Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

17th Lexember Word

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

elbo /e̞lbo̞/, noun: “rib; flank, side (of a symmetric object); side (of an argument)”

What?! No cookies?! Then no dark side, sorry.

So, the canonical meaning of elbo is “rib”, i.e. the curvy bone. Unlike other words referring to parts of the body though, this one can be used with anything with ribs, whether they are human, large animals or small animals.

But elbo has seen quite a bit of semantic expansion. First, it can be used to refer to the flank or side of a person or animal, and more generally to the side of any object with a left-right symmetry. And second, it can be used more abstractly to refer to the various sides of an argument.

It’s quite a useful word that one, especially when you see what you can make of it tomorrow :).


from Tumblr


Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

A combination voiced and sign language, where the voiced and sign parts have fundamentally different syntax but are both required in order to have any meaning


Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

A language in which the definite article, the plural marker, the third person pl pronoun, the past tense marker and the possessive case marker is ‘i’. Help me.

16th Lexember Word

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

funma|z /funmad͡z/, noun: “present, the current moment in time”

I promise that’s not what made me publish this one 6 hours too late! It was… simply to make a relevant joke. Yeah, that’s it! No procrastination, just a joke :/.

So, as I wrote before, in Moten the metaphor of time is related to a flowing river. Basically, the present moment is an unmoving observer on the riverbank, while events go with the flow. Future events have not passed by yet, so they are upstream (and indeed, the word for “upstream”, zekjem, also means “future”), while past events have already passed by, so they are downstream (and indeed, the word for “downstream”, so|nem, also means “past”). Given this metaphor, one would expect the word for “present” to at least be related to ma|z: “riverbank”. And that’s indeed the case: funma|z is a compound of ma|z with funa: “second, moment”, and refers to the present moment, as opposed to both the past and the future.


from Tumblr


Monday, December 15th, 2014

A language in which hiccups, burps, and sneezes are phonemic. Its speakers, of course, live in a society in which disease and weather have been abolished.

Conreligions: Tuxiper – a sample of the Mexdron Tikil

Monday, December 15th, 2014
The following sample is a rather loose translation into English. It can be found among discussions of the geography of the world where the spirits normally reside. I here use | as a punctuation to mark the end of an utterance - usually followed by a different speaker. It is the only punctuation used in the Mexdron Tikil. Mexdron Tikil was originally written in Þuxwim, a language closely related to Ćwarmin, even mutually intelligible. Some guesswork is needed due to the unclarity of who is saying what; in cases where such a guess is very uncertain, it's been put in parentheses with a question mark.

A discussion between the radestim (shamans) Erduś, Dantiś, Peduć, the ćraðim (spirits) Enþab, Agnrić, Inspil and the środo (troll) Sradrngin, last of his kind in Tubar. 
The Ćwarmin shamans know the powers of erdan ore| Erdan is worthless if you do not know its powers| We do not know its powers either, but there are those among us who do, they only share it when they think they are soon to die, if they are sure the recipient of the knowledge is worthy of it. They shroud it in secret, but also teach it openly in shrouded form, just like the Ćwarmin shamans| I found a lump of wrought erdan in town, and was overcome by weakness, and fell to the ground. A man helped me up, and as I looked at him I realized he was not of my world, but one of you. This was my first view of the other world| This is how erdan works in our world (too?)| The richest erdan mines are near the mountain Barit| (Barit?) is the mountain Theugon| They are close to each other, but they are not the same. A place (in this world?) is not a place in that world, although they may share locations and be similar| The worlds are siblings|Theugon has rich erdan, but poor in quality|Erdan quality is measured in the purity of the tone of a bell in cast iron|Erdan quality is measured in the strength of a needle| Erdan drinking cups are not fit for royalty| Theugon is dangerous to travel by, I prefer the other world and travel at Barit. The mountain Barit is not inhabited by auxrim (supernatural entities that hate trolls, men and ćraðim)|Auxrim are attracted to poor erdan, and the miners (at Theugon) threw bad erdan around the ground. The place has been full of them since| Auxrim can be tamed, but they must be captured by night in a cage of low quality erdan. Then feed them garlic cut with a good-quality erdan knife for a year, and also fish or eggs. They are then good for guarding your house| Auxrim do not survive in warm climates| Arboguś kept an auxrim in Sirgadś (Þuxwim name for the capital of the Dairwueh empire, by Tuxiper measures a warm place)| Sirgadś is by Drerxa to us|Drerxa is cold, not warm|yes, the worlds are siblings but distances work differently, as do directions|Sirgadś to Emga is north-by-northwest, Drerxa to Sitpan is west-by-southwest. Emga is five days from Sirgadś, Sitpan seven days from Drerxa. Emga is at Sitpan. But five days north from Sirgadś is Elunk, one day east from Drerxa is Suban. Suban is by Elunk|Do auxrim (survive?) if (at least?) one (clime is cold?)?|I think so|Esdś kept many auxrim, some died for no reason| ...

Esperanto vs. interlingua

Monday, December 15th, 2014
Vad är ett språk utan dess talare? Tja, inte så mycket. En ljudeffekt kanske? I Star Wars är de flesta språken just ljudeffekter, det var den legendariske ljuddesignern Ben Burrt som fick ansvaret för att ta fram huttiska, jawa, ewokiska och R2-D2 blippande. Man la ner mycket arbete på att göra språken trovärdiga och på att de skulle skilja sig åt – men bara som ljudeffekter. Men även om Star Wars-språken inte är riktiga konstruerade språk som klingonska, dothrakiska eller quenya så har de talare. Ewokiska talas av de gulliga nallebjörnarna på månen Ewok och huttiska är ett skummisarnas lingua…


Monday, December 15th, 2014

Have a completely normal counting system, except that there is a single syllable word for 73 for no apparent reason.

(This might not actually be that unreasonable if the phrase that combines 70 and 3 sounds like a taboo concept, but having a single syllable root for a number that is not used very much is still a little strange)

Akatthi Asshekhi

Monday, December 15th, 2014

As we near the day of Winter Goat (goat pictures! Send them!), I thought it would be fun to do the old “Twelve Days of Christmas” in Dothraki. I thought I’d do this with twelve days to go until Christmas, but then I forgot to do it, so instead, here’s all twelve days!

Of course, there’d be no such thing as Christmas to the Dothraki. (And, of course, in modern times, we don’t even recognize twelve days. Oh, hang on a sec. The twelve days of Christmas start on Christmas day! This must be what Germans refer to as Sylvester. Huh. Live and learn.) Consequently I had to think up something quasi-similar that they could celebrate annually (or every-so-often-ly, at least), and what I came up with was the coming of Jalan Qoyi, the so-called “blood moon”—a.k.a. harvest moon. The harvest moon doesn’t last for twelve nights, but apparently there’s a time between it and the hunter’s moon that’s special. It’s probably longer than twelve nights, but I say close enough.

So! Are you ready for a translation of a song that will definitely not scan if you try to sing it? Because I’m not! Here it comes!

Jumping straight to the twelfth day (use either khal or khaleesi, depending on your preference)…

Sh’akatthik Jalani Qoyi, azh khal/khaleesi anhaan…
On the twelfth (day) of the Blood Moon, the khal/khaleesi gave to me…

  1. Akatthi Awazakis,
  2. Twelve (Dothraki) Screamers,
  1. Atthi arakh hasi,
  2. Eleven sharp arakhs,
  1. Thi Jaqqe Rhani,
  2. Ten Mercy Men,
  1. Qazat zhoris qiya,
  2. Nine bleeding hearts,
  1. Ori vezhis haji,
  2. Eight strong stallions,
  1. Fekh Rhaeshis Andahli,
  2. The Seven Kingdoms,
  1. Zhinda serj kherikhi,
  2. Six leather vests,
  1. Mek mawizze!
  2. Five rabbits!
  1. Tor fasokhqoy,
  2. Four blood pies,
  1. Sen gal zhavvorsi,
  2. Three dragon eggs,
  1. Akat inglor,
  2. Two medallion belts,
  1. Ma firikhnharen ha khalaan!
  2. And a crown for a king!

Actually, that’s not bad to sing! There are a couple places where you have to jam in a syllable, but overall it works out pretty well. (Note: If line 7 seems like a mouthful, just remember it has only one more syllable than line 8, but you may as well treat ae like a diphthong. It’s doable.) As for the first line which needs to change each time, you can review numbers (and how to create ordinals) here. In singing, the syllable la is the one that should correspond to “day” in that line. Also, khal seems to work better if you hold it for two beats. I suppose you could do zhilak, “lover”, instead, but it’d be odd to do it without anni, “my”, and it would sound rather…personal.

And, of course, if you’d like to learn more Dothraki grammar—or get a gift for someone who might want to—you can pick up Living Language Dothraki, which is on sale now! There’s both a physical version and an online version, so it works both for folks who want an actual book in their hands and those who don’t want more stuff in the house.

Now, if I may turn my attention to long time readers of this blog, we have some business to attend to. There is a book coming from HBO called The Game of Thrones Compendium. This is a book that is going to compile and present a gigantic mezcla of fan submissions related to Game of Thrones the show (season 1 through 4—crucial to remember that it’s the show and not the books, where they differ). Afterwards, it’s going to be published. You can submit anything from analysis of the show to original works of art related to the show (visual art, songs, spoken word recordings, poetry, pictures of costumes). For a full rundown on what it is and how it works, read the faq here.

No matter what, this thing is going to be really cool. But you know what would make it cooler?


Ever wondered what you would do with a poem in High Valyrian or Dothraki other than put it in a comment on this site? This. THIS. Granted, whatever you produce should be related to Game of Thrones in some other way besides the fact that it uses a language from the show, but that shouldn’t be tough. In fact, I’m sure some of the haiku submitted already could be resubmitted for the book. (Oh, and for legal purposes, all poems, etc. submitted to this website are the property of the original authors, and by submitting them here you give me the right simply to display them; you have not conveyed the rights of the original work to me in any way: You can still do what you want with it.) Or do something new. It’s all good!

The point is this: I want to see some language work in this book! Original poems, original songs—maybe even a dramatic reading of some of the lines in the show (Drogo’s speech, for example?)—memes (yes, Mad Latinist, you can submit your Valyrious memes, so long as you have the rights to the images! [If you don’t, note that you can use images from the show for this])! The possibilities are limitless!

Before submitting stuff, be sure to read the faq and the submission specs. If you’d like me to proofread something, please feel free to leave it in a comment, and note that it’s for the Compendium; I’ll try my best to get to those quicker than I do other things (I know I tend to be slow in responding).

Oh, and if you have a Dothraki or Valyrian tattoo? Please take the best photo you can of that and send it in!

As someone who works on the show, is a fan of the show, and is a fan of media in general, I think this is a really awesome project, and I hope it leads to more projects of its kind for other franchises, because it’s an outstanding idea. You can start submitting work on December 18th, and the submission period will be open until March 28th. So get ready, and let’s get crackin’! Dothralates!

15th Lexember Word

Monday, December 15th, 2014

imazdu|l /imazduʎ/, verb: “to cut (sthg)”

Using a Willy Wonka meme that ironically comments on the use of Willy Wonka memes, just because it uses the phrase “cutting edge”, to illustrate a word for “to cut” in a language where that word is derived from a word meaning “edge”… That’s either really cutting edge, or I’ve just created so much irony this post is going to collapse on itself and create a black hole. Either way it’s entertaining :P.

So, as I wrote above, imazdu|l is a compound of yesterday’s ma|z, together with istu|l, a verb meaning “to summon, to call”. In other words, in Moten “to cut” is literally “to summon an edge” :). It feels extremely right :).

Istu|l, by the way, is very commonly used to form verbs based on nouns or other verbs


from Tumblr