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----- Original Message -----
From: "Muke Tever" <[log in to unmask]>


> From: "Joseph Fatula" <[log in to unmask]>
> > It's certainly not in the same style as many other Martian concultures,
but
> > C. S. Lewis wrote a book set on Mars, entitled "Out of the Silent
Planet".

Oh, damn, I forgot about this marvelous book and the strange words in it!
But of course.

> > There were three different races living there, each with its own
language,
> > as we are told.  The main character is a philologist, so we get to hear
a
> > few of his thoughts on the common tongue of the region, as well as a few
of
> > the words.  It looks like he put some real thought into this.  The
> > alternation between (for example) "sorn" and "séroni" really interested
me
> > upon reading it.  He throws in a little more in the next two books,
> > "Perelandra" (whose title is in Hressa-Hlab) and "That Hideous
Strength",
> > but he never really gets into the linguistic details.  My guess is that
he,
> > like most of us, assumed everyone wouldn't be interested.

He might also have felt that his fellow inkling (wasn't Tolkien part of the
Inklings?) was the language inventor par excellence, or that he himself
couldn't put the time into it that Tolkien did.

> Ah, I loved this book :x)

Yeah, me too.

> The alternation appears to occur in several plurals:
> hnakra ~ hnéraki  "dangerous fish"
> Oyarsa ~ Oyéresu  "planetary ruler"
> sorn ~ séroni     (a certain sapient species)
>
> The weak plural appears to be in -a (they borrow the English word "man" as
> <hma:n>, pl. <hma:na>),

Interesting. Reminds me of the weak n-declension in Old English, or the
u-declension (sunu, suna, suna, suna etc.)

> with other examples <eldil>/<eldila> "immaterial creature" and
<hross>/<hrossa>
> (the creatures whose language this is, in the first book).  (Incidentally
the
> feminine plural of <hross> is <hressni>.)
>
> The suffix <-punt> "-slayer" pluralizes in <-punti>, like <pfifltrigg> (a
> different sapient species).
>
> The word <hnau> "sapient creature" has a zero plural.
>
> In any case the whole thing looks nicely maggelitous, especially the
> intercalation.  (I'm betting that <honodraskrud> is a compound related to
> <handra> somehow.)  I suspect there is a schwa phoneme that isnt
represented in
> the spelling (hence variations like Perelandra/Parelandra, which
incidentally
> might make some of those alternations less mystifying).
>
> I noded up all the vocabulary I could find awhile back:
> http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=malacandrian

I hope Fredrik is still reading the list!

> Incidentally, "hnau" is the most useful word ever.

You bet!  It was the inspiration for my word "imral," way back when, which
means rational being, "soul," to be distinguished from brutes or
non-speaking sentients.  BTW, I've noted with some irritation that the word
for "rational alien" in lots of science fiction discourse is "sentient";
shouldn't it be "sapient"?


Sally Caves
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Eskkoat ol ai sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo.
"My shadow follows me, putting strange, new roses into the world."