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Old Hyksos is the native language of the dragon population of Lamutria, Heraldinia and the Mist Countries. It is also the language used by mages to build their spells. The language has a small vocabulary, a mere twenty-four words. There are three suffixes that change the meaning of those twenty-four words. In addition, negation of a word often produces a distinct meaning. For instance, while cepra means 'animal', ne cepra means 'plant.' The language has obviously been inspired by Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea novels.
As Old Hyksos is used by mages, the lexicon is graded. There are fifteen degrees, ranging from the third pupil who knows a handful of words to the first archmage who knows all and can build permanent pentangles, the Old Hyksos equivalent of poetry. The appropriate level is indicated in the - alphabetic - lexicon.
Irina Rempt, who has corrected my errors - although the remaining errors are my own creativity, and Frank Rieter, who has taught me all the Old Hyksos I know, apart from the bits I have taught myself.
Old Hyksos cannot be said to possess a distinct phonology, but a quick scan of the lexicon shows the following inventory, with the letters used in the transcription in the place of the IPA signs:
Consonants bilabial alveolar palatal velar glottal voiceless stops p t k/c voiced stops b d g nasal stops m n trill r voiceless fricative f s h voiced fricative v z approximant w l j
The letter x represents the sequence /ks/. The letters qu represent the sequence /kw/. Depending upon the dialect of Old Hyksos (Hyksos or Sarapis), the letter g can either be pronounced as a voiced velar stop, or as a voiceless velar fricative. A word-final /h/ is not pronounced, nor is /h/ pronounced in the sequence /hr/.
Vowels front central back close i/y u close-mid e o open-mid e o open a a
Whether e, o and a are pronounced close or open depends on the syllabification of the word. There are no special stress rules in Old Hyksos, the uttering of spells is stressful enough in itself, and often leaves the mage down and out.
Old Hyksos has three suffixes, the verbalizing suffix <-ex> VERB , the non-committal suffix <-es> NCM and the dependency suffix <-as> DEP. Vowel-final root forms (including roots ending in /h/) lose their final vowel if an suffix is appended.
The productive verbalizing suffix <-ex> VERB is used to form verbs from nouns. The resulting form however can have an idiosyncratic meaning which, while remaining within the semantic sphere of the nominal form, still is different enough to necessitate mentioning the verbal form separately in the dictionary. Verbal forms formed with the verbalizing suffix <-ex> VERB exercise a direct influence upon the surroundings of the speaker, according to his intention and to the structure of the magical language.
1. jappa quot.ex quot. 1s thing.VERB thing I change the <thing> into a <thing>. (Where the thing in question has been specified by the mage.)
The productive non-committal suffix <-es> NCM forms verbal forms from the nominal roots of the language. However, in contrast to the verbalizing suffix <-ex> VERB, verbal forms formed with the non-committal suffix <-es> NCM do not exercise any magical influence upon the surroundings of the speaker. The non-committal suffix <-es> NCM is preferred by dragons. Utterances in which the non-committal suffix <-es> NCM is used do not fatigue the mage.
2. jappa moren.es ne jappa. 1s love.NCM NEG 1s I love the other person.
Of course, a more thorough morphemic analysis of the non-committal suffix <-es> NCM and the verbalizing suffix <-ex> VERB, reveals a verbalizing suffix <-e>, a committal suffix <-x> and a non-committal suffix <-s>.
The adjectivizing suffix <-as> ADJ can be used to form adjectives from nominal forms; these adjectives can then be used to specify more precisely the referents of the pronominal and deictic elements in the magical utterance. The adjectivizing suffix <-as> ADJ seems to function as a generic casus obliquus, except for the fact that it isn't used in the accusative.
In the following example, restas is used as an adverb.
3. jappa ne wodan.ex rest.as ne jappa 1s NEG heal.VERB future.ADJ NEG 1s I hurt the other person in the future.
The form eddas, which is the adjectival from of edda, 'plural', is said to be used in enumerations, but only if the enumerated objects have something in common.
4. jappa quot.ex harwa quot.as edd.as 1s thing.VERB container thing.ADJ p.ADJ I change into a thing the container and the things
In this spell, harwa is taken to refer to a chest.
Most often, however, the adjectival forms are used to specify the referents meant by any of the Old Hyksos categorials, like jappa 'I', quot 'thing' and cepra 'animal':
5. ne jappa septamas man of earth, i.e. a troll or earthman cepra perkamas large animal cepra ne perkamas small (not-big) animal cepra arras bird ne jappa ne arras ghost
Since a mage can only apply his spells to someone he either can see or has seen before, he cannot curse someone he has never seen, but whom he knows to be in the room next door. In those cases, he can specify the person as belonging to the room:
6. jappa ne wodan.ex ne jappa harw.as 1s NEG heal.VERB NEG 1s room I hurt the other who is in the room
The same issue is present in the next example, where a mage tries to pick one item, a possession of his, out of a heap of similar items, where he cannot directly discern his property:
7. jappa berr.ex quot japp.as 1s pull.VERB thing 1s.ADJ I pull my thing [to me].
Again, it is unknown who the stone, if the quot refers to a stone, will hurt in the future; but it will be an ill-disposed person, ill-disposed, that is, to the mage:
8. jappa zertr.ex quot, quot ne wodan.ex rest.as 1s force.VERB thing thing NEG heal.VERB future.ADJ ne jappa ne moren.as NEG 1s NEG friend.ADJ I force the thing. The thing will hurt the unfriendly other in the future.
When the referent of the nominal is an inalienable part of another referent, the use of an adjective to indicate the referent is obligatory:
9. Ne arrah japp.as harw.ex ne septama ne japp.as NEG air 1s.ADJ room.VERB NEG body NEG 1s.ADJ My mind enters the body of the other.
Here ne arrah jappas means 'my mind', and ne septama ne jappas means 'the other's body.' Without the adjectives, ne arrah means 'mind', too, but since a mind is considered to be an inalienable part of jappa, it cannot be referred to without specifying that it is jappas. The same holds for the other's body.
Old Hyksos is an SVO language, with the adjective following the noun, the adverb following the verb. However, there are some complicating rules, which are mainly caused by the specific way Old Hyksos encodes the speech act participants.
If someone or something else than the speaker is the subject of the sentence, the sentence has to be prefixed by the clause jappa zertrex ne jappa or jappa zertrex cepra or any variation. The lexical meaning is 'I force the other', or 'I force the animal.' The grammatical function is to indicate that the speaker is not the agent in the sentence that follows:
10. jappa zertr.ex quot. quot wodan.ex ne jappa. 1s force.VERB thing. thing heal.VERB NEG 1s I force the thing. The thing heals the other. 11. jappa zertr.ex cepra. cepra moren.ex jappa. 1s force.VERB animal animal friendly.VERB 1s I force the animal. The animal befriends me.
Although the effect achieved in the last example can also be achieved with jappa morenex cepra, 'I befriend the animal.'
Large parts of the nominal system of Old Hyksos can only be analyzed in terms of categorials. When, for instance, quot is used, it refers to the category of all inanimate things. Likewise, cepra is the category of animals, as exemplified by the particular animal the mage has in mind. A full list of all categorial Old Hyksos words is given in the lexicon.
In the following example, the mage refers to a particular room, by using the categorial harwa:
12. jappa harw.ex harwa 1s place.VERB place I enter the room
Other examples of the categorial use of Old Hyksos nominals have been presented throughout this description.
Old Hyksos has the category of number. Singular number is unmarked; plural, defined as more than one (not one or more), is the marked number and has to be indicated with the adjective eddas, which is derived from the nominal edda 'number, count.'
13. jappa ne vedd.ex ne japp.as edd.as 1s NEG writing.VERB NEG 1s.ADJ number.ADJ I see the number of the others 14. jappa arr.ex harwa quot.as edd.as 1s air.VERB room thing.ADJ number.ADJ I change the chest and the items in the chest into air.
Tense is a complicated subject in Old Hyksos, especially for the mage who has to be careful that he does not construct a spell that causes a time-paradox. The relevant particles are restas, which can serve as a future tense, and ne restas, which can serve as a preterite tense. Both particles are postposed to the verb.
15. jappa zertr.ex quot, quot ne wodan.ex rest.as ne jappa 1s force.VERB thing thing NEG heal.VERB future.ADJ NEG 1s I force the thing. The thing will hurt the other. 16. jappa ne wodan.ex ne rest.as ne jappa 1s NEG heal.VERB NEG future.ADJ NEG 1s I have hurt the other.
In the next example the adjective suffix <-as> is used to indicate a dative relation. It is not known whether that is standard.
17. Jappa fall.ex ne wodan japp.as ne japp.as 1s give.VERB NEG health 1s.ADJ NEG 1s.ADJ I give my illness to the other.
With each lexeme is indicated the level at which the mage receives mastery over the word; an asterisk indicates that the word is a so-called power-word, which can change reality. Otherwise, unless idoras is used, the spell wrought is an illusion.
The words in their native order:
arrah: air. jappa quotex arrah, 'I change the air into a thing'
arrex: change into air. jappa arrex quot, 'I change the thing into air'
arras: of air. cepra arras, 'bird'
ne arrah: spirit, mind. Ne arrah jappas harwex ne septama ne jappas, 'My mind enters the body of the other.'
ne arrex: change into spirit, mind. Jappa ne arrex idoras jappa, 'I change myself really into mind.'
ne arras: of the spirit, of the mind. ne jappa ne arras, 'ghost.' Jappa ne morenex ne jappa ne arras, 'I mentally hurt the ghost'
berrah: the location of the speaker (the mage). Jappa ne berrex berrah, 'I push the place I am in.'
berrex: pull, move towards the speaker. Jappa berrex ne jappa, 'I pull the other.'
berras: that which is close
ne berrah: distant, a distant place. Jappa zertrex ne berrah. Ne berrah berrex jappa, 'I force the distant place. The distant place pulls me.'
ne berrex: push, push away. Jappa ne berrex quot, 'I push the object.'
ne berras: that which is distant
cepra: animal. Jappa wodanex cepra, 'I heal the animal.'
ceprex: change into an animal. Jappa ceprex jappa, 'I change into a wolf.'
cepras: of the animal. Jappa ne fallex quot eddas cepras, 'I steal the squirrel's nuts.'
ne cepra: plant, tree. Jappa quotex idoras ne cepra, 'I really change the tree into a table.'
ne ceprex: change into a plant. Jappa ne ceprex ne jappa, 'I change the other into a daisy.'
ne cepras: of the plant.
deborrah: the hidden. Jappa ne veddex deborrah, 'I see what is hidden.'
deborrex: to hide. Jappa deborrex ne arrah jappas, 'I hide my mind.'
deborras: hidden. Jappa ne veddex quot deborras, 'I see the hidden object.'
ne deborrah: clearness, visible, clearness of mind. Jappa fallex ne deborray ne jappas, I give clarity to the other, I sober the other up, I cure the other of his delusion.'
ne deborrex: make visible, reveal. Jappa ne deborrex cepra harwas, 'I make visible the rabbit from my topper.'
ne deborras: that which is clear, visible, revealed.
edda: count, number, quantity, amount. Jappa ne veddex edda ne jappas eddas, 'I see the number of the others.' See also the paragraph on number.
eddex: to double. Jappa eddex idoras jappa, 'I really double myself', Jappa eddex idoras ne cepra, 'I really double the plant.'
eddas: long, many, plural number. Jappa quotex eddas quot, 'I change the thing into another thing for a long time', Jappa ne wodanex ne jappa eddas, 'I wound the other persons.'
ne edda: the missing amount, the missing quantity. Jappa ne veddex ne edda quotas, 'I see the number of coins missing.'
ne eddex: to halve.
ne eddas: less, fewer.
fallar: present, gift.
fallex: to present, to give. Jappa fallex ne wodan jappas ne jappas, 'I give my illness to the other.'
fallas: given, presented.
ne fallar: loot, swag. Jappa berrex ne fallar ne jappas, 'I pull the other's loot.'
ne fallex: to steal. Jappa ne fallex ne arrah ne jappas, 'I steal the other's mind.'
ne fallas: stolen.
gerdah: energy. Jappa fallex gerdah jappas ne jappas, 'I give my energy to to the other' (with dative ne jappas). Constructions like Jappa fallex gerdah jappas, with the same meaning, have been attested.
gerdex: to give energy, to boost, to pep up. Jappa gerdex ne quot, 'I strengthen the spell.'
gerdas: of energy. quot gerdas, electricity, lightning.
ne gerdah: negative energy.
ne gerdex: to give negative energy. Jappa ne gerdex ne quot ne jappas, 'I lessen the strength of the other's spell.'
ne gerdas: of the negative energy.
harwa: room, chest, container, everything that can contain something else jappa ne veddex harwa, 'I see the room.'
harwex: to enter Jappa harwex harwa, 'I enter the room' (not necessarily through the door). Ne arrah jappas harwex ne septama ne jappas, 'My mind enters the body of the other.'
harwas: inside Jappa ne wodanex ne jappa harwas, 'I hurt the person inside the room.'
ne harwa: outside Jappa harwex ne harwa, 'I go outside the room', Jappa ne veddex ne harwa ne jappas, 'I see the surroundings of the other' (who isn't inside something).
ne harwex: to leave, to go out Jappa ne harwex harwa, 'I leave the room.'
ne harwas: that which is outside
idora: reality, truth
idorex: to make real
idoras: real Jappa quotex idoras ne jappa, 'I really change the other into a stone'.
ne idora: illusion
ne idorex: to make an illusion of something
ne idoras: unreal, of the illusion
jappa: I. Jappa lavex quot, 'I heat the object.' Jappa arrex jappa, 'I change myself into air.' (This only changes the mage: not his clothes. Since arrah is not a power-word, it is an illusion, and the clothes and possessions will appear to float in thin air. To also change those, the following spell suffices: jappa arrex jappa quotas eddas, 'I change into air myself and my things.')
jappex: change into me. Jappa jappex ne jappa, 'I change the other into me.'
jappas: of me, mine. Jappa lavex quot jappas, 'I heat the thing of me.'
ne jappa: the other. Jappa lavex ne jappa, 'I heat the other.'
ne jappex: change into the other. Jappa ne jappex jappa, 'I change myself into the other.'
ne jappas: of the other, his. jappa lavex quot ne jappas, 'I heat the thing of the other' (possibly his helmet...)
kirma: sound, noise, music Jappa deborrex kirma, 'I hide the noise.'
kirmex: to make a noise, a sound, music Jappa kirmex quot, 'I make the violin play.'
kirmas: of the sound, the noise
ne kirma: silence
ne kirmex: to make silent, quiet Jappa ne kirmex cepra, 'I silence the parrot.'
ne kirmas: of the silence
lava: fire, heat Jappa gerdex lava, 'I poke up the fire.'
lavex: to heat (not to put on fire per se) Jappa lavex quot, 'I heat the cuirass.'
lavas: of the fire
ne lava: cold, coldness
ne lavex: to make cold, to cool, to freeze. Jappa ne lavex ne jappa, 'I freeze the other.'
ne lavas: of the coldness
morena: fortune, mental health Jappa ne veddex morena ne jappas, 'I see the [state of] the mental health of the other.'
morenex: to heal mentally, to befriend, to like Jappa morenex jappa, 'I heal my mind', Jappa morenex ne jappa can either mean 'I heal the others mind', or, 'I seduce the other.'
morenas: well-disposed, friendly Jappa zertrex ne jappa. Ne jappa nex ne wodanex ne jappa morenas , 'I force the other, the other neglects to wound the well-disposed other.'
ne morena: mental wound, ill-disposedness, animosity Jappa veddex ne morena ne jappas, 'I see the mental wounds of the other.'
ne morenex: to hurt mentally, to be ill-disposed Jappa ne morenex ne jappa, 'I hurt the other mentally.'
ne morenas: ill-disposed, inimical Jappa zertrex quot. Quot ne wodanex ne jappa ne morenas , 'I force the object, the object will in the future hurt the ill-disposed other.'
ne: Generally negates the meaning of the word it precedes.
nex: refrain from Jappa zertrex ne jappa, ne jappa nex ne fallex quot, 'I force the other. The other doesn't steal the thing.'
olarna: smell, sense of smell, odour
olarnex: to make something smell like something Jappa olarnex ne jappa, 'I make the other smell.'
olarnas: of the smell
ne olarna: odourless, without a smell
ne olarnex: to make odourless, to mask a smell
ne olarnas: of the odourlessness
perkama: size, bigness
perkamex: to enlarge Jappa perkamex quot, 'I enlarge the object.' Jappa perkamex quot ne septamas jappas, 'I enlarge a part of my body.'
perkamas: large, strong, powerful Jappa quotex perkamas quot, 'I strongly change the object into another object.'
ne perkama: small, being small
ne perkamex: to make smaller, to diminute Jappa ne perkamex idoras quot, 'I really make the object smaller.'
ne perkamas: small, a little
quot: thing, object. Jappa lavex quot, ' I heat the object.' The referent of quot must be an inanimate, concrete object the mage is seeing or has seen.
quotex: change into something. Jappa quotex ne jappa, 'I change the other into a thing.'
quotas: of the thing.
ne quot: action, spell. Jappa ne veddex ne quot, 'I understand the spell.'
ne quotex: to perform an action, to weave a spell. Jappa zertrex ne jappa, ne jappa nex ne quotex, 'I force the other. The other doesn't weave a spell.' It can also mean that an object performs the action the object is designed for: jappa zertrex quot, quot ne quotex quot, 'I force the lock. The lock opens the lock.'
ne quotas: of the spell, of the action
resta: future Jappa ne veddex resta, 'I see the future.' See also the paragraph on tense
restex: to send into the future Jappa restex ne jappa, 'I send the other into the future.'
restas: of the future, in the future Jappa zertrex quot. Quot ne wodanex restas ne jappa, 'I force the object, the object hurts the other in the future.'
ne resta: past Jappa ne veddex ne resta, 'I see the past.'
ne restex: to send into the past Jappa ne restex ne jappa, 'I send the other into the past.'
ne restas: of the past Jappa ne wodanex ne restas ne jappa, 'I hurt the other in the past.'
septamex: to change into earth Jappa ne septamex quot, 'I change the thing into air.'
septamas: of the earth, earthy. ne jappa septamas, earthman, troll
ne septama: body, part of the body Ne arrah jappas harwex ne septama ne jappas, 'My mind enters the body of the other.'
ne septamex: to change into a body Jappa ne septamex quot, 'I change the object into a [dead] body.'
ne septamas: of the body Jappa quotex quot ne septamas ne jappas, 'I change the others body-part into an object.'
tropex: to light up, to illuminate Jappa tropex harwa, 'I light the room.'
tropas: of the light
ne tropa: darkness
ne tropex: to darken Jappa ne tropex harwa, 'I darken the room.'
ne tropas: of the darkness, dark Jappa ne veddex ne tropas, 'I see in the dark.' As noted by Irina Rempt (personal communication), the adjective suffix <-as> indicates any case but nominative and accusative.
uhr: water Jappa lavex uhr, 'I heat the water.'
uhrex: change into water Jappa uhrex quot, 'I change the object into water.'
uhras: of the water. ne jappa uhras, mermaid Jappa morenex ne jappa uhras, 'I seduce the mermaid.'
ne uhr: blood, sap of a tree or plant Jappa lavex ne uhr cepras, 'I heat the animal's blood.'
ne uhrex: to change into blood Jappa ne uhrex quot, 'I change the object into blood.'
ne uhras: of the blood, bloody
vedda: writing, note. Jappa ne deborrex vedda, 'I decipher the script.'
veddex: to write, to note. Jappa zertrex ne jappa. Ne jappa veddex deborrah, 'I force the other, the other writes the secret down.'
veddas: written down
ne vedda: perception, observation, sight, sense. Jappa gerdex ne vedda, 'I strenghten the perception, I strengthen the sense.
ne veddex: to perceive. Jappa ne veddex ne jappa, 'I see the other.'
ne veddas: seen, perceived
wodan: health. Jappa ne veddex wodan ne jappas, 'I see the [state of] health of the other'
wodanex: to heal. Jappa wodenex jappa,'I heal myself'
wodanas: healthy, hale. Jappa ne veddex ne jappa wodanas, 'I see the healthy other'
ne wodan: illness, disability, wound. Jappa ne veddex ne wodan quotas, 'I see what's broken with the thing.' Jappa ne veddex ne wodan ne quotas, 'I see what's wrong with the spell.' Jappa ne veddex ne wodan eddas ne quot eddas, 'I see the bugs in Windows NT'
ne wodanex: to wound, hurt, break. jappa ne wodenex ne jappa, 'I hurt the other.' Jappa ne wodanex quot, 'I break the object'
ne wodanas: wounded, broken, hurt. jappa ne veddex ne jappa ne wodanas, 'I see the patient.'
xirtramex: to impart a taste. Jappa xirtrex quot, 'I make the beans tasty.'
xirtramas: of the taste.
ne xirtram: without a taste, untasteable.
ne xirtramex: to make untasteable. Jappa ne xirtramex uhr, 'I make the poison untasteable.'
ne xirtramas: of the tastelessness.
ysamex: to bind, to hold together, to glue. Jappa ysamex quotas quot, 'I connect the object to another object' (Again, a dative use of the adjective suffix <-as> ADJ, but in this construction the dative object is placed before the accusative object.
ysamas: held together. ne jappa eddas ysamas 'Siamese twins'
ne ysam: sundered, split, broken apart.
ne ysamex: to sunder, to break apart. Jappa ne ysamex quot, 'I sunder the object.'
ne ysamas: split.
ZERTRAM is an irregular root. The affixes are not added to the whole root, but to the first syllable. This is no doubt caused by the frequence of use of this root. See also the paragraph on speech act participants.
zertram: command, geas, force, compulsion.
zertrex: to force, to command, to compel. Jappa zertrex quot, 'I force the object.'
zertras: of the compulsion.
ne zertram : freedom
ne zertrex: to set free. Jappa ne zertrex ne jappa, 'I free the other (from some mage's zertrex spell).'
ne zertras: of the freedom.
A permanent pentangle is a constellation of five spells, one in each point of a pentangle, that together consitutes a complex spell which will be permanently active.
The first point of the pentangle will always have the spell jappa ysamex quotas quot ne jappas eddas morenas, which binds the object the pentangle is written on to the Philosophers' Stone. The second line describes what the object the pentangle is written on is supposed to do. The third line describes the circumstances that force the object to act. The fourth line described what is necessary to happen for the object to lose its power. The fifth and final line describes who is affected by the object.
jappa ysamex quotas quot ne jappas eddas morenas.
quot berrex ne jappa
ne jappa ne morenex ne jappa
resta ne idoras resta
quot morenex ne jappa morenas
I bring the ring into contact with the philosophers' stone
the ring will vibrate, move apart from the wearer
when some is ill-disposed to the wearer
the ring will work until time is not the real time (always)
the ring is well-disposed to good people
jappa ysamex quotas quot ne jappas eddas morenas.
quot deborrex quot
idora idorex idora
ne jappa kirmex kirma
quot deborrex quot ne jappas
I bring the door into contact with the philosophers' stone
The door hides itself
When reality is reality (always)
The door will cease to be hidden when someone make a special sound
The door is hidden to everyone
jappa ysamex quotas quot ne jappas eddas morenas.
ne jappa berrex quot
ne jappa ne fallex quot
resta ne idorex resta
quot morenex ne jappa quotas
I bring the purse into contact with the philosophers' stone
The other (the owner) pulls the purse
when someone steals the purse
until time is not the real time (always)
the purse is well-disposed to the owner (and will only work for him)
Queeste Home Page
Oele, Joop and Frank Rieter, Roderik Jansen, Pieter Nuiten, Carlo Gremmen, Eric Nuiten. 1993. Inwijdingsspecial. Nijmegen.
There is also a Microsoft listbot discussion group for Old Hyksos.
© 1999 Boudewijn Rempt - Optimized for Lynx. Oud Hyksos and Queeste are © 1980 Joop Oele. This description of Old Hyksos is given purely from a conlang point of view, and is not intended to limit the copyright of the holder of the copyright to Queeste.