Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

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KaiTheHomoSapien
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Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 17 Jun 2019 20:46

Idioms may be the hardest aspect of translation. And I admit I have given almost no thought to conlang idioms. I was reminded of this in the midst of conworlding today, by writing about the city of Thannicort, whose name (thánnis kórtom) means "ivory tower" in a Mantian dialect and is not connected to the English idiom but refers literally to the ivory encrusted towers of the city's ancient palace.

Have you created any idioms in your conlang? Care to provide some examples? How did you go about creating them? Many natlang idioms have opaque meanings and obscure origins. It's difficult to fabricate that.

holbuzvala
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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by holbuzvala » 21 Jun 2019 17:29

One idiom in Zulai has the literal translation of “He/she can’t even breathe in my forest.” The person this is said of is someone who is stupid, insofar as they refuse or are unable to understand something ostensibly easy explained to them.

It derives from the deep-rooted idiom that ideas are conceived of as environments, and communication is conceived as interacting with that environment (watching, eating, drinking, hunting, etc.). Breathing is an activity that requires minimum effort (and for most people is automatic), and so if you can’t even breathe an idea someone’s explained to you - and forest air is easier to breathe than arid desert or brinewater - then it means you’re dumber than a bag if hammers.

Along similar lines, saying “Arid places are scarce in the sun” has the implication that someone is taciturn and difficult to interact with, but only when first meeting then, or when they’re in public.

Another idiom is to say someone “is notched on a tree”. This means you’re suspicious of them, and comes from the ancient practice of notching signs onto trees to warn others of dangerous animals or areas.

Were these the sorts of idioms you were looking for?

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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by Reyzadren » 22 Jun 2019 00:28

There are no idioms in my conlang. It is a direct and straight-to-the-point language. Furthermore, the native speakers believe that if one wants to obfuscate words and speech, there are already many ways to do it via reroutes and deceptive talking.

However, there are folk sayings, which are just messages or philosophies that describe a facet of the world.
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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by WeepingElf » 22 Jun 2019 00:36

I have several ideas for idioms in Old Albic, though I so far only know their literal translations, as the Old Albic lexicon is in an utter mess that needs to be cleared up. Here are two examples:

"To celebrate the wedding without the bridepeople" - to neglect the most important point
"As X as the Sun is cold and dark" - not X at all (X=adjective)
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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by Pabappa » 22 Jun 2019 01:06

Poswa is entirely without idioms as well, since the grammar depends on having only one word in each role in a sentence. That is, a phrase cannot substitute for a word. There are a few compounds whose meanings are slightly more than sum-of-parts, and some derived forms of certain words likewise, but that's pretty much it. Still, there may be a type of expression that exists in Poswa that could be considered like an idiom, .... Poswa has no pronouns so it's possible to write a sentence like popo bappio "my heart says no" where the word /popo/ "my heart" is the subject. bappio by itself just means "i say no".
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.

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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by Tuyono » 23 Jun 2019 00:03

Źilaa Ruńu definitely needs more idioms! Right now I can only think of two:

zematme źiihi heji!
find-IMP.2SG wind-ACC good-ACC
Find the good wind!

This means both "goodbye" and "good luck!"

kee mi ruvieh ńa alu lesiis? maz aspaavme.
Q be.3SG viper.NOM 3SG.ANI.NOM or water.snake.NOM | NEG discover-2SG.IMP
Is it a viper or a water snake? Don't find out.

Water snakes are harmless to people, but you should still stay away from them just in case. This is a general advice to avoid unnecessary risks, and also a reminder that some questions are best left unanswered. Now that I think about it, this is exactly the kind of idiom that could change its meaning a few centuries later - maybe people will start saying "we need to check if he's a viper or a water snake!" ignoring the original advice.
holbuzvala wrote:
21 Jun 2019 17:29
One idiom in Zulai has the literal translation of “He/she can’t even breathe in my forest.” The person this is said of is someone who is stupid, insofar as they refuse or are unable to understand something ostensibly easy explained to them.

It derives from the deep-rooted idiom that ideas are conceived of as environments, and communication is conceived as interacting with that environment (watching, eating, drinking, hunting, etc.). Breathing is an activity that requires minimum effort (and for most people is automatic), and so if you can’t even breathe an idea someone’s explained to you - and forest air is easier to breathe than arid desert or brinewater - then it means you’re dumber than a bag if hammers.
This is very cool! Would hunting in someone's forest mean something like challenging their ideas?

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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by Mándinrùh » 24 Jun 2019 04:17

Atili has a pervasive cognative metaphor that life is a journey, derived from a set of literary metaphors from one of the most important of the Atili religious texts, the book of Quotations of Ketasóli. For example, Q.K. 105, which is:

Image Kwánë dóvnyete sénzul ivahvasavidástu zíu-zíu, ítä e sálva kosódakta tínus.
'kɔ̯ɑ.ne 'dov.ɲe.tʰe 'sen.zul ɪ.vaχ.və.sa.vɪ'das.tʰu 'zi.u 'zi.u | 'i.tʰa e 'sal.va kɔ'so.dakʰ.tʰa 'ti.nus
kwane dovnye-t sen-zu-l i-vah-vasa-vi-das-t-u zi-u~zi-u ita e salva ko-so-da-k-t tinus
if road-DIM good-IRR;INF-ADJ 1-make-see-them-it-IRR-PL person-PL~DISTR my that walk stand-it-make-1-IRR lonely
"If I would show everyone the good path, my own walk would be lonely."

An ironic derivation of this line is this idiom/malapropism, used to indicate that the speaker believes that another person has erred:

Image ...siné dóvnyete ivahvasavídasta/ivahvasándasta.
/si'ne 'dov.ɲe.tʰe ɪ.vəχ.va.sə'vi.das.tʰa/ɪ.vaχ.və'san.das.tʰa/
sine dovnye-t i-vah-vasa-vi-das-ta / i-vah-vasa-n-das-ta
but road-DIM 1-show-him/her-it-IRR / 1-show-you-it-IRR
"...but I would show him/her/you the path."
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KaiTheHomoSapien
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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 29 Jun 2019 05:24

Thank you for your examples, guys [:D] I don't think I'm any closer to creating conlang idioms myself, but it was helpful to see the kinds you've created.

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Re: Have you created any idioms in your conlangs? What are some examples?

Post by k1234567890y » 29 Jun 2019 17:13

just created one in Q.T. Lingua Franca:

holshim paish chit ngoumlot
/hɔlʃm̩ pɛʃ t͡ʃɨt ŋumlɔt/
give-G4-INF pail-PL with-GX coin-PL
meaning: to cast pearls before swine (do something to people who can't appreciate it.)
literal meaning: to give coins to pails.

Note"
Spoiler:
Q.T. Lingua Franca is a language spoken by a kind of not-very-humanoid alien(but with a human-like vocal tract) called Quers, they live on the moon Rubaim of a gas giant called Zdon. Pails is the Rubaim equivalent of dogs.
...

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