Outline of the phonology of Thomoraii

This is part of the third incarnation of my language Thomoraii, otherwise known as Tǎi, Tą and Tâï (the current name is Thomoraii or Tǎi). My translations of a seakitty notice and a scene from Super Paper Mario are in the second version of Thomoraii, so they’re outdated at the moment. This rough phonology is the beginning of a new grammar of the modern, standard literary dialect of Obtobian Thomoraii.

Phonemes

Thomoraii has only 13 consonant phonemes. In their basic form:

Labial

Labiodental

Dental

Alveolar

Alveolar-Palatal

Velar

Glottal

Stop

Fricative

f

θ

s

h

Approximant

w

l

j

Trill

r

Nasal

m

n

But then Thomoraii has 15 vowel phonemes. These are generally divided into three sets – the basic set, the pharyngealized set, and the epiglottalized set. Thomoraii grammarians typically call the basic vowels the green vowels, the pharyngealized vowels the blue vowels, and the epiglottalized vowels the black vowels. I will be using this traditional terminology throughout this grammar.

Green vowels:

Front

Central

Back

Close

i

u

Close mid

o

Mid

Open mid

ɛ

Open

a

Blue vowels:

Front

Central

Back

Close

i

u

Close mid

Mid

ə

Open mid

ɛ

Open

a

Black vowels:

Front

Central

Back

Close

u

Close mid

e

ɵ

Mid

Open mid

ɛ

Open

a

The actual phonetic realization of a consonant depends on the color of the vowel nucleus of the syllable it’s in. In syllables with a monophthong nucleus, the nucleus determines the realization of both onset and coda. In syllables with a diphthong nucleus, however, the onset is determined by the first sound of the diphthong, and the coda is determined by the second sound of the diphthong.

Here’s a table of how consonant phonemes are realized according to the color of the determining vowel. In general, green vowels are associated with lack of voicing, blue vowels with retroflex place of articulation, and black vowels with voicing, but many phonemes break these patterns. Please also note that this chart only shows the general realization; there are a few more processes that occur after vowel color has its say.

Green

Blue

Black

p

b

ʈ

d

q

ɢ

h

ħ

ʔ

f

v

s

ʂ

z

j

j

ɰ

w

w

ɰ

l

ɭ

ɫ

r

ɻ

ɻ

n

ɳ

ŋ

m

m

θ

ʃ

d͡ʒ

The phonological processes that occur after vowel color determination vary by dialect. Here are a few of the major processes that occur in most modern Obtobian dialects.

/ai/ and /oi/ of any combination of colors are diphthongized
[kʰ] → [g] before blue /i ɛ u/
[h] → [h̰] before [i ɛ e] of all colors
A single vowel following [h̰] is nasalized
Doubled consonants are not geminated

Phonotactics

Most syllables are CV or VC, with any consonants being allowed in the consonant slots. However, there are several other possible syllable shapes, too:

CV(/s r m n t θ/), e.g. [tʰas], [baŋ], [joʃ]
[stop]/r/V, e.g. [tʰra], [dɻa]
/s/[stop]V, e.g. [stʰa], [zda]
V, but this syllable shape is rare in roots – it’s mostly found in inflected words and loanwords

Stress

Stress patterns vary significantly by dialect. This grammar, however, will assume typical Obtobian stress, which is always initial.

Romanization

Thomoraii is rather tricky to romanize, since if you do it phonetically, there are too many sounds to be able to elegantly represent them. But if you do it phonemically, the romanization does not clearly show what the actual pronunciation is. Since neither is ideal, this grammar will use a phonetic romanization when it is important to emphasize how something is pronounced, and will use a phonemic romanization in all other cases.

Phonemic Romanization

pʰ <p>
tʰ <t>
kʰ <k>
h <h>
f <f>
s <s>
j <y>
w <w>
l <l>
r <r>
n <n>
m <m>
θ <sh>

Green

Blue

Black

i <i>

i <ǐ>

e <î>

u <u>

u <ǔ>

u <û>

o <o>

ə <ǒ>

ɵ <ô>

ɛ <e>

ɛ <ě>

ɛ <ê>

a <a>

a <ǎ>

a <â>

Phonetic Romanization

Vowels are romanized in the same way as in the phonemic transcription.

pʰ <ph>
p <p>
b <b>
tʰ <t>
ʈ <ţ>
d <d>
kʰ <k>
q <q>
ɢ <qh>
h <h>
ħ <hh>
ʔ <‘>
f <f>
v <v>
vˠ <vg>
s <s>
ʂ <ş>
z <z>
j <y>
ɰ <yg>
w <w>
l <l>
ɭ <ļ>
ɫ <lg>
r <r>
ɻ <ŗ>
n <n>
ɳ <ņ>
ŋ <ng>
m <m>
mˠ <mg>
θ <th>
ʃ <sh>
d͡ʒ <j>

Dreams – An Egeldish Example Text

While I was working on Egeldish, I spent a lot of time thinking about how people would use it and abuse it in normal, colloquial speech. So when I was more or less finished with my grammar notes and ready to translate an example text, I thought it would be fun to translate a casual conversation and try out all those colloquial structures I had put in Egeldish. Now, I could have written a conversation, but I thought it would be more fun to actually record my family talking and then translate something from our conversations. And, of course, any real conversation would be more natural than something I had written! So I recorded my family talking one breakfast (with their permission, yes), picked one bit of a conversation, edited it some so that it would make sense in Egeld (because, for instance, Egeldish would not be talking about relatives in Knoxville), and then translated it.

This translation project was quite fun (even if I was driven occasionally to complain to my sister, “Why, oh why did you have to use THAT sentence construction?!”), and it did give me a good opportunity to try out a lot of Egeldish’s structures. For instance, I chose a conversation where we were talking about our dreams, since Egeldish is actually very finicky about marking things that don’t exist or only sort of exist, like dreams, and so it was neat to figure out how Egeldish marks such stuff. I even got to use the names I gave to the letters of the Egeldish alphabet at the end, where Juhārgene spells out a name! But I’m glad to be done. Egeldish was a fun language to create, but it has a lot of problems. It’s humongous, and kitchen-sinky, and inconsistent, and wild, and just plain unwieldy. I’m looking forward to working on my next language, Arandui, which is going to be a lot more streamlined. (Though I bet in another year I’ll be complaining about Arandui and saying how terrible it is.) So understand as you look at this text that while this is the best language I’ve created to date, I know it has a lot of problems!

Here I have the original conversation my family had, as I transcribed it from my recording, just with certain personal information taken out; my modified, Egeld-compatible version; my translation into Egeldish; and finally an interlinear and literal translation with various notes and commentary on how Egelish does things.

Original Conversation

Alison (me): I had a funny dream about the Series of Unfortunate Events AGAIN! Why have I been dreaming about it? I’ve not been like –
Catherine (my younger sister): I had – what did I dream about again? It was a very interesting dream, we were like visiting some people…
Alison (to Mommy): Look how curly Catherine’s hair is!
Mommy: It’s beautiful after she washes it.
Catherine: …probably in America, for a while, and we were like, um, seeing if I remembered the people, and it was like, trying to remember them…
Alison (laughing): That sounds familiar!
Catherine: …and, and… [mumbling]
Alison: I had a dream – I had a dream that I met [a friend’s] brother. I don’t know if [that friend] even has a brother, but, we were in [a nearby country] and we were with the Bos – um, the Knoxville [my last name]s for some reason –
Mommy (interested): Mmm.
Alison: – and a man came in with like these five dogs, and at first I thought he was [our friend], but then I realized no, this is his brother. What he was doing with all those dogs I don’t know! And why we were in [the nearby country] I don’t know. You know, it’s like, anyways! But what I just – what I just – what I dreamed about the Series of Unfortunate Events was that – I’m not sure if I was reading, or if I was actually, like, being this. But, so, Violet and Klaus and Sunny were going to this, like, some kind of charity orphanage place, but it was only for, like, younger children, and you could, like, leave a child there, and you would promise that you would leave the child there for, like, forever or something but then they would would like take care of her for free. So they were like thinking about, um, having Sunny there, so that she would be safe, because for some reason they thought she would be safe there. So they went to the orphanage, and it was all sad, and dramatic, because they were giving her up so she could be taken care of. And then, they were just going out, and suddenly Klaus was like, “OH MY GOSH! I just had this, like, premonition that something terrible will happen if we leave her there! We need to go back and get her!” And I’m like, oh, dear, now the author is resorting to, um, supernatural feelings about the future? So they went back and got her. So – so – so, so like, what the books were like, they – First of all, they would not leave Sunny at a random orphanage! Secondly, they wouldn’t have, like, sudden visions of the future…So…but it was rather peculiar….
Daddy: Oh! Sonny is a girl?
Alison: Yes. S *U* N N Y.

Modified, Egeld-Compatible Version

I imagine this as a translation of a transcript of a conversation in Egeldish recorded in early 1501, between the members of a middle-class Egeldish family living in Dāʔos in central Egeld: Nanaʔu, the father (replacing my dad); Dadaʔu, the mother (replacing my mom); Juhārgene, the older daughter (replacing me); and Enāne, the younger daughter (replacing my sister Catherine). I replaced the names of places in the real world with names of places in Egeld, replaced the names of real friends of ours with imaginary friends of the imaginary Egeldish family, and replaced the Series of Unfortunate Events references with references to an imaginary Egeldish book series. I’ve made up very little about this imaginary book series, by the way; all I know is that it’s about three orphaned Egeldish kids fleeing Azon at some point who happen to be the same ages and genders as the protagonists of the SoUE, because I didn’t want to change the original conversation too much. Also, a few other small things are tweaked to fit better with how Egeldish puts things.

Juhārgene: I had a funny dream about the Chronicles of the Ŋunos’s AGAIN! Why have I been dreaming about it? I’ve not been like –
Enāne: I had – what did I dream about? It was a very interesting dream, we were like visiting some people…
Juhārgene (to Dadaʔu): Look how curly Enāne’s hair is!
Dadaʔu: It’s beautiful after she washes it.
Enāne: …probably in Crāā, for a while, and we were like, um, seeing if I remembered the people, and it was like, trying to remember them…
Juhārgene (laughing): That sounds familiar!
Enāne: …and, and…
Juhārgene: I had a dream – I had a dream that I met Mr. Negānis’s brother. I don’t know if Mr. Negānis even has a brother, but, we were in Jalūsca and we were with the Rūd – um, the Nodānos’s for some reason –
Dadaʔu (interested): Mmm.
Juhārgene: – and a man came in with like these five seakitties, and at first I thought he was Mr. Negānis, but then I realized no, this is his brother. What he was doing with all those seakitties I don’t know! And what we were doing in Jalūsca I don’t know. You know, it’s like – anyways! But what I was just – what I was just – what I dreamed about the Chronicles of the Ŋunos’s was that – I’m not sure if I was reading, or if I was actually, like, being this. But, so, Ðēlne and Hāntis and Sune were going to this, like, some kind of charity orphanage place, but it was only for, like, younger children, and you could, like, leave a child there, and you would promise that you would leave the child there for, like forever or something but then they would like take care of her for free. So they were like thinking about, um, having Sune there, so that she would be safe, because for some reason they thought she would be. So they went to the orphanage, and it was all sad, and dramatic, because they were giving her up so that she could be safe. And then, they were just going out, and suddenly Hāntis was like, “OH MY GOSH! I just had this, like, premonition that something terrible will happen if we leave her there! We need to go back and get her!” And I’m like, oh, dear, now the author is resorting to, um, supernatural feelings about the future? So they went back and got her. So – so – so, so like, what the books are like, they – First of all, they would not leave Sune at a random orphanage! Secondly, they wouldn’t have, like, sudden visions of the future…So…but it was rather peculiar…
Nanaʔu: Oh! Suŋe is a girl?
Juhārgene: Yes. S U *N* E.

Egeldish Translation

Juhārgene: Lananhsy haazānso OŢENE Conswuj Ryŋūnosejd! Nnane ērneʔ erlinaanrratursycy? Ŋicy, gyi –
Enāne: Lananhsy – ērneʔ erlinanhtursy? Nyū-junāne nnotya ŋit uŋ, saʔyonetāhŋohnē ţcā ejujaʔn cāntčaʔeʔ…
Juhārgene (to Dadaʔu): : Atohāāsēt nesināʔyijd hāja jērle Heenāne!
Dadaʔu: Nega nwasinonsʔwēc golya uŋ.
Enāne: …ucryjaʔ utrēljaʔe, ŋiʔwocū čāgenecta ana, la ţoʔ, nnu, ratrocoocaŋsy ejujaʔnje saʔyotasthŋohnē cnāhujaʔnta, la ŋicy, ţoʔ, erlinctrocochŋoh…
Juhārgene: Dāʔdat ināʔāsy cnāhujaʔn!
Enāne: …la, la…
Juhārgene: Lananhsy – jēʔholhanyhēc zēlywujaʔn Uhāč Negāniseʔ, lananhsy cnāhujaʔnta. Genwiguʔhcŋiit otā zēlywujaʔn Uhāč Negānisa, raʔ, Eʔjalūscwujaʔn jaʔanynē la ʔwerūd – nnu, ʔwenodānosonujaʔna āāhnū ʔēcwujaʔnh jēʔŋithnē –
Dadaʔu: Nnn.
Juhārgene: – ēs jēʔson čorujaʔninč ţoʔ eðidrāntyujaʔn zdātčaʔe, la Hāč Negānisujaʔna etanse nwaʔhcŋithjy, sog jaʔsāŋkrēshz: re, zēlywujaʔn uriza olʔ. Genwaʔaʔnywagaʔhctarcahucwessy ðidryantujaʔhn ţīʔujaʔnt! La genwaʔaʔnywagaʔhctarcahucwesēc Eʔjalūscwujaʔn. Sol, ŋicy ţoʔ – raʔ cnāhð! Ēs ŋicy, olʔda odzŋizorywe – olʔda odzŋizorywe – olʔujaʔnda lananhsy Riconswuj Ryŋūnoseje: Sol, genesiguʔhcināhucwessy, dac, soconðyujaʔne, ţoʔ, genhiguʔhcŋithucwessy. Raʔ, ŋi, saʔyoloʔoŋ Ðelnyujaʔna Hāntisujaʔna Sunyujaʔna, ţoʔ, ŋicy, atāsyujaʔn zradgenāstruljaʔ ţterandwjaʔta, raʔ ronyejjorznēke dzŋyūnsyjaʔa, ţcā, jēʔŋit uŋujaʔn, la nescyīsčāhijd ehatāsujaʔhn, ţoʔ, nudwyanaz čorznēdwyeʔ, ēs ernetāčāhss olʔt: nniice, ţoʔ, tore ţīʔīţh dac gyēssycta lolʔ erizāʔāgaŋj ehatāsujaʔhn čorznēdwyeʔ sog lolʔ astosʔogaŋčynye oneʔāsēdwya. Ŋi atāsujaʔhna lolʔ nhanyʔagaŋ Sunyujaʔn, nn, jaʔlwiirgaŋčy ţcā cnāht, ēs ēs ardosdyan lolʔ nwaŋiitny, ţa nŋaʔwanū āneʔujaʔn jēgjaʔta jāʔrēshčy cnāhujaʔnta. Ŋi saʔyolohnez genāstrulujaʔnh, la ronyŋyēzyjaʔa, čāsčalonjaʔa jēʔŋithj, te ŋhāāne ardossodwya unānujaʔneʔ jēʔrwūūsŋčyny. Ēs saʔyoraaŋčy etans, la terʔeŋ jēʔlī Hāntisujaʔna, “LIGĀN DŪRŢ! Dzŋizorya lananhsy, ţoʔ, odlīnaţt, hhgi erţiicaaʔisn ajalostwyat erizāʔānēny ehatāhs! Erloʔonānehʔnē ţaŋāneh asēcteenānehʔnēny!” Ēs dya, hyēe, licā, jaʔāsēzoog hazorya consanulujaʔnaz, nnu, ilyoryhorujaʔn adzolwyjaʔ ryēðaðaŋjaʔīţh, sya re? Ŋi sēs saʔyolohnez ţāŋareh jaʔēctehnezny. Ŋi – ŋi – ŋi, ŋi ţoʔ, ţolʔo conswuj, hotsta – Rrywe, nzintryetc nescyīsčāā ehgenāstruldwya aslyadwa ēsugz Sunyeʔ! Rryēnuswe, gyerlinaan ēsuga, ţoʔ, odlananhordwya terʔeŋda ryēðaðaŋta…Ēs nya…raʔ zradlānya ŋit uŋ…
Nanaʔu: Ha! Čornya Suŋe, sya re?
Juhārgene: Sya. Sēt an NĀN en.

Interlinear/Literal Translation

Juhārgene:

lanan
dream
-h
-PAST
-sy
-1S.NOM
ha-
ADV-
azānso
weird
o-
ADV-
ţen
again
-e
-ADV.END
consa
book
-ej
-ASC.PL
ry-
BESIDE-
ŋunos
ŋunos
-ej
-ASC.PL
=t
=A/A

I dreamed the Books beside the Ŋunos’s weirdly again!

Here you can see Egeldish’s adverb ending marker. If you have two or more adverbs, you have to mark the last one with the adverb ending suffix. The adverb ending marker is also used on any adverbs before the verb or after a bunch of other words. You can also see one of Egeldish’s case clitics, which come at the end of a whole noun phrase – I like the idea of having a case marker marking the whole noun phrase instead of just the head. And you can see a bit of Egeldish’s odd prepositional prefix use – here what literally means “beside” is used to indicate “the books about the Ŋunos’s”.

nnane
because.of[AUX]
ērn
what.ANIM
=eʔ
=A/A
er-
IRR-
lanaan
dream.NPAST
-rra
-HABIT
-tur
-INT
-sy
-1S.NOM
-cy
-3S.INAN.A/A

Because of what have I been dreaming it?

There’s some prefixation, vowel alternation, and other weird stuff going on with that auxiliary verb nnane, but I didn’t note down all the morphology in the auxiliary verbs when I was doing the translation, and I don’t want to have to figure it out now. Suffice to say that the Egeldish auxiliary verbs are insane and I’m glad I don’t have to speak Egeldish and use them. Anyways, here you can also see a good example of how much Egeldish likes to mark on verbs: you have irrealis, nonpast tense, habitual aspect, interrogative mood, and the subject and the object all marked on that one verb erlanaanrratursycy. As you can see, Egeldish is rather kitchen-sinky, but at least now I’ve now gotten the desire for MORE VERB MOODS out of my system (I think…), so I’ll be able to make a much smaller language in the future without having to restrain myself as much. I think…

ŋicy,
it.is,
ge-
NEG-
i[nā]
read[presumably]

It’s like, I’ve not been read –

One of the trickiest things about this translation project was all the bits where somebody got cut off or even just interrupted herself, since Egeldish has different word order than English, and so half a sentence in English will have different information in it than half a sentence in Egeldish. So I had to mush around the English and the Egeldish quite a bit in order to get something that made sense and sounded okay in both languages. (Actually, while we’re already talking about word order and information – I like to joke that the old “Your father is – ” *die* trope would never work in an OSV [Object Subject Verb] language, so that’s obviously the reason why OSV languages are so rare – they’re not as suitable for stories, and we all know how important stories are to humans. But realistically, there would be SOME way to phrase “Your father is – ” in an OSV language so the storyteller could keep the information hidden until s/he gets polite enough to reveal it.)

Enāne:

lanan
dream
-h
-PAST
-sy
-1S.NOM
ērn
what.ANIM
=eʔ
=A/A
er-
IRR-
lanan
dream
-h
-PAST
-tur
-INT
-sy
-1S.NOM

I dreamed – what did I dream?

This is just a tiny peek at Egeldish’s crazy question formation system. There are many ways you can form questions in Egeldish, with all sorts of combinations of verb moods and irrealis and markings on nouns and on and on…I may post it someday, since I’m pretty happy with it, so let me know if you’re curious.

nyū-junāne
dream
nn-
very-
otye
interesting
=a
=NOM
ŋit
exist.PAST
uŋ,
3S.INAN,
saʔyo-
SURR-
netā
visit
-h
-PAST
-ŋoh
-IMPERF
-nē
-1.ASC.PL.NOM
ţcā
like.that
ej
people
-ujaʔn
-SURR
cānt
some
-jaʔ
-SURR
=eʔ
=A/A

A very interesting dream existed, we were visiting, like that, some people…

Here’s an example of Egeldish to-be construction: to say “I am nerdy,” you’d basically start out with the sentence “Exists a nerdy me” (per Egeldish’s usual VSO word order), then front “nerdy” to get “Nerdy exists me.” The fronted adjective or noun has to be the one carrying the case clitic, so you end up with a adjective or noun with a case clitic, then the copula verb (which can be dropped in present tense), then the head, alone by itself with no case clitic. This bit also has the first example of Egeldish’s surrealis marking. I call it the surrealis because that sounds cool and because it acts much like the irrealis marking. It’s used for things that aren’t quite real, like dreams or visions, and to mark reported speech and thought (like “He thought she was a robot” or “He said she was a robot” not “He thought, ‘She’s a robot!'” or “He said, ‘She’s a robot!'”). When the head of a noun phrase is marked surrealis, all the adjectives need to be marked too. This fuss about surrealis marking is the main reason that the Egeldish is longer than the English in this example text, since the Egeldish needs to keep marking surrealis with fairly long affixes while the English goes its merry way without any such extra bits of stuff. Usually Egeldish is more concise than English because of all those kitchen-sink verb markings.

One last note: The underlying morphemes in “some” here are cānt-jaʔ-eʔ, but if you look at the Egeldish above, you’ll see cāntčaʔeʔ. This is because Egeldish has a phonological rule that when a fricative, stop or affricate is next to another fricative, stop or affricate that has a different voicing, the second one assimilates to the voicing of the first. So [t] (unvoiced) next to [dʒ] (voiced) makes [dʒ] become [tʃ] (unvoiced). Anyways, I just happen to like that particular little rule.

Juhārgene (to Dadaʔu):

ato-
so-
hāāsē
curly
=t
=A/A
nes-
IRR-
inā
look
-ʔa
-NPAST
-ijd
-POT/PERM
hāj
2S.POL
=a
=NOM
jērle
hair
u-
IN-
Enāne!
Enāne

You could look at Enāne’s so-curly hair!

Just as Egeldish has crazy question formation, Egeldish also has crazy command/suggestion formation. (This is partly because Egeldish culture focuses a lot on politeness and respect.) Here Juhārgene is being polite to her mother by using irrealis and potential/permissive marking as well as a polite pronoun. She fronts atohāāsēt “so curly” to show that she wants her mother to look at how curly Enāne’s hair is, not just look at her hair. By the way, hāāsē “curly” comes from the word for “circle,” which I kind of like.

You may also notice that what’s underlyingly u-Enāne comes out as Heenāne – what?! This is since Egeldish absolutely detests vowels next to each other and so always messes with them if they happen to come together. In this case, the weird resultant form comes from the rule that in vowel clusters not preceded by a consonant, the lower vowel is replaced by [h] and the other vowel is lengthened.

Dadaʔu:

nega
after[AUX]
nwa-
IRR-
sinons
wash
-ʔo
-NPAST
-3S.F.PROX.ERG
-c
-3S.INAN.A/A
gole
beautiful
=a
=NOM
uŋ.
it

After she washes it, it’s beautiful.

More formally, an Egeldish speaker wouldn’t drop the copula verb like Dadaʔu does in golya uŋ “it is beautiful” and mark conditional/resultative mood on it, but hey, this is colloquial speech. Also, here’s more of Egeldish messing with vowels trying to get next to each other. When two vowels cluster after a consonant, the first is deleted and the consonant is palatalized or rounded, depending on the vowel. So -ʔo-ē comes out as -ʔwē, while gole-a ends up as golya.

Enāne:

u-
IN-
Crāā
Crāā
-jaʔ
-SURR
utrēl
probably
-jaʔ
-SURR
-e,
-ADV.END,
ŋiʔwocū
for.time[AUX]
čāgenec
little.while
=ta
=A/A
ana
do.that.PAST

In Crāā, probably, for a little while did that,

As I mentioned earlier, adverbs can come after other words in the sentence, they just need to have the ending marker. So here we have “We were like visiting some people, probably in Crāā…” and since the “probably in Crāā” comes after “some people,” it needs the adverb ending marker. But notice that Enāne needs to use another verb in order to use an auxiliary verb. She couldn’t just say ŋiʔwocū čāgenecta; she also has to use what’s more or less a dummy anaphoric verb, ana, since auxiliary verbs must come right before normal verbs. So if you’re already into the rest of the sentence and you suddenly decide to add a bit of information that can only be expressed via auxiliary verb, you need to use a normal verb, too.

Also, I like the word čāgenec. It comes from the dual form of another word, tačāge, which means “mile,” “short bit of time,” or “brief meeting.”

la
and.SIM
ţoʔ,
like.this,
nnu,
um,
ra-
IRR-
trocooc
remember.NPAST
-gaŋ
-REL
-sy
-1S.NOM
ej
people
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=je
=A/A
saʔyo-
SURR-
tast
see.if
-h
-PAST
-ŋoh
-IMPERF
-nē
-1.M.ASC.PL.NOM
cnāh
that.ANIM
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=ta,
=A/A

And, like this, um, if I was remembering the people, we were seeing if that was the case.

Here we have a nice example of Egeldish’s aversion to subordinate clauses. You can’t say “We were seeing if [I remembered the people].” You can’t say “I like [to eat spinach].” You have to make that would-be subordinate clause a separate, independent clause (marked with irrealis, though), and then refer back to it with “that.” (The animate form, oddly enough.) So you’d say something like “I IRR-eat spinach. I like that.” This tendency of Egeldish is really annoying, but I do kind of like it anyways. You can also see Egeldish’s relative aspect in this example, which acts a bit like an imperfective. When you mark relative aspect on a verb, the tense it’s in is relative to the main, non-relative verb in the discourse. So here in “We were seeing if I remembered the people,” “we were seeing” is past tense, and “if I remembered the people” is present tense with relative aspect, meaning that it happened at the same time as “we were seeing.” This, like the irrealis marking, is a trick of Egeldish’s to warn you that a verb clause, while independent, has a sort of subordinate discourse relationship, if you get what I mean; you know that there’s going to be some other more central verb somewhere with the reference tense. And if your brain feels melted after trying to understand that – forget it. It’s not that important. And it makes my brain melt, too.

Another, simpler thing: You may notice that la “and” is marked “SIM,” or simultaneous. Most Egeldish conjunctions have two forms – one for when the following action happened at the same time as the action it’s linked to (simultaneous), and one for when the following action happened at a different time (sequential). This is an idea I stole from a random language whose name I forgot – I was looking at papers about irrealis marking and came across a language that did this, thought, “Cool!”, and put it in Egeldish.

la
and.SIM
ŋicy,
it.is,
ţoʔ,
like.this,
er-
IRR-
lanc-
OPT-
trococ
remember
-h
-PAST
-ŋoh
-IMPERF

And it is, like this, I was wishing to remember…

Here you can see another of Egeldish’s endless verb moods, the optative, and an instance of an irrealis prefix messing with vowels outside of itself. The underlying form here is “er-lanc-,” but that irrealis prefix er- doesn’t like vowels that are too low, so it changes the [a] in lanc- to [ɪ]. This is something that just a few particular affixes do; it’s not a universal phonological rule. But there are quite a lot of other little hints of vowel harmony developing in Egeldish – I could see a future version having full-fledged harmony, especially since Egeldish has an awful lot of vowels.

By the way, you may wonder why this verb isn’t marked in surrealis. It would be usually, since it’s something that happened in a dream, but the optative mood forces irrealis, and irrealis blocks surrealis. So there you go.

Juhārgene:

dāʔ
similar
-da
-SURR
=t
=A/A
inā
see
-ʔā
-NPAST
-sy
-1S.NOM
cnāh
that.ANIM
-ujaʔn
-SURR

Similar I see that!

I like that word dāʔ. It means “familiar” in this context, but it generally means “similar to something else.” It can also mean “straight.” I can’t really remember my rationale for that connection between straightness and familiarity. But it is sort of interesting.

Also, there’s some more fronting here. If Juhārgene didn’t front dāʔdat “similar, familiar,” she would more or less be saying, “I see a familiar thing!” But by fronting dāʔdat, she emphasizes that it’s the similarity she’s seeing. When I was writing my Egeldish grammar notes, I did mention that you could front anything so long as it carried a case clitic, but I didn’t think much about how it would be used. Then as I was working on this translation, I kept finding more and more places where it would be handy. Just goes to show how important translation is in the language creation process!

Enāne:

la,
and.SIM,
la
and.SIM

This bit is really exciting, isn’t it?

Juhārgene:

lanan
dream
-h
-PAST
-sy
-1S.NOM
jēʔ-
SURR-
hol-
REFL/RECIP-
hany
meet
-h
-PAST
-ēc
-1.ASC.PL.A/A
zēlya
younger.brother
-ujaʔn
-SURR
u-
IN-
Hāč
Hač
Negānis
Negānis
=eʔ,
=A/A
lanan
dream
-h
-PAST
-sy
-1S.NOM
cnāh
that.ANIM
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=ta.
=A/A

I dreamed – we met a younger brother in Lord Negānis, I dreamed that.

Hany “meet” is a bit funny. The two parties that meet each other are both subjects, and then a reflexive/reciprocal voice is marked on the verb to show that they met each other. This word also means “touch”; Egeldish friends often greet each other by grasping each other’s right hands and touching right shoulders briefly. (You would never greet a superior this way, though.)

Also, there’s a few interesting things about that phrase “Mr. Negānis’s brother.” First of all, there’s zēlya, which means younger brother, not just “brother.” When talking about people in the same generation, Egeldish kinship terms are quite finicky about whether these relatives are older or younger, and if they’re the same or different gender. This same/different gender thing gets a bit weird. So while for Mr. Negānis, his younger brother would be his zēlya and his younger sister would be his cāzeţ, for me, a girl, my younger brother would be my cāzeţ and my younger sister would be my zēlya. In addition, to say that this is Mr. Negānis’s brother, I say that he’s in Mr. Negānis. This is an example of Egeldish’s disambiguation between alienable and inalienable possession. Alienable possession – having things that one can really technically own, like a shoe or a ball of yarn – is shown by saying the owner is with that thing. So “my shoe” is the “shoe with me.” Inalienable possession – having things that you don’t own exactly, like body parts or relatives – is shown by saying that thing (or person) is in the owner. So “Mr. Negānis’s brother” is the “brother in Mr. Negānis.” Odd, but kind of cool. Finally, I use hāč for “mister.” This used to be the Egeldish term for “lord” or “noble”; now it’s more often generally used as a polite title for any superior. (And politeness is, remember, quite important in Egeldish culture.)

Juhārgene continues:

ge-
NEG-
nwa-
IRR-
igu-
MNEG-
ʔhc-
TENT-
ŋiit
exist.NPAST
o-
ADV-
even
zēlya
younger.brother
-ujaʔn
-SURR
u-
IN-
Hāč
Hāč
Negānis
Negānis
=a,
=NOM

I’m not sure that a younger brother in Hāč Negānis exists,

This verb marking soup (negation, irrealis, mood negation and tentative) all combine to create the dubitative mood, which indicates that the speaker isn’t sure of this. Also note that while Mr. Negānis’s imaginary younger brother, being imaginary, is marked in surrealis, Mr. Negānis himself is not in surrealis, since he exists. (Well, except that he IS actually imaginary, being in an imaginary world, but, you know, Juhārgene, being imaginary herself, doesn’t realize that.)

raʔ,
but.SIM,
eʔ-
AT-
Jalūsca
Jalūsca
-ujaʔn
-SURR
jaʔ-
SURR-
any
be.in
-nē
-1.ASC.PL.NOM

but, at Jalūsca we were,

Jalūsca, in case you’re wondering, is a town in northern Egeld. Juhārgene and co. are supposed to live in Dāʔos in central Egeld (and in case you’re wondering, yes, the dāʔ in Dāʔos means “straight” – the name means “straight river”), but they could have family or friends in Jalūsca; it’s quite common nowadays for Egeldish, especially more middle-class, educated Egeldish, to move around. You can see both Jalūsca and Dāʔos on my map of Egeld.

la
and.SIM
ʔwe-
WITH-
Rūd
Rūd[ros]
nnu,
um,
ʔwe-
WITH-
Nodānos
Nodānos
-on
-ASC.PL.ANIM
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=a
=NOM
āāhnū
for.purpose.of[AUX]
ʔēca
something.ANIM
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=h
=A/A
jēʔ-
SURR-
ŋit
exist
-h
-PAST
-nē
-1.ASC.PL.NOM

and with the Rūd – um, with the Nodānos’s for something we existed –

Note that to say “we were in Jalūsca,” Juhārgene has to use a verb meaning basically “be someplace,” any, but to say “we were with the Nodānos’s,” she uses the usual copula verb, ŋit. Also, “Rūdros” and “Nodānos” are both names of towns and last names. Egeldish people almost always use the name of their town (usually the town where they were born or grew up) as a last name, so Juhārgene’s full name is Juhārgene Dāʔos. The -os, by the way, means “river”; Dāʔos, as I mentioned earlier, means “straight river,” Rūdros means “bird river,” Ŋūnos (from that imaginary book series) means “white river,” and Nodānos…well, I can’t find “nodān” in my dictionary, so I’m not sure.

Dadaʔu:

nnn.
mmm.

Mmm.

Egeldish has no [m] sound, so this affirmative noise is usually written “nnn,” whether it’s a true [n] sound or not.

Juhārgene:

ēs
and.SEQ
jēʔ-
SURR-
son
come.PAST
čor
man
-ujaʔn
-SURR
-inč
=A/A
ţoʔ
like.this
e-
WITH-
ðidrā
seakitty
-nt
-ASC.PL.ANIM
-e
-THIS
-ujaʔn
-SURR
zdāt
five
-jaʔ
-SURR
-e,
-ADV.END

– and then came a man like this with five seakitties,

Here’s an example of adverbs being put after other stuff – eðidrāntyujaʔn zdātčaʔe “with five seakitties” comes after “man.” So it needs to be marked with the adverb ending marker -e. Also, you may wonder why some verbs are being explicitly marked for past tense with -h, while some like jēʔson “come” aren’t marked. Well, the rule is that if suffixes go on the verb, it needs to be marked for past tense. But if there aren’t any suffixes, past tense is unmarked. Nonpast tense, on the other hand, always need to be explicitly marked. Finally, here you can see the sequential form of “and” – ēs. I almost always translate “and then” this way.

la
and.SIM
Hāč
Hāč
Negānis
Negānis
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=a
=NOM
e-
WITH-
tans
whole
-e
-ADV.END
nwa-
IRR-
ʔhc-
TENT-
ŋit-
exist
h
-PAST
-jy,
-3S.M.NOM,

and Hāč Negānis, with the whole, I thought he was,

Etanse, literally “with the whole,” is a metaphor for “at first.” It comes from the realm of food. The idea is, when you first get some food and make some judgment on it (like, “This looks yummy!”), you have the whole thing. It’s only after you’ve bitten into it and you don’t have the whole thing that you can make a better judgment. Also, you’d usually use surrealis here on the copula ŋit, but Juhārgene is using tentative mood to say that this is what she thought, and tentative forces irrealis, and irrealis blocks surrealis.

sog
but.SEQ
jaʔ-
SURR-
sāŋk-
CONT-
rēs
think
-h
-PAST
-z:
-1S.ERG.ANIM:
re,
no,
zēlya
younger.brother
-ujaʔn
-SURR
u-
IN-
riz
3S.M.DIST
=a
=NOM
olʔ.
this.ANIM.

But then I realized: no, a younger brother in Hāč Negānis, this.

Here Juhārgene uses the contrastive verb mood to emphasize her “BUT then…” Also, note that uriza “in him” (e.g., his) is not marked surrealis. When Mr. Negānis was mentioned just a bit earlier, when Juhārgene said she thought the man who came in was him, he was marked surrealis. Now he isn’t. Why? Because Mr. Negānis is not inside the dream anymore – he’s just connected to it since this imaginary guy is supposedly his brother. So his connection to the dream is marked surrealis – zēlywujaʔn “younger brother” is marked surrealis. But Mr. Negānis is not.

ge-
NEG-
nwa-
IRR-
ʔaʔnya-
ANTIP-
aga-
MNEG-
ʔhc-
TENT-
tarca
do.what
-h
-PAST
-ucwes
-IMPERF
-sy
-3S.ANIM.M.A/A
ðidrā
seakitty
-ant
-ASC.PL.ANIM
-ujaʔ(h)n
-SURR(that)
ţīʔ
all
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=t!
=A/A

He and all those seakitties did what – I don’t know!

This sentence still melts my brain if I think too much about it. That verb tarca is a question word much like “what” – you say what’s basically “You tarca?” to ask “You did what?” But here it’s combined with the dubitative mood (formed with negation, irrealis, mood negation and tentative mood, remember) to mean “I don’t know what he did.” The antipassive is thrown in there because, as I’ll explain later, Egeldish has some weird ambitransitivity stuff going on.

Also, forgive the weird parentheses there that are showing an infix. I would use the usual carets, but that breaks the plugin I’m using for interlinears.

la
and.SIM
ge-
NEG-
nwa-
IRR-
ʔaʔnya-
ANTIP-
aga-
MNEG-
ʔhc-
TENT-
tarca
do.what
-h
-PAST
-ucwes
-IMPERF
-ēc
-1.ANIM.ASC.PL.A/A
eʔ-
IN-
Jalūsca
Jalūsca
-ujaʔn.
-SURR.

We did what in Jalūsca – I don’t know!

Another brain-melting sentence pretty much the same as the one above. Since there’s nothing in particular new to note, I might as well explain the ambitransitivity business. So, Egeldish has two classes of verbs: the catalytic verbs and the noncatalytic verbs. Catalytic verbs generally have a distinct endpoint, and may also have a distinct result and/or effect. They involve a change in state within the time frame looked at, and are usually telic. Noncatalytic verbs generally have no distinct beginning or end and can expand freely in time, are generally atelic, and usually don’t have a distinct effect. Verbs of perception (see), sensation (feel), position (sit), cognition (think), emotion (love), relation (be part of) and weather (rain) are mostly noncatalytic. Every Egeldish verb is either intrinsically catalytic or intrinsically noncatalytic. (In certain contexts they can change, but let’s ignore that for now.) Now, most Egeldish verbs are also ambitransitive, but whether the subject of an intransitive sentence is like the subject of a transitive one with that same verb (S=A) or like the object of a transitive one with that same verb (S=P) depends on the catalyticy of the verb. Catalytic verbs usually have S=P intransitives. Noncatalytic verbs usually have S=A intransitives.

Some examples: ŋo “eat” is catalytic. If you said ŋo ðidrāð dētet, literally “ate seakitty fretoriod,” it would mean “the seakitty ate the fretoriod.” But if you said ŋo dētet, literally “ate fretoriod,” it would mean “the fretoriod got eaten.” So with a catalytic verb, if you have an intransitive sentence, the subject is like the object of a transitive sentence. On the other hand, rēs “think” is noncatalytic. If you said rēs ðidryan dētet, literally “thought seakitty fretoriod,” it would mean “the seakitty thought of the fretoriod.” But if you said rēs ðidryan, literally “thought seakitty,” it would mean “the seakitty thought.” And so with a noncatalytic verb, if you have an intransitive sentence, the subject is just like the subject of a transitive sentence.

Now, tarca “do what?” is catalytic. So if you said, tarca ðidrāð dētet? it would mean “the seakitty did what to the fretoriod?” But if you said tarca dētet? it would mean “what got done to the fretoriod?” So in the two sentences where Juhārgene uses tarca, since she wants to say she doesn’t know what they were doing – not what was done to them – she must use an antipassive. What’s an antipassive? Well, let me just refer you to David J. Peterson’s awesome article on ergativity, and so if your brain isn’t melted already, like mine is, you can go investigate this further. Now. On to the next phrase in Juhārgene’s narrative.

sol,
well
ŋicy
it.is
ţoʔ
like.this
raʔ
but.SIM
cnāhð!
that.yonder!
Ēs
and.then
ŋicy,
it.is,
olʔ
this.ANIM
=da
=A/A
o-
ADV-
dzŋizorya
just.now
-e
-ADV.END
olʔ
this.ANIM
=da
=A/A
o-
ADV-
dzŋizorya
just.now
-e
-ADV.END

Well, it’s like this – but that’s over there! And then it is, this I was just – this I was just –

This part definitely exercised all the bits of discourse fluff that I had made up for Egeldish. I have to admit, it was kind of fun to translate, especially after slogging through those insane “I don’t know what we were doing…” sentences. The bit at the end, where Juhārgene is stumbling over her words, is another place where fronting became very useful.

olʔ
this.ANIM
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=da
=A/A
lanan
dream
-h
-PAST
-sy
-1S.ANIM.NOM
ri-
BESIDE-
consa
book
-uj
-ASC.PL
ry-
BESIDE-
ŋūnos
Ŋūnos
-ej
-ASC.PL
-e:
-ADV.END

This I dreamed beside the Books beside the Ŋūnos’s:

This bit is quite hard to translate into smooth English; it’s another casualty of the Egeldish vendetta against subordinate clauses. There’s not much else to say about this particular sentence, so why not explain Egeldish’s split ergativity system? (Haha!) First of all, if you don’t know what split ergativity is, I’m not going to be able to explain it. So if you still want to hear how this bit of Egeldish works, go read David J. Peterson’s ergativity article first. It’s very helpful and it’s great fun, too. So, remember what I was saying earlier about how all Egeldish verbs are either catalytic or noncatalytic? Well, catalytic verbs are used with ergative-absolute alignment, and non-catalytic verbs are used with nominative-accusative alignment. But the thing is, if you use certain aspects, verbs can change catalyticy. So if you say ŋo ðidrāð dētet, “the seakitty ate the fretoriod,” with a catalytic verb ŋo, the alignment is erg-abs. BUT if you put habitual aspect on that verb and say ŋohir ðidryan dētet, meaning “the seakitty used to eat fretoriods,” it’s now in nom-acc. Also, some verbs change in meaning if you use a different alignment. For instance, above I used rēs “think” as an example of a noncatalytic verb. So you’d usually use nom-acc alignment with it. But if you don’t and use erg-abs alignment instead, rēs then means “realize, come to understand.”

So there you have it. Egeldish’s catalyticy, morphosyntactic alignment and ambitransitivity system. It still confuses me sometimes, but I like it; I think it’s one of the better aspects (haha) of Egeldish.

sol,
though.well
ge-
NEG-
nes-
IRR-
igu-
MNEG-
ʔhc-
TENT-
inā
read
-h
-PAST
-ucwes
-IMPERF
-sy,
-1S.ANIM.NOM,
dac,
or,
so-
ON-
conðe
earth
-ujaʔn
-SURR
-e,
-ADV.END,
ţoʔ,
like.this,
ge-
NEG-
nh-
IRR-
igu-
MNEG-
ʔhc-
TENT-
ŋit
exist
-h
-PAST
-ucwes
-IMPERF
-sy.
-1S.ANIM.NOM

Though, I’m not sure I was reading, or, on earth, like this, I’m not sure I was existing.

More fun with dubitative mood! Here soconðeyujaʔn “on earth” means “in reality.” This fits nicely with Egeldish philosophy, which has the sky being a symbol of emotions, dreams, visions, feelings, and all other mushy, not-quite real things, and the earth being a symbol of gritty reality and routine.

raʔ,
but.SIM,
ŋi,
is,
saʔyo-
SURR-
lo
walk
-ʔo
-NPAST
-REL
Ðēlne
Ðēlne
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=a
=NOM
Hāntis
Hāntis
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=a
=NOM
Sune
Sune
=ujaʔn
-SURR
=a,
=NOM,
ţoʔ,
like.this,
ŋicy,
it.is,

But, is, Ðēlne, Hāntis, Sune were walking, like this, it is,

Here’s another example of Egeldish’s relative aspect. “Walking” is being treated here like some sort of background event, something happening at the same time as some other action that will have past tense. Basically, you’re looking at the instance of “walking” from the perspective of that other action; the walking isn’t important enough to get looked at on its own.

And also, I have to admit, I actually really like the names Ðēlne and Hāntis as replacements for Violet and Klaus. They fit somehow. Ðēlne [‘ðɛlni], “forest” with the female name suffix -ne (the same one you see in Juhārgene and Enāne), sounds quite pretty to me. And Hāntis [‘hæntɪs], which doesn’t have a meaning yet, fits too in an odd way. And then Sune is pronounced the same way as “Sunny,” but it works as an Egeldish girl’s name since it has that suffix -ne.

atās
place
-e
-THIS
-ujaʔn
-SURR
zrad-
kind.of-
genāstrul
orphanage
-jaʔ
-SURR
ţ-
LIKE-
derandū
charity
-jaʔ
-SURR
=ta,
=A/A,

This kind of charity orphanage place,

Derandū, which I glossed as “charity,” has a much more complex meaning than just that. It actually comes from the name of a nearby country, Arandu, where there are very little taxes but people are required by law to give a certain percentage of their income to charity. It basically means “involving charitable giving of private, non-governmental donors; funded by individuals,” but it also has a certain connotation of the giving being done just to enhance your reputation, or make the lower classes like you more and be more willing to support you. Egeld and Arandu have always had a rather unpleasant relationship, which is part of the reason behind this negative connotation. But the fact is that Juhārgene is not trying to make the orphanage sound particularly bad or anything – that’s just the most fitting word she has to describe what it’s like.

raʔ
but.SIM
rony-
exactly-
ej-
FOR-
čorznē
child
-ke
-PL
dzŋi-
exactly-
ūnse
young
-jaʔ
-SURR
=a,
=NOM,
ţcā,
like.that,
jēʔ-
SURR-
ŋit
exist
3S.INAN
-ujaʔn,
-SURR,

But exactly for children exactly young, like that, it existed,

You know, I really don’t know what I was thinking, using the prepositional prefix ej- (which usually means “ahead, before”) for “for” (e.g. a benefactive) instead of an auxiliary verb. But it works, I guess, and I hate going back and changing things I’ve already translated. So I’ll leave it. Anyways, here you can also see some of Egeldish’s noun/adjective prefixes – there are quite a lot of them, mostly meaning things like “exactly,” “somewhat,” “very,” “kind of,” &c. They’re very common in colloquial speech; Juhārgene and co. have already used a few of them. If she were speaking more formally, she probably would have said “only” in a different way, but here speaking casually she puts on lots of “exactly” prefixes and gets her point across.

la
and.SIM
nes-
IRR-
cyīsčā
leave
-h
-PAST
-ijd
-POT/PERM
eh-
AT-
atās
place
-ujaʔ(h)n,
-SURR(THAT),
ţoʔ,
like.this,
nu
person
-dwya
-IRR
=az
=ERG
čorznē
child
-dwya
-IRR
=eʔ,
=A/A,

and a person could leave a child at that place,

Here we have lots of irrealis marking, since Juhārgene is talking about hypothetical people. It would be surrealis if she were talking about people who seemed to exist, or who seemed real, but weren’t, but it’s irrealis here because she knows they’re just ideas. In addition, she uses potential/permissive mood, another one of Egeldish’s bucketloads of verb moods. But, verb moods aside, I do like how Egeldish doesn’t have any specific word for “there” – you need to say “at that place.”

ēs
and.SEQ
er-
IRR-
netāčā
promise
-h
-PAST
-ss
3S.ANIM.M.ERG
olʔ
this.ANIM
=t:
=A/A:

and he would promise this:

Still irrealis, since we’re still in a hypothetical situation. But now it’s without the potential/permissive mood, since this is something you WOULD do, not just something that’s possible.

nniice,
for.time[AUX],
ţoʔ,
like.this,
tor
day
-e
-PL
ţīʔ
all
=īţh
=A/A
dac
or
gyēssyc
somethingorother
=ta
=A/A
lolʔ
FUT
er-
IRR-
izāʔ
leave
-ʔā
-NPAST
-gaŋ
-REL
-j
-3S.ANIM.M.NOM
eh-
AT-
atās
place
-ujaʔ(h)n
-SURR(THAT)
čorznē
child
-dwya
-IRR
=eʔ
=A/A

for, like this, all the days or something, he will leave the child at that place,

Ah, here we have a peek at future tense in Egeldish! As you might expect, the verb is marked with nonpast tense, but it’s what else is marked that’s the difficult part. The fact is that what else you do depends on the catalyticy of the verb, whether this future event was intended or not, and whether the subject is first-person or not. With this noncatalytic, intended, non-third-person-subject event, we have it easy and just use the future particle lolʔ. But more pain is coming. Trust me. Also, I find it amusing that the word for “something or other, thingy, whatever it is,” gyēssyc, is rather difficult to pronounce by English standards: [gʲɛsːʲk]. But it does sound nice.

sog
but.SEQ
lolʔ
FUT
as-
IRR-
dos
care.for
-ʔo
-NPAST
-gaŋ
-REL
-čy
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.M.NOM
-nye
-3S.ANIM.F.A/A
o-
WITHOUT-
neʔāsē
money
-dwya.
-IRR.

but then they will care for her without money.

This verb and the last one were marked with relative aspect, since they are being seen as relative to that act of promising. Also note that oneʔāsēdwya “without money” isn’t marked as an adverb – adjectives need to be specifically marked to become adverbs, but prepositional phrases can be used as adverbs by themselves. But of course, with both, you need to use the adverb ending marker in some places.

ŋi
so
atās
place
-ujaʔ(h)n
-SURR(THAT)
=a
=NOM
lolʔ
FUT
nh-
IRR-
any
be.there
-ʔa
-NPAST
-gaŋ
-REL
Sune
Sune
-ujaʔn,
-SURR,
nn,
um,
jaʔ-
SURR-
lwiir
consider
-gaŋ
-REL
-čy
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.NOM
ţcā
like.that
cnāh
that.ANIM
=t,
=A/A

So Sune will be at the place, um, they were considering, like that, that,

Nothing much to say here…I do like that discourse particle ŋi, though. As you might guess, it comes from the copula verb, ŋit, and it basically means, “That’s that, let’s move on.”

ēs-ēs
so
ardos
safe
-da
-IRR
=an
=NOM
lolʔ
FUT
nwa-
IRR-
ŋiit
exist.NPAST
-ny,
-3S.ANIM.F.NOM,

so safe she would be,

You may have noticed that nonpast tense can be marked in two different ways: through a suffix, which changes a lot, and through vowel lengthening. Now, Egeldish vowels can already be lengthened through regular phonological processes if they’re stressed, so if the root’s last vowel is already lengthened, the suffix is used. But if the root’s last vowel isn’t lengthened, nonpast tense is shown by lengthening it.

ţa
because.SIM
nŋaʔwanū
because[AUX]
āneʔ
reason
-ujaʔn
-SURR
jēg
some
-jaʔ
-SURR
=ta
=A/A
jāʔ-
SURR-
rēs
think
-h
-PAST
-čy
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.M.NOM
cnāh
that.ANIM
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=ta.
=A/A

Because for some reason they thought that.

Now here’s the other action that all these verbs in relative aspect are being considered in relation to: they thought she would be safe at the orphanage. That’s the whole point of their walking and considering and whatnot, so all that walking and considering is put in the background with relative aspect. I’m actually only realizing this now, as I write these notes, but it makes perfect sense. Isn’t that how language and linguistics often is? You say a sentence with perfect ease without thinking about it, and only once you’ve been staring at it for a while trying to analyze it do you realize what amazing SENSE its grammar makes, how astonishingly logical it was all that time, and you never realized it – it was just words coming out of your mouth. Awesome.

I also like that word āneʔ, “reason for doing something.” It also means “stone.” The connection comes from how Egeldish people used to vote when meeting together in councils. They would discuss an issue and decide a few different options for how to deal with it, then get a big jar for each option. Each voter would then take a stone and make a mark on it to show it was theirs (so a carpenter might draw a nail, and a corn farmer might draw an ear of corn, or something like that – each person would have a unique mark), then put it into the jar for the option they wanted. If some people were still unhappy after the votes were counted and the most popular option found, the person running the council would take some stones out of the jars for the losing options and ask each person who had put them in, “What’s your reason for your vote?” Eventually stones and reasons came to be associated, and that’s where the word came from.

ŋi
so
saʔyo-
SURR-
lo
walk
-h
-PAST
-nez
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.M.ERG
genāstrul
orphanage
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=h,
=A/A,
la
and.SIM
rony-
exactly-
ŋyēze
sad
-jaʔ
-SURR
=a,
=NOM,
čāsčalon
dramatic
-jaʔ
-SURR
=a
=NOM
jēʔ-
SURR-
ŋit
exist
-h
-PAST
-j,
-3S.ANIM.M.NOM,

So they walked to the orphanage, and exactly sad, dramatic it was,

Čāsčalon “dramatic” comes from the word čāsča, which means “spill” or, colloquially, “die.” But čāsčalon has a certain connotation to it of being overly dramatic and expressive, of tending to make things sound more important than they are, also of being overly sad.

te
because.SEQ
ŋhāāne
for.purpose.of[AUX]
ardosso
safety
-dwya
-IRR
u-
IN-
nān
3S.ANIM.F.PROX
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=eʔ
=A/A
jēʔ-
SURR-
rwūūs
give.up.NPAST
-REL
-čy
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.M.NOM
-ny.
-3S.ANIM.F.A/A

because for the purpose of the safety in her, they were giving her up.

Remember how some things in Egeldish are possessed alienably, and some are possessed inalienably? Well, “safety” is one thing that you must possess inalienably, oddly enough. Also, this is one of the few sentences where you can actually see one of Egeldish’s free pronouns, nān. When I was writing my grammar notes, I spent a lot of time coming up with a complex system of free pronouns for Egeldish, forgetting that I was planning to also have marking on verbs that can usually replace pronouns. Oops.

ēs
and.SEQ
saʔyo-
SURR-
raa
go.away
-REL
-čy
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.M.NOM
e-
WITH-
tans,
whole,
la
and.SIM
terʔeŋ
sudden
jēʔ-
SURR-
speak.PAST
Hāntis
Hāntis
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=a,
=NOM,

And then they were going away with the whole, and suddenly spoke Hantis,

I remember translating “said” jēʔlī and then staring at it, going, “I must have forgotten something! The verb can’t be that simple! There must be SOMETHING else I need to mark on it!” But no. I had just been translating so many complex and tricky verbs that a simple one seemed wrong.

“LIGĀN
[expression
DŪRŢ!
of.alarm]
Dzŋizorya
just.now
lanan
dream
-h
-PAST
-sy,
-1S.ANIM.NOM,
ţoʔ,
like.this,
odlīna
premonition
-ţt,
=A/A,

“OH MY GOD! Just now I dreamed, like, a premonition,

Finally some more interesting stuff! First of all, there’s ligān dūrţ, which is an Egeldish expression of alarm or concern more or less equal in strength to “oh my God!” I haven’t actually come up with a meaning for this expression, however, preferring to let Egeldish swearing remain ambiguous. Secondly, note that Hāntis uses the word lanan to say that he had a premonition – the same word that Juhārgene and Enāne used to talk about their dreaming. This word lanan can mean “dream,” “see outside of yourself, see the general picture, realize something about the world,” “have a vision,” or, with a spirit or ghost as a subject, “visit the land of the living.” Now that I think about it, it would probably be used to talk about hallucination, too. Anyways, I find that interesting. Finally, there’s odlīna, “premonition.” I wanted to capture the sort of long, unusual flavor of the original English word in the Egeldish translation, so I decided that odlīna could be an older, more archaic word. And you know, now that I think about it, it’s rather fitting that Klaus’s replacement should be using unusual words!

hhgi
will[AUX]
er-
IRR-
ţiicaaʔ
happen.NPAST
-isn
-COND/RESUL
ajalos
terrible
-dwya
-IRR
=t
=A/A
er-
IRR-
izāʔ
leave
-ʔā
-NPAST
-nē
-1.ASC.PL.ANIM.NOM
-ny
-3S.ANIM.F.A/A
eh-
AT-
atā(h)s!
place(THAT)!

will happen something terrible if we leave her at that place!

Here you can see Egeldish’s if/then structure. The condition (“if we leave her”) is just in irrealis; the result (“something terrible will happen”) is in irrealis with conditional/resultative mood. Also note that the adjective ajalos “terrible” is standing by itself – adjectives in Egeldish can be freely used as nouns, so if you want to say “a terrible thing,” you just use the word for “terrible” as if it were a noun. And while I’m already talking about ajalos, I like its fuller meaning: “terrible, uncontrollable, particularly horrible things out of reach; especially for natural disasters and terrible twists of fate.” Rather fitting for the characters in the original conversation. And, speaking of terrible things, I told you quite a while ago that the future tense gets more icky. Well, here’s one place it does – I had to use one of those insane auxiliaries, hhgi, and I had to negate it, too, since Hāntis and co. don’t intend for that terrible thing to happen.

er-
IRR-
lo
walk
-ʔo
-NPAST
-nānehʔ
-NEC
-nē
-1.ASC.PL.ANIM.ERG
ţaŋāne
back
=h
=A/A
as-
IRR-
ēctee
get.NPAST
-nānehʔ
-NEC
-nē
-1.ASC.PL.ANIM.ERG
-ny!”
-3S.ANIM.F.A/A!

We must walk back, we must get her!”

When I was first beginning to translate this, I thought I would come up with some other way to say “go back.” But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me that one would say “go back” to mean just that. So I stuck with it. Also, here Hāntis uses the necessitative mood, which is quite strong. He makes it a bit more polite by using irrealis, but it’s still quite a forceful construction to use with his sister.

ēs
and.SEQ
1S.ANIM
=a,
=NOM,
hyēe,
oh,
licā,
[expression.of.alarm],
jaʔ-
SURR-
āsēzoog
resort.NPAST
ha-
ADV-
zorya
now
consanul
author
-ujaʔn
-SURR
=az,
=ERG,
nnu,
um,

And then me, oh, dear, the author resorts now, um,

Here Juhārgene uses a colloquial Egeldish construction for reported speech. Usually if you report speech (e.g. “he said that she was a robot,” remember?) you would say basically “He said this: She was a robot,” marking “she was a robot” with surrealis. Well, here in colloquial Egeldish, Juhārgene leaves off the “said this” and just has “me” in nominative, the case one would usually use for subjects of “speak.” Then she goes on with what she said in surrealis. Also, here we have licā, which is a shortening of ligān dūrţ. And finally, there’s āsēzoog, which I glossed as “resort.” This really means something more like “do something desperate because you’re forced to by your circumstances; resort to this,” or it can also mean “beg for help.”

ilyory
feeling
-hor
-PL
-ujaʔn
-SURR
adzolwe
supernatural
-jaʔ
-SURR
ry-
BESIDE-
ēðaðaŋ
future
-jaʔ
-SURR
=īţh,
=A/A,
sya
yes
re?
no?

to supernatural feelings beside the future, yes no?

This bit uses a more colloquial, nonstandard question formation strategy. Usually in Egeldish you use some weird combination of irrealis, interrogative mood, question markers on nouns, and other things to form questions, but sometimes when you’re quite sure of something and are just checking about it, or if you’re asking a particular kind of rhetorical question, you might just add sya re “yes no” at the end to make it a question. I suspect that Egeldish in the future probably would just have this question formation strategy, since the other ones are a pain.

ŋi
so
sēs
so
saʔyo-
SURR-
lo
walk
-h
-PAST
-nez
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.M.ERG
ţāŋare
back
=h
=A/A
jaʔ-
SURR-
ēcte
get
-h
-PAST
-nez
-3.ASC.PL.ANIM.M.ERG
-ny.
-3S.ANIM.F.A/A.

So they went back they got her.

As you can see, no “and” is required here between “they went back” and “they got her.” In general, spoken Egeldish only uses conjunctions to connect distinctly separate clauses.

ŋi
so
ŋi
so
ŋi,
so,
ŋi
so
ţoʔ,
like.this,
ţ-
LIKE-
olʔ
this.ANIM
=o
=NOM
consa
book
-uj,
-ASC.PL,
hots
3S.INAN.ASC.PL
=da
=A/A

So – so – so, so like this, like this the books, they –

That last bit, hotsta, is the beginning of another kind of to-be structure. It took me a long time to figure out a fragment that would make sense in both the English and the Egeldish, but I finally came up with this.

ry-
BESIDE-
rya
first
-e,
-ADV.END,
nzintryetc
NEG[AUX]
nes-
IRR-
cyīsčāā
leave.NPAST
eh-
AT-
genāstrul
orphanage
-dwya
-IRR
aslya
random
-dwa
-IRR
ēsu
3S.ANIM.M.ASC.PL.PROX
-g
-NEG
=z
=ERG
Sune
Sune
=eʔ!
=A/A!

Beside the first, they would not leave Sune at a random orphanage!

Here we have a peek at Egeldish’s negation system, which is rather complex. This particular sort of negation requires both the verb and the subject to be negated. (Though if the object was more topical or more animate than the subject, it would be negated instead.) If, however, you were saying “They would not leave Sunny at a random orphanage,” implying that they would do something else with her at a random orphanage, you’d just negate the verb. Or if you wanted to say “They would not leave Sunny at a random orphanage,” but they would perhaps leave somebody else, you’d just negate “Sunny.” And on it goes. I do kind of like how neat and even it is, but then, I also like it when things are a bit crazy and irregular.

ry-
BESIDE-
rēnusa
second
-e,
-ADV.END,
ge-
NEG-
er-
IRR-
linaan
dream.NPAST
ēsu
3S.ANIM.M.ASC.PL.PROX
-g
-NEG
=a,
=NOM,
ţoʔ,
like.this,
odlanan
vision
-hor
-PL
-dwya
-IRR
terʔeŋ
sudden
-da
-IRR
ry-
BESIDE-
ēðaðaŋ
future
=ta
=A/A…

Beside the second, they would not dream, like this, sudden visions beside the future…

Here are another two examples of the prepositional prefix for “beside” being used to mean “about.” We also have another instance of lanan being used to talk about having a vision. And we have a more normal word for “vision,” odlanan, instead of Hāntis’s more unusual odlīna.

ēs
and.SEQ
nya
yeah
raʔ
but.SIM
zrad-
kind.of-
lāne
peculiar
=a
=NOM
ŋit
exist.PAST
3S.INAN.PROX…

And yeah… but kind of peculiar was it…

Nothing much to say here – a straightforward past-tense to-be structure, and a bit of filler. Though lāne also means “yellow” for no particular reason.

Nanaʔu:

ha!
oh!
čorne
girl
=a
=NOM
Suŋe,
Suŋe,
sya
yes
re?
no?

Oh! Girl Suŋe, yes no?

My idea here was that Nanaʔu misheard the name “Sune” and thought it was “Suŋe,” a boy’s name. Anyways, here you can again see the more colloquial question construction. And yes, I find it rather amusing too that the Egeldish for “oh!” (when it’s surprise, not concern; for concern you’d use “hyēē!”) is “ha!”. But it makes sense!

Juhārgene:

sya.
yes.
sēt
S
an
U
NĀN
N
en.
E.

Yes. S U *N* E.

And here, in the final bit, I was happy to be able to use the names for the Egeldish letters – names that I had made up several months before, thinking that they’d never be useful. I have developed a whole Egeldish alphabet using symbols that are also used in certain Native American syllabaries, so that I can actually type it on a computer without making my own font. I might eventually type up this whole conversation in the Egeldish alphabet, but for now I’m glad to be done with the translation, and glad to be done with this whole write-up, too!

So there you go, that’s a peek at Egeldish and all its unwieldy, kitchen-sinky, wild, but still rather awesome craziness. Hope you enjoyed!

Pronouns in Egeldish

For a short introduction to the Egeldish language, see this page.

Let’s just start off by saying that Egeldish has a lot of pronouns, but then, Egeldish generally has a lot of everything. First of all, there is a set of inanimate pronouns, which is comparatively small, and a set of animate pronouns, which is rather large. The inanimate pronouns include a second-person set, oddly enough – many Sheesanian linguists have tried to explain those by saying that Egeldish often personify inanimate objects and speak to them (which is, I admit, true). Then there are the animate pronouns. There are three sets of animate pronouns: normal, polite and extra-polite (though the extra-polite ones are falling out of use), with male/female gender in the third person.

All the Egeldish third-person pronouns also have separate proximite and distal forms. The proximite forms are used for objects/people/&c close to the speaker, while the distal forms are used for objects/people/&c far away from the speaker. This distinction is also used sometimes to show discourse relevance and help distinguish between multiple 3rd-person referents. Why do the 3rd-person pronouns have this distinction? They developed from Egeldish’s demonstratives, which have similar distinctions.

With plural 3rd-person forms, a group of mixed gender is referred to with the male pronoun, and with 3rd-person animate things that don’t have gender, or don’t have obvious gender (say, a bug?), the male form is used. Sexist, I know, but typical of natural languages.

Inanimate Pronouns

Originally, there was a distinct inanimate pronominal plural affix, -ho, and an inanimate pronominal associative plural affix, -ots. These have gotten melted onto the pronouns with time, however.

 

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

2nd person

dirīc

dirāho

diricōts

3rd person prox.

āho

hōts

3rd person dist.

isā

shō

syōs

Animate Pronouns

As with the inanimate pronouns, there was originally a pronominal plural affix, -he, and a pronominal associative plural affix, -nu, which have again gotten fused on with time.

Normal

The normal pronouns are generally only used with peers and subordinates – even if a speaker of Egeldish is very close with a superior like a parent or a teacher, s/he would still use polite pronouns. However, these normal pronouns are also used for people who haven’t really gotten fitted into the social hierarchy yet – for instance, if you see a random guy on the street and need to refer to him, you’d use a normal pronoun. Unless he’s significantly older than you, or he’s dressed much more nicely than you, or it’s clear some other way that he would probably be above you in the social hierarchy.

 

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

1st person

inc: dwēt

nnu

excl: dih

2nd person

te

tēh

ēn

3p prox. f.

nān

gāha

nūnu

3p dist. f.

rīn

rēhe

īnu

3p prox. m.

nēs

nise

ēsu

3p dist. m.

riz

rīze

rinū

Polite

The 1st-person forms are derived from “this child,” čorznye, and the 2nd-person forms are derived from “lord,” hāč. The 3rd-person female forms are derived from the female form of “lord,” hāčne, and the 3rd-person male forms are derived from the male form of “lord,” hāčis.

Note that the 3rd-person polite forms show deference to the person you’re talking about, not necessarily deference to the person you’re talking to. So if you’re talking to your friend Hāntis and you use a polite pronoun to refer to your friend Golene, you’re showing respect for Golene, not for Hāntis. On the other hand, when you use a 1st-person polite form, you show respect to the person you’re talking to, not respect for yourself.

These polite pronouns are used with superiors, usually even with quite high superiors, and also sometimes with peers or even with subordinates if you’re asking a favor or otherwise humbling yourself in some way. Books, radio stations, movies, etc. address their readers, listeners, watchers, etc. with these polite pronouns, but occasionally you might come across a book or something with a very colloquial tone that might use the normal pronouns to address the reader/watcher/whatever, however.

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

1st person

čōl

čōne

cyent

2nd person

hāj

hāje

hājn

3p prox. f.

hāje

hānyhi

hent

3p dist. f.

hāsi

hāsye

hāsent

3p prox. m.

ātse

hāce

ātsent

3p dist. m.

hāse

hsīke

hsīnt

Extra Polite

The 1st-person forms are derived from dūr, a word with an unknown original meaning; the 2nd-person forms are derived from elār, another word with an unknown meaning; and the 3rd-person forms come from elār plus the masculine/feminine -is/-ne endings.

The only time these extra-polite pronouns are used seriously is when you’re talking about or talking to somebody very important, like a king or prime minister, who you really respect. They used to be far more common, but over time they’ve acquired a certain sarcastic tone. So you more often see them in the mouth of an Egeldish speaker mocking somebody in authority or somebody acting high-and-mighty. They are most often used to refer to unpopular politicians or leaders of unfriendly countries. However, they are slowly falling more and more out of use, and they’ll probably be more or less gone from Egeldish in another few generations.

Sing

Pl

Associative Pl

1st person

dūr

dūre

dūrin

2nd person

elār

elāre

erōn

3p prox. f.

elāhn

elāhne

elyōn

3p dist. f.

elāsa

elāhyis

elōsi

3p prox. m.

elāz

elāhse

elāhsō

3p dist. m.

elāsa

elāsis

elāsose

Count Bleck speaks Tą!

…or, rather, he gets subtitles in Tą…

On a whim, I decided to translate my favorite scene of my favorite video game, Super Paper Mario, into my new language Tą. The scene is from Chapter 6, and I think it’s one of the most awesome scenes in the game…and besides, it’s accompanied by an incredible piece of music! Well, as I started the translation, I thought it would be pretty easy. I had already translated a government notice with quite long and complex sentences, after all, and a song, too. So a random scene from a Mario game should be pretty easy, right? Not! Man, that was one tricky translation!! So many figures of speech, metaphors, colloquial expressions, complex sentences…And Count Bleck had the most difficult lines of all. Even though Tą has absolutely no problem with passive voice!

But, despite the fact that Count Bleck appeared determined to overwhelm the Tą language by the force of his…eloquence? – Well, despite that fact, I managed to translate the scene, and I really like the result. There are bits in there that have some interesting nuance the English doesn’t, and I just like how it sounds! So, for a fun project, I decided to make a nice subtitled video of the scene. I also wanted to dub it into Tą – that is, if my mouth cooperated, Tą is hard to speak – but as it turns out, I can’t find any good quality videos that go slowly enough for me to read the Tą lines aloud. So I’m off the hook for now, at least, but at some point later I might upload an audio-only reading of the scene in Tą. (And I might add the original music, because it’s seriously awesome.)

And so, here is the “Champion of Destruction” scene from Chapter 6 of Super Paper Mario, with Tą! Below the video, I have an interlinear and literal translation of the Tą version. Thanks to BlueJackG on YouTube for the original video!

Interlinear and Literal Translation

List of Abbreviations

1p – first person
2p – second person
3p – third person
acc – accusative
ant – anterior
aug – augmentative
ben – benefactive
bip – bipersonal particle
caus – causative
comp – comparative
fut – future
gen – genitive
imp – imperative
ins – instrumental
loc – locative
mpc – more than paucal
neg – negation
nom – nominative
pc – paucal
pres – present
rc – relative clause
s – singular
trg – trigger
vrb – verbal focus

The Real Thing

Tippi:

Fêye
emptiness
ê
TRG
ʔob
large
uh
NOM
ťǐrid
become.more
ąn
PRES.ACC…
Wa
IMP.URGENT
kěḣdi
hurry
ǎno
1p.PC
NOM!
uh!

The emptiness is becoming more large…I order us, hurry!

Voice:

Kěḣdi?
hurry?
Nôf
what
ê
TRG
dewnǐn
pause
i
NEG
hepkěḣtą
linger.watch
i
NEG
au?
PRES.BEN/CAUS?

Hurry? For what reason to not pause, not lingeringly watch?

Count Bleck:

Râz
sun
ê
TRG
nȟi
darkness
ken
PRES.ANT.ACC
šelywil
AUG.too
a,
GEN,
rǐḣnǐ
stop
ǒno
PRES.VRB
i
NEG…
Blek
Bleck
Ǫri
Lord
ti!
ACC!

The sun just a moment ago became too dark, stop not…Lord Bleck!

Bowser:

Nôf
what
ê
TRG
jiîši
freak.clown
ek
PRES.NOM
nąnúye
creepy
a
GEN
nutǔla
cloak
a
GEN
qaȟ
with
Blek
Bleck
Ǫri
Lord
ti!
ACC!

What creepy freak with the cloak…Lord Bleck!

Count Bleck: BLEH HEH HEH HEH! BLEK!

Mîniąr
prophecy
ê
TRG
fǐhnaq
fall.in.a.controlled.way
ąk
PRES.NOM
deʔdeʔ
rhythm
a,
GEN,
Tuô-Sildgǔ
Heart-Chaos
le.
BEN/CAUS.

The prophecy rhythmically falls in a controlled way, because of the Chaos Heart.

Tuô
flame
e
TRG
iḣq
each
a
GEN
beáfû
world
ǫi
GEN
fǐhdô
flatten.put.out
ǫin,
FUT.ACC,
jir
one
e,
TRG,
jir
one
e
TRG…

The flame of each world will be flattened, one, one…

Tippi:

Muť
do.that
e
TRG
šel
AUG
šel-gǔb
AUG-ugly
a
GEN
nôf
what
BEN/CAUS
wǒh
2ps.NOM
nǎq
want
ąn?
PRES.ACC?

To do that, so – so ugly – why you want?

Count Bleck:

ǑḢǪN
question
ǎno
VRB.PRES
wǒh
2ps.NOM
Blek
Bleck
Ǫri
Lord
ap?!
LOC?!

Question you at Lord Bleck?!

Dâḣk
destroy
ê
TRG
běh
this
tǫi
ACC.RC
beáfû
world
ǫi
GEN.RC
û-jąhar
without-meaning
ǫi
GEN.RC
ťǫr
tall
ek
PRES.NOM
i!
NEG!

Destroying this world without meaning is not tall!

Šél-běluzdas
AUG-be.best.course.of.action
ono
VRB.PRES
ôyąlt
throw.into.liquid
ûh
NOM
Blek
Bleck
Ǫri
Lord
uḣ
NOM.RC
ḣe
3ps
tǫi betǔafû
ACC.RC ocean.oblivion
apǫ,
LOC.RC,
yǫtělě
leave.behind
jéla
BIP.1ps.3ps
uh
NOM
i!
NEG!

It is definitely the best course of action for Lord Bleck to throw it into oblivion, leaving it behind by him not!

Tippi:

Nôf
what
ê
TRG
wǒh
2ps.NOM
yef
that
ti
ACC
š
speak
apu?
PRES.INS?
Yef
that
e
TRG…
ǎnȟi
terrible.monstrous
ąk!
PRES.NOM!

By what means can you speak that? That…is terrible, monstrous!

Count Bleck:

Blek
Bleck
Ǫri
Lord
e
TRG
wtǐ
2ps.ACC
sílḣi
laugh.at
ek!
PRES.NOM!

Lord Bleck at you laughs!

Piksel
Pixl
e
TRG
ûťe
short
â
GEN
Blek
Bleck
Ǫri
Lord
le
BEN/CAUS
nǐnǐn
action.PC
ACC
iyǎr
high
a
GEN
peą
low
a
GEN
š
speak
ek
PRES.NOM
néksa
eyebrow
a?
GEN?

A short Pixl for the benefit of Lord Bleck of actions high and low speaks in an eyebrow way?

Tippi:

Běh
this
ě
TRG
še<ǫ>sildas
discuss<should>
ek
PRES.NOM
i!
NEG!
Wǒh
2ps.NOM
peą
low
ek
PRES.NOM…
ûduhál
sick
ąk!
PRES.NOM!

This is something that should be discussed not! You are low…are sick!

Tuô
heart
e
TRG
yuw
all
a
GEN
unǎd
living.thing
a
GEN
o
exist
ek.
PRES.NOM.
Yuw
all
e
TRG
ḣénna
3p.MPC.GEN
jąhar
worth
a
GEN
tǎt
be.most
ǎḣo.
PRES.COMP.

Hearts of all living things exist. All of them are the worthiest.

Ašfgǔ
impossible
ono
VRB.PRES
meq
just
ląy
white
uh
NOM
wǔḣ
2ps.NOM.RC
ḣéna
3p.MPC
tǫi!
ACC.RC!

It is impossible to just…make white you them!

Count Bleck:

Yuw
all
e
TRG
ba
thing
a
GEN
2ps
ǎp
LOC
raúyeʔp
be.close.to
ek,
PRES.NOM,
aqąȟ
yet
tuô
heart
e
TRG
wǒh
2ps.NOM
ǫnť
use
en?
PRES.ACC?

All things near you are close, yet hearts you use?

Ûjąhar
worthlessness
ê
TRG
bâj
COMP.MORE.QUALITY
ašfgǔ
impossible
PRES.GEN…

Being more worthless is impossible…

Count Bleck:

Yuw
all
e
TRG
ba
thing
a
GEN…
ûanéš
meaningless
ąk.
PRES.NOM.
Timpáni
Timpani
a
GEN
wers,
except,
yǫdḣi
treasure
e
TRG
kąuk
matter
a
GEN
1ps
tǫi
ACC.RC
o
exist
uk
PAST.NOM
i,
NEG,
jirą
not.one

All things…are meaningless. Except for Timpani, a treasure that mattered to me existed not, not one…

Tippi: …Tim…Timpáni?

Count Bleck:

…Mǔlaʔi
more
ě
TRG
š
speak
en
PRES.ACC
i!
NEG!

More speak not!

Count Bleck:

Běh
this
ě
TRG
beáfû
world
a
GEN
ib
die
ek
PRES.NOM
hep
seeing
ap
LOC
úťge
under
hepněhsjira
monocle
a…Blek
GEN…Bleck
Ǫri
Lord
a!
GEN!

This world is dying at the sight under the monocle of…Lord Bleck!

Kli
but
waq
IMP.NORMAL
rǐḣnǐ
stop
ě
TRG
yef
that
uḣ
NOM.RC
2ps
tǫi
ACC.RC
dǐgna
find
ǎpǫ
LOC.RC
Tuô-Nesě
Heart-Pure
tǫi wǔḣ
ACC.RC 2ps.NOM.RC
ámug
get
yin
FUT.ACC
šéli
never
wǒh
2ps.NOM
ǫja
allow
en
PRES.ACC
i!
NEG!

But I command you, do not allow the stopping of finding the Pure Heart you will never get by that!

BLEH HEH HEH HEH! BLEK!

Tippi:

Ą,
oh,
ťǐyr
gods.save.us

Oh, gods save us…

Seakitty Notice – A Text in Tą

This public notice, posted in an Obtobian city around 40 years ago in Sheesanian time, is an example text of my newest language, Tą. The ancestor of modern Tą was an Obtobian language, but after Obtobai conquered the other countries of Thomorai, some rulers forced their non-Obtobian subjects to speak Tą, too. Today it is spoken all over Thomorai – albeit with many dialectal differences between countries! – and is the main language of all Thomoraii countries except Kafa Monica.

I am not planning to write a formal grammar of Tą anytime soon, or even type in my sketchy notes, but here are some technical details if you’re interested, e.g., please feel free to skip this bit! (If you’d like to see more details, you could leave a comment or contact me and I would be happy to write up some more for you.)  Tą has nineteen consonants, including a series of retroflex stops (and a retroflex R!) and three glottal fricatives (which you could call variations of H): a normal one, a pharyngeal one (similar to Arabic’s ح) and a very weird nasal-glottal-fricative thing that is sort of like H but done through the nose. Then there are five fairly boring vowels…but which each also have a pharyngealized version and an epiglottalized version, all contrasting, plus two diphthongs, for a total of 17 vowels. Yay.

Tą is quite isolating, but is moving more and more towards an agglutinative/fusional system, and indeed already has some complex morphology. There are few boundaries between nouns, adjectives and verbs. An old evidentiality system, which used to be mandatory, is still sticking around, but is falling more and more out of use (much to the chagrin of older Tą speakers). Plurality is complicated. Tą used to have no grammatical plurality. Now it has two grammatical paucal plurals, an associative one and a non-associative one, but otherwise you must use one of the many irregular non-paucal plural nouns, or make it obvious in context that the number is bigger than paucal, or use a number. Tą has seven noun cases: trigger, nominative, accusative, genitive, locative/adpositional, causal/benefactive, and instrumental. Tą is somewhat Austronesian in morphosyntactic alignment, with the main topic of the sentence being marked with the trigger case, and the verb marked with the role of the trigger. There are a gazillion pronouns, since there are proximate, obviate and further obviate pronouns, plus polite and pejorative forms, and irregular forms with certain cases…

In verbs, Tą has some bipersonal particles borrowed from Kafa Monican for concisely marking subject and object. The interesting thing is that since these particles were borrowed from Kafa Monican, they use a different pronominal system than Tą does. Fun times! So then you also have boring past, present and future tenses, but with each having anterior and posterior versions. There is pretty much no grammatical aspect, so there are various convoluted semantic ways that speakers accomplish the jobs usually done by aspect. “Adjectives” are basically just nouns in genitive case that modify other nouns. Finally, there is a bunch of derivational morphology, because I love derivational morphology. And I have a lot of words in my Tą dictionary, and I’m very proud of them since I have a lot of nice semantic differences from English, and they’re short (thanks to all those vowels!).

So, without further technical ado, here is the English translation of the notice in Tą, the Tą version, an interlinear and literal translation of the Tą, and the Tą version written in the lovely Tą alphabet (which I hope to post about soon). Note that the year given, 687, is in the old Thomoraii count of years – it’s equivalent to about 1460 in the standard reckoning of Sheesanian years.

English

NOTICE

It is generally known that stray seakitties have recently been causing trouble in our city. They have been stealing food, dirtying our water supplies, destroying our plants, making noise, &c. In order to remedy this problem, the Council deliberated on the second day of the full moon, and has arrived at this decision. All people in Nošbą must:

-Not feed, house, or care for any stray seakitties. You may, however, adopt stray seakitties, but you must register the adoption at the Family Office and promise to keep the seakitty for its whole life.

-Not leave food out in places that are easy for a seakitty to reach, such as a doorstep.

-Not release seakitties you own. If you have seakitties you cannot care for, bring them to the Nošbą NSSI on Astkyan Street.

-Try to catch any stray seakitties you come across and are able to catch. If you catch a seakitty, release it in the jungle, bring it to the Nošbą NSSI on Astkyan Street, or report it to the Peace Office.

-Report any foreigners bringing and releasing seakitties into the city at the Peace Office.

By Order of the Council of Nošbą
Second Day of the Full Moon, Fifth Month, 687

EǪȞETI

Riy ajôf e ǎjazdií ǎ ťěbh ǎ sildgǔ le tôbą âp îg yóna a nǐan ąk wenêb a. Ḣéšep e lézyǎ uh ubába tǫi, frǐjj ǔh ôêl îťǫ yóna ǫi, dâḣk ûh báḣi tǫi yóna ǫi, dúîe uh, Ê.Q., wêm fî. Tělě ě běh tǫi sildgǔ ǫi, Tělělą ǔh Ȟakfê iť šésildas or, tḣéhe běh tǐ jazdián uk. Wa yuw e tôh â wêm â Nošbą apǫ:

-Íqǒ ti ajôjôf a ǎjazdií ǎ léfile, whěb, réťa ek i. Něuleš ě wǒh ajôjôf ti ǎjazdií ǎ, fêkwê, ǫja en, šǒbeǐ wa fûťíši áno wǒh něuleš tǐ, íse óno núlǫri ti ajôf lą jǔrul iťǫ, Ťiêsi-Tôḣîȟ ap.

-Uáab ti bêu âp ajôf uḣ îjâw ąn wáblab ǫi káʔlǎ ek i, mîan, fǐhǒtaye ǎp.

-Ajôjôf ti wǒ ǎ rámwi ek i. Ajfôô e wǒ ǎ o ek, núlǫri e tḣe tǫi wǒ ǔḣ ašefgǔ ek, wa tḣéhe NSSI-Nošbą ap, Šwêaʔ-Ástkyan apǫ, šwǎʔ ěn.

-Ajôf ti yaḣór ek, ȟwu e ḣe tǫi ašf ek, êydą ê wǒh rǐʔa ąn. Wǒ ě ajôf ti ȟwu uk, wa ḣee zǫn ap rámwi en, íwi NSSI-Nošbą ap, Šwêaʔ-Ástkyan apǫ, šwǎʔ ěn, íwi š en Ťiêši-Sild a ťow.

-Íqô ti kinúa a šwǎʔ, rámwi a ajfôô tǫi tôbą apǫ Ťiêši-Sild ap š ek.

Sánsǫ iť Tělělą ǎ Nošbą a
Ȟakfê, Yakǎʔri Bǎyǔ ǎ, 687

Interlinear/Literal Translation

List of Abbreviations

1 – first person
2 – second person
3 – third person
acc – accusative
ben – benefactive
caus – causative
cls – clause
gen – genitive
imp – imperative
incl – inclusive
ins – instrumental
loc – locative
neg – negation
nom – nominative
pc – paucal
pej – pejorative
pl – plural
pres – present
pron – pronoun
pst – past
rc – relative clause
sg – singular
trg – trigger
verb – verbal focus

EǪȞETI
notice

Thing that should be read

Riy
HEARSAY
ajôf
seakitty
e
TRG
ǎjazdií
houseless
ǎ
GEN
ťěbh
many
ǎ
GEN
sildgǔ
disorder
le
BEN
tôbą
city
âp
LOC
îg
in
yóna
1pl.INCL
a
GEN
nǐan
work
ąk
PRES.NOM
wenêb
started.recently
a.
GEN.

It is said many houseless seakitties have recently begun to work for the benefit of disorder in our city.

Ḣéšep
3sg.PEJ
e
TRG
lézyǎ
steal
uh
NOM
ubába
food
tǫi,
ACC.RC,
frǐjj
dirty.CAUSE
ǔh
NOM
ôêl
water.supply
îťǫ
INS.RC
yóna
1pl.INCL
ǫi,
GEN.RC,
dâḣk
destroy
ûh
NOM
báḣi
edible.plant
tǫi
ACC.RC
yóna
1pl.INCL
ǫi,
GEN.RC,
dúîe
make.noise
uh,
NOM,
Ê.Q.,
it.continues,
wêm
be.at
fi.
PRES.LOC.

They a stealing of food, a causing of our water supplies to become dirty, a destruction of our edible plants, a making of noise, it continues, are at.

Tělě
address.problem
ě
TRG
běh
this
tǫi
ACC.RC
sildgǔ
disorder
ǫi,
GEN.RC,
Tělělą
Council
ǔh
NOM
Ȟakfê
2nd.full.moon.day
INS
šésildas
discuss.solving.problem
or,
PST.BEN,
tḣéhe
3.PC.TRG
běh
this
ACC
jazdián
build
uk.
PST.NOM.

For the purpose of addressing this disorder, the Council used the 2nd day of the full moon to discuss how to solve the problem, they built this.

Wa
IMP.urgent
yuw
all
e
TRG
tôh
people
â
GEN
wêm
be.in
â
GEN
Nošbą
Nošbą
apǫ:
LOC.RC:

We order that all people who are in Nošbą:

Íqǒ
any
ti
ACC
ajôjôf
seakitties
a
GEN
ǎjazdií
homeless
ǎ
GEN
léfile,
feed,
whěb,
cover,
réťa
care.for
ek
PRES.NOM
i.
NEG.

Not feed, cover, care for any homeless seakitties.

Něuleš
adopt
ě
TRG
wǒh
2sg.NOM
ajôjôf
seakitties
ti
ACC
ǎjazdií
homeless
ǎ,
GEN,
fêkwê,
however,
ǫja
allow
en,
PRES.ACC,
šǒbeǐ
but
wa
IMP.urgent
fûťíši
register
áno
PRES.VERB
wǒh
1sg.NOM
něuleš
adopt
tǐ,
ACC,
íse
promise
óno
PRES.VERB
núlǫri
parent
ti
ACC
ajôf
seakitty
BEN.RC
jǔrul
life
iťǫ,
INS,
Ťiêsi-Tôḣîȟ
Office-Family
ap.
LOC.

You adopting homeless seakitties, however, is allowed, but you must register the adoption by you, promise to parent the seakitty for life, at the Family Office.

Uáab
food.PC
ti
ACC
bêu
place
âp
LOC
ajôf
seakitty
uḣ
NOM.RC
îjâw
touch.reach
ąn
PRES.ACC
wáblab
lazy
ǫi
GEN
káʔlǎ
put
ek
PRES.NOM
i,
NEG,
mîan,
for.example,
fǐhǒtaye
doorstep
ǎp.
LOC.

Not put food in places seakitties can touch lazily, for example, at a doorstep.

Ajôjôf
seakitties
ti
ACC
2sg
ǎ
GEN
rámwi
release
ek
PRES.NOM
i.
NEG.

Don’t release your seakitties.

Ajfôô
seakitties.PC
e
TRG
2sg
ǎ
GEN
o
exist
ek,
PRES.NOM,
núlǫri
parent
e
TRG
tḣe
3.PC
tǫi
ACC.RC
2sg
ǔḣ
NOM.RC
ašefgǔ
impossible
ek,
PRES.NOM,
wa
IMP.urgent
tḣéhe
3.PC.TRG
NSSI-Nošbą
NSSI-Nošbą
ap,
LOC,
Šwêaʔ-Ástkyan
street-Astkyan
apǫ,
LOC.RC,
šwǎʔ
move.bring
ěn.
PRES.ACC.

Seakitties exist that the parenting of them by you is impossible, we order that you bring them to the Nošbą NSSI, at Astkyan Street.

Ajôf
seakitty
ti
ACC
yaḣór
pass.by
ek,
PRES.NOM,
ȟwu
grab.catch
e
TRG
ḣe
3sg
tǫi
ACC.RC
ašf
possible
ek,
PRES.NOM,
êydą
CLS.PRON
ê
TRG
wǒh
2sg.NOM
rǐʔa
try
ąn.
PRES.ACC.

Pass by a seakitty, catching it is possible, try to do that.

2sg
ě
TRG
ajôf
seakitty
ti
ACC
ȟwu
catch
uk,
PST.NOM,
wa
IMP.urgent
ḣee
3sg.TRG
zǫn
jungle
ap
LOC
rámwi
release
en,
PRES.ACC,
íwi
or
NSSI-Nošbą
NSSI-Nošbą
ap,
LOC,
Šwêaʔ-Ástkyan
Street-Astkyan
apǫ,
LOC.RC,
šwǎʔ
move.bring
ěn,
PRES.ACC,
íwi
or
š
say.report
en
PRES.ACC
Ťiêši-Sild
Office-Peace
a
GEN
ťow.
to.

You a seakitty caught, it in the jungle release, or to the Nošbą NSSI, at Astkyan Street, bring it, or report it to the Peace Office.

Íqô
any
ti
ACC
kinúa
foreigner
a
GEN
šwǎʔ,
move.bring,
rámwi
release
a
GEN
ajfôô
seakitties.PC
tǫi
ACC.RC
tôbą
city
apǫ
LOC
Ťiêši-Sild
Office-Peace
ap
LOC
š
say.report
ek.
PRES.NOM.

Any foreigner bringing, releasing seakitties at the city, at the Peace Office report.

Sánsǫ
order.law
INS
Tělělą
Council
ǎ
GEN
Nošbą
Nošbą
a
GEN

Through the order of the Council of Nošbą

Ȟakfê,
2nd.full.moon.day,
Yakǎʔri
Month
Bǎyǔ
Five
ǎ,
GEN,
687
687

2nd day of the full moon, month of five, 687

Tą in Tą Script

Seakitty Notice

 

(click for larger picture)

Colloquial Names for Days of the Month in Tą

I’ve recently been working on a new language, Tą, that is spoken throughout Thomorai. In Thomorai, people use two different calendars: a highly accurate solar calendar, which is almost always used for giving official dates and in colloquial speech for months and years, and a strict lunar calendar. The lunar calendar has been falling more and more out of use in recent times, but it is still widely used to informally give the day of the week/month. For example, a Thomoraii might say that it’s the fifth month in the year 1501 (using the solar calendar), but that the day is Liděd (using the lunar calendar). The advantage of the lunar calendar is that it’s easy to see what day it is based on what the moon looks like; the disadvantage is that it doesn’t match up with the solar calendar. Nevertheless, it is very common in Thomorai for people to use the names for the days of the lunar month as we might use the days of the week.

Colloquial Names for Days of the Month in Tą

based on the phases of the moon Qějli

New moon: Lídis

1st night waxing cresent: Lidšón
2nd: Lidíba
3rd: Liděd
4th: Lidwâo
5th: Liděsa
6th: Lidúwa

First quarter moon: Šánať

1st night waxing gibbous: Šanšón
2nd: Šaníba
3rd: Šaněd
4th: Šanwâo
5th: Šaněsa
6th: Šanúwa

Full moon: Ȟak
Second full moon: Ȟakfê

1st night waning gibbous: Ȟakšón
2nd: Ȟakǐba
3rd: Ȟakěd
4th: Ȟakwâo
5th: Ȟakěsa
6th: Ȟakúwa

Last quarter moon: Deêli

1st night waning crescent: Deêšón
2nd: Deêyíba
3rd; Deêyêd
4th: Deêwâo
5th: Deêyêsa
6th: Deêyúwa

Oaths and Lies – A Lukokish Example Text

This example text, translated into my imaginary language Lukokish, is part of the first scene from Usëvzan îars irlïrz, a classic Lukokish mejëiç novel written by Têla Öete in 1362 (139 years ago from the present, so comparable to something written in 1874). The mejëiç novel, a uniquely Lukokish invention, is composed of dialog and audible speech alone. There is no prose description or narration, no explanation of who’s talking, no record of what people are thinking – nothing except dialog spoken aloud. Mejëiç novels are usually printed with speech by different people in different colors. But still, it is a challenge for the author of such a novel to effectively convey who’s speaking, let alone a whole story! This particular example lets me show the style of Lukokish novels, while also showing how both high-class Jaeve and low-class peasants would talk.

Usëvzan îars irlïrz, usually translated as Oaths and Lies (though a more accurate translation would Making Oaths and Then Lying), is a good example of a typical classic Lukokish novel. It focuses on a Jaeve man (the Jaeve are the nobility of Lukok) and what he does to save his family’s honor, while also pursuing love and a place in life. Many of its features, including love between Jaeve and non-Jaeve, honor of a family, conflict between Reason and Beauty (in this case epitomized by the two lead characters), coincidences conveniently explained by divine favor, etc. are traditional Lukokish themes. But it also includes more modern elements, which were beginning to be introduced in Lukokish literature in the mid-1300s. Peasant revolts, which only truly began around this time period, figure prominently into the story. The government’s new regulations are also important. Additionally, one of the central characters is tremendously deceptive, with the author even intending to have him deceive the reader! Having such an unreliable main character was unusual in Lukokish literature when Têla Öete wrote this book.

Têla Öete, like most Lukokish writers, was Jaeve. She came from the Öete family, who were fairly rich and had lands in central Lukok, so they were close to the capital Nêleru. For this reason, Têla was familiar with what was going on in Lukok, since she would hear news from the capital. Hearing of peasant revolts and related problems probably helped inspire Usëvzan îars irlïrz.

painting of Têla Óete

Painting of Têla Öete as a 15-year-old. The clothing, furniture, carpet, etc. are all representative of high-class Jaeves

Têla wrote eight published novels, six of which were mejëiç. This one was her third published story. All of her mejëiç novels were quite popular, as this genre was becoming more fashionable during this time period, but her normal novels were not well known. Today, Têla’s work is still popular among mejëiç enthusiasts, particularly because very few Lukokish writers are producing novels of this genre anymore.

Têla's signature

Têla’s signature

I first wrote this scene’s English translation, then translated it back into Lukokish, making adjustments to the English as necessary – I do not flatter myself that I can write a story in straight Lukokish! I also wrote a detailed interlinear and literal translation, so you can see some of the unique ways that Lukokish expresses things. Finally, I’ve added many extra notes to explain important concepts or implications, note literary techniques, and point out particularly interesting language uses. However, there are still many quirks of speech that I didn’t point out – look at the interlinear/literal translation to see more. Also, please don’t feel like you have to read all the notes 😉 You can certainly understand the story, at least the basic idea of it, without looking at the notes.

The English, Lukokish, notes and interlinear/literal translation are below. Additionally, I’ve written an English “translation” of the rest of this scene and part of the next; you can leave a comment or contact me if you’re interested in reading it. Please also feel free to contact me if you’re curious as to the general plot of the story – I could work it all out and give you a synopsis. (I have the basic idea of the story in my head, but I don’t have some of the vital details figured out yet.)

English

“Sh! Who’s there?”1

“It is I, Lord Lumëan Töreşv.2 I must speak to you!”

“What, you again? Be gone!”3

“Remë Ränolet,4 stay, listen to me, please! I have come three varalï5 from the hills in the snow and wind, and I must talk to you! I have only to state two things and ask one other. Please6 come out and speak to me!”7

“I told you, go! It is late at night,8 it is no time for talking!”

“Sir,9 please, for the love of God,10 come out and speak to me!”

“Foolish boy!11 I will come out and speak to you, but don’t expect me to do anything for you. – Well, what is it?”

“Sir, you know the first thing I have to say, as well as I do.12 I am lord of these lands, but I cannot keep control of them.13 You peasants all hated my father, but he was stern to you, so you obeyed him. Then he died and I became lord, and you threw me out because I was gentle and could not stop you.”14

“Because you were gentle! Good grief!15 Your father trained you,16 Lumëan Töreşv,17 and so we all knew that you would be the same as him. Besides, you are young! You can have your own path.”18

“My own path…God save me!19 Well, listen – I am lord, but I cannot hold these lands. But I must hold them for the honor of my family, because I am the heir and it is my duty.20 If you peasants throw me out and I am forced to neglect my duty, it would be the shame of my sisters, my cousins, my nephews and nieces21 – it would be a shame to the Töreşv!”22

“Yes, and a shame to you, you neglect to add!”23

“God knows that is not my primary thought!24 – But see, I have stated my first point.25 I am lord, but I cannot hold these lands, yet26 I must for the honor of my family. And now I come to my second point….27

Lukokish

“Şş! Eà ävnë?”1

“Âle Lumëan Töreşv meà kîdi.2 Nïvet meçèt dös meşanenäska!”

“I:a, mevèt lènvska? Dikëçë çê veşrè!”3

“Remë Ränolet,4 ditrè çê, dvîr evè divël vlël, nmet di! Mevè dö çê kivaralï kös5 nizok kosuskçurï lètôik kosmìl konënlla vêlôik, dvîr nïvet dös vlël meşanenäska! Ataï ma idàdçe mevè dêsek vlël äîre atà kïnïçe dêçë. Nmet di,6 mevèt dirê çê, nïve meçëv di!”7

“Nïvet meçèt dö, diçë çê veşrè! Meön meşïksmä,8 atvlëltu mejïmel ärv vävmäevë!”

“Muïr Ränolet,9 nmet di, Kèşun vävok,10 dirê çê, nïve meçëv di!”

“Melòme ûrëmä!11 De:me mevè dêrê çê nïvet meçèt dê, de:me mevè dë kovèt vävôik mejëv dekèt. – Aissë, eà ävnë?”

“Muïr Ränolet, eàet skuìd kîesöst mevèt di eveëm neseäds szûr mevè neseäds.12 De:me eulùr jäesan ärv kîesej mevè kîdi, de:me dvîr elëv dös de asemerşz.13 De:me edëvutet mevöt ekenoï kîdo, mevöt ëäns, du zër, de:me ezl meevë sëukeëntmä kêvöt êaltëa, ezl nïevë mevöt durê işiz. Mnaam meevë duçë eulùr meve kîdö, ta eve mevöt döçë mêran ta meve sekkarmä sekmarmä dvîr evöt dös du du:sek in.”14

“Ta mevet sekkarmä! Kiûne:rë vävok!15 Ezl atçsöï nïvet, Lumëan Toreşv,17 medëvutëv duçë enêru,16 ezl eevë mevet kîdë mevïl ëäns dukë eveëm. Te:ne:, mevet marmä! Kiazinan kervet ulaok meazinëv dös.”18

“Kiazinan kerve…Keşundûjï!19 Aissë, merêekomëv di – de:me eulùr meve kîdi, de:me esan ärv meve dös de asemerşz. De:me ta nîërz dös meşanenäska kêdïn kermetêrezet vävtëa, ta dvîr enivöçë kîdi eve menivöçëzis di oman.20 Ed eve mevöt ekenoï kîdo dârçë mêran dvîr enivöçëziset meve di:mçë mêran dâr mle, ed dvîr atrën kerlentaïet, kerşitïet, kerzetïet, kersudinïet21 – ker-Töreşv dâr ëlëu!”22

“Dâr, atrën kervet, meçëv dia mej dökër!”23

“Eşaet mejölat mejâk ëmäv kîdöv Keşun di eveëm!24 – Aissë mesmëv di, edoka idlo meç dö.25 De:me eulùr meve kîdi, de:me esan ärv meve dös de asemerşz, de:me de:me26 nîërz dâr meşanenäska kodïn kermetêrezet vävôik. Edokaet metlo meve dê joserëur….27

Notes

1 Remë’s wording of “who’s there,” eà ävnë, literally means “what thing?” and reveals his lack of education. An educated Lukokish person would say ötò ävnë di? “what person exists?”, avoiding the use of a sentence fragment, and also keeping from potentially offending the listener by referring to him or her with the dummy noun. These kinds of small differences in speech are generally very important in mejëiç novels.

2 A Lukokish reader can get a great deal of information from this name alone! First of all, Lumëan uses the title âle, a third-person term of address, in order to refer to himself. Âle would usually not carry honorific connotations, but since it’s in the third person despite the fact that Lumëan is talking about himself, it means “lord.” At the same time, it is quite humble, since a lord would usually be referred to, and would usually refer to himself, with the honorific third-person term ulùr. So from this one word, Lukokish readers can tell that Lumëan is a lord, but is being unusually humble, also taking into consideration the fact that Remë must be low-class (they’d know this from his use of eà ävnë). Secondly, Lumëan is clearly male, since -ëan is a male gender postfix. Finally, Lumëan’s surname Töreşv is important. It is a surname belonging to one of the 21 noble Jaeve families, so we know that Lumëan is Jaeve (though he is already almost certainly Jaeve if he is a lord). Also, we can guess that Lumëan lives somewhere around Sètsol, because this is the hometown of the Töreşv. Since the Töreşv were at this point a fairly prestigious but rather poor noble family, we can also guess that Lumëan probably has a lot of pride in his family but not much money or power. Additionally, the Töreşv had ties with Laguina, so he has a higher possibility of being under suspicion for treason – something that will come into play later in the story. As you can see, for a Lukokish author, choosing the right family for a Jaeve character is very important!

3 More sentence fragments on the part of Remë, further demonstrating his low social class and level of education. High-class and/or educated people still use sentence fragments in conversation, but they would certainly be more careful when talking to somebody above them, as Remë is doing. Also, it is unusual for anybody educated to give a command without making clear who they are speaking to, as Remë is doing.

4 The name Remë Ränolet confirms any remaining doubts the reader might have about his social class. Remë is a name meaning “egg,” and it is quite common among peasants but rare in higher-class circles. Ränolet is a common low-class surname. All in all, Remë has a rather bland, generic peasant’s name.

5About 1.4 miles.

6 Note the Lukokish phrase for “please,” nmet di. It is composed of a noun that has lost all other meaning, nm, and a d* that carries the meaning of “please.” If you were asking for a future favor, for example, if Lumëan was asking Remë to talk with him tomorrow, you would use d* in a soon or future tense.

7Note Lumëan’s multiple uses of verb conjunctions. Uneducated Lukokish speakers still use these conjunctions, but they are more common in the mouths of educated speakers.

8Meön meşïksmä “it is late at night” is literally “night is far to the right,” since time in Lukokish goes from left to right.

9Again, a great deal is communicated by how Lumëan addresses Remë. He uses a normal second-person address, muïr, which does not imply any particular honor, but he uses Remë’s surname afterwards, which does. A lord would usually speak to his vassal with muïr alone, or with muïr accompanied by the peasant’s first name. In this way, Lumëan is treating Remë with more honor than a lord usually would, but he is certainly still not going all-out – Lumëan retains his pride despite his desperation.

10The general Lukokish belief today, as it was in Lumëan’s time, is that God (Keşun) is far away from humans, being too holy to care for their comparatively foolish affairs. So Lumëan is, by Lukokish standards, being quite bold to invoke the name of God in this way, and this is only the first time he does so during this scene. Readers generally agree that this is meant to show how desperate he is. (Do note that the expression Keşundûjï! “God save us!” is common in Lukokish, but besides this, Lukokish rarely make casual references to God.)

11Note that Remë doesn’t inflect ûrëmä “foolish,” further evidence of his lack of education. He also calls Lumëan a boy, which is a bit of an insult since Lumëan is an adult (if a young one).

12 Note the metaphor Lumëan uses in the Lukokish: they both know this fact tall-ly. By Lukokish thinking, knowledge and understanding stacks up, so if you have a lot of knowledge or understand a fact very well, it’s tall.

13 Another metaphor: “drawing a circle around something” for “keeping control.” To Lukokish, control is much like encircling or surrounding something.

14First of all, Lumëan must be at least 18 to become lord, since this is the age of legal adulthood in Lukok. (Okay, I know that looks like I just borrowed that age from the American system, but there’s a reason why it’s 18! You see, the Lukokish use a base-6 number system, and 18 would be represented as 30 – a nice, even number. That’s why. By the way, that’s the legal age of adulthood – who people informally consider an adult varies from place to place and social class to social class in Lukok. Some give ages as low as 14; the highest age is 24, another even number in base-6.) Secondly, now the reader would know why Lumëan is feeling desperate (even without being aware of further reasons that are revealed later on), because a lord would be in a dire situation if his peasants threw him out. Not only would he not be able to earn a living, he would bring shame to himself and his family. Lumëan is especially vulnerable because he is young and unestablished. In addition, again, Lumëan frequently uses verb conjunctions. Finally, note his use of the past tense to relate this episode: it perfectly shows his status as a Jaeve, but a lower-status one. Jaeve usually use past tense (as opposed to recent tense) only for long-ago or historical events, and the lower class a Lukokish speaker gets, the more likely they are to use past tense for less long-ago or historical events. Lumëan uses this tense for his deposition and the events leading up to it, which are historical for him…but higher-class Jaeve would consider them minor enough for recent tense.

15 Literally “for the purpose of foolishness” – Remë is insulting Lumëan’s idea more than anything else here. It is a common expression with Remë throughout the story, as he is always criticizing things. It is also fairly common in the mouth of his daughter, Tïma, whom Lumëan will soon reveal that he is in love with. This is just one indication of how Tïma shares many personality traits with her father – interesting, because while Lumëan loves Tïma’s personality, he is always at odds with her father! These sorts of paradoxes go unquestioned in most classic Lukokish novels, but in Usëvzan îars irlïrz, Têla Öete went a bit out of the box and had her characters actually discuss the problem of Lumëan appreciating Tïma but not Remë. This is just one of the small, innovative twists that made Têla Öete such a popular writer.

16 Literally “your father gave you words.” This has a stronger meaning than just “your father trained you” – it means that Lumëan’s father shaped his worldview and way of thinking and speaking.

17 It is rather impolite for Remë to address Lumëan with his straight name, even his full name, without using any titles. Even friends will usually use titles when directly addressing each other, and they certainly would if they were having as important a conversation as Lumëan and Remë are!

18 This comment shows just how much Remë doesn’t understand the life and responsibilities of a young Jaeve man, particularly one with four sisters, as Lumëan is later revealed to have. The fact is that Lumëan was obligated to serve as lord, and even if he couldn’t do this, he would have to provide for his sisters somehow, and even if he didn’t have sisters, he would still have to pursue a respectable Jaeve occupation – he could never just do whatever he wanted unless he wanted to bring shame upon himself and his family. Lukokish peasants, on the other hand, are generally much freer. They still have obligations of maintaining the family honor, but this mostly consists of not becoming criminal, immoral or extremely poor.

19 Lumëan, on the other hand, knows perfectly well that he can’t do what he wants, and in frustration appeals to God to see the sorry state of the world and save it. Keşundûjï is a frequent exclamation with Lukokish facing trouble or seeing problems in the world, as he is.

20 Literally, “the heirship grasps me tightly.” To Lukokish, duty holds and restricts, but do note that this is generally not considered bad – many writers argue that duty is necessary for restricting the wildness of emotions and will, and that the limitations it imposes are helpful for self-control and happiness (because, after all, you can’t have everything anyways).

21 Look at the interlinear to get a better feeling for the different familial terms Lumëan uses. He must use two different terms for “cousins,” one for those on his mother’s side and one for those on his father’s side, as Lukokish distinguishes between most relatives on the two sides. But there is just one term for “nephews and nieces” – one of the family roles where relation to the father or mother is not distinguished.

22 Lukok has a strong culture of honor and shame. Among Jaeves, maintaining the honor of one’s general family is of utmost importance, certainly above personal comfort or happiness. In the lower classes, the main problem is not so much maintaining the honor of your general family, but your own honor and that of your immediate family. A major shame could easily affect a family materially, too. If Lumëan had the shame of being deposed from his role as lord, it could mean that his sisters and cousins were not able to marry as well, because then the prospective spouses would have to associate themselves with the shame of being deposed. Then they might have to marry poorer or otherwise less desirable men, which would further shame the family, and so further shame Lumëan for bringing such trouble, and on and on…

23 This is completely true, even as it shows the more individualistic focus of the lower classes. Remë is full of such truthful, critical and pointed observations. He is not always understanding, careful or polite, but he is shrewd and not easily fooled by flattery or nice manners. These are all traits he shares with Lumëan’s love Tïma (though Tïma, admittedly, is generally a bit more diplomatic). Lumëan, on the other hand, is rather dreamy and tends to see things more poetically than they really are. Many non-Lukokish critics have complained that people with such disparate personalities as Lumëan and Tïma could never get along so well. But the fact is that the union of poetic dreaminess and sharp observation of fact is a huge motif in Lukokish literature, because it’s supposed to represent the harmony of Reason and Beauty. According to one Lukokish critic, Nazëan Viru:, more than half of Lukokish literature deals in some way with conflict and harmony of Reason and Beauty. Usëvzan îars irlïrz, with Tïma representing Reason and Lumëan representing Beauty, is among this body of literature.

24 Literally, “God knows that is not my heaviest thought!” In Lukokish metaphor, heavy thoughts are more memorable and present, while light thoughts are easily forgotten.

25 Literally, “I have said my first line.” In Lukokish metaphor, an argument is a drawing, and a point in an argument is a line.

26 Lumëan uses the more colloquial and less high-class expression de:me de:me here to say “X but Y yet Z” (de:me X de:me Y de:me de:me Z). He is becoming less and less careful and slipping more into colloquial speech as he becomes more agitated, probably especially because he is about to declare his love for Tïma.

27 As things stand now, this story would appear to the reader as a (most likely appealing) mixture of old tropes and newer elements. Lumëan is an almost textbook young and dreamy, yet honorable symbol of Beauty, an image that will be further enhanced by his declaration of love. Remë is a bit more interesting with his bold insults and sharp criticisms. But after discovering in the next section that he had tried to protect his daughter by not allowing her and Lumëan to marry, readers would probably write him off as a typical restrictive-out-of-worry father type. The whole idea of peasants rebelling against their Jaeve lord, on the other hand, especially with the added twist of the lord then trying to negotiate with his vassals, would be quite novel. Considering the rest of the book, both Lumëan and Remë end up being a lot more fleshed-out and interesting. After this initial setup, the story skips forward ten years to find Lumëan as a broken and disillusioned wanderer, shadowed by a enigmatic and deceptive magician sidekick, Dimenç, whom he trusts utterly. (Much of Lumëan’s inner conflict has to do with regaining his true sense of Beauty, while avoiding the twisted and ugly side of Beauty represented by Dimenç.) Before this jump ahead in time, Remë and Tïma have several interactions, showing how much Tïma, despite Lumëan’s aversion to him, loves, respects and takes after her father. Then, after the jump, Remë is dead, but Tïma so often refers to him or acts like him, and Lumëan’s reminisces to Dimenç so often include him, that he continues to be important. All this reveals him to be a shrewd thinker and a loving parent and husband.

Interlinear & Literal Translation

“Şş! Eà ävnë?”
shh! def.ACC-dummy.noun what?
Shh! What thing?

“Âle Lumëan Töreşv meà kîdi.
title.male.ACC Lumëan Töreşv def.NOM-dummy.noun be-d*.pres.
Lord Lumëan Töreşv the thing is.

Nïvet meçèt dös meşanenäska!”
def.DAT-you.male def.NOM-mouth-my d*.pres.could pres.very-should-adv!
To you my mouth must talk!

“I:a, mevèt lènvska? Dikëçë çê veşrè!”
what, def.NOM-you.male again-adv? d*.pres-imp.cont-away go I-def.COM!
What, you again? Be going away, I command!

“Remë Ränolet, ditrè çê, dvîr evè divël vlël, nmet di!
Remë Ränolet, d*.pres-stop go, and.share.sub def.ACC-I d*.pres-back.to talk, please d*.pres!
Remë Ränolet, stop, and listen to me, please!

Mevè dö çê kivaralï kös nizok kosuskçurï lètôik kosmìl konënlla vêlôik,
def.NOM-me d*.recent go indef.POSTP.verbal-varalï three for.distance-indef.POSTP.verbal def.POSTP.verbal-hills from-def.POSTP.verbal def.POSTP.verbal-snow def.POSTP.verbal-wind in-def.POSTP.verbal,
I went for three varalï from the hills in snow and wind,

dvîr nïvet dös vlël meşanenäska!
vconj.subject def.DAT-you.male d*.pres.could talk very.pres-should-adv!
and to you must talk!

Ataï ma idàdçe mevè dêsek vlël äîre atà kïnïçe dêçë.
indef.ACC-dummy.nouns two only-indef.ACC def.NOM-me d*.soon-down talk vconj.verb indef.ACC-dummy.noun more-indef.ACC d*.soon-away.
Two things only I will state and a thing more ask.

Nmet di, mevèt dirê çê, nïve meçëv di!”
please-my d*.pres, def.NOM-you.male d*.pres-towards go, def.DAT-me def.NOM-mouth-your.male d*.pres
Please, you come out, me your mouth talk to!

“Nïvet meçèt dö, diçë çê veşrè!
def.DAT-you.male def.NOM-mouth-my d*.recently, d*.pres-away go I-def.COM!
You my mouth told, go away I command!

Meön meşïksmä, atvlëltu mejïmel ärv vävmäevë!”
def.NOM-night very.pres-right-def.NOM, indef.ACC-talking def.NOM-time this for-def.NOM-pres.neg!
The night is far to the right, talking this time is not for!

“Muïr Ränolet, nmet di, Kèşun vävôik, dirê çê, nïve meçëv di!”
title.you.male.sub Ränolet, please-my d*.pres, God for.the.purpose.of-def.POSTP.verbal, d*.pres-towards go, def.DAT-me def.NOM-mouth-your.male d*.pres!
Mr. Ränolet, please, for the purpose of God, come out, to me your mouth speak!

“Melòme ûrëmä! De:me mevè dêrê çê nïvet meçèt dê,
def.NOM-boy stupid-def.NOM! but def.NOM-I d*.soon-towards come def.DAT-you.male def.NOM-mouth-my d*.soon,
Stupid boy! I will soon come out, to you my mouth will speak,

de:me atd mevè dë kovèt vävôik mejëv dekèt.
but indef.ACC-act def.NOM-me d*.soon.subcls def.POSTP.verbal-you.male for-def.POSTP.verbal def.NOM-brain-your.male d*.pres.neg-up.
but that I will soon do something for you, your brain do not think.

– Aissë, eà ävnë?”
well, def.ACC-dummy.noun what?
Well, what thing?

“Muïr Ränolet, eàet skuìd kîesöst mevèt di eveëm neseäds szûr mevè neseäds.
title.you.male.sub Ränolet, def.ACC-dummy.noun-my indef.POSTP.acc-one of-indef.POSTP.acc def.NOM-you.male d*.pres know tall-COMP.equal vconj.object.d*.verb def.NOM-me tall-comp.equal.
Mr. Ränolet, the first thing you know as tall-ly as I know it tall-ly.

De:me eulùr jäesan ärv kîesej mevè kîdi,
but def.ACC-title.extra.honor.him def.POSTP.acc-place this of-def.POSTP.acc def.NOM-me be-d*.pres,
Lord of this place I am,

de:me dvîr elëv dös de asemerşz.
but vconj.subject def.NOM-it d*.pres.could d*.pres.neg draw.circle
but it I cannot draw a circle around.

De:me edëvutet mevöt ekenoï kîdo, mevöt ëäns, du zër,
but def.ACC-father-my def.NOM-you.pl def.NOM-peasants be-d*.pres.subcls, def.NOM-you.pl all, d*.past hate,
My father you who are peasants, all of you, hated,

de:me ezl meevë sëukeëntmä kêvöt êaltëa, ezl nïevë mevöt durê işiz.
but so def.NOM-him recent-stern-def.NOM def.POSTP.adj-you.pl relating.to-def.POSTP.adj, so def.DAT-him def.NOM-you.pl d*.past-towards obey
but he was stern to you, so him you obeyed.

Mnaam meevë duçë eulùr meve kîdu, ta eve mevöt döçë mêran
then def.NOM-him d*.away def.ACC-title.extra.honor.him def.NOM-me be-d*.past, because def.ACC-me def.NOM-you.pl d*.recent-away exert.force
then he died, lord I became, me you pushed away

ta meve sekkarmä sekmarmä dvîr evöt dös du duvsek in.”
because def.NOM-me pres-gentle-def.NOM pres-young-def.NOM vconj.subject def.ACC-you.pl d*.pres.could d*.past d*.recent.neg-down do.something.
because I am gentle and young and you I could not stop.

“Ta mevet sekkarmä! Kiûne:rë vävok!
because def.NOM-you.male pres-gentle-def.NOM! indef.POSTP.verb-foolishness for.the.purpose.of-indef.POSTP.verb

Because you are gentle! For the purpose of foolishness!

Ezl atçsöï nïvet, Lumëan Toreşv, medëvutëv duçë enêru,
so indef.ACC-words def.DAT-you.male, Lumëan Toreşv, def.NOM-father-your.male d*.past-away add,
Words to you, Lumëan Toreşv, your father gave,

ezl eevë mevet kîdë mevïl ëäns dukë eveëm.
so def.ACC-him def.NOM-you.male be-d*.soon.subcls def.NOM-we.exclu all d*.past-imp.ongoing.
so him you will be we all knew.

Te:ne:, mevet marmä! Kiazinan kervet ulaok meazinëv dös.”
besides, def.NOM-him young-def.NOM! indef.PREP-road def.POSS-you.male indef.PREP.verb-on def.NOM-foot-your.male d*.pres.could.
Besides, you’re young! On a road of your own your foot can walk.

“Kiazinan kerve…Keşundûjï!
indef.PREP-road def.POSS-me…God.save.us!
Road of my own…God save us!

Aissë, merêekomëv di – de:me eulùr meve kîdi, de:me esan ärv meve dös de asemerşz.
well, def.NOM-ear-your.male d*.pres – but def.ACC-title.extra.honor.him def.NOM-me be-d*.pres, but def.ACC-place this def.NOM-me d*.pres.could d*.pres.neg draw.circle
Well, your ear listen – the lord I am, but this place I cannot draw a circle around.

De:me ta nîërz dös meşanenäska kêdïn kermetêrezet vävtëa,
but because vconj.sub.obj.verb d*.pres.could pres.very-should-adv def.PREP.adj-honor def.POSS-family-my for.the.purpose.of-def.PREP.adj,
But do that I must for the purpose of the honor of my family,

ta dvîr enivöçë kîdi eve menivöçëzis di oman.
because vconj.subject def.ACC-heir be-d*.pres def.ACC-me def.NOM-heirship d*.pres grasp.tightly.
because the heir I am, me the heirship grasps tightly.

Ed eve mevöt ekenoï kîdo dârçë mêran
if.then def.ACC-me def.NOM-you.pl def.ACC-peasants be-d*.pres.subcls d*.pres.hypo-away force
If me you who are peasants force away

dvîr enivöçëziset meve di:mçë mêran dâr mle,
vconj.sub def.NOM-me d*.pres.subcls.hypo-away force d*.pres.hypo cause,
and cause me to force away my heirship,

ed dvîr atrën kerlentaïet, kerşitïet, kerzetïet, kersudinïet – ker-Töreşv dâr ëlëu!”
if.then vconj.sub indef.ACC-shame def.POSS-sisters-my, def.POSS-mother.side.cousins-my, def.POSS-father.side.cousins-my, def.POSS-nephew.or.nieces-my – def.POSS-Töreşv d*.pres.hypo create!
then you a shame of my sisters, my cousins on my mother’s side, my cousins on my father’s side, my nephews and nieces – the Töreşv would create!

“Dâr, atrën kervet, meçëv dia mej dökër!”
d*.pres.hypo, indef.ACC-shame def.POSS-you.male, def.NOM-mouth-your.male d*.pres.subcls def.NOM-brain d*.recent-stop!
Yes, a shame of you, your mouth mentioning your brain forgets!

“Eşaet mejölat mejâk ëmäv kîdöv Keşun di eveëm!
indef.comp.ACC-dummy.noun-my very.recent-heavy-indef.comp.ACC def.NOM-thought that be-d*.pres.subcls.neg God d*.pres know!
That that thought of mine was not recently heavy, God knows!

– Aissë mesmëv di, edoka idlo meç dö.
well def.NOM-eye-your.male d*.pres, def.ACC-line one-def.ACC def.NOM-mouth d*.recent
Well your eye see, the first line my mouth said.

De:me eulùr meve kîdi, de:me esan ärv meve dös de asemerşz,
but def.ACC-me def.NOM-lord be-d*.pres, but def.ACC-place this def.NOM-me d*.pres.could d*.pres.neg draw.circle,
I the lord am, but this place I cannot draw a circle around,

de:me de:me nîërz dâr meşanenäska kodïn kermetêrezet vävôik.
but but vconj.sub.obj.vb d*.pres.hypo pres.very-must-ADV def.verb.POSTP-honor def.POSS-family-my for-def.verb.POSTP.
but must do that for the purpose of the honor of my family.

Edokaet metlo meve dê joserëur….
def.ACC-line-my two-def.ACC def.NOM-me d*.soon just.next.moment-ADV.tense
The second line I am just about to draw….

Updated Grammar of Lukokish

This 60-page (!) grammar is a significantly updated, expanded, and generally improved version of my old Lukokish grammar, and it’s the reason why I haven’t posted anything for weeks! Lukokish is a language I made up that is spoken today by the people of the country of Lukok. As of May 2013, it is my newest language and certainly the best language I’ve made so far (though I still love the ones that would probably be judged as badly done!). Here’s a short overview of its significant features from the grammar – the first paragraph describes the general state of things, and the second paragraph goes a bit more into depth on one of the more special and unique aspects of Lukokish: the default verbs.

Lukokish is mostly fusional, with some agglutinative and isolating elements, and has nominative-accusative alignment. It has nouns, verbs and adjectives. Postpositions are treated as adjectives, and adverbs are simple derivations of adjectives. Nouns are marked by case, mood and definiteness (a/the). Using an isolated element known as d*, verbs mark tense, mood, perfection, habituality, generality and movement. Adjectives have a complex morphological system and generally have to match the case of their nouns, and there are complicated rules for comparisons with adjectives. There is no full gender system – there was in Old Lukokish and there is today in Laguine, but modern-day Lukokish does not have it.

In Lukokish, many nouns have default verb meanings if they are subjects or objects. In such a case, d* can be used without a verb, and it carries the default meaning. For example, in Ejû melòme du “The boy threw the ball,” the verb for “throw” is not present. But the default verb meaning for “ball,” if it is used as an object, is “throw.” So d* (which, in this case, is du) carries the meaning “throw.” Many verbs also can be given different meaning through movement marked on d*. Movement can be used to actually imply movement (for example, when using the verb for “move”), or it can be used to give other meanings. For example, the verb for “add” is enêru. But if downwards movement is marked on d*, then enêru means “subtract” or “take away.”

Before you look at the grammar, please keep these things in mind:

  • I am not a linguist and my linguistic knowledge is generally woefully lacking, so please bear with me when I accidentally misuse terms or concepts in my grammar. I am eager to learn more, however, so if you find mistakes, please contact me and tell me about them – nicely, if you can! 😉
  • I also believe that Lukokish probably would be criticized by many other language creators for its weaknesses in various points, e.g. its unrealistically regular sounds and lack of allophony, boring case system, lack of conciseness, etc. First of all, again, I am very open to comment and criticism – I would love to hear from you and learn how to improve! However, making up languages is at heart a very personal hobby, and so I sometimes choose to do something less interesting or realistic just because I like it that way. Or, it wouldn’t be fun, and the whole point of making up languages in the first place is fun, so it would defeat the point. In the end, I make up languages for myself, and so will make choices accordingly.
  • Everything is subject to change at any time without any warning for no reason. Like, you could wake up tomorrow and discover that I added gender, turned all adjectives into verbs, and threw in some Austronesian alignment for a change. (But I have to admit that those particular changes would be pretty unlikely.)
  • I put zero effort into making sure that the page breaks were in nice places.

And so, without further ado, here it is: the PDF of the updated grammar of Lukokish.

Map of Mirztieken in Sohdi

This map is a Sohdi version of my map of Mirztieken, replacing words such as “river,” “lake,” “sea,” etc. with the Sohdi terms, as well as giving places the names that Sohdis would use. Here’s an overview of the Sohdi words I use and their translations, along with some specific names:

Vald (e.g. Mirzvald, Avaldūakacrēn): land
Tešar (e.g. Tešar Mir, Tešar Mieka): sea
Sitešar (Sitešar Smūri): bay, small sea
Bur (Bur Nyot): mountain, mount
Vaxeye (Vaxeye Blera, Vaxeye Nuhbji): lake
Vatòax (Vatòax Emiek, Vatòax Hàwi): island
Vatòax-a-vatòax (Vatòax-a-vatòax Ralta): group of many islands
Vax (Vax Zhû, Vax Plò): river
Sicrēn (Sicrēn Jäel): hills
Sä’ät (Sä’ät Disira): forest (literally “trees”)
G’ji Tirēm (G’ji Tirēm Aved): marsh (literally “wet place”)
Tirēm (Tirēm Brilka, Tirēm Clarm): place (used when Sohdi doesn’t have a specific word for that sort of place)

Sohdacrēn: Sohdi Mountains – Sohda crēn, “mountains”
Avaldūakacrēn: the land beyond the mountains – is “the,” vald is “land,” dūak is basically “beyond”, is “the” again, and finally crēn, “mountains”
Avaxūakacrēn: the river beyond the mountains

Mirztieken - Sohdi-1500

The Lukokish Poetic Tradition

This is written like it was an article in a Sheesanian encyclopedia, or some other Sheesanian educational publication.

In translations of traditional Lukokish literature, you will often find such poetic descriptions as this:

Night came fast and black like dark ink from an angry hand.

In the original Lukokish version, however, you would find only this:

Night d*[1] um fast and black.

Or perhaps:

Night d* um like dark ink.

This is because that simile is part of the Lukokish poetic tradition, a canon of short Lukokish poetry frequently referred to in traditional literature. For the given example, if you were reading the Lukokish version and had thoroughly studied the poetic tradition, you would recognize the reference and get a deeper meaning from that statement. (In one instance of this phrase, for example, the “angry hand” is a clue that the gods are angry during this part of the story.) The word um after d* means that no default meaning should apply, and is frequently used in such references.

Today, the official poetic tradition is set and immutable, but Lukokish authors do refer to non-official poetry, too. The question is: how did the tradition begin, how was it added to and changed (it definitely was), and how did it eventually get set and canonized? Legend has it that the first king of Lukok and Laguina, Hosultë, began it (just as he supposedly began many other things), but since Lukokish was written on paper or animal skins early on, almost no writing would have survived. Later on, however, we find a few fragments seeming to be from books of this poetry, a bit similar to modern encyclopedias of the tradition. In the annals of the fifth king after Hosultë, we find note of a day when “the writers/poets gathered their work for the king to look at, and he chose five passages and wrote them in the book of observations/poetry [the word “observation” and the word “poem” are the same].” During the reign of the eighth king after Hosultë, who initiated many reforms, the writer of annals mentions a project to “weed out and plant in the flower bed of the book of observations/poetry” several times. (The poetic language can be attributed to the fact that the writer of annals was a trained author.) Could this be how the collection was changed?

By the 1350’s, the poetic tradition was largely set. The only changes were small updates to archaic language, which stopped by the 1430’s. Now, the lack of addition or changes had made the tradition both archaic and stagnant, which might mean that it will eventually be completely discarded, or at least never referenced in new literature. Of course, thousands of works of traditional Lukokish literature constantly refer to it, so it would be difficult for it to be completely forgotten.

Today you can buy encyclopedias of the tradition, neatly sorted by nouns and descriptors. These encyclopedias also often have guides to finding references in literature, among other helps. While people did have such sorted collections hundreds of years ago, anybody who wanted to be “educated” had to thoroughly study at least the most used similes in the tradition. Even today, Lukokish schoolchildren have to study some of the canon.

A typical page in an encylopedia of the tradition is like this. Traditionally, the large words were in calligraphy, and the smaller ones in normal ink. The better encyclopedias also note who wrote the line of poetry, if it is known, and when.

23 Night

1 came

1 blank like a black stone ready for the chisel

2 carefully as a shadow returning with the lowering of the sun

3 l. dark ink, see 6

4 dull and quick, a blow, heavy and soaked with rain, upon the earth

5 empty, see 1

6 fast and black like dark ink from an angry hand’s brush

[…and so on…]

fell

[…and so on…]

To refer to a particular simile, you could say, for example, 23.1.6 for the fast and black one. Or, night.came.6, or night.came.fast.

[1] d* stands for a collection of words that all start with d. They are basically verbs, taking on different meanings based on what the subject and object is. For example, if you say “The boy d* the ball,” it would mean “throw.” If you say, “I d* dinner,” it would mean “eat.” However, as later explained, if it is followed by um, no meaning is applied, and all the word does is say whether it’s past tense, present tense, etc.