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Vance's Paonese.

From:Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>
Date:Thursday, March 15, 2007, 7:43
I suppose one or two here must have noticed Jack Vance. I just
finished rereading his Languages of Pao, which took on a new flavour
in view of my recent conlanging activity. In it, he endorses the view
that the attitudes and behaviour of people are results of or
influenced by the characteristics of their language rather than the
other way around and goes to some length in describing some of the
linguistic structures. He gives only one sample of one of them, the
Paonese itself: "Rhomelenshrai bogal-Mercantilnlien mousesnliro" and
its English translation "There are two matters I wish to discuss with
you." He also gives an analysis which I interpret as follows:

rhomel - statement of importance
en - in a state of readiness
shrai - 2
bogal - ear
Mercantil - name of the home planet of the person addressed
nli - genitive
mous - mouth
es - this person here
ro - in a state of volition.

According to Vance the language has no verbs, no adjectives and no
formal comparison, and the Paonese sentence does not so much describe
an act as present a picture of a situation. And the Paonese
themselves he describes as docile, tradition-loving, obedient.

I suspect it would be fair to describe the word mousesnliro as a
verb, though.

In addition to this he also gives the numbers in Paonese from 1 to 8,
because the continents on the planet are named from them: Aimand,
Shraimand, Vidamand, Minamand, Nonamand, Dronamand, Hivand, Impland.
(This may interest one particular listmember especially, if he
doesn't already have them.) I suppose the element -mand, apparently
mutated in the two latter names, must mean "land" or similar. My
guess is that the mutation in Hivand is caused by a long i, with the
i in Aimand being short. This is all the info there is, apart from a
handful of names.

I suppose the creation of a Paonese-like language must be a little
bit of a challenge, but not impossible. I think we have discussed
similar things here before. Anyway I felt like mentioning it.