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Re: CHAT: I'm back!

From:J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 11, 2000, 22:07
daniel andreasson wrote:

> Matt Pearson wrote: > > > For those of you who are new to the list(s): My name is Matt Pearson, > > and I've been on Conlang since 1993. I have a couple of minor projects > > to my name (including an alien language for the short-lived--and very > > bad--TV show "Dark Skies"), > > Hey! Was that you? I thought it was a very competent alien lang for such > a tv show. (total x-files ripoff). You wouldn't mind sending some info on > it to the list? Or did you already, and I missed it? Or perhaps there is > a website somewhere out there?
No website--at least, not on the language. I posted quite a bit about it when I was working on it back in the fall/winter of 1996, so there may be something in the archives about it. A couple tidbits: The name of the language was Thht-Maa (where the "hh" is a syllabic voiceless velar fricative), although the producers and writers just called it "Hivespeak" (the aliens were a Borg-like collectivity called the "Hive"). The root _maa_ meant "us (inclusive)" or "collectivity", while _thht_ was a classifier prefix used for 'matrices', or interconnected systems of knowledge/representation, including neural networks, hypertext documents, circuits, and languages. Thus _thht-maa_ means "the matrix/network/language of the Collective". Some unusual features of the language included: syllabic fricatives and trills, the absence of a noun/verb distinction, a high degree of centre-embedding, an elaborate noun-classifier system (about 40 noun classes, each with a separate agreement prefix), and an extensive system of 'light verb' suffixes (with meanings like "exist", "become", "go to", "use", etc.) for forming complex predicates from roots.. Here's a small sample of words and phrases from my original notes. The morpheme-by-morpheme glosses are only educated guesses, as I've forgotten quite a bit about how the language works. (Note that COLL = collective plural [all together] and DIST = distributive plural [one at a time]. CL stands for "classifier", so CL:time is the classifier/agreement marker for time-related words.) suu-haar-wo yu-taa-aa brain-approach-TOPIC CL:time-now-3s(EMPHATIC) "the time of merger is now" ma-gu-yaagh-ush-lu COLL-CL:human-destroy-3s:FUT(ENEMY)-necessary "the human enemies must be destroyed" bz-jaap-w-u-gh CL:weapon-eliminated-become-3s:FUT-imperative "get rid of that weapon!" ngoor la-tmuugh-z-u-gh headquarters "return to headquarters!" thht-maa-mhht ma-b-a-z? CL:matrix-collective-knowledge COLL-exist-3s-yes:or:no "do they know about the existence of the Hive?" hhoosh-wo dzoo-d-at? threat-TOPIC what-accomplish-2s:PAST "what have you done about the threat?" nuul-aa-a-wash child-EMPHATIC-3s-dismissal "it is only a child" Of course, the snippets of Thht-Maa that made it into the show were 'mangled' rather severely by the sound editors, who processed and filtered the dialogue to make it sound more 'alien'. Matt.