Archive for March, 2016

Bryatesle: A Farewell with Religious Significance

Sunday, March 27th, 2016
In Bryatesle, Dairwueh, and less so Ćwarmin society, greetings often convey religious sentiments. Consider, for instance, the 'good night' farewell; many Bryatesle religiolects form this very much like English, but in the ablative (because that is the case generally used when wishing someone something) -
vind-ïn tal-ëta
good-abl.fem night-abl.fem
The kindaper religion, however, considers the night to be evil per se, a time when the sun-angel is subdued and weakened. Instead, they say
snyk-Ø ɕavr-ity
fast-(abl.masc) victory-abl.masc
(for a) fast victory!
Sometimes,  these also render 'good morning' as tënek/drask ɕavrity, either a 'strong' or 'right' victory, referring to the perception that the sun has (again) won over the night. Snyk-Ø and drask are shorter than the expected forms *snyk-ek, *drask-ek, due to haplology.

The same happens in Dairwueh, and to a lesser extent in Ćwarmin:
Ćwarmin:
samar śavr-otuc
fast victory-[def. comitative-to]
The comitative-to is used in Ćwarmin also for wishing someone something, or wishing it more generally as a form of interjection-like statement. Śavar is borrowed from Bryatesle's ɕaver, and the loss of the second syllable in both is a coincidence - the languages happen to have a similar morphophonological process going.

Dairwueh:
korŋa i marbr-u-ŋa
speed-instr to victory-instr
(victory comes from marbar, 'stronger', and basically originally meant 'strongerness')

Sargaĺk: Numbers and Numeracy

Sunday, March 27th, 2016
The number system in Sargaĺk is somewhat limited – for numbers above 30 or thereabouts, most speakers switch to Ćwarmin numbers. The native Sargaĺk number system does cover numbers up to 55, however.
1 dem
2 k'em
3 prex
4 t'nez
5 voʒe
6 jiʒe
7 t'epp'u
8 (a)t'ep

9 dem at'epat or dmetve
10 k'em at'epat or k'metve
11 prex at'epat, pretve.

16: k'emat t'ep
17: dem (a)k'emat t'epat
18: k'em (a)k'emat t'epat

55: t'epp'u ajiʒat t'epat
Why 55? The Sargaĺk number system is octal, so 55 might seem like an odd point to stop at. However, for some reason there's no way of forming higher 'octaves' than 6*8, and thus the limit comes at 6*8 + 7. (This limit seems to have to do with seven being formed as "almost eight", and seven itself is not quite a regular number, lacking some of the syntactical properties of the other numbers.)

Native speakers who do not interact with traders may not necessarily be proficient with numbers above 32 or thereabouts.

Subject and Object Omission in Ŋʒädär

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
Despite the lack of person congruence on the finite verb, Ŋʒädär permits some amount of subject and object omission. Generally, the most recent subject and the most recent object will carry over.
Example 1: NP1 NP2 V1. Vtrans.
The same NPs will be considered subjects and objects of the next verb, and . If it is intransitive, the previous subject generally will carry over, except for a handful of verbs for which the object will be considered the subject. These generally encode reactions to the first verb, and there are some lexically determined things going on there. 
Example 2: NP1 NP2 V1. NP3 Vdir.
Example 3: NP1 NP2 V1. NP3 Vinv
Although the subject of V1 is whichever of the two NPs whose ranking is preferred by the direct/inverse marking, the first noun phrase syntactically has some subject-like properties – it will carry over to the next verb - unless NP3 and NP1 are co-referent, in which case some other noun takes precedence - a previous subject or the other noun of the previous verb phrase, or the discourse topic. This is somewhat ambiguous, and depends on the nature of the verbs and the involved nouns.

If more than one third person argument is present, however, one will have to be marked for obviativity, which simplifies things a fair bit - the omitted argument will either be obviative or not, which will affect the marking of the next verb.

The Ŋʒädär branch lost a lot of the verb complex during its development out of Proto-Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär. Most direct-inverse languages seem to have pretty rich verb complexes, with person congruence almost omnipresent in this typological class. Therefore, Ŋʒädär is a bit of an outlier - in fact, I'd dare say it's typologically unlikely altogether. The Dagurib branch is more typical of direct-inverse languages.

orange (color) is aransi (revisited)

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
aransi = orange (color) (adjective) (Some things Google found for "aransi": an unusual term; ARANSI is a French company offering training services for business managers; a rare last name; a rare first name that can be Nigerian; Aransi Importaciones S.a.s. is an automotive parts importer in Colombia; similar arancia means orange (fruit) in Italian; similar Arans is the name of a village in Andorra; similar Aransa is a Catalan ski resort; similar Aranshi is the name of a place in Kazakhstan)

Word derivation for "orange (color)" :
Basque = laranja, Finnish = oranssi
Miresua = aransi

My previous word for orange (color) was laransi. I dropped the initial L mainly for aesthetic reasons. This change makes the word for the color orange look even less like the word for orange, the fruit, which is laperni.

The word orange (color) doesn't appear in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-glass. Although ORANGE MARMALADE is mentioned once in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

orange (color) is aransi (revisited)

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
aransi = orange (color) (adjective) (Some things Google found for "aransi": an unusual term; ARANSI is a French company offering training services for business managers; a rare last name; a rare first name that can be Nigerian; Aransi Importaciones S.a.s. is an automotive parts importer in Colombia; similar arancia means orange (fruit) in Italian; similar Arans is the name of a village in Andorra; similar Aransa is a Catalan ski resort; similar Aranshi is the name of a place in Kazakhstan)

Word derivation for "orange (color)" :
Basque = laranja, Finnish = oranssi
Miresua = aransi

My previous word for orange (color) was laransi. I dropped the initial L mainly for aesthetic reasons. This change makes the word for the color orange look even less like the word for orange, the fruit, which is laperni.

The word orange (color) doesn't appear in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-glass. Although ORANGE MARMALADE is mentioned once in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The Verbal Marking of the Proximate-Obviative Distinction in Ŋʒädär

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Ŋʒädär noun morphology distinguishes obviative and proximate nouns; the obviative nouns do not distinguish number as readily as the proximate ones. There are situations where an obviative prefix is attached to the verb:
  • any verb with a pro-dropped obviative subject or object
  • intransitive verbs whose subject is obviative
  • subordinated verbs that relate to an obviative more than to a proximate noun
  • any verb with an obviative subject or object can take the obviative prefix, but this serves to emphasize the obviative noun. Since obviative nouns generally are more 'backgroundy' than proximate nouns, such emphasis is unusual.
The morpheme happens to be cognate to the Ćwarmin ok-/əc-/ec- morpheme. It goes back to Proto-ĆŊ */q'ovk-/, */q'eyk-/. In Ćwarmin, #q' > #ʔ > ∅. Being a doubly closed syllable, these behave somewhat oddly compared to other initial syllables in Ćwarmin: *ʔovk, ʔeyk > ok, əc, ec.

In Ŋʒädär, */q'ovk, q'eyk/ > /q'ovx, k'eyc/ > /q'oux, k'eic/ > /q'ou-, k'ei-/, with further vowel harmony forms having appeared for some verbs.

No cognate morpheme is present in Dagurib, although morphemes with similar function can be found in that branch.

Ćwarmin Vocabulary this far

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
I compiled a list of the full vocabulary of Ćwarmin in order to check if certain things I suspected held with regards to its phonotax were accurate; turns out I was right, and this will help me with regards to constructing Proto-Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär-Dagurib a lot.

COMPLETE ĆWARMIN VOCABULARY THIS FAR except some pronouns  







ainik, amśik, aunik - is/was not
ambad = octet      
arna = this     
arnjan- hurry (re making something or finishing something)
atosćun - to attack    
au - present     
aun - far past    
awwun - was  
badku - village     
baust[??] - fighter     
bax - determiner of some kind  
bičər - wheel     
birsi - barns     
brewən = to grip    
ćan - table     
cawxur - nine day week   
ćimamce - just a moment ago  
ćimið - oftentimes (verb)    
cirverter - big small what  (idiomatic - essentially, 'whatchamaycallit')  
ćiwuru - sometimes (verb)    
cixkan - write     
ćul = few     
curronguska - tiny big chief   
curworkar - big small who ('whatshisface')
ćwarola - ćwarmin descendants    
dart[??] - withstand     
daval - to consider oneself something  
davlakol - not to consider someone something 
davlap - to consider someone something  
Ðaźe - whole?     
dəšip - to be named   
ðirune - soon     
dunvali - kingdom     
dustokvo - enough for ten   
əcgettin - to answer no   
(əc)lədilən - refuse an offer politely  
ecnitren - obey     
əcritən - to deny an accusation or allegation
ecsidten - refuse     
əmni- build      
eramće = a specific, a particular  
erća = a specific, particular   
ered = solo, unity    
erkar, erter (one-who, one-what)    
farna - old     
fird - debt     
firdiŋ - debtor     
gara - red     
garkaaćwurga - huge storm    
garnun - body part    
gimin fish      
girś - net     
grundu - pasture land    
gukula - viceroy     
hacjad - thinker     
har - mr, mrs, ms   
harsab - roof (from sabam)   
haruhno - gentleman     
hərrip leghold traps     
iməl - river     
itred - drunkard     
itrin = drink     
jehir - royal crown    
kalć - stick, branch, plant   
kamu-sun - his wife    
karaž - acres     
karća - aim     
karn - long     
kartapur - taxman     
kəc - wall     
kic - sea animal    
kiŋre - flock of tame animals, fortune, boon
kinij - question     
kinil, kinən - ask    
know = kelə     
kopon = hammer     
kuvara - attempt to open   
lank - door     
lentapritaś       
lentek - to harvest milk, blood, eggs, meat of small
loma - bird or bat   
mauŋ - food     
mauŋed - eater     
mehwi = bread     
mered = duo, but also mother of two
mərə(s) - travel     
merk - improve     
midreviŋrə - our praise    
migit - old     
mirgə - board, cloth, skin, cover  
miske - greedy     
mokmo - action, story, outcome, result  
murus = tusk     
nedim = bit (uncountable)    
nəmirəmcə - demand-past.recent     
nerel - leeward     
niźilgə - my love    
ogmo - stone     
okkaulad - resistance fighter    
okkaulan - resistanceəctəriln - answer   
okratun - to answer yes   
okruncan - fall over from being kinetically affected
(ok)samawan - succumbb to something   
olba = that     
ostanc - storm (synonym)    
pəktən - hundred     
pər - man     
perəc - granaries     
ragad - speaker     
ragam - talk     
ragan - left     
rakad - reader     
rakam - walk     
rəige - bay, cove    
resepaŋ - criminal     
riekye - scissors     
rigən, ridjel, ridjen, ridjin - hurry (re: movement)
ripen, ripəm, ripjig- bite    
roŋ - flock of wild, carnivorous animals 
rumb - temple     
runa - road     
sabam, sabjul - cover    
sabokvo - duvet, blanket    
salcan - great     
samar fast      
samarad - a fast one   
saŋ - a determiner, but also 'up'; as a determiner it serves to mark that a noun, as part of the event the clause refers to, is differentiated from other objects or subjects; it is selected or otherwise differentiated.
śaŋikara - attempt to appear as, attempt to impress
saŋmoru - fallow land    
sapr(ul) - strike, hit    
sarbatuŋra - our obligation    
saul - see     
seben - right     
səkve - land animal    
seltimgə = fisherman     
semtə - flock of wild, non-carnivorous animals 
sewkən = eat     
sicə - vinegar     
sidestigə - my child    
sikred = trio, but also mother of three
sikrekye - enough for three   
širmes ship      
sirni - temporary building    
sirpən - catch a fish   
sirpist - the catch of fish  
śpal       
śpanit - in the nights   
suŕurŋaca - widower     
taucon - breathe     
taxkar, taxŋar - assembly of parts  
taxuga(r) - swith places    
tebuvu - cake     
tergin - clergyman     
toŋugul = winter     
tretke - town     
tuam, twam = reside, live somewhere, stay somewhere
twiherćel       
učuśan - plow     
udug - lake     
varsan - harbour     
verći - account, words, story, sum, plan 
verhərgimin, largest moderately large fish   
voram - belly, torso    
wicxə - house     
wicxit - house     
winćə - city gates    
windarś - marketplace, open square   
wruŋna - castle     
wundarś - marketplace     
xaukam - read     
xuvop - to become    
yulzor - assembly of people, bunch, gang, congregation
yulzvonar - horse-mounted assembly of people  
źaŋk - fisherman     
źaŋkasta - net repair tool   
žewa - maritime sound    
źil - nail

Detail #263: A DIfferent Type of Active-Stative

Monday, March 21st, 2016
Most Active-Stative languages have the case of the subject of intransitives lexically fixed for each verb. A simple way of varying this would be to have the case of the subject of intransitives lexically fixed for each noun.

Of course, further complications could be introduced, with some form of interplay between nominal lexical preferences and verbal lexical preferences. Maybe some simple structure like these:


nounergnounabs
verbergergabs
verbabsabsabs

or like this:

nounergnounabs
verbergergerg
verbabsergabs

or finally like this:

nounergnounabs
verbergergabs/erg
verbabsabs/ergabs

In the last table, the conflicting preferences are not resolved, but open up for those combinations to have some kind of differential marking on the subject. However, one could also decide to just let one of the combinations remain unresolved. Somehow, it seems natural that the differential marking for the nounabs/verberg combination not to distinguish quite the same meaning as the nounerg/verbabs combination.

Verbs that prefer ergative marking may be verbs that clearly have agents although not necessarily patients, whereas verbs that prefer absolutives may be verbs that more clearly have undergoers, experiencer, perceivers, etc. Nouns that prefer the ergative may, conversely, be nouns with low animacy - nouns that normally would not be parsed as agents otherwise.

Thus, in the conflicting combinations, low-ranked nouns may preferentially receive ergative marking when it would be suppressed by the verb, but high-ranked nouns may go by without any problems. However, with verbs that prefer the ergative, high-ranking nouns may shed the ergative marking if their preference is absolutive, since there is no need to clarify that they indeed are the subject.

Having the resolutions be perfectly vertical or horizontal would make the nominal or the verbal preference entirely suppress the other preference, in which case it makes no sense even to talk of the other word class having such a preference at all.

Ŋʒädär: Compound Parsing (and Formation)

Saturday, March 19th, 2016
Ŋʒädär uses compounding rather productively. It uses it for a very great deal of quite different meanings. In addition to this, the compounding system is closely governed by a more detailed hierarchy than the animacy hierarchy.

Reduplication also appears as a compounding strategy (there's two ways reduplication is used with nouns: [(reduced) root]-[inflected noun] vs. [absolutive]-[inflected noun]; the first approach is not per se a compounding strategy, and does thus not appear in this post.) We can see an example of such compound reduplication below:
name-name : things to identify a person, i.e. home village, profession, close relatives
 Sometimes, compounds form somewhat abstract meanings:
arm-hand : strength
work-arm : strength
hand-finger: grip;
hands-fingers: sequence of grips, 'methods' for doing things, sequence of hand moves (in board games), knot tying sequences,

heart-breath : life, in the sense of the biological state of being alive, rather than when speaking of the contents of someone's life - in which case one would rather combine birth-burial.

back-head : stature, uprightness

knife-hide-(dir)-(nom) : treachery, plotting, conspiracy
Noun-verb compounds' meaning depends on where in the hierarchy the noun is. Sometimes, it's X-who-is-verbed, sometimes it's X-who-verbs. Obtaining the opposite meaning requires using the inverse morpheme; the cutoff line is at the dative subject spot. However, dative subjects themselves do not exist for this formation, but the noun component is parsed as though the verb had regular subjects/objects.

Adjective-verb compounds give verbs for either making something have the property designated by the adjective or doing things to things designated by the adjective. Oftentimes, these are further nominalized: cold-fearer. Here, the inverse marker also serves as a participle marker for some verbs, giving things like 'feared by X' as X-fear-(inv)-(inf) or X-fear-(dir)-(inf).

Noun-noun compounds of the same rank are parsed as dvandva compounds:
Noun1Noun2 → Noun1 and Noun2
Same rank is somewhat subjective, and seems to be rather flexible; the exact parameters of the ranking seems to vary greatly from village to village.

For nouns of different rank, 
Noun1Noun2 → Noun1's Noun2, if N1 > N2
Noun1Noun2 → Noun2, associated in some way with Noun1, if N2 > N1
The latter can include, for instance, a person from a village, a person who works with something, etc.
 


Two More Five-Star Reviews of The Buried Ship at the End of the World

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
Title page drawing: Is'a'pai'a Gold-Seeker and its helper Krai'zei
By Shebat Legion on February 6, 2016
There are very few authors who have moved me. Lorinda J Taylor is one of them. To take a story and raise it to the level of excellence as Ms. Taylor has done is applause worthy. The best comparison that I can make, should someone ask, is Frank Herbert's Dune meets Richard Adam's Watership Down but that describes the story not at all. I will not even attempt to describe the plot. It would be doing future readers of the series an injustice, for this is a story so unique, so well written, so truly astounding in its character development and story arch, that to attempt a synopsis is daunting. This is a future classic and I cannot praise the works of Lorinda J. Taylor enough. Five stars.

See Shebat Legion's books at this Amazon link.

By John E. Clifford on March 11, 2016
Even epics have to come to an end. The adventures of Huge-head and his companions is no exception, alas. So, after they are separated from Huge-head and his Rembrancer, his companions continue their quest to its fated conclusion and their story is cleverly reconstructed here' There is an inevitable decline with the tale that focuses on the second generation, as it were, and the telling at a remove by a less gifted Remembrancer. But there is still much action -- though markedly less violence, as the group has learned peaceful ways -- and humor and marvels galore. So, while we are sad to leave this story, it does end satisfactorily for all concerned, with all the prophecy explained at last and everyone in the right place. This is a fitting conclusion to a great series, all that could have been hoped for and wisely blocked from the temptation to go on.

Buy all Lorinda J. Taylor's books here:
Amazon
Amazon.co.uk 
All the other Amazon country websites
Smashwords