Archive for November, 2012

lettuce is letxati

Friday, November 30th, 2012
letxati = lettuce (noun) (some things Google found for "letxati": a nearly unique term; similar lekhati or lekxati means "now, right now, just now, a short time" in the extinct Biloxi Native American language; a bad OCR of the word legati in a medieval Latin book)

Word derivation for "lettuce":
Basque = letxu (Spanish is lechuga)
Finnish = lehtisalaatti (lehti = leaf, newspaper; salaatti = salad)
Miresua = letxati

With a word for lettuce, I end this string of vegetable words.

Féd pa lēeya

Thursday, November 29th, 2012
I'm not entirely sure where I heard this song yesterday, but it got stuck in my head and I ended up falling back on my flawless method for removing it (or at least rendering its irritating properties ineffective): translation.

"Sleigh ride" by Leroy Anderson and Mitchell Parish is translated below (and is singable, if you dare).  I may record this later; I'm not sure, though, as the only recording device I currently have access to is a camera and it's awkward singing to a little peeping eye.  The audio version might have to wait until I get my new laptop (which should be in a few weeks, hooray).

Perhaps I will translate more carols as the season goes on?

Order of texts: Sandic - Smooth English of Sandic - Original English

---
Sandic

**


Féd pa lēeya 

ta matenabin lēeya ybra,
kamatenin oahl
otaŵféd ra pa lēeya
iné bataen ba buce
bayum jéjé pal nât
tasnidan aŵ ŵiab ogre
otaŵféd ra pa lēeya
iné bataen ba buce

otaŵféd otaŵféd otaŵféd
iné pa jéjéb otaŵféd
pa úldib jéjéi aŵféd lēeya
otaŵféd otaŵféd otaŵféd
ufe me pa ufe pé
kalēanein lēeya aŵahl
kakantain lēain

gasan aŵ gréin oahl
pa lēeya katéwúin
pal aŵ aŵahl ŵhé
methîan kasein
ba ikuceab otaŵféd
iat kakantain
otaŵféd ra pa lēeya
iné bataen ba buce

then ba ivlú baahl
pal mead ba felokâ grré
sem baahl auzeri faé mohn auzoi
kantabin aŵtekant
otiab aŵmac gre kala ân kant
pal heon karaugin ta makmabin
kalein! red ole!


Lēain aŵahl, erini 
ŵian baneot ahl dék
troukâ aŵ zum úraj
kadamin
wena ma aŵ baahl ân stalob 
makania katema
jégú wenain ta aben
gre kala aŵtelēlét


----
Smooth English of Sandic


A trip in the sleigh


I hear the sleigh bells
and they are ringing
let's go in the sled
the weather is nice
outside there is snow falling
our friends are waiting for us
let's go in the sled
the weather is nice

let's go, let's go, let's go,
look, let's go into the snow
we're riding into snowy magic
let's go, let's go, let's go
my hand in yours
we're gliding in the sleigh
singing happily

the sides of our faces* are warm
(we are) happy in the sleigh
we're next to one another like
baby birds in love
let's go along the street
still singing
let's go in the sled
the weather is nice

There is a birthday party
at the place of the farmer "grey"
it is a good end to a good day
we will sing those songs
we like to always sing
at the hearth watching the chestnuts
jump!  they're jumping cooked!

We are happy,
money seems to mean little to us right now
our family is gathered here
eating (together)
the beauty of what we are doing is such that a picture
might be painted by some painter!
these beautiful memories
we will have for eternity.

---
Original English

Sleigh Ride

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling 
Ring ting tingling too. 
Come on, it's lovely weather 
For a sleigh ride together with you.


Outside the snow is falling 
And friends are calling 'Yoo-hoo.'
Come on, it's lovely weather 
For a sleigh ride together with you.


Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up, 
Let's go, Let's look at the show, 
We're riding in a wonderland of snow.


Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up, 
It's grand, Just holding your hand, 
We're gliding along with a song 
Of a wintry fairy land.


Our cheeks are nice and rosy 
And comfy cozy are we 
We're snuggled up together 
Like two birds of a feather would be.


Let's take that road before us 
And sing a chorus or two 
Come on, it's lovely weather 
For a sleigh ride together with you.


There's a birthday party 
At the home of Farmer Gray 
It'll be the perfect ending a perfect day 
We'll be singing the songs 
We love to sing without a single stop, 
At the fireplace while we watch 
The chestnuts pop. 
Pop pop pop. 


There's a happy feeling 
Nothing in the world can buy, 
When they pass around the chocolate 
And the pumpkin pie 
It'll nearly be like a picture print 
By Currier and Ives 
These wonderful things are the things 
We remember all through our lives.

---


* Sandic has no word for "cheek", so I used here the word "gas", "side of the face".
** Picture from here.

Chairs, Rebels, and Closing on 600.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Nevashi finally has a word for "chair," deviya, so I will no longer be able to joke that it has a word for "non-dualism" but not one for "chair".  This new word is dev (to be located/stand/sit) + iya. It is modeled on meriya, bed, which is from mer, to sleep.  Neither of these words fits especially well with the general meaning of -iya, which normally turns a verb into a noun that is the usual object of that verb: nash (eat) + iya = nashiya (food). I think this must be some sort of furniture-related exception. I had thought that perhaps it should be "devvi," since -vi indicates a tool or instrument, but that doesn't really seem to fit with the idea of furniture in my mind either. I like these words the way they are, so that's what they will be.

Another recent word I am especially fond of is fafari, rebellious or mutinous. I would say that it is derived from faru, to be opposed to, but that's not actually how it happened. "Faru" was reverse engineered from "fafari".  File that under "Confessions of a Conlanger."

There are fewer than 10 words left until Nevashi hits the 600 word mark. It's at 592 right now. There's a flurry of new words coming soon that will put me well into the 600's.

After some conversation with Peter Bleackley (@PeteBleackley) on Twitter, a new word-building event was born: Lexember (link is to his blog post about it). That's a word a day for the 31 days of December. I am working on my list. I think I may do three words a day: one for Nevashi, one for ea-luna, and one for my embryonic personal auxiliary language, which I am currently calling "Maus"-- from "Mia Auxlang" and my crazy, enduring love of rodents.  I'll be tweeting new words and posting them here as well. I hope to see plenty of #Lexember tweets, or posts elsewhere, with lots of interesting words to look at.

Chairs, Rebels, and Closing on 600.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Nevashi finally has a word for "chair," deviya, so I will no longer be able to joke that it has a word for "non-dualism" but not one for "chair".  This new word is dev (to be located/stand/sit) + iya. It is modeled on meriya, bed, which is from mer, to sleep.  Neither of these words fits especially well with the general meaning of -iya, which normally turns a verb into a noun that is the usual object of that verb: nash (eat) + iya = nashiya (food). I think this must be some sort of furniture-related exception. I had thought that perhaps it should be "devvi," since -vi indicates a tool or instrument, but that doesn't really seem to fit with the idea of furniture in my mind either. I like these words the way they are, so that's what they will be.

Another recent word I am especially fond of is fafari, rebellious or mutinous. I would say that it is derived from faru, to be opposed to, but that's not actually how it happened. "Faru" was reverse engineered from "fafari".  File that under "Confessions of a Conlanger."

There are fewer than 10 words left until Nevashi hits the 600 word mark. It's at 592 right now. There's a flurry of new words coming soon that will put me well into the 600's.

After some conversation with Peter Bleackley (@PeteBleackley) on Twitter, a new word-building event was born: Lexember (link is to his blog post about it). That's a word a day for the 31 days of December. I am working on my list. I think I may do three words a day: one for Nevashi, one for ea-luna, and one for my embryonic personal auxiliary language, which I am currently calling "Maus"-- from "Mia Auxlang" and my crazy, enduring love of rodents.  I'll be tweeting new words and posting them here as well. I hope to see plenty of #Lexember tweets, or posts elsewhere, with lots of interesting words to look at.

cabbage is azki

Monday, November 26th, 2012
azki = cabbage (noun) (some things Google found for "azki": an uncommon term; user names; Al Azki and Azki are rare last names; Azki's Designs jewelry shop on Etsy; Azki Performance Exhaust / Azki Doctor Muffler of Indonesia sells motorcycle exhaust pipes; Azki (aka Izki) is the name of a place in Oman)

Word derivation for "cabbage":
Basque = aza, Finnish = kaali
Miresua = azki

I considered making this word akza, but that word would've contained all the letters from the Basque word, which is something I'd rather not do. Also I'm trying, not that successfully, to lessen the number of nouns ending in a.

Suggestion for Transcribing Dothraki in Cyrillic

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Note: This post originally appeared (in a modified form) at my old blog. As I’m no longer using that blog anymore, I decided to port the post over here (though the original post still exists).

As a conlanger and orthography enthusiast, one of the things I like doing is figuring out how to write a language in a different script. In the past, I’ve created dozens of romanization systems for my conlangs (even alternate versions depending on whether Unicode is available), alternate orthographies for some of my languages using the scripts of other languages of mine, even alternate spelling systems for English. And all just for fun! This is the strange life I lead.

Recently I came across a couple sites that have been translating the English closed captioning for episodes of Game of Thrones that have aired so far into other languages. One of these sites is translating the English into Russian. From what I’ve seen, though, the Dothraki remains untransliterated (i.e. it remains written in Roman characters). Where’s the fun in that?

Here, then, is a suggestion for writing Dothraki using the Cyrillic alphabet. My Russian isn’t great, so take this with a grain of salt (and feel free to amend it or comment on it), but I think it works.

I should note that my primary experience with Cyrillic is in Russian, which I studied in college. I’m not very familiar with other Cyrillic systems (cyrillization systems? cyrillicization systems…?) used for the various languages of Eurasia, or how accessible a given character choice will be to the largest number of viewers. Since the original site I found was focusing on Russian, though, I’ve tended to go with what a Russian speaker would recognize over what a Mongolian, Serbian, Ukrainian, etc. speaker would recognize.

With those caveats out of the way, the table is presented below:

RomanizationCyrillicComment (If Any)
aа
bб
chчI actually like this better than using a digraph (which is necessary in English without resorting to accents or alien assignments).
dд
eэI think this is the best solution to avoid the onglide of Russian “е”.
fф
gгAlways hard; never pronounced like English “h”.
hхSee comment on “kh”. See alternative below.
iи
jджFunny: English and Russian are opposites here (cf. “ch”). See alternative below.
kк
khхI had two choices, really: Have “g” and “h” spelled with the same letter, or “h” and “kh”. I went with the latter, since “h” is closer to “kh” in sound, and pronouncing a word with “kh” with “h” (or vice versa) will be far less confusing than pronouncing a word with “g” with “h” (or vice versa). See alternative below.
lл
mм
nн
oо
pп
qкI have no clever idea for this sound. I figure “к” is closest, so might as well use it (since we already have one confusion built in with “h” and “kh”). See alternative below.
rр
sс
shшSound is actually closer to “щ”, but “ш” is a simpler character.
tт
thцCan I get away with this? The sounds are nothing alike, but the place of articulation is close! If not, it’d just have to be “т”, I guess (unless anyone still remembers “ѳ”).
vв
wўIn all positions.
yйIn all positions.
zз
zhж
Or just leave it out entirely; it’s not important.

And here are some common words:

  • khal ~ хaл
  • khaleesi ~ хaлээси
  • arakh ~ aрaх
  • vezhven ~ вэжвэн
  • athchomar ~ aцчомaр
  • jahak ~ джaхaк
  • yeroon ~ йэроон

Based on some comments made on the original LiveJournal post by Owen Blacker, I’ve got some ideas for possible revisions to the system above:

  • Apparently Serbian uses “ђ” for Dothraki j (or something very close to it), so that might be a nice alternative to the digraph (though I’m not sure if it comes standard on a Russian keyboard).
  • Searching for a possible alternative for Dothraki q led me to one interesting solution. Some languages use “қ” for q, but apparently some of the Iranian languages have replaced that with the digraph “къ”, which I think is perfect! The little “b” character (ъ) is the “hard sign” in Russian’s orthography. It has a very specific use there, but since it doesn’t in Dothraki—and since it would be immediately recognizable to Russian speakers—the usual “к” glyph would be augmented to “къ” for q, making it seem like q is the “hard” version of k—and that’s not too far off!
  • Cyrillic “һ” is a possibility for h (leaving “х” free to be kh), but I’m not sure how common it is. Another possibility presents itself, though. Since “г” is commonly used for [h] in Russian, it could become the new letter for h, and then “гъ” (or “hard г”) could become the way to write g. Kind of odd to think of writing g as a digraph, but it works!

Unfortunately, I’ve still found no satisfactory solution for th. It’s a tricky sound to handle in Cyrillic, because it used to exist in a lot of Slavic languages, but was eventually replaced by either [t] or [f]—with the character itself taking over to spell those new sounds. However, if we continue to spell it with “ц”, there’s an amusing little in joke. In Russian (and many other Slavic languages), this character is used for the affricate [ts]. In the episode where Irri is teaching Dany to speak Dothraki properly, Dany practices with the word athjahakar. When she gets it wrong, though, she pronounces it atsjakar. Thus, the Russian character to spell it—if pronounced as it would be in Russian—would lead one to mispronounce the beginning part of that word in the exact same way Dany mispronounces it. Ha!

Well, thanks for indulging me yet again. I hope your weekend has been spent in safety, and far away from the madness surrounding shopping centers around this time of year. Fonas chek!

Conlangery SHORTS #02: George’s Favorite Chengyu

Monday, November 26th, 2012
George shares his favorite chengyu (成语): 班门弄斧 Top of Show Greeting: Omlűt

Conlangery SHORTS #02: George’s Favorite Chengyu

Monday, November 26th, 2012
George shares his favorite chengyu (成语): 班门弄斧 Top of Show Greeting: Omlűt

Numerals, part 1

Saturday, November 24th, 2012
The Kareyku numeric system is very odd. Not because of the names of the numerals, which are quite regular and in accordance to the language constraints, but because the counting defies any formal explanation, or at least, for all of them but the last too. The system is mainly decimal, and a historical analysis points towards the hands having been used at some point. The numerals are as follows:

Number
Kareyku
1
tiri
2
kana
3
hatiri
4
hakana
5
soka
6
nawa
7
hasoka
8
hanawa
9
naka
10
haru

So, as can be seen here we have a clear sequence of groups of 2 or 4, that is tiri, kana, and then hatiri and hakana, which mean roughly "other 1" and "other 2" respectively. The last two number I have said had explanations in that 9 is clearly the word naka, "close, almost", and number 10 is haru "complete, perfect". One could consider this to be evidence of an older 4-based or 8-based system supplemented with a newer decimal system, but it nonetheless strikes as quite weird.

The numerals are used preceding the noun or object they modify:

naka vineru, nine men

hakana taro, four fathers

hasoka nakem, seven trees

And present no irregularities or variabilities.

Numerals, part 1

Saturday, November 24th, 2012
The Kareyku numeric system is very odd. Not because of the names of the numerals, which are quite regular and in accordance to the language constraints, but because the counting defies any formal explanation, or at least, for all of them but the last too. The system is mainly decimal, and a historical analysis points towards the hands having been used at some point. The numerals are as follows:

Number
Kareyku
1
tiri
2
kana
3
hatiri
4
hakana
5
soka
6
nawa
7
hasoka
8
hanawa
9
naka
10
haru

So, as can be seen here we have a clear sequence of groups of 2 or 4, that is tiri, kana, and then hatiri and hakana, which mean roughly "other 1" and "other 2" respectively. The last two number I have said had explanations in that 9 is clearly the word naka, "close, almost", and number 10 is haru "complete, perfect". One could consider this to be evidence of an older 4-based or 8-based system supplemented with a newer decimal system, but it nonetheless strikes as quite weird.

The numerals are used preceding the noun or object they modify:

naka vineru, nine men

hakana taro, four fathers

hasoka nakem, seven trees

And present no irregularities or variabilities.