Sunday, 30 May 2010

nwir, poini

Nwir, n. sky, the area containing the clouds and celestial objects. The physical sky as opposed to the ground.
Poini, n. heaven, bliss, a feeling of complete satisfaction and well-being. Metaphysical concept of heaven, Elysion, blissfulness.

In this case the differentiation is between two words to refer to "sky, heaven". The first one is more physical than the last one. But the difference doesn't end there. In Tulvan thought they don't think of the sky as a place of rest for the glorious dead or as a reward. They believe in states of mind, so the "heaven" is a state of mind, which can be said of a number of situations. To have a good idea can be refered as having a "heaven-like moment", or even that kind of warm feeling of happiness can be rendered as poini. The idea of heaven being the upper skies would be puzzling to all Tulvans.

It has been noted the similarity between this word, poini, and other words, such as poilu, approximately meaning our "logic". To Tulvans having high reason and logic is the closest they can think of being in heaven or bliss. Wether this words were related in long lost past or if it's a coincidence is now a lost knowledge. Needless to say many speakers of this language would like to think so nonetheless.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


Adjectives in Tulvan are invariable in number, declension or gender. They follow their respective nouns and they are divided in two main groups. There are full adjectives and derived adjectives, the last type are marked by an attributive prefix i-. One will notice that sometimes an English adjective doesn't have a full adjective in Tulvan. Even though this could be fixed by the attributive making it a derived adjective, sometimes this can give an awkward expression for native Tulvans.

This is the case, for example, with such words as "good" in most common greetings. This is not expressed by an adjective in Tulvan, but by a word meaning "well-being" as a noun. Also this is the case for some more complex derived adjectives. Needless to say colors belong to the full adjectives category. So we have for example:

trum ni nari. Good night.
but actually; "well-being in the night (for you)".

Adjectives always follow their noun:

Crum nus. The old man.
Utim cip. The new tree.
Nwir cnara. The black sky.

This also applies to derived adjectives with the attributive prefix.

Crum itrum. A good man.
Roth icrum. A mannish woman.

So adjectives are quite simple, invariable and don't agree with the noun they modify.

Gud dapau crum itrum uroth itrum. A good man must look for a good woman.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Nouns and Declension

As I pointed out below, Tulvan is a highly analytical language. What means it has only but lost all of its declensional system, if it ever had one. Only one declensional case remains, the Accusative. The accusative is used in nouns to mark the direct object of a verb. The mark of the accusative in Tulvan is the affix -u. It can sometimes behave as a suffix and sometimes as a prefix. This phenomenon was named allotaxy a term coined by the first specialists on Tulvan, and is phonetically conditioned by the letter in which the previous word ends or the next word begins with, wether it is a consonant or a vowel to avoid C-C or V-V.

So for instance, in the example below "cur mem uspär? Do you want some water?" the u- marks the accusative because mem ends in consonant and spär begins with one. But for example in a sentence like:

Levi crumu nus. See an old man!

It is perfectly valid to put the -u as a suffix. Which again in turn would change when I say:

Lev kwam ucrum nus. I see an old man.

Even though, in this particular case, either prefix or suffix forms are valid, thus lev kwam crumu nus, is also valid. Depending only on personal taste, a different case would be:

Lev kwam ucrum ëv nus. I see a man (who) is old.

Where the accusative marker could not be suffixed. In cases where both the previous word ends in a vowel and the next one begins with a vowel the word preceding usually has precedence. Although some dialects show different patterns. The only other marker nouns posses is the number marking, the plural. This marker is -n, -en for consonant ending words. So a word like utim tree, would have a plural utimen trees. This also applies for pronouns and verbs.

Lev kwam utimen nus. I see the old trees or I look at the old trees.

In fact the difference between look at/see is given by the pronoun. This and also other markers affecting other kinds of words will be explained in subsequent posts.

Monday, 17 May 2010

baw, spär

Today... two words, which are related with each other.

Baw, n. non-potable water, usually a great still body of such water.
Spär, n. potable water, water which has undergone treatments to ensure its potability.

So as you may see, baw is not only any non-potable water, but it may also refer to the water in any lake, sea, or Ocean. Whereas spär is not only water that can be drunk, but also it implies that it has been treated to be so. Therefore, while you could drink water from a well or a river, you wouldn't be able to call it spär. Sometimes Tulvanians say baw ispär "potable still water" or bawspär to make the distinction.

This kind of water can be used to mean "a glass of water" as in the example below. But the "water of the sea" would undoubtedly be rendered as baw.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


vb. to think, to ponder. The act of engaging on a mental exercise to determine a solution or to analyze a problem.

It must not be confused with "to meditate" which has another different word. The best translation into English would be "to ponder", and a perfectly valid equivalent with be the latin "cogito". It must be noted that it should not be used to express "I think today might be a good day" or to express doubt or uncertainty. In fact the word means to think in the most active word.

cur mem uspär? Do you want some water?
kutulv kwam. I will think (about it...)

The famous phrase from Descartes is usually rendered; Tulv kwam, kik ëv kem. Cogito ergo sum.
Although the most common translation, it is subtly different from the idea conveyed in the original. So native speakers of Tulvan would make another reading from this phrase, which would appear very evident to them as "I have the volition to think, therefore I must exist/be, independently of anything else". This is because of the usage of different first person singular pronouns. Maybe the phrase would be better translated as Tulv kem, kik ëv kem. But this matter I will explain furtherly in subsequent posts.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A Little History

Traditionally Tulvan is believed to be derived from the word "tulv" a verb meaning "to think". This, of course, can't be so. Many have argued that the original meaning of the term for the language was lost through time. But that it most probably was related term Tuluan. In fact the Tulvan meaning connecting it to tulv is a popular etymology. Many have indicated remains of writings connecting to Tuluan and an even older term, Tuluanna, the meaning of which is now lost.

In any case as a people so very devoted to thinking and reason, it was natural to assume that both words would merge with time in what is now known as Tulvan. This is also increased by the fact that Tuluan wouldn't be implausible as a verbal derivation from tulv. But with discoveries about Tuluanna, the folkloric etymological origin of Tulvan is now not widely supported by professionals.

Phonology and Writing

Tulvan is customarily written in roman characters with some diacritics to aid where some tulvan characters don't have a complete equivalent. For example, there are three kinds of k's, k, c and q, the first one is our normal [k] what we would expect in such English words as kill, kiss, keep, etc. On the other hand, the [c] represents a k without a breath, very much alike the distinction between Mandarin k and g. And finally the q is a guttural k, pronounced deeper within the throat. So we have k = [k'], c = [k], q = [kh, x]. However the distinction between kw and qu is that of breath. So kw = [kw'] and qu [kw].

Another difference is about the palatalized vowels, for instance some vowels are preceded by a soft [i] very much alike to Russian я and ю. So we have in Tulvan ë [ye], ä [ya] and ü [yu]. In fact maybe the cyrillic alphabet would be more appropriate most of the times.

All the rest are pronounced as spected in standard european. Let me elaborate, pretty much in a similar way to latin consonants and vowels, but without their exceptions.

so p, t, k, like people, totum, keeper
b, d, g like ball, dominus, goal
th like "thin" always
v, kw/qu, just as they would in very, quick

n, m, s don't need explanation. But when s precedes p or t, it sounds like sh, as in German.
l, r are pronounced as in latin or spanish, las, r never retroflex.

The only diphthongs are aw, ew, and ay, ey, uy, oy
Other combinations such as ai, ei, oi, au, eu, can exist but are not considered diphthongs but two syllables.

Well, this is all for phonology, I think this will give you a great grasp of how words are pronounced.

An Introduction

I created this blog to help in the progress of my language called Tulvan. It's been out there (or should I say 'out here'?) for quite a while now, getting some new ideas now and then. The main concept for the language was always that it belongs to stage in development a 1,000 years further than the languages we see here today. Not that it is more 'perfect' or more 'developed' or any of that subjective crap. What I mean by this is that the speakers of this language started developing a very specific language, more and more specific over time, as I believe happens nowadays in some natlangs. It has some very punctual concepts and meanings and many differentiated words for some other concepts. Words have only one meaning.

This was the main concept. Also I decided it does not necessarily behave like any other earth-language. While it has some features that are very particular of itself, it also lacks some concepts (i.e. declension) which could be explained as having evolved through time (this is what I mean when I say I picture it as having evolved through thousands of years). It has some remnants of other structures and grammar systems, but now very difficult to see. Well, you'll be the judges of that.

Each day I will update either a new word and define it thoroughly or some grammar concept or note about it, which will then be arranged by category and topic.

All I can say now is 'Prumin tulvan siv': Let's speak Tulvan! Which actually translates more to "Speak (imp. pl.) by means of Tulvan".