Sunday, November 17, 2013

Totally TMI Idiom Du Jour

I am female and sometimes I need to talk about the biological things that come along with that for most of us female folk. I recently came up with a Nevashi phrase for menstruation: to have high tide. This uses "ca" (bodily functions and speech) with "def" (to have, hold, contain, etc)-- a fairly rare combination.

Ci def im ececian. She has high tide. (Insert your favorite euphemism for menstruation here.)

You can blame Alabama for this, by the way. A Crimson Tide bumper sticker on the car ahead of me at a stoplight started this train of thought.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lexember x2

Since there are two -ember months in a row, I've decided to do back-to-back Lexembers, or 61 days of word creation. Today is day five, but Nevashi has gained more than five words so far. Here's the list: 

zereneshvegetable (food)zere + nash, with the e carried over 
ortluasquash, gourd
densound, noise; to make a sound/noise (fa)
neddento chant (ca; religious) nedh + den
vesatorso; (tree) trunk
detishnanotebookdetish (paper) + na  (collective)
defíncontainer; storage; box
yaiwall (structural, e.g. of a house); separate (fa)
yaivaseparation (n)
dyofiosoutdoorsdyo + fios
pafiosindoorspa + fios
ashanfield, meadow; yard
yai ashanifence, wall (as fence)
yaidefincabinet, cupboard
defar storage room; closet; pantry
And with that, I've passed the 700 word milestone. Defar was word #702. Onward to 800! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nev, Tef, and Zel (Talking to myself in public)

I have three words in my lexicon-spreadsheet-thing that are undefined: nev, tef, and zel. These would all probably be verbs, just looking at them. A lot of Nevashi verbs are CVC in their most basic form, and then add other bits to become other parts of speech.

Nev is the first element in "Nevash," the name of the island where the Nevashi people are from. The ash part means "land," but after all these years, I still don't know what the nev part means. No idea.

Tef is a possible verb form that might be behind the word tefya, "zero". I think it might have to do with absence or not-being. There are a lot of possibilities in running this through the different verb types: ma tef, "I am absent", or as a movement verb: ka tef, "I leave"... I will have to meditate on how that works.

I've tentatively defined zel as "to write poetry," backformed from zelea, "poem,"  but at some level, I know that's not exactly what that means. I'd like to find a way to make this work for writing poetry, composing music, and maybe for doing visual arts as well. And I wonder what it would mean as a verb of movement-- I have a word that means "to dance," but there's nothing wrong with having two ways to say that, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The 6th Annual State of the Language Address

Didn't I just write one of these? What happened to 2012?

Here we are in 2013.  Remember all those things I said I'd do over the course of the last year?  Yeah. That didn't happen. It was a good year for Nevashi anyway.

The Revised Revised Lexicon grew to 655 entries this year. Lexember gave a nice end of the year boost to the count. That raw number doesn't take into account any of the words that gained additional meanings or the new affixes you might use to derive new words from the old ones. Among those new affixes, my favorites are the two that you can use to make a given thing into a collective of those things: -rí (extracted from zirirí (swarm) and used in sirurí (guts)) and -na (used in omanena (crew)).

I haven't written a new grammar, and the old one is teetering on the brink of being obsolete. What I have done is start working on compositions and translations. This is letting me iron out some kinks. I don't think I'll use the "write a grammar and then try to use it" method of language building again. I'm happy with the way that Nevashi has turned out, but it is evolving further and faster through use than it did through trying to build a structure to hang a usable language on later. I hope to do more writing and translating this year.

I am slowly getting a better grip on the details of Nevashi culture. If I were to make any one resolution for Nevashi this year, it would be to write more about that. I still don't even know what Nevash means. I know that ash means "land." I have reserved line #656 in the Revised Revised Lexicon for nev.

Since the last "State of the Language", I started attending the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (known locally as UPJ). I still have to work and I still have kids, too. This doesn't leave a lot of time for working on languages. That hasn't stopped me, but it is a factor in how much gets done. Language construction does make a nice diversion when I need a break from studying.

So... That's that. I still owe y'all a video or some audio, at least. I did try to record a video at some point in the spring, but my daughter kept making me laugh, so I gave up on it. I would at least like to record some Nevashi so that people can hear what it sounds like. It's on the to-do list.

Im ceana wadi jeyaséd! Happy New Year!