Well, this is late for the December Deviantart Conlang challenge. But then again, I haven't seen a January challenge yet, so I'll assume the December challenge is still open. The image above shows the opening lines of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in Yuktepat. To refresh your memory, this is how the book begins:
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
In Yuktepat this becomes:
: Yan Thok-ôn Ka-cô-pi :
Xap-ôn wat sûq wat ôl-xhûng lem nat
ôl-qhôy wat luy hûq huy yuk laq hû
wat ôl-chek nik nik nyul men. Nat
ôl-xem, kyat tu-sûq myat tuq yan-un
tu-chup suk now kul-un u-nyul men
yat hi nyel nwong ôl-mul sing côq
I’ve made each of the lines exactly as long as the lines (vertical columns) in the image so you can match it up. Each of the glyphs is exactly one syllable in the transliteration (or a punctuation mark). Keep reading and I take it apart phrase by phrase.
The title is Yan Thok-ôn Kacôpi. Yan is ‘man,’ thok ‘great, main, central,’ and ôn is a demonstrative particle that attaches to the end of a noun phrase (you’ll see it several more times). Kacôpi [katsǝpi], naturally, is an approximation of Gatsby [gætsbi].
Xap-ôn wat “my father” - Xap is ‘father,’ ôn is a demonstrative marker. Wat is the first-person pronoun. Moving on...
... sûq wat ôl-xhûng lem ... “when I was young and vulnerable”
sûq - ‘time when’
wat - I/me
ôl - past-tense particle
xhûng - young
lem - vulnerable
nat ôl-qhôy wat - “...he gave me...”
nat - he - third-person pronoun. This is paired with -ôn. Since the father was marked with -ôn at the beginning of the sentence, we know that nat here refers to him.
qhôy - give; to, for - this is a verb, but also functions as equivalent to the English prepositions “to”/”for.” But as a verb, technically, it requires a tense particle like ôl in front of it.
luy hûq huy yuk laq - “[speak] one word of advice”
luy - speak
hûq - one
huy - knot - The word “knot” is also a measure word for nouns relating to speech. Yuktepat speakers visualized speech as a long string, with the individual words (or sounds) as knots along the string.
yuk - speak / speech
laq - help - So yuk-laq “advice” is literally “speech-help”
...hû wat ôl-chek nik nik nyul men. - “that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since” (”that I’ve dragged into mind again and again”)
hû - “of” / “that” - a variant of i and hi. Here, it follows laq, which ends in [q]. The vowel [i] can’t stand next to [q] so it is moved back.
chek - pull, drag
nik - new. In this context, immediately after a verb, it means “again.”
nyul - enter
men - mind, thought. In Yuktepat to think of or remember something is for it to “enter [your] mind” (nyul men), as if it walked in by itself. Since the narrator is deliberately making himself think of it, he has to “drag” (chek) it into his head again and again.
Nat ôl-xem... “he said”
xem - to say (that) - Unlike the verb luy above, xem requires a another sentence as complement
...kyat tu-sûq myat tuq yan-un tu-chup... - “you will scrape another person will be feeling”
kyat - you
tu- - future tense marker. Unlike English, the future is required in conditional statements such as this. Keep looking in the next sentence for the hint that this is conditional...
sûq - “when” - just a reminder. It was also at the beginning of the first sentence
myat-tuq - criticize. Myat originally meant (and still means) “to scrape,” as well as being the name of a small knife used to scrape writing off of bamboo slats. This allowed the slats to be written on again, so myat came to mean “to correct.” Tuq means “sharp,” of people as well as knives. Hence “to scrape [someone] sharply.”
yan-un - “someone else” - Un is another demonstrative, like -ôn in the first sentence. Because of this we know that the “person” here refers to something other than the people we’ve been talking about so far - the speaker and his father. Here we can translate it as “another / someone else.”
chup - feel. The Yuktepat verb chup works the reverse of the English verb ‘feel’ - the person who ‘feels’ is the object. The object here, “you,” is left unsaid and implied because it already occurs at the beginning of this phrase. (It’s getting confusing, isn’t it?) So the entire sentence could be more literally rephrased as as “If [an impulse for] criticizing someone else is ever felt by you...”
...suk now kul-un u-nyul men yat hi nyel nwong ôl-mul sing côq hû kyat. - “just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had”
suk - if...then / therefore
now - thought, idea
kul-un - following - Remember un from above? Kul means “to follow.” Altogether Now kul-un is “the following idea.”
u- - another verbal particle, this one doesn’t indicate tense like ôl or tu. It just indicates a clause following another clause with an actual tense particle in it.
nyul men - “enter one’s mind; think of” - Remember, we’ve seen this before.
yat - people
hi - of. Same as hû above
nyel - all
nwong - earth
mul - none, nada, zero
sing - lot(s). The kind you gamble with, not the synonymous-with-”many” kind. Specifically the people of ancient Tepat (before gambling was prohibited) used to gamble with small colored or numbered stones. The word sing has been metaphorically extended to “luck” and “fate,” and also become an adjective meaning “random.”
côq - good
kyat - you
“Therefore [you] will [let] the following idea enter your mind: all the people of the world have not had your good lots.”
I think I shouldn't worry about making up my own ideographic script as well.