-Sjok is spoken, but to have a means of explaining and constructing the language in a more natural way.