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The Thing Explainer
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achemel



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:20 pm    Post subject: The Thing Explainer Reply with quote

Eldin suggested translating The Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe as a challenge, and so I found myself a copy and started working on it. The funny thing is, I discovered I didn't even have a word for "explain" in my most developed conlang, ddamychal!

The following is the introduction to the book, which has no pictures. I asked for permission to scan the images from the book and put my own words over them but I haven't heard back about that yet. I don't know yet if it would be better to post a link to the pictures or if I should embed them in posts here, so your opinions would be much appreciated.

And now, the start of the book!





Al-Lwf kron al-guir kal-goll

Takh!

Iál hala ga-goll ka segurin e dukhin pethna. Hal-lwf parpa tal nóghal mela sle chwsigath ddéro, al-setach lynd al lor dukhin kal-llakhib ylbi mé tal al-demad se iretna. Iá lwf hesa e ma pyran takh ghe parpar chiab al-goll hala iá-nat.

Hesala palent morlach ka sam bakha yn bent tal al-demad azaé tal na-hillaéla ilfiryn. Iatte iá yn sa hesa sehant dukhin mela iad na-fedola ma seth nar.

Ga-etw í tal iatte hesala sent dukhin mela hala al-hwn kal-alis. Al-alis hala senetha, ech na-hala dechiát senetha. Ghym al-lem tal terma, hala memiá forkhtera elakh al-ches. Dal hesal al-ynotach ga-ganden kal-khan óda tal hech a ayl elakh al-alis, khg-pyrab rimhifir holen hwn hala al-alis, ghe azach fes dukhin mela tal tan-seb rama ‘senetha.’ Ech morlachfir na-hala khade dechiát tal hal al-hwn, ga al-demad tes pyra ‘senetha.’

Iad hesaka ga-emes, shanóka an gandenin ka-ch ghe shanóka ma seth dukhin mela morla í etwnan al-hwn kal-alis-nat. Iatte seéla iádyn dukhin mela rodd hesakni natha an al-dukhin khora ka ga-lem mela. Ech morlachfir, khoynón hesaka yn bent tal dal seka al-dukhin khora, nóden etheé tal na-hillala al-dukhin mela.

Sa tiama al-iratach kal-goll rodd sa iáhak sam karakhte kal-ékhitach khaled. Bénlat, iad hesab al-pyratach al-dukhin ‘gandenin kal-khan óda’-nat ghe ‘mayb ehessenan’-nat, hal-etw ékhi khaled. Al-setach kal-dukhin pethna sa anuk ma na-yn bef nen morlach. Sa tem-giza ma inar aniddin shana kal-etwnan ghe ma bushar ma parpar surwysin chwsigath kal-lemnan shana.

Fes pewtin pyrani tal nat-aza ga-degha ma shanón dukhin mela iamenfir – al-khade khletna hala al-hilla kal-lem tal etwnan ddéroni, na-hala mil aniddin. Na-ethela tal hesa khoyna. Khoyfir ma shanón ka etwnan, fedob liwt im éd demad, ghe dal isyb ma hodol iá demad, fedob ma hillach tala tal sani an al-dukhin tal seni. Ea fedob ma hillach lem etwnan iát dasani, ga tan-siueb an nar.

Ech azach morlach gollin éd tal parpani lem etwnan iát dasani. Iá goll parpa lem ddéroni.

Yna, thaddala al-iatach kal-goll cheli. Termam al-lwf ma shanón ka khan óda!





Page before the book starts

Hi!

This is a book of pictures and simple words. Each page explains how something important or interesting works, using only the ten hundred words in our language that people use the most. This page is here to say hello and explain why the book is like this.

One thing that I've sometimes used big words for is the shape of the world. The world is round, but it's not exactly round. Because of how it spins, it's a little wider around the middle. If you're building a space boat that's going to fly around the world, you have to be clear about what shape the world is, and there are some big words that you can use instead of "round." But most of the time, it doesn't matter exactly what the shape is, so people just say "round."

When I was in school, I learned about space boats and learned to use lots of big words for things like the shape of the world. Sometimes I would use those big words because they were different from the small words in an important way. But a lot of the time, I was really just worried that if I used the small words, someone might think I didn't know the big ones.

I liked writing this book because it made me let go of my fear of sounding stupid. After all - when you're saying things like "space boats" and "water pushers,"
everything sounds stupid. Using simple words let me stop worrying so much. I could just have fun making up new names for things and trying to explain cool ideas in new ways.

Some people say that there's no reason to learn big words in the first place - all that matters is knowing what things
do, not what they're called. I don't think that's always true. To really learn about things, you need help from other people, and if you want to understand those people, you need to know what they mean by the words they use. You also need to know what things are called so you can ask questions about them.

But there are lots of other books that explain what things are called. This book explains what they do.

Okay, I'm done talking about the book now. Turn the page to learn about space!

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achemel



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Words I had to make:
"to explain" - /parpar/, from /pyn/ "to tell" and /pyran/ "to say". In some regions can be used as an onomatopoeia for a manner of speech, such as speaking rapidly.

"clear, apparent" - /rimhid/, likely from "clear" /rimhel/ and "obvious" /id/, or from a common root with "clear", /rim(h)-/

"that" - /iádyn/, "this" + morpheme expressing distance in time or space.
In most cases where English distinguishes between "this" and "that," ddamychal does not need to, but I came across an instance where it would be much more appropriate to have a demonstrative "that" and found I didn't have such a word in the dictionary.

"pusher" - /ehesse/ from “to push” /ehed/ and “doer" morpheme /-sse/




Some problems I encountered:

While he uses what are the 1000 most common words in English, the multiple definitions of words that seem simple, like ‘clear,’ caused a lot of conflict in translation depending on context. For example, I had to create the verb ‘to explain’ where normally it would be derived from something relevant, such as ‘clear’ which was my first choice, but when I looked at my word for ‘clear’ I knew it was only meant in the sense of clear water, clear skies, and other things that are physically and visibly clear. It was never meant to be used in any other way. ‘Obvious’ would not be an appropriate substitute, and I had no word meaning ‘to define’ either. So there was the first stumbling block besides agonizing over whether to use all nouns in the header or throw a verb in there, because both would be acceptable. Then, when I came across ‘clear’ again in basically the context I would have drawn from to derive ‘explain,’ I realized I needed a word for it anyway, and that it shouldn’t simply be a brand new word because I had already derived ‘explain’ from something else. Something that I’ve done before is form a new word using the sense that something is like something, so I went with that – obvious like clearness, meaning “clear, apparent.” But, it came out to a really long word – rimhelhen-nat id. Normally this would be shortened anyway, but if the point was to come up with a word for a concept that I probably should’ve had already, it would have to be closer to an existing word. So I just smashed the two original words together. BUT THEN I still had the problem that in ddamychal you wouldn’t say ‘you have to be clear’, because that wouldn’t make much sense even with this new adjective. I had to modify the phrase to be ‘you have to say clearly’ to make it sound right.

Additionally, I couldn't translate it word-for-word because ddamychal doesn't exactly work that way. For example, /mela/ means both "great, grand" and "important," and was used in places where "big words" appeared because that is the sense of /mela/. You wouldn't use /hayd/ for "big" unless the words were actually large in size, so where English has one word with multiple meanings and nuances, I had to use separate words to make it right in ddamychal. The same goes for "need to" and "have to". I used two separate verbs/morphemes for these, though they felt much closer in meaning in English, because in ddamychal I had to represent the sense of an obligation to do, as well as a necessity to have or receive something.

All in all, for a translation project using simple words I already feel challenged and I can't believe I had to make up more than one word! Fortunately a number of things can be naturally derived with morphemes instead of coming up with something new and still make plenty of sense, but I can only imagine what else I'm going to have to invent to finish the book. There are a couple two- and even three-page spreads in there, and they are all very, very wordy. It'll be fun!
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eldin raigmore
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: The Thing Explainer Reply with quote

achemel wrote:
Eldin suggested translating The Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe as a challenge, …

I did? Shocked
I thought it was your idea!


achemel wrote:
…. (the rest of both of the last two previous posts) ….

That is very enjoyable! I like it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, I thought you had suggested it. ^^ So, I'm having trouble getting my scanner to sync properly with my computer. If need be, I will submit the translation and a photo of the page until I can get it to work and then edit the post with just the image and translation together. I'm going to update it later today - I'm heading out to look at a house in like 5 minutes.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok....so I had a better idea. I've been setting up a new desktop computer a friend helped me put together and once it's all done installing stuff and rebooting over and over I will plug in my scanner and do it through there, since it refuses to work with my laptop. I took several pictures of the page but the print is really small and I wasn't satisfied that it would be legible when I upload them. So, bear with me one more day, and after work tomorrow I'll scan it properly! This project is surprisingly labor-intensive, lol.
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achemel



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what I managed today - while I got the scanner working with my desktop, due to the hardcover nature of the book it was hard to get a perfectly clear scan so there's some gray there. Ultimately I'd like to finish the native writing and resubmit this in proper script, and if I can I want to record it as well. But for now, here is this! I know it's a little hard to read here but if you click and find the full-size image it's much better.


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achemel



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Words I had to make:

“machine” - /hetretalta/
“sickness” - /gesh/
“porch” –
kinet houses traditionally don’t have porches, but they consider the top floor of a house to be a sort of open-air common area, or in other cases it serves as a bedroom, but culturally it is comparable to the way we have and use porches, so I used that word. I still needed to come up with a word for it, but there would have been one in the language for an open-air top floor anyway.
/dekech/ - from an old word meaning ‘room up to the sky’
“holder” - /musse/ - in the manner of forming the word for “explainer” and “doer” and stuff like that, I attached the “doer” morpheme to the verb ‘hold’ /mug/
“habit” - /mykhehith/ - from old “often” /njoiraetha/ [hireta] and “to do” /mykhel/
“bathroom” - /neshik/ - from old kari /neshii/ + “room” /che/, /naeshiche/, modernized to /neshik/.
There is another word for “bathroom” derived from an old kinet term for a public or private bath set into the floor, and enclosed in a room or separate building - /daoinde/ (old spelling retained: [di:ndə]), and today can be interchangeable with the other word for bathroom, or used exclusively to refer to public baths, saunas, or hot tubs; essentially, bathing facilities without adjoining toilets.
“carrier” - /aretw/ “carry-thing” from /aren/ ‘carry’ and /etw/ ‘thing’
“company” - /fépodd/ from an old word referring to groups of powerful families controlling sectors of the market; over time came to mean more along the lines of ‘successful business’
“sole/only” - /olend/ derived from /lynd/ “only” with a stronger connotation of singularity
“to land” - /slant al-cha math/ literally “to touch the ground”, used in the sense of flying machinery returning to earth; a modern term, concept borrowed from kari using native vocabulary.
In the sense of a bird alighting somewhere, the word is /dwmegh/



Discoveries:
A lot of words were already pretty cemented in my mind as to what they meant, whether I knew it or not. I frequently felt a sense that a word was right in a given sentence as opposed to something similar, which kind of felt awesome. Writing was slow at first but repeated use of the same words made it much easier to quickly recall and translate without looking things up in my dictionary. I feel like I might be able to actively create simple sentences by the end of this book without really thinking about it, and if I can reach that point I’ll be really excited.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

achemel wrote:
[ img ]http://i627.photobucket.com/albums/tt351/achemel/The%20Thing%20Explainer_1_Space%20Station_Translated.png[ /img ]

Awesome!


achemel wrote:
Discoveries:
A lot of words were already pretty cemented in my mind as to what they meant, whether I knew it or not. I frequently felt a sense that a word was right in a given sentence as opposed to something similar, which kind of felt awesome. Writing was slow at first but repeated use of the same words made it much easier to quickly recall and translate without looking things up in my dictionary. I feel like I might be able to actively create simple sentences by the end of this book without really thinking about it, and if I can reach that point I’ll be really excited.

That's awesome, too! Smile
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kyonides



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Takh achemel!

achemel wrote:
large image posted some time ago


Nope, I don't think I could operate those machines after reading it in ddamychal. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As promised, here is another page for this weekend! I realize we are all in different locations, so with time differences maybe the weekend has passed where you are but for me I'm still on time, haha. This page is cell structure, as you will see below:




Please click on the image for the full-sized version. If it seems like the page will be overloaded with images, let me know and I'll replace them with the URL instead.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Words I had to make:
“spread” /sheghem/ - from an old word /ssaithan/, somewhat related to the word /echtel/ meaning “to scatter”. Intransitive “spread” /sheghed/.
“control” /llaga/ - noun derivation from “to control” /uellawn/
“worker” /hetresh/ - noun derived from “to work” /hetref/ + “doer” morpheme /sse/, reduced to /sh/
“to shape” /puhwn/ - variant of /inar hwn/ “to make shape” that became commonplace
“maker” /intwt/ - irregular noun formation from irregular root of /inar/






Discoveries:
Translation without looking things up in the dictionary was even easier this time. Occasionally it was just to confirm that the word I’d used was the right one, and I was usually correct. The topic-specific words in this section, like body parts, probably won’t stick with me but the verbs and many descriptors will because they turned up in the previous section, and probably will be in later ones as well.

Speaking of the next section, it's going to be a project in and of itself. It covers what appears to be a nuclear power plant, and even with the latest modernization of ddamychal, the particular set of vocabulary dealing with things like man-made power just doesn't exist yet. I'm going to have to scrounge up loanwords in another language from the right time period and then properly derive and modernize them, so this will take some serious time and effort. But, I still plan to update next weekend, so hold me to it! And I am still working on a version of the script that suits the language in all its forms, which I will then update the images with later. Hopefully that won't take too long.



Also, I haven't exactly glossed my translations or put in IPA or anything, but if you'd like to see it I can do that too. Conlanging again has made me really happy so I'll be more than willing to do more.
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achemel



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry everyone, I have failed this week. It was a little hectic and then I started playing Fallout 4 and I just didn't even touch this project. I will do it though! My incentive is pie - my mother got me this apple-corer-peeler-slicer gadget for Christmas and I'm going to try it out, but I can't have any of that pie until I finish this page. It's a good incentive, I love pie more than I should. So keep an eye out for the next one!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, OK, but I prefer the pie!

Are there any pie related recipes in your conworld, achemel?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes! Pie and the love of it are universal, I think. For the kinet people, who speak ddamychal, pie-like dishes were a traditional staple. At first they were savory, deep-dish affairs, with a grain or porridge base baked into the bottom of a pot while the 'filling' rendered down on top. Then as bread and pastry became more of a thing, more decadent pies of all shapes and sizes came to be, and eventually became more and more fantastic until the crusts wrapped all the way around like a Hot Pocket. They were less of a dessert item and more of a one-dish meal for a very long time, but after the start of the second age when more cultural mingling occurred and all sorts of crazy new things were happening, sweeter dessert pastries became more widespread as well.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, did they celebrate Pi Day (March 14) with pie?
Were 3/14/15 and/or 3/14/16 especially big Pi Days of the century?
(of course 3/14/1592 and/or 3/14/1593 might have been the biggest Pi Days of history -- so far.)

(seriously:) I would like to read more on this thread.
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, I'm sure that they have their own sort of Pi Day, but as I am terribly poor at math I couldn't definitively say if they even have the concept of pi. But I would go as far as to say in modern times, they probably have a Pie Day of some sort. And I will upload the next page, at some point. Hopefully not too far in the future.
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

achemel wrote:
Haha, I'm sure that they have their own sort of Pi Day, but as I am terribly poor at math I couldn't definitively say if they even have the concept of pi. But I would go as far as to say in modern times, they probably have a Pie Day of some sort. And I will upload the next page, at some point. Hopefully not too far in the future.

Do they have a "May the Fourth Be With You" day?
Or have they never seen any Star Wars movies?
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, sadly, they have never seen Star Wars. It is feasible that they would have come up with something similar in their millennia of existence though.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW if their numeral base is dozenal, what does pi look like?
For that matter, what if the base is twenty or five or four?

_______________________________________________________________

some questions which, maybe, belong on a different thread:

Have any of us ever used a numeral-base-system in one of our conlangs, in which none of:
{two; three; four; five; six; seven; eight; nine; ten; twelve; fourteen; fifteen; sixteen; eighteen; twenty}
was one of the bases?
Have any of us ever used a base smaller than four?
Have any of us ever used an odd base (other than five)?
Have any of us ever used a base-system in which the smallest base was greater than twenty? (I think the answer is yes; I think someone used base twenty-five and someone used base thirty.)
Do any of us prefer bases which are powers of primes? (e.g. four, eight, sixteen; or nine)
Or, primes themselves? (e.g. five, seven)
How common are bases divisible by neither three nor five? (like two, four, seven, eight, fourteen, sixteen)
How popular are bases divisible by a prime over ten, such as multiples of eleven, or of thirteen, or of seventeen, or of nineteen?
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I checked out a copy of "The Thing Explainer" from this public library.
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