New alphabet (abugida) for Seloi and Karkin!

I have been doing a LOT of conscripting (making new writing system) for my languages this summer! Now that the semester has started (only just), I may slow down somewhat but I am promising myself not to stop!

Much of what I’ve worked on has been the new alphabet for the Seloi and Karkin languages. Before I get into the writing system itself, I will give a little background on the people who use this alphabet.

The Selupa (speakers of Seloi) and Karkin people live on a shared island, off the east coast of the Izoi continent (in Elta–so we’re on the side of Aeniith with Tosi, Ríli, etc.). The Selupa (of the zuna species of humanoid–same as the Tosi and Karkin) have a very secretive but comparatively technically advanced society. Their cities are highly protected, entry and exit is tightly regulated, and their technology and medical advances are not generously shared, when they are shared at all. The Selupa value art and culture as well as science, and are famous for their universities where topics like drama, writing, philosophy, rhetoric, and even culinary skills are taught.

The other major cultural group on the island are the Karkin, also a zuna people, who live in parts of the island not inhabited by the Selupa. Their population is largely split into two–some live inside seven cities that are protected by ruling clans. Just outside of these guarded cities are agricultural areas that supply these cities with food. Others, who dwell outside the protection of the cities, live in an arid expanse of land called the Planulum (sōngē’ën /soːˈŋeːʔən/ in Karkin). This is a harsh land, and its soil is hard and difficult to grow in. The people who live in the Planulum are not under rule of the city clans, and lawlessness is rampant in areas that are outside of settlements. Settlements in the Planulum are lightly governed by consensus, if at all. In the winters, sand storms ravage crops, and in the summer, hot winds can wilt them if not enough rains come. It is a difficult place to live. Caravans travel between the various Planulum settlements and the seven cities, but sometimes are detained due to crime or bad weather conditions.

The original inventors of the present alphabet, which I’m tentatively calling Vinuvu (Seloi for ‘scratched pieces’ or ‘written bits’), are the Selupa. Seloi itself has a very small phonemic inventory (collection of differently recognized sounds)–just 10 consonants and 6 vowels. Vinuvu is technically an abugida–a variant of alphabet in which the consonants are represented by full letters and the vowels are represented by modifications to the consonants (often diacritics or small marks on or near the consonant letters). The following is the version used for Seloi, its original intended use.

Seloi alphabet: VinuvuEach consonant is a full letter with the following vowels being marked as diacritics over the consonant. Freestanding vowels are written as full, and diphthongs and double vowels are either combined diacritics or a full vowel symbol plus a diacritic.

So this is simple enough, but then I decided I wanted this whole system to be used by other zuna cultures in the region of Izoi. That includes the Tosi and Karkin. The Tosi are a massive empire, but I decided that I wanted them to have borrowed the alphabet after the Karkin–the immediate neighbors of the Seloi–had already borrowed it.

The main challenge here was due to the Karkin language itself. It has a lot of sounds, far more than the particularly sparse Seloi. Karkin is mad for different consonants: it has 32 of them! It also has six vowels that can all be long or short (in duration). So obviously, when the Karkin borrowed this writing system, they were going to have to do a lot of modification to make it work for their language…

Behold!
Karkin modifications to VinuvuAs you can see, many letters are modified to represent the numerous additional sounds that Karkin has. Some consonants have added marks to indicate that voicing (Seloi doesn’t have voiced stops like b, d, g, for example). Some letters have descender marks below them to indicate a change in place of articulation (usually farther back in the mouth). Some fricatives (like the letters for v and s) are reversed to show a change in voicing (f and z). The letter for /l/ is modified to represent /r/ and /ʎ/. Various other changes show sounds that don’t exist in Seloi. Long vowel are represented by double diacritics.

A few examples of writing in Vinuvu for Karkin.

ED3F05DA-B0EF-4B37-BF5E-7951C2B44AE3

Also the punctuation marks and numerals:
IMG_1497
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More information will be coming–watch this space!

 

Margaret

Greetings after a while!

It’s once again been a while. I’ve been busy with a lot of things–mostly my research and lots of international travel! I’ve been in six countries since May!

One of the things I was doing while traveling this summer was attending the Language Creation Conference (the 8th biannual) in Cambidge, UK. My husband Eric and I started off the conference with some musical performances of songs in several conlangs (Gotevian, Tosi, and Rílin). We’d written some Aeniithian music before but wrote several of the pieces for the conference specifically. Eric is a composer and musician, as well as a 3D graphics designer and synth expert, so we jointly designed musical instruments unique to Aeniith cultures. We also designed musical notation systems for each culture and the musical scales that they represent. We performed four songs, two of which can be heard/seen: , and Ŵatakap Bí Xabhét (Rílin), which has a video that can be seen here.

We also presented a poster that explains a bit about the unique instrument designs (and includes 3D models of them by Eric), musical notations, etc.

Conference-Poster

I am starting a mailing list since a lot of people wanted updates for lyrics, new songs, etc. So if that’s you too, email me at ransdell AT hawaii DOT edu, and I will add you!

 

Margaret

Rílin language: expression of sorrow and sympathy

Well, it’s been a while! I do want to get back in to posting things here, despite my busy workload. Maybe it’s even better for me to do so because of that workload.

Anyway.

In light the recent catastrophe in Paris, I have been thinking about how the Ríli form expressions of sorrow, sympathy, condolences, etc. Languages often have formalized/idiomized or set phrases for these kinds of expressions, so I thought it was important that Rílin did as well. Rílin culture emphasizes harmony, support, respect, and sensitivity to others’ emotions, so I wanted to make their phrases of sorrow and sympathy reflect some of those values too. All of the words and grammar used herein are extant parts of the Rílin language–I am configuring them in ways that seem appropriate.

Note: the variations on the way of saying ‘you’/’your’ are due to traditional Rílin’s (and Lunauli Rílin) way of distinguishing three levels of formality/familiarity for pronouns and persons (lí at the most familiar and zana at the most formal for ‘you sg.’).

Lilaíkim – ‘I am grieving/mourning/crying’ (this word lilaí also means to weep copiously)
lilaí-k-im
/lɪˈlaikɪm/
grieve-pres.prog-1sg

Lilaíkim líu/xyu/zanau – ‘I grieve with thee’
lilaí-k-im lí-u/xy-u/zana-u
/lɪˈlaikɪm ˈliu (ˈxyu) (ˈzanau)/
grieve-pres.prog 2sg-instr

R̂yla límu/xymu/zanamu imi – Lit., ‘I am in/with thy sorrow’
r̂y-la lí-mu/xy-mu zana-mu imi
/ˈʂyla limu (ˈxymu) (ˈzanamu)/
sorrow-instr 2sg-poss

Hestia(tíí)/(tyy)/(taa)ky – Lit. ‘may you recuperate/rest’
hestia-t-íí/t-yy/t-aa-ky
/hɛstɪaˈtiiky (hɛstɪatyyky)(hɛstɪataaky)/
rest-npst-2sg.fut-irr

Bítapky Démas/Ifinŝas líet/xyet/zanat – ‘May Déma/Ifinŝe embrace/aid thee’ (depending on which goddess you would like to reference)
bí-t-ap-ky Déma-s/Ifinŝe-as lí-et/xy-et/zana-et
/biˈtapky ˈdemas(ɪfɪnʃas) ˈliɛt (ˈxyɛt)(ˈzanat)/
embrace/aid-npst-3sg-irr Déma-erg/Ifinŝe-erg 2sg-abs

New words in Ori + examples

Dropping in to note that I am in fact not dead. I have been super busy with stuff related to doing my doctorate! But I am still conlanging, worldbuilding, etc.
#Lextreme2018 and #Lexathon are my continuing daily lexicography conlang project via twitter (https://twitter.com/MintakaGlow). Here are yesterday’s and today’s words, plus example sentences!

Nov 20
Ori: [adj] milon- /’milon/ ‘slow, unhurried; easy; soft’

Nov 21
Ori: [n, inan] pilya-s /’pilʲas/ ‘tear, teardrop’

Examples:

Abbreviation key:

1 = 1st person

2 = 2nd person

3 = 3rd person

nom = nominative

sg = singular

an = animate class

in = inanimate class

adv = adverbial

pst = past tense

perf = perfect aspect

q = question (interrogtive) particle

acc = accusative

pl = plural

hab = habitual aspect

Pilyas eun syolle miloni plecir cyan
pilya-s eun syol-le milon-i plec-ir cyan
tear-nom.sg.in 3sg.an.dat face-loc.sg.in slow-adv fall-3sg.in pst.perf
‘A tear fell slowly down his cheek’

Nasya milonis ti ma?
nasya milon-is ti ma
why slow-nom.sg.an you.are q
‘Why are you being slow?’

Eme! pilyatyin cityin bayalbra lyes
eme  pilya-tyin ci-tyin bayal-bra lyes
alas  tear-acc.pl.in many-acc.pl.in weep-1pl pst.hab
‘Alas! we cried so many tears’

Rílin script

So you’ve all probably seen at least some of my numerous poems written in Rílin, along with their accompanying script. I wanted to explain how the alphabet for Rílin works.

It is pretty simple conceptually. Rílin traditionally uses a phonetic alphabet, where each letter corresponds to a phoneme (distinguished sound) in the language. Rílin has a large phonemic inventory (29 consonants and 13 vowels), so there are as many letters in the alphabet.

In the below image, you can see the IPA symbol for each Rílin phoneme, followed by (in brackets) the Romanized representation (sometimes there are variants available for those times when it is not convenient or possible to use diacritic marks)

rilinletters
Consonants
vowels
Vowels

 

Ori poem

A poem in Ori. I use poetry to expand on my lexicon and grammar, as well as invent new ways of doing metaphor.

~

Clidolyal

Catyin-gae nalistityin tyae

Calin natin nalepa can iyutu cyan

Yullacu tyuhacu

Bane cohace

Nye nalemasye

 

Catyin eltrutyin tyae

Na lyen-tatyin tyo

Ilu cyalace

Na syutace

Milis cuheo bumi

Na misuhile lunin cyon-lastilen

Bine

Nyilleya hatanulya.

 

 

A false vow

But you knew my reasons

You never saw me how you should

Every year

We would slip further

From the truth.

 

You know my ways

And I know yours

We come together again

And split apart

A tree cloven in two

And from the sap running from our wounds

Perhaps

A new story.

Welcome to Arcuna, southern continent of Elta.

Click for full versions: Version with biome delineations. Version with political boundaries

This is Arcuna, a small very southern continent in Elta (lateral hemisphere of Aeniith). In the first version, you can see political boundaries. The Tosi Empire controls the north, while the south is divided between the Arshi, Kalyu, and Keresn, which are zuna countries except for Keresn, which mostly consists of mixed zuna/amelae people. Keresn was conquered by Arshi, though they were formerly allies of Kalyu. Now Keresn and Arshi are at war with Kalyu. The Tosi Empire has halted its attempt at further expansion for th emoment, since much beyond what they already control is deemed too harsh and frigid to be worth it. They’re focused on the north of Izoi and fighting the Ríli at the moment…

More names will be added when I make them! 🙂

 

Welcome to Quarios!

Map-10

The second of my regional maps of Aeniith (please click here for the full version!). The first was Izoi, which has actually been a BIT modified since then to make it more geologically plausible. We go for accuracy in worldbuilding when it comes to systems like geology, economics, etc. 😛 Anyway…

Quarios is a single state nowadays, run by a consitutional monarchy, which is currently headed by Queen Inacaporia. The continent was, until pretty recently, made up of two sovereign states: Lomilin and Gotêvi. Incaporia was the Queen of Gotêvi and married a Prince of Lomilin, and they merged their lands.

In the north of Quarios, the weather is warm and humid most of the time, with mild winters. This is because Quarios is in the southern hemisphere. The southern most islands are frigid and cold. They are home two some ethnically distinct peoples known as the Teg and Phuli. These peoples speak their own languages (Teg and Phul) in addition to Gotevian. People living on the Lomilin side of Quarios (the west side) speak Lomi.

The northern port city of Naeglitan is where Elucuna arrives when she first getsto Quarios from Orikrindia (island nation to the north). She then travels with Glohitan to Valley of Voagry just to the southeast of there.

New maps

I’ve been updating my maps and geography of Aeniith and decided to try new styles. These are made with Inkarnate.

 

Regional Map of Izoi: See Full Version here: here 

izoimap_new.png

I added rivers, a few lakes, and more features. The fortress of Ad Simel Tī is where Dark Designs takes place. Zūr Chi Lār Na means Tower of Death in Tosi and basically is the watch tower for the western seas, in case any force tried to invade from Keta (which no wants to, but the Tosi are nothing if not paranoid). You can see the eastern island that is shared by the Selupa and the Karkin. The Karkin just get the shit end of the island that are plagued by sandstorms and have fewer resources. 😛

Then, in the Rílin forest, you can see the respective regions where the Ríli went after the Flight (post Tosi invasion), with some fleeing north and building underground cities (the Lunauli) and living in the cold mountainous area, and some (the Sunuli) choosing to stay south and fight the Tosi. There is a steppe between the forest and the desert that is a kind of no man’s land but of course the Tosi claim it.

That chasm south of the mountains is filled with a poisonous gas and the Tosi send their really hated enemies there. It also might be kind of sort of haunted.

 

Unfinished full map 

Still needs fresh water bodies, more placenames, etc. And there’s too much ocean at the bottom of the map, hehe. But, it’s a start. Full view here.

 

Map-8.jpg

Mintaka

Gotevian wedding customs

I’ve been filling out cultural or customs “gaps” for Gotêvi, trying to balance it out and make it a little more “complete”. Here’s a blurb on traditional wedding customs:

Gotevian Marriage Customs

Marriage in Gotevi is a legal practice rather than a religious one, though religious marriage ceremonies can be held nonetheless. Weddings must be over seen by a magistrate (irftennir) in order to be considered legal. Usually they are held in a public building—some buildings exist constructed specifically for matrimonial purposes. Both parties usually invite their friends to the ceremony, sometimes even the entire neighborhood wherein they live will come, if only to eat and drink for free.

Traditionally, wedding clothing is bright yellow, for both bride and groom. Their clothes are similar in cut and style as well—usually shin-length tunics with long sleeves. The similarity of clothing symbolizes the binding and thus likeness of two people.

First, there is a party with food and drinks and often some type of music. Fervent dancing is traditional; this is perhaps the only case in which tradition suggests unruliness in Gotevian culture. It is considered appropriate that the woman and the man both socialize with their friends of the opposite gender to emphasize the trust of their partner. There are many traditional games played during wedding parties, including lots of gambling, though these are recent developments and are often scorned by the older generations.

After the festivities, the magistrate arrives and the people to be married sign a contract to each other. Everyone attending is technically a witness, but the magistrate’s presence is still required. After this, the couple is tied together facing each other with ribbons by their friends, and they must untangle themselves without any other help. This supposedly symbolizes the fact that now they must rely on each other to get out of trouble and have the ultimate trust in each other.