Re: Daily exercise
|From:||Daniel Baisden <derelictdan@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, August 8, 2004, 13:30|
Just Curious, why Mammals and not a Short Story or something?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Herman Miller" <hmiller@...>
Sent: Saturday, August 07, 2004 10:44 PM
Subject: Daily exercise
> I've been busy at work lately and haven't had much time for conlanging;
> what little time I have is quickly taken up by trying to figure out
> notations for new musical temperaments and catching up on email. It's
> been a while since I've done any real music or substantial conlanging.
> So I've given myself a new project of translating one sentence each day,
> and I'm creating a new language from scratch for the exercise. I don't
> even have a name for it yet, but I'm informally calling it "Monvi" from
> the title of what I'm translating (the introduction to the "Mammals"
> chapter of the _Macmillan Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia_). The Monvi
> word for "mammal" is "ma(w" (imagine the '(' is a Polish nasal hook),
> pronounced [mQ~v], pl. "ma(wy" [mQ~v1].
> I haven't quite been keeping up with translating a sentence every day,
> but I've already got 5 sentences done. Things are starting to fall into
> place. There's a danger in being too literal, running across a word like
> "adaptability" and coming up with an equivalent by translating each
> part, "adapt-abil-ity" = /lepS/-@m/-at/, but on the other hand it's not
> something I want to spend a lot of time on taking it too seriously. The
> language will probably end up being unnaturally simple and regular,
> without some of the naturalistic elements like gender and long tables of
> inflected verb forms, but it's not a goal of the project to be realistic.
> In any case, it can be an interesting exercise to decide how much of
> English makes it through the translation and how much is original. I've
> decided to let some words through in distorted but recognizable form:
> "Monvi" might be related to a form of English or other familiar
> languages that arose in an alternate universe. So there's "hl/egla"
> [xwEGla] for "whale", "sia(gla" [SQ~Gla] for "seal", "nimla" [Jimla] for
> "animal", and so on. But in general I try to come up with words that
> aren't much like English, especially the idiomatic uses.
> Practically every sentence has these kinds of issues: take the title of
> the chapter: "Mammals -- the peak of vertebrate adaptibility". Maybe
> some other language can use "peak" in this sense, but would another way
> of translating it be more appropriate? I settled on using "head" in the
> sense of "front", or metaphorically as "leader". I could probably have
> thought of something better, but I figured it was better to get on with
> sketching the language; nothing at this stage is fixed and it's easy to
> change things.
> I suppose I might as well give the translation of the title:
> Ma(wy, jaze( rast lepsie:matu wle:bron (e: is e with dieresis)
> ["mQ~v1 jazE~ "rast lEpS@"maTu "vl@BrO~n]
> ma~v -1 jaz-e~ rast-0 lepS -@m -at -u wl@br -on
> mammal-ABS:PL be -PART head-ABS adapt-abil-ity-GEN vertebrate-GEN:PL
> ABS: absolutive
> PL: plural
> PART: participle
> GEN: genitive
> In Unicode for Unicode-enabled browsers:
> Mąwy, jazę rast lepsiëmatu wlëbron
> [ˈmɒ̃vɨ jazɛ̃ ˈrast ˈlɛpʃəmaθu ˈvləβrɔ̃n]
> As you can see, the spelling makes it look a little bit like Polish, but
> only at first glance: the frequent e-trema, the dots on c and g (as in
> Maltese, pronounced [tS] and [dZ]), and occasional w-acute (representing
> a palatalized w, pronounced [H]) give it away. Originally [v] was
> spelled "v" and [w] as "w", but as it was starting to look a little like
> Polish with the acute accents on s, z, and n, I changed "w" to the
> Polish barred l and "v" to "w" to make it look even more like Polish.
> The full inventory of sounds thus far:
> p b t d tS dZ k g
> m n J
> v s z S Z x
> H j w
> (Stops also have fricative allophones.)
> i i~ 1 u u~
> E E~ @ O
> a Q~
> Here's the sentences that I've translated so far:
> Zidia( ma(wy la ti(zion 4,008, jaze( ne:j we:bron tes'pa lepsie:mi ly
> sie(wi panu( nia nieptu ruju jelu(. Jaza( hl/egly lelpy li sia(gly de
> le(diy wi(zi( kunymu nimlon wa(l sia(zon, kui suza( myrgy sike c'l/ason
> ga webron nej hewron hrusiu. Kl/a niomu zyrju, suza( kiusiy ma(won la
> sie(wu goziu pa(l wu(ru, nia wu(ru niomu, ly te:l hrynon ly mepsienu
> lukiu. Me:nzeka( giru( ma(wen sim la myrgu wespon, jaze( jedza(ky
> wiekton luilo ty zielu. Kl/a kiusiy se nari(, bynuwyt wo ma(won hrawylat
> ksius'te pielnic'on jedza(ku.
> Another thing you might notice that gives it away as being not Polish is
> the "iy" combination: palatalized consonants followed by "y". I keep
> telling myself that this shouldn't look weird if "y" is just another
> vowel, but it does seem to look better with an acute accent on the
> consonant instead of using "i" to mark the palatalization. And I can't
> bring myself to write [w] as slashed l after l: "luilo" should really be
> "ll/ilo", but that looks weird. Maybe I should go back to using "w" for
> [w] and "v" for [v]. Here's what it looks like in Unicode.
> Zidią mąwy la tįzion 4,008, jazę nëj wëbron teśpa lepsiëmi ly sięwi panų
> nia nieptu ruju jelų. Jazą hłegly lelpy ly siągly de lędiy wįzį kunymu
> nimlon wąl siązon, kui suzą myrgy sike ċłason ga webron nej hewron
> hrusiu. Kła niomu zyrju, suzą kiusiy mąwon la sięwu goziu pąl wųru, nia
> wųru niomu, ly tël hrynon ly mepsienu lukiu. Mënzeką girų mąwen sim la
> myrgu wespon, jazę jedząky wiekton luilo ty zielu. Kła kiusiy se narį,
> bynuwyt wo mąwon hrawylat ksiuśtę pielniċon jedząku.