Saturday, August 25, 2001

Malt§égj Revision I – Project III

Some aspects are getting a little too complicated and others are drastically oversimplified, and the language as a whole is losing a bit of the flair I set out to achieve to begin with. There are a few sounds i have to add and a few that have to be gotten rid of. The definite article and demonstrative pronouns have to either become separable, change form, or just shrivel up and blow away, because it seems redundant to have more than one suffix on a word. The language as a whole has gotten far too a priori to the point that it is difficult to expand the vocabulary. The entire point, however, is that the language be as a priori as possible, but i’m thinking i need to start stealing some words or at least some sounds, because just sitting there thinking up new and exciting words is too exhausting. The alphabet has to go, because as cute as it is, the original runes were far too un-malt§égj-looking (they had a sort of korean cuneiform feel to them), and the later accepted runes which i’ve been using for malt§égj for the last few months are just tacky and awkward and wrong. And that whole vowel diacritic thing, which i like in theory, is really obnoxious in practice. Some of the words that do exist are far too complicated, and i have to get over this predilection for putting as many consonants together as i can without the aid of a vowel. The actual sound i would like to hear from Malt§égj is somewhat akin to that of welsh, only without that dreadful ll sound they have, and with a little more regularity of y’s and u’s. Or perhaps a little like russian, only with a few more vowels and some simpler words. I’ve even thought of adding in mutations, but i need to simplify the language quite a bit before i start re-complicating it.

The best way i can think of to perform this revision is to start over at the beginning and weed out what i don’t want, change what i don’t like, and then add new concepts once i get a firm idea of what i actually have here.

So from the beginning...
As, ul cwarco...

In those words alone i’ve modified quite a bit. First of all, let’s try the definite article as separate words before the noun for the time being, while i decide if i want to keep them at all.


Articles precede the noun they modify, as do numerals and demonstrative adjectives. All other adjectives will follow the noun. Nice little switch there, eh?

ulthe (definite article)
ama, an, one (indefinite article)
ulathat (i didn’t like ulo)
ulotthe other (cf. aquello in spanish)

This will also help to standardize the relationship between these and words like calc and mlăc.

Going back a step further...


The orthography of the malt§égj langauge has gotten totally out of hand. And then some! It’s just like Mr. Fiedler always said, “Simplify and clarify.” So let’s revisit the actual sounds we use and then think about how we want to represent them.

bvdzgʒðγvoiced consonants
pftskʃθxunvoiced consonants
mnlrnasals and liquids
wjhglides and aspirants

For the time being, until a really cool idea for an alphabet comes to me that isn’t farcically complicated or otherwise unmanageable, a simple latin orthography is going to have to do. Since the sounds depicted above are rather clinical-looking, the following will be our new orthography:


That seems æsthetic enough for me for the moment. I probably won’t be using the ɤ or the h, since they were only add-ins to balance out my little aleph rune anyway, which has gone the way of the dodo. I’m not sure why i chose the ơ to replace the ɔ sound; i think it might be partly because i just happen to like it and partly because the unicode standard contains grave and acute accents for this character, which brings me to my next point.

One of the things about the former orthography that i particularly did like was the addition of acute and grave diacritics to indicate stress. And given the non-standard stress of the language, these become quite necessary elements for pronunciation. So that rule will continue: In words of more than one syllable, an acute accent will indicate the stress; in words of more than two syllables a grave accent will indicate a secondary stress unless the middle syllable of a trisyllabic word is primarily stressed.

I would also like to add another vowel, if i may. (Of course i may—it’s my bloody language; i’ll do with it as i please!) I would like a definite distinction between e and ε. So i suppose i’ll have to use ε for now, and if i can’t find a decent looking diacritic for it i’ll just have to create one! Generally speaking, however, an e appearing at the end of a word will keep the e sound, while most others, with a few exceptions, will be ε. I’m also toying with the idea of adding additional vowels for ə or ʌ, oe, and maybe ʉ, but all in good time. I am afraid they might detract from the desired sound of the language.

As far as adding the aleph character to unsupported vowels, as i already mentioned that is now a thing of the past. All characters will be supported on their own in a latin-based context anyway.

From these premises, i will rewrite the lexicon... again...

-aprp. to, towards, at
adínan. sister
-aðprp. to, at (accusative preposition)
-almprp. without
-alxprp. on, on the side of
amadj. one, art. a, an
-apprp. on, on top of
apþánv.t. to know
áptεnn. evening
-aránn. -ary, place
-avprp. after
avíln. year
badʒv.t. to have
barán. afternoon
baracóþv.i. to collapse
bεrí§n. night
bʒólεtadj. good, holy
blơcprn. nothing
blágaadv. nowhere
blaiv.i. to be doing (progressive particle)
blaixadv. none
blεðprn. noöne
blεgitj. no, not
blεucþn. winter
blímiὲmadv. for no reason
blivv.i. to think
blotn. god
blúmweadv. never
blýcþidadv. in no way
bocúraadj. favourite
bulv.t. to study
bvlácan. chair, stool
calcadj. which, that
cfidʒn. autumn, fall
clagn. book
clágarann. library
clεgcjt. that (subordinate conjunction)
crớgaadv. very
crơlxn. luck
culmv.t. to see
cúluiadj. all 
cwarcn. beginning
cwarþprt. to have (perfect particle)
cwεlmadj., n. true, truth
cwὲstriέmitj. please
dʒε§tn. rule
dʒέ§tinn. ruler
dʒogó§v.i. to ought, should
dydprt. did (past particle)
ðacv.t. to say, to tell
ðblεucþn. love
ðblέucþinn. lover
ðrơcprn. that, that thing
ðrágaadv. there, in that place
ðraixadv. that much, that many
ðrεðprn. that person
ðrímiὲmadv. for that reason, because
ðrúmweadv. then, at that time
ðrýcþidadv. that way, in that manner
-eprp. in
ecjt. and
εcv.i. to be
-éciprp. until
-εðprp. around, about
-έloiprp. about, of
-εmprp. over, above
framv.t. to steal
fransn. france
fransuglớdn. french
fránsuadj. french
frεmadj. five
gamitj. yes
gapácn. fire
ga§ágn. people, race
gðrantþn. spring
gεlcv.t. to give
gʒobʒn. summer
gʒotv.t. to want
glớcav.i. to hope
glơdn. language
grớlagan. giant, etin
grávaadj. renowned
guþέxv.t. to like
-iprp. for 
-iðprp. before
-id benþprp. ago
-ílaprp. small
-íliprp. next to, beside
-itprp. behind
-iþprp. under, beneath
ʒơgprn. I
ʒalcprn. we
v.i. should (subjunctive particle)
latínuglờdn. latin
lεxέtadj. much, many
mágan. yeast
malcjt. but, however
málav.i. to sit (down)
málcin. dwarf
malt§έgʒn. maltschegj language
márgan. house
maxátv.t. to make, to create
mέlεmprn. you. Note: informal but acceptable in most situations.
mεlmíneprn. You. Note: only used in very formal situations like mandarin 您.
mlơcadj. which
mlágaadv. where
mlaixadj. how much/many
mlεðprn. who
mlímiὲmadv. why
mlúmweadv. when
mlýcþidadv. how
nadn. day
nafí§n. metal, steel
nagv.i. will, shall (future particle)
narámv.t. to write
naxádn. end
naxádv.t. to break
nenadj. nine
-oprp. from
-ocprp. with
-omprp. before, in front of
páðrun. father
páracprn. it
parþprn. they
pulprn. he, she, one
rεbcjt. but
rélεbcjt. or
scravv.t. to do
sεmadv. together
somn. solstice/equinox
svarðn. blood
§lþprt. whether, did...?, what, (Esp.) ĉu, (Mand.)(interrogative particle)
tamέcv.t. to need
tέflðun. table
tεmέtn. morning
t§ơ§v.i. to come
t§εcmádðv.t. to bring
t§ocv.i. to go
-uprp. of
ulart. the
úlaadj. that
úliadj. this
úlotadj. the other, over there, Sp. aquello
-utprp. out, out of
vέrcþidv.t. to give birth to, to beget
vέrcþidracadj. born
víctron. tree
vi§iví§icjt. maybe
vlơdv.i. to be willing, would
xramadv. tomorrow
yácniadj. black

All in all not a bad transition, and much more reader-friendly!
The next revision i would like to make is with word order. Again i’m leaning toward the celtic languages here, although that is not my intention. I would like to instate a strict VSO order on this language. Or even VOS, as long as the verb is at the beginning. That way i can still have my nice little –a. ending for direct objects, but i really do like the feel of a VSO sentence. At first i was turned off by this trait in a language because it made me think of Yoda, but now i rather like it. I think this may actually be a subconscious lashing-out at german and all the hours i’ve spent reading on and on trying to find the end of the sentence just so i could find the verb and discover what was actually going on. I mean, seriously, folks, take the following sentence from Heinrich von Kleist:
In St. Jago, der Hauptstadt des Königreichs Chili, stand gerade an dem Augenblicke der großen Erderschütterung vom Jahre 1647, bei welcher viele tausend Menschen ihren Untergang fanden, ein junger, auf ein Verbrechen angeklagter Spanier, namens Jeronimo Rugera, an einem Pfeiler des Gefängnisses, in welches man ihn eingesperrt hatte, und wollte sich erhenken.
I mean, as far as cramming a lot of information into a simple sentence, Kleist was the master, but that’s just ridiculous. Note that i’ve highlighted the subject and primary verbs of the sentence, and they’re not exactly next of kin.

Hence, instead of “Jơg dyd gelc mélemà téflðamàð,” (an example I have previously used,) we would have something like “dyd gεlc jơg am téflðàð mέlεmà.”

Hence, instead of “Jơg dyd gelc mélemà téflðamàð,” (an example I have previously used,) we would have something like “dyd gεlc jơg am téflðàð mέlεmà.”

ðblεucþ(I’m not sure what to do with these two. I guess they’re all right for now until something better comes along.)

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