Posts about Reisu every Monday and Thursday

Monday, November 8, 2010


Meals are a very important part of day to day life no matter where you live, or what culture you are from.

The word for meal in Reisu is 'alo'. You might say to a child "Enata alo ono", "Finish your meal".

Breakfast - Alopaba
Lunch - Alojoni
Dinner - Alotego

Paba means start, joni means middle or center, and tego means end.

O xipaba katahaa nopu amunu alopaba aku!
You should always start the day with a good breakfast!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where are you from?

This is a conversation og two people making small talk over the phone while waiting for something to process or whatever. I have this conversation at work all the time.

Vumoze: Mo, o okoko dei?
Deyaze: Alabama, bo ei omagi pa Karolaina Eko.
Vumoze: O! Izi ono lamu Kanada.
Deyaze: A... ei vadidula kataze. O okoko dei?

Customer: So where are you from?
Clerk: Alabama, but I live in South Carolina.
Customer: Oh! You sound like you're from Canada.
Clerk: Um... I've never been there. Where are you from?

And yes, it's pretty much this exact conversation. Where people get Canada from I don't know. It only happens at work, so it must be my customer voice.

There's one phrase here that's in need of a literal translation.
O okoko dei?
You house where?
When okoko is used as a verb it means 'to be from'. To ask where someone's physical house is we can say:
Okoko ono dei?
House your where?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween :D

So Halloween is awesome, and I want to share some Halloween related words in Reisu.

Candy - Saki
Ghost - Noto
Costume - Tivukodi
Pumpkin - Zalubaba
Apple Cider - Avo Gapasiri
Black Cat - Komo Hexi
Zombie - Bimo

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's my age again?

Below is a sample conversation discussing age. Also from now going forward, when I post conversations I'm going to use Reisu given names.

A conversation between two friends who have not known each other long:

Gapasiri: Nopumada eino nopufu!
Nebupina: E? Kualafu nopurigisa jei?
Gapasiri: Tuxoto... Ei pabanu holanu doro...
Nebupina: [Hahanu] O xodigo bo lo ei.
Gapasiri: Ehe? O nopurigisa jei?
Nebupina: Vixo.
Gapasiri: Ei kuvitala. O una xodigo.
Nebupina: Xati.

Gapasiri: My birthday is tomorrow!
Nebupina: Oh? How old are will you be?
Gapasiri: Twenty-five... I'm starting to feel old...
Nebupina: [Laughing] You are still younger than me.
Gapasiri: Really? How old are you?
Nebupina: Thirty.
Gapasiri: I didn't know. You seem younger.
Nebupina: Thanks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reisu Travel Phrases Part 2

After Monday's post, David recommended I check out The Four Essential Travel Phrases. This site is awesome, so I translated the four phrases into Reisu. Enjoy!

Where is my room?
Vato ono le dei?

Where is the beach?
Lazaha dei?

Where is the bar?
Onapiivija dei?

Don't touch me there!
Kuzuli ei levo/natavo!
-Levo is literally that place, natavo is in that way/manner.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reisu Travel Phrases

If you ever find yourself in Reixeko (State of Rei) then the following phrases are very useful. If such a place only existed.

O neina Reisu/Egaisu nei?
Do you speak Reisu/English?

Ei neina Reisu tai/aku.
I speak Reisu some/well.

Ei uneina Reisu./Ei uneina Reisuze.
I don't speak Reisu./I don't speak any Reisu.

O lijikua onapihalo xali nei?
Can you recommend a good restaurant?

Vatozeta dei?
Where is the bathroom?

Ei piteinu lo __. O vita sede lo leru?
I'm looking for __. Do you know how to get there? (Lit: Do you know directions to that place?)

Eru geri jei?
How much does this cost?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Terms of Endearment

This past month I just started a new job, and I knew it would be stressful so I created some posts that would go up automatically. Unfortunately I completely underestimated just how long it would take me to get into the swing of things, and so many weeks have gone by with no entries D: I'm still not really set in a routine with me new position, but I wanted to focus my brain on something more pleasant. So here's a post on Reisu terms of endearment!

In the kinship terms post one term of endearment was introduced kokoxai. This is only used for long term relationships. Referring to someone as kokoxai before they are ready can make someone seem clingy.

It's common to hear terms of endearment with names of birds and flowers. For example it's popular to refer to a child as xuxuxai, which is a shortened from 'vexuxusuxai' (meaning little ducking) because that's quite the tongue twister!

Some popular terms of endearment when referring to females are vexulimani (songbird) and jevaxai (little flower). For males a popular one is puhoxai (pony), but more common for males is to have the gender neutral ones. Some examples of those are vexulixai (little owl, shortened from vexulitaxai) and vexuruxai (little dove, shortened from vexuruluxai).

There are two more common words that could be considered terms of endearment. Komoxai (little kitten) for females and komozua (tom cat) for males. These terms have a much more sexual connotation, so in some situations they can be considered derogatory. However these words are considered mild enough that they are not curse words.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dua & Xai

When we talked about kinship terms we used the affixes -dua and -xai. These suffixes can be used in many areas. -dua is an augmentative, and -xai is a diminutive. -Dua tends to make things larger in size or greater in power. -Xai tends to make things smaller in size, or cuter.

Some examples:
Feridua - Super store
Ferixai - Convenience store
Lazadua - Ocean (One of the major oceans of the planet)
Lazaxai - Sea (Smaller, but still major bodies of water ex: Mediterranean sea)
Kopodua - Boulder
Kopoxai - Pebble

These can also be attached to names. Adding -xai to someone's name or a nick name is a term of endearment. The words it's attached to depends on what level of endearment is intended. Adding -dua is an informal honorific, unless used with a person's title where it becomes very formal.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kinship Terms

There are many kinship terms in Reisu. Most of them come from four roots: Data for father, mama for mother, gati for child and yoti for sibling.

If there are more than one siblings being discussed, or there is a need to differentiate which sibling we can do this many ways. We can divide it by gender saying yotikipa for a sister or yotigatu for a brother. It can also be divided by age, this is usually done with numbers with 1 being the oldest. So yotiha would be the oldest yoti being discussed.

Gati can be used in the same way: gatikipa for daughter, gatigatu for son, gatiha for oldest child, gatitu for second child, etc. Unlike daughter in English gatikipa can be used to refer to any female child, not just ones in relation to their parent. Gatigatu is the same way.

To refer to someone of one generation away we can use the suffix -dua, similarly to how we use 'grand' in English. So datadua is grand father, mamadua is grand mother, gatidua is grand child.

There are some kinship terms that don't use these roots. Most notably koko, which refers to a spouse. Often times this is used as a term of endearment via adding the -xai suffix. Kokoxai is a term of endearment only used in long term relationships.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Colors: Saturation and Brightness

I've posted the color words before. These words describe the hues of color, or what we would think of as the colors of the rainbow. We can also talk about the saturation and brightness of colors.

Saturation is how vivid or pale a particular color is. The scale of this is described with the words raxi for high saturation, and hili for low saturation. Here are some examples where the word is the color being discussed.


Note: These translations of the words raxi and hili is only in regards to color. They can be used to discribe light as well, but they do not mean saturated. They mean the level of light, similar to bright/dim.

Brightness is how dark or light a particular color is. The scale is described with the words Peibu and Hexi. These are also the words for white and block respectively. So the close to white the color is the more bright it is.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Group of

Gei is a prefix particle that means 'group of'. It functions similarly to yei and tei. It's most commonly used in numbers. For example geitu is a twosome or a couple; geivi is a threesome; geisa is a foursome; geixotu is a dozen; etc etc.

Gei can also be used in other ways!

Geikomodenusa - A litter of kittens
Geihakaxasa - A circle of friends
Geibiho[muka]sa - Cattle
Geixudosa - A school of fish

A plural is always required when gei- is being used with a non-number word, generally a noun. -Sa is most common, but if we want to draw attention to the individuals in the group being different we can use -sai.

Geihemodosai - A group of unique individuals (people)
Geixudosai - A school of fishes

Monday, August 16, 2010

Counting Days - part two

This is a follow up to the original counting days entry. We're going to discuss the words for relative days.

The word for day is Nopu, which is where all of these words are derived. To say today we can simply add the demonstrative suffix -ru. This translates literally as "this day", which is the equivalent to today in English.

Similarly yesterday is Nopu+la, or "past day". Tomorrow is Nopu+fu, or "future day".

Nopuru - Today
Nopula - Yesterday
Nopufu - Tomorrow

We can use similar constructions to say expressions like "day before yesterday". In Reisu this would be Nopulatu, "day-past-two".

We can use these same constructions for other time words like month or year. The nopu in brackets are not required if it's obvious by the context that we aren't talking about the literal sun and moon.

[Nopu]rigila - Last year
[Nopu]lakifu - Next month
Koxukusifutu - Two weeks from now

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tua & Pua

Tua and pua are two special affixes that can be attached to all sorts of things.

Pua functions the same way -able does in English.

Atasa timi ya vutipua lo emodohaa po vato amuhe.
Cups low and reachable to everyone inside room food.
The cups are low and reachable to everyone in the cafeteria.

Tua means to cause or make something. So the word for blue, lanu, can become lanutua and mean 'to make blue'. Tua can also be used to create stylistic differences. This example is a bit morbid, but kill means to cause death. The words for kill and die are zopo and zato respectively. But you could just as easily say zatotua, and it would mean the same thing as zopo.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Asking yes/no questions

We talked about some question words back in February, but that doesn't cover all the types of questions you may need to ask.

For example we can turn any sentence into a question by adding 'nei' at the end.

Ei zopola ziti
I killed the bug.
O zopola ziti nei?
You killed the bug?

If you want to imply that the answer is yes we can change the verb to it's positive form.

O izopola ziti nei?
You killed the bug right?
I did.

If you want to imply that the answer is no we can change the verb to it's negative form.

O uzopola ziti nei?
You didn't kill the bug did you?
E... izopola. ...Oxida.
Um... I did. ...Sorry.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Olisa Ajinosa

Today we're going to talk about facial expressions! Facial expressions are called olisa ajinosa, types of faces.

There aren't words for specific expressions like a smile or a frown in Reisu. Instead we can say 'aji ida', or 'happy face'. We can also say 'Aji upa' or 'sad face'.

Leika aji ida! Make a happy face!
Make face happy!

Aji upa bei? Why the long face?
Face sad why?

Kuxadu aji ono idogi lo e. Don't get angry with him.
Don't-turn face 2PSingPoss angry to 3PSing.

Most obvious in the third example, it's more common in Reisu to talk about having a certain face than feeling the emotion itself. For example it would be better to say 'leika aji ida', 'make a happy face', than to say 'geki ida' (think happy, feel happy, or be happy).

You can also have aji imo, scared face; aji yifa, scary face; or aji haha, laughing face.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Don't unplug me

I've become absolutely obsessed with this song. It's so cute! So I translated the chorus.

Don’t unplug me
or just shut me down
Please just love me
with your steel heart
I’d reboot you
If you’d look at me
With those cold eyes
One more time

Literal translation:
Kujulize ei
Don't-NEG-power me
ro xadu yu vua ei
or turn down just me
Bega rulu vua ei
Please love just me
ja muaho feta ono
with heart steel your
Ei zijasi o
I would-refresh you
Ta o zihoki lo ei
If you would-look toward me
ja etarosavo fuxu
with eyes-those cold

Translation trying to match the meter:
ro xadu yu ei
Rulu vua ei
ja muaho feta
Zijasi o
Ta o oki ei
ja oki fuxu

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Olisa sulano

Today we're going to talk about olisa sulano or flavors (literally types of taste). There are several words that that we can use for olisa sulano.


There are other things that could be olisa sulano in the proper context. Textures of foods for example like siri (crunchy) or zuba (smooth). Pretty much anything that could be described as part of tasting is an oli sulano.

Many of these words can also be olisa zegono or fragrances (types of smells). Iki kuala roki! Sweetness smells good!

Ei eli amuhe ubi ro peri! Bo olisa sulano xido sula akuga :)
1P-SING enjoy food spicy or sour! But types taste-POSS new taste best :)
I enjoy spicy or sour food! But new flavors taste best :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Coming and going

Let's talk about some verbs today :) I'm going to explain some basic words of movement: come, leave, go and stop.

Daxi means come. For example: 'daxi leru', come here; 'daxi lo ei', come to me; 'daxi po le' or 'daxi po', come inside; or 'ei daxidu', I have come (I'm here). I also say this to my dog as another word for come. Daxi nebu!

Opposite of daxi is kaxi for leave. It's better in Reisu to say 'kaxi' instead of 'go away' or 'get out'. You can use kaxi very similarly to daxi. 'Kaxi leru', leave this place (go away); 'kaxi pe', go outside (get out); or 'kaxi lo vato ono!', go to your room!.

The word for go is yata. It doesn't have the same structure of meanings as the English 'go' though, and you can't really use it to mean 'leave' when discussing people or things. The meaning of yata is to move, proceed, pass or elapse. Some phrases would be 'Eisa yatanu vori hata!', we're going so fast!; 'kata yatala yude nopuvo', time passed slowly that day; or 'O liyata', you may go (It's your turn).

And since we have go, let's talk about it's opposite, stop. Stop is taza. For example: 'taza levo!', stop there; 'Ei gura, mo eisa xitaza', I'm hungry, so we should stop (Let's stop. I'm hungry); or 'toxu tazanu!', the rain is stopping!.

And... yeah. I have been working on Reisu stuff. It just doesn't ever seem to make it's way into the blog. I'm trying to get back into posting here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


So this is cool. Someone shared this lovely link on the list recently, and I had to post it here. It's a database of all those crazy linguistic terms that I can never remember what they mean. I've searched for something like this before, but never come up with anything. Now I have gold. Yay :D

Monday, June 7, 2010


We talked about meats recently, and this week I want to get to some even more basic words of eating. Back on my phonology posts when I started this blog I translated "amu" and "bubu" as verbs for eating and drinking.

This isn't always an appropriate translation, although it will work most of the time. Amu really means closer to 'consume' than 'eat'. We amu food, water, air, medicine and other things (that we probably shouldn't). This is the most basic word of consumption, and most often used in the context of eating.

But it's not only used for animals. Plants also amu sunlight, water and other nutrients from the soil. In fact objects can amu as well. For example my television can amu electricity, and cars amu gasoline.

Since amu can be used in all these ways, what is the word bubu for? I means the same as amu, only specifically to liquids. I use it if differentiation is needed, though it very rarely is. More commonly I use bubu to describe drinking 'ivija' or... alcohol! This is similar to a colloquial usage of drinking in English. Phrases like "Have you been drinking?" or "I've had too much to drink!" would normally refer to alcohol.

Similarly the word for breathing, feni, tends to be used when the context is not clear that we are referring to gasses. In practice, I've found this rarely necessary. If it's clear by the context amu is perfectly fine to use. And similarly to bubu, feni is used to refer to smoking. So a sign saying "ufeninu" would mean "no smoking" not "no breathing".

Unlike bubu for liquids and feni for gasses there is no special word for consuming solids. When speaking of solids always use 'amu'.

Some example sentences~
Amu safisa ono aa. - Eat all of your vegetables (Eat salad-greens you all).
Eka eisa bubu ata-go a. - Let's have one more drink (Let us drink cup-more one)!
Onapiru maino ufeninu - This is a non-smoking building (Building-this has NEG-smoking).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Case of the cute

Being a girl I am a lover of cute things. Cute animals, cute objects, even sometimes cute babies. I like to think this is sort of universal, being drawn to cute things.

In Reisu the word for this is 'guxi'. It is used not only to describe the cute or adorable quality in things, but the feeling they invoke, or the effect of the cute. Guxi vola xidoki, or the cute melts the soul. In better English, looking at cute things has a soul melting effect.

In these ways guxi is a specific type of larelai, and a specific type of puati. While others may find different things cute, the feeling cuteness invokes is so universal it is it's own two syllables instead of some compound of larelai or puati. And important enough for me to want to do a post just on this word.

Lastly, a helpful phrase. As you might often hear on the internet: Oki bofiru komo-denu guxi! Look at this cute cat picture! Literally, View picture-this kitten(cat-baby) cute!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


After having only a broken grill for almost a year we finally bought a new one. I had the first home grilled steak that I've had in a long time. And boyfriend cooks amazing things on the grill, especially steaks. He's got a Hank Hill like love of propane. So our house was very happy to day. In honor of that, this is going to be a food post, specifically about meats.

In English we have lots of words for animals that we only use when talking about meat. Beef, mutton, pork, etc. We seem to reserve these words for mammals mostly. Birds and fish don't tend to get different words. Chicken is chicken, duck is duck, salmon is salmon etc.

Not all natlangs do this of course. In Chinese the word for beef (牛肉) amounts to "Cow meat". I've taken a cue for Chinese for talking about meat in Reisu. In Reisu I try to think of no animal being above any other, and in this way the language reflects that. There's no special words for the animal simply because it's dead and going to be eaten. When talking about the meat of an animal we must remember the animal itself.

The word for meat is 'fufai', and we can pair that with the name of the animal. So beef in Reisu is 'fufai biho' or 'fufai bihomuka' depending on the context of the conversation. Reason being is 'biho' is a general term that can be used for many different large hooved animals domesticated or wild, although most commonly it refers to cattle. So if you need to specify cow specifically over another large ungulate like a giraffe we can say 'bihomuka', 'muka' meaning domesticated.

Below is a chart of animal names that we might use in a phrase with 'fufai'. 'Muka' is in parentheses if it's optional. If it's not in parentheses it's not optional.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Na'vi in a nutshell

I finally finished reading all of NeotrekkerZ's Na'vi in a Nutshell. It's been out for a few weeks, but I hadn't finished reading it to give my full take, and now I have finished! This is the best guide I have read on learning Na'vi since I started scouring the internet for information after seeing the movie opening night.

Na'vi, like almost any conlang, is simply not developed enough to teach in the traditional classroom sense. In a classroom you learn grammar, exceptions to grammar and idiomatic phrases in a much more roundabout way. Since we can't do that with Na'vi we must take a much more direct approach. Na'vi in a Nutshell is broken down into sections on parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc), and it goes through all of Na'vi's cute little adpositions and infixes in a more or less logical order. There's even a skills test at the end to see how much you've learned. I haven't taken it yet. I want some more time for it to sink in before I'm struck with the realization that I still don't get it :)

The one draw back of course is certain sections are pretty heavy on the linguistic terminology. I'm no professional linguist, so sometimes that terminology goes over my head. There were a few places where I had to read it a few times, but for the most part I was able to get it from a practical perspective. And there's always Wikipedia to remind myself what certain terms mean.

So if you are interested in Na'vi, go check it out! After reading it I feel much more confident in how all the pieces fit together.

The way this guide is layed out is actually my preferred method to introducing myself to a new language. Not having a backbone like this is what caused me to give up on Japanese. I could never understand it because they only teach you the polite forms first, so I couldn't reason out the basic structures that I feel like I should have known after a 101. I definitely want to pick it up again someday, but right now I'll just stick to the random things I've gleaned from watching subtitled anime.

Monday, May 24, 2010

You're hot then you're cold

I know I haven't been posting much. There is no excuse. Mostly it's because we have new people at work which is keeping me from goofing off and conlanging there, and at home I've been playing too much WoW. Totally going to level a new toon when Cata comes out. Probably a female Worgen druid if they don't make their voices too annoying.

Ahem... anyway...

It's started getting really hot here! It actually has been hitting 90 degrees a few days. Now I love the warm weather compared to the cold, but when wishing for summer I always forget how annoying driving is in the hot weather. So I thought it would be a good time to talk about Reisu temperature words.

The main words to describe temperature are rati and fuxu, hot and cold respectively. The proper word for temperature is 'juaratifuxu' or a 'hot/cold scale', often just shortened to ratifuxu.

Like other modifiers in Reisu we can use them as verbs. While in English we would need to use a dummy subject and verb "It's hot", in Reisu we can just say "hot" or "rati".

Temperature especially in relation to the weather is common small talk in English. At least it's what clients always seem to talk about at work. However we don't normally say just hot or cold. We exaggerate saying freezing or sweltering, or we downplay it saying warm or cool. We can use quantifiers in Reisu to do the same thing. On a scale of coldest to hottest the words go this way.

fuxuge > fuxu > fuxutai > ratitai > rati > ratige

So getting into the car I might begrudgingly mumble 'ratige...'

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Directional prepositions

Like demonstratives in Reisu directional prepositions have one more degree than English. For example we can talk about 'below' as directly below (vu) and below with at least some separation by distance (yu).

HaBeside, next to
BiBeside, but not directly next to. Implying an object or some distance is between the two things
VuBelow, directly below, hanging from
YuBelow, with an object or distance seperating
FaOn top of
MaDirectly in front of
BeIn front of, with distance or an object sepearting
DiDirectly behind
FiBehind with distance or an object between

Examples of Ha/Bi:

Po okoko ha okoko eino kuala obani.
Inside House beside house 1S-POSS equals neighbor.
In the house next to mine is my neighbor.

Po okoko bi okoko eino kuala obani.
Inside house beside-with-something-separating 1S-POSS equals neighbor.
In the house down the street from mine is my neighbor.
Bi could mean the house is two doors down, across the street or down the street.

Po okoko bi okoko eino ukuala obani.
Inside okoko far-from house 1S-POSS NEG-equals neighbor.
The people in the house far from me are not my neighbors.
This use of bi implies the other house is very far from the speaker's house, too far to be neighbors.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Information is beautiful

I love this website. It seems they can take any concept and make it into a wonderful visual. Like this one:

It's color meanings in different cultures. It's really interesting, and this site prides itself on giving accurate information. So I trust the margin of error is small.

EDIT: Oh, and some more cool color data.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

All human beings...

Pretty sure I haven't posted this little translation yet, but it's something I have hanging around in my notes.

Emodohaa matanu yofi ya kuala pa odapa ya goja. Esa mainonu roto ya geki ya xipaku lo enosairifu ja xidoki naku.

People-all bornPROG free and equal.same in honor.virtue and fairness. 3S havePROG logic.reason and thought and should-act to each-other using.with spirit club.fraternity.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

I'm not 100% happy with the translation. A lot of the words in this passage have very specific connotations that I simply cannot capture in Reisu. This is translation is the closest I could get. I believe part of the problem is the Reisu words pack a lot more meaning into them than the English ones. The connotations are built into the context instead of the word itself. The is partly because Reisu of course doesn't have the extensive vocabulary of synonyms English does, but I never really wanted it to.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Absolutely hillarious

It's better if I don't explain. Just go read it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Body parts

I've finally gotten enough of my parts of the body words in the wiktionary to introduce them. Because I remember things well by visual cues, I labeled this picture of Ellen Paige:

And for clarification here's a chart:

NaxiHair (on the head only)

Most of these words can have meaning that extend beyond just the parts of the body. For instance naiyo and maida don't just mean chest and back, but can also mean front and back in much more general terms. For example you can say "naiyo huzono" or "maida huzono" for "the front of the table" or "the back of the table". Also kixa doesn't just mean a human foot. The word can extend to paws and hooves. And we can use these words to mean "something that resembles x", like we do in English. For example: the neck of a bottle, the leg of a chair, a low shoulder on a road, etc.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

De yeisa ya to

De yeisa ya to is a type of poem in Reisu. De yeisa ya to translates literally as six times-four plus(and) five. The poem has four lines of six syllables, and then a final line of five syllables. I am not a very practiced poet, so I have not heard of this structure being used for poems in any natlangs. If anyone has before I'd be interested to know.

I wrote an example poem for this, with a gloss. I do not have an actual English poetic translation because I didn't write the English side by side with it, and translating poetry is a talent I don't possess.

Eka esa paku
nata esa muda
ta e ida esa,
ya gida esaze
gida kutu dei?

Eka esa paku
      Let them
nata esa muda
      way they wish.believe
ta e ida esa,
      if it pleases them
ya gida esaze
      and harms nothing.nobody
gida kutu dei?
      harm is.exists where?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Invaluable resource for writing glosses

Lots of good tips here for writing glosses. I imagine these techniques are another level to making sure your conlang isn't too like your native language.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Legal dipthongs

I've written twice now about changing a vowel syllable to an H+vowel syllable when two vowels are next to each other that do not make a legal diphthong, but I realized I've never explicitly said what a legal diphthong is.

There are three: ei, ai and ua (ɛi, ɑi and øɑ). Other combination of vowels take an h between them in spelling if they are created when forming a compound word. Non-compound words don't place other vowels next to each other.

I imagine in quick speech the h is sometimes dropped, and/or replaced with a glottal stop.

Friday, April 23, 2010

David Peterson to conlang for HBO

HBO is following the increasing popularity of actually having conlangs for fantasy and science fiction programing a la the new Game of Thrones series. I've never read the books, and know petty little about them, but anything that boasts having a conlang in it I will at least give a try.

I was mildly interested in it when I heard it was going to have a conlang, but it wasn't until I saw this interview that I realized I would have to watch this show. Reason being David Peterson designed the Dothraki conlang for it.

Congrats Peterson! I'm quite a fan of Kamakawi, so I've got high hopes for the quality of the Dothraki. Of course the show right now is in just the beginning stages, and there's not much information out there. For what information there is on the conlang go here.

According to IMDB, the pilot is set to air sometime in 2011. The cast doesn't seem to have anyone too terribly famous, though I did recognize several faces. In comparison to other networks, I'm usually pleased with the quality of acting in HBO series, so I can only assume the same will be delivered with Game of Thrones.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cardinal directions

Some time ago, I added words for north, south, east and west to the dictionary, and I wanted to take a moment to explain how to used these words.

North - Ega
South - Eko
East - Oto
West - Odu

I wanted to make the words sound similar to each other like they do in English. So North and South both begin with the 'e' sound, then a velar plosive, and finally a vowel that I liked with that plosive. Same type formula for east and west except with 'o' and an alveolar plosive.

Although I haven't designed much in the way of a conworld for Reisu, I imagine wherever I place the language the planet will have a magnetic north, so the compass would look like this:

Odu Oto

For the ordinal directions north and south are considered the primary points of contact with east and west being modifiers. This way the words are formed the same way as in English. For example northeast is Egahoto. O becomes ho when preceded by a because ao is not a legal diphthong in Reisu.

 Egahodu Egahoto 
Odu   Oto
 Ekohodu Ekohoto 

I imagine in quick speak the h sound is dropped in ekohodu and ekohoto, in favor of lengthening the o.

We can delineate the compass even further into 16ths the same way as in English with the cardinal direction first, and the ordinal direction after. Egahegahodu for NNE, otohegahoto for ENE, etc.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Back to regular posts

So I'm all unpacked and resettled in back home, so back to regular posts yay!

For anyone that hasn't noticed the LCS's interview with Frommer is up on their website.

I enjoyed this quite a bit more than the written interviews I've read. The part I find most interesting is the question of legality. This of course isn't the first time this has come up (a la Klingon), but my interest in it has resurfaced with Na'vi. It seems Frommer would like to publish more on Na'vi, but it's not simply the time that's getting in the way. Because he was contracted to develop the language he doesn't exactly own it.

This is such a strange concept to me personally. I've never created something for my job that I was interested in owning myself; but I try to imagine creating a conlang and not really owning it. I simply can't. Of course I'm purely a hobbyist, with very little formal training in linguistics, so I would never be commissioned for something like that. However, if it were to happen I'm not sure I could accept such a contract. It makes me feel a bit sorry for Frommer.

In regards to Frommer getting more involved in the Na'vi community here's a quote from the description below the interview:

This state of affairs is certainly undesirable at best. To be honest, I laughed out loud when I read the petition to Paul Frommer concerning Na’vi. This is a petition written to Dr. Frommer from the Na’vi community asking him to teach them the language. That’s kind of like asking a man dying of thirst to please take a drink of water!

There are larger issues at stake here, and I think if the Na’vi community wants to do not only Dr. Frommer some good but conlangers as a whole, the real petition you want is this: petition Fox to give publishing rights for Na’vi to Paul Frommer. If Paul has Fox’s blanket signoff, then he can publish a grammar, start a website, create a dictionary, talk freely about it, etc. As is, the language is a work for hire, which means that Fox owns it exclusively.

I had a similar reaction when I first saw that contract, and did not sign it. But I would be all for signing one that was directed at FOX.

Last minute addition: Avatar 2, obvy, but here's some proof from Cameron, yay.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not really a post

So, I'm making a post to say that I'm not making posts next week. I'm going to be on a cruise, where the internet costs about a zillion dollars a minute. And I love you internet, but not that much, sorry.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Psalm 23 translation

I translated this a while back, but never posted it. Silly me.

I was raised as a Methodist, and though I no longer practice it I still find comfort in Psalm 23.

1. Lord mukatoxiza ei; Ei suragu;
2. E utapi ei foto pa junasa afi; E xeta ei ha xususa jasi;
3. E xako ei fuka xodi; E miki ei pa tagusa aku lo oo eno.
4. Bo ei kixa pa yali hexiga, Ei kuhimo iiya; hai o kixa ha ei; Bato ono - e nima ei.
5. O utapi huzo fu ei ya fu gajisa eino; O hema aka eino ja sima; ata eino fojage.
6. Aku ya livai sitata ei bu fuka eino aa; Ya ei sifuka po okoko fe Lord lo doro.

1. Lord shepherds me; I will-not-want.
2. He makes me lay in pastures green; he leads me to waters refreshing;
3. He gives me life new; He guides me in paths good for name his.
4. But I walk in valley darkest, I do-not-fear harm; because you walk beside me; staff yours - it comforts me.
5. You make table for me and for enemies my; you bless head mine using oil; cup my full-much.
6. Goodness and care will-follow me through life mine all; and I will-live inside house of Lord until old.

I'm about 99% happy with this translation. I would have liked to translate 'okoko fe Lord' as 'okoko Lord-no', but because I chose to not translate the word Lord this sounded awkward. I much prefer using the -no suffix to inserting fe, but it's simply a stylistic difference. The meaning is the same.

This passage also has one of my favorite types of word constructions. I translate the word 'shepherd' as 'mukatoxiza'. This word is composed of thee parts: muka for domesticated animal, especially livestock; toxi for hair found on the body, in this case referring to a sheep's wool; and -za for person who, or thing that, in this case 'person who tends'.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fantasy "languages" in Everquest

I've been playing MMORPGs for over a decade now, and the first one I really got into was Everquest. The original Everquest opened an entirely new world to me. It even had different languages for it's races.

Well... sort of. You could "speak" different languages, and characters that didn't "know" that language couldn't understand, which came out as gibberish. At the time it seemed to me an amazing thing to design into a game even if it wasn't a proper conlang.

When I needed to travel from Kelethin to Freeport in the days before the Plane of Knowledge I would sometimes forget my original intent to travel. If others were on the boat with me I would swap languages with them if they were so inclined. I would ride the boat back and forth for hours doing this. It consisted of making a macro for a paragraph of random text, grouping up and spamming the text to the other person or people.

Most people that enjoyed this activity would put their favorite passages or quotes into the block of text. I changed mine often, to whatever suited my fancy at the time. Nearly every race had it's own unique language that you could learn. Some were more difficult to learn than others. For example, no player characters were fluent in the faerie language. Someone at one point had to learn it from interacting with (likely killing) fae NPCs.

You could even know a language, but not be fluent in it. This means if someone spoke to you in that language you could understand some of it, but a certain percentage would come out as gibberish.

I had a goal in that game to have a character that new all 25 languages fluently. Unfortunately this goal was never realized before I stopped playing the game.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My thoughts on the LCK print version

Let me start by saying I read the whole thing cover to cover. I do not recommend this method. The LCK can be read just fine in sections. You can start nearly anywhere and skip around as needed, just like the online one.

The entire thing is a little less than 300 pages. This was a very good length for me. Books that are much longer than that seem like such a daunting task I am intimidated into never picking them up to start. If the LCK had been much shorter too much would have had to be taken out. As it is Rosenfelder covers massive subjects, but manages to keep it compact to only things that conlangers need to know. Conveniently, there's an index at the end of the book so you can get more of the subjects, and learn the 'nice to know' stuff. He also manages to keep a dry subject interesting. Most of the example sentences are at least quirky if not down right funny.

The first few sections of the print version are nearly identical to the online one. These are sections like sounds, word building and grammar. They are expanded on just enough that I would recommend a beginner conlanger to read the print over the online version, but you still aren't going to miss too much if you just read the online one.

Where the print LCK really starts to shine though is the second-tier sections like syntax, semantics and language families. There's a lot of information here that's either not well embellished in the online version, or completely absent. This is really the stuff I was looking to read, and Rosenfelder delivered. He manages to take enormous subjects and include just the parts you need to know for conlanging. It also includes a very nice word list. Tools like this are invaluable for someone like me. Building up a lexicon is the most tedious part of conlanging, and the only part I don't directly enjoy.

I'm a little biased to the LCK, as I've written about before. I would recommend this book to anyone who is just getting into conlanging, or to an established conlanger looking for a reference book.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The conceptual space of beauty

So I was very productive recently, and I worked out how Reisu divides the conceptual space of beauty. To talk about this in Reisu we have to talk about the senses because beauty is perceived by the senses.

See - Oki
Hear - Milu
Smell - Zego
Taste - Sula
Touch - Hola
Think - Geki

Hola is special because it doesn't simply mean physical touch. It also means emotions. Geki means thought with or without emotions. I did not mean for this ambiguity to occur, but I worked out the meaning of hola when I worked out how to handle the copula, so it's too late to change now. A little ambiguity is good, right? I have said that before I think, but for some reason when it's in my own writing I see it as a glaring error. I tell myself to stop being so technical, and on to the words for beauty.

There are different words for saying something is beautiful depending on how the thing is perceived. For example using 'larelai' to describe beautiful music is awkward. It's better to use 'nali'. However if you're talking about a concert and you wanted to comment on the visual spectacle of it we could use 'larelai'. Here's a chart of the words for beauty and their antonyms:

What is perceiving the beautyBeautiful (adjective)Ugly (Antonym)

Below are some example sentences to highlight the difference between these words in relation to the main five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

Lila nali, bo yeto.
Music sound.good, but look.bad.
The music was beautiful, but the performance was bad.
~There's no need to specify that you're talking about a concert even though we used the noun for music. Obviously if we're using yeto we're talking about something visual. There's a similar idea in the sentence below.

Pana larelai, bo fuma.
Food look.good, but taste.bad.
The meal looked delicious, but it tasted was awful.
~Larelai is referring to how the food literally looked, as in how it was plated. This not referring to how it sounded when described, or how it was written on a menu. We would use nali/gomu to describe how something seems when being read about despite reading being visual.

Yesisopua xuma, emodoge neina, bo ei eli yesijeva.
Silk feel.good, people-many say, but I like cotton.
Many say silk feels nice, but I prefer cotton.
~Yesisopua and yesijeva are compound words formed from yesi for cloth. Most of the words for types of cloth contain yesi-.

So what of puati and deto? We would use those to speak of things that are experienced primarily in the mind. Another way to think of it labeling goodness or badness in '-isms'. For example religious, political and psychological options or experiences are primarily labeled on a scale of puati/deto. We can call emphasis to those feelings effecting us physically by using xuma/goti instead, but xuma/goti has connotations specific to physical and emotional experiences that puati/deto does not have.

Below are some example sentences. These can all be translated as 'God is good', but they have different connotations.

Doza aku.
~God is good, and this is a fact.
Doza puati.
~God is good, and this is my personal belief (or, and this is how I think).
Doza xuma.
~God is good, and I have experienced his goodness physically/emotionally.
Doza nali.
~From what I've heard, God is good.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Consider the boxes

Today I'm going to go into detail on how I divided up space for expressing bigness and smallness in Reisu.

Consider the boxes below:

Space is divided three ways: Up and down, left and right, front and back. We can say things have bigness and smallness in any of those dimensions.

For example: Saku akari ya yuba, or The red box is tall. Saku soxu ya timi, or The purple box is short. So the scale of height goes between the words yuba and timi. These words don't imply where the starting point is, so yuba can also be used for deep, and timi can be used for shallow. So to say The volcano is tall we can say Tozaikusi yuba. To say the ocean is deep we can say Laza yuba.

For the yellow and orange boxes the words are molo and niki respectively. These words are for looking at distance left to right. For example we would say Taxisopua molo for a long snake and Taxisopua niki for a short snake.

The green and blue boxes are for length front to back. These words are daga and fitu. So a long road is Tagu daga, and a short road is Tagu fitu.

So we can describe each of the boxes as follows:
Saku akari ya yuba.
Saku soxu ya timi.
Saku itaka ya molo.
Saku itakari ya niki.
Saku afi ya daga.
Saku lanu ya fitu.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two books, one apology

I'm sorry I haven't posted as much the past couple of weeks. As expected, I did got very into Final Fantasy XIII, and I beat it now. Yay!

A more conlang related exciting thing happened last week too.


I got my copy of the LCK print version. I wrote about this when I first heard it was going to come out, and it's finally here! I haven't had a chance to read more than the first few sections, and I will give a full review when I have gotten more through it.

While I was on Amazon ordering that I also ordered Okrent's In the Land of Invented Languages. I have heard of this book many times since it came out, but I never happened to see a copy at my local B&N. That plus the fact that I read very slowly, and don't buy books unless I have full intentions of reading them cover to cover caused me to pass up this since it came out around 2007. Well, ordering the LKC reminded me of it, and I added it to my cart.

It only took me four days to finish the book cover to cover. Okrent's narrative of her journey into the modern invented languages, and research on older ones is insightful, inspiring and a complete delight. I definitely recommend it to anyone who's interested in conlanging, or just linguistics in general.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Counting days

For the purposes of counting days in time I've divided up the year in Reisu. The word for year is nopurigi, which comes from the word nopu for day, and the word rigi for sun. Similarly the word for month is nopulaki, from nopu for day and laki for moon.

I decided to compose the week of 5 days instead of 7. 5 days in a week makes more sense to me, and a week is a totally arbitrary grouping of time anyway, so why not? The days are...


When translating the days I've been using Nopukoxu as weekend days, although the reason I named it koxu is that I imagine it to be the market day. I suppose I do associate Saturday with a market day in modern times, because that's usually when families go to the grocery store. A week itself is called Koxukusi.

I also divided up the months, but I didn't make 12 months. I made 8, by dividing each season in half. For example Lakijeva (flower month) and Lakibuxu (grass month) are the spring month. I Imagine Lakijeva starting on the Spring Equinox and lasting until half way to the summer solstice, and then Lakibuxu ending just before the summer solstice, and so on like that through the seasons until we come back to spring.

SpringLakijevaFlower monthLakibuxuGrass month
SummerLakitoxuRain monthLakiratiHot month
AutumnLakitakaYellow monthLakigapaFruit month
WinterLakifuxuCold monthLakifusoSnow month

Because there's only 8 months I imagine in this word either the way the plant and/or moon rotate is different. So that either their year is shorter, or the moon phases last longer, or maybe a little of both.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Babel text

The Babel text in Reisu. Natlang translations here.

1. Lona aa neinala isu a kataru ya ootai. 2. Va esa jotola oto, emodosa heitila junasa po Shinar, ya omagila levo. 3. Esa neinala lo enosairifu, "Daxi, eka eisa leika koposa, ya kusi batei esa." Esa mainola dorixusu lo kopo, ya savi lo suko. 4. Esa neinala katave, "Daxi, eka eisa leika diko ya onapiru yuba evo vuti lo kaisa; ya eka eisa kiki einosarifu, ro eisa mitotilari re lona aa." 5. Bo Lord daxila yu la oki dikoru ya onapiru yuba, emodorusa leikala. 6. Lord neinala, "Ta emodorusa kuala a, ya esa maino isa a; esa lipaku aahe katave. 7. Daxi, eka eisa yata yu, ya juado isa esano, mo esa muzozo enosairifu." 8. Mo Lord totila esa re lona: ya esa kaxila diko. 9. Mo e kikila Babel; hai Lord juadola lona aa isano, ya Lord totila esa re lona aa.

I didn't translate the proper names, mostly because I have not decided if Reisu will have a Terran or non-Terran conworld.

Monday, March 22, 2010


So, my dictionary spreadsheet was getting out of hand. To solve this I created a wiki that serves as a dictionary for Reisu. I'm especially excited about this, because if there's one thing I wanted to avoid it's "word of the day" type posts, for a conlang like this, without a shiny writing system, I simply don't think they are interesting enough. So the wiki let's me share all of the Reisu words with you in an easily digestible way.

One thing with the wiki is it implies that it's being edited by many. Of course this isn't the case with this wiki at the moment, but if you are interested in helping me with upkeep of it let me know. Depending on responses/if I get any I may decide differently.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hot for teacher

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite youtubers, hotforwords. Her videos highlight the etymology of English words. And as much as I love etymology that's not the only good part of her videos. Well, I think you'll get the idea if you just watch this one:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leru, levo, lehaa!

The le in the words above come from the preposition le, which means place or at a specific place. Leru means here. We get -ru from the demonstrative suffix 'close to the speaker'. Levo for there is derived the same way, from -vo. You can also say Levu for 'over there'.

Aa means all, every or whole. So lehaa means everywhere. With the same logic, leze means nowhere because ze means no, none or not. Ze negates nouns, where 'u' negates verbs.

You can also make these words with the third person pronoun e. An 'H' is inserted with two vowels come together, and dipthong isn't appropriate. So everything is ehaa and eze is nothing. Sometimes ehaa and eze are used for 'everyone' and 'no one' as well, but if you want to specify a group of people you can use the words emodohaa and emodoze. Emodo means person.

Always and never are formed the same way with the word kata for time. So always is katahaa and never is kataze. Kataru is now, katavo is then and katave is a farther away then.

The plural suffix -sa isn't usually needed on the -aa and -ze words because it's implied. The suffix -sai can be added to mean that the things in the group are different from each other. For example the difference between 'emodohaa' and 'emodohaasai' is 'all the people' and 'all the peoples' respectively.

Here's a handy table
HereLeruThis thingEruNowKataru
ThereLevoThat thingEvoSoonKatvo
Over thereLeveThat (farther) thingEveThenKatave

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Final Fantasy is an RPG

I've been pretty engrossed in Final Fantasy XIII this past weekend, so if I don't have a post every day this week it's because I was playing that instead of thinking about my blog, sorry in advance :(

There are two pretty cool conscripts in the game however. There's one for Pulse and one for Cocoon. Here's a scan of it from a Japanese guide. (No, I did not scan this myself)

The one on the top is Cocoon and the one on the bottom is Pulse.

This isn't the first time that a Final Fantasy has done this of course. Anyone remember the Spira alphabet? I really like when they put these kinds of things in Fantasy games. It helps give me the feeling that it's taking place outside of Earth, even if the letters can be directly translated.

Monday, March 15, 2010


The quantifiers in Reisu are as follows:

GeMany, muchTaiFew, little
GoMoreTeFewer, less
GaMostTiFewest, least

These particles can do a few different things in Reisu. Ge can be added to bring intensity to something. This is considered more than the word 'hata'. For example. 'gura hata' is very hungry, where as 'gurage' is starving. 'Raxi hata' is very bright, where as 'raxige' is blindingly bright.

The same goes the other way for the word 'tai'.
Vexulimanisa maino gigi hata, bo zitisa gigige.
      Songbirds are pretty small, but bugs are tiny.

The other fun way to use quantifiers is to form words like 'better' and 'best'. For example: aku, akugo, akuga (good, better, best). You can also go the other way: aku, akute, akuti (Good, less good, least good).

Ei maino vexumukasa-ge, ya o maino vexumukasa-go, bo esa maino vexumukasa-ga.
      I have many chickens, and you have more chickens, but they have the most chickens.

As you can see in the example, when a quantifier is added to a noun (as opposed to a verb or modifier) the word becomes hyphenated. Vexumuka for 'chicken' becomes vexumukasa-ge for 'many chickens'.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Okrent and Frommer answer a whole lot of questions

This article was announced a while back, and I kind of forgot about it. Lucky someone on the conlang mailing list reminded us.

Okrent answers most of the questions, and does so quite well. I particularly liked the responses to the questions that cast conlangs and auxlangs in a more negative light. Or the ones that questioned the validity of conlanging in general. Frommer's answers are Na'vi centric. I didn't mind this, as I am quite interested in Na'vi, but it makes it obvious that Frommer is a bit greener and Okrent on the subject of conlangs in general. There were also plenty of questions that seemed to come from people who have conlanged, or those that are interested in trying it.

Reading the whole article cover to cover is not for the weak or faint of heart. The responses, and a lot of the questions as well are a bit weighted, and very detailed. It's definitely worth a read, but just a warning it's a bit TL'DR, so you may want to just skim the questions and read the answers you are truly interested in.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Demonstrative pronouns in Reisu are formed when you need to express the distance of something. Eru, for this, literally means 'it close to the speaker' or 'it close to me'. It's formed by the third person pronoun, e, and the suffix -ru. You can also attach -ru to other words.

Example (Maino is in parentheses because it's optional):
Jevaru (maino) larelai.
      This flower is beautiful.
Implies that the speaker is holding or next to the flower.

Attaching -ru to a noun is the closest Reisu gets to forming an article. So sometimes -ru is attached simply to call attention to the noun. So the above sentences could also be translated as 'The flower is beautiful'.

To form the concept of 'that' or 'those' we use the suffix -vo. Evo literally means 'it close to the listener'.

Topavosa sukaxi yaivi.
      Those problem won't go away easily.
Implies that the listener is the one with the problems.

This is a third and final declination, -ve. This is for when things are far from the listener and the speaker.

Emodovesa maino gurage!
      Those people are starving!
Implies the people are far from both the listener and the speaker.

In conclusion use -ru, -vo and -ve when you express the proximity of something.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How much is that doggie in the window?

Yes yes, I'm breaking my pattern, which is a very hard thing for me to do. But I haven't read a lot recently that I wanted to write about just yet. So instead I'm going to write about the number of syllables in words in Reisu.

The most basic words are one syllable: some pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, particles, questions words, etc. Most nouns, verbs and modifiers are two syllables structured as CVCV (Taza), CDCV (Buata) or CVCD (Sopua), where C is a consonant, V is a vowel and D is a diphthong. Words that start with vowels are either two syllables structured as VCV (Ili) or VCD; or they are three syllables structured as VCVCV (Akaxa), VCDCV or VCVCD. The most common constructs are CVCV and VCVCV.

There are a few basic words with different structure and more syllables. All basic words like this I created by the words simply coming to me. Larelai for pretty and limani for song are examples.

When I need to create more complex words I often try to make compounds from my existing words. What words are considered complex verses basic are completely my discretion, on how I want to divide up the world. So there's no scientific basis for this. It's all personal!

For example I have a word for dog, nebu. This word encompass all creatures of the canidae family. When it's by itself it's implied to mean a domestic dog, but it can also mean wolf, fox, coyote, jackal and dingo. Nebu can also describe hyenas even though they are not actually canidae. I use a compound word to describe these different types specifically.

Nebumuka - Domesticated dog - [Nebu][Muka] - [Dog][Domestic]
Nebuhoru - Wolf - [Nebu][Horu] - [Dog][Wild]
Nebupina - Fox - [Nebu][Pina] - [Dog][Clever]
Nebuhafu - Coyote/Jackal - [Nebu][Hafu] - [Dog][Dry]
Nebulave - Dingo - [Nebu][Lave] - [Dog][Distant past]
Nebuhaha - Hyena - [Nebu][Haha] - [Dog][Laugh]

I've done the same thing with cats to an extent. For example the word for cat is komo, and the word for lion is komonaxi. Naxi is referring to the male lion's mane.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


In creating a conlang the hardest part of me is building a lexicon. Creating the grammar, the syntax, the phonology, and basically everything else is easier and more enjoyable than building up the word count. That being said it's impossible to do anything with a conlang without a variety of words.

When creating words I have a few methods. Sometimes I don't create a word unless I need it to write something in my conlang. Sometimes as I'm thinking about my conlang words simply come to me and I jot them down. This is a rare occurrence, and I wish it happened more. I also resign myself to sit down during my free time and create a few words. I never do that many at once to make sure I don't get burnt out.

When deciding what words to create there's a few things I reference. One is the Swadesh list, a list of a little over 200 words that are common to nearly all human languages. I still don't have lots of the words on this list in Reisu, so sometimes I pick out a few of the concepts and make Reisu words for them. Another thing I do is make antonyms for existing words. For example, I have the word 'larelai' for beautiful or pretty, but I don't have a word for ugly, so that's something I would want to create.

I then mull over the concept, and try to come up with how it would sound in the context of the other words I have. This is how I come up with most Reisu words. However from time to time I want to inject a little randomization into Reisu so that the words don't start sounding too similar to each other. In those times I use Awkwords word generator. After setting it up I generate about 100 words filtering for duplicates. I then read over the words and pick one from the list that hasn't already been assigned a meaning in Reisu and assign it the meaning I'm working on.

In the end I have a new word, or words!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Numbers beyond counting

We covered counting in another post. Now we are going to go over some other things we need the number words for.

Ordinal Numbers - First, second, third, etc
We simply add 'tei' in front of the number. So first is teia, second is teitu, third is teivi, etc.

Once, twice, thrice
We simply add 'yei' in front of the number. 'Yei' literally means '[number] of times'. So yeiha is once, yeitu is second, yeivi is thrice, yeisa is four times, etc.

To form fractions we use 'fe'. So afetu is half, afesa is quarter, etc. For less common, or larger fractions there is often hyphenation when the word is written out. This makes it easier to read. 9/16 for example would be nai-fexode.

You could also use the fraction construction to mean percent. Such as:
I am 100% better!
      Ei hola akugo haku-fehaku!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Research validates a link between language and music

MSNBC discusses some studies of music being linked to language in the brain. This is something that I think we've known for some time.

The anecdotal evidence is all around us. It's often easier to learn something when put to a tune for example. I also had a similar experience learning to read music as I did learning languages. The switch that gets flipped when you realize you're fluent is the same for a language as it is for music. At least, it feels the same for me, and some others who I have spoken with about this.

Similarly, there are even a lot of conlangers who like to use their language for singing. Like American Idol's Alex Lambert, who sings a few lines of a song in his conlang around the beginning of that clip.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The participle and the passive voice

In English this is a bit ambiguous, so I'll explain a little. The participle is when the subject is being acted upon, and not when it's doing the acting. For example, in 'I ate the bread' ate is past tense. In 'The bread was eaten' eaten is the participle. Obviously the bread isn't doing the eating in the second sentence. Some English verbs aren't so clear on this. For example, 'He was hired' versus 'We hired him, hired is the same. There's no hire'-en'.

Like most forms of verbs in Reisu the participle is formed with a suffix -ri. So 'The bread was eaten' is 'Inoko amulari'.

This suffix is only needed if there is no passive voice clause. 'Ba' forms the passive voice clause, similar to the word 'by' in English. So 'The bread was eaten by me' is 'Inoko amula ba ei'. The suffix -ri is not needed. It's clear that the subject is being acted upon by the verb because of the presence of the phrase 'ba ei'.

'Inoko amulari ba ei' may still be said if 'ba ei' is an afterthought. Otherwise it sounds redundant.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Sai (The conlanger that's everywhere with the jian icon), has an aggregate conlang blog. It basically takes conlang related posts from other blogs and puts them in one place. It simply uses an RSS code provided by the blog's author that goes to the conlang tagged posts. Cool, huh?

I've had Anti-moliminous on there for a few weeks now, and I'm pretty pleased. I also check it every few days and look at the new posts. It's got some great bloggers, David Peterson's Kamakawi word of the day for example.

This is a great resource, and an easy way to look at a lot of conlanger's works at once. If you haven't seen it before go check it out.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Paper Language Construction Kit!!

I'm super excited!

The ineffable Mark of is releasing the language construction kit in hold-in-you-hands-paper-form. Not only is it going to have everything the online version has, but it's going to have the 'less than easy to understand sections' more fleshed out. There's also more advanced conlanging stuff. I'm especially interested to see the word list section.

In regards to the language construction kit itself... When I first discovered that conlanging was actually a thing, and not just some personal idiosyncrasy, the language construction kit was one of the first things I found. It helped me immensely. I was able fill in the gaps of things I didn't know how to accomplish, and I got the feeling I was in not alone. There were others out there who had this same interest. There must be if one of them was taking the time to put out this much information on it, and of course there are.

March is the date, so any time now. I'll be watching for a link to Amazon and ordering as soon as I see it.

Monday, March 1, 2010


As you may have guessed, Modifiers in Reisu go directly after their word they are modifying. For example: 'Oo ono kikino kei?' onp comes after oo instead of the other way around. Adjectives, adverbs, etc, all function the same way. They come directly after the word they modify. Here's an example of what placement of a modifier does to the sentence. The modifier is underlined.

Rigi raxi hata.
      (The) sun shines brightly.
Rigi hata raxi.
      (The) bright sun shines.

For clarification hata doesn't mean bright. I means very, intensely or intense. When raxi is used as a modifier it means bright, so it's awkward to repeat it. Adding the simple intensifier makes more sense.

And since we're talking about modifiers, for fun here's some color words:


Friday, February 26, 2010


Omniglot has a lot of cool things, but one of my favorites is it's page on the 12480 script. There are several different scrips all along this concept, and you can write anything with it that can be expressed with a numeric value. In this way the scripts survive so long as numbers survive.

My favorite is the color script. I've often thought of making a conlang involving colors. Perhaps for a sentient group of alien octopus. The colors correspond to symbols within several of the other scripts, as well as IPA sounds, roughly a consonant and a vowel for each color.

12480 is inspiring for me, and if nothing else you should at least scroll down to the bottom and look at the sample scrips. They are gorgeous.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Reisu conjunctions! These are words that can link two clauses, or words. I don't think any other explanation is needed here.

BoBut, yet
MoSo, therefore

As a side note, a lot of these words can be used to start prepositional phrases as well as join clauses.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The linguistsics of texting

What do you think about txt speak? I am personally not a fan. The shortening makes me think the writer is either stupid, or an annoying child for the most part. I know I'm not alone in thinking this. I think majority of those that make up "the internets" would agree. Grammar and spelling nazis occupy most internet spaces.

So then how do I defend things such as lol, orly?, and others that I do use. Well, those seem ok to me, but what criteria I am using to determine this I don't know. This conundrum is what makes articles like this one interesting to me.

So does it help, does it hinder? Is it annoying, useful, what? I still haven't decided.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wild bird songs vs domesticated bird songs

So here's a really interesting article about what happens to bird songs when a bird is domesticated. Basically the song changes from something very constructed to something very unconstructed when a bird has been domesticated for a few generations. It's interesting, and they are applying what happened to these birds to what may have happened to our primate ancestors.

The hypothesis is that we are self-domesticated apes, and what this ends up meaning is perhaps why we have such a sophisticated language, and other primates do not, is because we took a few evolutionary steps backwards before going forwards. I don't really like using those terms, because in this sense backwards has a negative connotation, but I can't say I don't agree. It makes sense, and I can believe this really happened. I'd like to see more studies on this to confirm the hypothesis.

Monday, February 22, 2010

To be, the copula

"It depends on what your definition of 'is' is" -Bill Clinton

He got made fun of for saying that, but when you think about "to be" really means so many things in English. The sentence "I am" is so powerful because of it's ambiguity, and multiple meanings.

Reisu doesn't have such an over arching concept as this verb does in Engish. It's more broken down.

Kuala - To be the same as in identity.
Al kuala tivu.
      Al is the suit (of armor).

Luta - To belong to a specified class or group
Eisa luta emodo.
      We are people.

Maino - To have or show a specified quality or characteristic
Denu maino gura.
      The baby is hungry.
In many cases 'hola' for feel can also be used. This is mostly for first and second person subjects. For example this same sentence in first person: 'Ei hola gura'. I am hungry. (literally: feel hungry). But "Denu hola gura.", while comprehensible sounds awkward.

Reiki - To consist of, or to be made of
Laza reiki aa xusu.
      The ocean is all water.

Lamu - To be like, or have specified significance.
E lamu komonaxi.
      He's (like) a lion.

Kutu - To exist
Ei geki, mo ei kutu.
      I think, therefore I am

There are lots of other ways we use 'to be' of course, but we could just as well substitute other verbs even in English, so I won't cover that in this post, or it will become too long :)

One other fun thing with copula-type verbs in Reisu is they can be omitted if the contexts provides sufficient clues to render the copula obvious. In this case the object becomes a verb. For example:

     Ei okila bofi doro fe mama eino. E larelaila, kata e xodila
          I saw an old picture of my mom. She was beautiful, when she was young.

In this sentence it's obvious we are saying that the mother has beauty and has youth (maino). So instead of saying "E mainola larelai, kata e mainola xodi" we make larelai (beautiful) and xodi (young) into verbs. Both "E mainola larelai" and "E larelaila" are correct and appropriate in this context.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Learn Na'vi

It's been a while since Avatar came out; it's even steadily falling down the charts. I personally loved the movie, and the Na'vi conlang only heightened my suspension of disbelief.

There are bits about Na'vi leaking out slowly but steadily. For example they have a base 8 system, which makes sense because they have 4 fingers. And it seems fairly regular if you don't have a problem speaking in 8s instead of 10s.

I'm still waiting for a Na'vi language book. They made the field guide, so why not?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Prepositions are something that gets me in languages I don't know well. Every language seems to use them differently, and there's rarely a hard and fast rule for exactly when each preposition is used. Sometimes many can be used, but only one sounds right. You get the idea. I have made some prepositions in Reisu, and I plan to flesh them out more when I start translating more things. For now I have English equivalents for this the best I can.

With (using)Ja
During/Among/In (not inside)Pa
Apart/Away fromBi
At (a specific place/time)Le
By (passive voice)Ba

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Complex calls for prairie dog predators

In a recent episode of Natural World, they showcased prairie dog calls. These rodents seem to not only have different calls for predators, but adjectives for those predators as well. The difference between a snake, and a particularly large snake for example.

I can't tell much difference between the calls, but the prairie dogs obviously can, and so can this guy apparently. Prairie dogs are very social animals who live in fairly large groups, so it makes sense they would have a sophisticated language.

If you have access to BBC I definitely recommend this show in general, but at least watch this particular episode. It's pretty interesting. Plus prairie dogs are so cute :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eht sdrawkcab gnikaeps lrig

NPR had a short clip last week on a girl that can speak backwards. Well, not really. She's just turning the letters in the word around pronouncing it as something that would be spelled similarly. Listen to the clip for a more full explanation.

This did spawn a thread in the conlang mailing list about jokelangs or ciphers that employed "backwards English". Gary of came up with Ersever to make backwards English more easily pronounceable. It's fun in the same way Pig-Latin is. Definitely worth a read.

Monday, February 15, 2010


So, in a a lot of my example texts there are questions, and you might have already figured out how to make questions, but here's where I'm actually going to explain it. Reisu has a SVO word order. This does not change when we have a question. The question word is still the object, so it still goes at the end.

Any sentence can be made into a question by adding nei, but there are other question words that get more specific. Like most things in Reisu there's a pretty simple pattern to it.

What, WhoKei
How much, How manyJei
What kindVei
Which, Which oneZei
Question particleNei

O hola mei?
     Translation: How do you feel?
     Transliteration: You feel how?
Kata neina zei?
     Translation: What time is it?
     Transliteration: Time says when?
Fagevo geri jei?
     Translation: How much for the blanket?
     Transliteration: Blanket(that) costs how much?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk

Why the classic New York accent is fading

I believe from personal experience that this article is true. Not from the perspective of the New York accent, but from a southern one. I grew up in the south, and have always lived in the south, but I lack any variation of a southern accent. The most southern I get is a few words here and there. Not only do southerners never guess I'm from the south upon meeting me, but other Americans very rarely do.

There's lots of reasons for this. My parents, who both grew up in the south don't have much of a southern accent, albeit more than mine. Virtually none of my friends do, and only a small amount of my peers do. The southern accent is and was definitely associated with lack of education, ignorance and just general stupidity. This stereotype exists in our society. I do have some southern friends that maintain their southern accents, and they are far from ignorant or stupid.

The old New York accent has much the same perception.

Is this a bad thing? I personally think it is. As a lover of accents it saddens me to see particularly unique ones die out. I imagine as generations go on accents associated with the working class, like southern and New York accents, will fade out of common use. However language, including accent, is organic. It changes as society changes. It's an unstoppable force that has been going on since communication's beginning. Without it we wouldn't have the language we have today at all. Loss of accents is simply one of the unfortunate side effects.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Conjugating modality

Besides what's covered in my previous verb conjugation post, verbs can also be conjugated for some modalities. This is done with prefixes.

To Need - Ru Fahei  
Ought to/shouldXifaheiXufahei

The basic positive and negative forms are mostly used for answer yes/no questions. The most correct way to answer a question is to repeat the verb with i- or u-.

O amufu gaparu nei?
     Will you eat the apple?
     Yes/No (in the future)
     Yes/No (now)
     Yes/No (impolite, implies annoyance or frustration with the question)

The other modalities are used similarly to their English equivalents. For example will gets the prefix si-, and will not gets the prefix su-.

Just the prefixes:

Ought to/shouldXi-Xu-

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monkey's using syntax!

According to this article on they have found a group of monkeys that are using syntax. Syntax is something we have long considered uniquely human. The closest thing I've ever seen to another animal using syntax is sign-language Koko using "bean ball" to describe a pea. But that's really compounding, not syntax.

I imagine there are other animals besides us and Campbell's Monkeys that use syntax in their communication, but it's yet to be seen. The article suggests whale calls are a possibility. I would love to see a study on that with more conclusive evidence. I always imagined whale songs to be the closest real equivalent to the mythical language of the birds.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Swedish students conlanging for their senior project

There's some Swedish students that are creating a conlang for their senior project. It's a Germanic language based on English, German and Swedish. I am not a fan of Germanic languages myself, but I am a fan of helping out other conlangers. All they need is for as many people as possible to fill out a survey. No need to sign up on the unilang forum. They want the replies by email anyway.

Please pass this on to anyone you think may help them out!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Reisu uses a decimal, or base 10 system. The first 10 numbers are as follows.


Easy enough, and counting higher than 10 has a fairly regular pattern.

Xoa for eleven is simply ten plus one, and so on until you get to 19, Xonai. Once you get to the twenties you use a slightly different structure. Tuxoa for 21 is two times ten plus one. This continues until you get to ninety-nine, naixonai.

100 has it's own name, haku, but structure remains relatively the same.


Once you get to numbers this high sometimes hyphens make it easier to read. For example naihakunaixonai could be written as naihaku-naixonai. This is not required, it simply makes it quicker to read.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Verb Conjugation

I have a love-hate relationship with conjugating verbs. It's extremely useful in one way, and in another it's very hard for me to learn. The reason being is the irregular things in the conjugation, which seem to plague the most common verbs in any language. Currently I have not written any irregularities in Reisu. I assume verbs that are more natural to be irregular will come out in speaking, when they are easier to pronounce a different way, or something like that. My vision however is that they are still written the "correct" way. So without further adieu, here's a sample of simple conjugation in Reisu.

To Have - Ra Maino

So I want to clarify the designations I gave each type of verb in the chart, because I don't use those terms exactly correctly depending on what grammar guide you read. Basic is just that: present, past and future, which is achieved with no suffix for Present, and the suffixes -la and -fu respectively.

The progressive tense is used for continued or habitual action. This is achieved with the suffix -nu.

The perfect tense is for completed action, and has the suffix -du.

Here's a chart of just the suffixes.

Past Progressive-nula
Future Progressive-nufu
Past Perfect-dula
Future Perfect-dufu

Monday, February 1, 2010

Personal Pronouns

For Reisu the pronouns don't changed based on if they are the subject or object. So "ei" for "I", does not change to when it's the object. Where "I" changes to "me", "ei" is still "ei".

Here's a chart:
First PersonEiEisa
Second PersonOOsa
Third PersonEEsa

Another point here is the third person pronoun. There's only one, so there's no separation of gender here as there is in English. In fact there's no linguistic separation of gender in Reisu at all.

This also shows the pluralizer. It's -sa. This is used as a suffix for any noun that need to be pluralized.

The structure for possessive and reflexive pronouns are very similar.

Possessive PronounsSingularPlural
First PersonEinoEinosa
Second PersonOnoOnosa
Third PersonEnoEnosa

Reflexive PronounsSingularPlural
First PersonEinorifuEinosarifu
Second PersonOnorifuOnosarifu
Third PersonEnorifuEnosarifu

So, as you can probably tell -no is for possessive pronouns, and -norifu is for reflexive pronouns.

Like I said, pretty simple.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Paxido emodohaa! Let's talk about greetings. I'm going to start with an example conversation, and then translate it.

Two people meeting for the first time.
Susanna: Paxido.
Eddie: Paxido, o hola pa xidoki aku nei?
Susanna: Ihola, o nei?
Eddie: Ihola, xati.
Susanna: Naapa. Oo ono kikila kei?
Eddie: Kikila Eddie, oo ono nei?
Susanna: Susanna.
Eddie: Gutula aku, Susanna.
Susanna: Gutula aku, okiaku.
Eddie: Okiaku.

Translation (Not Literal).
Susanna: Hello
Eddie: Hello, how are you?
Susanna: Good, and you?
Eddie: Good, thank you.
Susanna: You're welcome. What's your name?
Eddie: Eddie, and yours?
Susanna: Susanna.
Eddie: Nice to meet you, Susanna.
Susanna: Nice to meet you too, goodbye.
Eddie: Goodbye.

So there's lots of grammar things I can talk about which have examples in the above conversion, but the one I'm going to pick deals directly with pronunciation. The double vowel. When the vowel is written twice It's held out longer. Ideally each syllable takes up one "beat", unless the vowel is written twice. Then the vowel is held for two "beats". The length of the "beat" depends on how quickly you are speaking, and isn't always precise depending on where the stress is in the sentence.

So for the sentence, What is your name?, there are 7 beats, even though there are only 6 syllables
Beats: O-o-o-no-ki-ki-no-kei?
Syllables: Oo-o-no-ki-ki-no-kei?

And for those that want more grammar explanation it will come, but see what you can reason out with this. Word by word literal transaction.
Susanna: Hello
Eddie: Hello, you feel in spirit good [question]?
Susanna: Feel(positive), you [question]?
Eddie: Feel(positive), thank.
Susanna: Welcome(as in you're welcome). Name your call(past) what?
Eddie: Call(past) Eddie, name your [question]?
Susanna: Susanna.
Eddie: Meet(past) good, Susanna.
Susanna: Meet(past) good, Goodbye.
Eddie: Goodbye.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Alphabet with examples - Consonants 2/2

Second part of the consonants. you get the format by now :) IPA chart

f - ɸ - No good English words for this one. Imagine the sound you make when blowing out a candle.
v - v - violin
s - s - snake
z - z - xylophone
x - ʃ - ship
j - ʒ - journey
h - h - hat
l - l - letter
y - ʎ - yes

And here are the words! First nouns, then the verbs.
Fage - Blanket
Vexu - Bird
Sinaa - Cloud
Zaba - Wrist
Xudo - Fish
Jeva - Flower
Huzo - Table
Laza - Ocean
Yefo - Shirt

Fahei - Need
Vita - Know
Sixu - Sleep
Zoga - Use
Xako - Give
Jeipa - Keep
Heiti - Find
Leika - Make
Yata - Go

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Alphabet with examples - Consonants 1/2

This is a continuation for the vowels post. Like that one the Latin character is on the left, the IPA is in the middle, and the right is a sample English word. Here's my favorite IPA chart for those that want to hear examples of the IPA sounds.

p - p - put
b - b - bat
t - t - toil
d - d - doll
k - k - cat
g - g - goal
m - m - most
n - n - never
r - ɾ - There aren't any good examples of this in English. In American English we pronounce Ts like this sometimes, but in an effort to not confuse just go listen to ɾ on the IPA chart

And here's some Reisu words that start with these sounds!
Puho - Horse
Befi - Tree
Tozai - Mountain
Denu - Baby
Kigu - Foot
Gapa - Apple
Meku - Pencil
Nebu - Dog
Rigi - Sun

Puma - Ask
Bubu - Drink
Tiki - Run
Daxi - Come
Kixa - Walk
Geki - Think
Maino - Have
Neina - Say
Ragu - Want

AND as promised, a video that goes with the first post!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Alphabet with examples - Vowels

For my first post I'm going to cover the vowels and how they sound, with example words in English as well as the Reisu.

The five vowels only make a small range of sounds. On the left is how I am writing them with a Latin based alphabet, in the middle is their IPA symbols, and on the right is an example in an English word.
a - ɑ - as in father
i - i - as in see
u - ø - as in food
e - ɛ - as in bed
o - o - as in home

Now to pair them up with words of Reisu.
Ata - Cup
Inoko - Corn
Ulemi - Egg
Etaro - Eye
Okoko - House

And some common verbs.
Amu - Eat
Iyavi - Put
Ukago - Take
Eroro - Get
Oki - See

I plan at some point to release videos with pronunciation, so that you can hear and see examples of the words. For now please just do the best you can with this.