Archive for February, 2012

Conlangery #39: Noun Incorporation

Monday, February 27th, 2012
George gets Bianca’s name wrong and no one notices.  We also have some digressions at the beginning and the end of the show, but somehow we end up talking a whole lot about noun incorporation, and the weird and wacky language known as Gevey. Top of Show Greeting: Vaida Mi Ha Links and Resources: Notes […]

Trurian word of the day: yil

Monday, February 27th, 2012

yil (noun): wing.

yer
then
min
about
tämdath
duck.DAT
​yil​​-eí
wing-ACC.PL
afilmono
cut.off.PERF.NONPAUS
täyer
then
rothí
he.ACC
aprethon
strangle.PERF.PAUS

Yer min tämdath yileí afilmono täyer rothí aprethon.
“[he] chopped off the duck’s wings before strangling it”

Co-indexed arguments

Monday, February 27th, 2012
This week I finally decided to tackle reflexive verbs for some reason. It ended up being much less of a hassle than I had feared, and a surprise discovery made the whole thing much more elegant.

There are two ways of doing this, one analytical and one synthetic. For the former, we just use the same pronoun corresponding to the subject:

ni nae ni
1SG see 1SG
"I see myself"

If desired, the modifier oma "self, one's own, etc." can be added to make the co-indexing clearer:

le Kéoni i si kusu ta (oma)
NAME John FIN PERF ask 3SG (self)
"John asked himself"

A reciprocal relationship, on the other hand, can optionally be clarified by mutu "other":

nu suso nu mutu
1PL kiss 1PL other
"we kiss each other"

So far so good for the analytical strategy. I was going to be satisfied with this, but because reflexivity basically amounts to a valence-decreasing structure, I was irked by not having a particle for it like all my other valence operations. At this point I realized that hi, previously defined as "indefinite pronoun," could be admirably pressed into use here without changing its original meaning -- it's the same widespread extension that letst the Spanish (and Polish, Turkish, etc.) reflexive marker/structure also code unspecified agents (e.g. se habla español aquí), even with intransitive verbs.

As such, then, those three clauses above could also be phrased as:

ni hi nae
1SG REFL see
"I see myself"

le Kéoni i si hi kusu
NAME John FIN PERF REFL ask
"John asked himself"

nu hi suso
1PL REFL kiss
"we kiss each other/ourselves"

There's a lot more that could be said here, but I'm a little short on time so will limit myself to a brief excursion into the Koa translation of "I washed my hands." At this point I've found somewhere between six and eight ways to do it, all theoretically equally valid. For clarity in the examples below, I'll put brackets around the major phrases.

The first three all use object incorporation ("hand-wash"):

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ]
1SG PERF wash hand
"I handwashed" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ] [ ni ]
1SG PERF wash hand 1SG
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si hi mie molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash hand
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

Next, we could make the hands a referential object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand
"I washed the hands" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ni ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand 1SG
"I washed my hands"

or


[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni molo ]
1 SG PERF wash 1SG hand
"I washed my hands" (inalienable possession: controversial)

We could also make the verb bitransitive, or applicative, or whatever: in other words, express the hands' owner as an additional object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash 1SG DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands" = "I washed my hands"

Or, if we decide to allow this sort of thing, about which the jury is definitely still out, we could reduce the indirect object to hi:

[ ni ] [ si hi mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands"
or "~I washed myself with respect to the hands" =
"I washed my hands"

I'm not sure about this last one, but I'm rather happy about the fact that there are so many ways of theoretically accomplishing this. I suppose in a use context some of these would end up being preferred for one reason or another.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Previously, I was considering hi to be a pronoun. What's clearly happening here is that it's switching to a verbal particle like pa or mu. This does have consequences in terms of where e.g. aspectual particles fall:

OLD
hi si iune ka kala ni
INDEF PERF steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

NEW
si hi iune ka kala ni
PERF REFL steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

I'm actually not a huge fan of this, because it was the pronoun-ness of hi that made it work so well for me in this kind of structure. I notice, furthermore, that what this really means is that this kind of clause is an inverted form of the unmarked

ka kala ni i si hi iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF REFL steal
lit. "my fish has stolen itself"

If we're going to be okay with this, it will be important to define the difference in sense between this sentence and a straight passive:

ka kala ni i si pa iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF PASS steal
"my fish has been stolen"

I think I know what it is, and it's probably okay, but there is still an important question of whether this is actually want we want. More thought required.

Co-indexed arguments

Monday, February 27th, 2012
This week I finally decided to tackle reflexive verbs for some reason. It ended up being much less of a hassle than I had feared, and a surprise discovery made the whole thing much more elegant.

There are two ways of doing this, one analytical and one synthetic. For the former, we just use the same pronoun corresponding to the subject:

ni nae ni
1SG see 1SG
"I see myself"

If desired, the modifier oma "self, one's own, etc." can be added to make the co-indexing clearer:

le Kéoni i si kusu ta (oma)
NAME John FIN PERF ask 3SG (self)
"John asked himself"

A reciprocal relationship, on the other hand, can optionally be clarified by mutu "other":

nu suso nu mutu
1PL kiss 1PL other
"we kiss each other"

So far so good for the analytical strategy. I was going to be satisfied with this, but because reflexivity basically amounts to a valence-decreasing structure, I was irked by not having a particle for it like all my other valence operations. At this point I realized that hi, previously defined as "indefinite pronoun," could be admirably pressed into use here without changing its original meaning -- it's the same widespread extension that letst the Spanish (and Polish, Turkish, etc.) reflexive marker/structure also code unspecified agents (e.g. se habla español aquí), even with intransitive verbs.

As such, then, those three clauses above could also be phrased as:

ni hi nae
1SG REFL see
"I see myself"

le Kéoni i si hi kusu
NAME John FIN PERF REFL ask
"John asked himself"

nu hi suso
1PL REFL kiss
"we kiss each other/ourselves"

There's a lot more that could be said here, but I'm a little short on time so will limit myself to a brief excursion into the Koa translation of "I washed my hands." At this point I've found somewhere between six and eight ways to do it, all theoretically equally valid. For clarity in the examples below, I'll put brackets around the major phrases.

The first three all use object incorporation ("hand-wash"):

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ]
1SG PERF wash hand
"I handwashed" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ] [ ni ]
1SG PERF wash hand 1SG
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si hi mie molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash hand
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

Next, we could make the hands a referential object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand
"I washed the hands" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ni ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand 1SG
"I washed my hands"

or


[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni molo ]
1 SG PERF wash 1SG hand
"I washed my hands" (inalienable possession: controversial)

We could also make the verb bitransitive, or applicative, or whatever: in other words, express the hands' owner as an additional object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash 1SG DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands" = "I washed my hands"

Or, if we decide to allow this sort of thing, about which the jury is definitely still out, we could reduce the indirect object to hi:

[ ni ] [ si hi mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands"
or "~I washed myself with respect to the hands" =
"I washed my hands"

I'm not sure about this last one, but I'm rather happy about the fact that there are so many ways of theoretically accomplishing this. I suppose in a use context some of these would end up being preferred for one reason or another.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Previously, I was considering hi to be a pronoun. What's clearly happening here is that it's switching to a verbal particle like pa or mu. This does have consequences in terms of where e.g. aspectual particles fall:

OLD
hi si iune ka kala ni
INDEF PERF steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

NEW
si hi iune ka kala ni
PERF REFL steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

I'm actually not a huge fan of this, because it was the pronoun-ness of hi that made it work so well for me in this kind of structure. I notice, furthermore, that what this really means is that this kind of clause is an inverted form of the unmarked

ka kala ni i si hi iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF REFL steal
lit. "my fish has stolen itself"

If we're going to be okay with this, it will be important to define the difference in sense between this sentence and a straight passive:

ka kala ni i si pa iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF PASS steal
"my fish has been stolen"

I think I know what it is, and it's probably okay, but there is still an important question of whether this is actually want we want. More thought required.

Co-indexed arguments

Monday, February 27th, 2012
This week I finally decided to tackle reflexive verbs for some reason. It ended up being much less of a hassle than I had feared, and a surprise discovery made the whole thing much more elegant.

There are two ways of doing this, one analytical and one synthetic. For the former, we just use the same pronoun corresponding to the subject:

ni nae ni
1SG see 1SG
"I see myself"

If desired, the modifier oma "self, one's own, etc." can be added to make the co-indexing clearer:

le Kéoni i si kusu ta (oma)
NAME John FIN PERF ask 3SG (self)
"John asked himself"

A reciprocal relationship, on the other hand, can optionally be clarified by mutu "other":

nu suso nu mutu
1PL kiss 1PL other
"we kiss each other"

So far so good for the analytical strategy. I was going to be satisfied with this, but because reflexivity basically amounts to a valence-decreasing structure, I was irked by not having a particle for it like all my other valence operations. At this point I realized that hi, previously defined as "indefinite pronoun," could be admirably pressed into use here without changing its original meaning -- it's the same widespread extension that letst the Spanish (and Polish, Turkish, etc.) reflexive marker/structure also code unspecified agents (e.g. se habla español aquí), even with intransitive verbs.

As such, then, those three clauses above could also be phrased as:

ni hi nae
1SG REFL see
"I see myself"

le Kéoni i si hi kusu
NAME John FIN PERF REFL ask
"John asked himself"

nu hi suso
1PL REFL kiss
"we kiss each other/ourselves"

There's a lot more that could be said here, but I'm a little short on time so will limit myself to a brief excursion into the Koa translation of "I washed my hands." At this point I've found somewhere between six and eight ways to do it, all theoretically equally valid. For clarity in the examples below, I'll put brackets around the major phrases.

The first three all use object incorporation ("hand-wash"):

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ]
1SG PERF wash hand
"I handwashed" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ] [ ni ]
1SG PERF wash hand 1SG
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si hi mie molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash hand
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

Next, we could make the hands a referential object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand
"I washed the hands" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ni ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand 1SG
"I washed my hands"

or


[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni molo ]
1 SG PERF wash 1SG hand
"I washed my hands" (inalienable possession: controversial)

We could also make the verb bitransitive, or applicative, or whatever: in other words, express the hands' owner as an additional object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash 1SG DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands" = "I washed my hands"

Or, if we decide to allow this sort of thing, about which the jury is definitely still out, we could reduce the indirect object to hi:

[ ni ] [ si hi mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands"
or "~I washed myself with respect to the hands" =
"I washed my hands"

I'm not sure about this last one, but I'm rather happy about the fact that there are so many ways of theoretically accomplishing this. I suppose in a use context some of these would end up being preferred for one reason or another.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Previously, I was considering hi to be a pronoun. What's clearly happening here is that it's switching to a verbal particle like pa or mu. This does have consequences in terms of where e.g. aspectual particles fall:

OLD
hi si iune ka kala ni
INDEF PERF steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

NEW
si hi iune ka kala ni
PERF REFL steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

I'm actually not a huge fan of this, because it was the pronoun-ness of hi that made it work so well for me in this kind of structure. I notice, furthermore, that what this really means is that this kind of clause is an inverted form of the unmarked

ka kala ni i si hi iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF REFL steal
lit. "my fish has stolen itself"

If we're going to be okay with this, it will be important to define the difference in sense between this sentence and a straight passive:

ka kala ni i si pa iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF PASS steal
"my fish has been stolen"

I think I know what it is, and it's probably okay, but there is still an important question of whether this is actually want we want. More thought required.

Co-indexed arguments

Monday, February 27th, 2012
This week I finally decided to tackle reflexive verbs for some reason. It ended up being much less of a hassle than I had feared, and a surprise discovery made the whole thing much more elegant.

There are two ways of doing this, one analytical and one synthetic. For the former, we just use the same pronoun corresponding to the subject:

ni nae ni
1SG see 1SG
"I see myself"

If desired, the modifier oma "self, one's own, etc." can be added to make the co-indexing clearer:

le Kéoni i si kusu ta (oma)
NAME John FIN PERF ask 3SG (self)
"John asked himself"

A reciprocal relationship, on the other hand, can optionally be clarified by mutu "other":

nu suso nu mutu
1PL kiss 1PL other
"we kiss each other"

So far so good for the analytical strategy. I was going to be satisfied with this, but because reflexivity basically amounts to a valence-decreasing structure, I was irked by not having a particle for it like all my other valence operations. At this point I realized that hi, previously defined as "indefinite pronoun," could be admirably pressed into use here without changing its original meaning -- it's the same widespread extension that letst the Spanish (and Polish, Turkish, etc.) reflexive marker/structure also code unspecified agents (e.g. se habla español aquí), even with intransitive verbs.

As such, then, those three clauses above could also be phrased as:

ni hi nae
1SG REFL see
"I see myself"

le Kéoni i si hi kusu
NAME John FIN PERF REFL ask
"John asked himself"

nu hi suso
1PL REFL kiss
"we kiss each other/ourselves"

There's a lot more that could be said here, but I'm a little short on time so will limit myself to a brief excursion into the Koa translation of "I washed my hands." At this point I've found somewhere between six and eight ways to do it, all theoretically equally valid. For clarity in the examples below, I'll put brackets around the major phrases.

The first three all use object incorporation ("hand-wash"):

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ]
1SG PERF wash hand
"I handwashed" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie molo ] [ ni ]
1SG PERF wash hand 1SG
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si hi mie molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash hand
"I handwashed myself" = "I washed my hands"

Next, we could make the hands a referential object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand
"I washed the hands" = "I washed my hands"

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ka molo ni ]
1SG PERF wash DEF hand 1SG
"I washed my hands"

or


[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni molo ]
1 SG PERF wash 1SG hand
"I washed my hands" (inalienable possession: controversial)

We could also make the verb bitransitive, or applicative, or whatever: in other words, express the hands' owner as an additional object:

[ ni ] [ si mie ] [ ni ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF wash 1SG DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands" = "I washed my hands"

Or, if we decide to allow this sort of thing, about which the jury is definitely still out, we could reduce the indirect object to hi:

[ ni ] [ si hi mie ] [ ka molo ]
1SG PERF REFL wash DEF hand
"~I washed myself some hands"
or "~I washed myself with respect to the hands" =
"I washed my hands"

I'm not sure about this last one, but I'm rather happy about the fact that there are so many ways of theoretically accomplishing this. I suppose in a use context some of these would end up being preferred for one reason or another.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Previously, I was considering hi to be a pronoun. What's clearly happening here is that it's switching to a verbal particle like pa or mu. This does have consequences in terms of where e.g. aspectual particles fall:

OLD
hi si iune ka kala ni
INDEF PERF steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

NEW
si hi iune ka kala ni
PERF REFL steal DEF fish 1SG
"someone has stolen my fish"

I'm actually not a huge fan of this, because it was the pronoun-ness of hi that made it work so well for me in this kind of structure. I notice, furthermore, that what this really means is that this kind of clause is an inverted form of the unmarked

ka kala ni i si hi iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF REFL steal
lit. "my fish has stolen itself"

If we're going to be okay with this, it will be important to define the difference in sense between this sentence and a straight passive:

ka kala ni i si pa iune
DEF fish 1SG FIN PERF PASS steal
"my fish has been stolen"

I think I know what it is, and it's probably okay, but there is still an important question of whether this is actually want we want. More thought required.

eskalkuretu is conversation

Sunday, February 26th, 2012
eskalkuretu = conversation (noun) (some things google found for "eskalkuretu": search did not match any documents; this word has eleven letters)

Word derivation for "conversation" :
Basque = elkarrizketa (interview, conversation)
Finnish = keskustelu (conversation, discussion, talk)
Miresua = eskalkuretu

I tried to pick apart the long Basque and Finnish words into components. The Basque the word elkar means "mutual, each other" and the suffix -keta denotes "action, act of". The Finnish the word keskus means "center, hub". But I ended up making a long word, with bits from each of the source words.

Here's the paragraph I was working on translating:
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?'.

It's the first papragraph of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Fupu

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'fupu'.

fupu

  • (n.) spider

A ile ei iu fupu.
“I hate spiders.”

Notes: Bleh. I do. I hate them. I hate them and I fear them—and they disgust me! It’s pretty much the worst thing in the world, me and spiders. I gave them what I thought was the stupidest-sounding word in the world (fupu) in order to try to sap their strength. It didn’t work. They still have the power to utterly destroy me.

It’s too bad the iku actually ended up looking pretty all right… I mean it’s not bad.

Blech. Oh well. Lousy spiders…

Imperial Messages III – “Ri kaytisyāng halinganley …”

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

This is the third posting in a series on the process of translating the short story “Eine kaiserliche Botschaft” by the Praguer writer Franz Kafka (*1883, †1924). The individual installments will go through the text mostly sentence by sentence, quoting from the German text as well as a translation of it into English. Following these quotations, I will discuss and comment on newly coined words and thoughts I had on grammar while doing the translation.

The text

Durch Kopfnicken hat er die Richtigkeit des Gesagten bestätigt. (Kafka 1994, 281:5–6)

With a nod of his head he confirmed the accuracy of the messenger’s words. (Kafka 2011)

Ri kaytisyāng halinganley narānjas ninayana naban devona yana.

Interlinear glossing

Ri
INSF
kayt-is(a)-yāng
right-CAU-3SM.A
haling-an-ley
exact-NMLZ-P.INAN
narān-jas
word-PL.P
ninaya-na
messenger-GEN
nab-an
wag-NMLZ
devo-na
head-GEN
yana.
3SM.GEN

‘With a wag of his head he confirmed the accuracy of the messenger’s words.’

Notes on translation

First of all, how to translate “nod”? As far as I know (though I cannot quote literature here), nodding your head in agreement is a European gesture that is not necessarily applicable to other cultures. I do not know how my fictional people will show agreement, so I translated “nod” with “swing”, which received an extended meaning for this purpose and may probably better be translated as “wag”. Another difficulty was the word “accuracy”. At first I had translated it with kalam ‘truth’, but using haling ‘exact’ seemed more suitable to extend with accurate. The dictionary in fact lists two words for ‘exact’: haling and tarika.

In terms of grammar and style, not much needs to be said. Participles cannot be marked for focus but instead need to be nominalized for this purpose, hence we get naban ‘wag’ rather than nabyam ‘wagging’.

Works cited:
Kafka, Franz. “Eine kaiserliche Botschaft.” Drucke zu Lebzeiten. By Franz Kafka. Eds. Wolf Kittler et al. Frankfurt a. M.: S. Fischer, 1994. 280–82. Print.
———. “A Message from the Emperor.” Trans. by Mark Harman. NYRblog. The New York Review of Books, 1 Jul. 2011. Web. 9 Feb. 2012. ‹http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2011/jul/01/message-emperor-new-translation›

Utaka

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'utaka'.

utaka

  • (adj.) ordinary, common, commonplace, usual
  • (n.) a plant or animal that is common to a particular region (not necessarily native/indigenous)
  • (v.) to be common, to be ordinary, to be usual
  • (v.) to cover, to be all over (something)

Au utaka katava i Kalivónia Eiliki.
“Palm trees are ubiquitous to Southern California.”

Notes: Though you wouldn’t know it by looking outside today (which is, actually, two days in the future from the date it says on this post). Raining like a rain parade outside! It’ll happen in the winter, of course, but this one came out of nowhere. It’s been hot here! Like a mini summer!

This is one of those iku that I’m not particularly proud of. The “W” shape of the u is truncated, and the whole thing looks a bit haphazard. Clearly this iku was built because I wanted more with ta in them (because that one’s one of my favorites), but it didn’t come off so naturally. Oh well. It’s here to stay!