Monday, May 18, 2009

Note from Great-Uncle Táto

[Affixed to tbe bottom of the letter, upon a creamy white sheet, and writ in a firm boustrophedonal hand]

Divine Princess,
I have been reading and reviewing what you have written so far about Grammar and have been quite impressed. I have been making some annotations in the margins, at least what margin Karuláta permits you when she’s not filling your epistles with her own doodles, mostly of herself it seems, and when we can finally see each other face to face we can discuss how best to take these epistles and turn them unto the first true grammar book e'er written. I think you have come to the end on what you intended to write about phonology. There is far more to discuss, of course, but we simply just do not have the resources to study just how sounds are made in the throats of the Xhámi and in the beaks of the Qhíng and the celia of the Aûm. I would like to mention that I think you have used some linguistic terms which Crown Prince Puîyus almost certainly does not know. P and T and K and Q are plosives, and you have mentioned before the distinction between voicing and unvoicing and how some dialects will voice these phonemes and others will not in certain environments. I am not entirely sure that the holy Crown Prince understands that P and T and K and Q are pronounced with air escaping the mouth and yet the larynx folds are not engaged, if they are engaged than they become the sounds of fh’ and n’ and q’ respectively, we do no ot have a symbol for a voiced Q since such a sound does not exist in the dialects of Babel. Perhaps when the peace is won we can investigate how the shape of a throat or mouth of beak of ceila change the position of the jaw, the tounge and the nesh palate, and how the sound should resonate. Perhaps the different accents of the Aliens and the dialects which we find have their genesis therein.
Moreover, holy and wonderous Empress of Tomorrow, as you continue these little fhrieyiîlii lessonlings, and I certainly encourage you to so, both for your own education, but for the peace of mind it will bring you, as it distracts you from worrying about us, not to mention the aid this will be to our silent Emperor who has no hope of e'er saying a single word without you. Natheless, holy child, Virgin Born, I must urge you, as you craft this grammar, please use sentences such as, The lad kicked the solar ball, and The three pious virgins obeyed their mother, and It is always best everywhere to obey one’s elders, rather than some fanciful sentence such as, I don’t know, something silly such as, The Princess kissed the lad. These types of sentences are not entirely suitable for the discussion of grammar, don’t you think? In fact, kissing has no place in morphosyntax at all.
I have to leave. Sieur Íngìkhmar is convening a war rede, and although I am no help whatsoever, I do serve the Crystalline Throne and Starburst Crown.
Thine for all time and beyond,
Great Uncle Táto of Pwéru

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