darchildre: the seventh doctor explaining things to ace (seven explains the plot)
Recently, I have been spending some time doing seneshi translations of randomly selected passages from books I like. Would you like to see them? (Of course you would.)

Here they are! )

And that is what I did during the last few days when I wasn't working.
darchildre: text only:  "unlimited rice pudding!" (daleks are silly)
Conlanging tip:

Maybe don't translate something that requires you to make a bunch of new words, stick those words in a random-ass document somewhere, and only decide 5 months later to put them in your senesh-to-English dictionary. Because the weird cryptic notes you made to yourself won't make sense anymore and you won't remember what gender you wanted half of the nouns to be and you'll have to figure it out all over again.

Why did you put an asterisk by one word with no accompanying note, past-Sara? What does the asterisk mean?

Also, if you put new words in the dictionary right away, you won't discover five months later that one of your new words is, in fact, identical to a different word you'd already made up and that you really can't finagle it into being a homonym or that one of them is an idiomatic usage.

This is a hobby fraught with frustration.
darchildre: birch trees in autumn (yi elischi sa ai chi bedhul)
Today in Things I Have Done and Put on the Internet That No One Ever Asked For! In my last post, I mentioned that I was translating Hamilton lyrics into senesh. I did Wait For It, it took a really long time, and I'm pretty proud of it, so I'm posting it here. Get excited!

showtunes about the Founding Fathers in a language no one else can read! )

I now have a lot of Thoughts about Aaron Burr's use of evidentials, but that is even more ridiculous than the rest of the post, so I think it will stay inside my head for now.
darchildre: birch trees in autumn (yi elischi sa ai chi bedhul)
So yesterday, what with it not being my birthday or Thanksgiving, was a day of sitting around and having nothing to do. Which was great. I spent several hours noodling with seneshi translation stuff*.

Y'know what my favorite thing about conlanging is, other than inventing new writing systems? It's that moment when you're translating and you realize that the language has developed grammatical rules that you didn't consciously plan. I suppose it is the conlang equivalent of that thing where you write a story and the characters decide to do something that was not in your original outline. Sometimes the object goes before the verb and sometimes it goes after the verb and I've figured out why that happens but I did not mean for it to happen. It is a rule that senesh developed on its own.

I also keep finding out new things about my evidential markers. You guys, I am so pleased by my evidential markers, you have no idea. When I started building the language, I thought they were just going to do what it says on the tin: indicate how the speaker knows what they're saying is true. But now I'm learning that they can be used to add emphasis or indicate tone or change the politeness level of a sentence - it's so exciting. There are things we use whole long phrases for in English that I can indicate with a one-syllable particle in senesh. I am excited about this, so I'm going to babble about examples under the cut. If you don't want to read about my exciting made-up grammar, that's cool. )

This would be a lot easier to write about if I were writing by hand where most of the evidentials are only two characters.

*Translating Hamilton lyrics, because why not double up on the nerdery, right?
darchildre: the fourth doctor's scarft (crafty geek)
It is torrentially pouring outside and has been all day. I have nothing to do and no inclination to go anywhere, so I'm spending the day doing ridiculous things.

My seneshi story has developed an epistolary episode, which is fun, but it does mean that yesterday I took it into my head to a) write one of the letters, b) translate the thing into senesh, and c) write the whole thing out longhand in seneshi letters. Translating the letter meant figuring out how to create both past and present participles, refining how imperatives work (especially reflexive imperatives), and playing with how the evidential markers place emphasis or change the tone of a sentence. Which is fun, but a lot of work.

Now that part's done and I'm working on writing the thing out. And, since I eventually want it to be on unlined paper, that has meant carefully measuring and drawing lines in pencil so that my writing is straight. In fact, I'm doing the whole thing in pencil first, so that I can correct any mistakes I make in writing, and then I'm going to retrace it in pen.

This is an absurd amount of effort for a story I'm never going to tell anyone else.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
Things I have done today:

- bought danish

- ate danish

- watched cartoons

- cried while listening to Steven Universe songs

- ate more danish

- made up a bunch of seneshi verbs

- decided that I hated the way I had designed past tense conjugations and revised them

- made big lists of nouns and adjectives I should make up and then had a long debate with myself about whether it would be better to do this on the computer, where I have to copy-paste all the special characters all the time but the words would all be automatically saved or on paper, where it's easier to write but I'd just have to type them up later

- that's where I'm stuck - I have not yet resolved this debate

- I did write a thing about two of the characters in the involved story insulting each other in ways that required me to think about the difference between their cultures, so that was cool

- now I think I'll make dinner, so that I eat more than danish today

I feel vaguely accomplished because of the verbs, but really, today has been ridiculous. It's pretty great.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
Downsides of today:

- Early meeting at a faraway branch of the library, which meant getting up much earlier than I wanted.

- There was an upgrade to our library software we were going talk about at this meeting and I was super excited about it, but during discussion it turns out that the upgrade will not work the way I hoped and so now I am disappointed.

- Also, I forgot to put sugar in the tea that I brought to the meeting/work, and so had to drink it without. I realize that there are people who drink tea like this all the time. I don't understand why you would do that to yourselves.

Upsides of today:

- Because of said early meeting, I got to leave work early. And now I have accomplished all the grocery shopping that I had thought I would need to do Saturday, so Saturday is entirely free.

- I have a delicious stir fry planned for dinner that I am really looking forward to.

- Today was very quiet at the library, which meant that I had time to work on my senesh, and now I have numbers! I can count to 9,999 (which is tof al-uðan tof a-cyon tof a-meis un tof, written out). I can't write that in senesh yet, as I haven't made up characters for numbers yet or figured out how they work in the writing system, but I feel accomplished nonetheless.

- I have finally gotten to Bree in my absurd recording of LotR, which means that now I get to read about stuff that is actually interesting.

On the whole, I think we have come out on the positive side.
darchildre: text only:  "Circumlocution:  It's a way of speaking around something.  A digression.  Verbosity." (our little sillinesses of manner)
In which I am ridiculous:

So, the conlang stuff I'm working on goes with a story. Or, rather, a set of stories, spread out over a very long period of time, because most of the major characters are immortal or semi-immortal. (Evil god-emperor, his chief lieutenants, some of his family members.) And I was thinking about one of them yesterday and, unlike most of my stories, it involved more than two people in a room having a conversation - there's sort of actually a plot, it involves traveling to cities outside the god-emperor's control and also crossing the desert. And I thought, okay, I am terrible at imagining where things are in space relative to each other - I will draw a map.

It...is not a great map, because I can't draw and have no actual knowledge of how geography works, but it was fun to do and I colored it and made up mountain ranges and rivers and things. And other cities, which I had to name. I hate naming cities. Or, I hate naming cities outside the empire, because I know the way the language inside the empire works and I can make up city names that go along with it, but I haven't spent any time thinking about other countries. (Some of them now have cities with names that sound vaguely Finnish. This is mostly because I had a Finnish song stuck in my head at the time.) Anyway, now I have a map!

A map that has national borders drawn the way they would have been at the very beginning of all the stories, before the god-emperor even marched into the country where all the stories are set. It is a Pre-Conquest map.

It's still very useful, in that I can see where the cities are relative to each other and, like, mountain passes and stuff for travel. But now I keep thinking that what I really need is a series of maps, drawn during different periods of the story. A Pre-Conquest map, a map from around the time when the main character becomes important (about 60 years Post-Conquest), a map from around the time of the story I'm currently thinking about (around 200 years Post-Conquest).

I am not at all certain of my ability to reproduce the important features of the map I've already drawn. Also, this is a hell of a lot of work for a set of stories with no actual plot arc other than "I thought this would be cool" that I'm not even writing down. I write down plot outlines so I don't forget them, or emotionally important things people say, but actually writing the story? Nope, not so much.

I should...maybe figure out an actual timeline of events at some point. Which probably means coming up with a dating system and deciding what the calendar is like.

I am the most absurd.
darchildre: moody black-and-white crow looking thoughtful (crow is thoughtful)
Haven't posted in ages - here is some ridiculous conlang nonsense.

Today is very boring at work, so I have been translating song lyrics into senesh. Because that is an excellent use of my time. I have had Sons and Daughters by the Decemberists stuck in my head for days now, so that is the song I translated. Why I thought it would a good idea to translate this song, which has a lot of boat imagery in it, into a conlang used by a fictional desert society, is beyond me at this point.

Anyway, here it is. )

And that's what I did today!
darchildre: children reading books in a field. (books are for adventure!)
Hey, everybody! Remember this thing?

I put it away for about a month, but now I'm working on it again. And now I have more grammar and vocab and I am so excited about it! So I wrote out a ridiculous paragraph of kindergarten-level senesh and now I'm going to share it with you.

Here it is! )

Okay! Assuming anyone waded through any of that - would any of you like to do me a favor? I find it much easier to come up with vocab when I'm translating something - that's why I did the above exercise in the first place. Do you have anything you'd like to see translated into senesh? I can't do anything too complicated yet, but if you have some simple sentences that would be awesome.

Or, if you just want something transliterated into the seneshi alphabet, that would be great too. I need more writing practice. (I promise I'd take a better picture of that than the one above.)

Anybody interested?
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
So, as some of you may remember, from the age of about 13 to about the end of college, one of my intermittent hobbies was (not very good) conlanging. Which then got abandoned, as I was no longer interested in the culture I'd been building along with it, and also the language was kind of grammatically ridiculous and the writing system was ugly and it had fantasy apostrophe syndrome.

But! For about a year now, I've had a recurring mental story in a fantasy setting*, and one of my favorite ways to play with my mental stories is worldbuilding involving language. (The other is to make people kiss.) So I thought, why not actually do some language building? Better language building, with grammar that's interesting but not dumb and no fantasy apostrophes. And that's what I've been doing for the past few days. Right now, I've worked out the sounds the language can use, a little bit about grammar, and very scanty vocabulary.

And a writing system! You guys, I love alphabets and writing systems - I was super-excited about designing a new one and making it interesting and not hideous. I'm actually pretty proud of it, which is really the main reason I'm making this post.

Wanna see? )

Alas, it does not work terribly well at all for writing in English, so I can't use it to take notes in boring meetings.

*It's an theocratic empire ruled by the incarnation of a conquering bull-god. The main character is one of the bull-god's chief lieutenants, who's semi-immortal, the head spy-master, and also a religious fanatic. I imagine that there are probably people combating the spread of the evil empire but they're not very effective and mostly end up dead in horrible ways.

Do you know, I can't remember the last time I had a recurring mental story about people who were, y'know, good? People who make up stories about heroes - what's that like?


darchildre: a candle in the dark.  text:  "a light in dark places". (Default)

June 2016



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