Archive for October, 2013

Defining Fantasy According to TermiteWriter

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Ki'shto'ba and the Companions confront
"Trojan" Warriors in the marches of Thel'or'ei.
       I always have difficulty pigeonholing my books as to their genre. Are they science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, or a blend of the three?  The Termite Queen certainly is science fiction.  It has most of the characteristics associated with that genre: it's laid in a future period, it has space travel, extraterrestrials of several types, an off-world adventure, some real science (mostly softer sciences, like entomology and other biological sciences, psychology, anthropology, and linguistics), and some fictional physics.  It laps over into literary fiction with its love story, which could have been recast in a contemporary setting without the trappings of science fiction.
 
       But then it has giant termites and their conculture, which includes their religious beliefs and practices.  Should that be called fantasy?  The question becomes more pertinent in my series The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, in which I retell Earth myths in the context of my termite conculture.  This series incorporates only minimal elements of science fiction (it's laid in the same century as The Termite Queen, the tales are edited by one of the characters in The Termite Queen, and there are frequent references to events that occurred in that earlier story).
       So let's examine the meaning of the term "fantasy."  To some people, it implies a particular and rather narrow literary genre, of which Tolkien's LotR is the prime example.  It incorporates a constructed world in which magic rather than science is the motivational force.  That, however, is hardly the only meaning of the word "fantasy."
 
       Here is the definition of the noun from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fantasy?s=t :
 
1. imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained.
2. the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.
3. a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic; vision: a nightmare fantasy. 
4. Psychology. an imagined or conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need; daydream.
5. a hallucination.
 
       Please note that the definition of it as a particular literary genre isn't even given.
       If you Google "fantasy definition," you get similar explanations with the addition of the following:
 
"a genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, esp. in a setting other than the real world."
 
      If you Google "epic fantasy definition" you get referred to Wikipedia,.  The following is worth considering:
 
       "High fantasy (also referred to as epic fantasy) is a sub-genre of fantasy fiction, defined either by its taking place in an imaginary world distinct from our own or by the epic stature of its characters, themes and plot. Quintessential works of high fantasy, such as A Song of Ice and Fire, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and The Belgariad, have both of these attributes. Accordingly, works where the fantasy world impinges on our world, or where the characters are concerned only with adventure or personal goals (as in sword and sorcery fiction) are less likely to be classed as high fantasy."
 
       I don't want to get bogged down in a discussion of the subgenres of fantasy (we also have paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, and all sorts of horror fantasy).   I only want to call attention to the fact that all forms of fantasy derive from "imagination" or "imaginative conceptualizing" and only one type of fantasy depends on the presence or absence of "magic" as a motivating force.  I started out writing "high fantasy," but I was never very comfortable with the magic element and always tended to base my plots on character.  In an early attempt to publish the novel that built on my free Smashwords book "The Blessing of Krozem," I was told that it had merit but didn't have enough magic.  Yet you can't deny it's a fantasy, with its race of spirit beings and presence of gods on that world.

     To return to epic fantasy, note that it is "defined either by its taking place in an imaginary world distinct from our own or by the epic stature of its characters, themes and plot."  By that light, The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head has to be called epic fantasy.  Even though it's laid in a "real" extraterrestrial world governed by scientific laws, it has gods and Seers (which certainly fall in the general category of "imaginative conceptualizing"), it takes place in an imaginary (constructed) world, and its characters, themes, and plots have epic stature.  The only reason you might say they don't have epic stature would be if you felt the following Earth myths lack epic stature:  the events in the life of Hercules, the Trojan War, Beowulf, The Song of Roland, or myths to be included in later volumes (the story of Atalanta, Meleager, and the Calydonian boar; and Hercules, Chiron, and the Erymanthian boar).  And of course I mustn't omit the Golden Fleece!  Could anything be more epic than Jason's voyage to recover that lost item?  (Parenthetically, I previously wrote a couple of posts about the characteristics of the epic form.)
       In The Termite Queen, the termite conworld and the events that take place there also contain elements of epic fantasy:  war, single combat, a goddess who meddles and who speaks to the Seer (I maintain all gods are products of the imagination because their existence can't be proved, but that's a different topic).  Therefore, while the book is basically science fiction, it undeniably contains fantasy elements.
       And that brings me to my idea that all significant books have an element of fantasy in them.  My latest venture into that idea was in my analysis of The Great Gatsby over on my other blog.  Gatsby may not have magic, but it definitely has "imaginative conceptualization." 
       I really like that phrase! 


center is kesto

Saturday, October 19th, 2013
kesto = center (noun) (some things Google found for "kesto": a very common term; Kesto (234.48:4) is an album by Finnish experimental electronic music duo Pan Sonic; an unusual last name, notably Republican Michigan State Representative Klint Kesto; a rare first name; means box, chest in Esperanto and Ido; means duration, durability in Finnish; similar Keston is the name of places in the United Kingdom and Australia)

Word derivation for "center" :
Basque = zentro
Finnish = keskipiste (center + point) (prefix keski- can mean central)
Miresua = kesto

Another Basque word for center is erdigune (literally half + site).

In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as Alice fell down the rabbit-hole, she said, "I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time? I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth."

poe

Saturday, October 19th, 2013
A friend of mine challenged me to translate this stanza of Poe's poem and I did some days ago but forgot to upload it here.  So that I won't lose it, I am uploading it now.

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


Sriitnia mer else:am ba nocr makateewiici
meer sin me exahl levi wii kateewiici
pal ba diion uxsorei baxahlnia wii neoerini
meer rep me aan katee pal ba pag dania baxtam
baxahlso aan keemania kaxtam, kaxtam pal pag ba jam.
“keemania kaxfeed aan pose.” examalale:, “pal pag me katam--
jeed baahl nu, baahl nu ra.”

--

Sometime during middle the night dreary,
During thinking my i was weak and tired
By the pile of books which was forgotten and unimportant
during the beginning my to sleep at the door something it knocked
It was as though somebody was  knocking knocking at the door of the room
'Somebody has come to visit,' i muttered, 'He is knocking at my door--'
'That is it.  That is certainly it.'

Detail #61: Some adverb quirks

Friday, October 18th, 2013
Adverbs are a part of languages where conlangers seem not to go into any huge amount of detail. There probably is a bunch of reasons for this, e.g.


  • English having a rather boringly simple system for most adverbs that are formed from adjectives (-ly not giving a lot of potential for interest). This relatively straightforward lack of detail seems to be par for the course in Germanic though (e.g. German and some Scandinavian languages basically having uninflected adjectives double for adverbs, Swedish having adjectives with the neuter marker.) English does do some interesting things, even then: good → well, where well also is partially an adjective (but slightly unusual in that it cannot be an attribute, but can be a complement - *"the well man", but "the man is well"). Another exception is hard, where hardly, of course, is a mostly separate lexeme. This kind of exception can of course be interesting, but I will leave it at that. Coming up with different details than those present in English but of the same kind is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Adverbs often being subsumed into other existing word classes and phrase classes, e.g. adpositional phrases, adjectives, nouns in different cases. Making verb-like adverbs does not seem to be very common among conlangers, possibly because of them being relatively uncommon in Standard Average European.
  • Adverbs seem to be slightly too far into the bits of a grammar where people
  • don't know what to do with them? 
  • just don't care to do cool things with them? 
  •  don't have an idea that it's possible to do cool things with them? 
  •  Get bored of going into deeper detail or assume no one's going to read that far
So, let's consider adverbs. For now, I will not consider any semantic or pragmatic uses for them - there are ideas I have in those regards that may appear later. What other things can we do to adverbs except something like English does?:
I run quickly
There are two main sources of behaviors I am going to look at, and try to apply their traits to adverbs. These are, (un-?)surprisingly enough, verbs and nouns. I will present a draft of a language's verbal and nominal morphology, and then go on to apply this in different ways to the adverbs.


Nouns

The nouns have three accidents: number, case and definiteness. Not all combinations occur. There are three numbers - singular, plural and partitive. Partitive is always indefinite. Definiteness comes in three forms too - indefinite, known to speaker, known to listener. For this language, the case list will amount to something along the lines of Finnish or Hungarian: 

{nominative, accusative, reflexively possessed accusative, nominative complement, accusative complement, genitive, dative, {{towards, from, at}×{on, in, by}}/{towards,by}, generally away from, instrumental, comitative-with, comitative-to, negative}

As a note, comitative-1, comitative-2 and the instrumental have morphological similarities to the three {towards, to, from, at}-series. The instrumental corresponds to from, and the two others to towards and at. The case I label 'generally away from' also has similarities to the instrumental in form. The negative case takes several rather different roles, but only appears with the partitive number - subjects of negated atelic verbs, non-existing subjects of existential verbs, objects of negative telic verbs, without.

The system is not entirely agglutinating. Although each accident has a default value that is normally expressed by no exponent - e.g. nominative, singular, indefinite - these sometimes do take an exponent - partitive nominative has an explicit nominative marker, as does indefinite comitatives, instrumentals, datives and genitives. Reflexively possessed objects cannot be known to speaker, and are either indefinite or known to listener.

The plural for a rather large group of words is formed by partial reduplication. This partial reduplication also occurs in the partitive for the same nouns. The partitive can signify both plural and singular referents, and this can be shown using verb congruence.

Verbs

The verb has congruence for subjects and direct objects. The congruence is somewhat defective. Partitive-case objects are more likely than others not to be marked on the verb. Some intransitive verbs have object-congruence rather than subject-congruence markers appear for their subjects. Passives entirely lack congruence. Subject congruence distinguishes the three definiteness levels, object congruence merges the two definite kinds.

The verb also marks some kind of TAM-complex. The more complex the set of exponents present (mainly formed agglutinatingly), the greater the likelihood that the verb congruence and/or the tense being deficient. Certain moods lack tense differentiation (although aspect tends to be marked for most of them). Some moods have non-nominative subjects, and for those, the subject congruence invariably settles for zero marking.

As for voices, there are three basic voices: active, passive and oblique. Passive has little to no congruence, and lacks a bunch of moods. Its tense-aspect matrix basically consists of {{past, nonpast× {perfect, imperfect}}.

The oblique voice rather seems to promote non-agent, non-object arguments to subject status. It has {nonpast, past} ×  {imperfect}, thus lacking all perfect meanings. 

On to the adverbs

So, let us have adverbs as somewhat of a wastebasket for words specifying qualities of the VP. To make it interesting, let's make them have properties that make them look like deficient verbs and nouns at the same time. I would probably have two subfamilies of adverbs - the verb-like ones and the noun-like ones, but a clever design could merge these. Probably, some adverbs would be less deficient than others. 

Let's consider a few individual adverbs:
slowly - in this language, this is verb-like, and it takes congruence either with the object or subject (but not both), depending on whether the action is performed slowly on the object, or the agent is performing the action slowly. Essentially, intentional slowness →object congruence, unintentional slowness → subject congruence. The only mood it can mark for is 'intensive', which does not cooccur with subject congruence. With an intransitive verb, object congruence is simply omitted.
harshly - in this language, harshly is noun-like. It is normally partitive instrumental definite (and sometimes in the complement cases), but also can take modal and subj/obj congruence.
weirdly - noun like, but takes object or subject morphology (and the oblique voice). If subject congruence, the "weird" thing is that the subject acted on the object (instead of on something else), if object congruence, the weird thing is that the subject acted, and not that someone else did, and if oblique, the weird thing is some other participant or fact. 
 heavily - noun-like, with no verbal congruence. Partitive instrumental indefinite (and sometimes in the complement cases). 

The complement cases often are used if the adverb describes a subordinate verb or infinite, and then agrees with the subject of that verb (i.e. is it subject or non-subject) 

This is a somewhat unclear description, but I hope it offers some ideas for how to create more complication in the adverbs.

Three Languages Needed for Book Series

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Description

(Note: Written by poster, Tex Thompson.)

I would like to commission three constructed languages:

  1. A dialect/variant of Spanish that retains a true neuter gender
  2. A dialect/variant of French that likewise uses the neuter gender
  3. An original language with some relation to the Uto-Aztecan language family

In the third case, I’d like a full conlang (excluding orthography), with about 150 words of translated material for use in the final product. For the first two, I would ideally like to have a grammatical ruleset that would allow me to translate from the modern languages (or from Latin) into their alternative/conlang counterparts, if that’s realistic/feasible.

In all three cases, I’ve got a scant handful of names and words already in use, and would like to discuss those up-front.

These languages are for use in a series of epic fantasy novels based in an alternate version of the American Southwest. The first two books in the series are already under contract, but have not yet gone to press.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be working in this world for the next few years at least, so I’d really like to find one go-to conlanger who’s up for a long-term relationship—paid appropriately as future jobs pop up, of course. It would be great to work with someone who likewise enjoys big-world fantasy (one reviewer summarized my first book as “Terry Pratchett writing The Gunslinger”), but that’s not a requirement. All I really need is someone who’s capable, responsive, and up for a bit of backing-and-forthing as we iron out the particulars. (I can promise not to micromanage, eat your life, or turn into the demanding client from hell.)

Employer

Tex Thompson

Application Period

Open Until Filled

Term

Delivery by the end of January

Compensation

$1300 total ($500 up front; $300 midway [at an agreed-upon milestone]; $500 upon completion), preferably via PayPal.

To Apply

Email — “at” — “dot” — to express your interest in this project.

Note: Please assume that comments left on this post will not be read by the employer. All comments left on this post will be deleted after the job has closed.

Some Spontaneous Sandic Nonsense

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
I was playing with the dogs in the room today and accidentally recorded this bit of spontaneous Sandic.  I figured I would share!

The dogs were in my bed, all piled together (we have two of them), so I was just playing with them a bit.  I must have accidentally hit the record button on the tablet, because I looked down and it was recording, sure enough.  The little snippet was too funny not to share, though.

I tend to babble a bunch of nonsense to myself, so the words spoken here don't really mean much of anything.  I was thinking aloud, or perhaps talking to the dogs.

Anyway, there you have it!

Listen here: http://vocaroo.com/i/s0qS82TbUoTL

Record and upload voice >>

Order of texts: Sandic/English Transcription of Audio -- Smooth English of Sandic

"Awoooo!  So much DOG FLESH!  A-wa-wa... A-wa-wa..  Hmm...  Hm..
Balēané lēena...

Kamei yalnia felē.  ...Balnia.  HeheHA!

Balnia ân kamei yahlnia felē!
...Oh, oops."

---

"The soul is flying.." (from a song I translated)

I'm a guy, sort of.  I guess.  Ha! (realising that this accidentally rhymes)

I'm sort of a guy, I guess!"

passage (corridor) is pastävä

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
pastävä = passage (noun) (some things Google found for "pastävä" and "pastava": an uncommon term; Pastava is a rare last name; in Portuguese pastava means "have been pasturing or grazing"; pastava seems to mean something in a language from India; similar Pastavy is the name of a place in Belarus)

Word derivation for "passage (corridor)" :
Basque = pasabide, Finnish = käytävä
Miresua = pastävä

After falling down the rabbit-hole, Alice saw a "long passage, and the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it."

Second Lexember: a New Month of Moten Words

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

In my summary post of last year's Lexember event, I had written that I would gladly participate again if the event were to be repeated. So when Pete Bleackley proposed to run another Lexember in September (keeping with the naming scheme!), I just couldn't not do it! So once again I spent a month creating new vocabulary for Moten, hunting for holes in the lexicon and filling them as well as I could. Of course, Moten's vocabulary is still limited, but adding 30 words is always welcome! This time though, various events conspired to make me miss the daily deadlines, and I actually slipped in my schedule once (shame on me!). However, I managed to get back on track and finished the month without issue.

So, now that the second Lexember is finished, I'm repeating last year's decision to recapitulate it on my blog, so that people who may have missed some of my tweets can check all my new Moten words here. Once again, here's the list of all the words I created for Lexember, in the order of publication. I've also added the comments I made over on Google+ (and added some specific to this post), which give a bit more background and depth to those creations. Enjoy:

1st word: manto /manto̞/, noun:
coat, overcoat, jacket, cloak, mantle. Basically any piece of clothing used to protect oneself (or at least one's upper body) from bad weather conditions. It's a straight borrowing from French.
2nd word: zubzin /zubzin/, noun:
lukewarm water. It's a diminutive of zuba: "warm water". Note also vone: "cold water" and den: "hot water".
3rd word: vona /vo̞na/, noun:
low temperature, cold. Indicates a temperature that is cold but not freezing. Somehow related to vone: "cold water". Once again, don't forget that adjectives in Moten are just a special use case of nouns, hence the glosses I've given.
4th word: zubna /zubna/, noun:
pleasant temperature, warm. Pleasant, radiating temperature of a body or room. A nice outdoor temperature can also be zubna (especially when the sun is shining). Related to zuba: "warm water".
5th word: dena /de̞na/, noun:
high temperature, hot. Damagingly hot, scalding, burning. Not used for weather temperatures (see next word :)). Somehow related to den: "hot water".
6th word: la|zi /lad͡zi/, noun:
high temperature, warm, hot. Counterpart of dena used for high weather temperatures. It indicates weather temperatures that have become too high to simply be pleasant anymore. It's considered a weather phenomenon, on par with ibo: "wind", tlap: "light rain" and ibipiz: "storm".
What this means is that like those nouns, it can be the subject of the verb ivdaj: "to happen". So, just as we can say ibeo ivda|n ito: "the wind is blowing" (literally: "the wind is happening"), we can say la|zej ivda|n ito: "it's hot right now" (literally: "the high temperature is happening").
7th word: isteoj /iste̞o̞j/, verb:
to put on, to dress in. This verb refers to dressing something or someone in clothes, jewels, shoes, or anything else that is worn. Depending on context and the participants in the sentence, it can refer to putting something on oneself or on somebody or something else. And used in the middle voice, it is equivalent to "to get dressed".
8th word: iputo|n /iputo̞ɲ/, verb:
to take off, to remove. Basically the opposite of isteoj. Has the same usage pattern.
9th word: jemagi /je̞magi/, verb:
to travel, to sail. Literally "to river-go", but used for any kind of travel except on foot.
10th word: ibnamagi /ibnamagi/, verb:
to travel on foot. Literally "to foot-go". The counterpart of jemagi for the one means of travel that verb doesn't cover: one's own feet :).
11th word: agzif /agzif/, noun:
traveller. Literally "goer".
12th word: jaluj /jaluj/, verb:
to keep, to retain; to hold, to store; to hide, to conceal. Yeah, all of those :).
13th word: pakipak /pakipak/, onomatopoeia:
'pad pad pad', the sound of footsteps. Also used as an ideophone meaning "step by step", "one by one", "methodically", "by the book", "without imagination", etc...
14th word: faoom /faˈo̞ːm/, onomatopoeia:
'whoosh', the sound of the wind during a storm. Also an ideophone with the general meaning of "strong but messy".
15th word: kaan /kaːn/, onomatpoeia:
'shining brightly', the "sound" of the sun shining. An ideophone representing the sun shining brightly and warmly. Also used to indicate shining brightly from one's own strength (both literally and figuratively), but also things like 'too hot to handle', and thus shades of danger.
16th word: uge /uge̞/, noun:
pace, step; footstep; stage, phase. Like English "step", but doesn't refer to the steps of a ladder.
17th word: jugejugej /juge̞juge̞j/, verb:
to step, to walk. Refers to the physical activity of walking, unlike ibnamagi, which refers to the idea of travelling on foot. Also refers to stepping through a list of instructions. Its stem ugejuge is also used as a noun meaning "walk, stroll, hike". It's the reduplication of uge: "step".
Incidentally, with this word I reached the magical number of 500 lexical entries in the Moten dictionary! Yay me!
18th word: jemnon /je̞mno̞n/, noun:
long-legged wading bird. Herons, cranes, storks, flamingoes, ibises, spoonbills... All are jemnon :). The word refers more to a bird body type than to a species or even related species in particular. It's a generic name for all long-legged, long-necked wading water birds, especially in freshwater habitats. There are more specific names for specific birds, but you can use jemnon if you just don't want (or can't) be more specific.
The word jemnon itself literally means "artist of the river", and may refer to the perceived grace of those birds' movements.
19th word: jugzi|n /jugziɲ/, verb:
to stroll, to go for a walk. The diminutive of jugejugej: "to step, to walk". Its stem ugzin is also used as a noun meaning "stroll, leisurely walk".
20th word: tolmos /to̞lmo̞s/, noun:
(dining) table; meal, fare. Literally "four legs": tol mosu.
21st word: smel(t) /sme̞l(t)/, noun:
plank, board; gameboard; tray, platter; table, desk. While tolmos refers specifically to a table used to eat on, smel(t) includes this sense but also many more. Linguists would call smel(t) a hypernym of tolmos.
Notice also how the last consonant is in parentheses. This noun is one of those stems with a fragile coda consonant, which normally doesn't appear, but resurfaces when suffixes are added. So the nominative case "a plank" will be smel, while the genitive case "a plank's" will be smuvelti, with the t appearing due to the addition of the suffix -i.
22nd word: log /lo̞g/, noun:
season; time (to do something); occasion, circumstance. To be fair, this word was already in the dictionary, but with the single gloss "season". The additional senses I just discovered were different enough that I felt this has actually become a new word :).
23rd word: bolog /bo̞lo̞g/, noun:
weather, short term state of the atmosphere at a specific time and place. Literally "sky season".
24th word: bolslim /bo̞lslim/, noun:
bad weather. Literally "ugly weather", from bolog and slim: "ugly, inapproriate".
25th word: bolvo|sa /bo̞lvo̞t͡sa/, noun:
nice, fair weather. Literally "beautiful weather", from bolog and vo|sa: "beautiful, appropriate". Like ibo: "wind" and the 6th word la|zi: "high temperature", those last two words are considered weather phenomena, and can both be the subject of ivdaj: "to happen": bolvo|sea ivda|n ito: "it's nice weather right now".
26th word: |no /ɲo̞/, noun:
ice; frost, snow; freezing cold; glass. Refers to frozen water, freezing temperatures, and glass :). Unlike pairs like vone/vona, where the first term refers to water at a specific range of temperatures and the second to that range of temperatures itself, this noun has both meanings by itself, depending on context. The "glass" sense was probably metaphorical at first, but nowadays it's the main term for the material "glass" (not for a glass vessel mind you!).
27th word: ito|zaj /ito̞d͡zaj/, verb:
to become, to begin to be. One of the many verbs meaning "to become" in Moten, this one has the same argument semantics as atom: "to be", i.e. it marks identity (becoming someone) and definition (becoming something).
28th word: ige|zaj /ige̞d͡zaj/, verb:
to become, to begin to have. Another one of the many verbs meaning "to become" in Moten, this one has the same argument semantics as agem: "to have", i.e. it marks possession (getting something, catching something) and predicate adjectives (becoming + adjective).
29th word: |nekaj /ɲe̞kaj/, verb:
to come to be, to happen, to become. Yet another verb meaning "to become" in Moten, this one has the argument semantics of jaki: "to exist", i.e. it is intransitive and is used only with inanimate objects or concepts and small animals. It usually means "to happen" or "to come into being", and takes on the meaning "to become" when used with an adverbial final or instrumental phrase.
30th word: ipmavi /ipmavi/, verb:
to come to be, to become. Yet another verb meaning "to become" in Moten, this one has the argument semantics of ispej: "to exist", i.e. it is intransitive and is used only with humans and big animals. It usually means "to come into being" or "to appear", and takes on the meaning "to become" when used with an adverbial final or instrumental phrase.
Bonus word: apsim /apsim/, onomatopoeia:
'achoo', the sound of a sneeze. I've been sick for most of Lexember, so it was just fair to add this one :P. Notice that this onomatopoeia can also be used as a stem in the verb japsimi: "to sneeze", or as a noun apsim meaning "sneeze".

As you can see, as with last year's Lexember there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to the meanings of the words. But is that really so? In fact, the first half of the words was carefully crafted to help me with my next grammar post (which still needs a lot of work before I can release it). On the other hand, the second half was just me freewheeling ;). Still, words about temperature and the weather are quite practical, I finally have a word for "table" (I've had a word for "chair": ibutaj for quite a long time already), and I've finally solved the issue of how to express "to become" in Moten, a problem that's been bothering me for two years! So all in all it was a very productive month. Oh, and more ideophones!

I'll finish with a few statistics, to show you once again the effect of Lexember on the Moten vocabulary. On the 31st of August, the Moten lexicon contained 483 separate entries, for 1186 (not necessarily unique) glosses. On the 1st of October, the Moten lexicon had 513 entries, and 1345 glosses! The vocabulary itself has grown by 6% (a far cry from the first Lexember's 17%, but don't forget that at that time the lexicon had only 278 entries!), while the glosses have increased by 13% (in the first Lexember it was 20%, but I had then less than half the glosses I have now). Still not bad for just one word a month!

So I'm glad I participated again in this Twitter event. Lexember is still an intellectually challenging and fun event, and a great way to expand my conlang's vocabulary. Not as many people participated compared to last time though, which was unfortunate. It's so fun to read other people's entries! Where I may have a small issue is that this time the event seemed to lack a social dimension. It felt very much like people were just creating words on their own, putting them on Twitter, and that's it. There were little to no comments on people's entries, and very little interaction between the participants (I know, I'm guilty of it just as well). Maybe next time the event could be made more interactive, for instance by having an event master publishing a "theme of the day" in the morning, and the participants would have to create a word fitting that theme during the day. It could give Lexember a more participatory feeling to it. It's just an idea, and maybe other Lexember participants will have others. Don't hesitate to discuss this in the comment thread, on Twitter, and/or on Google+!

Anyway, it was still fun, and I will definitely participate again next time, however Lexember will look like then!

sorrow is dosu

Friday, October 11th, 2013
dosu = sorrow (noun) (some things Google found for "dosu": an uncommon to common term; Dosu Kinuta is a sound ninja character with a bandaged face in the Japanese anime, manga and game Naruto; a rare first name that is usually masculine; a rare last name that can be Nigerian; DOSU Studio Architecture; name of a place in Romania)

Word derivation for "sorrow" :
Basque = dolu, Finnish = suru
Miresua = dosu

Another Basque word for sorrow is nahigabe, where nahi means desire or wish, and -gabe means lack of or -less.

Alice saw the Mock Turtle sitting sad and lonely on a rock. She asked the Gryphon, "What is his sorrow?"

easy is helaz

Monday, October 7th, 2013
helaz = easy (adjective) (some things Google found for "helaz": an unusual term; HELAZ is a Basque acronym for Hezkuntzarako Laguntza Zerbitzua (Education Help Service); a rare last name; name of several gaming characters; a rare first name; user names)

Word derivation for "easy" :
Basque = erraz, Finnish = helppo
Miresua = helaz

In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in the Mad Tea-Party scene, the Hatter tells Alice, "You mean you can't take LESS, it's very easy to take MORE than nothing."