Archive for June, 2012

Letter A and numbers

Saturday, June 30th, 2012
There's a picture going around Tumblr saying "Random fact #427: If you spell out all the numbers individually, you'll have to get to a thousand before you find a letter A."

This is true enough in English, but as everyone reblogging it points out, it is not true of all languages. Some have an A by the second number.

I've got them all beat. In my constructed language Trai'Pahg'Nan'Nog, the first five of ten numbers (they use a base 6 system) all have an A in them:

Ahl, tahl, zahl, kahl, mahl, ors, ahl'ors, tahl'ors, zahl'ors, kahl'ors...
(One, two, three, four, five, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen...)

Though if you use the characters designed for the language, you'll never find the Latin letter A no matter how far you go.

Torn Tongue: Verbs Beginning with “B”

Friday, June 29th, 2012
Previously we talked about verbs in Torn Tongue. Here are some vocabulary verbs (that do not have counterparts as nouns) beginning with "B."

English ............ Torn Tongue
to be .................. ith
to blow ............... efe
to boil ................. ilo
to bring ............... utes
to burst ............... ebroi

The War of the Stolen Mother: Translator’s Foreword

Friday, June 29th, 2012
       I've been pondering just what sample text from "The War of the Stolen Mother" should be posted here.  Parts of Chapter 1 are available on a page of my other blog; there we meet Di'fa'kro'mi and his scribe Chi'mo'a'tu as the Remembrancer is reminiscing about his life and about his invention of writing.  In Chapter 2 there is considerable backstory and then we meet the first two Companions.  I will probably post some excerpts from this chapter, but I've decided first to post the "Translator's Foreword" right here and now.  In it we encounter Prf. Kaitrin Oliva from "The Termite Queen," the translator and editor of Di'fa'kro'mi's tales, as she explains what these works are all about.  I am sorry to say that from the very first sentence we have spoilers for "The Termite Queen," but I have decided to simply fatalistically accept this and plow ahead.

Translator’s Foreword


“An ancient Earth adage says, ‘There is nothing
new under the sun.’  Perhaps the phrase should
now become, ‘There is nothing new among
the stars.’”
– from Amb. Tarrant Hergard’s speech
upon the admission of Earth into the
Confederation of Planets, delivered
on Krisí’iaid on 6.20.60 (old cal. 2815)

“This happens to be a myth of the At’in’zei
that we find ourselves in.  One manifestation
of unreality.  Everything is relative to how you
see it, you know.  Did it ever occur to you
that this tale of yours exists in many worlds? 
Of course it did not.”
 – Words of Thru’tei’ga’ma the Seer,
spoken to Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head in
Mik Na’wei’tei’zi

When I first encountered the Shshi – the intelligent termite species of the planet G. Gwidian – the Remembrancer (the bard/historian) of the fortress called Lo’ro’ra was an individual named Di’fa’kro’mi.  During my second visit, I learned that Di’fa’kro’mi planned to accompany the Warrior called Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head on a journey of adventure inspired by my own clumsy efforts to amuse the Shshi with stories taken from the Odysy and other tales of Earth. 
I did not see either of these individuals again until circumstances brought Di’fa’kro’mi back to Lo’ro’ra years later, but I often heard rumors of their exploits in the course of my frequent sojourns among the Shshi.  In the sixteen years that have passed since the Remembrancer returned home, I have visited the termite planet only three times, in 230, 235, and 241.  During the two earlier visits, I found Di’fa’kro’mi functioning as a sort of éminence grise; while he never reassumed the official duties of Remembrancer or took an active part in the governance of the fortress, his influence has been enormous on several generations of Shshi, and indeed on the very nature and destiny of Shshi culture. 
For during that period something remarkable occurred:  Di’fa’kro’mi the Remembrancer invented a system of writing for the Shshi language!  I am forced to acknowledge with some chagrin that I and other “Star-Beings” played an unintentional role in this unexpected development.  Although we never attempted to teach the Shshi anything about writing, Di’fa’kro’mi noted the peculiar markings that appeared on our ports and readers.  When in his later life he found the leisure to reflect upon his observations, he deduced the nature of these markings and made the logical leap.  In my visits in 230 and 235 he showed me his efforts and sought my advice, which I refused to give, preferring to let cultural evolution take its already contaminated course.
Needless to say, I consider it an extreme privilege to have witnessed the inception of an invention that indisputably alters any society.  Here is a lifeform which has never tamed fire nor devised a technology more “advanced” than the working of wood and stone, but which now has a fully functional writing system – accessible to only one Caste!  As this new knowledge spreads across the World of the Shshi, the power that the sighted Alates are able to exercise over their eyeless siblings will become even greater than in the past!
On my visit in 235, Di’fa’kro’mi told me that he planned to put into the “word-images” the story of his and Ki’shto’ba’s remarkable adventures.  At that time, he was twenty-seven years old – quite aged for a Shi – and both he and I realized that this was most likely the last time we would see each other.  When I returned in 241, he had indeed died three years earlier, at the age of thirty.
He had bequeathed me a syllabary of the Shshi language and some ruminations upon the Shshi word-sense, together with a copy of this document I am translating here.  These totally deaf isopteroids employ the only non-oral, non-telepathic, “biopulsive” communication medium yet discovered in the galaxy, but I can’t believe it is unique.  It is certainly only a matter of time until we encounter another ILF communicating in a similar manner, and whoever has the privilege of making that first contact will be much better equipped to tackle the task than we were with the Shshi.  The efforts of Di’fa’kro’mi provide an invaluable contribution to the advancement of knowledge.
I immediately scanned Di’fa’kro’mi’s documents into the Interquad Database as soon as I returned to Earth, and prepared a transcription and a literal translation.  However, the former is useless to anyone except a few of my students and colleagues, and the latter is a tedious, heavily annotated rendering that no normal Earther could possibly enjoy reading.  And these tales demand to be enjoyed; I never encountered a Shshi bard who seeks to bore its audiences.  Therefore, I have attempted in the present version to produce a text that is accessible and compelling for the general reader of Inj. 
Di’fa’kro’mi himself divided his story into three parts.  The first deals with the War of the Stolen Mother and covers approximately one year, or season-cycle (as the Shshi call it), of the Companions’ wanderings.  The second recounts their exploits among the Northern Nasutes and certain other ethnic groups, encompassing a period of about four years.  The third takes the wanderers to the end of their adventures at the southern edge of the Shshi world.  Each section is lengthy, so I have taken the liberty of dividing the three tales into a six-part opus, to be published over the next few years.  Such a division does no damage to the author’s purpose; Di’fa’kro’mi himself frequently told his tales in smaller bites that listeners (and readers) would be less likely to choke on.
To supplement Di’fa’kro’mi’s aging memory and emend the errors and inconsistencies that result from the use of an amanuensis, I have drawn on the recorded data from conversations in which the Remembrancer informally recounted much of this narrative for me.  Di’fa’kro’mi’s scribe took literally his admonishment to write down everything he said; therefore we have a series of amusing asides throughout the tale.  For the sake of cohesiveness I have cut some of these parenthetical remarks and edited and relocated others.  Everything related here, however, is faithful to the words and intent of the author, whether spoken or written.
I have attempted to preserve the style and character of the Shshi language and people even as I have eased the words into readable Inj.  I have divided Di’fa’kro’mi’s continuous narrative into paragraphs and chapters, edited out redundancies, added appropriate Inj punctuation, and eliminated much of the tedious repetitiveness and run-on style that appears in the literal translation.  For example, in order to indicate the beginning and end of a quotation, a Shshi bard would say, Ki’shto’ba said I believe that soon we should find a place to rest Ki’shto’ba said Wei’tu said I will scout ahead Wei’tu said.  In Inj such a style results only in obfuscation.
I have also dared to insert footnotes that clarify names and figures of speech, explain customs, or untie the knots of the various Shshi dialects, which Di’fa’kro’mi consistently renders into the language of the Shum’za as spoken in Lo’ro’ra.  The reader should know that it is the translator’s voice speaking in each footnote.  I trust that this addition will augment rather than obstruct the reader’s appreciation of a tale that deserves to take its place among the significant pieces of heroic literature extant throughout the known galaxy.

Prf. Kaitrin Oliva (Prof. Spec. Xenoanth. & Ling.)
Shiras-Peders University of Xenological Studies
15 October 242 (old cal. 2997)

Jalan Atthirari Anni

Friday, June 29th, 2012

If I may step away for a moment from my regularly-scheduled Dothraki posts, today my wife and I celebrate our four year wedding anniversary (though in November we will have been together ten years). Erin has stood beside me and supported me ever since we’ve been together—and that can’t have been easy. She supported me when I decided to leave graduate school to teach community college. She supported me again when I decided to leave teaching to write, with little to no prospects. She supported me yet again when I left off writing to apply for the Dothraki job, and continued to support me as I had to tell friends and family vague details about my doing “something” that was “work”, though I couldn’t tell them anything about it. It’s not a prototypical path to success (looking back, in fact, it sounds rather like the exact opposite)—and who knows how it’ll pan out five to ten years down the line—but Erin’s steadfast support and encouragement have been instrumental in my being able to muddle my way through a taxing (to say the least) decade—not to mention her linguistic expertise. (It’s great to have someone I can talk to about conlang problems!)

I’ve tried my best to thank Erin along the way however I could (I’ve already mentioned how the word erin, “good, kind”, was coined in her honor, as was alegra, “duck” [her middle name]), but I don’t think I’ve done so publicly, so I figure this is as good an opportunity to do so as any.

Erin: Thank you so much for four wonderful years of marriage, and close to ten wonderful years together. Yer jalan atthirari anni. Every day I get to spend with you is a day worth living. Anha zhilak yera nakhaan, ma hash anha laz et mae, hash anha akemok ma yeroon save. Happy anniversary!

Recent Developments in Kahtsaai

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

In the last few months I have been focusing almost entirely on Kahtsaai vocabulary, and allowing that to drive any tweaks to the grammar. At this point, I consider the skeleton of the grammar complete, wanting only a lot more detail for certain sections.

The Imperfective

For most of its life Kahtsaai has had a single primary verb of motion, , which was usually marked with either the trans- or cis-locative prefix to distinguish go and come. This turns out to be typologically very rare, which was fine, but I finally started to find it annoying, so I added aas come. The form kóh-ló is still available for come, but it cannot be used when the speaker means "right here where we're talking now," which is aas's core meaning.

At the same time aas was coming into being, I was getting a bit annoyed about the regularity of the imperfective marker, -na. I did not want to add massive irregularity, but it just wasn't sitting right all by itself. So, I added a small number of verbs which take the imperfective in -rá/-réí. The choice between the two forms depends on things like stem syllable weight and compensatory lengthening after certain assimilations, but for practical purposes should be considered irregular. In a last act of randomness, I seriously modified aas, giving it an imperfective of saréí. Finally, an imperfective in -rá becomes -réí when the adverbial suffix -ne/-hte is added, always resulting in -réín. This parallels the -na > -naan change.

I have confined the -rá/-réí forms to intransitive verbs of motion ("come," "flow"), location and posture ("stand," "hang") and weather ("lightening"). I don't expect that to change. Right now only thirteen verbs have this new imperfective. Probably a few more will enter this class over time, but I doubt it will be too many.

Postpositions and Verbs do the Frame Dance

I recently added the postposition -próh. It is imagined that at one point in its history it covered certain meanings one expects of the dative, but by about, say, a half a millennium ago it was confined to marking the experiencer of certain verbs of emotion or judgement. For example, léíkou means insipid, flavorless, boring. With -próh one can say someone is bored,

Ra'étápróhheléíkou.
ra'étá-próhhe-léíkou
that.INAN1SG-to3INAN-be.insipid
That bores me.

The postposition now also marks the judicantis role, that is, the person in whose judgement a statement holds true.

Táttáaapróhmáámołakíntsááłtsiwé.
tá-ttáaa-próhmáámoła-kí-n-tsááł-ts
1SG-father3AN.SG-tomoneyTRNS-3INAN.S-3INAN-misuse-EVIDthis
To my father, this is a waste of money.

In thinking about the core uses for -próh an interesting commonality has developed, where a stative verb takes the "detransitive of causative" marking -ríi-se and is then used with -próh to mark the induction of some state in a person. For example, láhme means "be angry, be unpleasant," but rather than taking the causative for "to anger," instead this -ríi-se form is used, tápróh yoláhmeríise he made me angry. I'm expecting to see more of the construction X-próh Vstative-ríi-se in the future.

Finally, I have started thinking more about the frames of new and existing vocabulary, and making sure I have examples covering expected uses. One result of this is that the postposition -por, "seeking after, wanting," is now used mark the ultimate goal for purposive action. For example, the verb móka means "trick" or "deceive." The postposition -por marks the goal of the deception if that is expressed,

Yokatmókatsmáámoonporpá.
yo-kat-móka-tsmáámoon-por
3AN.SG-1PL-trick-EVIDmoney3INAN-wantingPTCL
He tricked us for the money.

This week makes me want to give into the "40 words for snow" syndrome, and create a rich vocabulary to describe my own emotional state when experiencing 95-100F days and very high humidity. I'm also trying to think up a good way to express "at stake, on the line," as in the phrase, "when your life is at stake." This is a subtle one.

Recent Developments in Kahtsaai

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

In the last few months I have been focusing almost entirely on Kahtsaai vocabulary, and allowing that to drive any tweaks to the grammar. At this point, I consider the skeleton of the grammar complete, wanting only a lot more detail for certain sections.

The Imperfective

For most of its life Kahtsaai has had a single primary verb of motion, , which was usually marked with either the trans- or cis-locative prefix to distinguish go and come. This turns out to be typologically very rare, which was fine, but I finally started to find it annoying, so I added aas come. The form kóh-ló is still available for come, but it cannot be used when the speaker means "right here where we're talking now," which is aas's core meaning.

At the same time aas was coming into being, I was getting a bit annoyed about the regularity of the imperfective marker, -na. I did not want to add massive irregularity, but it just wasn't sitting right all by itself. So, I added a small number of verbs which take the imperfective in -rá/-réí. The choice between the two forms depends on things like stem syllable weight and compensatory lengthening after certain assimilations, but for practical purposes should be considered irregular. In a last act of randomness, I seriously modified aas, giving it an imperfective of saréí. Finally, an imperfective in -rá becomes -réí when the adverbial suffix -ne/-hte is added, always resulting in -réín. This parallels the -na > -naan change.

I have confined the -rá/-réí forms to intransitive verbs of motion ("come," "flow"), location and posture ("stand," "hang") and weather ("lightening"). I don't expect that to change. Right now only thirteen verbs have this new imperfective. Probably a few more will enter this class over time, but I doubt it will be too many.

Postpositions and Verbs do the Frame Dance

I recently added the postposition -próh. It is imagined that at one point in its history it covered certain meanings one expects of the dative, but by about, say, a half a millennium ago it was confined to marking the experiencer of certain verbs of emotion or judgement. For example, léíkou means insipid, flavorless, boring. With -próh one can say someone is bored,

Ra'étápróhheléíkou.
ra'étá-próhhe-léíkou
that.INAN1SG-to3INAN-be.insipid
That bores me.

The postposition now also marks the judicantis role, that is, the person in whose judgement a statement holds true.

Táttáaapróhmáámołakíntsááłtsiwé.
tá-ttáaa-próhmáámoła-kí-n-tsááł-ts
1SG-father3AN.SG-tomoneyTRNS-3INAN.S-3INAN-misuse-EVIDthis
To my father, this is a waste of money.

In thinking about the core uses for -próh an interesting commonality has developed, where a stative verb takes the "detransitive of causative" marking -ríi-se and is then used with -próh to mark the induction of some state in a person. For example, láhme means "be angry, be unpleasant," but rather than taking the causative for "to anger," instead this -ríi-se form is used, tápróh yoláhmeríise he made me angry. I'm expecting to see more of the construction X-próh Vstative-ríi-se in the future.

Finally, I have started thinking more about the frames of new and existing vocabulary, and making sure I have examples covering expected uses. One result of this is that the postposition -por, "seeking after, wanting," is now used mark the ultimate goal for purposive action. For example, the verb móka means "trick" or "deceive." The postposition -por marks the goal of the deception if that is expressed,

Yokatmókatsmáámoonporpá.
yo-kat-móka-tsmáámoon-por
3AN.SG-1PL-trick-EVIDmoney3INAN-wantingPTCL
He tricked us for the money.

This week makes me want to give into the "40 words for snow" syndrome, and create a rich vocabulary to describe my own emotional state when experiencing 95-100F days and very high humidity. I'm also trying to think up a good way to express "at stake, on the line," as in the phrase, "when your life is at stake." This is a subtle one.

Recent Developments in Kahtsaai

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

In the last few months I have been focusing almost entirely on Kahtsaai vocabulary, and allowing that to drive any tweaks to the grammar. At this point, I consider the skeleton of the grammar complete, wanting only a lot more detail for certain sections.

The Imperfective

For most of its life Kahtsaai has had a single primary verb of motion, , which was usually marked with either the trans- or cis-locative prefix to distinguish go and come. This turns out to be typologically very rare, which was fine, but I finally started to find it annoying, so I added aas come. The form kóh-ló is still available for come, but it cannot be used when the speaker means "right here where we're talking now," which is aas's core meaning.

At the same time aas was coming into being, I was getting a bit annoyed about the regularity of the imperfective marker, -na. I did not want to add massive irregularity, but it just wasn't sitting right all by itself. So, I added a small number of verbs which take the imperfective in -rá/-réí. The choice between the two forms depends on things like stem syllable weight and compensatory lengthening after certain assimilations, but for practical purposes should be considered irregular. In a last act of randomness, I seriously modified aas, giving it an imperfective of saréí. Finally, an imperfective in -rá becomes -réí when the adverbial suffix -ne/-hte is added, always resulting in -réín. This parallels the -na > -naan change.

I have confined the -rá/-réí forms to intransitive verbs of motion ("come," "flow"), location and posture ("stand," "hang") and weather ("lightening"). I don't expect that to change. Right now only thirteen verbs have this new imperfective. Probably a few more will enter this class over time, but I doubt it will be too many.

Postpositions and Verbs do the Frame Dance

I recently added the postposition -próh. It is imagined that at one point in its history it covered certain meanings one expects of the dative, but by about, say, a half a millennium ago it was confined to marking the experiencer of certain verbs of emotion or judgement. For example, léíkou means insipid, flavorless, boring. With -próh one can say someone is bored,

Ra'étápróhheléíkou.
ra'étá-próhhe-léíkou
that.INAN1SG-to3INAN-be.insipid
That bores me.

The postposition now also marks the judicantis role, that is, the person in whose judgement a statement holds true.

Táttáaapróhmáámołakíntsááłtsiwé.
tá-ttáaa-próhmáámoła-kí-n-tsááł-ts
1SG-father3AN.SG-tomoneyTRNS-3INAN.S-3INAN-misuse-EVIDthis
To my father, this is a waste of money.

In thinking about the core uses for -próh an interesting commonality has developed, where a stative verb takes the "detransitive of causative" marking -ríi-se and is then used with -próh to mark the induction of some state in a person. For example, láhme means "be angry, be unpleasant," but rather than taking the causative for "to anger," instead this -ríi-se form is used, tápróh yoláhmeríise he made me angry. I'm expecting to see more of the construction X-próh Vstative-ríi-se in the future.

Finally, I have started thinking more about the frames of new and existing vocabulary, and making sure I have examples covering expected uses. One result of this is that the postposition -por, "seeking after, wanting," is now used mark the ultimate goal for purposive action. For example, the verb móka means "trick" or "deceive." The postposition -por marks the goal of the deception if that is expressed,

Yokatmókatsmáámoonporpá.
yo-kat-móka-tsmáámoon-por
3AN.SG-1PL-trick-EVIDmoney3INAN-wantingPTCL
He tricked us for the money.

This week makes me want to give into the "40 words for snow" syndrome, and create a rich vocabulary to describe my own emotional state when experiencing 95-100F days and very high humidity. I'm also trying to think up a good way to express "at stake, on the line," as in the phrase, "when your life is at stake." This is a subtle one.

Recent Developments in Kahtsaai

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

In the last few months I have been focusing almost entirely on Kahtsaai vocabulary, and allowing that to drive any tweaks to the grammar. At this point, I consider the skeleton of the grammar complete, wanting only a lot more detail for certain sections.

The Imperfective

For most of its life Kahtsaai has had a single primary verb of motion, , which was usually marked with either the trans- or cis-locative prefix to distinguish go and come. This turns out to be typologically very rare, which was fine, but I finally started to find it annoying, so I added aas come. The form kóh-ló is still available for come, but it cannot be used when the speaker means "right here where we're talking now," which is aas's core meaning.

At the same time aas was coming into being, I was getting a bit annoyed about the regularity of the imperfective marker, -na. I did not want to add massive irregularity, but it just wasn't sitting right all by itself. So, I added a small number of verbs which take the imperfective in -rá/-réí. The choice between the two forms depends on things like stem syllable weight and compensatory lengthening after certain assimilations, but for practical purposes should be considered irregular. In a last act of randomness, I seriously modified aas, giving it an imperfective of saréí. Finally, an imperfective in -rá becomes -réí when the adverbial suffix -ne/-hte is added, always resulting in -réín. This parallels the -na > -naan change.

I have confined the -rá/-réí forms to intransitive verbs of motion ("come," "flow"), location and posture ("stand," "hang") and weather ("lightening"). I don't expect that to change. Right now only thirteen verbs have this new imperfective. Probably a few more will enter this class over time, but I doubt it will be too many.

Postpositions and Verbs do the Frame Dance

I recently added the postposition -próh. It is imagined that at one point in its history it covered certain meanings one expects of the dative, but by about, say, a half a millennium ago it was confined to marking the experiencer of certain verbs of emotion or judgement. For example, léíkou means insipid, flavorless, boring. With -próh one can say someone is bored,

Ra'étápróhheléíkou.
ra'étá-próhhe-léíkou
that.INAN1SG-to3INAN-be.insipid
That bores me.

The postposition now also marks the judicantis role, that is, the person in whose judgement a statement holds true.

Táttáaapróhmáámołakíntsááłtsiwé.
tá-ttáaa-próhmáámoła-kí-n-tsááł-ts
1SG-father3AN.SG-tomoneyTRNS-3INAN.S-3INAN-misuse-EVIDthis
To my father, this is a waste of money.

In thinking about the core uses for -próh an interesting commonality has developed, where a stative verb takes the "detransitive of causative" marking -ríi-se and is then used with -próh to mark the induction of some state in a person. For example, láhme means "be angry, be unpleasant," but rather than taking the causative for "to anger," instead this -ríi-se form is used, tápróh yoláhmeríise he made me angry. I'm expecting to see more of the construction X-próh Vstative-ríi-se in the future.

Finally, I have started thinking more about the frames of new and existing vocabulary, and making sure I have examples covering expected uses. One result of this is that the postposition -por, "seeking after, wanting," is now used mark the ultimate goal for purposive action. For example, the verb móka means "trick" or "deceive." The postposition -por marks the goal of the deception if that is expressed,

Yokatmókatsmáámoonporpá.
yo-kat-móka-tsmáámoon-por
3AN.SG-1PL-trick-EVIDmoney3INAN-wantingPTCL
He tricked us for the money.

This week makes me want to give into the "40 words for snow" syndrome, and create a rich vocabulary to describe my own emotional state when experiencing 95-100F days and very high humidity. I'm also trying to think up a good way to express "at stake, on the line," as in the phrase, "when your life is at stake." This is a subtle one.

Recent Developments in Kahtsaai

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

In the last few months I have been focusing almost entirely on Kahtsaai vocabulary, and allowing that to drive any tweaks to the grammar. At this point, I consider the skeleton of the grammar complete, wanting only a lot more detail for certain sections.

The Imperfective

For most of its life Kahtsaai has had a single primary verb of motion, , which was usually marked with either the trans- or cis-locative prefix to distinguish go and come. This turns out to be typologically very rare, which was fine, but I finally started to find it annoying, so I added aas come. The form kóh-ló is still available for come, but it cannot be used when the speaker means "right here where we're talking now," which is aas's core meaning.

At the same time aas was coming into being, I was getting a bit annoyed about the regularity of the imperfective marker, -na. I did not want to add massive irregularity, but it just wasn't sitting right all by itself. So, I added a small number of verbs which take the imperfective in -rá/-réí. The choice between the two forms depends on things like stem syllable weight and compensatory lengthening after certain assimilations, but for practical purposes should be considered irregular. In a last act of randomness, I seriously modified aas, giving it an imperfective of saréí. Finally, an imperfective in -rá becomes -réí when the adverbial suffix -ne/-hte is added, always resulting in -réín. This parallels the -na > -naan change.

I have confined the -rá/-réí forms to intransitive verbs of motion ("come," "flow"), location and posture ("stand," "hang") and weather ("lightening"). I don't expect that to change. Right now only thirteen verbs have this new imperfective. Probably a few more will enter this class over time, but I doubt it will be too many.

Postpositions and Verbs do the Frame Dance

I recently added the postposition -próh. It is imagined that at one point in its history it covered certain meanings one expects of the dative, but by about, say, a half a millennium ago it was confined to marking the experiencer of certain verbs of emotion or judgement. For example, léíkou means insipid, flavorless, boring. With -próh one can say someone is bored,

Ra'étápróhheléíkou.
ra'étá-próhhe-léíkou
that.INAN1SG-to3INAN-be.insipid
That bores me.

The postposition now also marks the judicantis role, that is, the person in whose judgement a statement holds true.

Táttáaapróhmáámołakíntsááłtsiwé.
tá-ttáaa-próhmáámoła-kí-n-tsááł-ts
1SG-father3AN.SG-tomoneyTRNS-3INAN.S-3INAN-misuse-EVIDthis
To my father, this is a waste of money.

In thinking about the core uses for -próh an interesting commonality has developed, where a stative verb takes the "detransitive of causative" marking -ríi-se and is then used with -próh to mark the induction of some state in a person. For example, láhme means "be angry, be unpleasant," but rather than taking the causative for "to anger," instead this -ríi-se form is used, tápróh yoláhmeríise he made me angry. I'm expecting to see more of the construction X-próh Vstative-ríi-se in the future.

Finally, I have started thinking more about the frames of new and existing vocabulary, and making sure I have examples covering expected uses. One result of this is that the postposition -por, "seeking after, wanting," is now used mark the ultimate goal for purposive action. For example, the verb móka means "trick" or "deceive." The postposition -por marks the goal of the deception if that is expressed,

Yokatmókatsmáámoonporpá.
yo-kat-móka-tsmáámoon-por
3AN.SG-1PL-trick-EVIDmoney3INAN-wantingPTCL
He tricked us for the money.

This week makes me want to give into the "40 words for snow" syndrome, and create a rich vocabulary to describe my own emotional state when experiencing 95-100F days and very high humidity. I'm also trying to think up a good way to express "at stake, on the line," as in the phrase, "when your life is at stake." This is a subtle one.

Anha Tihak Yera

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Little multiconlingual pun there for you. A while back, I was profiled on the CNN show The Next List. When I was prepping for the show, they asked me if I could get some videos of fans speaking Dothraki—about a minute, they said. I don’t think they understood just how long a full minute is, because the videos (supplied by our own Hrakkar and Daenerys) only show up on screen for a few seconds, and they had to do a lot of work to produce (and pronounce!) a full minute of Dothraki dialogue. It was a lot of work (and hopefully fun!), and since you only get to see a very little bit on the show, I thought I’d put both videos up here.

The first is Hrakkar’s video, which is actually a reading of the LCC4 conlang relay text I did for the Fourth Language Creation Conference. The text is called Dorvi Zichome, or “The Disrespectful Goat”, and here it is:

Right on! Dig the lion décor. (By the way, sorry the still image it starts with is a bit pixellated. No idea thy it’s doing that—or why I can’t embed my own darn videos and have to go through Photobucket. Hope you have flash, if you’re reading this… When is HTML5 getting here?!)

(Update: I believe I fixed the image problem. The funny thing [for me] is that I fixed this problem before this post was ever posted, so no one but me ever actually saw the problem. Ha, ha… Anha nemo allayafak…)

Our next video is from Daenerys, who wrote her own script, which must have taken quite a while!

Thanks so much to Dany and Hrakkar! Anha chomak yeri ma anha vemerak ma athhajaraan ma oakahaan yeri!

In other news, I’m going to speaking at the American Mensa Annual Gathering next week. I believe you have to be a Mensa member to attend, but if you are (and you’re going to be in Reno), stop on by!

Recently, I participated in the Conlangery podcast where we discussed Dothraki and growing a lexicon. You can listen to the podcast here. I also did an interview with Saul Gonzalez over at KCRW today. Not sure when it’ll be going up, but when I get word, I’ll let everyone know. Finally, last weekend I gave a conlang workshop at WyrdCon 2012. The convention was a lot of fun, and I got an INCREDIBLE medallion—just for attending! Everyone who attended got one of these (it was the equivalent of a name badge at other conventions). Check it out:

WyrdCon 2012 Medallion

Click to enlarge.

That’s metal—die cut. I honestly wish I was the type of person that wore necklaces and that I had a reason (and the wherewithal) to wear this around. I’m going to do something with it; just not sure what yet.

Oh, but yeah. The whole reason this came up is because I did an interview (or a couple of them) while I was at WyrdCon, and you can read a post about one of them here. (By the way, shout out to Brittany Hanson, who works for the Garden Grove Journal—my local hometown paper! If you go there right now you can read about my old high school’s baseball team winning the CIF championship this year. Go Mariners!)

Also, I recently started a Tumblr account. Not sure where it’ll go, but if you’d like to follow me there, you can do so here.

The Dothraki lexicon and reference grammar document just ticked over to 300 pages yesterday! The language continues to grow, albeit slowly as I’ve gotten bogged down with other work. Until next time, hajas!