Lexember 2019

So long after last December I finally have gotten around to writing up the results of Lexember 2019, which I again used to expand the vocabulary of Keševan. I admit that additions to this list came very slowly and I only reached my goal of 31 words more than a month after December had run out. Many of these words I owe to the inspiration of the ZBB’s Lexicon Building thread.

My 31 words follow. For verbs, I include three principal parts: the infinitive, the 3rd person singular present, and if applicable the passive participle. After noun headwords you might see -u, which indicates that those nouns have singular genitives in -u rather than the -e expected for nouns with nominative singular -a. Where I write R., that is short for Rasal, the ancestor language of Keševan (K.).

  1. rahasse, rahaso, rahaîta [raˈhas:e / raˈhasɤ / raˈhe:ta] ‘make calm, still, quiet’, from the adjective has ‘calm, still, quiet’, with the prefix ra- here serving as a causative and with a verbal ending.
  2. šehasse, šehaso, šehaîta [ɕeˈhas:e / ɕeˈhasɤ / ɕeˈhe:ta] ‘stifle, suppress’, from the same source as above, but with the prefix še- ‘under’. Keševan makes much use of preposition-derived verbal prefixes—one of its more average European traits, and one that has encouraged me to add “weirdness” to the language in other domains.
  3. šakša [ˈɕakɕa] ‘line of longitude’ < šak ‘axle’ + ša, which signifies instruments, tools, and sometimes scientific abstractions, such as longitude. Derived from ‘axle’ since lines of longitude pass through the poles. The same root gives words for north and the north star (where the axis meets the sky).
  4. šákšane [ˈɕakɕãne] ‘longitude’, from the above with the collective suffix -ne.
  5. zim [zẽm] ‘rim, edge’. Unanalyzable, from Rasal zima.
  6. zimša [ˈzẽmɕa] ‘line of latitude’. Derived from zim analogously to the derivation of šakša from šak.
  7. zímšane [ˈzẽmɕane] ‘latitude’, from the above with the collective suffix -ne, cf. šákšane.
  8. buraîka, -u [buˈre:ka] ‘race’ (sports, athletics), from bu- ‘along’ plus the root of a verb formerly meaning ‘to press’ (think of it as coming to mean ‘chase’, from which the meaning ‘race’ naturally develops).
  9. narga [ˈnarga] ‘current’ (n.), from narse, naru ‘flow’ and the suffix -ga that creates deverbal nouns of a variety of meanings: result, action, thing associated, etc.
  10. padra, -u [ˈpadra] ‘caterpillar’, from R. padar, itself sharing a root with R. pado ‘worm’, which is the source of K. padu ‘worm’ and paž ‘silk’.
  11. mais, -u [majs] ‘sulfur’, from R. malyath, is derived from a root meaning ‘yellow’ in reference to the stone’s color.
  12. serla [ˈserla] ‘sour’ is from R. tsera ‘sour’. However, tsera shifted to mean simply ‘harsh’, necessitating a derivational morpheme -la to restore a more specific sense
  13. boksa, -u [ˈboksa] ‘crest, ridge; spine, backbone’, from R. bokath ‘spine, backbone’, cognate to R. bvošo ‘side’ > K. vošu ‘border, edge’. A derivational process of vowel-breaking in Proto-Borvic is ultimately the cause of the b-/bv- alternation in Rasal.
  14. imblatse, imblato, imblasta [ẽmbˈlatse / ẽmbˈlatɤ / ẽmbˈlasta] ‘found, establish’, from the verb latse, lato, lasta ‘put, place, set’ plus a prefix derived from the preposition im ‘about’. As a prefix it means ‘for a certain purpose’.
  15. imblatga [ẽmbˈlatga] ‘foundation, institution’, from the above with the aforementioned suffix -ga.
  16. zat [zat] ‘leather’ (n.) < R. dhata
  17. šerča [ˈɕert͡ɕa] ‘wart’ < R. šera ‘wart’ + diminutive -ča
  18. sankosse, sankoso [sãnˈkos:e / sãnˈkosɤ] ‘slander’, from the phrase san kose ‘behind one’s face’ (i.e. talking behind another’s back).
  19. šerauvze, šerauvo [ɕeˈrawvze / ɕeˈrawvɤ] ‘arm’. K. rau (gen. rauve) is a weapon, typically a sword, made into a verb with še- ‘under’ and verbal endings.
  20. žeîtu [ˈʑi:tɯ] ‘squirrel’ < R. yétsato, which itself is probably from Proto-Borvic *yi:tǝw– ‘tail’. The ending K. -tu / R. -to appears on a number of words for typically small animals.
  21. igla [ˈigla] ‘ludic, playing, having to do with games’, simply from igze, igo ‘play’ and the very common adjectivalizing suffix -la
  22. nule [ˈnule] ‘basket’. I gave myself a break and called its etymology uncertain, though it looks like it could come from an old neighboring language called Aršal, should I ever wish to develop its history in more detail.
  23. marku [ˈmarkɯ] ‘walker, one who walks’, from markse, marko ‘walk’ plus an agentive -u.
  24. kolma [ˈkolma] ‘maple’ < R. kolma ‘maple’. Simple.
  25. ellanga [el:ˈãnga] ‘contract’, from en- ‘before’ + lapse, lamo, lanta ‘say’ + -ga, literally, ‘that which was spoken of beforehand’.
  26. kuvesse, kuveso, kuveîta [kuˈves:e / kuˈvesɤ / kuˈvi:ta] ‘stick smth onto somth’. The prefix ku- means ‘on a surface or side’ (and also more usually ‘against’), while vesse is ‘to hang’.
  27. árnača [ˈarnat͡ɕa] ‘pollen’, from the word for ‘dust’ plus the diminutive -ča.
  28. vélmača [ˈvelmat͡ɕa] ‘nectar’, from the word for ‘honey’ plus the diminutive -ča.
  29. šembze, šembo [ˈɕẽmbze / ˈɕẽmbɤ] ‘climb, clamber up’
  30. endla [ˈẽndla] ‘previous’, from en ‘before’ + adjectival -la.
  31. sanžeûse, sanželu, sanželta [sãnˈʑu:se / sãnˈʑelɯ / sãnˈʑelta ] ‘confine, pen in’, from san- ‘after’ or in this case ‘behind’ and the root -žel- with verbal endings. The root comes from the Rasal verb yélese ‘enclose’, which did not survive into Keševan. The root also suvives in K. želga ‘fence’ and in a number of toponyms for populated places (e.g. Ažél, Lunžel).

Na pel Iošikage Kira su.

Na še séčase sese mase šine. Na bevra se sáinale-méinale suîne Móriože su, ora panzak kave ot, ke na is butse. Raseštu na tópseže se saûze Kame Iú, ke na oružé vérseže rabevre en il ža pende aše ku sem ašma en lume. Na íseže faûse, e na šangam impáitseže. Na imšóûseže en ša aše en lume, ke na kušápseže lu ióp ašas hímbrase še ba meîte. Sanve na páitseže čáîluve baše kagre ke lu bešša kopa ledópseže enve na imšóûseže, na se veûdre himbraseže ar máîkasse iûsante oîne. Na aš ža doš ečátseže ar gavne ba šoine še oîne. Se koûte méîgale buhaîne ne lámaîta auka it. Na ravume imblusse na žer ote ka niu še ža hase erzu erse. Na kušápseže fešuk íseton ne akse, aš vedze ke zosse, ta maîkos na himbra. Me na kutésseže vošra, ke na sápseže ža ta ne rakassu. Ilái ta, ože na buaîken, na ižen ku dómuve zosse.

Schleicher’s Fable in a Sister of Calintese

Smabá ravikíga
sheep-def horse-def=and
The Sheep and the Horse

Túlras kráze do smába ténda ravíkun,
hill-loc wool-abl without sheep see-perfv-f.s horse-acc.p
On a hill, a sheep without wool saw horses,

šap trélla briltó lušavé,
and=one pull-impf-f.s heavy-acc.f.s cart-acc
and one was leading a heavy wagon,

ap nérla úlo bre,
one carry-impf-f.s big-acc.f.s burden-acc
one was carrying a big burden,

šap nérla sónaru hívmum.
and=one carry-impf-f.s person-acc swift-inf-inst
and one was carrying a man quickly.

Smabá métda ravíkorag,“Záitak drába ténmo hivútak ravíkora sónaruda.”
sheep-def say-pfv-f.s horse-dat.pl.def / heart=1.s hurt-f.s see-inf-abl.m drive-dat.m.s horse-dat.p man-dat
The sheep said to the horses, “My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses.”

Ravíkau métda, “Nor, smab, záitivont drába ténmo séda:
horse-pl.def say-pfv-m.p / listen-imp.s sheep-voc heart-1.p.exc hurt-f.s see-inf-abl.m this-dat.f.s
The horses said, “Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this:

sónar, bavarí, krázem smabáig ska sáltis gúmi larlú ši kráza ba smabédag.”
man master-def wool-abl.def sheep-gen.def from make-m.s=refl warm-acc.m.s garment-acc and wool not.be-f.s sheep-dat.s.def
a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself, and the sheep has no wool.”

Nórmo séda smabá ástida alónaram.
hear-perf-f.s this-dat.f.s sheep-def flee-perf-f.s plain-all.def
Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.

The Lord’s Prayer in Keševan

Ravalga Bene
prayer lord-gen
The Lord’s Prayer

Sait dal ka se ešre su,
1p.poss father rel in sky-gen be.3s
Our father, who is in heaven,

za pel račarta sus,
2s.poss name make.holy-pass.part be.subj.3s
hallowed be thy name,

za kursan vanos,
2s.poss kingdom come-subj.3s
thy kingdom come,

za válassa dašus,
2s.poss will fall-subj.3s
thy will be done,

se sémneže ašve se ešre.
in earth-gen like in sky-gen
on earth as it is in heaven.

Setuže za sada émebza sait úžela isa.
today 2s 1p.acc give-subj.2s 1p.poss daily-acc bread-acc
Give us this day our daily bread.

Ke za sanáûsebza saž žečasežen,
and 2s forgive-hab.subj.2s 1p err-hab.subj.1p
And forgive us our trespasses,

Ašve saž sanáûsežen enčuk ku sade žečaseton.
like 1p forgive-hab.subj.1p other-p against 1p.gen err-hab.subj.3p
As we forgive those who trespass against us.

Ke za ísebza sada tarse ra kutéšeîna,
and 2s not-hab.subj.2s 1p.acc lead-inf to temptation-acc
And lead us not into temptation,

e sada radéûsebza le rapre.
but 1p.acc free-hab.subj.2s from wickedness-gen
But deliver us from evil.

The North Wind and the Sun in Keševan

Šainal Ven ke Kamba
northern wind and sun
The North Wind and the Sun

Šainal Ven ke Kamba udelámaîta im te, ka ža miž le one žes,
northern wind and sun argue-past.3p about that-gen rel very strong from 3p-gen be.hab.past.subj.3s
The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger,

aš sepeûta se baše žolme iču bulá.
when wrap-pass.part in warm-gen cloak-gen traveler pass-past.3s
when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak.

On rašálaîna tu ka saté luzalos iču zumos žolma ža miž ku énčuže že.
3p agree-past.3p 3s rel first-adv achieve-subj.3s traveler remove-subj.3s cloak-acc very strong against other-gen be.hab-past.3s
They agreed that the first one to succeed in making the traveller take off his cloak should be stronger than the other.

Kezo Šainal Ven fala me mižé ašve tu mila,
then northern wind blow-past.3s so strong-adv like 3s can-past.3s
Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could,

e iču ža angé nuvaša tuže žolma ašve entu žambré fala,
but traveler very tight close-past.3s 3s-poss cloak-acc like 3s.obv more blow-past.3s
but the more he blew, the closer did the traveller fold his cloak around him,

ke pote Šainal Ven šelika.
and at.last northern wind give.up-past.3s
and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt.

Kezo Kamba lua bašé, ke ar šange iču zuma žolma.
then sun shine-past.3s warm-adv / and without step-gen traveler pull-past.3s cloak-acc
Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveller took off his cloak.

Ke šemé Šainal Ven koše lehase Kamba ža miž le one že.
and thus northern wind stand-past.3s recognize sun very strong from them.gen be.hab.past.3s
And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.

The Erčemnian Language

Over the past month or two I’ve been sketching out another language belonging to the Borvic family–the same family to which Keševan, my main conlang, belongs. The new language is tentatively called Erčemnian, and it’s branch of the Borvic family is Kodian (Kodian is a placeholder name, though I might end up keeping it. Like many of my placeholders it is named for a friend.)

Some features of Erčemnian and the Kodian languages:

  • retention of the Proto-Borvic glottal plosive, written as < h > in Erčemnian.
  • A large class of pronouns, particularly 1st person plural pronouns, which distinguish not just clusivity but also the number of the respective parties.
  • a large number of loanwords
  • Though the case and TAM systems are simple, nouns and verbs fall into a large number of subtly differing declensional/conjugational classes that must be memorized.

I have written two sample texts, translations of Schleicher’s Fable and “The King and the God” (the latter features the same god as my Calintese translation). A few pronunciation notes:

  • < h > is pronounced as in English word-initially, as a glottal stop elsewhere.
  • vowels are as in Spanish in open syllables, laxed in closed ones, except for the digraph < ie >, which is always [i]
  • < j > is as in English, a voiced affricate

Nuš u zurs
The Sheep and the Horse

Mik luro nuš iwaj lenno taja zursasah,
on hill-obl sheep not-with wool-obl see-past.3s horse-p.acc
On a hill, a sheep that had no wool saw horses,

i čau čei i tavin zuga wanke zum,
from rel-obl one from 3-p.obl pull-past.3s wagon-acc heavy
one of them pulling a heavy wagon,

čei so solye zun,
one carry-past.3s load-acc big
one carrying a big load,

u čei so hante rinwas.
and one carry-past.3s person-acc quick-adv
and one carrying a man quickly.

Nuš su zursavin:
sheep say-past.3s horse-p.obl
The sheep said to the horses:

“Ne wai rieh nau kah na taj hante če ta lin zursasah.”
1s.poss heart hurt 1s-obl when 1s see person-acc rel 3s drive horse-p.acc
“My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses.”

Zurso suwd: “Erfú, nuš, se wayu riehad sau kah sa tajin ate:
horse-p say-past.3p / listen-imp.2s sheep 1p.poss heart-p hurt-3p 1p.obl when 3p see-3p this-acc
The horses said: “Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this:

hant, hetel, towud i lenno nušo vule veg erne atoč.
person master make from wool-obl sheep-obl garment-acc warm for refl-obl
a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself.

U nuš ven iwaj lenno.”
and sheep become not.with wool-obl
And the sheep has no wool.”

Nuš ihuhi reši wurino kah ta erfú ate.
sheep flee-past.3s into plain-obl when 3s hear-ant.3s this-acc
Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.

****

Panta u hieha
The King and the God

Adi panta.
be-ant.3s king
Once there was a king.

Ta adi iwaj zurvin. Panta lei zuri.
3s be-ant.3s not-with child-obl.p / king want-ant.3s son-acc
He was childless. The king wanted a son.  

Ta vawa vosčo: “Zur venši wudat nau!”
3s ask-past.3s priest-obl / son become-opt.3s give.birth-pass.part 1s-obl
He asked his priest: “May a son be born to me!”

Vosč su pantro: “Of Mendo hiewwo.”
priest say-past.3s king-obl / pray-imp Mendu-obl god-obl
The priest said to the king: “Pray to the god Mendu.”

Panta erlik Mende hielle erkah ofiši yieh hiewwo
king approach-past.3s Mendu-acc god-acc in.order.to pray-opt.3s now god-obl
The king approached the god Mendu to pray now to the god.

“Erfú ni, Mend zaw!”
hear-imp 1s.acc Mendu father
“Hear me, father Mendu!”

Mend hieha tweti i ehabo.
Mendu god descend-past.3s from sky-obl
The god Mendu came down from heaven.

“Heye wa leim?” “Na le zuri.”
what-acc 2s want-2s / 1s want-1s son-acc
“What do you want?” “I want a son.”

“At venši,” Mend hieha yeim so.
that become-opt.3s / Mendu god bright say-past.3s
“Let this be so,” said the bright god Mendu.

Miv pantro wuda zuri.
wife king-obl give.birth-past.3s son-acc
The king’s lady bore a son.

****

A selection of cognates in Keševan and Erčemnian respectively, which should demonstrate some of the varied changes that have separated these two languages and their respective branches since their divergence from Proto-Borvic:

  • epse ‘give’ / imiš ‘give’
  • fi ‘water’ / ih ‘water’
  • košše ‘stand’ / kuhiš ‘stand’
  • laž ‘breast’ / wai ‘heart’
  • mai ‘yellow’ / mell ‘white’
  • par ‘star’ / sefa ‘star’
  • ram ‘salt’ / herm ‘salt’
  • sol ‘black’ / čil ‘black’
  • ša ‘one’ / čei ‘one’
  • takse ‘follow’ / tajiš ‘see’
  • uîse ‘smell’ / uhieš ‘think’
  • za ‘you (sing.)’ / wa ‘you (sing.)
  • žum ‘white’ / yeim ‘bright’

Schleicher’s Fable in Keševan

Se kane, nuîtu ka artósseže lana iá durkas,
[se ˈkãne ˈnwitɯ ka aɾˈtos:ǝʑe ˈlãna ja ˈduɾkas]
in hill-gen sheep rel lack-hab.past.3s wool-acc see-past.3s horse-p.acc
On a hill, a sheep that had no wool saw horses,

ša le kade zuma tarla alanka,
[ɕa le ˈkade ˈzõma ˈtaɾla aˈlãnka]
one from rel-gen pull-past.3s heavy-acc cart-acc
one of them pulling a heavy wagon,

ša sava mora selatga,
[ɕa ˈsava ˈmoɾa seˈlatθga]
one carry-past.3s big-acc load-acc
one carrying a big load,

ke ša sava žera žagé.
[ke ɕa ˈsava ˈʑeɾa ʑaˈge]
and one carry-past.3s person-acc quick-adv
and one carrying a man quickly.

Ra durkas nuîtu lama:
[ɾa ˈduɾkas ˈnwitɯ ˈlãma]
to horse-p.acc sheep say-past.3s
The sheep said to the horses:

“Korza ne luaîko aš na iáže razastas le žere durkas.”
[ˈkoɾza ne ˈlwe:kɤ ˈaɕ na ˈjaʑe ɾaˈzastas le ˈʑeɾe ˈduɾkas]
heart 1s.acc pain-3s when 1s see-1s drive-pass.part-p.acc from man-gen horse-p.acc
“My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses.”

Durkak lámaîta: “Zaš, nuîtu, korzak sada luakset aš saž ta iásen:
[ˈduɾkax ˈlãmeta zaɕ ˈnwitɯ ˈkoɾzax ˈsada ˈlwaksetθ aɕ saʑ ta ˈjasẽn]
horse-p speak-past.3p / listen-imp sheep heart-p 1p.acc pain-hab.3p when 1p this-acc see-hab.3p
The horses said: “Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this:

žer, ben, rassa de tisu le lane núîtuže baša vula.
[ʑeɾ bẽn ˈɾas:a de ˈtisɯ le ˈlãne ˈnwitɯʑe ˈbaɕa ˈvula]
person master for refl-gen make-hab.3s from wool-gen sheep.gen warm-acc garment-acc
a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself.

Ke nuîtu artossu lana.”
[ke ˈnwitɯ aɾˈtos:ɯ ˈlãna]
and sheep lack-hab.3s wool-acc
And the sheep has no wool.”

Nuîtu ra hodna ara aš tu ta zaša.
[ˈnwitɯ ɾa ˈhodna ˈaɾa aɕ tu ta ˈzaɕa]
sheep to plain-acc flee-past.3s when 3s this-acc hear-past.3s
Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.

Lexember 2018

For Lexember I focused on my most developed language, Keševan. Here is a list of the thirty-five words I made in the month of December, with phonetic transcription and some etymological/derivational explanation.

Verbs are listed with their two principal parts. A noun followed by “-u” is a noun that forms its singular genitive in -u, a small and irregular class of nouns. It also seems that this font makes certain tildes look like macrons—all “macrons” are tildes in my phonetic transcriptions, i.e. they mark nasalized vowels.

Since Keševan is my oldest serious conlang, it is also my most standardly European one. This can be seen below in e.g. verbal prefixes derived from prepositions.

  1. samba [ˈsãm.ba] n. ‘chicken’, from Rasal samba. Goes back to Proto-Borvic and has cognates in many other languages.
  2. kombla [ˈkõm.bla] adj. ‘stony’, derived from kom ‘stone’ plus the very common derivational adjectival suffix -la/-al (the allomorphs depend on stress and phonotactics). In kombla, an epenthetic -b- intrudes between m and l. This type of epenthesis is very common between nasals and liquids.
  3. iašta [ˈjaɕ.ta] adj. ‘juicy’, from iáš ‘juice’ plus a different adjectival suffix.
  4. ravóig [raˈvojɣ] n. ‘pier, dock’, comes ultimately from vok ‘land, earth’. The prefix ra- simply means ‘to, toward’. Historically, the word had the suffix -ga, which is a highly productive nominalizer that generally means ‘thing associated with the stem’. Words in -ga have wide semantic meanings, both physical things and abstractions. The historical ravokga becomes > ravoiga > ravóig.
  5. udevunga [u.deˈvõn.ga] n. ‘fastener’. Note that nasals are not velarized before velars. Here is another example of -ga, here added to the verb udevupse, udevumo ‘fasten’, itself from ude- ‘through the middle, centrally, or emphatically’ and fupse, fumo ‘touch’.
  6. demne [ˈdẽm.ne] n. ‘masses’, from dem ‘many’ plus a collective nominalizer -ne.
  7. razalga [ra.ˈzal.ga] n. ‘avenue’ (perhaps a more recent in-world addition to the lang). This word is built up very similarly to ravóig It has a -ga suffix and as part of the stem it has a ra- from the verb razaûze, razalo ‘approach’. Thus a razalga is a means of approach.
  8. tómassa [ˈtõ.ma.sa] n. ‘work, labor’, from the verb topse, tomo ‘work’ plus a suffix creating abstract nouns.
  9. elpu [ˈel.pɯ] n. ‘apple tree’, from elpa ‘apple’ and the suffix -u, which when added to certain fruits and flowers indicates the tree on which they grow, a feature I shamelessly stole from Spanish.
  10. fal, -u [fal] n. ‘gust’, a noun formed by removing the verbal endings from faûse, falo ‘blow’. Nouns formed in this manner typically have singular genitives in -u, especially when the verb belongs to the -o conjugation class.
  11. enfaûse, enfalo [ẽnˈfo:se ẽnˈfalɤ] v.t. ‘presage, foreshadow’, from the same verb as fal above with the prefix en- ‘before’.
  12. šefíl [ɕeˈfil] adj. ‘underwater’, from še- ‘under’ + fi ‘water’ + -l
  13. nuîča [ˈnwit͡ɕa] n. ‘plaque, panel; estucheon’, from nus ‘shield’ and the diminutive suffix -ča. Note that s before č completely disappeared but changed the quality of the vowel, diphtongizing it to [uj], which then shifted to [wi].
  14. dumša [ˈdõmɕa] n. ‘luxury’, orginally from the Rasal word for ‘slow’, its verbal reflex in Keševan means ‘relax’ or ‘luxuriate’. The suffix -ša is another nominalizer attached to verbal stems.
  15. eîla [ˈi:la] adj. ‘ready, prepared’. Ultimately derives from the Rasal verb éhase ‘to ride’ plus the adjectivalizer -la, which has already been encountered above, thus creating an adjective éhala meaning ‘ready to ride’, the meaning of which only broadened to mean any kind of readiness.
  16. éîlase, eîlo [ˈi:lase ˈi:lɤ] v.i. ‘get ready, prepare’, from eîla, cf. above, with the simple attachment of verbal endings.
  17. iûzunta [juˈzõnta] adj. ‘indifferent’, literally ‘not drawn (to one side)’, from a participle of zupse, zumo ‘draw, pull’ and the negative prefix il-, which is slightly disguised by sound change.
  18. čel [t͡ɕel] n. ‘part’ < Rasal. tyela, in turn from the verb tyese ‘take’ plus a nominalizing -la (homophonous with but separate from the adjectivalizing -la already seen in this list).
  19. buzatse, buzato [buˈzatse buˈzatɤ] v.t. ‘encourage’, from bu- ‘along, together, parallel’ + zatse, zato ‘push’.
  20. idrazma [iˈdrazma] adj. ‘dreary, dull’. This is a borrowing from modern Calintese, spoken on a large island south of Keševa. The Calintese language has been in contact with Keševan for millenia and huge numbers of loanwords have crossed in both directions at all stages of history. This particular word comes from drazm ‘funeral, sad, dreary’, in turn from ancient drazmi ‘deathly’, from the verb meaning ‘die’. Note that the Keševans have added i- and -a to the word since their language has little tolerance for consonant clusters on word boundaries. Fun fact: idrazma is cognate to žait ‘corpse’, borrowed centuries earlier from a Calintese word from the same deathly root.
  21. ášraîna [ˈaɕrẽna] n. ‘sight, apparition, vision” (something seen), from one of the suppletive roots of the verb ‘see’ plus the nominalizing suffix -aîna, which usually means an instance of the verb’s action.
  22. udemeûse, udemelo [udeˈmjuse udeˈmelɤ] v.t. ‘surround’, from ude- (cf. above) + mel ‘round’ + verbal suffixes.
  23. masse, mano [ˈmas:e ˈmãnɤ] v.t. ‘feel’, from a Rasal word meaning the same. A very old word.
  24. naûdra [ˈno:dra] n. ‘gladness, cheerfulness’, from nal ‘glad, cheerful’ and the nominalizing suffix -ra typically added to adjectives. Note the changes nalra > naldra > naûdra.
  25. lusavze, lusavo [luˈsavze luˈsavɤ] v.t. ‘complete, achieve’, from lu- ‘through’ + savze, savo ‘carry’.
  26. inkopse, inkomo [ẽnˈkopse ẽnˈkõmɤ] v.i. ‘freeze, petrify, turn to stone, become immobile’, from im-, a prefix that has many meanings but here indicates becoming the root, plus kom ‘stone’ and verbal endings.
  27. zav [zav] n. ‘shaft or ray of light’, from Rasal zava ‘id.’
  28. dagne [ˈdagne] n. ‘chandelier’, from dag ‘candle’ and the collective suffix -ne. The etymon of dag is an archaic verb meaning ‘to stay awake’ plus the suffix -ga, which here has lost its final vowel.
  29. halla [ˈhal:a] adj. ‘divine, godly’ from Rasal hyálala, transparently made from the root hyal- which has to do with all manner of godly things, and the adjectivalizing suffix -la.
  30. gurta [ˈgurta] adj. ‘brown’, from the passive participle of a verb meaning ‘burn’, since burnt things are darkish and brownish in color.
  31. sampevze, sampevu [sãmˈpevze sãmˈpevɯ] v.t. ‘reflect (as a mirror)’, from san- ‘after’ + pevze, pevo ‘turn back’.
  32. zeûse, zelo [ˈzjuse ˈzelɤ] v.t. ‘hope, wish’, from Rasal zélase.
  33. lunda, -u [lõnda] n. ‘birth’, from the verb lundze ‘be born’. The word is derived in the same way as fal, listed above.
  34. ošamu [oˈɕãmɯ] n. ‘cherry tree’, derived from ošám in the same way elpu is derived from elpa (see above).
  35. ošám [oˈɕãm] n. ‘cherry’. I confess I made up this word on the spot and I have no etymology for it! By its form and semantics it’s probably a borrowing.
  36. eil [ejl] n. ‘shirt’. The Calintese éyal ‘garment’ was borrowed into Rasal as éyala and the meaning narrowed.

A Dostoevsky Drinking Game

Take a drink when:

  • a son has a strained relationship with his father
  • the word “sensualism/-ity” appears
  • crosses are exchanged
  • there is a dream sequence
  • a crime is committed against a child (mentioned or actual)
  • money is refused (take an extra drink if an attempt is made to destroy the money)
  • a character has an epileptic fit
  • someone recounts watching a condemned man during the moments before his execution
  • a prostitute has a heart of gold
  • Russia’s holy world-historical mission is alluded to
  • two people of unequal station scandalously appear together
  • an allusion is made to another Russian writer (take an extra drink if it’s Pushkin, Tolstoy, or Gogol)
  • a first-person narrator reveals himself in what is otherwise third-person omniscient narration
  • false newspaper articles appear
  • the spread of modern ideology is compared to a disease
  • someone considers fighting a duel
  • a character struggles with debt (take an extra drink if it’s from gambling)
  • a character announces a lack of faith in God
  • a seemingly impoverished character has a servant (I still don’t understand the economy of the Russian Empire…)
  • a character “flies at” someone else
  • a religious conversion is finally made
  • a character has a “speaking name”

Finish your drink when:

  • a character is murdered
  • a character commits suicide
  • a child dies for any reason

Revising Klingon Orthography

I’ve been reading lately through Klingon grammar, and the orthography of the language is my only dissatisfaction with it so far. I understand that the mixed-case alphabet reminds actors that “this sound is not like English!” but its disadvantages are multiple:

1. It’s ugly.
2. There is ambiguity between capital I and lowercase l in many typefaces (such that Wikipedia, for example, has to resort to clunky textboxes). Admittedly, all potentially ambiguous cases can be clarified by the language’s phonotactics, but why should we have to fall back on phonotactics when the distinction could be more transparent in orthography?
3. It’s inconsistent. There are di-/trigraphs like ch and tlh, but other sounds also not straightforwardly written in Latin letters are transcribed with capitals: H, Q for example. These could just as easily be written as digraphs.
4. Some capitals are completely unnecessary if there is no lowercase from which they disambiguate. For example, there is a capital I, but no lowercase i.
5. The language can be difficult to write on platforms where auto-capitalization might be in effect.

So what would I change? Eliminate the capital letters, since they are the cause of most of my complaints. Where a capital does not contrast with a lowercase, then the lowercase can be used instead. Thus D I can be replaced with d i.

Likewise, H and S can be replaced by far more intuitive digraphs: kh and sh. The former should be read as /x/ by most readers of fantasy and science fiction.

Now what to do with Q? It cannot be rewritten as q, since that letter already represents the uvular plosive. Since Q represents an uvular affricate, I will rewrite it as qh, similar to ch gh sh tlh, which are also affricate or fricative.

Everything else remains, including ‘ for the glottal stop, since I think it should be relatively familiar as such from Hawaiian and romanizations of Arabic.

In summary:

b ch D gh H j l m n ng p q Q r S t tlh v w y ‘

becomes

b ch d gh kh j l m n ng p q qh r sh t tlh v w y

a e I o u

becomes

a e i o u

How does this look in practice? Let’s take the sentence ‘four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man’ in the original orthography:

qaStaHvIS wa’ ram loS SaD Hugh SijlaH qetbogh loD

And in my revision:

qashtakhvish wa’ ram losh shad khugh shijlakh qetbogh lod