The Dailies. March 18, 2023
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?0
3 thoughts on “The Dailies. March 18, 2023”
I mentioned that zhaima means “tribe” or more specifically (since “tribe” after all is an extremely nebulous concept) it means a conglomeration of clans. It’s used both for Beldreni tribes and similar units in other ethnolinguistic groups.
The second element of zhaima is ima, ‘body’. The first element and the history of the compound word is more complicated.
So the modern Beldreni verb for ‘flows’ is penta. There is a different ancient root with the same meaning, which has led both to the word for river, chío, and the first element in cheirannos, the word for “divine blessings” (i.e., the spiritual energy/low-level magic that exists in this world).
Maybe it’s getting crowded but I think the zha– of zhaima goes back to yet one more root meaning the same thing. Perhaps it originally denoted running water that rushes down from a height, as opposed to more sedate flows of water.
Be that as it may, the compound zhaima originally had another element first. Not quite sure which. It might have been saka- (together-), but I suspect that morpheme didn’t turn up until later in the language. A better candidate might be kaki (meeting). In that case the original form of the compound was kakizhaima. And the meaning of that compound was a confluence of two rivers, joining together to form one body of water. Pretty early on that first element, whether it was kaki– or something else, got left out, and only zhaima was left.
Then zhaima also started to get used in poetic and ceremonial language to signify a meeting of importance, like between two clan leaders or the heads of two large monasteries or between the rulers of two citystates or the heads of two powerful families in a town or what have you. Something where just saying kaki wouldn’t really cut it.
And eventually that second meaning led to the word getting used for the union of clans that would get discussed, negotiated and re-negotiated during such important meetings. Now that is the only meaning of the word that gets used today.
Incidentally, there is now another word in use for the confluence of rivers which also uses that same old root: āzhan.
Also, that same ancient root can also be seen in a cognate in the related Sasharak language, where the word for ‘river’ is zhou.
Oh, I really adore this etymology. I feel like it’s pretty natural to drop off the kaki, esp. if people thought of kakizhaima as sort of a phrase and zhaima made more sense as shorthand. I’m always amazed at the kinds of things we get away with clipping down to one syllable or two and it still makes sense.