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!


from Tumblr

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:
10th word: |labo /ʎabo̞/, |lemekel /ʎe̞me̞ke̞l/, noun:
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:
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!