The 2013 Smiley Award Winner: Brithenig


On behalf of the Brithenig language I am happy to accept the Smiley Award for 2013.  Thank you very much.  The Smiley Award is given out yearly by David Peterson.  There is no prize for winning a Smiley Award, not even a coffee voucher.  (Wait! What!  No Mocha?!)  David’s credentials is that he is one of the bright young things of the Conlang community who, at this date, has created languages spoken on three American television series, including Game of Thrones.  The first Smiley award when out in 2006.  I envied the list of recipients that included Teonaht, Kelen, Amman Iar, Okuna and Rikchik.  All beautiful languages, and creative.  How I wished that my own work could be included among this number.

Then, in the last days of 2013, David sent me a message asking if Brithenig could be awarded the Smiley for 2013.  He wrote a review of Brithenig and posted it on his website.  I provided him with some information.  The description was David’s work and I was delighted to read it.  It’s a wonderful and enthusiastic description of how Brithenig works and sounds.  Yes, I do worry about what people say about my work.  In this case I’m happy.  In fact, I’m chuffed.

There is still work to be done.  Brithenig created its own world which others shared in.  I still work on the language like an solitary workman in a shed.  I put together translations, raiding the dictionaries at the local university library to imagine new words.  They go up on their own Facebook page.  There are things I don’t know.  After so long I still don’t know what the Brithenig speakers are really like, just out of reach in my imagination.  I imagine what the language could look like.  I wonder how to write the proper grammar of the language.  This remains undone.

Brithenig travels on its own journey, from Earthlight, to Griffler Enterprises, now mirrored at Jan van Steenbergen’s Multilingual Mutterings, another of the creative people of the Conlang community.  Ill Dragun Rhys duġ ill modd! The Red Dragon leads the way.  Brithenig’s little friendly totum remains its guide, an animated gif I found in the earliest days, appropriate uplifted from a website for a Welsh hairdresser’s shop if I remember correctly!

dragonAnd always, thanks to Marc Pasquin for the Kemrese flag.

My turn came around.  Now who’s next?  I know I would nominate Irina Rempt’s Ilaini if it was my choice, a language with its own history and culture.

Fiat lingua!

A Brithenig translation for Yom HaShoah

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Eo grêdd in ill sul

benc ys es tardd

i suryer

Eo grêdd in ill afur

benc ys es asent

Eo grêdd in ill Dew

benc ys yst


I believe in the sun though it is late in rising

I believe in love though it is absent

I believe in God though he is being silent…

I haven’t checked ‘asent’ for absent, although ‘aseint’ for absence is listed.  So working back this is an acceptable translation.  The original was an anonymous graffiti written by French Jews fleeing the Holocaust.

Useful Words and Phrases

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I have a pile of Teach Yourself language books to work through as a project.  One of them is TY Welsh, the 1992 edition.  The first chapter included the following list of Useful Words and Phrases.  Such a simple introduction to the language!  Since this is the language on which Brithenig is based I should give a translation as an introduction.

How to

1. Express Greetings.

Bon fathin. Good morning.

Bon ddiwrn. Good afternoon, good day.

Bon suir. Good evening.

Bon noeth. Good night.

Bon salyd! Good health!

2. Ask Permission.

Pod-eo sidderci? May I sit here?

Pod-eo aydar? May I help?

3. Say thank you.

Greid. Thanks.

Greid mulltisaf.  Thanks very much.

4. Ask someone’s name and say your own name.

Ke gos aphella’gw? What’s your name? What are you called?

Gareth eo aphell. I am called Gareth.

Lisa eo aphell. I am called Lisa.

5. Ask someone if they speak Brithenig.

Parola’gw Frithenig?

6. Ask what someone’s occupation is and say what you do.

Ke gos es gwstr llafur? What is your occupation?

Yn ifferfeir eo su. I’m a nurse.

Yn meddig eo su. I’m a doctor.

7. State your nationality.

American eo su. I’m American.

Comro eo su. I’m Welsh.

8. Say No…

Rhen greid.

Rhen sucar.

Rhen problem.

I needed to find a new word to add to my dictionary, ifferfeir nurse (m, f).  There will be more to come when I reach the next chapter.

Exchangetide Greetings 8

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A second post-card arrived today from China.  This one is an evocative extract from the Akrama Epic “Alaxaba” written by Christopher Tang.  The language looks like long agglutinative sentences transcribed from a pictographic script.  I would like to know the inspiration for this language.  A close examination shows that a symbol resembling an eye is used in sentences for ‘my eyes’, ‘to blind’, ‘tears’, and ‘to stare at’.  The word for ‘my eyes’ is transliterated uxukta in two sentences.  I think I recognise the symbol for ‘ancestor’.  I can’t work it out in the transliteration, one sentence uses it to translate ‘ancestors’ and the second time it is used in a character which is translated ‘ancestral land’.  That is my guess.

I will keep vigil in hope the final cards turn up in the next few weeks.

Exchangetide Greetings 7

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I had thought that the last of the Conlang Exchange Cards had arrived.  I had filed them away in my collection.  So I was quite delighted when there was a beautiful postcard arrived today from Marcus Shiu in China.  It is a blue card written in silver in its own script, the Akul language.  I will display it on the mantelpiece before I file it away with the rest.  There were some addresses in China and Taiwan that I have not yet received.  Perhaps it is possible that they will come.  I am hopeful.

Exchangetide Greetings 6

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Another card today.  This time from Carl Miller.  On the back it says Made in Safiria by Carl Miller.  There’s no mention whether that refers to the font the card is written in, or to the language. No information  is supplied to the translate the greeting or give context.  The greeting is a wish for the Goddesses to smile on the recipient at Winter Solstice.  The cover image looks like an Angel in falling green snow.  Perhaps this pretty image represents the Safirian goddesses?

I will check my collection.  I think I have received cards from Carl in previous years and this might add more information.

Exchangetide Greetings 5

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I did not expect any cards to arrive today.  None arrived over the days after  New Year’s Day and Blank Holiday when the post should have been delivering.  However I went out for a walk today and there was a card for me resting on the table in the foyer.  I was most delighted.  It was come from Christian Borillo, a poem by the Minhast poet Karumek celebrating the mating of two snow cranes on a winter lake.

That brings my count of cards to eight.  I will leave them on display in hopes that the remaining cards arrive.

Exchangetide Greetings 4

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A card arrived from Sam today.  I glad he is on my exchange list.  He does cards from an interesting imagined culture, Selen.  This year’s card came with lots of owls.  It talks about the owl goddess, Lya, who walks the wintry earth during January inspiring intellect, wisdom, and really stupid behaviour.  Good luck with that last one!

I will enjoy the owls.

Exchangetide Greetings 3

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Back from the holidays.  Two more cards came while I was away.  The arrival of cards gets dodgy at this time of year as statutory holidays plays merry havoc with the post .

  • First up is New Year greetings in Sandic.
  • Second is friendly greetings and a wish for happiness from Lhaa Siri.

Both cards are winter-themed.


Exchangetide Greetings 2

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Another three cards have arrived at the end of the week.

  • A post card of introduction from Robert Murphy who is working on a reconstruction of Parseltongue called Stilio.
  • Yule-tide greetings sent from Elimtilas in the Eastlands of the World where the savage Yeolfather visits children at the feast of Yeol.
  • Solstice greetings from Andrej Šuc, a poem in Laefêvëši

That is all for now.  I’m sure that there will be more after I return from Christmas with my family.


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