Epiphany 1

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A friend, who I had not seen in a while, asked me how I had been.  I gave an answer that I had been involved in work, gym and church, and that kept me busy.  It would be good to do a summary of my progress.

Work has not been entirely satisfactory.  A conflict of personalities was resolved by the end of the year.  The leadership of the last year and more has been lost.  I feel disappointed over this waste of spirit.  New leadership will be appointed in early 2016.  I hope that this will prove to be a more stable relationship and a better workplace.

Gym and physical exercise is something that I do when I get time, usually any evening that I am free of appointments I fit it in.  Last year I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, 80/150 I think, and resolved to do something about it.  Diet made the biggest benefit, getting my weight down to 70 kilo.  I’m thinner, if not slimmer, through changing to low fat milk and edam cheese, as well as religiously reading the fat and suger content on everything I buy.  If it’s above 5 grammes per serving I look if there’s another option.  Exercising regularly helps.  I do a cardio programme of treadmill, stepping, and running at least a couple of times a week if I can.

I live across town to my preferred church, usually a forty minute walk.  Often I can get a ride.  I don’t depend on it.  I don’t get to many social events as available as when I live closer.  I’m an office-bearer and I’m over there for meetings regularly.  It acts as a social encounter for me.

There are projects on my computer that I continue with.  The imaginary language Brithenig continues to grow in lexicon.  I visit the university library to create new words from Welsh and Romance languages.  I continue other projects, an imaginary city which I add details to when I hear description, and a folder of imaginary characters I created years ago for writing fantasy.  The writing was never finished, the characters still remain.

My life continues, quietly, in one place.  There is always new books to read, new ideas to discover.

Hobbit Spotting

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We began retreat last weekend with a crowd breaker exercise.  Everyone wrote down one thing the rest of the group didn’t know about them.  I wondered what I wanted to share about myself.  I wrote ‘father was a linesman’.  They were read out and we guessed which one around the circle.  Mine was one of the last.  I was asked if he fell from grace.  Yes, he did.  He had a stroke, or something similar, while up a ladder and fell to his death.  This was back in the 1980s when I was still at school.  I did not regret sharing it.  As I have said elsewhere I do not mourn my dead as much as I take joy in remembering them.  I was happy to talk about dad and would have said more.  An honoured memory.

On the book front, I have finished Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch.  It was an entertaining read, a diversion about the police department that deals with the magic side of the city of London.  I will look out for Moon over Soho, the next in the series.  Currently I’m reading London Falling, a darker book by Paul Cornell, again about London police, and a much darker occult.  For the first 80 pages the characters seemed to blur and slide in my reading, they didn’t have distinct voices in my head.  Now the story has kicked in and the magic begins to get more interesting.

I’m currently working on translating some sentences from Maori Language Week into Brithenig.  While it is topical I want to have a go at the poem Home, by Warsan Shire.

Hobbit Spotting

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A friend read my blog and asked me where I was.  I’m across town in an old house halfway between Columba Collge and the green belt.  It’s an old character house.  This is a nice way of saying it could be warmer,.  The owners are away until the end of the month on a tour across Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.  Mostly cathedrals.  Every so often I see a little photo story from St Magnus in Orkney, Petersborough, Ely or Jarrow.

It could be warmer, especially today with spring snow in Dunedin.  The days are getting earlier in the hypernotides, the islands beyond the south wind.  I wake up to the cold blue sky of the pre-dawn.

Also picked up some books from the library that I have been waiting to read: Rivers of London, the first in the series by Ben Aaronovitch about the wizarding and supernatural cops of that city.  The protagonist, new cop Peter Grant, is a little slow.  I worked out about 100 pages ahead of him that the big bad he is hunting is a popular sea-side puppet anti-hero, who just happens to be on the cover!  I am enjoying reading the magic training classes Grant is doing, so far making balls of light, levitating apples, and now up to casting fire balls.  I haven’t read this kind of description in a while.

The Water Knife, by Paolo Bacigalupi, is sitting on my dressing table. I’m getting through it more slowly, only my second chapter in.  It’s a different kind of fiction.  I have set Saints of the Shadow Bible aside while I work through the library books.

At work I have swapped Poems by Iain Banks and Ken McLeod for McLeod’s Descent. It was a mutual swap for titles the other had not read.

After looking at the dictionaries again it looks like ill pasedig a weddir will remain the word for boarding pass.

Hobbit spotting

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I am finding no incentive to report on lectures at the moment.  Perhaps it’s where I am.  There have been a sudden flurry of opportunities to house-sit for friends in the latter part of the year.  A friend visits his partner in China for a month in winter.  I house-sit for him and care for his cats.  Another friend hears of it and I jumps at the opportunity that I could care for her sixteen year old cat while she is on leave overseas in Europe.  I’m happy to provide for them and sit here typing into their spare laptop while Glitzy Candle-bears curls up beside me.  A happy situation.

Friends ask me if I still have a flat.  Yes, I visit my studio room to keep my pot-plants watered and cared for.  They look after themselves.  I will go stay there for a couple of weeks in October and then I go house-sitting again.  This time with chickens instead of cats.  This should be a challenge.  Chickens are a specialised highly evolved form of dinosaurs.  We kept chickens when I was a kid.  I should manage.

Other than that life goes on.  I heard today one retired minister at Opoho is going into Ross Home Hospital in the interim.  It sounds like he will be permanently moving there.  Another death has happened in the congregation.  Unfortunately at this stage I will not be getting to the funeral.  We have too many people away from the Archives this week and I will be the only permanent staff member on that day.  I feel I need to be at work.  I will have to put in my apologies.

Current Brithenig project: translating words from Te Wiki o te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week).  I going to have to stop at the university library again and look how I want to create a word to mean ‘pass’ in ‘boarding pass’.  I thought passedig would do it, but that means ‘walkway’ or ‘drive’.  The usual word for ‘passage, ride’ is pas, and I know that the word I want to isn’t that.  I will look again to create the word I want.

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.

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