Archive for August, 2013

Detail #58: Kinship terms and morphology

Saturday, August 31st, 2013
A thing that I hadn't noticed earlier but suddenly dawned on me is that in English, several of the closest kinds of kinships have nouns that end in the same sequence of sounds as agent nouns deriving from verbs, -er.

While I do believe this is a coincidence, (compare how Swedish has broder, syster, fader, moder, but -are as the agent derivation morpheme. (All but syster somewhat restricted to higher stylistic registers or archaic use, having slightly reduced forms in colloquial use - bror, far, mor, with brorsa, syrra, farsa/pappa and morsa/mamma being quite low register).

Now, what if a language has voice- or transitivity-marking agentive (or patientive) affixes, a bit like -ee vs. -er, but including things like reciprocals, and kinship terms were treated as though they were derived from verbs (although they are not). Maybe there could be interesting uses of morphology there, such as -

brother.reciprocal agent.plur = a set of persons who are each other's brothers
my brother.intransitive = my brother (uttered by a woman)
my brother.reciprocal = my brother (uttered by a man)
my fathers.intransitive.vocative =  every man that has offspring among my guests!
my fathers.transitive.vocative =  my ancestors!
my father.intransitive = my older friend
my father.transitive = my father

Further vague things that might turn into ideas:

  • something transitivity-like for nouns, that isn't just possession-related or related to the noun being an agentive form of a verb
  • more asymmetric kinship terms (e.g. older brother, younger brother)
  • reciprocal passives enabling chains - e.g. fathers.reciprocal.passive = a chain of ancestors (not really reciprocal, but each member of the set but one is the father of a father), parents.reciprocal.passive = one line of ancestors, parents.transitive.passive = all ancestors, ... who knows, there can be any amount of weird semantic things going on here.

D’al Thyann, AjrFena Ama (58)

Saturday, August 31st, 2013
The Nature of the Soul in Machine-Beings, Both Contemplated and Spontaneous:
The Polwoi Sivana version
By Ariel Cinii


Each machine is called into being for a purpose by a Soul attached to a Living Carriage, known as Dvaecéä ni Ka {(Hon. n.) the body, lit. “The Two associated with Ka” (n., prefix/suffix) a place of/for (doing) something, from the root Gka’e (n., prefix) Lit. “This place.”}. That purpose might be highly refined or it might change over the great cycle of Time and Events. But the energies that came into being to make that machine do not disperse with the cessation of its work cycles, or even with its physical demolition. In a much more primitive version of a nervous system than individuals are used to perceiving, electrons in continuous or repeated fire sequences have established a repeating set of patterns, reliable to a fault and honed to precision after countless repetitions over time. If the mechanism to which those patterns were originally emplaced still existed, that machine would theoretically function forever, or for the lifetime of its materials, often misnamed the Operating Life.

Ghêt is an electromagnetic bundle, merely an elaborate version of the circuits of a machine. But the difference is that Ghêt has at some point in its existence made a decision. Life does not begin at conception, but at the point called the Quickening. That point of decision is the go-live date for a Soul to bond with its Living Carriage, and for a life to begin.

Decision is a tipping point in an energy pattern when the power within the system’s circuits exceeds the maximum energy required to operate the system. Each repeating electromagnetic, or electromechanical cycle generates a flow of energy with a mathematically and geometrically pre-dictated path (See: Destiny) within a perfect environment for that cycle. This is part of the applied energy study known as Psiometric Engineering: This is the study of energy patterns in both objects and beings, natural and formed by intelligent action, and their interactions with the physical, psychic and biological environments of everyday places. Architecture has been considered a blockier, more brutal form of psiometric engineering, but over time, this belief has been dismissed, as both learn specific functions from the flows of Nature {See: Ara OsoGä: The Nature Spirit.}

A soul has been created from the mass and the energy that was put into it over time, and its continuation of repeating electrical and mechanicals cycles amount to enough to qualify it as a very rudimentary nervous system. Even if its body is destroyed the energy of that collected memory of its function(s) over its physical lifetime has the capacity to continue in an action overarching the system’s repetitions until a new and deliberate pattern creates from its action. This is the classification called Xi’An Arosdä: an Organized Pattern of Energy that is capable of independent thought.

Such a soul might manifest in a computer, or a linked system of computers. An Engineer who perceived its spark of life might help it along, treating the energy as a reliable tool and helping it develop its Dor’o Ghêt; a reliable software perhaps, or a Ghost in the Machine; not quite a fully formed soul, but possessing that little extra spark that the other machines might not show. (See: R2D2, Star Wars) Dor’o Ghêt is a machine’s baby-step into the realm of Ghêt, the On-living Element which carries energy and thought across Ara Kaema: All Things, whether Known or Unknown as they are at the exact moment of the thought.

This connection of a living being with the special nature of a soul of a machine in transition is why ships, aircraft and automobiles have names.

This Soul may continue as it was and perhaps reincarnate as another version of what it had been before, or it could make another choice and ascend to a different level of existence, and take on a more complex mechanical or biological life form. With time, effort and opportunity, it is quite possible for machines to become thinking beings. It’s just a matter of available circuitry, energy and time. The machine will let you know when it’s done.

©2013 Ariel Cinii. All rights reserved.

This work was Produced Under The Influence To Influence Others Positively (PUTITIOP). Not to be combined with other offers.

D’al Thyann, AjrFena Ama (58)

Saturday, August 31st, 2013
The Nature of the Soul in Machine-Beings, Both Contemplated and Spontaneous:
The Polwoi Sivana version
By Ariel Cinii


Each machine is called into being for a purpose by a Soul attached to a Living Carriage, known as Dvaecéä ni Ka {(Hon. n.) the body, lit. “The Two associated with Ka” (n., prefix/suffix) a place of/for (doing) something, from the root Gka’e (n., prefix) Lit. “This place.”}. That purpose might be highly refined or it might change over the great cycle of Time and Events. But the energies that came into being to make that machine do not disperse with the cessation of its work cycles, or even with its physical demolition. In a much more primitive version of a nervous system than individuals are used to perceiving, electrons in continuous or repeated fire sequences have established a repeating set of patterns, reliable to a fault and honed to precision after countless repetitions over time. If the mechanism to which those patterns were originally emplaced still existed, that machine would theoretically function forever, or for the lifetime of its materials, often misnamed the Operating Life.

Ghêt is an electromagnetic bundle, merely an elaborate version of the circuits of a machine. But the difference is that Ghêt has at some point in its existence made a decision. Life does not begin at conception, but at the point called the Quickening. That point of decision is the go-live date for a Soul to bond with its Living Carriage, and for a life to begin.

Decision is a tipping point in an energy pattern when the power within the system’s circuits exceeds the maximum energy required to operate the system. Each repeating electromagnetic, or electromechanical cycle generates a flow of energy with a mathematically and geometrically pre-dictated path (See: Destiny) within a perfect environment for that cycle. This is part of the applied energy study known as Psiometric Engineering: This is the study of energy patterns in both objects and beings, natural and formed by intelligent action, and their interactions with the physical, psychic and biological environments of everyday places. Architecture has been considered a blockier, more brutal form of psiometric engineering, but over time, this belief has been dismissed, as both learn specific functions from the flows of Nature {See: Ara OsoGä: The Nature Spirit.}

A soul has been created from the mass and the energy that was put into it over time, and its continuation of repeating electrical and mechanicals cycles amount to enough to qualify it as a very rudimentary nervous system. Even if its body is destroyed the energy of that collected memory of its function(s) over its physical lifetime has the capacity to continue in an action overarching the system’s repetitions until a new and deliberate pattern creates from its action. This is the classification called Xi’An Arosdä: an Organized Pattern of Energy that is capable of independent thought.

Such a soul might manifest in a computer, or a linked system of computers. An Engineer who perceived its spark of life might help it along, treating the energy as a reliable tool and helping it develop its Dor’o Ghêt; a reliable software perhaps, or a Ghost in the Machine; not quite a fully formed soul, but possessing that little extra spark that the other machines might not show. (See: R2D2, Star Wars) Dor’o Ghêt is a machine’s baby-step into the realm of Ghêt, the On-living Element which carries energy and thought across Ara Kaema: All Things, whether Known or Unknown as they are at the exact moment of the thought.

This connection of a living being with the special nature of a soul of a machine in transition is why ships, aircraft and automobiles have names.

This Soul may continue as it was and perhaps reincarnate as another version of what it had been before, or it could make another choice and ascend to a different level of existence, and take on a more complex mechanical or biological life form. With time, effort and opportunity, it is quite possible for machines to become thinking beings. It’s just a matter of available circuitry, energy and time. The machine will let you know when it’s done.

©2013 Ariel Cinii. All rights reserved.

This work was Produced Under The Influence To Influence Others Positively (PUTITIOP). Not to be combined with other offers.

Bird Myths, Pt. 6: Native American Myths

Saturday, August 31st, 2013
       In the first part of this post, which you can read here, Howie Brokenbow, one of the Ariana's engineers, explained the history and nature of the Aboriginal American Enclave (AAE) as an introduction to his part of the bird myth narrative.  At last I'm presenting his part of the tale. 
       This probably could have been divided into two posts because it's pretty lengthy and ends with some general bird tales that don't fit in other categories.  However, I wanted to finish up this series. 
       This will be the last of the Bird Myth posts.  You can see why I'm having to cut this material from the final version of The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars.  It's fun but irrelevant in an already humongous story.  At least I've been able to present it here, and I do hope everybody has enjoyed the series!
 
       Here is Howie's narrative:

       “There were many tribes of aboriginal Ammerikens and their mythology varies greatly, but they all include many stories about birds of all kinds.  The one I’m going to tell today concerns the magical, or maybe divine, bird known as the Thunderbird – a giant avian who made lightning and thunder with his wing-beats and eye-blinks.
        “The Thunderbird could also be a shape-shifter like Garuda and some tribes believed Thunderbirds came in flocks.  They could change themselves into men by tilting up their beaks as if they were masks and by removing their feathers as if they were a blanket wrapped around their bodies.  It’s said that Thunderbirds sometimes mated with human women and so the lineage entered the human gene pool.  My own family’s lore says my mother descended from the Quileute people and that tribe had very special thunderbird tales.  I used to tease her about being part Thunderbird because she was so interested in the heritage.  And then when I decided to enlist in the ESC, my family teased me back about inheriting a desire to fly!  
       “The Thunderbird was a mighty, eagle-like creature with a wingspan the length of two canoes and feathers as long as a canoe paddle.  Its eyes flashed fire and its cry is described as like the crack of lightning or the whistling of the wind.  Sometimes it’s said to have beautiful multicolored plumage.  It controlled both storm and rain and its enemies were the Water Spirits, which it fought with its lightning.  In all legends, it’s an awesome creature not to be toyed with, but it was usually regarded as benevolent, protecting the people against evil.  It was sometimes said to be the messenger of the Great Spirit, which is how the name for God in the various AbAm languages is usually translated.  
       “A lot of variant tales exist of what the Thunderbird could do, but I’m going to tell the most famous, the one from the Quileute people.  They lived on the seacoast of what used to be called the State of Washinten, right at the border of Old Kaneda.  They took much of their living from the sea.  In those days the salmon ran in that part of the world and also there were whales along the coast, including the orca.  Today, the pollution of the coastal waters has killed off the orca or driven them to other parts of the world, but in those days they were plentiful.  And the Thunderbird was said to live in a cave in nearby mountains on the edge of an ice field.  If hunters approached its cave, it would roll big chunks of ice down upon them, so no one dared come too near.  Good explanation for the existence of avalanches!
       “The food of the Thunderbird was whales, especially the orca.  It would catch them out in the open sea exactly as the bald eagle catches salmon and it would take them back to its cave.  The killer whales didn’t submit quietly, though.  The orca and the Thunderbird fought many battles, some so fierce that whole swathes of trees would be uprooted.  To this day there are open stretches of prairie mixed in with the forests in that part of the world, all caused by the battles between whales and the Thunderbird.  To top even that, some of the battles were so fierce that the ground was torn up and huge rocks flung around, and that is how the AbAms accounted for the roughness of the terrain.  The factual scientific cause is terminal moraines from the glaciers that receded at the end of the last ice age.
       “Once upon a time disaster struck the Quileute.  There was a stretch of bad weather the likes of which had never been seen.  There were many days of torrential rain and a barrage of huge hailstones, some of which turned to boulders when they hit the ground and can be seen to this day near the village in question.  All that was followed by sleet and snow.  Nobody could fish, all the edible plants died, and the people were starving.  So the Chief of the Tribe called a counsel and there he invoked the Great Spirit for help, saying afterward, ‘Now we wait.  If the Great Spirit sends no aid, we will know he wants our lives to end now.  If he does send aid, we will know our deaths will not come until later.’
       “And so they waited, and as dusk was falling … lo and behold! … there came flashes of lightning and a great whirring sound as of wings beating, and out of the setting sun a huge bird-creature plunged toward them, with a great curving beak and glowing eyes!  It held a big whale in its talons.  It deposited the whale on the ground in front of the awestruck people and then it flew away, back to its usual hunting grounds in the lands of the Great Spirit.
       “And so the people were saved, nourished by the meat and fat of the Great Spirit’s gift until the food of the Earth became plentiful again.  To this day, they never forget to be thankful for what the Thunderbird did for them."

       [I had a picture of the Piasa Bird, but I can't get the darned post to take it, so if you want to see what it looks like, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piasa]
 
      “Now I want to tell one more story and it’s from a Midammeriken tribe called the Illinoi, like the region that’s now part of Mitchican-Indipol Prefecture.  It’s about a creature a little different from a Thunderbird.  They called it the Piasaw Bird, which means ‘the bird that devours men’ or ‘the bird of the evil spirit.’  When Uropian explorers first came to that part of Midammerik, they found a giant petroglyph on a cliffside depicting a truly fantastic creature.  It resembled Prf. Katsopolos’s griffon more than it did a true bird.  It had wings, but it also had four clawed feet, antlers, a beard and huge fangs.  Its head was turned to face the viewer and it looked more like a monster mammal than a bird.  I wish I had some of the pictures I have at home.  Like Prf. Katsopolos, I didn’t know to bring anything with me.” 
       “Oh, you know what?” cried Lea Register suddenly.  “I’ve seen that thing!  When I was first piloting cargo flyers, I was assigned to fly out of Sinsinatty to points along the Misipp River and one time the flyer needed some repairs and I had a little spare time, so I took a tour around the region and I saw that cliff painting!  They said it was a reconstruction and not the original, but that it had been there for centuries.  The local people had always kept it touched up because it was so amazing!” 
       “That’s it!” said Howie.  “I’ve never seen it myself – I wish I had!  Anyway, here’s the tale connected to it.  Once upon a time, the Illinoi people were being ravaged by a monster – a flying creature with a man’s beard, a deer’s antlers, and a bird’s talons.  It kept seizing and carrying away children and women and even big men, and not even the stoutest warriors were able to stand against it. 
       “So when a new Chief came to power, he went aside from the people to seek divine guidance.  After he had fasted and prayed for a month, the Great Spirit told him what to do.  He went back to the tribe and assembled twenty of the stoutest warriors and gave them poisoned arrows.  Then they went out and sheltered under a cliff while the Chief, singing the song sacred to dying warriors, exposed himself in the open as bait for the monster.  It was not long before the Piasaw Bird appeared, swooping down and seizing hold of the Chief.  But the other Warriors rushed out and shot all their arrows at the creature and it fell dead.  The Chief was wounded but he recovered, and so the tribe of the Illinoi rejoiced, being freed at last from the demon-monster that had harassed them for so long.  In thanksgiving to the Great Spirit for showing them the way, they carved the image of the Piasaw into the cliff-face and it remained there until a quarrying operation destroyed it.  But a restored form of it has been preserved to this day, just as Lea said.
       “One last note and then I’ll be done.  Throughout history in the Ammeriken part of the world, there have been sightings – almost never supported by any demonstrable scientific evidence – of all kinds of crypto-creatures.  Reports of giant flying animals have been quite common and there was a lot of speculation that they were pterosaurs – reptiles that were the biggest creatures ever to achieve flight – that had somehow survived in a remnant population for millions of years.  They had wingspans of over 10 meters and would have been capable of picking up and carrying away quite large animals.  The sightings stopped around the end of the 21st century; if pterosaurs did exist and were responsible for legends like the Thunderbird and the Piasaw, then environmental pollution and habitat destruction and climate change did them in the way it did a lot of other creatures.  Personally, I have my doubts they could have survived to such a late date, though.”
       “I’m familiar with those reports,” said Robbie, “and I have my doubts, too.  I think the human imagination simply exaggerated what were already sufficiently big birds, like eagles and condors and maybe distant memories of creatures like the elephant bird.  One thing’s for sure – I’m impressed by the size of all these mythical avians.  Except for Capt. Kibwana’s swallows, not a single one of your stories deals with little birds!  Can’t the human imagination construct something interesting that doesn’t require physical prowess?”
       “Oh, you bet, sir!” volunteered Lt. Brokenbow.  “I mentioned there are AbAm tales about all kinds of birds, but I thought we were supposed to do big creatures like the Phenix.  The raven is a small bird that’s particularly important among tribes related to my mother’s people.  He’s one of your trickster characters, Prf. Katsopolos, and a creator as well!  Just an example … one day Raven was flying around with a stone in his beak and when he dropped it in the ocean, it grew into the land where people now dwell.  And then he happened to discover timid little human beings living inside a clamshell and he coaxed them out to play with them.  He intended to stick them back inside the shell when he got bored, but then he found some female humans inside a different shell, so he decided to see what would happen if he put them together with the males.  You can well imagine what the outcome of that was!  Ever since then, Raven has felt protective of the lineage he brought into being.  Later on he stole the sun from the Eagle and gave humanity light and fire and fresh water.  There are a thousand stories about Raven – don’t get me started!”
       Then Clancy Mortimer spoke up a bit shyly.  “On the subject of little birds, I read  somethin’ at school once – it was a West British tale, I do believe, or maybe from Scottlend.  There was this contest, see, to determine who should be King of the Birds, and it was decided that whoever could fly highest, he should be crowned King.  So naturally it was the eagle who won out.  But the wee wren had hid in the eagle’s feathers and popped out at the highest point of the climb and flew up even higher.  So the wren became King of the Birds and was forever after held in great esteem for his shrewdness and cunning.”
       Robbie had begun to laugh with great pleasure.  “Ha!  There, you see?  Now, I’m really taken with those stories!  I’ve always revered eagles, but I have a fondness for wrens, too, and certainly for ravens!”
        “The weakling who outwits the powerful!” said Linna.  “It’s a universal theme!”
       And Clancy added, “If ye don’t mind me sayin’ a word more, ’cause I wasn’t scheduled to be on the program, there’s a couple of add-ons to me tale.  It involves why the owl flies by night.  One says, after the wren became King of the Birds, the other birds were so angry they tried to drown him in a bowl of tears.  But the clumsy owl overturned the bowl and the wren escaped, and then the other birds took out their frustration on the owl and doomed him to fly only at night.
       “And a better one yet … the clever wren volunteered to venture down into hell and retrieve fire for the birds’ use.  He made it home with a coal hugged to his breast, but a spark leaped out and burned off all his tail feathers.  The birds were so grateful that they each gave the wren one of their own tail feathers to make up his lack – all except the selfish owl, and that’s why the owl was exiled and fated to fly by night.”
      “You know what?  I think we’ve come full circle,” said Robbie.  “We’ve gone from my own tale of a real eagle through fantastic god-birds to pterosaurs and back to little wrens and ravens.  We’ve gone from King Garuda to King Wren!  I just hope all of you have enjoyed yourselves as much as I have, and learned as much as I have.  But now I guess the time has come that this meeting will have to adjourn.  Those of us who haven’t had a sleep shift during this pod interval need to get some rest.”  He looked up at the port screen, where the red-orange Garuda with the huge head still squatted, brooding over the assemblage.  “I’ll wager anything I dream about that big chap up there!”

Another look at the red-orange Garuda whom Robbie was talking about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Garuda02.jpg
This work has been released into the public domain
by its author, GourangaUK at the wikipedia project. This applies worldwide
 
 
 

Prince of 1000 Enemies

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

image image image image image
‘ume=hinu=wko=zka-zta
‘umehinuwkoskasa
3PRED\action=2.opposite=FUTURE=one-world
All the world will be your enemy

image image image image image
zj-ja=lnu=wv-vma
zjaluwfma
ten^-three=enemy=king-offspring
Prince of a Thousand Enemies

Names of the parts of the head in Nuirn.

Saturday, August 31st, 2013




/ˈLæ.ɾɨm wi: ɘt 'ɛn.əm.ən nə 'stʊ.kə.nə du.nə 'hu:.vʌts gə mɛ:.nɪ.ʃtʲ ɪ ny:.ɾnə/

Féax (féaxas, féxi), (a) head of hair. A single hair is hár.

Panna (pannas, pænne), (a) forehead

Auga (augans, øyghene) (a) eye

Brugh (brugs/brugas, bryghe, brúgum), (i) eyebrow

Auganþryll (auganþrylls, auganþrylle) (i) pupil

Auso (ausans, øyrene) (a) ear

Nack (nackas, næcke, náckum), (i) nose

Nackanþryll (nackanþrylls, nackanþrylle), (i) nostril

Cyndh (cyndes, cynde), (i) cheek

Munþ (mundas, mynde) (a) mouth


Haighe (haighes, haighe) /ha.jə/, (a) chin

Hals (halsas, hælse) (a), neck.

lobster is otumari

Friday, August 30th, 2013
otumari = lobster (noun) (some things Google found for "otumari": a rare term; user names; similar Otomari Honey is a mature Japanese manga; similar Ōtomari is a Kiev based fuzz pop band; similar Otumara is the name of places in Nigeria; similar Ōtomari is the name of places in Japan)

Word derivation for "lobster"
Basque = otarrain, Finnish = hummeri
Miresua = otumari

Chapter 10 of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is The Lobster Quadrille. The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon tell Alice about this dance with lobsters, and sing a song.

“Wednesday’s” Word – “and”

Friday, August 30th, 2013

So to get back into the swing of things, I thought I’d do a post about something that’s a little more different in Mychai when compared to what most English (and Indo-Europeans) are used to.

And.

Used for joining to independent clauses with a logical connector, this can be a surprisingly tricky little word when you really think about it, and fortunately much smarter people than me have (Semantic Maps of Coordination). If you don’t feel like clicking on that link (which I really recommend) I’ll break it down quickly:

What English speakers think of as “and” can be divided into four functions. Roughly
1) sequential combination (“and”/”and then”/”then”) One thing happens after another. Some order is provided.
I cleaned the bathroom and (then) my bedroom.

2) simultaneous combination (“and”/”while”); two events happen at the same time
I cleaned the bathroom and she cooked dinner.

3) atemporal combination (“and”); two events are not linked in time either because it’s unknown or unimportant or doesn’t exist.
     I like to read and hunt caribou.

4) oppositive contrast (“and”/”but”/”whereas”) There is some contrast being drawn between two events but they don’t necessarily contradict each other.
I work at the bank and she works at the university.

For the remainder of this post, I simply refer to these functions as 1, 2, 3 and 4. Now that you know about these distinctions of function, you can ignore 3 and 4 as separate functions in Mychai because they are never distinguished.  But this distinction cannot be ignored when translating, because English “and” and “but” have some overlap with 4, but other functions as well. It’s best to really focus on what relationship is being presented between two events before just assuming that “and” = “and”.

Okay, enough theoretical background. The meat of what really makes “and” difficult in Mychai is that it also codes for whether the subject (or implied subject) is the same as the subject before it or if it is a different subject; this is called switch-reference. It’s awesome. For simplicity of reading, when the subject is the same between two clauses it’ll be abbreviated as “SS” and when the subjects are different, “DS”.

So now let’s introduce the words themselves. When the relationship is SS, two distinctions are made 1 and 2=3=4. When the relationship is DS, three are made 1, 2 and 3=4. That looks something like this:
              SS               DS
1            të                bo
2            di                dir
3/4       di                ham

Download: tebodidirham.mp3

Okay, so that’s five words for “and”. (Don’t even get me started on the other conjunctions!)

Now examples!

Lai olene të oiau psite.
lai                   ol-ene                   të                         oi-au                 psite
3sf.nom         walk-pst.ipfv       and.then.SS       cry-pst.pfv      incep
She was walking and then she started crying.

Download: laioleneteoiaupsite.mp3

Base dev ée bo u malt ho vale
bas-e               de-v             ée                bo                     u                    mal-t     ho                  val-e
find-pst.pfv    1s-acc          2p.nom       and.then.DS    3sm.nom     1p-abl    away.from    run-pst.pfv
You found me and then he ran away from us.

Download: basedeveeboumalthovale.mp3

Okay, those are all pretty straight forward and boring because the subjects are obvious the same or different between those two situations. Where it gets fun is in situations like:
He said hello and then he told him to go to hell.

How many “he”s are in that sentence? At least two, sure, but three? Is the first he (who said hello) also the one who said to go to hell? Or is the second speaker the guy who was originally said hello to? (okay, I apologize for that construction, but I kinda like it now).

Now, in English a sentence like this isn’t impossible to discern from context when you’re actually having a conversation; perhaps the speaker telling this story is pointing as he’s telling the story, or perhaps the listener asks for clarification, and then names are provided.

In Mychai it’s cleared up very easily (though the two solutions for English can still be used as well). If the guy who said “hello” is also the one who said “go to hell” then you use . If the guy who said “hello” is a different chap than that who said “go to hell” then bo is used.


Okay, I feel like this post is getting a little too long, and I apologize; I felt I needed to make up for my prolonged absence. Suffice it to say, that “and” isn’t simple in Mychai. In addition to the sensitivity for SS vs. DS for “and”, the same is true for “but” “when” “that” and probably some more conjunctions too, but I haven’t quite worked those out. More later.


Musing: Congruence blocking blocking, feasible?

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Some introspection on me speaking Finnish recently got me thinking about things blocking congruence blocks. First, a description of the situation in Finnish:

Finnish negation works slightly like English negation - you have a negative auxiliary (ei, c.f. don't) which has congruence for person (en, et, ei, emme, ette, eivät, c.f. don't, doesn't, isn't, ain't, aren't, ... ). However, unlike in English, it does not take the infinitive, but a special form (the conegative form, which in the present tense indicative mood, for all persons is identical to the third person singular imperative), and unlike in English, tense, aspect and mood does not go on the negative auxiliary. Instead, the form the main verb takes indicates all this information. In the imperative, there's a special auxiliary (älä, älkää, älköön, älkäämme, älkööt), which in somewhat archaic language actually distinguishes a sub-mood by a special form (ällös).

Now, the thing that got me thinking is that as a semi-native speaker of Finnish, I have internalized these rules very well, but only so much that I sometimes get the feeling that deviating from them would feel more natural. Especially when the verb is emphasized, it feels like the usual verb form would attract more attention to it and the regular negation structure feels too mundane?

On the other hand, since the content verb has a very weakened congruence in the negative (in the past tense and in the imperatives, number is distinguished), one could basically argue that the negation serves as a congruence block. Is it reasonable to assume languages can have a block operating on a block this way?

I find the Finnish negative a fun thing in how non-natives sometimes deal with it: a fair number of Swedish-speakers maintain congruence and can even use the wrong verb form, so 'I didn't watch it' comes out as *en katsoin sitä (instead of en katsonut sitä)- where katsoin is the regular past tense indicative, and 'I don't watch it' comes out as *en katson sitä, instead of en katso s:itä. Estonian has a similar negative verb as Finnish has, but it lacks person congruence on it, and some Estonian speakers of Finnish carry that over too. During my stint at a place with lots of Estonian workers, I recall some of them sometimes going all pro-drop on negative sentences, thus obtaining wonderfully unclear statements like 'ei tiedä'. So, two relatively large groups of non-native Finnish speakers (I surmise there's more Russians than Estonians in that category, though) have quite the opposite mistake in their formation of the negative - one keeping too much information, the other omitting too much.

Somehow, I find the Estonian approach more likely to cause a congruence block block to appear, though.

Stone Glyphs Return

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Here is the same absurd sentence from the last post written in its full glyph form. I’ve neglected them in favor of the shorthand, but they’re beautiful in their own right.

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nune si wu | ‘oji nju wu
3PRED\food woman 3ERG | 3PRED\market fish 3ERG
he eats the woman, the fishmonger


Tagged: conscript, pseudoghlyphs, Stone glyphs, umu, writing system