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:
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More information will be coming–watch this space!

 

Margaret

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.

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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.’

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

3rd celestial declension

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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.

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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

 

Ori derivational morphology

So this is obviously a work in progress, BUT here are some new Ori derivational morphemes! Yay! I like them.

Derivational Morphemes

-u

This morpheme comes from the word hu‘one’, and it often added to adjectives to create a noun.

 

lil ‘small’ –> lilu ‘small one’

truma ‘red’ –> trumu ‘red one’

 

It can also be used with other nouns, however:

 

cleppa ‘poison’ –> cleppu ‘poisoned one’

 

-ya

 

-ya is a gerund marker; it nominalizes a verb (transitive or intransitive):

 

ta ‘speak’ –> taya ‘speaking’

aste ‘reckon’ –> asteya ‘mathematics’

pra ‘listen’ –> praya ‘listening; educational lecture’

lyeppe ‘enjoy’ –> lyeppeya ‘enjoyment’

clasin ‘become flat’ –> clasinya ‘flattening; (of a person) becoming boring’

 

 

-uya

 

-uya is a suffix that indicates ‘beginning of V/N’, meaning it can attach to either a verb or a noun.

 

Note that if there is a vowel at the end of the bound morpheme, that first vowel is deleted before -uya.

 

lyannis ‘make a pilgrimage’ –> lyannisuya ‘beginning of a pilgrimage’

ta ‘speak’ –> tuya ‘beginning of a speech’

syala ‘rule, reign’ –> syaluya ‘beginning of the reign of a king’

becul ‘cave’ –> beculuya ‘antechamber of a cave’

besti ‘earth, ground’ –> bestuya ‘top layer of soil’

cul ‘moon’ –> culuya ‘new moon’

Sometimes the meaning of this suffix implies smallness due to something being “only the beginning of [and no more]” V/N:

 

lar ‘laugh’ –> laruya ‘a short laugh, a clipped laugh’

lubela ‘secret’ –> lubeluya ‘just a little secret’

 

-on

 

-on is an augmentative suffix that applies to nouns.

 

lyuha ‘dog’ –> lyuhon ‘large dog’

ori ‘man’ –> orion ‘big man’

mil ‘tree’ –> milon ‘large tree’

 

-li

 

-li is the opposite of -on, a diminutive suffix for nouns.

 

lyuha ‘dog’ –> lyuhali ‘puppy’

bistraya ‘flower’ –> bistrayali ‘bud, small blossom’

coru ‘rock’ –> coruli ‘pebble’

bu ‘house’ –> buli ‘room inside a house, chamber’

hesta ‘mountain’ –> hestali ‘hill’

 

e

-e is a common ending for adjectives (e.g. nale ‘true’, clippe ‘rotten’, balnye ‘great’). It can also function as a derivative morpheme for adjectivization from nouns.

 

Usually, if there is a final vowel on the base noun, it is replaced by -e.

 

hustu ‘belief, trust’ –> huste ‘trusting’

cleppa ‘poison’ –> cleppe ‘poisonous’

galacil ‘smoke’ –> galacile ‘smoky’

lubela ‘secret’ –> lubele ‘secret (adj.)’

roru ‘darkness’ –> rore ‘dark’

 

cli-/clip-

This is a pejorative prefix that usually affixes to nouns. It comes from the adjective clippe‘rotten, sour’. The cli- form precedes consonant-initial words, whereas the clip- form is used with vowel-initial words.

 

prasta ‘mind, thoughts; behavior, actions’ –> cliprasta ‘betrayal; treason’

olta ‘tomb’ –> clipolta ‘a badly made or ritualistically wrong or unclean burial’

gerum ‘death’ –> cligerum ‘a dishonorable death’

ha-

 

This prefix can be used as either an augmentative or an ameliorative (“good N”) prefix.

 

pyelli ‘pain’ –> hapyelli ‘great pain’

selis ‘teacher’ –> haselis ‘a good teacher’

lyuha ‘dog’ –> halyuha ‘a particularly loyal dog’

bela ‘word’ –> habela ‘eloquence’

belta ‘wind’ –> habelta ‘a sudden warm wind in the winter’

 

Mintaka2

Conlang: Ori (relative clauses)

A bit ago I introduced some interrogative, indefinite, and negative pronouns for Ori. Related to these forms are relative pronouns, which are used to create relative clauses.

In Ori, relative clauses are head-initial, despite the generally left-branching (head-final) nature of Ori. This means that the head of the relative clause (the main noun) is placed before the relative clause (as it is done in French or English, for example).

The relative pronouns are basically all formed from verions of the interrogative pronouns, but with an additional suffix of -a at the end of the word.

nalar – ‘who?’ –> nalara ‘who’ (rel.)

nabel – ‘what?’ –> nabela ‘which, that’

nanye – ‘where?’ –> nanya ‘where’ (rel.)

nasya – ‘why?’ –> nasya ‘for which reason’ (rel.)

natin – ‘how?’ –> natina ‘in which way’ (rel.)

nalin – ‘when?’ –> nalina ‘when’ (rel.)

The trisyllable forms of the relative pronouns (nalara, nabela, natina, and nalina) also have short forms that are used more commonly in eveyday speech.

nalara –> na-

nabela –> naba-

natina –> nata-

nalina –> nana-

~

Relative pronouns take the same case that the shared noun uses in the embedded clause. In the below sentence,

Tu-hema-s na-s tet lyen-besorpa-tan nimas rya

def.art-woman-nom who-nom makes def.art-clay.pots-acc mother-nom be

‘The woman who makes the clay pots is a mother’

Lye-besorpa-s naba-t elucu-m cyan truma-s rya.

def.art-clay.pot-acc which-acc choose-1sg pst.perf red-nom be

‘The clay pot that I chose is red’

nanya, nasya, nalina/nana are all often used without a case marker at all.

Ti-trente-cya nanya ti-hiluma-pya peli-t cyan culim-bru alinda.

def.art-temple-loc where def.art-priestess-acc find-2sg pst.perf travel-1pl tomorrow

‘Tomorrow we will travel to the temple where you found the priestess’

Upcoming works are brewing…

I’m writing some mini-stories about Orikrindians that I will probably post in the future. Topics may/will include:

– An Orikrindian girl who leaves her country at age 15 and moves to Quarios, some of her thoughts, motivations, and memories (telling her story in retrospect)

– Two Orikrindian brothers who are separated due to a war with a neighboring country

– A story of the devotees of the mountain goddess and fire god who go on a pilgrimage to a great mountain. Fewer will descend that those who went up

I’m also recording new poems in Rílin now, since I am finally back in touch with my h4n Zoom audio recorder, which is higher quality than my laptop mic, unsurprisingly.

Other topics in the works: more Ori grammar, the Orikrindian pantheon, and info on Orikrindian artisanal works.

This has been a semi-update with a bunch of teasers…but I’m really excited about what I’m working on so it’s ok. 😛

Mintaka

Conlang: Ori (interrogative pronouns, deictic adjectives, a few irregular verbs)…

orikrindiaemblem

This is the purple flower of Orikrindia, the nation emblem. Its six petals represent the six provinces of Orikrindia. 

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Here are a few more pronouns in Ori (non-personal pronons). The base forms of these words is the indeterminate pronouns (something, somewhere, etc.), while adding na- makes the words interrogative (who?, what, etc.). Similarly, adding ca- makes them negative (no one, no way, etc.). See below for the forms and some examples sentences.

alar ‘someone’

nalar? ‘who?’

calar ‘no one’

 

bel ‘something’

nabel? ‘what?’

cabel ‘nothing’

 

nye ‘somewhere’

nanye? ‘where?’

canye ‘nowhere’

 

sya ‘some reason’

nasya? ‘why?’

casya ‘for no reason’

 

tin ‘in some way’

natin? ‘how?’

catin ‘in no way’

 

lin ‘some time’

nalin ‘when?’

calin ‘never’

 

Examples:

Alars tari cyan pye Mirmis cleppat proru cyan ‘Someone said Mirmi ate poison’

 

Nanye minim ti-trentepya ma? ‘Where can I find the temple?’

 

Nasya tranye ti ma? ‘Why are you here?’

 

Calars tin-nelcag iyuru can ‘No one sees the gods’

 

Tu-porinis tun-porityan tin peli bil ‘The shepherd will probably find the sheep somehow’

~

Deicitc adjectives

Ori has two sets of deictic adjectives. These are adjectives that modify nominals to show relative spatial position–in English we have ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’, ‘those’. In Ori, one set of adjectives relates to spaces near and away from the 1st person (the speaker), while the other set is used with references to all other persons (2nd and 3rd).

From 1st person perspective:

ti ‘that’

tra ‘this’

 

tim ‘those’

tram ‘these’

 

From 2nd person or 3rd person perspective:

dum ‘that

del ‘this’

 

dumi ‘those’

deli ‘these’

Plural vs singular is the only morphological distinction, and there is no class agreement on deictic adjectives.

 

Examples:

dumi porisa ‘those sheep’ (far from you/another)

deli porisa ‘these sheep’ (near you/another)

 

tim porisa ‘those sheep’ (far from me)

tram porisa ‘these sheep’ (near me)

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Ori has a few irregular verbs, like all natural languages. Many of them are quite common verbs.

li ‘come’

me ‘go’

te ‘do, make’

celi ‘have’

syalu ‘use’

tyelu ‘know’

malu ‘be’

maro ‘give’

Examples of conjugations of irregular verbs (where two forms are listed under 3rd person, the first form is for animate/inanimate nouns and the second is for celestial/abstract nouns):

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More irregular verbs and other stuff to come!

Mintaka

Conlang/conculture: Ori(krindia): (temples, quick note on ‘s’, independent pronouns)…

Alrighty.

I am posting some photos of cliffs and mountains like this, since this is how I envisage some of the Orikrindian temples appearing, situated high in the mountains and built into the rock itself. My feeling at this point is one of their primary deities of their pantheon is a mountain goddess who is seen as a mother, supporting and giving life to many other smaller gods who represent entities that dwell on or around the mountain. I know there is a god that is represented by fire/volcanoes, since those are everywhere in Orikrindia. Somehow I want connect the fire god/mountain goddess in a kind of symbiotic relationship. I’m not sure how yet.

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One more small note on noun cases: I failed to mention that any nouns ending in -s are a little different. I noted that nouns ending in stops (oral or nasal) got an epenthetic -i- inserted before the main case ending for their class. Other final consonants like -r and -l do not. -s however is a little different. In certain respects, it follows the pattern of -l and -r in that it doesn’t get an epenthetic -i-, but in other instances, it does. See below for examples. Note which cases use the epenthetic -i- and which do not.

Inanimate noun: holis ‘door’

Animate noun: selis ‘teacher’

Celestial noun: tus ‘beam of light’

Abstract noun: lyos ‘grief’

nom sg: holis-is OR holis-∅; selis-is/selis-is; tus-ya; lyos-yal

gen sg: holis-ni; selis-ire; tus-sye; lyos-sye

dat sg: holis-im; selis-te; tus-ilya; lyos-lu

acc sg: holis-t selis-t; tus-pya; lyos-pya

loc sg: holis-il; selis-le; tus-cya; lyos-cu

instr sg: holis-ir; selis-in; tus-cya; lyos-ce

voc sg: holis-ca; (all use -ca)

nom pl: holis-sa; selis-sa; tus-ta; lyos-ta

gen pl: holis-ni; selis-si; tus-na; lyos-nya

dat pl: holis-mi; selis-ti; tus-lo; lyos-bi

acc pl: holis-tyin; selis-tyan; tus-ig; lyos-gya

loc pl: holis-len; selis-ic; tus-id; lyos-tya

instr pl: holis-ip; selis-int; tus-id; lyos-tya

voc pl: (all use -ca)

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So we have looked at the case system for full nouns of all classes. Now it is time to look at independent personal pronouns. Ori does mark the subject of the verb as a suffix, but it also includes personal pronouns that are not attached to the verb. See the chart below for how these pronouns exist in each case. Note that third person pronouns are irregular, and also that they exist differently for each class.

These pronouns can be made reflexive by the addition of the suffix -(i)cye:

canicye iyum cyan ‘I saw myself’

Example of pronoun use:

Cala ipalnda ‘I like them’ (lit: they are pleasing to me)

Tan yubru! ‘We see you!’

Elya abarita tresita ummultu ‘In them all blessings lie’

Maropye en eun! ‘Give it to them!’

Lye-trumat suhit ryesubru cyan na tyeli ipalir cyan ‘We sipped the red nectar and it pleased us’

Eu lye-tepet maroi cyan ‘I gave her the fruit’

 

~

Mintaka