The Dailies. September 2, 2021

The Dailies. September 2, 2021

Did you work on your language today? Create any new rules of grammar or syntax? New progress on a script? New words in your lexicon?

On the other hand, do any excavating or reading or enjoying stuff you’ve already created? Do you have any favorites to share?

How did you conlang today?


4 thoughts on “The Dailies. September 2, 2021

  1. Hiya! After a very long hiatus I have returned to tinker with the Nahul language on the South-West Continent on the world I love to imagine worldbuilding for but have a hard time writing stories set in. I am incredibly rusty, much more so with Nahul than with Beldreni. Questions and comments exceedingly welcome.

    I just wanted to find ways to ask people how old they are and to answer that in Nahul, but discovered on the way there that there were a lot of common words I didn’t have yet. Back to digging, comparing, and daydreaming again! Here’s my report.

    Emphasis is on the final syllable of all words. The graphemes /th/, /kh/, and /ph/ are used to signify aspirated versions of the three stops, while /t/, /k/, and /p/ are unaspirated versions. They’re all separate phonemes in Nahul.

    I started with murai (adj), which is not a new word but an existing one meaning ‘old’. From this I created one new verbs and two new nouns:

    lamurin (v), ‘to age’, amuriná, ‘I aged’
    murinekh (n) ‘age’, class II noun. Obj form sing murinekhat, nominative plural phi-murinekh. This word also has a usage meaning something like English ‘age group’.
    murinoth (n) ‘old age’, class II noun

    I also wanted words for ‘to live’ and ‘life’, and came up with this:

    lo-pang (v), ‘to live’; pangai, ‘I live’, pangó, ‘he/she lived’; Mo-pang! ‘Live!’
    pangu (n), ‘life’, class III noun. Final -u is short here. Obj form pangún with lengthened vowel. Nom pl: el-pangu.
    After making up lo-pang, I wondered if I should create a separate perfect participle for adjectival use in Nahul, because the gerundial prefix ji- has a very nounlike usage most of the time.
    I’m tentatively contemplating a new prefix jo- for this function, which would make jo-pang mean ‘alive, living’. Alternately I could use the existing adjectival suffix -il instead and make pangil with the same meaning.
    Possibly both words might exist, like English has both ‘alive’ and ‘vivid’ (Swedish uses ‘levande’ for both meanings).

    themil (adj) ‘similar, alike’ – From the existing adjective them, ‘same’ (which has an additional pronominal usage to indicate possession when you put a possessive suffix on it as if it were a noun).
    themos (adv) equally [as], as… [as] in constructions like “you are as young as he is” (the usage is similar to Swedish lika) or “she’s equally pretty as you”.

    leporo, lepro interr. pronoun, ‘how much?’; ‘how many?’ from lep, ‘how’ + a word stem also occurring in iro, ‘so much, so many’, and koro, ‘as much, as many’ (though you use the word pelel to express ‘much, a lot’ in general).

    Nahul doesn’t really have a grammatical way of marking perfective aspect on verbs, it just uses plain past tense even when the context is one where English and Swedish would use perfect. Up until now I haven’t felt a strong need to put that in, but I find that I want a way of marking the “up until now” aspect of a question where you ask about the age of someone still living.

    opos (adv) ’till, until’
    hopos (adv) ‘this far, so far, until now’ – This is the new word that can be used for a perfective purpose in some types of sentences.

    Another new word: fu as, like


    Leporo [hopos] amuriné? / Leporo hopos pange batha?/ Lat murinekhat kanei gin?
    = How old are you?
    Lit.: How much [until now] have you aged? (This sounds unpleasant in English but is wholly neutral in Nahul!) / How much [until now] have you lived through? / Which age [group] do you belong to?

    Kanoi Burisan murinekhatai/ Kanoi Burisan themimit murinekhat fu inan
    Burisan is as old as me
    Lit.: Burisan belongs to my age (group). / Burisan belongs to the same age group as me.

    Mien kanei themimit murinekhat fu inan?
    Are you the same age as me?
    Lit. Do you belong to the same age group as me?

    (Mien is a contentless dummy word to start yes/no questions with.)

    But how do you answer? Here I realized I needed a word for ‘year’; this will of course means a planetary year for this world, which is the length of ten Earth years:

    zotof (n) ‘year’, noun class III [it ends with a consonant, which usually means class II, but nouns signifying time units are often class III]. Obj form zotoveen, nom pl el-zotof, obj plural el-zotoveen. In Nahul, /f/ turns into a /v/ between vowels.

    I also wanted a word meaning what I’ve been thinking of as a “nonad”, one ninth of the full year, made up of twelve months in the Nahul calendar. (The whole year has 108 months for the Nahul and for the people of the South-West Continent in general. It’s 110 months in the North-East Continent.) At first I was going to base this on phu, Nahul for ‘nine’, but then I realized I’ve really used very few loanwords in Nahul and this could be a good place for one.

    So I decided that rako is ‘nine’ in the influential Gauri language and that rakokla is the Gauri word for this time unit. Borrowed into Nahul this became rakokal, with stress on the last syllable. In Highland Nahul this is still the form of the word in use, but in Lowlands Nahul and Coast Nahul you now say rokal instead. The word is a class III noun, object form singular rakokaleen/rokaleen, plural nominative el-rakokal/el-rokal.

    I’ll take the questions again and now add answers:

    Leporo [hopos] amuriné? / Leporo [hopos] pange batha?/ Lat murinekhat kanei gin?
    = How old are you?

    Amurina hopos ka el-zotoveen. / Panga batha hopos ka el-zotoveen da be rakokaleen. / Kanai murinekhat ka el-zotof.
    = I am four years old. I am four years and two nonads old.
    Lit.: ‘I have aged four years until now. / I have lived through four years and two nonads until now. / I belong to the age (group) of four years.’

    Note: If you want to express that you’re the equivalent of 42 Earth years, you would say that you’re four years and two nonads old if you want to be concise. But many might just say they belong to the age group of four years instead. Since there are long stretches of time each year (=each Earth decade) when nobody is supposed to be born, and the actual normal time for babies to be born is only around three nonads of the long year, people often think of more in terms of age groups than more specific times. Nonads and smaller units tend to come into it mostly for the young, and/or when you’re getting pretty close to your birthday.

    1. I love this! I especially love the way you express age, the way hopos plays in (and that’s gonna get extrapolated to other contexts eventually, knowing how language goes, though I’m curious looking at the fact that it’s not a regular aspect yet and further has distance definitions first, did it come out of a lexeme tied to geographical space that’s been extended to temporal?), the loan words!, differing timekeeping systems. Like why the nonad in particular? What makes it stand out as a unit separate from the year and is it recognized in all the cultures or just some? And why are kids only supposed to be born in some parts of the year? I really love your worldbuilding!

  2. I especially love the way you express age, the way hopos plays in (and that’s gonna get extrapolated to other contexts eventually, knowing how language goes, though I’m curious looking at the fact that it’s not a regular aspect yet and further has distance definitions first, did it come out of a lexeme tied to geographical space that’s been extended to temporal?)

    Yeah, hopos comes from something similar to Swedish “hittills” and English “hitherto” when you analyze it, i.e. “up to here” (the regular prepositions for ‘to’ in Nahul are no and non, but opos can still have a similar meaning to start with, it’s just been reassigned to a related meaning now, much like English till). I look forward to getting a lot more use of it now that I have it!

    And why are kids only supposed to be born in some parts of the year?

    Oh, that’s part of the very bones of the worldbuilding that I nicked from a Le Guin short story of a world where the year cycle is 24 Earth years and the sapient species are humanoid birdlike people, so their life cycle resembles that of migratory birds (but they can’t fly, they too must walk the long way when they travel in spring and autumn, like the people in my world). In that story as well as in my world, people are highly social but asexual in the winter (preferring to live in cities in the tropical region), but more solitary as well as romantic/sexual in the summer (living a rural agricultural life in the temperate region). There were a lot of things about that set-up that fascinated me and even as I wanted to make it a little bit closer to the ways of life that we know (thus cutting down the cycle from 24 Earth years to only 10, adding multiple ethnic/linguistic units, making two different continents, etc), I also retained a lot of it.

    So while I do picture the people in it as human-looking they’re not biologically identical to us, in that they’re usually only fertile during the high summer part of the year and usually only feel sexual desire by then, too. I said the equivalent of three Earth years for when babies are (usually) being born, but the fertile period is actually longer than that. However, if you’re born late in the summer then that’s usually an accident because it’s tougher to make the long trek south in autumn with a very tiny baby than with a bigger baby/toddler. So mostly people take care not to become pregnant in the latter part of summer.

    Sometimes people do experience sexual desire in winter, sometimes they act on it even though everyone knows it’s unwise – perhaps rationalizing that fertility is even more  uncommon in winter, which is true. But pregnancies do still occur in winter, though they are very rare. Babies “born out of season” make up a small percentage of all babies, if they survive they are stigmatized as children or even adults. On the South-West Continent they don’t tend to survive, not in most communities. On the North-East Continent there is a kind of space left for them, in that they might get raised in religious orphanages and then become priests or find some other vocation within the institutions of the three big schools of priesthood, depending on talents. (But there’s really not a lot of such births overall where the child survives, so they don’t make up a big percentage of priests.)

    Like why the nonad in particular? What makes it stand out as a unit separate from the year and is it recognized in all the cultures or just some? 

    I think the nonad is used in all the calendars of the South-West Continent, though the calendar I’ve developed in detail is the one that most Nahul people used and which is also in used in the citystate of Nahilekh. (Which is multiethnic like all citystates in this world but is dominated by the Nahul people, as its name indicates.) In the same way, the calendar of the citystate of Meren on the North-East Continent is broadly similar to the ones in used by most communities on that continent.

    On both continents, the month is based on the cycle of the largest of the planet’s three moons, which is 34 days I think. But just like on Earth, the solar year (3641 days) doesn’t match up to the cycles of that moon so if you stick with a solar year then you have to move away from the real cycles of the moon to more abstract timekeeping. The Meren calendar divides the long solar year into 110 months. Then it packs 104 of those months together into four-month-units, 26 of them. Plus then 2 more units for the remaining 6 months, 3 months in each such unit. So there’s nothing like a nonad there. The months are mostly 33 days long, a couple are 34 days instead, extra days inserted when needed as per astronomical observations.

    The Nahilekh calendar on the other hand divides the long solar year into 108 months, which unlike 110 is divisible by three, and the South-West continent’s civilization loves to divide things into threes and multiples of threes. They find it expedient to divide the year into nine equal pieces, nonads, with 12 months in each nonad. Then they divide the nonad further into four units of three months each. (The months are 33, 34, or 35 days long.)

    Come thus far, I remember I went “oh shit, this comes to 12 months like an Earth year, this looks suspicious” and thought they might instead divide the year into twelves, into dodecads or whatever the name would be, with nine month in each. But nine months is also a period of time fraught with symbolism, so heck, it looks like suspicious, cheap worldbuilding in both cases, so whatever! Might as well go with the first one. And so I stuck to nonads.

    And now I have a name for nonads, so yay! 😀

    1. I absolutely forgot about that bit of worldbuilding inspiration with the biology and migrations! You did mention it once. I actually really love the comparisons between all of these and how they ended up with all these calendars. 🙂

      Sometimes the only path forward looks cheap and suspicious, even though it’s not. I like them both, but nonads is fun! Symbolic reasons to love nine works for me! After all, symbolic reasons to like all kinds of numbers shows up in earth cultures. It makes sense.

      I look forward to seeing where those words go. 😀


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.