Archive for May, 2015

Liftarens parlör till galaxen

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Jag skriver just nu på en bok om språk som utkommer på Volante förlag framåt jul. Titeln lyder Liftarens parlör till galaxen. Det blir en bok om språk som nästan inte finns. Språk som knappt går att använda för kommunikation. Språk från länder som inte existerar, utomjordiska språk, mytologiska varelsers språk och språk som talas i en tänkt framtid eller i en parallell verklighet.

Konstgjorda språk överhuvudtaget är intressanta, ta bara modern hebreiska eller nynorska som konstruerades av nationalistiska eller identitetsskäl, eller esperanto som har en tydligt ideologiskt idé om att vara ett språk för fred och internationell förståelse. Men det är inte främst sådana språk som fascinerar mig och som min bok kommer att handla om, den berör främst konstruerade språk i populärkulturen, språk som skapats av konstnärliga skäl — eller ibland bara som rekvisita.

Inte helt oväntat så härstammar de flesta av de 40-50 språk som jag tittar närmare på från de genrer som brukar kallas Science Fiction eller Fantasy, det vill säga berättelser som utspelar sig i främmande världar och tidsepoker. Precis som det nyfödda spädbarnet och den bibliske Adam som känner en ostoppbar lust att namnge allt det nya som de ser i världen, måste författaren namnge allt i den främmande värld som växer fram i hans berättelse. Vad kallar man det blå havsdjuret med vingar, snabel och älghorn? Hur talar man i framtiden? Hur har språket utvecklats efter 40 000 år? Hur tänker och talar de tvåhövdade marsianerna? Är kentaurernas språk baserat på gnäggningar eller inte? Blir det konstigt på bioduken om varelserna på den planet filmhjälten nyss landat på talar engelska?

Ofta blir det bara ett par ord på ett utomjordiskt språk som får ge färg åt det utomjordiska, men det finns gott om exempel på författare, eller filmproducenter, som fascineras av lingvistik och som tänkt till lite extra och vill säga något mer. Det finns de som har arbetat fram komplexa språk som börjar likna riktiga språk. Anda författare har penetrerat språkets inverkan på vårt sätt att tänka och testar dessa idéer i dystopiska framtidsskildringar, där språket blir huvudperson i berättelsen.

Science fiction-litteratur är som gjord för att testa den språkliga relativitetsprincipen, eller Sapir–Whorf-hypotesen, som säger att det i varje språks grammatik och ordförråd finns en inbyggd uppfattning om världen som präglar talarnas tänkande. När mänskligheten träffar på utomjordiska varelser, kommer vi då ens att kunna kommunicera?
I stort sett alltid döljer det sig en fascinerade historia bakom språkens tillblivelse, även om det till slut bara blir en enstaka exotiskt mening på film eller en pratbubbla i ett seriealbum. Jag siktar därför inte på att skriva en språkkurs eller lärobok i xenolingvistik, utan kanske snarare en slags ”språkhistoria för konstgjorda språk.”

De språk som läckt ut från sitt verk och gått från rekvisita till att användas för kommunikation i vår värld av fans är ett annat fascinerande fenomen. Tusentals personer runt om i världen kommunicerar dagligen på Klingonska, quenya, na’vi, dothrakiska eller valyriska. Varje helg lajvar kids i skogarna och talar alviska och orkiska. Måhända är det mer lockande att lära sig alvlatin är att rabbla läxans oregelbundna tyska verb?

För att inte tala om rörelsen av conlangers som skapar nya språk i parti och minut som hobby. De studerar, utforskar och konstruerar egna språk som, på sin höjd, en handfull människor någonsin får stifta bekantskap med. Avancerade skapelser som uttrycker det som språkets skapare finner estetiskt, eller karakteristiskt för de fiktiva varelser som kan tänkas tala det. Det är tack vare att JRR Tolkien var en sådan ”conlanger” som vi har trilogin om Härskarringen och de andra verken som utspelar sig i Midgård. Den unge Tolkien utvecklade sina egna språk, och speciellt fastnade han för sina alviska språk som han utvecklade i början av 1900-talet och han började fundera på vem som egentligen talade detta vackra språk och började utveckla en mytologi som passade till språket!

Ni som läst min blogg tidigare förstår förstås vad det handlar om och varför ämnet är så fascinerande, men jag hoppas att en större läsekrets nu ska få upp ögonen för betydelsen av konstgjorda språk i litteratur och film.

*

Foto: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Liftarens parlör till galaxen

Friday, May 29th, 2015
Jag skriver just nu på en bok om språk som utkommer på Volante förlag framåt…

Liftarens parlör till galaxen

Friday, May 29th, 2015
Jag skriver just nu på en bok om språk som utkommer på Volante förlag framåt…

Detail #165: Mergers in Person * Gender

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Imagine a language in which all persons are marked for gender. Further, there are at least three social genders, which I will call i, ii and iii.
I.i, I.ii, I.iii
you.i, you.ii, you.iii
3sg.i, 3sg.ii, 3sg.iii
Let's now imagine that there's some conflations, but that these conflations are not within one person, i.e. it's not the case that 2nd person conflates genders ii and iii or somesuch - it is the persons that are conflated instead:



1/2 sg.i
1 sg.ii1/2/3 sg.iii


'2/3 sg.ii
3 sg.i

This means if you're gender iii, you use the same pronoun you'd use for a second or even third person of your gender. This would probably either be a gender considered very expendable or interchangeable, or one where the set of members is so small that it's no problem. For the other genders, the situation obtained by this complication might be less obvious, but could imaginably have interesting cultural reasons behind them.

Language Creation Tribune, Issue 5

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Language Creation Tribune

Issue 5

May 2015


A word from our President

 

Welcome to the 5th edition of the Language Creation Tribune! A little late again, but we are all in the afterglow of the LCC6, so I hope you’ll excuse us. Why, of course, I am going to talk about the 6th Language Creation Conference. What did you expect?

LCC6 group shot 2

Before I talk about my personal experience of the LCC6, let me once again give special thanks to the people who made it a reality, and ensured it was such a fun and successful event:

  • Thanks to our local host Pete Bleackley, for organising this wonderful event;
  • Thanks to Sai and Alex Fink, for working very hard at getting the fickle live-streaming technology working, so even people who couldn’t attend live would be able to attend it remotely;
  • Thanks to the people of the Horsham Capitol Arts Centre for providing us with such a great venue;
  • Thanks to Sylvia Sotomayor, who worked really hard in the background to get everything ready, from the LCC6 website to the lunch and coffee breaks, and made my job so much easier;
  • Thanks to Erin Peterson, who took over front of house so that Sylvia could enjoy the LCC itself with the rest of us;
  • Thanks to the speakers, for all the fun, informative and interesting talks they gave us;
  • Thanks to everyone who participated in both rings of the LCC6 conlang relay, and special thanks to Jessie Sams, our very own editor-in-chief, for organising it so masterfully;
  • Thanks to everyone who attended in person! Some of you travelled from very far, and you’ve helped make this LCC the best attended one so far (with 55 people present at once in the venue);
  • And finally, thanks to everyone who attended on line as well! You’re also part of the success of the LCC!

As you all know, the first time I came in contact with the Language Creation Society was when David Peterson, then President of the LCS, asked me whether I’d be interested in being the local host for the 4th Language Creation Conference. This request is what resulted in the series of events that put me in the position I hold today, so the LCC holds a special place in my heart. It’s no surprise that I met the prospect of the first LCC under my presidency with both excitement and apprehension. And to tell you the truth, to me the LCC6 felt like the first true test of my abilities: I was afraid at the idea of having to lead it (you can ask David about that!). And even worse, I was terrified that my lack of experience would hinder other people’s efforts to make the LCC6 a successful event. Luckily, everyone was very understanding (especially Sylvia—I wouldn’t have managed if it wasn’t for her advice and her patience!), and it seems my attempts at playing Master of Ceremony were not altogether unsuccessful (or at least the audience was very understanding!). So it seems I passed this milestone, and this makes me feel both relieved and elated. I’ve received great feedback, I enjoyed myself immensely, and I finally got to meet a lot of people in real life that I have known for a long time only through words on a computer screen. The feelings associated with such an experience make all the anxiety beforehand more than worth it!

Les-Presidents

All three presidents of the LCS , together for the first time!

However exhausting the preparations were, the success of the LCC6 made me again aware of the important role we have in the LCS in serving the conlanging community, and it’s with renewed energy that I get ready to serve you all again to the best of my abilities. Thanks again for your trust, and I hope to be able to help even more in the future!

Fiat Lingua!

Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets,

President of the Language Creation Society.


Conlang Curiosities 

by John Quijada

Layin’ Back With the Leyen

At the recent Sixth Language Creation Conference in Horsham, England, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting LCS member and conference host Peter Bleackley. For a laid-back Californian like me, meeting such an authentically English (and brilliantly eccentric) gentleman like Peter is a rare treat – whether we’re discussing conlangs or sharing a beer at the pub (which we did!).

At any rate, Peter is a long-time participant on the Conlang mailing list, and his Khangaþyagon conlang is well-known to Conlang-L members. Lesser known is his more experimental iljena language, spoken by the Leyen on a world orbiting the star Delta Pavonis. Peter gave an interesting presentation at LCC6 called “When Is Case Not a Case?” showcasing both of his conlangs, but it was the portion of his talk dealing with iljena that really piqued my curiosity. A truly different, fascinating conlang worth examining beyond the tidbits offered at LCC6.

iljena holds no surprises in the phonology department, but when it comes to morphology and syntax, one might argue that iljena is the greatest language ever invented for the purposes of poetry. Why might that be? In iljena, Pete has found a way to truly merge the concept of noun and verb into one holistic unit that paints what I think of as a little “action-image”. An iljena word consists of a tri-literal consonant pattern (à la Semitic languages) which conveys the nominal portion of the word, while the vowel pattern interfixed among the consonants carries the verbal portion of the word. Each of these little action-image units is then placed together sequentially (a simple syntax that Pete calls “clause-chaining”) to create a “flow” of action-images corresponding to sentences in other languages.

As a lovely example, we can take the noun pattern h-w-m “she/he” and merge it with the verb pattern eCaCC “travel”, then merge s-f-k “boat” with CoCCa “carry”, and follow this with the patterns m-r-j “sea” plus CeCaCi “separate” to create a “sentence” ehawm sofka meraji – literally “he/travel boat/carry sea/separate”, translatable as She/he travelled across the sea.

Another example:

ewtag              kvis                 mohn
student/have    raven/perch     hand/hold
The student’s raven perches on his hand.

As can be inferred from the above, all iljena words are monovalent; there are no subjects or objects, as everything is a participant in the action-image. Morphological elements such as tense or mood are conveyed periphrastically as yet another action-image. The use of certain verb components in a word sometimes correspond to concepts like case in human languages, e.g., use of the component meaning “hold” to convey a locative sense, or “undergo” to convey a word’s role as an accusative object. However, humans learning iljena often overuse these patterns in an attempt to force the noun component of an iljena word into human-language semantic roles. Indeed, while researching this article, I surprised myself by discovering that I once actually translated from iljena way back in Conlang Relay No. 16, and according to Pete’s instructions to me at the time: “Humans learning iljena often find it difficult to choose appropriate vowels for the participant that they regard as the object, while Leyen learning human languages have difficulty with the idea of separating objects from their actions. As The Essential Guide to Alien Languages puts it, ‘Morphologically, iljena is essentially a Semitic language turned up to 11. Syntactically, it is essentially a slightly exaggerated version of Mandarin.’”

The Leyen themselves refer to the nominal component of an iljena word as its “body” and the verbal component as its “spirit.” It is the union of the two that gives life to a word. Consequently, Leyen grammarians consider words from human languages to be “like corpses and ghosts”, given that nouns (“bodies”) and verbs (“spirits”) never combine together to come alive. You know, I’ve read a lot of con-cultural ideas in my time, whether in sci-fi novels or descriptions of con-worlds, but that has got to be one of the coolest (and thought-provoking) exo-viewpoints on humans I’ve ever read.

Another cool aspect about iljena is the fact that Pete sought out fellow LCS member Sylvia Sotomayor, asking her if he could incorporate elements of her Kēleni con-world into his own, to which Sylvia agreed. As a result, both Leyen and Kēleni explorers have interacted with each other and commented on each other’s languages (to quite curious effect, given the verbless nature of Kēlen).

Last but not least, Pete provides a wonderful Whorfian explanation for the nature of iljena grammar: the skin of the Leyen are covered with vibrissae, somewhat like cat whiskers an inch apart from one another, “which make them highly sensitive to air movements. This sense is very important to them, and gives them a sense of being fully immersed in an active world.”

One of the reasons I wanted to showcase iljena is because the online resources about it are so sparse (a minimal Frathwiki entry, a few relay texts, and one short parable). A language so subjectively expressive, so naturally poetic, yet so simple in its grammar deserves to be better-known.

I will leave you with an iljena sentence that every conlanger can use to describe him- or herself:

wolm                           himwa            hwima            ahiwem
“all time”/hold             (s)he/wish       (s)he/make       (s)he/learn
He/she always wished to be making and learning.


Member Milestones

May 19, 2015, marked the 25th anniversary of the marriage of John Clifford and Martha Baker. John is an LCS Board member and a quondam epigone of Loglan, Lojban, aUI, toki pona, and dama dewan. Martha doesn’t mind much.

On May 23, Alex Sands, local host of LCC5 in Austin, Texas, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, earning his Bachelor’s in Social Work. He was also included in the very short list of Distinguished College Scholars. Congratulations, Alex!

David and Erin Peterson are expecting their first child in early December! Congratulations to both of you!

David Peterson’s latest book, The Art of Language Invention, has a set publication date of September 29 and is now available for pre-order on the Penguin Books website.

Medicine for the Dead, the second novel in Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson’s “Children of the Drought” fantasy trilogy, was published in March 2015. Jason Wells-Jensen is a language consultant for the series, which is set in a multicultural world reminiscent of the American Southwest. The setting and languages are discussed in this interview about the first book, One Night in Sixes:

One night in the sixes

Medicine for the dead

 


Conlanging News

News on classes, talks, conventions and articles relevant to conlanging:

  • You can access the live streaming videos of LCC6 on the LCS YouTube channel.
  • The Indy PopCon will be held June 26-28; PopCon is touted as being created “for the fans, by the fans” and covers a variety of genres.
  • Worldcon 2015 is coming to Spokane, Washington, in August 2015. One of the guests of honor is astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren, who will be participating from the International Space Station.
  • You can keep up with an ongoing list of current Sci-Fi conventions at UpcomingCons.com.

News of media and websites relevant to conlanging:

  • Season 3 of Defiance, featuring four conlangs (Irathient, Castithan, Indojisnen, and a new one), premieres in America on June 12th at 8/7 Central on Syfy.
  • Season 2 of Dominion, featuring the conlang Lishepus, premieres in America on July 9th at 10/9 Central on Syfy.
  • May is ReCoLangMo (Redditt Conlang Month), which is divided into seven sessions for constructing a language in a month. You can check out the schedule and information here.
  • Deconstructed Construction on Tumblr took a break from posting over the past year but is beginning to post again; they provide some good conlanging resources and information.

News specific to LCS:

  • You shop. Amazon gives. If you shop Amazon, you can now support the LCS by using this Amazon link for your shopping. Amazon will give a percentage of its profits on all the purchases you make through that link to the LCS.

LCS Membership benefits

You can find more information about becoming a member, as well as more information on the benefits, here.

  • Two permanent yournamehere.conlang.org domain names and free full web and email hosting; for more information or to fill out the form to claim a domain name, please visit this page.
  • Checkout privileges for the LCS Lending Library.
  • Access to a Hightail account (you can find more information about Hightail, an online file server, at its website); please email Sylvia to create your account.
  • Full voting rights in the LCS.
  • Discounts on all LCS events.

Please direct any questions you have regarding LCS membership to memberships@nullconlang.org. Also, all communication regarding your membership will come from that address as well, so please white-list memberships@nullconlang.org.

Language Creation Tribune, Issue 5

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Language Creation Tribune

Issue 5

May 2015


A word from our President

 

Welcome to the 5th edition of the Language Creation Tribune! A little late again, but we are all in the afterglow of the LCC6, so I hope you’ll excuse us. Why, of course, I am going to talk about the 6th Language Creation Conference. What did you expect?

LCC6 group shot 2

Before I talk about my personal experience of the LCC6, let me once again give special thanks to the people who made it a reality, and ensured it was such a fun and successful event:

  • Thanks to our local host Pete Bleackley, for organising this wonderful event;
  • Thanks to Sai and Alex Fink, for working very hard at getting the fickle live-streaming technology working, so even people who couldn’t attend live would be able to attend it remotely;
  • Thanks to the people of the Horsham Capitol Arts Centre for providing us with such a great venue;
  • Thanks to Sylvia Sotomayor, who worked really hard in the background to get everything ready, from the LCC6 website to the lunch and coffee breaks, and made my job so much easier;
  • Thanks to Erin Peterson, who took over front of house so that Sylvia could enjoy the LCC itself with the rest of us;
  • Thanks to the speakers, for all the fun, informative and interesting talks they gave us;
  • Thanks to everyone who participated in both rings of the LCC6 conlang relay, and special thanks to Jessie Sams, our very own editor-in-chief, for organising it so masterfully;
  • Thanks to everyone who attended in person! Some of you travelled from very far, and you’ve helped make this LCC the best attended one so far (with 55 people present at once in the venue);
  • And finally, thanks to everyone who attended on line as well! You’re also part of the success of the LCC!

As you all know, the first time I came in contact with the Language Creation Society was when David Peterson, then President of the LCS, asked me whether I’d be interested in being the local host for the 4th Language Creation Conference. This request is what resulted in the series of events that put me in the position I hold today, so the LCC holds a special place in my heart. It’s no surprise that I met the prospect of the first LCC under my presidency with both excitement and apprehension. And to tell you the truth, to me the LCC6 felt like the first true test of my abilities: I was afraid at the idea of having to lead it (you can ask David about that!). And even worse, I was terrified that my lack of experience would hinder other people’s efforts to make the LCC6 a successful event. Luckily, everyone was very understanding (especially Sylvia—I wouldn’t have managed if it wasn’t for her advice and her patience!), and it seems my attempts at playing Master of Ceremony were not altogether unsuccessful (or at least the audience was very understanding!). So it seems I passed this milestone, and this makes me feel both relieved and elated. I’ve received great feedback, I enjoyed myself immensely, and I finally got to meet a lot of people in real life that I have known for a long time only through words on a computer screen. The feelings associated with such an experience make all the anxiety beforehand more than worth it!

Les-Presidents

All three presidents of the LCS , together for the first time!

However exhausting the preparations were, the success of the LCC6 made me again aware of the important role we have in the LCS in serving the conlanging community, and it’s with renewed energy that I get ready to serve you all again to the best of my abilities. Thanks again for your trust, and I hope to be able to help even more in the future!

Fiat Lingua!

Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets,

President of the Language Creation Society.


Conlang Curiosities 

by John Quijada

Layin’ Back With the Leyen

At the recent Sixth Language Creation Conference in Horsham, England, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting LCS member and conference host Peter Bleackley. For a laid-back Californian like me, meeting such an authentically English (and brilliantly eccentric) gentleman like Peter is a rare treat – whether we’re discussing conlangs or sharing a beer at the pub (which we did!).

At any rate, Peter is a long-time participant on the Conlang mailing list, and his Khangaþyagon conlang is well-known to Conlang-L members. Lesser known is his more experimental iljena language, spoken by the Leyen on a world orbiting the star Delta Pavonis. Peter gave an interesting presentation at LCC6 called “When Is Case Not a Case?” showcasing both of his conlangs, but it was the portion of his talk dealing with iljena that really piqued my curiosity. A truly different, fascinating conlang worth examining beyond the tidbits offered at LCC6.

iljena holds no surprises in the phonology department, but when it comes to morphology and syntax, one might argue that iljena is the greatest language ever invented for the purposes of poetry. Why might that be? In iljena, Pete has found a way to truly merge the concept of noun and verb into one holistic unit that paints what I think of as a little “action-image”. An iljena word consists of a tri-literal consonant pattern (à la Semitic languages) which conveys the nominal portion of the word, while the vowel pattern interfixed among the consonants carries the verbal portion of the word. Each of these little action-image units is then placed together sequentially (a simple syntax that Pete calls “clause-chaining”) to create a “flow” of action-images corresponding to sentences in other languages.

As a lovely example, we can take the noun pattern h-w-m “she/he” and merge it with the verb pattern eCaCC “travel”, then merge s-f-k “boat” with CoCCa “carry”, and follow this with the patterns m-r-j “sea” plus CeCaCi “separate” to create a “sentence” ehawm sofka meraji – literally “he/travel boat/carry sea/separate”, translatable as She/he travelled across the sea.

Another example:

ewtag              kvis                 mohn
student/have    raven/perch     hand/hold
The student’s raven perches on his hand.

As can be inferred from the above, all iljena words are monovalent; there are no subjects or objects, as everything is a participant in the action-image. Morphological elements such as tense or mood are conveyed periphrastically as yet another action-image. The use of certain verb components in a word sometimes correspond to concepts like case in human languages, e.g., use of the component meaning “hold” to convey a locative sense, or “undergo” to convey a word’s role as an accusative object. However, humans learning iljena often overuse these patterns in an attempt to force the noun component of an iljena word into human-language semantic roles. Indeed, while researching this article, I surprised myself by discovering that I once actually translated from iljena way back in Conlang Relay No. 16, and according to Pete’s instructions to me at the time: “Humans learning iljena often find it difficult to choose appropriate vowels for the participant that they regard as the object, while Leyen learning human languages have difficulty with the idea of separating objects from their actions. As The Essential Guide to Alien Languages puts it, ‘Morphologically, iljena is essentially a Semitic language turned up to 11. Syntactically, it is essentially a slightly exaggerated version of Mandarin.’”

The Leyen themselves refer to the nominal component of an iljena word as its “body” and the verbal component as its “spirit.” It is the union of the two that gives life to a word. Consequently, Leyen grammarians consider words from human languages to be “like corpses and ghosts”, given that nouns (“bodies”) and verbs (“spirits”) never combine together to come alive. You know, I’ve read a lot of con-cultural ideas in my time, whether in sci-fi novels or descriptions of con-worlds, but that has got to be one of the coolest (and thought-provoking) exo-viewpoints on humans I’ve ever read.

Another cool aspect about iljena is the fact that Pete sought out fellow LCS member Sylvia Sotomayor, asking her if he could incorporate elements of her Kēleni con-world into his own, to which Sylvia agreed. As a result, both Leyen and Kēleni explorers have interacted with each other and commented on each other’s languages (to quite curious effect, given the verbless nature of Kēlen).

Last but not least, Pete provides a wonderful Whorfian explanation for the nature of iljena grammar: the skin of the Leyen are covered with vibrissae, somewhat like cat whiskers an inch apart from one another, “which make them highly sensitive to air movements. This sense is very important to them, and gives them a sense of being fully immersed in an active world.”

One of the reasons I wanted to showcase iljena is because the online resources about it are so sparse (a minimal Frathwiki entry, a few relay texts, and one short parable). A language so subjectively expressive, so naturally poetic, yet so simple in its grammar deserves to be better-known.

I will leave you with an iljena sentence that every conlanger can use to describe him- or herself:

wolm                           himwa            hwima            ahiwem
“all time”/hold             (s)he/wish       (s)he/make       (s)he/learn
He/she always wished to be making and learning.


Member Milestones

May 19, 2015, marked the 25th anniversary of the marriage of John Clifford and Martha Baker. John is an LCS Board member and a quondam epigone of Loglan, Lojban, aUI, toki pona, and dama dewan. Martha doesn’t mind much.

On May 23, Alex Sands, local host of LCC5 in Austin, Texas, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, earning his Bachelor’s in Social Work. He was also included in the very short list of Distinguished College Scholars. Congratulations, Alex!

David and Erin Peterson are expecting their first child in early December! Congratulations to both of you!

David Peterson’s latest book, The Art of Language Invention, has a set publication date of September 29 and is now available for pre-order on the Penguin Books website.

Medicine for the Dead, the second novel in Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson’s “Children of the Drought” fantasy trilogy, was published in March 2015. Jason Wells-Jensen is a language consultant for the series, which is set in a multicultural world reminiscent of the American Southwest. The setting and languages are discussed in this interview about the first book, One Night in Sixes:

One night in the sixes

Medicine for the dead

 


Conlanging News

News on classes, talks, conventions and articles relevant to conlanging:

  • You can access the live streaming videos of LCC6 on the LCS YouTube channel.
  • The Indy PopCon will be held June 26-28; PopCon is touted as being created “for the fans, by the fans” and covers a variety of genres.
  • Worldcon 2015 is coming to Spokane, Washington, in August 2015. One of the guests of honor is astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren, who will be participating from the International Space Station.
  • You can keep up with an ongoing list of current Sci-Fi conventions at UpcomingCons.com.

News of media and websites relevant to conlanging:

  • Season 3 of Defiance, featuring four conlangs (Irathient, Castithan, Indojisnen, and a new one), premieres in America on June 12th at 8/7 Central on Syfy.
  • Season 2 of Dominion, featuring the conlang Lishepus, premieres in America on July 9th at 10/9 Central on Syfy.
  • May is ReCoLangMo (Redditt Conlang Month), which is divided into seven sessions for constructing a language in a month. You can check out the schedule and information here.
  • Deconstructed Construction on Tumblr took a break from posting over the past year but is beginning to post again; they provide some good conlanging resources and information.

News specific to LCS:

  • You shop. Amazon gives. If you shop Amazon, you can now support the LCS by using this Amazon link for your shopping. Amazon will give a percentage of its profits on all the purchases you make through that link to the LCS.

LCS Membership benefits

You can find more information about becoming a member, as well as more information on the benefits, here.

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Barxaw: Lexical Aspect and Verbs of Perception

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
In Barxáw, many verbs have an aspectual component to their meaning, for instance
xéλ - say, utter (perfective or rather maybe punctual)
najɛ̀  - talk, speak, orate, (imperfective, non-punctual) 
vár - to discover someone by hearing, to perk up from hearing something, to hear a very short sound
vìk - hear, listen
bìris - to decide in favour of something
tharí - to think of something with an approving mindset
qursé - to be pricked by something, to experience a short flick of pain (that is generally not from heat)
sáré - to experience a pain that does not immediately pass (and is generally not from heat)
Now, with subordinated verbs where the main verb is one of perception, there's generally agreement between the lexical aspects of the main verb and the subordinate one, e.g.
nín qursé sa vár úŋ  - It stung, hearing you (enter or some other punctual thing like that)
*nin qursé sa vìk úŋ
nín sáré sa vìk úŋ - it pains/pained me to hear you (talk or sing or whatever)
 te úŋ vìk sa nín tiλì? - did you hear me sing?
*te ún vár sa nín tilì?
Situations where a non-punctual stimulus is perceived for just a punctual time-span requires some periphrasis:
nín tiλì, úŋ vár pex.
I sang, you discovered it/perked up from hearing it.
nín tharí sa úŋ tiλì
I think with approval of your singing, "I like your singing"

Other new vocabulary in this post:
nín: I
úŋ: you
pex: a pronoun that refers to previous clauses. Also can mean something along the lines of "thus" or "such".
sa: a subordinating particle
tiλì: sing

dog is kotxar (revisited)

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
kotxar = dog (animal) (noun) (Some things Google found for "kotxar": a rare term; user names; kotxar.ru was a former sports review website; bad OCR of old text documents; similar Kotzar is an unusual last name; in Basque similar kotxe means car, auto)

Word derivation for "dog":
Basque = txakur, Finnish = koira
Miresua = kotxar

My previous Miresua word for dog was txora, which I posted way back in 2008. I'm changing this word so that it no longer ends in -A, and also because the new word is, in my opinion, a slightly better mix. In Miresua, as in Basque, TX is pronounced like CH.

The word dog, plus dogs, occurs six times in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
"Are you--are you fond--of--of dogs?" The Mouse did not answer, so Alice went on eagerly: "There is such a nice little dog near our house I should like to show you! A little bright-eyed terrier..."

My first conlang #13

Monday, May 25th, 2015

My first conlang didn’t have certain letters because they were the beginnings of the names of family members who I despised as a moody teenager.

Ćwarmin: Adjectival Attribute Syntax

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
Ćwarmin adjectives generally precede the noun they modify. However, some complications exist.

Possession is syntactically adjective-like, and genitives can appear anywhere in the string of adjectives. With genitives, any attributes of the genitive noun has to be in the genitive as well, and are more tightly coupled, syntactically to their noun:
gara migitite wicxitite lank[...]
red old-GEN.DEF house-GEN.DEF door[...CASE]
the/a red door of the old house
Proper nouns differ in that adjectives seldom are used with them unless the adjective is part of a proper noun phrase, i.e.
salcan Murustu
great tusk-NOM.DEF (the name of a town)
nerel salcuta Murstuta varsan
leeward great-GEN.DEF tusk-GEN.DEF harbour
salcuta Murstuta nerel varsan
great-GEN.DEF tusk-GEN.DEF leeward harbour
a/the leeward harbour of the Great Tusk.
However, adjectives can be compounded with proper names, and this is the common way of using adjectives with personal names and only slightly less common with names of places. It is not unusual for such a form to become the usual designation for a person, and official records may even prefer such designations over given names.
Salcaŋire ≃ Salcan Gire, "big Gire"
Misketadu ≃ Greedy Tadu
Farnapalb ≃ Farna Palb, "old Palb"
Compounds differ in intonation from phrases in that the initial stress of the second word is significantly weakened. 

Generally speaking, all attributes are marked as singular and indefinite. All adjectives can basically stand as nouns and vice versa, but statistically an adjective is very likely to stand as an adjective and vice versa, and this essentially helps identify whether a case-marked word is the head of a phrase or not. Intonation also helps out, with noun phrases tending to have a slight pitch raise on the stressed syllable of the head noun.

The order of adjectives in general tends to follow these orders, although the different orders seem to be somewhat independent of each other: personal characteristics > size > age > colour > material on one hand, value > shape > use-related adjectives on the other. A few other orders probably also exist. The order is not as fixed as in English, however. 

Subjects can be separated from their adjectives by the verb, simply putting an arbitrary number of its adjectives before the verb, and the subject directly after it. Likewise, the object can have an adjective shunted to the end of the clause. Such movements, the adjective often has a more central role in the clause - fronted adjectives say something about the state of the subject with regards to the verb phrase, adjectives that have been moved to clause-final position say something about the state of the object with regards to the verb phrase.