Posts about Reisu every Monday and Thursday

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: