Archive for January, 2010

I

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'i'.

i

  • (part.) predicate marker (used before direct objects [or second arguments] for most verbs)
  • (v.) equivalent to “there is” or “there are” in English
  • (pref.) a prefix which derives a noun from a verb or adjective (sometimes another noun) which focuses on the instance of action, or picks out a characteristic point of whatever quality is being discussed

Ai iake ia i ipe omi i’i tou ai?
“Can you crack that macadamia nut for me?”

Notes: I realized a couple posts ago that I keep writing posts that ultimately end up referencing other glyphs that I haven’t posted yet. Today, then, I decided, “Enough is enough!” and I went to do this one, i, and realized…I’m going to end up having to make reference to another glyph.

So the basic object marker is i, and it looks like it does above. The glyph is abstract (I’m pretty sure) and doesn’t come from anywhere; just kind of looks like a big “T” with a thing on the left.

Way back when, though, when I was first planning the orthography, I thought I’d make the glyph for the direct object marker “iconic”. So I made the glyph look like an eye (since the direct object is getting “looked at”, so to speak).

Then I got to thinking. It’d get mighty confusing if this glyph for i is used both as a direct object marker and simply as a syllabic glyph. So I decided to create a different glyph. The glyph I ended up creating was this one.

That, though, left the eye glyph as the syllabic glyph for i. So now the syllabic glyph for i looks like an eye for pretty much no reason. Oh well.

In addition to marking objects (always the second argument, whatever its thematic role [though sometimes the second argument is marked by ti]), the use of i has been extended. Well, to be more accurate, the structure of Kamakawi sentences actually derives from i being the verb for existential clauses (think of the common sentence as a serial construction), not the other way around. But today, its role as object marker is probably the more common one.

One actual extension was its use as a prefix. It gloms onto words to kind of turn verby words into nouny words. There are tons of these. For example, if luku means “round”, then iluku is “ball”. If lu’a means “to chant”, then ilu’a is a chant. Etc.

There are more of these types of words than you can shake a stick at, though the association isn’t always as obvious. For example, moi is a strawberry guava tree, and an imoi is a strawberry guava; kavu is garlic, and ikavu is a clove of garlic; aye is a bee, and iaye is honey…

It’s polyfunctional and funky, I guess, but I figured since you see it all the time in the example sentences, I should probably say what it is.

Alama

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'alama'.

alama

  • (n.) sand crab
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

A tomi ei ie alama oi’i ti Akavo!
“I call my sand crab Akavo!”

Notes: The iku for alama is kind of interesting. It’s built out of two glyphs: the iku for maka which means “crab”, and the syllabic iku for ta, which is also the word for “sand”. The combination, then, is not phonological, but kind of ideological. Looks good, though!

Drowning in information

Saturday, January 30th, 2010
A mërèchi idiom: àgë ràcü càshisöp'n, ní kasírisöp'n. "My brain is càshi but not síri". càshi means wet externally, even dripping, and síri means soaked, saturated or humid; so this translates roughly as "My brain is wet (with information) but it's not soaking in".

Drowning in information

Saturday, January 30th, 2010
A mërèchi idiom: àgë ràcü càshisöp'n, ní kasírisöp'n. "My brain is càshi but not síri". càshi means wet externally, even dripping, and síri means soaked, saturated or humid; so this translates roughly as "My brain is wet (with information) but it's not soaking in".

Muve

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'muve'.

muve

  • (n.) feather
  • (adj.) feathery, feathered
  • (adj.) soft (like a feather)

A muve ie noliku oi’i.
“The feather is my enemy.”

Notes: For this caturday, I decided to show a picture of my warrior cat Okeo in fighting form:

Another picture of my cat Okeo.

For my birthday, my sister gave us this little plastic stick with feathers on the end, and Okeo is absolutely nuts for it. He attacks it viciously, sometimes wresting it from our grasp and stalking away with it. He is quite a cat!

I thought that I could make a reasonable feather with this iku, but it doesn’t really look much like a feather… Too fat and squat. Kind of looks like a helmet… Anyway, it was intended to be a picture of a feather, so an ikuiku it is.

Greetings!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010
Paxido emodohaa! Let's talk about greetings. I'm going to start with an example conversation, and then translate it.

Two people meeting for the first time.
Susanna: Paxido.
Eddie: Paxido, o hola pa xidoki aku nei?
Susanna: Ihola, o nei?
Eddie: Ihola, xati.
Susanna: Naapa. Oo ono kikila kei?
Eddie: Kikila Eddie, oo ono nei?
Susanna: Susanna.
Eddie: Gutula aku, Susanna.
Susanna: Gutula aku, okiaku.
Eddie: Okiaku.

Translation (Not Literal).
Susanna: Hello
Eddie: Hello, how are you?
Susanna: Good, and you?
Eddie: Good, thank you.
Susanna: You're welcome. What's your name?
Eddie: Eddie, and yours?
Susanna: Susanna.
Eddie: Nice to meet you, Susanna.
Susanna: Nice to meet you too, goodbye.
Eddie: Goodbye.

So there's lots of grammar things I can talk about which have examples in the above conversion, but the one I'm going to pick deals directly with pronunciation. The double vowel. When the vowel is written twice It's held out longer. Ideally each syllable takes up one "beat", unless the vowel is written twice. Then the vowel is held for two "beats". The length of the "beat" depends on how quickly you are speaking, and isn't always precise depending on where the stress is in the sentence.

So for the sentence, What is your name?, there are 7 beats, even though there are only 6 syllables
Beats: O-o-o-no-ki-ki-no-kei?
Syllables: Oo-o-no-ki-ki-no-kei?

And for those that want more grammar explanation it will come, but see what you can reason out with this. Word by word literal transaction.
Susanna: Hello
Eddie: Hello, you feel in spirit good [question]?
Susanna: Feel(positive), you [question]?
Eddie: Feel(positive), thank.
Susanna: Welcome(as in you're welcome). Name your call(past) what?
Eddie: Call(past) Eddie, name your [question]?
Susanna: Susanna.
Eddie: Meet(past) good, Susanna.
Susanna: Meet(past) good, Goodbye.
Eddie: Goodbye.

Hoata

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'hoata'.

hoata

  • (n.) owl

A pata hoata.
“The owl is brown.”

Notes: Ha. Those words kind of rhyme in both Kamakawi and English…

I’ve had a fondness for owls ever since I first saw Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. There such quaint little animals; so finely dressed. They look like they’re wearing little business suits.

The glyph can kind of be seen as an ikunoala, but I wasn’t confident enough to give it that category. I can see the glyph for ho and the glyph for a, but it’s the glyph for ta that eludes me… That characteristic swoop is missing. It’s clear that at least some syllabic elements are in there, though, so I’ve called it an iku’ume.

Kelea

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'kelea'.

kelea

  • (n.) sorrow, sadness
  • (v.) to be sad, to sorrow
  • (adj.) sad

E poiu anamai kelea kiape heva…
“So sad mother duck went out one day…”

Notes: Over the hills and far away…

So let’s talk about this song. If you’re unfamiliar with it, you can look at the lyrics here. I heard this song for the first time as an adult, and I was struck by how bleak it is. Essentially, mother duck goes out each day with her ducklings, and they wander off into the wilderness (“over the hills and far away”). At the end of the day, one fewer duckling returns (almost sounds like the setup for a horror story). On the fifth day, mother duck is left with no ducklings at all.

So what happens now, you might wonder? The mother duck, bereft of all hope and joy with no ducklings, and so she herself goes “over the hills and far away” (a clear metaphor for suicide). But then, happily (and contrary to most Judeo-Christian beliefs), mother duck is reunited with her departed ducklings. (Well, unless they all committed suicide, in which case one wonders: Just where are they at the end of the song?)

I suppose death is something one has to learn about and come to live with in life, but is it really appropriate in a song about ducks? I’m just not sure.

Just when I thought this song couldn’t get any worse, I found this while looking up the lyrics. To spare you the autoplaying midi file on that page, what it shows is an alternate last verse to this song. So the first part is the same (mother duck taking her ducklings out, and one by one they lose their way), but the very last stanza, instead of having a sad mother duck, goes like this:

Five little ducks
went out to play
Over the hills and far away
Papa duck said,
“QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!”
Five little ducks came swimming back.

In other words, the reason the ducklings aren’t coming back is simply because they have no intention of respecting their mother’s authority. They’re off having a great time over the hills and far away, and they hear their poor mother quacking for them, and they’re all like, “Psssh! Whatev! Me an’ my homies is chizzillin’, yo!” It’s not until their dad calls for them that, suddenly, they feel the need to come back (i.e. “Oh, wait, they’re serious: Dad’s calling! We better go!”).

I’m not sure which is worse: The haunting suicidal version, or the misogynistic version. Either way, it’s a strange song for children, and a bizarre setting for ducks.

Oh, forgot: This iku is an inversion of the iku for kemea, which means “to make love”. The inversion technique is employed often to indicate the opposite of something, or the bad version of something. The usage here should be obvious.

Conlang…The Movie!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Still from Conlang The Movie
Conlang (The Movie) was just selected to have its film circuit premier in February at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival.

The movie’s also got a new website, too: conlangthemovie.com!

The sure-to-be-a-classic Herculean Tournament scene is posted online.

The movie was screened last year at the 3rd Language Creation Conference, and earned the enthusiastic support of the participants.

Now is the time for you to voice that support:

1. Join & post to the Facebook fan page! If you saw the film at LCC3, post a review!

2. If you want a copy of the film by DVD or online distribution, email
the producer/director, Marta Masferrer: masferrer@gmail.com

3. Email her information about any other film festivals, ‘cons, conferences, or other venues you think would be interested in screening the film.

4. Subscribe to the LCS Conlang Blog aggregator, which includes the Conlang movie announcements feed.

Please pass this on to anyone you think would be interested. (Twitterable link from LCS posting: http://bit.ly/clDhtL)

Fiat lingua!

Conlang (the movie) film circuit premier @ Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival; please support

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Conlang (the movie) was just selected to have its film circuit premier in February at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival.

It’s got a new website, and the “Herculean Tournament” scene is posted.

As you probably know, the movie was screened last year at the 3rd Language Creation Conference, and earned our enthusiastic support.

Now is the time for you to voice that support:

1. Join & post to the Facebook fan page.

If you saw the film at LCC3, post a review!

2. If you want a copy of the film by DVD or online distribution, email the producer/director, Marta Masferrer: masferrer@gmail.com

3. Email her information about any other film festivals, ‘cons, conferences, or other venues you think would be interested in screening the film.

4. Subscribe to the LCS Conlang Blog aggregator, which includes the Conlang movie announcements feed.

Please pass this on to anyone you think would be interested. Twitterable link: http://bit.ly/clDhtL

Fiat lingua!

- Sai Emrys
President, Language Creation Society