Wednesday, September 12, 2012
One thing I've noticed about Apple's recent unveiling of the New iPad (I call it the iPad 3, so there!) and the hodiernal unveiling of the iPhone 5 is that Apple has an aversion to the English definite article "the". That's right, they purposefully (read: vulgarly and maliciously) drop the article. "The unveiling of iPhone 5". It's a hipsterish move to make, and it doesn't surprise me that the cult--er, Cupertino-based tech company is butchering the language like this. Truthfully, it does make sense, but only if you say it with a thick Russian accent.
As far as I know, the Russian language has no definite article. Being no speaker of Russian, I can't confirm this firsthand, but I've heard it from somebody who has studied Russian. I would assume that Russian dialects of English reflect this. But what about American dialects of English? The article, believe it or not, is salient in regards to the meaning of the word. You wouldn't say, "I have car!" If you did, you'd sound like a two-year-old.
In searching my brain for possible rationalizations of this strange article-dropping, I find that the only time that English does it is when it deals with abstract nouns. What is an abstract noun, you ask? Here's a list: love, hate, happiness, sadness, anger, government, ideology, religion, and so on. They are nouns that you can't interact with using your five senses. And they all drop the articles (maybe "abstract noun" is a morphological category like "strong verb", but with some additional semantic meat to it). For instance, if I were to say, "I have love," it would be perfectly fine, whereas "I have car" would not be (unless you say "I can has car", which is perfectly grammatical).
Thursday, August 23, 2012
How voice works in English
How voice works in Hra'anh
Also note that the syntax for the instrumental applicative varies based on voice. In the active voice, it is postpositional; in the passive voice, it is prepositional.
This is how music works:
- I sing. "Ier kifola."
- This is the indicative form, morphologically identical to the infinitive form.
- I sang a song. "Ier folaa doke iah loime." (1SG sing-PST ANTP a music)
- Perfectly normal, right? Well, for Hra'anh, at least.
- I played a guitar. "Ier folaa doke iah kitara." (1SG sing-PST ANTP a guitar)
- Wait, what? This literally translates to "I sang a guitar". Shouldn't it use the instrumental applicative? This doesn't share the same semantic map as the English equivalent.
- I played a song on the guitar. "Ier kitara felo folaa doke iah loime." (1SG guitar INST sing-PST ANTP a music)
- There's that instrumental. Literal translation: "I, with guitar, sang a song."
- I played the guitar while I sang. "Ier kitara felo folaa."
- There it is again. As you can see, using the instrumental applicative demonstrates concurrent action. It's an edge-case example and a fairly strange construction.
- I sang a song while I played the guitar. "Ier folanh felo folaa doke iah loime momo folaa doke kitara." (I.ABS voice INST sing-PST ANTP a music while sing-PST ANTP guitar)
- Beware! This is a very strange construction. While it is technically grammatical, it is not pragmatic, and using it will get you labelled iah faila, a foreigner. Don't go into that much detail; just say, "Ier folaa doke iah kitara." Nevertheless, it demonstrates the use of an adverbial phrase.
Other uses for the applicatives
No, I did not wish for you to go on a bender. That's how you say "buenos dias" in Hra'anh, and it's pronounced [ˈti.zik ˈbɛn.dɛɾ]. It literally means, "Good day to you." I thought that today I would talk about the new directions I'm planning on taking in the development of Hra'anh.
First of all, inspired by David J. Peterson, I'm going to be doing some diachronic historical linguistics to help make it more naturalistic. I'm not going to change the obviously early-stage borrowings from the Indo-European Sprachbund (most notably from the Romance family), but I am going to start creating some roots that I'm going to evolve. I've already got some related words: fetek (tail) is related to feteko (dignity) and fetekhuza (duty/responsibility). I'm going to contrive some reverse sound changes from modern Hra'anh to proto-Hra'anh. I'm also going to do some spelling reforms. This will enable me to branch Bosk'e, the Nomads' language's ancestor, off of the protolanguage.
Secondly, I'm going to start creating a traveler's kit. I'm going work on creating documents, in English, about how to visit Hra'anh as a tourist, including visa applications, a phrasebook, and more. This seems to be somewhat of a trend in conlanging, and it'll give me good practice in things like desktop publishing (grief, that's a dated term). I'm also going to work on doing fandubs and original dramas in Hra'anh, which will wind up being pretty much monologues or soliloquies unless I can get others to work with me in their creation. I'm also going to be doing lessons at some point, but I need to get an idea of what format I should do.
I've already got the script together for a fandub of a scene from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. It was all inspired by this thread on the CBB, which is one of the three big conlang-oriented gathering places (the others being the ZBB and the conlang listserv). The script is as follows:
Thele chreka ier ke lel'vakh za. Ier esi e pom shaloz, ier utho za, ih ier tekai maiat za. Ier chtena doke e iekol ahrem. Ier selema doke e khush ail. Shom ier siet chreka? Ishe ih ishe, iok siete'chrekoi hrusima. Esi siro ioz bun ier shasa, e shana taia horositoz chreka ier. Feri fetekhuza za doke zuthire zek ahrem.I'll be recording it and trying to cobble together a dub using whatever software I can find. I'm still mad at Microsoft for gutting Windows Movie Maker a couple of years ago, and I don't know if they're going to put stuff back in, or if they already have. I'll have to look at it.
Until next time.
Monday, July 16, 2012
These topics makes me cry. But I still need to go over them, especially for Hra'anh. Hra'anh is a bloody mess right now.
Hra'anh is horrible partly because I have been translating dialogue from English, and truthfully, Hra'anh is semantically and syntactically different from English. I need to just scrap the current translations and start over. I'm also going to use the 218 Sentences to Test Conlang Syntax. Interestingly, Hra'anh happens to be the only aspect-oriented language I have; the others are mood heavy. I like moods for some reason.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Literal translation: "Person no person shouted more than once."
Language: Cradle Kuti wane
Cradle Kuti wane is the oddball in the Kuti wane family. Not only does it retain the original click consonants from Mikutiam wane, which went away in all of the other daughter languages. It's also a synthetic language, whereas its siblings are all fairly isolating. Also, its syntax is SVO instead of VSO. It has, though, lost case marking, just like its siblings, making it an analytic language.