Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

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Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-29, 0:31

I guess it's about time I made a thread for this!

I've kind of mentioned this on another thread before, but I've had a conlang for years by now. It's called "Mountain Lion" in English and "Grrowl" in Mountain Lion. I think the name "Mountain Lion" makes it fairly self-explanatory. :P I kept it a closely guarded secret (at least until I posted about it on that thread and my mom started blabbering about it to her colleagues at work!) and use it on a daily basis with my dad. In fact, lately, I've been trying to avoid speaking to my dad in any language other than Malayalam and this.

The way all this started is that when I was a teenager, my dad and I would often cuddle together, especially in winter, since we not only loved but were deeply attached to each other and I have lots of body heat. My dad wanted to make this cuddling routine more interesting by engaging in roleplay as some particular type of animal. First, we tried being walruses, but that didn't last long. Then I believe we tried sea lions and then I think very briefly elephants (or maybe my brain totally made that up), and then polar bears because they were apparently a bit more aggressive when cuddling and that intrigued my dad more. But then at one point, a mountain lion was sighted in our neighborhood because there are lots of deer here. After that, we stuck with mountain lion and have never gone back since.

My dad also wanted me to make a language out of the grunts we'd make while cuddling as mountain lions, so I looked around for some recordings of mountain lions, found one, and made a few words partly inspired by that. But my dad wasn't satisfied with that, so by now, we've managed to make a full-fledged language out of it, although I think we each speak our own idiolects of it. :P <- We also do this a lot especially since I have a long tongue, much like pretty much every mountain lion I've seen so far in videos sticking their tongue out, lol. We even have a few poems and maxims (well, at least one maxim) in Mountain Lion.

The vocabulary (especially the native vocabulary...) is really very small and extremely ambiguous. There are lots and lots of loanwords, mainly from English and Hindi. All numerals below 1,000 are from Basque. Uvular fricatives are used very frequently, and it is not at all uncommon for [ʁː] to be tacked on to the end of loanwords.

We even use Mountain Lion when writing e-mails to each other (even my brother has recently and slowly started using it in e-mails to us), written out in Roman script. In those e-mails, syllable-final [ʁ] is written <grrr>, and word-final [ʁː] is written <rrr>; elsewhere, /ʁ/ is <rr>. [gʁ] is written <grr> but is not to be confused with the extremely (even by Mountain Lion standards!) ambiguous word grrr [gʁ̩ː]. (In reality, it's a bit more complicated than this, at least when my dad's writing e-mails, but at least I tend to be fairly consistent about this, as he's noted to me before :P). The voiceless uvular fricative is represented variously as <xh> (usually word-initially), <xhh> (as one word), <xx> (word-finally), or <x> (elsewhere).
Last edited by vijayjohn on 2015-10-29, 6:46, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby Pasie » 2015-10-29, 2:41

That's SO cool! I've always wanted to have like a secret code thingy language thingy for only me and my family (mainly my sisters), but whenever I try teaching them even the simplest word for dog (Imaániczkeduüzhend), they look at me as if I'm some weird person...

** Sorry. It's late, I'm tired, what I just wrote above probably makes no sense...

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-29, 2:54

Heh, no, that's okay. It makes sense! :)

And thanks! :mrgreen:

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby Koko » 2015-10-29, 3:23

Yes! You've finally created the thread! :partyhat: I actually forgot about this since :whistle:

Welcome to the dark side of this forum. We don't have cookies, but we do have a lot of languages with originality ;)

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-29, 3:31

Koko wrote:We don't have cookies

Haha, that's okay. Mountain lions don't (usually) eat cookies anyway. :P

And thank you, too!

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-29, 5:38

A few random fun facts about Mountain Lion:

Grrowl also means 'language' (just in general) and 'to say/speak/ask/tell/narrate/whatever' (also just in general). It can be pronounced in various ways, including [gʁawl], [gʁæwl], and even [grawɭ] if you're my dad. :P Since it means 'Mountain Lion (language)' by default, if you want to talk about another language, you have to put the appropriate qualifier before it. For example, the word for 'cat' is meow, and 'cat language' would be meow grrowl.

Word order in Mountain Lion is pretty strictly SVO, although most of Mountain Lion's function words are borrowed from Hindi, which is SOV. Function words borrowed from English can be used instead, but this practice is dispreferred where an alternative exists. :lol: There is also an all-purpose preposition grrr; it can even be used as an all-purpose conjunction, although it is more often used as a preposition. Even more often, however, postpositions borrowed from Hindi are used instead of the vague grrr.

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby Koko » 2015-10-29, 6:11

So… you basically made the most ambiguous language ever that is extremely dependent on context. :waytogo: I can see why it would borrow from Hindi and English so much :P

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-29, 6:34

Koko wrote:So… you basically made the most ambiguous language ever that is extremely dependent on context. :waytogo:

Yes. Thanks! :lol:
I can see why it would borrow from Hindi and English so much :P

I just remembered a while ago that it even has a loanword from Angloromani. The word for 'forest' (or at least 'wilderness') is bokrro-puv. Bokro in Angloromani means '(male) goat', and puv means 'ground'. Oh, and also a loanword from Irish: grra for 'love' (grá in Irish).

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby Koko » 2015-10-29, 6:40

I just realized the word for human "aeiourr" is just vowels plus -rr (characteristic of direct-loans I believe IIRC).

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-29, 6:43

Koko wrote:I just realized the word for human "aeiourr" is just vowels plus -rr (characteristic of direct-loans I believe IIRC).

Well, it's aeiougrrr. (And I was wrong earlier, by the way - words end in <grrr>, not <grr>. I better change that in my first post here). That's because humans are creatures that enunciate all their vowels. :lol:

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby Koko » 2015-10-29, 6:47

vijayjohn wrote:(And I was wrong earlier, by the way - words end in <grrr>, not <grr>. I better change that in my first post here).

Too many r's to keep track of. My head already spins :shock:

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-29, 6:51

Koko wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:(And I was wrong earlier, by the way - words end in <grrr>, not <grr>. I better change that in my first post here).

Too many r's to keep track of. My head already spins :shock:

Heheh, yeah. It has a lot of Rs! :lol:

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-30, 4:55

I remembered a few more loanwords in Mountain Lion today (and yesterday, I think). There's at least a few from Malayalam, although the only one I remember off the top of my head now is makrri (or perhaps makrrioogrrr) 'frog' < Malayalam മാക്രി [ˈmaːkri]. There's also voprrox 'question' < Russian вопрос.

Apart from that, I thought I'd just mention that while the term in Mountain Lion for mountain lions in general is grrowrrr (which also may be pronounced in a variety of ways, roughly ranging from [gʁæwʁ] to [graw]), by default, this means 'mountain lion cub'. It is also used by mountain lions to refer to their own offspring (cubs).

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-30, 6:58

Oh, and I remembered something about a few more loanwords in Mountain Lion from Hindi as well but forgot to post about it here until just now!

The words for 'today', 'yesterday', etc. are the same as in Hindi. So 'today' is aaj [aːɟ] (or I guess [aːdʲʑ] if you prefer that transcription for some reason :silly:), 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow' are both kal [kəl], and 'the day before yesterday' and 'the day after tomorrow' are both parxon [pəxˈxɔ̃] (in Hindi, [pəɾˈsɔ̃]).

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-30, 22:30

More interesting loanwords: yahaam [jəˈhaːm] 'here' and wahaam [wəˈhaːm] 'there' are both from Hindi, but specifically Hindi pronounced in a strong South Indian accent.

And grrowrrr can also mean 'good' and (if you happened to see my last post) also 'yes' and as a question pronounced with rising intonation (grrowrrr?), 'huh?' :P

EDIT: Oh! And it's also possible to speak other languages in a Mountain Lion accent, and even to mock the way humans speak their languages. :lol:

EDIT2: Oops, I forgot. There's also jahaam [d͡ʑəˈhaːm] 'where', used in relative clauses, and kahaam [kəˈhaːm] 'where', the interrogative. Kahaam grrowrrr? Jahaam Grrowl, wahaam grrowrrr! 'Where are mountain lions? They're where Mountain Lion (language) is!'

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby Vlürch » 2015-10-31, 10:58

I'm so confused and amused right now. :D This is awesome, and I have no idea how it's even possible to use it without dying of laughter or shame, but the fact that you can and do is just really amazing and I'm genuinely so happy and for some reason nostalgic now. I mean, since I'm embarrassed of conlanging as a whole and tongue-in-cheek stuff is always cringeworthy to me (probably because I'm from Finland...) even if it's something a family does amongst themselves, but this is like the first time I don't feel second-hand embarrassment (that's what sanakirja.org says "myötähäpeä" is in English). This conlang is fucking epic and everything about what you do with it is really cool! And I'm jealous because my family and friends think conlanging is pointless, shameful and nerdy, not that I care about what they think, but still. :P
vijayjohn wrote:First, we tried being walruses, but that didn't last long.

By the way, this is now officially one of my favourite sentences ever.

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-10-31, 23:10

I'm glad you like it! :) I think it helps a lot in my case that being a nerd is never seen as a bad thing in Indian culture. :P

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-11-09, 3:10

I just realized I forgot to mention that grrowrrr can also mean the offspring of anything else (in particular, anything else that is living). For example, a human child is aeiougrrr grrowrrr (human cub).

I also remembered another word in Mountain Lion that comes from Malayalam: waal 'tail' (< [ʋaːl]). Sometimes we also use it to refer to this, because it extends down to ground level and can sag at the back and look like a tail. :lol: When I refer to my dad's "tail" (lungi), in Mountain Lion, it comes out as "Wowgrrr waal," which is the source of another inside joke of ours because it sounds like another Malayalam word entirely ([ʋəʋˈʋaːl] 'bat').

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-11-19, 0:35

Wowgrr(r) is the word for an adult male mountain lion. It can also mean 'father'. Note also that there are no personal pronouns in Mountain Lion, so terms such as grrowrrr and wowgrrr are also used by mountain lions to refer to themselves and each other.

When reduplicated, wowgrrr wowgrrr may mean 'grandfather', 'old male mountain lion', or even just 'old' (it can even be used to refer to old food or other old objects/abstractions/whatever).

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Re: Mountain Lion (Grrowl)

Postby vijayjohn » 2015-11-23, 6:59

Well, I've already mentioned this on another thread on this forum, but the female equivalent of wowgrrr in Mountain Lion is grrmph [gʁm̩f]. I didn't mention bumbum [bʊmˈbʊm] yet, though; that means 'older brother' (or maybe 'older sibling'...I forget now :P). It's also the term I use to refer to my own brother. My niece is bumbum grrowrrr (older brother's cub), and my sister-in-law is bumbum grrowrrr grrmph (older brother's cub's mother). :lol:


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