Tag Archive: rejistanis are crazy

Example: Syku mi’ukuku sama ,mi’asav sydi, venil.
Syku 3S-type slow ,3S-think fast but.
Syku types slowly but thinks fast.

This is related to yesterday’s ‘anteni but a more continuous version. It is also related to ‘dimil as this word refers to all kinds of writing (but not the production of larger or difficult text, which is ‘odavisko or to formulate, ie, you don’t ‘dimil a novel, you ‘odavisko it). While pressing a key is ‘anteni himukuku’het (press.button key) the continuous pressing of keys to produce a text is ‘ukuku. It is supposed to be onomatopoetic for the sound of the kind of keyboards of computers which are used in Rejistania (think old keyboards of XTs and 286s). But you need to know it to understand that.

Ukuku’het is a keyboard. At least in these times. To make it clear what you mean and to distinguish it from a typewriter (ukuku’het kimtija**), you can add sistenha or komvuteru as clarifying adjective.

An ukuku’he is someone who either currently or habitually spends time at the keyboard. So either someone currently typing or a user, and mostly a knowledgable user, ie a geek* or nerd* or someone working in an area where you are expected to be a geek or a nerd.

Ukuku’tan is the quality, which I describe in the footnote below.

* English lacks the term I want to use here. Geeks and nerds can and probably are mostly geeks and nerds about existing media, at least in common perception. There are Pokémon geeks and Star Trek geeks. IMHO, that is completely bizarre. I need a term which is not concentrated on the obsessive consumption of media but on the creation of new things. There is nothing particularly wrong about obsessive consumption of media since it is an activity which causes no harm to others. It is however not the word I really want. Why is there no term for someone who does things ‘because they are not there yet’.

** which reminds me that kimtija is also a word to be explained.

Example: Doa’het mi’la’kidhi lystas jolu.
(Strange.thing 3S-PST-happen earlier(PST) direct)
Something strange just happened.

Today, my father reprimanded me for constantly referring to things by attributes of them, ie: not saying “the Allfine* netbook” but “the green one”. He was not sober when saying that (he tends to drink and not quite be himself**), so I do not know whether this is something I tend to do too much, but if it was, it would create an interesting question: Did this happen because of my creation of rejistanian (where that is perfectly valid and quite acceptable) or did I create this in rejistanian to grammaticalize a certain oddity of my personal way of speaking? I mean, it does not even need to be something I was aware of, it could just subconsciously influence me. Unfortunately, my mother was not aware of me using these kind of terms before or after 2001 disturbingly often so I have no however weak data on it. As such, I invite you to speculate. 😉

Doa and ‘doa are not necessarily bad. There is the quote which states that the sentence which led to scientific advancement is not “Eureka!” (Yri’tan!***) but “oh, that’s funny…” (ha, jilih mi’doa…) and this ‘funny’ can very well be expressed with ‘doa. Something which for a few moments amuses you in the daily grind can ‘doa. And sometimes, strangeness is entirely neutral. If something is strange in a bad and offensive way however, there are also synonyms (at least to a point) like “jaliex’ta” (invalid or rude) or “raxhu’sis” (impolite).

And now: the song of the week. Yes, last week, there was no song because I was in Karlsruhe and later in bed (I didn’t get the job, BTW, sanja mi’slani****), but this week, I should again introduce one. And since the World of the day is ‘doa, I am presenting some doa music (not goa music though 😉 ). Thus my choice fell on R. Winchester’s It’s 0600 a.m. and Garys Refrigerator Plays a Raga. How can I explain what this song is about? It is a strange song, not something to play at a party but something to listen to, probably with headphones for a more direct experience and prefereably at a time of day, when you are not quite immersed in your normal life but willing to experience something different (I sometimes took the “it’s 6 am” part of the title seriously and listened to it when (due to an allnighter) I was still up at 6am). It is a very warm sound, something which immerses you, allows you to close your eyes and trust it. It is an intriguing construction of sounds, strange enough that I cannot even specify the genre easily (R. Winchester himself suggests the tags “electronic”, “chiptune” and “transistor” for his album). And it is exactly 9 minutes long.

EDIT: If you comment without a gravatar, you will now see a wonderful retro avatar which is reminding of space invaders instead of the geometrical… thing…

* seriously, that is a brand, since few things are fine with it, I pronounce the term generally as if it was a meaningless German term though… 😉
** or maybe he is himself when he drinks and only puts up a façade when sober, which is to be honest a quite scary thought…
*** This literally means ‘success’. It seems to me a more rejistanian thing to say in such a moment since the literal translation would be longer.
**** another southern German company however invited me to a job interview, so we’ll see.

Sometimes, you wake up because you heard something, it is a comedy staple. Especially here at my parents, it is annoying what can produce sounds which wake up, but I guess in the rural areas of Rejistania, there is enough nature to produce even more sounds to make you ‘xitenu. On the plus side: I had entire four hours of sleep despite that.

Example: Xe’la’xitenu xatri xi.
(1S-PST-xitenu time two)
I was woken up by some noise twice.

After I answered a question on the amount of vocabulary, apparently, Google thinks that I am an expert for all things vocabulary related. Why else would a search for “how to create words for a conlang” hit my blog?

But okay, unknown googler, I will answer your question. Of course, this is my personal take on it and it is probably inadequate for your needs. Feel free to comment which parts you personally consider good, bad or ugly.

Generally, you are in one of 3 stages:

  1. just decided to start
  2. already formed the first sentences in $CONLANG
  3. some form of basis exists

These 3 stages differ. The first words are very important for the character of the language. Later in the development, they can be relegated to legacy terms or even struck off from the vocabulary*, but the damage will already been done. These words are going to appear in each and every of the first example sentences you are going to use. They will greatly influence how you perceive the language. Which words you will coin for this depends on your personal preferences and the culture of the language. A stone age culture might want a term for ‘hunt’, a future tech language might prefer a word for ‘compile’ for the first example sentences. Use something typical. Build a unique feeling for the culture with the first sentence you are going to write. Make sure that the words fit your phonotactics (or change them while you still can) and fit your phonoaesthetics. Try to speak them, shout them, sing them. No, this is not a joke. Singing words makes sure that you avoid too horrible insults to pronuncability, taste and common sense. At this point, developing a feeling for the language is most important.

After you finished the first few sentences and have a stable-ish grammar**, your priorities can change. You probably still have to work on hitting the exact aesthetic quality, but it will become easier. It will however become very important now, not simply to relex English. You now need to think about what meanings a word has. If you are fluent in a different language, it might help you. But here is a random list of things to keep in mind to prevent relexing:

  • Work from sentences. At this point, to look at a list (like Swadesh) probably means to take the English assumptions and meanings and translate them 1:1. Thus, better think about how to use each word in a sentence.
  • Think about what the word means. Take ‘spoon’ and ‘fork’: they are both implements to take food and move it into your mouth. The difference is the shape. Maybe you want to have a word for this purpose and specify the exact kind of implement differently. Or think of the difference between ‘to buy’ and ‘to acquire’. OTOH, if you have the feeling that a word mushes two meanings together, think of the meanings separately (right can be the antonym of left and of wrong).
  • Think about your culture: If your conculture uses chopsticks for eating (or the right hand), the words for ‘fork’ and ‘spoon’ might be complicated terms or loan words from a language of a culture which uses them.
  • Base your vocabulary distinctions at least partially on a foreign language, best of course, is one you are fluent in. If a language which kinda fits the culture already exists, an online dictionary might come in handy: translate a term into a target language (which fits the perceived quality of the language) and take one of the the translated terms and re-translate them into English. Or ask someone who knows the language.
  • Consider usage: Maybe a certain word which your L1 uses intransitively is used transitively in $CONLANG, maybe it is the other way around. Maybe there is a choice where English does not allow one, maybe a word which is almost exclusively used in passive voice (frex: to get relegated) is used in active voice in $CONLANG (German uses absteigen), or the other way around (English uses to assign a grade, but rejistanian ‘rala’sidekhir runa which literally means “to get reached a grade”), maybe the meaning is more general, more specific, more polite, more vulgar and maybe it has different connotations.
  • Consider existing vocabulary. Given existing Unabsteigbarkeit of your language*** you might be able to derive or compound the word. Remember here that it has to fit the culture. Remember also, that many languages do compound verbs (Rejistanian has many verbal compounds with ‘visko for “to speak”. Some examples are ‘ytinvisko=to.change-to.speak: to translate, or ‘idavisko=to.turn.into-to.speak: to declare). Or express it idiomatically.
  • There are always onomatopoetic expressions to fall back to (‘iaia for ‘waking up with a hangover’ for example is supposed to sound as it feels). And even when you are not using a strictly onomatopoetic word, think about whether the sounds represent what the meaning represents. Maybe create own onomatopoetic rules (rejistanian for example often uses the u as only vowel in stems with an unpleasant meaning).
  • Maybe there is no term. This does not mean that there is a Sapir-Whorf component involved, there can be many reasons why ‘they have no word for it’. Many English speaking countries do have democratic governments despite the lack of a word for ‘kandidieren’ (they say: to run for office) and they seem to dislike work as well but lack a word for ‘Feierabend’ (the end of the workday as well as the time after work). Maybe $CONLANG has no word for something $NATLANG considers important (rejistanian for example lacks a word for ‘art’, mainly because its definition is so wishy-washy that I cannot get to the associated concepts behind it).
  • Write it down. Not only the general idea, but also things like connotations and usage.

From this level on, you can start using The Method, described below, however still remember that the first words shape the character of the language rather much. An example for this is probably ‘sidekhir. Its original meaning is “to reach”. Not only has its meaning expanded into many different areas (to arrive at a place, to get a mark, to get/change into a state), but its at that time dubiously-legal became quite common. (This is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe you will like the place you reach when something seemingly random influences your language.)

You have made it into the next stage? You don’t know? Well, if you find that you actually can say things without constantly coining vocabulary, you are out of the hard area and probably have established enough feeling for the language to think of the pitfalls of relexing automagically. Depending on how different the culture of $CONLANG is from your own, you might always have issues reaching its state well enough to easily figure out how $CONLANG says it, but you are much less unsure about these things. Now you can think of areas of meaning and fill the gaps in vocabulary. At this point, you can probably start to use lists. I personally still abhor it. Lists however are not the only thing, Languages also have terms which might not have a direct equivalent in other languages. Maybe you think that your culture considers certain things important enough to name them (‘xikila means to qualify via 2 different routes and it became important after it happened in my soccer leagues not only once but twice), maybe you personally want a name for something (rejistanian for example has ‘kamandi (to let others down out of laziness, incompetence or bad motives) and ‘selka (to contribute your share of the work or more) because I thought that group work required these expressions). Maybe you want to include inside jokes, there is nothing wrong with that, Klingon does it, Rejistanian does it, Kamakawi does it to a point. I personally use The Method to help assigning sounds to a meaning.

The Method works like this:

  1. open your (alphabetically sorted) $CONLANG to $NATLANG dictionary in a text editor, make the window small enough only to show about 25 lines (using a textmode editor would be ideal)
  2. close your eyes and randomly scroll in the file
  3. open your eyes and look at the first and the last word in it
  4. the new word needs to fit in between there somehow. This will mean that certain changes to meaning are required to fit the ‘feel’ of the word. It also means that the distribution of initial sounds is more natural. The areas which have already many words will gain words quicker than the other areas.

And don’t forget: have fun doing it! 🙂

* if you are the kind of person who does that. I am not.
** is it ever really stable? That was a rethorical question.
*** I want to establish the word Unabsteigbarkeit for the ability of a language (including surrounding culture) to build new words via affixes. Toki Pona has the lowest Unabsteigbarkeit out there (it is completely isolating), Esperanto is in a completely different league (the word Unabsteigbarkeit is ne-mal-promoci-ebl-ec-o in Esperanto, just without the dashes which are just inserted to show the affixes), pun intended.

There are also new IRC quotes for you:

I fully agree with malvarma: Why does everyone seems to love Quenya?

( malvarma) I think I will learn a language that sounds pretty to me.
( B-rat) learn sindarin or quenya!
( malvarma) Klingon sounds pretty, but it’s too hard.
( malvarma) I think quenya sounds like dreck.

And here a quote just for the lulz of it:

( malvarma) ithkuil does sound nice. lojban sounds like a nerd mating call.

And the word of the day? It is vylisni’het, which means “lip”. Since I know no good example sentence with it, here a bad one.

Example: Vylisni’het’ny’il min’redy takani. (lip-PL-GEN2S 3PL-be.red mature: Your lips are in an arousing shade of red)

This is a word, which is quite strange to me. It took inspirations from many areas, among those Turkish and what little I know of Japanese idioms. I have glossed this word with ‘heart’ and ‘soul’ already when I used it earlier. This word is used in a lot of strange idioms:
‘aru demna’het ama: to be very emotional (to be completely demna)
‘aru demna’het al alna koleni: to react head over heels (to be more demna than reasoning)
demna’het’xe mi’oki’anik: I am very sorry (my demna is certainly low)
demna’het mi’eval: to become agitated/angry (the demna stands up)
demna’het mi’han jvenu: to have fear (the demna goes to the legs)
demna’het mi’lines: to feel strong disgust, to vomit (the demna turns yellow)
demna’het mi’sinit: to be hungry (the stomach is empty)
demna’het mi’vasu itli: to be relieved (the demna becomes light)
demna’het mi’xitri: to be excited (the demna jumps)
‘lil demna’het leji: to be sane (have a correct demna)
‘lil demna’het alte: to have/show sympathy (have the same demna)

It is also used when talking about preferences or wishes. Especially if they are somewhat odd and irrational, you might want to say demna’het’xe mi’kaska (My demna likes/prefers) instead of xe’kaska (I like/prefer).

As such, ‘demna means “to feel emotion”. Now you can derive what demna’tan is, right? No? Of course not really, it means conscience. If you are aware that feeling what is right or wrong is just a form of feeling, it makes sense, I guess. Still, this word and derivations are to me rather odd and delightfully so.

Example sentence: Demna’het’xe mi’vana’ta ‘dimil jilih (soul-GEN1S 3S-want-NEG (INF)write this: I don’t want to write this)

And another infrequent IRC quote (MalfermitaKodo is me):

( lucky) i wished i liked the aesthetics of your conlang more MalfermitaKodo
( lucky) the depth and breadth of its expressiveness is amazing

For added irony, this was only a few hours after I wondered how I can say ‘fork’ (the eating utensil) in Rejistanian (the fork in a road or a unix process has a name already: riva’het).

In other news, I apparently forgot to use the modern equivalent of the turbo button. I do not need to keep janekha (my netbook) in a mode to save battery life when she* is connected to the mains.

And if you want to see me embarrassing myself for a global audience: you can see me on youtube singing “still alive”. Click at your own risk!
Edit: fixed the video URL!

‘javuke and javuke relate to javuke’het, which is mud. This is probably the first time that I show a word where the rest of the derivation does not exist per se. This does not mean that they cannot be formed, of course not. It just is as odd as talking about “Unabsteigbarkeit” or “unrelegatability” in German or English. (Now that I think about it: javuke’tan or muddiness makes some kind of sense in usage. Still not sure about the ‘he form).

The rejistanis, who live in the tropics never actually experienced snow on their islands, thus the term for snow only was coined recently: javuke’het kimi, which literally means “white mud”. Which brings us to the discussion which sparked the current Rejistanian Word of the Day: How do you say ‘yellow snow’ in Rejistanian?
Continue reading

As you might have noticed, I start with words of a personal significance or those which I like to use to illustrate grammatical structures. The word ‘xetsu is one of the latter ones.

The nouns are as you expect them to be with the rejistanian derivation system: (xetsu’he: someone who choses, xetsu’het: option, alternative and in the plural: settings, xetsu’tan: choice (as a concept)). The adjective means that something can be chosen.

Then, there are strange compounds: ‘xetsukovomin, ‘xetsutani, ‘xetsunanti, ‘xetsurekijo and ‘xetsukali. All of these mean ‘to elect’ and all the ‘het forms mean ‘election’ however, these words are all different. Except the first one, all refer to different levels of government: while xetsukovomin’het is the general term for an election, xetsutani’het is a federal one (tani’het means country), a xetsunanti’het occurs on nanti (state) level, a xetsurekijo’het on rekijonal (or regional) level and a xetsukali’het on municipal level (kali’het means city).

The grammatical significance of the word ‘xetsukovomin is a strange one. For some odd reason, I often confused the order of the verbal prefixes, but have no issues remembering this conjugated verb: Min’ki’lanjamesit’rala’xetsukovomin’ta.

Min indicates the 3rd person plural.
ki is the future tense marker,
lanjamesit is a subjunctive form, which indicates a similar probability as the ‘maybe’ in: Maybe I will win the lottery. It is a compound of two other subjunctive forms: lanja and mesit. (the lack of a subjunctive marker indicates the indicative)
rala is the passive voice (its lack indicates active voice)
and ta the negation.

As such, the word means: it is possible but not very likely that they won’t get elected. As I wrote earlier people wondered what this word is actually good for. Well, during the LoCoWriMo, I actually managed to use it. Syku Inik’s best friend was said this to a reporter after he implied that Syku was a chanceless candidate and Syku just said that during an election everything is possible:

{Asav’il Kansu Sanateni’han ji Kiran Milan’han. Min’ki’lanjamesit’rala’xetsukovomin’ta asty’het’jet jilih. Hakim mi’ma ‘kidhi.}

(Consider Kansu Sanateni and Kiran Milan. It is possible, but not very likely that they won’t get elected in this year. Everything can happen.)