Mini Mundo: A Minimal Creole

S.C. Gruget
12 min readMay 5, 2021

Note: This document is deprecated. Visit minilanguage.com for more info.

Mini Mundo—now known simply as Mini—is a minimalistic global creole language that extends the core Mini language to 1,000 words with a supplemental vocabulary.

Mini Mundo has a simple consonant-vowel phonetics, inflectionless grammar, and recognizable yet globally diverse vocabulary, making it suitable for use as an international auxiliary language.

Features of Mini Mundo:

  • Subject-Verb-Object
  • Head-first word ordering
  • Purely analytic grammar
  • Powerful auxiliary verb system
  • Part-of-speech invariance: Mini uses strict a word ordering to determine part of speech with 3 particles to mark the introduction of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, respectively. This allows most words to be used any part of speech without inflection.
  • Only 19 phonemes: Five vowels /a e i o u/ and fourteen consonants /b d f g k l m n p r s t v/ and j /dʒ/
  • Simple phonotactics: Every syllable is C?Vn?, similar to many Austronesian languages.
  • Only 1,000 words (or morphemes): 120 from Mini Kore; 880 from Mini Mundo.
  • Optimal vocabulary size: The goal of Mini Mundo is to have as small a vocabulary as possible while being sufficient for most news articles, blog posts, short stories etc. Limiting the vocabulary to 1,000 total words and focusing on casual conversation makes the language much easier to learn. Mini Mundo matches the linguistic complexity of many real-world creole languages.
  • Naturalistic sourcing: Mini Mundo attempts to source words that match the orthography and pronunciation from their respective source languages as much as possible while maintaining the language’s phonetic constraints.
  • Balanced word selection: Mini Mundo strives to balance maximum derivational power with conversational naturalness. As a result, the language features common everyday items and terms (banana, pen, amigo) and words that serve as building blocks for more difficult concepts (eki, out of/outside/ex- ; tenden, tendency/-inclined). There also are several short-hand words that are easily derivable from other Mini words that are added for convenience (se, if; nun, now).
  • Powerful word-compounding system
  • International breadth & depth: Mini Mundo also strives to balance maximum international recognizability of vocabulary with language breadth. A majority of words are sourced from English and the Romance languages, but many other source languages are used, including Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Lakota, Hungarian, Tamil, Russian, Turkish, Swahili, Nahuatl, Malay, Japanese, Mandarin, German, Swedish, Yoruba, and others. One technique used frequently was to prefer non-Western loanwords in Western languages, e.g. safari, tomato, guru, which come from Arabic, Nahuatl, and Hindi, respectively.
  • Beginner friendly: Beginners can learn the language in stages, starting with Mini, which is a complete language of 120 words, before proceeding to Mini Mundo.

I. New vocabulary

Mini Mundo is a supplemental vocabulary of 880 words to Mini Kore’s 120 words, for a grand total of 1,000 words.

The new vocabulary was selected in part by consulting word frequency lists in several languages and opportunistically merging similar words.

A significant portion — perhaps a third — of Mini Mundo’s vocabulary is derived from Glosa, a conlang created in the 70’s that I discovered midway through creating this language. Given Mini Mundo’s phonetic constraints, there aren’t many direct borrowings, but there are a lot of semantic equivalents.

A much smaller portion of the vocabulary is derived from other conlangs: Esperanto, Pandunia, and Globasa.

My “algorithm” for sourcing vocabulary:

  1. If there is an obvious internationally recognizable word, choose that: radio, banana, guru
  2. If there is a non-Western loanword common in English or the Romance languages, choose that: tabu, tipi, geko
  3. If there is a Romance or Germanic term that is good, use that: agila, bebe, fide
  4. Otherwise, choose the best-fitting word from all the world’s major languages, giving precedence to larger-population languages or languages that haven’t already been used: igi (Yoruba), jin (Mandarin), puko (Finnish)

Each word additionally must:

  1. Satisfy Mini’s phonetic constraints (C?Vn?) and be no more than 4 syllables.
  2. Match the pronunciation or orthography (or ideally, both) of one source language as closely as possible (as opposed to “blending” words of different origins).
  3. Avoid words which sound too similar, especially when they are used in similar contexts.

This approach leads to a vocabulary which is both internationally recognizable and inclusive of a wide diversity of languages, from Lakota to Hungarian to Zulu.

In true postmodern fashion, Mini Mundo’s vocabulary oscillates between the high- and the low-brow. On the one hand, there are borrowings from Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit (e.g. fusi, fusion; lipo, fat; duka, suffering). On the other, there are colloquialisms like tivi, TV; pipi, pee; dogi, doggy.

With the introduction of the new vocabulary, most of the original Mini Kore words revert to their narrower, less metaphoric meaning. One example would be the word vasa. In Mini Kore, this would be the word you would use to say humid, liquid, wash, or bath. In Mini Mundo, you would use the more precise vocabulary of umi, liki, lava, or bano, respectively.

A random sample of the new vocabulary arranged by theme:

  • Colors: bulu, ruja, midori, pila
  • Animals: gato, dogi, kavalo, muso
  • Food: keju, keki, vino, patata
  • Furniture: kabinete, sofa, kama
  • Emotions: joli, melankoli, furi, fobo
  • Technology: konputa, radio, fon
  • Clothing: roba, jaketa, sapato, topi
  • Abstractions: idea, neso, loji, siensa
  • Body: neka, pedi, lunge, rena
  • Time: ora, minute, soma, ano
  • Direction: direto, sinisa, nore, vese
  • People: bebe, kinde, raja, polisa
  • Places: kasa, siti, patio, kanpo

View the full glossary

II. Language additions

Mini Mundo uses the same grammar as Mini Kore. I recommend familiarizing yourself with it before proceeding to the additions below.

Compound words

The biggest problem with Mini Kore is that there is no way to differentiate compound words from ordinary words being modified by adjectives. This seriously impedes the ability to form and discuss more difficult subjects.

Mini Mundo solves this problem by introducing explicit compounding: Compound words in Mini Mundo are formed by chaining consecutive words with a hyphen, with the head occurring last. Note that this is the reverse of the usual Mini word order.

Compound words can make use of prefixes, infixes, and suffixes and are not bound by Mini’s strict modifier semantics.

Single-syllable words in compounds are often not stressed when spoken.

Examples of compound words in Mini Mundo (in a random order):

Mini                     Englishpasa-pota                passport
anti-kapitala-isimo anticapitalism
bon-veni welcome
regen-uti umbrella (rain-tool)
en-mun, eki-mun entrance (in-door), exit (out-door)
inventi-man inventor (invent-person)
kinde-gaden kindergarten (child-garden)
inveti-banka-man investment banker (invest-bank-person)
en-move-tion immigration (in-move-tion)
sivi-tion civilization (civil-tion)
semi-pota semiconductor (semi-carry)
inta-neto internet
mala-tira misfire (bad-shoot)
ale-en-i-savi omniscient (all-knowing)
bon-neso goodness (good-ness)

Common words that can be used as affixes include:

Mini    Englishale-    all- / pan-
anti- anti- / contra-
bon- eu-
ego- self- / auto-
eki- ex-
en- in- / en-
feme- gyno- / she- / -woman
-fule -full
gen- re-
inta- inter-
-isimo -ism
-kan -able
kon- con-
make- -ify / -ize
mala- dis-
-man -er
mega- mega- (augmentative)
mini- mini- / -y / -ette (diminutive)
mui- multi- / poly-
no- un- / a-
-neso -ness / -ity
-ranko -th (ordinal)
semi- semi- / half-
-siensa -ology
-tenden -tending / -inclined
-tion -tion / -sion / -tive
-uti -tool
veni- become-
via- trans-
viro- andro- / he- / -man

Compounds words have the same semantics as other words in Mini Mundo and can be used as any part of speech:

Bisinesa-man i en-pota a kilo-gama 200 de vino-beri.
The businessman imports (in-carries) 200 kilograms of grapes (wine-berries).
Gen-viva de bete no-mori i de kon-pasa kon ruina de tunba si.
The revival (again-life) of the undead beast coincided (with-happened) with the destruction of his tomb.
Siensa-man i pensa ke viru raja-topi i mebi ave veni de kave vola-muso.
The scientist thinks the corona (royal-hat) virus might have come from a bat (flight-mouse) cave.

Number system

Mini Mundo adds a full base-10 number system to Mini.

Numbers can be read off digit by digit or in a Chinese-like fashion by combining a digit with a power of ten.

nulo  0
uno 1
duo 2
san 3
fo 4
penta 5
sita 6
seven 7
ba 8
nin 9
ten 10
sento 100
kilo 1,000
mega 1,000,000
giga 1,000,000,000
tera 1,000,000,000,000
37 san ten seven
136,789,005 sento san ten sita mega seven sento ba ten nin kilo penta / uno san sita seven ba nin nulo nulo penta
4.01 fo punto nulo uno / fo an uno de peso sento
2/3 duo de peso teri
-42 meno fo ten duo
6th sita-ranko
5+2 penta an duo
6-3 sita meno san
4/5 fo de-i divi de 5
3*9 san kon nin
4^5 fo go penta
11:30 am ten uno san ten en ante senta
4:55 pm fo penta ten penta en afa senta
7 o'clock ora seven
Monday dia uno
Wednesday dia san
Dec 5th penta de monato ten duo

Comparisons

Less-than comparisons can now be formed with meno:

Mini Mundo e duro meno go-i pale sama Mini Kore.
Mini Mundo is less hard to speak than Mini Kore.
Si deteki a poma meno.
She finds fewer apples.
Da a gato bela meno da ke mi ave mira ni.
That's the least beautiful cat I've ever seen.

Shorthand conjunctions

Mini Mundo adds a few additional subordinating conjunctions for convenience: In place of the compound phrase go rason ke (because), there is now the single word ka; in place of en mebi ke (if), there’s se; in place of en pero-pero ke (although), there’s tamen.

Vaku-man i kan mira a najima ka ventana si i en punto eki de Tera.
The spaceman can see the star because his window is pointing away from Earth.
Ka mi odi a tu, mi senti sama en-i begin a aero-loka.
Because I hate you, I feel like opening the airlock.
Se tu begin a mun, mi ale i go e de-i suko en vaku.
If you open the door, we will be sucked into space.
Tamen si go mori, si deside begin a loka.
Although s/he will die, s/he decides to open the lock.

Each of these conjunctions can be combined with de to function as a compound preposition:

Ka de tu, mi ave no a manja sufi.
Because of you, I don't have enough food.
Mi vole bibe a kosa, se de bira, vino, u kafe.
I want to drink something, whether beer, wine, or coffee.
Tamen de manja mala, si kipa go tamen a retorante.
Despite the bad food, he nevertheless keeps going to the restaurant.

Common adverbs

Many common adverbs in Mini Kore are replaced with more specific words in Mini Mundo:

English     Kore      Mini Mundoback        afa       baka
forward ante fore
only pero solo
out/away de eki
still/yet kipa ankora
already ante deja
almost ——— kasi

Mini Mundo also has many shorthand words to replace what would be temporal expressions in Mini Kore:

Kore              Mini Mundo  Englishgo tenpo ota      gen         again
go tenpo ale tuju always
en tenpo no ni never
en tenpo mini sun soon
en tenpo di nun now
en tenpo da den then

Prepositions

Mini Kore has only 5 prepositions (de, en, go, kon, sama) and makes extensive use of compounds such as en ante de or en via de to express what are single-word prepositions in English.

Mini Mundo allows these Mini Kore words to be used as prepositions in their own right: afa, ante, supa, unda, and via.

In addition, Mini Mundo adds a few new prepositions: anti (against), inta (between), and tila (until).

Determiners

Mini Mundo adds several new determiners / adverbs:

Mini Mundo  Englishani         any / whichever
kada each
so such / so
some some / few / somewhat

Reflexive pronoun

The Mini Mundo word ego (self) replaces sama as the reflexive pronoun:

E raro ke si pale kon ego si.
It's weird that he talks with himself (his self).
Mi ale i joli a ego mi (ale).
We enjoy ourselves (my (our) self).

Particle dropping

In order to make the language feel more natural, Mini Mundo (unlike Mini Kore) allows the dropping of the particle i in cases where the subject is clear from context: If the subject is a proper noun, a single word pronoun, or a common compound pronoun (like mi ale), then i may be omitted.

This does not apply if the verb is a conjunction or a preposition where the omitted particle could lead to confusion. The same is true for gerunds/participles where the i in en-i may never be omitted.

Mi ale i vole manja.
=> Mi ale vole manja.
We want to eat.
Mario i de pasa a pan-botega.
=> Mario de pasa a pan-botega.
Mario passed the bakery (bread-store).
Mi i an a si a seri mi.
I add it to my list.
Luse i lava en via mi.
Light washes over me.
Si mira a mi en-i kuri.
He sees me running.

Sample Texts

Peso 1 de Anunsi Univesa de Dereka Man

Man ale e de-i nati libera an egala en onore an dereka. Si ale e de-i vare kon rason an konsiense an i debe ato go man ota kada en moda de sibi-neso.

Tore de Babel (Gen 11:1–9)

Nun, tera ale i ave a linga uno an pale komun. Sama man mui i move ese, si-ale i loke a kanpo en Shinar an i veni viva da.

Si ale dire go ota kada a “I veni! Mi ale ja make a kubo mui and i oven ale a si ale.” Si ale uti a kubo, en loke de roka, an bitumen en loke de roka-gupu. Den, si ale dire a “I veni! Mi ale ja make go ego mi a siti, kon tore ke go a selo, go ke mi ale kan make a name go ego mi; ota-moda, mi ale e de-i difuse via visaje de tera ale.”

Pero, Senjore veni unda an mira a siti an tore ke man mui i de en make. Senjore dire, “Se si ale, sama populo uno en-i pale a linga sama, i ave begin make a di, den, nulo ke si tenta make i go e mebi no. I veni! Mi ja go unda an konfuse a pale si go ke si ale kan no savi a ota kada.”

Rason, Senjore difuse a si ale, de da en via tera ale, an si ale de para make a siti. Da a rason ke si e de-i voka a Babel — ka Deo konfuse da a linga de mundo ale.

Ila Lago de Inisfri
De WB Yeats

Mi go leva an go nun, an go a Inisfri,
An i make da a kasa mini, de tera-gupu an fense-baton;
Mi go ave da a fava-seri nin, nida go madu-ara,
An i viva solo en kanpo de sono ara.
An mi go ave da a pase some, ka pase i veni unda lenta,
En-i unda de visaje-tela de maten go loke ke kirikiti i kanti;
Da, senta-eve e luse ale, and senta-dia a luse lila,
An eve e fule de vinge tori.
Mi go leva an go nun, ka tuju en eve an dia
Mi ia a vasa lago en-i eko kon sono bajo de litora;
Sama ke mi ereki en jalan, u en kelabu de beton,
Mi ia a si, en kore de kore dipa.

Muravi an Kirikiti
De Aisopo

En dia luse uno en fini otono, fami de Muravi i joli rondo en luse sole kalori, en-i seko a sereale ke si ale ave kipa go soma, en tenpo ke Kirikiti uno en-i famine, kon violin en unda rama si, i veni eki an dua umile go peso go-i manja.

Muravi ale i voka a “Ke!” en faja, “Tu ave kipa no a kosa ani go vinta? Tu make en soma pasa ale a ke?”

Kirikiti voka a “Mi de ave no a tenpo go-i kipa a manja ani. Mi de e uri so en-i musika ke soma i de ave fini en ante ke mi de savi a si.”

Muravi i kanda en degu.

“Tu de en musika?” Si ale voka. “Bon mui; dansa nun!” An si ale jira a baka si de Kirikiti an i sige kon labora si.

Morale: A tenpo go-i labora an tenpo go-i ludi.

Kanti 23

Senjore a ovi-man mi; mi go famine no.

Si make ke mi pone unda en kanpo midori: Si lida a mi, en lado vasa resi.

Si gen-sano a anima mi: Si lida a mi, en jalan de morala-neso go rason o name Si.

Ja, en pero-pero ke mi kamina en via vali de osura de mori, mi fobo a mala no: ka Tu e kon mi; baton Tu an uka Tu i konfi a mi.

Tu redi a mesa en ante mi en loke o enemi mi: Tu santi kon ole a kapo mi; kopa mi i fusi eki.

Sure, bon-neso an piti i go sige a mi en dia ale de viva mi: An mi i go domo tuju en kasa de Senjore.

De ‘Esamin Fo-Ano an Eki-Mira go Fo-Ano Uno-Ranko de 2021

En anti de saje komun, no-sofio-tion e ma-mebi sama sofio-tion en-i ma-rapi. Ka kote i de anti-sofio en fo-ano duo-ranko de 2020, ratio sofio-tion ano i go move supa lakoni. En afa ke efeto base di e de-i fini, pensa o bisinesa-rondo, ekonomi-figura, an mone-politi i sujesi ke ratio sofio-tion i medi-veni e bajo ma, en fini de ano, an i go unda-jeti a mudi 2% de Fed. Loko sofio-tion, ke ave kapa a debe-basara, i kali eki en visaje de anti-sofio-tion kipa-tenden so.

En afa en-i unda de 5.2% en 2020, u ma da en afa-inta de Gera Mundo II, GDP per capita (Vare Domo Ale go popula) mundo-lati e de-i sujesi leva a 4.7% en 2021. Lan de-i Uno go make o bon ma ankora, en-i leva a 6.2%, en afa mini-tion de 4.9% en 2020. Ratio develo US en ano di i de kan e rapi ma da en afa-inta 1984 an mebi afa-inta 1950 (Mapa 1).

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