Archive for October, 2010

de: five

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Example: Xe’lil lejen’het de.
(1S-have book five)
I have five books

This word should stand for itself. We already know how numbers work and de is completely regular (unlike xi: two with one irregular ordinal form). But now: NaNovember awaits!


“Rices and moneys”

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

These words, of course, sound very wrong. There is a difference between mass nouns (rice, money) and count nouns (apple, peanut) in languages and only count nouns will be pluralized. It was quite difficult for me, given the little knowledge of linguistics, which I had, to realize that these things are not the same in every language out there. I am still struggling with this. Seriously. It seems hard to me to imagine that certain mass nouns to be discrete and OTOH, certain words which are used for individual things to have a counterpart which refers to the mass of them. This is one of the things, which I still struggle to implement well in my ‘langs.

Kenshuite He Mo Gie, as a communist conlang which marks the singular, not the plural of course has the tendency to see many things as count nouns which are mass nouns otherwise. But apart from that, it is a question of, often random asignment. So, how do you do it?


“Which ruler do you obey?”

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Kenshuite He Mo Gie was created based on a definite idea how the culture is like and this idea was implemented in grammar and vocabulary. Tsali started with a vague non-cultural idea and a Pentium 1 computer. As such, creating the language meant also making up the culture on the go. While I was walking to Bergisch-Gladbach, the language gave me a big hint on the culture behind it: I thought about asking about the nationality in the various conlangs I created. Rejistanian would probably ask “Where were you born?” since Rejistanis do not have any concept of naturalization. You are citizen of the country you were born in. If they would want to know the official nationality, they would probably ask something like: “Where does your passport come from?”

The Kenshuite He Mo Gie speakers live on a barely inhabitable planet as survivors of a crash. Visitors would be asked a lot of things, nationality probably not being one of them.

Naeso would use a rather direct construction, though that has not been voted on yet.

And Tsali would ask which ruler one obeys. The reply would take the form “Berlin-obeyer am I” ie: the term for nationality is derived from the capital city, not the country. This is inspired by Singularity Sky by Charles Stross and I suspect that the Tsali speakers also have a distinctly authoritarian culture. Or if I go for the irony: Are a young egalitarian democracy, which still uses the language of earlier, absolutistic times. Irony or not: Some nations are going to be named after the family which rules them: Wintsor dia kpektsi (Windsoer-land) will the the UK and Sahud dia kpektsi (Saud-land) Saudi Arabia (which is named in this manner in German and English as well).


Iluku

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'iluku'.

iluku

  • (n.) ball, sphere (or some like spheroid)
  • (adj.) round, spherical (ball-like)

Li ia ie iluku e nevi i’i!
“Give me the ball!”

Notes: Actually, a faster way to say that would probably be, Neviki ie iluku!.

But, yeah, playing NBA Jam, I am such a ball hog… I am pretty good offensively, but I need to remember to give the ball up more.

But anyway, onto football! Here are last week’s predictions:

Week 7

  • Kansas City 28 Jacksonville 20
  • Baltimore 35 Buffalo 17
  • San Diego 33 New England 25
  • Green Bay 22 Minnesota 19
  • New York Giants 37 Dallas 24

Not bad (4-1), but i would’ve been happier if I’d predicted fewer of them right and the Chargers had beaten the Patriots. Oh well. This takes me up to 22-12. Not bad!

This week I’m predicting even fewer upsets than I did last week. It’s not going to go well…

Week 8

  • Washington 37 Detroit 35
  • St. Louis 28 Carolina 17
  • Oakland 35 Seattle 25
  • New Orleans 42 Pittsburgh 39
  • Indianapolis 29 Houston 24

Today’s word derives from a former word of the day: luku, which means “circle”. I also referred to it in an earlier post, which means I can now link from that post to this one. Hooray! :D

ansīrien

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

ansiirien

ansīrien

of the North. This word is derived from the root -sīr- which means “dry”.

Of our two characters in the story, one is the North Wind, mūrāna masīrien and the other is the Sun malō. I covered the word for wind, usually inanimate, earlier, and the word for sun, always animate, shortly after that.

se mūrāna masīrien; se malō;
The North Wind; the Sun.

Sentence 4.14

Sunday, October 31st, 2010
A tí te yilian tugikí a bodú?

Are those two pens yours?

The new word in this sentence is yilí. It is an adjective and means two. Before the feminine plural noun tugikí, writing tool, it takes the an-ending. It comes from the Swahili adjective -wili. As words in Swahili can change their initial consonant due to the prefix attached to it I have looked sideways for a rule to adapt and borrowed a sound change from Hebrew which says that an initial w- changes to y- on verbs and applied it to the adjective yilí, just to make it look different.

Conlangs and usability

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Conlangs are not normally looked at in terms of usability, however, it needs to be considered when deciding how to reach the goals of a language. There are different stages of usability and their lack. On the lowest level are languages like Rikchik which cannot be used by humans at all. The ones, which are designed for alien mouths. Then, there are the languages, where the mouth can pronounce the sounds, but the brain protests very much if you want to learn it as L2. Ithkuil/Ilaksh belongs here. As does Fith. And as does the nounless language quuxlang, which I developped. A step further towards ease is a language which uses really odd grammatical structures or phonological features. Here, for the first time, the L1 of the wannabe-speaker is relevant. A speaker of German will struggle with anything tonal. And at least one speaker of British English was unable to hear a difference between /h/ and /x/ in rejistanian words. Also languages with natlang-grade amounts of exceptions fit here since they require a lot of rote memorization. Then there are the simplified languages, Esperanto, Ido, Volapük, Rejistanian (which is a fictional auxlang)…

And then there are languages, which try to fall into this category but overdo it so much that they are actually quite challenging. Like Toki Pona. Yes, it has only 100ish words, but it needs to know so any terms which have to be memorized that it actually cannot be considered easy anymore.


‘ata: to discard

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Example: Xen’ni ‘sis’han ata’het’ny.
(1PL-must (INF)outside-towards trash-PL)
We must move the trash outside.

This word means “to discard” or “to throw away”. Ata’het means a piece of trash. Trash or garbage requires the plural. Ata as adjective means discarded or relates to trash.

It is quite odd for me to have words, which require a different number than they do in German. But this is why I always try to use some of these in my languages. Money (relixa’het) can take the plural for “several coins/notes”. And my communist language Kenshuite He Mo Gie had rice as being in the plural where the singular means ‘corn of rice’.


river is jobai (revisited)

Saturday, October 30th, 2010
jobaijobai = river (noun) (some things Google found for "jobai"; an uncommon to rare term; a rare last name; user names; a rare first name which can be feminine or masculine; Jobai haystack dance figure and woven masks of Sierra Leone and Liberia; the name of a village in Bangladesh)

Word derivation for "river" :
Basque = ibai, Finnish = joki
Miresua = jobai

My previous Miresua word for "river" was "okai". To make a better alphabetic mix, I decided to make my new word 5 letters long. I allow myself one more letter in length than the longer of my two source words.

Miwimi

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'miwimi'.

miwimi

  • (n.) insanity
  • (v.) to be insane
  • (n.) insane person
  • (adj.) insane
  • (adj.) lousy, crazy, annoying (casual insult)

Oku miwimi ei…
“I’m not crazy…”

Notes: If you don’t have anything to do at noon Pacific tomorrow (or today, I should say), check out the Rally to Restore Sanity. It’ll be on Comedy Central, but probably also on the internet somewhere (it’s a big internet). I’m looking forward to it. :)

(Not looking forward to having to explain one day just how miwimi came to mean “insane”. If you thought that day would be today, you were sorely mistaken. Sorely!)

Update: So, apparently, it was noon Eastern. Which means I missed it. :(