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.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
1. A vessel used for the temporary storage of large volumes of drinking water; a Camelbak
2. A plastic cup or bottle of water kept by the bedside for the purpose of quenching midnight thirst
1. Pepek ipfzik e aklak pepoz komea.
2. (spoken by a disrespectful toddler) "Esh e aklak ioz kikome!"
Mouse over the examples for glosses!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
The title translates to "I am learning Esperanto." And really, that is what I've decided to do. I chose Esperanto as a focus over, say, Italian for a couple of reasons. First, Esperanto is a language that is said to be relatively easy to learn as a second language, and I plan on using the experience as a gateway to learning other languages. I eventually plan on becoming a polyglot, with Spanish, French, Italian, German, maybe Russian and maybe Mandarin Chinese on the docket.
I would also like to afd thst I have not forgoten my own conlang. I have one thing to say: "Iok hra'anh chrekete." This translates to <I (am) creating Hra'anh.> I have been working on translating dialogue from Solitude in recent days, and it has been quite the experience. I suppose that I should at some point get around to translating The North Wind and the Sun, which isn't too long of a text to tramslate, no matter what the folks at Conlangery say.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tonight I set about translating some of the dialogue in my current novel project, Solitude. I now know that the best way to develop your conlang is to translate. Some of the stuff I did tonight:
* I created a bunch of new words.
* I created a genitive case marker.
* I created an infix that marks reciprocity.
* I created a question particle.
That was from translating only four sentences. Doesn't sound like much, but the translation, glossing and IPA, as well as the research I did, took me the better part of an hour for just those four sentences. I anticipate that I will get better as I go along and run out of features and words to add. And maybe the notes I keep adding to my grammar will out a significant dent in things.
Examples to come.
(posted from my phone, so lack of formatting)
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
As far as languages, I'm a native English speaker, and I've studied Spanish through Rosetta Stone (which I highly recommend). I'm far from fluent, and my grammar is a wreck. A woman asked me the other day, "¿Hablas español?" Crestfallen, I replied, "Me no hablo español muy bien. Un pocito, pero no bien." I intend to change that. I currently want to learn the following to some degree of usability:
- Spanish (fluently)
- Italian (fluently)
- French (conversationally)
- German (conversationally)
Now for a little bit about my conworld and its conculture. The world's name is Hra, and it is a planet located approximately fifteen light years from Earth. I started developing the language to some degree on the same day that I started developing its speakers, the hra'vakh. The first thing I developed was the script. I started playing around with the phonology, but it was awful to pronounce for the longest time. As I started creating words, things changed and I made it easier to pronounce. A couple of years ago I finalized the script and started on the syntax.
I put it away for a while, but after hearing an interview with Karen Traviss about Mando'a, the language of the Mandalorians in the Star Wars universe, I became intensely interested in finishing Hra'anh to the point that it was actually teachable and speakable. I currently have almost 200 out of the 2000 that Traviss suggests for minimum conversational capability.
I keep changing the grammar, syntax, word order, etc. But it's good that I'm moving away from relexing English, i.e. keeping the grammar, syntax, etc. and just coming up with new words. If all goes according to plan, I'll have my children speaking Hra'anh and English.