The Richness of Infinity: On Integrating Worldbuilding Across Time and Space

For those of you who loved my podcast Epiphany, guess what? I’m working on a podcast called Ossia right now, and I passed the 32,000-word mark on it this week. It will operate in 5 chunks (seasons?) of 12 episodes each. Optimistically, I will start recording and posting it later in 2018.

But enough of that. I have some brief comments on worldbuilding.

One of my techniques in worldbuilding is to connect everything, at least at an implicit level, because I love solving puzzles. I commented on Twitter that this helps me create enough complexity to occupy my mind. That is true to some extent.

The major reason is more complex. I grew up reading Classical mythology, ghost stories, Star Wars extended universe novels, vampire fiction from the 19th century onward, and occasionally fantasy or science fiction. The way I approach interconnected worldbuilding is most like Classical mythology and historical narrative. It’s less like Star Wars, for which knowing Star Wars is key to understanding or even wanting to read the extended universe (for most people).

Classical myth is deep and wide, and the worldbuilding I do attempts at approximation. In sacred stories, we have the traditional epic cycle of the Trojan War and its aftermath. This exists alongside corpora of other stories. Hermes of the Iliad sits alongside the Homeric Hymn, in which baby Hermes steals cows, invents the lyre, and claims his place on Olympos. You don’t need to read one to understand the other. They all take place in the same divine world — larger than a single story or telos. A key idea in multiplicity is understanding that there is not a 1:1 correspondence between story and setting, that the stories of others exist in tandem to the anger of Akhilleos. The Nile still overflowed its banks each of the ten war-torn years, and people had their own things to do.

I worldbuilt 35,000 years (to varying levels of detail) of the history of Ameisa, which covers the entirety of its habitation, along with the six worlds that became inhabited during the cycles of Ameisi civilization. (On a vague level, I have everything in the 17,000 years before on the planet Jiha.) My worldbuilding includes the idea of civilizational cycles, with mythological histories layered on mythological histories. Traveling among the stars is always in the past because the stars have been reached in the real past, at least for everyone on these worlds. It’s similar to writing in a Classical myth setting because each provides an impressive breadth of stories to create.

The epic I’m writing’s world is Ameisa during a specific historical period that extends from 29964 to the 35500s Objective Count. (Objective Count just means that I have a civilization-neutral calendar dated to the first day humans landed on Ameisa. I convert to specific cultural calendars.) The other six planets only come in tangentially, and even so, their roles in the epic are specifically defined against what is happening on Ameisa during the Blackout Period and its aftermath.

This means that the intricacies of stories on the other six planets don’t often have opportunities to be told. The Blackout is a universal in many of the stories, but most people on Maðz, Atara, Mntaka, Baruwh, Qamaq, and even Ameisa’s sister planet Laseå will live and die during that 5500-year period with no awareness of any events in the epic, having lived out their own lives and stories. (Even the handful of people who interact with the epic know this, and they often resent Ameisa for taking center stage.)

Some of the projects I’ve been working on in addition to the world of 29965-35500 Ameisa include stories on the other planets. It’s refreshing because there’s almost no contact among the planets during the Blackout period, and I get to focus on cultures and languages that I wouldn’t otherwise.

However, I’ve often called stories set in the same universe as The Seven Papers “stories that are set in the same worldbuilding as The Seven Papers,” but I have spent several days reflecting on what that means and have determined that the terminology makes no sense. The Seven Papers is the Ameisi Epic Cycle, and the other stories that have space on the 35,000-year timeline are — what, exactly? They’re not derivative, but they do share a world. I don’t have a word to describe them.

A secondary analogy to make here is to imagine someone writing a historical fantasy novel series set across the vast span of Ancient to Modern Egyptian history who then decides to write a novel about 19th century Tokyo. Tokyo is impacted by Alexandria, but not in a way that most people living out their daily lives would understand consciously. They’re both in the same worldbuilding — Earth history. What happened during the Christianization of Alexandria has a direct impact on the missionary tension in Japan and Japan’s hard line against the cultural violence and destruction that has accompanied Christianity since its cultural revolution ended with the indigenous Mediterranean, Near Eastern, and European religions all but wiped out, libraries destroyed, statues mutilated, and competing polytheistic philosophical schools destroyed. When Christian missionaries converted powerful people in the common era, they often told them that their next job was to destroy the demonic shrines and religious traditions of the places they lived in — and when locals retaliated, the missionaries traditionally played the victim. This has played out everywhere from China (see the Boxer Rebellion) to Japan (see Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was concerned about shrine destruction and European imperialism) to India (just read the news). You cannot write 19th century Tokyo without the geopolitics intersecting with European imperialism, which came out of the Christianized Roman Empire. Someone writing a historical series like that would see the connections, but not necessarily the readers who follow lim.

Writing same-worldbuilding work set in different places and time periods works in a very similar way. One of the novellas is about mountain and death goddesses, family reconciliation, and ghosts. The other is about magic, libraries, and oracles. The protagonists are literally centuries, worlds, and cultures apart (and I finished the first draft of the oracular one at the beginning of April, so go me! 37,000 words!). They will never meet or learn the language of the other. The only place they connect is in their lack of connection, the Blackout silence in the sky.

The principles I used to create the Mamltab and Classical Atarahi conlangs also go by my general principles for the creation of Ameisa-origin languages, which is more subtle. I’ve oversampled for object-verb-subject (OVS) and the types of evidentiality markers that date back to the first language spoken on the planet. The inner unity after millennia is solely based on having the same initial condition, Aòḥám.

And it’s also unbelievably fun to write things that are new and disconnected, to know that the worldbuilding I made has such incredible range that I can use it for extremely different applications. I’m still looking for an elegant term to use in describing these works, but for now, I think I’ll call them co-worldbuilt mythopoetic stories.

The Final Paragraph of Epiphany

So, after 54 chapters and one cultural primer on the systems of gender in the country Tveshė, Epiphany: The Story of a Heartbeat is done.

And Epiphany ended with a paragraph written in Narahji. Let’s talk about it.

Axopatomsa Eråsis glabdesu. Dof tëæmlaek mamgukofa mosjefenga. T’eikniphaomæ klesælịru kul makra dåmịmla av sanmoksuösaịru omnibh. Glabdeml mök lịbånibhæ̈ paänxa, dokusa kubhu tazai radåmfæva länglabdeml? Hjenähjas oxikanælaeroneu ịkur besu. Murhjas rịbhælaịrruịr. Ku fædeis murhjas oxikanælaịrru. Axopatomsa Eråsis glabdesu. Kækyåv moru glabdesu.

This paragraph begins with the use of two names, Axopatomsa and Eråsiswhich are the informal and formal names respectively of Salus’ younger daughter. In addition, Salus addresses lim as Toma in the entry itself, a common nickname for someone named Axopatomsa. Any verb with glabde in it is a form of the verb eklab, an irregular infinitive.

You will also see a lot of words with the root of nibh, which translates to well-oiled. The word is also used to mean good and is extremely versatile. Oils are very prized in Narahja, where they are used to condition hair, skin, and wooden objects, in addition to their use in temples for icon anointing, scented oil offering lamps, and purificatory baths.

The entire passage translates to:

I am Axopatomsa Eråsis. This is where my mother’s journal ends. The print pages have been placed online, and I have read it faithfully. Isn’t it strangely impressive what, in the end, le decided needed to be said? People before lim wouldn’t have done it. Le dedicated this to me and gave me this choice. I am Axopatomsa Eråsis. I am ler daughter.

That, of course, is an idiomatic translation.

Eiknipha is the word for datastream or the Internet, which is meant in a loose sense because the way online infrastructure works there is very different. I translated dåmịmla loosely, as the more literal translation would be handed, in the sense of something produced via hand. The particle æ̈ (a rough-breathed æ) is a suffix attached to the word in a simple yes/no question that is under scrutiny, in this case the impressiveness of Salus’ entries.

Speaking in Narahji is very hard because the stress system is so different from English, my native language. It has more vowels and a few consonant clusters that are not very intuitive. I don’t want to say how many takes of that paragraph I needed, but my actual podcast notes looked like this:

Ax.op.at.omˈsa E.råsˈis ˈglab.de.su. Dof të.ˈæ.ml.a.ek mam.gu.ko.ˈfa mo.sje.fen.ˈga.
T’eik.ni.ˈpha.om.æ ˈkles.æl.ịru kul mak.ˈra dåm.ịm.ˈla av san.mok.su.ˈö.sa.ịru om.ˈnibh.
ˈGlab.de.ml mök lị.bå.ˈnibh.æ̈ pa.än.ˈxa,
do.ku.ˈsa ku.ˈbhu ta.ˈzai ra.dåm.fæ.ˈva län.ˈglab.de.ml?
Hje.ˈnä.hjas o.xi.ˈkan.æ.la.er.o.neu ị.ˈkur be.ˈsu.
ˈMur.hjas ˈrịbh.æ.la.ịrr.u.ịr.
Ku fæ.ˈdeis ˈmur.hjas o.xi.ˈkan.æl.a.ịrr.u.
Ax.op.at.omˈsa E.råsˈis ˈglab.de.su.
Kæ.ˈkyåv mo.ˈru ˈglab.de.su.

I did takes until I was confident that how I said it was the best I could do. Please keep in mind if you listen to that entry that my American English accent is vey present. I didn’t invent Narahji to be easy.

There was also a sentence that didn’t make it in, which I feel sad about — I was copying and pasting a lot of things into my audio notes.

The missing sentence: Tsemanok! I nexus lịrnibh kul tsünas åtsu bivosafbelo. Tsemanok! Through this good path by means of your dice I hope that I walk. Or, simply, I hope that Tsemanok has taken me down the correct path.

Tsemanok is a god much like Hermes, Eshu, or Ganesh, and Toma’s sentiment is something I share.

😅

How I Use Pronoun Systems to Reflect Conlangs and Concultures

So, I started doing something very different during the first decad of February — writing a story in the universe of Seven Papers that makes use of the pronouns he and sheLe is also there, but is not used for every character.

Epiphany and stories like it use GNP for everyone, and I’ve gone into some reasons why in the additional documentation for Epiphany — there are many genders, and I want to emphasize both the conlang context and the cultural experience of gender. My short stories in Seven Papers also use gender-neutral pronouns. Here’s how I determine what kind of system I’m using:

  • First person: Is the character speaking a language without gender-inflected pronouns? And does the setting have more than two culturally contextual genders? Use GNP for everyone.
  • Third person (which is usually actually first person in a roundabout way): In the setting, would this story be written in a privilege language that uses gender-neutral pronouns? And does the setting have more than two culturally contextual genders? If so, use GNP for everyone.

The story I’m writing now is the first third-person story I’ve written where the privilege language is Classical Atarahi. Classical Atarahi is a Sāqab language that dates to a few thousand years after the human colonization of the planet Atara. It’s the international standard language on that planet, coexisting alongside many languages that evolved from creoles or the passage of time. Speakers learn it alongside their native languages. Upper classes typically take names in Classical Atarahi; middle and lower classes typically have names in their native languages.

To take a bird’s eye view, Sāqab cultures have restricted gender-inflected pronouns that correspond to he and she. They’re restricted because they cannot be used for anyone who has not completed a gender initiation ritual, and they’re bestowed on men and women. Gender initiation practices mean that Sāqab rarely ever use gender-inflected pronouns for cultural outsiders, barring diplomats.

This leads to a host of misunderstandings, such as the idea that he and she are desirable status markers. The Sāqab peoples ran the last interplanetary empire before its collapse, so Sāqab cultures exist on four planets: Ameisa, Atara, Mntaka, and Qamaq. (Although, to be honest, Mntaka has significant Leissi and Hǫ́ Tiá influence, too, and there are a few diaspora communities on other worlds.) On Ameisa, the Great Peninsular Sāqab countries confer higher status on women due to some significant cultural shifts, so many Tveshi, Iturji, and Narahji speakers mistakenly identify she as a formal pronoun. Karatau Meiyenesi, a character who appears in many of my stories, asks to be referred to using the Malzmā language’s she in formal settings and le in less formal settings to emphasize that jomela in Tveshi culture do receive initiation into their gender and are not sselē. Le knows Malzmā well and is completely aware that le’s queering usage.

In Sāqab cultures, those without initiation, including children, use a pronoun set I am translating as le. Men and women learn distinct writing systems; sselē (the culture’s other gender) can learn all systems, and they can move between men and women’s segregated spaces in households and society freely. Gender initiates lose the ability to move freely. In some Sāqab countries like Midway Island, only sselē are eligible for Chancellor, the chief of the executive branch of government. In other countries like Demza, Chancellorship is open to anyone, but sselē typically occupy the office.

So what happens when you’re talking about someone who grows up in a story? In most cases, adults will use le when describing someone’s childhood, with a marker in the introductory sentence that means le who eventually took she. It doesn’t translate easily into English. The words girl and boy are typically not used until a child’s mid-teens, and they indicate someone who is a candidate for womanhood or manhood — le’s going to preparatory classes for gender initiation and can’t use a gender-inflected pronoun yet.

Here’s an example: Īðī māqomu us mīki hēramōkotgēzi gotomis. Tisoðwō ramōkotgēzi. At five, le herself loved rain. Le danced in it. The -gēzi on the verb indicates gender-neutral third person singular. Gotomis is the standalone pronoun for a woman, which translates to both she and herself. Subsequent sentences use -gēzi without the additional pronoun. There’s also a special standalone pronoun for children, tīta.

One of my favorite things to do while writing a story is to figure out how to best convey culture/language through my own language choices. When I need a gender-neutral pronoun (GNP), I almost always use le — at least in fiction writing. Singular inflection is important to me, but the initial consonant is also very clear even for speakers coming from non-l/r distinction languages. None of the characters in stories set in the Seven Papers speaks English, so I can focus on what I want out of GNP — a pronoun that reflects the social mores of the work’s reference language.

Outside of the Seven Papers setting, I use whichever GNP makes the most sense, and that really relies on knowing the story and its character(s). I have one that uses some singular they because it takes place in 2013 during the Anthesteria, it is written in close third person, and it makes sense given its common usage. Another story uses ze; this is set in the close future (several centuries ahead). In both, GNP coexists with the gender-inflected pronouns he and she. I’ve got an idea percolating for a story set a few more hundred years from now where they is singular and th’all is plural.

I hope that y’all have found this interesting as a linguistics groupie and conlanger’s perspective on making active choices about choosing pronouns to use in stories. Otherwise, I’m happily chugging away at this outline about an Atarahi librarian apprentice.

Reflections on Writing in 2017

Writing-wise, 2017 was an interesting year. This is the part where I talk about a variety of projects related to writing and constructed languages and what happened over last calendar year (and into January 2018).

In 2017 (and January 2018 — I didn’t finish editing a novella until midway through the month), here’s what I did in long-form writing, for a total of ~334,000 words:

  • A novella about sisters, ghosts, and a mountain goddess: 37,715 words (done)
  • Plowing through writing The Seven Papers: 282,509 words (in progress)
  • Ossia (a serial intended for podcasting): 4,530 words (in progress)
  • An epistolary novel set during Ameisa’s Blackout period: 9,320 (in progress)

This doesn’t include all of the hours I’ve spent working on Epiphany, as that was edited back in 2016. There had been an earlier version of Epiphany online before I worked through a lot of the problems I had — primarily with how to explain Tveshi and Narahji culture — and I wrote the original text of Epiphany in my early 20s. I didn’t switch to using GNP in most of my stories about the Seven Gardens until I was 27 or 28, after I had an epiphany (lol) at Smith College ConBust and realized that I could fix translating gender in my stories about those worlds if I just didn’t do it at all.

It’s not going to make it any harder to get published given that my stories are generally about people we would consider queer doing things other than coming out or falling in love. There isn’t a place in the industry for that. What makes the stories better is, ironically, what makes them even less publishable and destroys their market viability — I care more about producing good work, and I have the freedom to do that because I have a full-time career outside of writing. Since I only have 10-15 hours each week that I can commit to writing, I don’t want to waste my time with things I don’t love.

In short form, I wrote 5-6 poems that I would consider publishable — this doesn’t count devotional religious poetry I write because I don’t consider it ethical (for me) if I’ve already given a poem to a deity. The only appropriate venue for devotional poetry would be a self-published collection, and I’d give the proceeds from that to Hellenic polytheism-related orgs.

Technically, I wrote and submitted 5 short stories, but I stopped submitting the 10K one and turned it into a novella. 3 of the other short stories (4,100 words; 6,200 words; and 1,900 words) are set in the universe I typically write in. The final one is … okay, also set in that universe, but is near-to-us future (7,500 words). I’ve also got a gorgon story that I’m editing right now that was technically written in December/January (3,900 words). So that’s ~23,600 words of short story writing. Based on what I’ve submitted places, I’ve tweaked Duotrope to block listings. It’s a weird block list because it consists of everything Orson Scott Card (who is homophobic) is involved in plus markets I have failed in enough that I know they’re a waste of my time.

In summer 2017, I took vacation time and spent about a week conlanging my heart out to produce better versions of Mamltab, Narahji, and Khessi. And then, of course, there was #lexember, when I worked on my Tveshi dictionary and made significant progress in the revisions.

I started submitting to short fiction and poetry publications in March 2017 for the first time since my early twenties. 26 of the 29 submissions I made in 2017 were rejected, 1 submission was published, and 2 are still pending. I find it hard to tell the difference between personal emails and form letters, so I think I checked form rejection in Duotrope for all but 2 pieces. An essay among those rejected actually never received a response, but it was a bit rant-y, and I don’t think many in science fiction or fantasy beyond me care about how poorly worldbuilt or researched most depictions of polytheism are (by admittedly white Western writers).

The published submission was a poem, “What Remains in the Ruins,” which I wrote after reading The Final Pagan Generation and its section on the priests who followed Christian officials around to vandalize and destroy non-Christian religious sites. It focuses on women’s religious experience in Classical polytheism and is a very angry poem.

Poetry is the one type of writing outside of academic articles and essays where I feel an internal locus of control — although the jury’s out on novellas. (I felt really good and in control while writing the one I just finished. I wrote a bunch of novella-length work in my teens and realized midway through the one I just wrote that I have a better handle on novellas than I realized going in.) I won local poetry competitions in my hometown (in my age category) and have written poetry since fifth grade. I went to a several-day writing camp at Southern Illinois State University during summers as a teen, and I surprised the adults with how good the poetry I chose to read actually was. I have always made a clear distinction between the poetry I jot down and the poetry that is appropriate to share with others. My self-esteem folder of nice things people have said about my work is generally about poetry I published in my early to mid-20s under my given name.

The poem I shared at that writing camp, incidentally, is set in the same universe as Epiphany and The Seven Papers. It was written long before I realized that gender-neutral pronouns were the solution to the gender things I was struggling with in the work. It also uses pre-reform spellings of Narahji terms:

Song of Menarka

My heart sings of Menarka as she rises out of time; 
The mist, her hair, flows over her face in a rainbow spray of color.
My heart sings of Menarka; her rocks are overgrown
With the sweet perfume of a thousand flowers.
My heart sings of Menarka, whose walls hold the music
And lifeblood of my world, my Ameisa.
Shall I withhold the sweet ecstasy of her name?
Dare I not cry “Menarka!” at every golden moment?
Menarka is an emerald jewel cascading over the rocks
Of the sharply dropping cliffs—indeed, she is the cliffs themselves!
She is the epitome of all desire, standing before the mountains,
Her white dome glistening in the sunlight and moonlight.
The people cry her name with rapture as they experience her,
Running through her cavernous depth of rock.
Menarka, we have made our homes in your very bedrock!
We have fashioned ourselves from your beauty! We honor you!
See her reflect in the river far below us; see her smile upon us!
Her walls are the most beautiful in the world;
Her greens are the most luscious; they smell of euphoria!
She is my Menarka, rising out of the mists,
Lifting sweet perfume to the air, dancing in the revelry of music!
My heart sings of her unspeakable beauty.

That’s it for Jan/Feb 2018 updates! I’m moving into a new apartment on Thursday, but will probably be on Twitter with banter about conlangs and writing.

 

Lexember #22-31: Fried pastries, counting mass nouns is hard, and yes, there’s a word for the darkness of space

A screenshot of my Tveshi dictionary.

I have a lot of lexember stuff below, most of it from Twitter. Since I have more than 280 characters here, I’ve significantly expanded some chunks, such as December 24th’s entry, where I describe how more complicated types of counting work in Tveshi (e.g., how you say you have three bowls of soup instead of just three bowls).

This year’s lexember has been fun! I’m not 100% done with fixing my Tveshi dictionary, but made enormous progress with it. I also started improving some of the grammar sections and developed more of a feel for the very loose prefixes Tveshi uses. As an example, you’ll see a lot of words with the prefix si-, which often makes study of or big-deal version of or ideal when used.

One unexpected outcome is that I wrote down — in the correct place, my LaTeX document — many of the differences between Galasuhi Tveshi (also called common Tveshi, a simplified form of the language) and Standard Tveshi (the language taught in schools).

An example of the difference between standard Tveshi and the Galasuhi dialect is below. In English, it reads: On a warm day, we sauteed meat in spicy-hot floral sauce. We ate by the brook.

Kaulasėa gịhji mesh tessiem aoakonnapėa hi moti ho. Mesh håćiem kayaheyėalumėa.
Kaulasėa gịṙi mero teshiem aoakonnapėa hi moti ho. Mero håćiem kayakeyulėum.

In addition to simplified grammar (a loss of gender in nouns), there are some sound changes. The sound “hj” /ʝ/ becomes “ṙ” /ɹ/, which means that Galasuhi Tveshi has /ɾ/, /ɹ/, and /ʀ/ as three distinct sounds. A merging of a few consonants has led to pitch contrasts, too.

But anyway. On to lexember!

December 22

Ka /kʼɑ/ n. Essence, as in a pure form of something. Sika /ˈsi.kʼʌ/ — abstract quality of something reduced to its essentials.

Adjective kayi /ˈkʼɑ.ji/ — basic. Adjective sikahi /si.ˈkʼɑ.çi/ — back-to-basics, reduced.

Verb asikait /ʌ.ˈsi.kʼait̪/, to essentialize.

December 23

Raue /ɾaʊ͡ɛ/ n. Fried pastry ball that swells when fried. Rauyi /ˈɾaʊ̯.ji/, swelling or puffy. Arauyait /ʌ.ˈɾaʊ̯.jaɪt̪/, to swell, to puff.

Mịraue /ˈmɪ.ɾaʊ͡ɛ/ is bodily swelling. Huturaue /xu.ˈt̪u.ɾaʊ͡ɛ/, a puffy, often cylindrical cushion often found in living rooms and lounge areas.

December 24

On December 24th, I spent most of my lexembering time furrowing my brow at numbers in Tveshi, which are base 12. Someone asked me if Tveshi needs measure words, and I said no, but then I realized that I’d mostly ever just used Tveshi numbers in simple contexts.

I made these two words in the process of formulating some better number-related usage:

Vaue /va͡ʊɛ/ n. Liter, a unit of measurement.

Vou /vou̯/ n. Box.

But beyond that, here are some example sentences with more complex types of numbering.

The prefix jua-, measure of, is typically used on the article in these examples. The thing being measured is first, barring indirect object constructions in examples 6 and 8. The word (which takes the N noun class article) is used in situations like 6 and 8 below, where the mass noun itself is being measured.

Examples 5-8 show examples of how nouns that can be divided up interact with container nouns (e.g., boxes, bowls) during counting. Objects like small stones, oil, water, and the like can also take la as a measure word.

  1. Shei laih juafemị tusa. Water bowl measure of three, AKA, three bowls of water. This is how mass nouns, such as shei, water, can be counted by their containers. Note lack of plural markers.
  2. Shei hjiu juafemị sia. Water drops measure of five. Again, note lack of plural markers.
  3. Akateñua sejiña juakin ića hålanol. Persons crowd measure of 144 AKA a crowd of 144 people. This is how collective nouns like sejiña are divided up.
  4. Ossuet vaue juason koa. Plant oil liters measure of eight AKA eight liters of plant oils. Alternatively, ossuet vaue lason koa. Note lack of plural markers.
  5. Kuraić vou juafemị hålan. Pens box measure of 12 AKA a box of 12 pens.
  6. Kuraiyuoć vouć oć juason koa. Pens.DISTRIBUTIVE boxes measure of 8 AKA eight boxes of pens. The distributive case is used to indicate that pens are contained within each of the boxes. One can also say vouć koa, eight boxes.
    1. In the Galasuhi dialect of Tveshi, kuraiyuoć vouć koa is used more frequently.
    2. In standard Tveshi, eliminating jua-DET is seen more often in writing and all but the most formal speech. Kuraiyuoć vouć oć koa.
  7. Raueć laih juafemị koa. Raue bowl measure of eight AKA a bowl of eight raue.
  8. Raueyėoć laihua oć juason koa. Raue.DISTRIBUTIVE bowls measure of eight AKA eight bowls of raue.

December 25

Matia /ˈmɑ.t̪iʌ̯/ n. Yellow. Matiahi /mʌ.ˈt̪iɑ̯.çi/, adjective yellow. Amatiahit /ʌ.mʌ.ˈt̪iɑ̯.çit̪/, to yellow. Colloquially, matiahi is a synonym of khin, dawn. Matialesė /mʌ.t̪iʌ̯.ˈlɛ.sə/, alternative for porå /ˈpoʊ̯.rɔ/, sun; also pora /ˈpoʊ̯.rʌ/.

Khiaporå /ʀiʌ̯.ˈpoʊ̯.rɔ/ n. Sunlight.

I had technically already made the word matia, but wanted to provide context for the word khiaporåsunlight — the word I actually made — because December 25th is a festival day for people who practice Religio Romana (Roman polytheism) in addition to the Christian celebration of Christmas, and I thought vocabulary surrounding the sun would be fun to do. In the Hellenic calendar, which is lunar, December 25th doesn’t actually carry much meaning. It fell on lunar days 6 & 7 this year, which are sacred to Artemis and Apollon respectively; last year, it fell on Haloa.

The Tveshi new year falls at about the same time as ours, but on the Winter Solstice, where it marks the beginning of a 10-day (decad-long) festival to celebrate Enahari, the Goddess of the Thousand Million Suns. Enahari is the primary goddess worshipped in the Tveshi state. Other Sabaji cultures place less emphasis on Enahari.

December 26

La /lɑ/ n. Mass, as in something that has mass (matter). Can be used as a measure word for liquids or piles of tiny things. Layi /ˈlɑ.ji/, substantive; often applied to concepts or situations to emphasize their size. Sila /ˈsi.lʌ/ is matter in physics.

Lejė va khono layi.
That’s a substantive fishlike animal.

Here, layi indicates appropriateness for however the massive size is relevant (e.g., it’s enough fish for five people). It could also mean that someone found a good deal on khono at the market.

Olayi /oʊ.ˈlɑ.ji/ means massive.

Lejė va khono olayi.
That’s a massive fishlike animal.

December 27

Maio /maɪ͡o/ n. Wonder, as in the sense of full astonishment at the beauty of the universe or an occurrence in life. Maiohi /ˈmaɪ͡o.çi/, wondrous. Naramaio /nʌ.ˈɾɑ.maɪ͡o/, wonderful.

December 28

Mosau /ˈmoʊ̯.saʊ̯/ n. Prose as a distinct piece of non-verse writing. Adjective mosauyi /moʊ̯.ˈsaʊ̯.ji/. Mosaukouri /moʊ̯.saʊ̯.ˈkʼou̯.ɾi/, a prose writer of fiction or nonfiction. Simosau /si.ˈmoʊ̯.saʊ̯/, prose as a genre.

I did a lot with literary words on December 28th. There’s a separate word for fiction, morė /ˈmoʊ.ɾə/. Fiction can either be verse or prose. Most fiction is verse, admittedly.

There’s a prefix nu- that loosely translates to taste, which can either be used for literal sensory tastes or for metaphorical tastes, such as things people temporarily dip into. The word numorė /nu.ˈmoʊ.ɾə/ is used for short fiction designed to be read during commutes of various lengths.

December 29

Mua /muɑ̯/ n. Night. Muayi /ˈmuɑ̯.ji/, night as adj. Meila muayi, night-child, a word used to describe someone overly inquisitive.

Umua /ˈu.muɑ̯/, the darkness of space. Muanokho /muɑ̯.ˈnoʊ̯.ʀoʊ̯/, the deep shadows in corners after dark.

Nuñamua /nu.ˈɲɑ.muɑ̯/, the sound of animals after dark. Oiamua /ˈoiɑ̯.muɑ̯/, shadow.

December 30

Ñịsh /ɲɪʃ/ n. Sand. Ñịshi /ˈɲɪ.ʃi/, sandy.

Dañịsh /ˈdɑ.ɲɪʃ/, coastline that is a mix of rock/sand at low tide.

Aiñịshi /aɪ.ˈɲɪ.ʃi/, anything abrasive or exfoliating and human-made, such as sandpaper (tusa aiñịshi) or exfoliant (ossuet aiñịshi).

December 31

Vean /vɛɑ̯n/ n. Wilderness. Plural veamua /ˈvɛɑ̯.muɑ̯/. Veani /ˈvɛɑ̯.ni/, wild.

Iveamua /i.ˈvɛɑ̯.muɑ̯/, High Wilds, used to describe outer space. You’ll notice that in my writing, whenever Tveshi is the implicit written language, I use the words High-Wilds or High Wilds instead of off-world. The Tveshi concept of the universe is more like a desert containing many oases, some of which are human-inhabitable. The word planetpeaira, also means garden — there is no distinction.

Iavean /ˈiɑ̯.vɛɑ̯n/, a generic name used for deities associated with wilderness or wild places, adjective iaveani. Tveshi deities with wilderness aspects include Enapuata, Enaoyi, Enameisa, Enashisha, and Enakhiavoshei. The prefix Ena- means Divine and is often (but not always) used with gods.

THANK YOU FOR READING AS I LEXEMBERED THIS MONTH! 😁

Happy Winter Solstice! (… and Lexember #17-21)

First off, Happy Winter Solstice to everyone! ☀️🌃

In Tveshi, that would be Keshehio Oinnuporåsėo mesah! — You.DAT Winter Solstice.CAUS solidarity/hello/salutations. Indirect objects come before direct objects.

In Narahji, Ku tsukgenahaitsi raerås domozmbe. A/the Winter Solstice memorable have.IMPERATIVE you.PL.

Second, I published a poem in Eternal Haunted Summer called “What Remains in the Ruins.” There’s a lot of great stuff in the Winter Solstice issue from many talented people.

I had to make a lot of my wintertime vocabulary for Tveshi today — a really weird oversight considering that the culture has its roots in a high-latitude region of Ameisa. I had words for snow and cold in Narahji despite the warm climate, for a quick contrast. In my Tveshi lexicon work, I’m happy with the word for ice — jiashei, literally water-glass. Ice frozen on surfaces is called khereshei(ć)water-tile(s). North Tvaji continent winters are icy rather than snowy. To get truly snowy winters, one would need to travel across the ocean to the Amur region.

Day 17

Ho /hoʊ̯/ n.  Meat. Adjective hohi /ˈhoʊ̯.çi/, meaty, umami-filled, filling, satisfying. Verb ahohit /ʌ.ˈhoʊ̯.çit̪/, to raise livestock for meat. Annolisho /ʌ̃ð.oʊ.ˈli.ʃoʊ̯/, meat animal.

Vegetarianism/veganism is not prevalent in Sabaji parts of Tveshė and is typically associated with social classes that cannot afford as much meat. The Sabaji Tveshi eat what is prepared by their families. Various priesthoods and shrines have their own ritual purity standards that might limit food groups. Meat, however, is very socially sought.

Among the Ịgzarhjenya, vegetarianism/veganism is a mourning diet practiced 1-3 years after the death of close family members, marked by the phrase ärrgorrophontis ñudssa.

Day 18

Innodå /ĩð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/ n. Library, archive. Innodåkouri /ĩð.oʊ̯.dɔ.ˈkʼou̯.ɾi/, a librarian or archivist. Unnodå /ũð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/, archive. Oinnodå /ɔĩ̯ð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/, library.

Irå /ˈi.ɾɔ/ n. Translation. Aråhit /ʌ.ˈɾɔ.çit̪/, to translate. Another term for to translate is

ahakhit modayuić jeihi
ʌ.ˈhɑ.ʀit̪ moʊ̯.ˈdɑ.yui̯tʃ ˈʒeɪ̯.çi
to twist through collected words

On Twitter, I then deviated into plausible dystopian scenarios involving books that occasionally happen in my writing:

Mė khanem akouanait åssekać jinnahio.
I forced people to burn books.

Mė khanem peimu innodåkouri.
I forced the librarian away.

Mė khanem fem peimu innodåkouri.
I forced the librarian away from ler place.

In my lexicon, the above sentences actually illustrate how the word pei (place) is used. The base word, when used with suffixes like -mu, can indicate directionality. To emphasize that you do mean a place, the article needs to appear before any indirect use of pei, as in fem peimu.

Day 19

Khaña (DN) /ˈʀɑ.ɲʌ/ n. Center. Khañi /ˈʀɑ.ɲi/, central. Akhañit /ʌ.ˈʀɑ.ɲit̪/, to center, to put at the midpoint.

Lioć henekhañi /lioʊ̯tʃ hə.nə.ˈʀɑ.ɲi/, centerless circles, a common way to describe gods in philosophy and mysticism.

 

Day 20

Khia /ʀiɑ̯/ n. Light, in the sense of illumination on the electromagnetic spectrum. A different word is used for light pigments. Khiai /ʀi͡ɑi/, lit. Akhiai /ˈɑ.ʀi͡ɑi/, well-lit. Akhiait /ˈɑ.ʀi͡ɑit̪/, to light.

Day 21

Onnuneporå /oʊ̯̃ð.u.nə.ˈpoʊ̯.rɔ/ n. Solstice. This is a generic term used for either of the two solstices. The Winter Solstice is called Oinnuporå /o͡ʊið.u.ˈpoʊ̯.rɔ/, from oihonnuneporå. The Summer Solstice is called Iyonnuporå /ij.oʊ̯ð.u.ˈpoʊ̯.rɔ/.

Lexember Days #8-16: Teachers and Ancestors

Lexember has been going well, and one of its biggest benefits is that I’ve started rendering things in IPA. Going forward on my podcast, I think I will actually just render Tveshi and Narahji words in IPA for my script version — it’ll be a lot easier to minimize my American vowel accent that way.

This is the “teachers and ancestors” post, so named because I want to start out with a longer word that I cannot fit in tweets — the Tveshi word for teacherfågoim /ˈfɑ.go͡ʊim/.

Fågoim is a good word for showing something important with Tveshi articles. Tveshi articles are not mandatory in most cases, nor are they used often. Here’s an example:

Mesh fayiem gefai mėi.
/Mɛʃ ˈfɑ.jiɛ̯m ˈgɛ.faɪ̯ ˈmɛ.ʔi./
We performed last rites for my grandmother.

This directly glosses to:

Mesh fay-iem gefai mei.
1PL perform-last-rites-PST-PL grandmother 1S-POSS.

There is no article present in the actual Tveshi accompanying grandmother.

Articles, where they appear, come after the noun in most cases. In these places, one uses an article for emphasis. They come before the noun in others. The difference between kin/emị kena (an obsession or crush) and kena kin (the desire) relies on whether the article precedes or follows the noun. In the former case, it’s necessary for meaning; in the latter, it’s emphatic. One could actually say emị kena emị to refer to a crush emphatically.

Words like teacher, on the other hand, showcase some formality features in modern Tveshi that involve articles. One’s own teacher is fågoim mėi, as an example — the word teacher with the possessive pronoun.

To show respect to a teacher one has never had, the archaic articles for people are used in front of the word, not after — emị fågoim.

Within philosophical schools, someone who is not directly one’s teacher is referred to with the article feim, typically reserved for ghosts in old liturgical texts. This is because the ghost of that person’s teaching are within one’s own teacher.

Mė ćalimem em fågoim lịfa nossu vėi gopesem.
I comforted a teacher.HON when ler.FORM student died.
(Em is the object form of emị.)

Mė ćalimem fågoim mėi lịfa nossu gopesem mėshepui.
I comforted my teacher when a student among us died.

Mė ćalimem fan fågoim lịfa nossu gopesem mėshepui.
I comforted a teacher.HON when a student among us died.
(Fan is the object form of feim.)

The adjective henefågoini, teacherless, is a pejorative used against socially disruptive teachings or those who adhere to them. Fågoini is the adjective teaching, as in nonakhė fågoini, a teaching forest used in forestry and agricultural education.

Sifågoim indicates the education industry, with fågoinekouri meaning a teacher in the context of primary and secondary education. Fågoinekouri is never used for philosophical school teachers or teachers in higher education.

Ufågoim is often used for university-level faculty.

The verb afågoinit means to teach, to nurture a teaching in someone. The word for families instructing/teaching children is amolit, with the adjective moli and noun mola. Fanagoć mėi mola athuait mesh. My parents taught us to sing sacred songs.

#Lexember on Twitter

On Day 9, I realized that many on Twitter might not realize that I am doing 20-30 entries a day, as I intend to fix my Tveshi dictionary and grammar this month despite how daunting a project it actually is.

To select which entries to tweet, I think about which ones are (a) cool and (b) can fit in a single tweet. Sometimes, this fails because things like ancestors and ghosts are cool — but a snapshot tweet of what I’m doing is my intention. I have plenty of short entries, such as:

åsseka, book
geha, peak
modakoura, committee
hahi, broken
feaså, scroll
hjo, bed

… and none of these has a lengthy entry. (Well, geha does.)

Day 8

Noña /ˈnoʊ̯.ɲʌ/ n. Quietude, stillness, restfulness.
Adjective noñi /ˈnoʊ̯.ɲi/, quiet, still, restful. Evokes the quality of silence near the winter solstice when walking at night in snowy stillness.
Verb anoñit /ʌ.ˈnoʊ̯.ɲit̪/, to rest, to be still, to be quiet.

Day 9

Atiato /ʌ.ˈt̪iɑ̯.t̪o/ n. StreamAtiatohi /ʌ.t̪iʌ̯.ˈt̪o.çi/, stream-likeAtiatohit /ʌ.t̪iʌ̯.ˈt̪o.çit̪/, to stream. Colloquially, atiato describes things that are steady, but manageable & habitual.

The Tveshi version of the Internet is called atiatoennaji /ʌ.t̪iʌ̯.t̪oʊ̯.ə̃ð.ˈɑ.ʒi/, streamspace-of-peopleAtiatoenna /ʌ.t̪iʌ̯.t̪oʊ̯.ˈə̃ð.ʌ/ is used to describe public goods and benefits paid for by the citizenry.

I decided to post this word predominantly due to Net Neutrality. The Tveshi Internet is very unlike ours, as social media platforms beyond an online forum system do not exist. One generally communicates via text or vid.

Day 10

 /dɛ/ n. StoneDi /di/, durablemade of stone.
As a verb, adit /ˈɑ.dit̪/, to solidify, is used in metaphor to describe things that are made solid like stone.
Colloquially, di is used to refer to reliable people.

Day 11

Daiahė /ˈdaɪ͡a.hə/ n. The quality of being in good order; orderly symmetry. Efịhjo femị hat daiahė. That bedroom feels right (and is clean).
Daiahi /ˈdaɪ͡a.çi/, clean, well-ordered.
Adaiahit /ʌ.ˈdaɪ͡a.çit̪/, to clean, to put in order.

Day 12

Ćaofo /ˈtʃɑo̯.foʊ̯/ n. VineAćaofoit /ʌ.ˈtʃɑo̯.fo͡ʊit̪/ is to vine. A blood-vine tree is called called yoi thoćaofoi /jo͡ʊi θoʊ̯.ˈtʃao̯.fo͡ʊi/or yoi kouveshi /jo͡ʊi kʼou̯.ˈvɛ.ʃi/, tree blood-vining or heart-containing tree.

When I talk about blood-vines or blood-vining trees in Epiphany, I am never being metaphorical. These are not actually trees. They are a type of life-form on Ameisa that moves extremely slowly, a plant-esque fruiting animal. The fruits are complete protein sources within which the eggs hide. They bleed real Ameisi blood.

Day 13

Fu /fu/ n. PatienceOfui /ˈoʊ.fui̯/, patientAfuit /ˈɑ.fui̯t̪/, to wait for.
Mė fuata fauyo. /Mɛ ˈfuɑ̯.tʌ ˈfaʊ̯.joʊ̯./ I had waited for a parent. This is using the expectant verb mood, which is a bit hard to make idiomatic in English.

To make the verb to consider, one uses the suffix that means towards. Depending on the noun class, this could be -su-sui, or –sėa. The suffixes for towards and inside of/in have actually merged somewhat, and towards is often now shortened to -s for all noun classes. I’m rendering it in the formal version below.

Mė fuata fauyosui. /Mɛ ˈfuɑ̯.tʌ ˈfaʊ̯.joʊ̯.sui̯./ I had expected to consider a parent.

Day 14

Faya /ˈfɑ.jʌ/ n. Ancestor. Appears as fayi /ˈfɑ.ji/ for ancestral. The verb afayit /ʌ.ˈfɑ.jit/ is used for death or last rites.

Mesh fayiem gefai mėi. /Mɛʃ ˈfɑ.jiɛ̯m ˈgɛ.faɪ̯ ˈmɛ.ʔi./ We performed last rites for my grandmother.

Vė vas fayem. /Vɛ vɑs ˈfɑ.jəm./ Le died.

Fakha /ˈfɑ.ʀʌ/ n. Ghost, restless dead, disturbance. Fakhi /ˈfɑ.ʀi/, to bear ill will of the deadAfakhit /ʌ.ˈfɑ.ʀit̪/, to haunt, to bear malice towards.

In slang, one uses the term fakha to refer to a friend with whom one has fallen out — and depending on tone, it is either pejorative or regretful.

Fakha emị meshem mė vo nịnni mohuyem moda nusi.
ˈfɑ.ʀʌ ˈɛ.mɪ ˈmɛʃ.əm mɛ voʊ̯ ˈnɪ̃.ði moʊ̯.ˈxu.jəm ˈmoʊ̯.dʌ nusi.
The ghost forgot me and never wrote a comforting word.

Which leads me to something else: There are two words for and in Tveshi. Vo /voʊ̯/ is used when the subject of the two phrases is the same. Nia /niɑ̯/ is used when the subject is different in the next phrase.

There are also positive and negative words for but:

petai /ˈpɛ.t̪aɪ̯/
pehia /ˈpɛ.çiʌ̯/

Vė vas fayem petai ćå deihat uhio. (positive connotation)
Vė vas fayem pehia ćå deihat uhio. (negative connotation)
Le died, but you achieved a success.

Day 15

(Note: You may see that I changed this title. That is because Dec. 15 is the one I forgot to hashtag, and I was like, wait, but it’s the 16th! That’s why.)

Khaira /ˈʀaɪ̯.ɾʌ/ n. Weapon. Adjective okhairahi /oʊ.ʀaɪ̯.ˈɾɑ.çi/, weaponized. Verb akhairait /ʌ.ʀaɪ̯.ˈɾɑ.çit̪/ means to harm, beat violently, hit, pummel. Reflexively, it means that no weapon was used.

Shåsso sėis khairaou ånnon.
ˈʃɔ.ʂoʊ̯ ˈsɛʔ.is ˈʀaɪ̯.ɾʌo͡ʊː ˈɔ̃ð.oʊ̯n.

The storm likely hit the coast.

Day 16

Hau /haʊ̯/ n. BoneHaui /ha͡ʊi/, bonyAhauit /ˈɑ.ha͡ʊit̪/ means to obstruct, to block.

Gianịhau /giʌ̯.ˈnɪ.haʊ̯/ is the term used for xylophone.

An oihau /ˈɔɪ.haʊ̯/ is the wall of a house that faces the street.

Lexember Days #4-7: Yes, Tveshi was my first conlang.

I only have one LaTeX page of my incredibly poor late-teens-early-twenties dictionary decision to go in the A section. Then, I can move on to the remainder of the alphabet.

‘Tis the Season

Lexember has been nice because I’ve spent a lot of time building up derivative words and ensuring that semantic drift is elegant and culturally useful to the people who speak this language. This will be a very long dictionary — with many words related to sacred texts. While in my early 20s, I started by rendering short passages of sacred texts in Tveshi itself.

There’s a folder on my computer called Old Files for Reference — Not Sorted. In it, I have things like this:

While weeding the fields, Kakinne looked across the row at Sehet Añi. “Why do you help,” le said, “when you have all the comforts of your station?”
The esteemed one said, “Why do you help when you have a family to nurture?”
“I cannot provide for them if they have nothing to eat.”
Sehet Añi smiled at lim and threw the weeds le had gathered over ler shoulder. “And that is why I, too, must toil.”

An earlier version of Tveshi looked like [1] below. The ì has since changed to an ị because I have reserved acute and grave accents for tonal sounds in Aòḥám and other languages. I’ve switched from ë to ė for noting final schwas because ë now indicates rough-breathed vowels. À is now å.

[1]

Ukhìnni nifìpis inokhiać Kakinnë dishàm Àñis: Kuàćitait ćà likha? Ćà haoà hàgi ćàlimë fàdyinep.
Kuaćitait ćà likha ìfà lis ćà haoà sejàtho afàgoinit?
Më ni fàgoinaut goiñë ìfeti sher ni haoa nijal ahàgoilit.
Àñi làumem vehë vo haćadem hoieinoić pes genëm. Hùf! Ña mekha và mekha kouripis hata-mëi.

[2]

Note: This is not an edited translation, but a rough one. You can see that the places I’ve done literal translations are in sloppy, pseudo-linguistic notation.

Anifịptis inokhiać, Kakinne disham hueilumėa anni Añis. “Kuaća likhasio ćå,” los vė modaha. “Ćå hat mefamosio ćathu ćalimi.” [Lit. You.FORM have law.CAUS a comfortable foundation.]
Gaih Sehet Añi modaha, “Kuaća likhasio ćå? Ćå hat sejatho låfuapui nia ahinit.”
“Mė ni ćualera takhị å sher haoiera nijalė.”
Sehet Añi laumem vo haućadem pussåmėalumėa kourinnịsio hueić nifi. [Sehet Añi smiled and.same-subject threw shoulder.ABL+above work.CAUS toil-plants.] “Helai atai mė mathemauptu, seno mėisa.”

The phrase seno mėisa literally means together-echo ourselves. It means me too.

The differences between these are (a) that I developed a better understanding of linguistics and (b) that I abandoned some grammatical elements that I was trying out in favor of developing Tveshi consistently. [2] is so much better from a linguistic standpoint.

Embers from My #Lexember Twitter Posts

Day 4

Raika /ˈɾaɪ.kʼʌ/ n. Printing press. From rai sikahi /ɾaɪ si.ˈkʼɑ.çi/, essence-adj ink. Adjective raikahi /ɾaɪ.ˈkʼɑ.çi/, printed. Verb araikait /ʌ.ˈɾaɪ.kʼaɪt̪/, to print. Modaraika /moʊ.dʌ.ˈɾaɪ.kʼʌ/, a character in its print, not handwritten, form.

The verb ahairaikait means to press, to pressure, to persuade and derives from hai raikahi, consciousness being pressured. It’s used to describe persuasiveness, too, as hairaikahi, persuasive.

Day 5

Kher /ʀɛɾ/ n. Keepsake box. Colloq., something of little interest to others. The adjective kheri /ˈʀɛ.ɾi/ means hidden or out of sight. The verb akherit /ʌ.ˈʀɛ.ɾit̪/means to hide, to conceal.

Day 6

Upa /ˈu.pʌ/ n. Desire, nonsexual. Adj upahi /u.ˈpɑ.çi/ — desirous, compelling. The verb aupit /ˈɑu.pit̪/ is to desire nonsexually; be compelled by; be obsessed with. Kin upa /kʼin ˈu.pʌ/ (“the upa”) means platonic crush (person) or deep hobby (activity).

An enormous part of the Tveshi, Iturji, and Ịgzarhjenya social systems incorporates the idea of sacred friendships. Thus, their languages all have specific words for terms that are difficult to find in English outside of either philosophical posts about the various types of love in Ancient Greece and Rome or the contemporary asexual community. These sacred friendships usually exist alongside marriages; marriages are often neither for love nor for sex.

Day 7

Anna /ˈɑ̃.ðʌ/ n. Ideal. As an adj, anni /ˈɑ̃.ði/ means best-case scenario, best of our world. Verb annit /ˈɑ̃.ðit̪/ means to idealize, to set up. Derivative terms include hui anni, a good fit; huei anni, a crop row; kusa anni, the peak of one’s career; and sikouikara anni, activism.

Notes on Epiphany: Oratory in Ịgzarhjenya Languages (and Iturji)

When I was reading the 56 Hikol piece about Tehjen, I did not render Narahji in the IPA — although retrospectively, that would have been easier. I would have needed way fewer takes than I had to do to get this right!

That piece is written in pre-reform Narahji, which you can tell because the possessive word is mosmur instead of momuThe prefix mos- is used to indicate possessiveness, and mur is the first person singular indirect object pronoun. People in Narahja practice diglossia up until 1897, when the language is course-corrected.

My words bring horror. People call me Desertion.
My skin is the color of cliff-rock, and it flakes like cliffrock.
The Great Canyon dark devours my soul.
My body becomes it, and the Canyon-Dark becomes my mind.
It rips my brain into small pieces that are the Canyon’s rivers,
And my blood is the soil that nourishes the people with fruit.
Such is my fate to serve for all time:
I revolted against our ways, the Karatha, the Tesekhaira, the ruler!
I chose to be alone, and what a mistake! I am no more.

That is this in English — but in Narahji, it becomes:

I mukro bezurælotek kul magdu mosmur xai Tehjenan manlịdgu.
I neä ruaịgzærmobæ glabdeml i blesgị mosmur xai lagịgzæla.
Ku klazæxub mosmur gleglælaben ku Narahjịgz lịbịmị̈nobæ.
Kusanglabdemlben omdag ku glịklazæ mosmur; radag kusanglabdemlben ku kovta.
ku koværna belæla kul ösyosnosyosjab xai kul bizar ragazị glabdæl bakus
Xai i ëiza glabdeml i ịtö, ku sjenä i hjenganas nokla i ëiza.
I dom mosmur glabdeml lexai fubä, gåmịtit kolborị:
Ku tsærgbị mosbyur, Katatyan, Kerosyan, ñæ Deimolan natzssaịtrun!
Tselvit bladeissaịtrun, xai ku narlị glabdeml kolborị! Boglabdesunuakba.

The text exists somewhere between a poem and prose — it’s not in a formal metric style. This is quite common in Narahji because oratory and poems are recited differently from ordinary speech. Certain vowels, such as iou, and a, are lengthened and have a higher pitch even when they are not stressed. It produces an extremely stylized form of speech. Below is the text I actually worked from while doing the reading, which contains both the lengthened vowels and the original word stresses.

Ī mūkrṓ bezū́rælōtek kūl magdū́ mosmū́r xai Tehjénān manlịdgū́.
Ī nehā́ rūaịgzærmobæ glābdéml i blesgị́ mosmū́r xai lāgị́gzæla.
Kū klāzæxū́b mosmū́r gléglælaben kū Nārāhjị́gz lịbịmhịnōbæ.
Kūsānglābdémlben ōmdāg kū glịklāzǽ mōsmū́r; rādā́g kūsānglābdémlben kū kōvtā́.
kū kōværnā́ bélæla kūl hōsyōsnōsyṓsjāb xai kūl bīzā́r rāgāzị́ glā́bdæl bākū́s
Xai ī heizā́ glabdéml ī ịtthṓ, kū sjenhā́ i hjengānā́s nōklā́ ī heizā́.
Ī dōm mōsmū́r glābdéml lexai fūbhā́, gåmịtī́t kōlbōrị:
Kū tsærgbị́ mōsbyū́r, Kātātyā́n, Kerōsyā́n, ñæ Deimṓlān nā́tzssāịtrūn!
Tselvī́t blādéissāịtrūn, xai kū nārlị́ glābdéml kōlbōrị! Bōglābdésūnūakbā.

I had to make a decision with characters like Karatau Meiyenesi (Kurutimi) in the audio. As an Iturji upper-class person of the jomela gender who has extensive training in oratory and politics, Kurutimi would speak in Tveshi, Iturji, and Narahji using an affected oratorical style. The Iturji follow the Ịgzarhjenya (Khessi, Narahji, &c.) in that. It’s a sign of status. I tried out some of ler sentences in English using oratory-like diction, and it was over-the-top. I compromised on that.

This recitation is thus one of the few places where the oratorical style actually comes out and bites the reader.

Lexember Day #3

I spent about an hour and a half working on my Tveshi dictionary and wrote up about 10-15 entries, which included derivative words based on prefixes, suffixes, and compounds. I have a group of “unclaimed” words that I am using to fill out roots that I don’t have yet and that don’t make sense as compounds. Here are a few words!

Hakha /ˈhɑ.ʀʌ/ (NN). Fortune. Adjectives hakhi or hohi, fortuitous. Verb ahakhit, to twist, to turn, to spin. Common derivative terms include nuahakha, ill fortune; peaira hohi, habitable planet; nåhakha or nåkha, a slang pejorative used to indicate the situation of an inexperienced person being placed in a position that le is not excelling at; Iahakha, the name of the Goddess of Fortune; aihakha, computer program; aumịhohi, dead, an alternative term; ohakhakouri, fortune-teller who tells lots and auguries, not a direct oracular conduit to the gods.

One realization: I’ve never actually written down the compound word rules for Tveshi, so I certainly hope that I have applied consistent rules over the long count. So — I detoured a bit to write them up.

For most compound words, the Tveshi add the words straightforwardly. The lower-register word for god, yåssị /ˈjɒ.ʂɪ/, is combined directly with the word narajar, to make the term narayåssị /nʌ.ɾʌ.ˈjɒ.ʂɪ/, god-jar. This is a slang term for a professional oracle. This new noun can easily be transformed into an adjective or a verb. The word ćeno /ˈt͡ʃɛ.noʊ/, replacement, comes from ćė no, wind-echo.

Some compound words arise from noun phrases. The word unnadaso, lexicon, comes from unnan modasioć, and the noun phrase was once very common. Typically, as slang replaces esteemed usage, the final two syllables of the first root are retained, and any final consonants are lost from them — especially nasals.

The modifier word retains one to two syllables, and its terminate vowel is almost always -o or a strong -a, the only sign that a word is a holdover from a noun that had a case modifier (i.e., modasioć means caused by words). The word nokho /ˈnoʊ.ʀoʊ/, well, comes from the words no khianua, echo avoiding light.