Archive for June, 2014

eight is kahetzi (revisited)

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
kahetzi = eight (number) (adjective) (some things Google found for "kahetzi": a nearly unique term; may mean or in the past meant something in Estonian; in Estonian similar kahetsus means regret, remorse, repent; similar Kafetzi is a rare last name; similar Kahetz is a very rare last name)

Word derivation for "eight"
Basque = zortzi, Finnish = kahdeksan
Miresua = kahetzi

My previous Miresua conlang word for eight was kasetzi. This is a small change.

By the way, the Finnish word for two is kaksi, and the word for eight, kahdeksan, presumably meant something like "two before (ten)".

The word eight can't be found in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but it occurs in Through the Looking-glass.
"She can't do Addition," the Red Queen interrupted. "Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight."

"Nine from eight I can't, you know," Alice replied very readily: "but--"

"She can't do Subtraction," said the White Queen.

Test Sentences, 105

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. Whew! that cold wind freezes my nose!
  2. Are you warm enough now?

Also straightforward, though I will reuse u! rather than make another interjection.

137. u! ha udan kyɨlde le gɨŋi tɛndɛ ɛlkeya bala.

u!
oh!
ha
that.MTsg
udan
wind.MTsg
kyɨlde
cold.MTsg
le
my
gɨŋi
nose.MTsg
tɛndɛ
tɛndɛ.IMP
ɛlkeya
frozen-ly
bala
I feel

138. ala ŋidi sɛdɛ kyaleya dan dɛmɛ?

ala
now
ŋidi
2p.MTsg
sɛdɛ
sɛdɛ.IMP
kyaleya
warm-ly
dan
enough
dɛmɛ?
Q

Questions?

Barxaw: Register, lexical intensification and comparatives

Saturday, June 21st, 2014
In Barxaw, my isolating conlang, intensity of verbs and adjectives is lexically coded - thus, running, running fast and running slow are separate lexemes, as are speaking, shouting and screaming. We notice from the second English tuplet that this is not unusual in English either.

In Barxaw, however, many such lexemes form pretty long hierarchies:

to know (in the sense of 'to have knowledge'), to be able to:
sep < ìpe < máw < nòtè < ram < léc < kudò

It turns out sep is the lowest in most registers. However, in slightly formal registers, ipe is the lowest, and in some ram is the lowest. In the case of {sep, ... kudò}, the higher the register, the more 'inflation' there is to the value of the verb (or adjective or even some nouns). {sep, ... kudo} is thus a verb set that decreases in value - in Barxaw, this is known as pék èn da màt ús ús - the words that shrink. (pék = word, èn = plural + class marker, da = plural pronoun for that class, màt ≃ do, ús ús = shrink, literally "small small")

An example of pék èn da màt o ko - words that grow (o, ko = big, the k in ko comes from a morphophonological thing where o ends in a 'lost consonant' that reappears in hiatus) - is "need"
wan - témì - nuh - pò' - síg - ŋím
Thus pò is the usual 'baseline' intensity, but in higher registers, nuh, then témì, then wan replace it, and pò becomes increasingly intense.

Test Sentences, 104

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. Oh, dear! the wind has blown my hat away!
  2. Alas! that news is sad indeed!

Another interjection! Or maybe not. The rest is fairly simple.

135. udan dolɨdɛn le pɛstɛ maseya.

udan
wind.MTsg
dolɨdɛn
hat.MTsg
le
1P
pɛstɛ
pɛsi.PRF
maseya
oh dear

The adverb maseya actually means “sadly” or “frowningly”. It makes a nice stand-in for “oh dear”. It also makes a nice stand-in for “alas!”, but the next sentence already uses “sad”. So, here’s a new interjection: u!

136. u! da sala daɬa maseya no bala.

u!
alas!
da
that.SSsg
sala
news.SSsg
daɬa
daɬa.IMP
maseya
sadly
no
very
bala
I feel

Questions?

Test Sentences, 103

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. This string is too short!

This is easy. This string sits too short-ly.

134. da ŋyonadan tɛndɛ ɨseya alam.

da
III.SSsg
ŋyonadan
string.SSsg
tɛndɛ
tɛndɛ.IMP
ɨseya
short-ly
alam
too

Questions?

Test Sentences, 102

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. Aha! I have caught you!

Aside from the whole issue with interjections, there is the issue with “catch”. “I” might be the agent, but “you” are the subject of the sentence–the entity that is moving. “I” am also the destination. So, we will use a reflexive form there, and a form of tɨŋi prefixed by eya to denote less volitionality in the subject (that’s “you”).

Oh, and we’ll make that interjection he!

133. he! lenada ŋidi eyotni.

he!
INTERJ
lenada
1p.MTsg.RFL
ŋidi
2p.MTsg
ey-
in
otni
tɨŋi.PRF

Questions?

seven is sezpin (revisited)

Thursday, June 19th, 2014
sezpin = seven (number) (adjective) (some things Google found for "sezpin": a rare term; a very rare last name; name of a fictional sea in an online fantasy story; references to Sez Pin Code, where SEZ stands for Special Economic Zone in India and PIN stands for Postal Index Number; similar Sezin is the name of a place in Burma)

Word derivation for "seven"
Basque = zazpi, Finnish = seitsemän
Miresua = sezpin

My previous Miresua conlang word for seven was pesizan. The new word better resembles both the Basque word and the Finnish word.

Seven occurs a handful of times in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This is from the scene where three gardeners are painting white roses red.
..."Look out now, Five! Don't go splashing paint over me like that!"

"I couldn't help it," said Five, in a sulky tone; "Seven jogged my elbow."

“Conlang” and the OED

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

So, conlang got an entry in the OED a few days ago. The word has been in use since the early 1990s, and in the post-Avatar, post-Game-of-Thrones world, it is unlikely to fade out of existence any time soon, so this is an obvious move on the part of the OED editorial team.

Compared to some conlangers' reactions, my own personal reaction to this is fairly muted. I absolutely do not view this OED entry as any sort of vindication of the art. First, if I needed approval from others to pursue my hobbies, I wouldn't play the banjo, much less conlang. I don't usually look to others for approval of my pastimes (except my neighbors, I suppose, if I decide to do something unusually loud). Second, there are all manner of very unpleasant behaviors also defined in the OED, which no one takes as a sign of OED editorial approval. The word's in the OED because it is being used now, has been for a few decades, and is likely to continue to be used for decades to come. The OED entry is a simple recognition of that fact.

I was, however, delighted to notice that one of the four citations was a book by Suzette Haden Elgin, The Language Imperative. Few people are neutral on her major conlang, Láadan. I'm a big fan, while at the same time not believing it capable of accomplishing the goals it was designed to attain. I got a copy of the grammar for the language before I had regular internet access, and so was the first conlang I ever saw that wasn't mostly a euro-clone.1 I learned a lot from Láadan, so I have a warm place in my heart for it. It's a shame Alzheimer's has probably robbed Elgin of the opportunity to know she was cited in the OED.


1 Klingon is not nearly as strange as it looks on the surface. Láadan introduced me to a range of syntactic and semantic possibilities I had not previously encountered: evidentiality, different embedding structures, inalienable possession, simpler tone systems, the possibilities of a smaller phonology.

“Conlang” and the OED

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

So, conlang got an entry in the OED a few days ago. The word has been in use since the early 1990s, and in the post-Avatar, post-Game-of-Thrones world, it is unlikely to fade out of existence any time soon, so this is an obvious move on the part of the OED editorial team.

Compared to some conlangers' reactions, my own personal reaction to this is fairly muted. I absolutely do not view this OED entry as any sort of vindication of the art. First, if I needed approval from others to pursue my hobbies, I wouldn't play the banjo, much less conlang. I don't usually look to others for approval of my pastimes (except my neighbors, I suppose, if I decide to do something unusually loud). Second, there are all manner of very unpleasant behaviors also defined in the OED, which no one takes as a sign of OED editorial approval. The word's in the OED because it is being used now, has been for a few decades, and is likely to continue to be used for decades to come. The OED entry is a simple recognition of that fact.

I was, however, delighted to notice that one of the four citations was a book by Suzette Haden Elgin, The Language Imperative. Few people are neutral on her major conlang, Láadan. I'm a big fan, while at the same time not believing it capable of accomplishing the goals it was designed to attain. I got a copy of the grammar for the language before I had regular internet access, and so was the first conlang I ever saw that wasn't mostly a euro-clone.1 I learned a lot from Láadan, so I have a warm place in my heart for it. It's a shame Alzheimer's has probably robbed Elgin of the opportunity to know she was cited in the OED.


1 Klingon is not nearly as strange as it looks on the surface. Láadan introduced me to a range of syntactic and semantic possibilities I had not previously encountered: evidentiality, different embedding structures, inalienable possession, simpler tone systems, the possibilities of a smaller phonology.

Test Sentences, 101

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. I awoke early, dressed hastily, and went down to breakfast.

Another set of connected clauses…. “I left sleep soon/early, I clothed myself hastily, and I went downwards to food.”

132. syɛɬɛ lene pɛstɛ galaba ladi lenada iɬyɨdi omɛt tandeya ladi lene otni goga tadya.

syɛɬɛ
sleep.SSsg
lene
1p.MTsg
pɛstɛ
pɛsi.PRF
galaba
early
ladi
and then
lenada
1p.MTsg.RFL
iɬyɨdi
clothes.MTpl
omɛt
ɛmɛmɛ.PRF
tandeya
quickly
ladi
and then
lene
1p.MTsg
otni
tɨŋi.PRF
goga
food.SSsg
tadya.
downwards

Questions?