Archive for July, 2010

Kala Poiu

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'kala poiu'.

kala…poiu

  • (v.) to convince

Ae male kala i ia poiu…
“I just want to tell you how I’m feeling…”

Notes: Wow. Okay, this sentence means nothing close to what the lyrics are supposed to mean. It actually translates to “I’m going to convince you”. There was nothing I could do to convey the meaning and preserve the meter, so I took the general sense of this line and the next and I’ve kind of changed it and redistributed it.

The phrase kala…poiu derives, of course, from kala, which we’ve seen before. We’ve also seen a phrasal verb like this one before. Therefore shall I celebrate.

Here’s one of my favorite Rick Rolls! My wife and I are big fans of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Apparently, one year during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, they Rick Rolled the parade itself. You can see the video here, and read about it here.

We have a fan site!

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Go take a look at dothraki.org.

We know the guys behind it (who also did learnnavi.org) and we think they’re pretty awesome. They will have our support, but will stay completely independent from us; it’s a site for fans, by fans and we respect that.

If you want to help out, you should definitely get in contact with Lajaki / Sebastian, or just go to their wiki.

Alignment in Unnai

Saturday, July 31st, 2010
I sometimes wonder on how to break the routine (which I sometimes really enjoy) of picking a morphosyntactic alignment although you have many options, it all comes down to three main alingments which can be further divided into varieties and variations. You can have a Nominative-Accusative language which typically marks only the accusative, but could mark the nominative just as well, you have the Ergative-Absolutive which typically marks only the ergative, but marking the absolutive is not unheard of, or a Tripartite which marks all arguments.

There are some catches, though, and commonly there is no completely Erg-abs language. In fact Erg-abs marks the Subject of intransitive as objects of transitive, but Nom-acc does not mark Subjects of intransitive as Objects of transitive verbs. Or even sometimes an Erg-abs marks objects of transitive verbs different from Subjects of intransitive ones, the case of Basque. So you have these two types (plus their counter-versions) and the Tripartite (to mark them all), although I must say this is if you want to keep it reasonably simple.

I wanted to make something different for one of my languages, which I’m calling Unnai for now. In this language nouns are invariable for case, but the verb is conjugated according to the morphosyntactic alignment you chose to follow.

ölön to hear
[ˈɛl·ɛn]

ölögno Nom-acc intrasitive or omiting object of transitive
[ɛl·ˈɛg·no]
ölöngon Nom-acc transitive
[ɛl·ˈɛn·gon]
ölöjnen Abs-erg transitive or omiting subject of transitive
[ɛl·ˈɛd͡ʒ·nen]


Of course you have to use the pronouns accordingly. And depending on the verb alignment then can shift places without changing their meaning.

ölöngon shag ghal I hear you
ɛlˈɛngon ʃag ɣal

ölöjnen ghal shag I hear you
ɛlˈɛd͡ʒnen ɣal ʃag


It is noteworthy to mention that both sentences mean the same, although Unnai has no passive voice. In those cases where passive voice would be used Unnai uses the second construction to express it, since you can leave aside the subject of the verb ölöjnen ghal would mean “(someone) hears you” or, what’s the same, “you are heard (by someone)”. So adding the subject here would be pretty equivalent to adding the agent in a passive construction.

Torn World: Relative Pronouns

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Previously we discussed personal,impersonaldemonstrative,indefiniteinterrogative and reciprocal, and reflexive pronouns.  Now we're going to cover the last batch, relative pronouns.

Relative pronouns connect a relative clause to the rest of the sentence.  In Torn Tongue, they begin with “vr” and use vowels from the noun class set.  Note that they're related to the interrogative pronouns; some of these are the same. Those whose English equivalents end in “ever” begin with le-  in Torn Tongue.

English ..... Nominative ..... Objective ..... Genitive
who ............ vral .................. vra ................. vrai
what ........... vrol .................. vro ................. vroi
which .......... vrim  
that ............. vrir  

English ........ Nominative ...... Objective ...... Genitive
whoever ......... levral ................. levra ............... levrai
whatever ........ levrun ................ levru ............... levroi
whichever ....... levrim  

‘alatu: to caress

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Well, let the word stay for itself. Let me just state that I am sad that Boris is in Israel and I am not.

Example: Xe’vana ,il’alatu xe, het.
(1S-want ,2S-caress 1S, this)
I want you to caress me.


Fei

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'fei'.

fei

  • (adv.) up, upwards
  • (v.) to jump over something
  • (v.) to surpass something
  • (adj.) rising, jumping
  • (adj.) upper

Mata fei, he kanekoi!
“Look up, kitty!”

Notes: I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I said to get this picture:

Keli looking cute.

HAPPY CATURDAY! :D

I love this picture. My cat makes the most wonderful expressions. And the wildest noises! One of these days I’m going to have to record her meows and put them up here. That will require some cooperation on her part, though, so I’m not sure how it’ll go…

Today’s iku is a pretty straightforward ikunoala, though it might not appear to be so on the surface. It’s a combination of fe and ei. Rather coincidentally, it looks as if there’s a line over the “Z” shape to indicate where the semantic domain of this word is located.

Fei is one of a number of prepositions and adverbs that can combine with other verbs to form new phrasal verbs. For example, the verbal phrase mata…fei, when combined with an object (or when there is an object that is understood to exist), means “to visit”. Here it just means “look up”, and I think, in context, that’s quite clear.

In other news, I really need to get back to a sane schedule… I can’t be going to sleep this late anymore. :(

About Castilian

Friday, July 30th, 2010
While I was having a coffee with my family in the rotating café in New York one guy asked us if we were from Spain. I told him we were from Argentina, and he commented 'but you speak Spanish... or Castilian' like hinting it was the correct form of the name. I answered 'yes, it's the same' to which he responded he thought we called latinamerican Spanish Castilian rather than Spanish. The concept took me by surprise, but the most astounding fact was that many people in Latinamerica actually think this. They think Castilian is a term used just for Latinamerica.

This is not so.

Actually there is no real 'Spanish' as such, if you take that to mean that all of the Kingdom of Spain has actually only one language, which is not so. When the kings of Castile unified the whole country under one ruling house they established the speech of the kingdom's capital as the standard for the kingdom's language, which happened to be the Castilian variety of Romance. This is the language the spanish brought with them to America, and it is the language spoken in most of the continent, with a great number of variants.

Spaniard Spanish is no less Castilian than American Spanish. If you take 'Spanish' to mean 'the official language of Spain', but actually Spain has many languages, most of them romance (Catalan, Galician, Aragonese, Leonese, and many more) or even isolates (Basque, and many different dialects and variants).

So at best you can either call Castilian to all forms of the Spanish which is official in Spain and used in all Hispano-american countries or call Spanish to all of its forms.

But the error does exist even in native speakers in the american continent. Another example of how Spanish tends to categorize and split and assign concrete meanings to all its words trying to turn all synonyms into different words for different concepts.

About Castilian

Friday, July 30th, 2010
While I was having a coffee with my family in the rotating café in New York one guy asked us if we were from Spain. I told him we were from Argentina, and he commented 'but you speak Spanish... or Castilian' like hinting it was the correct form of the name. I answered 'yes, it's the same' to which he responded he thought we called latinamerican Spanish Castilian rather than Spanish. The concept took me by surprise, but the most astounding fact was that many people in Latinamerica actually think this. They think Castilian is a term used just for Latinamerica.

This is not so.

Actually there is no real 'Spanish' as such, if you take that to mean that all of the Kingdom of Spain has actually only one language, which is not so. When the kings of Castile unified the whole country under one ruling house they established the speech of the kingdom's capital as the standard for the kingdom's language, which happened to be the Castilian variety of Romance. This is the language the spanish brought with them to America, and it is the language spoken in most of the continent, with a great number of variants.

Spaniard Spanish is no less Castilian than American Spanish. If you take 'Spanish' to mean 'the official language of Spain', but actually Spain has many languages, most of them romance (Catalan, Galician, Aragonese, Leonese, and many more) or even isolates (Basque, and many different dialects and variants).

So at best you can either call Castilian to all forms of the Spanish which is official in Spain and used in all Hispano-american countries or call Spanish to all of its forms.

But the error does exist even in native speakers in the american continent. Another example of how Spanish tends to categorize and split and assign concrete meanings to all its words trying to turn all synonyms into different words for different concepts.

Henaudute sentence of the moment.

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I started a mid-length sort of fairy tale in Henaudute a long while ago and I’m hoping to pick it back up again. It was the longest stretch of text in the language I have, so far as I know, and it remembers more things than I’ve forgotten; most particularly, it has stress marked, and I’m not entirely sure what the principles were; I’m guessing here on λῶχονε and ὑμμέτνε based on how other verbs act.

ἀρὺν
but
REL
λῶρυχορε
hear.REL.3S
ὑμμέτατρε
refuse.NAR.3S
Ἥνατε
Henate
“But Henate would hear none of this.”

Vocabulary:

  • ha relative marker
  • ἀρύν arun “but, moreover”
  • Ἥνατε Hēnate “Henate” (name of the first Henaudute king)
  • λῶ·χονε lōchone “to hear”
  • ὑμμέ·τνε hummetne “to refuse”

The only new word here is ὑμμέτνε, which is literally ‘not to want’, ὑν- ‘not’ + *μετ, a root meaning to wish or want; it seems unusual that ὑν- can be applied to a verb this way, so I’m not sure this would be a common formation.

vasina’tan: love

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I already mentioned this word in an earlier entry about takani’tan. Let me contrast these two words again. Takani’tan (carnal love, attraction) is what makes you wake up next to a person whose name you cannot remember. Vasina’tan is what makes you call the person you love in hospital every day even though it is an expensive intercontinental call fo you. Thank you again for that, Boris. It meant so much to me!

It is very important not to confuse these two stems when talking about children. You can use ‘vasina to express your deep dedication and parental love towards them.

‘vasina means “to love” and “vasina” means loved. Vasina’he means someone you love and kenvasina’he is the significant other in a marriage. Marriage itself is antal’het vasina: ceremony of love.

The stem sounds almost like a part of the female anatomy, that is unfortunately true, but it is actually vana with the infix -si-, which here works as intensifier. -si- is not productive in Rejistanian but in its source languages.

Example:
Boris, xe’vasina il. Xe’ma’ta ‘sanja saovi.
(Boris, 1S-love 2S. 1S-be_able-NEG (INF)live alone)
Boris, I love you. I cannot live alone/without you.

In other news: I love the maturity of the conlanging community. I did not get comments about the last Rejistanian word of the Day but only about the unrelated linguistic questions. :)

Matthew Martin, the Toki Pona speaker who translated Unabsteigbarkeit for me linked in his blog to a budding new ressource for conlangers: A Stackexchange site-to-be. Let me link to how he describes its pupose. You probably are unable to comment on his blog due to technical issues. He didn’t know of this until I mailed him about it.

Also, in case you are coming from the aggregator: I made a static page about why I conlang and why I made rejistanian. It was partly inspired by the comments of that Esperanto advocate in the posting downblog as well as the comments I hear IRL about it.

And the infrequent IRC quote:

( Fenhl) I should learn more Rejistanian
( MalfermitaKodo) Fenhl: It is a rather easy leanguage at least in terms of grammar
( Fenhl) I know, I’ve read parts of the overview on github
( Fenhl) not very much though
( Kasuaarit) I still haven’t read more than 50% of the overview
( Kasuaarit) and I get by.. alright
( Kasuaarit) I guess I just learn by imitating Mal

I take it that this is the sign of a consistent, comprehensible grammar.