Imeimei

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Aug 1

I think you are cool. Bye.

Anonymous

Dude. I think you are cool. So this is totally awesome. Let us celebrate. With pasta!

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(Source)

Thank you for your kind words. The kitten just keeps on biting me. I think he thinks I’m a sock. Or at least he treats me the way he treats socks. Except every so often he purrs and comes over and licks my face. That’s nice. :) You too are nice. I shall give you a dolphin sticker some day. This I vow.

Aug 1

Do you have a dothraki dictionary/grammar book or is it the exact same as the one on the dothraki site?

Nah, mine’s much bigger. My reference grammar document is maintained in Pages for the Mac, and it’s currently 311 pages long. (Whoa-oa! Amber is the color of my grammar doc!) I add to it whenever I can, but most of my time these days is spent with High Valyrian or some of the languages from other shows. I try my best, though. :)

Aug 1

Hello! I am not sure if I am asking right because I'm fairly new to Tumblr, but I was wondering if you could possibly translate my full name, Vanessa Acosta, into Sondiv from Star-Crossed? I understand if you are busy. Thanks :-)

Hey Vanessa! Yes, I can do both of those things. First, here’s Vanessa:

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And now here’s Acosta:

I usually don’t do the extra swoosh (the final h is sufficient for indicating the vowel), but I thought it looked neat, so I went with it.

Thanks for the ask!

Aug 1

I keep seeing all the amazing scripts for writing in many of the languages you created. It is such a shame that D&D/HBO/the Powers that Be never had you develop a script for Dothraki & Valyrian. I follow your blog, and relish each time I get another glimpse into Valyrian. What do you think about the possibility of throwing a kickstarter or something? So your fans can pay you for your time of developing a Valyrian script; so we can write in our favorite fan language?

(Thought I’d answer this ask quickly since it should be generally of interest. Sorry for the others waiting in the queue.)

First, Dothraki shouldn’t have a script, remember. GRRM states in the books that they have no written form for their language. I reasoned that if it was ever to be written down it would be written down in a variant of the Valyrian script, just like, for example, the Hawaiian language is written in a variant of the Roman script.

Now for Valyrian. I did want to mention that I am not at all opposed to this idea (and also had some other ideas about how to get it funded). There are two roadblocks at the moment:

  1. Time. I’ve got some major projects to take care of this year. I just took care of one huge literally yesterday. Next year, though, is looking pretty rosy so far.
  2. Canon. If I were to create a Valyrian writing system, I would want it to be granted official status by either HBO or George R. R. Martin. During the lifetime of the show, HBO’s imprimatur would be fine; afterwards, it would need to come from GRRM.

These are not insurmountable goals. However no such discussions have taken place—and shouldn’t, at this point, because I’ve got to take care of some stuff this year. (So don’t bug HBO/GRRM. It’s not on them.) Suffice it to say, though, that this is on my radar, and I’m thinking about it.

As for why it hasn’t happened already, it’s rather more a story that I was allowed to do orthographies for Defiance and Star-Crossed and that the show’s art departments made use of them. It’s rare for an art department to make use of anyone’s work that doesn’t come directly from the art department, and a lot of credit goes to Stephen Geaghan on Defiance and Jaymes Hinkle on Star-Crossed for first letting me do this, and second using it in the way that they did. I feel extremely fortunate to have been given that opportunity, and have the utmost respect and admiration for them and the work they’ve done. It also vindicates the hours and hours I devoted to font-making starting way back in 2001, because that’s not an easy thing to learn! I’m still no expert, so I feel very lucky to be where I am.

Aug 1

Just wanted to pop in to say how cool it was to meet you at Comic Con! (I was dressed as Snow White on Friday when I came by the Living Language booth. Definitely wore that shirt later that evening, too.)

And it was great to see you too! Thank you for coming by. :) You know I have an outstanding picture of you holding up the Dothraki booklet. Would you mind if I posted it on Tumblr? It’s really good!

<3

‘A Little Respect’ by ErasureI first heard this song in the movie D.E.B.S. and fell in love. An outstandingly peppy song and used to hilarious effect in the movie. If I absolutely have to do housework, I put on this song first. It gets me going. If you don&#8217;t know it, play this song. It&#8217;ll get its hooks in you. And that&#8217;s a great thing.

‘A Little Respect’ by Erasure
I first heard this song in the movie D.E.B.S. and fell in love. An outstandingly peppy song and used to hilarious effect in the movie. If I absolutely have to do housework, I put on this song first. It gets me going. If you don’t know it, play this song. It’ll get its hooks in you. And that’s a great thing.

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (Is that too many y’s? I don’t think so)

blackcoffeeandanxiety:

I have tried and failed a million times before to maintain a blog for more than a few months. It never seems to work out because I forget it exists almost immediately. I have the memory of a goldfish when it comes to things I should actually be doing. I can recite any episode of The Office line-by-line, though, if that’s something you should ever need in an emergency. This time, I am going to try again because I should be writing more, since it’s one of the few things I am good at.

For your reference, other things I’m good at include making scrambled eggs, recognizing dogs by breed, and music trivia. Things I’m bad at include being able to find my keys, getting through an entire day without napping, and not trying to bring home every stray cat on the planet.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Everyone please welcome my friend blackcoffeeandanxiety to Tumblr! For every new follower she gets I get a coupon for 50¢ off a can potted meat (limit one per customer)!

Hello. Could you translate my name, Marc, to Indojisnen for me, please?

Sure! That one’s pretty easy to do. Here it is:

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Thanks for the ask!

Since you refuse to be actually helpful to me (and have incurred Irzu's wrath) can you at least talk more about Irathient culture since you helped make it?

Well, I can explain a little bit more about where this came from. The modern Irathient sinking ritual is standard practice, but originally Irathients would actually separate out the brain, the stomach and intestines, the heart, and the rest of the body. Originally, only the brain was sunk. As the seat of intellect, it was returned to the water, whence it came. The stomach and intestines were exposed, so that carrion could devour it (in effect leaving it to the open air). The heart, the seat of vitality, was burned and returned to the flames. The rest of the body was buried and returned to the earth. Since that’s no longer done, the body is painted with the appropriate color (green on the head; red on the chest; yellow on the stomach; black elsewhere) so that the appropriate pieces are returned to the appropriate elements and the god associated with them (Gyamasha of the waves; Idanyu of the flame; Gyakusa of the wind; and Irzu of the stone path, or the earth). On Earth, naturally, these practices will have been obscured, and certain tribes will favor certain gods and certain practices over the others. The Spirit Riders of Defiance lend more importance to Irzu than their Irathient ancestors used to. The religion was much more polytheistic for them. Strange things are happening in the town of Defiance, though.

Incidentally, though I don’t think it was ever used, I came up with a symbol for the Irathient religion. In color, it looks like this:

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The color palette was suggested by Stephen Geaghan, if I remember right.

Anyway, this is some of what I drummed up. I hope this abates Irzu’s wrath somewhat.

just a question about Indojisnen - I've seen it written in a linear fashion on the show - both horizontally and vertically - but would it make sense to assume it can also be written in a sort of hexagonal grid with the flat sides of the characters interlocking? I'm just imagining huge unbroken walls of near-indecipherable text here. It's a fascinating language and I'm so glad we're seeing more of it on the show! Love your work on both Defiance and Game of Thrones, it really is amazing!

This seems like a good question to offer a free hellbug for! So this post is a hellbug eligible post! If you would like a plush hellbug, please reblog this post by 5 pm ET next Thursday, when episode 208 of Defiance will air! For more details, see below!

So, Indojisnen. When I designed the script, I intended it to be an invented script—and, in fact, a post-digital invention. It’s something that only an Indogene could handwrite easily (it’s not intended to be handwritten by either humans or any other Votan), and it’s a script that, at least in my experience, is very hard to read—kind of like a barcode, except maybe not as hard. It’s possible, but only an Indogene could read it effortlessly (or, I don’t know, maybe a human could do it with practice?).

In designing the script, I fully intended there to be no space between glyphs or lines at all. In order to do that, I had to settle on a shape. Triangles and squares can interlock, but squares are borrowing, and triangles are both too small and too unpredictable (I imagine you’d either have to make glyphs that flipped upside down—so that each glyph had two forms—or you’d use a bunch of empty characters). The point was to have as little wasted space as possible (though, from a design standpoint, there’s still wasted space. A unique glyph for every word would be much more efficient, but difficult to manage). I settled on the hexagon for two reasons. First, I thought it would be fairly unique. Second, I had an idea for how syllables would work—with the consonant in the outer hex and vowel in the inner hex—that had been suggested to me by a sign I passed everyday to and from my house. It’s the logo of some commercial real estate developer, and it gave me the idea for the typical Indogene hex.

Anyway, to answer your question, yes: that is what intended. What I imagined was a full computer screen with nothing but hexes. It’d be nearly impossible to read for a human, but an Indogene would feel right at home. The key to making this work is that there are no spaces between words, but it’s always somewhat obvious where word boundaries are. In Indogene, a word can only end with -n, -t, -k or a vowel. That still leaves a lot of possibilities, since each glyph is a CV hex (thus if a word happens to end with a vowel, it’s hard to tell if it’s actually the end of the word or just another syllable), but the grammar of the language also helps, as do the phonological rules which cause words to simplify after the first two syllables. For example, the diphthongs ia, io, iu, ie, ua, ue, uo and ui can only occur in the first two syllables of a word. If they happen to occur anywhere else, they’re reduced to the second member of the pair. Thus if you read the sequence kamue, you know that one word has ended and another begun, because Indojisnen’s spelling system is regular and based on the actual sound of the word, not what it used to be.

The key to being able to read the system is this glyph:

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lol Wow, that’s big. Anyway, this glyph tells you where a sentence/paragraph/page starts, and what direction to read in. This way you know if you’re reading left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, etc. Once you know that, a sentence can be split at any point and moved around all over the place. So if you had a sentence like Hiprimbinggipsuhen, which means “I’m doing a bad job of pretending to get ready for bed” (I’m really the worst at that), you could write it like so…

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Or like so…

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Or like so…

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But you can also break up the word at literally any point. There happen to be 13 glyphs in this phrase, so there isn’t a great way to break it up evenly, but here are some ideas:

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Actually, I stacked those wrong (lines should be double thick), but you get the idea. Could also do something like this:

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Pretty much whatever you can imagine. When we began, I let Kevin et al. know about this, and the art department really went to town with it. The Indogene building has interlocking hex shapes on the front of it (no writing, but as it was cast in plastic, that would’ve been too complex); Indogene skin is hex patterned; Indogene pupils are hex shaped; and you see the hex system used in various ways on signage. In designing the script, I was imagining creating interlocking concrete blocks like this:

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(Source)

So when I was designing the glyphs, I made sure that every line was connected. There couldn’t be, e.g., a floating dot in the middle of both hexes, or any shape where the inner hex wasn’t connected to the outer hex by at least one line, or you couldn’t make a concrete block out of it. I imagine that on Daribo, Indogene buildings use this type of thing in architecture all the time. If they had the equivalent of an important document (Magna Carta, Constitution, etc.), they could spell out the entire thing on the side of a building and have the glyphs themselves be the bricks that hold the structure together. You could have roadways that spell things out, bridges—you could have all sorts of fun.

Anyway, to address another question I got, on the Defiance Reporter Podcast I had Barry and Ben pronounce a long Indojisnen word: tavnibbarihatraflenenji. Ultimately, it translates to, “Would you be a guest on our show?”, but this is how it means what it means.

To begin with, we start off with the verb tasro, which means something like “to say” or “to tell”. A told thing (especially one part of a longer tale) is a tavnit. A collection of these is a tavnibbari. That’s the word I used for “show”. Since ordinary two people—Ben and Michelle—host the show, to say “our show”, you’d use the first person dual, which would be tavnibbarihat. Now remember when I mentioned those diphthongs that get ironed out after the first two syllables at the beginning of this post? Well what comes next is a suffix -ruaro, which is attached to a noun and means “to stay at” or “to remain at”. The thing that one stays at is what this suffix is attached to. So “to stay/remain at our show” would be tavnibbarihatraro, since the ua becomes a. But, of course, I wasn’t staying there: I was just visiting. That means you have to add the -fle suffix, to get tavnibbarihatraflero, which means “to visit our show”—or, in other words, “to be a guest on our show”. Next we have to conjugate this infinitive. To do so we have to turn this into a request for action. If you add the -ve suffix, it turns it into a simple yes/no question question (e.g. “Are you a guest on our show?”), but that’s not what’s going on here. In fact, this is a command, but a kind of polite command. First, then, we have to use the imperative form of the verb, which, in this case, is -nan, so tavnibbarihatraflenan is “Visit our show!” But that’s rather aggressive. So we add -chi on the end, which raises the vowel in -nan to e, and, since this is occurring outside of the first two syllables, the ch voices to j, and we get tavnibbarihatraflenenji: “Please visit our show.”

So that’s how that word breaks down. And this is mostly how Indojisnen works. It can work a number of ways (the grammar is extremely powerful and can do many things), but Indogenes like to use constructions that overtax a human’s (or other Votan’s) working memory since they have no problem with it. It allows them to have a bit of fun with learners and speak so that no one but an Indogene could understand them in real time.

That’s a bit about Indojisnen. Thanks for the ask! This language is a pain in the butt to use. If you have a lot of time on your hands, though, it can be quite fun!


*****

And, again, if you would like to win a free hellbug, please reblog this post! You can also retweet the tweet associated with this post. You have until 8 pm ET August 7th when episode 208 of Defiance airs on Syfy. Again, if you win, you’ll need to give me a mailing address so I can send you the hellbug, but otherwise, that’s all there is to it! This is the fourth of five total chances to win a hellbug this season. Best of luck! And also don’t forget to say a big thank you to @TrickDempsey on Twitter (creative lead for the game Defiance) who provided me with the hellbugs to give away.

christophoronomicon:

thenoodlebooty:

luigigrivera:

i can’t stop laughting

This was an adventure

This needs a full length motion picture!

christophoronomicon:

thenoodlebooty:

luigigrivera:

i can’t stop laughting

This was an adventure

This needs a full length motion picture!

(Source: ragecomics4you)

Can you tell us a little bit about Indojisnen? I'm really curious.

Check out the post coming a little later today! ~:D

Moten Word for the Day

christophoronomicon:

mensin /me̞nsin/, noun: “cup; (outer) ear”

Eh… no, not like that ;).

Anyway, mensin is the diminutive form of menzola: “vase, jug”. It primarily refers to a small open container for liquids, i.e. a cup (not a glass though).

Probably through some kind of metaphorical extension, it has also come to be used to refer to the outer ear, i.e. what anatomists would call the pinna (or auricula). It doesn’t refer to the hearing organ itself, only to the visible part of the ear that projects outside of the head. In this sense, mensin is restricted to describing human ears. Animal ears are described using different words.

As a word, mensin is a typical case of what happens with derivations in human languages: however straightforward the derivation (here a simple diminutive), people will find a way to extend or change the meaning of the derived word in ways that couldn’t be expected just based on the meanings of the original word and of the derivation affix. So think about it when you create your conlang’s lexicon: it’s a great way to increase its vocabulary without having to agonise over yet another new root form :).

Questions?

Are you involved with the cultural backgrounds of the Votan Species on Defiance or did you just create the language and the show runners and writers helped flesh out the cultures?

Everyone, including the art department, prop master and directors, is responsible for contributing to the cultural backgrounds of the Votans. That said, I did do a lot of the background material. I mapped out the Castithan and Irathient religions, the Castithan liro system, and helped to sketch out some of the ideas behind the Indogenes. Brian Alexander and I also worked on the Votan holidays, but I’m not sure what the status of those is at present, with regards to canon. That’s a major reason why I’ve loved working on Defiance so much. Kevin Murphy allows everyone to have a real say in what goes on in the show. Everyone brings their own ideas to the table. It’s a lot of fun!

No, it really wasn't! Does she (Rynn!) live through episode 207 to see the dawn of episode 208?

Ohhhhhhh… I get ya. Yeah, that I don’t know.