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A battle hymn in G'amah

From:FFlores <fflores@...>
Date:Sunday, February 27, 2000, 19:32
These are the first verses of a battle hymn of
the Grey Trolls of Zulkadar, in G'amah. As you may
recall, these folks were commended to my guide as
a playing character in an RPG -- and I'm doing my
best to give them some personality.

The Grey soldiers come    Tag hahaGahu mach
over earth and mud        uk-oOku uk-oG'rol
On the green grass        Uk-oslapa nhunh
we leave a black path     blih n'oTit'ur dol

Invincible we are,        Oj-son'ipohna zhij'ou,
the enemies tremble       buluz llilliNh'ak
on seeing the standard    omij j'a-ud oB'ako
of the great darkness     hoKadar hoGron

We serve the Tree,        M'ao sh-lliNhos,
to it we immolate:        nu-ngud'u aCh'okok zhij'ou:
we drink its blood,       d'oi jid'u-ahla,
we take it blood!         izhoh nu-sh-miAhla!

Terrible our hands,       ooChla jid'u-itu,
feared the swords         hohoN'uzh dichak,
which open red ditches    ooKi miBichu zhau
in the enemy host         zu-llilliGahu allNh'ak

Fear, o poor rats,        Oj-j'a-nuzh o hoh ng'a,
the Greys are coming:     ar oj hahaMach j'a-tag:
swords of terror,         miDichak miBin'uzh,
in merciless hands        u-miItu asNim'a hoP'ak

... And it goes on and on for a while, but I'm still
getting the translation. Since the language is new,
I preferred to try it in Spanish first, and then
devise the new words as I go along. Good idea for
vocabulary, except now I have a lot of words in the
line of "blood, terror, enemy, wound, destroy, burn,

The metrics are simple, sometimes forced; no rhyme,
because trolls can't rhyme. Interlinearly speaking:

Article abbreviations are composed of two letters;
the first can be M (masc.), F (fem.), A (animate),
I (inanimate); the second can be D (definite) or
I (indefinite). Reduplication (DUP) means plural.
If there's a prefixed L, it's a linker.

Tag  haha-  Gahu    mach
come MD.DUP soldier grey

uk-  o- Oku   uk-  o- G'rol
over ID earth over ID mud

Uk-  o- slapa nhunh
over ID grass green

blih         n'o- Tit'ur dol
leave_behind II   ditch  black

Oj- son'ipohna zhij'ou,
be  invincible 1p

    Note the merge of the status verb _oj_
    with the word for 'invincible' as a new
    static verb.

buluz   llilli- Nh'ak
tremble AD.DUP  enemy

omij j'a- ud  o- B'ako
when with see ID standard

    Of course, "when with see" = "on seeing".

ho- Kadar    ho- Gron
LID darkness LID great

M'ao  sh- lli- Nhos,
serve ACC AD   tree

    Note the first person forces the object
    to take the ACC mark. The Tree is the
    malign entity which drives these evil
    soldiers; it literally thrives on evil.
    It has no mind or intelligence, only a
    desire for cruelty. It takes the animate
    article, even if trees are inanimate.

nu- ngud'u    a- Ch'okok  zhij'ou:
DAT THING-DX3 AP immolate 1p

    Did I mention this language has *five*
    levels of deixis? Each one has some
    idiomatic uses; in particular, the 3rd
    level is used in place of 3rd persons
    as a resumptive.

    AP means 'antipassive'. This phrase is
    not antipassive, since it lacks a certain
    auxiliary dummy object; in these cases
    it's taken to be (pseudo-)reflexive.

d'oi  jid'u-  ahla,
drink ADJ-DX3 blood

    Same here, ADJ-DX3 functions as 'its'
    (the Tree's, the thing we were talking

izhoh nu- sh- mi- Ahla!
take  DAT ACC PRT blood

    The DAT mark over an already ACC object
    assumes an indirect object, already mentioned
    (in this case, the Tree).

oo-    Chla     jid'u-  itu,
ID.DUP terrible ADJ-DX3 hand

hoho-   N'uzh dichak,
LID.DUP fear  sword

oo-    Ki    mi- Bichu zhau
ID.DUP cause PRT wound red

    The article on the verb signals a subordinate
    clause, _ooKi miBichu_ 'which cause wounds'.

zu- llilli- Gahu    all- Nh'ak
in  AD.DUP  soldier LAD  enemy

Oj-j'a- nuzh o   hoh   ng'a,
be with fear IMP mouse poor

    Mice and rats are the same for these folk.
    Note the merge of verb, preposition and noun
    as a new verb. The adjective _ng'a_ is a
    general despise mark.

ar    oj haha   Mach j'a- tag:
since be MD.DUP grey with come

    "with-come" = "coming".

mi- Dichak mi- Bin'uzh,
PRT sword  PRT terror

u- mi- Itu  as-     Nim'a   ho- P'ak
in PRT hand without frailty LID chest

    _Nim'a hoP'ak_ 'frailty/weakness of the
    chest/heart' = 'mercy, pity'. The concept
    is so weird among these people that they've
    made a (despising) idiom of it.

--Pablo Flores