Ok, I'm still reading through all of this but I have some questions already:
- What's the rule about assembling words? Here are some examples from European languages and I'd like to ask you what you think is how Kilrathi do it most often:
A typical example from German: "Katzenfutter" means cat food. It is assembled by using the plural of cat, and the word for food. For a German it is clear that it is food for cats, and not, for example, food made of cats. In Spanish or French they usually put it the other way round. They first write what it is, then what it is for. Also they use several several words, while in German you usually have one long word.
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is four words in English, in German it can be one word (although with a dash in it) "Nordatlantikpakt-Organisation", in French it is four words, but the other way round: "Organisation du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord"
From the words you posted I can see all of those. Which rules could apply?
I usually construct new words from smaller existing words in the simplest terms I can manage, and it's generally a direct line translation. Just yesterday for the Squire's Tale I had to come up with a word for "eloquence". After looking it up on simple.wiktionary.org, I found a definition of "quality of using language well and effectively" (if Simple Wiktionary fails, I usually go straight to standard Wiktionary at en.wiktionary.org ). I simplified that to "quality speak", looked up those words in the lexicon table - dikiquxi = "quality" and le = "to speak", and put them together: dikiquxile = "eloquent / eloquence".
Now as far as modifiers go, in the early going I was placing modifiers ahead of words and combining it into one long word, unless I thought it looked too long, at which point I broke it up; that length was arbitrary. Later I decided to put modifiers at the end of the word, again combining it into one long word unless it got to be too long (again, arbitrarily); some modifiers and concepts could only be applied as prefixes, and for those I kept the prefix. And anything having to do with numbers is always kept separate.
Prepositions are kept seperated from verbs and nouns and their objects follow. Conjunctions stay separate if joining parts of sentences, but form single long words if they form a list.
Take the "Who's on First" translation over at RSI - let's go with one of the longer lines; this is Costello talking:
Sivaska: Ni'nis nischur rah maks bahukormaga'a gararo, aiy'hrajhak'ha dohukormaga du ni'ahn maks dak'a'graga jaq. Eshma dak'a'graga'dakinhukormaga. Ja'lesh gar'dakinhukormaga, nai, bahukormaga'aki, ni'h'asdokil talan du lanbraj ar. Konis, ni'bhahukormaga maks dogar du ja'lhra?
Sivaska is the literal translation of the name "Louis" (siva+ska, "famous warrior").
Ni'nis = I go
nishur = behind/backwards
rah = home
maks = and
bahukormaga'a = ba + hukormaga + 'a = to get + sphere + one who does = one who gets the sphere = catcher / catching. Catching in this case, because of the next word -
gararo = fancy
Ni'nis nischur rah maks bahukormaga'a gararo = "I go behind home (plate) and (do some) fancy catching"
aiy'hrajhak'ha = aiy'hrajhak + 'ha = tomorrow + to be = "Tomorrow is"
dohukormaga = do + hukormaga = to fly/throw + sphere = "to throw a sphere" = pitching.
du = general all-purpose locative preposition. In this particular case, you go to the next words for context; du in this case is being used for "on".
ni'ahn = my team/my group.
maks = and
dak'a'graga = dak + 'a + graga = stroke + one who does + heavy = "a heavy one that strokes" = heavy hitter. (i.e. a batter)
jaq = to come
aiy'hrajhak'ha dohukormaga du ni'ahn maks dak'a'graga jaq = "Tomorrow is pitching on my team and a heavy hitter comes (up)."
Eshma = now/modern/this time
dak'a'graga'dakinhukormaga = dak'a'graga + dak + -in + hukormaga = heavy hitter (as before) + (strike + diminuative) + sphere = "the heavy hitter bunts the ball"
Eshma dak'a'graga'dakinhukormaga = "Now the heavy hitter bunts the ball".
Ja'lesh = when
gar'dakinhukormaga = gar + dakinhukormaga = general third-person prefix (in this case, "he")+ "bunts the ball"
nai = I/me
bahukormaga'aki = bahukormaga'a + ki = catcher + good = "a good catcher"
ni'h'asdokil = ni' + h'as + do + kil = I/me + will/shall + throw/fly + man (work with me here) = "I will throw the guy"
talan = general opposite all-purpose locative preposition. In this case, Costello is trying to throw the guy out.
du = general all-purpose locative preposition. In this case, it is supposed to mean "at".
lanbraj ar = lan + braj + ar = place + safe + first = first base.
Ja'lesh gar'dakinhukormaga, nai, bahukormaga'aki, ni'h'asdokil talan du lanbraj ar. = "When he bunts the ball, me, a good catcher, I will throw the guy out at first base."
Konis = reason / motive / so
ni'bhahukormaga = ni'bha + hukormaga = I get + sphere = "I get the ball"
maks = and
dogar = do + gar = throw/fly + third-person pronoun (the ball, so "it") = "throw it"
du = general all-purpose locative preposition. In this case, it is supposed to mean "to".
ja'lhra? = who?
Konis, ni'bhahukormaga maks dogar du ja'lhra? = "So, I get (i.e. I pick up) the ball and throw it to who?
To which of course Abbott's response is Eshma mas'hahu ar ri'lek he = "Now that is the first thing you've said right".
Eshma = now/ modern /this time
mas'hahu ar = (mas'ha) + (hu ar) = that + to be + thing + first = "That is the first thing" - remember, numbers are always kept seperate; same goes for ordinals.
ri'lek = ri + le + -k = You + say + past tense marker = "You said"
he = correct / true
Those may be too specific of responses but hopefully it clarifies the way I'm doing things just a little bit
I've been using English sentence structure (SVO) up to this point, though that's largely because I've been working in translating materials that were originally in English. There are examples of SOV in the Kilrathi and even one or two of OVS (Klingon-style); I chalk those up to being "earlier versions of the language" or "examples of other dialects".Also the grammar: SVO-structure? Or if not, what and when? In German we use SVO in normal sentences, but in relative clauses we use SOV. Latin mostly uses SOV but permits SVO in some cases IIRC. IIRC Japanese uses SOV (Yoda-speak if you do it in English), but I'm not sure...
That's alright; a lot of the early posts on this thread were written as an attempt to stay awake from a period between 2-7 AM; they lack a certain sense of coherency as a result.Side note: I fear I don't get the structure of your posts sometimes, so pardon me if I ask for stuff you already explained. It seems I have to read them a few times to really understand them.