Lexember 2019: December 25-31

December 25

Heneån /ˈhɛ.nə͡ɔn/, n. Class D. Dampener, as in something that reduces noise. Plural heneåmuaHeneåni, dampenedAheneånit, to dampen, to reduce noisinessHeneånịfua, earplugs.

Ịf /ɪf/, n. Class N. Ear.

Mė nihata miha ćofi hėa vo mėis shassåham heneånịfua.
I had no mental clarity and wanted earplugs.

Ịfua mėi sėin rer gianit shitarasuo.
My ears rang due to the loud noise/clash.

December 26

Ålị /ˈɔ.lɪ/, n. Class N. MirrorÅli /ˈɔ.li/, mirroredAhålit /ʌ.ˈɦɔ.lit̪/, to reflect. Reflexive, to mirror

Mịhålịreflection
Mịhålireflective
Auhålịghost
Sheihålịpool or other small reflective body of water
Hohålịstone with high reflectivity.

Vė vas ålaim. 
Le is likely mirroring me.

Go mėi pesuram ålị vo daiahem danėa khelesu.
My mother brought a mirror and placed it in the bag.

The phrase adaiahit danėa does not precisely mean placed in. It indicates that the item in question is at the most crucial point of the bag, likely the center and at the bottom. It means placed stonewise.

December 27

Today, I realized that I had an under-sampling of words ending in l in my lexicon, so for the remainder of December, you will see a lot of single- and dual-syllable words that attempt to ameliorate that.

Lual /lu͡ɑl/, n. Class N. SpiralLualispiral-likeintricateorderlyAlualaitto spiral, to move in a spiral pattern

Ailualcircuitry, class A. 
Holual, natural patterns that are like spirals. 
Selualcommitment
Aselualaitto commit, to promise, to submit to fate.

Ćå khutam ruhekouris nia kesh moluoniem thionna luali mokhanami.
You went to the embroiderer and you (pl.) discussed an intricate spiraling pattern.

December 28

Tail /t̪a͡ɪl/, n. Class D. A sense of nervousnessTailinervous

Mịtailshudder
Amịtalitto shudder
Hotail, an atmosphere of foreboding or like something bad has happened. 
Aitail, biofeedback tech that help with anxiety and nervousness. 
Åihetail, a sense of ease after a time of turbulence. 
Ahåihetailit, to set/put at ease.

Kesh theniem amodahit kein ouvi helai Peimes Åihauthuyivanuafi sheirauptu taileyu ñir.
You (pl.) practiced fearless speaking because the Reclaimed Zone always saturates everyone with nervousness.

December 29

Håćajua /ɦɔ.ˈt͡ʃɑ.ʒuɑ/, n. Class A. RationHåćajuayirationedAhåćajuayit, to ration

Håćajua mėish haovala ossuet.
/ɦɔ.ˈt͡ʃɑ.ʒuɑ ˈmɛʔ.iʃ ɦɑ͡o.ˈvɑ.lʌ ˈo͡ʊʂ.u͡ɛt̪/
Our ration includes cooking oil.

December 30

Juapålon /ʒu͡ɑ.ˈpɔ.loʊn/, n. Class N. Century, lit. 144 years due to base 12. Colloquial word for hundred is påloh /ˈpɔ.loʊx/.
Ajait /ˈɑ.ʒaɪt̪/, v. To stand.
Peosė /ˈpɛ͡o.sə/, n. Class D. Street.
Kapti /ˈkʼɑ.pti/, adj. Necessary.
Sioh /si͡ox/, n. Class N. SweatSiohisweaty, laboriousAsiohait, to labor, to sweat.

I did these words so I could translate the first sentence of The Raised Seal (as it stands right now) into Tveshi:

Centuries ago, in a grand, cavernous house on Haokaru Street, the man who ended the Blackout had a nightmare, as all great people who have done terrible, necessary things do, and surged awake with a scream.

This becomes:

Meshemui juapålomua, lepė jam Peosesu Haokaru so thaufoiyi olayi lepė jen porekouri otvi peakherapu vas aroem, onnė vo vasa aroia jinna otayi ler kouriagị sifuimua authuayi kapti, nia vė tam shitaranu vo sakinem.

Here is a literal translation:

Away from us centuries, there stood a house cavernous massive where ending-person man Blackout nightmared, in the way that nightmare people great that-who fashion terrible and necessary things, and awakened crashingly and screamed.

It’s good for me to do complex sentences because I find Tveshi dependent clauses challenging to logic out, and the opening sentence of The Raised Seal has a lot of them. It’s noteworthy that the way one says the man who ended the Blackout is the word porė with the -kouri (worker) suffix, followed by man in adjective form (otvi) and the word Blackout (peakhera) in genitive form. The verb to have a nightmare is the reflexive form of the verb aroit. The second time, the word for in the way that, onnė, is followed by the construction onnė vo vasa aroia jinna otayi to indicate in the way that great people have nightmares, where vo refers to jinna otayi (great people), not to the porekouri. The exercise was as useful as expected.

December 31

Vol /vo͡ʊl/, n. Class D. Closet, storage roomAvolit, to store, to put in storage. Reflexively, to stop thinking about

Enavol, storage room in a temple complex that houses offerings and other things belonging to the God. 
Mịvolmorgue
Vouvolstorage bin.

Fal /fɑl/, n. Class A. Band, tie. Falibanded, tiedAfalitto band, to tie

Mịfalepėbandage, wrap, from body-band-health. 
Aumịfal, a wrap for covering the dead before cremation. 
Falaijueheadband

Sefal, restraints, cuffs
Asefalitto restrain, to cuff
Iafalreligious devotion, seen in the reflexive verb ayiafalait

Kesar vas iafalam Enashisha vo gaigat teishinu ianoñapuić aimehio.
Kesar was devoted to Enashisha and had habitually prayed to the God at small shrines.

And that’s Lexember.

Lexember 2019: December 16-24

December 16

Today’s word showcases some stuff I talked about back in 2017 — namely, that the articles in Tveshi occasionally signify the difference between a general concept and a specific concept. In the opposite sense, something specific can become a general concept by adding the prefix si-, which is evident from many of the words I have worked on this year.

Ua /u͡ɑ/, n. Class D. Reason, cognitionOhua femị /ˈo͡ʊ.xu͡ɑ/, a reason.

Uayi /ˈu͡ɑ.ji/, reasoned
Oihua /ˈo͡i.xu͡ɑ/, motivation.
Mịhua /ˈmɪ.xu͡ɑ/, brain (Class A).

Thuyihua /θu.ˈji.xu͡ɑ/, maladaptive reasoning
Aiahua /ˈaɪ͡a.xu͡ɑ/, irrationality
Aiahuayi /aɪ͡a.ˈxu͡ɑ.ji/, irrational

And now for a sentence — we all know that sleep is important, and this is how you say so in Tveshi.

Mịhua shassåhauptu tofa helenai jen hat epena. 
/ˈmɪ.xu͡ɑ ʃʌ.ʂɔ.ˈha͡ʊ.ptu ˈt̪oʊ.fʌ hə.ˈlɛ.na͡ɪ ʒɛn hɑt̪ ə.ˈpɛ.nʌ/
The brain needs sleep to be healthy.

December 17

Uei /ue͡ɪ/, n. Class A. HarmonyUeihi /ˈue͡ɪ.xi/, harmoniousAu̇eit /ˈɑʔ.ue͡ɪt̪/, to harmonize, to bring into harmony. Reflexively, to reform the self, to self-correct.

Enau̇ei /ə.ˈnʌ.ʔue͡ɪ/, the harmony of the Gods. 
Iau̇ei /ˈiɑ.ʔue͡ɪ/, chordal sequences used in religious worship.

Kaiau̇ei /ˈkʼaɪ͡aʔ.ue͡ɪ/, harmony in love
Mịu̇ei /ˈmɪʔ.ue͡ɪ/, well-being
Aiau̇ei /ˈaɪ͡aʔ.ue͡ɪ/, discord
Aiau̇eiyi /aɪ͡aʔ.ˈue͡ɪ.ji/, discordant
Uhaiau̇ei /u.ˈɦaɪ͡aʔ.ue͡ɪ/, dissonance
Uhaiau̇eiyi /u.ɦaɪ͡aʔ.ˈue͡ɪ.ji/, dissonant

Mė mėis ueiem fuimua ukhịnni gịshịptis.
/mɛ ˈmɛ.ʔis ˈue͡ɪ.əm ˈfu͡i.mu͡ɑ u.ˈʀɪ̃.ði gɪ.ˈʃɪ.ptis./
I self-corrected my actions while studying.

December 18

Ueilė /ˈue͡i.lə/, n. Class D. VeilUeili /ˈue͡i.li/, veiledAhueilit /ˈʌ.xue͡i.lit̪/, to veil.

Iahueilė /i͡ɑ.ˈxue͡i.lə/, any veil worn in a religious context. Iahueilė ịgesahji /i͡ɑ.ˈxue͡i.lə ɪ.gə.ˈsɑ.ʝi/, Ịgzarhjenya veil, the veils that young women who are Ịgzarhjenya wear before marriage. I also conlanged the word for the Ịgzarhjenya ethnic group in Tveshi, which I hadn’t done before. Tveshi has very few consonant clusters and often simplifies Narahji loanwords.

Ahåihueilit /ˈʌ.ɦɔ͡i.xue͡i.lit̪/, to unveil, to bring to happy completion, to start anew. In Tveshi culture, since veils are used in some types of ceremonies related to milestones — and to the south by the Ịgzarhjenya to mark that an unmarried woman (or girl past menarche) is saving hair to offer for the marriage sacrifice — the mental associations with veiling tend to be related to pride, happiness, and completion.

Mė ueilem enasaupu.
/mɛ ˈue͡i.ləm ə.nʌ.ˈsa͡ʊ.pu/
I veiled during the procession.

December 19

The entry was short today because I had a lot going on. My girlfriend wound up in the hospital, and I was very scared and uncertain about things, so it was hard to focus.

Ulait /ˈu.la͡ɪt̪/, v. To wander, to roam. Akaiahulait /ʌ.kʼaɪ͡a.ˈxu.la͡ɪt̪/, to avoid one’s feelings, especially intense ones, or the things that can make one happy.

December 20

I wrote this entry in the middle of the night after getting back from the hospital and before falling asleep. I was so fatigued that I didn’t even realize that I was at the finishing point for the dictionary/lexicon cleanup I’d started a few years ago — all of the words past December 20 are brand new, as in they aren’t being cleaned up from my ineffective notes. Most of the original conlang work on Tveshi that I’ve done is via derivative words using prefixes (and some suffixes) or creating new phrases and idioms based on the noun bases.

Yanna /ˈjɑ̃.ðʌ/, n. Class D. TruthOyanna /oʊ.ˈjɑ̃.ðʌ/, Truth, idealized form. Ayannit /ʌ.ˈjɑ̃.ðit̪/, to reveal, to uncover, to bring something to light

Nuayanna /nu͡ɑ.ˈjɑ̃.ðʌ/, uncomfortable truth. Siyanna /si.ˈjɑ̃.ðʌ/, truthfulnessYanni /ˈjɑ̃.ði/, truthful

Mesh yanniai oteishua fem opta keusi. 
We will uncover the best morning routines. 

Fuimua nothi rer yannit. 
Evil deeds were uncovered/brought to light.

December 21

The first of many new words. 🌅 Also, my girlfriend was released from the hospital and decided to come to my place.

Yiånnịñah /ji͡ɔ̃.ˈðɪ.ɲʌx/, n. Class N. Boundary between built-up areas and natural wild places. More recently applied to the parts of human-occupied space that are near planets to denote their liminal status.

December 22

Late Saturday night, my girlfriend was readmitted to the ER. I wrote this entry after a night of no sleep, and on Sunday, I decided to stay awake as long as possible to reset my circadian rhythm. She was released early Sunday evening.

I let out a lot of steam via conlanging and discovered that I had no word for hospital or for hospital ward, so I made two words. I also made a word for neurology and a new suffix for study of, based on gịsh, the word for study-(v)ịsh. Both of my sisters ended up in the hospital with pregnancy complications last year, so I figured out how to describe maternity sections, too.

Ịmes /ˈɪ.məs/, Class D. Area, sectionAyịmesitto section off. Reflexively, to be discreet about.

Ịmes mịhuayịsevịshi, neurology section
Ịmes iagafuinimaternity section, with the ia- prefix to denote that maternity hospitals are on temple grounds. 

Enayịmes, temple precinct. 
Heneyịmesi, an adjective to describe something that has broken boundaries. 
Uyịmes, labyrinth. 
Uyịmesi, labyrinthine. 

Mė mėis ịmesa ćovai thåtohi. 
I am discreet about my private thoughts.

Ćaiña /ˈt͡ʃa͡ɪ.ɲʌ/, n. Class D. HospitalAćaiñait /ʌ.ˈt͡ʃa͡ɪ.ɲa͡ɪt̪/, to be in the hospital; passively, something/someone located in the hospital

Åsseka ohepeni ćaiñañị.
Medical books are located in the hospital.

December 23

Khut /ʀut̪/, n. Class N. A walk, a promenadeKhuti /ˈʀu.t̪i/, walking, adj., as in iasau khutia walking pilgrimageAkhutait /ʌ.ˈʀu.t̪a͡ɪt̪/, to walk

Sikhutmobility; adj. sikhuti
Henesikhutnonmobility; adj. henekhuti.  
Ohenesikhutimmobility; adj. ohenesikhuti
Aoakhut, the movement of plants and blood-vining organisms. 
Ahaoakhutait poråsėato plant-move/grow towards the sun

Aovutua aoakhutamị poråsėa.
The ivies crept towards the sun.

December 24

Khassa /ˈʀɑ.ʂʌ/, n. Class D. Game. Khassi /ˈʀɑ.ʂi/, gamelike. Akhassit /ʌ.ˈʀɑ.ʂit̪/, to game, to play something structured with rules. 

Sikhassa /si.ˈʀɑ.ʂʌ/, gaming, when taken as a whole, adj. sikhassi /si.ˈʀɑ.ʂi/. 

Sikhassa kuaća ćuhị vo lịfa jinna vasa kouriagị othåtotei.
Gaming helps the yearning for human touch when people are isolated.

Utom /ˈu.to͡ʊm/, n. Class D. CardUtomi /u.ˈto͡ʊ.mi/, flat, card-likeUncertain, as in up to chance like a card game. Owned, but separable/unstableAhutomit /ʌx.u.ˈto͡ʊ.mit̪/, to cardto place faith in something unstable

Ćå utoma mefamoć, nia aratịkourić lopė nideohåria khaya hėi. 
You-formal-sing place faith in laws, and politicians here do not respect honor.

The Waterfall Commune

This is a short story — 6,200 words — about a group of young adults in their 20s who decide to go against tradition and get a house together. It is set in Tveshė, the place where Tveshi is the national language — the story takes place in West Shija, so Shiji (Mafediji) is spoken.

This story is a bit too long to be publishable. It does, however, showcase a few interesting things: (a), the use of conlangs in fiction and (b) far-future polytheistic worldbuilding. I have created an hypothes.is annotation layer to provide some conlang notes, so click here to see them.


We didn’t do a commune, a so mesahi, for political or individualist reasons. Tveshė just had no word for the concept back then. To us, it was a means to an end, where that end was leaving Karoumoyu, a North Coast city of three million.

Those of us who dreamed of moving away called it tịnnuå kossori, the City of Steady Habits. The rare times I went to the Karoumoyu Central Station, I watched other young people hover their enormous luggage bags and kiss close family goodbye, bound for Galasu — most, unlike us, upper class. The women and jomela had tight, double-bound hair and so much embroidery on their clothes that I wondered how they managed on the trains. Most of the men wore military uniforms.

My oath-friend Haruñi also wanted to leave, and le had the means: Le would have a law degree soon with prospects beyond Karoumoyu. Le’d been nursing ler younger son for a few years, which meant ler two-child obligation to the family was nearly over. As soon as the at-homes could manage the kids — and as soon as le had that degree — le’d be gone.

I relished the afternoons we spent together. My twins played with the other five-year-olds in ler household while we lounged on chaises and cushions in the wide, open reading room. Haruñi studied long hours. As an oath-friend, ler happiness was my responsibility. I nudged lim away from the overwhelming workload to toggle through VR sims of Galasu buildings. We had to tilt the viewers to evade the late afternoon sunlight, which made dust-creases in the air as it streamed in through the slat blinds. It washed out the colors, and we needed color. Our avatars roamed through opulent satellite houses with nearly as many reception rooms as bedrooms or posh apartment spaces that featured taps of scented oils in each floor’s communal bathroom, different blends for hair and skin. One of the houses had tile floors made of lapis lazuli and a house robot whose sole purpose was to recite poetry.

The day Haruñi asked me to leave Karoumoyu with lim, a sacrifice in the Temple of Likhera next door kept most of ler relatives out of the reading room. Incense perfumed the air for blocks, but the acoustics seemed to funnel all of the chants and fast-paced hymns directly into the room. Only a half dozen attempted to focus, Haruñi and me included. They all sat mostly towards the back, but Haruñi wanted to recline near the windows. The chanting made a thin, transparent veil between us and everyone else. Theoretically, we could say anything.

It took a while. Haruñi skimmed through legal codes on ler tablet and made notes, periodically glancing up at me. I gritted my teeth and tried to focus on forum chatter about a Maðzi serialized drama I was obsessed with at the time, Nut-Tree House — the village murder mystery starring Asr Cåm Emtaxes.

Haruñi cleared ler throat. I glanced up. When our eyes met, my heart pounded. I thought it would be the moment le said, I’ve found a job. I’m leaving once I file my coursework and defend. My wife Sahiti had spent hours talking me up about this anxiety. Both of Sahiti’s oath-friends had left a year earlier, and one had nearly fallen out of contact. I never wanted that to happen to me.

Haruñi shifted ler son and cleared ler throat again. Le tilted the tablet towards me. It was a legal document. “That’s strange.”

I propped myself up on my elbows, sending an ache through my shoulders. Ler cousins and older relatives across the room hardly looked up. 

“Le looks done,” I said.

“Yeah.” Haruñi separated the son from ler nipple and set lim down in the nest of blankets between us. “So, I’m looking at the housing regulation code. I’d always thought that you needed to all be from the same matriarchal family to apply for satellite homes. Apparently, that’s not true anymore.”

“Uh-huh.” I looked back down at the forum post and skimmed through five love poems. The episode criticism was so buried.

Haruñi pushed the legal code to my tablet. I looked up at lim and accepted the request. Haruñi’s eyes had become saucers — off-the-wall idea eyes. 

“Since when?”

“That ProMo legislation in the late 1890s.” 

“Huh.”

Haruñi’s hunches about loopholes always sounded like the kinds of things that should be obvious, yet weren’t. That’s how le’d ended up taking an extra funded year of classes, which bolstered ler educational portfolio for job-hunting after graduation. 

One of my chief duties as ler oath-friend was to stop these insidious ideas before they became dangerous. 

“This code seems to indicate that if we had at least seven people all committed to living together in Galasu, we could apply for a standalone residence in competition with satelliters.” Le highlighted a paragraph of text on our screens and stared pointedly at me. Le whispered, “Tia, you could convince Sahiti. We’d have three.”

My heart thudded. I needed to stop this conversation. I didn’t. “What about our kids?” I wanted to say, Thank you.

“Mine will be weaned. Yours are up to you. Our obligations are done, right?”

If my mother had heard that I wanted to actually leave Karoumoyu, le would have rent ler hair and screamed. No one in our families had worked elsewhere for generations. This was the early 1900s, and Shiji — even families like ours that had given their members Tveshi names instead of Shiji ones out of aspiration and desperation — didn’t move without family. I couldn’t see my Takhịdeso matriarch reacting well. The ProMos had secured individuals the rights to apply to and accept jobs without matriarchal approval in 1891 SC, but these rights meant — and mean — nothing without the housing application signatures. 

Haruñi must have seen those fears in my face. “What are you thinking?”

“I have no marketable skills.”

My gut instinct sided with Haruñi even as my mind fought lim. One of my twins, Reyanatau, would have ler jomela gender paperwork processed any day now. We’d already scheduled the ritual and party. Raising a jomela-child in Karoumoyu meant perhaps having another ritual officiant or mid-level government official. If le relocated with me to an East Shiji city — or even to Galasu itself — le’d have access to schools where le’d learn the Galasuhi accent and way of speaking, not our regional Shiji one that lengthened and twisted our vowels and consonants. Le’d be well-positioned to bring the family prestige. My son Goitvei wasn’t as smart. Le’d be fine in Karoumoyu.

It wasn’t right for me to think strategically like a matriarch — I was only an at-home — and if anyone had heard these ideas, le’d have thought me haughty.

“The Coalition still uses human caterers. You could apply.” Haruñi highlighted more text in the legal code and made annotations.

“How would it look for young Coalitionist hjathomahi to defy our families like this? It’s against traditionalism. We might as well turncoat our families for the ProMos,” I murmured. “Someone must have tried this before.”

Haruñi said, “No one. We’d be the first. Although — you’re right about that.”

The singing from the temple grew louder. The smell of roasting meat wafted in through the windows. It almost made me want to be there. Sahiti worshipped Likhera extensively. Le couldn’t bring me meat from the sacrifice, and chasing after a deity for roasted meat was obscene. 

When I shut off my screen, Haruñi’s legal code and highlighting disappeared. I rested my head against the back of my hands and breathed deeply. 

“Hey,” Haruñi murmured. Le rubbed between my shoulders. “It’s okay, Tia.”

We curled up with ler toddler and relaxed. The three of us lay there half-asleep until my children rushed back inside from one of the courtyards and prodded me to go home. Their lips were dark indigo-purple from all of the fruit that they’d eaten. Reyanatau kissed my forehead and poked my chin. Goitvei held back, arm around the waist of another boy a few months younger than lim. Goitvei was very affectionate with other boys and very sensitive. It wouldn’t make sense to extract lim from ler friends. I beckoned lim closer. Goitvei kissed my hands instead of my forehead, as Karoumoyuhi sons do.

I was still anxious. I was certain that someone had overheard and would tell my mother. Perhaps, though, no one thought that we were serious.


Sahiti and I had no unusual conversations that night or the following morning. I went to bed about an hour earlier than lim and awoke two hours before dawn to prepare the family breakfast with our other at-homes. Sahiti slept in until the sound of the city foot and transit traffic outside started in earnest. Le came downstairs, kissed me, and went off to shower and give the morning offerings to Likhera in the temple. 

Sahiti usually didn’t come back until halfway through the morning meal, and le spent four to five hours each day teaching older children how to interpret Likhera’s myths. On this day, le rushed because the showers had high levels of competition. The ancestor rites on 42 Thaukol were nothing like the major memorial services on 43 Poråkol, but we still had a delegation to our family’s necropolis site consisting of about twenty or thirty of the family. All of them needed to ritually purify themselves. 

We at-home cooks had to make breakfast quickly and provide more mourning diet food than usual. I chopped vegetables alongside our robot while ruminating over the conversation with Haruñi. I’d have to bring it up to Sahiti delicately, but Sahiti wanted to go through priestess training somewhere.

This wouldn’t guarantee us moving to Galasu. There were many schools for priestesses, and le could always go on ler own. Haruñi’s plan would be involved. We’d have to apply for jobs, interview, receive offers — and even then, our matriarchs could push back. They might cut our allowances out of spite.

Haruñi would have a law degree. We could easily appeal in court. This firmed my resolve that we couldn’t leave Reyanatau at home. If my relationship with the family soured, le would not have the same opportunities as other clan youth just by association.

After we served breakfast, I skimmed a letter from Haruñi with links to satellite applications and job boards. I didn’t read it fully until a few hours later.

Sahiti came into our room just as I finished. Le wore a yellow temple stola and a headdress, which I have always found stunning on lim. Hesitatingly, I recounted my conversation with Haruñi. Le frowned, but didn’t interrupt. A pit slowly contracted in my stomach.

“Tia, you can’t just leave one of the twins here. What would Goitvei think if we took Reyanatau and left lim?” Sahiti folded the yellow stola and tucked it over the hanging rods.

“I thought you were going to say it’s an unachievable idea.”

Sahiti chuckled. “It is, but I know your friend. And you really want me to apply for seminary in Galasu?”

“How long would it take you to receive an answer?”

“That program is very competitive.” Sahiti turned towards me, breasts bare. “Are you looking to work in a restaurant?”

I shook my head. “I really don’t know.”

“Other cities have better provisions for at-homes who travel with spouses. What does Haruñi think you’ll even do?” Sahiti put on a house-weight summer shirt and switched into wide-legged pants.

I shrugged. “You’ve visited Galasu.”

“Yeah, ten years ago on a school trip.”

“It can’t have changed that much. Could you see us living there? We’re not talking about moving to another planet.”

Sahiti climbed onto the bed and sat down beside me. Le rested ler head against my shoulder and skimmed Haruñi’s letter, fingers brushing lazily against the touchscreen. “I’d prefer Auomo, actually.”

“Why Auomo?”

“It has better legal provisions for apartment tenants and satelliters.” Sahiti kissed my cheek. “Auomo would be better for the twins. They’d learn Khessi that close to the border. The temple consortium school is great, and people go there from all over.”

I turned my head to the side and kissed Sahiti’s crown. Ler skin and hair smelled like temple incense, and it warmed the back of my throat and cheeks as I breathed in. Le kneaded my forearm until I set the tablet down.

“My muscles are so tight,” I said.

“Surely we can get another robot.”

“The older at-homes think learning this is good for us,” I said. “What do you think about leaving, though? Galasu? Is Auomo important?”

Sahiti clicked ler tongue. “Galasu wouldn’t be a good place for us. It’s so insular with all of those upper-class political families. Auomo at least gives us some margin.”

Haruñi wanted Galasu. None of us knew Khessi well enough to navigate a border town because we knew Shiji at the breast and Tveshi by policy. We might even need Atarahi. Most in Karoumoyu took Mamltab or Iturji as a stretch language. Few took Sāqab languages like Atarahi because they were an exercise in embarrassment. One had to constantly inflect pronoun gender as if people needed a persistent reminder of the obvious. Iturji did pronoun gender a bit more politely, only employing it for clarification.

I’d sidestepped Atarahi entirely after the warnings from my jomela sibling who tried it. Instead, I learned Mamltab because Maðzi dramas made me happy, and I wanted to understand them and read the meaty stuff on the fan fora. Most of the Shiji and Tveshi posts were just about hot actors, not the dramas themselves.

“You could come with me as an at-home if we went to Auomo.” Sahiti kissed me again, this time on the lips. I kissed ler neck and rested my head against ler chest. Ler voice resonated in my skull when le said, “It’s close to the spaceport.”

We kissed again. During sex, I was still anxious, but I hid it well. The follow-up conversation with Haruñi — whenever we had it — wouldn’t go well if their desires were at odds with each other. To pull off a unified exit from Karoumoyu, we’d need a compromise that could satisfy both.


Haruñi knew Konnajo from cohort studies. Konnajo knew my wife because both had spent so much time at the Temple of Likhera — Sahiti volunteering, Konnajo as one among five tonal percussionists who performed during the chanted prayers. We were set to meet lim in a kuaićo between our neighborhoods, at the top of a hill that looked over the kilometers of flat intertidal zone to the north. It was high tide, so the ship canal was packed with freighters, fishing vessels, and small leisure craft that upper-class Karoumoyuhi took out to skim along the coasts.

Small shrines dotted our way up, most left to the God of the sea after tsunamis and drownings, but we only presented offerings at one three-quarters of the way up when we needed to catch our breath. The vending machine incense hardly started when I lit it.

I waited at a bench at the sacred precinct’s edge while Haruñi offered nut milk. When le approached me, I squeezed ler hand and said, “Let’s wait here for a few minutes.”

“We’ll be late.”

“No, it’s not so far.” I paused. “You should know that Sahiti is four-fifths yes, one-fifth no. We had a talk–”

“Why one-fifth no?”

“Well, didn’t you ask your husband? Why isn’t le involved in this?”

Haruñi shook ler head and rolled ler eyes. “We married for children, not because we love each other. Our obligations to each other are essentially over. Le’s on board with me leaving. I’ve mentioned it to lim for the past three years. One-fifth no, Tia?”

“Auomo. Le wants to live in Auomo. Why did you tell your husband that you were serious about leaving and not me?” I scowled through the hard sunlight. A shrine like this was the wrong place for a fight. “Let’s keep walking.”

Haruñi let air out, lips curled up to roughen the long khhhhhhhhh as much as possible. “Why fucking Auomo?” 

“We will bring my jomela-child and my son. Sahiti thinks that exposure to Khessi will be good for our family. Social climbing.” I stood and gestured towards the worn stone gate. “We can talk at the kuaićo.”

“No, there are Narahji nationalist bombings in Auomo.” Haruñi jutted ler chin towards the God’s icon in ler nook. 

The icon’s four interlocking circles made eye shapes where they connected. It made the hair on the back of my neck prickle. “They’re in Galasu, too. What’s the difference?”

“Auomo’s population is lower.” Haruñi shook ler head and looked up the road. “When does transit come by here? Can’t we just take a pod?”

“I don’t–”

Le khhhhhhhhhhed again, stood, and walked out of the gate. I had to struggle to keep up as we took the wide sidewalk up. Le passed by the pod request box without even hesitating. “I’d need Khessi to get a lawyer’s apprenticeship or job in Auomo. Auomo is not–”

“Is this about getting out of Karoumoyu or just going to Galasu specifically? What’s in that city?” I picked an insect off of my arm and tried to regulate my breathing. “Your law grades are good, right? Good enough to sway someone on the fence about you.”

Haruñi sighed and stopped walking. “Go back and press the requester.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Do it, Tia.”

I walked back down about five meters and pushed the button. Ten minutes, the prompter said, plus or minus five. I motioned for Haruñi to come towards me.

Le waited up there, arms folded across ler hepteri vest, with sweat darkening ler underdress at the armpits. Only when the pod came to service us did le walk quickly down the hill towards me.

Haruñi whispered, “You have no say in this. Konnajo will think Auomo is a stupid idea, too.”

“Fine, then,” I said. The door opened in front of us. We got in across from a trio of young men in military uniforms. They smiled at us, and I shook my head. “Le could want something other than Galasu, too. We’ll be living together for a long time if this works, so don’t be bitter.”

Haruñi pursed ler lips together and turned ler head away from me. I input where we wanted to get off, about a five-minute drive away. The pod AI told us to make room for a final passenger.

My best friend held ler anger in ler shoulders. We called it youth-seething anger in our families because it usually manifests in new adults. Some people could be brought down from it through touch and compassion, but not Haruñi. It was best to just let it simmer and dissipate on its own.

When we walked into the kuaićo, Konnajo had already taken over a large table near the back. We’d only met a few times, but I liked what I’d seen. Reyanatau had few jomela role models in our family. Konnajo had high marks in the Karoumoyu Conservatory. Outside of politics, encouraging Reyanatau into a culturally influential career with public appointment opportunities would make the family very happy. I could use it to argue for this move with my matriarch. Konnajo’s husband, Morau, had just graduated with a degree in condensed matter physics. We still had no idea if Goitvei would be smart enough for that kind of educational investment, but it would at least provide lim with options beyond the military.

Konnajo put away ler notebooks, tablet, and input pens as soon as we sat down. The robotic server arrived at our table before we reshuffled ourselves. Upper-class kuaićo had more socially aware AI, but we only had enough lehi for this place.

After we ordered and paid, Konnajo leaned forward and propped ler chin on ler hands. Le jutted ler chin at Haruñi and asked, “You’re the one who found the loophole?”

Haruñi half-smiled. “Yeah.”

“Brilliant.” Konnajo rearranged ler half-eaten plates of food. One looked like root vegetables wrapped and steamed in leaves, a Galasuhi specialty, but the other was traditional North Shore fare, raw fish and sour fruit in a curing sauce. “Our family won’t have problems. We will, however — Haruñi, do you know how creative appointment works? The government ones?”

Haruñi shook ler head. I shrugged.

“We submit applications to the national government with some cities shortlisted, up to five. The competition is fiercest in Galasu. That’s where you can get work in the private government parties on the side. Auomo is second because the internationals and interplanetaries will take the high-speed rail from Itaka, Khessa, for weekenders.” Konnajo ate some of the root vegetable wrap, right hand held up to keep us from interrupting. “I’ve heard you want Galasu. Your friend — Tiarahañi, right? — and ler wife want Auomo. Sahiti told me. Is this about testing the law, or do you actually want to move out?”

“Sahiti and I want what is best for our children,” I said quickly.

Haruñi let out a long khhhhhhhhhh. “We’ll see. Maybe we don’t have the same goals.”

“You didn’t have anyone else respond to the forum post.” Konnajo snickered. “This is just like that school project with the word count thing. Remember that?”

“Our teacher couldn’t mark me down.” Haruñi grimaced.

“Look. I really like this idea. My applications are due next decad, and I defend next month. When I hear back in two months, we can look at the cities that offer me a position and make a decision together. That is my best offer.” Konnajo leaned back and pursed ler lips together, eyes shining.

The robot server came with our meals. Haruñi looked down at the cold noodles it put in front of lim, face scrunched up. I knew that I’d end up eating that and not lim. The fish-filled pastries at this kuaićo were much better than the ones I made. One of my at-home uncles yelled at me about how bad I was at making the dough the right way whenever I tried.

We both studied Haruñi, even though I think we both knew better. I should have told lim about Sahiti before Sahiti had reached Konnajo. We were interwoven with one another like a bad knot in a jewelry box.

“I guess,” Haruñi murmured.

Konnajo shook ler head and started eating the fish dish. I flaked apart my pastry. Not even Haruñi’s mood could spoil how good it tasted. “That sounds fine to me,” I said in between mouthfuls.

Haruñi slammed ler open palm down on the table and squeezed ler eyes shut. Konnajo stopped chewing. I ate more pastry.

“What if we end up somewhere just like Karoumoyu?” Haruñi’s voice rose. “The point is getting out of here and going somewhere we can live and see great things and not have to worry about living in a fucking hotåkhi place where nothing ever happens and we’re all just seeing the same people every Gods-damned day and the train lines only move away!”

People at the other tables stared. Haruñi’s shoulders shook, and ler arms trembled. I made eye contact with the owner and flailed my hands to my face to make an apologetic gesture. The owner canted ler head towards the door and mouthed in Tveshi, Nuakesh meshom

We couldn’t let this end in a scene. I shoveled my other pastry into my mouth while Haruñi breathed heavily beside me, fists rocking against the table so hard that ler knuckles made a painful noise. I stood and put my arms on Haruñi’s shoulders. Konnajo scrambled to get ler things together.

“We need to leave,” I said. “You’ve bothered the owner.”

“I don’t want to fucking leave.” Le shrugged forward and batted my arms away.

“You’re going to get us media attention,” Konnajo whispered. “This place sometimes gets journalists. They cover the student protests and love leads.”

Haruñi didn’t respond. Konnajo and I locked eyes. I couldn’t leave Haruñi here because we had a friendship ritual knitting our fates together. If I left lim, I would be a tradition-breaker. “I know what to do. Le’s just frustrated and probably hasn’t slept enough.”

Konnajo clicked ler tongue. “I know lim, too. Le and I were in cohort. This is probably a forum thing.”

What is happening on the fora, I thought. What are you doing, Haruñi? I reached a hesitating hand towards lers.

Konnajo moved to sit directly across from Haruñi. Le put ler arms on the table, palms turned up, and said, “Karoumoyu is Tveshė’s thirtieth largest city, fifteenth largest in Shija Province. Auomo, Galasu, Kiatasu, Karoumo, Aravakha, Kiaėtha, Inasahirami–”

“You don’t need to list them out like that,” Haruñi murmured. “It’s insulting.”

“We won’t end up in a small city. You’re crying over something that hasn’t happened yet,” Konnajo said.

I grabbed Haruñi’s wrist before le slapped Konnajo. Haruñi elbowed me in the ribs and started crying. I made eye contact with the owner and whispered, Mė koushena, because this was a Galasuhi Tveshi kuaićo in a Shiji-language city. We had already caused a scene, and I didn’t want us to look like provincials.

“The kuaićo wants us to leave. Don’t get us banned.”

Haruñi nodded and breathed in deeply. It was just like lim to turn the future into a catastrophe. Le shook as le stood, which meant that le was on the verge of hysterical screaming. Neither Konnajo nor I touched lim as we all left. I barely made eye contact with lim on the pod ride back to our neighborhood. Le needed time to work these thoughts out.


Konnajo smoothed things over — how, I don’t know. We all developed our city list with lim, and le sent in the application. The five of us had a lot of time to socialize during the months-long wait. Sometimes, we played board games and cards at Konnajo and Morau’s home. I started going to the Temple of Likhera with Haruñi. We hjathomahi went to the gymnasium near my family’s home and met Sahiti and Morau back at the house for electrolyte drinks and entertainment.

I’d gotten the four of them into Nut-Tree House and Why We Ride, which released episodes every fourth day of the decad. We piled onto the couches at my house and watched them back-to-back.

The application results eventually came. Konnajo’s composer package meant that we’d move to Inasahirami. Haruñi was neither happy nor unhappy — le’d settle for it — but the remainder of us truly loved what we knew of Inasahirami. We still needed the final signatures from our matriarchs to approve the move. We’d planned to tell them all at the same time, but hadn’t set a date.

It did not go as expected. One day, about a week after the results, one of Matriarch Daukhiañi’s underlings called us up to ler office while we were all there. I could count the number of times le’d summoned me on one hand. My family had about three hundred people in the house, and I’d hardly ever needed meetings.

We were in deep hotåkhi fucking shit, in other words. All of us knew it. We didn’t realize just how deep until we saw three older women — not one — in Matriarch Daukhiañi’s reception room.

Matriarch Jiahiñi, Konnajo’s great-grandmother, was something of a celebrity. Le’d been one of the few middle-class women to serve in the Senate back in the 1860s when such things were still possible. Matriarch Naćiñi, Haruñi’s great-great aunt, had sworn an oath of friendship to Daukhiañi when the two were teens.

Konnajo immediately fell to ler knees when we entered the room and pressed ler head against the floor. I felt like throwing up when Daukhiañi turned to me, lips curled and eyes blazing.

“What the fuck do you all think you’re doing?” Jiahiñi screamed.

Konnajo’s hands shook as le pulled them out in front of lim, palms up. Morau quickly fell to ler knees, pressed ler hands to the floor, and arched ler spine with ler chin tucked.

“What do you think? Huh?” Jiahiñi looked like le might kick Konnajo, but didn’t.

Daukhiañi pursed ler lips together. Ler skin crinkled and flowed like paper over ler bones as le gesticulated widely towards the two on the ground. “What has gotten into you? Who is responsible for this? You hjathomahi?”

Sahiti took a step back, and Morau breathed a sigh of relief. Hjathomahi meant that the blame rested on Haruñi, Konnajo, and me — the ones who stayed in their families after marriage. We had a duty that the others didn’t.

Haruñi met ler matriarch’s eyes and said, “Tågo Naćiñi, vas kouria lijunui vė tålịni?” Using Tveshi made it sound more formal and serious.

Naćiñi turned around and flicked on one of the monitors. One of the top news items in the Karoumoyu newspapers was us. As le scrolled through it, I sank to my knees. It detailed everything from our school and job applications to the Inasahirami satellite house paperwork, all based on Haruñi’s careless posts on the fora. Konnajo couldn’t see it pressed down against the floor. I didn’t want to see it, either. I sank to my knees and planted my forehead against the ground.

“Your so mesahi is in the paper,” Jiahiñi whispered. 

The correct term would have been so mesaheli or so rohi. Contracting it like that made it into helloing house, so frivolous and ridiculous that I couldn’t bear to repeat it for months after the article came out.

“What?” Haruñi’s brow furrowed. “When?”

“An hour ago. It’s everywhere on the news. A journalist asked if I’d signed for you.” Naćiñi clicked ler tongue. “Do you have no sense of responsibility? Are you trying to break our family walls with this ridiculous, shameful thing?”

Haruñi stomped on the ground twice. “If you try to stop us, the ProMos will turn this into a national political issue, won’t they? Have you had a call from the Coalition–”

“One of our senators. Le asked, ‘What has happened, Esteemed Jiahiñi, that you allow a young descendant to tremble the walls of your house?’” Jiahiñi clicked ler tongue. “Why couldn’t you have done this the normal way, Konnajo? You have an aunt in South Iturja. You could have picked the appointment there.

Esteemed Jiahiñi, think about the press coverage.” Haruñi cleared ler throat and stamped ler feet again. “You will sign our things due to the press coverage, Esteemed Matriarchs. Nobody cares if we have a retinue of relatives. Are our jobs bad?”

“The Coalitionist position is that we should say no,” Daukhiañi said.

“I’ll call the ProMos and tell them that. You know that we have the legal right to take this to external review. I had a year of family law.” Haruñi chuckled madly. “A extra fucking year of family law.”

Oh shit, I thought. Hotåkhi fucking shit. Haruñi had been plotting this for years. 

Sahiti cleared ler throat. “May I have permission to speak, Matriarch Daukhiañi?”

“Go ahead.”

“Inasahirami has excellent schools where Goitvei and Reyanatau will learn Shēdakla and Amurşin. It’s a big city. The commune isn’t permanent — and so many houses are still empty, yes? So much population was lost in the Occupation.” Le sighed. “Tiarahañi and I can try for a daughter through me. Our family is in no other cities yet. This so rohi is not permanent, and our children will have so many opportunities, Esteemed One.”

My shoulders relaxed. Haruñi was headstrong and a bit crazy. Le hung out on unsavory fora online. Sahiti did not. Le bore limself like a future priestess of Likhera. Thank Gods, I thought.

“Go on,” Daukhiañi said.

Sahiti cleared ler throat. I willed Haruñi to remain silent. Le might have been my best friend, but even I knew that my wife was a better woman to handle this. Konnajo and I could never have gotten the commune started without someone who held firm like Haruñi. We could never have received signatures without Sahiti.


The Taritit hadn’t bombed Inasahirami as heavily as other cities. Some of its buildings contained stones dating back to the 600s, the same century my family cleaved from another maternal line to find its fortunes in Karoumoyu. The most noteworthy thing about my first view of the skyline was the lack of construction cranes.

We expected press and protesters, so we cleaned ourselves up in the transit bathroom before the reporters gave online viewers a three-hundred-sixty-degree view of us as we went to our new property. Goitvei counted five drones at one point before le started throwing rocks at them. I made lim stop. The local ProMo coordinator tried ingratiating limself to us while we troubleshooted a luggage hover that refused to turn on.

Haruñi and Sahiti got rid of the ProMo. I was too soft. Sahiti went after me in Maðzi about how I couldn’t just take ProMo literature and the man’s comm band number in front of the remaining four drones or the Coalitionist field propagandists. In my defense, the ProMo told me le’d help me with anything.

The small, four-bedroom home the city assigned to us in the Turusa Yåhi Neighborhood stood three blocks from the sacred waterfall from which the neighborhood takes its name. It lay along the road where pilgrims go to Yisaja Grove to re-oath friendships. The koidė shrine marking out the neighborhood’s northern boundary lay eight blocks beyond us, past several large matriarchal homes, the rail station, and a hotel.

An inspector had apparently certified the home for habitation. No one had used it in nearly a century. Thick, quivering blood-vines grew over the entire front yard, which splattered on our embroidered pants as we crushed them beneath our feet. The keys barely turned in the lock.

We searched through vermin and insect droppings for a place to set down our belongings, hyperaware of the media crew outside trying to get a view of the interior through the filthy windows. Oh — and the building had no working refrigeration drawers. The solar panel room’s wiring had been restored following inspection, but some of it hadn’t been connected properly. We had no power. Haruñi whispered to me that the city must have given us a place like this on purpose. 

My children remained at the door with Sahiti and Morau while Haruñi, Konnajo, and I went through the rooms with chimes and ashes from our household shrines to invite our family Gods into the space. We installed libation and burnt offering bowls in a nook shrine after we cleaned out the shrine rubble from whichever family had once lived and died here.

Someone had raided the mattresses, but we found some furniture that hadn’t warped or been eaten by mold and fauna — hardwood dining couches and a table, desks and bookshelves, and two of the nine bed frames. We found a statue to Enahahi in the tiny inner courtyard. We cleaned out the God’s tiny shrine and offered more incense. A few moldy tapestries upstairs bore ler myths.

We stripped down to our undergarments to clean so we wouldn’t need to replace our nice clothes. Morau and Sahiti took the children to the park while the rest of us scrubbed and hauled trash out.

On that first night, we pushed the dining couches together and slept smushed together. Haruñi cried quietly, and Sahiti tossed and turned while the vermin scampered upstairs. The children slept well. Morau had nightmares about the dead crawling back through the blood-vines to haunt our house. The next morning, Sahiti went into town to buy a pack of kikheda while I called pest control. We put in a work order for large item trash removal and contacted a priestess to purify the house of restless ghosts.

And I called the ProMo.

When le answered the phone, le asked if we were okay. I hesitated for a long time, just breathing.

I wanted things in the house to work. 

Calling the ProMo for help was worth every concession because they helped us make the Turusa Yåhi House livable. We negotiated assistance down to a news piece and community volunteering for a ProMo youth mixer. The Coalition never gave us anything.

It was worth going ProMo because they gave us everything. Three days later, I stood in the kitchen chopping vegetables while the children ran chasing kikheda up and down the stairs in a clean place with real furniture. My new jar of sasahi paste opened with a pop. The refrigeration drawers purred. Sahiti prayed at the household shrine, perfuming the house with incense.

When the heat sizzled the water out of my fresh-cleaned pan and I added the first cooking oil and meat, I knew that I was home. 

END

Lexember 2019: December 8-15

December 8

Sau /sa͡ʊ/, n. Class D.  JourneySauyi /ˈsa͡ʊ.ji/, relating to journeys. Asauyit /ʌ.ˈsa͡ʊ.jit̪/, to travel.

Iasaupilgrimage
Nusauyiculturally astute, well-traveled
Nusaukourisomeone who has made traveling a profession
Enasaureligious procession
Sauyåssị, any god to whom one prays for journey-related reasons. 
Saukhialight-distance, or the journey light takes from one place to another. 
Efịsau, hotel, hostel, or other room where a journeyer stays
Fågoim sauyi, a traveling teacher, typically a religious officiant or philosopher. 

Sau mėi vat kossori para mė noahet efịsauć shitarahi.
My journey was monotonous, except I hated the loud hotel rooms.

December 9

Shovė /ˈʃo͡ʊ.və/, n. Class N. Shore.

Ashovė /ʌ.ˈʃo͡ʊ.və/, inspiration after a long, fallow period.
Akaiashovit /ʌ.kʼaɪ͡a.ˈʃo͡ʊ.vit̪/, to stand someone up, as in not show up for an appointment or social function despite saying one would be there.
Anuashovit /ʌ.nʊ͡ɑ.ˈʃo͡ʊ.vit̪/, to beach, negative sense.
Ashovit /ʌ.ˈʃo͡ʊ.vit̪/, to beach, positive or neutral sense.

Gịssåt ret shovit nia vė mohuyem vannuonehio ratịtu.
/ˈgɪ.ʂɔt̪ rɛt̪ ˈʃo͡ʊ.vit̪ ni͡ɑ vɛ mo͡ʊ.ˈxu.jəm vʌ̃.ðʊ͡o.ˈnɛ.xio͡ʊ rʌ.ˈt̪ɪ.t̪ʊ./
The boat was beached and le wrote a letter to a/the sister.

December 10

Thåtotei /θɔ.ˈt̪o͡ʊ.t̪ɛ͡ɪ/, n. Class A. LonelinessThåtoti /θɔ.ˈt̪o͡ʊ.t̪i/, alone

Aithåtotei /a͡ɪ.θɔ.ˈt̪o͡ʊ.t̪ɛ͡ɪ/, digital isolation
Iathåtotei /i͡ɑ.θɔ.ˈt̪o͡ʊ.t̪ɛ͡ɪ/, a state of renunciation
Enathåtotei /ə.nʌ.θɔ.ˈt̪o͡ʊ.t̪ɛ͡ɪ/, a theological term describing the interaction between Gods and the world. 
Othåtotei /o͡ʊ.θɔ.ˈt̪o͡ʊ.t̪ɛ͡ɪ/, isolated
Athåtotait /ʌ.θɔ.ˈt̪o͡ʊ.t̪a͡ɪt̪/, to isolate; when reflexive, to go into isolation.

Mė mėis thåtotam helai tålịnė nia noaha ñirep lopesu dat reyani nia shueyi.
I isolated myself because the anger and hatred of everyone here was strong and dangerous.

December 11

Thui /θu͡i/, n. Class D. FootprintOthui /ˈo͡ʊ.θu͡i/, track, spoor

Aȯthuiyit /ʌ.ʔo.ˈθu͡i.jit̪/, to track
Aithui /ˈa͡ɪ.θu͡i/, technology footprint
Thuivekut /θu͡i.ˈvɛ.kʼut̪/, energy footprint, amount of energy used

Thuivekut vasa da olayi othuat tuahi.
/θu͡i.ˈvɛ.kʼut̪ ˈvɑ.sʌ dɑ o͡ʊ.ˈlɑ.ji ˈo͡ʊ.θu͡ɑt̪ ˈt̪u͡ɑ.xi/
Their energy footprint is far too massive. 

December 12

To /t̪o͡ʊ/, n. Class D. Metal

Sitoyi, metallic
Toyi, made of metal
Mịto, metal worn for adornment
Aimịto, prosthetic.
Uhoto, mine
Ånåto, recycled metal, lit. old-new metal. 

Mesh kouriaia peairahėo isi ånåto.
We do metal recycling for the planet.

Tosamiakha /t̪o͡ʊ.sʌ.ˈmi͡ɑ.ʁʌ/, n. Class N. Impermanence

Ñijė hidė nia sihata voiyauptu måtenui tosamiakha.
Everything suffers and suffering is necessary to illumine impermanence by means of teaching.

December 13

Tussi /ˈt̪u.ʂi/, adj. Soft.

Nuatussi, /nu͡ɑ.ˈt̪u.ʂi/ unstable.
Atussit /ʌ.ˈt̪u.ʂit̪/, to soften, to weaken.
Atusi /ʌ.ˈt̪u.ʂi/, pliable, supple.

December 14

/t̪ɛ/, n. Class D. Road.

Setė /ˈsɛ.t̪ə/, highway

Setua nia ennahjịć rikhaptu tịnnuåć. 
Highways and trains bind cities.

December 15

Ta /t̪ɑ/, n. Class A. Call

Tayi /ˈt̪ɑ.ji/, noteworthy, something to pay attention or respond to, important.
Atayait /ʌ.ˈt̪ɑ.ja͡ɪt̪/, to call, to transmit widely, to alert

Mė davajem nådịnui tayi karanai mėi. 
I solved my despair via important oracles. 

Vė tayaia odashinasio sejatho ćėis. 
Le will alert your (sing. inf., AKA “thy”) family after the decision.

Lexember 2019: December 1-7

It is once again Lexember, the time of year when conlangers work on our lexicons.

Looking Back

Last year, I wrote a language called Eamaru/Eamarubhe from scratch to support a creative writing project called Ossia, a story about the daughter of Salus Niksubvya who is solving the puzzle of who lived in the ancient ruins she finds in the Canyons while anchoring herself in the present by telling the story of her life — a mystery which grows into obsession as she entices the God of Time and Eternity, Saämatsra, through her repeated time travel. It allowed me to move from this:

A few younger adults followed me. They pointed and said something like ut-ta-ka-mia-de-sa, which I couldn’t break into words. The syllables ta-kam happened more often than others. Ta-ka-mia less often.

To this later on:

These day-sky blossoms are harvested during the night, when the air is cool, at this time of year. They will be crated and sent via air freight to a processing center that will dry and crush them for the pigments they hold. 

Flowers are less brittle when their petals are closed.

It’s a phrase I have heard from Aðokei several times now, that I heard from Ktanja before. In Eamaru, it is, Fhin itn-me ei jabh meða ẖam rak muto ziur llejabh ba. To think that all of that refers to this? Day-sky pigment is expensive — it is not made artificially, after all — but this is what it meant?

… but also the realization (hey, drafts, right?) that the younger adults were probably not speaking Eamaru, but Dásna, spoken by the Ékkivá (accents are high tones), even though Toma learns and is taught Eamaru instead.

Ossia has a draft that is 198,000 words. The main character, Toma, learns Eamaru during the story. And, of course, you can check out the words and phrases I made in the 2018 Lexember here (a link to my tag for Eamaru).

Moving Forward

The year before, though, I was working on my Tveshi dictionary. Tveshi was my first conlang, and it is old, cumbersome, and beloved. Basically, I was the lexicon and expanding it from brief notes that looked like this:

tha, mark
thåtotei (AN), loneliness
thåtoyė (AN), Criminal
thau (NN), earth
thaufoi (DN), cavern
thaukinị (NN), Earthquake
thena (DN), Practice
thie, smear
thau (NN), earth
thaufoi (DN), cavern
thaukinị (NN), Earthquake
thena (DN), Practice
thie, smear

to robust entries that incorporate polysemy, derived words via prefixes/suffixes/compounds, verbs, and more (basically, what you’ll see farther down here). Sometimes, I have to fix and clean things a lot, too.

This year, I’m continuing that work — starting in the Ns and going down as far as I can. Apart from Lexember, I’m finishing up a poetry project right now.

December 1

Nau, /naʊ̯/ n. Class N. Deep, a term for valley, ravine, or low place. When followed by an article, this indicates the Canyon region of Narahja: nau sof /naʊ̯ soʊ̯f/, sometimes nau aif /naʊ̯ aɪ̯f/ because the Canyons are seen as divine.

I also made a phrase, reyanakourić efa mėi. It uses the word reyana, strength, with the suffix -kouri to denote that someone does something (often professional, but colloquially, it often just accentuates that someone is performing a role), and for plural. Efa is the plural emphatic article, and mėi is a first person possessive pronoun. Roughly, it means those who bring me strength, but it has the connotation of my peeps, my comrades, et cetera, in a colloquial, endearing way. It can be shortened to reiekoufam.

December 2

Nea /nɛɑ̯/, n. Class N. Hand.

Aianea /aɪ͡anɛɑ̯/, cross purpose.
Uneayi /ʊ.ˈnɛɑ̯.ji/, wealthy/well-resourced.
Enanea /ə.ˈnɑ.nɛɑ̯/, Providence.

Nåneayi /nɔ.ˈnɛɑ̯.ji/, fresh, inexperienced, novice.
Anåneait /ʌ.nɔ.ˈnɛ.a͡ɪt̪/, to try out.

Ćė nåneat måtua. 
/t͡ʃɛ nɔ.ˈnɛ.ʌt̪ ˈmɔt̪.uɑ̯/
You.informal had tried out teachings/ways.

December 3

Ninna,/ˈnĩ.ðʌ/, n. Class A. Trace, track. Aninnait, to trace, to track.

Ver ninnamị thunoyėa naui vo athovamị vė.
They (formal) tracked the young woman through the gorge and killed lim. [no gender in #Tveshi 3PS]

Ninnashåsso, storm-trace, a fulgurite (fused trace left by lightning).
Sininna, argument following from a prior.
Uninna, talent, aptitude.
Uininna, an act of kindness done for someone whom one will never meet in a place before ler arrival to make things better for lim.

December 4

Nitha /ˈni.θʌ/, n. Class D. Ditch
Anithit /ʌ.ˈni.θit̪/, to drag down into the mud, to slander, to diminish, to defame

Sher nithoiyi henehågep fågoim mėi.
You-informal-pl most likely defamed/slandered my teacher without remorse.

But I did more on December 4 than just that.

Nuita /ˈnui̯.t̪ʌ/, n. Class N. Temporal flux, temporal jumble, time travel. A neologism created by the writer of a book called Ko Foali MånauptuTime’s Beginning/Momenting/Succession of Instants Is Endless, a horror novel about a woman who gets lost in the woods and must solve a time travel puzzle to avoid being devoured by forest spirits. The term has passed into pop usage.

… I would actually read something like that.

The forest spirits, incidentally, are called klamodya (sing. klamoda) in Narahji, and the reason a Tveshi woman would be harassed by them is that the Tveshi neglected the klamodya shrines when they conquered Shija. The Tveshi word for nature or tree spirits is atuat or enayoi; the term for a klamoda is enayoi thuani, or evil tree spirit. (They’re not actually evil.)

December 5

Rahị /ˈɾɑ.hɪ/, n. Class D. Mote, speck.

Rahi, invisible, dustlike, insignificant.
Oirahị, bacterium.
Nårahi, no longer relevant.
Årahi, irrelevant.

Sirahị, prioritization. This actually means something like, the art of identifying insignificant things. Setting priorities by eliminating what is actually unimportant, right? 😂

Thuyirahị, bribe. I was asked to explain this. Thuyi- is a prefix that indicates badness or wrongness, much like nua- (the two can be used interchangeably, but the latter prefix is increasingly used less for some social reasons in the culture). It’s an allusion to how difficult it can be to know that someone has been bribed — a mote or speck that can do so much damage, but that is invisible until close inspection.

December 6

Rout /ɾo͡ʊːt̪/, n. Class N. Crevice, openingRouti /ˈɾo͡ʊː.t̪i/, openAroutait /ʌ.ˈɾo͡ʊː.t̪a͡ɪt̪/, to make space

Mịroutorifice.
Oiroutlung or other respiratory mechanism, in the case of blood-vining plants. 
Thuyirout, a bad situation that has a narrow chance of escape. 
Kaiarouta softening of the heart, often seen as a reflexive verb, akaiaroutait.

Mė mėis kaiaroutaia helai sha amatara laihua tusa mėi.
My heart will soften if le takes care of my nine bowls.

After doing this, I did a few other words and learned I had a double entry for this word and that there were already some other things in the other entry. I then merged them together. From that previous work, I have:

Rout is also used colloquially to mean opportunity or possibility. Da routi is an achieved opportunity.

December 7

Sassė /ˈsɑ.ʂə/, n. Class N. Air

Aisassė /a͡ɪ.ˈsɑ.ʂə/, air filtration system on a space ship or submarine. 
Hosassė /ho.ˈsɑ.ʂə/, atmosphere. 
Oisassė /o͡i.ˈsɑ.ʂə/, exhalation. 
Nåsassė /nɔ.ˈsɑ.ʂə/, inhalation. 

Mė våsam saishehio aisassė. 
I fixed the air filtration system for a cousin.

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.

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.