Monday, 29 February 2016

Fifth Lexember Month: for Something Completely Different, a Month of Haotyétpi Words

First, let me apologise for leaving this blog to languish for so long. It's not that I haven't been active (anyone who follows my Tumblr blog knows that's not the case). Rather, I haven't been very active with the things I usually share on this blog, in particular with the development of Moten. Basically, what has happened in 2015 is that I burned myself out on Moten. Don't take me wrong: I love my conlang, and I'm glad I've been able to work long enough on a single language that it is now at a near usable point. However, I have also been full of new ideas of linguistic features I'd like to implement in a conlang, and I couldn't implement them in Moten without breaking the language. Still, I was bursting at the seams with ideas. This combination of working on a language that was basically done, apart from the vocabulary, together with this ever present need to create something new, caused me to start resenting working on Moten!

That was, of course, an unacceptable situation! Conlanging is my main hobby, and one of the only activities I find true satisfaction in doing. There was no way I could let it become poisoned for me. So, after a period of self-reflection, and identifying exactly what it was that was bothering me and preventing me from enjoying my work on Moten, I made two decisions:

  1. To pause my work on Moten for a while. Clearly, working on a single conlang for an extended period of time doesn't sit well with me. I needed to take a break and refill my Moten batteries, so to speak;
  2. To start a new conlang to canalise all those creative juices that were flooding my brains (if you'll allow me to stretch this metaphor to the breaking point). Like I said, I had plenty of new linguistic ideas I was dying to try out, and no way to play with them, creating a situation where my brains basically got blocked. the only way I could unblock it was by letting my creative juices flow in a new language.

And that's basically what I did. I paused my work on Moten and started working on a new language. With so much creative energy just begging to be used, it wasn't long before I had a working language description, which I eventually presented to the CONLANG mailing list back in November 2015. The conlang itself is called Haotyétpi, which is actually a nominalised verb phrase meaning "that which we speak to each other" (it's an endonym. Unlike Moten which is spoken in the here and now and has no associated culture to speak of, Haotyétpi is a more traditional "fictional" language, with a conculture associated to it. Since I don't know whether the world where Haotyétpi is spoken actually contains any English speakers, I don't have an English exonym for it).

As for the language description itself, it is available here (warning: PDF hosted on Google Drive. Good news is that Google Drive's PDF preview feature works well). Since I was working on a new language, I decided to try my hand at new tools for the purpose of documenting it. This language description has been created using XeLaTeX and the Brill typeface via ShareLaTeX (basically an online TeXLive installation, very complete and up-to-date, and with a great in-browser LaTeX editor). Working on this new language has allowed me to test these tools, and I am very happy with the results so far!

So when Lexember came around again last year, I was neither ready to resume working on Moten, nor willing to miss such a fun event. So naturally, I decided to participate with Haotyétpi. Giving such a young language a nice vocabulary injection was too good to pass.

As with last year, I wrote all my Lexember posts on Tumblr, automatically shared them on Twitter and Facebook, and manually shared them on Google+ and the CONLANG mailing list. I hadn't set up an automatic link between Tumblr and this blog for Haotyétpi posts, so they unfortunately didn't appear here or on the Conlang Aggregator, but this post is my way of correcting this oversight. I have now set up that automatic link, so this problem shouldn't happen again.

As I did last year, I will give here the short definitions of the created words and link to the relevant (Tumblr) posts. Don't hesitate to follow these links: each Lexember Tumblr post contains extensive descriptions of Haotyétpi in general and the created words in particular, together with topical GIFs and in some cases even example sentences! Also, Haotyétpi is very different from Moten, with a very distinct phonology, grammar and even semantics, so you really need to read those posts (together with the grammar document I linked to) in order to make sense of these entries. So, without further ado, here are all my new words for a new language:

1st word: wakkú [ʋäˈkːuˑ], alienably possessed noun:
2nd word: repáta [ɾe̞ˈpäˑtə̆], intransitive verb:
to be/become slow, late.
3rd word: oméw [o̞ˈme̞͡ʊ], intransitive verb:
to be/become early, fast.
4th word: yosék [jo̞ˈʑe̞ˑk], nominalisation:
food, something to eat.
5th word: pusék [puˈʑe̞ˑk], nominalisation:
drink, something to drink.
6th word: eyró [e̞͡ɪ̆ˈɾo̞ˑ], intransitive verb:
to be/become pleasant, liked.
7th word: hekáw [çe̞ˈgä͡ʊ], intransitive verb:
to be/become unpleasant, hated.
8th word: ankése [änˈd͡ʑe̞ˑʑə̆], inalienably possessed noun:
face, look, appearance.
9th word: honé [fo̞ˈɲe̞ˑ], inalienably possessed noun:
10th word: =nekkon [ɲe̞̽kːo̞̽ŋ], nominalising clitic:
seems like, but is not.
11th word: [ˈɲe̞ˑ], transitive verb:
to wear (clothes).
12th word: més [ˈme̞ˑɕ], transitive verb:
to be/become attached to.
13th word: nesék [ɲe̞ˈʑe̞ˑk], nominalisation:
clothes, thing to wear.
14th word: tawít [täˈʋiˑt], alienably possessed noun:
15th word: cupí [t͡suˈbiˑ], intransitive verb:
to sleep.
16th word: [iˈäˑ], transitive verb:
to breathe; to smoke.
17th word: inwé [iˈnʋe̞ˑ], transitive verb:
to hold, to carry.
18th word: paró [päˈɾo̞ˑ], transitive verb:
to carry (sthg) on one’s back.
19th word: samar= [sɐmɐɾ], adnoun:
other, another, else.
20th word: meún [me̞ˈuˑŋ], intransitive verb:
to be/become different.
21st word: ricá [ɾiˈd͡zäˑ], transitive verb:
to see, to look at, to watch.
22nd word: cupiapásko [t͡subɪ.ɐˈbäˑɕkə̆], alienably possessed noun:
dream (images seen while asleep).
23rd word: kommés [ko̞ˈmːe̞ˑɕ], intransitive verb:
to see, to look, to observe.
24th word: [ˈɾiˑ], transitive verb:
to hear, to listen to.
25th word: sepáne [ɕe̞ˈbäˑɲə̆], inalienably possessed noun:
26th word: [ˈt͡ɕe̞ˑ], alienably possessed positional:
day (24-hour period).
27th word: -(a)p [(ɐ)p], verbal suffix:
to have the quality of.
28th word: -ye [je̞̽], verbal suffix:
to have the quality of.
29th word: ortáse [o̞ɾˈtäˑʑə̆], inalienably possessed noun:
soul, spirit, god.
30th word: ortáp [o̞ɾˈtäˑp], intransitive verb:
to be holy, to be sacred.
31st word: turá [tuˈɾäˑ], alienably possessed noun:
skill, ability; endurance, stamina.

Since Haotyétpi is a very new conlang, I am not going to do any statistics this time. That would be pointless. However, I just want to mention a few things:

  • By convention, I type every Haotyétpi word in italics (like I type Moten in bold);
  • The romanisation I chose for Haotyétpi is strictly phonemic, up to and including an acute accent to mark stress on the syllable of every word that carries one (including monosyllables). However, Haotyétpi also features plenty of allophony, so I included phonetic transcriptions of the words above in order to make it clearer how they are meant to sound like;
  • I cite clitics (independent words that lack their own stress) with a = sign, and affixes with a - sign. In both cases, the position of the sign indicates whether the clitic or affix attaches on the previous or the following word (for clitics, only in terms of prosody). Such signs are only used when citing these forms. In normal Haotyétpi texts, affixes are simply attached to the words they complete, while clitics are written as separate words (their status as clitics is still obvious, dus to the lack of accent mark).

This year's Lexember has cemented my opinion that Tumblr is just the perfect platform for it. It possesses all the social features needed for what is really a group event, the casual atmosphere needed to make it fun, without the restrictions of Twitter's limited post length. However, greatness is not limited to just one platform, and whether on Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Facebook or the Conlang Mailing List, I enjoyed reading everyone's Lexember entries. This event just keeps getting better with time. I'm looking forward to the next iteration!