Archive for August, 2012

Conlangery #64: Head-marking vs Dependent-marking

Monday, August 27th, 2012
Today we tackle a very interesting typology topic: head-marking and dependant-marking.  Turns out that whether your language leans one way or another affects (or depends on) a wide variety of grammatical features.  Be sure to check the links below for additional info. Top of Show Greeting: Toki Pona (translated by Vadim Fomin) Links and Resources: Great […]

Conlangery #64: Head-marking vs Dependent-marking

Monday, August 27th, 2012
Today we tackle a very interesting typology topic: head-marking and dependant-marking.  Turns out that whether your language leans one way or another affects (or depends on) a wide variety of grammatical features.  Be sure to check the links below for additional info. Top of Show Greeting: Toki Pona (translated by Vadim Fomin) Links and Resources: Great […]

honor is kunore

Sunday, August 26th, 2012
kunore = honor (noun) (some things Google found for "kunore": an uncommon term; a rare last name; user names; name of places in Albania and northern India)

Word derivation for "honor" :
Basque = ohore, Finnish = kunnia
Miresua = kunore

This Miresua word has some similarity to the English word honor (UK honour).

Illustration No.6 (Sixth of a Series)

Sunday, August 26th, 2012
This illustrations belongs with Chapter 19 ("Mourning")  of "The War of the Stolen Mother."  All epic cultures indulge in complex mourning rituals for their dead heroes.  However, here we see a different kind of mourning rite.  Who and why is Za'dut, our trickster character, mourning?  You'll have to read the book to find out.

Di'fa'kro'mi Joins Za'dut in a Mourning Dance
Click for larger image

Torn Tongue: Verbs Beginning with “F”

Saturday, August 25th, 2012
Previously we talked about verbs in Torn Tongue.  Here are some vocabulary verbs (that do not have counterparts as nouns) beginning with "F."

English ...................... Torn Tongue
to fade ......................... oki
to fall (downward) .......... afu
to fall (trip, faceplant) ..... oqe
to follow ....................... uve

Core Vocab: Around the House

Friday, August 24th, 2012
dakhu house

takh roof, ceiling
mar wall
abad floor
samar door
fynar window
khasharu fireplace, hearth
zhasharu chimney

tam chair
ashal sofa, couch
mashal bed
lapa table

cama bowl
cata plate
chyl cup
lasta pot
alag pan
gakhrun cauldron
khafag stove
ukhan oven

Kannia kafadici brenabin wî naulé

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

This is a story from the fables book that I recently got.  Flipping through, the "bok" just kind of hit me to translate it.

An oldie but goodie, this is "the boy who cried wolf" (Or, in Sandic, "A boy guarding sheep and the wolf").

I've discovered that almost every story in the book that I bought is taken verbatim from a public-domain text of Gutenberg- the pictures, too.  Since it's all public domain, perhaps I will translate all the little stories here and then set a Sandic copy up on Lulu.  It would be nice to have a little collection of stories to sift through for practicing my reading comprehension.

New words for this story:
I added a definition to fadic, which was previously just "to protect, to shield".  A "guarder of sheep" (fadicka ta brenan, or kafadici brenabin) is a shepherd.  Just fadicka is vague, something like a "protector", or "guardian".  I suppose it could be a word for "babysitter".

I used my favorite new (but not new for this particular story) thing here too- ma talēl (to trick, to win via means of a ruse, to manipulate via lies).

I think this is the first time I've ever used the standalone pronoun élsol ("they") in a post-2008 story.  Poor lonely little guy.

ALSO: I just updated the "Things written in Sandic" list to include stuff from may-onward, if you care to take a peek.

Order of texts: Sandic - Gloss of Sandic


Kannia kafadici brenabin wî naulé

Kan kafadici brenabin da ka otiab kaxfadic pal griawa erinjé glénrai pal nât ba mit op. JJiave ân ba erinjé neousai baxahl, ba kan srîtnia kaxneâ pa lor.  Nu kaxméâ ân jae koléian ka, ú muca matak fadickai ka.
Mohnnia, kaxraug ta brenabin, wî ba erinjé hui.  "Bal srîtnia felē nauléb eteraug?" Kian kaxbas.   "Iné da matemâi baahlignia!" Kian kajin ân ma daniab matemâi.
Da ka kian kaxmî ân fî ân nauléb kadami ta brenabin kateraug, ân okamalēî, ân ta kéman ba mit bian otematem, ân ébian obajard. JJiave ân nauléb kaxneot raug, unî ba kan kaxmalēî erin, wî mitian kaxen.  "Nauléb exraug!  Nauléb!"

Auzo kaxma, skra ta kéman, kiab oxbra, élsol kian oxen, wî santâb op biab oxsore.  A pa ba lor ŵak kaxahl nu ba kan kataeni erin skra ma talēli ka.
Gre mohnannia, ba fadicka ta brenan ejj kaxmalēî-
"Nauléb exraug!  Nauléb!"
Kian ejj oxen ta kéman, a ejj kaxahl nu ba kan kataeni.

Nocrnia mér lēnialav ba mlî, mér zefa ta noalan, iné naulé auniai baxféd pa brenan ka, wî otiab baxrep ân tu.  Katemi ra, ba fadicka mitian kaxen, kaxmalēî- "Nauléb!  Nauléb auniai exraug!"

A ta kéman otian oxmî- "Ŵian katjere ân ma talēl."
Érain ta brenan ba fadicka kani otiab baxtu ba naulé, wî pa erinjéb ejj baxjard.


A boy guarding sheep and the wolf

A shepherd boy guarded his father's sheep at the edge of a deep and dark forest near their village.  Even though the forest was mysterious, the boy was sometimes bored in the field.  He could only talk to his dog or play his shepherd's flute.
One day, he was looking at the sheep and at the quiet forest.  "Will I one day see a wolf?" He asked himself.  "That might be very frightening!"  He thought of doing something exciting.
His father had told him that if he were to see a wolf eating the sheep, he should cry out, that the people of the village would run to frighten it away.  Even though he did not see a sheep, he cried out very loudly, and he ran towards the village.
"I've seen a wolf!  A wolf!"

He did it well, because all the people that heard him ran to him and forgot their work.  But there in the field there was only the boy laughing because of his trick.
After some days, the shepherd boy cried out again-
"I've seen a wolf!  A wolf!"
The people ran to him again, but once again there was only the laughing boy.

One night during the falling of the sun and the growth of the shadows, a real wolf entered into the boy's herd and began to kill the sheep.  Very afraid, the boy ran towards the village yelling- "A wolf!  I've seen a real wolf!"

But the people said to themselves- "He is trying to trick us."
Many of the boy's sheep were killed by the wolf, and then the wolf fled back into the woods.

country is marre

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
marre = country (noun) some things Google found for "marre": a very common term; an uncommon last name; a rare first name; J'en ai marre! (I'm fed up!) is a French pop song by recording artist Alizée; Marre is a female Colombian pop singer/songwriter; The Villa Marre is a historic home built in 1881 in Little Rock, Arkansas; Y'en A Marre (Enough is Enough) are rappers who founded a political movement in Senegal; in French marre means a type of hoe (gardening tool); in colloquial French marre means enough; the name of places in France and Somalia)

Word derivation for "country" :
Basque = herrialde, Finnish = maa
Miresua = marre

The Basque and Finnish words have slightly different senses of meaning. In Basque, the suffix -alde means region, area. While the Basque word herri means "nation, people; country, land; public, folk; town." The Finnish word maa means "earth, ground, country, land, soil."

By the way, in Miresua, "the country" will be marrea.

Core Vocabulary: Animals

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
barkhu dog
khantu hound
shanakh fox
daru wolf

mysu cat
laru big cat

dasu mouse, rat
ygysh squirrel

ychym bird
machu chicken
gapu turkey
cwakh duck
cyasta hawk, falcon
gyastug eagle
lykhu owl
dwalnu raven, crow

bacu horse
makhu cow
uryg pig
shafar sheep
zygu goat

ylysh fish
buf toad, frog

khysu snake

If there's any other animals that should be in the core vocab lists, or that you'd like a word for, leave a comment.

Finnaan Anha Dothrak?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

So unlike MiniDisc, apparently turn-by-turn navigation systems aren’t going away any time soon (go figure). Thanks to our very own Hrakkar, though, we’ll soon have the option of getting turn-by-turn directions in Dothraki. Pretty wild, right?

So this is how it works. Hrakkar found a text file used by Garmin to translate its directions into various languages. All you need to do is translate the set phrases and provide audio, and voilà! It won’t translate street names (which is appropriate), or do them in the appropriate accent, but that would be a bit much to expect. Hrakkar got a jumpstart on translating the list of commands, and I helped him fill in the rest. The entire list of commands is presented below, with commentary:

Proceed to highlighted route.Dothra osaan shovena.
Recalculating.Anha gachak mae ajjin.
Traffic ahead.Hrazefeser hatif shafki.
Continue on route.Vatteri dothralat she os.
Make a U-turn.Idiro.

Above, the word I used for “highlighted” (shoven, suffixed with -a above as it modifies a noun in a non-nominative case) basically means “smudged” or “marked”. It’s difficult to translate English’s “headline language” into Dothraki (the same is true of just about any inflectional language), so that something that renders quite simply in English (e.g. “Recalculating”) requires a full sentence in Dothraki (literally, “I’m figuring it out right now”). There’s no real word for “traffic” (and no concept for it), so I used hrazefeser, which is kind of like a herd of wild horses. Hrakkar gets credit for what I think is the most brilliant translation of the bunch: idiro, which, in this context, means “Make a U-turn”. Idirolat derives from the Dothraki word for “owl”, idiro. It literally means “to owl”, and implies that one has made a full 180° turn quite suddenly, as owls do with their heads. That’s basically what a U-turn is, so in this case Dothraki is more succinct than the English (that doesn’t happen often!).

Here’s the next batch:

Via Pointeleisosakh
Arrive at…Jado she…
Arriving at…Shafka jadoe she…
Enter roundabout.Emra osfir.
Take ramp.Okki yathokh.

As you’ll note, we’re using the formal second person throughout (seems like the safest bet). The word for “destination” is just the word for “goal”, which comes from the word for “target”, which is why it’s related to the word for “fly” (ovethat). For “roundabout”, I went with “round road”, which seems close enough. I think it’s a happy accident that, at least for English speakers, you can pluck the word “sphere” right out of the word osfir. Should help one remember the word.

Regarding “in”, you’ll note that the word she is used, as opposed to mra, which means “in” or “inside”. This is because the word here is the English word “in”, and that brings us to a major translation issue in Doing this. The English word “in” could be used by Garmin in a number of ways—most likely in a sentence like, “Turn left in three miles”. There, it’s pretty clear that “in” doesn’t mean “inside”. Rather, it could almost be translated “after” (i.e. “Turn after three miles have passed”) or “at” (i.e. “Turn at the three mile mark from this point”), etc. In Dothraki, she is the most semantically empty locative preposition. As a result, it’s probably our best bet here, even if it doesn’t match up perfectly (and it helps that, in its basic form, she governs the nominative, which will prevent case problems, for which see below).

Here’s the next set:

Aheadhatif shafki
Keepvatteri dothralat
Turn left.Noti sindarine.
Turn right.Noti haje.
On leftshe sindarinekh
On rightshe hajekh
Navigate off road.Hezhahi she osoon.
Navigate on road.Hezhahi she osaan.

I have absolutely no idea what “Navigate off road” or “Navigate on road” means, but I thought Hrakkar’s use of hezhahat was inspired, so I stuck with his translation. (Also, nice use of she with the allative and ablative!). There is no adverb “ahead” that’s used just like the English word, so hatif shafki means “in front of you”. And a word like “keep” just gives me fits (lousy analytical English!). I decided to translate it as “Keep riding”, reasoning that it’ll probably be used in expressions like “Keep right” or “Keep left”. Unfortunately, it won’t be translated quite right (I think a more appropriate translation for “Keep right” would be Vatteri dothralat she hajekh), but that’s on account of the fact that the basic language here is English. If the initial language had been anything else (say, Russian), it would have had more phrases to translate, rather than words. In English, the form of a word doesn’t change all that often (just pluralization on nouns and minimal verb tense), so you can separate them out and not worry about the context of surrounding words. Not so with Dothraki. As a result, some things will not be combined appropriately. I imagine the same would be true of a language like Russian if it were to translate the program using this script. So it goes.

Here’s the next group:

Board ferry.Emra rhaggat eveth.
Leave ferry.Esemrasa rhaggat eveth.
At roundaboutshe osfir
Exit roundabout.Esemrasa osfir.
To destinationovvethikhaan
To via pointeleisosakhaan
Metersrhaesof Valiri

There isn’t, of course, a large nautical vocabulary in Dothraki: a boat is a boat is a boat is a water cart. For our measure words, I had to create some on the fly to serve. These aren’t to be used in-universe; they’re just for us. So the word for “feet” (or “foot”, as the singular and plural are the same) is qorraya, the Dothraki word for “forearm” (about as long as a foot). A yard, on the other hand, is a bit longer, and so it’s a rhaesof—not a larger foot, in this case, but a stride. And I’m mightily entertained by my word for “meter”, which is, essentially, “a Valyrian yard”. I think of “meters” as basically “British yards” (even though we got our measure from England initially), and so I thought, “What would the equivalent of ‘British’ be in Dothraki…?” I wanted to say Lhazareen, but that didn’t seem very fair to the British, so I went with Valyrian. You’ll see it again in the next group:

One quarter mileirvosa
One half milechetira
Three quarters of a milesen irvosa
And a quarterma saccheya
And a halfma sachi
And three quartersma sen saccheya
Kilometerkarlina Valiri
Kilometerskarlina Valiri

And there’s our Valyrian miles (a.k.a. kilometers). There’s no word for “quarter” in Dothraki, so I borrowed over the word saccheya (derived from the word sachi, which means “half”) which actually means something like “part” or “division”. It could mean “half” in the right context, but more often it’s less than that, and conventionally I think it works well as “quarter”. As for the terms for miles and parts of miles (another rare instance where Dothraki proves more economical than English), you can read more about their etymologies in this blog post I did for CNN’s The Next List.

Finally, there are a bunch of numbers. It calls for the cardinal numbers 1 through 10 and also 100, and the ordinal numbers 1 through 9. There’s no call for ordinal 10 or 100, but since it’ll make a neater table, I’ll go ahead and include those too:


And there you have it! I’m not quite sure what step lies between having this information translated and recorded and getting it onto your own Garmin, but I believe Hrakkar will provide us with that info in time (at which point this post will updated). If you happen to already know what to do, I’ve got audio of me reading all of the above which you can download here (right click on that. I thought about embedding the audio as I’ve done with previous posts, but there’d just be too much, and this page loads slow enough as it is). You can also get the text from above in a handy .txt file by clicking here. If you’d like to record your own version, send it my way and I’ll put it up here.

In other news, if you’re going to be at WorldCon in Chicago at the end of the month, I will be there. Come find me and test my on-the-fly Dothraki fluency! (Then prepare to be disappointed [though I've always been much more of a writer than a speaker, when it comes to second languages].) Until next time, fonas chek!