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The McGuffey Project in Minza

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Friday, December 24, 2004, 1:21
I've been finding it hard to get back to working on Lindiga after being
away from it so long. After spending some time going through lists of
nouns and trying to decide what plural endings they should get, I
decided to create a simpler language based on Lindiga. I borrowed the
name "Minza" from an old project that never really went anywhere; it was
an old Tirelat word for "bridge" ("mindza" in the current version of
Tirelat). Minza is intended to be a "bridge" language in the sense that
it includes concepts from both the real world and the fictional Kolagian
and Azirian worlds. Eventually I'd like to use it to clarify the
meanings of words in fictional language vocabularies.

So I thought it'd be good to start translating some of the McGuffey
Reader sentences to get some practice with the language and work out
some of the grammar. It went pretty smoothly at first:

1. I see a boy.
    Ymika sarga. [u\'mika 'sarga]
2. I see a girl.
    Ymika lirnu. [u\'mika 'lirnu]
3. I see a boy and a girl.
    Ymika sarga ei lirnu. [u\'mika 'sarga Ei 'lirnu]
4. The boy can see the girl.
    Zmi sarga imiki lirnu.
5. I can see the girl and the boy.
    Kazmi ymiki lirnu ei sarga.
6. I can see the girl.
    Kazmi ymiki lirnu.
7. See the man!
    Miko xazhla! ['mikO 'xaZla]
8. See the boy and the man!
    Miko sarga ei xazhla!

(zh is written with z-wedge in the proper Minza spelling.)

Nothing really difficult here; I already had an auxiliary verb "zmi" to
express "can", although I hadn't used it with a noun subject before, so
I decided based on this one example to place the subject after "zmi" and
before the main verb.

    0-  zmi sarga -0     i-  mik -i lirnu -0
3s.ABS-can  boy -ABS 3s.ERG-see-SJ girl -ABS

ABS = absolutive
ERG = ergative
SJ = subjunctive

Then I came to sentence 9, "The man has a hat". Oddly enough, I didn't
yet have a way to express "have" in Lindiga. So I thought about it for a
while and came up with a pair of words, "merix" to translate "have" in
the sense of "raccoons have striped tails" or "Minza doesn't yet have a
word for it", and "julhix" ['juKix] for the sense of "owning" or
"possessing". Without the context, I can't tell whether the man actually
has a hat on (in which case "merix" might be appropriate), or whether
the man owns a hat but is not currently wearing it. So I went ahead and
translated both meanings.

9. The man has a hat.
    Imera xazhlë terek. [i'mE4a 'xaZl@ 'tE4Ek]
    i     -mer -a   xazhla-ë   terek-0
    3s.ERG-have-IPF man   -ERG hat  -ABS

    Ijulha xazhlë terek. [i'juKa 'xaZl@ 'tE4Ek]
    i     -julh-a   xazhla-ë   terek-0
    3s.ERG-own -IPF man   -ERG hat  -ABS


Herman Miller <hmiller@...>