Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

The Dai Language: An Embarrassment

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

David J. Peterson received a BA in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2003 and an MA in Linguistics from UC San Diego in 2005. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Castithan, Irathient and Indojisnen languages for Syfy’s Defiance, the Sondiv language for the CW’s Star-Crossed, the Lishepus language for Syfy’s Dominion, the Trigedasleng language for the CW’s The 100, and the Shiväisith language for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World. He’s been creating languages since 2000.


David J. Peterson’s first paid conlanging project occurred eight years before Game of Thrones. It was a language called Dai, and it was done in early 2001 for a high school student’s Dungeons & Dragons campaign. This paper provides a brief introduction to the nature of the work, and the full language, as it stood at that point.

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grammaticalityandotherjudgements: I guess I’ll call this my…

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017


I guess I’ll call this my zombie comic because we all thought this whole thing was dead but I’m bringing it back to life (or something like that, 4th year is a struggle so don’t expect any new/regular updates anytime soon).

Anyway, I wrote this like 9-ish weeks ago and figured I’d post it. Tl;dr: be nice to your friends because they might secretly be sentimental idiots

My amazing and wonderful best friend posted a comic update - I’m so proud!

kechpaja:my naim is wugand wen you’r yungand sussing owt yur nativ tungand wen ther’s tuof mee…

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017


my naim is wug
and wen you’r yung
and sussing owt
yur nativ tung
and wen ther’s tu
of mee arownd
you pluralyze
you pik the sownd

deŋi & kaŋŋi

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
A. deŋi=A=O A scratch, dig O
B. kaŋŋi=A=O A pierce, poke O

Deŋi can be seen as a more intense form of kugi, as it involves touching with some force. Kaŋŋi would be even more intense. The etymologies of both these verbs are unknown. Kaŋŋi is used sometimes used with other verbs to add a sense of puncturing, as in:

C. dello-kaŋŋi=S S sprout (piercing the soil)
D. kuppe-kaŋŋi=A=O A throw O through something, piercing it
E. kaŋŋi-kaŋŋi=A=O A kill O (by stabbing or cutting)

Reduplicated deŋi-deŋi=S is the standard, polite way to describe sexual activity. It is intransitive, usually with a plural subject. With a singular subject, a companion an be added with the peripheral phrase marker ne. The other sexual verbs, kugi-kugi=S (referencing manual stimulation), kaŋŋi-deŋi=A=O (A penetrates O), and kaŋŋi-kuno=S (S is penetrated), are not polite and should not be used with people one doesn’t know.

Sentences with deŋi.

Sentences with kaŋŋi.

And that’s it. That’s all 38 verbs in Xunumi-Wudu.


Monday, February 27th, 2017
A. kugi=A=O A touch, rub O
B. gada-kugi=A=O A wash O (with water)

Kugi appears to be derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and some unknown particle. Gada-kugi incorporates the noun gada ‘water’ as an instrument or manner adverb. Another kugi compound is kugi-kenni:

C. kugi-kenni=A=O A shake O
D. kugi-kenni=S S shake

Reduplicated kugi-kugi is one of the verbs used to describe sexual activity.

Sentences with kugi.

Tomorrow: deŋi and kaŋŋi.

kuppe & kenni

Sunday, February 26th, 2017
A. kuppe=A=O A throw O
B. kenni=A=O A hit O

Kuppe is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and pe ‘from’. The derivation of kenni is unknown. Both are straightforward.

A reduplication of kuppe is not attested, but kenni-kenni means ‘A beat O’, a logical interpretation of ‘hit and hit’ or ‘hit with some duration’.

Reduplication generally adds a sense of duration to the verb, unless the verb also occurs as an auxiliary. Since, with the introduction of auxiliaries, reduplication no longer productive, some reduplicated forms, such as kadde-kadde, have a less predictable meaning.

Sentences with kuppe.

Sentences with kenni.

Tomorrow: kugi.

kullo & deggu

Saturday, February 25th, 2017
A. kullo=A=O A pull, drag O
B. deggu=A=O A cover, hide O

Kullo is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and the obsolete particle lo ‘up’. Aside from its base meaning, kullo occurs in occasional compounds, such as kuje-kullo ‘weave’. The reduplicated form kullo-kullo means ‘pull for some time’.

Deggu is probably derived from degi and some unknown particle, possibly the old form of ‘hand’ kuwu. Adding the auxiliary kutta makes deggu-kutta ‘cover completely’. The reduplicated form would have the meaning ‘cover for some time’ but it is not attested.

Sentences with kullo.

Sentences with deggu.

Tomorrow: kuppe and kenni.

A Song: Party / Aversion (Angry Version)

Friday, February 24th, 2017

I made a new version of Party / Aversion, that makes the timbre of the main melody somewhat more acrid. Basically, the original would fit as an album opener and this as an album closer, I guess, maybe with some more changes to increase the distinction between them. The different timbre brings out a lot of weird detail in the tuning system in a very obvious way.


Friday, February 24th, 2017
A. kutta=A=O A push O
B. auxiliary V-kutta V with force

Kutta is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and the obsolete particle ta ‘down’. As a verb it means ‘push’. It is more common to see kutta as an auxiliary.

I glossed the auxiliary as meaning ‘with force’. It can also mean ‘quickly’ with da and no and any of their compounds (data, dello, deye, nolo, nota, nome, noye), ‘tightly’ with kuje, ‘thoroughly’ or ‘carefully’ with dunno and callo, ‘strongly’ or ‘passionately’ with canno, ‘well’ with dullo, ‘loudly’ with se, and adds a sense of ‘very’ withe the copula verbs. It is not used with verbs of stance or starting or ending.

The reduplicated kutta-kutta yields a straightforward ‘push with force’.

Sentences with kutta as a main verb.

Sentences with kutta as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: kullo and deggu.


Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
A. kuje=A=O A twist, turn O
B. kuje=S S twist, turn

Kuje is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and the obsolete particle ye ‘out’.

As a simple intransitive, kuje means ‘twist, turn’ where the subject is the person or thing twisting or turning. Kuje can also be used to describe braiding (twisting together) and other activities done with long strands of something. Weaving can also be described with kuje (though kuje-kullo is the usual verb, but I haven’t covered kullo yet.). If one is creating something with all this twisting, the thing being created is generally the object and the material being twisted can be in a peripheral phrase marked with pe. One can also make the material the object and thing created can be in a peripheral phrase marked with du.

Sentences with kuje.

Tomorrow: kutta.