Tuesday, 31 August 2010

More things

A nashiwat ten tuon sebio chet?

Da tí yodna tugikan

Two sentences this time. In the first sentence pupil says What does that thing call itself? Ghostians feel that to call something is a reflexive verb. The word for thing is a neuter noun, tuon. The word for 'it' is also used as an article, usually demonstrative. It can be used to mean 'this' or 'that' without distinction.

Teacher replies It's a pencil. He changes the gender to feminine to agree with the noun.

Monday, 30 August 2010

What is that?

A tí da chet?

Da tí yodna knihan

A tí da kakanian knihan?

Da tí yodin nenayon

And so begins the third dialogue between a teacher and a pupil. I will jump straight into the dialogue this time, rather than post my draft version.

First the pupil asks What is that? Literally in ghostian, question-tag is that what. Pupil earns some points for identifying the object as feminine case in ghostian and uses the feminine pronoun, da. Don't put it past a pupil to deliberately ask for a word that is obvious. Pupil also uses the question word chet, what? In ghostian it is placed as the object of the sentence.

Teacher replies It is a book. Books are considered inanimate objects and take the accusative case as an object. Your average book tends to tolerate this sort of prejudice, but that's not to mean it enjoys it. The indefinite article before it is yodna. It does not take the accusative ending, although it is marked as feminine with the a-ending. The indefinite pronoun is used less often than in English, and tends to mean One or A Certain... Pupil asks What Kind of book is it, which is another leading question. Which or What Kind is treated as an adjective and has a longer ending than yodna.

Teacher says It is a dictionary. This word took a lot of thinking out. None of my grammars have provided me with a word for dictionary and I eventually went back to the oldest forms of the Old Tongue where a dictionary is called a collection of words. In the end I settled for this form. It means something like a word-tool and is used for keeping words in. The ending makes it neuter and before it yodin drops the a-ending from the feminine word.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Concluding Second Dialogue

Nena riaknia tí dakil úwidant, kodin?

Sha shim odakilion

Bodú wol tai úwed nena riaknia duen

Yao reb mapena melion úwidant kembí

In the first sentence lady student asks National language is easy to learn, isn't it? The new word is dakil which is used here to mean 'easy'. It turns out the verb úwidant, to get to know, is also used for to learn or to teach. Convenient!

Teacher says Not too difficult. The phrase he uses literally translates as All not un-easy-very. Dakil is the same word used in the above sentence.

Lady student says I want to learn national language well. The desiderative particle tai is used to join 'want' and 'learn', and the second verb takes the same tense as the first rather than become a verbal noun. So it literally means I want that (I) learn...

Teacher vows to teach her well. He uses a bit of hyperbole here. The sort of language that it is. He says I strive most well to teach you. As a teacher he uses the yao-form of the first verb. The superlative mapena is used before the comparative adjective of 'good' to make it 'best'.

That is the end of the Second Dialogue and it will go on Frathwiki soon.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

talking in language

Ei nena riaknia lâ, nadastâmshim monion

Kuan veandâde kembí kariakkan e bodúta

Bodú veandâde na kariakkan a kembí yodin mâwet porom

Kembí dâguôt nena riaknia duen

Kembí tí'na dohantie sudabodú

Ten tí alidení. Kembí dâguôt sha duen

A longer exchange as we head towards the end of the second dialogue.

The lady student opens the discussion by talking about the language they are learning. The language name is moved to the beginning of her statement between the topic marker ei and the emphatic particle . Here the language is called nena riaknia. In the previous dialogue nena meant words and here is being used for language. For the name of the language I have copied the original Chinese dialogue and the lady student refers to it as nena riaknia, national language. Riaknia is an adjective derived from the word meaning kingdom, the same word is used later in these sentences.

The lady student completes the sentence by saying I don't understand very well. The word for understand is nadastâm. Most verbs don't mark the end of the first person singular verb. Nadastânt is one of a handful of verbs that are different and take an -M at the end of the finite verb. Ghostians argue that these are a set of very old verbs that are done in the old way. They should be respected whereas the rest of the language has moved on. Nadastânt is not yet changing like some of these old verbs are changing. The adverb monion used for very well literally means greatly.

Wow, the next sentence is full of lots of new words. Teacher asks When did you arrive in our country? Going through it word by word: Kuan is a question word, when; Veandâde, arrived, is a verb moved directly after the question word, it beginning with the non-present particle ve which has fused with the A of andâde. It's our friend dânt, to come, with a prefix borrowed shamelessly from German so it means to arrive; Niriakkan means in the country, the word for country is riakka, kingdom, which is the stem of riaknia used above, here it is an accusative noun after the prefix ka-, to, for, which can only be used on place-words. Our is translated from e bodúta, which is the plural of bodú, I, me. It acts like a noun rather than a pronoun and needs the plural accompanitive preposition to mark it as a possessive.

Lady student replies I arrived in your country only last month. When kembí is used as a possessive it needs the accompanitive preposition like bodú which is why it is often replaced by sebio, one's own. The time phrase is yodin mâwet porom, one month last, or only last month.

Teacher tells her You speak national language well. The student replies You flatter me. The word for flatter is another causative verb created from a noun meaning praise. To make it excessive she adds the reflexive particle súd to bodú, literally 'self-of-my'. Her disclaimer literally says You are praising myself.

Teacher reassures her It is true; you speak really well. The word true, alidení has the same ending as riaknia above, without agreeing with the noun it follows. The word translated as really is sha which is common as an interjection in sentences.

Friday, 20 August 2010

More tea?

Yako brobú chân kapena moikorí

Íe. Da tí gotúa duen

Kulahú, moikorí, pihant chân


The student orders the servant to bring tea. Ghostians seem to run on the stuff! She introduces the command with the phrase yako. Ako is the pronoun used for addressing inferior ranks, such as servants, children, students and animals. It was be insulting to address a friend or equal by it. The Y-prefix is the same as the accompanitive preposition a used in the previous dialogue. At the beginning of a sentence the preposition begins with a Y, and it means Let you (prepare tea for the teacher).

The servant replies that it is well ready. The word châ being feminine the pronoun used here for 'it' is da which is otherwise translated 'she'. The adjective for ready gotúa also has a feminine ending to agree with the pronoun. It is not always necessary for the adjective to agree with the subject in this position. In this case gotú belongs to a set of adjectives with which it is necessary. Yet again this is a case of 'that's the way it is'.

The student invites the teacher to take tea and he thanks her.

Thursday, 19 August 2010


Kulahú sedant sebio

Kembí tí talik bohoras ristú

Kulahú. Ta tí shawoltaran

Teacher and lady both invite each other to sit down, Please sit yourself. The lady student declares that the teacher is too polite. The words she uses are bohora, which means life-force and ristú, of a guest. Teacher is the soul or spirit of a guest.

Teacher dismisses her compliment. Please! It is shawoltaran. Shawoltaran is an abstract word. It means What Ought To Be Done, a common courtesy or good manners.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Moikorí Kinig ya, a ítí kembí duen ya

Duen. Makorina ya, kembí aft baget alí, kodin?

Íe. Kembí aft baget alí, kodin?

Belem, yao a'bagetshim or Sonan yao a'

Four sentences this time. The first is straightforward, 'Mr Kinig, are you well?' or 'How are you' The second sentence is 'Well. Have you eaten, lady?' In English this would be an impertinent sentence. In other cultures this inquiry is considered courteous. Remember the original dialogue comes from a Chinese grammar. It seems ghostians think similarly, as the phrase literally translates 'Have you eaten rice'. Ghostian already had the word alí for rice. The word does not refer to rice plant, but cooked rice. Presumably rice in other contexts is a different word, I haven't checked.

The second sentence introduces two other new words: aft, have (done something), and baget, eaten, following after aft. Also at the end of the sentence ghostian uses kodin as a question tag. We would say 'haven't you', instead ghostians use kodin.

In reply the lady student says Yes, and asks the same question. There are two longer answers as alternative in the fourth sentence: Not yet, I have not eaten; and On-the-contrary, I have. The teacher refers to himself as yao, I. Yao is used when a person has higher rank than the other. A teacher or a boss may use yao and expect a student or a worker to use the humbler egalitarian bodú in reply. After yao, or bodú the past perfect verb aft is shortened to a'.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Teacher announced

  • Moikorí Kinig ítí dâde

  • Kulahú tamum pendânt

  • Two simple sentences to begin with that we have already covered. The servant announces to her mistress that Mr Kinig has arrived. The lady tells the servant to ask him in. As in Dialogue No. 1 she uses polite language to refer to her visitor.

    Also note that Dialogue One is up in its completed form at FrathWiki.

    Monday, 16 August 2010

    Dialogue 2: The Teacher Arrives

    This is my rough copy. Some work necessary.

    Servant: Korí Kinig ítí dâdeMr Kinig has come
    Learner: Kulahú tamum pendântAsk him to come in
    Learner: Korí Kinig ya, a ítí kembí duoní yaMr. Kinig, how are you?
    Teacher: Duonon. Ahkorina ya, kembí aft baget alí, kain?Well, thank you. Lady, have you eaten?
    Learner: Íe. Kembí aft baget alí, kain?Yes, have you eaten?
    Teacher: Belem, yao a'bagetshim or Sonan yao a'I have not yet eaten, or, Yes, I have
    Learner: Kulahú siedant súdakembíPlease take a seat
    Teacher: Kulahú siedant súdakembíPlease be seated first
    Learner: Kembí tí behoran talika ristúYou are too polite
    Teacher: Kulahú. Ta tí shawoltaranDon't mention it. It is common courtesy
    Learner: Yako brobú gai kapena koríMake tea for the teacher
    Servant: Ya. Ta aft gotú duononRight, it is ready
    Learner: Kulahú, korí, pihant gaiTake a cup of tea
    Teacher: Âriget ârigetThank you, thank you
    Learner: Ei nena riaknia lâ, epastâmihim manioI don't understand national language very well
    Teacher: Kalik-akatia veandâde kembí niriakkan a bodúWhen did you arrive in our country?
    Learner: Bodú veandâde na kariakkan kembí malaman poromanI came to your country only last month
    Teacher: Kembí guôt nena riaknia duononBut you speak national language well
    Learner: Kembí tí'na dohantie sudabodúYou flatter me
    Teacher: Ta tí alidení. Kembí dâguôt duoní massoIt is true. You speak really well
    Learner: Nena riaknia tí wirissí úwidant, kain?Is national language easy to learn?
    Teacher: Sha shim gluhionNot too difficult
    Learner: Bodú wol tai úwed nena riaknia duononI would like to learn national language well
    Teacher: Yao reb naimelion úwidant kembíI shall do my best to teach you

    Sunday, 15 August 2010

    Drinking Tea

    I'll revisit this sentence by reverting to a form of this sentence that I was using earlier. Rather than use gai for 'tea' I will use chân. The a-ending means it is a feminine noun and being non-person it uses the accusative ending -n whereas +person nouns use the dative ending as the direct object. When asked ghostians will say it just happens that way. It's their language! Go figure!

    Wednesday, 11 August 2010


    It turns out that Trushika must leave too soon after his arrival. Kinig says to him, A pohatshim kembí sedant sebio nidolgon?, can't you stay a little longer? Pohat means 'can', and nidolgon is a phrase meaning 'for a long time'.

    Trushika cannot and replies Gúhú! Ten ítí chomú-dâ so kapena bodú chekant. Bodú mús tai redir, Sorry! There is someone who is waiting for me. I must return. Gúhú is an apology word. So is another way of making the relative clause. It means 'who is'. The verbal noun is governs, chekant, to wait, comes at the end of the clause. kapena here is used to mean 'for'. Mús, must, is followed by the voluntary particle tai before another verb redir, which is in the same form of the verb, in this case first person.

    Then Trushika adds Úhim'na mikantie., don't get up! The word he uses for 'get up' is mikantie, which is an causative verb. The stem is mik, friend, and in ghostian cause-to-be-friends is used to mean to accompany someone. In ghostian the causative ending can only be added to a verbal noun, so another way of using it in sentences must be found. Here it follows an imperative úhim, do not be. The first verb and the verbal noun are joined by the reduced preposition 'na.

    Kinig and Shirab reply with the polite phrase Talik e nena dât ishikuda!, where do such words come from. Talik means 'such' and the word following it must be in the genitive. Here the plural word nena, words, is preceded by the plural form of the accompanitive preposition e. Dât is the verb 'come', that is often used in combination with other verbs to mean 'here', or 'towards me'. This time it is being used as a verb on its own. The last word is a question-word. Ghostian likes its question words at the end of the sentence, the opposite way around to how we expect it in English. Ishikuda means 'from where'.

    The last word farewells the dialogue, duabin, again-see, or see you again. A way of saying goodbye in ghostian.

    Next time we move onto Dialogue 2: The Teacher arrives.

    Sunday, 8 August 2010

    Drinking Tea

    Once everyone is seated Kinig orders Shinuwin to make some tea. (Well, of course the servant shouldn't be sitting with the guests if the master of the house is there!) Kinig says Brobú gai! which means Brew tea! Very abrupt command as to be expected.

    Shinuwin replies, Kembí dâguôt nena dok bodú dâ, you say the words as I come, or coming as you speak. The word dâguôt is a compound word come+speak because the words are directed at Shinuwin. Nena means words, and is a neuter plural noun by the ending. Dok is a conjunction meaning so or thus.

    Kinig uses more polite language to Trushika and says to him Kulahú pihant gai, please drink some tea. Pihant is a polite word meaning to drink which is used in requests like this.

    Next time, making a departure (oh, dear, I hope the tea didn't disagree with someone!)

    Saturday, 7 August 2010

    Welcoming Mr Trushika

    Trushika joins the people in the house and his host Kinig welcomes him, Moikorí Trushika ya, a ítí kembí duen ya? Hello Mr Trushika, are you well? Ghostians, it appears from this dialogue don't use greeting words. They acknowledge each other and move into conversation.

    Trushika replies, Duen. Moikorí Kinig a meikoren Shiraba ya, a ítí ba sebio duen? Quite well. Are you, Mr Kinig and Mr Shirab, both well? Duen is an adverb meaning good or well. Note that Shirab's name changes form after Kinig's. It is joined by the accompanitive preposition which means 'and' or 'with' and after the pronoun the form of the title moikorí has become the oblique form meikoren, and the name Shirab has added the ending -a. Moikorí is made up of two words, and literally means 'my lord'. Both parts of the word change after prepositions. Also note that the word for you in this sentence after the word for both has become the reflexive pronoun sebio.

    Kinig and Shirab assure Trushika that they are well and invite him to sit down, Duen, duen. Kulahú sedant sebio. The verb for sit down is to sit one's self. Reflexive verbs seem more courteous in ghostian. Trushika thanks his hosts, âriget.

    Next time, let's have some tea.

    Friday, 6 August 2010

    Mr Trushika announced

    Shinuwin announces the arrival of Mr Trushika Moikori Trushika ítí dâde, Mr Trushika is come. Ítí is used to make the past participle dâde into a past perfect verb.

    Kinig uses polite language to let Trushika in, Kulahú tamum pendânt, ask him to come in. The word for ask in this case is the same imperative used previously as 'please'. Tamum is the object form of taní.

    Next time let's make Mr Trushika feel at home.

    Thursday, 5 August 2010

    Sentence 1.7

    The next set of sentences have the servant Shinuwin talking to the stranger outside the door. Invoking probability I don't think I need to change these sentences.

    Shinuwin asks the stranger his name: Moikorí ya, a tí kembí kakai sinú? Translated back into English this reads 'O mister, you are which clan?' Kembí is the usual word for you. It is used for addressing superiors and also among friends. It is used with as the verb. While sinú means tribe or clan, it is used here to mean surname.

    The stranger replies Moi sinú tí Trushika. A ítí moikorí Kinig kú sebio? 'My name is Trushika. Is Mr Kinig at home?' At home is translated 'at one's own' Sebio is a reflexive pronoun referring back to the subject. It is used with most pronouns.

    Shinuwin can say that his master is home. Íe, taní ítí kú sebio. Kulahú pendânt, Yes, he is home. Please come in. Shinuwin refers to his master, Mr Kinig, by the polite third person pronoun taní rather than the plain form ta. He uses the polite imperative for addressing Mr Trushika kulahú, which here means please or be invited. It is followed by the verbal noun pendânt, to come in.

    Mr Trushika is happy to come in. He says âriget, thank you. Yes, this is a straight plagiarism from Japanese arigato. Arigato looks like a italianate past participle to me, and so does the ghostian word.

    Next time, Mr Kinig and Mr Trushika meet.

    Wednesday, 4 August 2010

    Kodin and Shabinant

    I went looking through my notes again and found I was using the wrong form for the indefinite negative article. Kodin will be the final form for now. It is a hybrid of German kein and Russian odin. While adjectives in ghostian have gender, it like the rules for strong and weak adjectives from German governs the form of the adjective. Kodin is what appears before masculine and neuter nouns. I think looking at the rules, the ending on adjectives is going to be more restricted in use than I anticipated.

    I noticed in the sentence I revised yesterday I left out the verb 'to see'. I have decided to revise this verb. I have a verb-stem from Persian, bin, so I have decided to use that. So the definite verb, which is the more common version of it now will be shabin. The stem for the past tense is borrowed from Greek and is contracted to 'd. A rule from Bengali says the subject of the past tense is in the instrumental case. On top of that ghostian borrows dependent verbs from Irish, and the verb stem for that is waka.

    So the sentence 'Go see who it is' reads Yirú shabinant kem tí ta chomú. Phew!

    Tuesday, 3 August 2010

    Kodní and Kem

    I skipped July as I tried my hand in writing something original in a conlang over July. I got 1500 words into writing a story in my other language Brithenig before I stopped. The opening scenes were written, now I need to know how the adventures of Ill Peleirin and Daisy would move forward to its denouement. Perhaps I will come back to it.

    Anyhow there are a couple of corrections that I need to make to ghostian. I have decided that the indefinite negative article will now be kodní so the phrase 'no need' is now kodní gieruk. Works for me.

    And I found the word that introduces the subordinate clause would not be tai. Instead in the last sentence it is kem: Yirú kem tí ta chomú. There are other forms of the relative pronoun. In this case kem is used when there is no preceding noun or pronoun which the relative pronoun has to agree with in regards to case or gender. Tai will remain between verbs of wanting and a following verb.

    Back in August to describing and updating more sentences in ghostian.