Archive for September, 2011


Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uke'.Glyph of the word 'uke'.


  • (n.) rottenness, rot
  • (adj.) rotten

I ukeuke i ipe foye.
“There is a rottenness on that papaya.”


Today’s word has nothing to do with today’s cat picture (another from when Keli was sitting on top of the couch):

Keli reclining.

To complete the cycle of rottenness, we have ukeuke. On occasion, a stem by itself becomes a kind of verbal noun. Sometimes it takes the -kV suffix. In this case, a full reduplication was used for the nominal form, giving us “rottenness”.

Since the full reduplication is so often associated with adjectives, though, ukeuke can be used adjectivally to mean the same thing as uke.

And with that, I have finished! No more of rottenness, or rotting: Let us speak only of cats! Cats and meowing and murring! ~:D


Friday, September 23rd, 2011



This is a clause-level modifier and it means “soon”.

Sentence #32:
tō jāo anniþen tema jēwāri anhāri nīkan antāoni nīkan anwūlīñi anlōi ē rūjāñ ew sūjīr mo sarōña;
So that soon he saw the waters of the lakes with waves with the golden sands around it but not at back.

High Eolic word of the day: mittám

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

mittám: tongue; taste.

len náram mittámba-callangal yácindacarnútur
we eat.PERF.TRANS tongue-cow.ACC dinner.GEN
“we have eaten cow’s tongues for dinner”

mittám is also used idiomatically with a possessive prefix and the sociative suffix -er in order to convey the meaning “to X’s taste”, “to X [it] tastes [like]…”.

Asshekhqoyi Vezhvena!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I just learned that today is the birthday of forum member Daenerys. Majin yeraan, zhey khaleesi, astak anha ki, “Asshekhqoyi vezhvena!”

I’m not sure how (or if) the Dothraki would celebrate a birthday, but it occurred to me that they’d probably have a word to describe it (it’s a significant enough day in a given year [and I'm going to ignore the entire discussion of how seasons and years work in the Song of Ice and Fire universe. Consider that discussion permanently tabled]). The issue was raised during an IRC chat with members, but I forget by whom… It was probably someone’s birthday, and I could’ve sworn the conversation would be in my chat transcripts, but it isn’t (so if someone wants to post a comment and remind me, please do).

As I recall, what we discussed is what, if anything, would be important about commemorating the day of one’s birth. Aside from one’s coming into the world, the day of one’s birth is the day one first bleeds (due to the cutting of the umbilical cord). That seems like it would be pretty important to a race of warrior nomads. Thus, one’s birthday is one’s asshekhqoyi—literally, one’s blood day.

The phrase Asshekhqoyi vezhvena! is actually a shortening of a longer phrase: Anha zalak asshekhqoyi vezhvena yeraan!, “I wish for an excellent blood day for you”. The word asshekhqoyi itself is in the genitive (the accusative is used with zalat only when the subject wants something that they will then possess), which means that vezhven, the word for “excellent”, takes a suffixed -a (a form of agreement). If you want to add someone’s name in there, simply add zhey followed by their name at the end.

And there you have it! That’s how to wish someone “happy birthday” in Dothraki. And, of course, I hope you’re having a good birthday, zhey Daenerys. Saqoyalates gavat hrazefoon yeri! (I.e. “May your horse meat be bloody!”)

firewood is puget

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
pugetpuget = firewood (noun) (some things Google found for "puget": a very very common term; Puget Sound is an inlet of the North Pacific in northwestern Washington State and its general region - an overwhelming result; University of Puget Sound in Tacoma; a last name; 17th century French painter and sculptor Pierre Paul Puget; alternative rock guitarist Jade Puget; Peter Puget was an officer in the British Royal Navy best known for his exploration of Puget Sound; Puget, Puget-Ville, Puget-Theniers and Puget-sur-Argens are places in France)

Word derivation for "firewood":
Basque = egur,
Finnish = polttopuut (poltto = burning + puut = wood)
Miresua = puget

Unlike the Finnish word, this is not a compound word. But like the Finnish word it has the plural form with the suffix of -t, implying more than one piece of firewood.

By the way, the Miresua conlang word for wood is pur (from the Basque word zur and the Finnish word puu).

Note that the Miresua pronunciation of puget is not like in Puget Sound. In Mireusa u is pronounced similar to the oo in food.


Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ukemu'.


  • (v.) to rot
  • (adj.) rotting

A uke ipe nukoa…
“That meat is rotting…”

Notes: In conjunction with yesterday’s post, we continue with our rotten theme. The verb uke is a stative verb which describes something which is rotten. In order to describe the process of rotting, one uses the inchoative suffix -mu to get ukemu, which is “to rot”.

When used adjectivally, this sets up a nice dichotomy. Specifically, one uses uke to describe something that is rotten (e.g. nukoa uke, “rotten meat”), and ukemu to describe something which is currently rotting (nukoa ukemu, “rotting”). In this way, the two words complement each other, and almost look like English participles.

I don’t know why I chose “rotting” to serve as the example for this discussion… I swear, it just happened; I didn’t actually intend for it.


Thursday, September 22nd, 2011



Remember antarūn, which refers to something visible or seen? antarūnīwe refers to something that is no longer visible.

Sentence #31:
il wā ñi jatarūn jawēha ew rū xō pēxa ew jatarūnīwe il ñi sāen rā xō;
And yet the mirage did not move away or disappear when he went there.

First, at First, Once, First Time

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

This is another grammar musing on an issue I’ve been undecided about for quite some time now. If you look into the Grammar, you’ll find that ordinals and multiples are formed from cardinals like this:

men ‘one’ (one)
menan ‘first’ (one-NMLZ)
menanyam ‘once’ (one-NMLZ-DAT)

However, I came across situations where I wanted to say “at first” and “for the first time.” I wondered whether that could be covered as well by menanyam, literally ‘for first’, but somehow, I still wasn’t quite content, since doing something once isn’t always the same as doing it for the first time. Similarly, doing something at first is not necessarily doing it once or for the first time either. I came up with the following three alternate solutions for ‘at first’ some months ago:

?menya, lit. ‘at one’ (one-LOC)
menanya, lit. ‘at the first’ (one-NMLZ-LOC)
menanyam-ikan, lit. ‘very once/for the very first’ (one-NMLZ-DAT=very)

Now, through use, I somehow settled on menanya for ‘at first’ (English bias?), however, as of writing this, I think I could merge that with ‘for the first time’ and let context disambiguate: If there is a description of successive actions following, we know that the speaker probably means ‘at first’ (and then X, and then Y). Conversely, if context reveals that the action has never been done before, or that a person is new to something, we know that it is done ‘for the first time’. If there is no context, like in individual example sentences, things stay unclear, though I guess that this situation is kind of artificial, since sentences are rarely not embedded into context in real life, or even in texts.

If I didn’t want ambiguity, ?menanyam(an)ya could be possible, but I find that very unwieldy, as stacking case markers on top of each other is kind of avoided and renominalization with a case marker feels somewhat awkward, too, although I ran into situations where I wanted to do that with gerunds. Menanyam-ikan could be used as a very stern version of ‘once’, like ‘once and for all’.

Very much incongruent to this is ‘last’, which is now split between sarisa ‘former, previous’1 and pang-vā ‘back-most’. While sarisa is strictly used to mean ‘previous’, pang-vā2 can only be used to refer to the last item of a set.

  1. This looks like it’s derived from sara- ‘to leave’ + -isa ‘CAU’, so ‘made to leave’ literally, or ‘be left’, since causatives are used somewhat irregularly in Ayeri. I don’t usually keep track of how words are derived, which is kind of stupid sometimes.
  2. This appears to be somewhat in analogy to ban-vā ‘best’, although even that is strictly an irregularity …

The Header Script

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

I’ve gotten a few questions about the script in the header (the one in black below the word “Dothraki” in white), so I thought I’d address it, even though it doesn’t relate much to Dothraki itself.

First (in case there’s anyone who can’t make it), it’s intended to say “Dothraki” in English (works if you kind of squint your eyes at it [especially when you get to the "a"]). Even so, the script was not intended to be a Roman font: it was created for a conlang.

Back in mid-2010, when I was working on season 1 of Game of Thrones, I was also participating in a group conlang creation project (the language was called Kenakoliku). It didn’t end up being successful (group projects are very difficult to maintain), but it was fun at the time. Since my favorite part of creating a language is creating its orthography, I devoted my energies to creating a possible orthography for Kenakoliku.

I initially fonted up five proposals (just one character for each): two instantiations of someone else’s hand-drawn proposal, and three of my own. They’re shown below:

Five orthographic proposals for Kenakoliku.

Click to enlarge.

I actually liked the one called “Curvy Glyphs” the best, with “Kadani B” coming in a close second (for some reason it reminded me of those block Greek letters you see on fraternity houses…), but most everyone else liked what I called “Halfsies”: an orthography where the consonant was on the bottom, and the vowel on the top. As a result, I filled the font out, creating possible consonant and vowel characters without assigning any values to them (so people on the board could choose which ones they liked best). Here’s the chart I came up with:

Full version of the Halfsies font.

Click to enlarge.

From this sample, everyone (mostly) settled on form-sound combinations they liked, and I produced a font, a sample of which is shown below:

A sample of the full Halfsies font.

Click to enlarge.

The font had some problems, and I mostly fixed them so that the font worked in my word processor of choice, but then it still had problems in other word processors, and then the language itself kind of wound down anyway, so I abandoned the project and the script. If you’d like, you can download what remains of the font and toy around with it here (.zip). I warn you, though: the ligatures may not work on your end, and I’m no longer maintaining it.

Anyway, several months later, Game of Thrones debuted, and I started up a LiveJournal account mainly to make comments on George R. R. Martin’s LiveJournal. In order to do so, though, I needed an icon. I didn’t want to use a picture of one of the actors from the show (or, even worse, a picture of me), and Dothraki didn’t have its own script, so I was in a quandary. I’d always liked the Halfsies font, though (I always referred to it in my head as the Swashbuckler’s Script), and one of the characters kind of looked like a “D”, so I made it my LJ icon:

The Dothraki D.

And that’s been my little Dothraki icon ever since.

When it came to making this blog, I found a theme I really liked (props to digitalnature!), but the font in the header looked way too plain (sans-serif?! Decidedly un-Dothraki!). And since I didn’t want to actually go in and mess with the CSS, I just created a background image with the Halfsies font. In order to get something that looked like English, I had to pick and choose characters (and alter some, using Photoshop), some of which you will have seen in the image above:

Characters used in the background image.

Click to enlarge.

And eventually I had it.

So that’s the story behind the script in the header. The look of it was, indeed, inspired by Devanāgarī, but the actual structure is a bit different. The font above can’t actually be used to write English (it’d need a lot of work for that), but maybe if someone’s interested they can take it and manipulate it.

I feel like I should have something related to Dothraki in here, since this is a Dothraki blog. Let’s see… If I had to give “Halfsies” a name in Dothraki it’d probably be Lirisirazo (a class B inanimate noun, as all noun-adjective compounds are that end in a vowel), which means something like “Bladed Writing”.

Also, for the curious, Dothraki is now up to 3,163 words: More words than Mr. Padre Tony Gwynn has hits, but still a ways to go to catch Pete Rose (and my guess is Dothraki will have double his number before he gets even a sniff of the Hall of Fame).


Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uke'.


  • (v.) to be rotten
  • (adj.) rotten

Ai uke ipe, ua…?
“Is that rotten, or…?”

Notes: You know that feeling when you’re looking at food and you can’t tell if it’s moldy or not? Tough experience, that one. For example, I had these leftover bratwursts, and they kind of looked like they might have the beginnings of mold growing on them, but it could just as easily have been congealed grease—I couldn’t tell! So…I went ahead and ate them. I’m not dead yet. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, oddly enough, uke is a good word to illustrate the occasional nature of certain Kamakawi lexemes. Often a lexeme can be used as a verb, adjective and noun, and often the meanings will be predictable. Sometimes the predictability breaks down, though it often does so in predictable ways.

In the case of uke, it’s used only as a verb or adjective; never as a noun. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming days.

The iku for uke is fairly straightforward: the base is u, and the little tooth from ke fits on top right in the middle. ALl the ke words have the little tooth kind of glommed on somewhere where it seems to fit. This one always reminded me of a bird in a nest.