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

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.

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.

 

 

Image of a Rílin woman: Silin

Commissioned art of a Rílin woman named Silin. Free Image Hosting at FunkyIMG.com (Please click the image to see the full size version! It looks squished when I insert it here.)

Silin is a scount with the Sunulí guerilla militia. She spies on the Tosi encampments and is an expert tracker of the woods. Her home settlement was destroyed in the initial Tosi attack on Rílin border towns, and Silin’s husband and young son were murdered. She wandered for a few years and fled to the northern coast of Elinís̆. It was here she met Tsilu, another Rílin woman who had fled the invasion, and they became friends, and eventually lovers.

I want to write stories about Silin, but I have three WIPs going right now that need to be dealt with first!

Poem for a narēd

In Tosi legend, narēdi (singular narēd /’nare:d/) are fire spirits that seduce zuna (the species that Tosi are) into throwing themselves into lava flows and burning. This is a poem about a narēd. Her name is Sapof (which comes from the Tosi words for “never extinguished”).

~

the narēd

her bleeding eyes alight

with fires from ancient earth

weaving around the stones

from within a blistering cavern

hotter than the blinded stretches of the deserts

she claims those who gaze on her fiery glory

a death worthy of a queen

how sublime

to burn away

in the eyes of the narēd.

~

Mintaka