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Diom quote

From:David Stokes <dstokes@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 4:52
I was traveling a lot over the holidays, and didn't get much time to
work on languages (though my girlfriend did give me a copy of Lyle
Campbell's Historical Linguistics, thank you). I did manage to finish a
quotation I've wanted for a long time. One quote may not sound like
much, but it did involve figuring out a lot of complicated grammar
issues. I'd like to share it.

(For more information about the language Diom see my web page )

Vaeralush, estains esaior vens Eldariom ?
At te, Curonelenel !
Taerash in ons lae caragnis enhanu.

know-1ST-SING-OPT, be-3RD-SING-SUB here-and-now-LOC any Eldar-GEN
not then, crown-1ST-SING-PRES-REFLX
because they-NOM only me-ACC have-authority-3RD-PLURAL over.

"Are any of the Eldar present?
If not, the I crown myself.
Because only they have authority over me."

This was spoken at the coronation of the first Gestomaian emperor, and a
slightly different form was used by all the following emperors. (I
changed my mind about the form after the initial translation.) It is
perhaps the most famous quote in classical Diom, and I've long had the
English translation and wanted the original.


Vaeralush -- "I want to know." Used as a way of forming questions.
Particularly in formal or deferential speech.

Eldar -- Religious figures. Actually an ancient space faring race that
seeded  life on many worlds. Now worshiped as gods. Their main feature
is their absence.

estains -- Subjunctive of "to be". Expressing doubt that any of the
Eldar are actually present. Later emperors replaced it with "esnja"
interrogative of "to be."

vens -- Quantifier "some" or "any". Takes over the role of the subject.
The 'real' subject is put into the genitive case. As above "Any of the
Eldar". Inspired by symbolic logic where the quantifier is in front and
predicate qualities are added to it.

tae -- Material implication. "(If)..., then..." This still needs some
work. I'm not sure how I will distinguish the antecedent form the
consequent. Here its shown positionally, but this case doesn't really
count, since the previous sentence is the antecedent. But normally Diom
has a very free word order. I'm thinking about putting the antecedent
into subjunctive mood.

    Words related to tae I discovered are tae- as a verb stem means "to
imply", estae means "consequence" (lit. to be implied), and taerash
means "because" (basically to imply a cause).

carag-  -- "to hold authority" Often used with enhan "over".

David Stokes

Ampiros aernost sharusae, vi at Enfors Vilandenae, vi je tais zhangoln.
The Empire's greatest strength is not the Iron Army, but its language.