Author: kaye

Writing in Binary

A map of the Kalqaiki Islands that shows the extreme differences between high and low tides.

I’ve worked from maps for science fiction stories since I was in my mid- to late teens. According to writers on the Early Internet, a good map grounded a science fiction world in reliable possibilities.

There was a lot about geology I didn’t know, though, until I became a geology librarian and started going to geosciences colloquia and talks. As an English major, astro minor, who graduated about 10 years ago (technically, my job is to liaise to the astro, geo, and physics departments, and geo at the uni includes paleontology), the only geosciences class I had was planetary science. As an elective senior year, I took a course on natural disasters.

Planetary science had taught me the signs of water on Mars and the types of terrain common on planets. On Ameisa, for example, the region called the Canyons is actually chaos terrain, and it’s the oldest rock on the planet — the chaos terrain extends even beyond the shores of Narahja to the islands of Nasja, which are the peaks and plateaus of the terrain as it tapers off towards the other continents.

What I did not integrate into my maps at the time was an understanding of wet and dry zones in rotating planets — which I learned about in a geo colloquium about three years ago — but that ship has sailed on Ameisa, so to speak. One of the reasons global warming on Earth is causing changes in rain patterns is that the equator is wet, an area beyond the equator in both directions is dry, and then it becomes wet on towards the temperate zones and the poles. The equatorial wet zone and the dry bands that follow them in the northern and southern hemispheres grow wider as a planet warms, according to many scientists who study such things. There is very little desert on Ameisa, even in the zones that are typically dry. On the map below, Bisa, Marzū, and Qapwā are equatorial desert due to an ecological catastrophe.

The other thing I didn’t integrate was the impact of Ameisa being one part of a binary planet system, which would make it highly tectonically active due to tidal heating from Laseå. I just didn’t want to deal with earthquakes.

What I ended up doing on Ameisa was making broad areas of the landscape nigh uninhabitable due to earthquake zones and megatsunamis. The entire east coast of the Shēdak is uninhabitable — there’s a mountain range along the coast constantly pummeled by tsunamis — and most people in Qawākam live inland on its big island. I also looked at innovators and engineers on Earth who were designing tsunami-proof buildings for those societies that do live in tsunami zones.

The planet Ameisa, with some light annotations about political units (countries).
Ameisa. You can tell I set a lot of stories here by the degree to which I provide political/logistical annotations. I have other maps of Ameisa with more clutter on them.
Laseå, the other planet in the binary system.
Laseå. I don’t set very many stories here, and this is my only map of the world. (Except I have a Draft 1 of this one.)

Meditations on binary planet system dynamics led to Kalqaiki, now uninhabited for millennia. (Context: My Aeon Timeline goes on for ~35,000 years.) At one point in the distant past, a bunch of rich people found this island range and decided to turn it into a recreational/resort playground. It was Ameisa’s first spacefaring age, the wealthy were egregiously out of touch with the masses, and they left a lot of infrastructure on the island range to deal with the inconvenient earthquakes and tsunamis.

The people who lived on Kalqaiki for generations after the fall of that civilization were the descendants of the voluntary and indentured staff who set up their lives on these islands. Kalqaiki was also the only place on Ameisa with a plant that could be ground to make legit blue pigments. It grows in the intertidal marshes there, and for a long time, the plant was not grown anywhere else.

There is no word for blue in most of my conlangs; I almost always use the word opaque or some variant because blue eyes, the sky, and the sea are all illusions of color. For darker blues, much of the time I write the words purple or indigo, we’re actually talking about dark blue and navy — color words occupy a different semantic space in my work than they do in traditional English usage. Of course, purple and indigo just as often mean colors we assign to the semantic space of purple and indigo, too.

A map of the Kalqaiki Islands that shows the extreme differences between high and low tides.
Kalqaiki islands. The part still above water during high tide is the part that was once inhabited, now in ruins.

The map above is rough — a story doodle of the islands. Kalq- is a prefix that loosely translates to all in the conlang, which I added to the map after doing a bit of linguistic work on the three languages spoken on the islands. The conlang includes a phrasebook section with sentences like:

  • Ude nimdarmo ði xixto dið nuaxe. The earthquake forecast today is bad. Lit., Forecast with respect to earthquakes at today bad.
  • To amu zi, muðpaiðo sis etpu ðai? Is a tsunami coming? Lit., Yes or no, directionally here me-wards comes tsunami?
  • Emo nuaxe dið mebo? What is the strength of the earthquake?
  • Podel pilo tal nimnuaxe. The earthquake is a 9.4.

One of the things I have to account for in Laseå-Ameisa is the massive difference between high and low tide — the kilometers of saltwater marshes and their impact on trade routes, plus what features in the landscape make for a good harbor when the difference between high and low tide is so vast. On my major continent maps, cities are inland on the waterways; most rivers show tidal features for a ways inland.

All in all, I agree with the idea that maps are important — but I think that especially for settings that are not a direct Earth-Moon system clone —— such as binary planet systems, Trojan worlds, and the like —— it’s important to recognize the gaps in one’s knowledge and seek to get a good enough (not perfect) grasp of how things like basic geology impact the daily lives of people. One can go to talks, read some good books/audiobooks, or even look around on the arXiv at preprints on exoplanets to see how scientists think about these very different worlds. And then the maps, conlangs, and stories will just get even more fun.

Writing Updates

Before I get going: read my poem (and all of the other stories and poems) in the summer issue of Kaleidotrope.

On Tuesday night, I spent about 3.5 hours working in Scrivener and Aeon Timeline to verify dates for a story against a 35,000-year unity of time cycle, and I’m working in 3 different calendar systems — Objective Count, the Nåkeva Tveshi Calendar, and the Standard Count Tveshi calendar.

I knew I’d overextended myself when I reached 10:00 PM and thought to myself that I had burned the candle so long that there was hardly any wax left. It was the tail end of orientation season where I work, and the semester started on Wednesday. This weekend, I’m finishing up writing an academic article based on a conference lightning talk I presented this summer — due on the 7th.

On Tuesday, despite being fatigued, I pushed on until 10:37 PM simply because I was so deep in calendrical conversions that I didn’t want to spend time figuring out where I had left off. When I turned off my music, I felt fuzzy and hollow. Spent.

August and September are the most hectic periods in the calendar for most academic librarians, with additional rushes in October, December, whenever spring midterms happen (typically early March here), and late April/early May. Late August to early September — I declared in my bullet journal — is a month of organizing and completion for me. Rather than starting new projects, I’m using it to tidy up.

Being the type of person who commits to things and then finishes them means that I have to really watch not overextending myself early on, and Tuesday night is an example of a time when I was pushing myself a bit overmuch. I keep having to remind myself that I have all of September ahead of me to get things done. The first thing I did after considering what I need to do between now and December 31 to reach my goals was to make a document called Large Writing Projects and print it out so I’d know what’s on my plate and my estimated times to completion. It’s taped to the wall above my desk now.

I finished writing a shareable draft of A Matter of Oracles and sent it to a few close acquaintances and friends on my “hey will you read this?” list on Sunday night. Coincidentally, everyone I asked to read it works in libraries, and it’s about far-future library science. Then, I put a smiley face over its section on Large Writing Projects. After being on a panel at Conbust for several years about the depiction of libraries in speculative fiction, I decided that I really wanted to see what it would be like to write something (admittedly on the fantastical side of speculative fiction) that drew on my professional librarian background and created a realistic information environment. You can also see a bit of that in Epiphany, but not as directly; episodes/entries 18 and 38 have a lot of realism. There’s another episode in which a database Salus uses for work has an update that completely overhauls its interface, and that’s common, too.

Right now, I’m putting The Raised Seal in more explicit first person omniscient — updating it to be consistent with what I’ve decided to do in the rest of the epic has been smoldering in the back of my head. Tackling this will free up mental space for projects I want to focus on later in the calendar year, so it’s game on. I’ve just reached Chapter 15 out of 21, which plot-wise is where the shit hits the fan. Many of my longer works are like a Mono piece or one of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos in that they build slow-ish and then the climax happens and stays put.

Otherwise, I’m migrating some of my plain text worldbuilding, character, and story notes into Markdown (using MWeb) and LaTeX (specifically Overleaf). While I use Scrivener for single-story character sheets, locations, and the like, when I’m working on my epic, I need the same things over and over. My conlang documents are so nice and squeaky, and they’re a total breeze to consult when I’m in the middle of writing.

I’ve co-taught file management workshops and practice what I teach, so the worldbuilding notes are straightforwardly arranged — I can more clearly see where I can refine what I do to fit my workflow a bit better. It actually might not take as much time as I thought to fix all of this up.

I shared these stats on Twitter (from which I’m taking a hiatus; social media is very stressful, and I can feel my chest tightening and shoulders knotting whenever I log in), but this is what August looked like for me.

Screenshot of August creative writing time, totaling over 54 hours

One big change is that I discovered that RescueTime premium has a lot of features I want to use to track my time, so I started using it to look at the amount of time I was spending in Scrivener and other writing tools.

Screenshot of time spent in Scrivener, totaling over 47 hours, in August

I said this on Twitter, but I’ve seen people mention that it’s hard to feel productive when there isn’t a word count to measure — RescueTime helps me with that because I can see that despite not having written many new words this month, I’ve been doing a lot of revision. What is not included there is the time I spent reading/annotating some of my work using an app on my phone. That’s another few hours, which would bring the total to 58-60 hours for my creative work.

So those are a few quick updates. I’m doing a lot of stuff, #Lexember will be upon us before you know it, and there’s a thing I will talk about excitedly in a few months, but happy September, and may Demeter and Kore bring you the blessings of the harvest season. 😊

A Short Conlang Sketch: Gnaseklahi

I’m moving a few older posts from Tumblr to my main conlang blog. This is a sketch of a language used in The Seven Papers for naming/cultural purposes — done in under an hour, the document flexible and malleable as I worked my way through what I needed. Over the course of writing, I expanded it a bit; this is not an exact duplicate of what I posted on Tumblr.

This language was spoken in North Tvaji before the Sabaji invasion. I needed to use it in one of the stories because so much military conflict happens there, and at that specific point in The Seven Papers, it’s used by a lot of refugees.

I have characters named Tashung, Jumeidis, Ćana, Asğang, Tajei, and Sadva in that section whose native language is Gnaseklahi. As is typical, the -hi suffix is actually a Tveshi suffix that I’m applying to a non-Tveshi language; this is because the reference language for the work is Tveshi.

Gnaseklahi

Vowels

Plain vowels: i, ị, u, e, æ, a, å
Diphthongs: o, au, ei, ai, ia

Consonants

Voiced stops (S): b d g
Unvoiced stops (U): s t k
Affricates/fricatives/Generic Buzzy Category (F): v ts s dz z j sh ć hj h
Approximants (Y): l y ğ
Flaps/trills (T): r rr
Nasals (N): n gn m

Syllable Structure

FV(S)
NV
UV(F)
VF
VN
V
YV(N)
SYV(N)
UYV(N)

Word Order

OVS for normal sentences.

VSO for imperatives.

This language is agglutinative, like other Ịgzarhjenya languages. The living language most related to it is Khessi.

Vocabulary

Articles

Active nouns: æm/m’ sing; kæv/k’ pl.
Passive nouns: lị/l’ sing; vei/v’ pl.

Articles are contracted in front of starting vowels. M’asğị, the/a seed.

Words

Tash. nA. Beauty.

Tarrė. nP. Darkness, as in a lack of light.

Asğị. nA. Seed.

Tajei. advj. Loud-voiced.

Taj. nA. Oratory.

Sad. nP. Delight.

Ćanei. advj. Friendly.

Ćan. nA. Friend.

Ćau. nA. City.

Ćodei. nA. Country.

Kria. nA. Rock. Krias, in the company of the rock.

Gnasi. nP. Industriousness.

Menk. nA. Word.

Nautke. nA. Surrender.

Neke. nA. Color.

Ailer. nP. Dawn.

Jumei. advj. Used to describe things that uphold the world. An epithet of Saämatsra.

Jumeidis. name. One who is in the company of that which upholds.

Suffixes

When adding suffixes to words, if vowels touch (and are not an allowed diphthong), -m- or -l- is inserted in between. This depends on whether the root is classified as active (-m-) or passive (-l-). For words with no noun form, the mediator is -h-. Some suffixes have their own vowel separators, marked with parentheses.

Some vowels are dropped before forming suffixes. These vowels are e/ė and .

-ung. Possessing a quality. Transforms a noun into an adjective.

-ang. Being similar to.

-an. Within.

-ğan. City suffix. Gnasiğan, Kriasğan.

-ei. Common adjective/adverb suffix.

-s. Sociative case. In company of.

-(d)i. Suffix carrying the quality of -ness. Makes adjectives into nouns. Gnasi, industrious. Ćaneidi, friendliness. Kriameidi, rockiness.

-va. Indicates that there are many of the noun. This is how plurals are made with passive nouns.

-heyė. Denotes a noun’s centrality or importance. Ćau-heyė, City-central. This is the capital city.

-kæ. Indicates that there are many of a noun. This is how plurals are made with active nouns.

-ta. Politeness suffix for women. Tashung-ta.

-alar. Most high. Politeness suffix for women in positions of authority.

-itu. Politeness suffix for men. Ćana-itu.

-veğæ. Gender-neutral politeness suffix. Tajei-veğæ.

-a. Naming suffix applied to nouns. Gender-neutral.

-o. Naming suffix applied to nouns. Feminine.

-au. Naming suffix applied to nouns. Gender-neutral.

-otni. “At.” Both temporal and locative. Ailerotni. At dawn.

When a Librarian Writes Conlangs

I saw a question on Twitter that was posted on Metafilter about words for librarian in “geek languages,” which was retweeted with a #conlang hashtag. Right now, I’m not sure if the original poster intended this to be mentioned in the conlang communities. I mean, there are popular geek conlangs, and then there is the vast ecosystem of conlang work happening … but it’s my birthday, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Classical Atarahi

Earlier this year, I drafted a novella about a librarian on Atara, so it’s about library science in a far-future setting. Classical Atarahi is the international prestige language on Atara. I do have a rich vocabulary to describe librarians because I needed to develop some poetic-sounding metaphors for what librarians in that society do.

As a secondary concern, I want the novella to fight back against tropes and misunderstandings about librarianship in a broad sense. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me occasionally get angry about novelettes, novellas, and other stories that conflate libraries and archives or that place library science in a dusty realm of books. (And there is some great historical fiction about librarians, but that still leaves those of us in the profession after about 1970 out of pop culture’s conception of what a librarian is.) As an academic science librarian in 2018, the only time I routinely touch books is when I read them on my lunch break. A librarian working in 1918 couldn’t do my job without training and vice-versa just due to how much the professional skillset has shifted.

So what does this mean about far-future library science? Well.

The Classical Atarahi word for librarian is derived from the word for datum (the singular form of data). Atarahi societies have always had computing infrastructure. They have always had some level of AI processing. Librarians in Atarahi society work in tandem with AI routines, human archivists, and other information professionals to deliver information services. They are a public service for everyone, from firms and companies to private citizens and families, with a complex referral system.

Amil is the word for datum in Atarahi, pronounced /ˈä.mil/. The plural form is amilenta, /ˈä.mil.ən.ˌtɑ/. The formal word for librarian comes from the term amiyī hekwakabī, data-plunger. Library science on Atara is filled with metaphors about diving, plunging, and immersing, much like the surviving esoteric text from Greco-Roman Egypt called The Book of Thoth, which makes allusions to hunting and trapping for scribal work. The commonly-used Classical Atarahi word for librarian, amiyas, /ˈä.mi.ˌjɑs/, is the word amil put in the same adjective-as-noun form that is used for personal names.

Note that the vocabulary above doesn’t include archivists. Library-archive hybrid places typically use amiyas to describe their employees. Archivists are called something else.

Narahji

Classical Atarahi is not the only language for which I have developed this vocabulary. Narahji, an Ịgzarhjenya language, has separate language to describe its data flows (which includes both fiction and nonfiction scrolls/books, maps, poetry in various media, qualitative/quantitative data, et cetera) from its archival information. The terminology related to archives and archivists is related to the Narahji verb for to remember. The terminology related to librarians is related instead to words describing datastreams, information flows, and discovery systems.

Niphtora /ni.pʰtoʊ.ˈrɑ/ is library science. A librarian is a niphtorakri /ni.pʰtoʊ.ˈrɑ.kʼri/, and a library is kisaiga lịniphtora /kʼi.sa͡ɪ.ˈgɑ lɪ.ni.pʰtoʊ.ˈrɑ/, library building. The prefix lị- changes depending on whether kisaiga is a subject or direct/indirect object. In pre-conquest Narahja, while city libraries often contained archives, most archival content was found in specific archival institutions or museums. The exceptions were national libraries, which had strong archival collections.

Tveshi

Finally, the Tveshi language actually collapses librarians and archivists together into a single term. (I talked about this in #Lexember, too.) A library or archive is called an innodå /ĩð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/. A librarian or archivist is an innodåkouri /ĩð.oʊ̯.dɔ.ˈkʼou̯.ɾi/.

Unnodå /ũð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/ is the word for an archive if one wants to be specific, and it can be suffixed with -kouri to make it clear one is talking about an archival professional. Oinnodå /ɔĩ̯ð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/, library, can be suffixed in much the same way. The reason for this is that the national libraries in Tveshė are also the country’s archives, so while a library campus may (and often does) include multiple buildings, they all organizationally fall under the same bureaucratic structures.

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/.