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Conhistory for my conlang!

From:Amanda Babcock Furrow <langs@...>
Date:Sunday, April 15, 2007, 2:53
Wow, this list is getting scarily dead.  I don't think it's been this
slow in a decade, maybe not in the whole 16-17 years I've been here.
Good thing I have something to share:

After more than 20 years of mërèchi development without a conculture,
inspiration has struck!  I have discovered several tongue-in-cheek
excerpts from a history of Merechianist linguistics.  Comments solicited,
especially regarding:

. in what year do these hapless gentleman-philologists live?  1823?
. a nice latin term for "schwa written as u".  U-ate schwa?  Schwa
. a properly pompous-sounding German book title meaning "Reformed
  Orthography of/for the Language of the Merechs"

Excerpts from _Winds, Walls and Whereabouts: The Story of Merechi

"In 18__, missionary-philologist T.E. Hastely was among a party blown
off-course in the Atlantic who washed up on the shores of an
extraordinary island inhabited by a most extraordinary people..."

"...The Merechi claimed to be refugees from their lost homeland, yet
the island showed signs of unbroken habitation spanning the past 4,000

"...Following the War, a party returned to the island only to find it
completely deserted; all possessions of value and all written materials
had been removed as well, except for one fragmentary scrap whose
translation reads 'extra shirts - birdseed - good coat - do not forget
star chart'.  The mystery has never been solved..."

"...In Hastely's first monograph, he famously translated the poem
'bülátênö fòlê', providing a naive English-based
transliteration.  In the absence of an orthographic consensus among
Merechianists, several of the words from that poem are still
customarily transcribed the same way..."

"...Once fame of the monograph had spread to Germany, he was contacted
by Heinrich Schnell, who agreed to work with him on the condition that
a more European transcription be used for the vowels.  A compromise was
reached, Hastely insisting upon the use of the short 'u' for the 'schwa
Anglicorum', but ceding to Schnell the use of 'e' for the vowel formerly
known as 'long a'.  He refused, however, to cease what Schnell referred
to as his 'abuse of the diaeresis', leading to the publication after
Hastely's death of Schnell's 'Orthografiereform der Merechsprache'..."

"...Regarding Merechi theology, Hastely interpreted the use of the
feminine pronoun when referring to the gods to mean that the Merechi
pantheon was populated solely by goddesses - a misinterpretation with
grievous effects, for in conjunction with the famously sexual nature of
Merechi mythology[1], it led him to state that the Merechi were 'from
Lesbos, as it were'.  This comment was taken entirely too seriously by
later Merechianists, who then wasted 20 years of the search for the
Merechi homeland on the 'ousted by Greeks' theory, despite clear textual
evidence from legend that the refugees had fled _toward the rising sun_
('enèdnëdi ciliditàpi')..."

"...[1] Hastely and Schnell agreed on one thing: that all but the most
innocuous passages from the Book of the Gods must be translated into
no language less obscure than Arcado-Cyprian Greek, although requests
for translations into _more_ obscure languages were honored upon
occasion.  Following the mysterious disappearance of the Merechi people
and the tragic destruction of Hastely and Schnell's remaining field notes,
these stilted translations are all we have left, and are uniformly hard
to follow..."

"...The Merechi abugida was clearly designed by someone familiar with
the principles behind Devanagari, as well as in possession of sample
texts, but just as clearly ignorant of the actual sounds of the signs.
It is unique in that the inherent vowel differs from one sign to the
next.  The use of the virama with the 'r' and 'n' signs, the only two
to lack an inherent vowel, is particularly unusual in its effects..."

"...Hastely was adamant in interpreting the variant 'ti' sign as having
had a phonological basis, and consistently transliterated it as 'ty' for
that reason.  Most modern Merechianists rather follow the position of
Schnell, that it served only to mark the sacredness of words which
descended from the proto-Merechi root *tigh.  Why Hastely did not take
the same position regarding the variant sign for 'do' has never been

- End excerpts -

So, there you go.  Merechi transliteration explained at last.  Comments
before I put this up on the webpage

As for the abugida, I have further research :) to do on that, but once
a copy has been inv... er, located, I plan to put that up as well!



Arnt Richard Johansen <arj@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>