Archive for May, 2012

Generating Semantic Maps

Monday, May 28th, 2012

One of the central features of the Conlanger's Thesaurus is the cross-linguistic semantic maps. For the first version of the Thesaurus I used those I could find in public linguistics journal articles. But it occurred to me I could come up with some of these on my own.

First I came up with some straightforward software to manipulate lists of definitions to produce the semantic maps automatically. I wasn't actually expecting this approach to work out so well right away, but my initial assumptions and model turned out to work pretty well.

The biggest problem has been finding good dictionaries to work with. All too many online dictionaries — and not a few printed ones — are simply lists of words with single-word definitions. This is not a great way to get at polysemy. However, over the last few days I have managed to find enough good dictionaries online to make me confident in the cross-linguistic (and cross-cultural) polysemy maps I've been creating.

The code is explained at Generating Cross-Linguistic Semantic Maps. At the bottom of that page is a list of core words around which I have generated maps. Even if you cannot understand the Python programming language, you can see the list of languages and meanings I have used in the links that end in .py. The maps are images of the common polysemies.

There have been two big surprises to me in these maps. First, "face" can refer to the blade of a knife in two utterly unrelated languages (Turkish and Inupiaq). Second, I was surprised how often "sweet" can refer to what English speakers consider other flavors, especially "salty."

Generating Semantic Maps

Monday, May 28th, 2012

One of the central features of the Conlanger's Thesaurus is the cross-linguistic semantic maps. For the first version of the Thesaurus I used those I could find in public linguistics journal articles. But it occurred to me I could come up with some of these on my own.

First I came up with some straightforward software to manipulate lists of definitions to produce the semantic maps automatically. I wasn't actually expecting this approach to work out so well right away, but my initial assumptions and model turned out to work pretty well.

The biggest problem has been finding good dictionaries to work with. All too many online dictionaries — and not a few printed ones — are simply lists of words with single-word definitions. This is not a great way to get at polysemy. However, over the last few days I have managed to find enough good dictionaries online to make me confident in the cross-linguistic (and cross-cultural) polysemy maps I've been creating.

The code is explained at Generating Cross-Linguistic Semantic Maps. At the bottom of that page is a list of core words around which I have generated maps. Even if you cannot understand the Python programming language, you can see the list of languages and meanings I have used in the links that end in .py. The maps are images of the common polysemies.

There have been two big surprises to me in these maps. First, "face" can refer to the blade of a knife in two utterly unrelated languages (Turkish and Inupiaq). Second, I was surprised how often "sweet" can refer to what English speakers consider other flavors, especially "salty."

A man feared that he would find an assassin-

Monday, May 28th, 2012
Stephen Crane wrote a lot of really interesting, really... unique poetry.  He's best known for his book "The Red Badge of Courage", but I came across a few of his poems in a collection book that I own today.  A hop skip and a Google later, and I was perusing Wikisource's collection of his works.  This one particular poem resonated with me.

Order: Traditional, Híies tsidai, Picked-apart stuff, Original.

(edit: Added another one below, called "Truth".)

-
Kémania kaxtem ân twwémab katesu - frn Stevn Krén

Kémania kaxtem ân twwémab katesu-
Juti kaxtem ân utepuri katesu.
Tré kasai kaxahl siad faé ba juti.

--
Kémane kastiem han touémap katiesou - fan Stievn Krén

Kémane kastiem han touémap katiesou-
Çouti kastiem han outiepouri katiesou.
Tré kasai kasal sed faé ba çouti.

--
Person-uncertain he-past-fear that assassin he-will-find-
Other-adj he-past-fear that reflexive-future-harm-adj he-will-find.
One knowing-adj he-past-was more regarding the other-adj.


--
A man feared that he might find an assassin - Stephen Crane

A man feared that he might find an assassin;
Another that he might find a victim.
One was more wise than the other.


---------------

Raact - frn Stevn Krén

"Raact," kaxmî fédkania,
"Baahl pela, kasla paelai;
Bian guc exféd,
pa topab siaderini ba,
wwak ba imprîab exraug gléncoi."

"Raact," kaxmî fédkania,
"Ské baahl, lëyuc,
Noali, lëivagémcoi,
Biab ekfé srîtab erini,
a gator biab exrec."

Iné felë ba fédka ba jéi exdéva,
Skra faé mî me ba raact baxahl
ské, lëyuc,
noali, lëivagémcoi,
wî iné gator biab exrec.

---

Truth- Stephen Crane

Truth," said a traveller,
"Is a rock, a mighty fortress;
Often have I been to it,
Even to its highest tower,
From whence the world looks black."

"Truth," said a traveller,
"Is a breath, a wind,
A shadow, a phantom;
Long have I pursued it,
But never have I touched
The hem of its garment."

And I believed the second traveller;
For truth was to me
A breath, a wind,
A shadow, a phantom,
And never had I touched
The hem of its garment.

----

Notes:
On "A traveller"-

There are two new words here, twém and upuri. Twém is from tu (to kill) + ém (a person who does something for profit or as a way of making a life). Upuri is u (reflexive) + pur (harm) + i (adj), and means "the one who is hurt". I used the future form of this in the poem itself, "utepuri", as it describes a potential future victim. "Upurigi" would have been fine as well, but I liked using the simple future as opposed to the conditional in these situations.


On "Truth"-

I used "raact" to translate "truth" even though there's a "better" fit with "aunia". "Raact" means "the truth of the way of things", and can also be used to describe people's opinions or perceptions. It's formed of Ra (really/serious) + act (ness). "Aunia" on the other hand is truth, pure, on its own. It is incontrovertible fact.

Conlangery #52: Conlangery at the Movies

Monday, May 28th, 2012
For our 52nd episode we decided to take a break from our usual format and just have a good time talking about movies and TV shows — with a conlang twist.  So, here we are listening to a bunch of conlang (and pseudo-conlang) dialogue from various properties and talking a little about what we like […]

Conlangery #52: Conlangery at the Movies

Monday, May 28th, 2012
For our 52nd episode we decided to take a break from our usual format and just have a good time talking about movies and TV shows — with a conlang twist.  So, here we are listening to a bunch of conlang (and pseudo-conlang) dialogue from various properties and talking a little about what we like […]

A peek at Sandic mechanics.

Saturday, May 26th, 2012
I'm not much of a "let's document professionally all the grammatical aspects of my conlang, it's so much fun" kind of person.  I keep enough notes to remind me what goes where and how, and I've had Sandic long enough now that it comes to me via memory and habit.  For this reason, texts that I've picked apart and labelled for grammatical structure and interaction are pretty uncommon, and almost always done for other people.  I simply haven't got the patience for it!

For some reason, though, I feel like... labelling things right now.  I'm a person who operates on whims, and this is certainly one.  Off we go!  I'll do the first paragraph of the story I posted yesterday.

Fair warnings should be given, of course.  I'm not a professional linguist, and I gloss so rarely that it probably snows here in Georgia more often.  Undoubtedly I have committed some awful faux-pas below.  :D Read your own peril.

1. Gre srîtnia, ba boâ baxlëlét jeléb frn ba baxmac ra ân lëlét.
1. Gre srît-nia, ba boâ ba-x-lëlét jelé-b frn ba ba-x-mac ra ân lëlét.
1. Before time-uncertain, the bear it-past-have tail-acc regarding.which it it-past-joy emphasis to have.
1. Some time ago, bear had a tail which it was very proud of.

2. Gléni baxahl wî slëili wî faé ba boâ ohî baxahl ân biab zeb ân ta jutin bian otoraug. 
2. Glén-i ba-x-ahl wî slëil-i wî faé ba boâ ohî ba-x-ahl ân biab ze-b ân ta jut-i-n bian o-to-raug. 
2. Black-adj it-past-is also long-adj also regarding the bear habit it-past-is to it.acc move in.order.that the.pl other-adj-pl to.it sugg-they-look.
2. It was black and long and bear would wave it around so that the others would look at it.

3. Ba helkaolé mab ba baxraug.
3. Ba helkaolé ma-b ba ba-x-raug.
3. The fox doing-acc its it-past-watch.
3. The fox watched this.

4. Ivi kasa ân faé ba helkaolé ohî baahl ân ma katalëli kelobin, wî ân bamac ra ân galën katalëli. 
4. Ivi ka-sa ân faé ba helkaolé ohî ba-ahl ân ma ka-talël-i kelo-b-in, wî ân ba-mac ra ân galën ka-talël-i. 
4. Each he-knows that regarding the fox habit it-is to do active-change-adj cloths-acc, also that it-joy emphasis to win active-change-adj.
4. Everyone knows that fox has a habit of being a trickster, and that he loves to play tricks on people.

5. Baxmeja ân ma katalëli boaian.
5. Ba-x-meja ân ma ka-talël-i boa-ian.
5. It-past-decide to do active-change-adj bear-to.
5. It decided to trick the bear.

apple is samena (revisited)

Saturday, May 26th, 2012
samena = apple (noun) (some things Google found for "samena": an uncommon term; Samena Swim & Recreation Club of Bellevue, Washington; SAMENA is an acronym for the region covering South Asia (India), Middle East and North Africa such as in SAMENA Telecommunications Council and Samena Capital investment group; Samena Squares is Seattle Eastside Square Dance club; user names; an unusual feminine first name; a rare last name; name of a place in Cote D'Ivoire)

Word derivation for "apple" :
Basque = sagar, Finnish = omena
Miresua = samena

My previous word for apple was gemar, which was a bit of an alphabetic mishmash. My new word, samena, starts like the Basque word and ends like the Finnish word.

This Miresua conlang word has been changed. The word for apple is now sagena.

apple is samena (revisited)

Saturday, May 26th, 2012
samena = apple (noun) (some things Google found for "samena": an uncommon term; Samena Swim & Recreation Club of Bellevue, Washington; SAMENA is an acronym for the region covering South Asia (India), Middle East and North Africa such as in SAMENA Telecommunications Council and Samena Capital investment group; Samena Squares is Seattle Eastside Square Dance club; user names; an unusual feminine first name; a rare last name; name of a place in Cote D'Ivoire)

Word derivation for "apple" :
Basque = sagar, Finnish = omena
Miresua = samena

My previous word for apple was gemar, which was a bit of an alphabetic mishmash. My new word, samena, starts like the Basque word and ends like the Finnish word.

Torn Tongue: Verbs Beginning with “W”

Friday, May 25th, 2012
Previously we talked about verbs in Torn Tongue. Here are some vocabulary verbs (that have counterparts as nouns) beginning with "W."

English .......... Torn Tongue
to wait .............. eto
to walk ............. ene
to waste ........... urde
to wave ............. orsho
to weigh ............ ifeme
to whip ............. igil
to whistle .......... irii
to work ............. eni
to write ............. are

500 Words

Friday, May 25th, 2012
That last entry put me over the 500 word mark!

On an unrelated note, I realized I'm using the exact same word (bacu) for horse and chicken. *facepalm* Since it's been the word for horse longer, and is more integrally connected to other words for that definition, I'm changing chicken to machu.