Tag Archives: ZBB

What I’ve been up to recently

There hasn’t been much going on here recently. This is mainly due to working on the research for my BA thesis at the moment. However, I’ve also done a little general information hunting on causative constructions on the side that will eventually result in a blog article discussing Ayeri’s way of handling these things in more detail. I touched on the topic briefly and tentatively already in a thread respectively on Conlang-L and the ZBB. Especially in the case of the ZBB thread, be aware that I’ve corrected myself multiple times in the course of it. And I’m still not quite sure if I’ve understood everything correctly, so if you’re knowledgeable about Tagalog et al.,1 don’t hesitate to contact me for correction. Both threads are basically only about syntactic ways of handling causative marking, but Ayeri definitely also has morphologic causative marking on verbs (e.g. kond- ‘eat’, kondisa- ‘feed’) as well as some lexical causatives (e.g. tenya- ‘die’, tomba- ‘kill’). Some more thoughts on that will likely go into the blog entry as well, of course.

  1. Ayeri’s case marking was originally inspired by a misunderstood and simplified version of that by way of lacking linguistic background knowledge at the time. I’ve kept coming back to it recently in order to compare and see where I’ve been “wrong”.

A Little Story (You May Want to Translate)

MisterBernie of the ZBB has come up with a nice little story about a trickster god who fools some fairies into believing that a stick of sugarcane is a honey plant – with unfortunate consequences on the fairies’ part. If your language is halfway capable of dealing with Relay-length texts, this 100-word story shouldn’t be too much of a problem to translate either. You can find the thread discussing it here for the time being. I hope I’ll manage to convert my translation into HTML or PDF to put it up here soon, before the board has pruned it. I’ve already put up a recording here, though:

Also, MisterBernie’s Baranxe’i language seems well worked-out and he’s recently started to document it more thoroughly in his own conlang blog. Go take a look.

“Das Problem mit dem Sprachenbasteln” – eine Antwort

  • Dies ist die Übersetzung eines englischsprachigen Beitrags (click for English version), den ich bereits im Juni 2011 geschrieben habe. Da scheinbar ein größeres Interesse an diesem Beitrag bestand, dachte ich, es wäre eventuell sinnvoll, ihn auch ins Deutsche zu übersetzen.

Continue reading “Das Problem mit dem Sprachenbasteln” – eine Antwort

A Likely Translation Challenge

This is a cross-posting from the ZBB, as a note-to-self kind of thing.

Yāng minjisānas nilay.
Ø
COP
yāng
3SM.AGT
mindoy-isa-an-as
choose-CAU-NMLZ-PAT
nilay.
probable

‘He is a/the likely candidate.’
 
Yāng nilay minjisānas.
Ø
COP
yāng
3SM.AGT
nilay
probably
minjisān-as.
electee-PAT

‘He likely is/will likely be a/the candidate.’

Neat-o. Except I need an easier word for “candidate”…

What do we see here? Well, we see difference in meaning through word order in action:

  1. Modifiers mostly follow their heads, so in the first case, where “likely” modifies the “candidate”, nilay follows accordingly.
  2. The second case is a little trickier, and I’m not quite sure about it. Ayeri has a zero copula which I’ve so far glossed as “Ø/COP” at the beginning of sentences, since this is the place verbs usually appear in. However, in the second example above I have what’s technically an adverb follow the agent NP. There are languages that use personal pronouns as copulas actually, e.g. Hebrew (cf. Payne 117), so could we argue here that yāng fulfills the role of the copula here? This demands further investigation!
  • Payne, Thomas E. Describing Morphosyntax: A Guide for Field Linguists. Cambridge: CUP, 1997. Print.
  • Prmysl. “TC: Likely.” Zompist BBoard. 6 Jun. 2011. Mark Rosenfelder, 2002. Web. 6 Jun. 2011.

“The Problem with Conlanging” – A Response

[Dieser Beitrag ist jetzt auch auf Deutsch zu lesen, nämlich hier. — 20.08.2011]

Fellow conlanger Vecfaranti wrote a thought-provoking posting on the ZBB some weeks ago. Unfortunately I’ve only managed to read it now, and I would like to share it with you, and also answer with my own thoughts and experiences. Please be so kind not to necromance the thread, if the current date is months past May 24, 2011. What I am doing here is quoting passages from Vecfaranti’s forum posting and comment on them below. So, without further ado —

Conlangs require context. Some conlangs are created for the modern world, although those are becoming less and less frequent. Most conlangs made by ZBB members are artlangs meant for conpeople. But for a lot of us, creating the language is much more fun than creating the […] people.

Ayeri, too, is a language that is supposed to somehow be linked to an imaginary world not much unlike ours. Nonetheless, I can say that it’s also become kind of a personal language to me, so it also contains words for things that may or may not exist in this world my language’s speakers are supposed to live in, such as television, internet, or car. The necessity for this has arisen from writing the one or the other journal entry in the language, as well as doing Translation Challenges at the ZBB that I did not bother to somehow adapt culturally. Whenever I can, I try to either metaphorically extend the meaning of already existing words1 (natural languages also seem to do this a lot!), or I calque these words,2 and as a last resort borrow them. However, this borrowing mostly happens from the language I mainly work in: English. Even “in-universe” borrowing is a problem, because, as Vecfaranti observes, conlangs require context, and I don’t have much.3 Ayeri is the third language I am working on technically, but I’ve completely given up on the “Nameless Language” and Daléian, both of which I created in my first half year of language tinkering back in 2002. Also, I must say, that my interest in languages as such is bigger than in the people who speak them. Cultural Studies, history and sociology simply are not my primary interest. Trying to create a believable, naturalistically complex culture around my conlang and doing that on top of trying to create (an) artificial language(s) in depth seems quite “taxing” indeed to me, and frankly I have no idea where to start, hence my reluctance to come up with at least some kind of setting.

Are you going to make a book using it? Are you going to make a movie? A game of some sorts? Or are you just making it for the sake of making it and presenting it on a website in encyclopedic format? Which brings me to the other problem. No one likes reading grammars. […] And most people don’t have in depth knowledge to critique aspects of grammar besides phonology and maybe rudimentary morphology. […] Which is why most threads about in depth grammars do not get many responses around here.

My work on Ayeri is kind of a purpose to itself, though it also helps exploring Linguistics as a discipline, thus helping me to learn more about things as I go. Personally, I must admit that it’s no joy for me to sit down and read grammars – whether “nat” or “con” – cover to cover. Exploring bits and pieces here and there is more interesting, though it takes me conscious effort and concentration to sit down and read linguistic papers, and I don’t feel like doing that all the time. Also, I naturally have knowledge holes in areas I didn’t do any reading in for my own conlang, since I’ve never learnt Linguistics formally. In my experience, posting things on small issues you come across and want to hear others’ opinions about is far more successful in terms of response than just posting a link to your grammar, and say “Discuss.” For the same reason I’ve started this blog, more or less: I can write short articles about things, which helps working out details, and I can utter my thoughts so that people maybe can look into my reasoning and the way in which I create grammar, or decide on how to proceed. If they’re interested. However, all bite-sized, if possible.4

For context, we must work and work and work tirelessly. And the process usually ends up being private. This board is good for quick questions and socialising, but deep questions require outside research. For presentation, we must either have a lot of work already done, in order to get away with the website approach or we must set a goal for ourselves that goes beyond conlanging (and conworlding) for conlanging’s (or conworlding’s) sake.

Working tirelessly? Well yes, creating a whole world on your own must be very tiresome and takes ages if you want to arrive at a high level of depth. People say they admire my work, however be aware that I guess it could only achieve a certain level of quality because I’ve been working on this for about 8 years. Which goals beyond “conlanging (and conworlding)” should I pursue, though? I guess one I’ve already mentioned above: self-education, and releasing the little scholar in oneself to satisfy one’s curiosity.

Once I make a conlang, relatively in depth, I’m not easily willing to just discard it and not put it to use.

What Vecfaranti writes above I can affirm. And it’s also why I’m stubbornly clinging to Ayeri, although others have suggested to start a new thing, e.g. to make a parallel language or several less in-depth parallel languages to borrow words from. Maybe if I come round to make up a diachronic history of my conlang I will derive some sister-languages. But so far I have been very reluctant to try even that. It’s definitely a goal of mine, though, even if another 10 years have to pass (and should I still be interested in this kind of thing then).

  • Vecfaranti. “The Problem with Conlanging.” Zompist BBoard. 8 May 2011. Mark Rosenfelder, 2002. Web. 4 Jun. 2011.
  1. E.g. bukoya ‘library’ → ‘web server’
  2. E.g. narakahu ‘telephone’ ← nara- ‘speak’ + kahu ‘far’ (cf. German legalese Fernsprecher ‘far-speaker’)
  3. I drew a map some years ago, but not much has come of that. Also, the level of technology of my con-people varies a lot.
  4. This and the last couple of posts on Ayeri grammar have become quite lengthy, however…

Back home again

OK, so at the time of writing this I’ve not yet quite made it home, but I’m still sitting on the train, now in the 9th hour of my travel … I am pretty much exhausted and desperately want to be home in my own bed. I’ve almost made it, though, I’ve just left Frankfurt, and now it’s only about an hour to go. The train ride has so far been rather uneventful and smooth – not quite as smooth as on my way to Groningen, but still rather good: If my connecting train in Frankfurt hadn’t been itself 10 minutes late, I would’ve missed it because my train from Cologne to Frankfurt was about 10 minutes late as well.

So how was LCC4 in my impression? First off, I already said it, it’s seemed like an incredibly geeky thing to do. Says Henrik Theiling: “It’s pretty nice having a drink with people who like fricatives!” — Me: “I’ve had a beer with someone who knows about fricatives before.” — He: “Well, but how often do you do that with twenty people?” Indeed. On the first evening, we had a welcome dinner in Groningen’s inner city in a restaurant called De Gulzige Kater, which was very tasty and very saturating. Saturday evening for me also featured hunting for not-too-fast food with Jan and Tam and after having pizza and beer, meeting up with the group (ca. 30 20 25 people) re-assembled again in a very quaintly decorated pub near Martini Tower whose name I’ve forgotten. Conversations about language interests and observations, as well as private life and experiences have been had aplenty, and it was nice to get to know each other a little more personally that way. Anyway, it’s nice to see people you otherwise only communicate with over the internet. Mostly. Nobody was downright scary, and although I hadn’t assumed so, I still had mixed feelings when I stood in front of the restaurant. I, for one, don’t meet a group of 30 20 25 half-strangers for dinner so often, after all.

On Saturday morning, we heard a couple of talks, had a cold buffet for lunch, and in the afternoon heard some more talks and also had a little panel discussion on which trends or tendencies the four of us discussers as well as the audience have noticed over the last couple of years in the conlanging fora of our choice. We came to the conclusion (I think?) that there is much more turnover of people on the ZBB than on Conlang-L, that elitist phases somehow happen on both forums, and that biting the newbies is maybe also due to simply getting frustrated about explaining the same things to new people all over again and again. Sunday morning of course had some more talks. Because I had to catch the train and with that starting my ten-hour train odyssey through Western Europe to go back home at around 1:30 PM, I didn’t have time to also attend the afternoon session (with yet more talks) and the revelation of the LCC4 relay, so I left the conference center at around 1:10 PM, and received a very kind goodbye at that.

I must admit I did not pay close attention to all of the talks, but certainly David prove again that he is a good speaker and also that there’s gone more thought into Dothraki than it seems from the materials online. Lykara did a nice job (and also one semi-relevant to my literature studies) as well, namely on some of the earliest takes on artificial languages in literature – in literary satires of the 18th century. I am also still kind of fascinated with the ZBB’s collaborative conworld, Akana, presented by Jan Strasser and Tam Blaxter, who also did a nice job fitting a complex subject into a half-hour long presentation, in spite of assembling the whole of the talk from bits each one prepared individually only on Saturday evening, as far as I understood. Njenfalgar showed fun ways to make up throwaway languages to borrow names and the one or the other word from (something Ayeri very much lacks, alas!). Christophe also did a brilliant talk on suffixaufnahme/surdéclinaison which (a) showed how awesomely weird Basque is, and (b) left me wondering whether or not Ayeri’s relative pronouns are a case of surdéclinaison if you look at them closely, or whether it’s just multiple bracketing inflection on the rightmost element. Oh well, you can find the slides of most talks online anyway.

So, was it worth skipping class on Friday morning and spending a good part of my monthly budget (as a student) for travel and accomodation in one weekend? I would say yes, probably. And now I’m scared of having to catch up on my homework reading duties for the coming week. That will have to wait until tomorrow, though, fortunately.

Last but not least, here are a few photos I took on Saturday:

PS: If you want to read something nice in German: I read Ruhm. Ein Roman in neun Geschichten by Daniel Kehlmann on the way to Groningen. It’s 200 pages and I read it in about 5 hours. The book is a bundle of witty short stories (Sonya and Philip: I guess you could call that an album as well?) about 9 characters that are strongly interwoven, and I found it a pleasure to read.

  • Transferred photos from my Google account to my own server because of Google+.

Tense and Aspect in Ayeri IV

This is part four – and so far the last installment – in my series on tense and aspect in Ayeri. This time, we’re dealing with future tense, or references that involve future time. That points in the future are expressed with the simple future tense is taken for granted here. However, note that Ayeri distinguishes three levels of future: immediate (in a moment), ‘normal’ (some time ahead), remote (maybe sometime). Of course, these are fuzzy, subjective categories, so it is no use to try and define how many minutes, months, or years will have to pass for an event to be recounted in one of the respective future tenses. Note that In the table in Leech and Svartvik I am using as a reference here, the enumeration in ‘B – Past Time’ is carried on in ‘C – Future Time,’ and I can’t see why. So, instead of continuing with ‘C15,’ I will continue with ‘C1.’ Some of the examples provided here are more specific to English, however it will nonetheless be interesting to figure out how Ayeri deals with these. Also, since Ayeri is slightly pro-drop regarding grammatical marking of categories expressed by context or adverbs in the same sentence, the tense markers are frequently dropped as long as the reference is clear. This will be illustrated in many of the examples below. As in the last post on this topic, these example sentences come from Leech and Svartvik.

C1. Future time (neutral)

As before, the case here is that the future time reference is indicated by the adverbial tasela ‘tomorrow’, while the verb is unmarked for tense:

The letter will arrive tomorrow.
Ang sahāra tasela taman adaya.
ang saha-ara tasela taman-Ø adaya
AF come-3S.INAN tomorrow letter-FOC there

C2. Future time (arising from present time)

In this example, the adverb indicating the time frame is missing, so the verb is indeed marked for future tense here. If there were a time adverb, that marking would be dropped.

Prices are going to rise.
Sənakasaran sipānyereng.
sə-nakas-aran sipān-ye-reng
FUT-grow-3P.INAN price-PL-A.INAN

Although the verb here may seem to contain the habitative marker –asa-, it is wrong to parse it as ?nak(a)-asa-ran, as there is no verb stem *nak(a)-. Also, interpreting 3rd person singular inanimate genitive ran as a verb agreement would not make sense in context or this position, since the case of the referent of verb agreement is mostly the Agent, sometimes the Patient, and rarely a Cause, but basically never one of the other cases.

C3. Future time (plan or arrangement)

As in C1:

We’re moving next week.
Ang tilāyn nangās nana bihanya mararya.
ang tila-ayn-Ø nanga-as nana bihan-ya mararya
AF change-1P.FOC house-P 1P.GEN week-LOC next

C4. Future time (as fact)

Again, as in C1:

The match starts at 2.00 p.m.
Ang cunyo ajaman A:pd.
ang cun-yo ajaman-Ø A:pd
AF begin-3SN match-FOC A₁₂:hrs

The day is divided into 30 hours, starting at sunrise (approx. 6 a.m.), so (14 – 6) / 24 × 30 = 10 ⇒ A₁₂.

C5. Future time (as matter of course)

As a non-native speaker of English I am not quite sure what is intended in the example provided for this class, however, I assume it is supposed to refer to the assumption of the speaker that the predicted action is most certainly to occur. Thus, you would express the sentence in Ayeri like this:

I’ll be seeing you soon.
Ang silvay vās tasela.
ang silv-ay vās tasela
AF see-1S.FOC 2S.P soon

The lack of explicit tense-marking is triggered again by a time adverb: tasela ‘soon’. The verb is not marked for aspect or mood any further to indicate that what is expressed is a fact. Were the outcome of the action doubtful, or only assumed, you would use the subjunctive/irrealis marker -ong-: səsilvongyang ‘I might see’ (FUT-see-SUBJ-1S.A).

C6. Future time (temporary)

This is again as in C1, and using manga here indicates that the action will be currently happening at the time referenced by the time adverbial.

The astronauts will be sleeping at 4.00 a.m.
Ang manga toryan ayonagongye 24:pd.
ang manga tor-yan ayon_agong-ye-Ø 24:pd
AF PROG sleep-3SM man_space-PL-FOC 24₁₂:hrs

C7. Past in Future time

In this case, the verb could be marked for past tense to indicate that the action has been completed, and a time adverbial (here: adauyi pesan ‘by/until then’) would then indicate that the time frame refers to the future.

The plane will have landed by then.
?Məvingara besonreng ven adauyi pesan.
?mə-ving-ara beson-reng ven adauyi pesan
?PST-touch-3S.INAN ship-A.INAN air then until.

A more natural way to say this, however, is:

Eng yomāra iri besonven avanya adauyi pesan.
eng yoma-ara iri beson-ven-Ø avan-ya adauyi pesan
AF.INAN exist-3S.INAN already ship-air.FOC ground-LOC then until.
‘The plane is already/will already be on the ground by then.’

Conclusion

Since the table in Leech and Svartvik consists of all in all 26 distinctive action types in three large groups with a couple of subdivisions, it was too much to cover everything in one post, so I posted those groups as a series of entries. This also permitted me to think about this topic as I had time to translate the sentences: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Here is the use of tense and aspect in my translations schematized as a table again:

Type#ØTensePROGHAB+ADV
StateA1
Single eventA2
HabitsA3
Temporary actionsA4(✓)
Temporary habitsA5
State up to present timeB1(✓)
Indefnite event(s)B2(✓)
Habit up to present timeB3(✓)(✓)
[Past action] With present resultB4(✓)(✓)
Temporary state up to present timeB5(✓)
Temporary habit up to present timeB6(✓)
Temporary, with present resultB7(✓)
Definite stateB8(✓)
Definite eventB9(✓)
Definite habitB10(✓)
Definite temporary [action]B11(✓)
Past before past time (event)B12
State up to past timeB13
Temporary state up to past timeB14(✓)
Future time (neutral)C1(✓)
Future time (arising from present time)C2(✓)
Future time (plan or arrangement)C3(✓)
Future time (as fact)C4(✓)
Future time (as matter of course)C5
Future time (temporary)C6(✓)
Past in Future timeC7(✓)

What you can see is that most time references can be expressed with the verb unmarked for tense (column “Ø”) and an adverb or adverbial that indicates the time frame of the action (“+ADV”), e.g. eda-bahisyēa ‘in these days’, iri ‘already’, maritay ‘before’, masahatay ‘since/for’, or tamala ‘yesterday’. If the time frame is not indicated either by context or by adverbs/adverbials, the tense marker is used – which you can see as a gray tick on most lines. Pluperfect is expressed with the verb mandatorily marked for past tense with an adverb or adverbial to indicate anteriority.

Marking of habitual aspect (“HAB”) only appears where the intention of the speaker is to expressedly point at either a habit. The same goes for the progressive aspect (“PROG”), which explicitly highlights that an action is/was just taking place at the time of reference, or which highlights the rather large amount of time an action took. If it is only a fact that is stated, even if it is not perpetually true, the simple aspect is more likely to be used.

  • Leech, Geoffrey and Jan Svartvik. A Communicative Grammar of English. 3rd ed. London: Longman, 2002. 82–83. Print.
  • Replaced image with HTML table and some CSS magic finally and retroactively fitted bibliography info to current format.

Tense and Aspect in Ayeri III

This is part three in my series on tense and aspect in Ayeri. Like last time, we’re still dealing with past tense, or references that involve past time. That points in the past are expressed with the simple past tense is taken for granted here. However, note that Ayeri distinguishes three levels of past: immediate (just a moment ago), ‘normal’ (some time ago), remote (long ago). Of course, these are fuzzy, subjective categories, so it is no use to try and define how many minutes, months, or years have to pass until an event is recounted in one of the respective past tenses. Also, since Ayeri is slightly droppy regarding grammatical marking of categories expressed by context or adverbs in the same sentence, the tense markers are frequently dropped as long as the reference is clear. This will be illustrated in many of the examples below. As in the last post on this topic, these example sentences come from Leech and Svartvik.

B8. Definite state

This kind of statement is expressed with the verb unmarked for tense when there is a temporal adverbial (sitaday yāng sirtang ‘when I was young’) specifying the reference:

I lived in Africa when I was young.
Ang mitanay ya Aprika sitaday yāng sirtang.
ang mitan-ay-Ø ya Aprika sitaday Ø yāng sirtang
AF live-1S-FOC LOC Africa when COP 1S.A young.

B9. Definite event

The same as B8:

I saw him yesterday.
Ang silvay yās tamala.
ang silv-ay-Ø yās tamala
AF see-1S.FOC 3SM.P yesterday.

B10. Definite habit

Again, the habit is expressed with the habitual suffix -asa, while the past tense is indicated with an time adverbial (ada-tadayya ‘at that time’).

I got/used to get up early in those days.
Ang biganasāy benem ada-tadayya.

ang bigan-asa-ay benem ada=taday-ya
AF get_up-HAB-1S.FOC early that=time-LOC.

B11. Definite temporary [action]

The progressive adverbial manga can and is likely to be used here to indicate the ongoing nature of the action. If the context is clear, the verb does not need to be marked for past tense explicitly.

We were watching TV.
Ang manga məsilvayn silvakahuyam.
ang manga mə-silv-ayn-Ø silvakahu-yam
AF PROG PST-see-1P.FOC television-DAT.

I translated ‘television’ literally here: silv- ‘to see’, kahu ‘far’ (compare narakahu ‘telephone’). Note that ‘to watch’ is formed with silv- ‘to see’ + dative.

B12. Past before past time (event)

As a pre-past time frame is to be expressed here, the verb necessarily needs to be marked as past tense, with an adverb (maritay ‘before’) indicating the time relationship.

I had visited the island before.
Le məmenuyang maritay tadang.
le mə-menu-yang maritay tadang-Ø
PF.INAN PST-visit-1S.A before island-FOC.

B13. State up to past time

Like in B12, the pre-past frame is indicated with the verb explicitly marked as past tense, with an adverb (masahatay ‘for/since’) indicating that this action/state led up to a point – in the past, as evident from the marking on the verb.

I had known him since birth.
Ang məkoronay yās vesangya yana masahatay.
ang mə-koron-ay-Ø yās vesang-ya yana masahatay
AF PST-know-1S.FOC 3SM.P birth-LOC 3SM.GEN since.

B14. Temporary state up to past time

This is basically the same as in B12 and 13, however in this example there is no adverb, and the duration of the action may be emphasized by using manga again.

They had been lying in wait for him.
Ang (manga) məhemayan nikuyam yās.
ang (manga) mə-hema-yan-Ø niku-yam yās
AF (PROG) PST-lie-3P.FOC lurk-PTCP 3SM.P

To be continued…

Since the table in Leech and Svartvik consists of all in all 26 distinctive action types in three large groups with a couple of subdivisions, it would be too much to cover everything in one post, so I will post those groups as a series of entries. This also permits me to think about this topic as I have time to translate the sentences: Part 1, Part 2, Part 4.

  • Leech, Geoffrey, and Jan Svartvik. A Communicative Grammar of English. 3rd ed. London: Longman, 2002. 82–83. Print.

Pangram

Since I read about the Javanese script a couple of years ago, I’ve been kind of fascinated by the idea of its collation, formerly quoted on Omniglot, and – with better quotability – at the moment to be found in a paper by Michael Everson:

The traditional order of the Javanese script is: ha na ca ra ka da ta sa wa la pa dha ja ya nya ma ga ba tha nga and this order has some currency. (The order is hana caraka, data sawala, padha jayanya, maga bathanga, a sentence which means ‘There were (two) emissaries, they began to fight, their valour was equal, they both fell dead’.) (Everson 5)

I wondered whether something like this would also work for Ayeri, since it draws some inspiration from the phonologies of south-east Asian languages. Now fellow ZBB member Z500 posted a “Translation Challenge” today with a request to translate “The quick brown fox jumped [sic!] over the lazy dog,” the famous test sentence for fonts in Microsoft Windows, into one’s own language. I found the original example very unchallenging, so I finally wanted to tackle the attempt to make a pangram in Ayeri.

Since I’ve reworked this website last month, it is possible to simply enter a regular expression into the text field of the “Advanced Search” page, like this:

^([^aeiou(ay)(ey)(oy)(uy)āēīō]?a?)+$

Querying for this term returns a lengthy list of words that consist of the pattern C(a)C(a)… as in the Javanese example above. I chose to do it this way because using every vowel only once would’ve been extra hard, while there are numerous words that fit the Ca-pattern perfectly. So I played with this list a little, and came up with this:

Ang kamayan para dagās vala, bahu ca!
Ang
AT
kamayan
be_as_as-3PM.T
para
quick
dagās
turtle-P
vala,
lovely,
bahu
shout-IMP
ca!
3PM.LOC

‘They are as quick as a lovely turtle; shout at them!’
or ‘If they are as quick as a lovely turtle, shout at them!’

However, this isn’t a perfect pangram: /u/ and /aː/ occur although I wanted all vowels to be just /a/, and also /j/ occurs twice, since c /t͡ʃ/ corresponds to ty in the ‘native’ script (see “Alphabet” page). The latter issue is debatable, however, since ya is a diacritic there (ya eyra), not the letter ya itself. Due to the sentence beginning with the particle ang this almost-pangram even includes the otherwise silent vowel carrier character, ranyan.

With currently 370 unique results for the word pattern quoted above, it will certainly be possible to make up more pangrams with some patience. Maybe I’ll give this another try sometime else and that time really manage to come up with a pangram the way I intended to make one.

  • Everson, Michael. “Proposal for Encoding the Javanese Script in the UCS.” Evertype. 2011. Michael Everson, 28 Jan. 2008. Web. 29 Mar. 2011.
  • “Javanese.” Ancient Scripts. Lawrence Lo, 2010. Web. 29 Mar. 2011.
  • “Javanese Alphabet.” Omniglot. Writing Systems and Languages of the World. Simon Ager, 2011. Web. 7 Apr. 2010. (Access with ‹waybackmachine.org› on 29 Mar. 2011)
  • Added interlinear formatting and rendition in native script.
  • Another attempt at making a pangram in Ayeri.

Tense and Aspect in Ayeri II

This is part two in my series on tense and aspect in Ayeri. This time, we’re dealing with past tense, or references that involve past time. That points in the past are expressed with the simple past tense is taken for granted here. However, note that Ayeri distinguishes three levels of past: immediate (just a moment ago), ‘normal’ (some time ago), remote (long ago). Of course, these are fuzzy, subjective categories, so it is no use to try and define how many minutes, months, or years have to pass until an event is recounted in one of the respective past tenses. Also, since Ayeri is slightly droppy regarding grammatical marking of categories expressed by context or adverbs in the same sentence, the tense markers are frequently dropped as long as the reference is clear. This will be illustrated in many of the examples below. As in the last post on this topic, these example sentences come from Leech and Svartvik.

B1. State up to present time

Since Ayeri does not have a morphologically marked perfect, simple present is used here with a time adverbial (pericanya-ikan masahatay ‘for many years’) indicating that the state has been going on for a period before and leading up to now:

I’ve known her for years.
Ang koronay (edauyi) yes pericanya-ikan masahatay.
ang koron-ay-Ø (edauyi) yes perican-ya=ikan masahatay
AF know-1S.FOC (now) 3SF.P year-LOC=many since.

B2. Indefinite event(s)

This is basically the same as in B1:

I’ve seen better plays.
Ang silvay maritay ajānyeas baneng.
ang silv-ay-Ø maritay ajān-ye-as ban-eng
AF see-1S.FOC before play-PL-P good-COMP.

Since the past reference is clarified by using maritay ‘before’, the sentence is grammatical even without marking the verb explicitly for past tense.

B3. Habit up to present time

Since this category is about habit, I included the habitual marker -asa- in the example sentence below, however it feels unnatural to use there. What is important is the word masahatay ‘since/for’, as above, which establishes the time reference of an action that lasts up to the time of speaking. Use -asa- additionally to emphasize that this was a habitual action (“He used to conduct…”):

He’s conducted that orchestra for 15 years.
Sa lant(asa)yāng (edauyi) eda-tingrayeno pericanya 13 masahatay.
sa lant-(asa-)yāng (edauyi) eda=tingrayeno-Ø perican-ya 13₁₂ masahatay
PF lead-(HAB-)3SM.A (now) this=orchestra-FOC year-LOC 15 since.

To be honest, I don’t know anymore where I got tingrayeno from exactly, but it looks like a compound, and it involves tingra ‘tune, melody, music’, maybe also yenu ‘group’ with an older (and even meta-factually!) fossilized nominalizer -no fused. However, the compound would then be the wrong way round, ‘music group’ ought to be yenutingra if it were regular. One of the woes of not keeping track too closely on where you get your compound expressions from.

B4. [Past action] With present result

The simple past tense is used here:

You’ve ruined my dress!
Le kādruvāng vehim nā!
le kə-adru-vāng vehim-Ø nā
PF.INAN IPST-destroy-2S.A dress-FOC 1S.GEN

Note that the immediacy of action is expressed by the immediate past tense marker kə- here.

B5. Temporary state up to present time

And again, the present tense is used here together with a time adverb (iri ‘already’) to indicate that the state leads up to present time. The adverb manga may be used here especially to emphasize the large amount of time the state/action took:

I’ve been waiting for an hour.
Ang manga galamay pidimeri men iri.
ang manga galam-ay-Ø pidim-eri men iri
AF PROG wait-1S.FOC hour-INS one already.

B6. Temporary habit up to present time

This is like B5, only that you may empasize the habituality of the action with the habitual marker:

He’s been walking since he was 8 months old.
Ang lamp(asa)ya henanya koncanena yā masahatay.

ang lamp-(asa-)ya-Ø hen-an-ya koncan-ena yā masahatay
AF walk-(HAB-)3SM.FOC eight-NMLZ-LOC month-GEN 3SM.GEN since.

In Ayeri it is more natural to say ‘since his eighth month’. Henan ‘eighth’ is formed by nominalizing hen ‘eight’, masahatay ‘since’ is a postposition and requires its head to be marked as an adverbial of place, hence the locative marker -ya.

B7. Temporary, with present result

Like in most of the other cases, there is no indication of the completeness of the action here, so for past reference, the simple past is used. The progressive marker manga is not usually used in this situation either:

You’ve been smoking!
Mərunuvāng!

mə-runu-vāng
PST-smoke-2S.A!

To be continued…

Since the table in Leech and Svartvik consists of all in all 26 distinctive action types in three large groups with a couple of subdivisions, it would be too much to cover everything in one post, so I will post those groups as a series of entries. This also permits me to think about this topic as I have time to translate the sentences: Part 1, Part 3, Part 4.

  • Leech, Geoffrey, and Jan Svartvik. A Communicative Grammar of English. 3rd ed. London: Longman, 2002. 82–83. Print.