Anything you’d like to know?

If you’re following this blog, you will have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for some time. This is mainly due to not having had much time to work on Ayeri for much of the past 12 or so weeks because real-life work obligations like writing a term paper, doing an internship, and writing a report for that internship were much more important. And soon, there’ll be my BA thesis to work on.

There is a list of topics to think about on my backburner still, and in addition my interlinear glosses plugin, my font, and the dictionary query scripts used on this site could use some improvement – and, alas, the big grammar file. But right now, I don’t really feel like tackling any of those issues.

In order to hopefully get my creative juices going again (creativity always kind of ebbs and flows for me), I thought why not have a kind of AMA. Ayeri’s been around for so long, maybe there’s things you people want to know that have not yet been dealt with on this website, or that are hidden away so well you’ve never noticed.

So: Anything you’d like to know about my work? Comments are open again for once.

7 thoughts on “Anything you’d like to know?

  1. Well, since this is sort of a community relations post, I’d be interested in what you views, plans are regarding community relations. For example, are you activily encouraging people to learn the language, are there any “selling points” regarding the langauge that you may have discovered while creating it & using it. (And yes, I can clearly see this appears to be mostly an artistic langauge without any specific purpose outside of being pretty, but what just happened to turn out to be useful or expressive or good on some other scale?)

    1. Actually, I’ve seen that Ayeri has been shortlisted for a conlang-learning challenge some time ago, but I don’t seem to recall ever having been contacted about that specifically. However, the thing is, I’m really ambivalent about others trying to learn my conlang, since it’s at least by tendency a rather unstable thing and documentation is also slightly messy. On the other hand, it would certainly be interesting to hear someone else’s experiences with descriptions I wrote up. Likewise it would be interesting to see as well how other people would apply my rules, since they might interpret things differently, or use things in creative ways I wouldn’t have thought of in the first place.

      As for “selling points”, that has never really been my intention. Probably there are some features in my language that are interesting to others, but as you noted, I intended Ayeri to be an artistic language. As such, the main goal for it is to appeal to myself, not to attract learners in the first place. To be honest, I haven’t yet found anything especially useful or convenient for expressing things. Rather, it often seems to me that English in comparison is much more flexible as a tool, so I really have to puzzle out a way to translate things sometimes – which, on the other hand, is to me really one of the most fun aspects of conlanging, because it may challenge all too well-trodden ways of thinking. One feature that’s rather interesting to me, though, is the way Ayeri handles comparison in equative sentences, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed to learn that comparison verbs are actually a very common strategy cross-linguistically, when I prepared my talk on exactly this topic for LCC4. In hindsight, I maybe should have put up some more syntactic restrictions, e.g. on relativizability, to add a little more interesting quirkiness.

  2. Well, okay. I’ll bite. 🙂

    What got you started with Ayeri? Did you start out planning every detail, or did it sort of organically come together? Do you ever speak it to yourself?

    I saw that you did a song (Friend of a Friend). It inspired me to translate the same thing into my conlang, and was actually the first song I translated into Sandic. 😉 Do you sing that song to yourself very much?

    Is Ayeri almost entirely for you an on-paper kind of thing, or are there bleedovers into “real life” (like taking a grocery lists in it, or writing down a reminder to do your homework, etc)? I’ve been known to write grocery lists in my language, especially around holiday time, so as to keep my roomies in the dark about presents!

    Anyway, I wish you the best with recapturing your muse. 🙂 You’ve been an inspiration for me and I hope for you to regain your pleasure in working on and with Ayeri. Thanks for the AMA!

    1. Ho boy, what did me get started on Ayeri? Hm. For one, I’ve been reading Conlang-L a bit back then and was fascinated by that ‘trigger alignment’ thing that seemed to be so much different from what I’d learnt about German grammar in school up to that point (though I’ve only read up on my misunderstandings some months ago, almost 9 years after my first drafts!). Overhearing someone talk in some SE-Asian language some weeks later reminded me of that and I had the idea to finally try things out, so I sat down and started working on the first, rough draft of my grammar. This is to say, Ayeri has always grown rather organically, i.e. by keeping on revising things as I bumped into issues with them, both by translating things and reading up on linguistic theory on the various forums and in articles (the internet is a treasure trove of linguistic articles!).

      As for using the language to myself, I tried to do that just for fun some time rather early on, but quickly dropped the attempt because I didn’t really see the point if German (and the Latin alphabet) would do the job much more effectively. And I’ve never really had an urge to kind of show off to, or differentiate myself from others by muttering things in Ayeri to myself. Instead, I always feel slightly embarrassed if others see me doodling things in my conscript(s) on the margins of my writing pads, and I’ve never really liked working on my conlang in public either, e.g. on the train.

      And that song you mentioned – nice to hear that it sparked some creativity in others as well. I kind of like toying with restricted language, and exploring the limits of your conlang by having to fulfill certain patterns of verse, I think, is a nice challenge. Especially when the language is quite a bit different from the one you’re translating from – English is really very concise and has a lot of single-syllable words, while Ayeri often is not as flexible syntactically and its words are usually longer. But to get back to your question, I don’t sing that song to myself. It was just a one-off experiment.

      So, all in all, I guess my relationship to my conlang is rather matter-of-factly. It’s an intellectual game I like to play for myself, but it’s only a game. There are more important things to me, and I let little of my conlanging spill into real life.

  3. I wish you good luck & good fortune with everything.

    Actually, is there a way to say the above in Ayeri, or at least “have nice days and be well”?

    Thank you, and all the best with your BA and other pursuits.

    1. Thanks, Anthony!

      As for a translation of your wish, there is no fixed expression for this yet (like, “May the Force be with you!”), so at present, I’d just go and translate that more or less literally:

      Ang hanuay apinas kangan vayam enyaya.
      Ang hanu-ay apin-as kangan vayam enya-ya
      ACTT wish-1S.T luck-PAT lots.of 2S.DAT everything-LOC
      ‘I wish you lots of luck in/at/with everything.’

      However, for me as a German speaker, English is kind of interesting in this regard in that you wish good luck and fortune. French has it, too: bonne chance ‘good luck’. On the other hand, compare German, which has viel Glück ‘much luck’. However, German Glück always means ‘good luck’, while ‘bad luck’ would be Pech. What’s also interesting is that you’re using a kind of double formula there where both parts more or less mean the same thing, which is probably not universal either.

      1. You’re very welcome. and thank you for the translation.

        Your statement on the types of luck in German, reminds me of a passage from the book My Zoo Family by Helen Martini:

        ‘Shortly after this incident I met a maharaja from India who told me that the word “Bagheera” means “luck.” What kind of luck, he did not say, but I am sure it must mean good luck as Bagheera and I have had so much of it.’

        What’s also interesting is that you’re using a kind of double formula there where both parts more or less mean the same thing,

        For me, both to reinforce the well-wishing, and a ?reflection of how I always say “have nice days and be well”. (I myself’ve had nice days with a headache, and rotten days while in the peak of health)

        again, thank you.

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