Archive for March, 2011


Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'eaka'.


  • (n.) fence, fencing (not the sport)

A a’i ipe eaka.
“That fence is white.”

Notes: There’s the word for fence!

So at halftime, we were down 21-20. By the time the game had ended, we had 27, and they had many, many more points. Not a great start, but not unexpected. We can’t expect to not play basketball for a solid year and then come back and play at peak efficiency. Good to get back out there, though!

I’m not sure if I should cal this an ikuiku… After all, it’s mu’a that’s the ikuiku, not this one. The only distinction between the two is the line determinative that tells you that the sign is what it looks like.

In fact, now that I think about it, that’s quite odd, isn’t it! The original iku is a depiction of bamboo, and this one has a mark that says the word is what it looks like—which isn’t bamboo, but a fence! Ha! How funny.

Well, time to go to the gym and run. I’m on the comeback trail!

Henaudute sentence of the moment.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
‘Do I not rule an excellent land? Are there no women in my own country?

(The label ‘Γ’ on μάνδαθη indicates the gender called γαρη “earth” in Henaudute; it is used chiefly for inanimate objects and parts of things that aren’t considered parts of other things.)

I only had to make up a couple of words for this one:

  • φαῖνε, infix point at φά·ινε. /pʰɑ́ v. trans. To rule over; to govern. [Dele *pahi "lead (v.)"> *phahi (VV6) .]
  • νένε, oblique form νεῦνευ /né.ne/, /néu.neu/.  pron. I myself; my own; first person singular emphatic pronoun. [Reduplication of νε "I".]

This story I’ve been posting fragments of is a sort of Ardan Cinderella tale.  The speaker in this line is the first Hena king, Ἥνατε /hǽːnɑ.te/.  Since it might be a while before we get to any information about other characters, I’ll let you know the oppressed sister is called Θύσσαθα /tʰús.sɑ.tʰɑ/, which means “homely”, and the cruel sister is Ῥήνθιχαρε /rʰǽːn.tʰi.kʰɑ.re/, which means “heartless”—for reasons generally explained by superstition, Hena names are almost always negative qualities; I haven’t decided whether the name Ἥνατε itself, literally ‘yellow’, was meant to be an example of this (connotations of jaundice, maybe).

I noticed as I was pulling this file out to work on that I had already translated about 21 lines of this story.  I don’t know what it is about Henaudute that lets me get so much created in it; I mentioned last time I touched this text that it was the longest bit of Henaudute I have—I think actually it’s the longest I have in any of my langs.  I seriously need to start the Henaudute texts page on FrathWiki.  (The texts page on the old website is still up, for those who want to check it out.)


nymatu’he: priest

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Example: Nymatu’he’ny mi’ki demna’het’ny’mi kalesa’het’min.
A priest knows the souls of his village.

This is actually a rejistanian proverb. It means that the priest knows best what people in his congregation are.

A nymatu’he is a priest not in the traditional European religions but in the inikresaist rejistanian one. Also the (4th wall aware) religion of Excelitism uses the term for their priests. One of the reasons for this might be that the progressan missionaries for this religion used local terms to seem less threatening to the locals.

So, what does a nymatu’he do? That depends of course to which Deity he is the nymatu’he, but in general the responsibilities are the ceremonies (including animal sacrifices and (only symbolic) human ones*), the upkeep of the temple, personal celebrations, often also predictions and very important, garuanteeing the protection of the village by keeping on the good side of deities. When a village is ravaged by a disaster, it is not uncommon to fire (‘vared) the nymatu’he’ny since they clearly were inept.

* modern times have changed the practice, even before Rejistania was founded, wooden images of humans were sacrificed


Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Since I read about the Javanese script a couple of years ago, I’ve been kind of fascinated with the idea of its collation, formerly quoted on Omniglot, and – with better quotability – at the moment to be found in a paper by Michael Everson:

The traditional order of the Javanese script is: ha na ca ra ka da ta sa wa la pa dha ja ya nya ma ga ba tha nga and this order has some currency. (The order is hana caraka, data sawala, padha jayanya, maga bathanga, a sentence which means ‘There were (two) emissaries, they began to fight, their valour was equal, they both fell dead’.) (Everson 5)

I wondered whether something like this would also work for Ayeri, since it draws some inspiration from the phonologies of south-east Asian languages. Now fellow ZBB member Z500 posted a “Translation Challenge” today with a request to translate “The quick brown fox jumped [sic!] over the lazy dog,” the famous test sentence for fonts in Microsoft Windows, into one’s own language. I found the original example very unchallenging, so I finally wanted to tackle the attempt to make a pangram in Ayeri.

Since I’ve reworked this website last month, it is possible to simply enter a regular expression into the text field of the “Advanced Search” page, like this:


Querying for this term returns a lengthy list of words that consist of the pattern C(a)C(a)… as in the Javanese example above. I chose to do it this way because using every vowel only once would’ve been extra hard, while there are numerous words that fit the Ca-pattern perfectly. So I played with this list a little, and came up with this:

Ang kamayan para dagās vala, bahu ca!
AF be_as_as-3PM quick turtle-P lovely, shout-IMP 3PM.LOC
‘They are as quick as a lovely turtle; shout at them!’
or ‘If they are as quick as a lovely turtle, shout at them!’

However, this isn’t a perfect pangram: /u/ and /aː/ occur although I wanted all vowels to be just /a/, and also /j/ occurs twice, since c /t͡ʃ/ corresponds to ty in the ‘native’ script (see “Alphabet” page). The latter issue is debatable, however, since ya is a diacritic there (ya eyra), not the letter ya itself. Due to the sentence beginning with the particle ang this almost-pangram even includes the otherwise silent vowel carrier character, ranyan.

With currently 370 unique results for the word pattern quoted above, it will certainly be possible to make up more pangrams with some patience. Maybe I’ll give this another try sometime else and that time really manage to come up with a pangram the way I intended to make one.

Works cited:
Everson, Michael. “Proposal for Encoding the Javanese Script in the UCS.” Evertype. 2011. Michael Everson, 28 Jan. 2008. Web. 29 Mar. 2011.
“Javanese.” Ancient Scripts. Lawrence Lo, 2010. Web. 29 Mar. 2011.
“Javanese Alphabet.” Omniglot. Writing Systems and Languages of the World. Simon Ager, 2011. Web. 7 Apr. 2010. (Access with ‹› on 29 Mar. 2011)
Z500. “TC: The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over the Lazy Dog.” Zompist BBoard. 2011. Mark Rosenfelder, 2002. Web. 29 Mar. 2011.

An Occasional Word: Taknok

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
  • Da tí yodin taknok-se, She has one child.

  • Taknok means child. When counting children the language uses 'to be' rather than 'to have' and counts the children as a reflexive. The plural of taknok is a different word: Deti. Taknok has a derived plural, takneta. I think this is a diminative plural and is used to mean 'lads'. Initially I thought that this was a gender-inclusive word. Now I'm not so sure. Takneta might be a group noun for the Boys, the Lads, as a social group. I think the female equivalent might be Kalketa, the Girls, the Lassies.

    The stem is also used in an abstract noun takniost, childhood, childishness


    Tuesday, March 29th, 2011



    We’re on this sentence of the 15th Conlang Relay Text:

    ñaxxa jāŋŋeren nā ā majjārien ānen ankēwīke pē hōkēñ;

    I blogged the word jāŋŋeren as an emotion meaning “awe” earlier. anāŋŋeren is the related stative noun meaning “inspiring awe” and is often used to connote great beauty. As to how to distinguish the singular version of the stative anāŋŋeren from the singular noun of the emotion, look to the relational. Emotions are always experienced in a se clause. In this sentence we have a ñi clause. ñaxxa jāŋŋeren nā ā majjārien is “The dancers make something inspiring much awe.” And the form of anāŋŋeren has to be singular because it is modifying the unstated indefinite (therefore generally singular) “something”.

    More on this sentence tomorrow.


    Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

    Glyph of the word 'eakaka'.


    • (n.) fenced off enclosure or area
    • (n.) fortress (close approximation)
    • (n.) defense(s)

    A itiki o uei i eakaka o uei.
    “Our speed is our defense.”

    Notes: I was tempted to make the sentence to eakaka, which means probably nothing, but which, if you look at it, kind of looks like “D” plus a fence. ;)

    Tonight my friends and I start playing basketball again in a rec league we’ve played in probably seven or eight different times now. We’re out of practice and out of shape, but we’ve got talent and height (or, well, one of us has height). Hopefully we can keep it going this time, because my overall health is much better when I’m playing basketball.

    For this game, I’m hoping to see how far I need to go cardiovascularly, and, as always, to make my “impression” on the other team (with my elbows and knees). Ordinarily, we can beat this team with ease, but given how out of it we are, we’re probably going to lose. No matter! It should be a good first game.

    (Note: Regarding the iku, see mu’a, “bamboo”.)

    Tense and Aspect in Ayeri II

    Monday, March 28th, 2011

    This is part two in my series on tense and aspect in Ayeri. This time, we’re dealing with past tense, or references that involve past time. That points in the past are expressed with the simple past tense is taken for granted here. However, note that Ayeri distinguishes three levels of past: immediate (just a moment ago), ‘normal’ (some time ago), remote (long ago). Of course, these are fuzzy, subjective categories, so it is no use to try and define how many minutes, months, or years have to pass until an event is recounted in one of the respective past tenses. Also, since Ayeri is slightly pro-drop regarding grammatical marking of categories expressed by context or adverbs in the same sentence, the tense markers are frequently dropped as long as the reference is clear. This will be illustrated in many of the examples below. As in the last post on this topic, these example sentences come from Leech and Svartvik.

    B1. State up to present time

    Since Ayeri does not have a morphologically marked perfect, simple present is used here with a time adverbial (pericanya-ikan masahatay ‘for many years’) indicating that the state has been going on for a period before and leading up to now:

    I’ve known her for years.
    Ang koronay (edauyi) yes pericanya-ikan masahatay.
    ang koron-ay-Ø (edauyi) yes perican-ya=ikan masahatay
    AF know-1S.FOC (now) 3SF.P year-LOC=many since.

    B2. Indefinite event(s)

    This is basically the same as in B1:

    I’ve seen better plays.
    Ang silvay maritay ajānyeas baneng.
    ang silv-ay-Ø maritay ajān-ye-as ban-eng
    AF see-1S.FOC before play-PL-P good-COMP.

    Since the past reference is clarified by using maritay ‘before’, the sentence is grammatical even without marking the verb explicitly for past tense.

    B3. Habit up to present time

    Since this category is about habit, I included the habitual marker -asa- in the example sentence below, however it feels unnatural to use there. What is important is the word masahatay ‘since/for’, as above, which establishes the time reference of an action that lasts up to the time of speaking. Use -asa- additionally to emphasize that this was a habitual action (“He used to conduct…”):

    He’s conducted that orchestra for 15 years.
    Sa lant(asa)yāng (edauyi) eda-tingrayeno pericanya 13 masahatay.
    sa lant-(asa-)yāng (edauyi) eda=tingrayeno-Ø perican-ya 13₁₂ masahatay
    PF lead-(HAB-)3SM.A (now) this=orchestra-FOC year-LOC 15 since.

    To be honest, I don’t know anymore where I got tingrayeno from exactly, but it looks like a compound, and it involves tingra ‘tune, melody, music’, maybe also yenu ‘group’ with an older (and even meta-factually!) fossilized nominalizer -no fused. However, the compound would then be the wrong way round, ‘music group’ ought to be yenutingra if it were regular. One of the woes of not keeping track too closely on where you get your compound expressions from.

    B4. [Past action] With present result

    The simple past tense is used here:

    You’ve ruined my dress!
    Le kādruvāng vehim nā!
    le kə-adru-vāng vehim-Ø nā
    PF.INAN IPST-destroy-2S.A dress-FOC 1S.GEN

    Note that the immediacy of action is expressed by the immediate past tense marker kə- here.

    B5. Temporary state up to present time

    And again, the present tense is used here together with a time adverb (iri ‘already’) to indicate that the state leads up to present time. The adverb manga may be used here especially to emphasize the large amount of time the state/action took:

    I’ve been waiting for an hour.
    Ang manga galamay pidimeri men iri.
    ang manga galam-ay-Ø pidim-eri men iri
    AF PROG wait-1S.FOC hour-INS one already.

    B6. Temporary habit up to present time

    This is like B5, only that you may empasize the habituality of the action with the habitual marker:

    He’s been walking since he was 8 months old.
    Ang lamp(asa)ya henanya koncanena yā masahatay.

    ang lamp-(asa-)ya-Ø hen-an-ya koncan-ena yā masahatay
    AF walk-(HAB-)3SM.FOC eight-NMLZ-LOC month-GEN 3SM.GEN since.

    In Ayeri it is more natural to say ‘since his eighth month’. Henan ‘eighth’ is formed by nominalizing hen ‘eight’, masahatay ‘since’ is a postposition and requires its head to be marked as an adverbial of place, hence the locative marker -ya.

    B7. Temporary, with present result

    Like in most of the other cases, there is no indication of the completeness of the action here, so for past reference, the simple past is used. The progressive marker manga is not usually used in this situation either:

    You’ve been smoking!


    To be continued…

    Since the table in Leech and Svartvik consists of all in all 26 distinctive action types in three large groups with a couple of subdivisions, it would be too much to cover everything in one post, so I will post those groups as a series of entries. This also permits me to think about this topic as I have time to translate the sentences: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4.

    Works cited:
    Leech, Geoffrey, and Jan Svartvik. A Communicative Grammar of English. 3rd ed. London: Longman, 2002. 82–83. Print.


    Monday, March 28th, 2011



    We’re on this sentence of the 15th Conlang Relay Text:

    se jaþēma ien pa jāo anwāra nā;

    Here the only word I haven’t blogged before is anwāra. This is a stative noun meaning “easy”. This sentence translates to “It seems that it is very easy.” Compared to the original, I again have jaþēma for “seems” and pa rather than la for the dependent clause. That’s because anwāra is an attribute and to say la jāo anwāra means that something equals easiness whereas pa jāo anwāra is something has easiness as an attribute, or something is easy.

    High Eolic word of the day: lác

    Monday, March 28th, 2011

    lác (noun): cold, calm, coolheaded.

    ta manda ngúya yirmandes lác-ur
    NEG goal COP.IMPERF far.away.ESS calm-GEN
    “goals are [never] far away for the calm”