Hey guys~ I’m challenging myself to work on Tereseket more in-depth, by translating one sentence from this wonderful list a day, until I’ve completed all 218! They get more complicated as the list goes on (sort of). This is an excellent way to test your syntax etc. and I suggest it to any conlanger having issues, or any veteran wanting to re-explore the basics of their lang.
To start off, I’ll actually be doing the first 4 because of their similarity and because I have these structures worked out already.
I’ll start with the first 10.
1. The sun shines
1a. Zhikalabelva tonKazhan
1b. Zhika-labi-la-va ton-Kazhan
1c. Light-give-it-hab G10-Sun
Lit. “The Sun gives light”, incorporating the object “light” into the verb “give”. Also grammatical, but slightly formal-sounding, would be Labelva tonKahanal wazhika putting tonKazhan “the [main] Sun” into the ergative case and wazhika “light” in the absolutive. Ton- is the gender 10 prefix (gender 10 is used for celestial bodies and deities). -la is contracted to -l after vowel-final verbs
2. The sun is shinging
2a. Zhikalabelçi tonKazhan
2b. Zhika-labi-la-çi ton-Kazhan
2c. Light-give-it-nonpunctual G10-Sun
Using the nonpunctual aspect instead of the habitual aspect changes the meaning from something that happens regularly to something happening at the present time.
3. The sun shone
3a. Fazhikalabelçi tonKazhan
3b. Fa-zhika-labi-la-çi ton-Kazhan
3c. Past-light-give-it-nonpunctual G10-Sun
-çi can be dropped with a slightly different connotation. Using -çi emphasizes the period of time in which the Sun was shining, using the punctual aspect (no suffix) portrays the shining as an event. It would tend to be used to refer to a long-ago day or to emphasize a very brief moment of the Sun shining, for example, if you were describing an overcast day, and you mentioned that there was a brief break in the clouds.
4. The sun will shine
4a. Naizhikalabelçi tonKazhan
4b. Nai-zhika-labi-la-çi ton-Kazhan
4c. Future-light-give-it-nonpunctual G10-Sun
Same comments as with sentence 3 apply in regards to -çi
5. The sun has been shining
5a. Zhikalabelçi tonKazhan
5b. Zhika-labi-la-çi ton-Kazhan
5c. Light-give-it-nonpunctual G10-Sun
No difference from sentence 2, only context would differentiate.
6. The sun is shining again
6a. Pūzhikalabelçi tonKazhan
6b. Pū-zhika-labi-la-çi ton-Kazhan
6c. again-light-give-it-nonpunctual G10-Sun
7. The sun will shine tomorrow
7a. Naizhikalabelçi laspel tonKazhan
7b. Nai-zhika-labi-la-çi laspel ton-Kazhan
7c. Future-light-give-it-nonpunctual tomorrow G10-Sun
8. The sun shines brightly
8a. Zhikalabelçi wabitakkan tonKazhan
8b. Zhika-labi-la-çi wa-bitakka-n ton-Kazhan
8c. light-give-it-NP G6-brightness-commitative G10-Sun
Lit. “The Sun shines [gives light] with brightness” nouns in the commitative or instrumental are the most common way of forming adverbs.
9. The bright sun shines
9a. Zhikalabelçi tonKazhan tombitaka
9b. Zhika-labi-la-çi ton-Kazhan ton-bitaka
9c. light-give-it-NP G10-Sun G10-bright
10. The sun is rising now
10a. Naisaklaç kavi tonKazhan
10b. Naisā-la-çi kavi ton-Kazhan
10c. Rise-it-NP now G10-Sun
The -ā becomes -ak before vowel-initial or l-initial suffixes and -çi is contracted to -ç after vowels
(Source: limeking, via fyeahconlangs)
I’ve been working on this with Kasshian Paganism. The deities themselves are generally thought of (at least by philosophers and theologians) as genderless, though they are often portrayed in art as gendered. There are lesser beings that are seen as gendered, though. And some are genderfluid or have other nonbinary identities. I’ve been working on an individual who is both mortal and divine, and both male and female. A bridge between the mortal and the divine world and between the male and the female, and is a patron of a third-gender priestly class. I’ve only worked out, so far, xir origin myth. Xe does not know xir own history, appearing in a forest one day, and commanded by a deity to approach a particular village where xe encountered a poor starving farmer, whom xe tested by commanding her to sacrifice her daughter to the gods. Xe was moved by her love when the farmer instead offered herself as a sacrifice, and made her fields fertile. In that story, I refer to hir as the Stranger, and xe appears as both a man and a woman in different portions of the story. Xe tells the farmer Klafoç ku pita ku nrakos, zhi fa switauç fel fa srakusoç fel which can be roughly translated as “I am [a member of the sets] man and woman, but I am [in truth] neither a man nor a woman”. It’s hard to translate into English, because both clauses use different verbs for “to be”. The first uses the verb klaf which means “to be” in the sense of being a member of a group or set. The second uses the prefix s(a)- which turns adjectives or nouns in to verbs meaning “be X”, with nouns, tending to indicate identity, and is the normal way of saying be for things like gender, nationality, ethnicity, etc.
A similar phrasing is used in the Declaration when a person announces they are a different gender than they had previously been considered. Actually, the practice of Declaration is done by everyone as part of adulthood ceremonies. One proclaims certain aspects of identity, including gender. One states “Faklafoç [chisheshta/natabi]. [Switauç/srakusoç/switalakusoç]” which can be translated as “I was [perceived as] a girl/boy. I am a woman/man/androgyne”
(Source: pagan-confessions, via widdershinsgirl)
“When you say ‘he has seen the light’ you sound as if you mean ‘corrupted’” [Vimes] said
“Something like that, yes. Different worlds, Commander. Down here, it would be unwise to trust your metaphors. To see the light is to be blinded. Do you not know that in the darkness, the eyes open wider?”
From Thud! by Terry Pratchett
I love the Dwarfs in Discworld. Pratchett does, I think, a good job at portraying a society that lives their lives underground, in darkness, viewing the above-ground world with suspicion. The way he turns metaphors around is really good. And very logical given their society, too!
Metaphor is a very important thing to think about when worldbuilding, IMO.
Actually, 7-11 are etymologically derived as well.
7 (blanta) and 9 (blamfli) are compounds of the word blan (the original word for “6” - which also shows up in blammandu “78”) plus ta and fli, so six-one and six-three
8 (bichi - originally bīchi) and 10 (besshi) contain bi, abbreviated from kabi plus -chi and -sshi meaning “4” and “5”, thus “two-four” and “two-five”
11 (duta) was originally tanduta from ta naduta “one from twelve”
This Is Your Brain on Ancient Greek: Oh, look, it's a vigesimal counting system. Sort of. -
And it happens to be more ridiculous than French. I’m really good at making that happen, it seems.
So I was translating Rapunzel, and the version I’m using says that the tower’s window was 20 yards from the ground. Up until this point, I only really had the names of the digits in Síntári. And…
Classical Kasshian’s number system is a bit unusual, too. The ancestral language was base-6. The Classical language was primarily base-12, but elements of base-6 survived. The basic numerals 1-12 are as follows (for 1-5, the numbers in parentheses are used in compounding, see below):
Vandu and mandu are formed with the prefixes va- (1/3) and ma- (1/2) with the contracted form -ndu from nadu.
The special compound forms listed in the table above for 1-5 are used to make higher numbers. -Ta, -bi, and -chi also make the preceding vowel long. So, 13-17 are as follows:
17. Nadosshi [u and o are allophones, as are i and e]
Above 17 things get interesting. The words for 6-11 are never used as suffixes. Regular multiples of 12 are formed by suffixing -ndu (contracted from nadu) to the basic numerals (there are several irregular forms). Numbers 6 greater than multiples of twelve are formed by combining the basic numeral, then ma- (1/2) and -ndu, then 1-5. That is, a number like 32 is kabimandūbi, literally “two and a half twelves two”. Multiples of six, with irregular forms bolded (and slightly irregular forms italicized):
36. Mitala (note: this is a vestige of the old base-6 system)
All remaining multiples of six are regular (/i/ and /u/ are pronounced [e] and [o] in closed syllables, thus, for example, 96 is bichendu).
144 is saçā. Multiples of 144 are formed with the basic numerals 2-11 plus -sshā (contracted from saçā). Note that 48 and 72 are derived from va- (1/3) and ma- (1/2) plus -sshā.
1,728 is zanta, and multiples of 1,728 are formed by suffixing -zanchi to the basic numerals. 576 and 864 (400 and 600 in dozenal notation) are sometimes vazanta and mazanta and sometimes regular vandosshā and mandosshā
20,736 (12^4) is kapalta, -palchi plus lengthening with multipliers (e.g., kabīpalchi for 2*12^4). Rarely, 6,912 (4*12^3) and 10,368 (6*12^3) are rendered as vāpalta and māpalta. Usually, they are regular vanduzanchi and manduzanchi.
After 12^4, the next power with its own word is 12^8 (429,981,696) which is tasanna, -ssanni with multipliers. Ma- and va- are never used with tasanna.
Nadu, saçā, and zanta can be used as multipliers themselves with 12^4 and higher.
Working a bit more on my conlang. Accidentally created a highly irregular noun. -_- The word for “lazy person”, somman in the singular, would be (based on sound changes from the ancestral language) sonnankani in the plural … those don’t even look similar. -_- So many weird inflections in Classical Kasshian.
EDIT: Okay, decided I’ll invoke analogy to semi-regularize this to sonnamani, a common pattern. soC- in the singular normally becomes so*Ca- in the plural (CK marks plural twice - in plural forms of the gender-prefixes and in the plural suffix -i) where C means “any consonant” and * means gemination. This noun involves the prefix n(a)- meaning “one who” which is why the regularized plural would be sonnamani and not *sommamani - the sequence -nm- assimilates to -mm- so it’s not uncommon to see singular/plural pairs with som-/sonna-
La creación de un solo mundo proviene de un gran número de fragmentos y el caos.
- Hayao Miyazaki-
And I “discovered” that there’s one more gender in the language. I’d known about 7 genders*, and I knew that the ancestral language had more, but now I figured out that there’s an eighth gender that’s still in limited use. (Confusingly numbered gender IX - the old gender VIII was lost after the genders were numbered).
Gender IX is used for deities and other supernatural beings in the old polytheistic faith, and for Goddess in Nrastaism, the newer monotheistic faith. For some orthodox Nrastaists, only Goddess herself is in that gender, but for others, Divinities and various other supernatural beings are included in it. (Divinities are something of a cross between gods as understood in European religions and angels in Christianity). Note that, as the deities are included in a gender separate from humans (genders I-III are for humans - I is female, II is male, III is epicene or androgyne [their culture recognizes a 3rd gender]) they are not linguistically marked for gender in the usual human sense. Most deities were commonly portrayed in artwork and myths as having gender, but most of their philosophers and theologians considered them to be outside of gender, and considered the conception of particular deities as male or female or androgyne as merely human conceptions. Some Orthodox Nrastaists do place the Divinities in the human genders, requiring them to be given a gender, whether male, female, or androgyne, and there is sometimes disagreement over which one said Divinity should be placed in. Which may be why the use of gender IX for them remains strong (and eventually became standard)
In the ancestral language, gender IX was one of a small group of genders that used disyllabic markers, whereas the others used monosyllabic markers. It was contracted to a monosyllable, but it inflects differently than the other genders. For one, the gender IX markers retain a separate dual form, while the other genders have only singular and plural forms. The dual is used for paired deities, not just for any reference to two deities. It also has a consonant-final form in the singular and a vowel-final form in the dual and plural, the reverse pattern of the other genders, making its inflectional pattern distinct from the first seven. Took a bit of work to figure out how that gender appears in the classical form of the language. But, I’m happy with how it appears.
*The full 7-gender system is as follows:
Gender I: Female human
Gender II: Male human
Gender III: Epicene or androgyne human
Gender IV: Animals associated with humans (domestic animals, agricultural pests, wild animals with cultural significance such as common prey animals)
Gender V: Other animals
Gender VI: “Pseudo-animate”: Plants, non-living things with intrinsic movement (water, wind, fire, etc.), cultural institutions, languages, groups of people, projectile weapons, valuable metals, etc., some people also place insects and the like in gender VI
Gender VII: Other inanimates
The distinction between gender VI and VII (and, to a lesser extent, between IV and V) isn’t really clear-cut, and there’s a certain degree of arbitrariness, but there are patterns, such as valuable metals (like gold or silver) being gender VI and non-valuable metals (like iron or copper) being gender VII. Generally speaking, abstractions, fluids, and things for which movement [including metaphorical movement] is intrinsic to their nature are gender VI. Also, anything seen as having spiritual significance will be gender VI (some things can be either - a bowl would normally be gender VII, but one used for religious rituals will be gender VI).
From an external perspective: When I first defined the genders, I intentionally gave them a fairly vague definition, VI was simply called “pseudo-animate”, and I had the idea that things like water and fire - things that move - were in them, but beyond that, nothing specific. As I created words, I would assign them to a gender based on what seemed right, initially, and afterwards by considering other nouns already in those genders. This allowed patterns to develop naturally, and also to create some irregular assignments, simulating the kind of complex pattern of associations often found in natural languages.
The first step is to think about where your culture draws its external boundaries. What’s inside and what’s outside? How do they distinguish the two, and how important is it to keep them separated? For cultures that are struggling to assert their own identity, boundaries can be vital to survival, so that’s where you’re more likely to find elaborate rules governing the interaction between insiders and outsiders. Do they do it spatially, marking off certain areas as theirs and forbidding anyone else from entering? Do they treat their bodies as territory, and dress differently or decorate themselves in specific ways? Do they protect their own language and customs, and ensure that no one else can learn them?
The second step is to consider internal boundaries. If there’s a social hierarchy in place, how rigid is it, and what happens when someone steps outside of his or her proper place? How much room for variation is there within a single class in that hierarchy? Is individualism prized, tolerated, or looked down upon? —
“Building Religions 14: Mary Douglas.” Stray Feathers. Geoffrey McVey. (via worldbuilders)
A lot of interesting points here!
(Source: memory-theatre.blogspot.com, via worldbuilders)
I’ve been working on “reverse-engineering” Kasshi Polytheism from its influences on Nrastaism. Also playing around with ideas about how the Kasshis’ history as a formerly patriarchal culture that adopted matriarchal structures from neighboring cultures would show up in the religion. Presumably there’d still be some traces of old patriarchal belief in their myths.