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Lexember 31st: unëho, "be satiated"

The final word for the 2018 Lexember season is unëho /ʔu.ˈnə.xo/ be satiated. It is most used with expressions of consuming, generally as a converb,

Ha në sanët unëho.
ha në san-ët unëh-o
1SG TOP eat-CVB.PFV be.satiated-PFV
I've eaten enough.  Or, I'm full.

Ton në ilët unëho tul?
2SG TOP drink.CVB.PFV be.satiated.PFV Q
Have you had enough to drink?

But it can be used alone,

Ronuin në vurun unëho më.
aristocrat TOP when be.satiated.PFV NEG
Aristocrats are never satiated.

Singular nouns with the topic marker can be used to refer to a class.

Lexember 30th: tëlpeka, "oven, furnace"

Today's word, tëlpeka /təl.ˈpe.ka/ oven, furnace, is related to the word tëlpoto cook.

Tëlpeka mai chan si salki re.
oven LAT dish ACC put.IMP PART
Put the dish into the oven.

Ën tëlpeka në asíkal si atenkëlat harno tul.
ën tëlpeka në asíkal si atenk-ël-at harn-o tul
this furnace TOP metal ACC melt-CAUS-INF be.able-PFV Q
Can this furnace melt metal?

There is a lot of interesting lexical typology, metaphor, and idiom around cooking, but I haven't yet concocted any connections from those to this word.

Lexember 29th: pepa, "omelette, frittata, kuku"

Today's word, pepa /ˈpe.pa/, refers to any savory dish that involves dumping a bunch of stuff into eggs and then either frying or baking it. So, omelette, frittata, the Persian kuku, etc.

Kispëtin pepa si tëlpi rum.
having.pistachios omelette ACC cook.IMP PART
Let's make a pistachio kuku.

Pistachio Kuku is an actual Persian dish.

Grammatical reminder: an imperative followed by rum is an optative, which is also used as a hortative.

Lexember 28th: vísa, "goat"

Today's word is vísagoat.

Vísur në kovura si sanirë vukai!
goat.PL TOP everything ACC eat.IPFV PART
The goats are eating everything!

The final particle vukai marks a state of affairs the speaker is unhappy about.

You can use the term to refer to a person who is being inappropriately oversexual, somewhat answering to (American) English "dog," except it isn't exclusively male, and refers more to contextually inappropriate behavior than a deeper or permanent aspect of someone's personality.

Vísa ë, micha víni rum.
goat VOC mind be.still.IMP PART
Calm down, dog.

The combination of the imperative with the final particle rum makes an optative. So, "let (your) mind be calm."

Lexember 27th: molánukivét, "creosote bush"

I'm back from the Sonoran desert, where the creosote bush is everywhere. So, today's word is molánukivét, creosote bush. It is formed from molánsmoke, kivatree, with the lexical diminutive ending -ét. There are other plants called "smoke tree" or "smoke bush" in English, but I'm using smoke in the word for creosote because from s distance a creosote bush has a somewhat hazy appearance, and from the aroma, which is distinctly smoky.

Ilivët molánukivét mitin annas si relo.
rain.CVB.PFV creosote.bush good aroma ACC carry.PFV
After it rains the creosote bush has a nice aroma.

Lexember 25th: okkochál, "scorpion"

Today's word, okkochál /ʔok.ˈko.t͡ʃaːl/ scorpion, is made up of kocháltail and a much reduced form of ochukobend, fold.

Ëmpin okkochál në kor si mokat harno.
this.kind scorpion TOP person ACC kill.INF be.able.PFV
This kind of scorpion can kill a person.

The word can also be used for someone who is adept at especially vicious office politics.

Okkochál nen tiëtë tui mítëmai, núkkiëlësto so.
okkochál nen tiëtë tui mít-ëmai núkkiël-ëst-o so
scorpion LOC near thus say-PFV.COND.CVB be.in.trouble-INCH-PFV ASSEV
If you talk that way in front of a scorpion you'll get into trouble.

Lexember 24th: lonta, "image, representation"

Today's word, lonta /ˈlon.ta/ image, representation, is derived from yesterday's launocopy, imitate.
Ën tátiën lës vë lonta chëtu-chëtin no. this dog as ATTR image RED-bad be.PFV This representation of a dog is poor.
The ADJ-u ADJ-in reduplication is used with adjectives to attenuate the sense.
Lonta së në ha ríncho. image even TOP 1SG fear.PFV I feared even the image.

Lexember 23rd: launo, "copy, imitate, represent"

Another word I thought I already had, launo /ˈlaʊ̯.no/ is copy, imitate, represent.

Eman në mél si launo so.
child TOP parent ACC copy.PFV ASSEV
The child imitates the parent.

Ha në ël vë vahwa si launat harno më.
1SG TOP 3SG ATTR manner ACC copy.INF be.able.PFV NEG
I can't copy her manner (or style).

Ën në kiva si mitui launo.
this TOP tree ACC good.ADV copy.PFV
This represents a tree well.

All of this is leading up to tomorrow's word.

Lexember 22nd: laucho, "weave"

Today's verb is laucho /ˈlaʊ̯.t͡ʃo/ weave.

Tëkímës si lauchirë.
hat ACC weave.IPFV
I'm weaving a hat.

I've not focused on this much in the Lexember examples, but Kílta can be aggressively PRO-drop, as here.

Mácha në sain si laucho.
spider TOP web ACC weave.PFV
The spider wove its web.

The word laucho can also be used to mean enchant, cast a spell on, with both people and things available as the object.

Inin kíkún aukka si laucho.
and.then coyote wolf ACC enspell.PFV
And then the coyote cast a spell on the wolf.

Lexember 21st: chauha, "rabbit"

Today's word, chauha /ˈtʃaʊ̯.xa/ rabbit, is underived or related to any other words (for now).

Raila në chauha si akkalo.
fox TOP rabbit ACC capture.PFV
The fox caught a rabbit.

Chauhur në nihwa vë manur kwatu së si sano.
chauh-ur në nihwa vë man-ur kwat-u së si san-o
rabbit-PL TOP ISG ATTR vegetable-PL all-PL also ACC eat-PFV
The rabbits ate all of my vegetables.

I'm using the low-control first person pronoun (nihwa) here for obvious reasons. The construction of N + Quantifier + is a partitive quantifier construction, here "all of my Ns."

Lexember 20th: orol, "cactus"

Orol /ˈʔo.rol/ is cactus. The word orusthorn is related.
Ha në ën orol nós huna talichirë. 1SG TOP this cactus due.to blood seep.IPFV I'm bleeding because of this cactus.
Ëmpin orol rëtin mata si relo. this.kind cactus much water ACC bear.PFV This kind of cactus has a lot of water.

Lexember 19th: tirchoma, "desert"

Tirchoma /tiɾ.ˈtʃo.ma/ desert is very creatively derived from tirchindry and omland, earth.

Aunur tirchoma si erëtichat no.
aunur tirchoma si er-ëtich-at no
1PL desert ACC TRANS-visit-INF be.PFV
We're going to go to the desert.

The pronoun aunur is specialized to refer to people in a romantic relationship.

Tirchoma vë kinta në chël óhin no.
desert ATTR night TOP very cold be.PFV
The desert night is very cold.

Lexember 18th: ruisama, "jail"

A simple derivation from ruisobind, tie up, gives ruisama /ɾu.i.ˈsa.ma/ jail.

Ëlá ruisama nen eruttimo hír.
ël-á ruisama nen er-uttim-o hír
3-PL jail LOC TRANS.die.PFV PART
They died in the jail.

Vima vë ruisama në ívin chaso.
city ATTR jail TOP vicious do.PFV
The city's jail became vicious.

The normal verb for being in jail is some form of vëchostay, remain, dwell.

Ël ruisama nen allui vëchat no re.
3SG jail LOC long.ADV remain.INF be.PFV PART
She will be in jail a long time.

The combination of infinitive + no + re is one form of the future. It marks predictions, rather than intentions.

Símur ruisama nen vëchëluto.
Sím-ur ruisama nen vëch-ël-ut-o
3OUT-PL jail LOC remain-CAUS-PASS-PFV
They were sent to jail (lit., made to be in jail).

Lexember 17th: anurohëtin, "exceptional, unique"

The word anurohëtin /ʔa.nu.ɾo.ˈxə.tin/ exceptional, unique, is a rather complicated derivation from aninone.

Ën nurím në anurohëtin no so!
this mead TOP exceptional be.PFV ASSEV
This mead is exceptional!

Ëlá në vahwéla anurohëtin no.
3PL TOP way.of.life unique be.PFV
Their way of life is unique.

Lexember 16th: talma "knee"

Another unexpected gap, talma /ˈtal.ma/ knee. Sometimes I try to translate things I hear at random into Kílta. Hearing a version of O Holy Night I realized I had no way to say "fall on your knees." First I needed knees.

Nihwa në talmur kwailo.
1SG TOP knee.PL hurt.PFV
My knees hurt!

The first singular pronoun here, nihwa /ˈni.xʷa/, is used when the speaker feels they are in a low control situation.

For kneel I'm using the expression talma li rino, knee ABL sit.

Talma li rinësti!
talma li rin-ëst-i
knee ABL sit-INCH-IMP
Fall to your knees!

Not so sure if I need to develop a more exalted idiom for this action.

Lexember 15: ikaulo, "be a nomad"

Today is the stative verb ikaulo /ʔi.ˈkau̯.lo/ be a nomad. Because it's a stative verb, it is not ever going to be used in an imperfective form of the verb, whether finite or converb.

Ikaulëstët sikwa si niënto.
ikaul-ëst-ët sikwa si niënt-o
be.a.nomad-INCH-PFV.CVB home ACC leave-PFV
She became a nomad and left home.

Ikaulár rëtu nilur nen kata si chaso.
be.a.nomad.IPFV.CVB many.PL place.PL LOC work ACC do.PFV
Being a nomad, he works many places.

Unnálta në rëtu ku si ikaulëno so.
unnálta në rët-u k-u si ikaul-ën-o so
capitalism TOP many-PL NMNL-PL ACC be.a.nomad-CAUS-PFV PART
Capitalism makes nomads of many.

Finally, an idiom. The core meaning of naho is approach, come close to, but it is also means to follow a school of thought, philosophy, or religion. Combining naho with ikaulo gives:

Nahár ikaulo.
nah-ár ikaul-o
approach-IPFV.CVB be.a.nomad-PFV
Be rootless.

Unpacking that at bit, this refers to someone who is culturally, philosophically, or religiously rootless. By this I'm refe…

Lexember 14th: chuëto, "pour"

Another fairly basic word that I've somehow overlooked so far: chuëto /tʃu.ˈə.to/ pour. It takes the allative mai for target, and the ablative li for source, which can be either a vessel or material.

Sen mai ëmar si chuëti re.
bowl ALL milk ACC pour.INP PART
Pour milk into the bowl.

Ëlá në mata li kumma si chuëto.
3PL TOP water ABL oil ACC pour.PFV
They poured oil off the water (as after separation).

Lexember 13th: senít, "spoon"

I have no idea why this word made it to the top of the list, but here we are. Senít /ˈse.niːt/ spoon is a lexical diminutive of senbowl.

Senít kwan ta si sani re.
spoon INST that ACC eat.IMP PART
Eat that with a spoon.

Kumma li vë senít si nakweno.
fat ABL ATTR spoon ACC mix.PFV
He mixed (in) a spoon of oil.

Coming up with interesting example sentences for cutlery can be surprisingly challenging.

Lexember 12th: korëm, "persona, role"

Derived from korperson, korëm /ˈko.rəm/ is role, persona. It can shade into personality. Like other forms of adornment, the usual verb for taking on a role is relocarry, bear.

Ton në vura korëm si relat no?
2SG TOP what role ACC bear.INF be.PFV
What role will you play?

A particular role can be specified with lëslike, as,

Atta lës korëm si relësto.
atta lës korëm si rel-ëst-o
father as role ACC carry-INCH-PFV
He started to act as a father.

Ronuin lës vë korëm në ëtótarin no so.
aristocrat as ATTR role TOP degenerate be.PFV ASSEV
The personality of the aristocrat is degenerate.

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…