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Author Topic: Mermish *in progress*  (Read 10293 times)
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Viresse
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« on: 23 March 2002, 02:14:00 »

Okay. I want to get started on this, but in order to make this seem as consistent as possible, I need Bard Judith to tell me how she came up with the first few words of Mermish.

This way I have a table to work with.

If she simply made them up, can I then restart the Mermish language based upon my own rules?

Viresse Sheelala
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Bard Judith
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« Reply #1 on: 23 March 2002, 21:25:00 »

Viresse:  Some comments on existing Mermish words:

Of course I 'made them up"!  However, I did so based on some common-sense assumptions about their physical make-up (see the dissection diagram), the fact that they breath both air and water, their ability to communicate with Dolpholk and Whales, and so on.  I also spoke with a linguist friend who was instrumental in helping me develop a number of ideas.

So, since there is not a great deal of existing language, I think it shouldn't be too difficult for you to integrate what we have already.  Some words are 'pure', or Old Mermish - a whistling, bubbling speech which merfolk use amongst  themselves.  Others are a sort of pidgin or creole adaption, based on human words which they would have picked up from sailors and coastal folk.  There's currently only one grammatical 'rule', about the endings of words indicating their 'gender'.  You shouldn't have any problem with that.

I quote:

"Their spoken name for themself is Baovveche; their spoken language, Mermish,  is simplistic, heavily aspirated  and used only above water.  It is technically a pidgin - a combination of two languages, mostly coastal human dialects mixed with Mersong.   Below the water they communicate in a series of whistles, fluting sounds, sub- and super-sonic pulses which humans cannot hear. Elves, however,  have managed to hear and even  translate a few words of Mersong.   It is thought that whales, dolpholk, and other large fish may also hear and comprehend this language."  

A few words collected from sailors, traders, and fishermen are provided here.  Note that double letters are an attempt to indicate the sibilant aspiration with which a mermaid speaks.  Note also the vowel shift in words that have been borrowed from human languages.  An ‘a’ ending seems to indicate a masculine tense, ‘i’ feminine, and ‘o’ or ‘e’  neuter; this gender division reinforces the belief that merfolk come in various sexes.   We can see that certain concepts have no place in original mer philosophy - things are neither good nor bad, they simply are - although merfolk do hold Baveras, Sun and Moon in reverence, they do not attempt to affect their deities’ behaviour through acts of worship.

Baovveche                Merfolk, Merperson
Ffuegane                Person, sentient being
Bavverissi                Baveras, Goddess of the Sea
Echrassa                Sun, Great Bright, Fire, Hotness
Ttheeni                Moon, Lesser Bright, Ice, Coldness
Silffin                 Swordwhale ( Baveras’ steed)
Alassi                 Water, wave, home
Vvundra                Earth, rock, hard thing
Yyt (‘yeet’)                Food (any plant or creature they consider non-sentient)
Hhoole                Air, wind, storm
Ghood                Good
Bett                 Bad
Echundra                Volcano
Ssheep                Ship
Ssturm                Storm                         
Ffeen                 Whale       
Ffeechuvo                Dolphune       

Please keep in mind that they should not be treated as an intelligent, culturally-developed race at this point.  Since we now have at least one person who can communicate with the Merfolk, it would be tempting to build all kinds of 'castles' based on this point of contact.   I think most people see them as being about gorilla-level in intellect and sophistication.

Looking forwards to seeing what you develop based on these guidelines, Viresse!



Regards from the Bard


 “The three principal endeavors of a Bard are to learn and collect knowledge; to teach others; to make peace and put an end to all injury. To do contrary to these things is not usual or becoming to a Bard.”  
The Triads of Britain, medieval text

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Viresse
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« Reply #2 on: 25 March 2002, 12:55:00 »

weeird. That gorilla-level of intelligence was EXACTLY what I was thinking. I don't want to make them too bright.

Okay... so from what you have.... give me about a week. I'll try and make some animal names, and some sea conditions, and maybe colors and people names ( though they'll be crude, for people being as they all have two legs and live on land.). It's gonna be a little long because I'm going back to school. That's why the Sanhorrhim came out so quickly.

Anyway.Yeah. Gimme a week, and I should hopefully have the important words worked out.

Viresse Sheelala
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Viresse
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« Reply #3 on: 26 March 2002, 21:59:00 »

Okay... I've come up with some words. I didn't realize you had some of these made up already, so I had made them....

Also, I had noticed that there were certain words that sounded like Thyrian words so I used that method to come up with words.  The double-letter aspiration deal I worked in heavily, and I described rather than named.

To make it sound like an 'on the spot' language, I came up with several words for the same thing, pertaining to situations...

I also have some rules I'll include at the bottom. Be noted that I am going to assume that  'True Mermish' is nearly intranslatable and difficult to document, these words are going to be Common Mermish. Make sense? I hope so. Anyway...


  Crab kraah
piishah ( pinch-hand)
guuachoh (grey-shell)
klaahoh ( claw-hole)
saacoaahoo ( sand crawler)

  DragonDeeragoh
  I included dragons becuase there are sea dragons, as well as other dragons. Merfolk are known to travel, and have probably seen many things land-dwellers do not...

chaaishiihuur ( sky-swimmer)
chaaihoom ( sky-worm)
feenhoom( fin-worm)

 Whale Huaoo  
  I hadn't realized you already had a word for this...

huumbah ( humpback)
sooaheh ( squarehead)
beehfees( big fish)
flaahtaah (flat-tail)
daashu ( dancer)

 Dolpholkdaapoh
  I hadn't realized you already had a word for this...

sheekbah ( slickback)
tiinooh ( thin-nose)
paahoo ( player)
choopuuh ( jumper)

 Seal cheeoo
chii-doh ( sea dog)
paaeh ( pet)
phoofees ( fur-fish)

 Fishfees
  I assmue these would be called 'food.' But when discussing to land-people, they may not understand, so I created other words for it.

scaahoo (scale)
feen (fin)
koolor (color)
faaraarii ( family)

 sea-weed cheehuuii
waahaagraach ( water-grass)
greerooh ( green-rope)

 Land leehada
  I hadn't realized you already had a word for this...

saahd (sand)
haarduuh ( hard)
noo-chii ( no sea)
aah-teeree ( all-tree)
paaepoohpaash ( people-place)

 People paaepooh
  I came up with some words pertaining to race. Not that Merfolk would necessarily know the difference, but just in case....

maah (man)
tuulehhg ( two-leg)
ooglii ( Orc)
teeree-mah ( treeman=elf)
shootlehhg ( short-leg= dwarf)
huumah ( human)
bohat-foohk ( boatfolk)


~Merfolk do not spink in singular.When referring to themselves, they use ' We'. * weeh*

~They tend to be vague. Other merfolk will always understand them, but sentient beings may not. When speaking in terms of direction, they must always point. When speaking of time past, they refer to the moon. They have no concept of money, time, morals or logic. Things simply  ARE.

~Those that live above the sea need to remeber that merfolk can only relate to things beneath the sea. If they speak of things, it is usually from that persepctive. A mer finds it rude if someone asks whether they mean 'above' or 'below' the surface, which makes things more difficult to understand.

~ No matter how awkward it sounds, an 'S' is always added to the end of a word to make it plural. *i.e. greeroohs* In words that end with a hiss, the plural just doubles the sound * i.e.beefees's (   pronounced BEE-fees-ees)


that's what I have for now... tell me what you think...

Viresse Sheelala
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Edited by: Viresse at: 3/26/02 4:01:14 am
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Drogo
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« Reply #4 on: 27 March 2002, 03:28:00 »

Very interesting, I like the pidgin aspect that you keep throughout the whole thing.  It gives a little more credence to the semi-intelligence, along with the thoughts that many things simply are.

Drogo Lord of the North and Places Supervisor May Helvet bring courage to your blade, and Teimor grant death to your enemies

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Bard Judith
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« Reply #5 on: 27 March 2002, 22:02:00 »

Excellent.

I prefer your word for Whale, which frees up 'feen' for the natural pidgin of 'fin'.

Likewise the vowelshift has been applied consistently, with humour as well as academic rigour.

And your notes on the general 'attitudes' of the language are just about spot-on as well - like not having a singular word for mer-person!

Could you also create some non-human grammatical additions....like words that describe certain qualities of water?  Or semi-verbs?  or adverbs of position?  It's difficult to explain, but other languages have word groups that we don't.  Korean for example, can have 'verbal adjectives'...

"The breeze 'wind-ed' through the trees"  or "The stream 'plash-gurgle-moves' on its silver way" might be a rough translation.  Perhaps merfolk can express their feelings about their environment in the same way -rather like your beautiful poem (which I preferred 'un-translated'...)

Very well-captured and expressed, again.

Regards from the Bard


 “The three principal endeavors of a Bard are to learn and collect knowledge; to teach others; to make peace and put an end to all injury. To do contrary to these things is not usual or becoming to a Bard.”  
The Triads of Britain, medieval text

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Viresse
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« Reply #6 on: 27 March 2002, 23:42:00 »

yeah. I was going to put in the 'Water' words, but I had saw you had used one word to explain it and balked.

So yeh, gimme... a few days, I should have like... 15 words ( toomuch?) for water and its properties.

Viresse Sheelala
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Drogo
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« Reply #7 on: 28 March 2002, 14:06:00 »

Well, as their whole life is involved with water I would imagine that they would have many different words.  Things for say certain currents, different depths, water temperatures, light variables in the water, etc.

Drogo Lord of the North

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Viresse
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« Reply #8 on: 28 March 2002, 16:32:00 »

right. I wasn't thinking that far.... okay.

Viresse Sheelala
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Viresse
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« Reply #9 on: 30 March 2002, 12:34:00 »

 Water wuuhtaa

huuaae - wave
sspaas - splash
taahi - tide
baabah -bubble
shaavoh - silver
gehtiih -glitter
sshiima- shimmer
suhhiish- swish
rroor - roar

* these words are usually combined to describe water... a curling wave sloshing upon the shore could be described as  " huuaee-baaba-roor-taahi-spaas "

 relating to depth

saahem - roughly 7 peds deep, perfect for mer-play
tehmoo - about 13 peds deep,  a bit deep for mer-play but good for travelling depth
buuhchii - around  20 peds. Its the height the water turns into open sea. Mostly avoided unless travelling.
chii - meaning 'Sea' ,this depth is beyond Buuchii, mostly unmeasured. Merfolk rarely go to the open sea, only to mate and be alone, as it is dangerous (whales, boats, large fish)

 relating to temperature

meetamaa - evenly warm water
maaroo - warm surface water with cool water under the surface.
maasoo- warm surface water with berg-cold water under the surface. (merfolk will saty surface-borne in this condition)

ruunii - cool surface water with luke warm water under the surface.
ruutaroo - evenly cool water.
sooroo - cool surface water with berg-cold water beneath the surface. ( merfolk can barely tolerate this condition)

fuuacho - too cold to swim in. ( merfolk know no tolerance beyond this.)

 relating to sea-bottom

ffehpaah- smooth surface, mostly sand with a few protruding rocks. good for mer-play.
haarii - a visibly smooth surface covered in sea-weed. Good resting spot.
ghoontuh - rocky bottom, more rocks than sand.
ciipaa - a rock-wall, boat-men be wary.
wwhiigoo - a rock shelf; good for merfolk but bad for boats.
kiinaa - shallow area, good for sunning merfolk but terrible for boats.
uuniigo - once covered with water but no longer. Merfolk have terible memories but can tell the presence of water.

 additional words

ccuuoo - a curling wave that creates a tunnel.
sshuuka - a sharp, high wave that falls in on itself before making shore.
feenwaa - churned up waters caused by a large collection of fish.
llinoo- a whirlpool; caused when an underground air pocket caves in.
aagii - when a storm creates rain.
aagiaag -when a storm drops rain heavy enough to cause droplets to jump from the surface of the sea.
ffuen - ripples on a smooth water surface; caused by either underwater movement, wind or an object dropped in.
kiinaagii - when the setting sun changes the color of the water. Also used when the silver shimmer of the surface is strong enough to blind.
cuua - pertains to the constant tide. Not just the look of it, but the entire experience;sound, smell, touch and vision. The tide is almost holy to the Merfolk.

*there's some water words. Did I hit what you wanted, Judith?*

Viresse Sheelala
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Bard Judith
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« Reply #10 on: 31 March 2002, 08:32:00 »

FEEENwaa!  FEEENwaaa! Oh, sshukaa!

(giggles wildly and runs around the room chanting Mermish at the top of her lungs....)

What a delightful language!  Absolutely the essence of Merfolk philosophy (such as it is) and lifestyle....
I wouldn't take the pidgin too far though - for example, they should have their own words for concepts like 'glitter' and 'shimmer' without borrowing the human, right?  But concepts like 'northwind' and 'port' might be a bit more important for sailors to try to get across, so there might be Mermish pidgin for those.

A couple more for the list:

'apupua' - spume, or froth
' p'chaa wuutaah' - fresh water (they can tolerate it, but swimming in the stuff is like humans trying to drink salt water...Merfolk, of course, have kidneys that can process the salt and excrete it without difficulty)
'kiini'beea' - beer, or any alcohol.  You just KNOW some sailor has tried giving strong drink to merfolk....  but as you might guess from the prefix 'kiini', suggesting unbearable brightness or flame, they are not impressed with the taste.  
'eeas' - yes, affirmative
'toh' - no, negative (merfolk can form the 'nnn' sound in the centre of a word by 'bouncing' the tongue off the palate quickly, but have a difficult time with initial plosives)


Regards from the Bard


 “The three principal endeavors of a Bard are to learn and collect knowledge; to teach others; to make peace and put an end to all injury. To do contrary to these things is not usual or becoming to a Bard.”  
The Triads of Britain, medieval text

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"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
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« Reply #11 on: 31 March 2002, 08:33:00 »

FEEENwaa!  FEEENwaaa! Oh, sshukaa!

(giggles wildly and runs around the room chanting Mermish at the top of her lungs....)

What a delightful language!  Absolutely the essence of Merfolk philosophy (such as it is) and lifestyle....
I wouldn't take the pidgin too far though - for example, they should have their own words for concepts like 'glitter' and 'shimmer' without borrowing the human, right?  But concepts like 'northwind' and 'port' might be a bit more important for sailors to try to get across, so there might be Mermish pidgin for those.

A couple more for the list:

'apupua' - spume, or froth
' p'chaa wuutaah' - fresh water (they can tolerate it, but swimming in the stuff is like humans trying to drink salt water...Merfolk, of course, have kidneys that can process the salt and excrete it without difficulty)
'kiini'beea' - beer, or any alcohol.  You just KNOW some sailor has tried giving strong drink to merfolk....  but as you might guess from the prefix 'kiini', suggesting unbearable brightness or flame, they are not impressed with the taste.  
'eeas' - yes, affirmative
'toh' - no, negative (merfolk can form the 'nnn' sound in the centre of a word by 'bouncing' the tongue off the palate quickly, but have a difficult time with initial plosives)


Regards from the Bard


 “The three principal endeavors of a Bard are to learn and collect knowledge; to teach others; to make peace and put an end to all injury. To do contrary to these things is not usual or becoming to a Bard.”  
The Triads of Britain, medieval text

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"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
Viresse
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« Reply #12 on: 31 March 2002, 22:09:00 »

...right. I was struggling early on in the water post, as I create most of the language by actually making noise until I hit something I like... and to be honest, I didn't want to look mental in front of my family by sitting in front of my comp going...

" swimmer... schuammah... shoomah... choomah... choo-shii-hoomah... chii- chiisur... "

hee. So, I'll try and revise that... The next post *hoping*, being all uninfluenced Mermish...

Viresse Sheelala
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Bard Judith
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« Reply #13 on: 01 April 2002, 09:40:00 »

Oh, heck, my husband is more than used to hearing me suddenly break into insane laughter, or rude giggles, or explode "t'chee PU-tath... t'CHEE pu-TATH!" while sitting innocently in front of my computer screen.  I am equally likely to leap up and play a wailing five-minute dirge on my er-hu (Chinese violin) before sitting back down, or begin chanting in tongues (Dwarven, for one) or shouting insults aloud (occupational hazard for world designers.....).  Trust me, he's used to it!

Mind you, I have to put up with voices coming from his computer that say things like, "I can't CARRY any MORE!" in a whiny voice, or "Hamsters and Rangers forEVER!"  (If you have to ask, you don't play Baldur's Gate, do you....)

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Viresse
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« Reply #14 on: 02 April 2002, 02:00:00 »

heh... I forgot to mention I liked your new words.

I try really hard not to look mental in fromt of my family, mostly because I have a ... history ... of not being able to keep my marbles in the same bag.

Nothing big. Creative outlets keep my head on straight, and this place is doing an awesome job of keeping me calm and straight-laced.

Anyway. Hopefully by... gee, the 3rd, I should have some new words. I have some homework tomorrow and class the day after...

i don' wanna go back to school, I wanna work on SANTHARIA!

Viresse Sheelala
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