It’s been a year, and I’m now 32 years old. Among other things, this means I’m halfway to 64. It certainly has been a heck of a year, and I feel physically sound, so I can’t complain.
Enough about me, though. It’s time for the annual Dothraki haiku competition! Last year, Qvaak took home the coveted Mawizzi Virzeth: a prize which comes with no money, no reward, and next to no recognition. Who will take home the prize this year!
But first, in keeping with the semi-tradition I semi-started last year, here’s a haiku of my own:
Oleth rami hoshora
All of those words should be either available in the Dothraki.org dictionary or figure-out-able (if ramasar is a collection of plains, then ram would be…?). Post your translation in the comments, and we’ll see who can get it right first!
As for your haiku, I have an idea, but it is just an idea. For those who might have trouble coming up with a topic, I have a challenge/suggestion: In your haiku, use the word hethke, “tight” (adjective) or “ready, prepared” (adjective). If this works out well, I may start having a challenge word for all successive competitions, and only considering those with the challenge word for the prize. For this one, though, just try it out, and let me know if we should consider making this a permanent change. To repeat: The winning haiku for this year’s competition will not need to use the word hethke.
Otherwise, entries need to be in Dothraki, and I’ll call the competition when it looks like I’ve stopped receiving entries. Leave your entries in the comments, or e-mail them to me at “dave” at “dothraki” period “com”. Below are some instructions I wrote up for last year’s competition which I will repeat here verbatim. If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment!
For the purposes of this contest, a haiku is 17 syllables long, with the syllable counts for each line being 5, 7 and 5, in that order. If you need to fudge, we’ll set up a separate category for haiku that are 17 syllables, but maybe don’t hit the right line numbers.
Also (and this is important), since this is Dothraki, we are definitely going by syllable count, not mora count. Regarding syllable-counting, in Dothraki, a syllable is defined as a vowel plus one or more consonants on either side. A syllable cannot contain more than one vowel, which means that a word like kishaan is trisyllabic, not disyllabic.
If it helps, you may or may not contract the various prepositions that contract. So, for example, mr’anha (two syllables) is the usual way of saying “inside me”. For your haiku, if you wish, you can separate the two out, i.e. mra anha (three syllables). You can also drop purely epenthetic e vowels (so the past tense of “crush”, kaffe, can be rendered as kaff’). Feel free to play with word order and drop pronouns, as needed, bearing in mind that such language is figurative, and the reader will still need to be able to figure out who’s doing what to whom.
Shieraki gori ha yerea! Fonas chek!
Update: Added audio for my haiku.
My translation is:
The eagle flies
over the golden field
of fresh corpses.
I was intending “an eagle” and “a field”, but yes, spot on—and only 35 minutes after it was posted! Athdavrazar, zhey ingsve!
An eagle flies
over a golden field
with a fresh kill
I used indefinite articles mainly so that I’d differ from Ingsve
I’m guessing khadokh isn’t poetical or otherwise unusual way to describe a dead animal an eagle is carrying, and though “cadaver” feels generally a lot closer in meaning, it didn’t sound right here, so I dug “kill” from my limited vocab. It’s a bit off, but best I could do.
I’m guessing the genitive in khadokh is poetical and unusual, falling to “next to someone” verb class. Sounds cool and evocative. If my reading is right, I’m totally buying it.
OK. On a second look khadokh seems not to apply on animals, and an eagle carrying a human body doesn’t ring right, so I guess the genitive isn’t for a verb class but for oleth. Drat.
I so should not write comments before sleeping. I fully support Ingsve’s translation.
But hey, anyway, I think it’s still your bithday there, so happy birthday!
Oh, and since it ends in a consonant cluster (that should fit into coda if needed, but anyway) and an epenthesis suspect e-vowel, I gotta ask, if hethke is verbified regularily as hethkelat or less regularily as hethkat?
Thanks, zhey Qvaak! And your intuition was correct: it’s hethkat.
Alright. Does hethkat have a past singular hethk, or is that again hethke?
The first (and very possibly only) batch of haikus, on the theme of hethke:
Rhaesh ath hethka.
Mem asavvasoon ven
oqoe ven vash.
e she tozarasoon.
Jesh fish flas hethke.
Every one has something I’m proud of and something that feels off balance in an itchy way.
Quick note: hethkat is class B, so it has a past tense in hethke.
Blimey. Remembering “Kisha yathaki ven chomokh,” I’m thinking my “mem asavvasoon ven oqoe ven vash” might have a poor quality syntax (might have an excessive/misplaced “ven”, that is). Graddakh. I really like my hanging “ven” and the syntax sounds intuitively good to me.
I think this challenge brings to focus quite a few things worth a discussion. And with the season three and Defiance coming, how many grammar heavy Dothraki blog posts can we realistically hope for anywhere in the near(ish) future?
And speaking of that, I’m still not finished with hethke…
Does hethke (as an adjective) still truly count as vowel ending, ie. is plural and non-nominative agreement not visible, or is it hethki for plurals and hethka for non-nominative? Do we need to start recording adjective declination patterns on the dictionary?
Unfortunately, ven really doesn’t precede finite verbs like that. Sorry. Maybe you could say memof instead…?
And you don’t have to worry about adjectives. The -e adjectives get stays, no matter the case or number, even if they’re only there for epenthesis (adjectives are simpler in this way).
As for grammar heavy posts, I can’t say for sure at the moment. I’ve kind of got my head under water at present, and am trying to stay afloat. I’ll know more by the end of the month (hopefully. Month’s getting kind of late up in here…).
Memof is certainly the word. But to fix the flow, freshen the dirtied and wounded work … and to make the haiku my own again ( ), I think I need to shift the focus and try going VS:
Rhaesh ath hethka.
Oqoe ven vash memof
I really like that change! Nicely done, zhey Qvaak!
I’ll try my luck with a bilingual haiku.
Vo sanneyos vort
zhavvorsasi fin nem azh.
It also comes in audio:
Oh, actually, it should be zhavvorsoon, what with inalienable possession and all. Luckily that still fits the meter!
Now we need an audio recording! And actually it’s good that’s it’s ablative, because the genitive of zhavvorsa is zhavvorsi, which would leave you one syllable short!
Really? The wiki says: “For animate nouns the genitive is formed by adding the suffix /-(s)i/ to the end of the word. Plural and singular do not differ in genitive case.” Surely dragons are animate…? The wiki also lists the example adrasi from adra.
Is this a special case to avoid haplogy?
Zhavvorsa is a compound, and all compounds are inanimate. Some are Class A inanimates and some Class B, but that’s the only distinction between compounds. Zhavvorsa is a standard Class A inanimate nominal compound.
It’s not as simple as things that are alive are animate. In the current state of Dothraki the mix of animale and inanimate are all over the place. There is some historic logic to what words are animate and what are inanimate but those things have gotten jumbled as the language evolved (in its fictional history). Check the page in the wiki about noun animacy to find the few animacy rules that apply to certain types of words though.
Audio replaced. Me ray nem ta.
Me rayim et.
|Rayim| = |ray| + |nem|? It’s not on the wiki…
And wouldn’t |et| result in past perfect?
No, it’s not on the wiki because I don’t think I ever fully described how those work… So, no, you couldn’t have been expected to know that.
As for et vs. ta, I guess it depends what you were trying to say. I took it to be “It’s already been done”, in which case I’d use the past tense. This is a particle on the path towards grammaticalization; it’s not simply an anterior marker at present.
I was going for “it is done”, so rather present perfect.
What do you mean by grammaticalization? That it’s considered part of the overall verb system, rather than just a lexicon entry that happens to be useful in the context of verbs? Isn’t that the case already?
(Won’t let me reply to your last comment, so I’m replying to an earlier one. I didn’t want comments to get too skinny, but I thought limiting the number of replies would simply make it so that the replies wouldn’t get any skinnier; I didn’t know it would actually limit the number of replies!)
I was going for “it is done”, so rather present perfect.
Ohhh… In that case, yeah, your translation was right. That makes sense.
Your haiku was prretty easy to decode, except the word ‘chosh’ was so new it wasn’t listed anywhere. That has been fixed!
Chosh was in the vocabulary on thw wiki.
…and had been there for over ten days, while David introduced us to the word almost a year ago. It was a lucky accidence I happened to browse through the blog and pick up words that had originally flown past our radar, just in time for this challenge.
I see now that chosh was added not long after I did the last dictionary update , probably within a few hours
I hope to add a haiku here, hopefully by tomorrow evening. (too many evening meetings!)
Jinne ela vosi!
Two haikus on a theme. They differ only in the middle line.
Fonat ma adakhalat
Fonat ha lanlekhaan
Continuing in the same theme…
Astolat mae hethke
Chara mae zora
I think I may have ‘bent’ things here about as far as they can be ‘bent’. ‘Kovar’ should really be ‘kovara’, I think, so that it establishes third person with ‘hrakkar’. One could substitute a different first line that uses a different ‘cat’, such as ‘Kovara rachel’ to get the right syllable count. But ‘hrakkar’ is more cool
In the last line, ‘zor’ really also needs an ‘a’ at the end as well, to make it agree with ‘mae’. But this is a bit of an unusual sentence in that it is verb-noun-verb, so perhaps the third person is established by the time of the final verb.
Zhey Hrakkar, I’m not sure how you’re counting, but the first line up there, as you’ve written it, actually has four syllables (ko-var hrak-kar), so you can go ahead and put the -a in there. The last line, though, does indeed need to go without the final -a to fit.
Astolat mae hethke
Chara mae zora
I keep forgetting that hrakkar is just two syllables I think in saying as often as I do, the little break that occurs when you flip the /r/ makes it seem like three. Thanks for the heads-up; I hope you like them!
That brings up an interesting question: Should the dictionary be syllabified? I know it was at first but Lajaki took out all the sylllabification and stress marks at some early point.
I don’t think so. Syllabification and stress is fairly predictable simply from the form of the word, so adding it in and maintaining may be more trouble than it’s worth. Of course, you’re the one maintaining the dictionary now, so it’s really up to you. Just my 2¢.
Just count the vowels. You’ll always get the right syllabe count in Dothraki that way.