Archive for September, 2011

D’al Thyann, AjrFen Xi’An

Monday, September 26th, 2011
D’al Thyann, AjrFen Xi’An
(53) ©2011 Ariel Cinii in celebration of Sodé Guadam Khaajvé 1457. The Sartine “New Year” is estimated to fall on the Fifth day of October and alternately April at 18-month intervals (approx. 1.504 Terran years) relative to the homeworld’s changes of Guadam {(n.) Season}. Social events and personal ages were measured by Seasons, as it was considered impractical to measure by the sidereal year (2.8397 Guadamin, or 4.27097286 Terran sidereal years. Math by Joel Nelson). The next Sodé Guadam, Khaajvé 1458, falls on 5 April, 2013.

Expressing Deep Reference
By Ariel Cinii

The excepts below come out of the obscure reference writing I do to more deeply understand the material that feeds through the occasional flood of internal data on the Sartine Homeworld. Words, images or explanations never come as isolated bits; each thing connects to something deeper. I’ve often dug for the meaning of a word and come up with a treatise on something I’d never expected.

For example, the following concerns what came up when I was writing about the standard colour codes used in the system-wide space fleet, the Alo Teshé:

DT 9311.30 AMW:iac
The notion of the “rocket ship” may have often been viewed as a piece of science-fiction, but on Gysrrt not only was it real, it was an important part of the evolution of the craft of building air vehicles.

Rocketry was an old science even among the ancients in the early Era of Talsdin. There were many types of missiles in service to communities both on land, sea and air. Some were agents of destruction but most were signal rockets or brightly coloured flares in the Sartine sky sending simple messages, such as requests for help or trade, or as warnings to travellers. There were even hollow missiles used as unmanned messengers among several communities, especially between islands on the shoals of greater mainlands.

Their use between Mëssôtye, however, was not very practical. Given the nature of their isolated communities it was often far too easy to mistake a message for an attack. The use of messenger rocketry was severely curtailed to an established set of circumstances so as to avoid misunderstandings. This was among a raft or practical local variations that eventually contributed to a major cultural rift between those who lived at Sky (Cevera) and those on the land (Gaoduin).

Over time those who’d succeeded with messenger missiles took the next logical step and affixed them to aircraft. Through this memory’s “present day”, which admittedly stops pretty early in the Era of Urofith (in calendar reckoning U 01(Year One) began immediately after T 2500), many vehicles using sail as their primary propulsion maintained a set of rockets for certain manoeuvres where sail was too awkward, too undependable, or too slow. Some ships ran exclusively on rocket thrust even in the First Era {Hezdin: est. H 01- H 334, after which began the Era of Talsdin}. These were probably the first critical stepping stones to the vehicles that would later cradle the first Sartine explorations of the “Airless Air” from the ionosphere to the “junk ring” of asteroids and Ceverabin-rich rock in planetary orbit, and eventually the two moons: Gaozuën and Senges.

The purely rocket driven airships of the time were known as Shawo Bodeleth*. They shared many of the design features of the sail-powered EstiriOm. Both designs evolved from seagoing craft. Boat building was a well-established industry among the Revered First Hundred Sartine settlers. Boat hulls coincidentally presented a very proper aerodynamic profile to the air and from the point of view of those who actually constructed the first sky-faring vessels, it was easier to get craftsmen to build a variation on established designs than to strike out with something new and unproven.

Hence, Shawo Bodelethin ended up looking a great deal like their sky-sailing brethren, which in turn resembled flying boats. All had exposed or semi-exposed top decks, aerodynamic empennages of some sort, environmental systems and bilges and/or sections that either held ballast or anti-ballast, mostly rocks rich in Ceverabin. {Refining the Air Metal out its native rock was difficult and hideously expensive.} Most big sailing aircraft were steered or commanded from the back, again like a boat, with a Watcher, or I Abra Cinii {(Hon. n.) Lit. “One who watches the sky/wind(s)”} posted at the front end. The rear position was a matter of structural practicality. The stern was close to the Panashad (rudder(s)) or controls for the sails, and from an appropriately raised perspective, a captain {Rogrartan’a, or simply Rogra, named for the first person to circumnavigate Gysrrt by water} could see what was happening to almost every part of the vessel, which at the time held a slight priority over seeing directly ahead, which was delegated to the Watcher.

The advantages of propulsion independent of wind direction were obvious; you could go anywhere, anytime without having to wait for either a favourable current or a tow from the ground into the proper direction, at least as long as there was land beneath. The system's disadvantages, however, were myriad; rockets needed huge amounts of fuel with which to accelerate or maintain air speeds. The wind was not a factor in one’s ultimate course, however it was still a force of resistance (drag), and the more you had to fly against a headwind, the more the burn time and therefore the more fuel a ship required. Additionally, fuel restricted payload capacities, esp. when allowing for the mass of Ceverabin required to keep that much deadweight aloft, plus the constantly shifting amounts of gravity-abiding mass a rocket ship had to inevitably deal with as its fuel dwindled, or its load changed.

Then, too, was the great propensity for the vehicle to explode, whether from improper fuel handling or due to misfires, “wild fires” on board or other difficulties. Many such craft were easy targets for anybody experienced enough to know where the fuel had to be and accurate enough with a missile to hit and ignite it. And, oh yes, they were extremely loud, not an issue when one is breaking the sound barrier, attacking with swift and devastating force or heading into space, but a major problem when one's laden airspeed was measured in two digits and there were neighbours about.

At their worst, Shawo Bodeleth were big, slow, noisy and potentially the most dangerous aircraft ever flown by the Sartine people. There were airlands that would not allow one to come anywhere nearby because of the safety risk. But for a while, they answered a critical need for air commerce, to be able to travel with or against the winds aloft.

The Cevera people of that time were both the masters of the air and its victims. Sailing airships were often forced into wildly circuitous flight plans to avoid weather fronts, which would force them away from their destinations rather than toward them. Flight plans often required a ship to anchor on the ground (or water, another reason for retaining that boat hull shape) until the winds changed in their favour. Estiri Om required yards of difficult cloth sail and long, awkward masts in addition to their rocket thrust and fuel, often a type of easily manufactured gun powder.

Propeller driven aircraft have had the longest run of any in the arsenal of Sartine aero propulsion systems. Over the Seasons they retained the greatest reliability and the most efficiency compared to other types of engines.

The first was probably in the 6th Hundred-time {or Renss’a (n., math) 100 Guadamin} of the Era of Talsdin, when the EstiriÔm Jaravedt was the first recorded prop-driven airship. This innovation was accomplished by means of steam power (difficult at higher altitudes because it always took so long for adequate steam pressure to build up) and a system of interlocking gears which led from the engine to the outboard propeller. The first airships to have prop drive used only one, instead of the more balanced symmetry of 2-engined ships, which were not to see flight until the following when better throttling mechanisms developed.

DT 1109.25 AMW:iac, Putitiop
Colour ID was a standard form of Alo Teshé communication. The boards of air traffic control centres were filled with data blocks identifying aerospace craft with code numbers, headings and logos of affiliated colours, and on the most traditional landing field one could still see flag wavers signal ships with bright coded banners.

In the Era of Talsdin, esp. during and after the Land and Sky Wars, colouration was a primary indicator of identity, status or military affiliation. Bright, gaudy flags of every type would add wasteful aerodynamic drag to antique sailing craft, steam-driven classical cruisers and rocket-planes alike. At the time, the Shawo Bôdeleth {Rocket Ship} was a common source of employment and personal danger. Shawo Bodeleth became the nickname of a legendary bandit who deliberately burnt people’s Trade Flags if his pickings weren’t good enough. He was the first recorded Golataz’a, or “Sky Taker”.

Indeed, the word Gola (thief) came from the Origin World {Feji Am Ka}, as did many of the traditions we now adhere to. Hhuer’enssin: “The Colours” came from a tradition when old Fumishan {(n., Fejia, generic) grandparent(s) regardless of gender} no longer had to work in the dirty factories of the time. They’d wear bright, clean clothes, often in clashing colours to announce their freedom to the world. Our elders’ elders taught us how to dress. Even the phrase, “Does your grandfather dress like that?” was used as a frequent sartorial insult.
As technology grew and velocities increased, the tradition carried over from flags to paint schemes that often resembled flying art canvases. The classical artist JemméNa Vôness, GaRaddi (T 414 - T 511) got his start painting his neighbours’ sailcloth at Tabani Cottonworks (Tabani City, Continent of Sthvoa). The finest clothiers in the world in turn would benefit the most from the Sendigk Hhuerën (Hon. n.), the Sartine culture’s basic colour code. At once classification became a common language of art and culture.

From about the First Hundred-time (or Renss’a) of the spacefaring Era of Urofith {U 113-(650, approx, end of incarnation experiences, when the Author crashed on Terra)}, aircraft belonging to Ssuriadss’ä {The Alo Teshé Aerospace Fleet} adhered to a strict identification code wherever and whenever possible to avoid misunderstandings, and to catch intruders, as was initially part of their job. The Alo Teshé was our Navy/Coast Guard, protecting the airspace of both the planet’s solar system and extra-solar colonies. The display of the right colours at the right time determined which side people considered “up” when dealing with you (or your vehicle) at suspect encounters. For instance, the following excerpt quotes some of the colour standards of the systemwide space fleet, the Alo Teshé:

* *

Manadssath light business carrier
Illustration © 2011 Ariel Cinii

Aircraft bodies should always carry a primary (base) colour of clean white. Bare metal bodies or body parts are permitted when questions of size v. economy/safety are predetermined. In those cases white shall be the primary default trim colour.
Ship-Bottom portions and/or primary trim should then-after carry light {“(Terran) Sky ”} blue. The left wingtip or aerodynamic trailing edge(s) must always be {“Richard Petty”} blue, while the corresponding right side must be {“New York Taxicab”} yellow.
Functional and ancillary trim defaults to either fire-orange red, Carmine Red or orange and then, optionally yellow or amber.
Graduated shades of grey and/or non-reflective black are acceptable for up to 30% of the fuselage. Largely black or grey fuselages often conceal damage, weapon ports or common wear and tear. This should, however, be considered a neutral colour. Vehicles painted entirely grey or black should be presumed Neutral Vehicles until further intentions are clear. They should, however, be watched most closely among the aerospace traffic of any type or origin.
White is never to be used as a safety or marker colour and is a strict violation of these regulations.
Green and combinations of green and yellow/amber (in addition to, or instead of white) indicate emergency, safety or rescue vehicles and should receive extra attention in air traffic control situations.
Purple appearing with black, grey and/or white generally denote military units and should be identified and identifiable at all times (including “Friend-Or-Foe” style identification codes and certificates), otherwise they should be challenged in the standard military fashion.

For aerospace armour or robotic suits See: Clothing.
* *
Googling Home
After I wrote this section I noted that the word Fumishan seemed rather Japanese or Chinese instead of cleaving to the Yal Dawo word structure that’s become reasonably clear from my language recall over the last two decades.
I Googled it, something I don’t normally do for homeworld words. According to Fumi is a female Japanese name that means “history”. I’d also learned that in Japanese the most common meaning of fumi is “letter”, although the character used to write it also means “literature”. I do not speak Japanese but I have been trying to pick up the occasional word from Animé, leading me to wonder if this was a simple memory bleed, taking something from what I’d learned in this life to plug in a missing piece, OR does the connection go deeper than that?

The Fejia were the home culture and species from which the Sartine fled many thousands of years ago. Could the ancient Japanese have run across a Fejia retirement cruise poking around on primitive Terra for a lark? I still hold to the belief that the early Japanese were exposed to a Sartine outpost, probably one camped out on the shores of the Sea of Japan, whose characteristics are similar to Awu Torua, the Warm Sea back on Gysrrt, which is home to a species of the sentient dragons we call Haroën.

Similarly, I Googled the word Gola {(n.) thief}. Wikipedia links it to the Gola (tribe), in Balochistan, Pakistan, Gola people, a tribal people and language in Liberia, Gola (Kumhar community), native to south-east Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Western Uttar Pradesh regions of India, even Gola, Nepal. So it’s a pretty common name. I wonder what the crime rate there is like.

*I got brave then and looked up the term Shawo Bodeleth {(Hon. n.) a rocket-powered aircraft; a rocket plane}. I found many references to Bodeleth as a last name, from the Dutch word: BOÊLEED (adj. m, mv. not common). “Ofri. bôdelêth, mnl. boedeleet. In Bankruptcy in the bet. A, b), and Oath. In the old law. The seed treatment with which the truth of the estate holder boedelcedel swore.” My search for Shawo {(n.) rocket} only brought up a couple of proper names, including a hotel in Rongcheng, China. And the definition for the word ashawo: “the Nigerian slang word used for describing a hoe (sic) or a prostitute.” This by itself could spark a new avenue of discussion.
And recently, Deb Wunder, MSG, Sue the Librarian and I discussed whether the term “anti-ballast” should have a hyphen. They agreed that it should, since it was a new usage for most readers of the Sartine stories, and it could later be omitted once the term came into more common knowledge.

Gosh, it’s not easy writing about a planet, is it?



Portions of this work were Produced Under The Influence To Influence Others Positively (PUTITIOP). Pennsylvania residents add 6% tax.

“D’al Thyann”, its logos and indicia are not quite yet registered trademarks of ciniidesign, acting as an Escort along the Established Path of the Polwoi Sivan’a {(Hon. n.) Lit. “Established Path”)} as I have learned at the Great University of Cazhvoa at Gkaé Sahret’thé.

Sônwé Sodé Guadam, y’all!!!

Conlangery #17: Aspect

Monday, September 26th, 2011
The second in our TAM series, we spend a good deal of time on the basic perfective/imperfective distinction as well as talk a little about how you can go totally crazy with many, many more aspects.  Then we review the incredible Siwa. Top of show greeting: Salthan Featured Conlang: Siwa (CBB Thread) Feedback: (First of […]

Any Color You Like

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Today’s topic comes from ingsve over at the Dothraki fora. The inventory of color terms in any given language is likely to prove more interesting than one would imagine at first blush. In discussing color terms in Dothraki, then, I’ll add layers of complexity as we move on, starting with the simplest information.

Here are the ten basic color terms of Dothraki:

English Term Dothraki Term Color Swatch
red virzeth
blue thelis
green dahaan
yellow veltor
purple reaven
pink theyaven
brown nozhoven
gray shiqeth
white zasqa
black kazga

There is no “orange”; that term is covered usually by veltor; sometimes by virzeth. Otherwise, those color terms can be used freely to cover the colors we have in English. The forms above are adjectival. To change them to verbs, simply add -at to those that end in a consonant, and -lat to those that end in a vowel.

Having said that, those who’ve studied Dothraki a bit will notice that at least three of those terms should look suspicious—specifically, those ending in -ven. And if you thought so, you’re right. Though Dothraki now has words to cover ten of the eleven basic color terms, they’re not equal, linguistically.

For many years, Dothraki had the basic set of color terms listed below. For each color, its prototypical value is given, followed by the range of colors it was used for.

English Term Dothraki Term Color Swatch Color Range
red virzeth
blue/purple thelis
yellow/green dahaan
yellow/orange veltor
light zasqa
dark kazga

And before that there were fewer color terms (for example, dahaan, in a time long before the present, derived ultimately from a type of grass called dahana. Prior to this, thelis was used for most blues and greens). As Dothraki khalasars met with traders, caravans and cities around the edges of the Dothraki Sea, they encountered new products, new types of clothing, new dyes, and found a need for new terms. As they prefer native terms to borrowings, they would often derive terms from Dothraki words, such as:

Dothraki Word Color Term Image Color Swatch
rea “internal organ” reaven A human heart.
theya “nipple” theyaven A human male nipple.
shiqethi “iron” shiqeth An old radiator made of iron.

The two words ending in -ven should be self-explanatory (-ven is used to mean something like “-like” or “-ish”). Shiqeth is actually a backformation. The original word is shiqethi, which is the word for “iron”; shiqeth was formed on analogy with virzeth (and the other CV(C)CVC color words thelis and veltor).

That explains everything except nozhoven thus far, but that one’s going to lead to a whole other topic: horse breeds (or colorings). There are quite a number of terms for specific types of horses, but the only ones that got used in the show were the generic “horse” (hrazef), and the word for “mount” (sajo). (Hmmm… Though now that I think of it, maybe vezh, “stallion”, and lame, “mare”, made it in, too.) It seems to me that words for the type of horse would be used more commonly, but that would require seeing the actual horse being referred to (and who knows if it would change from shoot to shoot, episode to episode). So I never managed to use any of the words for particular breeds of horse in the first season (we’ll see if any make it in in the future).

Anyway, the word nozho is the word for a chestnut horse, which is brown (anywhere from a reddish brown to a light brown), with a mane that is mostly the same color (sometimes lighter). Nozhoven, then, is a word meaning “like a chestnut horse”—or, in this case, “similar in color to a chestnut horse”. Most horses have a color term associated with them in this way, but since chestnuts tend to be largely one color all over (and since there was no other term for “brown”), nozhoven was adopted as the word for “brown”.

There are dozens of horse coloring types, and also related terms having to do with horse coloring, and there’s no time to go through all of them. I did want to introduce some, though, since the horse color terms are used in another unique way. In English, we’ve taken words from a number of places to describe skin color: actual color terms (white, black…); plants or food (olive, mocha…); light descriptors (light, dark…); and other sources (tan, pale, splotchy…). In Dothraki, all such descriptors come from horse colorings. Here are some common ones:

Horse Term Color Term Image Approximation
messhih “perlino” messhihven A perlino-colored horse.
ocha “dun” ochaven A dun-colored horse.
qahlan “palomino” qahlamven A palomino horse.
nozho “chestnut” nozhoven A chestnut horse.
cheyao “dark bay” cheyaoven A dark bay horse.

The way I figure it, if the Dothraki refer to you with a horse term, it’s a sign of respect, as horses of all types are to be respected. If they refer to you as some sort of lesser animal, though (like oqet, a sheep), then it’s time to worry.

Now just a few words about how to use them. Color terms are all stative predicates, and so can be used postpositively as adjectives, or as verbs, e.g.:

  • Haz rhaggat virzetha. “That cart is red.”
  • Anha vavvirsak haz rhaggat virzetha nakhaan! “I’m going to burn that red cart to the ground!”

The word for “color” itself is visshiya, which derives, ultimately, from vish, which means “forehead”. For different qualities of color (to make finer distinctions), one uses words that would translate to “light” and “dark”, but they’re not actually the words “light” and “dark”. The Dothraki conceptualize color value in terms of water depth, darker colors being deep (ao), and lighter colors being shallow (dei). Then each of those terms can be modified to delineate further. Here’s an example:

Dothraki Term English Translation Color Swatch
virzeth adein shallower red
virzeth dei shallow red
virzeth red
virzeth ao deep red
virzeth asaon deeper red

That’s a basic introduction to color terms in Dothraki. There’s more to be said, certainly, but this should be enough to allow one to use some color terms in writing and in speech.


Monday, September 26th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'olomoko'.


  • (v.) to walk with (someone)
  • (n.) used to describe the settling of a disagreement (or used to mean “the settling of a disagreement”)

Kava olomoko i’i.
“Fire walk with me.”

Notes: Just acame across the coolest thing for Twin Peaks fans (and that should be all y’all, nahmean?). For those who weren’t following the internet back then, someone produced an NES-style side-scrolling game version of The Great Gatsby which is an absolute riot (I highly recommend it!). To me, that was the crowning achievement of faux-retro literary gaming, but today’s revelation is definitely worth of note.

An…entity referred to as jak locke has released (apparently awhile back, so excuse me if you’ve seen this before) an Atari-style game called Black Lodge 2600. You take control of Dale Cooper as he tries to escape the Black Lodge with his life and his identity. It’s everything you’d hope it should be. I haven’t gotten too far, but hopefully one day I’ll make it out.

I dusted off the ol’ Kamakawi applicative (derivation? inflection? a little from column A, a little from column B…?) to create today’s word. In Kamakawi, I have a very clear idea of how you’d use the nominal form, but I can’t seem to define it very well in English (possibly [or probably] because I have a massive headache). Hopefully that’s enough to give you the idea, though.


Monday, September 26th, 2011



This is the word for memories. This sometimes appears as a possessed noun saxōna.

Sentence #35:
ē tema jāŋŋeren to jamāonre jalū sū jēwāri āñ ānen anlūi rū jasōþa wā mo sanārme ien ñe wā tema to anlūani to anexīmi to anxōni to ankīri mo sanārme aþ ñi sapāla sū anxūri hāl sū jēwāri nū;
The beauty from the city shining among the lakes with light from nowhere affected him like neither the stars nor music nor memory nor family had affected him and he wept in front of the gates beside the lakes.

High Eolic word of the day: ngerulav

Monday, September 26th, 2011

ngerul- (intransitive verb), imperfective ngerulav: to cry, weep.

ringá ngerul hullangang
woman.PL cry.PERF dead.EL
“the women wept because of the dead”


Sunday, September 25th, 2011



This attribute refers to shape, namely something in the shape of a vein or artery. The possessed noun saxōññāon is the word for one’s veins and arteries, and the attribute is a derivation of this.

Sentence #34:
sū jēwāri āñ la jamāonre nīkan ankōnōri anlūŋŋiþi anrāēli nīkan antāñi ē ansīwa ñe anlōki il jaraxēwa ī jaxōññāoni jalōnni jatēñi;
Among the lakes was a city with towers of white marble with flushes of pink like sunlight at twilight and also thin veins of gold.


Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oku'.Glyph of the word 'ka'.


  • (adv.) never, never again

A male hava ei i omi okuka.
“I will never eat a macadamia nut again.”

Notes: Going along with yesterday’s post, Kamakawi has two words for “never”. Yesterday’s “never” (okuoku) is used with things that one will never do, and has never done (or things that have never happened and will never happen). Okuka is used with things that one has done (or with things that have happened) and implies that one will never do it again.

This wasn’t a planned distinction of Kamakawi; it just kind of arose naturally based on the morphology. I think it’s a nice distinction to have, though. I’m not sure if it’d make enough sense to port into any of my other conlangs, but it’s nice to have here.


Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oku'.Glyph of the word 'oku'.


  • (adv.) never, never ever

Awei! Male puke ei okuoku!
“Bah! I will never finish!”

Notes: And I really won’t, at this rate. I’ve got until midnight on October 1st to finish La Morte d’Arthur, and I don’t think I’m going to do it. I’d set myself a regimen of reading 40 pages a day, and that would’ve had me finishing it on September 30th, but I just can’t keep up with it. In order to catch up, I need to read about 70 pages before I go to sleep tonight—and tomorrow I’m going to be gone for a large portion of the day.

Nothing more to say but: Awei! :(


Saturday, September 24th, 2011



This refers to the quality of being mixed together. Since it is generally an attribute of more than one thing or substance, it often appears in the collective.

Sentence #33:
la anlāji anēkki ansīñi ankīþi sūjīr nīkan ankēji anñāntiwi tō tūaþ ñi ankeþāwi tō þō tō anmārwi;
There at the back were tall rocky red-brown mountains and sky mixed up together so that here and the world were divided.