Archive for May, 2010

Adjectives

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Adjectives in Tulvan are invariable in number, declension or gender. They follow their respective nouns and they are divided in two main groups. There are full adjectives and derived adjectives, the last type are marked by an attributive prefix i-. One will notice that sometimes an English adjective doesn't have a full adjective in Tulvan. Even though this could be fixed by the attributive making it a derived adjective, sometimes this can give an awkward expression for native Tulvans.

This is the case, for example, with such words as "good" in most common greetings. This is not expressed by an adjective in Tulvan, but by a word meaning "well-being" as a noun. Also this is the case for some more complex derived adjectives. Needless to say colors belong to the full adjectives category. So we have for example:

trum ni nari. Good night.
but actually; "well-being in the night (for you)".

Adjectives always follow their noun:

Crum nus. The old man.
Utim cip. The new tree.
Nwir cnara. The black sky.

This also applies to derived adjectives with the attributive prefix.

Crum itrum. A good man.
Roth icrum. A mannish woman.

So adjectives are quite simple, invariable and don't agree with the noun they modify.

Gud dapau crum itrum uroth itrum. A good man must look for a good woman.

Adjectives

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Adjectives in Tulvan are invariable in number, declension or gender. They follow their respective nouns and they are divided in two main groups. There are full adjectives and derived adjectives, the last type are marked by an attributive prefix i-. One will notice that sometimes an English adjective doesn't have a full adjective in Tulvan. Even though this could be fixed by the attributive making it a derived adjective, sometimes this can give an awkward expression for native Tulvans.

This is the case, for example, with such words as "good" in most common greetings. This is not expressed by an adjective in Tulvan, but by a word meaning "well-being" as a noun. Also this is the case for some more complex derived adjectives. Needless to say colors belong to the full adjectives category. So we have for example:

trum ni nari. Good night.
but actually; "well-being in the night (for you)".

Adjectives always follow their noun:

Crum nus. The old man.
Utim cip. The new tree.
Nwir cnara. The black sky.

This also applies to derived adjectives with the attributive prefix.

Crum itrum. A good man.
Roth icrum. A mannish woman.

So adjectives are quite simple, invariable and don't agree with the noun they modify.

Gud dapau crum itrum uroth itrum. A good man must look for a good woman.

Adjectives

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Adjectives in Tulvan are invariable in number, declension or gender. They follow their respective nouns and they are divided in two main groups. There are full adjectives and derived adjectives, the last type are marked by an attributive prefix i-. One will notice that sometimes an English adjective doesn't have a full adjective in Tulvan. Even though this could be fixed by the attributive making it a derived adjective, sometimes this can give an awkward expression for native Tulvans.

This is the case, for example, with such words as "good" in most common greetings. This is not expressed by an adjective in Tulvan, but by a word meaning "well-being" as a noun. Also this is the case for some more complex derived adjectives. Needless to say colors belong to the full adjectives category. So we have for example:

trum ni nari. Good night.
but actually; "well-being in the night (for you)".

Adjectives always follow their noun:

Crum nus. The old man.
Utim cip. The new tree.
Nwir cnara. The black sky.

This also applies to derived adjectives with the attributive prefix.

Crum itrum. A good man.
Roth icrum. A mannish woman.

So adjectives are quite simple, invariable and don't agree with the noun they modify.

Gud dapau crum itrum uroth itrum. A good man must look for a good woman.

Adjectives

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Adjectives in Tulvan are invariable in number, declension or gender. They follow their respective nouns and they are divided in two main groups. There are full adjectives and derived adjectives, the last type are marked by an attributive prefix i-. One will notice that sometimes an English adjective doesn't have a full adjective in Tulvan. Even though this could be fixed by the attributive making it a derived adjective, sometimes this can give an awkward expression for native Tulvans.

This is the case, for example, with such words as "good" in most common greetings. This is not expressed by an adjective in Tulvan, but by a word meaning "well-being" as a noun. Also this is the case for some more complex derived adjectives. Needless to say colors belong to the full adjectives category. So we have for example:

trum ni nari. Good night.
but actually; "well-being in the night (for you)".

Adjectives always follow their noun:

Crum nus. The old man.
Utim cip. The new tree.
Nwir cnara. The black sky.

This also applies to derived adjectives with the attributive prefix.

Crum itrum. A good man.
Roth icrum. A mannish woman.

So adjectives are quite simple, invariable and don't agree with the noun they modify.

Gud däpau crum itrum uroth itrum. A good man must look for a good woman.

Ikopuku

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ikopuku'.

ikopuku

  • (n.) something one is allowed to do
  • (n.) right
  • (n.) a wave of one’s hand

Au emimu uila emi takemi u iema poe takoiki oi pou ikopuku.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Notes: Okay! The first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is in the books. Huzzah!

Today’s word derives from kopuku (“to wave at” or “to allow”), which, in turn, derives from kopu (“hand”). As you can see, the word ikopuku doesn’t really mean “right” in the same way as English “right”. Rather, it’s seen as a kind of allowance. It doesn’t seem to me that the notion of “right” as it exists in the Western world really makes sense in Kamakawi. Certainly, one’s parents disallow one from doing certain things when one is young, but that’s because one is a child. There are a people that haven’t known slavery, or even oppression, and what one does and doesn’t do is governed by one’s ability, and social morae, not law. And while no group of people ever live in harmony, without true disenfranchisement, it seems like the idea of a “right” would never come to exist—or, at least, not with the same meaning as it has today.

Now that I’ve presented all the vocabulary found in the first sentence, let’s examine it. Here’s the sentence with an interlinear and a more literal translation:

Au emimu uila emi takemi u iema poe takoiki oi pou ikopuku.
/n.s.pl. person-inch. all person carefree s.s.pl. even by-def.sg. vanity and by-def.pl. allowance/
“All people come into being carefree and they are even with respect to vanity and allowances.”

For those trying to figure out the syntax, it’s important to note that takemi there is acting as an adverb. Hopefully that should make everything make sense.

The idea, then, is that all people come into this world without worries (take that original sin!), and that, all things being equal, they’re equally vain, and are allowed to do the same things. Naturally, this is not true, at least as it’s written. If one is born male, one will never carry a child in one’s womb (Hollywood fantasies notwithstanding). But understood on a universal level, it holds.

This doesn’t seem to me like something that the Kamakawi would come up with independently. The real sticking point is that word ikopuku. I think that’s what one has to translate “rights” as, but “rights” implies external—and opposing—forces. I’m not sure if the Kamakawi would phrase it that way. Rather, I think the Kamakawi would use the word itou: a modified version of tou, “ability” (dang. I haven’t done either of those words yet…). This focuses not on what one is not (or cannot be) prevented from doing (and, really, that is the focus of the word “right”, as well as ikopuku), but on what one can do (and no external force is implied). That, it seems to me, makes more sense in Kamakawi.

Okay! Tomorrow, we embark on a new journey: The second sentence! Lots of fun in that one… Just wait and see! ;)

Na’vi in a nutshell

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
I finally finished reading all of NeotrekkerZ's Na'vi in a Nutshell. It's been out for a few weeks, but I hadn't finished reading it to give my full take, and now I have finished! This is the best guide I have read on learning Na'vi since I started scouring the internet for information after seeing the movie opening night.

Na'vi, like almost any conlang, is simply not developed enough to teach in the traditional classroom sense. In a classroom you learn grammar, exceptions to grammar and idiomatic phrases in a much more roundabout way. Since we can't do that with Na'vi we must take a much more direct approach. Na'vi in a Nutshell is broken down into sections on parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc), and it goes through all of Na'vi's cute little adpositions and infixes in a more or less logical order. There's even a skills test at the end to see how much you've learned. I haven't taken it yet. I want some more time for it to sink in before I'm struck with the realization that I still don't get it :)

The one draw back of course is certain sections are pretty heavy on the linguistic terminology. I'm no professional linguist, so sometimes that terminology goes over my head. There were a few places where I had to read it a few times, but for the most part I was able to get it from a practical perspective. And there's always Wikipedia to remind myself what certain terms mean.

So if you are interested in Na'vi, go check it out! After reading it I feel much more confident in how all the pieces fit together.

The way this guide is layed out is actually my preferred method to introducing myself to a new language. Not having a backbone like this is what caused me to give up on Japanese. I could never understand it because they only teach you the polite forms first, so I couldn't reason out the basic structures that I feel like I should have known after a 101. I definitely want to pick it up again someday, but right now I'll just stick to the random things I've gleaned from watching subtitled anime.

hamik’tan: structure

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

While we have reached the tangible perceptions, ‘hamik is not an easy one. It is roughly the opposite of ‘to be smooth’. If something has a specific structure, it is/feels hamik. This is however a specific meaning of the word. Even if a structure is not tangible it can be still expressed by this word and it is far less likely to be said about a rock* than about treebark because to a certain point there is the lingering conotation of intention. To emphasize that something feels structured, the verb ‘kanti is used. Well, rejistanian has four terms for ‘to feel’, ‘demna and ‘sanja refer to ‘feeling emotion’, ‘jdunu means ‘perceive something by the sense of touch’ or ‘to feel something’ and ‘kanti means ‘to have the properties which can be felt’. The difference between ‘jdunu and ‘kanti is that between “I feel a hole in this cloth” and “this cloth feels smooth”.

Hamik’het is something that is hamik. Hamik’tan means structure, or pattern. The idiomatic expression hamik’tan’ny rejavisko means just “grammar”.

Example: Jdunu’het kesemak mi’kanti hamik. (skin snake 3S-feel structured. the skin of a snake feels structured) listen

*rejistanian geologists will probably use it about geological features though.


Ibran word of the moment – ī (ill) / ij

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Right, so one of the projects on my list is to go through the current Ibran word list and check all the words for consistency. In theory I’d be able to do more than one of these each time I got around to them, but at my current level of organization this isn’t always possible… One thing I’ve started doing, though, is entering vocabulary into my Lexicon app for future keeping-track, and compiling all the various source documents I’ve created over time into comprehensive collectfiles… which may or may not eventually get formatted for FrathWiki.

Anyway, the word I got around to this time was the word for “he”.

The original Latin form was illum, which became ill /iʎ/ in Old Ibran after palatalization and apocope. The palatal is lost in modern Ibran, though, and doesn’t survive in either the reformed Paysan or the Cyrillized Roesan orthography: in the former it is ij and in the latter it is ī. In both dialects it’s pronounced /iː/.

This matches what I had originally, so we’re good. Still need to put together the “she” word, though. And of course there’ll be at least one oblique form I’ll have to confirm too, I think…

Kopuku

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'kopuku'.

kopuku

  • (v.) to wave at
  • (v.) to allow
  • (n.) allowance (not that kind)
  • (adj.) allowing (perhaps “sanctioning” is a better English translation)

Oku kopuku ei i ia tou ae liwi ie katativa li’i poiu!
“I cannot allow you to steal my bacon!”

Notes: That’s me talking tough to an egret! Egrets, let me tell you, will walk right up and snatch your bacon right off your plate if you’re not stern with them. Granted, it’s adorable, but with only so much bacon to go around, one must draw a line in the sand!

We’re one post away from the word that was actually used in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This one, though, helps to illustrate something that’s a little different about the Kamakawi.

In America, if you wave at someone, you’re greeting them (or maybe just trying to get their attention; it depends on the type of wave and the urgency of the motion). On the Kamakawi islands, a wave means, “Go ahead!” So to “wave at” something means to allow it. And that’s how we get today’s term. As for tomorrow’s…

Sirius.

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

So, I started this particular language several years ago but never put much work into it. To start with it was an a priori language (and I still have a file going by the wonderfully descriptive name of ‘A zillion proto-Sirius root words’), but later I decided, as I generally do, that languages look better when they have parent languages, and made it into a descendant of Kirumb. I had originally thought of making it an auxlang or such, but I don’t really have the follow-through for that sort of project, so the few words I taught friends and the Yahoo group I’d started at the time are long gone, now.

Anyway, today I decided I’d incorporate it into Nother proper, instead of just being derived from a language of Nother. I imagine the use there would be similar to how I had planned on doing it here—a sort of jargon, arising shortly after the beginning of the 21st century in mixed communities of demihumans and New People (which is what I think I decided the “furry”-type people are called in Nother—I don’t have my original notes on that to hand). Most people who say they know the language would only have a limited-function vocabulary, but there’d be smaller communities where it was practiced as a language in full, possibly even as a literary language separate from whatever contemporary language it’s derived from.

And I realized I didn’t have a name for the language in the language yet, so I worked out that it probably comes out as Seri. (But ‘Seri’ is ambiguous with a real language of Mexico, so I’ll probably just be referring to it as Sirius still.)