The Dailies. April 9, 2023

The Dailies. April 9, 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?


7 thoughts on “The Dailies. April 9, 2023

  1. I wanted a word for ‘pilgrimage’ and went digging!
    It turned out I already had a word for this in Lakespeech, namely atčeram which is also the word for a four-month unit according to the Meren Calendar. (Because all the four-month units of the Meren Calendar have Lakespeech names, I have a bunch of Lakespeech nouns even though I hardly know anything else about the language.)

    Looking at atčeram, it didn’t look all that likely to be an old loanword from Lumina at least. It could maybe have come from the even older language Tomon, which is a source for religious words, but I wanted something a little more recent than Tomon which stopped being a living language for over a thousand Earth years ago. Plus, going by what little I knew of Lakespeech, it seems relatively averse to loanwords overall. The religious/spiritual concept ‘innate power’ is ueka or uekaina in Beldreni, from the Lumina word uekaia (or possibly uekhaia; Lumina has no [x] phoneme now, but maybe it had in the distant past) – but in Lakespeech the concept is called radakos instead.

    Thus it felt more plausible that atčeram was a calque of a Middle Lumina compound using Lakespeech words. I’m figuring something like ata + čeramas, which would mean ‘whole, wholeness’ plus ‘search, quest’ in an older form of Lakespeech.

    So now I only had to find a right-sounding compound or phrase in Lumina with that same meaning.

    The one I settled on was mei’ka olune. This looks phonologically consistent for Lumina. The compound would have had the rough meaning of ‘pilgrimage’ from the start. (Of course, there’s no exact cultural correlation here.)

    This word was borrowed into Old Jôan, a language spoken on the Eastern side of the North-East Continent, in fairly close proximity to the supposed original Winter home of the Beldreni. (I have had no Jôan words up till now.) In Old Jôan the word changed its shape to miikaolume with a very long [i:] sound and with the last consonant changed to an /m/ from an /n/, perhaps influenced by the initial /m/. This then became mikallumi in Old Beldrēni, and then further down the road the final syllable was dropped, leading to mikallu.

    Mikallu was then the regular word for a pilgrimage in Middle Beldrēni and Early Modern Beldrēni, and even today you still see it used that way, though primarily by semantic traditionalists. Beldrēni-speaking priests of the Yellow School are the ones clinging to this meaning the most.

    However, most speakers today instead use mikallu to mean a site of pilgrimage instead of the journey you take to get there. Instead mikalludā, originally just the route of the journey, is now the main word to signify the journey itself (is ‘road, way’).

    Finally, people have also used, and sometimes still use, mikallu to refer to the spiritual work you are meant to undertake as part of the journey (even as that process might look pretty different whether you are a layperson or a priest of some kind). But it’s become more common to use the compound mikallugōma to refer to this.

    Gōma is an old word for ‘work’, mostly now supplanted by nouns derived from the verb kale, but it is still used for religious/spiritual purposes. Including, perhaps, when it comes to priests and others making workings powered by blessings. Or as we might say, ‘do magic’.

    To sum up:
    mikallu site of pilgrimage, or less commonly now pilgrimage itself, or the spiritual work connected to it
    mikalludā pilgrimage
    mikallugōma the spiritual work connected to a pilgrimage

    And finally also:
    mikalmio pilgrim, from older mikallumio. Even after the -mi was dropped from the general word mikallu, the /m/ was retained in this derivation

    1. Fantastic history of how these related terms all came about and the variety of usage. I genuinely love the little details like this.

      So have you talked about Lakespeech before? I admit to being quite intrigued by another source of words and concepts in this world that I don’t recollect.

      1. Thank you!!
        I may not have done so, or only in passing!

        Lakespeech (also known as Silies) is the language of the Lakefolk (also known as Sili). On the North-East continent, they’re the ethnicity that’s the most associated with boat trade and building boats for rivers and lakes. They have certain privileges connected to this in all the citystates according to ancient treaties. (I haven’t got the details too hammered out.) Every merchant regardless of ethnicity and citystate likes to use boats when they can, but the Lakefolk are regarded as particularly good boathandlers; they also build locks and are experts at finding ways of transporting boats on land when need be. They’re the inland equivalent of the seagoing Salme people in a way.

        The core of their Summer territory is around three largeish lakes up north, and as for Winter, they view themselves as the founders of the city of Meren long, long ago on the shores of the great lake Onemada. Lake Onemada is so large it needs sailing boats to get across unless you hug the coastline, so the Lakefolk do know their way around sails as well.

        The Lakefolk live in other cities as well in Winter, especially on the Western half of the continent, but Meren remains the citystate where they’re the most numerous. It helps that most of Onemada’s shores are now part of Meren’s territory. However, the Lakefolk are no longer the largest ethnicity in Meren itself – that’s the Takle people now, who speak the Takleya language. Thankfully, the Lakefolk and the Takle don’t have many historical animosities, they were primarily allies back in the warlike past, so while the Lakefolk are quick to guard their privileges and proclaim their language, the tensions aren’t as high in Meren as they maybe could have been.

        Socioeconomically, though, the Lakefolk don’t tend to have a very high status in most cities, they may be seen as the best fishers but fishers are rarely all that rich. But in Meren at least there are many wealthy Lakefolk families and clans.

        However, there’s a relatively high percentage of Lakefolk among the priesthood and this has been true for a long time. I guess they are more liable than others to send sons and daughters that can be spared to the priestly schools and monasteries. Especially such sons and daughters that have a high sensitivity to “blessings” (spiritual energy/low-level magic). In the Western dialects of Beldreni, several religious terms are originally from Lakespeech.

        Then there’s the calendar – the Meren Calendar chops up the long Year with its 110 standardized months into 26 four-month-units and 2 three-month-units. Most of the Calendars of the continent have the same kind of divisions, but in Meren by tradition all the calendar terms except for ‘month’ and ‘year’ itself are from Middle Lakespeech. (Note that even though Meren isn’t even inhabited for the summer half of the year, the calendar still gives out names for that half, too! Clan administrators, priests and natural philosophers like to keep records, and it’s just easier to stick with the same type of terms you used in winter.)

        ei-tchár any of the 26 4-month units. Lit. ‘cut-four’
        ei-dile one of the two 3-month units (they start and begin the long Year). Lit ‘cut-three’
        kasaar (n) seed; the first month in an ei-tchár always gets called this as part of its name. Ex: Balbet Kasaar is the first month of the 15th ei-tchár of the year and the 60th month in total of the year (and the fifth month after the Autumnal Equinox).
        ïem (n) plant; ditto but for the second month in an ei-tchár
        mits (n) flower; ditto but for the third month
        ora (n) fruit; ditto but for the fourth month

        So while the 60th month of the whole Year is called Balbet Kasaar, the 61st month is Balbet Ïem, the 62nd month is Balbet Mits, and the 63rd month is Balbet Ora.
        Balbet means ‘wall’, by the way.

        The first ei-dile, which starts the Year and comes right after the Vernal Equinox, is called Bonan, ‘entrance’. The last ei-dile which ends the long Year is called Murel, ‘exit’.
        The names of the 26 ei-tchár in-between are: Narot, Ámbala, Tekota, Yassa, Luwen, Anča, Á-dare, Hikoten, Tčósa, Atčeram, Maren, Tagèče, Susenal, O-sin, Balbet, Taral, Edellet, Panto, Mathar, Sart, Haal, Genni, Badanča, Natči, Radakos, and O-malan.

        Their meanings are: mountain, forest, path, [the name of a specific type of deciduous tree], donkey, light, track, market, mill, pilgrimage, wood, sailing ship, shadow, [the name of a specific type of bird], wall, clay, writing, net, [the name of a specific type of coniferous tree], balance, darkness, iron, lantern, riverboat, innate power, and sacred grove.

        I came up with all of them in one big flow of inspiration lasting for a couple of days. I think pretty much all of them were settled in Lakespeech before I started to find Beldreni equivalents with the same meanings.

        1. This is fascinating. I feel like it’s quite reasonable the way they use the same calendar instead of switching seasonally, and I love all the layers of how these things interact. Feels very realistic.

          1. Thank you!
            I simplified it a bit. In actuality many Beldreni clans would be scattered across several citystates in Winter, so when they live close to one another in Summer they might need to reconcile several different traditions, for timekeeping as well as for other things. A clan might use a hodgepodge of terms internally, and that specific blend might well differ from the terms used by another Beldreni clan, even a neighbouring one. The rule of thumb is that wherever the clan leadership lives in Winter will have the strongest influence on the clan’s internal terminology.

            In this case the Meren Calendar would have the advantage of being unusually stable historically, so even many scribes/clerks/astronomers/etc who themselves live in other citystates in Winter might still be persuaded by clan members and other peers to use it in Summer.

            (However, clans who are primarily based in the eastern half of the continent in Winter would be a lot less likely to use the Meren Calendar in Summer. Similarly for those who live at the western coast in Winter, especially those who live in the great city of Perildar, second-greatest city on the North-East Continent and third largest city in the known world. )

            1. Hodgepodge for the win! Okay, that makes sense and it’s always more fun when you start mixing systems. Like the whole in Japanese counting up you use one number for four but down, you use another.

              One of the fun things with calendars is also that whole there are reasons to track a calendar you don’t use because you’re stuck with it for this use or that culture you interact with, etc.

              1. Like the whole in Japanese counting up you use one number for four but down, you use another.

                Wow, I didn’t know that!

                One of the fun things with calendars is also that whole there are reasons to track a calendar you don’t use because you’re stuck with it for this use or that culture you interact with, etc.
                Very true! Whichever citystate is strongest in astronomy probably has a calendary influence on other citystates, for instance… And of course there are financial reasons to keep track of big festivals and markets in neighbouring cities etc.

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