Monday, August 16, 2010

Bixwá by Foot

Right now both Bixwá and Tsrai are in a phase of moderate vocabulary growth. I'll ponder a few days, the bang out a few dozen words in a short time. Apart from creating a number system (which I always dread), creating vocabulary is always the most trying task of language creation for me.

As part of my campaign to avoid orthogonality, I have been making an effort to use analogy more. This has lead in interesting directions with the instrumental prefix zu-, which has the base meaning of by foot, with the foot. For example, tik means fall (over), and zu-tik means to knock over by foot (remember, using the instrumental prefixes always results in a transitive verb).

I decided that zu- could also be used to indicate mob violence of some sort, by way of the idea of trampling or stampeding over people. For example, from dó'a rule, custom, tradition, we get zu-dó'a impose a political or social regime on people. From there I went to zu-bayí subjugate, oppress from bayí endure, tolerate.

A few days ago zu- completed its march into the political realm when it encountered gísa be silent. With help from the detransitive suffix -óó I got zu-gísa'óó self-censor.


  1. Great work! I think this prefix will enable a great deal of interesting semantic innovations. I wonder about the last uses, are the Bixwá in any way viewed as an oppressed people? Or what's the concept behind those derivations?

  2. Well, there's not really a Bixwá people attached to the language. The derivations are related to my recent preoccupation with social and political vocabulary.