Thursday, 14 December 2017

14th Lexember Word

nihár rosen [ɲiˈɦäˑrə̆ʑe̞̽ŋ], verb phrase: “to be weak; to be trivial“

I will not spend much time on the semantics of this phrase, which is basically the opposite of yesterday’s word. Rather, I want to point out that it’s a rather interesting construction.

To put it simply, =rosen (the = is used to emphasise its status as enclitic) is a verbal clitic used to mark the desiderative mood (i.e. “to want” or “to need”). However, with intransitive verbs, it often forms more idiomatic constructions marking a state of lack or want. For instance, with cupí: “to sleep“, one can form cupí rosen: “to be tired, to be sleepy“ (literally “to want/need to sleep”, compare and contrast with urún: “to tire, to be/get tired”). With : “to eat“, you get ayóm rosen: “to be hungry“ (literally “to want/need to eat”. Ayóm is the antipassive form of , turning it into an intransitive verb with no need of an object). This is a relatively common construction, and nihár rosen is just another example, where “weakness” is described as a “need to become strong”.

There is also a level of euphemism going on here. Calling someone weak is a relatively strong insult in Mountain Folk culture, so people tend to avoid directly pointing that out. A circumlocution like nihár rosen contains the word nihár itself, and thus “feels” more acceptable. Also, =rosen implies a will to leave that state of weakness, which further softens it. That’s why this idiomatic use of =rosen is rather common: when people want to ascribe a negative quality to someone else, it is much more diplomatic to say that they “want to reach” a positive quality, rather than abruptly stating that they lack it altogether.


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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

13th Lexember Word

nihár [ɲiˈɦäˑɾ], intransitive verb: “to be/become powerful, to be/become strong; to be/become serious”

With nihár, we leave the semantic field of warm and cold, and get into that of power :-). Interestingly, this is not the first time I introduce a word meaning “to be strong” during a Lexember event. Last year, I coined már: “to be violent, to be intense; to be strong”. The two are definitely not synonyms, as you can see from the glosses, but they do overlap a little. Basically, már is used when extreme force is currently being exerted. In particular, it is used with weather phenomena to indicate that they are stronger than usual (hence the noun markó: “windstorm”). Nihár, on the other hand, refers to intrinsic strength or power, whether it currently translates into applied force or not.

Moreover, már’s semantic field extends into the areas of violence and intensity (a light can már, if it is blinding), while nihár is rather used of situations, to indicate that they are to take seriously and not as a laughing matter. Here again, notice that we are not talking about an immediate threat: a situation can be serious without immediately being an issue. Rather, it is potentially an issue. Nihár refers to strength as a potential, már to strength as it is observed.

Notice that in the gloss, I indicated that nihár can mean both “to be powerful” and “to become powerful”. This is a general property of stative verbs in Haotyétpi that they can also take a dynamic meaning of becoming or reaching that state, without any derivation needed. So a verb like nák can mean both “to stand” or “to stand up”, and a verb like ankyoyták can mean both “to be cold” and “to become cold”. Context is usually more than enough to disambiguate between the stative and dynamic meanings of such verbs (and there are ways to make them explicit if needed). The only reason I didn’t mark all the relevant glosses of the stative verbs I introduced so far that way is because that made the glosses much too long and somewhat confusing. For the same reason, I will usually not add the “/become” next to “be” in the glosses of the upcoming stative verbs. But remember that it is always there :-).


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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

12th Lexember Word

okkoáp [o̞kːo̞̽ˈäˑp], intransitive verb: “to be/feel warm/hot (to the touch)”

With okkoáp, we finally finish our trip through the various ways of talking about temperature in Haotyétpi (well, of course there are more ways, but this will do for now! :-P).

Okkoáp is quite simply the opposite of titúp. It doesn’t refer to the environment, nor to a feeling that is experienced due to the environment, but to an object’s inherent warmth or heat. Something (or someone) is okkoáp if they feel warm or hot to the touch (or if they look like they would feel that way if you were to touch them). Of course, okkoáp forms a complementary pair with yesterday’s ankokkoáp, in the same way that titúp forms a complementary pair with ankyoyyé:

  • Things that are ankokkoáp: people in a warm environment, rooms, porches, halls;
  • Things that are okkoáp: a nice sweater, coffee, hot water, anything coming out of an oven, living people (they can feel cold, but that’s usually a temporary state, or they are not well!).

A peculiarity of okkoáp is that unlike the other words referring to warmth that we’ve seen so far, but like okkó itself of which it is an obvious derivation, it doesn’t distinguish between plain warmth and uncomfortable heat. So something that is simply warm will be just as okkoáp as something that is scalding hot. If you really need to make the distinction, a simple way to do so is to simply qualify okkoáp. There are various ways to do so, but simply using peksó (an adverb meaning “badly”, which is also commonly used as an intensifier) is an easy way to achieve that, with peksó okkoáp meaning “to be very warm” or “to be hot”. Another common way is to use the excessive suffix -yatome, forming okkoápyatome: “to be too hot”.

As I mentioned before, titúp is not only used for the literal coldness but also for the metaphorical one. This extends to okkoáp, which can also be used of people to indicate that they are kind or caring.


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Monday, 11 December 2017

11th Lexember Word

ankokkoáp [äŋgo̞̽kːo̞̽ˈäˑp], intransitive verb: “to be hot, to feel hot”

Following yesterday’s counterpart to angaróm and ankyoyták, today we have the counterpart of aróm and ankyoyyé!

Like its counterparts, ankokkoáp is used of people, to indicate that they are experiencing uncomfortable heat, and of enclosed spaces, to indicate that they are uncomfortably hot. It is basically a more extreme version of aróm, but its formation is virtually identical to that of ankyoyyé: they both use the prefix ank(e)-, and while they use different verb-forming suffixes, -ap vs. -ye, these suffixes are quite close to being synonyms, both being added to nouns describing a property to form verbs that indicate that something has that property. The difference between the two is difficult to pin down, but besides some irregular phonological considerations, the main distinction between these suffixes is that -ap is usually added to nouns that have a positive connotation, while -ye tends to be used with nouns that have a negative connotation. It’s not a hard rule though, as evidenced by today’s verb: despite ankokkoáp not really having a positive connotation (and neither does okkó itself, at least in the sense that it is used in forming this verb), it still is formed with the suffix -ap.


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Sunday, 10 December 2017

10th Lexember Word

ankokkonák [äŋgo̞̽kːo̞̽ˈnäˑk], closed verb: “to be hot (as a weather phenomenon)”

As I wrote yesterday, while okkó itself does not distinguish between comfortable warmth and uncomfortable heat, there are still ways to make the distinction. When one is talking about the weather temperature, that distinction is made by using the verb ankaróm for comfortable warmth, vs. today’s ankokkonák for uncomfortable heat.

As you probably noticed, ankokkonák is based on okkó, once again with the environmental prefix ank(e)-. In fact, it is formed exactly in the same way as ankyoyták, and like that verb is a closed verb that cannot take a subject (unlike ankaróm, as I mentioned before, which is simply intransitive).


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Saturday, 9 December 2017

9th Lexember Word

okkó [o̞ˈkːo̞ˑ], alienably possessed noun: “warmth, heat, high temperature“

This noun is quite simply the opposite of yóy, and refers to warmth as a concept, as a property that things can have. As with yóy, okkó is not used to indicate a warm sensation (that’s aróm), nor is it used to indicate warm weather (that’s ankaróm).

Interestingly, okkó refers both to “comfortable” warmth and to “uncomfortable” heat, i.e. it refers to any high temperature regardless of whether it is simply warm or scorching hot. However, it’s still possible to distinguish between the two, as we’ll see with the next Lexember words :-).


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Friday, 8 December 2017

8th Lexember Word

ankaróm [äŋgɐˈɾo̞ˑm], intransitive verb: “to be warm (as a weather phenomenon)”

So now we have what basically is the opposite of ankyoyták. It’s the verb used to indicate that the weather is warm. The fact that it also uses the ank(e)- prefix on yesterday’s verb will not have gone unnoticed I bet :-).

So with this verb we now have a neat quartet of verbs going over two axes, one of cold vs. warm, and the other of weather vs. feeling:

  • Cold: weather ankyoyták vs. feeling ankyoyyé;
  • Warm: weather ankaróm vs. feeling aróm.

(too bad Tumblr doesn’t do tables…)

Despite them being opposites, there is one key difference between ankaróm and ankyoyták that somewhat breaks this symmetry: while ankyoyták is a closed verb and cannot take a subject, ankaróm is simply intransitive and will happily take one. It doesn’t need to: ankaróm can be used by itself, indicating that its subject must be understood through context (which is usually not difficult given the semantics of this verb). But it can, and that means that ankaróm can be used in constructions where ankyoyták cannot be.


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