Using the schwa (ə) in the Greyfolk language

My body is so fatigued from my better posture (which I’ve had to have due to my cervical radiculopathy, which I talked about in my last post), but I’m gonna discuss what I can about the schwa in the Greyfolk language until I herniate another disc. This will be pretty short anyway.

I’ve had an idea for quite some time as to how words sound in the Greyfolk language. Every non-final vowel is /a/, and every final vowel has to be one of /e, i, o, u/. Nouns end in /e/, adjectives and adverbs end in /i/, verbs end in /o/, and other things (conjunctions, prepositions, particles, etc.) end in /u/. So, some example words—that I’m making up on the spot—could be «name», «pataki», «fasaho», or «lawayu».

But what about the schwa? Well, there isn’t any lexical stress in the Greyfolk language, which really just means that stress doesn’t matter a whole lot for individual words. However, while it is important to clearly indicate the final vowel of a word because they can differ, the pre-final vowels—which, as I indicated, are always /a/—would probably become schwa (ə) because of vowel reduction. Because pre-final vowels will always be /a/, it is not important to articulate them, and that lack of articulation (in contrast with the important final vowel articulation) may lead to /a/ being (optionally) reduced to /ə/.

This is actually different from the previous version of the Greyfolk language in which the stress was always on the final syllable. This is because it was important to articulate the final vowel to distinguish noun class. In this current version, articulating the final vowel is still important to distinguish words, but I decided that lexical stress is arbitrary/non-meaningful because I am much more inspired by international auxiliary languages (IALs) this time around, and I feel that a good IAL would leave out something like lexical stress because there are a lot of languages (spoken by many people—like Mandarin) that don’t use lexical stress. So, including it would mean a lot of extra work for a lot of speakers of natural languages here on Earth.

That’s also why my phonemic inventory is the way it is—to appeal to the largest number of natural language speakers on Earth while retaining an identity that is definitely Greyfolk. More on that another time.

Diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy on my left side

Well, this is fun. I’m sure some higher power is definitely smiting me for not posting in a while—I’m sure my one reader has felt sorely disappointed. But I’m the one feeling sore now! So, the joke’s on me, I guess…

Between enjoying my girlfriend’s spring break with her, her family being in town, her getting sick, and also (mostly) my own laziness, I haven’t been powerlifting in a few weeks. So, why the injury? Possibly because I haven’t been powerlifting. My doctor and I are pretty sure that I must have cranked my neck pretty hard while sleeping for this to happen because I woke up with this pain. One of my friends also posited that I may have had bad sleeping habits for a while now and that it was this moment of muscle weakness (since I haven’t been working out) that made it much worse. Makes sense to me! I have a (bad) habit of sleeping with my hands above or behind my head as if I’m lounging, which is also how I was sleeping when I woke up with this pain.

Anyway, what even is cervical radiculopathy? Luckily, my cervix is doing just fine. The cervical refers to cervical vertebrae. According to the diagnosis of my symptoms—due in particular to the fact that I feel shooting pain all the way into my middle finger—, it is likely that my C6 and C7 vertebrae did a squishy on the intervertebral disc between them, causing that yummy spinal jelly to herniate, and said herniation is putting pressure on one of the nerve roots in the brachial plexus. Isn’t that fun? Not really. This has left me with radiating pain in the left side of the neck into my left shoulder (which I initially thought was just muscle soreness) as well as occasional shooting pain down my arm, which often ends in my middle finger.

I’m on steroids for 18 days, working on my posture, sleeping with a soft cervical collar, and I’ll be working on strengthening my neck again soon (likely with the help of another friend’s dad). Also, sleeping with a soft cervical collar is a bitch. Actually, let me clarify. Falling asleep while wearing a soft cervical collar is a bitch. Once I was asleep, I slept rather well. The good news is that I’m rather functional and I’ve already worked on increasing my mobility with my neck as the steroids kick in to reduce my pain and herniation. The roid rage hasn’t kicked in yet, but this is only day two.

I’d love to post a linguistics-related update soon, which will likely focus on the schwa and how I plan to use it in the Greyfolk language.

(More like cervical ridiculouspathy, am I right?)

Added a site icon

It’s something small—literally quite small—, but I did it. It took a lot of trial and error—perhaps more than it should’ve taken. All I used was Excel and

It’s a bit squishy-squashed, but that’s the Greyfolk word «pe», which is the first-person singular pronoun, translated into English as “I” or “me”, depending on the context.

Furthermore, it almost ended up being «pom», which is a verb that can be translated into English as “to love”.

Honestly, I’d prefer to «pom» to «pe», but I think «pe» looks a lot better as a 16×16 icon. But I might change my mind.

Lots of (Powered by) GURPS Kickstarters

On the off-chance that someone sees this and then on the further off-chance someone thinks, “Wow, wait, I love GURPS too”, I have some news. There are currently two active Kickstarters where you can show your support for GURPS as I have done so: SJ Games’ Dungeon Fantasy RPG Monsters 2 as well as Douglas Cole’s 3rd party (though it doesn’t make it any less better—perhaps, it makes it even more betterer to see high-quality 3rd party support, but now I’m rambling in this parenthetical) The Citadel at Norðvorn.

Maybe I’ll come back around and do a review for the DFRPG box set as well as Douglas Cole’s previous supplement—Hall of Judgment. Before I do something like that, however, I need to add some more language stuff and also work on my own personal GURPS campaign—Project Sirocco.

Removing wiki, adding projects

So, it turns out that using Mediawiki to create a personal wiki is really hard. Instead of continuing to fight against it, I have created a space for wiki-like pages directly on the WordPress part of my site under Projects in my site navigation. The first one—Greyfolk language—is up! Now, it’s definitely not complete, but it’s a great start toward what I want to be doing with this site.

I wish I had a Greyfolk way to say hello

Alas, I don’t.

Anyway, here’s my first post on what I am lazily calling the Greyson’s Conlang Blog. It’s good enough for now! To my friends, family, and old professors, if you want to prove that you’ve really checked out my new site, message/email/whatever me with the following secret phrase: “Wait, that’s the best you could do for a website? Yikes.”

More to come soon. I hope.