Archive for February, 2016

Detail #256: Onwards with #255 – "Inverse Imperative" due to Social Rank

Sunday, February 21st, 2016
Consider, again, the imperative. In a highly hierarchical society, lower classes would very seldom give commands to higher classes. It would be economical to use the same markers though - so, for instance, 

direct imperative mood:
high → low: imperative
low → high: asking for permission to do something

reverse imperative mood:
high → low: granting permission to do something
low → high: imperative
One point I am trying to convey here, in part, is that asymmetrical inverse systems might be pretty cool.

Detail #255: Inverse Mood (for a few modal auxiliaries)

Saturday, February 20th, 2016
Let us consider a mood like 'indicative'. For subjects of certain persons, the indicative might be the most common mood, but for others it might be less so – simply put, you don't often need to ask questions about your own doings in the past, whereas you more often might need to ask questions about what the second or third person did in the past. With the second person, it is somewhat common to give commands, but it's less common to command oneself. A lot of similar observations about moods not being equally distributed for each person can probably be made.

While having a full-on inverse mood system might get a tad unwieldy and maybe even unnatural, there could be some default modal implications with regards to person in some circumstances (e.g. maybe certain subordinating conjunctions trigger the modal implication). Let's have "do" be the inverse auxiliary:
I have a thing(indicative)
you have a thing(indicative)
... that I have a thing(indicative)
... that I do have a thing(optative)
... that you have a thing(optative/imperative)
... that you do have a thing(indicative)

Of course, it could also be possible for the verbs themselves to have a lexically determined default mood, or even for verb-person pairs to have lexically determined default moods.

Unlike systems such as inverse alignment or inverse number, this wouldn't thoroughly permeate the system, though, but only appear with certain pairs of moods and maybe, as mentioned previously, in certain limited contexts.

A final potential thing here - maybe do in the imperative would imply non-second person. The reasoning would be that second person is the usual recipient of commands, and so first and third person receiving commands would require the inverse auxiliary. From this, we get the inverse auxiliary also acting as a person marker in certain moods.

Language Sketches and Orthographies Needed for Tabletop RPG Game

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Description

Broken Dice LLC is a small publishing company developing a science fantasy tabletop RPG game called The Nuadan Chronicles. In order to add depth and consistency to the fictional world where this game takes place, they require language experts to create two language sketches and accompanying orthographies:

  • One of these languages is called Merathi, and is the common tongue of the world this RPG is set in. Most of the romanisation for this language has been determined already, and some words have been generated (these can work as placeholders if necessary). The purpose of the conlang sketch is to consolidate the work already done into a consistent whole that can be expanded upon in later stages. The language aesthetic is based upon the Gaelic and Korean languages, along with a bit of traditional fantasy flair. For the orthography, the employer would like it to resemble Korean script (or another East Asian language, although they want a script with a manageable number of characters, i.e. not a logographic script like kanji). The language sketch should include a minimum of 50 words, and the orthography should include a simple font.
  • The other language is a language of magic. The words are based on an ancient proto-language and must be spoken clearly to bring forth their effect. There are seven circles of magic, each focusing on a particular set of words. Overall, there are 24 effect words (Fire, Heal, Scry, etc), 9 meta words (Enchant, Duration, etc) and 5 type words (Touch, Bolt, etc). These can be combined together in countless variations to produce different effects at varying degrees of strength (the word Influence can evoke, for instance, fear — the stronger the caster, the more complex the emotions they can manipulate). So it is important that the words flow together and can be altered for various shades of meaning. There’s a lot of room for creativity and interpretation with this language. The employer would also like a script to go with the language. Here again, the language sketch should include the necessary words and description of their alterations, and the orthography should include a simple font.

Both languages will be used in rule books, maps and other materials. Background culture and supporting documents will be provided for context.
The conlangers chosen for these two original projects may be contracted in the future to continue work on the aforementioned languages or create the other languages populating the undiscovered parts of the world (of which there are at least 11) depending on the success of the game.

Employer

Broken Dice LLC

Application Period

Open until filled

Term

The employer is looking to receive the conlang sketches and fonts before May 13.

Compensation

$450 for a conlang sketch and orthography for the Merathi language. Half will be paid upfront, the rest (including negotiable additional costs for extra words over the 50 word limit) will be paid upon completion.
$450 for a conlang sketch and orthography for the magic language. Half will be paid upfront, the rest (including negotiable additional costs for extra words over the 50 word limit) will be paid upon completion.
A standard contract will be drawn up once specifics are agreed upon.

To Apply

Email Brooke Junker at brooke “dot” junker “at” brokendice “dot” net to express your interest in the project. Examples of previous work are required, and familiarity with Google Drive and Docs is a plus. The employer would prefer to contract one conlanger per language project, so please indicate in your email which project you are interested in applying for. However, the employer is not against the idea of a single person handling both projects, as long as that person can provide evidence of their expertise. You may express interest for both projects, although the final choice will be at the discretion of the employer.

Note: Please assume that comments left on this post will not be read by the employer.

soft is bimeä (revisited)

Friday, February 19th, 2016
bimeä = soft (adjective) (Some things Google found for "bimea": an unusual term; Bimea is a UK P2P food import / export company; BiMEA is a German retinal science research project; BIMEA is Binh Duong Mechanical Electrical Association of Vietnam; Bimea is a very rare first name)

Word derivation for "soft":
Basque = bigun, Finnish = pehmeä
Miresua = bimeä

My previous Miresua conlang word for soft was pebun.

The word soft appears once in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This quote refers to Alice's cat Dinah.
Alice went on, half to herself, as she swam lazily about in the pool, "and she sits purring so nicely by the fire, licking her paws and washing her face -- and she is such a nice soft thing..."

soft is bimeä (revisited)

Friday, February 19th, 2016
bimeä = soft (adjective) (Some things Google found for "bimea": an unusual term; Bimea is a UK P2P food import / export company; BiMEA is a German retinal science research project; BIMEA is Binh Duong Mechanical Electrical Association of Vietnam; Bimea is a very rare first name)

Word derivation for "soft":
Basque = bigun, Finnish = pehmeä
Miresua = bimeä

My previous Miresua conlang word for soft was pebun.

The word soft appears once in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This quote refers to Alice's cat Dinah.
Alice went on, half to herself, as she swam lazily about in the pool, "and she sits purring so nicely by the fire, licking her paws and washing her face -- and she is such a nice soft thing..."

Reflexives in Ŋʒädär

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Ŋʒädär has a reflexive pronoun, 'ŋul'. Its inflection is as follows:

sgpl
absolutiveŋulŋulɤr
dativeŋulumŋulɤt'
locativeŋulŋaŋuŋa
lativeŋulusŋuvus
ablativeŋulukŋuvuk
gen-comŋurukŋuruk
complementŋulȝuvŋuvȝuv
The direct-inverse system of Ŋʒädär of course involves itself in the whole affair. Now, it should be fairly natural that ŋul can never be a subject - much like you cannot say 'myself saw me' for 'I saw myself' in English. Ŋul occupies a spot in the hierarchy, and thus nouns that are lower than ŋul need to have their verbs marked for inverse, whereas nouns that reside higher than ŋul have their verbs marked with the direct marker.
1st singular >
1st plural >
2nd singular >
2nd plural >
1st, 2nd, and 3rd person animate dative subjects >
3rd animate proximate >
dative objects and ŋul >
3rd animate obviative >
3rd inanimate prox >
other non-nominatives subjects and objects >
3rd inanimate obv
A complication arises in the plural, however. It turns out ŋulɤr appears in two places. You get things like
sint ŋulɤr p'arab-z
sint ŋulɤr p'arab-jut
they selves protect-[direct/inverse]
It turns out these two reside at opposite ends of the whole hierarchy.  When it's at the top of the hierarchy, the verb has to have inverse marking, and of course vice versa when it's at the bottom of the hierarchy. (Thus, we can know which of them it is by looking at the marking on the verb.) There is a difference in meaning:
sint ŋulɤr p'arab-z: they protect themselves
sint ŋulɤr p'arab-jut: they protect each other
Thus, ŋulɤr signifies reciprocality with the inverse, and reflexivity with the direct. Thus:
ŋulɤr (reciprocal)
1st singular >
1st plural >
2nd singular >
2nd plural >
1st, 2nd, and 3rd person animate dative subjects >
3rd animate proximate >
dative objects and ŋul >
3rd animate obviative >
3rd inanimate prox >
other non-nominative subjects and objects >
3rd inanimate obv
ŋulɤr (reflexive)
 As for the case forms, ŋulɤt' and other obliques rank as other obliques, and do not distinguish reciprocal from reflexive. The plural genitive, however, moves its whole noun-phrase to the top or bottom of the hierarchy, and makes the NP behave analogously to ŋulɤr - just rephrasing the possessive structure either as 'each other's Xs' or 'their(refl, shared) Xs'.

Sargaĺk: The Present Tense

Monday, February 15th, 2016
Sargaĺk verb morphology, like its other morphology, is agglutinating. The person-number-gender markers are as follows:

1sg2sg3sg m3sg f1 pl2pl3pl m3pl f
Conjugation I-əi-i-ju-(ĺ)tua-(k)in-va-mu-nu
Conjugation II-i--i-(s)-i-u-n-n
Exceptional
Morphemes
-əta-ita-juta-suta-(k)in vs.
-sim



Intransitivity marker:

The difference between conjugations I and II depend on the position of the secondary stress in the verb; if it's on the person morpheme, the verb belongs to conjugation I, otherwise, it belongs to conjugation II. Normally, the stress sits on the first syllable, thus making the third syllable carry secondary stress. However, if the first syllable is closed, the second syllable carries stress, and the final syllable is reduced.

Sargaĺk has a handful of verbs that distinguish inclusive and exclusive first person in their verb forms. Here is an overview of some verbs and the forms that are used for the distinctions.
jarnap – to inherit
jarnakin = we (incl) inherit
jarnasim = we (excl) inherit
karb - to be forbidden to do
karkin = we (incl) are forbidden from doing
karsim = we (excl) are forbidden from doing
jesal - to be permitted to
jeslin (...)
jesim
vak'am - to gain from
vak'in
vak'sim
rosk'ir - to be related
rosk'in
ros:im
The exceptional morphemes for 1sg and 2sg provide forms for when the verb is ditransitive. The third person exceptional forms are only used when the object or the indirect object also has higher animacy.

Silent Crows

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Well, well, well! We had some mighty fine entries this time around. I had a hard time deciding on who the winners would be. Nevertheless, decided I have, so announce them I shall!

I don’t have time for a big long post this time around, but I very much enjoyed reading all the entries, which you can find in the comments section here. A big thank you to Char, JLategan, Joel W., KuraiHeka, Smoya Targaryen, Tim, and Zhalio for submitting haiku this year.

A couple honorable mentions. Our very first haiku was by Zhalio, who had an amazingly topical haiku about my current bird feeder problems (which, by the way, have not been resolved. The birds won’t go anywhere near the damn bird feeder). It’s a High Valyrian haiku, and here it is:

Tīkorzo
havondo lentrot
umāzigon

Here’s the intended meaning:

May many a bird
at thy gen’rous feeding house
alight and tarry

Tickled me to death, this one. Unfortunately, there are a couple small issues. First, you were looking for tīkorto for the first word, not tīkorzo. The subject of a permissive imperative must be in the dative. [NOTE: As was pointed out in the comments below, Zhalio was looking for a simple third person command rather than a permissive, in which case the vocative is appropriate. My bad there!] Also, given that I just have the one small bird feeder, lentot would be more appropriate than lentrot. Clever solution for “feeding”, though! I like the idea of a little food hamlet.

Next, two honorable mentions for Dothraki. I will say, the Dothraki competition this year was the tightest. Three of the best Dothraki haiku I’ve had were done this year. One of them was Tim’s, listed below:

Zir zhokwa kazga
Ovetha oleth olti
She felde hafi

The intended meaning is below:

Large black bird
Flies over hill
On quiet wings

This is nearly perfect. Rather than she felde, though, I would do ki feldi. Tiny error, but, as I said, competition was stiff this year.

Next is JLategan’s outstanding haiku below:

Charo! Chaf chafki
hola hoyale hafa
ha haqakea

With the intended meaning below:

Listen! Autumn’s wind
is blowing a quiet song
for those who are tired

Nothing at all wrong with this grammatically, but the winner was too good to pass up. All the same, I love this haiku. Wonderful imagery.

Now for the winners! First, winning the Dothraki haiku competition for the second year in a row, congratulations to Zhalio for this gorgeous haiku:

Az ahhaf yera.
Fin vahhafa athnithar
mra zhor anhoon?

A blade silenced thee.
Who shall now silence the pain
left inside my heart?

Athzheanazar! I absolutely love it. As the winner of the Dothraki haiku competition, Zhalio has earned the coveted Red Rabbit!

2016 Red Rabbit Winner Zhalio

Now, for a first time winner, I’m pleased to announce that Joel W. has won the High Valyrian haiku competition with this excellent haiku cycle:

Sambrarra
mērī iōrtes
jorumbare

Pār pȳdza
arghussiarzy
va bantī

Se elēna
lāruno tolmiot
ahīghilis

In the mist
alone it had stood
still waiting

Then leapt
the prey
into the night

And the voices
of some distant crows
were screaming

Very well constructed! I’ll note that I would not use the form pȳdza (it should be pȳdas), and also might not use va bantī, but it certainly works. You were spot on with your use of the instrumental passive in ahīghilis, which I thought was inspired, and your construction for “prey” was likewise praiseworthy.

As the winner of the High Valyrian haiku competition, Joel W. has earned the Golden Owl:

2016 Golden Owl Winner Joel W.

Congratulations to the winners, and to all those who entered! We’ll do it again next year, and I’m sure things will go much more smoothly on my end (Meridian will be more than a year old! That’s easier than two months, right?). Geros ilas ma dothras chek!

Silent Crows

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Well, well, well! We had some mighty fine entries this time around. I had a hard time deciding on who the winners would be. Nevertheless, decided I have, so announce them I shall!

I don’t have time for a big long post this time around, but I very much enjoyed reading all the entries, which you can find in the comments section here. A big thank you to Char, JLategan, Joel W., KuraiHeka, Smoya Targaryen, Tim, and Zhalio for submitting haiku this year.

A couple honorable mentions. Our very first haiku was by Zhalio, who had an amazingly topical haiku about my current bird feeder problems (which, by the way, have not been resolved. The birds won’t go anywhere near the damn bird feeder). It’s a High Valyrian haiku, and here it is:

Tīkorzo

havondo lentrot

umāzigon

Here’s the intended meaning:

May many a bird

at thy gen’rous feeding house

alight and tarry

Tickled me to death, this one. Unfortunately, there are a couple small issues. First, you were looking for tīkorto for the first word, not tīkorzo. The subject of a permissive imperative must be in the dative. Also, given that I just have the one small bird feeder, lentot would be more appropriate than lentrot. Clever solution for “feeding”, though! I like the idea of a little food hamlet.

Next, two honorable mentions for Dothraki. I will say, the Dothraki competition this year was the tightest. Three of the best Dothraki haiku I’ve had were done this year. One of them was Tim’s, listed below:

Zir zhokwa kazga
Ovetha oleth olti
She felde hafi

The intended meaning is below:

Large black bird
Flies over hill
On quiet wings

This is nearly perfect. Rather than she felde, though, I would do ki feldi. Tiny error, but, as I said, competition was stiff this year.

Next is JLategan’s outstanding haiku below:

Charo! Chaf chafki
hola hoyale hafa
ha haqakea

With the intended meaning below:

Listen! Autumn’s wind
is blowing a quiet song
for those who are tired

Nothing at all wrong with this grammatically, but the winner was too good to pass up. All the same, I love this haiku. Wonderful imagery.

Now for the winners! First, winning the Dothraki haiku competition for the second year in a row, congratulations to Zhalio for this gorgeous haiku:

Az ahhaf yera.
Fin vahhafa athnithar
mra zhor anhoon?

A blade silenced thee.
Who shall now silence the pain
left inside my heart?

Athzheanazar! I absolutely love it. As the winner of the Dothraki haiku competition, Zhalio has earned the coveted Red Rabbit!

2016 Red Rabbit Winner Zhalio

Now, for a first time winner, I’m pleased to announce that Joel W. has won the High Valyrian haiku competition with this excellent haiku cycle:

Sambrarra
mērī iōrtes
jorumbare

Pār pȳdza
arghussiarzy
va bantī

Se elēna
lāruno tolmiot
ahīghilis

In the mist
alone it had stood
still waiting

Then leapt
the prey
into the night

And the voices
of some distant crows
were screaming

Very well constructed! I’ll note that I would not use the form pȳdza (it should be pȳdas), and also might not use va bantī, but it certainly works. You were spot on with your use of the instrumental passive in ahīghilis, which I thought was inspired, and your construction for “prey” was likewise praiseworthy.

As the winner of the High Valyrian haiku competition, Joel W. has earned the Golden Owl:

2016 Golden Owl Winner Joel W.

Congratulations to the winners, and to all those who entered! We’ll do it again next year, and I’m sure things will go much more smoothly on my end (Meridian will be more than a year old! That’s easier than two months, right?). Geros ilas ma dothras chek!

#447

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Your conculture’s people have a very addictive personality. They use a sign language, because they are afraid if they use a spoken language, they would get hooked on phonics.