Archive for October, 2012

Questions

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

For questions, I said I’d include an interrogative marker on the verb. I won’t do so. Instead, I’ll add an interrogative marker (a case in that sense) on the noun specifying the question! The word order stays as posted before.

  • 0: V N-Q
  • 1: V N-Q Subject
  • 2: V N-Q Agent Patient
  • 3: V N-Q Agent Receiver Theme

In the case of a binary question (“Is this it?”), there will be a special expletive.


Termite Microphotos: How I Designed the Shshi

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
       Over on my other blog, a post which continues to regularly draw views is that silly microphotograph of the frontal aspect of a termite worker's face! It's had 60 views, including two just yesterday!  So I've decided to begin publishing the microphotographs on which I based my different species of intelligent termites that are found on the planet 2 Giotta 17A.  A comment I received once led me to believe that not everybody knows what a termite looks like.  Of course, there are many different species, whose appearance differs mainly in the soldier caste -- in the shape of the mandibles (jaws) and the size of the head.
       These photos are all from that wonderful website by Dr. Timothy Myles.  Unfortunately, it's no longer being maintained, but it's still available here on the Internet Archive.  You can find many more microphotos of different termite species there. (Unfortunately, I found I was having trouble navigating in that URL, but give it a try, anyway.  It could have just been a maintenance issue.  It's a good thing I copied the pertinent information into my own computer when I was doing the research!)
       I was concerned about publishing these pictures because of copyright   .  But I've had contact with Dr. Myles in the past -- in fact he has read some of my books and liked them a lot.  So I tried to get in touch with him to ask his permission to publish the images.  I sent him an email and I left messages on his Facebook page, but he seems to be totally incommunicado right now.  Therefore, I'm going ahead and using the pictures.  Dr. Myles, if you see this and you have any objections, please get in touch and I'll take the pictures down!  By the way, Dr. Myles is also an expert on fungus and does spectacular mushroom photography, which you can see here at the Fine Art America website.  Why don't you head over there and reward Dr. Myles for his great termite work by buying a print of one of his photos?



 

 
 
 









Macrotermes bellicosus soldier,
collected in Bossou, Guinea, near Ivory Coast border.
 
Base species for the Da'no'no Shshi.  You're looking at Ki'shto'ba and A'zhu'lo, and all the inhabitants of Thel'or'ei.
 

Macrotermes carbonarius, soldier
Collected in Vietnam, Dong Nai: Cat Tien Natl. Pk. by J. Fannin


Base image for Shum'za (Shshi) Warriors, the kind that live in Lo'ro'ra.  Commander Hi'ta'fu in "The Termite Queen" looks like this.  Compare the cover drawing for v.2, where all the Warriors in the background have this sort of flattish head that is much smaller than the Da'no'no Shshi's heads.  These are also the type of Warrior seen in the River Fortresses.  Nei'ga'bao (Achilles) is one of these.
It's interesting that both these species are in the same genus, Macrotermes, and yet they really do look quite different and have quite different mandible structure. M. carbonarius appears to have a nasus (that tubular looking thing that sticks out at the front of the head), but I eliminated that in my "people."


Macrotermes carbonarius, worker
Collected in Vietnam, Dong Nai: Cat Tien Natl. Pk. by J. Fannin
 
There are very few pictures of workers in Dr. Myles' collection.  I think that's because basically all termite workers (and alates, too) look alike.  So I pretty much based all my Shshi Workers on this photo.  I think they're kind of cute!  Chubby little devils!

 
 
 
Pterotermes occidentis: male alate
 
You're looking at Di'fa'kro'mi's head!  Of course, in my drawings I simplified the anatomy a lot and I repositioned the antennae.  The Shshi use their eyes a lot more than terrestrial termite reproductives would ever have occasion to do, since most of those live only a few minutes after emergence.  Therefore, I placed the antennae behind the eyes.  But you can see the ocelli (the auxiliary eyes) here -- that little semi-transparent knob above the compound eye.  And you can see the pronotal shield covering the neck.  Actually, I think this creature has a rather knowing and intelligent expression!
 

Constrictotermes cyphergaster (soldier) (Brazil)
 
This is a nasute termite, i.e., the soldier has hardly any mandibles at all, instead of the huge mandibles of the soldiers of non-nasute species.  "Nasus" means "nose" and "nasute" simply means "big-nosed," from Latin nasutus.   Nasute soldiers are basically syringes; they spray acid or some other compound out of the nasus from a gland in their heads.  Look at the book cover for v.2 of the "The Termite Queen" and you will see a few of the Northern Nasute Warriors on the front lines of the battle.  I modeled them almost exactly on the above photos.
 














Paracapritermes primus soldier collected near Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Varieties of termite also exist called nasutoids; these have not only a nasus that sprays poisons but also formidable mandibles.  Here is the one I used as the model for Ju'mu, the strange outland Shi encountered in "The War of the Stolen Mother."
You can see in the body view above that this character has a pointy nasus on top of its head, and huge downward-curving and crossing mandibles.  It even has the stubby antennae and the stripe around the belly that I gave Ju'mu.  Possessing the two characteristics of the non-Nasute Plains Shshi and the mountain-dwelling true Nasutes makes this a good candidate to represent the Centaurs.  It was the closest I could come to the state of a hybrid and still make the creature a big termite.

I used a number of these nasutoid species in designing some of the other peoples that the Companions will encounter during the later part of their quest. I'll leave most of those for a later post.  It's absolutely fascinating to see the huge varity of mandible shapes and general body conformation!
 

Passive revisited

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Now to clear up the passive voice in Kareyku. The passive uses the impersonal suffix -ey, but adds onto it the corresponding transition which, therefore, will have a passive meaning. This is the more idiomatic way of conveying a reversal of the normal flow of the transition, some examples:

awi chaqqeytas, "the field is plowed"

To which we can add;

awi odanqa chaqqeytas, "the field is plowed by you"

kukun taroqa weneytanchi, "a bird was bought by my father", "my father bought a bird", lit. "acquired"

Talking about this being a more idiomatic way to reverse the natural flow of transitions, I give you these examples (remember Kareyku very often leaves pronouns out, specially in conversations):

qorikas, qoreykas?, "I care for you, do you care for me?" lit. "am I cared (by you)?"

This absence of pronouns will depend on context, since Kareyku is context-dependent. However, they are marked when they are needed or when you want to indicate an action was done for someone else, let's see an example of this last situation:

waka taroqa yaran weneytansi, "my father got me a wife"

By this last sentence I don't mean, as in the previous example, that the wife was "bought" but was rather "acquired" as in an arranged marriage. This, by the way, was a very common practice of some Kareyku speakers.

Passive revisited

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Now to clear up the passive voice in Kareyku. The passive uses the impersonal suffix -ey, but adds onto it the corresponding transition which, therefore, will have a passive meaning. This is the more idiomatic way of conveying a reversal of the normal flow of the transition, some examples:

awi chaqqeytas, "the field is plowed"

To which we can add;

awi odanqa chaqqeytas, "the field is plowed by you"

kukun taroqa weneytanchi, "a bird was bought by my father", "my father bought a bird", lit. "acquired"

Talking about this being a more idiomatic way to reverse the natural flow of transitions, I give you these examples (remember Kareyku very often leaves pronouns out, specially in conversations):

qorikas, qoreykas?, "I care for you, do you care for me?" lit. "am I cared (by you)?"

This absence of pronouns will depend on context, since Kareyku is context-dependent. However, they are marked when they are needed or when you want to indicate an action was done for someone else, let's see an example of this last situation:

waka taroqa yaran weneytansi, "my father got me a wife"

By this last sentence I don't mean, as in the previous example, that the wife was "bought" but was rather "acquired" as in an arranged marriage. This, by the way, was a very common practice of some Kareyku speakers.

Paro – La Espero

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Kicking around Youtube this evening, I found some songs in Esperanto.  Inevitably, I suppose, these two great conlangs in my life have finally met.  Certainly there was some pollination from Esperanto in Sandic's early days (The greatest example of influence I can think of off of my head is the inclusion of -ian (Esperanto -en) as an allative.), but carefully I kept the baby language incubated away from this larger, better-developed and loved language.

Now that Sandic stands on its own and hardly skins its own knees anymore, I've decided it's safe to play with others.

So when I found a video of "La Espero" and remembered the beauty of that song and the happiness it brought into my life during my learning of Esperanto, I thought- what better way to pay homage to the language that instilled in me the idea that a constructed tongue can be as wonderful and functional as a naturally-arising one by translating the best-known work in that language?

---





pa imprîab baxféd recsa nabei, 
ó imprîâ malēî paelai biab bamée.
lēacan ba lēyuc katiadi,  
dé mead meadian obaféd

---

Into the world came a new feeling
on the earth a strong call showed itself
by the wings of the helping wind
may it go from place to place.

The Yal Dawo alphabet

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
In my book,  The Family Forge I included a rudimentary guide for the language of the culture I've been writing about. This is the first time in years that I've gotten around to remaking the translated alphabet. This is an early JPEG of what will appear as an appendix in book 2: The Organized Seer.  The characters are written right to left, and for the most part sentences or titles begin with capital letters, much like German. Only the A, E and G characters have separate capital letters while other characters are capitalized by writing them twice as large as the rest. Exceptions are the letters o, i and u, which are never capitalized, and which for the most part do not carry syllabic accents. 

FJ translated alphabet pg 1
FJ translated alphabet p2

Update on Noun Affixes & Word Order/Questions

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

I want to include definiteness and number on the noun affixes now. So we get, encoded on the noun:

  • ABS
  • ERG
  • DAT
  • PREP
  • ALL
  • ABL
  • LOC
  • SG.DEF
  • PL.DEF
  • SG.NDEF
  • PL.NDEF

Dual is substituted under plural for the nouns.

For the word order, I settled on “SVO” as a standard. But this is far to imprecise for me.

Standard is (number is valency):

  • 0: V
  • 1: Subject V
  • 2: Agent V Patient
  • 3: Agent V Receiver Theme

Polite Form:

  • 0: V
  • 1: V Subject
  • 2: Patient V Agent
  • 3: Receiver V Agent Theme

Question Form:

  • 0: V-Q
  • 1: V-Q Subject
  • 2: V-Q Agent Patient
  • 3: V-Q Agent Receiver Theme

Ah, I also included a interrogative marker on verbs. But more on questions in the next post. Tomorrow.


New Thesaurus

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Yet another version of the Conlanger's Thesaurus. The most interesting change is on the last page, which has a semantic map of the diminutive. Thanks to Alex Fink for bringing this excellent semantic map to my attention.

New Thesaurus

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Yet another version of the Conlanger's Thesaurus. The most interesting change is on the last page, which has a semantic map of the diminutive. Thanks to Alex Fink for bringing this excellent semantic map to my attention.

New Thesaurus

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Yet another version of the Conlanger's Thesaurus. The most interesting change is on the last page, which has a semantic map of the diminutive. Thanks to Alex Fink for bringing this excellent semantic map to my attention.