Ŋarin Ridranos

[Updated 23/3/2014 with a picture of a cover of Stars and Time that I drew.]

I have a bit of an odd fondness for philosophy, especially depressing philosophy, despite the fact that I’m generally a very happy person. And so naturally I had to put a good gloomy philosopher in my imaginary world. Here he is!

Full name Ŋārin Rīdranos
Born 1306
Died 1377
Resting place Ŋārin Rīdranos Memorial, Atāsŋūn, Ēnssāntaca, Egeld
Occupation Philosopher
Nationality Egeldish
Ethnicity Egeldish
Notable works War in Heaven and on Earth, Stars and Time, Light and Duty
Spouse Golene Nywos
Children Jwēlosis Ţyēlahēl and Jāne Ţyēlahēl

Ŋarin Ridranos ([ŋæɾɪn ɾʏdrɑnos]; Egeldish ᑯᒽᒣᑭ ᒣᐢᐃᒣᑭᓀ Ŋārin Rīdranos) was an Egeldish philosopher and priest of Sky during the post-Civil War period. He was the first known writer among the priests of Sky, writing many books on questions of philosophy and religion. Today he is considered one of Egeld’s most famous writers and is frequently read in Egeld and in other countries. His philosophy also laid a foundation for many other Egeldish thinkers, as well as some significant foreign philosophers such as the Jacian Edinek Somioni and the Uniatic Darsius Unarsela.[1]

Contents

  • 1 Life
    • 1.1 Early life
    • 1.2 Post-revolution
    • 1.3 In exile in Dyenā
    • 1.4 In Carafilier
    • 1.5 In Atāsŋūn and death
  • 2 Philosophy
    • 2.1 Humans, animals and gods
    • 2.2 Human depravity and ambition
    • 2.3 The cycle of ambition and the decay of relationships
    • 2.4 Practical application
  • 3 Notable works
    • 3.1 Nonfiction
    • 3.2 Fiction
  • 4 References

Life

Early life

Ridranos was born in Rīdranos in central Egeld to a family of poor farm workers as the youngest of five children. In 1308, two years after he was born, his father was killed in violent struggles between rival nobles in the area, repercussions of the breaking up of Egeld’s empire. His family then fled to Odetālēne in northern Egeld, where they continued to work as farm laborers.[2] In 1313, when Ridranos was seven years old, his mother died from soskiritis in the 1313 Lufitanthan soskiritis epidemic. Following the usual Egeldish custom for caring for orphans, Ridranos and his brother Arryin were given to the priests of Sky, and his three sisters were given to the priestesses of Earth.[3][2]

As a priest-in-training, Ridranos studied philosophy, psychology, oration, language, history, mythology and several other fields special to the priests of Sky. From an early age, he showed particular interest in philosophy and psychology.[2] In 1321, when he was 15, a senior priest and, most likely, distinguished philosopher,[3] Odetyis Odetālēne, became interested in Ridranos’s developing ideas and began to mentor him in philosophy.[2] However, probably the biggest influence on Ridranos was his continued relationship with his sisters, now preparing to become priestesses of Earth. From them he learned about science, in particular biology, and various aspects of inventing – all things that priests of Sky generally did not study, being focused on the mind and emotions. He also learned how to read and write and began to write down his ideas, another unusual practice for a priest of Sky. (Priests generally relied entirely on memory and oral passing down of knowledge, while the priestesses of Earth did sometimes write things down.)[3][2]

Post-revolution

Between 1328 and 1337, Ridranos wrote six books: four about philosophy, one about mythology, and one novel. During this time, most of his fellow priests of Sky encouraged his writing. However, the revolution of 1338 changed this. One of the new king’s closest advisors, Hāntis Sūtāca, was a member of an extremely strict order of priests of Sky that forbade priests to study any subjects or practice any skills that were particular to the priestesses of Earth.[3] In 1339, with the king’s support, Sūtāca initiated a campaign to purify the priests of Sky and either punish or remove any who had been pursuing knowledge or skills from the priestesses of Earth. Since Ridranos lived in a fairly small town that was quite some distance away from the new king’s capital, he figured that it would take a while for Sūtāca’s allies to reach him, and indeed suspected that Sūtāca would have been stopped by other priests unhappy with his policies before then. However, one elder of his community, Zanānis Odetālēne, had always been suspicious of Ridranos’s activities, though he had allowed them to continue. But now, fearful that he himself would be punished for allowing Ridranos to study with his sisters and write books, he decided to take action and so maybe gain the respect of Sūtāca’s sect. In late 1339, when Sūtāca’s purge had only been going on for three months, Zanānis stripped Ridranos of his priesthood and imprisoned him for “contempt of the god Sky” and burned his books.[2][4] When Ridranos’s friends among his fellow priests expressed their anger, Zanānis imprisoned some of them, too.[3]

Zanānis had originally intended to just keep Ridranos in prison for several years, as long as he agreed to give up the offending practices. But when he saw that Sūtāca’s allies were executing priests of Sky for lesser offenses, he became afraid that he had not been proactive enough and went to the local hač to ask for permission to execute Ridranos and a few of his friends. The hač, who had read some of Ridranos’s books and liked his philosophy, stalled and refused to give a straight answer to Zanānis, saying that he needed permission from the higher government to do executions.[4] Then, as Zanānis made plans to travel to a nearby larger city and ask for permission there, the hač covertly warned Ridranos and his friends of Zanānis’s intentions. As Zānanis was traveling two days later, Ridranos and his other imprisoned friends escaped with help from the hač and his few friends that Zānanis had not tried to punish. It was early 1340 and Ridranos was 34 years old.[2][3]

In exile in Dyenā

Ridranos and his friends fled to Dyenā, a town that was technically within the Egeldish border but which was actually controlled by Latrigle.[2] There, among many other Egeldish refugees who were victims of the civil war or the revolution,[5] Ridranos was free to pursue his studies of philosophy and other subjects. While staying in Dyenā, Ridranos wrote three more books on philosophy and began to write an epic poem in the Lat style, which he later abandoned.[2]

Even before his exile, Ridranos had been beginning to question some of the tenets and practices of the priests of Sky. Now that he had been formally stripped of priesthood, he felt freer to pursue his more unorthodox ideas.[3] Correspondingly, his books from this period of his life show significant deviation from the generally accepted ideas of the priests of Sky.[2] In particular, he began to develop an idea that Sky and Earth, the gods generally worshiped by Egeldish, are actually lesser gods under one great god. Sky and Earth, he said, show fallibility and volatility, and so they can not “sustain the universe” (Stars and Time, part 31). But while humans can communicate with Sky and Earth, since these gods have human flaws (though not to the extent humans do), humans cannot communicate with this great god.[2][6]

Ridranos finished his first book arguing for this idea, Stars and Time, in 1344. He immediately began work on a second book, Light and Duty, which was meant to explore the practical repercussions of his theory.[6] As Ridranos wrote this book, he began to significantly change his lifestyle. Even during the early years of his exile, he had still identified as a priest of Sky. In early 1345, however, he announced to his friends that he no longer considered himself a priest of Sky; rather, he was a “seeker of light,” somebody trying to find a way to the great god above Sky and Earth.[3] Some of his friends were quite concerned at his proclamation, and they became even more concerned when he married an Egeldish refugee woman, Golene Nywos, in 1346, disregarding the rules against priests or priestesses marrying. One friend, Čāt Odetālēne, returned to Egeld, denounced Ridranos before Sūtāca’s religious council, and was reinstated as a priest of Sky in Odetālēne.[3] Two other friends, Juzwērakyis Odetālēne and Rūdris Zelūtas, publicly broke with him but did not leave Dyenā.[2][3]

Ridranos continued to stay in Dyenā, hoping to find fellow “seekers of light” among the constant influx of Egeldish refugees. But he had very little success, and by 1349, he felt there was enough animosity against him in Dyenā that he left for Carafilier with his wife.[2]

In Carafilier

Ridranos then settled in Fielahél in northern Carafilier, where he worked at a local dye farm while continuing to write on issues of philosophy and religion. In 1350, he finished Light and Duty, and hoping that he might be able to publish it,[1] he traveled to a small university in nearby Cahmier to present it to the professors there. They were very interested in his work and agreed to publish Light and Duty if Ridranos would translate it into Carafilieri. Ridranos’s Carafilieri was very weak, so he hired a young Carafilieri/Azonian man, Esian Yalagroux, who worked with him at the dye farm in Fielahél to help with the translation. As Ridranos and Yalagroux worked on the translation, the university in Cahmier also arranged for Ridranos to give some talks on philosophy to the students there with the aid of an interpreter. Ridranos’s ideas became popular with some of the students, and by 1352, he had a small following of Carafilieri, Degrouxmé, Azonian and Egeldish “seekers of light.”[2][1] Also in 1350, Ridranos’s son Jwēlosis was born, and in 1352, his daughter Jāne was born.[2]

Ridranos finally finished and published a Carafilieri version of Light and Duty in 1354. Following the book’s publication, a number of other philosophers, scholars and students came to Fielahél to speak with him and sometimes to join his group of “seekers of light.” By 1360, he had a group of about fifty followers.[1] With their help, he translated most of his other works into Carafilieri and published them with the help of the university in Cahmier.[2]

So far, Ridranos had mostly only been known in Carafilier, but then in 1360, Sūtāca died and the government regulation of the orders of Sky and Earth became significantly less strict. In 1361, one of Ridranos’s old friends from his time in Odetālēne, Duggis Rālyos, traveled to Carafilier to visit him.[2] Ridranos gave him some Egeldish copies of Stars and Time and Light and Duty, and when Rālyos returned to Egeld, he shared them with his fellow priests in Odetālēne. One priest, Arryis Odetālēne, wrote a response to Ridranos’s work that detailed a slightly reworked version of his philosophy that fit better with orthodox Egeldish religion. One of Ridranos’s sisters also got a hold of his books and wrote her own response to them.[1][2] In 1365, Rālyos and Arryis Odetālēne both traveled to Fielahél to urge Ridranos to return to Egeld and start a community of “seekers of light” there. Agreeing to their proposal, in late 1365, Ridranos traveled with his family and his followers to Atāsŋūn, a small town near Odetālēne.[2]

In Atāsŋūn and death

In Atāsŋūn, Ridranos established a community modeled on those of the priests of Earth. He continued to write on philosophy, producing another three books on his ideas, and taught his followers, many of whom wrote down their own ideas.[1] Ridranos also started a small library of philosophical and religious works, inspired by the university library he had seen in Cahmier, and formed a small school where he, Duggis Rālyos, one of his sisters, and one of his followers taught the children of the community as well as children from Atāsŋūn and Odetālēne.[2]

In late 1377, the 71-year-old Ridranos died of soskiritis. He was buried in Atāŋūn, where his grave is now the site of a museum about the community he established there.[2]

Philosophy

Humans, animals and gods

In his early works, Ridranos develops a theory that humans are distinct from animals because they have ðozoŋwur – emotions, will, a tendency to be unpredictable, and a constant desire for more. In his theory, this ðozoŋwur comes from the gods Sky and Earth, who have it in its pure form – human ðozoŋwur, on the other hand, is mixed with animalistic instincts, or lezorān. Later on, Ridranos came to believe in another, greater god above Sky and Earth, who he calls “the Sun” for lack of a better term. In his new, expanded theory, he says that the human conscience, lūtasyā, comes from this great god, who has lūtasyā in its pure form. So then animals have have lezorān, Sky and Earth have pure ðozoŋwur, the great god “the Sun” has pure lūtasyā, and humans have an impure mixture of all three.[6]

Ridranos then explains that humans are naturally unhappy because they are constantly trying to follow and satisfy all three of these aspects, yet lezorān, ðozoŋwur and lūtasyā conflict and so it is impossible to ever fully satisfy all three. Rather, humans should train themselves to primarily seek lūtasyā, because it is the highest of all three. However, while humans can find great joy in their lūtasyā, they can never be fully happy, because they are still tied to lezorān and ðozoŋwur. Indeed, if a human being somehow only ever satisfied lūtasyā and never paid any attention to lezorān and ðozoŋwur, s/he would not actually be fully human.[6] Ridranos writes in part 10 of Light and Duty:

Full humanity can only be achieved by acknowledging all three aspects of being, but balance and happiness can only be achieved by keeping them in their proper hierarchy. Lūtasyā should always be first priority; next ðozoŋwur; last lezorān. The good, happy, and fully human man will put his conscience above his emotions and both above his instinct, but he will listen closely to all three.[7]– Ŋarin Ridranos, Light and Duty, part 10

Human depravity and ambition

Ridranos writes, primarily in Stars and Time, that all human evil ultimately stems from one flaw: ambition, which comes from the ðozoŋwur part of human nature. This is the flaw that makes humans wish to fully satisfy lezorān, ðozoŋwur and lūtasyā, even though it is impossible – indeed, because it is impossible, humans lie constantly to themselves, saying that it can be done, to make themselves continue to try. It is also the flaw that makes it impossible to ever approach the great god. Animals cannot approach the great god because they lack lūtasyā; Sky and Earth cannot approach the great god not only because they do not have lūtasyā, but also because they have the flaw of ambition in their ðozoŋwur; humans too cannot approach the great god because of the ambition in their ðozoŋwur.[6]

In the most famous passage of Stars and Time, from part 29, Ridranos sums up this philosophy of his:[6]

Human beings are always grasping at more, reaching endlessly for higher and higher things. We cannot be happy with the inventions we have; we constantly take issue with them and toil and struggle to create something a little better. We cannot eat the same thing every day; we must add new things, do things in a different way, always, always, expanding, complicating. We cannot talk and laugh with our friends and go away satisfied, as to need no more; rather, we crave more, more, more! We cannot merely live life and recount it to others; we must have stories. Most of all, we cannot merely eat and drink and sleep and be satisfied in the fulfillment of our lezorān, or love and hate and sympathize and be satisfied in the fulfillment of our ðozoŋwur; we must search always for truth and beauty and gods and all other such vague, transcendent things. We alone among our fellow beings – animals, Sky and Earth – grasp endlessly at eternity and have this unrelenting thirst in our hearts….Yet when we search for the high things and reach deep into ourselves for the strength and will to push higher and higher, we can only eventually come fully face to face with the utter darkness of our hearts, inexplicably and bitterly twisted into something that wishes futilely for light and so must veil itself more and more in an effort to face the Sun [e.g., the great god] – veil itself with empty graspings at better technology, richer life, closer friendship, purposefully created things, truth and beauty and the gods….And so to face the all-revealing Truth of the Light of the Sun, we must tear off those veils of meaningless meaning, only to discover that we are left with only our dark impure hearts, made human and different from the animals and the lesser gods [Sky and Earth] only by our twisted desires to veil ourselves and become something greater even as it is more and more false, and so as we stand in truth before the Sun we are yet more desperately hopeless than when we stand upon lies before him….Life is indeed futile.– Ŋarin Ridranos, Stars and Time, part 29

The cycle of ambition and the decay of relationships

In works such as War in Heaven and on Earth, Ridranos develops an idea that due to this ambition, human relationships will always decay. He takes the myth of how Sky and Earth, pure manifestations of ðozoŋwur, are part of an endless cycle in which they love each other for a time and produce a human race, then come to hate each other and eventually destroy the world and their human offspring in their war, but then love each other again and create another human race. Humans, he says, will go through quite different cycles because of the influence of their lezorān and lūtasyā. For instance, family members can have good, long-lasting relationships because of the ties of lezorān – they have bodies that are physically related to each other. Similarly, people can remain friends for a long time if they are kind to each other, following their lūtasyā. But since the ambition of ðozoŋwur poisons all other aspects of human nature, human relationships will all eventually decay as people continue to try to get more and more and become better and better. This was already an established tenet of Egeldish theology and culture at the time Ridranos explored it, but Ridranos did an excellent job of providing practical examples of this principle in works like Light and Duty.[6]

Practical application

Particularly in Light and Duty, Ridranos tries to construct a model for how a human being could try to balance lezorān, ðozoŋwur and lūtasyā in order to live a life that is as fulfilling as possible within the “ultimately futile universe we exist in” (part 5). First of all, he writes, lūtasyā should come first – people should prioritize trying to understand morality and truth, and for this reason education is important, since it helps people to better find truth. Secondly, people should pursue ðozoŋwur by not repressing their emotions and being willing to feel strongly. Before actually acting on their emotions, people should make sure their intended actions line up with lūtasyā. But mere feelings should never be repressed for reasons of lūtasyā or anything else. Ridranos especially encourages people to be quick to spontaneously do a kind thing for someone they pity – a perfect example of following lūtasyā through the emotions of ðozoŋwur. Finally, people should pursue lezorān, taking care of their bodies and making sure they eat, sleep, etc. enough. But they should be willing to quash their instincts in order to do something kind, following lūtasyā first, or feel strongly, following ðozoŋwur. Interestingly, Ridranos places family relations within the realm of lezorān, since families are connected by their physical relation. He especially points this out when he writes that people should be willing to do something kind for a stranger they pity at the cost of being able to properly care for their family, as long as they do not pity their family above the stranger. “Feelings come before instinct,” he writes, “and therefore one must prioritize helping the people one feels about above helping the people one has an instinct to help” (part 18).[6]

Also in Light and Duty, Ridranos details various ideas for softening the negative effects of human ambition. He encourages people to pursue humility and to be happy with simple things, rather than always trying to make their lives more pleasant or more comfortable. But he does acknowledge that one cannot be fully human without this ambition, and so he encourages people to continue to try to improve their lives – just to put the search for goodness, truth and lūtasyā above this endeavor of ðozoŋwur.[6]

Notable works

Nonfiction

  • War in Heaven and on Earth (1330). Ridranos analyzes the traditional Egeldish myth of how Sky and Earth once loved each other, but now war against each other and against their offspring, the human race. He draws parallels to how human relationships so easily swing between love and hate, and suggests that a key part of being human is this emotional similarity to the gods. From this he tentatively concludes that if even the gods cannot avoid the pain of being rejected by a loved one, there is no way that human beings can reasonably avoid such strife – if they do, they are repressing the noble aspect of their nature, the part of them that is similar to the gods, and so are not being truly human at all.[8]
  • The Human and the Animal (1335). Ridranos investigates the difference between humans and animals and comes to the conclusion that the central difference is that humans try endlessly to better themselves and improve their life situation, while animals are happy with merely satisfying their basic desires for food, shelter, etc. He also suggests the idea that this human striving for improvement is the key reason why humans are so often unhappy – animals, on the other hand, he writes, are only unhappy when their basic desires are unfulfilled.[8]
  • Knowledge and Goodness (1341). Ridranos explores the question of what is truly good or evil, and how humans can be sure that they know the truth about what is good and evil. He concludes that ultimately only a person’s own conscience can tell them what is right to do, but somebody can corrupt their own conscience by consistently doing evil. So a person can never be completely sure whether what they feel is right is actually right or just the product of a corrupted conscience. He also briefly touches on the idea that, as other parts of human nature come from Sky and Earth, this conscience is something from a god higher than Sky and Earth and so more noble and valuable.[8]
Cover of a recent Egeldish printing of Stars and Time

Cover of a recent Egeldish printing of Stars and Time

  • Stars and Time (1344). In this book Ridranos finally fully develops his idea of a god greater and higher than Sky and Earth, one that he calls “the Sun” “because it is the only word I have to express the eternal and unchanging benevolence of such a being” (part 5). He portrays this god as being unchanging, eternal, truthful, and all-powerful, but unwilling to lower himself to deal with flawed beings such as the lesser gods Sky and Earth and, even more so, humans. In this book Ridranos also denounces the human tendency to continually grasp at progress and improvement, saying that it is part of the evil arrogance that also led to Sky and Earth’s war.[8]
  • Light and Duty (1350). Taking the philosophy he developed in Stars and Time, Ridranos explores how a human being should live in such a world. He says that humans should be humble and learn to take joy in simple things, like good food or safe shelter, while always seeking to find truth and better understand how to do right. While they should not spend all their time and energy trying to make their life better or more comfortable, he writes, they should slowly pursue comfort with the goal of then being able to better focus on the important questions of morality and truth.[8]
  • The Light Above the Horizon (1370). Returning to his earlier idea that the human conscience is something from the great god above Sky and Earth, Ridranos tries to form an idea of what this god is like based on what human consciences are like. He also makes conclusions about what the great god is like based on how parts of the natural world which he doesn’t think are “corrupted” by Sky or Earth are like. In the end, he concludes that this god is a god of strict rules, truth, kindness, fairness and faithfulness.[8]

Fiction

  • Black and White (1331). This is a novel exploring Ridranos’s early idea that strong emotions and volatility are an important, if often painful, part of being human. It tells the story of an Egeldish man and woman who marry just before the fall of Egeld’s empire, but then grow to hate each other in the wake of the civil war after the fall of the empire. Only parts of the story are extant – most of the beginning, some parts of the middle, and only a tiny bit of the ending. It has been the subject of much study and speculation as to what the rest of the story was like.[8]
  • The Sun Over the Mountains (1345). This epic poem, only half-finished, tells the story of a Egeldish warrior who fails his lord and then flees to Azon, hoping to find respite from his horrible guilt at having failed his master. It chronicles his journey as he accepts that he will ultimately always fail and is humbled. Ridranos was inspired to write this poem after reading some Lat epic poetry while in Dyenā, but he eventually abandoned it when he decided that such a form was not a good way to explore his ideas. It continues to be considered a classic of Egeldish literature, however, and several other authors have written endings for it.[8]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Dāʔos, Lēŋone (1495). Ŋarin Ridranos and the Foundation of Modern Thought. Sokoli & Sons Publishing, Mitzduran, Jacia.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 Yudelia, Jasosa (1485). A Short Biography of Ŋarin Ridranos. Publishing House Yapet, Poyyeizy, Jacia.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Crāā, Enāne (1499). Ŋarin Ridranos and the Egeldish Religious Establishment. Publishing House of Egeld, Tēselos, Egeld.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Crāā, Soţānyal. Ŋārin Rīdranos. Publishing House of Egeld, Tēselos, Egeld.
  5. Juhērntos, Juhārgene. A History of Egeld, Volume 2: Revolution and Reorganization. Publishing House of Egeld, Tēselos, Egeld.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Nūtica, Nyejānne. The Philosophy of Ŋārin Rīdranos. Oga Books, Paraso, Carafilier.
  7. Quoted in Nūtica, pg. 201
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Desulta, Peradá. An Introduction to the Works of Ŋarin Ridranos. Cahmeir Publishing, Carafilier

The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket – A brief, emotional response

The Penultimate Peril – A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 12
Author: Lemony Snicket
Pub Date: 2005
Pages: 368
Format: Audiobook

Wow.

All I can say is, I did not expect anything like this when I started A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I first came to this series after reading and enjoying a number of other books that reviewers said were similar – The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, and others. I read reviews of The Bad Beginning, the first book of the series, but came away thinking that it sounded rather mediocre. And besides, I thought, if I read the first book, I’d probably want to read the other twelve, and thirteen books is an awful lot to read just for one mediocre series! So I didn’t pursue getting it. But then my sister also read reviews of The Bad Beginning and decided on her own to borrow it from the library and read it. And then it was left sitting out. And, well, if a book is sitting out that I’m at least mildly interested in, and it’s entertaining, and especially if it’s short, well, I’ll end up reading it. So I did. And then my sister borrowed the next few books and left them sitting out, and I read them too. They were short, they were entertaining, they were fun, but they weren’t particularly exciting. It was only around book 6, The Ersatz Elevator, that I became really interested. And then I was the one who convinced my sister to borrow book 7, and then once we were done with that, I convinced her to borrow book 8… Well. At that point I was indeed quite curious as to what was going to happen, and I felt the books were getting more clever, but the series was still rather…well, flat. Small. It was only later on that things began to grow into something genuinely engaging. Book 9 had some wonderfully chilling moments. And then book 10, The Slippery Slope, was the first book of the series that I found truly beautiful. Book 12, The Penultimate Peril, far surpasses that.

But why do I find it beautiful? What do I find beautiful in a book, anyway? Consider this.

The fact is that the world is full of light and dirt. Love and disease. Beauty and death. In other words, wonderful things and horrible things.

The world is also full of emotions and mathematics. Whimsy and science. Randomness and fractals. In other words, messy, confusing things and neat, orderly things.

Bad books ignore this multifacetedness. They focus too much on the light and the emotions, maybe, resulting in something fluffily idealistic. Others maybe focus on the dirt and the emotions, resulting in shallow angst. Or perhaps it’s an overemphasis on dirt and mathematics, resulting in a coldly, voidly horrifying dissection of evil. Or light and mathematics, resulting in an unbelievably orderly piece of soulless theory.

Good books, on the other hand, recognize both the light and the dirt, both the emotions and the mathematics. They look them in the face. They may not look them completely in the face, or very obviously in the face. But they accept the world as it is. And then, acknowledging that huge, messy storm of light and dirt, emotions and mathematics, they say something. They find meaning; they find a theme running through the storm.

That’s why I love books that have elements of darkness in them. Yes, a book that is all sweetness can have good points in it, can have truth. But I will be far more willing to listen to a book that can see the darkness, because I feel that it actually acknowledges the world as it really is. It is not creating some idealized fantasy and then getting a message out of that, a message that the author has only proved to me will work in that idealized fantasy. No, a good book takes a real world and gets a message out of that. And by using a real world, the author has said to me, “Look, this is important for you, because you live in a real world. You need to pay attention, because this is your reality.” *

I loved The Penultimate Peril, and more than that, I found it beautiful, because it does this. It acknowledges the ugliness of the real world even as it portrays its loveliness and humor. And then, from that picture, it gets a message, it finds a meaning, it traces a theme.

Now, it’s not perfect, of course. After all, perhaps the most distinct meaning one gets out of The Penultimate Peril is that there is no meaning in the world – it’s just a terrible, chaotic conglomeration of unfathomable mysteries. And it has other flaws, too. The Penultimate Peril is not going to become my favorite book. It’s probably not even going to go on my (very informal) list of favorite books. Rather, it will join many other books I’ll read this year that I found beauty in; books that left me with a feeling, a feeling, a very powerful feeling that there’s something deep and intense inside, even if I don’t understand it quite yet. Something deep and intense under all the random funny bits and sad bits and good bits and bad bits. Much like the world itself, I’d say. And that’s what makes those books beautiful. They mirror the world. Imperfect, lovely, chaotic, hilarious, sad, happy – messy. But with something meaningful, perhaps many things meaningful, just underneath.

There. Now you’ve seen my light-and-emotions side. Hopefully once I’m actually done with the series I’ll write a more full, analytical, dirt-and-mathematics review. But for now, I’m enjoying the thrill of a book that has really made me feel something.

And so…go forth and read!

*Now, when I say “real world,” I don’t mean to say that fantasy novels or other books set in imaginary worlds can’t achieve this. Not at all! Rather consider this: A good fantasy world is realistic, no? And what does realistic mean? It mean it’s believable. It means it fits with our experience. And if it fits with our experience – well, then maybe it has relevance to our experience. It has applicability. And so if an author creates a believable fantasy world and gets a message out of that, when I see the realism of the imaginary world, I see the parallels to my own world, and I see the need for me to listen to the message.

Ciceros shawl

(By the way, I am working on an article that has to do with Sheesania and is not full of linguistics. I’ve just been rather busy this week, so I haven’t had time to finish it. But it’s coming! Don’t lose hope!)

Pattern: Undine by Christine Ebers
Made for: ?? Me, I guess?
Yarn: 1 ball of KnitPicks Shimmer in Blue Glass (now discontinued, sob)
Made in: 2012

The name “Undine” reminds me of the Ciceros Undines, traveling whirlpools in the Wii game Endless Ocean: Blue World. Knitting this shawl made me want to play Endless Ocean again! But it’s only now, in 2014, that I’m actually bothering to replay it.

This shawl was also a really fast knit. I started it partway through a trip to America and easily finished it before we left, and we usually spend only a month and a half in the US! Since I didn’t have any way to block it while we were in the US (I can assure you that I tried, though), I was extra impatient to block it, so I pinned it out as soon as we got back to our home country. Then, jetlagged, I lay in bed, trying to go to sleep, thinking that maybe it would be dry by the time I woke up…

As you can hopefully see, this pattern worked really well with the variegated yarn – I’ll definitely keep it in mind next time I get hold of lace yarn like that.

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!

Poetic Bookending, Parallels and the Like in Super Paper Mario

This is part of a planned series of posts analyzing, discussing and generally having fun with Super Paper Mario, my favorite Wii game. If you find it ridiculous that I am performing literary analysis on a very cheesy Mario game, you should probably ignore this.

SPOILERS OF DOOM!!

I really love it when stories have parallels between plot threads and events and that sort of thing as well as parallels between characters in the form of foils. I don’t why I love them. I just do. They’re so satisfyingly, wonderfully, beautifully structural. But anyhow, perhaps this is part of why I enjoyed Super Paper Mario so much, because SPM has quite a few of these parallels. Here are the ones I’ve found so far – I may later update this post with more.

First of all, the beginning and the end parallel each other significantly. In the prologue, a bad guy (Bowser) and a good girl (Peach) are married without any true love in order to create the Chaos Heart. (One could try to argue that Bowser has true love for Peach, but I don’t think so, mostly because I think true love does not involve forcibly kidnapping your loved one.) In the end, the marriage (or redeclaration of love…it didn’t look much like a marriage to me) of a bad guy (Count Bleck) and good girl (Tippi) destroyed the Chaos Heart. There are other parallels, too – Bowser and Count Bleck are both central antagonists, while Peach and Tippi are supporting character types.

Then the Chaos Heart and the Pure Hearts have large parallels. The Chaos Heart was used three times: to make the Void, to make Bleck invincible during the final fight, and to make Super Dimentio invincible. The Pure Hearts were also used three times: to remove Bleck’s invincibility, to remove Super Dimentio’s invincibility, and finally to destroy the Void. Also, as Mario and co. collected the Pure Hearts and so expanded their power, the Void, and so the power of the Chaos Heart, expanded too.

Finally, the beginning and the end are the only time when you don’t know where Tippi is. (You lose Tippi at other points, but in chapter 4, you know she’s with Francis, and in chapter 7, you know she’s with Merlon, and so on.) But in both cases, there are strong implications as to where she is, so you can make an educated guess – you can figure that she was living with Merlon in Flipside in the beginning, and that she’s living with Bleck in some other dimension in the end. (Unless the other characters are just lying at the end to make themselves feel better. That’s how you can interpret it if you like bad endings.)

Ack! I can’t record while playing sound!

I really like my computer, I have to say. It’s a bit low-end, but it’s small and portable while still having a fairly high-resolution screen. It runs fast enough for me most of the time, and it has enough RAM and the like to run Linux virtual machines. In general, I’ve been satisfied with it and haven’t had any problems.

Except for one rather annoying one. With the default settings with my Conexant High Definition Audio microphone jack, I can’t record sound if I’m playing sound at the same time.

Now, usually, I don’t need to play sound while I’m recording, but sometimes I do. For instance, when I played my “Angels We Have Heard on High” arrangement, I really did need to listen to the melody while I played the harmony parts. But if I tried, the resulting recording would be very quiet most of the time, then suddenly get loud, then get quiet, then have odd staticky sounds, then cut out…no matter what microphone I used, internal or external. Very, very annoying, because I tend to be most annoyed by problems that make no sense to me, and this one didn’t make much sense. However, I obviously did manage to finish my “Angels We Have Heard on High” project, so yes, I did fix the problem.

Here’s how I managed to record while playing sound without ending up with a wacko recording. First, I right-clicked on the volume control and picked “Recording devices”:

_2014-02-01_10-36-43

Then once that opened up, I selected my microphone and clicked “Properties”:

Sound_2014-02-01_10-39-06

I went to the “Microphone Effects” tab:

Microphone Properties_2014-02-01_10-39-54

Then I unchecked “Acoustic Echo Cancellation” and clicked the “OK” button.

Microphone Properties_2014-02-01_10-40-24

And that fixed the problem. Now I can record while playing sound without any problem. So I don’t know if these odd issue has annoyed anybody else, but this is how I, at least, was able to fix it.

I sing “Angels We Have Heard on High” with 3 pennywhistles

I’ve recently been experimenting a bit with singing and playing harmony, so for a fun project, I took “Angels We Have Heard on High” from a hymnbook and arranged it so I could play three of the parts on my pennywhistle and sing one. Here’s my final performance (if you want to call it that!) of the piece, made by playing/singing each part separately and combining them with Audacity.

The soprano, alto and tenor parts are pennywhistle; the bass part is me. I would have preferred to sing the melody and let the pennywhistles take care of the rest, but the bass part doesn’t fit very well into the pennywhistle’s rather limited range, so I did it that way instead. If you’re curious, my pennywhistle is a Susato, not tunable, in the key of D. I really love how it sounds, but then, the only other wind instrument I’ve played is a very cheap recorder, so pretty much anything would sound beautiful compared to that.

Hope you enjoy!

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

Foils in Super Paper Mario

This is part of a planned series of posts analyzing, discussing and generally having fun with Super Paper Mario, my favorite Wii game. If you find it ridiculous that I am performing literary analysis on a very cheesy Mario game, you should probably ignore this.

SPOILERS AHOY!!

According to Wikipedia, a foil is “a character who contrasts with another character…in order to highlight particular qualities of the other character. A foil usually either differs drastically or is extremely similar but with a key difference setting them apart.” Following this definition, for each pair of foils, I’ll explain how they contrast or are similar, and then how they emphasize certain qualities in the other.

First of all, you can actually pretty comfortably draw parallels between the five central protagonists and the five main villains:

Tippi/Timpani and Nastasia

Tippi and Nastasia are actually quite similar. Both are close sidekicks; both are in love with Bleck/Blumiere; both are obedient to their leaders despite sometimes feeling uncomfortable with what they’re trying to accomplish – the key difference is that Tippi and Nastasia are on different sides. There’s also an interesting parallel in that Tippi (as Timpani) saved Blumiere (after he had fallen from a cliff) in the very first Blumiere and Timpani scene, near the beginning of the game, while Nastasia saved Bleck (from Dimentio’s blow) at the ending. (Though Bleck also saved Nastasia, if that’s how you interpret the bat story you hear in the Flopside café.)

So what do these similarities accomplish? They serve to emphasize the other important differences between Tippi and Nastasia – Tippi has strong opinions about right and wrong, and is bold to act on them; Nastasia doesn’t have strong morals and is hesitating and unsure about what to do, despite the fact that she does want to keep Bleck from destroying the world (though it may be more from her own desire to save him than from wanting to save everybody else). Tippi is also generally quite cheerful, optimistic and eager to act, while Nastasia is gloomy, wishful and, again, hesitating. Nastasia herself comments on their differences if you speak to her after the ending: “Maybe I’ll learn to smile again and look forward to the future…If I can’t…then I suppose I could never have matched up to Lady Timpani anyway…” This perhaps ties into one of the main themes of SPM – you should never give up hope. Tippi doesn’t, and she succeeds and is happy; Nastasia does – or, at least, she doesn’t do anything to try to accomplish what she hopes for – and she is unhappy in the end. Finally, Tippi’s character, made clearer by the contrast with Nastasia, also indirectly reveals more of Count Bleck/Blumiere’s personality – for instance, he must have been a strong-willed person for her to admire him and follow along with his plans.

Peach and Mimi

Peach and Mimi differ a lot, but in a parallel sort of way: Peach is honest, while Mimi is deceptive; Peach is polite, while Mimi is not; Peach gets lots of attention, to a ridiculous extent (how many times has she been kidnapped for reasons other than Bowser’s?), while Mimi isn’t so much – in fact, according to Carson, she was an unintended creation in the first place. However, they do still share some similarities: both are female, both are rather girly, and both are lower supporting characters for their different sides. In the end, it seems that these contrasts and parallels mostly serve to emphasize Peach’s niceness and Mimi’s nastiness.

(A side note: Within this game, Mimi changes form a lot, while Peach stays the same. However, rather amusingly, if you look outside SPM, Mimi – having only appeared in one game – is always the same, while Peach changes personality and looks a lot. Just look at her version in Super Mario Galaxy, in which she is rather less intelligent than she is in SPM – remember, everyone, if somebody comes along with a bunch of airships and whatnot and is trying to kidnap you, don’t, for heaven’s sakes, stand right outside on a balcony just WAITING to get captured. Go into the basement or something.)

Bowser and O’Chunks

Bowser and O’Chunks are rather similar – strong and perhaps not the most intelligent. That said, Bowser is naturally bad, while O’Chunks, it seems, is naturally good (he thinks a lot about honor and has a great respect for rules) – but they’re on the wrong sides. So what’s the point of these parallels? Perhaps just to further point out the amusing absurdity in this game in having so many people on the wrong sides. Or maybe to underscore their lack of intelligence. Or maybe to say that Mario and Peach were being as bad as Bleck when they manipulated Bowser into joining them, just like Bleck manipulated O’Chunks into joining him…

Luigi and Dimentio

This set of foils is probably the biggest stretch, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with literary analysis that’s a bit of a stretch, right? So, Dimentio is clearly self-centered, happy to betray both sides in order to achieve his own goals. Luigi, on the other hand, is fine with going through great annoyance and pain in order to serve his brother and Princess Peach, even when there’s a good chance he won’t even get acknowledged for his sacrifices at the end. (But he can be sure that he will get acknowledged by multitudes of Luigi fans.) Dimentio is also suave and cool; Luigi…not so much. And Dimentio has huge, far-reaching, multiverse-changing goals, while one does not get the feeling that Luigi does. Take the beginning of the game – Luigi is happy to be having a peaceful day with his brother. He does wish for some kind of “KERBLOOEY!” (to quote him) but then goes on to suggest the rather mundane idea of going to visit Princess Peach.

There are two big similarities. The first: both Dimentio and Luigi tend to be fearful in some ways, but manage to deal with their fears one way or another. Dimentio, you could say, is fearful of a direct confrontation with Count Bleck or the heroes – he relies on the heroes to put Count Bleck out of commission and then on his…creation?…Super Dimentio, fueled by the Chaos Heart, to deal with them afterwards. Luigi, now, is timid, but he still tries his best (arguably…) to save Princess Peach in the beginning and do whatever else he can to help the heroes. The second (and biggest) similarity is that both somehow betrayed their sides. Dimentio certainly did; Luigi did without meaning to as Mr. L after Nastasia brainwashed him. And then Dimentio, the great betrayer, was the one who “killed” Mr. L in order to return him to his proper Luigi form, ending that betrayal. Interesting.

Again, these contrasts and similarities underscore the traits of Luigi and Dimentio that they bring into parallel. They also lead to a bit of a theme going on about how it’s bad to be clever and scheming (like Dimentio), rather, there’s nothing wrong with being a bit fearful and awkward (like Luigi). Perhaps they also say that there is while nothing wrong with being fearful, there are right and wrong ways to deal with those fears. Dimentio uses schemery; Luigi just tries to be brave and faces them.

Mario and Count Bleck

These two are naturally foils to each other as the main protagonist and antagonist, though in the end, Bleck doesn’t provide the climactic struggle (Dimentio does), and Mario doesn’t win this climactic struggle on his own (since without the regenerated Pure Hearts provided by Tippi and Bleck and co., he couldn’t have won). Besides this curious business about them not really being the final hero or villain, there’s another similarity: both originally act out of love of some sort (Mario started the adventure by trying to save Peach; Bleck decided to destroy the multiverse mostly because of his foiled love for Timpani) but in the end act mostly because of destiny (Mario fights because he’s the only one who’s destined to be able to stop the destruction; Bleck continues with his plan because he thinks it’s his destiny, not because he really wants it to come through).

But these characters mostly contrast. Mario has no secrets or depth – he probably has the least depth of any of the main characters – while Bleck is one of the most secretive and complicated characters in the game. Mario is also lighthearted, even goofy (no worry or anger even when Sammer’s Kingdom is destroyed, for instance), while Bleck is often rather dark and gloomy. Curiously, though, Mario never laughs (even though he does say “Hi!” and “No no!” and “Me?” and so on) while Bleck is going “BLEH-HEH-HEH!” all the time.

As always, these contrasts underscore the relevant traits of each character, but perhaps the silliness of Mario in comparison to Bleck is one more way SPM pokes fun at its own seriousness. Then there are the interesting similarities in how they are motivated by destiny yet did not actually accomplish those final goals themselves. SPM already has a bit of a theme going on how prophecies and the like aren’t final and don’t actually determine what will happen in the end. So maybe through this similarity between Mario and Count Bleck, the game communicates that the point of prophecies, then, is to encourage the people they talk about to try for those things, as the Light Prognosticus encouraged Mario to try to stop Bleck, and the Dark Prognosticus encouraged Bleck to try to destroy the universe. So then SPM’s saying that prophecies aren’t actually true – they’re just meant to motivate people to try to follow them. Hmm. Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into this.

At any rate, there you have the five central foils of Super Paper Mario. They work out pretty well, don’t they? Besides those, there are a few more that I found. Yes, MORE!

Private Koopa and the manipulative goombas

Remember those scenes in Castle Bleck way at the beginning of the game where you play Peach and then Luigi trying to escape? Peach is accompanied by a very nice koopa called Private Koopa who even tries to defend her once Nastasia and co. find her, and who then is tragically brainwashed. (He was my favorite character from SPM for a while for no particularly good reason.) Luigi, on the other hand, is accompanied by two goombas who manipulate him into helping them and then promptly desert him once Nastasia finds them. Foils, wouldn’t you say? I, being a Private Koopa fan, as I said, say that the traitorousness of the goombas serve to further emphasize the goodness and self-sacrifice of poor Private Koopa, who I probably unwittingly and callously stomped on or fire-breathed for a few measly experience points and coins while going through Castle Bleck in Chapter 8. Sob.

Luigi and Mr. L

(By the way, this foil still applies even if you insist that Mr. L is not Luigi and is, say, Merlon instead – MeRLon, right? And they never appear at the same time! Anyhow, this is because the game does set up Mr. L and Luigi as being the same person – the truth aside – and so they can serve as foils.)

Mr. L, being a sort of alternate personality of Luigi, is naturally a foil to him. Luigi tends to be a bit nervous and insecure; Mr. L, now, is overconfident and absolutely sure that he and his Brobot can defeat the heroes once and for all. (Because Brobot, of course, “shoots missiles. Missiles!”) Luigi seems unimportant, at least at first, while Mr. L seems more important, if that’s mostly because he likes to talk about his own significance. So here we get an interesting exploration of what would happen if Luigi got over his weaknesses too much – they would turn into flaws themselves. Again, as I said under the bit about Luigi and Dimentio being foils, it is perhaps saying that there’s nothing wrong with being a bit fearful and awkward – the greater problem is not being fearful and awkward to too great an extent.

And there you have it – the foils of Super Paper Mario and all the incredible meaning contained within them!

Map of Egeld

This map turned out rather horribly, mostly due to overuse of my bad eraser. But I think it still looks okay, and it’ll be very useful as I work more on Egeld. I drew the boundaries between provinces – Egeld has 45 despite its small size – and the larger cities. The cities marked with a dot and a circle are the capitals of their respective provinces. There’s also a number in each province – the long list to the right has the names of all the provinces, using those numbers. And if you look at the key in the bottom right, you’ll see the meanings of the different colors. Finally, the names are all in the Egeldish language, which I’ve been working on a lot recently, and most of them, at least, have meanings!

So, Egeld is an imaginary country in the imaginary continent of Lufitantha, up in the northeastern corner. Egeld is mostly a farming country, but there’s a lot of industry as well – Egeld is the second biggest industrial center in Lufitantha, after Arandu. About 200 years ago, the Egeldish ruled most of Lufitantha, but they lost control within a few years and had some time of violence and anarchy before they formed a working government. Today, Egeld is doing well and is quite stable, though they did just fail at an attempt to take over Azon, to the south. Azon used to be part of Egeld, and it remains very unstable despite its independence, which prompted Egeld to take over with the excuse that they were bringing law and order. Partly due to this botched invasion (one of quite a few), Egeld is not very popular in the international community, as invading other countries isn’t really kosher at the moment in Sheesania. Their bad status is despite the fact that their representative in the World Union, Dathis Nutica (or Dāţis Nūtica in my standard Egeldish romanization), is a member of the political party of Zethra Dusti, the current World Minister.

The Egeldish government is run by a hierarchy of elected councils – Egeldish have ruled themselves through democratic councils for centuries. Even before there was a central government, Egeldish peasants would assemble and vote on questions like what to plant and how much to sell of their produce. Later on, Egeld was ruled by a council of all the land owners in the country. Today each province is represented in a central council by an elected official, but the election process and its various requirements and restrictions vary from province to province – a few provinces, for instance, still don’t let women act as their representatives. In general, the provinces are fairly independent of each other, and the central government tries to restrict them as little as possible. Some provinces require travel documents if you want to enter them; others don’t care. Some provinces make all their citizens get ID’s and register births, deaths, marriages, property, businesses, &c, &c, while others are rather lax. It varies a lot. The fact is that the central government is mostly concerned with foreign policy, the army, and maintaining roads and other such inter-provincial services (jobs often carried out by the army).

Egeldish are known outside of their country for being logical and sarcastic, but also very superstitious when it comes to some things – most Egeldish are quite fearful of ghosts and things relating to death in general. Egeldish have produced many important inventions and scientific discoveries, but have only a small artistic tradition and virtually no literary tradition. (Sniff. No analysis of imaginary Egeldish novels for me.) Egeldish culture is fairly individualistic, with people being relatively independent of their families. But democratic decision-making is very valued, and the community as a whole is seen as being more important than the individual to most Egeldish. (It was partly for this reason that the nobility never became very powerful in Egeld – the opinions and desires of the people under them carried too much weight.)

But anyhow – here, finally, is the map! As usual, you can click on it to see it larger, and as usual, I have my signature with my last-name-which-shall-remain-mysterious whited out.

Egeld_web