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Place names and new Minza McGuffey page

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Sunday, January 2, 2005, 22:17
Here's an interesting site I ran across:

 From here you can find names for various places around the world in a
number of different languages. It even has Unicode versions of the names
in languages that use non-Roman scripts, so you can see that both
Japanese "Nippon" and Chinese "Riben" are written 日本, and if you have
a Thaana font like MV Boli you can see that ޖަޕާން is the name of Japan in
Dhivehi. It also has romanized equivalents, so you don't need to be able
to read Tibetan script to know that འབྲུག་ཡུལ (Bhutan) is pronounced
"'Brug.yul". (Of course, that only helps up to a point, since it's not
clear how "'Brug.yul" is supposed to be pronounced, but it's nice to
have both versions.) This site might be useful for deciding how to
represent place names in conlangs (if they're intended to be spoken on
this world).

Also, I've put up the start of the McGuffey translation project in
Minza, up to Lesson VII. So far Minza is still fairly similar to
Lindiga, and I haven't made any major changes to the syntax, so this
will also be a guide to how Lindiga grammar will work if I ever get
around to documenting it.

I've included the individual words and phrases as well as the full
sentences, along with grammatical notes whenever a new prefix or suffix
is introduced. So it looks something like this:

dog	tuëk "dog"
the	(no direct Minza equivalent)
ran	šivix "to run (move quickly on foot)" (stem: šiv-)
	Ø- (3rd person singular absolutive)
	-u (perfective aspect)
	šivu	"he/she ran, has run"
The dog.	Tuëk.
The dog ran.	Šivu tuëk.

Here are the rest of the sentences I've got so far, to give you an idea
of the sound of the language (see the main Minza web page at for the pronunciation

Is the cat on the mat?	Nu teka umiku inzu?
The cat is on the mat.	Teka umiku inzu.
The man has a pen.	Xažlamu topil.
Is the pen in his hand?	Topil nu teka kełu vat?
It is in his hand.	Teka kełu vat.
The fat hen is on the box.	Teka netu łepat boki naži.
The rat ran from the box.	Šivu miëz za łepat.
Can the hen run?	Zmi boki šivi?
See Rab! See Ann.	Miko le-Rêb! Miko le-Ên.
See! Rab has the hat.	Ezá, imera le-Rêb terek.
Can Ann catch Rab?	Le-Rêb nu zmi le-Ên itundi?
Ann can catch Rab.	Zmi le-Ên itundi le-Rêb.
See! She has the hat.	Ezá, imera terek.
Now Ann can pat Rab.	Zmi šëy le-Ên ikyri le-Rêb.
Let me pat Rab too.	Syro ykyri kamë epi le-Rêb.
Ned has fed the hen.	Irelnu kumut le-Nedë boki.
She is a black hen.	Va boki malgi.
She has left the nest.	Itenu łas.
See the eggs in the nest!	Miko rosi łasu!
Will the hen let Ned get them?	Nu syri ju boki lileňi le-Nedë?

Already these few sentences are bringing up some interesting translation
issues and some good grammar practice. I decided to use the word for
"sit" to translate "to be" when it refers to a location. I thought about
how to translate "catch" and decided that Minza has two different words
depending on whether you're standing and catching something that's being
thrown to you or actively pursuing and grabbing something. I figured
since the text refers to eggs in the nest, it isn't necessary to specify
the exact equivalent of "hen", which would be "female chicken", but it's
good enough to translate "hen" as "chicken" (gender unspecified).

Also note the difference between "the man has *a* pen" and "Rab has
*the* hat". The first one is just "at (the) man (is a) pen", a typical
locative phrase, but the second one is translated "Rab is in possession
of (the) hat". The difference between "a" and "the" is not easily
translated, and I haven't yet figured out all the rules.

Word order choice is also interesting. I found that I had to translate
sentences like "the fat hen is on the box" as "sits on box chicken fat";
otherwise if I said "sits chicken fat on box" it would mean "the fat hen
on the box is sitting". In context, it's clear that "Let me pat Rab too"
needs to be translated with "too" qualifying "me", which then requires
the pronoun to be expressed and not dropped. Without it, "syro ykyri epi
le-Rêb" would mean "let me pat Rab (in addition to whatever else I
happen to be doing with Rab at the moment)".


Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>