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So what do itollis and evue actually mean?

"It has to be recognised that many Chinese compounded ideographs are conventional and far from obvious to the Western mind, but the principle is sound and has been applied logically and systematically to Speedwords in such a way that the resulting compounds are self-evident at a glance."

[Dutton Speedwords Dictionary, 1951, page 4]


The -ll- in the middle of the word means we must have a morpheme boundary, so we can initially divide the word thus itol-lis.

If we know Speedword's 491 root words and its battery of 20 affixes, we will realize that we could have

  1. i-to-l   =   in-amount-SPECIAL
  2. it-ol   =   implement-receptacle

As Dutton's use of the SPECIAL affix is unpredictable, we check the 1951 Dictionary and find he did not list tol as a derivative of to, so analysis (b) is probably more likely, even though we may be a bit puzzled what a "receptacle implement" might be (Remember: Speedwords compounds are head-modifier sequence).

With lis we seem to be on firmer ground. It can only be: li-s   =   liquid-COMPLEMENT. Indeed, the Dictionary does list: lis 'solid'.

So itollis seems to be "solid receptacle implement". Is this some sort of implement for receiving solids? It is not immediately obvious what this might be.

But no, we were misaken in thinking the last element was lis. A bit of detective work in the Dictionary reveals that the final -s complements the compound olli, "liquid receptacle", i.e. 'a receptacle for holding liquid', namely a "bottle". A bottle's complement is, according to Dutton, a "cork"!


  1. it-ol-li-s
    implement-receptacle-liquid-COMPLEMENT →
  2. it-olli-s
    implement-bottle-COMPLEMENT →
  3. it-ollis
    implement-cork →
  4. itollis
    corkscrew (and listed as such in the 1951 Dictionary)

Easy, isn't it?



Armed with our knowledge of Speedword's 491 root words and its battery of affixes, we are likely to segregate the morphemes thus:

  • e-vu-e
  • being-see-AUGMENT  =  'a state of augmented vision'

So evue is 'a state of enlightenment'? Well, no. Our initial analysis of the morphemes was wrong. The word is composed of four morphemes! But we're not entirely in the dark: we did get the the first and last morphemes correct. But we have -v-u- in the middle and not just -vu-. So let's try again. It seems to be

  • e-v-u-e

If we have remembered that ev 'be-ASSOCIATION' = "become", we will perhaps think it means some sort of augmented favorable coming into existence - may be somethig like 'divine revelation' or 'epiphany'.

No, we are still incorrect. The -u- is not the FAVORABLE suffix; it is the root morpheme u = "one". If we are still puzzled as to what one-AUGMENT might signify, the Dictionary puts us right: the AUGMENT suffix applies to the compound of all three preceding morphemes, not to just the last one or last two!

Now armed with this knowledge, does not 'be-ASSOCIATION-one-AUGMENT' self-evidently mean "corporation"? It does according to the 1951 Dictionary, thus:

  1. e-v-u-e
  2. ev-u-e
    become-one-AUGMENT →
  3. evu-e
    union-AUGMENT →
  4. evue