Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Summer Greetings

This is the greeting that I sent out on the Conlang Exchange Cards. I should record it as I found the text in my wastepaper basket without making a record of it. Especially since the language after two years has not standardised.

Hastâ uba, sole ya, nin yule
Ya tai ten íhí shúa shradiim e nas
Sha ko kem mera ya lastes hastât
Pocheno piedí ye nas dansa lechon nin gâ
Nin nuan lehú penan shaklútí ye kata
Údin kuatok a lastes brat raran!

Kam ten ítí shim pena wiô ye (yí) kembí, tai laston dâyet lúb.

Stand still, O sun, in the sky
Let there be light in our hearts
As long as summer's day lasts
May our feet dance lightly on the earth
In the dark forest at the end of time
A summer flower brings joy!

If there is winter in your life, then summer returns.

Note to self, the phrase sha ko kem literally means 'only because that'.

All three forms of the accompanitive preposition ya, ye, yí are used here. Ya for the masculine and neuter possessor in a nominative and accusative phrase; ye for the masculine and neuter possessor in an oblique phrase; and for the feminine possessor. It took me a while to master this so there is some variation in grammar of the cards.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Sabbath day at the blue synagogue

The stem for the word for blue is blo, from a Scandanavian language I believe. It looks too obvious to me. I had been toying with the idea that the stem should be bol. Not a foolish idea as one rule I use is that words that end in -o in parent languages become the neuter-gender words ending in -on in Shente. Blue in Shente would be bol, bola, bolon in masculine, feminine and neuter forms.

I recognised a couple of culture words for the Shente. They have a building in their communities called a shagoga, it's a place for the teaching and practice of ritual doctrines. It comes from Greek word synagoge, probably from Teach Yourself New Testament Greek.

From the same source is evidence that they observe a sabbath day as they have the word sambaton. So they appear to keep some form of ritual law-code.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Eclectic Language Made Simple

I have finished making notes on Italian and Spanish Made Simple. New ideas arise...

The pronoun system becomes more complex. I had wondered what had happened to the second person plural was after the honorific kembí entered the language. The example of Spanish suggests that it survives as the plural form of the familiar pronoun ako.

I have also learned some conculture about the People. Their mid-day meal is merenda in the early afternoon. I haven't discovered whether they also practice a mid-day nap. Perhaps they are going to turn out to be a Mediterranean climate culture.

I need to do some more writing on grammar of this language. Where to start?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

An Occasional Word: Duona Blaneta

Duona Blaneta, New Year. New Year Celebrations.

Dachant Duonan Blanetan, To celebrate New Year.

I have been working my way through a dictionary of Bislama looking for words that expand the lexicon and the use of words in Bâha. I found this word and decided it worked perfectly. In Bislama it is Boname, an obvious borrowing from French administrators in Vanuatu, who would have called it Bonne Annee.

It works equally as well for the Shente, who call it Duona Blaneta, Good Year. In their calendar they mark the beginning of the month at the new moon. The first new moon after the winter solstice is observed as the beginning of the new year. The Shente count off five days then light fires and celebrate that at the cold of the year they are calling back the sun and the days are getting longer.

If their seasons are in tune with mine then that is what they are doing around this time. Dachú Duonan Blanetan!, Celebrate the New Year!

Friday, 27 May 2011

How to learn an eclectic language

The conlang list was talking about this link a week ago as I write. Without considering the debate on the list I wondered how the sentences would work in Bâha:

Ta yablok tí kidmit, The apple is red.
Ta tí yablok a Yônú, It is John's apple.
Bodú dô ta yablok kapena Yône, I give the apple to John.
Nas dôyen ta yablok kapena tamú, We give him the apple.
Ta dôt ten kapena Yône, He gives it to John.
Da dôt ten kapena damú, She gives it to her.

Bodú mí múhant dôyant ten kapena tamú, I must give it to him.
Bodú wol dôyant ten kapena damú, I want to give it to her.

Well, creating the sentences and comparing them proved to be an interesting exercise. The first sentence shows how to use a predicative adjective, although says nothing about attributive adjectives. The rest of the first group of sentences give examples of various pronouns with number and gender and how they work. More enquiry would fill in more gaps. There is no example of a noun as subject. It also shows that Bâha declines nouns. From the examples above a learner has all the forms of the present tense finite verb, which is lucky.

And, my god, this is a long-winded language, especially when auxiliaries are used!

I think the theory has merit. A learner could be introduced to a language. It would take longer to master it, at least to the point ordering beer!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Reading and Writing

After watching the thread on this theme on the Conlang list I went and looked up these words in Bâha. To read, recite, or learn, is lehant, and to write is kiribant.

yao/bodú les/kirib, I read, I write.

nas/te lehen/kiriben, we, they read, write.

X lest/kirift, X reads, X writes (X can be any other pronoun or noun).

Lehant is borrowed from Germanic, kiribant from Romance with some changes to the stem that reflect influences from similar forms in other languages.

Related verbs to kiribant are nakiribant, to finish writing, and shakiribant to make notes, to note down. Kiriba, a feminine noun, means writing, usually as read on a page.

Out of curiosity I looked up the same words in Maori. To read is korero pukapuka, to talk book, and to write is tuhi or tuhituhi, which if I understand it correctly, originally meant to stitch patterns into a wall panel. I think both of those are kind of cool.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Pronoun notes: There is

  • Ten ítí yodin pô nikeye, there is a port in the village

  • Ei ta pô, there is the port

  • Bâha has a number of rules about saying 'there is'. I'm settling down to this contrast. Ten ítí, literally 'it is (at)'. If somebody asks if there is a port in the village, you can say 'there is, it exists,' which is what the first sentence means. If you are going to point something out then the topic marker is used to mean 'there is'.

    Monday, 25 April 2011

    Pronoun notes: What?

  • Ei petta? What is that? What is this?

    A common formation in the language. Ei is the topic marker. It indicates a new subject in talk, or something that has just appeared. So when the conversation changes then this phrase comes up. I imagine it is quite a common phrase.
  • Sunday, 24 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

  • Kude ítí-ten kem kembí yiret?, where are you going?

  • or Kembí yiret kude?

    Today's question word is kude. Bâha ye shente has two words for where. Kude involves motion, to or from where, whither and whence. There is a group of prefixes that can go onto place words, including kude, to show direction.

    To look for something in its place the question word is . I thought that this was a description about . Then I realised going meant motion not location and kude was more appropriate in these sentences.

    Bâha ye shente, language of people, can be a good name for this language until such time as I find an ethnonym for it.

    Saturday, 23 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

  • Otkai tí-ten kem ma tampat am shim gotú?, Why isn't my place ready?

    Today's question word is otkai, why?

    What puzzled me about this sentence was the original was 'Why isn't the bedroom ready?' Presumably the language has words for rooms, or even a room. I haven't found them yet. There are building words which I have yet to work through. Just not the words for the parts within a building. This creates an interesting conundrum.
  • Friday, 22 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

  • Petta tí-ten kem kembí brant? What would you like?

  • My next cluster of notes have to do with question words. The examples are mostly from French, obvious from the sentence structure above. A literal translation of the sentence is What is it that you are-taking?

    In the language brannant means to be taking. Some actions use different verbs when the action is a definite, once-and-for-all action; and when it is generic. An unrepeatable action would use weyant, to take. In this case when offered something the verb brannant is used for 'would like'.

    And the question pronoun used here is petta, what, which thing.

    Thursday, 21 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

    Next on my notes I have the possessive adjectives for 'our':

      naste, masculine
      nastra, feminine
      nastres, neuter
      nas, plural

    nastres kolon e nas, our bicycle
    nas kola ye nas, our bicycles

    Nas is the plural of yao, I. It appears nas doesn't have the status shift upwards that has happened to yao. Bodú has the plural bodúta. Nas and bodúta overlap in domains. Nas can be the plural of both yao and bodú.

    Monday, 18 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

    The feminine article is da, accusative dan. Kalka, girl, is a example of a feminine noun; accusative kalkan. So far, so good. Nowela, new, is a feminine adjective, accusative nowelanian. Now that's just odd. The feminine accusative adjective has a long ending! What's more I think the ending is subject to sandhi. Put all three together and it becomes dan nowelaniang kalkan. The fun of language!

    I could have used chona, woman, instead of kalka. I decided against it as the accusative takes a longer ending chonakan. Too much information at once.

    Because this language has a feminine a-ending I wonder if I've invented a Teach Yourself Alien language.

    Sunday, 17 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

    The third person pronouns don't have possessive adjectives. It does have genitive pronouns which come after the possessed object. They are not used with the accompanitive preposition ya. The forms are yiha, masculine; yihes, feminine; and yihon, plural. The neuter genitive is taken from a different stem and I have not sat down and properly documented it yet.

    The third person pronouns are ta, he; da, she; and ten, it. The plural pronoun is still lurking out there in the world of potential darkness, I think it is going to be *te. The forms ta and da were borrowed from a language sketch of a language I was using on the Planetpii list when I was a member. They were used as person markers, titles before proper names in the Khamtra language of the Old Dogs Pinclan language. They were borrowed from item markers for male and female objects in notes I took from Linear B. There is something counter-intuitive to me in having da as a feminine pronoun. I like it!

    Feminine words: nouns, adjectives and pronouns, add the accusative ending -n. I thought masculine and neuter nouns take no similar marking of the accusative case. I have noticed that the next rule in my file says that animate masculines mark the accusative in the demonstrative pronoun and the adjective form, adding the tag -go. Apparently it is not marked in the noun although the genitive pronoun takes the same tag, yihago. There is no description of what defines a noun as animate. I shall have to decide that as I go along.

    Thursday, 14 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

    Súd is invariable and means own, self. It can be used by itself or with a pronoun.

      súdam, my own
      súd a bodú, my own
      súd nas, our own
      súdako, your own

    If the pronoun is third person or second person addressed as kembí then the reflexive pronoun sebio is used.

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

    Ta tent suon kolon as, he has his (own) bicycle.

    Ta tent kolon yiha, he has his bicycle. (Hey! Where are you going with that!)

    Suon is the third person reflexive possessive. It agrees with the noun. Like the first person possessive the possessed noun is followed by a second possessor after it. The first person is (y)am, the reflexive is (y)as. The reflexive is also used with the second person pronoun kembí.

    In the second sentence the reflexive structure is replaced with the genitive pronoun yiha, of him. The possessed noun does not belong to the subject of the sentence. Instead it belongs to a third person. And, unless some agreement has been reached, he may object to someone taking off with his bike. Stop thief!

    Sunday, 10 April 2011

    Pronoun notes

    This is what the existing notes say:

    Kolon, bicycle, neuter noun.

    Ten kolon, the bicycle, correctly ten is the neuter pronoun.

    Mes kolon am, my bicycle. Mes is the neuter possessive adjective. Possessive pronouns tend to be a bit belt-and-braces, literally my bicycle of-me. Most people don't even use this language unless they are someone in charge: a boss, a lord, your older sibling. Actually looking at the lexicon the Shente have a lot of language for people in charge. I'll write more about that another time. When people are not pulling rank they say kolon a bodú, (the) bicycle of your servant. There is no possessive adjective for bodú.

    There are two words for you: kembí and ako. Kembí is the more common word; ako is used for addressing servants and employees, children, younger siblings and animals. Kembí and ako are like bodú in that they don't have possessive adjectives.

    Wednesday, 30 March 2011

    A phonetic sketch for a warrior tongue

  • Bodú me bâhan í ratiotí ya bodú, I speak the language of soldiers

  • Speaking a language is like counting the children in your family: BE lANGUAGE X reflexive.

    Every so often Klingon is mentioned on the Conlang list. The conversation usually goes along the lines of "It's nice but the phonetics is deliberately missing sounds that would complete the range of sounds in a human language. So unvoiced /t/ is a dental sound, but voiced /d/ is retroflex articulated on the roof of the mouth. /q/ is a uvular (I think) without an accompanying velar /k/, I understand that they usually go together. The sibilant is a retroflex, a nice sound, but I think it usually appears in languages that has /s/ and /S/.

    I looked up an IPA chart about halfway through doing the above paragraph. Apologies if my inaccuracies made any reader cringe who is more familiar with Klingon or phonetics than I am.

    An idea on my backburner is What Would a Warrior Tongue Look Like If The Gaps Were Filled In? My guess would be:

    P B M
    F V
    T D N S TL
    SH CH J
    K G NG KH GH
    Q QH
    W Y L R

    I think that that would be the way that I would do it, with dental and retroflex stops. Comments and suggestions are welcomed. It would be tempting to play with it a bit further, to see what a language sketch using those consonants would look and sound like.

    I went looking through my eclectic language lexicon for words that suggested the Shente were a warrior race. For the most part they weren't there and I used soldier instead of creating a new word for warrior. I feel relieved to discover that about them.

    Tuesday, 29 March 2011

    An Occasional Word: Taknok

  • Da tí yodin taknok-se, She has one child.

  • Taknok means child. When counting children the language uses 'to be' rather than 'to have' and counts the children as a reflexive. The plural of taknok is a different word: Deti. Taknok has a derived plural, takneta. I think this is a diminative plural and is used to mean 'lads'. Initially I thought that this was a gender-inclusive word. Now I'm not so sure. Takneta might be a group noun for the Boys, the Lads, as a social group. I think the female equivalent might be Kalketa, the Girls, the Lassies.

    The stem is also used in an abstract noun takniost, childhood, childishness

    Sunday, 27 March 2011

    An Occasional Word: Bahon

    In the creation of the lexicon I have discovered that the Shente have few words for clothing. Bahon is one of the few that I have discovered. It is based on baju, the Bahasa word for blouse. Looking at the use of this word in Malaysia from Wikipedia I conclude that a bahon is a light cloth top worn by women over other clothing. It is normally about waist length and fastened by clasps at the front.

    I doubt that the Shente are an immodest people. I will have to consider other means to find what are their clothing and costume words.

    Sunday, 20 March 2011

    Translation exercise

    There was a translation exercise on the Conlang List. The challenge was to translate an ambivalent sentence LOVE PEOPLE COOK THEM TASTY FOOD. So where do you put the punctuation? Is it Love people, cook them tasty food; or is it Love people, cook them! Tasty food!

    Reminds me of when it was my turn to cook in a shared flat. If it was late people would come up and say Feed me! And I would reply What to? (Hmmm, a language where transitivity must be marked with an embedded tag....)

    Anyhow I was away from this terminal while this thread was active. Conlangers are as flighty as elves! I planned to post something here. I'm following a trend established by Mia at Teliya Nevashi on the Conlang Aggregation List.

    The first sentence would be: Liamú liudí! Pachú duoní pachí-pachí kapenalhí. Love-IMP People. Cook-IMP good-PL cooked_dishes for_them-ACC.

    And the second sentence: Liamú liudí! Pachúlhí! Douní pachí-pachí Love-IMP People. Cook_them-ACC. Good-PL cooked_dishes.

    I'm not moving any faster in creating the declensions of the pronouns for this language. It looks like the language uses -lhí as an enclitic for 'them'.

    Also there doesn't seem to be a single word for 'food'. I considered using âkuhí which means 'eats'. Then I realised that pachí-pachí which means 'cooked or prepared dishes' would work better.

    Wednesday, 23 February 2011

    An Occasional Word: Liudí

  • Liudí, people, persons, human beings

  • Liudí tent maluk, Human beings are hurting.

    This is true in Christchurch, New Zealand, tonight. While this loss doesn't affect my immediate whanau that I know of, I am moved by the loss to so many in my country, the restraint that so many have shown in the face of adversity, and the generosity of so many in our islands and across the ocean.

    In Maori cosmogony Ruaumoko is the unborn child of Papatuanuku, Broad Mother Earth. When he turns in his mother's womb he causes earthquakes and eruptions. Well that's a big baby's kick that he provided this week and the city of Christchurch came tumbling down.

    Liudí is used as the plural of dunianin which means human beings regardless of gender.

    Wednesday, 16 February 2011

    An Occasional Word: Dunianin

    Dunianin: man, person, human being

    Bodú mí yodin dunianin, shim yodin nome, I am a human being, not a number.

    The first of the people words: human being, without reference to gender. Ignore that reference to man coming first. Man as a male human will come later. The Shente could argue that this is humanity when they first came out of the earth. The first doctrine says: The human creature is a noble creature.

    This may also be human as contrasted to other talking races. The lexicon makes no mention of them.

    Sunday, 13 February 2011

    An Occasional Word: Shente

  • Shente: people, a people, folk, members of an ethnic group

    Bodúta dien yodní shente, We become a people.

    While I'm battling with deciding where to go next with Pronouns I will post some words. This seemed a good one with which to start. It is the only word that I have listed under Groupings of People. So I will use it as a working name for the Eclectic Language People. They are the Shente.

    The word comes from French gens. The ending -te comes from a list of weak plural endings in Gaelic. As a rule it goes on the end of any noun that ends in an non-obstruent, especially n, l, (r) and s. It is the same morpheme at the end of boduúta, so it wonders around a bit; and obviously plays around with a rough rule of vowel harmonisation. -Te if the word is made of front vowels; -ta if the word is made of back vowels. Originally bodú, I, your servant, was written as boduh. I decided that the word-final h was fricative enough to allow the weak plural ending. As the word shifted with use the weak ending has remained.

    Note that descriptive words with shente also have to be in the plural, like yodní.

    The sentence comes from a creation myth and is the first statement about human beings after they came out of the ground into the world of light. It is an important statement.
  • Saturday, 12 February 2011

    A is for yablok

    Yay! I have finished adding the substantives file to my lexicon. What a long and exhausting process it has been. I still have two more files to add to the lexicon: Pronouns and Chuvmey. They are shorter files so hopefully I can get through them more quickly. Then hopefully after that I will be in a position where I can play with this language.

    Perhaps I will introduce more words from this language, and return to the dialogue exercises. After what I have learnt by compiling the lexicon the dialogues will need to be tidied up.

    One of the last words to go in was yablok. It comes from Russian. You may have guessed it means Apple. The people know about yablokí, apples, surushikí, pears, and dihí, bananas. I wonder where they get the bananas from. I suspect that the people must live within a tropical belt. If they do, then I think one of their season words is going to have to shift to mean The Time of Year When The Rains Come.

    Saturday, 5 February 2011

    Rhoticism in an Eclectic Tongue.

    I had been wondering what to do with this languages R-sound when word-final or before a consonant. Like a number of natural languages the R-sound has become silent or swallowed in these positions. It had inherited a sound change that made this accompanied by vowel lengthening following rules from Pidgin English. I wondered how this rule applied in the current form of the language which has become heavily inflected following the adoption of new rules into this language.

    Then the other day I realised that there is no problem. In the forms of words where the R-sound is word final, such as can happen in the nominative / accusative form of the masculine adjective, then the R-sound is dropped leaving the form of the word ending in a vowel. Where it is followed by an ending beginning with a vowel, such as the feminine gender ending -a and the neuter ending -on then the R-sound is restored. This might even lead to hypercorrection in the language.

    Hopefully this means problem solved.

    Friday, 28 January 2011

    An occasional word

    Kamakawianin tent shúlte piedí

    The Kamakawi speaker has swollen feet

    This post was inspired by David's Kamakawi post on the word o'e. I was pleased to find that this language has a word for the verb 'swell', shúlant. After leaving a comment there I should record it here too. It appears to be a normal weak verb for this language.

    Also I realised that this language does have a verb for 'have', tennam. Like Spanish the old verb a'nt has become an auxiliary and the verb tennam, 'hold, grasp', has shifted to fill the gap. The infinitive takes a different ending, which is a nasal ending. Otherwise it is declined like normal verbs in this language.

    Wednesday, 19 January 2011

    Eating out

    I was reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel again. I got as far as his chapter on the beginnings of agriculture. It interested me that I had words for one of the first baskets of agriculture: padí, which is rice; and wimbí, which is millet. I have no idea how millet is used in food production so that is something that I will have to investigate.

    I also had words for using for one of the secondary food cultures: gandon, which is wheat; and mina, which is oatmeal.

    This would suggest that crop farming was introduced to the eclectic language speakers from a Chinese style agriculture which was later supplimented by developing European crops. What a curious fusion.

    I haven't listed enough animal words to see if their animal culture is as equally diverse.

    Interestingly enough the crop words listed above are taken from Indonesian, Swahili and Gaelic.

    Monday, 3 January 2011

    Brithenig Lexicon

    A new project has distracted me today. I started copying Brithenig's lexicon, a collection of ten years onto FrathWiki. I have been thinking about this project for a while. My website is down and I had copied the Brithenig material from my computer to FrathWiki. While the old website is mirrored by Jan van Steenbergen the material on FrathWiki is more current to my thinking of the language design of Brithenig. There are some editorial changes to the information of the pages. They are minor differences.

    Also as FrathWiki supports IPA I am adding this feature to the lexicon. I won't finished it in the space left in summer break. It focuses my mind as I enjoy listening to the madness that is Matinee Idle.