Archive for January, 2010

Mayali

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Glyph of the word 'mayali'.

mayali

  • (n.) a general word for any sea plant, including seaweed and algae, but also algae-like substances growing on the land

A mayali ie uela lileveya.
“Algae is the moss of the sea.”

Notes: So now I get what I meant when I wrote the definition to uela. Mayali can be used to talk about moss, but uela is another term that refers solely to moss as its found on the land (not to algae).

This iku is a straightforward combination of the syllabic glyphs for ma, ia and li. As I recall, I was surprised by how well it fit together, and that’s what prompted me to coin a word for the phonetic form mayali. I think it’s a good one.

Passive Voice, Reflexive and Reciprocal Pronouns

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
Salu, blog readers! Although you've already seen it in action, I'll be explaining the passive voice in Krig, as well as giving a list of the forms of the verb up to this point. I'll also be introducing the Reflexive and Reciprocal pronouns.

In Krig, the passive voice is used almost exclusively to keep the most dominant noun in the nominative case; however, it can be used just as easily between two equally dominant or submissive nouns. The passive voice of a verb is formed by conjugating es be, and following that form with the past participle of the verb which is to be in the passive voice.
  • Present Tense: eo audi I hear, eo stat I stop
  • Past Tense: eo audit I heard, eo statet I stopped
  • Future Tense: eo vai audi I will hear, eo vai stat I will stop
  • Present Perfect: eo audin I have heard, eo staten I have stopped
  • Past Perfect: eo auditen I had heard, eo stateten I had stopped
  • Future Perfect: eo vai audin I will have heard, eo vai staten I will have stopped
  • Passive Present: eo es audit I am heard, eo es statet I am stopped
  • Passive Past: eo eset audit I was heard, eo eset statet I was stopped
  • Passive Future: eo vai es audit I will be heard, eo vai es statet I will be stopped
  • Passive Present Perfect: eo esen audit I have been heard, eo esen statet I have been stopped
  • Passive Past Perfect: eo eseten audit I had been heard, eo eseten statet I had been stopped
  • Passive Future Perfect: eo vai esen audin I will have been heard, eo vai esen statet I will have been stopped
The reflexive pronoun, se, -o, -i is used to refer back to the noun or nouns in the nominative case in a sentence. It can be any of the dominance levels, and can be singular or plural. It can be translated as myself, herself, himself, yourself, themselves, ourselves, yourselves, etc. It is never found in the nominative case, and when it matches multiple nouns in differing dominance, it matches the most dominant noun.
Eo seoi vis. I see myself.
Eo ent il hastiri seois vis. I and this pet see ourselves.
The reciprocal pronoun, ise, -o, -i is best translated as each other or one another. It has the same restriction that it cannot be in the nominative case, and that it must match the nouns it stands for.
Eo ent il hastiri iseois live. I and this pet love each other.
Continuing from last post's little conversation...
Eo ent di vai sed, si? Shall we sit?
Si. In il selias? Yes. In the chairs?
No, eo il kanapea adiko. No, I prefer the couch.
Mat. Do trefe il tsenia bit. Good. I am pleased to meet you.
Eo di trefe es bitet. I am pleased to meet you. 

Keli

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Glyph of the word 'keli'.

keli

  • (v.) to flutter
  • (v.) to trail behind, to leave a trial, to leave a wake (as with a boat)
  • (v.) to fly (as with a flag)
  • (v.) to wave (as with a flag)
  • (adj.) flying, waving (said of a flag)
  • (n.) tail
  • (n.) trail (that has been left behind)

Oku kopu ia ie keli o ei oku!
“Don’t touch my tail!”

Notes: Happy Caturday!

The word keli began either as “wake”, in general, or as “fluttering”, or some variant thereof. It was extended liberally to include all things that trail along after one, including animal tails.

Speaking of animal tails, here’s a picture of my cat, Okeo!

Another picture of my cat Okeo.

Quite an amusing one here. If you’ll notice in the photo, there’s a tiny little speck of something on the ground right below Okeo’s nose. That’s a piece of litter from Okeo’s litter box. For whatever reason, on this day, Okeo decided that that piece of litter was his prey. He kind of tossed it out of the bathroom, then sank down low, narrowing his eyes. And then, without warning and with terrible ferocity, he pounced mercilessly on the little piece of litter, claiming it as his own and teaching it a lesson all at once.

This picture was taken just after he pounced. He was staring the piece of litter down, but as he heard me approach, he raised his eyes to me, defiantly, ready to fend off any would-be predator who would challenge his claim to the piece of litter. Naturally terrified, I left him to it, though I did take his photograph. He didn’t seem to mind.

More on Verbs

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Salu, blog readers! With this post comes more vocabulary, more verb tenses, and an explanation of the imperative mood and one form of the infinitive. First the additional tenses, which are the perfect versions of the simple tenses.  Perfect tenses indicate that the act was or will be completed by the time of the tense.  Krig has three perfect tenses, present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect.

Present perfect tense is marked with -(e)n on the verb, and can be translated as have (verb)ed, such as liven have loved. Past perfect is marked with -(e)ten on the verb, and is translated as had (verb)ed, such as eseten had been. Future perfect is shown by preceding the present perfect form with vai, and is translated as will have (verb)ed, such as vai tragen will have carried.

So far all discussion of verbs has been that of the indicative mood, or that the verbs indicate something has or will happen. The imperative mood shows an order or command, and in Krig, like many other parts of the language, the imperative mood is not used by a submissive toward a dominant in formal situations. Instead, submissives must form a request to indicate that they want a dominant to do something. The imperative mood is marked with -(e)d. A simple example of the use of the imperative: Seased. Stand up.

Finally, the infinitive.  Specifically, the present active infinitive. It is marked by -e for consonant-final verbs and -ce for vowel-final.  Remember that c has the sound of "sh", not "k". This form of infinitive is translated as to (verb).
adiko v. prefer.
an prep. in.
bit please.
ent and.
kanap couch.
mat good.
sel n. chair, seat, stool.
tref v. meet.
Salu! Di Krigea prat, no? Hello! You don't speak Krig, do you?
Salu! Si, il tseni Krigea prat. Hello! Yes, I speak Krig.
Nam eon Djefoi es. My name is Jeff.
Il tseni Sindia es. I am Cindy.
Eo ent di vai sed, si?
Si. In il selias?
No, eo il kanapea adiko.
Mat. Do trefe il tsenia bit.
Eo di trefe es bitet. 

Alphabet with examples – Consonants 1/2

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
This is a continuation for the vowels post. Like that one the Latin character is on the left, the IPA is in the middle, and the right is a sample English word. Here's my favorite IPA chart for those that want to hear examples of the IPA sounds.

p - p - put
b - b - bat
t - t - toil
d - d - doll
k - k - cat
g - g - goal
m - m - most
n - n - never
r - ɾ - There aren't any good examples of this in English. In American English we pronounce Ts like this sometimes, but in an effort to not confuse just go listen to ɾ on the IPA chart

And here's some Reisu words that start with these sounds!
Puho - Horse
Befi - Tree
Tozai - Mountain
Denu - Baby
Kigu - Foot
Gapa - Apple
Meku - Pencil
Nebu - Dog
Rigi - Sun

Puma - Ask
Bubu - Drink
Tiki - Run
Daxi - Come
Kixa - Walk
Geki - Think
Maino - Have
Neina - Say
Ragu - Want

AND as promised, a video that goes with the first post!

Uela

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'uela'.

uela

  • (n.) moss

A nana Lita i uela te leya.
“Lisa licks moss off a rock.”

Notes: So, my dictionary entry actually reads as follows: “the moss that grows on the land, specifically in moist areas, like rain forests or swamps.” I find this a bit perplexing, since moss can’t grow underwater. Huh.

Anyway, I’ve always liked moss. It’s like a nice, soft carpet.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering why I’ve included a food tag in this entry (and what’s up with the sample sentence), it comes from the Simpsons episode “Das Bus”, wherein Lisa, being a vegetarian, licks moss off a rock for sustenance, while the rest of the kids eat a wild boar. The sentence above is the actual stage direction from the script.

Verbs and Simple Tenses

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Verbs in Krig are of two types, those that end in consonants, and those that end in vowels. The endings used for conjugation are nearly identical, so figuring out what a verb means, or how to conjugate it is simple once you know the conjugation paradigm. For now, I'm going to list the simple tenses; present, past, and future.
  • The present tense is the root form of all verbs. It indicates that something is currently going on, or something is habitually happening, much like English present tense. Since this is the root form, there are no endings applied to a verb in this tense.
  • The past tense shows that something has occurred in the past. The ending used to indicate the past tense is -t for vowel-final verbs and -et for consonant-final verbs. This is commonly shown as -(e)t, and that method of combining the two forms will be common in discussions of verb endings.
  • Future tense in Krig, much like in English, is shown with a preceding word, vai. This word is best translated as will.
Eo lia live. I love her.
Eo lia livet. I loved her.
Eo lia vai live. I will love her.
In this post I am going to give some sample sentences, using only vocabulary already shown, but I will be leaving out the translations until next post. The exception is a new name, Sindi, which is how Cindy would be translated. A little something for interested readers to puzzle out if they feel like it. It will take the form of a (very) short conversation.
Salu! Di Krigea prat, no?
Salu! Si, il tseni Krigea prat.
Nam eon Djefoi es.
Il tseni Sindia es.

Until next post, blog readers, vale!

Ole

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ole'.

ole

  • (v.) to spontaneously rejoice because of something unexpected that has happened
  • (n.) spontaneous rejoicing
  • (adj.) rejoicing

A hame ei i kamowoipaka! He ole uei ie ki!
“I’m 29! Let’s celebrate the day!”

Notes: Today is my 29th birthday, so I figured I should have something festive on the word of the day. Ooh, I know! How about a dolphin birthday greeting!

A dolphin wishing me happy birthday.

The word ole is a tribute to my Mexican heritage. Unfortunately, the glyph doesn’t really make much sense… You see, what I think I was trying to do was use the syllabic glyph for ho, which is identical to the glyph for hopoko (“man”), and then superimpose the syllabic glyph for o over it (those would be the vertical and horizontal lines in the lower right hand corner). Unfortunately, that’s not what’s there. Instead, it looks like I took part of the syllabic glyphs for o and le (a very small part of the latter) and glommed them onto the syllabic glyph for ei, which is the word for “I”. This might make sense if the word were olei, but it isn’t… So I’m not sure what’s going on with this.

But no matter! I choose to interpret this iku as having the glyph for “I” in it because I’m having a birthday! Yeah, that’s the ticket. I meant it to be that way all along…

Introduction to software localisation for conlangers

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Some people have asked on CONLANG-L whether it's possible to translate free software into constructed languages. I said I would put some instructions together, and people were interested, so here goes.

Caveats:
  1. This is about the free desktop. It will describe how to localise GNOME or KDE. I don't know anything about how to do this on the Mac or on Windows, so my advice to you will consist approximately of "please install Ubuntu".
  2. Be sure you know what you're letting yourself in for. There are about 45,000 strings which need translation in GNOME, although you can get a decent effect by translating only a few thousand. Then there are the applications themselves on top of that.
  3. If you're translating into a language which uses characters which don't appear in Unicode, I'm going to assume you've already made your computer able to display them. Matters such as designing a character set, getting space in CSUR, and building fonts are outside the scope of this tutorial.
  4. This is just enough to get you going; I'll be cutting some corners and waving my hands around some of the difficult bits.
  5. Before we start, you should have both the "gettext" package and the Gimp installed.
  6. What I'm going to say is true for most programs, but a few have their own way of doing things.  Firefox is one of these.
Here's what we're going to do: we'll change the titlebar of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (the Gimp) to display in a conlang. Since I'm writing this, I'll translate the titlebar into my own conlang, Nimyad; work out what it is in yours before you go on. Bear in mind that "GNU" is a proper noun and should not be translated.

The phrase "GNU Image Manipulation Program", rendered in Nimyad, is "dajath GNU camimoth lirinanen", or in the con-script:



Next we'll need an ISO 639 code. These are rather difficult to come by for conlangs (even Toki Pona was rejected), but fortunately the codes between qaa and qtz form a private use area. We'll say that Nimyad is qny; pick one of your own and use it in what follows.

Now you need the translation template for the Gimp. You can get it here; click the green arrow next to "POT file" and it will download. Now rename the gimp.master.pot file to qny.po and open it in a text editor. (Don't use Emacs for this; it tries too hard to be helpful and will confuse you.) Find the lines which say

msgid "GNU Image Manipulation Program"
msgstr ""

This means that the string "GNU Image Manipulation Program" is translated to nothing at all. That's not very useful yet, so put your conlang's translation in there, after the msgstr, between the quotes. Save the file.

Now we need to compile the .po file into a .mo file, which is the format that the programs themselves can read. Run: msgfmt qny.po

If it worked, you will have a file called messages.mo in the current directory. If it didn't, make sure you did in fact install the "gettext" package!

Create the locale directory: sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/locale/qny/LC_MESSAGES
and move the file in: sudo mv messages.mo /usr/share/locale/qny/LC_MESSAGES/gimp20.mo

Finally you'll need to create all the locale data other than the actual language. You can just base that off another locale, such as en_GB, for now: sudo localedef -v -c -i /usr/share/i18n/locales/en_GB -f UTF-8 /usr/lib/locale/qny/

It will probably throw up a lot of errors, which you can ignore at the moment.

When you have a fair number of strings translated, it will make sense to run in the qny locale all the time.  But for now we'll just run it as needed.  So: now at last you're ready to type: LANG=qny gimp&

And you should see:



Well, that's one string down, 45,000 to go.  You see that the strings which haven't yet been translated fall back to US English.

Finally: now that you've seen how easy translation is, if you happen to speak any of these languages, please consider contacting the translation team and offering your help.

Let me know if you have any questions!


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Introduction to software localisation for conlangers

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Some people have asked on CONLANG-L whether it's possible to translate free software into constructed languages. I said I would put some instructions together, and people were interested, so here goes.

Caveats:
  1. This is about the free desktop. It will describe how to localise GNOME or KDE. I don't know anything about how to do this on the Mac or on Windows, so my advice to you will consist approximately of "please install Ubuntu".
  2. Be sure you know what you're letting yourself in for. There are about 45,000 strings which need translation in GNOME, although you can get a decent effect by translating only a few thousand. Then there are the applications themselves on top of that.
  3. If you're translating into a language which uses characters which don't appear in Unicode, I'm going to assume you've already made your computer able to display them. Matters such as designing a character set, getting space in CSUR, and building fonts are outside the scope of this tutorial.
  4. This is just enough to get you going; I'll be cutting some corners and waving my hands around some of the difficult bits.
  5. Before we start, you should have both the "gettext" package and the Gimp installed.
  6. What I'm going to say is true for most programs, but a few have their own way of doing things.  Firefox is one of these.
Here's what we're going to do: we'll change the titlebar of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (the Gimp) to display in a conlang. Since I'm writing this, I'll translate the titlebar into my own conlang, Nimyad; work out what it is in yours before you go on. Bear in mind that "GNU" is a proper noun and should not be translated.

The phrase "GNU Image Manipulation Program", rendered in Nimyad, is "dajath GNU camimoth lirinanen", or in the con-script:



Next we'll need an ISO 639 code. These are rather difficult to come by for conlangs (even Toki Pona was rejected), but fortunately the codes between qaa and qtz form a private use area. We'll say that Nimyad is qny; pick one of your own and use it in what follows.

Now you need the translation template for the Gimp. You can get it here; click the green arrow next to "POT file" and it will download. Now rename the gimp.master.pot file to qny.po and open it in a text editor. (Don't use Emacs for this; it tries too hard to be helpful and will confuse you.) Find the lines which say

msgid "GNU Image Manipulation Program"
msgstr ""

This means that the string "GNU Image Manipulation Program" is translated to nothing at all. That's not very useful yet, so put your conlang's translation in there, after the msgstr, between the quotes. Save the file.

Now we need to compile the .po file into a .mo file, which is the format that the programs themselves can read. Run: msgfmt qny.po

If it worked, you will have a file called messages.mo in the current directory. If it didn't, make sure you did in fact install the "gettext" package!

Create the locale directory: sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/locale/qny/LC_MESSAGES
and move the file in: sudo mv messages.mo /usr/share/locale/qny/LC_MESSAGES/gimp20.mo

Finally you'll need to create all the locale data other than the actual language. You can just base that off another locale, such as en_GB, for now: sudo localedef -v -c -i /usr/share/i18n/locales/en_GB -f UTF-8 /usr/lib/locale/qny/

It will probably throw up a lot of errors, which you can ignore at the moment.

When you have a fair number of strings translated, it will make sense to run in the qny locale all the time.  But for now we'll just run it as needed.  So: now at last you're ready to type: LANG=qny gimp&

And you should see:



Well, that's one string down, 45,000 to go.  You see that the strings which haven't yet been translated fall back to US English.

Finally: now that you've seen how easy translation is, if you happen to speak any of these languages, please consider contacting the translation team and offering your help.

Let me know if you have any questions!


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