Posts about Reisu every Monday and Thursday

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.