damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (linguist)
[personal profile] damkianna
Outside of the Davis Center on the UVM campus, there are three flagpoles. The first flagpole always has the American flag; the second flagpole always has the Vermont flag. But the third flagpole changes all the time: on Earth Day (and also just randomly) there is a flag with a picture of the earth on it; around Diwali, they put up the Indian national flag; near Chinese New Year, it's a Chinese flag. Today, it was the rainbow flag, which gets put up for national events (like Coming Out Week, for example) and for smaller, UVM-only things - this time, it's an all-day multiple-speaker event, "Faithful Narratives", which I'm fairly certain was organized by UVM's LGBTQA Services office.

Sometimes, I really, really love this school.

Ahem. Anyway: Babel passage! \o/ It is going to be so nice to have a place like this to store this stuff, especially one that's so taggable. Sometimes I drift off into daydreams where my music is taggable, and I can listen to it by picking whichever tag I feel like hearing, instead of having to construct different playlists for everything. trufax.

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly." And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."

Youda bidai-a doūna toumadi-a hain doūna pātaīn-a laoushouchadat. Mīn hāzh dadoushousalat, hain fiyim mīn shmaīl chouza-a zin Shinād shpashouit pashousashout hain ishousazhāt. Mīn "Idin madoutin banimiyat hain oumāshya zoumishdat," hoūm zatin zin mīn toushousamat. Hain mīn madout tida baoula laoushouchadat, hain mīn loumish tida niyain laoushouchadat. Mīn "Idin liyout chin zatin zin idin shimilat, hain oubiya zin doual pouziya-a hoūm chidou ousililout, hain idin doulā chin zatin zin idin zoudamimat, yazaila idin loūzāiya bouzh dīmouya-a zin youda bidai-a dazhaimoūmat," toushousamat.

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech." So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

Taizoūlin-a chin oudaīn-a zin bilinat liyout-a hain oubiya-a doual adiyoun-a zin shaītimin shimalat hizhāshousayat. Taizoūlin-a "Biminat, mīn youda shaītimin amat, hain ilou zin mīn doūla toumadi-a shayat. Hain baīd nouya mīn masabat amat, hain ibaout yasiyid doual mīn malibat yamaība chin mīn amoūmat. Taizhāmiyat hain toumadi zin mīn chidaoumizat, ibaout mīn pātaīn zin mīn yamaoulidit," toushousamat. Ibaout taizoūlin-a mīn loūzāiya bouzh dīmouya-a zin youda bidai-a douzhaīzhousamat; hain mīn shilaīya-a zin liyout tadashousaout. Ibaout doūla-a zin dou Babala doulaishoushayat; fiyim taizoūlin-a toumadi-a zin youda bidai-a chidaoushousazat; hain fiyim taizoūlin-a mīn loūzāiya bouzh dīmouya-a zin youda bidai-a douzhaīshousamat.

In this particular example, all the conlang verbs look enormous; this is partly because the rules for constructing syllables make three-plus-syllable words more common than they are in English, and partly because I decided to give the verbs a marker for storytelling. Since the whole thing's a story, all the verbs are conjugated with various kinds of past tense, and then also marked with the -shou- storytelling infix. I was feeling very infixy when I started putting together the grammar for this, so the past tenses are all infixes, too. :D

There may be a sprinkling of future tense in there somewhere, too, but I don't think there's anything especially interesting - which is too bad, because I went wild with kinds of future tenses. I even added an imprecative (a tense specifically for hoping that something bad happens to somebody else; I believe there is such a thing IRL in some varieties of Turkish). The only thing I see as I look through this is the difference between the -li- infix, which indicates a future action somebody is deliberately intending to take (ex. mabat, "to do" --> malibat, "will do", or "intend to do"), and the -moū- infix, which indicates a future action somebody is dreading that somebody else might take (ex. amat, "to be" --> amoūmat, "will be, and I'm not happy about it").

There's a couple instances of the exhortative infix, -mi-, which is the tense/mood marker I used to translate things like, "Come, let us [do XYZ]" - for example, the verb baniyat ("to shape, to sculpt") became banimiyat ("come, let us shape").

I felt like the possessive (ex. toumadi zin mīn, lit. "language of them (people)") was really clunky until I realized it was essentially on the far side of French from English; I think once I get used to it, it won't feel as annoying. I'm still not sure about the construction I used to handle "said to one another", which translates more literally as "said to their selves"; that could probably bear some revision. I am unbearably fond of the contrastive vowel length, even if it is an enormous pain to type - and I have been considering using some other system to mark it, like accents, so that I can just memorize the Alt+ codes instead of having to paste all the time. :P

I decided not to add an optional consonant to the -a definite article construction when it follows words that already end in an a - or, well, to add the invisible optional consonant of a glottal stop, I guess. ^^

The glossing was the really fun part. Logically enough, the sort of base meaning of hāzh is "sunrise"; context makes it mean "east" in this case. The pronoun system divides based on mental capacity: creatures capable of abstract thought and speech (i.e., humans, gods, some supernatural creatures - because language doesn't exist in a cultural vacuum, after all) get one set; creatures who are alive, mentally present, but incapable of abstract thought or speech (i.e., animals, some low-ranking demons) get another set; dead things and inanimate objects get a set; and plants get one, too, all to themselves. The verb pashout (used in the passage in the first half in the form pashousashout) doesn't just mean "to find", but "to happen upon" - there are connotations of serendipity.

And so on. Glossing is so much fun, but, man, what an enormous time sink. ^^ I always forget just how much of one it is until I'm doing it.

So, a check mark for that. I think I'll hold off on Psalm 23 until I've finished the other one, too. Now I just need to shower and get some writing done, and today will actually have been good for something. :D

(I feel so sad tagging this as Conlang A. I really need to give this a proper, in-language name.)


damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
'tis not so deep as a well

October 2017


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