Epistle XI: Not at all a Fishy Situation
Puîyus, this is your fabulous and fantastic Mother.
My pious Daughter-in-law will not be sending you an epistle this night, or at least not that she has just finished writing this even. She made some rough notes on the letter she intended for you, and I send them in the stead of a fully finished letter. Last night my pious little Daughter-in-law created quite a ruckus here in the Crannog. We’re still not at all sure how she did it, but it managed to awaken us all. I’ll try to explain if I can, but we’re still clearing out the clutter and trying to figure out exactly what happened. Your Sisters Ixhúja and Siêthiyal and Akhlísa had been chasing each other around all day and throwing quqlimùqli balloon flowers at each other, and I was growing a little vexed with them all. No soon would I pick up one girl and toss her outside than another would come sneaking up inside through a window or about a tree branch. Fhermáta was trying to tend the gardens and so was unavailable to help. Plus the Princess’ Mother, perfect and worshipful though she is, tends to spend a great deal of her time dancing about, especially in the nighttime, and I am not at all sure whether she is entirely cognizant of all that her Daughter is doing. Some time after dinner, after Éfhelìnye sent off her most recent letter to you, it came into her head to go running after the girls and compete with them in soaking each other and throwing the balloon flowers. And let me add that your Grandmother Tàltiin is also no help at all, in fact she was encouraging them, unto showing one maid where to aid, and then shouting as loud as she could that everyone should attack the hiding one who was located here or there or yon. Éfhelìnye however was creating for herself some sort of device which I can only describe as a combination fhèpta aquarium and xhrèngu crossbow, and growing from it were tubes and vines. She was managing to drench your Sisters with balloon flowers and was laughing all the while at her own ingenuity, until Ixhúja tackled her, and Siêthiyal and Akhlísa told her that they surrendered. So bedtime came. Akhlísa finished copying your Princess’ letter, Éfhelìnye affixed the copy to the Raven, and all was to be well that night.
Puîyus, I hope you don’t have to put up with these surprises after you’re married. Late in the night, from what I gathered, one of your Sisters, almost certainly Siêthiyal and Akhlísa, perhaps also with Ixhúja with them, certainly not Fhermáta who’s always been such a good girl, yes perhaps three of them, for Ixhúja and Siêthiyal and Akhlísa were sleeping in the same room and in the same bed, decided to sneak into Éfhelìnye’s room for to drench her with the quqlimùqli flowers. Éfhelìnye took her drenching with good humor, from what I can gather. But later, after your Sisters went back to sleep, something happened. It seems that Éfhelìnye had already rigged some sort of trap for their bed, some contraption of clockwork and ropes, but at some point, and in the middle of the night, the trap awoke, and suddenly the windows of the room were sprung open, and ropes began dragging the bed right out towards the windows that faced unto the loch beneath us. Chains were spinning around and constricting the blankets, so that Ixhúja and Siêthiyal and Akhlísa were trapped. The stories vary, but I think that the bed was drawn out upon the chains right unto the edge of the window, and there it upset several large barrels filled with hundreds of balloon flowers, and the your Sisters were completely soaked. At this point Éfhelìnye had to be in the room and was dancing her ballet of tripudiation. Now some say that the machine backfired and that it yanked at the bed and threw it down into the loch, others say that the Princess got trapped in the spinning chains and was hurled up into the machine and spat out into the loch, others say that Ixhúja and Siêthiyal managed to grab the Princess, trap her in the blanket, and toss her down, but when Grandma and Fhermáta and I came into the room we saw a mass of tubes and wires leading unto a window, one missing bed, and three drenched maidens blaiming everyone else for the Princess who had fallen into the loch. At once I ran down unto the verandā and dove into the waves and retrieved her from the waters, for I know that your Princess still does not know how to swim. She’s doing fine now, Puey, but she’s a little weak. She’s resting this night, but I’ll be sending these notes.
Give my love to your Father and Grandpa Khangisqrírles and Jàkopar
Your fantastic and beautiful Mother beyond all compare
I’m sure Mamà explained everything to you. I looked o'er the notes that the Princess was preparing for you, and I’ve tidied them up a little bit. I have to admit, though, that these notes were actually found in her pajama pockets when Mamà fished her out of the loch, so some of the ink was smudged beyond my ability to repair it, and they are a bit scatter splotched. I don’t want you to worry about her, though, this is not the first time when Éfhelìnye has almost drowned and been caught up in her own contraption, if one can believe the contradictory stories of Ixhúja and Siêthiyal and Kàrula. Please, please, please don’t worry about her. I’ll be with her all this night, and I’m sure that Mamà will find some suitable way to punish our Sisters.
[scribbled on the back of this sheet]
Puîyos, one had nothing to do with this. I was minding mine own business when Éfha’s half-created clockwork machine attacked me. She should not compete in games she has no hope of winning. When are you going to let me fight at the Void?
Say Puey! I just squeezed out a few ephahs of lochwater out of the Princess. I was pounding her tummy, and she was spitting out fish and kelp. It was probably one of the most disgusting things I’ve e'er seen. I wish you had been here to see it. This was altogether not my doing, my hijinx tend to have a flare to them. I hope you’re getting me something nice.
Guess what, Pew! Have you heard the tidings! Auntie Qtìmine’s going to visit and make us pancakes! That’s wonderful news! I can barely wait! I love it when we get pancakes. Oh and some dross has happened here, something with water and Éfhelìnye almost died. I’ll write later. Love you! Kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss!
Karuláta the magnificient wonderful beyond all compare most præterpluperfect in all the worlds
Kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss!
[The following sheets are a little wet. Some words have been carefully rewritten in Fhermáta’s steady handwriting. The corner of a couple of pages is lost, and some rather distinctive fish scales are pressed into the papyrus. Needless to say, all of these pages also contain the smell of water and wave and fish and loch and the games that are played on Summer nights]
next aspect to write to Puey should be about the musical tone structure of Language
now that he at least has some idea of the sounds of language, it may be a good idea to give him an idea of word derivation. Already written about Sound Symbolism, so why not show a little bit on what type of words we have. Compounds too. Compounds after Sound Symbolism, and then we can discuss the music.
The Marked Plural
Babel words are naturally considered plural, that is, a collection of items more than one. This is so natural, so inherent to our thought that we hardly e'er articulate it. We just assume that there are many flowers, trees, planets, unless told otherwise. We shall be discussing participles here. For instance the generic word for flying fish, fhín has one form which may be used for both the plural and the singular. If one were just to encounter fhín in a sentence one would assume that it were plural unless one found it paired with, for instance, a singular postjective such as wtsàtim. Fhín wtsàtim can only mean one green fish, but fhín wtsát can only mean green fishes, and so fhín is considered plural unless one is otherwise told that it is singular.
However, Puey, my love, about a third or so of all particples, I have not quite been able to put the number to rigorous testing, but about lríqnu feels right, have special singular forms which are builded off of the plural form. When a participle has a special irregular and singular form to it we say that it is fhìtsi, it is marked. This is an important part of grammar, so you’ll have to understand the distinction. In a similar way when we talk about the form without the irregularity to it, we simply say that it is fhitsìyaxúng, that it is unmarked. For instance, the word úlaxhei means trees, that is its normal fhitsìyaxúng, its unmarked plural form. However úlaxhei also comes in the form of úlaxhéyu a tree, and that is its fhìtsi, its marked singular form. About a third of the participles in Babel have special marked singular forms. Although these forms cannot be predicted, I have noticed that they tend to fall into certain patterns. Here are a few examples:
·ní· infix (usualwise implies animate); ·ná· infix (usualwise implies inanimate)
Khlèra, khleníra Stars, skydancren; qhànitlhu, qhanánitlhu beds
Qlaîkhto, qlaikhtònthe forests, uncultivated dreamlands; xhmòxhi, xhmoxhìnthe lochs
·s, ·r, ·ng
Aên, aêng tho who are seen for Þe last time; jiên, jiênga ptowren
·mat (manywhen implies a direct object)
Tuîn, tuînamat those who give (someone/something) (to friends, family, clan); tuinája, tuinamatája, those who give (someone/something) (to strangers)
·met (manywhen implies no direct object)
Àkhte, àkhtemet tho who come, leave; khmùtselo, khmutsèlomet those hwo cascade
Úne, úneqhe persons, people, men; qhaût, qhaûteqhe, those who forgive (sin/debt) (of a person)
·elónge (manywhen implies a direct object)
Koâs, koaselónge tho who love (somewhom/somewhat); pfhòrka, pfhorkelónge those who are pious to (someone/something)
·elínge (manywhen implies ne direct object)
Èthaka, ethaikelínge tho who adarrivë; pwisàpfhe, pwisapfhelínge, those who fall
·im, ·an, ·in, il
Wtsát, wtsàtim tho who are green; pwìngefhe, pwìngefhim tho who are white, silver, grey; pòtri, pòtrin those who drown
·ot, at, ·t
Ùrpa, ùrpat wolcen clouds; khòsyar, khosyárot tho who are blue
·a, o, u
Lwàngpeje, lwàngpeja peasants, small farmren; úlaxhei, úlaxhéyu trees; xhères, xhèra dirt, land, earth; fhàtlheir, fhéteru my/our father; qliê, qliêwa couches
Final –N becomes –ntu
Final –N becomes -ma
Tlhén, tlhèntu those who are long; qtén, qtèma those who go in, enter (someone/something)
A complicated process where a participle with an L or an R ends up with an infix of either -air/eir and sometimes a final -lu/ru
Akhíkhra, akhaîrikhu Stars, skydancren; tsàkhra, tseîrakhu ridges of whispering mountains
The vowel rises upwards, that is an A becomes E, an E becomes I, an O becomes U, or the vowel adds an –I and becomes a diphthong
Xhùxorl, xhùxurl those who honor (somewhom/somewhat); tyíla, tyailíla those who sing (someone/something)
Xhrúm, xhrùmum darkleness, an instances of darkleness; khmàtha, khmàmatha honey, drops of honey
Also be sure to explain to Puey that some participles come in natural triplets which also, like the marked forms, cannot be predicted. These are particples that denote gender markings, one for masculine, one for feminine, and one for epicine. In general these are found on participles that denote beasts as well as the members of some very ancient tribes or phatries. When one wishes to describe the gender of a creature or tribe which does not already have such markings onthem, there are a variety of methods for doing so, such as the masculine prefixes xhór-, óxhai +, *xhola- the feminine prefixes xhér-, éxhai + , xhele-, the prefixes túngai +, kungai +, of the same sex of the speaker, taôngai+, kaongai+ of the opposite sex of the speaker, and the various focus suffixes of anwa, enwe, inwi, ojhwo and -ujhwu, for epicine, masculine, feminine, non-sentient animate, non-sentient inanimate
Masculine: ·arn, ·oxha, ·a, u
Òqtexharn a male Dragon of the Òqtexha phatry; khyèqhair, a male Dragon; fhún a male flying fish
Feminine: ·ern, ·exhe, ·o, e
Òqtaxhern a female Dragon of the Òqtexha phatry; khyèqhiir a female Dragon; fhén a feminine flying fish
Epicine: ·orn, ·i
Òqtexha a Dragon of the Òqtexha phatry; khyèqhiir a Dragon in general; fhín flying fishes in general
Be sure to explain unto Puey that many body parts also come in triplets. The form without any suffix is use to denote my or our body part, the one with an I or E of some sort your body part, and the one with an O or U his or hers or thairs. Like the marked singular and the gender markings, this formation is also not productive, that is, one cannot just add a suffix or infix consisting of a vowel unto a participle and hope to make sense. One has a rich set of level five prefixes which are used to denote possession in that way, for instance tnèfhta means my or our eyen or eye but janatnèfhta means mine eyen and khnatatnèfhta means our eyen and janatnèfhtaxing is mine eye and khnatatnèfhtaxing means our one eye. I have heard the Qlùfhem say something like that from time to time.
Lwós, lwòxhnu my, our heart; tnèfhta my, our eye
(second person) -ii, -ei, -ie
Lwòsii your heart; tniêfhta your eye
(third person) -oe, -eu
Lwòsoi his/hir/thair heart; tneûfhta his, hir, thair eye
Explain to Puey that a majority of Babel words for body parts come in triplets with special forms for first, second, & third person, and then confuse him because there are a small group of body parts which which typically lack such forms, such as words for hair, teeth, blood, souls. Write a list and be sure to include the following in it:
Ekhlúyi, blood, eûkh, sabor teeth, èwii, èwiim, brain, mind, soul, fhóreîyii, souls, vital force, fhtàkhta, souls, manes, jhùtha, jhujhútha, blood; drops of blood, jhwùtha, blood, khnìnthiel, souls, ghosts, khwíkh, brain, mind, soul, pfheûs, pfhèpfheus, blood, gore, pfhùsya, blood, gore, thikeûpa, tuft of hair, hair, thyaê, fur, úpa, soul, spirit, manes, xeû, sabor teeth, fangs, xhemaûngta, xhemaûngtu, blood, drops of blood,
[ink is smudged and runs down the length of the page]
almost always found with one of the inseperable possession level five prefixes upon them, or in the vocative case, and even with such a prefix upon them. For instance, although one may say:
Jaê’ ekhlúyi tsenaqiêlaloi púxhli.
I saw blood upon the hill.
It is far more common to say:
Jaê teiwayekhlúyi tsenaqiêlaloi púxhli.
I saw saw his blood upon the hill.
The teiwa- does not even have to refer to any specific person, it’s just someone’s blood in origin. In the Lexicon I have drawn a little a little Star after participles which almost always take some form of possession, even if the possessor is not known or is indefinate.
Hope all of these details are not too confusion. Procede to kinship terms:
Follow a similar pattern:
Khmekhoapúna my/our grandson; khmekhoapúni my/our grandchild; khmekhoapúno my/our granddaughter; qráyìngte my/our mother
(second person) a/e/i + rj/rth/rp/rsy/rq + a/e
Khmekhoapúnàrsya your grandson; khmekhoapúnèrka your granddaughter;
khmekhoapúniêrtha your grandchild; qráyingtèrpa your mother
(third person) oi/ai + ng/ngq/ngp + a/e
Khmekhoapúnaîngqa his/hir/thair grandson; khmekhoapúneyoîngpa his/hir/thair granddaughter; khmekhoapúniyoîngqa his/hir/thair grandchild; qráyiîngta his/hir/thair mother
Like body parts almost all Babel kinship terms are marked for first, second, and third person. There are a small minority of unmarked kinship terms which almost always take the level five inseperable prefixes however. Give Puey examples. Xhroxekhpaxhmoxéxhe, maternal aunt, janaxhroxekhpaxhmoxéxhe, my maternal aunt, khleinaxhroxekhpaxhmoxéxhe, thy maternal aunt; xhroxokhpaxhmoxéxhe paternal aunt, janaxhroxokhpaxhmoxéxhe, my paternal aunt, khleinaxhroxokhpaxhmoxéxhe, thy paternal aunt. Et cet. Other kinship terms of similar sort. These mostly denote ancestors and descendents. Examples?
Áteri, parents, ancestors, éfhya, descendents, khùka, male descendents, khùke, female descendents, khùki, descendents, male or female, pfhiqtafha, fathers, ancestors,
[rest of page smudged]
Puey, I have done my best to draw out the Princess’ words on this other leaf. It seems that she was writing out some ideas on showing name suffixes
(Masculine) –e, iqan, ·os, us, o, u, ·i
Puîyus <> wthèjhu + jaîpa + fhtùwo + xoêkh + sìfhikh + khaqrènyo + khówi + khwànit + khyùqhal + khlíse + khyaxájhe + xhmátsu) tho who judge (somewhom/somewhat) to be silly, flocci·nauci·nihili·pilificate
Xixhaxikhaxhraxókhertqeqastitusqoiqhiefhukapujurakayokhójokeplikafhojifhrerqhojhepurfhejhepielajhepekheujhakhneuthafhiisafhapatlhaqhesixhwasqokhnèxhre ( > xìxhaxikh + xhraxókher + tqèqa + stìtu + sqoê + qhiêkhut/qhiefhuk· + pujùraka + okhójo + kèpli + kàfho + jithrèrqho + jhpùrfhe + jhpiêl + jhpèkheu + jhakhneûtha + fhiîs + fhàpatlha + aqhesixhwàsqo) chronick coughs ør hiccoughs, especially in Þe presence of mist ond dust; pneumono·ultra·microscopick·silico·volcano·coniosis
[the epistle breaks off, and the rest of the pages are a collection of ink and paint and color]