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 —
salt ACC give.1R-INF try-PFV
They tried to bribe me. (lit., "they tied to give me salt")
I decided this wasn't a vital problem, and in fact slightly enhanced the idiom and the conceptual metaphor I was about to develop.
Kílta has a modest set of derivational affixes, so I first thought about how some of those might work:
- chesámin - "saltless," has the standard meanings of dull, lifeless, with an additional sense of mildly ill
- chesëtin - "salty, having salt" is the core sense, but also means vital, lively, vigorous
- ches si raho - literally, "throw (the) salt," has the same basic sense and tone as the English idiom "kick the bucket," but is a touch less respectful than the English
- ches tëníto - literally, "(the) salt is gone," matches the idea of being dejected, or "the life has gone out of him/her/it"
- ches si kwilë relo - literally, "carries too much salt," is for someone who has too much nervous energy, or a pet having the zoomies