(as pronounced, reformed redakùn spelling)
Kadaväxhetùs Dëhagu Kemùlan
Tizi amegÿtadoda. Ëhùnùszai xhyu estimadora. Tizi sùkyu nukakai akabzexhatev sônzatora. Tilkai ÿmexhekatevzi tilkai dissirekzi gandýnek til annaihëxënashai tizai omoxhekbadetaz kemùlekara. Dissireknai äxhkëtorän shiru allekelanek kemùlänvai tizai sùkyu omoxhekkai ýränzi jethônitora. Vem omoxhekzi tôronai kuryänvai tilkai katäxhzi mirëxashai kanùxhzai tilanek kurakara. Akabzëbadkai oharùxhzi asanu kahùyùxhzi vem omoxhenatevkai annainzi asabadu môragômäxh jethônäxëra.
(for teaching children to read)
Kadav.äxh.etùs Dëhag.(n)u Kemùl.a.n
Ti.zi amega.ÿt.a.do.da. Ë.(h).ùnùs.zai xhy.(n)u estim.a.do.ra. Ti.zi sùky.(n)u nuka.kai akabzë.äxh.atev sônz.a.to.ra. Ti.(e)l.kai ÿmexh.ek.atev.zi ti.(e)l.kai dissir.ek.zi gandi.anek ti.(e)l annai.(h).ë.xë.na.shai ti.zai omô.äxh.ek.bad.etaz kemùl.e.ka.ra. Dissir.ek.nai äxh.këtorä.n shir.(n)u al.(e)l.ek.el.anek kemùl.ä.n.vai ti.zai sùky.(n)u omô.äxh.ek.kai ýr.ä.n.zi jethôn.i.to.ra. Vem omô.äxh.ek.zi tôro.nai kurai.ä.n.vai ti.(e)l.kai kata.äxh.zi mir.ë.xa.shai kanu.axh.zai ti.(e)l,anek kur.a.ka.ra. Akabzë.bad.kai oharu.äxh.zi asa.nu kahùyu.äxh.zi vem omô.äxh.en.atev.kai annai.(e)n.zi asa.bad.(n)u môra.gôm.äxh jethôn.ä.xë.ra.
Descending into Madness
I awaken! You go quickly. I have always lived for today. In my dreams, I pursue grand visions – go wherever my dreams lead me. I follow them, and don’t get what I desire, but I know my ability to imagine was everything. I try to see my path, but melancholy turns toward me. Now, in the end, only one thing scares me: that the guide living in my mind is entirely evil.
Grammar and Vocabulary
- Concepts and terms crucial to the translation exercise are bulleted.
Semkanya is the hegemonic language of the Antimony Empire (Semkakai Vaihadetexh), in a setting described as “on another world, in another dimension, 15,500 years from now.” It’s descended from a technical dialect of Japanese, and has co-evolved in a sprachebund with east Siberian dialects of Russian. It’s used extensively in the novel Crimson Darkness (Venusworld, Volume 1).
The language is left-branching, and its sentences follow a relatively inflexible SOV word order. Fronting can bring direct and indirect objects to the beginning of a sentence, making them of paramount importance. Typically, the subject and object consist of one or more noun phrases, with free-standing modulatives stacked before each stem-grouping, followed by the assembled case structure. The verb phrase always comes last, beginning with modulatives before the stem, followed by the assembled tense structure. For this exercise, grammar is used less ambiguously than usual. Pronouns are uncommon, so appear here mainly for clarity.
- Semkanya does not have grammatical gender. When required topically it has to be rendered using mammalian sexual terminology. The words xihen (man) and xahen (woman) contain anatomical root morphemes considered vulgar in English.
The exercise text is in a Romanization of Reformed Redakùn spelling. It’s generally phonetic, but the diacritical marks are meant to replicate matres lectionis in the redakùn alphabet, and some letter combinations have special uses: ä (cat), ë (whey), ï (ur), ô (pot). ù (put), y (eye), ý (yah), ÿ (fünf), xh (an aspirated rough breathing), h (glide character for linking vowels, acts as either a w-glide [after o, u] or y-glide [after a, e, i]).
Affixes blend into their surroundings according to some complex rules, including apocope, h-apenthesis, vowel coloring, and diacritical diphthongization. This is reflected in Standard Register. If there is any confusion, consult the Textbook Register to see what is happening. Gemmination is non-grammatical and can be ignored. The language is weakly stress accented and has moraic timing.
- The Verb System
The structure of the verb phrase:
Note everything is in some sense optional, but you will usually see root plus at least one affix.
b) Participle: Participles are indicated by the infix -n- in all tenses. In addition, verbs are changed to nouns by representing them in the known-present participle, thus roughly like an English gerund.
|infinitive||to do an act||-(v)s|
- The Modulative System
Modulatives are unbound morphemes which stack before stems they modify in noun and verb phrases.
a) Determinatives: answer questions as to the specificity of a noun or verb phrase, such as this or that one, which one, why, how, how many, how much.
Vem = the, that, those, etc.
Jarth = a, an, some, etc.
b) Adnomials: Describe the qualities of a noun or verb stem, taking the place of adjectives and adverbs. They usually stack between the determinative and the modal. Most adnomials take the magic suffix –(n)u, which will adnomialize any stem morpheme. In addition, adnomials can form compounds with other stems, as bound morphemes. Thus, sanu sar (a white-colored plain) and sanasar (whiteplain).
c) modals: Unbound morphemes which indicate the modality of a phrase, or sentence. Not used in the exercise.
d) Modulative Affixes: These are a special class of modulatives which, while available in the inventory of adnomials, are most usually seen as affixes to unbound morphemes and morpheme bundles (i.e., words). It is characteristic of these affixes that they cause vowel coloring as well as h-apenthesis and some apocope.
Äxh- = not
-(ä)xh = thing
-(e)n = being, person
Flatomodulatives are used to magnify or diminish root words in some way.
-bad = inflate
-rän = deflate
-tor = conflate
-sen = deflate
-(e)k = plural
Archaic cases are found in the combined objective case (dative and accusative) for pronouns, adding –(e)l. Genitives of pronouns add –kai to the objective case.
ti = I, til = me, tilkai = my
tik = we, tikel = us, tikelkai = our
ë = you, ël = you, ëlkai = your
- The Noun System
a) Standard Cases: The ergative -zai is only used once in a given sentence, if at all, connecting main subject to main direct object. For example:
“I broke the window.” I is ergative
“I went bankrupt.” I is nominative.
- -zi (nominative), -zai (ergative), -nai (accusative), -ni (dative), and –kai (genitive) are used in the exercise.
|subjective||nominative||zi||subject of noun phrase other than main transitive actor|
|subjective||ergative||zai||actor of main transitive verb against main accusative|
|objective||accusative||nai||direct object [ilpadùr form –(e)l]|
|objective||dative||ni||indirect object [ilpadùr form –(e)l]|
|possessive||compositive||kùhi||made up of|
|possessive||benefactive||kë||for the benefit of, use of, for purpose of|
|associative||instrumental||(ä)xh||by means of (apocope drives vowel coloring)|
|associative||sociative||dë||in association with, collaborative|
|associative||comitative||de||with, in companionship, mutually|
|prolative||motivative||zë||because of actor (I did this because…)|
|prolative||resultative||ze||because of action (this happened because…)|
|prolative||evaluative||lë||understood to be, thought to be|
|prolative||translative||le||turned into a|
b) Conjunctive Cases: As with other cases, conjunctives can be stacked rightwards from the stem to achieve the necessary meaning. Uniquely, conjunctives will accept a private äxh- modulative affix to reverse or semantically shade their meaning. Note that Semkanya has no subordinating conjunction equivalent. This function is usually absorbed periphrastically by locative and/or instrumental cases.
- The exercise uses –shai (and), -vai (but)
|correlating||exclusive/selective list||zä||only||not only|
c) Locative Cases: There are twenty-eight locative cases in Semkanya which take the place of most prepositions, and stack rightwards from noun stems, as needed. Locatives are disyllabic –(v)cvc in form, with apocope applying vowel coloration. The table separates the case name prefix from its stem and suffix to simplify construction of the cases.
- Note that Semkanya has lost its temporal locatives, so these have to be constructed from spatial locatives using adnomials to clarify meaning.
- The exercise uses:
-ùnùs apudlative leaving vicinity of a spot
-atev inessive inside a hollow object/concept
-anek adallative going towards
-etaz preablative leaving from beside a spot
|Meaning||at position||to destination||from origin||towards direction|
Coordinate meanings of Locatives:
|inessive||inside a hollow object/concept|
|contessive||inside or among a group|
|superessive||above or on top of something|
|subessive||below or under something|
|adessive||at a spot/place|
|apudessive||near a spot/place|
|preësive||against or right beside something or somewhere|
|inlative||to a place|
|contlative||into a place|
|superlative||going onto a place|
|sublative||getting under a place|
|adlative||going to a spot/place|
|apudlative||getting near a spot/place|
|prelative||getting right next to a spot/place|
|inablative||coming out of a place|
|contablative||coming out of a group|
|superablative||getting off of a thing|
|subablative||getting out from under a thing|
|adablative||leaving a spot|
|apudablative||leaving the vicinity of a spot|
|preablative||leaving from beside a spot|
|inallative||going toward a hollow object you can enter|
|contallative||going toward a group|
|apudallative||going close to|
|preallative||going right next to|
Semkanya dictionaries usually list roots and compounds in textbook register, with the most common grammatical endings. This list shows forms used in the exercise text.
|amegÿtas||to awaken, to open one’s eyes||verb|
|annain||guide, leader (person)||noun|
|annais||to guide, lead||verb|
|annÿxh||guide (thing, as a book or sign)||noun|
|dissiris||to desire, want, wish, etc.||verb|
|estimes||to depart, leave||verb|
|jethônos||to be (copula form is the root jethôn)||verb|
|kahùxh||a scary thing||noun|
|kahùys||to scare, frighten||verb|
|miris||to see (with eyes)||verb|
|môragôm||evil (name of the god Ahriman)||noun|
|omoxh||a mental image||noun|
|saganas||to seek, search||verb|
|shiru||behind something (implies hidden by it)||adnomial|
|sônzais||to exist, live||verb|
|vem||the, that, those, etc. Implies uniqueness||adnomial|