Archive for November, 2011

flint is sikiri

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
sikirisikiri = flint (noun) (some things Google found for "sikiri": an uncommon term; Sikiri Computers of Belgium; a rare last name; a rare first name that can be feminine; user names; may mean "frequent" in Japanese (transliterated); name of a village in Orissa state in India; similarly named Fatehpur Sikri is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India)

Word derivation for "flint" :
Basque = sukarri, Finnish = piikivi
Miresua = sikiri

Flint is a type of rock that can be chipped into stone weapons and tools. Flint and steel can be used to spark a fire.

More Changes

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Like all projects (and languages), ‘Umu is being pulled in different directions at different times. I’m introducing a few changes to ‘Umu morphology and orthography.

No More Word Class
Probably the best feature of the whole damned language, word classes by means of initial radicals are being phased out for two reasons:

1) Limiting all words to only 10 initials produces rather boring looking glyphs and fails to take advantage of all of pseudoglyph’s design features.
2) I’m caught in a problem of compounds.  Initially, redicals only came alive when the word was being modified but, at the moment, I’m having trouble drawing the line between whether a word is being modified or whether a word is a compound… and what would happen if a (nomial) compound were being modified (which may be a compound itself).

I’m going to step back a second and figure out what this structure looks like before trying to throw in some type of mutation.

No More Vowel Shift
This change is also because of the above reason. There’s nothing to stop these features from coming back (in fact, I want them to) but I would rather solidify the basics before embellishing.

Simplified Glyph Building
Tratidionally, all ‘Umu words written with pseudoglyphs were built on a 3×6 grid, with your basic syllable being 3×3 and your basic word having two syllables. However, this arrangement produced several configurations that were difficult to codify into a standardized glyph set.

To fix this, words will now be build on a 3×5 grid, with each syllable overlapping one segment. This not only solves the problem but also produces interesting design variations that were previously impossible.

I could wax about some fictitious orthography reform a la Traditionaly/Simplified Chinese, but I’ll leave this to our collective imaginations. The end result is that we’re going to start seeing some very interesting looking glyphs start to appear.

To give you a better understanding of this change, I’ve written the word for tedu river using the old system, then the new, then the new system again only without the initial radical. I’d be interested to hear your feedback, now and as glyphs continue to unfold.

image


Tagged: pseudoglyphs, reform

ankeþāwa

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

ankethaawa

ankeþāwa

Line 10 of the Kēlen Jabberwocky:

ñi sāen marūsa ramāra nīkan sōlle jakeþāwa ānen anhēnārtānre nā;

(See Nov 7th’s post for an introduction.)

ankeþāwa is the attribute of being separated. ñi sāen marūsa ramāra nīkan sōlle jakeþāwa is “He returned home together with the separated head”. I will discuss ānen anhēnārtānre nā tomorrow.

il ōrralon ñi jarewēλecāwāŋŋi ā jawēlrūlri rū jaxēwepōma āñ;
se jarāŋŋen mo jatēññāntetūrāŋŋeni; ñi japiēlkāhi tō jarōhāþi lā;

sere jakewāla to macāppacāe sapīra jasūpa sakāca jaþāla nā;
to makīmaþālen masāknenūren to macūcū matū ñi ma rū ma pēxa cī;

il jahōλa ñamma masēnre maxōsa ā sāen japērnō jaλāten nīkamma sakū;
tō jāo sema jaþēλa mo sāen ma ñi maþārre matōrja sū jasātsātena tā;

il jīla þō ñi macāppacāe matāλisse rā xō rā jamēþena jaxēla kiē;
ānen sarōña janāola ñi jaxīra ñe ankālli ankālleni anūmi nā;

āniþ ēnne; āniþ ēnne; ñamma jatāŋŋi ŋō tō jēste jarūsīsse rā ma kiē;
ñi sāen marūsa ramāra nīkan sōlle jakeþāwa ānen anhēnārtānre nā;

In the afternoon, the circular lizards did gyre and gimble around the shadow-stick.
The easily-annoyed thin-winged bird-spiders were annoyed.
     The lost chicken-pigs make cough-cries!

Beware macāppacāe, its biting teeth, its many catching claws,
the frumious makīmaþālen, the macūcū bird
     Be away from them.

For 1/8th of a day, he searched for his enemy, a deadly blade in his hand.
Therefore, leaning and still, he thought under the jasātsātena.

At that moment, mercurial macāppacāe came to there through the dark woods.
With flaming eyes, he made a noise like very loud popping bubbles.

One, two. One, two. The swinging knife made very many piercings through him.
He returned home with the separated head…

Umu

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'umu'.

umu

  • (n.) lip
  • (n.) rim, edge

A kavi umu o ia!
“Your lip is big!”

Notes: Presumably from a fight. I think umu is an iku’ume. I mean, that seems right. Looks pretty good, for what it is. Not much else to say, other than iTunes won’t play right now, so I’m restarting my computer. So take that.

High Eolic word of the day: tirángaram

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

tiráng- (transitive verb), imperfective tirángaram: to wound, injure; to knife, stabbed.

ca-rupercánder tayat tiráng-ucá rattamec
my-NEG.wish.SOC earlier injure.MID-POT.1 battle.INESS
“I do not wish to be injured before the battle”

Adjectives and Fort-Shifting

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
Adjectives are formed by replacing the gendered vowel of a noun with ï and suffixing CV, where V is the gendered vowel, and C is the final consonant after a process of fortition and/or shifting, or fort-shifting as I call it.

The rules of fort-shifting are as follows:

- all Rs, Ls, and N become D, except in fairy gender, in which they become T

- M becomes B

- fricatives, and the affricates TS and TTH become their respective plosives, voicing does not change (voiced stays voiced, unvoiced stays unvoiced)

- voiced plosives and the affricate J become unvoiced

- unvoiced plosives and the affricate CH shift in this way: P -> T -> CH -> K/Q -> P


Examples:
cara (friend) -> carïda (friendly)
datsu (mouse) -> datsïtu (mousy)
pan (woman) -> pïnda (feminine, womanly)
tan (man) -> tïnda (masculine, manly)
vo (demon) -> vïbo (demonic)

The Genesis of Ayeri’s Numerals

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

In my last posting I said something about how Ayeri’s way of dealing with numbers is still a little difficult to work with for me. The Grammar already has a chapter explaining numerals, though I don’t know how intelligible that is. For the reason of explaining this issue to myself and also to potentially puzzled readers of the grammar, I will try to elaborate by explaining the development of Ayeri’s number system from a metafictional point of view.

Ayeri has gone through a number of changes in its system of counting. One thing that was established from the beginning on is that it would use a duodecimal system (base 12), just because I found it somehow pretty, as you can conveniently divide things by 2 and 3 without running into continued fractions, which is maybe more useful than the division by 2 and 5 that base 10 offers. Because I was taking French at school at the time I thought it was cool to have unique words for a couple numbers over 12, and I didn’t yet know about the history of treize, quatorze, quinze and seize, thinking that they would be just as unanalyzable as the numerals from 1 to 10. The following table gives an overview of my original draft (with the numerals fitted to current spelling):

0 — ja
1 — men
2 — sam
3 — kay
4 — yo
5 — iri
6 — miye
7 — ito
8 — hen
9 — veya
A — mal
B — tam
10 — malan
11 — malem
12 — mesang
13 — manay
14 — magos

I found this design stupid after a while, especially because you would get malan and malanan as ordinals from mal and malan (spot the point of confusion …), so I got rid of the individual words for numbers over 12 (or 10₁₂, i.e. those from malan on). I don’t want to go into the development of ordinals and multiples, except let me note that the system of deriving multiples by putting nominalized cardinal numbers (= ordinals) into the dative case which I’m using now is less messy than the system I used before.

A thing I’ve long pondered about and which also saw a fair number of changes was the way in which to form higher numbers. According to the notes I have, up until late 2007 the (duo)decadic numerals greater than 10₁₂ (like 20, 30, 40 etc.) were derived with the suffix -la, hundreds were derived with -sing, thousands were derived with -ya, and hundred thousands were irregularly derived with -sinya < -singya. In order to derive (short-scale) millions, billions, trillions etc. the first syllable of the thousand-numeral was reduplicated, e.g. memenya ‘million’ < menya ‘thousand’, sasamya ‘billion’ < samya ‘two thousand’ etc., and for milliards, billiards, trilliards etc. those million-numerals had a -kan < -ikan ‘much, many’ appended additionally, so e.g. memenyakan ‘milliard’, sasamyakan ‘billiard’ etc. However, I’ve never figured out what would happen if you were to arrive at 12¹². I was somehow uncomfortable with just counting on like mamalan-menyakan, mamalan-samyakan etc.

When I got to the chapter in the Grammar that deals with numerals about a year ago, however, I scrapped the previous system as described above because I didn’t like it anymore. Its regularity seemed boring and the reduplication seemed inelegant. Because I’ve never decided about the 12¹² problem, I just assumed the old system was finite also, although the highest number, 12¹²-1, is still larger than you’ll probably ever need in day-to-day life.1 I still wanted to be able to form higher numbers, though, just because.

Now, the thing English does (and French, and German) is to borrow its terms for large numbers from Latin: billion < bi(s)- ‘twice’, trillion < tri- ‘three’, quadrillion < quadri- ‘four’, etc. However, there’s no such accompanying language that could donate these terms (yet). Of course, I could just have made up a neighboring language to take the numbers from 1 to 10 from, but all too obviously and unreflectedly copying English and European languages in general is often regarded as lame among conlangers, and in this case it felt lame to me as well. However, I found reusing the ‘small numbers’ to derive ‘large number’ units still appealing because it seemed practical and potentially open-ended because the system would be self-referential, and this time no awkward reduplication should be involved.

Just to be different from European languages, I made the step to the next unit 100₁₂ wide at first, so that menang2 would be (12²)¹, or 100₁₂, samang would be (12²)² or 10,000₁₂, kaynang would be (12²)⁴ or 1,000,000₁₂ etc. Bunches of 100₁₂ seemed a little inelegant to use after some time, though, so that I decided to skip every other unit and bundle numerals as units of 10,000₁₂ – a myriad, essentially, except based on units of 12 instead of 10 of course. Instead of using every single item of the progression men, sam, kay, yo, iri, miye etc. only men and then sam, yo, miye etc. would be used thus, i.e. ‘one’ and after that only the even numerals. I left it this way instead of refitting the width of steps as a little additional twist.

The vicious thing with forming the words now is that Ayeri likes to put heads first, especially as far as adjectives and other modifiers are concerned: the modifier follows the modified. And of course this applies to numerals as well, so that the unit word always goes first, which causes some nesting. Hence, to reuse the example I gave in the Grammar, though breaking it down a bit more:

If we consider the number 24AB,A523₁₂ we see that there are two bundles of myriads, so we know that we’ll have to start at samang (1,0000₁₂). So first of all, there are 24AB samang to break down into smaller units: 24,AB₁₂, or 24₁₂ menang and a rest of AB₁₂. This gives us menang samlan-yo malan-tam – literally ‘hundred twenty-four tenty-eleven’.3 You can see here (or are supposed to) that samlan-yo is used as a modifier to menang in analogy to a phrase like ayon kay ‘three men’ (man three) where the numeral modifies the noun it follows. This greater unit of menang samlan-yo malan-tam is again used as a modifier to samang, giving samang₁ [menang₂ [samlan-yo]₂ [malan-tam]]₁ for 24AB,0000₁₂. For the other half of the original number we proceed in the same way, except now we need to start only at menang, of which there are A5₁₂ and a remaining 23₁₂: thus we get menang₁ [malan-iri]₁ [samlan-kay]. The whole number word assembled thus is samang menang samlan-yo malan-tam, menang malan-iri samlan-kay where it used to be memenya samla-yo, malsinya tamla-mal, irising samla-kay.

What is the procedure in the case of skipping units, though? Given a number like 1002,0030,0004₁₂ this would be pronounced as yonang menang menlan nay sam, samang kaylan, nay yo. In this case, nay ‘and’ is used to indicate a blank where there could be confusion, since menlan-sam means ‘tenty-two’ (12₁₂), but in this case it’s 10₁₂ units of menang and a remainder of 2 single units that we want. Similarly, we don’t have kaylan-yo ‘thirty-four’ (34₁₂) units of samang in this example, but 30₁₂ samang and 4 single units at the very end. A number like 502₁₂ then would be menang iri sam, since there is no confusion between what belongs together here, although in practice you might still actually say menang iri nay sam so as to avoid having two single-digit units after another.

To be honest, no simplicity has been gained with the new system, quite the opposite: the old system was in fact more straightforward, but I like the quirkiness of the new system better just for the system itself. And in fact I’ve still not thought about whether to allow menlan-samang as a valid way to express 12²⁸.4

  1. Namely, 8,916,100,448,255 or BBB,BBB,BBB,BBB in base 12.
  2. I’m afraid I don’t know anymore where I got that -(n)ang as a derivative suffix from, though it might be related to nake ‘large, tall’. The final /ə/ would have been dropped, and phonotactics demand a change of a terminal plosive to a nasal, so /k/ > /ŋ/, which results in nake > nang.
  3. The equivalent to English ‘-ty’ is now -lan, not *-la; malan-tam ‘tenty-three’ is also a coordinating compound.
  4. 1,648,446,623,609,512,543,951,043,690,496 or 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in base 12. That’s awfully huge.

Lia

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'lia'.

lia

  • (n.) girl

Male fineli ia i ipe lia.
“You’re gonna lose that girl.”

Notes: One of my all-time favorite Beatles songs! If you’re unfamiliar, give it a listen. :D

This is one of those words I thought I’d done. After all, it’s pretty basic, and a foma. The iku’s a little funny. It incorporates li, but it’s kind of built off of part of live, the word for “coyote”. It’s done so it looks human (the iku), but beyond that, I can’t say why it looks the way it does. An old one, though.

ŋō

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

ngoo

ŋō

Line 9 of the Kēlen Jabberwocky:

āniþ ēnne; āniþ ēnne; ñamma jatāŋŋi ŋō tō jēste jarūsīsse rā ma kiē;

(See Nov 7th’s post for an introduction.)

I blogged this word before, too, on March 2nd, 2011 as the number 140 octal, 96 decimal. The other meaning of this word is as an exaggerated many or very many. jatāŋŋi ŋō is therefore either 96 piercings (or cuts) or very many (hundreds of) piercings. jēste jarūsīsse is the instrument making the cuts. anrūsīsse is “back and forth”, as in swinging like a pendulum. And rā ma kiē means “through him/her/them”. So the swinging knife made very many piercings through him.

il ōrralon ñi jarewēλecāwāŋŋi ā jawēlrūlri rū jaxēwepōma āñ;
se jarāŋŋen mo jatēññāntetūrāŋŋeni; ñi japiēlkāhi tō jarōhāþi lā;

sere jakewāla to macāppacāe sapīra jasūpa sakāca jaþāla nā;
to makīmaþālen masāknenūren to macūcū matū ñi ma rū ma pēxa cī;

il jahōλa ñamma masēnre maxōsa ā sāen japērnō jaλāten nīkamma sakū;
tō jāo sema jaþēλa mo sāen ma ñi maþārre matōrja sū jasātsātena tā;

il jīla þō ñi macāppacāe matāλisse rā xō rā jamēþena jaxēla kiē;
ānen sarōña janāola ñi jaxīra ñe ankālli ankālleni anūmi nā;

āniþ ēnne; āniþ ēnne; ñamma jatāŋŋi ŋō tō jēste jarūsīsse rā ma kiē;

In the afternoon, the circular lizards did gyre and gimble around the shadow-stick.
The easily-annoyed thin-winged bird-spiders were annoyed.
     The lost chicken-pigs make cough-cries!

Beware macāppacāe, its biting teeth, its many catching claws,
the frumious makīmaþālen, the macūcū bird
     Be away from them.

For 1/8th of a day, he searched for his enemy, a deadly blade in his hand.
Therefore, leaning and still, he thought under the jasātsātena.

At that moment, mercurial macāppacāe came to there through the dark woods.
With flaming eyes, he made a noise like very loud popping bubbles.

One, two. One, two. The swinging knife made very many piercings through him.

Direct Objects and the Nasal Mutation

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
In the fictional internal history of FairyLang, direct objects used to be indicated by the preposition Vn, where V is the gendered vowel of the noun (an cara, en carhe, un garu, on qaqro). Over time, the n migrated onto the front of the noun. In the case of nouns begining with a vowel, this simply means that an n is tacked on. On nouns starting with a consonant, it causes an initial nasal mutation. The rules are:

- unvoiced plosives, affricates and fricatives become voiced (including the demonic voiceless lateral fricative ls becoming a voiced lateral fricative lz and qh becoming qr)

- voiced plosives, affricates and fricatives get a corresponding nasal tacked on (including qr becoming ngqr)

- r and rh both become nr

- l and lh both become nl

- nasals are unaffected

When using a standard word order, where the meaning is clear, the preposition can be dropped entirely, espcially in informal speech.

an cara -> a gara -> gara
un datsu -> u ndatsu -> ndatsu