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Lexember 11th: ásëno, "change (tr.)"

On a whim I have decided that Kílta has unrelated lexical items for the transitive (ásëno /ʔaː.ˈsə.no/) and intransitive (volko) sense of change.

Nirika në mëmítotá si ásëno hír.
war TOP plans ACC change.PFV AS.EXPECTED
The war changed the plans.

The final particle hír marks things the speaker sees as expected or predictable.

Ël në ta lícha li vurui ásëno?
3SG TOP that mess ABL how change.PFV
How did she change (it) from that mess?

I still haven't decided which root will be the source for derived nouns. Probably the intransitive version, but it needs thinking about.

I also might want to add some nuance to the causative of the intransitive, volkëno.

Lexember 10th: volko "change (intr.)"

Another unexpected gap: volko /ˈvol.ko/ change, intransitive only (tomorrow will be the transitive version).

Ël në nahím chël volko.
3SG TOP mood very change.PFV
Her mood was much changed.

The end result of the change is marked with mai, the allative case,

Nihwa në manna vë lár si cholët, micha túm mai volko.
1SG TOP 3SG ATTR word ACC hear.CVB.PFV mind mush ALL change.PFV
After hearing what he said, my mind turned to mush.

Kílta has several first and third person pronouns. NihwaI is used when you feel you're not completely in control of situation. Mannas/he refers to people who have some official power over you (bosses, political figures you might not consider legitimate). These pronoun distinctions are only made when the speaker feels they are relevant.

Lexember 9th: ratímis, "ramada"

I will be hanging out in the Sonoran Desert in a few weeks, so I have desert vocabulary on my mind. A ramada is handy piece of protection from the sun. The Kílta word ratímis /ɾa.ˈtiː.mis/ ramada is a lexical diminutive of ratímësforest canopy, which is in turn a compound of rataleaf + ímohide, conceal. In Kílta any sort of roofed shelter with open walls can be a ratímis. It needn't be desert protection only.

Avur në ratímis nen naulur li itirat no.
1PL TOP ramada LOC friend.PL ABL wait-for.INF be.PFV
We'll wait for our friends in (or at) the ramada.

The infinitive with the copula no creates the future. Well, one of Kílta's futures.

Lexember 8th: arta "dew"

Today's word is entirely in the service of extending a conceptual metaphor, WATER IS LIFE. The word is arta /ˈʔaɾ.ta/ dew.

Ëlá në arta kwan uralin chasirë.
3PL TOP dew INST wet do.IPFV
They're getting wet from the dew.

Because it usually appears on plants, the verb for dew developing is lairogrow,

Kinta rëtin arta lairo.
night much dew grow.PFV
At night a lot of dew settled.

Dovetailing with the SALT IS VITALITY metaphor, we get this expression,

In ches in arta si relo.
and salt and dew ACC carry.PFV
Everything's going great.

Literally, "I'm carrying salt and dew," but this is used to express that everything's going well, especially in health and by extension other material matters. Usually, just in ches in arta is sufficient to convey the message.

Lexember 7th: kwihin, "sharp, pointed; irritable"

An unexpected gap: kwihin /ˈkʷi.xin/ sharp, pointed. That is, it can refer to sharpness for both a blade and a point (a common enough polysemy):

Ën ausan në tanui kwihin no tul?
this blade TOP sufficiently sharp be.PFV Q
Is this knife sharp enough?

Ha në kwihin motiën kwan suillo.
1SG TOP sharp branch with jab.PFV
I jabbed it with a sharp stick.

When used referring to people, it means irritable.

Ël në kwihin ënni no rui.
3SG TOP irritable today be.PFV MIR
Wow, he's irritable today.

A word like this can regularly refer to some quality of pain, but I haven't yet decided if I'm going to use kwihin for that.

Lexember 6th: túm "mush, goop"

A terribly important word today, túm /tuːm/ goop, goo, mush. Basically, any viscous substance you're not too happy to be encountering.

Túm mai úri talo vukai!
goop AD just.now walk FINAL.PRT
I just stepped in some goo!

The final particle vukai is rather like Na'vi's ‹äng› infix. It indicates the speaker is displeased in some way with the state of affairs described.

Vura túm ën sen nen nulo?
what mush this bowl LOC lie.PFV
What mush is in this bowl?

This may not seem like a brilliant example sentence, but it does indicate that túm lies, rather than sits or stands, in a location.

Lexember 5th: konta "resin; incense"

Today's word is kontaresin, sap, but also incense. It is related to the verb konnoflow, seep, ooze.
Konta në ol li raumirë. kont-a në ol li raum-irë sap-SG TOP hand ABL stick-IPFV The sap is sticking to my hand.
Ën konta në muëmin annas si relo. this incense TOP sweet aroma ACC bear This incense has a sweet smell.
I might ultimately derive perfume, cologne from this, too. Haven't yet decided.

Lexember 4th: raumo "stick, adhere"

I was not planning to post this word today. In fact, I had no plans for this word at all. But in the course of preparing for tomorrow's word, I needed today's word in an example. I really think this is another of the hidden benefits of creating examples for all your new vocabulary — it often leads to ideas for even more words.

There are a few things coming out of today's new root, raumo /ˈɾaʊ̯.mo/, stick, adhere. It uses the ablative postposition li for the point of attachment.

Kausin has chátis li raumo.
dead fly window ABL stick.PFV
A dead fly is stuck to the window.

And it can be used in the causative (-ël-):

Kúsa li kítuël si raumëli re.
kús-a li kítuël si raum-ël-i re
wall-SG ABL map ACC stick-CAUS-IMP PART
(Please) stick the map to the wall.

Among other jobs, re tones down the impact of a command.

Next, we can derive an adjective of tendency, raumohin, prone to stick, sticky.

Ën para në vuttë raumohin chaso vau?
this book TOP why sticky do.PFV PART
Why the hell has this bo…

Lexember 3rd: suilta "tattoo"

Derived from the verb suilloprick, pierce, jab, the noun suilta /su.ˈil.ta/ is tattoo. As is normal with states and bodily attachments, in Kílta you relocarry these, rather than simply have them.

Ha në valu suiltur si relo.
ha në val-u suilt-ur si rel-o
1SG TOP three-PL tattoo-PL ACC bear-PFV
I have three tattoos.

When it comes to giving someone a tattoo, though, a complex converb expression is used. The imperfective converb of suillo comes first, taking the patient of this action, and the main verb is kichoincise; write.

Naula në ël si suillár kicho.
naula në ël si suill-ár kich-o
friend TOP 3SG ACC prick.IPFV.CVB write-PFV
His friend gave him a tattoo.


Lexember 2nd: lé "into water"

There is a perfectly fine word for just "water" in Kílta, mata, and even a way to say "into water," mata mai, but the adverb /leː/ is preferred for motion into water or any other liquid. If for some reason the exact nature of the liquid was focused, then you could use mata mai or the like.

Ëla në kiva li tunákirë, lé oto. 3.PL TOP tree ABL hang.IPFV into.liquid fall.PFV They were hanging from a tree and fell into the water.
Likër si tëlpár, in natena in tërta si lé salko.
soup ACC cook.CVB.IPFV and onion and meat ACC into.water place.PFV
Making the soup, he added onion and meat.

Lexember 1st: unnuluikin "expensive"

I haven't done Lexember in a few years. The last time I added a month worth of ideophones to Kahtsaai. This time I'm just going to grab my very long backlog of words I want to add to Kílta. I've been working on Kílta for years now, and is the only language I've worked on where I consistently follow my own advice to always, always, always have examples for new vocabulary. The results have been much more satisfying.

This is a personal language, so a lot of the vocabulary is likely to be fairly mundane.


Today's word is unnuluikin /ʔu.nu.lu.ˈi.kin/ expensive. It is a compound, from unnawealth, property and the adjective luikinheavy.

Para në unnuluikin nomën, chí chí hammo so.
book TOP expensive be.CONCES.CVB, against against buy.PFV ASSEV
Although the book was expensive, I bought it anyway.

Kílta metaphor: SALT IS VITALITY

One standard feature of my current grammars for new languages is a separate section after the dictionary where I focus on particular areas of interest or difficulty. For example, copulas and verbs of existence in Kílta have a few complications, so there's a section on those. This lets me limit cross-references in the dictionary definitions to something reasonable, while still being able to give a thorough overview later.

A subsection on conceptual metaphor (Conlangery Podcast #66) is now standard in my grammars. I've recently been working out the metaphor SALT IS VITALITY (for some reason, conceptual metaphors are often given in all-caps like this). 

When I first thought about this metaphor, I spent a little while first thinking through the implications. In this instance, I already had an idiom involving salt that would interact a bit oddly with it —


Ches si tirat vuëtiso.
salt ACC give.1R-INF try-PFV
They tried to bribe me. (lit., "they tied to give me salt")
I decided …

Two Notes on Walman

The Walman language of Papua New Guinea has two interesting grammatical features: a conjugated and, and an inflectional diminutive.Conjugated ConjunctionWalman's verbs have polypersonal agreement on transitive verbs, marking both subject and object. Conjunction is handled with two verb stems, -aro- and <-a-> (subject is a prefix, object is a suffix):nyue w-aro-n ngan
mother 3SG.F.SUBJ-and-3SG.M.OBJ father
a mother and father Since verb serialization is already present in Walman, it looks like a verb got grabbed to mean and and got dropped into the serialization chain. There is also a non-conjugated and, which may be used instead of the conjugated form, but seems to be preferred for inanimate constituents and clauses. Interestingly, the Lamaholot language of Indonesia also has an inflecting and, but it can be used to join clauses.See Verbs for 'And' in Walman for all the glorious details.Inflectional DiminutiveWalman also has a third person singular diminutive marker wh…

Lexical Exploration: "bruise"

The English bruise is related to words for "crush, injure, cut, smash." The usage for blemished fruits is first attested in the 14th century.In Ancient Greek, several words related to the core sense of "crush" are also given the definition "bruise:" θλάω, τρίβω. There is also the rare-appearing word μώλωψ, "mark of a stripe, weal, bruise" which generates a denominal verb.In the Dravidian family, again, quite a few words related to "crush" or "(strike a) blow, beat," and occasionally "press," are also glossed "bruise." See for example, naci and tar̤umpu.In the Austronesian family color terms seem to be a popular source domain, as in the color root, -*dem, which generates a term in one daughter language, and the root *alem, also related to color, does in another. Also *baŋbaŋ₈, which generated terms related to a range of skin discolorations. There are other source domains, however, such as baneR, which i…