A root is a Toaq verb that is not etymologically a compound of two other Toaq words.
- Any single-syllable verb like nao "water" or heq "contain" is necessarily a root.
- The word kune "dog" is a root: etymologically, it's from Proto-Indo-European, rather than being a compound of ku + ne.
- The word kudote "chat" is a root. It was generated randomly by a program.
- The word juaodue "legal" is not a root, because it's a compound of Toaq juao "law" + due "correct".
Single-syllable roots are called monosyllabic roots or core roots, since they (at around 800) form the core vocabulary of the language, sans interjections and particles. Longer roots like kune are called layer 2 roots (mostly by Hoemai), or plainly polysyllabic roots.
In early Toaq, there were only single-syllable roots, leading to some misuse of the word "root" to mean "monosyllabic root".
Which concepts deserve roots?
A quote from Hoemai:
Also, I would encourage people to coin more CV(q)CV(q) roots. If a good two-part compound exists for a concept, great, but as soon as you have three or more components, that probably means a new root is warranted. Not that long words are generally bad, but a word like guaqgıaıchuo doesn't need to exist when there's practically unlimited root space.
Which concepts deserve monosyllables?
There is an official "blacklist" of concepts that should not have monosyllabic roots:
Core Root Blacklist
- ⛔️ cultures, languages, countries
- ⛔️ animals, plants
- ⛔️ organs
- ⛔️ articles of clothing
- ⛔️ materials
There are some grandfathered-in exceptions to this list (like chea "hat", req "human", shıa "glass").