Friday, 23 January 2015

Moten Word for the Day

izgeboj /izɡe̞boj/, verb: “to work on; to tire from; to suffer from”

In case you were wondering why I hadn’t resumed my Word for the Day feature yet. Anyway, today’s word is… let’s say relevant.

So, as you may already know, Moten has this strange feature I call “split-nominative”, in which subjects of transitive verbs are in the nominative case only when the subject is willingly acting. When the subject is more of an experiencer, or is undergoing the action, it will be put in the instrumental form instead. This is how a verb like ipe|laj, for instance, can mean both “to see” and “to watch”, depending on the form of the subject.

Now, izgeboj happens to be another one of those verbs which are translated differently depending on the form of the subject. When used with a nominative subject, it means “to work on (something)” (more exactly “to exert effort on something”). It’s a transitive verb, so an object is always implied, even if it’s not explicitly mentioned. If you just want to say “I’m working”, without referring to what you are working on, just put the verb in the middle voice :).

However, when used with an instrumental subject, the meaning of izgeboj shifts and is best translated as “to tire from (something)” or “to suffer from (something)”. Used in that way, it usually refers to physical tiredness or suffering. And the object, the cause of the tiredness or suffering, is usually an action or a physical item (in particular, it’s not used to refer to suffering from a disease).

If you’re wondering whether such a dramatic shift in meaning is realistic, just realise that French travail: “work, job” used to mean “suffering, torment” in Old French, and descends from the Latin word tripalium, which refers to one of the worst instruments of torture the Romans ever devised!

Questions?


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Friday, 16 January 2015

Fourth Lexember Month: Yet Again a Month of Moten Words


So, for the fourth time in a row, I've participated in Lexember (check the links for a reminder of what Lexember is). Once again, I've hunted semantic holes in the Moten vocabulary, and filled them with words. And while Moten's vocabulary is still relatively small, I feel that with each Lexember event I get closer to having a usable language :). This time, I really focussed on everyday words, and I think it shows :).

Naturally, things change with time, and I adapted my participation to Lexember to the new situation. And by new situation, I mean my joining Tumblr and Facebook. In the previous Lexember events, I manually posted my words to Twitter and Google+. This year, I did things somewhat differently.

I always felt cramped by the nature of Twitter, which prohibited the long word descriptions I felt I needed to make. So this year, I wrote all my Lexember posts on Tumblr, which allowed me the space I needed while still feeling informal, and allowing the social aspect that is so important to Lexember (Lexember is very much alive in the Tumblr conlanging community by the way). Moreover, posting my words on Tumblr allowed me to automatically share them on Twitter and Facebook too, which I naturally did :). The only manual sharing I had to do was on Google+, as well as on a thread of the Conlang Mailing List :P. And besides that, as you may have noticed if you follow this blog or the Conlang Aggregator, my Lexember posts were also shared here. Automation is a great thing when it works ;).

Because of this, I decided, this year, to handle my Lexember summary differently from other years. Rather than including and expanding the word descriptions here, I will just give the short definitions and link to the relevant posts. So, without further ado, here are all my new Moten words:

1st word: bale /bale̞/, noun:
salt water, seawater, brine, non-drinkable water.
2nd word: balebale /bale̞bale̞/, noun:
sea, ocean, salt lake.
3rd word: i|zipi /id͡zipi/, verb:
to boil, to bake, to cook.
4th word: ba|zip /bad͡zip/, noun:
(table) salt, sea salt, sodium chloride.
5th word: sej(f) /se̞j(f)/, noun:
steam, water vapour; smoke, fume; blur, also as adj. blurry, blurred.
6th word: joami /jo̞.ami/, verb:
to feel, to sense, to notice; to smell, to taste, to feel by touch.
7th word: om /o̞m/, noun:
tree, wood (material).
8th word: ugo /uɡo̞/, noun:
source, spring, fountainhead; origin.
9th word: omgo /o̞mɡo̞/, noun:
tree.
10th word: |labo /ʎabo̞/, |lemekel /ʎe̞me̞ke̞l/, noun:
rainbow.
11th word: bem /be̞m/, noun & ibemi /ibe̞mi/, verb:
light, glow, illumination & to light, to illuminate, to shine on.
12th word: bego /be̞ɡo̞/, noun:
light source, lamp, light.
13th word: buzi /buzi/, noun:
candle; spark plug.
14th word: ma|z /mad͡z/, noun:
(river)bank; edge, side (of a 2D figure).
15th word: imazdu|l /imazduʎ/, verb:
to cut (sthg).
16th word: funma|z /funmad͡z/, noun:
present, the current moment in time.
17th word: elbo /e̞lbo̞/, noun:
rib; flank, side (of a symmetric object); side (of an argument).
18th word: jelzdu|l /je̞lzduʎ/, verb:
to choose, to select, to pick out.
19th word: sili /sili/, noun:
exterior, outside.
20th word: itneboj /itne̞bo̞j/, verb:
to hurt, to injure, to damage.
21st word: tneban /tne̞ban/, noun:
war, warfare, conflict; bad health, also as adj. unhealthy.
22nd word: tneban /tne̞ban/, interjection:
damn, damn it.
23rd word: sfom /sfo̞m/, noun & isfomi /isfo̞mi/, verb:
flow, current; course (of a river), path; period, length (of time); (heavy) rain, downpour & to flow; to float; to change.
24th word: isfomstu|l /isfo̞mstuʎ/, verb:
to pour, to serve.
25th word: keli /ke̞li/, noun:
snow (when falling from the sky).
26th word: kelsin /ke̞lsin/, noun:
snowflake.
27th word: |no|som /ɲo̞t͡so̞m/, noun:
stability, presence, existence; also as adj. stable, present, existing.
28th word: duki /duki/, noun:
solidness, fullness, completeness; also as adj. solid, full, complete.
29th word: puza /puza/, noun:
hole, gap, lack, deficiency, emptiness; also as adj. empty.
30th word: dukpuza /dukpuza/, noun:
fullness, emptiness, level; contents.
31st word: idukstu|l /idukstuʎ/, verb & ipuzdu|l /ipuzduʎ/, verb:
to fill, to fill up & to pierce, to perforate, to empty.

I'm really happy with my performance in Lexember this year. Many of the words above are really basic, useful vocabulary that really needed to be covered. Naturally, the Moten lexicon is still as full of holes as Swiss cheese, but the items I created this year are a big step towards filling the gaps. And for those who want figures, after this iteration of Lexember, the Moten lexicon counts 649 lexical items, and 1843 glosses. After the previous iteration, it counted 586 items and 1572 glosses. That's a growth rate of 11% and 17% respectively, for which slightly less than half can be attributed to Lexember itself. Not bad for just a month's work!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Lexember this month. I know I say that every time, but this iteration was special: it was the first one I did on Tumblr, and it just feels like the perfect platform for it, possessing the casual atmosphere of Twitter without the crippling restrictions (crippling for me at least). And the ability to schedule posts helped me meet every deadline ;). Finally, I had a great time reading fellow Tumblr users' Lexember entries! Some of them were amazing! In fact, I think everyone did really well this year, whether on Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Facebook or the Conlang Mailing List :P. Great job everyone!

So, all that's left for me to say is that I will happily participate again next time Lexember happens. So far it's only been a pleasant and useful experience, one I'm more than happy to repeat :). It's not often that I find it fun to create vocabulary after all, so such occasions must be cherished!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

31st Lexember Word

idukstu|l /idukstuʎ/, verb: “to fill, to fill up”

ipuzdu|l /ipuzduʎ/, verb: “to pierce, to perforate, to empty”

Bvaj “XXX” de kojpej, emekedelun puzdul!

(note: you may need to go to my blog page itself to play the video above)

So, not a meme for the last day of Lexember, but the most epic music piece I know :). Lifts me right up when I feel down! It does fit one of today’s words even :P.

So, to finish with Lexember, I decided to give you two words for the price of one again :). Although I did cheat a little: those words are both verbs derived from words from the last few days by adding istu|l to them. That little verb gets a lot of mileage doesn’t it? :)

Idukstu|l is a verb derived from duki, and thus simply means “to fill something (up)”. It’s strictly transitive. Ipuzdu|l is slightly more interesting. Being derived from puza, it means both “to pierce, to perforate” (i.e. to make a hole in something) and “to empty (a container)”. The meanings are obviously related (try and perforate a container without spilling its contents! :P). Like idukstu|l, ipuzdu|l is strictly transitive, and takes the thing being perforated or emptied as its object.

So, there you have it! Lexember is finished for this year! I really enjoyed this edition, and I hope you did too! Thank you all for following me until the end. I hope you enjoyed the words I created and their descriptions. Don’t hesitate to let me know what you thought of it all via my ask box! :) And one thing is certain, I will participate again in December 2015!

Finally, to everyone, Happy New Year! Imonuj |ledan!

Questions?


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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

30th Lexember Word

dukpuza /dukpuza/, noun: “fullness, emptiness, level; contents”

Indeed! While safety margins are a thing, engineers do want to fit needs as strictly as they can. And it often comes back to bite them later ;).

OK, I just couldn’t have a full month of Lexember without giving an example of what I think is the coolest word formation pattern in Moten :). Really, it’s that rad!

So, think of all the things that are basically ranges, like age, height, weight, distance, good vs. bad (and everything in between), etc. Those usually have a name, as well as words referring to specific values (usually extremes) on them (for instance, related to age are the words “young” and “old”; related to weight we have “light” and “heavy”; and related to distance we have “close” vs. “far”). In English, the name of a scale is usually either unrelated to the words referring to specific values (see “age” vs. “young” and “old”), or related to only one of them (“height” is related to “high”, but not to “low”).

In Moten, while some scales also have unrelated names, most scales are named by taking the words referring to extremes on those scales, and compounding them together into a single word! For instance, from odun: “young” and ukol: “old”, one forms ukodun: “age”. In the same way, from sezgo: “fast” and bontu: “slow,”, you get sezbon: “velocity, speed”.

Dukpuza, then, belongs to that type of nouns. It’s a compound of opposites duki: “full” and puza: “empty”, and rather than referring to a specific (high or low) level of contents within a container, it refers to the concept of such a level itself (hence the translation “level” being probably the most accurate here, although dukpuza lacks many of the other meanings of English “level”).

Naturally, since languages abhor neat and symmetrical things, it had to be that dukpuza would develop another meaning, moving from the level of contents within a container to referring to those contents themselves (at least in general). But that’s language for you ;).

Questions?


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Monday, 29 December 2014

29th Lexember Word

puza /puza/, noun: “hole, gap, lack, deficiency, emptiness; also as adj. empty”

I wish it was not so accurate!

So, today’s word is basically the opposite of yersterday’s duki. Puza's first sense is “hole, gap”, i.e. a hollow place or cavity, whether in a solid or on a surface. As an extension to that meaning, it also refers to the lack of something. And finally, it is used to refer to containers being empty of their contents.

Besides that, puza can be used, like its antonym, as a pseudo-suffix to form nouns that indicate a lack in something (much like words in “-less” in English). When used that way, puza always appears in its short compound form -puz, and the nouns formed that way are usually opposites of nouns in -duk (not always though. In particular, nouns ending in -som (which indicate ability or capacity to do something) will sometimes have opposites in -puz).

Questions?


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Sunday, 28 December 2014

28th Lexember Word

duki /duki/, noun: “solidness, fullness, completeness; also as adj. solid, full, complete”

Which is basically how I feel right now after so much feasting :). That’s the holidays for you!

Duki refers firstly to solidness, in the sense of lacking holes, being made of one piece. As an extension to that meaning, it also refers to containers being full, and to things in general being complete.

As such, it’s not a particularly interesting word (although it’s a useful one). I does actually get more mileage though, in that it’s commonly used as a suffix (I call such nouns “pseudo-suffixes”, because they behave much like derivational suffixes despite being full nouns) to form nouns that indicate possession of a certain quality (pretty much like “-ful” in English). When used that way, duki always appears in its short compound form -duk.

Questions?


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Saturday, 27 December 2014

27th Lexember Word

|no|som /ɲo̞t͡so̞m/, noun: “stability, presence, existence; also as adj. stable, present, existing”

To be fair, the man had worse issues than just that :P.

OK, I have no idea what the deal with this word is. First, its senses. Now, I’ve seen my share of polysemic words in Moten. And I get why “existence” and “presence” could feel related enough to use a single word. But “stability”? Yet here it is…

Second, its etymology. |No|som is a compound, and quite a transparent one at that. But it’s a weird compound. First, I will focus on its second part, which is the least weird :). Som, in Moten, is a noun with a lot of cultural baggage. And since I know so little about Moten culture, this means I have difficulties translating it. In my lexicon, I glossed it as “primordial essence”, “fundamental matter” and “source of everything”. It seems to be a philosophical concept that refers to the source of all energy and matter. But it also has a more mundane meaning of “energy, the capacity to do work”. In that sense, it’s commonly used as a suffix to form nouns that indicate capacity or ability, or other abstract but measurable concepts (an example of that is negzom: “power”, from |negi: “to do, to accomplish”).

So that’s how it’s used in |no|som. But there is one issue: som is normally added to verbal stems, while |not, the first part of |no|som, is a nominal one. It’s actually a noun, with various meanings like “(abstract) source, origin”, “(abstract) cornerstone, main part” or even “head (of a body)”. All things that, while tantalisingly not completely unrelated, are still rather far semantically from “existence” or “presence” (“stability” sounds about right, given |not's meaning of “cornerstone”. But |not is strictly abstract, while |no|som can refer to the physical stability of a building).

So there you have it. A weird noun, with weird etymology and weird polysemy :). It’s probably just a very old formation, which then suffered semantic drift while its components suffered a different kind of semantic drift. Still, it’s not your average noun :).

Questions?


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