Star light, star bright

Posted by Philip Newton on 13:18 2/26/02

In reply to: Almean dragons? posted by Joey on 00:28 2/25/02

And what about stars? Verdurian (curulë) and Cuêzi (alaldas) have a word for them, but none of Ismaîn, Barakhinei, Cadhinor, or proto-Eastern appear to have a word for it, as far as I could see. (Wede:i has "ma:in", however.) Didn't those people ever look up at the night sky?

While attempting to translate a little poem into several languages, I made up what I though plausible versions: I posited a Cadhinor borrowing *alaldos from the Cuêzi (male) noun alaldas, which then became Barakhinei *alôd (< *alôld < alôldo < alaldo < Cadh. alaldos) and Ismaîn *alal,de (< alal,do < alaldo < Cadh. alaldos) through regular sound changes. This doesn't explain Verdurian curulë, but perhaps they just made up another word or borrowed a poetic synonym which disappeared in the other languages. (What would have been the reflex of *alaldos? > alaldôs > alaldô > alald? But compare "dunalál" without the final -d, which is said to come from Cadhinor DUNALALDOS, from Cuêzi dunalaldos. So it seems Cadhinor had "dunalaldos" but not *"alaldos"? And that Cuêzi spelled the word inconsistently -dos or -das?)


Mark responds:

I think this dates back to when I was re-working Cadhinor. I'd have to check my list of difficult etymologies at home, but I'd guess that I didn't like any of the possible etymons for curulë. The late Cadhinor form would have to be CURULILE (or, given that there's a difficult-to-explain o > u change in many words, CUROLILE or CORULILE). This would be a nominalization of a yet-unknown root CURUL-. It's tempting to interpret this as a past participle; it's too old a word however for the -ul- to be the Verdurian diminutive.

Hmm, with dissimilation, the root could also be CULUL- or COLUL-; or with metathesis, CULUR-, COLUR-. Well, stay tuned for the exciting resolution; I offer these meanderings as a glimpse into my thought processes while creating words.

Cuêzi borrowings are usually pretty safe, especially in poetry; but I don't think the Cadhinorians would have had to borrow a word for 'star'. ('Planet' is another matter; of course our word derives from Greek.) And if Verdurian innovated one, Ismaîn would probably share it. I'll have to check your derivations at home.

The Cuêzi for 'planet' should be dunalaldas. (The alternation is my mistake, not the Cuzeians'. This is one of the first Cuêzi words I invented, and I hadn't settled on -as as the most common ending.)

According to my sound change program, the Verdurian reflex of *ALALDOS should be aláld. My intuition says alál, however, to match dunalál. An alternative would be alaud, with the change l > u, but this change isn't supposed to occur before final D; compare ETALDOS > etald. But the rule isn't very firm, since there's only two words in -LDOS, and the D is retained in one Verdurian reflex and not the other.

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