Conlangs of a Remembrancer

The Speech of Other Worlds

Archive for the category “Seasons”

Shshi Vocabulary and Word Formation

This will be a catch-all post where I can periodically add information on vocabulary and provide lists of words.


 I’ve never written enough text in the language to need much slang.  The one curse word that the Termites use all the time is tha’sask|>||, which means “damn!” with > functioning as an emphasis marker, i.e. an exclamation point.  

Another word that could be considered colloquial is da’roit’um|, “infatuated, smitten with hero-worship,” literally, “twist-headed.”  Thus, in the first volume of “The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head,” when the little Worker Twa’sei begs to go with the Champion on its quest, another character says, “Twa’sei is da’roit’um|,” meaning infatuated with the big Warrior.

Gender words

ta’ma’zei|: he-she-person, i.e. a person displaying sexual pheromones (the Alates).
wei’ta’ma’zei|: “non-he-she-person,” i.e. a neuter individual (all Warriors and Workers).
 da’ma|: male (adj.)
da’ta|: female (adj.)
ma’zei| : male person (noun)
ta’zei|: female person (noun)

 Words Related to Offspring

eino|: to lay (an egg); to produce offspring (used for the Queen only, not the King)
ino|: to father or engender an offspring (applied only to the King)
ein’zei|: offspring (when referring to the Queen’s role; used for neuter offspring and for offspring in general)
: offspring (of a male parent) (used for neuter offspring and for offspring in general)
Thus a Warrior would say “I am A’kha’ma’na’ta’s ein’zei| and Sei’o’na’sha’ma’s in’zei|.
ma’ein’zei|: son, male offspring (of a Queen)
ma’in’zei|: son, male offspring (of a King)
ta’ein’zei|: daughter, female offspring (of a Queen)
ta’in’zei|: daughter, female offspring (of a King)

Color Words

The word for “color” is han|. A degree of color is usually indicated in the manner of the word “pink,” by prefixing kom (pale or light in color) or mat (black, dark)  “Gray” is an exception; it has a word of its own.

black: mat|
blue: kha|
brown: pil|
gold, golden: han’gri| [lit., color of the sun; the Shshi place no value on the metal called gold]
gray: zav’mat| [somewhat black]
green: min|
pink: kom’flu| [lit., light or pale red]
orange: flun|
red: flu|
white: ko|
yellow: glon|
purple: gol|

Seasons of the Year

Wet time: gwai’nol| (the rainiest season)
Time of flowers: shra’nol|
Time of drying: su’eish’nol|
Dead time: weio’nol| (the driest season, when nothing grows)
Cold time: chi’nol| (winter)
Time of waiting: la’nol| (when everyone is waiting for the rains to come)


Selection of Words from Dictionary of the Shshi Language

akh|: world or ground
akh’dogo|: to drag, lit., to ground-pull
akh’jav’zi|: earthiness, tasting of the earth or soil, lit., ground-flavor
akh’ka’zi|: paving, lit., ground-stone
akh’oi’mi|: coast, shore, lit., ground-edge
akht’huo|: to bury, lit., to dig and cover
akhto|: to dig

a’nei|: before (prep., temporal sense)
a’nei’bag’on’zi|: road, lit., a path made before [before (a’nei|) made (bag, from bago|, to build, make, manufacture, construct) path (on’zi|)] This word is interesting in that it doesn’t exist at the time of the Earthers’ first visit to the termite planet.  We see its origins in v.2 of “The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head.”
a’nei’galto|: to foretell or prophesy
a’nei’nof|: yesterday (lit., before-day)
a’nei’vaino|: to inherit (lit., to before-take)
a’nei’vain’zei|: heir (lit., before-taker)
a’nei’zei|: ancestor (lit., before-person) (pl. sha’nei’zei|: ancestors,also lineage, heritage)

ao’gwai’mi|: pond, pool, lake (lit., still water)
ao’paio|: to besiege, to set a siege (lit., to still-battle)
ao’pai’zi|: siege, lit., a still [or static] fight

ar [da’ar|]: heavy (adj.)
ar’zei|: heavy one, also reptile (applied generically to any large reptile)

arg [da’arg|]: narrow, tight, constricted, close, cramped (adj.)
arg’akh’mi|: peninsula [lit., narrow-land place]
argo|: to narrow, close in, close up, tighten; also to squeeze or constrict
arg’vist’tro|: to caulk or mortar (lit., to crack-fill]
arg’vist’zi|: crack or chink [lit., narrow space]

a’shof|: artificial, false, fake
a’shof’wum|: armor [lit., artificial chitin; a word constructed by Di’fa’kro’mi]

a’tas’zi|: magic [lit, a thing with a lack of rules, from tas’zi| (noun), rule, law, natural process, also used to mean government.]

av|: yes
da’av|: positive (adj.)
av’av|: of course, certainly [an emphatic yes]
av’il|: positively (adv.)

baf’akhto|: to tunnel, lit., to tunnel-dig
bak’gwai’zi|: mortar-gland water (the secretion of the bak’zi|)
bak’zi|: mortar gland (secretory organ on Builder Subcastes’ heads)

baro|: to own, possess
da’bar|: owned, possessed (idiomatic usage: It belongs to me [lit., it is owned of me]:  fa’she| ↳ da’bar| ki’sho| ||

ba’zi|: gland (usually used in compounds, as hai’ba’zi :scent gland)

biro|: to decay, rot, spoil
bir’zha|: the vision fungus (lit., sour gut, from its smell)

bu’re|: reeds, sedge (lit., river grass; used for weaving and making baskets)


ra’sof’zei|: flower-sitter, an insect similar to a butterfly

vruno|: to believe; na| means “holy”; wei’na| is “unholy,” thus “blasphemous, impious, or sacrilegious.” Then we have wei’na’vrun|, “faithless or unbelieving,” and wei’na’vrun’zei|, or “infidel, a person who does not believe.”

weio’so| is “dead body or corpse”; weio’so’mi| is the Charnel Hall, or “corpse-place,” and weio’so’zei| is “corpse-person,” i.e., the name of the Subcaste of Workers who take care of the disposition of the dead.




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