Conlang Relay 12/Minza
Details for the Minza text of Conlang Relay 12, translated from Wenedyk (torch) by Herman Miller. This torch was supposed to be sent to Arthaey Angosii, but she dropped out and so the text was sent to Benct Philip Jonsson for translation into Mærik (torch).
Minza text and interlinear translation
IPLIMU AI IŠONU?! I-PLIM-U AI I-ŠON-U?! 3s.ERG-observe-PF and 3s.ERG-talk-PF?! He observes and talks?! Xažla: Mimo! Xažla: Mim-o! man-ABS: persist-IMP! Man: Persist! Čaghyl: Taugho xöy, seira nataughi öyxe! Čaghyl: Taugh-o xöy, seir-a na-taugh-i öyx-(l)e! doctor-ABS: push-IMP madam-ABS, must-IPF 2s.ERG-push-SUB you-ERG! Doctor: Push, madam, you need to push! Šöy łe, kazmi kaini ymigi lan rašat! Šöy łe, ka-zmi kaini y-mig-i lan raša-(a)t! now (polite), 1s.ABS-can already 1s.ERG-see-SUB head-ABS baby-GEN! Now, I can already see the baby's head! Teka omba öyxu sinatemu aka nymat. Tek-a omba öyx-(m)u sina-(e)te-mu aka nym-at. 3s.ABS-sit-IPF almost you-LOC past-your-LOC whole-ABS event-GEN. You almost have the whole of the event in your past. Xažla: Mimo! Xažla: Mim-o! man-ABS: persist-IMP! Man: Persist! Raša: Šöy ze, kazmi ymigi tan'ga, đa riteka jexu. Raša: Šöy ze, ka-zmi y-mig-i tan'ga, đa ri-tek-a jex-(m)u. baby-ABS: now then, 1s.ABS-can 1s.ERG-see-SUB place-ABS, that 1p.ABS-sit-IPF this-LOC. Baby: Well, now I can see the place where we are. Xažla: Igá! Xažla: Igá! man-ABS: what.the...! Man: What the...! Kövu: Kala čui? Kövu: Kal-a čui? woman-ABS: 3s.ABS-happen-IFP what-ABS? Woman: What's happening? Čaghyl: Tego łe naziri. Čaghyl: Teg-o łe na-zir-i. doctor-ABS: avoid-IMP (polite) 2s.ERG-fear-SUB. Doctor: Please don't be afraid. Seira nataughi xöy, seira nataughi! Seir-a na-taugh-i xöy, seir-a na-taugh-i! must-IPF 2s.ERG-push-SUB madam, must-IPF 2s.ERG-push-SUB! You must push, madam, you must push! Xažla: Mimo! Xažla: Mim-o! man-ABS: persist-IMP! Man: Persist! Raša: Ymagha šöy kö čilaskat. Raša: Y-magh-a šöy kö čil-as-(a)ka-(a)t. baby-ABS: 1s.ERG-want-IPF now something-ABS wear-ACT-my-GEN. Baby: Now I want something to wear.
Wei! Yđevu čilas fynarit beži kame! Wei! Y-đev-u čil-as fyna-ri-(a)t bež-i kam-(l)e! hey! 1s.ERG-accustomed.to-PF wear-ACT-ABS clothes-PL-GEN expensive-GEN I-ERG! Hey! I am accustomed to wearing expensive clothes! Kövu: Zmi išoni va! Kövu: Zmi i-šon-i va! woman-ABS: 3s.ABS-can 3s.ERG-talk-SUB he-ABS! Woman: He can talk! Raša: Duro tö, i viraka. Kari raša öyxat. Raša: Dur-o tö, i vira-(a)ka. Ka-ri raša öyx-at. baby-ABS: listen-IMP (emphatic), VOC mother-my-ABS. 1s.ABS-be child-ABS you-GEN. Baby: Now listen, my mother. I am your child. Ła ymagha de ynšadi šy Konušat, šöy ze de, ži vyönu ghovi nöki nyn. Ła y-magh-a de y-n-šad-i šy Konuš-at, šöy ze de, ži vyön-u ghov-i nök-i nyn. but 1s.ERG-want-IPF not 1s.ERG-REFL-call-SUB as Konuš-GEN, now well not, since 3s.ABS-ordinary-PF too-ABS much-ABS that-ABS. But I don't want to be called Konush, well not now, since that is much too ordinary. Kövu: Ri nevek đa yglibu wöli ghovi kame ža. Fie đa šona rašale? Kövu: Ri nevek đa y-glib-u wöli ghovi kam-(l)e ža. Fie đa šon-a raša-le? woman-ABS: 3s.ABS-be reason-ABS that 1s.ERG-drink-PF alcohol-ABS too.much-ABS I-ERG isn't.it? namely that 3s.ERG-talk-IPF baby-ERG? Woman: It's because I drank too much [alcohol], isn't it? That the baby is talking? Čaghyl: Yreka šöy zörin nalanavat. Čaghyl: Y-rek-a šöy zörin nalan-ava-(a)t. doctor-ABS: 1s.ERG-cut-IPF now cord-ABS navel-his-GEN. Doctor: I am now cutting his umbilical cord. Raša: Vyö xörykakamu, katuonžananu, našara. Raša: Vyö xör-yk-aka-mu, ka-tuon-žan-an-u, na-šar-a. baby-ABS: before death-my-LOC, 1s.ABS-general-be-PF, 2s.ERG-know-IFP. Baby: Before my death, I was a general, you know. Epi kamu loga teski, fie ynšadu šy Petrosat. Epi kam-(m)u loga tesk-i, fie y-n-šad-u šy Petros-at. also I-LOC name-ABS fine-ABS, namely 1s.ERG-REFL-call-PF as Peter-GEN. I also had a fine name; I called myself Peter. Ai ymaghi yglibi, i peš, ła ymaghu de yglibi kura öli kame! Ai y-magh-i y-glib-i, i peš, ła y-magh-u de y-glib-i kura öl-i kam-(l)e! and 1s.ERG-want-SUB 1s.ERG-drink-SUB, VOC fiend-ABS, but 1s.ERG-want-PF not 1s.ERG-drink-SUB milk-ABS any-ABS I-ERG! And I want to drink, you fiend, but I don't want any milk! Xažla: I Petros, xisčo kaini möghas šy rylat, i öyx! Xažla: I Petros, xisč-o kaini mögh-as šy ryl-at, i öyx! man-ABS: VOC Peter-ABS, stop-IMP already squirm-ACT-ABS like worm-GEN, VOC you! Man: Peter, stop squirming like a worm already, you! Raša: Đo ličimu paže vige, ygliba de lašeunat.... Raša: Đo lič-(r)i-mu paž-e vig-e, y-glib-a de laš-euna-(a)t.... baby-ABS: during month-PL-LOC eight-LOC last-LOC, 1s.ERG-drink-IFP not fire-water-GEN.... Baby: For the last eight months, I was not drinking any vodka [lit. "firewater"].... Xažla: Mimo! Xažla: Mim-o! man-ABS: persist-IMP! Man: Persist! Lišu zy jagu nauke lišyle: "MOZU ŠONYLI! MOREVANU LUGHI VA!" Liš-u zy jag-(m)u nauk-e liš-yl-e: "MOZU ŠON-YL-I! MOREV-AN-U LUGH-I VA! 3s.ABS-write-PF the.following day-LOC next-LOC writer-ERG: "baby-ABS talk-ing-ABS! 3s.ABS-gift-is-PF holy-ABS he-ABS!" A writer wrote the next day: "Talking baby! He is a holy gift!"
Minza is a relatively new language, intended as a "bridge" between the human world and the fictional worlds of Azir. Much of the Minza vocabulary is borrowed from other languages: Lindiga, Tirelat, Jarda, Kisuna, Zharranh, Kirezagi, and so on. The grammar is mainly based on Lindiga, although other recent languages such as Yasaro have contributed.
Basic word order is VOS, with the subject at the end of the sentence. Minza is an ergative language; the subject of a transitive clause is expressed with the ergative suffix -(l)e, while the object of a transitive clause is like the subject of an intransitive clause, in the absolutive case, without a case suffix added. In general, modifying words or phrases in Minza follow the words they modify: adverbs follow verbs, adjectives follow nouns, and so on.
Minza is an agglutinative language, without any major alteration of roots or affixes when combined, although many suffixes have alternative forms depending on whether they are appended to a vowel or a consonant. It shouldn't be too hard to separate the roots from the affixes, but in case you get stuck or want to skip this step, I've included a morpheme breakdown at the end of the message.
Minza has six cases for nouns: absolutive, genitive, ergative, dative, locative, and instrumental. These cases are formed by adding a suffix to the noun root. This suffix can take one of two forms depending on whether the root ends in a consonant or a vowel. Consonant-ending roots take suffixes beginning with a vowel, and vice versa. This is a general characteristic of suffixes in Minza; suffixes in the vocabulary are notated with an optional letter in parentheses: -(l)e for the ergative suffix, or -(r)i for the plural suffix.
There is also a vocative form, which is marked with the particle "i", although this is considered to be a preposition that governs the absolutive case. The vocative particle marks the person the speaker is talking to.
The locative case can represent possession as well as location: the example from the Minza web page is "kyrlu miezu" ("the mouse's tail"), which literally means "(the) tail at (the) mouse". If the locative noun comes first, the resulting verbless sentence can be translated with "have" in English ("miezu kyrlu" = "the mouse has a tail", literally "at the mouse (is) a tail").
Minza has "transitive nouns", which are nouns that take an optional "argument" (in the genitive case). Inherently possessed nouns, such as family relations and body parts, belong to this category. Another use of the genitive case which occurs in this text is the partitive usage, which refers to a quantity out of the total; this is found after verbs.
Nouns can also have possessive suffixes added to them; "my mother" for instance would be "viraka", with the suffix -(a)ka (my) added after the root for "mother" (vira). Another use for possessive suffixes is to specify the subject of a verbal noun (a noun derived from a verb root). The case suffix (if any) comes after other suffixes.
The suffix -(a)ni, which converts a noun into a verb, is one way of expressing the verb "to be". The difference between -(a)ni and the copula (ri) is similar to the difference between the definite and indefinite articles in English: "I am *the* walrus" uses the copula, while "I am *a* jelly doughnut" uses the suffix -(a)ni. The copula equates two things, while the noun-to-verb suffix defines one thing as belonging to a class.
-(a)ka my -(a)ni to be. -(a)t of (genitive case). -(a)va his, her, its -(e)te your (s.) -(l)e (ergative). -(m)u in, at (locative). -(r)i (plural)
Adjectives only have four case suffixes: absolutive, genitive, and ergative cases all take the ending -i. The only other adjective case suffix in this text is -e, which marks the locative case. Adjectives typically follow nouns or other adjectives. Additionally, any adjective root can be used as a main verb. Note that numbers are regular adjectives in Minza, and follow the noun like other adjectives!
-e in, at (locative). -i (absolutive, genitive, or ergative).
The dictionary form of a verb ends in -i; verbs are inflected for person and number of both the subject and the object by adding prefixes, and for aspect by adding suffixes. The third person singular absolutive lacks a prefix. When the subject and object refer to the same thing, a reflexive prefix -n- is added after the subject prefix. There are also numerous derivational suffixes for converting verbs to nouns and adjectives, but the only ones necessary for this text are -as (which forms a noun describing the activity of doing something), -yl (the ergative verbal noun, like English -er), and -yli (the ergative participle, like English -ing).
There are two main aspects in Minza: perfective (-u) and imperfective (-a). The difference is that perfective generally refers to activities in the past or future, seen from outside, or events not specific to time; imperfective refers to ongoing, repeated, or habitual activities at any time. The subjunctive form is used in conjunction with auxiliary verbs, or as a more generic form to soften the effect of words like "maghi" ("ymaghi" could be translated "I would like", as opposed to "ymagha" which is "I want" or "I am hoping for"). In many cases the subjunctive form is used in situations where other languages would use an infinitive.
Certain auxiliary verbs (smi, "can / is able", for instance), as well as the copula (ri), are not inflected for aspect, although they do take personal prefixes. In these cases, the -i is not a marker of the subjunctive form, but simply a part of the verb root. The copula is unlike most Minza verbs in that it takes two absolutive arguments.
The auxiliary + main verb construction is frequent in Minza: in many cases, the subject of the auxiliary is shared with the main verb, although the two subjects might not be in the same case. "I want to go" would be translated "I want (imperfective) I go (subjunctive)", for instance. Some auxiliaries, on the other hand (such as "seiri") are used without a subject prefix; "seira" might be translated "it is necessary". Adverbs and other phrases can come between the auxiliary and the main verb, but the subject and other noun phrases go after the main verb.
Although the verb is usually the first element of a sentence, any single phrase can be moved before the verb for variety or emphasis. Generally, though, the noun phrases are left after the verb.
ka- I/me (1s abs.) i- he, she, it (3s erg.) n- (reflexive) na- you (2s erg.) ri- we/us (1p abs.) y- I (1s erg.)
-a (imperfective) -as (activity of doing). -i (subjunctive) -o (imperative) -u (perfective) -yl (ergative verbal noun; one who does). -yli (ergative participle).
Usually an adverb will come directly after a verb, either a main verb or an auxiliary verb. Many adverbs can also follow adjectives (which in many respects are similar to verbs). Adverbs may be placed before the verb for emphasis or stylistic variation.
Prepositions precede nouns, and govern a particular case of the noun. For example, nouns used with the preposition "vyö" (before) are always marked with the locative case suffix. Certain verbs take arguments that require a particular preposition.
Enclitics and other particles
Minza has a number of "little words" that pop up in various places. Some of them (such as "łe", which adds politeness, or "tö" which emphasizes a phrase) are enclitics, which are always placed after the first word in a phrase. There are also clause-initial and clause-final particles; the final particle "ža" acts rather like the French expression "n'est-ce pas?" except that it is pronounced with the inflection of a statement rather than a question. Interjections can be used by themselves.
adv adverb (follows verb or auxiliary verb) aux auxiliary verb conj conjunction enc enclitic particle (attached after the first word of a phrase) int interjection n0 intransitive noun n1 transitive noun (inherently possessed, with its object following in the genitive case) p.n. proper name pron pronoun v1 intransitive verb v2 transitive verb
ai conj and. aka n1 whole, entirety. beži a0 expensive, costly. čaghyl n0 doctor, healer. čili v2 to wear (clothing). čui pron who, what, which? de adv not. duri v2 to listen to. đa conj that, which. đevi v2 to be familiar with, accustomed to. đo prep +LOC during, over (time). epi adv also, too. fie conj namely (used more frequently in Minza than in English). fyna n0 cloth, garment. glibi vt to drink. ghovi adj excessive, too (much). i prep +ABS (vocative) igá int what the ... ?!; what in the world is that? jag n0 date, day, period of planetary rotation jex pron this (the one over here). kaini adv already, yet. kali vi to occur, happen, come to pass. kam pron I, me. Konuš pn Konush (name). kö pron something. kövu n0 woman (adult female human). kura n0 milk. lan n1 head (anat.) lašeuna* n0 a clear distilled alcoholic beverage. lič n0 month. liši vt to write. loga n1 name, label. lughi adj holy, sacred. ła conj but (in contrast), on the other hand. łe enc (marker of polite speech) maghi v2 to hope, wish for, desire, want. migi v2 to see. mimi v1 to remain, endure, persist. morev n0 gift, present. mozu n0 baby, infant. möghi v1 to squirm, wriggle. nalan n1 navel. nauki adj following, next. nevek n1 a cause of (an event), reason for. nöki adj much, a lot, many. nym n0 event, occasion. nyn pron that (the one over there). omba adv almost. öli adj any quantity of. öyx pron you (sing.). paži adj eight. peš n0 fiend, monster. Petros pn Peter plimi v2 to be attentive, observant, watchful of; to pay attention. raša n1 child, offspring. reki vt to cut, to slice. ri v1 to be (copula). ryl n0 worm. seiri aux must, have to, need to. sina n0 the past (time). šadi* v2 to call, name. šari v2 to be reasonably certain of; know (facts). šoni v2 to speak, say, talk. šöy adv now. šy* prep +GEN in the manner of; like, as. tan'ga n0 place, location. taughi v2 to push, to press. tegi v2 to avoid. teki* v1 to sit, be (located). teski adj fine, excellent (of superior quality). tö enc (emphatic) tuonžan* n0 admiral; general (military rank). va pron he, she, it. vigi adj previous, preceding, last. vira n1 mother. vyö prep +LOC before (in time) vyöni adj ordinary, plain. wei int hey! wöli n0 alcoholic beverage. xažla n0 man (adult male human). xisči v2 to quit, stop, cease. xöryk n1 death. xöy pron Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.; sir, madam ze enc well, anyway, now then, ... ziri v2 to fear, be afraid of. zmi aux can (capable of). zörin n1 string, cord, wire. zy pron the following: ža adv isn't it? ži conj because, since.
- Vocabulary notes
The derivation of "lašeuna" is: laš "fire" + euna "water" (i.e., a clear liquid)
"šadi" (to name) has two core arguments: the namer (ergative) and the one being named (absolutive); the name is an oblique argument, preceded by the preposition "šy".
"teki" has a number of idiomatic uses; in this text, "teki" along with a pronoun in the locative case might best be translated as "have".
The derivation of "tuonžan" is tuon "overall, general" + žan "military officer".
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