Silent Crows

Well, well, well! We had some mighty fine entries this time around. I had a hard time deciding on who the winners would be. Nevertheless, decided I have, so announce them I shall!

I don’t have time for a big long post this time around, but I very much enjoyed reading all the entries, which you can find in the comments section here. A big thank you to Char, JLategan, Joel W., KuraiHeka, Smoya Targaryen, Tim, and Zhalio for submitting haiku this year.

A couple honorable mentions. Our very first haiku was by Zhalio, who had an amazingly topical haiku about my current bird feeder problems (which, by the way, have not been resolved. The birds won’t go anywhere near the damn bird feeder). It’s a High Valyrian haiku, and here it is:


havondo lentrot


Here’s the intended meaning:

May many a bird

at thy gen’rous feeding house

alight and tarry

Tickled me to death, this one. Unfortunately, there are a couple small issues. First, you were looking for tīkorto for the first word, not tīkorzo. The subject of a permissive imperative must be in the dative. [NOTE: As was pointed out in the comments below, Zhalio was looking for a simple third person command rather than a permissive, in which case the vocative is appropriate. My bad there!] Also, given that I just have the one small bird feeder, lentot would be more appropriate than lentrot. Clever solution for “feeding”, though! I like the idea of a little food hamlet.

Next, two honorable mentions for Dothraki. I will say, the Dothraki competition this year was the tightest. Three of the best Dothraki haiku I’ve had were done this year. One of them was Tim’s, listed below:

Zir zhokwa kazga
Ovetha oleth olti
She felde hafi

The intended meaning is below:

Large black bird
Flies over hill
On quiet wings

This is nearly perfect. Rather than she felde, though, I would do ki feldi. Tiny error, but, as I said, competition was stiff this year.

Next is JLategan’s outstanding haiku below:

Charo! Chaf chafki
hola hoyale hafa
ha haqakea

With the intended meaning below:

Listen! Autumn’s wind
is blowing a quiet song
for those who are tired

Nothing at all wrong with this grammatically, but the winner was too good to pass up. All the same, I love this haiku. Wonderful imagery.

Now for the winners! First, winning the Dothraki haiku competition for the second year in a row, congratulations to Zhalio for this gorgeous haiku:

Az ahhaf yera.
Fin vahhafa athnithar
mra zhor anhoon?

A blade silenced thee.
Who shall now silence the pain
left inside my heart?

Athzheanazar! I absolutely love it. As the winner of the Dothraki haiku competition, Zhalio has earned the coveted Red Rabbit!

2016 Red Rabbit Winner Zhalio

Now, for a first time winner, I’m pleased to announce that Joel W. has won the High Valyrian haiku competition with this excellent haiku cycle:

mērī iōrtes

Pār pȳdza
va bantī

Se elēna
lāruno tolmiot

In the mist
alone it had stood
still waiting

Then leapt
the prey
into the night

And the voices
of some distant crows
were screaming

Very well constructed! I’ll note that I would not use the form pȳdza (it should be pȳdas), and also might not use va bantī, but it certainly works. You were spot on with your use of the instrumental passive in ahīghilis, which I thought was inspired, and your construction for “prey” was likewise praiseworthy.

As the winner of the High Valyrian haiku competition, Joel W. has earned the Golden Owl:

2016 Golden Owl Winner Joel W.

Congratulations to the winners, and to all those who entered! We’ll do it again next year, and I’m sure things will go much more smoothly on my end (Meridian will be more than a year old! That’s easier than two months, right?). Geros ilas ma dothras chek!

Posted on February 15, 2016, in Community and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Yay! :D

    As for the third-person imperative in HV, I followed the wiki, which proscribes the vocative:

    Is that an error, or are we talking two different constructions here?

    Good point on lentrot vs lentot!


  2. Wow, I’m honoured! Thank you for the praise. The solution for “prey” and the usage of the instrumentive were things I was quite pleased with creatively, so I’m glad you enjoyed them. I also suspected “pȳdza” was not licit, but it was worth a shot. Now, for some questions:

    1. I believe Zhalio was aiming for a third person command, which takes the vocative, and not a permissive command, which takes the dative, according to the wiki. I.e. “May a flock of birds come upon…” and not “Let a flock of birds come upon…”. The wiki gives the example “Dohaerirus māzigon!” – “May a slave come!”. Has there been a misunderstanding here?

    2. Out of interest, what would be the more appopriate translation of “into the night”, if not “va bantī”?

    • I think I might’ve said henupȳdas and then just bantī. I don’t know, I guess I balked at the direct translation, thinking it might be interpreted as “onto the night” (i.e. that the night was the object of the pouncing and not the scene). As I said, it can work, though.

  3. Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. A week of my life effectively disappeard last month when I had to work with a contractor to repair our TV transmitter, which was severely damaged in a storm on January 31st. I am just now catching up.

    I am honored, Zhey David, that I actually placed in a conlang writing contest! There really were some awesome haikus submitted this year, and the quality of them can only suggest next year will be even better!

    Also glad to hear all is well with Meridian!

    What is your bird feeder problem?

  4. Rytsas!
    Can you translate “dawn” by High Valyrian?
    And Why ‘ānogār’ is used locative form in ‘Perzys Ānogār'(Is ‘-ār’ locative?)

    • Guess you could use ñāqes for “dawn”. And that isn’t the locative: it’s a method of conjunction whereby you lengthen the last vowel of the second member and switch the stress to it.

  5. Thank you very much
    What is the infinitive and meaning of ‘javaris’ in ‘valar javaris’ and how to say ‘to hope’

  6. Hey David! I’m a translator and immense fan of your impressive work on High Valyrian. I decided to translate “What is dead may never die” (I didn’t find any pre-existing translation if there is one) and wondered whether you could confirm it’s all grammatically sound: “Morghe issa lӯr dōrī morghūljagon kostos daor”

    Additionally, do we stand a decent chance of seeing a Valyrian companion to “Living Dothraki”? :)


  7. will you please translate “I will do what Queens do. I will rule” into dothraki. Thank you

    • I would say:

      Dāriar gaomis līr gaominna. Jeminna.

      Since we don’t have a verb for “rule” in the wiki, I’m using “lead” instead. If you wanted to insist more on the political aspect of ruling, I guess you could replace jeminna with something like dārion verdinna “I will arrange the kingdom”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: