First Review of Buried Ship – 5 Star!

February 6th, 2016 by Lorinda J Taylor
 Thanks to Christopher Graham (The Story Reading Ape)!

Reading this last book of a series, about a group of characters I've grown close to, was a bitter/sweet experience.
Bitter because it's the last time I'll join in with their new adventures.
Sweet because I met new characters, discovered one character who was lost and found out how all the loose ends were neatly tied up by the author.
I was also reminded of some myths / legends I'd forgotten about.
The highest accolade I can give this author is - I will definitely be re-reading the series from the start again, probably more than once, so I can learn more about the characters, the legends the stories are based upon and so I can yet again enjoy the work of a Master Storyteller.

Speaking as the author, I wouldn't mind reading the series again myself!  I think it will wear well!

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Detail #254: A Restricted Case, with Noun Transitivity

February 5th, 2016 by Miekko
Let us imagine a case that appears on personal pronouns and which signifies 'according to whose opinion'. So, e.g. me-accord = by my opinion.

Let's then go on to some special situations. The third and first person are oftentimes indicative, whereas the second person generally speaking is interrogative unless very specific cues as to its indicativeness are present. One such cue is if it directly follows (alternatively precedes) a perfective verb:
I wrote your-accord the letter
I wrote the letter as per your opinion regarding how it was to be written
your-accord this is good?
is this good, in your opinion?
If there is a missing argument, there is sort of an implicit 'what':
your-accord we do now?
what should we do now, in your opinion?
In this circumstance, the by-your-opinion is always clause-initial (if the language does wh-fronting). 

Further, these can serve as a somewhat adpositional things, giving, for instance,
plan-acc your-accord is?
what is your opinion of the plan?
elections-acc his-accord are superfluous
by his opinion, elections are superfluous
However, pronouns are  incorporated, giving a double possessive structure:
its-his-accord: by his opinion of it


February 4th, 2016 by surullinensaukko

Get yourself some denim and make yourself a jonlang.

Detail #253: Mixing Alignments – Split-Ergative/Inverse

February 3rd, 2016 by Miekko
I remember back when ergativity was sort of new and unfamiliar to most conlangers – today, split ergativity is almost old hat, and people are getting into alignments like inverse, secundative and so on.

Let's however consider split-alignment again for a moment. How do we resolve subjects when we coordinate a transitive and an intransitive verb?
man wolf see-DIRECT and run-INTRANS
[assuming man > wolf in the animacy hierarchy)
Is it the man or the wolf who runs? If the language underlyingly is accusative, it would be the man. If the language underlyingly is ergative, it's the wolf who is running. Now, the split-inverse/ergative option sort of appeals to me - and in this case, we'd have the man running if we did
man wolf see-INVERSE and run-INTRANS.
Now, how about some other options? We could have direct and inverse apply to intransitives in a way similar to switch-reference (but limited to intransitives after transitives), thus giving us:

man wolf see-DIRECT and run-DIRECT
man sees wolf and runs

man wolf see-DIRECT and run-INVERSE
man sees wolf and it runs
Another option could be that a subject of a previous verb automatically is temporarily shifted upwards in the hierarchy. Depending on where in the hierarchy it lands, different results obtain, e.g. if 1 p > 2 p > previous subject > 3p, then
I wolf see-DIRECT and run-DIRECT
I see the wolf and I run

I wolf see-INVERSE and run-DIRECT
the wolf sees me and I run

I wolf see-INVERSE and run-INVERSE
the wolf sees me and runs

I wolf see-DIRECT and run-INVERSE
I see the wolf and it runs

he wolf see-INVERSE and run-DIRECT
the wolf sees him and runs

he wolf see-INVERSE and run-INVERSE
the wolf sees him and he runs

Detail #252: Having (Optional) Morphemes follow Alignment-like Distributions

February 3rd, 2016 by Miekko
A thing that could be fun is having (optional) markers for some modal information (or some other thing pertaining to the whole verb phrase), whose distribution follows alignment-like patterns (these markers affix to nouns). A language with several different patterns like those could be pretty cool, e.g. some markers are ergative-like in distribution, some accusative-like, some nominative-like, some absolutive, some maybe secundative, etc.


February 3rd, 2016 by politicsiscomplicated

In the ancient language the conlang is descended from, there were no simple verbs for describing voluntary movement.  Instead, it was all done by describing the appropriate sequence of muscles to tense and relax.  This was very confusing and lengthy, so over time, these muscle word sequences became blurred together into compound words that left out a large number of phonemes (the resulting words are, of course, called “muscle contractions”).  Two of the resulting words are remarkably short, only one syllable each, and convey the meanings of “to walk and turn with ease” and “to lurch around awkwardly”.  They are, respectively, /wasd/ and /qwop/.

fat (adjective) is lova (revisited)

February 3rd, 2016 by Mariska
lova = fat (adjective) (Some things Google found for "lova": a very common term; an unusual to uncommon usually feminine first name; an unusual last name; Lova Lova is an 2009 album and song title by French pop/rock band Superbus; 868 Lova is a minor planet or asteroid orbiting the Sun; IKEA Lova (or Löva) children's bed canopy; Lova Weddings of Shanghai; Lova Hotel Spa in Turkey; in French a conjugation of the verb lover which means to coil; in Hungarian lova is the third-person singular possessive of ló which means horse; in Lithuanian similar lóva means bed; name of a village in Italy)

Word derivation for "fat" (adjective) :
Basque = lodi, Finnish = lihava
Miresua = lova

My previous word for fat (adjective) was lida. I like lova better for this word and, in addition, Lova is a rarer first name than Lida.

Regretfully, I've decided to decrease the number of scheduled postings to this blog to four per month. I seriously need to update my dictionary.

I found the word fat once in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in the poem "You Are Old, Father William".
"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

Realism and Fantasy – How My Writing Has Evolved

February 2nd, 2016 by Lorinda J Taylor

FREE on Smashwords
    I've been comparing my enthusiasm levels between the present day and November of 2011 when I first started to self-publish.  I have to say that in those four years I've lost a lot of stamina and certainly a lot of enthusiasm for self-promotion.  I assume my encounter with chemotherapy last spring is partially responsible for that.  Still, I intend to keep going -- nibble away at forming a larger fan base as best I can.  I wouldn't know what else to do.
      I've also become more aware of just what kind of literature I write, and I don't mean cut-and-dried genres.  I think I've lost my taste for typical heroic fantasy.  Elves, ogres, dragons, evil sorceresses, superheroes -- unexplained magic in general -- don't seem to appeal to me these days. I prefer the dark recesses of human (or perhaps one should say, sophont) psychology. 
    When I got my new computer, I added a printer/scanner with OCR capability, and I've begun entering a work I wrote in the 1970's which I liked a lot at the time, and which is standing up fairly well so far.  And I discovered that even in the early days when I was more under the spell of Tolkien, I never was really completely comfortable with the whole heroic fantasy panorama.  My very first endeavors were quite Tolkienesque.  They included a race of immortals, with a wizard very much like Gandalf, white beard, staff, and all.  They also included a villainous Sorceress who wreaks havoc on the lives of the main characters.  That story went on and on but never really developed into anything I will ever be able to publish.  
       But the way I described it at the time was "realistic imaginary world fantasy."  I considered that this was what Tolkien was writing.  My writing included magic, but I never really was comfortable with something that can't be explained by natural processes.  
       But then I turned from that and wrote Children of the Music, the book I'm currently scanning. It's a prequel to the big earlier piece, and it doesn't really include magic.  It's a world like our own, with overtones of the supernatural.  This is a setup I still use.  My termite books include a lot about Seers' prophecies -- certainly supernatural happenings -- and a descent into the Underworld, which is a requisite element of any retelling of epic myth.
     However, I always leave wiggle room.  When Ki'shto'ba and Bu'gan'zei return from the World Beneath, the Companions have an argument about whether what they experienced was real or a dream.  The three rationalists in the group -- Di'fa'kro'mi, Wei'tu, and Za'dut -- never become completely convinced that it was real.  They think it was a vision induced by drinking from the Pool of Memory.  They point out that the King of the Dead never answers any question where Ki'shto'ba could not have already held the answer in its mind.
     Anyway, I discovered that I wrote in a similar way back when I started.  Children of the Music is laid in an imaginary world for sure, one that includes elements of the supernatural -- a holy spring, a people who are simple and good and who live in the flow of the Music, which symbolizes the basic holiness of all life and time.  Unfortunately, however, reality always has to intrude.  Nothing so wonderful as the Siritoch people can last forever.
       Now when I was writing about this world, something else bothered me.  It was vaguely meant to be on a different planet, but it was exactly like our own world -- the geography, the plants and animals, the pastoral lifestyle, etc.  I hadn't fully developed the constructed world (conworld) mentality.  I had not at this time begun writing conlangs, although the book includes an extensive naming language, with a couple of words of the Siritoch tongue translated (Thran, the name of the village, means "bald," from a nearby treeless knob of land; and Wal or Walanath means "Grandfather" or "Grandpapa").
      By the time I abandoned that world completely and went on to Ziraf's World depicted in "The Blessing of Krozem" (FREE on Smashwords), I had begun constructing a milieu much less like Earth. Everything is blue, there are two moons, there are spirit beings that live alongside the humans, and there are four gods who control everything that happens.  I also worked more on the language, although it still consisted of simply a vocabulary with only minimal grammar.  But the basic premise of a realistic depiction of an imaginary world was still there.  And dealing with the dark recesses of human psychology was a major element.
      After I started writing again in 2000 after a hiatus of 17 years, I turned to science fiction.  The worlds have to work on scientific principles, even when elements  of the supernatural are included.  And I became interested in future history -- how is the civilization of Earth going to evolve?  I've never liked dystopian stories much, so even though I gave Earth its Second Dark Age, I also used the optimistic ploy of allowing humanity to rejuvenate itself and come back more rational and stronger than it had ever been.  No magic here!  But still I leave room for the supernatural, particularly when I write about other planets.
       And so we come to The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, which I'm going to be working on simultaneously with Children of the Music.  It's definitely science fiction, laid on 28th century Earth and dealing with space travel, but it occasionally includes hints of the supernatural, and it definitely deals with the dark recesses of the human mind.

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The Birth of Xiis — A Guide to Font Creation

February 1st, 2016 by Fiat Lingua

George Marques is a Brazilian software developer and aspiring writer. He has been creating fictional worlds since childhood, and, inspired mostly by Tolkien’s works, also developed languages for these fantastic civilizations. He studies linguistics in his spare time mostly to work on the bridge between languages and computers, but also to create believable languages for his literary works.


This paper shows general instructions to create a computer font for Xiis (a conscript made by George Marques). It uses the free (libre) font-making application FontForge to overview the basic knowledge of OpenType features needed to make fonts for more complex writing systems and how they were applied to Xiis.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Ŋʒädär: Some Exceptional Nominal Morphological Patterns

January 31st, 2016 by Miekko
A few handfuls of Ŋʒädär nouns have exceptional morphological patterns going for them. There are three main classes of such patterns:
  • -st'i-/-stı- added for plural and obviative forms.
  • -rk'e-/-rk'o- added for all oblique cases and all plural and obviative forms.
  • -t'o-/-'te- added for plural oblique forms and obviative oblique forms
These three morphemes are all nominalizers; -st'(i/ı)- most often signifies '-ness, -ity'; thus for instance k'oru (dry) → k'orust'ı (dryness), sar (weak) → sarst'i (weakness), iqe (man) → iqest'i (manliness) but also occasionally other meanings: ibik (sleep) → ibikst'i (bed), rügvä (house) → rügvästi (inhabitant). However, it also appears in the plural and obviative  forms of nouns such as mother (yajo), king (kamma), edible mushrooms (sändö), male offspring (gumu), female offspring (t'äne).

The -rk'(e|o)- suffix is used both for verbal nouns and for 'concrete examples' of an adjective, i.e. 'a red thing', or 'a kindness' (this use of -ness in English is somewhat different from the meaning of -ness in the previous paragraph). Many tools follow this pattern, but so do certain vessels, i.e. reindeer or dog sleds.
The -t'(o|e)- suffix often serves the role of turning a verb into an instance of the verb, i.e. q'olku = die, q'olxt'o = a death. However, this also occurs with some animal names, i.e. leading dog (hark) having the plural/obviative oblique stem harkt'o-, reindeer (iseti) having the plural/obviative oblique stem iset'e-).

More nouns of these type will find their way into the dictionary.