Kílta Lexember 25: ësta “gift”

December 25th, 2020

Kílta has two separate roots for give, one when the recipient is the first person (me, us), one when the recipient is the non-first person (you, him, her, it, them). When terms are derived from a give word, though, the non-first person recipient one, ëcho, is the one used.

ësta /ˈəs.ta/ gift, present; bribe < ëcho give + -ta nominalizer (with some sound changes)

Emanur në rëtu ëstur si niëmo.
child.PL TOP much.PL gift.PL ACC receive.PFV
The children got many presents.

The usual give verbs, ëcho and tiro, can be used for giving a gift, but the light verb expression ësta si salko (lit., "put/place a gift"), is also regularly used, especially if the gift is not a physical object. With dative for recipient, ablative for the gift.

Ha në ël kë vúkur si ësta si salko.
1SG TOP 3SG DAT silver.PL ACC gift ACC put.PFV
I gave her some money (as a gift)

The adjective luikin heavy is used for a big gift that possibly incurs reciprocal social obligation, and lapin empty for a "small token," a minor gift.

Given the appropriate context, ësta also means a bribe.

Válekos në ëstur së si niëmirë hír.
sinecure-holder TOP gift.PL also ACC receive.IPFV PTCL
The sinecure-holder was of course also taking bribes.

The clause-final particle hír indicates that the statement follows naturally from what has come before.

Kílta Lexember 24: sussorë “woolgathering, abstracted, absorbed”

December 24th, 2020

A simple but useful adverb today:

sussorë /susˈso.ɾə/ woolgathering, abstracted, absorbed, no etymology

This is almost always used with a posture verb (sit, stand, lie, hang), whether as a predicate or an attribute.

Ton në huchë sussorë sunko tul?
2SG TOP again wollgathering stand.PFV Q
Are you woolgathering again?

Ha në sussorë rinërin mauta si auttët, auníta si chaso.
1SG TOP wollgathering sit.PCPL.PFV cat ACC touch.CVB.PFV, startle ACC do.PFV
I touched the abstracted cat and startled him.

Kílta uses participles for things like relative clauses, "the cat that was woolgathering."

Kílta Lexember 23: lurusanil “parasite”

December 23rd, 2020

Another charming word today:

lurusanil /lu.ɾuˈsæ.nil/ parasite < lur breath, "energy" + sano eat + -il agent noun 

The breath, lur, in Kílta is also used idiomatically to refer to one's personal energy. Usually this is for the personal feeling, but I've grabbed it here for a more general sense.

Maras në lurusanilá si kacho tul?
kitten TOP parasite.PL ACC suffer.PFV Q
Does the kitten have parasites?

Kílta prefers kacho suffer to possession when referring to parasite infestation.

The adjective is lurusanohin parasitic.

Lurusanohin ús mácha si chuvët, akkalët, errelo.
lurusanohin ús mácha si chuv-ët, akkal-ët, er-rel-o
parasitic wasp spider ACC hunt-CVB.PFV, capture-CVB.PFV, TRANS-carry-PFV
A parasitic wasp hunted, captured, and carried away a spider.

Kílta Lexember 22: mënsekwa “restroom”

December 22nd, 2020

More household vocabulary today:

mënsekwa /mənˈse.kʷa/ restroom, bathroom < mënso wash, clean + -e/ikwa room/building suffix

An altogether transparent derivation.

The verb nuto means impel, urge, set in motion. It's used in the detransitive form, with a middle-like sense, to express the need to visit a restroom:

Ha në mënsekwa mai nutiso.
ha në mënsekwa mai nut-is-irë
1SG TOP restroom LAT impel-DETR-IPFV
I have to go to the bathroom.

In normal daily usage, absent other context, just nutiso by itself means the same thing.

Kílta Lexember 21: kwailëmës “sadist”

December 21st, 2020

Kílta has a family of derivations centered on -ëmës "caretaker, cultivator." The word for doctor (or veterinarian) is esëmës, from es health. Today's words start with that:

kwailëmës /kʷaɪ̯ˈlə.məs/ sadist < kwailo hurt + -ëmës "caretaker" derivation

Kwailëmësá útan si ontirë.
sadist.PL matter ACC conduct.IPFV
Sadists are running things.

The light verb expression útan si onto is a fixed idiom meaning "run things."

The standard adjective derivation for -ëmës nouns is -ëmarin. For both the noun and the adjective form, the intensifier word is ívin (adv. ívui) savage.

Ívui kwailëmarin íhamal si ruiso.
savagely sadistic law ACC bind.PFV
They passed a deeply sadistic law.

Kílta Lexember 20: kuima “snail”

December 20th, 2020

I realized that I didn't have a word for snail, which, I'll admit, isn't a word I use a lot, but sometimes you need to translate a conlanging meme.

kuima /kuˈi.ma/ snail, no etymology

Kuimur rëtu sotur së ën tuimata nen vëcho.
snail.PL many kind.PL also this swamp LOC remain.PFV
Many kinds of snail live in this swamp.

A word I do use more often, however, is slug, which is just lapin kuima a naked snail.

Lapu kuimur në ekiccha si sanár vëcho vukai!
naked.PL snail.PL TOP cabbage ACC eat.CVB.IPFV remain.PFV PTCL
The slugs keep eating the cabbage!

A converb + vëcho is a light verb expression that means continue to, keep on, etc. The post-verbal particle vukai indicates the speaker's displeasure about the situation. 

Kílta Lexember 19: ósa “form, shape”

December 19th, 2020

More from my terrible backlog:

ósa /ˈoː.sa/ shape, form < onna build, fashion + -sa a "non-productive" nominalizer

This takes the attributive/possessive particle  to indicate a particular shape, and prefers vurpin what kind of to just plain vurin which when asking about shape.

Ën mika vë ósa në uchin no.
this stone ATTR shape TOP strange be.PFV
The shape of this stone is peculiar.

Like many attributes, it is carried rather than simply had,

Mium në vurpin ósa si relo?
toy TOP what.kind.of form ACC bear.IPFV
What's the toy's shape?

I've decided to push on the meaning a bit for a few compounds to refer to states of matter. I almost never talk about that, but since I'm here and the idea occurred to me, I might as well add them:

ahëkósa - gas ("wind-shape")
matusósa - liquid ("water-shape")
saispusósa - solid ("wood-shape," where wood is often "matter")
luëkusósa - plasma ("fire-shape")

I am not going to worry about Bose-Einstein Condensates for now.

Kílta Lexember 18: válusórin “ambitious”

December 18th, 2020

The English word ambitious apparently only started to take on positive senses in the 1600s. The Kílta word reflects a deep ambivalence about it, suggesting a certain aggressive, grasping quality.

válusórin /βaː.luˈsoː.ɾin/ ambitious < vál privilege, perq + -ór-in adj. derivation meaning fond of

In new derivations and compounds Kílta will make an effort to avoid sequences of heavy syllables. It's not completely precious about it — there are, after all, roots that have HH patterns — but it will try. In the case of the -ór-in suffix, the usual ligature to add a light element -ar- is too echo-y, so the noun compounding ligature -u(s)- is preferred here.

Válusórin kattëkës në avur nalaikin kata si chasëtiu máko.
ambitious boss TOP 1PL further work ACC do.PURP.CVB.PFV want.PFV
Our ambitious boss wants us to work more.

There are a few common collocations I worry about when generating new words: intensity, approval, good/bad for a purpose. There are others, but those are pretty core. A simple very is usually available, but not very interesting, and in many natural languages, not even usual for many words. Approval for this word is unlikely for Kílta, but I'm going with mákohin covetous as the main term for intense ambition (adverbialized if necessary). Using these collocations is one of the main things I try to do in my example sentences in the lexicon.

The noun is válusóras ambition. Certain actions might expose ambition, which is indicated with ráno signal, gesture, point (out).

Sím vë lár në mákohin válusóras mai ráno.
3SG ATTR word TOP covetous ambition LAT signal.PFV
What he said exposed his intense ambition.

Detail #404: A Really Tiny Remnant of an Ergative System

December 17th, 2020

The normal situation in an ergative language is that the absolutive case is the unmarked case, and one would expect a transition to nominative-absolutive to keep the absolutive as nominative.

However, in nom-acc languages, a grammar change that sometimes happens is "accusativism", the replacement of the nominative by the accusative form. We can imagine that a similar thing could happen with ergative turning into a nominative, and some other case replacing the accusative (or not at all).

For personal pronouns, it seems even less peculiar for something like that to happen - maybe the ergative and absolutive are suppletive anyways, and further case forms are formed by further suffixes, which could muddy the waters with regards to which form is more marked in the first place. So, after all that handwaving, let's posit this for the third person pronouns:

DAT -> ACC (or maybe ERG -> ACC)

A situation with ERG -> NOM, ABS -> ACC is not entirely impossible, and would enable what I am going for here, but I find it typologically fairly unlikely. Also, I imagine this idea would also work in an Iranian-style split ergativity.

Now, for the tiny remnant. Let's imagine the language requires dummy subjects sometime. Let's imagine that in this particular context, the old third person inanimate absolutive survives.

Kílta Lexember 17: líkkis si salko “feed”

December 17th, 2020

Today is another phrasal creation, made up of words that already exist.

In the existing Kílta corpus there are already a very small uses of the word sanëlo, which is just the causative of sano eat, for feed, but I don't like it. I've decided that sanëlo is confined to industrial or mechanical feeding, as well as experimental settings where we might say we're feeding (culturing) bacteria or whatnot. Force-feeding a prisoner, or as a form of torture, would also use sanëlo. For normal feeding:

líkkis si salko feed < líkkis food + salko put, place; with the dative for the recipient

Ton në ké mautur kë líkkis si salko tul?
2SG TOP already cat.PL DAT food ACC put Q
Have you fed the cats yet?

Every once in a while, you have to do this sort of lexical retconning when something that seemed like a good idea at the time turns out later to not be what you want. The light verb expression here is more in the spirit of the language.