WW #28: Patchwork

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One of the most striking things about Nitherian culture to outsiders is their fondness for colourful decorations and clothing. Here’s an example sentence on this topic:

Mosechashichi yo ithnnini mwiayawa.

[mo.se.tɕaˈɕi.tɕi
Mo-secha-shi-chi
PFV-sell-1s3p.AGENT
yo
y-o
with-3s
i.ðn̩ˈni.ni
ithn-nini
skirt-colourful
mwi.aˈja.wa]
mw-ia-yaw-a
PFV-sew-here.and.there-3s
They sold me a colourful patchwork skirt.
Gloss provided by Gloss My Gloss

All the roots in this sentence are new:

  • Sechaso “sell” is from an old derivation swek-yawo. The first part means “shout, call out”, and the second is a directional suffix meaning “here and there, back and forth”; together, they came to mean “haggle” and then were reanalyzed as a single root meaning “sell”.
  • Ithn “skirt” originally just meant “piece of cloth”, and this survives in the reduplicated form ithn-ithn “clothing”.
  • -nini is a suffix meaning “colourful, decorative”, originally a reduplication of hnyo “dye” (source also of nyoshi “colour, dye”). Its vowel echoes the last vowel of the root (e.g. shenyenye “decorative stone”) , a sound-symbolic process found in a few other Nitherian suffixes.
  • Iayawa “make by patchwork” is from iaso “sew” with the same “here and there, back and forth” suffix from above. It can also mean “make shoddily”; without the approving -nini suffix and with an appropriate tone of voice, the sentence could be a complaint: “They sold me a badly-made skirt!”

This sentence is inspired by this great two-player board game.

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