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More on the Hermetic Language

From:Paul Burgess <paul@...>
Date:Friday, March 7, 2003, 21:35
Here I am again, Paul Burgess, alias "mna_vanantha"...
LOL! My conlang is called, in English, "Hermetic." In
Hermetic itself, Hermetic is called "mna Vanantha."

Seems I have yet fully to get the hang of the posting
method, to put it mildly... Please bear with me! If
*this* post goes through OK, next I will begin posting
replies to individual respondents, who I see have
already very kindly been welcoming me to the group.

Okay, here's a little more detail on my conlang,
Hermetic, which I started on back in 1970, when I was 13
years old, and which I've been working on ever since.
Though I'm new to the conlang community-- see my
previous post!

The Hermetic noun has ten cases (nominative, accusative,
equative, genitive, dative, illative, locative,
instrumental, vocative, and interrogative) and three
numbers (singular, dual, and plural). (A few nouns also
display vestiges of an ancient trinal number.) There are
four genders (masculine, feminine, neuter, and royal)
but in practice you can 98% ignore this and treat all
nouns as neuter.

The Hermetic verb has two persons (first and
second/third), three tenses (past, present, and future--
though they don't really quite correspond), three voices
(active, middle, and passive), five aspects (standard,
inceptive, telative, durative, and causative), and eight
moods (indicative, subjunctive, optative, conditional,
imperative, jussive, potential, and permissive).
Negation is part of the verb conjugation. There are also
infinitives and subordinate verbs (used in subordinate
clauses), which have different forms depending on
whether their subject is in an oblique or non-oblique
case. The whole shebang is agglutinative, so not as
messy as it may sound.

The Hermetic adjective is inflected for case and gender,
but not for number. It has six degrees of comparison:
positive, comparative, superlative, negative, negative
comparative, negative superlative.

The Hermetic adverb agrees with the verb in person and
tense, and also has six degrees of comparison.

Sentence order is fairly flexible. Most common overall
orders are SVO and VSO, but other orders also do occur
for emphasis or variety.

Hermetic is properly written in a script called mna
Thiposo, which consists of nearly four dozen
characters-- a seventeen-letter alphabetic portion (mna
Jondir-Aosthilo) plus various syllabic signs, ligatures,
and diacritical marks. Not terribly phonetic! I also
write Hermetic in the Roman alphabet-- not fully
phonetic, either, and to the Hermetic eye it doesn't
really "look right." But much more convenient at the
keyboard. :)

From early on, one of the most important aspects of
Hermetic for me has been the finely nuanced inward
"feel" of the language-- connotations, fine shadings of
word meaning, terms and idioms which defy exact
translation into English. Hermetic has a mind of its
own, and after all these years, it feels to me very much
like a real language. I've pretty much just carried it
in my head-- any fragmentary written grammar or word
lists would be many, many years old, and I've
internalized Hermetic to the point where, as with
English, I just speak and write it the way that "feels
right" to my ear, and any analysis comes after the fact.

In fact, for me Hermetic is a very tangled ball of yarn.
There's usually more to it than I can fully lay out on
the table. Ask me about any point of vocabulary or
grammar, and I'm apt to respond with a story, rambling
around on the Hermetic people, my various other hobbies
and interests (which have all become thoroughly
interwoven with Hermetic), details of the physical
location where I was standing when I first made up the
word 25 years ago, etc.

There is a loose cluster of Hermetic concultures,
sometimes partially overlapping, and sometimes it's hard
to tell what overlaps and what doesn't. More on that
some other time.

Paul Burgess



Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>