Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Sorry for the Empty Posts

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the last two empty posts. Somehow, the IFTTT recipe that I use to copy my Tumblr Moten Word for the Day posts to Blogger is not working correctly. I'm looking into it and hopefully I'll be able to solve the issue quickly (we'll see when the next Word for the Day post goes online...).

In the interim, I've gone back and updated the empty posts with the correct contents. You can view them here and here

Thank you all for your understanding. I'm doing my best to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Moten Word for the Day

itelmungi /ite̞lmunɡi/, verb: “to be strange, to be weird; to be interesting; to be amusing, to be funny“

And if you think that’s a rather tame meme for this word, that’s actually on purpose. This meme search has produced some results I’ll never be able to unsee again…

So, here we have a word that is (fittingly) rather strange from an English speaker’s point of view. First of all, it’s a verb, yet all its translations involve “to be” together with an adjective. In other words, Moten uses a verb in a place where English would normally use an adjective! That’s not so uncommon actually: words between different languages do not need to line up in terms of parts of speech (this is true even between closely related languages: in Dutch, the equivalent of the verb “to need” is actually an adjective: “nodig”: “necessary, required”. To say: “I need it”, you have to say “ik heb het nodig”: ”I have it necessary”). But how do you handle the attributive use then? (i.e. how do you say “an interesting person” for instance?) That’s actually easy: just use a relative clause: itelmungi itos fokez (literally “a person that is interesting”). Relative clauses are very light in Moten (you just need to put the verb in the dependent form), and are quite common where English prefers adjectives.

Second, the different senses of itelmungi look all over the place. But actually, they do make sense when you think about it for a minute. First, the etymology of this verb is quite simple: it’s a compound of tel: “other“ and imungi: “to be different“. In other words, itelmungi means literally: “to be other and different“, which is pretty much what “to be strange” means :P. Also, things that are strange and weird are usually uncommon, and since we tend to be curious animals, uncommon things are interesting for us. Finally, something that is strange and weird is usually unexpected, and unexpected things are often a source of humour, which makes them amusing or funny :).

So you see, that word’s not so weird after all ;).

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Moten Words for the Day

|notuk /ɲo̞tuk/, noun: “importance, noteworthiness; also as adj. important, noteworthy“

|notpuz /ɲo̞tpuz/, noun: “unimportance, insignificance; also as adj. unimportant, insignificant“

So… Once again, sorry for not keeping up with my Word for the Day series, but like the owl above, I’ve been swamped with important stuff to do, or maybe |notuk stuff to do ;). So please allow me to correct this by offering you two words today, both very important! :P

So, |notuk refers to the concept of being important or noteworthy, while |notpuz is its opposite, referring to lack of importance, insignificance.

As you may already know, Moten handles negation in a very idiosyncratic way, quite different from the way it’s handled in English. In particular, Moten has no productive way of forming opposites, i.e. it lacks something like the “un-” and “in-” prefixes in English. Opposites are usually just separate stems (like sezgo: “high speed” vs. bontu: “low speed”) that one just has to learn separately.

However, Moten also has a relatively productive way of forming concept nouns (which are commonly used as adjectives) that allows for what looks like a semi-productive opposite formation. This way is based on the opposite pair duki: “solidness, fullness, completeness“ and puza: “hole, gap, emptiness“. These nouns are commonly used in compounds (I often call them “pseudo-suffixes” as they behave a lot like suffixes in these compounds, although they still exist as independent nouns), to form concept nouns referring respectively to the presence or lack of a specific quality. When used in such compounds, they are both always reduced to their short compound forms -duk and -puz, and they tend to correspond respectively to the suffixes “-ful” and “-less” in English (in meaning, if not always in actual use). This means in particular that a compound in -puz will usually be the regular opposite of the same compound in -duk.

This is exactly what is happening with today’s words for the day. |Not in Moten is a noun meaning “(abstract) source, origin”, but also often used to mean “cornerstone, principal part”, or as an adjective meaning “essential, main, chief”. When compounded with duki, it forms |notuk (with the d disappearing due to phonotactic constraints), literally “full of essential things”, i.e. “important”, while with puza it forms |notpuz, literally “lacking in essential things“, i.e. “unimportant”.

And since it’s important to be able to say what’s important and what’s unimportant (at least if you think you’re important), it was important for Moten to have such important words, and it was important for me to share them with you. See the importance? :P

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Conlangery #107: Moten

Conlangery #107: Moten:

Hi everyone,

My conlang Moten was featured in the latest episode of the Conlangery podcast! Yeah me! Please go and listen to me in my full French-accented glory! :P

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/1FRd79I