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.

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

 

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.

Conlang: Ori (prepositions!)

More developements in Ori grammar…

 

Prepositions

 Although Ori uses cases to show location in many situations (typically by use of the dative, locative, or instrumental cases), it also uses prepositions to further indicate more specific location or relationships.

bulu ‘through’

menya ‘across’

nye ‘out of, from, away from’

nela ‘amongst, midst’

amo ‘around, surrounding’

ebel ‘for the sake of’

dranme ‘thanks to’

he ‘by, next to, near, with, close to’

pa ‘beneath, under(neath)’

pel ‘during’

casya ‘without’

nimi ‘inside (of), in’

 

These prepositions maybe used with nouns in various cases: it depends on the preposition.

Prepositions with the locative case:

bulu ti-mulyurati ‘through the forest’

menya embete ‘across a river’

nelanyendac ‘amongst friends’

amo oltacya ‘around a tomb’

pa bestiti ‘under ground’

 

Prepositions with the genitive case:

nye ti-tyagalpan ‘away from the storm’

pel plenyullasye ‘during the autumn’

 

 

Prepositions with the dative case:

ebel calya nimalya ‘for the sake of my mother’

dranme tate tyollate ‘thanks to your younger brother’

 

Some prepositions may be used with different cases, which give different shades of meaning.

nimi ti-mulyurati ‘inside the forest’ (used with locative): implies deep within the forest, perhaps out of sight

nimi ti-mulyurato ‘into the forest’ (used with accusative): implies movement to and through the forest

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

Ori needed more declensions?

I decided Ori needs more nouns declensions. 😛

So here are two new celestial class declensions.

2nd declension (celestial)

These nouns often end in -n or -m.

Btw, the -∅ symbol in linguistics means ‘null’ or ‘nothing’. So that means the nom. sg. forms don’t add a suffix.

image

Using Calcurassen’s name as an example (in the singular, of course–there is only one of the God of Justice):

Calcurassen ryintat trulali ‘Calcurassen drinks wine’

Ti-clespes Calcurasseni astere lya. ‘Calcurassen’s jewel is bright’

Murlinis Calcurassene iyuru ‘A raven sees Calcurassen’

Hensapya Calcurassena maroi cyan ‘I gave praise to Calcurassen’

Calcurassenul minim cyan nalemapya peli. ‘By means of Calcurassen, I was able to find justice’

Hestinyal Calcurassenul lya. ‘Hope lies with Calcurassen’

Oa, Calcurassene! Maropye tyeli abarig! ‘Oh, Calcurassen! Give us blessings.’

~

The next declension is also for celestial nouns–most of these ending in vowels.

3rd celestial declension

image

Examples:

Ti-hembe lilya rya. ‘The body of fresh water is small’ (Note that ‘small’ still agrees with embe–it just uses a different celestial (nom sg. suffix, the one from the very first celestial declension I introduced, which is -ya rather than -∅.)

Culleryal caben bellu. ‘The expanse of the world is wide’

Gilupye yalutyin tatyin ti-trahellet ‘Turn your eyes to the meteor shower’

Ok, you get the idea. 🙂

~

Mintaka

Legend and Lore: The children of Hestaya (a poem)

In Orikrindian myth, Hestaya (the mother goddess, the goddess of the mountains and earth) bore 12 infants, which were conceived beneath the hardest rock in the earth, fathered by the fire god, whose life blood flows under the world as magma. The twelve children were born upon twelve hills that encircle the island of Orikrindia. In legend, the children were found by nomads of a group called the Lost Ones. The queen of this people, Crestellin, was the first to find one of these children, and then, one by one, she and her handmaidens found all twelve. She was a childless queen before this moment, but adopted the babies into her family and raised them as her own. According to legend, these demigod children grew into the founders of the twelve great cities of Orikrindia.

This poem is about Crestellin finding the first of the children of Hestaya.

~

Moving like a green snake

In the dewdrops

A fragmented line of tiny sighs

Blooming life along the dusty horizon.

 

Clinging still to mother

Unwilling to relinquish

That summer warm smell

Of newborns and flowers and vegetables

Singing in the sweltering heat

Humming with an old life

 

You know who they were

The ones who came before

The earthy faces digging themselves out from under hills and mounds

Stones in the dusk

In the distance,

They approached

Farther and farther

Until we heard their breath

Whispering and scraping in the evening air

Like leaves against your cheek.

 

We took them in

Opened our wings

And drew in these

Infants.

 

We gave them the instincts

We had left,

Pretending

To be mothers

Pretending

To understand beyond the eons

What we were doing.

 

The children of the stone

The babies found

In the earth                            

Creeping into humanity

Latching onto a nipple

They were lucky to find

 

Vines covering the tomb

An ancient space

Threshold to a world beyond

We remained and named the children

After the wish of the Mother,

Hestaya.

 

~

Mintaka