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Yoon Ha Lee

esrel-al yceia

yceia-al aseran-tau-pai ilata sen-ge anex-ta-zel iseran-rei-su azar-ge akaq-rei rei-myt.
esrel akiar-su-tau ilei-zel sen-lau-ge tasu-xi at alaqar-su.
alexla-ru tasu-ru-zel esrel-at.
iro-to-axasros nia esrel-ge atazta-kyx-rei cal-kyx.

(Hi)story of chaos

At the beginning of time, the universe was creating all water and waterways and, as twin to that process, freeing light.
Chaos came, called out, and changed the waterways into dangerous places.
Great beauty and danger are in chaos.
Through this alone are we able to understand chaos.

esrel-al yceia
esrel-SS ?-ceia

yceia-al  aseran-tau-pai ilata sen-ge  anex-ta-zel
?-ceia-SS .-seran-PF-PQ  !-ata sen-OBJ .-nex-ta-zel

iseran-rei-su    azar-ge  akaq-rei   rei-myt
!-seran-PROG-VBC azar-OBJ .-kaq-PROG PROG-CQ

esrel akiar-su-tau ilei-zel sen-lau-ge tasu-xi   at  alaqar-su.
esrel .-kiar-CC-PF !-ei-zel sen-AC-OBJ tasu-QUAL LOC .-laqar-CC

alexla-ru tasu-ru-zel esrel-at.
.-exla-ru tasu-ru-zel esrel-LOC

iro-to-axasros     nia esrel-ge  atazta-kyx-rei   cal-kyx
iro-INSTRU-.xasros 1PS esrel-OBJ .-tazta-VBI-PROG cal-VBI

Hear it!


! "i(l)-" prefix, indicating semantic opposition or assertion
: "y(l)-" prefix, indicating semantic moving-toward or uncertainty
. "a(l)-" prefix, indicating semantic staying-at or status quo
AC "accepting change"; a marker that often accompanies an object, indicating that it has indeed been affected by the action/cause
CQ corequisite clause marker, e.g. "also necessary to"
INSTR "action with" or instrumental
LOC a "copula" particle indicating location (in time or space), e.g. "Yoon is at Stanford"
OBJ "action toward" or direct (acquiescent) object; also indicates desired result
PF "event settled" or perfective aspect
PQ prerequisite clause marker, e.g. "in order to," "so," "that"
PROG "event in progress" or progressive aspect
QUAL "bearing quality"; a "copula" particle that transforms the substantive into an adjective-of-sorts
SS share-of-status possessive, e.g. "my sister" (I don't own her, but I have a relationship to her)
VBC "cause casual"; used to "verbify" a substantive, where the effect was neither intended nor unintended, but happened almost as a side-effect
VBI "cause intended"; used to "verbify" a substantive, where the effect is intentional


An extensive vocabulary is here.

ata totality
azar (source of) light
cal can, able to
ceia (personal) experience
ei to affect, awareness
esrel chaos
exla beauty, temptation
kaq permission
kiar arrival
laqar change
nex water or fluid
sen waterway
seran origin or creation
tasu danger (of injury)
tazta (transmitting) knowledge/understanding

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© Irina Rempt, Yoon Ha Lee 2001