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 Post subject: Neolbah D'ni inscription
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2013, 01:54 pm 
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This continues the discussion of the Neolbah inscription Dot provided in another thread:

Although the DLF is scattered, there is some need for its work. Since I was part of that, and am still with GoMa I will here troubleshoot a linguistic matter in the manner of the Federation, inasmuch as it came up in our forum.

The inscription in the photo Dot provided is nicely executed and visually stunning, and if the translation given could be relied upon it is a beautiful thought as well. But there is a problem with the inscription and/or its transcription.

My initial reading of the expression Dot gave was based on what I was led to believe was her transcription of the Neolbah inscription. However, after I enhanced the photo she so graciously provided, to bring up the clarity of the lettering, it became clear that the second word has not been transcribed correctly. [I have posted my enhanced image to photobucket, but cannot get it to link here.]

The second word begins with the letter kh, which is a slightly different character than the letter k. The latter includes a supralineal dash to the left of the main upright in the figure of the character, and this is clearly missing in the inscription. The letter kh is as distinct from k in the D'ni alphabet as the letters cheth and kaph are distinct in the Hebrew alphabet, (not entirely coincidentally both pairs of letters have parallel phonetic values; kh~cheth, k~kaph). In the dictionary of D'ni, the letter k is associated with the word kehnehn = kenen from kehn = the verb of being. However, the only entry for kh followed by eh is kheh ~ khe = for (as a marker for purpose). There are no other attested word forms that begin kheh-. [Brief note: in the letter "eh" the h is optional in transcription, since it merely marks the short quality of the vowel.]

That means that the second word in the inscription either presents a previously unknown word form, or the engraver omitted a part of an intended k. The fact that Rehn gave a translation at all, suggests that he preferred an emendation to the text, in favor of the assumption of a scribal error. Of itself that would not call the origin of the inscription among the early D'ni into question, but coupled with the odd handling of the participle with a possessive suffix, it is further evidence that the inscription originated from a source that was somewhat removed from the D'ni of the cavern.

In short, this inscription does not appear as early D'ni, and should not be confused with that. What it is we cannot yet say, but as an example of "Cavern D'ni" it should be held suspect until more similar findings appear. As I suggested earlier, this may be pointing to a derivative civilization that used a form of D'ni.

PostPosted: 28 Apr 2013, 06:25 am 
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Thank you for the detailed notes, Stejovis.

Of course, we can only speculate as to the cause of the discrepancy. One might be that the individual making the inscription simply made an error -- much as a gravestone maker, for example, might on occasion from being too close to their work.

Another might be that there are various forms of the D'ni language, just as there are different dialects of English, say.

Perhaps looking at the location of Neolbah as it seems to be positioned within the Cavern might yield food for thought. And the decor itself -- it is not as ornate as many places, for example. What might that suggest?

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