Kílta Lexember 15: lapin líkkis “junk food”

December 15th, 2020

A phrasal entry today, from words that already existed:

lapin líkkis junk food < lapin empty + líkkis food

Nothing too exotic here.

Ha në lapin líkkis si kwilë sanët, ichunëho hír.
1SG TOP empty food ACC too.much eat.CVB.PFV, feel.unsatisfied PTCL
I ate too much junk food and feel gross.

Ichunëho is defined as feel unsatisfied despite normal consumption. It can be used with non-food items, such as a book that didn't live up to expectations, but when used in reference to actual food it implies that not only are you not satisfied, you don't feel well.

The postverbal particle hír is used for narrative cohesion, and means something like as you'd expect. It is used more often in Kílta than I use as you'd expect in English.

Kílta Lexember 14: kiummin “spooky, eery”

December 14th, 2020

And old one from my ever-growing list of words to create:

kiummin /kiˈum.min/ spooky, eery, creepy

It has no etymology.

I wanted a particular word to intensify this notion, beyond just very. Physical sensations are good place to go for this, so I went with inesui "icily."

Ummul në kinta kiummin no.
forest TOP night spooky be.PFV
At night the forest is spooky.

Eman në inesui kiummin máha si cholat máko më re.
child TOP icily creepy story ACC hear.INF want.PFV NEG PTCL
The child didn't want to hear a super creepy story.

I'm leaning toward making any statements about other people's internal state (mental or otherwise) require the particle re, which hedges it a bit.

Kiummin is a good match for topicalized infinitive clauses:

Ël tu si mítat në kiummin chaso.
3SG those ACC say.INF TOP spook do.PFV
It got spooky when she said that.

Kílta Lexember 13: issét “footpath, sidewalk”

December 13th, 2020

Basic vocabulary again today:

issét /ˈis.seːt/ footpath, sidewalk < issa road, way + -ét lexical diminutive

Kílta has normal diminutives which can be used freely on anything, as well as fossilized diminutives which only occur as (non-productive) word derivation elements, sometimes without the non-diminutive root being used in the language at all.

Avur në issét nen erniënto.
avur në issét nen er-niënt-o
1PL TOP footpath nen TRANS-depart-PFV
We left on the footpath.

Uhítot si issét li úri avësso.
snow ACC sidewalk ABL just.now remove.PFV
I just removed snow from the sidewalk.

Kílta Lexember 12: chítas “regret, remorse”

December 12th, 2020

Today's word has a modestly interesting etymology, but it kicked off a bunch of new polysemy for some adjectives:

chítas /ˈtʃiːtas/ regret, remorse < chíto bite, chew + -as abstract nominalizer

Part of the motivation for this is that chíto also means sting when insects do it.

As is normal with emotion nouns, the verb relo bear, carry is used when one's experiencing it. I use the ablative li for the matter about which one has regrets, and the dative for a person who has been wronged.

Mannur në nirika li chítas si relo më.
3PL TOP war ABL regret ACC carry.PFV NEG
They don't regret the war.

Ëlá në atta kë chítas si relo.
3PL TOP father DAT regret ACC carry.PFV
They have regrets about their father.

Regrets have standard lexical collocations, generally adjectives, like: sincere, deep, etc., so I needed to cover that a bit. For a sincere regret, I just chose tásin true. That word is also used to mean something like equal to the task, which is more the sense I was drawing on here.

For other intensity terms I went back to the original meaning of chíto bite, and went with nútokin strong for deep regrets. Kwimin weak can mean mild regret, but more carries the sense of insincere regret. I'm not going to give examples of all of them, but one should give the flavor:

Nútokin chítas ël si sikwa mai nuto.
strong regret 3SG ACC house LAT impel.PFV
Deep regret(s) sent him home.

Nuto covers urge, set in motion, impel, etc.

Kílta Lexember 11: insen – “sink, basin”

December 11th, 2020

More basic household vocabulary today:

insen /ˈin․sen/ sink, basin < in- augmentative + sen cup, bowl

This derivation is pretty transparent.

Insen mai manur si salki re.
sink LAT vegetable.PL ACC place.IMP PTCL
Put the vegetables in(to) the sink.

Imperatives are moderated with the particle re.

Insen si këspin mata li riëlainat no.
sink ACC hot water ABL fill.INF be.PFV
I'll fill the sink with hot water.

The simple future, INF + no, is practically confined to first person subjects, so the subject is unambiguous here. Also Kílta has separate temperature words for water and food. Mahin hot would be used for things or the weather.

Kílta Lexember 10: válekwa “sinecure”

December 10th, 2020

Today I'm going a bit more specialized for Kílta, but still using the derivation I've used a previous post, the -i/ekwa room and building suffix:

válekwa /βaːˈle․kʷa/ sinecure < vál perquisite, privilege + -i/ekwa room, building suffix 

Here I'm using a common enough metonymy of a place for the things that go on there. In this case, it's referring to some sort of official position (possibly governmental, but it could be business, and probably organized crime) that someone has but for which they aren't expected to accomplish much if any work. The position exists to confer wealth and power.

Because it's derived from a location term, expressions with will tend to refer to that origin.

Sím në ronin válekwa nen úri vëchësto.
sím në ronin válekwa nen úri vëch-ëst-o
3SG TOP high sinecure LOC just.now remain-INCH-PFV
He just got a valuable sinecure.

The adjective ronin high is often associated with positions of power (again, a common enough conceptual metaphor). The verb vëcho means remain at the core, but is used for expressions meaning live, dwell.

One might also get kutta vë válekwa a vassal's sinecure, a valuable position that requires the continued patronage of some powerful figure. Any sinecure might be like this, but in this expression the position is precarious.

I still need to work out some nice phrasing for when someone is evicted from a sinecure.

Kílta Lexember 9: okwama “kitchen”

December 9th, 2020

Yet another fairly basic term I should have invented for Kílta years ago:

okwama /oˈkʷæ.ma/ kitchen < okwa hearth, fireplace + -ama location and time derivation

I don't use the ("non-productive") -e/ikwa room derivation here to avoid the doubled /kʷ/.

Kolán okwama nen vuttë sunko?
everyone kitchen LOC why stand.PFV
Why is everyone in the kitchen?

I spend a certain amount of time thinking about lexical collocation. You could say that someone was "very mistaken," but a more idiomatic turn of phrase is "sorely mistaken." You cannot, however, be "sorely correct." A high degree of attention is close. And so on. Intensifiers often come in for special treatment.

Kitchens don't usually get intensifiers, but you do sometimes want to talk about a kitchen (or any workspace) that is well suited or well prepared for the work that goes on there. So, I've decided to add a polysemy to the already existing adjective kinochin, normally used of people to mean ready, prepared. When referring to places where work takes place, it now also means well or fully equipped. If you were trying to sell it, I suppose you could say well-appointed.

Ël vë kinochin okwama nen tëlpár surílo.
3SG ATTR well.equipped kitchen LOC cook.CVB.IPFV enjoy.PFV
I enjoy cooking in their well-equipped kitchen.

Kílta Lexember 8: konekwa “bedroom”

December 8th, 2020

Very basic vocabulary for Kílta today:

konekwa /koˈne.kʷa/ bedroom < kono sleep -(e/i)kwa room, building

The suffix -(e/i)kwa is yet another of those "non-productive" suffixes. 

Mautur në konekwa nen nulo tul?
cats TOP bedroom LOC lie.PFV Q
Are the cats in the bedroom?

Not a whole lot of room (sorry) for polysemy with this one.

A Conreligious Detail: Migdaper Prayer Cycle

December 8th, 2020

I have previously mentioned details about the Bryatesle-Dairwueh religions. This article presents one of these imaginary religions in greater detail. The BD religions form a religious union, whereby they consider each other valid forms of worship and belief. This example comes from one of the western branches of this complex of religions.

A Migdaper Prayer Tradition, and the Subversion of its Intent

Among the early migdaper sages, an important idea seems to have been that charity has four components: material charity, behavioral charity, verbal charity and mental charity: gifts of kindness, acts of kindness, words of kindness and thoughts of kindness.

When these four are practiced in parallel, righteousness increases. Different parts of the religious rituals are meant to increase this.

Daily communal prayer has been an established practice in the western bryatesle-dairwueh religions, probably since before the three modern western BD religions were established.

The daily prayer contains two almost fixed parts - the introduction and the end. These, however, are replaced by specific versions on holy days, and under certain other circumstances - war, famine, plagues, comets and other calamities, but also during harvest and sowing. If the community has a funeral, this is also reflected.

In between these, there are a few cycles. The festival cycle has special prayers for certain days, but is omitted on most days. The agricultural cycle follows the times of the year (and is tailored to local climates), but is omitted on some holy days.

In addition, there exist a few other types of cycles with different geographical distribution, and then the free parts - the leader of the congregation says a prayer loud that often covers recent themes, congregants may be invited to improvise or quote prayers they like (the frequency and number of congregants invited varies strongly), and a private, quiet prayer.

The most recent cycle to be almost universally shared among the migdaper is the "human cycle". A group of sages set out to gather prayers composed by people from every walk of life. The idea was that praying these prayers would teach empathy for those in different situations.

It is clear that the prayers were not entirely composed by the people they represent, but it seems beyond doubt that the sages did base the prayers on examples they encountered among the type of people represented by each prayer. After eliciting prayers, they seem to have done some poetic touch-ups, possibly some theological corrections and redacted them in other minor ways.


The relevant walks of life do not correspond entirely to occupations or social class, although many examples of that are included. Prayers can be found that originate with kings, warriors, orphans, bankers, scribes, sailors, fishermen, wives, caravan traders, farmers, a barren woman, widows, mothers grieving a lost child, the father of a heretic, a member of a "pagan" religion, a child, noblemen, the elderly, thieves, slaves, prostitutes and so on. The ones mentioned above are present in all the original variations of this cycle, among about fifty other near-universal walks of life.

There exist a few different sets of these of slightly different lengths - which is why I wrote "almost universally shared". Nearly all migdaper communities have some variation on this cycle, but there are differences in the number of prayers. The cycle was partially meant to have some stability, but also to permit for new walks of life.

An early book written by one of the originators of this cycle suggests that the cycle length should be kept steady in a community for as long as possible - any added prayers should be added to be said on the same day as some old prayer. Lengthening the cycle should only be done if the daily prayer gets exceedingly long. The book states that a cycle length is permissible as long as it is coprime with the length of the year, the length of the leap year and the length of the leap year cycle - but it is a preferrable cycle if it also is coprime with the length of any sum of one leap year and one, two, three, four or five normal years as well.

This should guarantee that all walks of life get their prayers said on all the holy days at some point. In the eyes of God, and in the eyes of the religious calendar, all humans are equally precious, and so should be equal in this cycle.

This might seem like a nice enough sentiment, but the practice is broken in four different ways, and quite intentionally: failure to attend, rioting during attendance, manipulation of the cycle and omission of the prayer. On the day of the prayer of the prostitute, and to a lesser extent those of the thief and the slave, attendance often drops significantly - in places with many migdaper prayer houses that follow different cycles, other houses whose cycle is at a different point sometimes see quite an increased attendance. The prayer of the prostitute is sometimes also met with loud derision and even riots in the houses of prayer.

Some communities refuse to read these prayers on holy days. Different solutions exist: either, saying the offensive prayer on the same day as another offensive prayer during years when they would coincide, just dropping them altogether from the cycle on those years, or shortening / lengthening the cycle by adding or moving some prayers around in it for the sake of not giving prostitutes, slaves and thieves the honour of having their prayers said on holy days. Some particularly brazen congregations have removed these prayers altogether from the prayer cycle. One congregation does nominally keep these prayers in the cycle - but has no communal prayer on those days except if they are holy days, in which case the prayers are omitted.

In some cases, where a leader of a congregation has read the prayer on holy days despite disapproval, the congregants have celebrated the holy day anew the next day, to mark that they consider it as if the holy day did not take place at all as the taint from the prayer of prostitute is enough to cancel all holiness.

It is notable that these three prayers are not in any way explicit, nor do they advocate anything that anyone finds offensive. Notably, the prayer that generates the greatest offense generally is the prayer of the prostitute, and secondarily that of the slave.

Kílta Lexember 7: hënnëtukës “charismatic leader”

December 7th, 2020

A somewhat more obscure term for Kílta today, but a matter that sometimes grabs my attention.

hënnëtukës /xən.nəˈtu.kəs/ charismatic leader < hënno tame, control + tuka eye + -ës agent and instr. nmnl

In Kílta the word tuka eye has strong connotations of nosiness, extending to surveillance. I wanted for this word to capture the role of the rather nosy techniques of group control that tend to accompany organizations headed by charismatic figures. Also, what the leader turns their eye to tends to become the interest of everyone in such a group.

Hënnëtukës luël si chasët në, nahësá luël si inachëlo.
hünnëtukës luël si chas-ët në, nahës-á luël si inach-ël-o
charismatic.leader error ACC do-CVB.PFV TOP follower-PL error ACC big-CAUS-PFV
When a charismatic leader makes a mistake, the followers amplify the mistake.

A general converb clause can be topicalized, and it has a mixed conditional and temporal sense. My translation uses when, which captures the more conditional sense here.

Hënnëtukës në pairun no.
chairsmatic.leader TOP disaster be.PFV
A charistmatic leader is a catastrophe.

Kílta distinguishes pairun, a disaster that is more man-made, from sauna, a disaster over which people have no control.