Zezhi script: a syllabary

In addition to working on the Vinuvu abugida, I’ve also been creating a new conscript, called Zezhi. It is a syllabary, and is used in Keta, specifically in and around Ngyenau Bwezh, a small country in Ei (north of Quarios). I have the beginnings of a majority language of Ngyenau Bwezh, called Bwezhi, but it’s far from usable yet. It’s at that awkward stage where I know what the phonemes are and some basics about verbs, nouns, and word order, but not much else. It is essentially a fetus.

Zezhi itself has independent symbols for combinations of consonants and vowels, in the CV syllable structure. It also has symbols for lone vowels: V structure. It doesn’t have codas embedded in each symbol, but rather marks a “default” syllable as “vowelless” for this purpose, as Bwezhi does have some codas.

Here are some examples:

This is a given name: Miza Lie

Another name: Minisa Burun.
This is the name of the country Ngyenau Bwezh /ˈŋʲɛnau bʷɛʒ/. You can see the diacritics that indicate patalization and labialization in co
nsonants. The line under the final character means that there is a null vowel after this consonant, i.e. a syllable coda. You can also see that in the previous name “Burun”. The character used for codas is always the Ce (consonant plus /ɛ/) character. So without the line underneath, the name would appear as “Burune”.

Below is a transliteration of my full name: Margaret Neal Ransdell-Green.
The transliteration works out to: /margaret nil ranzdɛl grin/

Some Lexember examples: new words in conlangs

December is the month that conlangers of all kinds participate in something called Lexember. We create a new word (in the lexicon) for our conlang(s) every day of the month. I’ve been participating and sharing words largely through tumblr (user: aeniith) and twitter (@MintakaGlow). Here are a few from the first days so far.



Rílin

Dec 1:

íha [ˈiha], [v tr/intr] : [1] forgive, pardon; accept, understand; [2] know, acknowledge, recognize; [3] bring attention to, point out, remark on; [4] notice, realize

Etymology: Possibly from iŵ- [iɸ] ‘take in, accept’ and ja ‘know’

Example:

íhazim kasa tañ lönenet naba ŵedínla
íha      -z        -im kasa       tañ        lön -en-et     naba                  ŵedí -n-la
forgive-pst.prf-1s already dist woman-pl-abs whatever wrongdoing-pl-instr
“I have already forgiven those women for any wrongdoing’

Karkin

Dec 2:

vkāmēgh [vkɑːˈmeːɣ] [v tr/intr] (ki-verb class) : [1] break out of, escape from within; [2] break down a wall or other barrier; [3] (fig) destroy a boundary, flout a rule, defy expectations

Etymology: From vkā ‘strike, hit’ and mēgh ‘run, run away’.

Example:

Psi  nux-ë     twë  qhrō    ki    vkāmēgh-ā  -yi         vuq     kuqhkë mi  ja   wëngi-ā   -pa   
dist girl-3s.p  who early part defy        -pst-3s.a    all       clan      gen part speak-pst-1s.a
“I spoke with that girl who had previously broken all the boundaries of her family clan.”

Rílin

Dec 3:

bióŝû [bɪˈoʃʌ] [v intr] : [1] walk precariously, walk on a slippery or icy surface; [2] be in a precarious or unsure state; [3] be in a risky state, ‘walk on thin ice’.

Etymology: From bió ‘slip, slide’ and [jó]ŝû ‘walk’.

Example:

Ŝy-ky  sé    zaín séfet   tû pre-t       pato        bióŝû -l -í
be-irr prox time now do care-abs because walk.slippery-prs.hab-2s.fam
‘Now is the time to take care because you are in a precious position’

Rílin

Dec 4:

móníhas [moˈnihas] [n, inan] : [1] portent, omen, sign; [2] hint, clue; [3] tell, revealing action.

Etymology: From móní ‘watch, guard’ and has ‘sign, signal’.

Example: Né      í-t     -íí          kuala              -n-et ómina-mí,    x-óly    -t      -aap      lí-et      
      if   look-npst-2s.fut constellation-pl-abs sky-gen  caus-solve-npst-3s.fut 2s-abs the

                 bí ǵom-et ka-ŝó      kalum-mí a       oma-mí.  
                 knot-abs two-adv world-gen and  soul-gen

“If you look into the constellations in the sky, it will let you untie the knot of both the world and the soul.”

Tosi

tūgh [tuːɣ] [n] : [1] face; [2] front; [3] cover, outside covering, skin; [4] sleeve, sock, outer layer (e.g. of a wrapping, of clothing); [5] protective layer, protection, assurance, aide, help, assistance, back-up, auxiliary force.

Etymology: From Old Tosi tūhuz- “face; scalp”

Example:

Tapi sur ja da chi tūgh i vis rīy.
imp angle vrblz 2s.fem gen face obj to sky
“Turn your face toward the sky”

Tosi

Dec 6:

gungar [ˈɡuŋɡar] [v, tr] : [1] chase, pursue; [2] hunt (e.g. animals); [3] fish, catch fish; [4] seek out, look for, search for.

Etymology: From gar ‘follow’, and gun-, an emphatic prefix (cf. gun ‘great, might’).

Example:
Na gangur na chi xeti gek i, gempe tapi ixari!
1s.f pursue 1s.f gen female.servant drunk obj please imp help
“I’m chasing after my drunken servant, please help me!”

Tosi

Dec 7:

hās [hɑːs] [v, tr] : [1] fill; [2] replenish; [3] add to, increase.

Etymology: From old Tosi hāh-, hāθ- ‘full, plentiful’

Example:
Tapi hās na chi kūn i ge na gō tiv gunāl.
imp fill 3s.f gen cup obj if 3sg.f be punct.fut empty
“Fill her cup if it is empty”


Tosi proverbs + religion

Translation of a Tosi religious proverb, from the texts of Lamat.

Sa tapi gō fū sanā jela ji chi lōlchu i
neg imp be content without kneel.before 2sg.m gen goddess obj

“Content thee with naught without first kneeling before thy goddess”

I am working on writing the tenets of Tosi belief systems, which primarily focuses on one deity, Lamat, war goddess, but also on Kalu, god of silence and peace. The current matriarchal expansionist empire of the Tosi obviously draws most political attention to the cult of Lamat, but the priesthood of Kalu endures and cannot be denied its importance to the history of the Tosi people.

The highly stratified culture of the Tosi traditionally feeds/gears different sections of the texts toward either men or women, to further enforce gender roles. The modern translation (into Tosi from Old Tosi) shows this with the use of the masculine 2nd p sg pronoun: ji, rather than da (feminine).

~

In creating these deities, I originally wanted Lamat to be the only main goddess, to show the Tosi reverence for power and might through warfare, but I then decided that they should have more nuance in their spiritual and religious beliefs. Before Tos was an Empire, it was simply a small nation, with no massive army and military force to show the world. People would have worshiped a multitude of gods and demi-gods, as well as other divine spirits. I think, as Tosi culture changed over time with the changing political structure and the ever-expanding Empire, the religious institutions would have changed too, to emphasize those things that were politically beneficial for the expansion of the state and the Empire. The primary means of this expansion was via the military, so Lamat, as the goddess of war, would have expanded as well, from a goddess to whom soldiers would offer supplications for protection before going into battle, to a central deity whose texts would come to have a greater influence over many areas of life.

The masculine deity Kalu, who represents many of the opposing forces of Lamat (silence, peace, introspection, asceticism, purity, etc) is fundamentally seen as an extension of what the Tosi view as the perfect man: one is is serene and peaceful, not governed by passion. Women are seen as intrinsically superior in this matriarchal society, but they are also seen as imperfect in that they supposedly naturally of a stormier and more tempestuous nature. Men are supposedly a tempering force of quiet, darkness, passivity, rationality, as well as “softer” emotions, such as compassion and mercy. I don’t want to remove this opposing force in Tosi society, because I think without it, the religion becomes more one-dimensional.

Previously, I had only addressed the adherents of Kalu in terms of the priesthood–men who would cloister themselves from the rest of the world (including the world of war, which is seen as primarily the purview of women) and devote their energy to preserving some special force of calm in a culture that is known for its systematic violence and occasional chaos. I want to build up this side of the religion more, and include it in more fiction that I write for the Tosi.

Translation practice in Rílin

I’ve been doing more practice translation for Rílin, to fill out any needed grammatical or lexical gaps. Here is a recent one, taken from here.

English: “That is the city of the Goyanim. They are a strange people. They light their cities at night, as if the stars weren’t sufficient for their needs. They fight and kill each other, not realising the greater danger beyond their small world. And they do not hunt each other with bows and arrows. No, they have strange devices that kill from far away without arrows. And take care near their strange iron horses they use to travel. They travel faster than any natural beast ought to, and ignore the strength of the bow and arrow. Best if you avoid their cities, my son.”

Rílin: “Tañ yẃäp Góyanimenmu. Be’a li apen. Xavéjalapen tañ yẃäpet bänkasla, do be hyzû bín kuan. Ŝílapen apenset a zansalapen. Be mílulapen bí gaŝ krur̂ûet dexe ẃy kalumla apenmu. Be siŝulapen apenset kótûñla a ítäla. La, lykylapen be’a mönet baes zansalapen róŝó ŝa ítänla. A toroky né lí mu be’a ǵasíaínla zar̂mí baet lykylapen níñgíle. Zaílapen psötar̂ó dexe gölhañ ŝutréla, dexe lhyntíla kótûñmí a ítämí. Ptatí histä tañ yẃäpenet, mävû.”

I imagine a Rílin father telling his son about a culture with more advanced technology (possibly Tosi?). I may do an interlinear gloss but for now, it stands as-is. More to come.

Naga: Land of Butterflies



The western continent of Elta is a vast, largely tropical or forested region. It is known as Naga to outsiders, thought inhabitants don’t generally have a term for the continent as a whole. Some have adopted the term “Naga”, which is of Tosi origin, into their vocabularies. Contact with peoples of other continents, however, is mostly confined to restricted trade deals, mostly involved precious metals, timber (many common endemic trees of Naga have unique and highly sought after qualities), and fruits, although the latter are usually dried or otherwise preserved before their long journey across the sea.

Naga is known for its biodiversity. The dense jungles of its central regions rival those of northern Quarios. Culturally, Naga is not a monolith. It consists of myriad peoples, cultures, languages, and histories. There are few strict borders, and there cannot be said to be very many nation-states, but rather a variety of largely self-governing peoples that may, at any given time, interact, get along, fight, trade, or just ignore each other.

There are, however, a few notable exceptions. One is the known as the Lair of Kithaba, a religious group that has taken up resident in a long system of caves near the territory of the Alta people. They subsist largely from banditry and highway robbery, given their hidden location in the caves is suited to little else but hiding and practices their poorly understood religious practices. Despite the repeated efforts of their neighbors to eliminate their numbers, they remain a blight on the region and source of woe to many who are unfortunate enough to become their victims.

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’

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