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!

Conlang Relay 19

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Usually I would put this stuff on my Blogger account, but I’m battering my head there because something’s disabled and I can’t get it to work.  The WordPress interface seems less clunky for me (at the moment), so I will post the fun I’ve been having with this translation exercise here.  Ignore as you please.
I had been doing a translation of Amanda Babcock Furrow’s text for the Conlang Relay 19, which is here.  It seemed like a good exercise to translate it into my current imaginary language.  The exercise took longer than I expected and I worked on it at my own time and leisure.  Here’s the result:

Ten âyet yilí botí nirúmbe benas. Údnon premye habot ve kashte “Gak súda petten âyet nisha bena?”

Tal ve bonte “Na’dâ ve kawiden shame”

Deng a lúka íyet. Pena kúhya, brekí ve kashten, “Ya botí, na’dâ pochen shodya nisha benan. Na’dâ ve kashoden ye dâya lúb, dok gúya pena Sei ei petten so bina wa nastra, dok kembí ve kawidet.” Botí ve shahente, dok deng a lúka ve shodyete bôt.

Pet poslí kata deng ve plogete lúb a kashte:

“Bodú ve ploget nisha benan, dok bodú ve bint bradí surutí, wôda ría ye aotoka dradra.

Premye habot ve kashte “Magarí kem na’dâ ve gabinten ten.”

Tal ve bonte “Nas shradyega budet sús nipana.”

Nidolgon poslí merega, luk ve dâyet lúb a kashte:

“Bodú ve seft nisha benan, dok bodú ve bint títíg haní, títíg bishí, ye títíg dúdwan.”

Premye habot ve kashte “Na’dâ wolenshim bina ten.”

Tal ve bonte “Nas shradyega budet shaten nipana.”

There were two rocks on the slope of a mountain.  Once the first rock said, “I wonder what’s beyond the mountain?”

The other replied, “We shall never know.”

A bird and a mouse was there.  On hearing, they said, “O rocks, we can go beyond the mountain.  We can go and come again, and tell to you about what we see, and you will know.  The rocks agreed, and the bird and the mouse went away.

Soon after a time the bird came back and said:

“I flew beyond the mountain, and I saw wide streams, green brooks and tall trees.”

The first rock said, “I wish we could see that.”

The other replied, “Our hearts will be troubled forever.”

A long time after some days the mouse came back and said:

“I went by foot beyond the mountain, and I saw the same grasses, the same seeds and the same insects.”

The first rock said, “We don’t want to see that.”

The other replied, “Our hearts will be happy forever.”


Why Brithenig Ain’t an Engelang

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On a whim I visited the Conlang List website a couple of nights ago.  I was surprised to see the thread with the above title.  When I have a subscription to the list I keep my account as Nomail because I don’t want the high amount of traffic in my inbox.  While there was some discussion of my work on Brithenig the discussion had moved on before I had noticed.

On physical examination of myself I found that neither of my ears were burning.  If my right ear was warm then I guess somebody was praising, if my left ear then somebody was dissing me.  I’m still breathing, and I think I can find a pulse, I’m not very good at finding that.  No contact had been made to me by the members of the discussion.  I had become an observer on people talking about my work, even though I’m not dead yet.  Is this how Jesus feels?

I only glanced briefly at the discussion.  I had come to the conclusion that the creation of a posteriori language creation is a weak form of engelang as much as it is an artlang.    The criteria for it to be aesthetically pleasing is subjective.  Brithenig has rules  of historical soundchange that dictate the appearance of the language.  The distinction to me is blurred and borderline, and irrelevant.  Mind you, I am not a student of the distinctions between artlang, engelang, nor auxlang.  They don’t interest me.

Conlangery 44: Negation and Brithenig

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I should note that the Podcast blog Conlangery has done a review on Brithenig.  The first part of the podcast is about inventing negative clauses in imaginary languages.  In the second part they review the webpages on Brithenig, my language.  They recorded it in March at 6pm Atlantic Coast Time.  As this is in the early hours of the morning for me in my timezone I declined to be interviewed.  I some ways listening to them looking through my pages I am a little glad I was not interviewed.  I would have felt a little defensive.  I am probably being thin-skinned (which I am!)  The language is a ‘a postiori’ created out of existing material rather than ‘a priori’, created from imagination.  In this case it is created from Romance language grammar and lexicon created to touch and feel like Welsh.  It pioneered a cluster of similar languages, and its own secondary world.  The language deserves a revision.  The webpages available on Brithenig have become dated in content and appearance.  I think dedicating some time to work on this is some time away yet.  Never mind.

Visiting with

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Inspired by a recent post on Omniglot I added a new reflexive verb to the Brithenig Wordlist: gwisitarsi cu.  It means ‘to pay a visit, to visit with…’, the act of visiting someone regularly for a good chat: Mam si wisitara cumeg: Mum will pay me a visit (which she will when she comes up to Dunedin to see The Enchanted Island, a Metropolitan opera at the Rialto this weekend).

Scintillate, scintillate, o nocturnal illumination

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Another card arrived today, a Christmas star poem from little princess Éfhelìnye with a Lewis Carroll card. A count of the cards on my mantelpiece comes to twelve. They have all come. A successful return for the cards I sent out.

I went into town today looking for the new Gin Wigmore CD Gravel and Wine. I confess to being disappointed. Heavy use of drums and bass guitar obscured her voice and moments of this album sounded like white noise to me. The title of the album came from the first song which I found was the first piece on my initial hearing.

Conlang Exchange Card update

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Since returning from Christmas three more exchange cards have arrived: a letter from Njenfalgar; a postcard from Dave Peterson in Dothraki; and a card from Amanda Furrow with a Merechi sea shanty sung to I Saw Three Ships.

Dothraki is, of course, the language of the leather-clad horse-riders of the television series, A Game of Thrones. It’s playing on Sky TV. I disdain to pay for television so I haven’t seen it yet. I expect it is a matter of time before it plays on their free-to-air channel Prime and I will watch it then.

This brings the number of cards to ten. I sent out twelve and haven’t checked to see who I have yet to receive from, or have not yet received from. I am satisfied with my return from this exchange.

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