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.

The Lukokish Alphabet

This alphabet has been used with the Lukokish language for thousands of years. It’s said to have been brought to the Lukokish by their legendary king, Hosultë, along with the inventions of paper, brushes and calligraphy pens. Paradoxically, the sound has been dropped from Lukokish and its alphabet, and so people cannot spell Hosultë anymore without using nonstandard signs.

The alphabet has 19 letters for the 23 or so sounds in Lukokish, plus two diacritical marks that can be put on vowels: one for a glottal stop (the sound in the middle of uh-oh) after the vowel it’s put on, and one for a lengthening of the vowel, which can be applied to for an ay sound, an for an ee sound, an or for an oo sound, and finally an for an ey sound (similar to lengthened a, but less rounded). All the letters connect in a sort of cursive, with each letter having different forms for when it’s at the beginning, middle or end. Here’s the chart of the letters and their different forms, along with some examples in pencil and calligraphy pen. Click on it to see it bigger.

So when does a string of connected letters end? Well, it depends. There are two forms: Etkeke and Mersankeke. In Etkeke, each sentence is a connected string of letters, with dots marked above for the end of each word. The ends of sentences are naturally marked by spaces. In Mersankeke, the string of letters ends with each word, and the end of a sentence is marked with a dash. There are no question marks. Exclamation points and italics are replaced by a line over the word. Quotation marks are small dashes enclosing the quote, like in this quote, which says “Eh, perhaps” in Lukokish:

Now that I’m done giving the official explanation, I will go ahead and tell you that I love this writing system. I’ve made up lots of imaginary scripts, and I think this is my favorite so far, though I like the Sohdi writing system too. It just looks so flowing and nice, both as calligraphy and in plain pencil! Here’s my favorite piece I’ve drawn so far, the word Keşundûjï, which basically means “God save us”.

I made a small error – there should be a mark on the – but I don’t want to mess with it because it looks so nice! Here’s an example of the Lukokish alphabet written in pencil, a passage from a story set in Lukok I’ve been making up.

It’s written in Etkeke, so the spaces are sentence breaks, and the dots above letters are word breaks. The title says “Keşï”, which is the name of the main character.

Here are some more examples of Lukokish calligraphy (all done by me, of course). This first one is a numbered list of the royal families of Lukok.

 

Next is my name, Alison.

Here’s a random Lukokish name, Aröra, which looks especially nice.

And the name of my sister, Catherine, spelled Caterin because there’s no th sound in Lukokish and the is unnecessary.

Next we have the name “Jane Eyre” – peculiar, I know, but that was the book my mother was reading to me as I was developing the alphabet, and I thought her name looked nice in the script. It’s efficient, too – in English, it requires eight letters, but in the Lukokish alphabet, it only needs five (Jän Ïr).

This name, Zeke or Zekke (ze-ke, not zeek) is actually a Fircudian name, not a Lukokish name, but most Fircudian languages use the Lukokish script.

Finally, the text of a road sign pointing to the town Nïmer. This one looks particularly like Arabic to me.

Sohdi Names

Thanks to the fact that Sohdi has a fairly extensive vocabulary by now, I’ve been able to make up a lot of names in Sohdi. By the way, the Sohdi use all of these names for both boys and girls.

An (S.) after a name means that it’s Schesian, that is, used by people who follow the Schesian religion, which is the Sheesanian offshoot of Christianity. “my.” means that the name has mythological connotations or meaning, for example, a name of a hero in Sohdi mythology.

http://sheesania.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Names.pdf

You can download the original file by clicking here.

Lukokish Names

Basic format: [given name] [father’s last name]

Devï Rèn – Devï is the given name, Rèn is his father’s last name

 To give more information, you might append “et [hometown]”, e.g.:

Devï Rèn et Açesan – Devï Rèn from Açesan

 Or you might add their occupation by appending “kî [occupation]”, e.g.:

 Remë Jarör kî şuraçe – Remë Jarör who is an artist

 If you add both, you put occupation first.

Remë Jarör kî şuraçe et Nïmer – Remë Jarör who is an artist from Nïmer

Given Names

You can use any word as a name.

Devï – verb; to crush, to destroy, to make worse

Remë – noun; egg, male

Amalëra – noun “ama” (pigeon) + adj “lëra” (light-colored, female): light-colored pigeon

Note how no conjugation of either noun or adj is needed, because it’s a name.

Sevïrkë – adj “sev” (clever, resourceful) + adj “ïrkë” (lucky, male). Again, no conjugation

If it is not immediately obvious that it is a name, you can add “jïr ” to the beginning.

jïr Remë – Remë as a name

Gender

In Lukok, most names are either male or female, though there are quite a few exceptions. Nothinng about the name says whether it’s male or female – you just have to know which it culturally is, and it actually differs between areas! E.g. “Keşï” (verb meaning to do something to look for something – dig, search with eyes, etc.) is male in southern Lukok, but female in northern Lukok and Smaller Lukok.

In general, however, names ending with -a (e.g. Naskëa, Amalëra, Keröra) and -ëa are female, and names ending with -ëan (e.g. Dovrëan, Refrëan) or -ë (e.g. Remë, Sevïrkë, Osë) are male. This is because -a and -ëa, when applied to nouns, show that they’re female; and -ëan and -ë, when applied to nouns, show that they’re male.

However, this also applies to names such as Amalëra, which are combinations of a noun and an adjective(s). “lëra”, the last part of the name, is an adjective, but because the name as a whole is a noun, you can add -a to show that the person is female. Often, parents will choose part of a name before birth (e.g. “Amalër”) and then wait until their baby is born and they know his/her gender to add to the name (so if the baby was male, they would name him “Amalërë” or “Amalërëan”, and if the baby was female, they would name her “Amalëra” or “Amalërëa”). Name gender even can be used in names like Sevïrkë, which are multiple adjectives put together, because again, the name as a whole is a noun.

Songs in Sohdi

Here are a few Christian worship songs translated into Sohdi.

Nari Jimel (Grace Like Rain)

Verse 1:

Nar awūr
Siouh ròadòiki
Akräyiaik ca

Nar awūr
Kekelliuh adòtiki
Akàkiaaik ca

Chorus:

Hàlêlūya
Nari jimel
Canuh ctöa
Hàlêlūya
Vönika ca va
Jilia növeb

Verse 2:

Nar awūr
Kr’yia caa
Caa, rà äderuh depa ga

Nar awūr
K’kiauh caa
Caa, rà äderuh mûanitika cē

Bridge:

Jielilaū, jielilaū
Thäyiuh atiräma Amienēmòd

Amienik Ja Dūmuh’ay (Our God is Greater)

Jia xaw’nuh sarräzhet
Thäy’uh atibūēaik ja
Depy ga cmeē akeruh, cmeē akeruh

Avörän n’viluh
Azūbūbat ‘wetöenuh
Depy ga cmeē akeruh, cmeē akeruh

Chorus:

Amieniky ja dūmuh’ay
Amieniky ja gêruh’ay
Amieniky ja têvuh
Têvuh dep va
Amieniky ja lia
Awūruh baraba
Amieniky ja

Bridge:

Ex Amieny jsaa, bū depy ga ga sūdiv
Ex Amieny jsaa, bū depy ka wen nerivši

Jêsūs, Haòl Tên’ay (Jesus, Name Above All Names)

Tê Jêsūs, haòl tên’ay
Kekelli Kräyia, dūm Baraba
Emmànyūel, Amieny canuh ja
Pûr Kàkiaa, êyiluh Zhanely

K’yeluh Acäna (You Know the Way)

Verse 1:

Riūb va,
Ricäna va,
Cäna va t’būuh iv
Tê ca, l’rebiuh –
Ctūa

Thöcran va,
Zūba va,
Sū va t’būuh iv
Tê ca, l’rebiuh –
Ctūa

Chorus:

Vös, k’yeluh acäna
Vös, k’yeluh ca
Vös, k’yeluh äyuik ca
Vös, kr’yi-ē ca

Verse 2:

Ulnöva va,
Nàviv va,
El va t’būuh iv
Tê ca, l’rebiuh –
Ctūa

Yêlàm va,
Wēmwēm va,
Dep va t’būuh iv
Tê ca, l’rebiuh –
Ctūa

Bridge:

Vös, k’yeluh atešar
Vös, th’yiē amapêlò
Caeb, k’yilē y kêy
Tiräm va c’nē

Letter to Zethra

This letter, from an imaginary person, to an imaginary person, is in an imaginary language, Sohdi. I’ve included the Sohdi version, the English smooth translation (with notes to explain the letter), the English word-for-word translation, and a scan of the letter handwritten in the Sohdi writing system, Eyerilt.

English

Ales Byröni
The Server House, Khalês-a-bur-nön
Mirztieken, Lukokii

Dear Zethraiii, my friend:

I have not written to you for a very long time. Do you remember me? The little girl who wanted you to show her everything about your computer? My name is Ales Byrön, and I live in Khalês-a-bur-nöniv.

Much has changed since I last bothered you. You are now 30 and I am now 25. You are king of Mirztieken and I am the semi-official sysadmin of Khalês-a-bur-nön. You have drifted far from your Destonicv upbringing to a kind of wry atheism, and I have become a religious person, a Tala Yesūa (or a Tala Jesusvi). I believe you would call me a Schesianvii, but I am not as traditional as Arachne and Coryn and their childrenviii. But Zethra, I am not writing to convert you to my religion. I am writing simply because you were and are an interesting person, someone who has an unusual blend of intellect and social skills. I am not writing because you are king, either. I would like just to be friends again.

So let me ask you: how are you? Don’t be afraid to ramble. I did enough as an 8-year-old.

I do have one computer question. What is your stand on the Open Source/Free Software movementix? I must admit I am not a purist; I dual-bootx. Though, I am a bit extreme (in normal standards) on the Open Web issuexi. I don’t use Speednetxii and never will. Akē dur bön satisön (as you say).xiii

And may I ask, how are your friends, Arachne and Coryn? They, too, are interesting =)

I hope I am not being horribly intrusive. I know that I would not appreciate a nosy letter. But you’re different, Zethra. Always have been. Not exactly a geekxiv – just different. Special. And if you’ll allow me to speak religiouslyxv, God has given you a great, great role in the world.

Ales

i Ales Byrön was a well-known computer expert, programmer, and writer who published several poetry books and a technical manual. She was part Sohdi and fluently spoke five languages.

ii Mirztieken is an island, relatively small, half mountain, half field/woodland/rocky area/cliffs. It is in the continent Lukok, which is comprised of a few other islands.

iii Zethra Dūsti, the current king of Mirztieken, was also a computer expert and programmer. He moved to modern-day Cūli (then the City of Gold) during the rule of Queen Eslene, when he was 17. There he met Arachne (a Sohdi woman) and Coryn (a very blond foreigner) who aided him, along with many others, to overthrow Eslene. Eslene’s “Gatekeeper” and advisor, Osnos, managed to force Zethra and his friends to flee five years afterwards. Ten years passed, during which Arachne and Coryn married and had two children. They then managed to retake Mirztieken, and Zethra again had the throne. One of Zethra’s main accomplishments was creating a constructed language called Dūstäen (along with a linguist) which later became the national language of Mirztieken.

iv Located just south of the northern mountains, where there is an even population of Sohdi, Aved, and Mirz.

v The Destonic religion focused on intellectualism and simplicity. It continues to be one of the dominant religions of Mirztieken (though few of its adherents actually practice it).

vi Tala Yesūa/Tala Jesus = followers of Jesus. (The term is in Aveyish, another Mirztiekeni language.)

vii Schesians = Christians (they are more traditional than Tala Yesūas).

viii At the time of writing, Arachne and Coryn (see note iii above) had three children: a boy named Yēstē who was 23, a girl named Zethra (Mirztiekeni names are usually both male and female) who was 13, and another girl named Aura who was 3. They were all Schesians.

ix Being a lover of open source, I could not resist putting it into my world. (If you don’t know what open source is, look it up on Wikipedia.)

x Being from Mirztieken, this probably means that Ales dual-boots Frēz (an open source operating system) and B Latsy (a proprietary operating system).

xi The “Open Web issue” was a term for the controversy around freedom of speech on the Internet (in Sheesania).

xii Speednet is an international Sheesanian Internet provider, which had around 95% market share (at least) all over Sheesania. However, it did a lot of censorship (which is probably why Ales refuses to use it).

xiii A term in another Mirztiekeni language, Aveyish, pretty much meaning “I hope they get what’s coming to them”.

xiv While Zethra was in exile (after Osnos forced him to leave his capital) he spent a lot of time on his computer, giving him something of a reputation as a geek.

xv Zethra is known for rolling his eyes when people at his court talk about religion seriously.

Sohdi

Ales Byrön
Amata G’zärver, Khalês-a-bur-nön
Mirztêken, Lukok

Kàvya Zethra, käyik ca–

Rjila cēeb iv eleb eln eln. M’sūmuh caa, vös? Aumäa rà cö sudy k’ewēa depa va kwabūterötik cē? Haòlik ca Ales Byrön, wwenuh Khatòlês-a-bur-nön.

Fax dap-a-dapy wänäyina bū xbria cēa. Cē 30, ca 25. Cē baraba Mirztêken, ca azer g’kwabūter ubòti Khalês-a-bur-nönòd. Cē brūa ämtöel Destàni, ūreb y detöp Amienmeiv sešţ, ca wena y mä g’näyrmien, y Tala Yesūa (ţax bū Tala Jêsūs). Òx xţenuh là h’òlē caa y Scēsien, bū ca wenanelnuh iv tän Dä Aracnēē, Dä Corynē, mänäikē wenanelnuh. Iyaš Zethra, iv rjiluh nel wänäyinuh näyrmienika cē näyrmienikö ca. Rjiluh nel cē ädera äderuh y mäa täel, y mäa rà geţenilik, geţenilik mä’äöd äderuh raca. Iv rjiluh nel ‘derauh barabaa, kê. Sudy äderuh kä’äya cöyel.

Dereca draluh: cē äderuh depa ka? Iv x’mūbuh là g’dòē. Gdò gdò là-8-zer.

1 y dūraiky ca akeruh. X’ţenuh depa ka amier-da-ràötö Öpen Sûrs/Frē Zàftwer? Cböntuh là deruh y zeracaţrena iv; dl-būtuh. Iyaš, ca däzez g’jidi (vedarē tant) amier-da-ràöt Öpen Web. Xwenuh Spēdneta iv iv. “Akē dur bön satisön” (làcē dò.)

Dereca, draluh, kä’äyik cē, Aracnē, Coryn? Zhä, kê, täel =)

Sudy bsentuh bsentuh iv. Xţenuh là priluh iv y rijita rà bösentuh. Iyaš cē rac, Zethra. Ädera eleb eln eln. Y gēk uiv – l’…rac. G’rinēč. Ex d’recaē caa là dòuh g’näyrmien, bū Amieny resa cēa y êyö dūm, dūm.

Ales

Word-for-Word Translation

Notes are in brackets, like [this].

Ales Byrön
Ales Byrön

Amata G’zärver, Khalês-a-bur-nön
the.house adj-server, Khalês-a-bur-nön

Mirztêken, Lukok
Mirztieken, Lukok

Kàvya Zethra, käyik ca–
dear Zethra, friend-of me–

Rjila cēeb iv eleb eln eln. 
I.wrote you-to not time-for long long.

M’sūmuh caa, vös?
you.remember me-obj, yes?

Aumäa rà cö sudy k’ewēa depa va kwabūterötik cē? 
the.girl-obj who she wanted you.showed.system thing-obj every computer-about-of you?

Haòlik ca Ales Byrön, wwenuh Khatòlês-a-bur-nön.
name-of me Ales Byrön, I.go.about.life Khalês-a-bur-nön-in. [I live in Khalês-a-bur-nön.]

Fax dap-a-dapy wänäyina bū xbria cēa.
since-start much.things-subject changed since I.annoyed you-obj.

Cē 30, ca 25. 
you 30, me 25.

Cē baraba Mirztêken, ca azer g’kwabūter ubòti Khalês-a-bur-nönòd.
you ruler Mirztieken, me the.person computers official-ish Khalês-a-bur-nön-of.

Cē brūa ämtöel Destàni, ūreb y detöp Amienmeiv sešţ,
you slept teaching-on Destàni, waking.up a thing-on atheism-like wry, [you drifted away from your Destonic upbringing to a kind of wry atheism]

ca wena y mä g’näyrmien, y Tala Yesūa (ţax bū Tala Jêsūs).
me did [became] a person religious, a Tala Yesūa (or-start or Tala Jesus).

Òx xţenuh là h’òlē caa y Scēsien, 
but-start you.think that name.is me-obj a Schesian, [you would call me a Schesian]

bū ca wenanelnuh iv tän Dä Aracnēē, Dä Corynē, mänäikē wenanelnuh.
but me traditional not [as?] Mrs. Arachne-subject, Mr. Coryn-subject, children-of-[them]-subject traditional. [I am not as traditional as Arache, Coryn, and their children.]

Iyaš Zethra, iv rjiluh nel wänäyinuh näyrmienika cē näyrmienikö ca. 
but Zethra, not I.write because change religion-of-obj you religion-of-indirect-obj me. [I do not write because I want to convert you.]

Rjiluh nel cē ädera äderuh y mäa täel, 
I.write because you were [and] are a person-obj interesting,

y mäa rà geţenilik, geţenilik mä’äöd äderuh raca. 
a person-obj who smartness-of, smartness-of social.skills are different-obj.

Iv rjiluh nel ‘derauh barabaa, kê. Sudy äderuh kä’äya cöyel.
not I.write because you.are ruler-obj, too. want be friends-obj again.

Dereca draluh: cē äderuh depa ka? 
let.me ask: you are thing-obj what? [how are you?]

Iv x’mūbuh là g’dòē. Gdò gdò là-8-zer.
don’t you.be.afraid to you.ramble. I.rambled I.rambled [I rambled a lot] as-8-one [8-year-old].

1 y dūraiky ca akeruh. 
1 a question-of-subject me exists. [I have one question.]

X’ţenuh depa ka amier-da-ràötö Öpen Sûrs/Frē Zàftwer?
you.think thing-obj what movement-about-indirect-obj Open Source/Free Software?

Cböntuh là deruh y zeracaţrena iv; dl-būtuh.
I.admit that I.am a purist-obj not; I.dual.boot.

Iyaš, ca däzez g’jidi (vedarē tant) amier-da-ràöt Öpen Web. 
but, me extreme a.little (normal.person ideas) [normal standards] movement-about Open Web.

Xwenuh Spēdneta iv iv. “Akē dur bön satisön” (làcē dò.)
I.do Speednet-obj no no. [I will never use Speednet.] … (as-you say.)

Dereca, draluh, kä’äyik cē, Aracnē, Coryn? Zhä, kê, täel =)
Let.me, ask, friends-of you, Arachne, Coryn? [What about your friends, Arachne and Coryn?] they.dual, too, interesting =)

Sudy bsentuh bsentuh iv. Xţenuh là priluh iv y rijita rà bösentuh. 
I.want intrude intrude not. I.think that I.like not a letter that intrudes.

Iyaš cē rac, Zethra. Ädera eleb eln eln. Y gēk uiv – l’…rac. G’rinēč.
but you different, Zethra. been time-for long long. a geek not-ish – just…different. chosen. [special]

Ex d’recaē caa là dòuh g’näyrmien, bū Amieny resa cēa y êyö dūm, dūm.
if let-you-future me-obj to speak religiously, then God-subject gave you-obj a life-indirect.object great, great.

Ales
-Ales

Scan in Eyerilt

First page:

Second page:

Sohdi Grammar Notes

Before you begin, let me warn you: these are notes, and only notes. I don’t guarantee that anyone can understand them, or that they look pretty, or use the right terms, or make sense. 🙂

Sohdi Grammar Notes

-This section I wrote specifically for these online grammar notes.-

Sohdi (called Azhanel by native speakers) is the language of the Sohdi people of Mirztieken, who live in the northern Soda Mountains (called the Södacrēn by Sohdis). It is a member of the Aved-Lukok family of languages, which are mostly restricted to the three/four countries of the continent Lukok – Laguina, Mirztieken, Lukok, and Muhiiwuh (not recognized by most Sheesanian countries). It has around 25 million speakers across Sheesania, mostly within Mirztieken, but with large populations in Jacia, Lukok (the country), and Unia.

History

The speakers of Sohdi, the Sohdi people, were at first joined with the Aved people (which now populate the southern lowlands of Mirztieken). When the arrival of the Mirz people caused the Aved and Sohdi to split, the Sohdi began to move away from using the standard Aved language. Eventually (around 100 years after the split) their language was considered to be separate. Sohdi at this stage is known as Old Sohdi.

For hundreds of years the Sohdi people were isolated in the mountains, their language almost completely separate from the Aved tongue. However, around 500 years after the split, when an Aved-Mirz king took over the Soda Mountains, there was pressure for the Sohdi people to use the Aved language. This pressure was met by stubborn resistance, and when the king’s son Kamekhöd succeeded him, he allowed the Sohdi to use their own language. From then on the Sohdi people had more influence from the Aved/Mirz and other people outside the Soda Mountains. Sohdi at this stage is known as Kamekhöd’s Sohdi.

In recent years, during Zethra Dūsti’s rule over Mirztieken, most Sohdi have learned the modern Aved language (Avedish), the Mirz language (Mirzi), and Dūsti’s “universal language”, meant to be a national language of Mirztieken (Dūstaen). However, the old Sohdi language is still widely used by the Sohdi people and is considered an official language of Mirztieken.

 

OLD SOHDI KAMEKHÖD’S SOHDI MODERN SOHDI ENGLISH TRANSLATION
khän kheŋ jenj fretoriod (small jumping mammal, frequently farmed for meat and fur)
yäyä ämä emä boy
zhûmem zhòmäm sûmim find
knäyi gêli kelli pretty
yetatäyi yïtäi eltai to be trustworthy

 

-This is where my typed-in grammar notes, pasted from OpenOffice, begin. See if you can find the Linux joke!-

Sounds

 

CONSONANTS

s

m

r

f

n

zh

b

x (ks)

j

d

l

g

k/c (same sound)

v

sh/š

th/ţ

t

z

‘ (glottal stop)

h

y (*very* occasionally ‘ih’, most often ee)

 

VOWELS

 

ö (oh) – often spelled ‘o’, or ‘ō’

ä (ay) – often spelled ‘a…e’

ū (oo) – often spelled ‘u’, or ‘ō’

i (ee) – often spelled ‘ē’

u (uh) – often spelled ‘ũ’

û (between ‘oo’ and ‘u’) – or ‘ô’

ê (ey) – often spelled ‘ie’, or ‘eh’

a (apple) – or ‘au’

à (e/au) – or ‘ah’/’ã’

ò (ow) – or ‘aow’

e (e) – or ‘ẽ’

 

Grammar

 

Nouns

 

The ~ a-

Ajenj

The fretoriod

 

A ~ y_

Y jenj

A fretoriod

 

Without “a” or “the”: in general

 

PLURALITY

To indicate plurality, last vowel changes:

 

ORIGINAL PLURALIZED
ö ò
ä ä’ä
ū ö
i ä
u ū
û a
ê i
a ē
à û
ò ö’
e a

 

For count noun, add -k with number after. Or, instead of a number, you can put a word like “few” or “many”.

default: 2. E.g. “bòäk” (sing. “bòi”) is “two seakitties”; implies a pair relationship (like dual pronouns)

 

CASE (or preposition system or whatever)

 

THINGY MEANING
-tö- above/on
là- as
-bê- at
-tê- below/bottom of
-tū- beside
-tē- beyond
-òt concerning (item is related)
-ji excluding/except
-eb for
-tò- in
-ja including
-me- like
-ta- near/around
-òd of
-öt regarding (item is involved)
cö- since
-bū- to
-bä- towards
-mi- unlike
-sa- with
-si- without
-nû- worth
-ik possessive, general
-iš possessive, stolen
-ix possessive, made by same
-ib possessive, given by friend
-id possessive, found
-y (or ē) as subject
-a as object
as indirect object
cû- foreign
-tû- across

 

Y vatöldiš…

Above a stolen land…

 

Majekūpib Būji

Buji’s Majikoopa

 

Crēniš

Stolen Mountains

 

Of a country/place: Replace last vowel with ‘i’

Sohda → Sohdi

Mirztêken → Mirztêkin

 

Other noun words:

_va – every

_na – some (few)

_la – some (many, majority)

_ka – which/what

_ta – this

_ga – no

 

Dummy noun: dep

So “dep va” is “everything”, “dep na” is “something”, “dap na” is “somethings”

 

DERIVATIONS (*only nouns!*) -change first vowel; if first vowel is same, use 2nd

 

THINGY MEANING
ê, u user of
ä, ê creator of/cause of
aò, òa made of
ū, e tool for (using, creating, destroying, etc…)
ē, a larger (e.g. “fight” to “war”)
ö, à background (e.g. “palace” to “palace grounds”)
u, ò opposite of (or backwards)

 

To adj: g’-

To verb: -l/-il

 

Baby: si-

Sibòi

Baby seakitty [kitten]

Place: -ēm

Book: -es

Set: ers-

The study of: eme-

 

Verbs

 

DERIVATIONS:

 

DERIVATION MEANING
-a doer (miedli: sing; miedlia: singer)
-t result (kia: knit; kiat: knitted item)
-č, or -àn- or -an- what action is frequently performed upon
gar- to adjective
-urs to have to do this
ka- to cause to do this
-gus to enjoy to do this
-us to want to do this

 

INFLECTION

 

Tense

 

There is no distinction between perfect and imperfect. Formatted like this: -[thingy] *Not set in stone!*

 

present past, “they say” past hoped past future
urgent oi äi ũi ei ãi
hoped io i-e
general uh ã à a ē
bad intent ia iu
good intent ai òi öi ūi ui
sarcastic êi ûi ūòi yi hi
speaker happy about it òe òa òu òû òã
speaker sad/upset about it ûò ãò
unbelievable ūa ūe äe ūò ūû
hypothetical òū ûū

 

The conjugation of “can” (go):

 

present past, “they say” past hoped past future
urgent canoi canäi canũi canei canãi
hoped canio caniä caniũ cani-e caniã
general canuh canã canà cana canē
bad intent cania caniò caniö caniū caniu
good intent canai canòi canöi canūi canui
sarcastic canêi canûi canūòi canyi canhi
speaker happy about it canòe canòa canòu canòû canòã
speaker sad/upset about it caneò canaò canuò canûò canãò
unbelievable canūa canūe canäe canūò canūû
hypothetical canaū caneū caneä canòū canûū

 

Some other stuff:

I (he, she, you) would (would’ve) ~ -at

I should ~ -agt (often sudu used instead)

I could ~ -azht

 

Person1

 

first-person second-person third-person
singular drop first vowel put glottal stop in place of first vowel put glottal stop in place of last vowel
double2 (couple, pair, friend) drop 1st vowel; put glottal stop in place of last vowel put glottal stop between first 2 syllables drop last vowel
multiple add glottal stop to beginning put glottal stop between last 2 syllables3 add glottal stop to end

 

example…ragnēluh “to be excluded” (present general)

 

first-person second-person third-person
singular rgnēluh r’gnēluh ragn’luh
double (couple, pair, friend) rgn’luh r’agnēluh ragnluh
multiple ‘ragnēluh ragnē’luh’ ragnēluh’

 

Standalone Person (polite, official, used for some other reasons)

 

first-person second-person third-person
singular ca
double (couple, pair, friend) zha zhē zhä
multiple ja

 

COMMANDS e.g. “I __ you walk”, no inflection, using standalone person -optionally- (default is first-person)

 

WORD MEANING
sudo command
sudy want
suda wants, but embarrassed/afraid to ask
sudò improper/arrogant command
sudä wants, but bad to want
sudu friendly advice

 

Example: I command you to walk! (good intent)

Ca sudo c’nai!

 

Habituality: __ [verb], present if just begun, past if in past, future if going to do so

 

WORD MEANING
döva very regular; e.g. every day
däva relatively regular; e.g. every week
dēva every so often; e.g. every few months
dòa whenever subject remembers
dūwa trying to do so, with success
dawa trying to do so, without success

 

Example: I try unsuccessfully to read. (read is elar)

Dawa lara.

 

Example: I can’t believe she ate the licorice! (ate is ri; licorice [well, a sweet similar to licorice] is lēbēbēf)

Riu’ alēbēbēf!

 

Example: Bowser ate the mountain. (w/ bad intent, past “they say”)

Bòzery riiö acrana.

 

One other thing: To refer to the act of doing something, or to speak about it in general (e.g. “defeating him is as easy as…”) just use the verb, without any conjugation or anything like that. E.g. “to find” is “sûmim”, but only when conjugated (e.g. “smimuh”, “I find/am finding”). To refer to the act of finding, you just use “sûmim”.

 

Adjectives

 

Do adjectives conjugate?

Yes and no. To say, “He is fun”, “fun” becomes a verb and conjugates; to say “The fun man eats”, “fun” sits around like a wet log. (That is, it doesn’t conjugate.) Therefore there is no verb “to be”.

 

Adjectives can be wherever you like around the noun, as long as they’re not in this arrangement:

[noun] [adj] [adj] [noun]

Then you either puts the adjs first, or use switch-noun:

[noun] [adj] [switch-noun] [adj] [noun]

In fact, one switch-noun is considered a form of “and”. So you can say:

“Woman beautiful [switch-noun] ugly toad”

to mean “Beautiful woman and ugly toad”. It’s really just a style thing; most of the time you put the adjs first.

 

There are two switch-nouns. One switches; one switches and conjuncts.

Switch: ûd

Switch & conjunct: ûdi

 

COMPARITIVES

 

I am [adj]er than…

Formed like this: [conj. adj] + [conj. adj] [whoever-I’m-so-and-soer-than]

Example: I am scareder than Sticky. (sarcastic)

Mbiêi mbiêi Stikē.

 

I am less [adj] than…

Simply flipped around like this:

I am less scared than Sticky. (sarcastic)

Stikē-ē mūbiêi mūbiêi ca. (lit: Sticky is scareder than me.)

 

I am as [adj] as…

Formed like this: [conj. adj 1] [asword] [conj. adj 2]

As word is täen (official) or tän (colloquial)

Example: I am as scared as Sticky. (sarcastic)

Mbiêi täen Stikē’ē mūbiêi.

 

I am the most [adj]

Formed like this: [conj. adj]‘ay

Example: I am the most scared. (sarcastic)

Mbiêi’ay.

 

I am the least [adj]

Formed like this: [conj. adj]‘ya

Example: I am the least scared. (sarcastic)

Mbiêi’ya.

 

DERIVATIONS

 

DERIVATION MEANING
first vowel becomes u; if already, ò opposite
-ši to adverb
-tū lack
-kû possibility, ability (similar to -able)
-gê liking
-êg disliking
u- weakening of meaning (e.g. -ish)
-ãb to an unusual degree; talented
-i to verb
gêr- too much, as in “that game was too hard!”

 

Other stuff you can do:

Emphasize something by repeating it.

Mbiuh mbiuh.

I am really scared.

 

Other Things

 

YES-NO QUESTIONS

Put in yes (“vös”) or no (“iv”) before or after a statement.

Example: You are scared, yes? (to imply you are)

M’biuh, vös?

Another example: You are scared, no? (to imply you aren’t)

M’biuh, iv?

 

To emphasize something, put in a noun question.

Example: The mountain ate it, no?

Acrany ka riã cöa, iv?

 

 

NEGATION

Put in “iv” (no), e.g.

I am not scared.

Mbiuh iv.

 

CONJUNCTIONS

Like this: [conjunc] [X] bū [Y]

 

THINGY MEANING
gūx X because of Y
jūx X therefore Y
ex if X then Y
dûx X while Y
bûx X before Y
mûx X after Y
vax X until Y
fax X since Y
òx X, but Y
sòx X, except Y
sox X, unless Y
ţax X or Y
miex X, yet Y
luhx both X and Y (strong)
yex and while X, also Y
sûx from X to Y
dax X though Y
yux something was so X that Y
sūx X enough to Y
tūx when X then Y
yûx as X as Y
uţx X instead of Y
atsx X so that Y

 

Example: If Buji eats, then I eat.

Ex Buji-ē riē bū xrē.

 

SUBCLAUSES

 

Sentenial Arguments

As object (e.g. “I think you’ve been eating”) – like this:

[verb] [thingy] [verb]

Example: I think you’ve been eating. (every once in a while) (Think is “ţen”)

Ţnuh [thingy] dēva x’ria.

Thingy is “là”

 

As subject (e.g. “it’s possible that the magikoopa ate”) – like this:

[clause] [thingy] [verb]

Example: It’s possible that the magikoopa ate. (Possible is būni)

Amajakūpaē ria [thingy] būniuh. (lit, the magikoopa ate possibles.)

Thingy is “nà”

 

Preposition Taking Sentence As Argument

Like this: [noun][prep] [rest-of-sentence]

Example: …without Buji eating…

…Busiji riuh…

If pronoun is needed as subject (e.g. “without you eating”) standalone pronoun is used.

 

Relative Clauses, e.g. “the magikoopa who loved eating”

Like this: [noun] [thingy] [sentence]

Example: …the magikoopa who loved eating… (love is “narl”)

…amajikūpa [thingy] narlã döva riã…

Thingy is “rà”

 

SENTENCE ORDER

Sentence order is very loose; however, sometimes a word is emphasized by putting it at the beginning.

Example: Buji loves majikoopas.

Narluh Buji-ē majikūpöa.

 

OTHER STUFF

Two of something (verb, adj, etc.): [word]-a-[word]

Example: “To give back” is literally “two gives” – “res” is “give”; “res-a-res” is “give back”.

To say many of something, use the above form, but with plural.

 

For a word like “kick”, it is formed by saying “do foot” (wenuh cana-a). Sometimes you can say “do [noun]” or its own verb. (Generally “do [noun]” is considered more colloquial.)

 

Colloquial Notes

Often person isn’t marked on verbs (e.g. “canuh”, not “can’uh”)

 

Two short examples

 

Sûmim Piča äderuh can y zhêtòjia.

Finding Peach is like walking through an avalanche.

find peach-obj equals walk a avalanche-through-obj

 

Cultural note: The Sohdi live in the mountains, where avalanches are a constant threat and claim many lives each year. So if something is “like walking through an avalanche” it is very difficult and dangerous.

 

Miedli’à y miedlia-a-miedliaa mia.

They sang a beautiful (lit. rhythmic) duet.

sang-3ps-plural a duet-obj rhythmic

 

Note on word usage: “miedlia-a-miedlia” literally means “two singers”, but in usage it means “duet”.

1If only one vowel, add -xa to the beginning of the word & continue as normal.

21st person: if no last vowel, end w/ glottal stop. 3rd person: if one vowel, drop, put glottal stop at beginning. 2nd person: if one syllable, put glottal stop between first and second letter.

32nd person: if one syllable, put glottal stop between last two letters, AND at end