Letters From Crete: The Homeric Answer (Iliad)

Posted on Updated on


A poem is never finished, only abandoned
Paul Valéry


I am currently sat at an outside restaurant table amidst the sunswingingly sensuous delights of Star Beach, a free-to-all leisure resort on the northern shores of Crete. The family & I arrived late last night, hiring a car & eventually tracking down our residence for the next three nights; Petra Village, a cool set of apartments with a pool, a bar & a trillion cicada piping a rickety cacophony. This coming period shall see me complete my training as a Pendragon, with the essays being constructed from both my notebooks & from my experiences on the ground as we tour Megalonisi, the ‘big island’ of the Greeks. During this ‘duesettimane,’ the lava that has been my poetic studies is set to finally cool, & the volcano that has spewed forth two decades worth of poesis from my animated soul finally return to a dormant state (for now).

I shall begin my dissertation with an account of the mesmerizing energy of Homer’s mind-music, that weaver of disparate strands of ancient subject matter into the world’s earliest & most majestic epic poems. That an individual author composed them, however, is simply not the case. This ‘Homeric Question’ has tested academic minds for many an age, with Frederick Nietzsche declaring ‘the primary form of this widespread and honeycombed mountain known as the Homeric question can be most clearly observed by looking down at it from a far-off height.’ The ‘far-off height’ is the tall mountain eyrie on which the chispologist builds a weather-station & shouts into the gusting breezes that Homer was a quasi-mythological deity, to whom only the highest examples of streaming elysium would be associated, less of an individual genius & more the poetic soul of an entire people.

Folio 12r of Venetus A

For ease of dictate, however, we shall call Homer by his antique identity, that of the singular author of the Iliad & Odyssey. His subject was the Trojan War & its aftermath, an event of deep history whose war-drums still beat resoundingly today. His ‘Iliad’ centers on a small series of events that took place towards the end of a ten-year siege of the city of Troy, while his ‘Odyssey’ sings of the return from that war of the Grecian hero Odysseus. The poems are, in a word, magnificent, full of comprehension for the ways of men, while at the same time possessing some of the greatest phraseology ever uttered by a human tongue. The most astonishing thing about these two epics is their sheer antiquity, & it is through the mists of deepest time that the creation of the poems, & of course their creator, have been obscured.

It was as early as the Classical period that the first doubts to the origins of the epics was raised. The oldest complete copy of the Iliad, the 10th-century manuscript ‘Venetus Marcianus Graecus 454,’ first published by De Villoison in 1788, has marginal notes which preserve substantial remnants of ancient scholarship on the poems; nuggets of studied wisdom obtained from the intense erudition of Didymus, Aristonicis, Herodian, Nicanor & Antoninian. A century later, a similar note-smitten codex was created which eventually ended up in the library of the Townleys of Townley Hall, in my hometown of Burnley. Of the scholia it contained, we encounter the thoughts of two obscure figures known as Xenon & Hellanicus, antique scholars who speculated that the Iliad & Odyssey had been composed by separate authors. Such a notion makes sound sense, for where the Iliad contains four times as many similes as the Odyssey, the language of the Odyssey is less archaic, to which we may add that words for many common items are different in each poem. Aristotle further highlights the differences between the epics when he muses, ‘the composition of the Iliad is simple & full of pathos, that of the Odyssey complex, as there are recognitions throughout & full of character.’

So far so different, & as the Aegean blows a refreshing wind into my beachside boudoir, let us acknowledge that, long before the days of word-files & photocopying, the preservation of Homer’s poetry, spread over many centuries, suggests a great number of scribes have handled the text. Along the way, each new copyist would add something of their own making, maybe respelling a word, or perhaps re-writing whole passages in order to please an ever-changing audience. As the poems evolved, two vast transchispering chains would slowly but surely fossilize themselves into the epics we whimsically attribute to a single Homer. A loose remembrance of such a transmission as this may be traced in a passage by the early Christian churchman, Tatian, whose ‘Address to the Greeks’ identifies the scattered strata of Homeric composition;

Now the poetry of Homer, his parentage, and the time in which he flourished have been investigated by the most ancient writers,—by Theagenes of Rhegium, who lived in the time of Cambyses, Stesimbrotus of Thasos and Antimachus of Colophon, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, and Dionysius the Olynthian; after them, by Ephorus of Cumæ, and Philochorus the Athenian, Megaclides and Chamæleon the Peripatetics; afterwards by the grammarians, Zenodotus, Aristophanes, Callimachus, Crates, Eratosthenes, Aristarchus, and Apollodorus. Of these, Crates says that he flourished before the return of the Heraclidæ, and within 80 years after the Trojan war; Eratosthenes says that it was after the 100th year from the taking of Ilium; Aristarchus, that it was about the time of the Ionian migration, which was 140 years after that event; but, according to Philochorus, after the Ionian migration, in the archonship of Archippus at Athens, 180 years after the Trojan war; Apollodorus says it was 100 years after the Ionian migration, which would be 240 years after the Trojan war. Some say that he lived 90 years before the Olympiads, which would be 317 years after the taking of Troy. Others carry it down to a later date, and say that Homer was a contemporary of Archilochus; but Archilochus flourished about the 23d Olympiad, in the time of Gyges the Lydian, 500 years after Troy.

Luycurgus

It is through all these ‘Homers’ that the story of the Trojan War & its aftermath would pass, until the Iliad as we know it began to take shape in – I believe – the 9th century BC, under the auspices of the Spartan King, Lycurgus. The task was given to a certain verse-maker called Thales, whom Lycurgus had met on Crete. It is through the vita of Lycurgas, as given by Plutarch, that we gain a heady hint of just how powerful a thinker was Thales. We join the story with Lycurgus on some kind of state visit to Crete;

One of the men regarded there as wise statesmen was Thales, whom Lycurgus persuaded, out of favour and friendship, to go on a mission to Sparta. Now Thales passed as a lyric poet, and screened himself behind this art, but in reality he did the work of one of the mightiest lawgivers. For his odes were so many exhortations to obedience and harmony, and their measured rhythms were permeated with ordered tranquillity, so that those who listened to them were insensibly softened in their dispositions, insomuch that they renounced the mutual hatreds which were so rife at that time, and dwelt together in a common pursuit of what was high and noble.

This description of Thales tells us he was a poetical teacher, who instilled in the soft & easy words of the lyric plenty of subtle meaning in order to educate the Cretans in how to lead a good life. I have only been on the island a few hours, as if I was one of the German gliders crash-landing in advance of the German Fallschirmjäger in 1941, but so far all the Cretans we have encountered have been decent folk & the most openhearted; from the young couple on a moped who led us to the beach road in the dark last night, to our cool & friendly waiter here at Star Beach, the appropriately named ‘Adonis.’ ‘Don’t worry be happy’ is the mantra, & if these easy vibes I am experiencing emanated from the original wisdom of Thales, to have been present in his actual company would have been a tremendous sensation for Lycurgus. It is no wonder that Thales was invited to join the royal Spartan party, to leave this gorgeous rock at the edge of Europa & to return with Lycurgas to Sparta. En route, according to Plutarch, Lycurgas visited Asia Minor, where he;

Made his first acquaintance with the poems of Homer, which were preserved among the posterity of Creophylus; and when he saw that the political and disciplinary lessons contained in them were worthy of no less serious attention than the incentives to pleasure and license which they supplied, he eagerly copied and compiled them in order to take them home with him. For these epics already had a certain faint reputation among the Greeks, and a few were in possession of certain portions of them, as the poems were carried here and there by chance; but Lycurgus was the very first to make them really known.

At this point in time we have a certain Spartan king in possession of the two foundation stones of what would become the Iliad; i.e. fragments of the early Homeric materials, & a poet who could turn them into something cohesive & infinitely beautiful. Such a moment provided the perfect conditions for what can only be called a transcreation of Homer, an occasion remembered by Demeterius of Magnesia, who placed the author of the Iliad in the same ‘very ancient times’ of Lycurgus. With all the pieces in position, all that was needed was a catalyst to spark off the creative furnace that would produce the Iliad as we know it, & there are certain evidences which point towards the first Olympic Truce.

We must return to Plutarch once more, who writes of Lycurgus; ‘some say that he flourished at the same time with Iphitus, and in concert with him established the Olympic truce. Among these is Aristotle the philosopher, and he alleges as proof the discus at Olympia on which an inscription preserves the name of Lycurgus.’ The truce forged by Lycurgas, Iphitus of Elis & Cleosthenes of Pisa was designed to bring peace to the Peloponnese; all three sides were bogged down in endless rounds of bloodshed, and it was mutually agreed upon that they would try to soothe their differences by staging a games at Olympia. This is where I think Thales entered the picture, for to celebrate the event, an artistic tribute to Pan-Grecian unity was needed. The 5th Century BC Athenian historian, Thucydides, backs up the necessity of a unifying model;

The weakness of the olden times is further proved to me chiefly by this circumstance, that before the Trojan War, Hellas, as it appears, engaged in no enterprise in common

The squabbling Greeks of the Olympic Truce needed reminding of when they stood shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity. If anything could convince them to settle their differences, Homeric poetry recreated by a noble-minded Thales would definitely do the job. That Thales handled the Iliad is unconsciously supported by Pausanius; where he describes the Greece of Lycurgas’ time as being grievously worn by plague, the Iliad actually begins with a plague. Pausanius tells us that Thales, ‘stayed the plague at Sparta,’ during which time, I conject, he was likely to have been composing the Iliad. The dates also fit, for where Herodotus tells us, ‘Hesiod and Homer I suppose were four hundred years before my time and not more,’ i.e. 850 BC, the Olympics of Lycurgas can be approximately dated to the same period. The Greeks counted their Olympiads from 776 BC, but the Olympic Games of Lycurgas were said to have taken place much earlier. Sources vary as to when; both Polybius (quoting Aristodemus of Elis) & Eratosthenes tell us that the 776B.C. victors were recorded 27 Olympiads from that of Iphitops & Lycurgas, whereas Callimachus differs by saying 13 Olympiads had passed. If we average these out, & say 20 Olympiads – a timespan of 80 years – we obtain a date of 856 BC for the Lycurgan Olympics.

Returning to Tatian’s Address to the Greeks, where he says, ‘some say that he lived 90 years before the Olympiads, which would be 317 years after the taking of Troy,’ we gain the following timline.

776 BC: First Olympiad begins
866 BC: Homer
1183 BC: Fall of Troy

According to calculations made by Eratosthenes, Troy fell in 1184 BC, a date backed up by archaeological evidence showing a destruction layer to Troy VIIa in that very period. Wherever Tatian got his information from, it seems certain that one layer of the Homeric material was set in stone at the heart of the 9th century BC. Delving further into the ordinance of what I shall from now on call the Thalian Iliad, its form appears to be based upon the ritualistic & theatrical mystery plays of Greece & Egypt, played out over several days like the Ring Cycle of Wagner. Plutarch places Lycurgas in Egypt at one point, where he would have encountered Egyptian theatre full of soliloquies by narrator-style priests, actors’ dialogue & dramaturgical expressions of stage-craft which are all still used in the theatres of today. Egyptian theatre of the Lycurgan period was quite sophisticated; consisiting of a prologue, three acts divided into scenes, & a concluding epilogue. Two of the plays have come down to us whole, the ‘Ramesseum Coronation’ & the ‘Myth of Horus at Edfu.’ In the latter, it must be noted, both mortals & immortals play out the action, a motif present also in the Iliad.

‘Myth of Horus at Edfu.’

Over the centuries, academics have subconsciously suspected that the Iliad was originally intended for dramatic performance. The Roman writer Quintilian praises the second book of the Iliad for the greatness of its speeches, while the 17th century English poet, Alexander Pope, stated, ‘for a farther preservation of this air of simplicity, a particular care should be taken to express with all plainness those moral sentences & proverbial speeches which are so numerous in this poet. They have something venerable, & as I may so oracular, in that unadorned gravity & shortness with which they are delivered.’ In recent years we have Jenny Strauss Clay’s description of the Iliad’s, ‘extraordinarily high percentage of direct speech – much more than any other epic;’ Bernard Fenik’s, ‘direct discourse comprises 67 percent of the Iliad;’ & Laura M Slatkin’s, ‘extraordinary refinement & complexity of oral performance.’ From such erudite opinions we may not be so foolish to suggest that the Iliad was in fact played out through a series of scenes in which actors & actresses were given lengthy speeches. Interspersed are the battle scenes, which may have been acted out in the manner of the Egyptian dramas, reminiscent of gladiators in a Roman arena – beautifully choreographised physical theatre, but without the actual bloodshed.

One expects that the creation of the Thalian Iliad would have called for a written script to be shared around the actors. Indeed, Josephus in the first book of his history states the Greeks did noot have an alphabet until the time of Homer. It is interesting that before 850 BC we find no record of the Greek alphabet anywhere, but within a few decades of the Lycurgan Olympics its first relics were preserved for posterity. The earliest recognizable sample of the Greek alphabet was based upon that of the Phoenicians, who were positively active in Crete c.900 BC – when Thales would have been a boy – depositing objects at Knossos, Kommos & the Idaean cave. One can only imagine the young, studious Thales learning Phoenician & its script, realising how wonderful an entity was the recorded word, & understanding how vital such a recording would be when promulgating the script of the Iliad among the actors. In doing so, he consolidated all the dialects of Greece into a single, slightly artifical literary lingua franca, creating the unifying language of the ancient Greeks.

The original theatrical purpose of the Iliad would be slowly eroded by time, when the mega-money spectacular of Lycurgas would gradually give way to performances by individual singers called Rhapsodes, such as the Homeridae. In a modern context it would be like the script of a Holywood movie being reduced to being aired as a radio-play. Eventually, from the memories of the rhapsodes, or perhaps a well preserved piece of papyrus that contained the Thalian script, that the Iliad was transcribed into literary life by the librarians of Alexandria. So that is all for today. Some chilli olives & a soft Cretan red await me back at the Petra Village, to where I shall be idly sidling the now!

Star Beach

5th July, 2017


READ MORE POETICAL ESSAYS

***

THE PEOPLE’S FRINGE: Edinburgh 2020

Posted on Updated on

IMG_20190805_094025.jpg


August 7th-23rd


After much soul-searching & debate, the Mumble Team have decided that they will be launching a Fringe programme this August if the current climate of social distancing has evaporated. We will also be supplying free tickets for NHS workers as a way of saying thank-you. The Fringe just needs to happen, & with the ethos being one of Open Access, The Mumble are prepared to step up to the plate & keep the Fringe flag flying high.

IMG_20190804_233147.jpg

THE PEOPLE’S FRINGE is a chance to get back to the roots, to 1947 at the start of it all before it became the corporate behemoth of 2019. A certain quote has been banded around the media recently from theatre director Gerard Slevin, who argued in 1961, when the event was less than 15 years old & already starting to swell in size, it would be, “much better if only ten halls were licensed”.

IMG_20190803_203950.jpg

So, that is just what The Mumble will be curating this August; ten venues, dedicated to one of the art forms, & sponsored by Mumble Theatre, Mumble Comedy, Mumble Cirque & others. Our Mumble Words venue will step into the spheres the Book Festival. Being based in Edinburgh all year round, we are perfectly placed to make it all happen, & its kind of duty to do so, a fringe for the people, THE PEOPLE’S FRINGE.

IMG_20190803_193704.jpg

The Coronavirus may be assaulting the body, but the spirit of the Fringe is immune, & when all gets back to normal – as it surely will -, then the world will once more be able to find cheer, inspiration, hope & solace in an Edinburgh summer festival for the arts.

Love, Wine & Nature in the Ever-Living China I: Feng Love Poems

Posted on Updated on

Shen_Zhou._Reading_in_Autumn_Scenery.Palace_Museum_Beijing.jpg
Shen Zhou

With the Coronavirus kicking in the global lock-down, its time for everyone to reflect & maybe look at projects that have been lying gathering dust for a while. In my case its the compilation of the very best of a certain William Dolby’s translations of ancient Chinese poetry. A brilliant, extremely prolofic man, Dolby has unfortunately passed away, leaving his son as the custodian of his works. Last year I contacted said son, Ieuan, who very kindly sent me a few books – about 8 in total.

I am now in the process of diving into thoise 8 books & digging out the nuggets, all of which I am collating under the umbrella term, LOVE, WINE & NATURE IN THE EVER-LIVING CHINA. The idea is to provide a poetic hotline to a most wonderful time of humanity – millennia before the technocracies in which we dwell. I hope the readers of Mumble Words will deligth as much as I have in Dolby’s genius – I will be changing the word of two here & there, & scribble out stanzas as well, leading to a final result which I believe will benefit the world a great deal.

The first selection of poems are being made from the ‘SHI-CHING,‘ (tr. songs-lyric-warp/weave), China’s earliest poetry anthology. It was compiled c.500 BC in the age of Confucious, who many scholars believe composed new music for the songs. Drawn from all the regions of ancient China, the oldest material goes back to the Shang Dynasty (1766-1122 BC) & are a mixture of court songs, war songs, & of course romantic numbers. It is of the latter sort,l known as the Feng (folk-love-songs) that we shall begin what will become a long essay into Chinese poetry, the culmination of which should be a brand new anthology for the 21st century. The names under the titles, by the way, are the region from where the song was drawn.

 


CURLY EARS
Chou South

Cull & cull the Curly Ears – cerastium,
Don’t fill my lopsided shallow-fronted basket;
Sighing for the one I’m yearning for in my breast,
I put it aside, leave it on the Chou Road.

I go up into the rock-strewn hills,
Till my horses are ill with exhaustion;
For a while I pour wine from the rhinoceros-horn jar,
To stop myself from greiving on & on.

I go up onto the rocky earth-hill summit,
Till my horses are sick with the effort;
My charioteer is poorly now,
&, oh, how I’m sighing now.

GATHERING THE WHITE DAISIES
Shao South

Where is she going to gather the fecund white daisy?
She’s going to the pools & the islets;
Where is she going to employ them?
In the sacriificial services of her lord.

Where is she going to gather the fecund white daisy?
She’s going in among the mountain brooks’
Where is she going to employ them?
In the palace of her lord.

She has an abundance of hair-jewels,
In the pre-dawn she’s with her lord;
She has such a luxuriance of hair-jewels,
As she turns back & goes home.

windandsnow.jpg

THE WIND
Pei

There’s wind, & its violent, moreover,
When you look around at me, you smile,
Your jokes are wild & your laughter scorching,
& deep in my heart I lament over that!

There’s wind & its flying dusr filling the air, moreover,
Its a favour when you agree to come to me!
If you don’t come & go with me,
I long for you endlessly.

There’s wind, & its overcast, moreover,
No sun, & overcast.
When I go to bed, I stay awake, don;t sleep,
Longing for you, I keep on sneezing.

The cloud-covered skies are dark overcast,
The thunder rumbles loud.

LIFE-GIVING EASTERN BREEZE
Pei

The life-giving eastern breeze gently shushes,
Bringing overcast skies & rain;
I strove to be your soul-mate,
You shouldn’t have got angry with me.
When you pick radishes & turnips,
Don;t you include their roots!
If you hadn’t gone against the love between us,
I’d have died together with you at the same time as you die.

I travel the road slowly tarrying,
Deep inside my heart unwilling;
Not a long way, indeed a short onw,
You only saw me off to the threshold of your door!
Who says that the sow-thistle is bitter!
Its as sweet as shepherd’s purse;
You rejoice in your new bride,
As if she were your elder or younger brother!

Alas you didn’t have affection for me,
But on the contrary treated me as an enemy;
Since you warded off my goodwill,
What I was selling wouldn’t sell.
In the old days, I lived in nervousness & at the end of my resources
When you tumbl’d into calamity;
When we’d survived that & flourish’d,
You liken’d me to poison.

I had some fine dried vegetables in store,
Which, to be sure, were to guard against the winter,
You rejoice in your new bride,
& used me to gaurd against hard times.
You were rough, you were wildly enraged,
& you had me hard toil;
You didn’t recall the old days,
When you & I were in love!

OMO: Lesson 7 – Basic Sentences & Syntax

Posted on Updated on


The panting, light-brown dog – who is very hungry – will happily eat his dug-up bone – which he buried last week


OK troops- so we’ve got ourselves a lovely wee vocab so far, including numbers & a whole heap of cool words to link them all together. That means we’re ready for our first sentence, which of course will be constructed thro OMO syntax, the procedure of which is to be  examin’d in this lesson.

On top of basic interpersonal relationships, a language needs to be able to interpret, refer, enquire, reflect, and other such actions. To achieve as much the core of each declarative sentence shall be based around what is known as the SVO principle – i.e. a word order of Subject + Verb + Object.

A sentence is divided into subject (a person, thing, or topic about which something is said) and predicate (that which is said about the subject), which might be the verb – ‘Jack is playing’ – the object ‘ Jack’s ball’ or both – ‘Jack is playing with the ball.’ For this lesson we shall be constructing our sentences around a core subject-verb-object of ‘DOG-EAT-BONE.’

The overall effect of the SVO principle is rather like the medieval tryptych, from which identification we might call each step a panel, rendering the three steps; subject panel, verb panel & object panel. As with all art, some tryptychs & panesl are more decorative than others, & are open to several levels of development.

Dog              Eat                   Bone

Ko-Ta            Ka-Ma-Va         Mo-Mo-Me

At first glance/experience, it may appear as if there is a lot of OMO action for just three English syllables – but a seasoned OMO speaker will utter the words with concision almost matching the speed of their native language.

It is now time to start playing with, & elaborating upon, the core idea. First things first, we need to add begin with the bridge conjunction doucon, ‘KT,’ meaning ‘the’ or ‘a.’ This means we now have;

The      Dog           Eat                     Bone

KT……..  Ko-Ta…      Ka-Ma-Va…        Mo-Mo-Ma


Panel One: Subject

With Omo, as with the Latin languages, descriptions always follow the word it is describing,  – thus brown dog as said in English is described as dog brown. It is better to let the hierarchy of thought concentrate on the main subject.

If we want to add texture to the description, this developmental word follows the initial description word, thus delicious boiled egg would have the word order EGG – BOILED – DELICIOUS. With colours, however, to indicate a deep or a paler shade simply posify or negify the word, thus light brown enters into the examplar as;

The      Dog       Light-Brown

KT…      Ko-Ta…  TM-Va-Na-Ka

After the subject is described, we should then include the subordinate verb, which in the case of our dog is ‘panting.’ 

The      Dog        Light-Brown         Panting

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Na-Ca…     Me-Le-Ta

Although not included in our example, it is also possible to describe the subordinate verb, such as ‘panting hard,’ with the word appearing after the verb as with all descriptions. Dog – Brown – Light – Panting – Hard.


Panel Two: Verb

Returning to our sentence, let us turn not to the second panel, & the primary verb, ‘Eat’. This word is a branch of Food/Ka-ma, & adding the past-tense fyre ‘twig’ gives us VT-Ka-Ma-Va. We then discover that our dog that our dog ‘happily eat(s).’ To create ‘happily’ two new words we need to verbify the word happy, i.e. adding ‘M-M’ to ‘Ka-Me-To.’

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting      Happily               Eat(s)

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…  MM-Ka-Me-To…  Ka-Ma-Va

The next development is the introduction of the modal verb will – TOE. It is also possible to future-tensify the word eat with a doucon (TV-KA-MA-VA), but in this lesson we’ll be focussing on the modal, to-be, ‘will’ version.

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting      

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…

Will       Eat                Happily

 Toe…     Ka-Ma-Va…   MM-Ka-Me-To.


Panel Three: Object

It is now time to analyze the third panel of our tryptych, the object, which is in this case a bone. First things first, we must connect the bone to the dog with the possessive ‘his‘ – LOE.

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat his bone.

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting      

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…

Will       Happily               Eat                His     Bone

 Toe…     MM-Ka-Me-To…  Ka-Ma-Va…   Loe…   Mo-Mo-Ma

Let us develop even further here, by describing the bone with the past tense dug-up. There is no actual word for dug-up in OMO, but in the given context it will be easily understood.

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat his dug-up bone

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting         Will       Happily

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…     Toe…     MM-Ka-Me-To…

Eat                 His     Bone               Dug (up)

Ka-Ma-Va…   Loe…   Mo-Mo-Ma…    VT-Ka-Ve-Vo


Relative Clauses

Now for the fun part, the relative clauses. They begin with questions such as where & when, & pronouns such as from. They are most often used to define or identify the subject or object that precedes them. For the examplar we’re gonna be using two of these bad boys in order to create a rather volumous first ever sentence in OMO.

The panting, light-brown dog WHO IS VERY HUNGRY – will happily eat his old, dug-up bone – WHICH HE BURIED LAST WEEK.

The word for both who & which is KAO. The word for is/are is AE. Very Hungry is created by posifying (TL) Hungry (Ko-Ke-Le), creating TL-Ko-Ke-Le.  In the second of the relative clauses, the word for He or him is LEO, the past tense of Bury is VT-Ka-Ve-Ve, the word last is that signified by previous – Va-Ka-Ke – & finally the word for week is Me-Te-Te.

Who…          Is…                Very…          Hungry…

KAO              AE                 TL                 Ko-Ke-Lo

Which…    He…     Buried…          Last…          Week…

KAO          LEO      VT-Ka-Ve-Ve     Va-Ka-Ke     Me-Te-Te

Okeydokes (which I’m not translating into OMO), so we now have our very first sentence, with lots of little nuances to show the flexibility of the language, the final version of which is;

The panting, light-brown dog will happily eat his dug-up bone

The      Dog        Light-Brown     Panting

KT…      Ko-Ta…   TM-Va-Ma-Ka…  Me-Le-Ta…   

Who…          Is…                Very…          Hungry…      Will

KAO              AE                 TL                 Ko-Ke-Lo       Toe…

Happily             Eat                 His     Bone               Dug (up)

MM-Ka-Me-To…   Ka-Ma-Va…   Loe…   Mo-Mo-Ma…    VT-Ka-Ve-Vo

Which…    He…     Buried…          Last…          Week…

KAO          LEO      VT-Ka-Ve-Ve     Va-Ka-Ke     Me-Te-Te


New Word Hoards

I hope that was an instructive enough lesson to get a basic grips of how to communicate thro’ OMO. To conclude this lesson I’d like to show you where each word fits into the overall vocabulary.  In the last post I explained how I would be disseminating the trunk words through the interglobal community, & as we hit the word hordes I shall be sending them to the east to languages like Korean & Tamil.

COLOUR: Va-Ma
Sanskrit = Varna

Va-Ma-Va : Rainbow
Va-Ma-Vo: Red
Va-Ma-Ve: Pink
Va-Ma-Ma: Burgundy / Claret
Va-Ma-Mo: Blue
Va-Ma-Me: Purple
Va-Ma-Ta: Black
Va-Ma-To: White
Va-Ma-Te: Grey
Va-Na-Ka: Brown
Va-Na-Ko: Beige
Va-Ma-Ke: Cream
Va-Ma-La: Green
Va-Ma-Lo: Yellow
Va-Ma-Le: Orange

SPEECH: Me-Le
Malayalam = Meāḻi

Me-Le-Va: Voice
Me-Le-Vo: Articulate
Me-Le-Ve: Eloquent
Me-Le-Ma: Stutter
Me-Le-Mo: Babble
Me-Le-Me: Incoherent
Me-Le-Ta: Pant
Me-Le-To: Breathe
Me-Le-Te: Whisper
Me-Le-Ko: Accent
Me-Le-Ka: Fluent
Me-Le-Ke: Expression / Phrase
Me-Le-La: Scream
Me-Le-Lo: Shout
Me-Le-Le: Conversation

DOG: Ko-Ta
Hindi = Kutta

Ko-Ta-Va: Breed
Ko-Ta-Vo: Mongrel / Mix
Ko-Ta-Ve: Thoroughbred / Purebreed
Ko-Ta-Ma: Terrier
Ko-Ta-Mo: Lhasssa Apso
Ko-Ta-Me: Chihuauau
Ko-Ta-Ta: Poodle
Ko-Ta-To: Spaniel
Ko-Ta-Te: Retreiver
Ko-Ta-Ko: Rottweiler
Ko-Ta-Ka: Alsatian
Ko-Ta-Ke: Wolf
Ko-Ta-La: Greyhound
Ko-Ta-Lo: Bulldog
Ko-Ta-Le: Shitzu

PHYSICAL CONDITION: Ko-Ke
Japanese = Choshi

The negified word follows in brackets; Sharp (Co-Ce-Ve) becomes Blunt (TM-Ko-Ke-Ve).

Ko-Ke-Va: Hard (Soft)
Ko-Ke-Vo: Strong (Weak/Soft)
Ko-Ke-Ve: Sharp (Blunt)
Ko-Ke-Ma: Flexible (Inflexible)
Ko-Ke-Mo: Tight (Loose)
Ko-Ke-Me: Stuck (Unstuck)
Ko-Ke-Ta: Smooth (Rough)
Ko-Ke-To: Tidy (Messy)
Ko-Ke-Te: Wet (Dry)
Ko-Ke-Ko: Flat (Uneven)
Ko-Ke-Ka: Balanced (Unbalanced)
Ko-Ke-Ke: Still (Active)
Ko-Ke-La: Thirsty
Ko-Ke-Lo: Hungry
Ko-Ke-Le: Tired

POSITIVE MANNER: Ca-Me
Korean = Gamejong

Ka-Me-Va: Enthusiastic
Ka-Me-Vo: Optimistic
Ka-Me-Ve: Confident
Ka-Me-Ma: Dignified / Elegant
Ka-Me-Mo: Generous
Ka-Me-Me: xxxxxxx
Ka-Me-Ta: Pleased
Ka-Me-To: Happy
Ka-Me-Te: Silly/Giddy
Ka-Me-Ko: Humble
Ka-Me-Ka: Compassionate
Ka-Me-Ke: xxxxxxx
Ka-Me-La: Kind
Ka-Me-Lo: Charitable
Ka-Me-Le: Helpful

FOOD – Ka-Ma
Hindi = Khaana

Ka-Ma-Va: Eat
Ka-Ma-Vo: Swallow
Ka-Ma-Voe: Chew
Ka-Ma-Ma: Meal
Ka-Ma-Mo: Soup
Ka-Ma-Me: Dish – Recipe
Ka-Ma-Ta: Rice
Ka-Ma-To: Pasta
Ka-Ma-Te: Noodles
Ka-Ma-Ka: Chips / Fries
Ka-Ma-Ko: Cereal
Ka-Ma-Ke: Nuts
Ka-Ma-La: Sandwich
Ka-Ma-Lo: Wrap – Kebab
Ka-Ma-Le: Burger

PHYSICAL ACTION: Ka-Ve
Hindi = Kaary

Ka-Ve-Va: Place / Affix
Ka-Ve-Vo: Dig
Ka-Ve-Ve: Bury
Ka-Ve-Ma: Spread
Ka-Ve-Mo: Push
Ka-Ve-Me: Pull
Ka-Ve-Ta: Hook
Ka-Ve-To: Fold
Ka-Ve-Te: Bend
Ka-Ve-Lo: Catch
Ka-Ve-Ka: Drop
Ka-Ve-Ke: Lift
Ka-Ve-La: Tie
Ka-Ve-Lo: Put
Ka-Ve-Le: Spray

BODY, INTERNAL: Mo-Mo
Korean = Mom

Mo-Mo-Va: Skeleton
Mo-Mo-Vo: Spine
Mo-Mo-Ve: Ribs
Mo-Mo-Ma: Bone
Mo-Mo-Mo: Blood
Mo-Mo-Me: Muscle
Mo-Mo-Ta: Flesh
Mo-Mo-To: Sweat
Mo-Mo-Te: Digestive System
Mo-Mo-Ka: Vomit
Mo-Mo-Ko: Burps
Mo-Mo-Ke: Fart / Flatulance
Mo-Mo-La: Poo / Defacate
Mo-Mo-Lo: Pee / Urinate
Mo-Mo-Le: Diarrhea

SEQUENCE: Va-Ka
Tamil = Varicai

Va-Ka-Va: Last
Va-Ka-Vo: Ultimate
Va-Ka-Ve: After
Va-Ka-Ma: Series
Va-Ka-Mo: Repeat
Va-Ka-Me: Progression
Va-Ka-Ta: Initial
Va-Ka-To: Before
Va-Ka-Te: First
Va-Ka-Ka: Penultimate
Va-Ka-Ko: Next
Va-Ka-Ke: Previous
Va-Ka-La: Between
Va-Ka-Lo: Middle
Va-Ka-Le: Queue

DAY (date) – Me-Te
Nepalese = Miti

Me-Te-Va: Monday
Me-Te-Vo: Tuesday
Me-Te-Ve: Wednesday
Me-Te-Ma: Thursday
Me-Te-Mo: Friday
Me-Te-Me: Saturday
Me-Te-Ta: Sunday
Me-Te-To: Weekend
Me-Te-Te: Week
Me-Te-Ka: Today
Me-Te-Ko: Tomorrow
Me-Te-Ke: Yesterday
Me-Te-La: Day After Tomorrow
Me-Te-Lo: x
Me-Te-Le: x

OMO: Lesson 6 – First Word Hoards

Posted on Updated on

An auxiliary language is essential, one wee phrase book to be anywhere in the world, a language simple enough for anyone to learn but complex enough to 8handle most situations. There are limits to OMO, but the limits were very much intended in order to open it up to the wider population of the world. Better to obtain mastery in a new, equal-for-all & quite finite language, than learn a complicated alien tongue as if one’s mind were a mere colony of an imperial power.

It is very difficult to get people to switch habits. A child in Botswana cannot be expected to learn the complexities of English or Mandarin, for example, two of the most widely spoken tongues. Learning a new language is a difficult task, but I hope to present to the world a simple to learn, easy to communicate universal language. Auxiliary in consistence, it is complex enough to facilitate huge swathes of our Human interactions, but not so complex as to prohibit its learning to proficiency by the general masses of the planet.

We are on our way, however, & it is time to get into the nuts & bolts of OMO, the main vocab. As mentioned in Lesson 3, when combining the 15 core sounds into ‘double onset’ pairs, we can create 225 different words such as Le-Lo & Va-Me, with the stress being made on the first syllable, rendering the two examples Lee-lo & Vay-me. These 225 words constitute a basic strata, a primordial phonology, on which human communication may exist utilising words such as ‘book,’ ‘computer’ & ‘meat.’ In this lesson we shall look at three Trunk words & their 15 branches,supplying us with 45 new ‘triple onset’ words to learn, plus their fyres. That there are hints of the English language in these root words. I felt that this method would negate Karl Haag’s criticism of how artificial languages create their lexicon, when he wrote;

It is precisely because artificial languages randomly accumulate the plundered detritus which forms their core, that, from a logical point of view, they are fundamentally inferior to real and historically-attested languages; they often destroy both the logic and the aesthetic beauty of any inner conceptual interconnection and elaboration which, thanks to the root words, permeate a natural language when it is allowed to grow naturally, and they thus offend the mind as much as the sensitivities.

As we proceed through the Lexicon, the root word phonetics shall be dispensed across the many languages of the planet, thus creating a vocabulary that has commonality with almost every tongue on the planet. Esperanto & Ido, for example, have mainly stemmed from European languages like Latin, Spanish, French, German, and English, which precludes them from two thirds of the world obtaining at least the hint that I attempting to provide.


ALCOHOL: La-Co

Language is essentially expressions and sentences are deeply rooted in the real world, & more or less everybody loves a drink. Before we look at the rest of its word hoard, lets see how fyers may be applied to the word for alcohol.

M-M-La-Co: To do Alcohol is essentially getting drunk
V-K-La-Co: To personify Alcohol is to deem somebody an alcoholic. In each instance here the ‘la’ element would be stressed and sound as ‘laay.’

With branch words, the stress comes with the middle syllable, so whiskey is pronounced something like Lay-Coor-Ve.

La-Co-Va: Brandy
La-Co-Vo: Whiskey
La-Co-Ve: Wine
La-Co-Ma: Rum
La-Co-Mo: Saki / Rice Wine
La-Co-Me: Stout / Guinness
La-Co-Ta: Gin
La-Co-To: Vodka
La-Co-Te: Tequila
La-Co-Co: Ale
La-Co-Ca: Cider
La-Co-Ce: Home Brew / Moonshine
La-Co-La: Bubbly (Champagne / Prosecco)
La-Co-Lo: Baileys / Irish Cream
La-Co-Le: Beer / Lager

Like Alcohol, the sport of Athletics is a truly international entity, & one which would benefit from a universal language. An athlete would then be a V-K-Le-Te, with the ‘le’ sounding like ‘lee.’


ATHLETICS: Le-Te

Le-Te-Va: Olympics
Le-Te-Vo: Track
Le-Te-Ve: Field
Le-Te-Ma: Race
Le-Te-Mo: Marathon
Le-Te-Me: Relay
Le-Te-Ca: Long jump
Le-Te-Co: High jump
Le-Te-Ce: Triple jump
Le-Te-Ta: Shot put
Le-Te-Ta: Javelin
Le-Te-Ta: Discus
Le-Te-La: National anthem
Le-Te-Lo: Medal
Le-Te-Le: Podium

Continuing the theme that a useful auxiliary language must have a vocabulary drawn from universal themes and every day occurrences, our final root word of the lesson is TOOL, pronounced TO-LO. These are objects, so Tools is T-T-To-Lo & Screwdrivers are T-T-To-Lo.


TOOLS (To-Lo)

To-Lo-Va: Drill
To-Lo-Vo: Saw
To-Lo-Ve: Measuring tape
To-Lo-Ma: Sandpaper
To-Lo-Mo: Nails
To-Lo-Me: Screw
To-Lo-Ca: Screwdriver
To-Lo-Co: Hammer
To-Lo-Ce: Spirit level
To-Lo-Ta: Bolt
To-Lo-To: Nut
To-Lo-Te: Washer
To-Lo-La: Scissors
To-Lo-Lo: Spade
To-Lo-Le: Wrench

To conlcude this lesson, it is the using of 2 or 3 syllable words with stress which allows for an easy understanding & a natural separation of words by the mind. This system also taps into the origins of language, for both Vedic Sanskrit & ancient Greek possess a similar system of accentuation in which pitch is dominant. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?

OMO: Lesson 5 – Prime Words, Doucons And Fyers

Posted on Updated on

prepositions-in-on-at_2.png

Without further ado let us now introduce the word families based upon the Consonant-Vowel-Vowel construct. This gives us 5 blocks, then, each of which consists of six words. The five blocks have been distributed through the most important preopositions & conjunctions – the glue which holds sentences together – alongside such significant words as Questions & the Modal Verbs.  Thus the whole C-V-V section can be considered as vital to Human communication, & should be considered as prime words. When pronouncing these words, the stress should fall on the first vowel; so in the case of CAO, it would sound like ‘caay-oh.’

———————

QUESTIONS

When speaking Omo, the stress always falls in the early sections of an individual word. This opens the possibility of allowing a raised stress at the end a word to imply the context of a question being asked. Alternatively, just use these curt babies!

CAO – Who / Which
COA – When
CEA – How
CAE – Why
CEO – Where
COE – What

———————

PRIME CONJUNCTIONS

LAE – And
LEA – But
LOE – Or
LEO – Nor
LAO – So
LOA – Yet

——————-

MODAL VERB

A modal verb is a type of verb that is used to indicate modality – that is: likelihood, ability, permission, request, capacity, suggestions, order, obligation, or advice.

TAE: Can
TEA: Could
TOE: Will
TEO: Would
TOA: Shall
TAO: Should

——————

PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE

Place prepositions are a rigid bunch that really do fix other mimesi/words in position. Note I have done away with the nuances of on (the table), at (the disco). From this defusion of confusion, one should understand exactly what is meant by the context in which the statement is made.

MAE: On, At
MEA: Around/About
MOE: Between
MEO: Against
MAO: In, Inside
MOA: Outside

————–

PREPOSITIONS OF TIME

As with the Prepositions of Place, I have done away with the nuances of at (5PM), on (the 6th of June) & in (ten minutes). Again, one should understand what is meant by the context. With the word VOE, again context will dictate meaning. Even then, the shades of difference in meaning are also so subtle that there should be no mistakes in understanding.

VAO: Before / Since
VOA: After
VEA: Approximately
VAE: At / On / In
VEO: Until
VOE: For / During / Throughout / While

————–

Another section of the conjunction word-types, along with what are known as fyers, have been allocated to the Doucons, a word which means double consonant. In essence, these are the ‘twigs’ which shoot out of branch words & trunk words. Examples of these rapidly spoken entities are the T-T doucon, which sounds something like ‘ter-ter’ & the K-M doucon, pronounced ‘ker-mer.’

MOVEMENT CONJUNCTION

ML: Across
MK: Over
MT: Pass
MV: Towards

———–

BRIDGE CONJUNCTION

KM: To
KL: For
KT: The / A
KV: Of

———–

CONDITIONAL CONJUNCTION

LM: If
LK: Unless
LT: Although
LV: Despite

————

FYERS

In the case of a Fyer doucon, these are affixed to the start of a word in order to modify its meaning. Examples of each fyer are given in brackets

T-T: plurify (dog to dogs)
M-M: verbify (swim to swimming)
L-L: Objectify (the game football to a football)
V-V: Adjectify (charity to charitable)
K-K: adverbify (quick to quickly)

—————–

TM: negify (small to tiny)
TK: Anti (happy to unhappy)
TL: posify (strong to mighty)
TV: future tense (play to will play)

————–

VM: comparify (tall to taller)
VK: personify (farm to farmer)
VT: past tense (run to ran)
VL: intensify (smart to smartest)

——————
The use of the negator prefix T-K allows us to dispense with hundreds, if not thousands of negative-themed words, which means less words to learn overall! the presence of the negative marker at the beginning of the word is also in a global majority. Under the umbrella comes sane & insane, lead & mislead, etc..

OMO: Lesson 4 – Numbers

Posted on Updated on

The global understanding of numbers presented as 1-9 & so on is the closest to a universal communication system possessed by our species. The alphabet of OMO affords a near-perfect way of representing numbers. The name of each number is given in the vowel-consonant-vowel format. The word for one is Omo, which is also the name of the entire language. The significance is that the Human race will become as one when it speaks a universal language. OMO also transchispers into Homo, a Latin word that means human. This word derives comes from the Greek word homos, meaning the same.

Let us begin with the numbers one to ten, which are written as follows;

1: OMO
2: EMO
3: OKO
4: EKO
5: OVO
6: EVO
7: OTO
8: ETO
9: OLO
10: ELO

When counting to ten, flipping between the word-opening O & E sounds is somewhat quite pleasing on the ear. As you can see the ending of all numbers is ‘O’ which is the unique quality that marks it out as a number. If this letter were changed to an ‘E’ or an ‘A’ then the meaning of the word changes to either a position or a fraction. Thus EKO, 4, becomes OKE, fourth, & EKA, a quarter. The only exception is no such fraction as 1, so this word – OMA – we shall designate as zero.

The final set of numbers are known as ‘brackets,’ & reflect of each fresh numerical level, and the adding of a new zero. Their meanings are as follows;

AMO: Hundred
AKO: Thousand
AVO: Tens of Thousands
ATO: Hundreds of Thousands
ALO: Million

Like the first ten numbers, this new set may also be altered by the final vowel, creating words like AVE – the thousandth – & ALA – a millionth (of). There is no room for the word, billion or trillion here, I’m afraid, not yet anyway. I mean, its not like its in every day use, is it? ‘Excuse me, can I have a billion onions please? We’ll get by without them for now.

So, how are OMO’s numbers actually spoken? Well, numbers between 11 & 99 are simply the two visible numbers spoken unlinked, as in omo-omo (11) & olo-olo (99). A round decade, like thirty, is said 3-zero, & thus in this case, ‘oko-elo’. To state a decade of numbers, like the 70s, you simply pluralise the number (see lesson x).

Once we start getting into the bigger numbers, the largest is mentioned first followed by how many of them, ie 500 hundred is said as AKO-OVO (hundred five). If the number is something like 582, then you would say AVO-OKO as before, followed by each number, here 8 then 2, resulting in AVO-OVO-ETO-EMO. It is also possible to dispense with the formal introduction of the numberscape via the bracket & simply say the numbers in sequence, tho once you reach tens of thousands & beyond it is probably better to introduce the bracket.

Lelo amo-evo-evo = Route 66

In the case of three hundred & twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred & sixty five (328765) you will say; ATO-EKO (hundreds of thousands x 3) then EMO-ETO-OTO-EVO-OVO (28765). There are nuances I haven’t covered here, but the general schema is on the table & I do believe it works. Thus four lessons in we can differentiate between people & also understand who owns what. We can also count, which in a weird way reflects the mercantile dna inherent in Human Kind. But we are beadcounting cavedwellers no longer, & its time we had a wee gossip or summat. But before we go I’d like to introduce what is called an ‘Objectifyer,’ which places the double consonant L-L directly before a number to create ‘second, third, etc.’ First has its own word which we’ll come to in the seventh lesson.

Second: LL-EMO
Third: LL-OKO
Tenth: LL-ELO