Telek -- Invent a Language
|From:||Marcus Smith <smithma@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, September 30, 2000, 3:56|
Okay, I've finally been able to write the t-shirt slogan in Telek. And
here it is (drum-roll please):
Fight linguistic extinction... invent a language!
Telegdonnesned ba'kalym: tellaad sajmo.
Teleg-donnes-n-ed ba'kalym tella-ad sajmo
language-wilt-GER-ACC oppose language-ACC grow
"Oppose the wilting of languages: artistically create a language."
For the shorter version "Invent a language" simple use the last two words:
(There's a pun in here, read further for more info. Connected, is the
reason I chose to use 'wilt')
telek 'speech, language, word'. It appears as [teleg] here because k > g
immediately before another consonant. More generally, aspirate >
unaspirate before a consonant.
donnes '(P) wilt, die (of plants)' Ultimately related to _dolles_ '(P) be
-n is a suffix that turns verbs into abstract nouns. Basically a gerund.
-Vd is an enclitic that marks accusative case. V means that the vowel is
"unspecified" -- it is copied from the closest preceding vowel. So it
appears as [ed] (after [telegdonnesn-]) in the first clause and [ad] (after
[tella-]) in the second.
ba'kalym '(A,P) oppose, struggle against, fight against (without violence)'
tella 'tongue; language'
sajmo '(A, P) grow s.t, cultivate; create by intuition, create artistically'
The phrase grow a language was chosen to be a bit of a pun. As the notes
show, _tella_ means both 'language' and 'tongue' and the verb _sajmo_ can
mean 'grow'. So one possible way of translating the sentence would be
"Grow a tongue" or also "Cultivate languages". Thus, I chose to use the
verb "wilt" instead of something like _nippol_ 'become fewer, lessen' to
extend the gardening metaphor. BTW, there is no word for "die" referring
Hmm... "Grow a tongue". That sounds like an idiomatic expression for
"speak up." Woohoo!! Since its a common expression, the object will have
to be incorporated, so _tellasajmo_ '(A) express ones opinion, participate
in a conversation'.
Also good advice for people speaking endangered languages -- if they speak
it enough to their children, it will continue. This is why I try to let my
language guide itself. I would never have come up with the metaphor or
idiom on my own.
"When you lose a language, it's like
dropping a bomb on a museum."
-- Kenneth Hale