Thursday, May 24, 2012

I can't read my own shirt.

Update! The collected translations are at .

Did I seriously publish a blank post? I don't remember doing that. I'm pretty sure that was an accident of some sort. Well, that's fixable. I'll just fill it up with something now.

I ran into a person I know, the mother of one of my son's friends, and she showed me her new tattoo, which she thought was in Latin, but I immediately recognized as Spanish. I posted about it on Facebook because I figure it is something that my language geek friends can relate to.

This rolled around in my brain for a little while, and I posted again that I thought I might create a line of t-shirts in obscure natlangs and/or conlangs that read "I can't read my own shirt." So, of course, I had to translate it into Nevashi: Seya pa nal yam yera cei.

This is wrong, however. I forgot the potential bit. It should have been Seya vapa nal yam yera cei. (It is a rule that every short translation I post in public will have at least one major error, and every long translation will have at least two major errors and a minimum of three minor mistakes.)

Before I get into my thought process below, I want to make a note that the emphasis of "my own" is expressed here with ya... cei, which is "the + my". I figure I won't remember that detail unless I write it down somewhere, and this blog is often that somewhere.

And I should note here, also, that ce is the first person pronoun that emerged from the reforms that I still haven't posted in their entirety.


And now onto the inside-my-skull stuff:

I thought with some dismay that it looked awfully choppy with all those little words. I'd been thinking for some time that I might like to eliminate some of the spaces between mandatory elements that are obliged to sit next to one another in a sentence with nothing between-- that space in the middle of a verb, for instance. I've decided against this, however, because the language has a fairly straight forward stress pattern (primary stress on the first syllable unless otherwise marked) which would be obscured or lost if the verb got smooshed together. This isn't such a big deal in a case like pa nal which would become panal, but if your verb is, say, olugav adad, then it would be little harder to tell that there's supposed to be stress on the first a in adad if it were written olugavadad.

There's no reason why the verb couldn't be merged, other than trying to preserve the rhythm of the language as it is and keeping it easy for me to read aloud. And then that first part might be used independently, too. The example above, olugav adad, means "I forced myself to begin to run." I can imagine circumstances in which  olugav ("I made myself start to (go)") could be used to answer a question. In the end, "I like it that way" is the only reason any conlanger needs to justify whatever weirdness they've got going on in their personal projects.

I'll leave it alone.


I did the same translation into ea-luna, where I rendered it thus: ewe ate lige la la-bagu-mupa.  I translated it correctly beforehand on paper and then typed wrong, once again leaving out the potential bit. (What is it with me and potentials? I dunno.)

Later, I reconsidered, deciding it should have been bagu-la-mupa instead of la-bagu-mupa, to show the emphasis in "my own" in English. Those are "this-my-shirt" and "my-this-shirt" respectively. This is conlang cross-contamination from the "the + my" construction in Nevashi. Previously it would have been "my + same" in ea-luna: la-mupa dati.

I think I'll keep both. More isn't always better, but sometimes it is.