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Okay, I've finally been able to write the t-shirt slogan in Telek.  And
here it is (drum-roll please):

Fight linguistic extinction... invent a language!

Telegdonnesned ba'kalym: tellaad sajmo.

Teleg-donnes-n-ed ba'kalym tella-ad sajmo
language-wilt-GER-ACC oppose language-ACC grow
"Oppose the wilting of languages: artistically create a language."

For the shorter version "Invent a language" simple use the last two words:
"tellaad sajmo"
(There's a pun in here, read further for more info.  Connected, is the
reason I chose to use 'wilt')

Notes:
telek 'speech, language, word'.  It appears as [teleg] here because k > g
immediately before another consonant.   More generally, aspirate >
unaspirate before a consonant.

donnes '(P) wilt, die (of plants)'  Ultimately related to _dolles_ '(P) be
brown'

-n is a suffix that turns verbs into abstract nouns.  Basically a gerund.

-Vd is an enclitic that marks accusative case.  V means that the vowel is
"unspecified" -- it is copied from the closest preceding vowel.  So it
appears as [ed] (after [telegdonnesn-]) in the first clause and [ad] (after
[tella-]) in the second.

ba'kalym '(A,P) oppose, struggle against, fight against (without violence)'

tella 'tongue; language'

sajmo '(A, P) grow s.t, cultivate; create by intuition, create artistically'

The phrase grow a language was chosen to be a bit of a pun.  As the notes
show, _tella_ means both 'language' and 'tongue' and the verb _sajmo_ can
mean 'grow'.  So one possible way of translating the sentence would be
"Grow a tongue" or also "Cultivate languages".  Thus, I chose to use the
verb "wilt" instead of something like _nippol_ 'become fewer, lessen' to
extend the gardening metaphor.  BTW, there is no word for "die" referring
to animals.

Hmm... "Grow a tongue".  That sounds like an idiomatic expression for
"speak up."  Woohoo!!  Since its a common expression, the object will have
to be incorporated, so _tellasajmo_ '(A) express ones opinion, participate
in a conversation'.

Also good advice for people speaking endangered languages -- if they speak
it enough to their children, it will continue.  This is why I try to let my
language guide itself.  I would never have come up with the metaphor or
idiom on my own.


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Marcus Smith
AIM:  Anaakoot
"When you lose a language, it's like
dropping a bomb on a museum."
   -- Kenneth Hale
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