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Lower Geldorian

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A Shorter Lesson Jun. 12th, 2005 @ 02:08 am
My last entry was quite long, and probably not very helpful, so I'm going to keep this one short (and because I have to go to bed soon). I'll be going back to the example I gave a couple lessons back. In the following lessons, I'll introduce more words until the whole passage is in Lower Geldorian. So, here are two new words for this lesson:

o pronoun. First person, singular, masculine pronoun; male I, me. It's a very short word of only one letter because it's fairly common, but not capitalized like the English "I". Note, though, that it should only be used by males. And for females:

e.les pn. This is the same thing (I or me) that's used only by females.

There's not much need to worry about pronunciation since any way you say it will probably be well within the expectations of any native speaker, except maybe o. Make sure to pronounce the vowels purely, and not as diphthongs (the English "O" may sount too much like Lower Geldorian ëu). And aside from differentiating gender in Lower Geldorian, these are treated just like ordinary nouns. You don't have to do anything special with them. You don't need a seperate "I" and "me", though you will need a "we" (which does not include the listener, thus called an exclusive "we").

Since I'm male, I'd normally use the first one, but I'll give the same passage here with both:

Masculine:
Here at o bado (my desk), o sit. On o bado, o sëftoth (my pen) sits. There it soi (exists). O sëftoth, o will soi (use). At o bado, o with o sëftoth will sëfsoi (write).


Feminine:
Here at eles bado (my desk), eles sit. On eles bado, eles sëftoth (my pen) sits. There it soi (exists). Eles sëftoth, eles will soi (use). At eles bado, eles with eles sëftoth will sëfsoi (write).


There are two things to note about the usage of pronouns here:
  1. There is no possessive form used in this passage. One does exist, but it's rare. Normally, a simple pronoun can be used. It may be placed after the word being possessed (rather than before as above), but mostly with proper names.

  2. There are an awful lot of pronouns in that passage. When it becomes redundant, you can normally feel free to drop the ones that are understood. This works much like Japanese, or in fact most languages that aren't English.


At this point, you may wish to get my Lower Geldorian font from my deviantART page (click "Downlaod to Desktop")

I'd like to start using it a bit in the future, but in addition to my Romanized spellings so as to not leave anybody behind. Comment if you need help with the font.

Building Words May. 24th, 2005 @ 11:06 pm
This time around, I'm going to explain something I touched on in the last lesson: word building.
Lower Geldorian is a very synthetic language, meaning that it tends to have lots of small meaningful word parts, called morphemes, which can be combined to form complete words. Most words are derived from a root with usually one or two syllables, plus a suffix that classifies the word. These suffixes were borrowed from the various dialects spoken before the reform and, for nouns, derive from one word, toth, a generic pronoun (if you can call it that) referring to any unique entity believed to have a spirit (that's almost everything, since most speakers at the time were animists). The vague meaning typically became more specific in most dialects. Note that the th, unlike the th of other words given here, represents an aspirited t (pronounced with a puff of air, as is usual at the beginning of syllables in English). Most of these were allophones (not distinguished by native speakers), or later merged with their unaspirited counterparts, and the remaining aspirited consonants were removed in the reform.

Now that I've rambled about their history, I'd like to present without further ado the five most common noun suffices:
tot - person
toth - tangible entity
tos - abstract/intangible entity
tol - abstract concept (e.g. direction, color, time)
tor - place

All of these may be used alone as pronouns, but this is rare except for tot. So, this list doesn't mean much without other roots to form words. And since this isn't always intuitive to non-native speakers, I'll give a full table for two common roots (of which we've already seen one). You won't need to remember any of these for the next lesson:

gëi - tongue (Note that this is not considered a complete word by the rules of good usage, but may still be used this way colloquially. This is common for most word roots. This root can be said to refer to "tongue-ness" since it's just a general idea, except when it's used by itself.)

gëi.tot - speaker
gëi.toth - tongue (this is the full word that refers to the organ known as the tongue)
gëi.tos - (irr.) word; language
gëi.tol - (irr.) figurative language
gëi.tor - forum; place to talk


man - magic

man.dot - sorcerer; wizard; magician; user of magic
man.doth - magical item
man.dos - magic (specifically the kind of magic energy, or mana, found in Grun)
man.dol - (irr.) magic spell
man.dor - magical place

(these and more can be found here.)

Note the difference: In the second set, the t became d because it's preceded by a voiced consonant. This happens with all suffices in this position. The concept of voice is one that may need explaining, but there are many that can say it better than I, so I provide this link and this link to anyone who doesn't understand.

Note that those fricatives (hissed sounds) in LG which can receive voice (f, th, s, sh, kh, and sometimes h), are not spelled differently. If they were, they would be v, dh, z, zh, gh, and something else for h, respectively. But they aren't because Lower Geldorian lacks this distinction altogether. It's usually sufficient to spell them the same way since the pronunciation can be determined by their position. Maybe I'll talk more about this later.

Lessons: More Words May. 18th, 2005 @ 09:15 pm
In my last post, I introduced the Lower Geldorian word bado (table) and discussed sentence order. Since things are going pretty slowly here, I'll introduce two words this time.

But first a quick note on pronunciation: The letter ë represents the schwa, or the vowel sound of a in ado. In case it doesn't show up correctly, it should be an e with an umlaut (two dots) above it. A period (.) is used to separate syllables.

sëf.toth n. pen, brush, writing tool. This will usually be something dipped in ink because that was the most common writing medium at the time of the Dragon's Blood story. It's likely that a derivative of it will survive to be used in later stories even after the language is no longer recognizable. The most popular kind of sëftoth in Lower Geldor is a brush similar to the bamboo brushes used in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and similar calligraphy. These brushes are relatively cheap to make (there is no shortage of animal hair in L.G.), and they allow fast writing. In Most of Oran, metal-tipped pens are used that are similar to the calligraphy pens of our world.

soi v. act (upon), do, be. This is kind of a generic verb. It can show existence or state of being, like the be verbs in English, but is also used for nondescript actions. Because it's so generic, it can even be used to form verbs from other words. For example, without explaining too much word mechanics, one can remove the noun ending toth from sëftoth and add soi to get sëfsoi, meaning to write. So in reality, you've just learned three words for the price of two.

Now let's put them to use:

Here at my bado (desk) I sit. On my bado my sëftoth (pen) sits. There it soi (exists). My sëftoth I will soi (use). At my bado, I with my sëftoth will sëfsoi (write).

You may be confused by the similarity of sëftoth and sëfsoi (well, probably not yet, but bear with me). It's important to make note of the ending, since other words (especially nouns) will have even more similar endings. One example is sëftos, which means "letter" and is also the name of the Lower Geldorian alphabet. You can see a sample of this alphabet on my icon, which has the word "soi" taken from the manuscript in my earlier post. The curvy letter on the left is the s, the one that looks like an upside-down v is the o, and the curved mark over that is the i. But I'll talk more about the Sëftos later.

Assessing Readership, Language Lessons Apr. 25th, 2005 @ 09:28 pm
I've been wondering whether people actually read my few posts in this journal. If I get no replies. I guess I'll know. And for those who do read it, would anybody be interested in learning some Lower Geldorian? I've considered posting occasional lessons or something. And just for fun, here's a sample word:

bado n. desk, table, etc.. Specifically, this is a structure where someone sits with a place to put things. A pedestal or a little corner table is not a bado.

And from now on, I shall use this word in place of its English equivalents. This is also a good time to introduce sentence structure, which is typically Object-Subject-Verb, so:

Here at this bado (kitchen counter) I sit, and in my journal I write. Easy it is.

Comment if more you want (but please no Yoda comments)!

A Sample Manuscript Jan. 9th, 2005 @ 03:03 am
I have just completed this sample of Lower Geldorian writing in the form of an as yet un-illuminated manuscript, which you can see here.

As you can see, this sample is written in the Lower Geldorian alphabet. I'll probably put a chart of it up here, maybe with an exemplar for any insane calligraphers crawling the LJ. The style is a mix of the standard Nandor hand, created by Nan, who also invented the alphabet, and more flowing, almost cursive styles of southern Goren, especially Parathenia. It is a style that became popular throughout central and southern areas of Lower Geldor. If this completely confuses you, see the map here and look for the big orange area in the middle. For those not in the know, this may be even more confusing. These cities are in Goren, but the language is from Geldor. As mentioned in the last post, the Lower Geldorian language spread and became a sort of common language, especially in Goren, where it borrowed words and expressions from local languages. It was later that the alphabet was invented and spread east.

This sample, however, is a fragment of a Lower Geldorian text telling the story of a great warrior named Baldo who fought the God of War, Chösotol himself. The language is in an old dialect and a style unique to Lower Geldor. A text like this would be quite rare indeed. The Lower Geldorian priesthood opposed printing, and finally allowed it under the circumstances that all texts be written using the traditional logographic system rather than new alphabet. This made printing impractical because of the large number of characters needed (though limited printing was done in Lower Geldor), and so writing by hand remained easier and more common. Meanwhile in Goren, printers were busy copying religious texts beyond Lower Geldorian control, though the religion wasn't very common there.

A text like this one would most likely have been produced in Goren for an antique feel. A more accurate document would have used logographs, but the reader probably wouldn't understand them. This said, a document like this probably would have been burned in Lower Geldor if it were found. It wasn't until much later (years after Dragon's Blood takes place) that Lower Geldor finally embraced Nan's alphabet as a way to reach more readers. It was, after all, the simplicity of the language that made it popular, and it would be the relative simplicity of the alphabet that would make Lower Geldorian texts widely accessible.
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Other entries
» Introducing Lower Geldorian
This journal will be dedicated entirely to my constructed language, Lower Geldorian. This language belongs to a fictional world known as Grun grun_world. It originated in Lower Geldor, where it was constructed by the linguist Kaleuo under the direction of the the king for the purpose of uniting all Lower Geldorians. While the people of Lower Geldor (LG) were quick to adopt the new language, since it was very similar to their previous one, the dialectal variation it was intended to eliminate remained, though to a lesser extent.

The simplicity of LG made it an ideal second language for most of the inhabitants of Oran (a major continent in Grun), and after a fashion, a slightly altered dialect became the lingua franca of the central areas of the continent, namely Goren. It is the main trade language of Oran, though Upper Geldorian, an entirely unrelated language, is considered more proper in government issues. The Celk the Tepals, the Thént, and other peoples in the Southwest, on the other hand, generally prefer their own languages in all cases. But this is another matter.

Concerning the style of Lower Geldorian, I wanted to give it a familiar sound without making it recognizable. One can't say, for example, that it sounds particularly Italic, or Germanic, or Austronesian, or anything else. The phonology is inspired mostly by West Germanic languages, while the grammar is more like Chinese, in some ways. But it is not intended to fit in any group besides it's own. In fact, it's relationship to other languages in Grun is slight, though much of it was based Ancient Geldorian (remember, LG was constructed), which has some relationship with Thént spoken in the west.

From this point, this journal will mostly contain notes for my own personal use, since it's unlikely anyone is interested in learning the language here. But if this is the case, feel free to email me (allegrox_2000@yahoo.com), and I'll start making up lessons or something.
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