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me and my languages

From:Michael Poxon <m.poxon@...>
Date:Sunday, September 9, 2001, 11:35
Dear All,

First of all let me say I'm new to this newsgroups stuff, so I'm probably sending
this message to the wrong place. I want it to reach everyone, and hope I've
done the right thing! I'm sure to get it right eventually.
A quick biog: I've been making up languages since childhood (I'm now 48) and
read (that's /red/ not /ri:d/ - linguistics at University, specialising in
Philology and Celtic (specifically Breton). After graduating, I continued my
studies and diversified into such fields as sound symbolism and lignuistic
universals. I also encountered Tolkien's languages at that point, having
deliberately avoided JRRT as everyone else wasn't and said how I must read it,
I'd love it, etc.,etc. Eventually, someone discovered I was keen on inventing
grammars and told me about Elvish. I was instantly struck by the similarity of
Sindarin to the Celtic tongues and that did it! I eventually became editor of
Quettar, the official Tolkien Society's linguistic magazine.
My most highly-developed language doesn't actually have a name (for the moment
I'll call it omeina, the abstract noun meaning 'speech' from ome- to speak.
I've been at it, on and off, for about 20 years, but from the start it was
going to be an Ergative language. The phonology is fairly Indo-European and
mellifluous. I know for a fact there are two words which kicked off the
flavour. Like Tolkien, one is Finnish; the word is Alarieston. Only the
genitive form of the Surname Alariesto seen on a Christmas card, but I thought
it was the most beautiful word I'd ever heard! So in Omeina it means 'most
beautiful of all' (adjectives have many degrees of comparison, including the
hyperlative suffix -eston "...est of all" as in the leg-, -obb construction in
Hungarian). The other word was encountered in a linguistics book at University,
and I believe it was either Tokharian or Burushaski; Barduquinta (though spelt
in the actual instance Barduqinta). Bar- is the adjective meaning 'old,
long-enduring', and I know for a fact that it was inspired by the word Barhau
in the Welsh national anthem (mutated from the radical form Parhau, to endure).
Omeina is exclusively suffixing, with no consonant clusters other than homorganic
glides (such as -ndr-, -nt- and so on). There is a very clear influence from
Basque not only in the Ergative grammar but also in the fondness for initial
voiced stops (though these are fairly rare elsewhere).
I will soon be putting a grammar and vocabulary up on my website, but would
still like to hear from you-all. I am also available to help sort out general
grammatical, morphological and semantic queries!

A viszonlatasra!
Kenavo deoc'h!

Michael Poxon

"We put the thought of all that we love
 into all that we do"
visit my website on:


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