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Conjecture on Matoran (language) morphology


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#1 Offline QuestionMark

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Posted Feb 01 2013 - 09:59 PM

Hello. It has been some time since I've posted anything on here. Recently I've been looking at the examples we have of the Matoran language and trying to come up with different rules and interpretations for them, since languages interest me. I've picked the one that I think has the most evidence going for it and will present it here (in two parts, for ease of reading) in the hope that someone will be interested in it. (There probably won't be.)

 

1. Establishing the theory

 

To begin with, in the old Tales of the Tohunga GBA game (called Quest for the Toa following the Maori dispute), there are two special items that do not appear elsewhere: the Volo Lutu Launcher, and the Amana Volo Sphere.

 

To determine the meaning of the Matoran words, we can abuse the fact that, in other cases like "Kanohi mask" and "Kanoka disk," the part of the term in English is at least partially a translation of the original Matoran. Therefore, "lutu" could mean "launcher" while "volo" is equivalent to "sphere." (The meaning of "amana" is not important for our purposes.)

 

If Amana Volo means "amana sphere," then it stands to reason that Volo Lutu means "sphere launcher." This is an accurate if unspecific definition of the Volo Lutu, since it shoot a spherical projectile that acts essentially like a grappling hook. The fact that this makes sense appears to justify interpreting the Matoran words as we have.

 

My question is: In Matoran, can you place two nouns together and have them modify each other, as you can in English with "sphere launcher"? Or is there a special form that words (in this case "volo") take in these situations?

 

To answer this, let's look at another item introduced (I believe) in TotT: Madu Cabolo. A Madu fruit is essentially a coconut, while Madu Cabolo is an unripe Madu. The key feature of the Madu fruit is its explosive tendency, which seems to be fairly mild in its ripe state (Matoran used them for combat, but also for sport) but are quite volatile before it has ripened.

 

Perhaps "cabolo" in this case is also a "modifier" word, since it marks the distinction between a regular Madu and an unripe one. For the sake of convenience we will assign it the meaning "explosive," which seems to me the most intuitive interpretation (and partially because it reminds me of "kaboom" :] ).

 

Notice the similarity between the forms "volo" and "cabolo": they both end in "-lo." Assuming for the sake of this theory that this is not just a coincidence, perhaps this is the "special form" that designates a word as a modifier of another word? In that case, Madu Cabolo would be "explosive coconut," while Volo Lutu could be expressed as "launcher of a sphere."

 

Is there a reason, then, why the word order between Volo Lutu and Amana Volo is different? If Volo Lutu is "launcher of a sphere," what would a hypothetical Lutu Volo be? Presumably, it would mean a "spherical launcher" -- a launcher that happens to have the shape of a sphere. Notice than an Amana Volo is an actual sphere, rather than something related to spheres. We don't know what "amana" means and the details are a bit too vague to hazard a guess; nevertheless, following this logic it means something like "spherical amana," in English expressed simply as "amana sphere."

 

But then, why would "volo" be the modifier in this case, rather than "amana"? Couldn't an Amana Volo just as easily be described as "a sphere [with the properties] of amana"? Quite possible. But I would argue that the difference is that an Amana Volo is made of pure energy rather than a physical object imbued with energy. The emphasis is therefore on its spherical shape instead of on it being "a sphere," which implies (to my mind) something a bit more solid.

 

So what I conclude from this analysis is that some words take on an ending, "-lo," when they modify another word, and that the way in which they modify the word depends on whether they precede or follow the word they modify. In this way "-lo" acts as a kind of mix (roughly speaking) between an adjectival and a genitive form.

 

"Volo" and "cabolo," then, are actually the "-lo" forms of the lexemes "vo" and "cabo." We could also interpret the root words to be "vol" and "cabol," making the ending just "-o." I disfavor this because, to me, "vol" and "cabol" do not sound very fitting with the sound of (mainly 2001-style) Matoran; "cabol" in particular just sounds... off.

 

2. Looking for an application

 

One thing we must notice is that both "vo" and "cabo" end in an "o" already even before "-lo" is added. So what if the ending is not strictly "-lo" but rather just "-o," with the "l" thrown in so as to keep it from blending in with the preexisting "o"? To determine this (and to hopefully give my theory a bit more credibility), we need another example! :]

 

Let's look at the word "makoki," as in Makoki Stone(s). We know from official sources (or at least that's what BS01 says) that "makoki" means "key."

 

Let's look at a couple more: "olmak" and "olisi." These are the names of two Kanohi with seemingly very different powers: Dimensional Gates and Alternate Futures.

 

As we know, the Matoran names supposedly correspond in some way to the powers as described in English (but not, I would think, in a literal sense, which is crucial here). And we can easily see that "olmak" and "olisi" appear to share something in common: they both begin with "ol." Why is this? What is the relationship between these two powers?

 

I think that the powers can conceivably be rephrased as "alternative futures" and "gates to alternative dimensions," or roughly "alternative gates." My reasoning here is that they both have something to do with things that are not strictly part of reality as people in one universe understand it -- one mask envisions a different course of events (past or future), the other actually allows access to a different dimension.

 

I propose, then, that the part in both instances that corresponds to "alternate" and "dimensional" in English is the first syllable "ol-"; "mak" corresponds to "gates," and "isi" to "futures." The latter, "isi," is not important to us now; "mak," however, is.

 

Compare "mak" with "makoki." Isn't it interesting and rather appropriate that the words for "gate" (in this theory at least) and "key" both contain "mak"? After all, a key needs a gate of some kind!

 

My idea is that "mako," according to the previous suppositions, is the modifier form of "mak," meaning something like "of a gate." There is admittedly no real evidence to support this; my point is only that it fits well with the theory as it has been set out so far. Together with "volo" and "cabolo," I think it makes up something plausible.

 

As for the "ki" at the end of "makoki," my interpretation is that it is essentially meaningless by itself -- it simply attaches itself to a word and creates a new (but related) meaning. For simplicity's sake we can say that it means "thing"; so a "makoki" would literally be "thing of (or to) a gate," which to a Matoran means "key" and can mean nothing else. But the specific meaning of "ki" is not really important to this discussion; "mako" is the part that is relevant here.

 

In conclusion: "-o" is the ending that Matoran words (sometimes) take when they modify another word in some way; if the word already ends in "o," then the ending becomes "-lo" instead.

 

Understand that I am not trying to prove anything. There is of course no real connection between any of these words except where one is perceived (or canonically stated). With that said, however, I think trying to figure out the Matoran language is an interesting exercise, and also can prove helpful in trying to come up with new words that have the impression of being consistent with canon. I hope I have come up with something feasible here. Maybe someone shares my enthusiasm...?


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#2 Offline Taipu1

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Posted Feb 02 2013 - 07:56 AM

When I create names in my epics I try to do this sort of thing, and I can certainly see the motivation behind it.  But we don't know how much detail was actually put into making Matoran words, and while we know that they are given meanings, I don't think there has been confirmation that many words were used in creating other words.  I hate to say it, but I think that trying to read that much into these things is probably an exercise in futility.

 

The principles you've written here seem sound though, but how does 'Kikanalo' fit into the theory?


Edited by Taipu1, Feb 02 2013 - 07:56 AM.

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#3 Offline Infrared

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Posted Feb 02 2013 - 03:04 PM

This is great! Even though, as Taipu1 mentioned earlier, it might not be intentional, there are certainly motifs in Matoran that are interesting to pick out. I have tried to apply a declension system to Matoran before (since there are lots of shared endings), although not particularly seriously, but it's nice that someone's really put in the effort into making sense of the words.

 

The principles you've written here seem sound though, but how does 'Kikanalo' fit into the theory?

 Not to take words out of your mouth, QuestionMark, but I couldn't resist rationalizing this. One could assume that instead of "-lo" being affixed to words ending in "o," it is instead affixed to words ending in a vowel ("Kikanao" doesn't seem very Matoran-esque, if you ask me). In that case, following the "Makoki" example, you could split it into "ki" + "kanalo," or "thing of the kana." Perhaps "kana" means "plains" or something similar, in which case it would mean "thing of the plains."


Edited by Infrared, Feb 02 2013 - 03:05 PM.

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#4 Offline Exitium

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Posted Feb 03 2013 - 12:11 AM

While this is an interesting theory, I've noticed a few flaws.

 

The crux of your hypothesis relies on two unstated assumptions.  The first is that Amana Volo, Volo Lutu, and Madu Cabolo are canon terms.  Given that they never appear in any canon source, this assumption is dubious at best.  The second, as others have pointed out, is that TLG created names with a specific pattern and maintained this pattern for the nine years of Bionicle's development.

 

We have very few examples of Matoran words, not to mention grammar, making it difficult to make any generalizations; however, given what little evidence we have, one can still find examples that contradict your conclusions.  In the case of nouns modifying other nouns, "metru" does not change forms when it stands alone, is modified by an adjective (e.g. "Metru Nui"), or modifies another noun, such as in "Toa Metru."  The same is the case for "Toa Mahri" and "Toa Mangai."  

 

I'm also inclined to believe that the other patterns you found are coincidences.  If you look at other seemingly related words, such as "Le-" and "Phantoka" or "Mohtrek" and "Vahi," there are no noticeable patterns.  Other words that sound similar, such as "hau" and "rau" or "manas" and "mangai," have no relation

 

I have looked at the Matoran language in the past as well, and I laud your attempt to analyse it, but it's a frustrating endeavor because there's too little material from which to draw any real conclusions.


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#5 Offline QuestionMark

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Posted Feb 03 2013 - 05:35 AM

@Taipu1: I certainly don't think much effort could have been put into making a consistent language, otherwise it would not borrow so blatantly from real languages. But finding connections between things that have no relationship to each other is part of the fun for me. So it's only really an exercise in futility if you're looking for a definitive explanation. :]

 

As far as Kikanalo goes, it doesn't fit at all. :] That is, I don't have any idea what it could mean, so no way of knowing if it could be a "modifier" or just a word that happens to end in "lo," unlike the other cases where there is some context in which to judge.

 

@Infrared: Thanks. :] I agree; especially in 2001, there are a lot of endings that are fun to try and assign meanings to. It's interesting how things start to seem to make sense after you've pieced them together.

 

You bring up a good point, too. Another possibility is that words ending in a vowel other than "o" instead lose the final vowel to make room for the "-o." It could be a mixture of both, depending on if removing the final vowel would cause it to be confused with another word.

 

The reason I suggest this -- I didn't remember this until after reading your post -- is that the word Matoran itself could contain a modifier: "mato," based on "mata." Matoran could mean something approximate to "people of the spirit." That would make sense, given their close association with Mata Nui.

 

I like your idea for "kana." It does sound kind of like "plains" to me, and fits nicely with "Kikanalo." :]

 

@Exitium: Is Tales of the Tohunga a non-canon source? I would assume it has at least some canonicity, considering the importance its plot has to the story. Hmm.

 

The second assumption isn't required at all. Even if TLG did not set a specific standard for the language (and they almost certainly did not), within the story at least it is necessary to believe that the language makes sense in some way.

 

You make a good point with those exceptions. I would suggest that, in the example Toa Metru, "metru" does not actually modify "toa"; rather it is used to categorize them, meaning something like "Toa of the variety 'metru'." Under that assumption, while there was only ever one group of "Toa Metru," any of the former Toa protecting Metru Nui (including the Toa Mangai) could possibly have been referred to as "Metrulo/Metro Toa." Sound plausible to you?

 

And yes, they are coincidences. :] In the end they don't have any intrinsic meaning; nevertheless, from a story perspective, I think there is something to be gained from trying to find order in them. But like you said, there's no way to draw real conclusions. :]


Edited by QuestionMark, Feb 03 2013 - 05:42 AM.

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#6 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Feb 03 2013 - 06:17 AM

The first is that Amana Volo, Volo Lutu, and Madu Cabolo are canon terms.  Given that they never appear in any canon source, this assumption is dubious at best.

 

Is Tales of the Tohunga a non-canon source? I would assume it has at least some canonicity, considering the importance its plot has to the story.

 

As I said in a topic last year about the colours of the Matoran in this game, it was made before the concept of 'canon' existed, so it's a flawed decision either way. In 2001, we just accepted whatever we were told or shown. It was in the mid 2000s with the fanbase's demand for a consistent universe, along with increasingly ridiculous or contradictory promotions, that 'canonicity' became necessary.

 

But as QuestionMark says, the game does tell part of the official story, and is, more importantly, that story's only detailed source, so I'd say the game's central characters and events are canon. But the wackier terms and concepts are not, or at least not confirmed to be.


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#7 Offline Infrared

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Posted Feb 03 2013 - 12:56 PM

The crux of your hypothesis relies on two unstated assumptions.  The first is that Amana Volo, Volo Lutu, and Madu Cabolo are canon terms.  Given that they never appear in any canon source, this assumption is dubious at best.

 

Amana Volo Sphere, Volo Lutu, Madu, and Madu Cabolo all have entries in BIONICLE: Encyclopedia (I'll have to find my copy of Encyclopedia Updated to see if they're there, too), which causes me to believe that they at least were canon at one point in time.


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#8 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Feb 03 2013 - 10:42 PM

"Amana" seems to mean "healing energy." That would make "Amana Volo" a "Healing Energy Sphere" or "Healing Energy that is spherical".Lutu could mean launcher, or it could also mean something else, rendering "Sphere Launcher" or "Sphere [something else] [launcher]".You raise a good point about "Kanoka disk", however it's important to remember that Kanoka were an invented, specific type of disk rather than "disk" in general. "Kanoka disk" does not mean only "disk disk" but rather "'protodermic-power disk' disk". So it's quite possible that in Matoran they would be saying "Kanoka Kanoka", and the doubling would indicate that the specific type of disk is intended. If they used just "Kanoka" in the context of Metru Nui people would take the meaning to be "probably the protodermic power type but possibly any form of projectile disk". And if they use "Kanoka" on Mata Nui everybody would understand it to refer to "disk in general", and since they only have the specific kind of disk there of bamboo, they would understand it to refer only to the bamboo kind. Point being, the doubling-up might not only be a function of the "English translation" but might actually be present in Matoran.If so, then the meaning of "Lutu" is not necessarily "launcher".Also, don't forget Zamor launchers. This is relevant for two reasons -- there's no "Volo" or "Lutu" here (honestly, probably because those that named it weren't thinking of making a consistent language, though), and "Zamor" clearly does not mean "launcher". This opens up the strong possibility (assuming that regardless of the intent when these names were come up with, that we are still concerned with finding a consistent theory of the meanings, which is fine with me) that "launcher" is a completely different word and we have no idea what it is, because the fictional "translators" didn't choose to leave it untranslated ever in the Englicization.Thus, Lutu probably means something else.Given that this is not just a projectile launcher, my guess is it means something like "cable" or "rope". So "Volo Lutu" means a "sphere with rope" and the whole phrase together, with the modifier of the (translated) "launcher" carries the same basic meaning in terms of its purpose as "grappling hook". Note that the "Volo Lutu" probably has a Kanoka-like protodermic power of temporary cohesion. Thus, "Lutu" could also mean "cohesion" or "sticky" or something like that as well, meaning "sphere that is sticky".If the latter it would fit with your Noun then Modifier word order theory, which seems at first glance to make sense. (And then to be consistent, "Amana Volo" would mean the second of the suggestions I gave at the start here; "Healing Energy spherical".)Of course, this is only a tiny "sampling" from the given Bionicle/Matoran language so I'd be very cautious with it. It's also possible that there's no universal "Noun then Modifier" rule at all, perhaps a variety, or perhaps no real logic to the order at all. We've seen some apparent switching in order with "Nui" for example, which might or might not carry meaning. I've theorized that when Nui comes at the end of something it means a modifier of "great" in general, but when before, it is also a modifier but refers to specifically one of three possible size ranges -- Kofo meaning small, no modifier meaning medium, and Nui meaning large. So if my theory there is true, then modifiers can also come before and this can carry meaning. If so, they would probably know which words fall into a class of modifiers and which do not, much like our "small and large".I like the "-lo" idea. That would fit all these theories mentioned in the previous few paragraphs in my post here, as long as none are universal. So "Volo" would be a word always recognized as a modifier due to the ending. Amana Volo would take a "normal" word order, similar to Metru Nui, meaning "Healing Energy that is spherical" and "City that is Great", respectively, while Volo Lutu would be recognized as an alternate order due to Volo falling into a class of modifiers, similar to Kofo-Jaga, meaning "spherical Lutu (whatever that means)" and "small Scorpion" respectively. Thoughts?NOTE: I include the dash with "Kofo-" but in actual Matoran there is no symbol for it, so really it would be "Kofo Jaga". Kofo and Nui would be rarer members of an exclusively modifier class under this line of reasoning, which wouldn't need the "-lo" suffix. This would mean that Kofo and Nui are never used for other purposes, but there may be words "Vo" and "Cabo" with other meanings.ALSO NOTE: Greg recently canonized "Vo" as the prefix for Lightning. This might carry meaning here that should be considered. "Volo" might mean a modifier indicating power, rather than sphere. This would throw a major wrench in the reasoning so far. Unless of course the root word that "-lo" is modifying is not Vo but something else, perhaps "Vol" or even a replaceable suffix like "Vola", etc.But if we assume that "-lo" is a suffix modifying a root word which means "energetic" and is used as the suffix for Lightning, then "Amana Volo" could mean "Healing energetic" and "Volo Lutu" "energetic Lutu". I like this, especially if Lutu carries the same basic idea as "grappling hook". In that case it wouldn't describe the shape of the device but its function -- it reaches out and grabs objects with energy rather than a physical hook. The shape then logically follows from this meaning. 

One thing we must notice is that both "vo" and "cabo" end in an "o" already even before "-lo" is added. So what if the ending is not strictly "-lo" but rather just "-o," with the "l" thrown in so as to keep it from blending in with the preexisting "o"? To determine this (and to hopefully give my theory a bit more credibility), we need another example! :]

I would shy away from assigning meaning to any single-letter suffixes, especially of vowels, because Bionicle names are filled with such a variety of vowel endings that it seems unlikely they carry universal meanings. It's possible there's a mix of some two-letter and one-vowel endings but determining this would be next to impossible.

 

 

And we can easily see that "olmak" and "olisi" appear to share something in common: they both begin with "ol." Why is this? What is the relationship between these two powers?I think that the powers can conceivably be rephrased as "alternative futures" and "gates to alternative dimensions," or roughly "alternative gates." My reasoning here is that they both have something to do with things that are not strictly part of reality as people in one universe understand it -- one mask envisions a different course of events (past or future), the other actually allows access to a different dimension.

Yeah, both seem to have highly powerful effects with spacetime, specifically dealing with locations with a range including alternate dimensions. Perhaps "Ol" means "dimension." That would make "Mak" "gate" as you say. Isi, not so sure, but ironically it sounds just like the English "I see". :P So it could literally be "I see dimensions, people." :PI agree with your idea about Makoki, but I disagree about the "-o" part as I said. It's possible, to be clear, but I would rather follow a rule of first investigating other possibilities to see if consistency can be found without resorting to single-vowel suffixes. In this case, "oki" might mean "open." So "Makoki" would mean "Open gates", consistent with "key".And, if "ki" must then become a distinct word or modifier, then what about Ruki? It's quite possible, but I doubt it's so cut and dry. The forming of few-syllable words from root words in real languages tends to be very "slicing and dicing". So I'd rather assume that "ki" might be part of a root word like "oki" that might have alternate forms like "uki" combined with in the case of the fish some other word like "ru". Ruki could be a shortened form of "Ruoki", for example, meaning what I shrug to. :PIt's also important in these discussions to remember that often the early words in Bionicle were taken or modified from the Maori language. The subtle root relationships and shortenations that went into assigning sounds to meanings may often be lost in this transition; decided in Maori, and the results simply borrowed for Matoran. And, remember that later words often intentionally avoided borrowing from Maori specifically since some Maori people proved to be unusually sensitive about it, and were instead taken from more socially acceptable languages like Latin (the logic of this still doesn't really make sense, but it's how it happened).So, whenever the meaning of any of the older Bionicle words is in question one of the first things to do is go to a Maori online dictionary and see what comes up."Amana" brings up a variety of words with those letters in them, especially various forms of "whakamana" with a wide variety of meanings such as "effect", or "manamana" meaning "powerful." I got no results at all for Lutu, Volo, Cabolo, or Lo. They could have come from any other inspiration including "it sounds tribal". :P

 

 

 

 

 

The crux of your hypothesis relies on two unstated assumptions.  The first is that Amana Volo, Volo Lutu, and Madu Cabolo are canon terms.  Given that they never appear in any canon source, this assumption is dubious at best.

Incorrect. They are all mentioned in the totally canon Encyclopedia, according to BS01. Also, BS01's page does not include any disclaimer about them not being canon; this is what I recommend checking first when unsure about any such thing. Also, Quest for the Toa is a prequel in the same "canonicity family" as the Mata Nui Online Game. MNOG is considered "canon unless contradicted elsewhere" or "semicanon", so at the very least the terms should be treated as canon on the basis that they are not denied to be canon anywhere else. Also, the game's BS01 page contains no note that it isn't canon, unlike the semi-canonicity note about MNOG on its page (under "Continuity"). And I found this reference in the 'Video Games" page:

 

 

 

 

 

In 2001, LEGO decided to put a could portion of canon storyline into video games. One company was given the permission to create a Game Boy Advance and computer game. The GBA game was BIONICLE: Quest for the Toa. This video game told the story of Takua's quest to recover the missing Turaga, their Badges of Office, and the Toa Stones. At the end he summons the Toa Mata to the island, and gets knocked out. The Mata Nui Online Game picks up from this point.

Despite the apparent typo, as far as I know this statement is accurate. The terms are canon.Of course, what we're considering here is not really so much a theory as to what the story team may have come up with to explain the language details but rather forming a workable theory as to what they might accept if they ever bother to think of it. :P There's no rule in S&T saying that theories have to be one or the other -- merely that they use canon (or even semi-canon :P) facts as evidence.

 

 

 

 

one can still find examples that contradict your conclusions.  In the case of nouns modifying other nouns, "metru" does not change forms when it stands alone, is modified by an adjective (e.g. "Metru Nui"), or modifies another noun, such as in "Toa Metru."  The same is the case for "Toa Mahri" and "Toa Mangai."

The basic idea that the second word in such pairings is usually considered the modifier seems consistent with those examples, though. "Metru" modifies "Toa". "Toa Metru" means "Toa that are of the team labeled 'Metru'" or "Toa of the City". The inverse is not true; "Toa Metru" cannot mean "City of the Toa". :P So his conclusion on that point seems to hold water. Though again I doubt it is a universal rule.

 

 

 

 

I'm also inclined to believe that the other patterns you found are coincidences.  If you look at other seemingly related words, such as "Le-" and "Phantoka" or "Mohtrek" and "Vahi," there are no noticeable patterns.

Two vital points to this:1) We should not expect to be able to see all noticeable patterns in canon Bionicle languages, because the entire language has NOT been established. Yet it is canon that an entire language "exists" within the fictional world, therefore there ARE patterns within the fictional language and we should expect a statistical scatter pattern of some of those patterns making it through what is only transliterated rather than translated. Therefore, we SHOULD be able to theorize patterns based on apparent similarities that we do have, and the inability to do this for all words is irrelevant.2) Even what we do have is a huge library and just because you or anybody else hasn't yet noticed an apparent pattern doesn't mean there aren't some. I hadn't noticed his excellent point about Olmak and Olisi previously, yet it is there and it makes perfect sense. (The logicianspeak technical term for the mistake you made here is the fallacy of argument from ignorance, for the record.)

 

 

 

 

Other words that sound similar, such as "hau" and "rau" or "manas" and "mangai," have no relation

Maybe they do, maybe they don't. It makes sense that one some level there is some arbitrary "I pick these sounds to mean this"-ness in the forming of original languages. However, that doesn't mean that's universal. Maybe the "au" sound does carry some meaning that would become clearer if we looked at a larger sample size. And "man" probably -does- have a relation IMO. That's a common sound in Maori and similar tribal languages. Both Manas and Mangai are fearsome; that could be one possibility for example.

 

 

 

 

I have looked at the Matoran language in the past as well, and I laud your attempt to analyse it, but it's a frustrating endeavor because there's too little material from which to draw any real conclusions.

Frustration should never be allowed to enter into it. This is all just entertainment; it's just for fun. :) If you are getting frustrated, you have your priorities out of whack somehow. We can and often do look into questions like this purely for fun, while thinking about them as we have time, without any obligation to do so, therefore no need for any negative emotions about it.Re: Kikanalo -- well, if QM's theory that "ki" has a meaning is true, we can eliminate that from it. We see that in Makoki, reduced to mak + oki by previous reasoning, and in Ruki. (Maybe others, haven't bothered looking right now.) That leaves us with a possible separation of ki + kana + lo.Thus, it could be a shortening of Ki Kanalo. This would fit with QM's theories. Ki would mean something present also in Ruki and oki. And Kanolo would be the modifier of that noun, whatever it is.More I think about it, the more I'm warming up to the idea of "ki" as a distinct rootword. However, I still don't like the "o-" part. Oki could still be a shortening of something else. Or the word there could be "koki" combined with "mak", etc. Lotsa possibilities.So what could Ki mean? As a noun?Perhaps koki/oki is a verb form of the idea of openness; "opening" while ki means open in a noun sense; "thing that is open". Fish tend to have their mouths open to breathe. And Kikanalo live on open plains. Ki by itself or as a prefix could mean "plains-dweller" while as a suffix could convey the sense of openness.That would make Makoki "gate opener", Ruki "Fish with open mouth (or something)", and Kikanalo "Plains-dweller that is kano". Kano could refer to its rhino-like qualities, then -- its horn or its stampeding nature. "Plains-dweller that is uni-horned" or "plains-dweller that stampedes".

 

 

 

 

 

I would suggest that, in the example Toa Metru, "metru" does not actually modify "toa"; rather it is used to categorize them, meaning something like "Toa of the variety 'metru'."

Right; clearly there is a rule in Matoran language that when a title is followed by a word, that second word is a modifier that categorizes into a group based on a team, at least with Toa specifically. The same seems to apply to Makuta as in Makuta Phantoka for example, a temporary team formed for a specific mission. This is still part of the idea of "modifier second", but a more specific type of it.

 

 

 

 

 

As I said in a topic last year about the colours of the Matoran in this game, it was made before the concept of 'canon' existed, so it's a flawed decision either way. In 2001, we just accepted whatever we were told or shown. It was in the mid 2000s with the fanbase's demand for a consistent universe, along with increasingly ridiculous or contradictory promotions, that 'canonicity' became necessary.

To be more clear, the story team was always in charge of what was canon and what was not, but prior to Greg's coming on BZP after 2001 we had no direct line of communication with them. As far as I can tell, they approved the entirity of Quest for the Toa, and more importantly, Greg himself confirmed these names in the Encyclopedia. The concept of canon obviously existed all along (and most followers of other stories were already aware of it), but tended to just assume that everything Bionicle put out was canon, until Greg came up to inform us of some nuances to that. :)In general, if it was in the MNOGs or its prequel Quest for the Toa, and you're not aware of anything that specifically contradicts it in comics, movies, or books, then you can consider it most likely canon. :)In any case, for the record, I allow theories beyond mere canon in S&T to some extent so the question really isn't important here. For example, a theory about the VNOG's storyline would hypothetically be allowed. This is because while VNOG is not part of the overall Bionicle canon, it is its own sub-canon specific to the game. We also occasionally allow theories about other things related to Bionicle that aren't strictly storyline based but are evidence-based thought experiments. Translation: Let's drop the discussion on canon/not as this topic is allowed either way. :P And if Greg were, hypothetically, to like the lines of reasoning in any such theory he could always canonize it, so moot point really (just as he has often fully canonized in retrospect some specific aspects of MNOG like the Great Sundial).

 

 

 

 

Edit: Here's an attempt of basic grammar rules I consider likely, so far (off the top of my head):-In pairings of words, usually the second word modifies the first. The first is generally a noun. The second can be an adjective or another noun.-There are certain words that are in a class of modifiers, such as "kofo" (small) and "nui" (great).-Other words can be turned into modifiers by adding one of a class of suffixes, including "-lo".-If any word that is in the group of recognizeable modifiers comes first in a pairing, it indicates a special alternate type of modification, generally to indicate multiple types of things in a single category (like Kofo-Jaga and Nui-Jaga).-Titles followed by a modifier indicate a specific team, especially "Toa Metru", "Makuta Phantoka", etc.

-Combinations of various word parts can be shortened for convenience, especially when the ending of a first word part is the same as the start of a second, etc, or even possibly lengthened for pronunciation clarity.

 

This treats modifier placement before or after as carrying meaning, so Volo Lutu would indicate that there must be other types of "Lutu" that are not Volo, while Amana Volo does not carry such an implication. This would make sense; the healing energy comes as it does, but a device that reaches out to grab could be made without use of an energetic power, so a mere Lutu could be a literal grappling hook.BTW, here's a list of words with "Ki" I found just from the BS01 Languages page, under the list of words. A more reliable analysis would have to survey all known Bionicle words. The old forum's official S&T topics I think had some good resources for that if we want to take this further.Makoki, Ruki, Kikanalo, Barraki, Takea??, Vahki, Aki (Valor), Kiril? (Regeneration), Mahiki (Illusion), Akilini?

 

I'm especially curious if Barraki and Vahki can be incorporated.... *thinks* Well, they both have the characteristic "ak/ahk" that tends to go with authority figures (often ones who could go and do go evil later) in Bionicle, apparently meaning a being or in the Vahki's case an artificial being (from the Matoran's perspective; of course, they're artificial too!). Perhaps ak/ahk alone means a villain, but aki/ahki means a good authority (since they were named before they became enemies).

 

I realize this would appear to break my guideline against single-vowel suffixes, but what I'm really more saying is that aki would be a different word, carrying the same basic meaning of Valor as in the Kanohi Aki, Mask of Valor. So the Barraki are valorous authorities of "barr" -- maaaybe meaning war but I'm guessing the more benign sense of "conquest" or just "governing", reducing to military-authorities, and the Vahki are valorous authorities of something, probably "Va" meaning helpers, so helper-authorities or the more basic meaning given by the BS01 page of "law", or police ("civilian"-authorities).

 

Perhaps the vague philosophical idea of openness could still be in play here, so "Aki" is a combo of "Ak/Ahk" and "Ki".

 

Meaning, the Barraki are (rather, were intended to be) "transparent and open" as good leaders. This way there's no need to resort to single-vowel word parts. Also I think "ak" should be considered the shortened version of the true root "ahk". And the double "r" in "Barraki" is curious too. Possibly that is from a root word "Barra" which itself might be "bar" and "ra", or perhaps it merely helps show the proper pronunciation. I would lean towards the latter, making the actual root word possibly Bara just like Bara Magna, which might mean something different from the Agori but similar due to being inspired by it (in Agori it means barren -- maybe the basic meaning is "tough", since both a barren world and a military can be called "tough"). So, I theorize that these words are Bara-ahk-ki (literally "tough guy -- who is valorous due to being honest") and Va-ahk-ki, with some shortening and one case of lengthening for convenience.

 

I doubt that the other examples on my above "ki" list count; probably they come from longer word parts.Note that the Kraata suffix Vo means "hunger." Of course, this is an energy draining power so that still makes some sense with the earlier idea of energetic. The prefix versus suffix meaning idea could come into play here; a prefix could indicate the sending of energy or a positive energetic trait while a suffix could indicate the pulling in or draining of energy or an energetic trait.

 

 

To expand on my idea for Kofo/Nui, I came up with a list of suggestions/theories for how to name land masses, you might be interested in, which played with the idea of meaning being attached to whether a word was a prefix or suffix.

 

Kofo-[Land] means a very small islet.

Nui-[Land] means a less small islet.

[Land] Kofo means a smallish island.

[Land] (meaning any name without a modifier) is a medium-sized island such as Xia or Stelt.

[Land] Nui means a larger island like Metru Nui. (As a suffix.)

And finally Wahinui refers to a continent (literally "region that is great"), with Wahinui Kofo being the smaller northern continent and Wahinui Nui being the largest MU landmass, the southern continent (literally "region that is very great!" versus "region that is somewhat great" :P).

 

I used this plus a few other beyond-size-based ideas (such as Po sometimes meaning a "tiny rock of an islet") to extrapolate names for the individual Kumu Islets for a fan fic; the largest being Nui-Kumu (or sans dash, Nui Kumu), and to have names for the continents as a bonus.

 

Part of this relies on the idea that a suffix is more "impressive" than a prefix, as a basic meaning. The lands like Metru Nui are much more important than most lands like mere Stelt. And the suffixes for Kraata imply their dangerous nature, later their evil nature possibly as well, while prefixes for most other beings indicate that they are more benign. Ergo, a prefix for a landmass is smaller, while suffixes are larger.


Edited by bonesiii, Feb 04 2013 - 03:47 AM.

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#9 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Feb 04 2013 - 04:05 AM

There's not much I can add into this, except that "Olisi" is actually borrowed from Finnish. It means "would be" (so it's a form of the verb "to be"), and it actually describes the purpose of that Kanohi (it shows would be-situations). Just something you may want to think about, since the word was created with a meaning from the beginning in the story. :)


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Feb 04 2013 - 04:06 AM.

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#10 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Feb 04 2013 - 05:46 AM

I'm posting again for two reasons. First, it occurred to me that even though I disagree with some minor parts of this theory, it definitely qualifies for this (at least here in 2013 with very few theories for a while :P):
 
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Disclaimer: The Gold Key to Nongu Award does not certify theory accuracy. The sponsor of the Gold Key to Nongu Award does not neccessarily endorse and/or oppose said theory. The sponsor of the Gold Key to Nongu Award remains ignorant of the exact meaning of the word "Nongu." The originator of the term "Nongu" may or may not be insane. Not available in some domes, void where prohibited.

 

 

Secondly, you got me thinking even more and I decided to try to make a definitive list of the likely etymologies (in theory) along the lines of reasoning you opened up with this topic. :) The following has some new suggestions, extrapolating from some of the basics that establishes.Amana Volo --> Amana Vo-lo --> healing thing that is energeticAmana --> healing thingVo --> energy, especially electricity (confirmed as prefix for Lightning element), and as a suffix may indicate the draining of energyLo --> converts a word into a modifier (whether it is a member of a class of such suffixes and if so what more specific connotation it carries is untheorized so far)Volo Lutu launcher --> energetic grappler launcherLutu --> grappler (as in simple hook on the end of a rope)Madu Cabolo -- This one could use some more analysis. Cabo could be a combination of Ka and the known prefix Bo. Ka is the name of Kongu's pet Gukko; I couldn't find anything on what it means. Bo is the suffix for the type of Krana that lets the Bohrok see in the dark, called Sentinels. It's very loose but Ka could mean something flying or suitable for throwing as a projectile, and Bo could mean capable of producing light, as in the flash of light accompanying an explosion. This gives:Madu Cabolo --> Madu Cabo-lo (actually Ka-bo-lo) --> specific type of fruit that is non-ripe or that is volatile.Ka --> suitable for flight??? and also more poetic application for "spirits", which can also mean physical living beings that fly, as in Kongu's Gukko Ka, or the Mistika (spirits of the mist) and Phantoka (spirits of the air/atmosphere). Possibly indicates a detached nature, disconnected, "free".Bo --> producing light??Olmak --> Ol-mak --> dimension gate (essentially confirmed)Ol --> dimensionMak --> gateOlisi --> Ol-isi --> dimension visionsIsi --> visionsMakuta???? --This one's interesting. Later on Teridax literally takes the role of a gate guardian. The species/title could not have been named after this event but perhaps a similar idea was in play, and he actually took on that role because of that historical inspiration? The Makuta were assigned to rule over domes, which were separated by gates, although not in all cases methinks as Stelt and the Northern Continent for example were probably in the same dome. Also their original role was to make Rahi which would keep Matoran away from dangerous areas, possibly including gates to such areas. "Mak" could be a coincidence, but it's more fun to run with the idea that it isn't. So "uta" or perhaps "kuta" could mean "guardian". If so, that gives:Makuta --> Mak-uta --> gate guardian (or in their case someone in charge of making guardians of routes to forbidden areas)Makoki --> Mak-ok-ki --> gate opener --> key (confirmed)Ok --> something with a verbal functionKi --> as a suffix, open, as a lone word (prefix if shortening is performed), plains-dweller; literally something that inhabits open land.Ruki --> Ru-ki --> mouth that is open (referring to a small-bodied but large-headed fish so that its open mouth for water breathing is very noticeable)Ru --> mouthKikanalo --> Ki Kana-lo (possibly Ka-na-lo) --> openland-dweller that is rhino-like --> (taking the idea of Ka poetically as fleeing) plains-dweller that stampedesBarraki --> Barra-aki --> Bara-ahk-ki --> tough being that is an authority that is open --> military leader that is valorous (or was :P) --> Warlord (confirmed)Bara -- tough (from confirmed Agori "barren")Ahk -- being, especially powerful, dangerous, or evilAhki --> Ahk-ki --> powerful being who is, or was, good/valorous, especially authority figureAki --> Ahk-ki --> Valor; a trait of such powerful beings who are goodVahki --> Va-ahk-ki --> Helper-authority-open/valorous --> Police and rules that they enforce --> Law (confirmed)Va --> Helper (confirmed)Kofo --> Small, usually as a prefix (confirmed), possibly in a class of words that are always modifiers so don't need the "-lo" suffix.Nui --> Great or large; can be prefix or suffix (confirmed), possibly suffix implies greater/larger, another always-modifier word.Toa, Makuta, etc. --> Titles, with their own grammar rule so that their modifiers (really categorizer labels by team) always go second and do not need a modifier-indicator suffix like "-lo".Mata --> spirit (possibly of the sort that can live on its own without being in a body???), possibly including etymology with Ta, prefix for fire which is spirit-like in fluid form.Mato --> living being, possibly related to spirit, but of the type that is dead if it is not inhabiting a body, OR: --> Matoran --> Mata-oran --> spirit that is body-dependant?? or maybe "inhabitant of the great Spirit" or the like.Man --> possibly meaning having great physical power or power in general, impressive, imposing (if opposed to you), as seen in the fearsome Manas and in the original meaning of Mangai, protector. Also applied well to the imposing artificial volcano on Mata Nui.Nas --> could mean claws, so Manas would mean powerful clawsGai --> could mean "for others" or something like these lines. "Protector" Mangai could thus mean someone that is "powerful for others".Ra --> creature, especially those made in some way by Makuta, possibly indicating "coming forth"?Rahkshi --> Ra-ahk-shi --> Makuta-made creature, intelligent being (indicating they're somewhere in between the two), and perhaps armor??Rahi --> Ra-hi --> Makuta-made creature or "wild" and living thing??Hi --> living thing?Rama --> Ra-ma --> coming-forth nature?? possibly "ma" being related to Ma-ta, maybe meaning "firelike nature"?? --> fly (confirmed)Ma --> a nature of something? attribute?Kanohi --> Kano-hi, possibly Ka-no-hi?? --> free thing of life (esp. face-worn object), esp. with optional connotation of having protodermic power, possibly including connotation of an attachment with spirits --> mask (confirmed)Kano --> Ka-no --> free thing, esp. with optional connotation of having protodermic powerKanoka --> Ka-no-ka --> free thing of free; a disconnected object that is able to fly, esp. the later invention with the protodermic power able to make masks --> disk (as in frisbee style for flight) (confirmed)No --> possibly something along the lines of a forged thing; something made by a being rather than a thing in general?Wahi --> Wa-hi --> zone of life? a spread-out place where life is possible --> region (confirmed)Wa --> zone; spread-out place that has a specific attribute (we might posit that a hot region could be a Wata for example).Suva --> Su-va --> work-enhancement-helper; a shrine that aids someone who is performing an important task (by storing and teleporting objects to them, esp. Kanohi)Su --> enhancing strength for work; Krana Su give strength for Worker BohrokFrom Mistika, Phantoka, Piraka:Misti --> zone of air that is obscured by water vapor --> mistPhanto / Fanto --> zone of air that is clear of mist --> air (atmosphere; distinct from the elementally-focused term Le)This makes those two source words meaning a spirit that moves freely within these types of atmosphere; a powerful flying being in a poetic sense.Piraka --> Pira-ka, possibly Pir-ahk-ka or the like --> a powerful/dangerous being that moves freely within the philosophical realm of having a lack or morals, or possibly such a being that is "free of morals" in a more ironic sense --> poetic "spirit of no morality" or "spirit of evil" --> thief/murderer (confirmed)Pir --> could mean "morals" or lack of morals, or even an "alternate morality" where evil is good and good is evil. Possibly related to Pyre in English meaning something that burns, as in worthy of being burned lol; conveying a powerful sense of reaction against what they do.Hm, what about Light and Shadow masks?Avhokii --> Av-vo-ki --> Light energy that is open/honest/good??Kraahkan --> Kra-ahk-an, or possibly Kra-ahk-kan --> shadow, of an evil nature esp. of evil beings, and... an/kan... maybe "negative energy"?BTW, Mangaia vs. Mangai -does- apparently show us a single-vowel suffix, unless it's a shortening of "ia" (a common place suffix in English).


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#11 Offline Dual Cee

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Posted Feb 04 2013 - 11:27 AM

Don't forget Artakha here, the "Akh" could be a variation of "Ahk" and the "Art" could mean something like creation (Art = Creation you see :P) So his name could be something like "Powerfull Being of Creation"

 

Also Matoro could be "Mato" and "ro" with "Mato" meaning spirit and "Ro" meaning ignitor or energy bringing or making more alive.

 

This is wat BS01 said about the spinners of some Vohtarak

 

 

Vohtarak: Target feels such an intense burning pain that it cannot concentrate.

 

Then Vohtarak could be separated as "Vo", "ta" and "rak"

 

Vo could mean then making energetic.

 

Ta could be added to avoid distraction with the rahksii

 

Rak could be short for visorak.

 

Vohtarak would then be: Visorak who makes (very) energetic


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#12 Offline The Iron Toa

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Posted Feb 04 2013 - 01:19 PM

Rahi actually means something like 'creature not like the Matoran', I think it might be literally 'not-us'.


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#13 Offline Exitium

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Posted Feb 04 2013 - 05:40 PM

@bonesiii: I stand corrected on the status of Quest for the Toa and the terms included in it.  However, I want to take a moment to respond to your claims because I think you were a bit patronizing and misunderstood or mischaracterized my argument.

 

Two vital points to this:1) We should not expect to be able to see all noticeable patterns in canon Bionicle languages, because the entire language has NOT been established. Yet it is canon that an entire language "exists" within the fictional world, therefore there ARE patterns within the fictional language and we should expect a statistical scatter pattern of some of those patterns making it through what is only transliterated rather than translated. Therefore, we SHOULD be able to theorize patterns based on apparent similarities that we do have, and the inability to do this for all words is irrelevant.

 

I don't believe you've adequately addressed my point about the second assumption implicit in this argument, which you seem to have taken for granted.  I accept your assumption that the canon Matoran language must have patterns, some of which we may see, and many we won't.  Where I take issue is the assumption that in inventing this language, TLG had any pattern in mind.  In fact, they appear to have mostly taken words from a variety of languages, many of which are not etymologically related at all (such as Maori and Latin).  So while the canon Matoran language has patterns, there is no reason to believe that the sample we have access to (which was created by a toy company, not linguists) has any discernible patterns.

 

2) Even what we do have is a huge library and just because you or anybody else hasn't yet noticed an apparent pattern doesn't mean there aren't some. I hadn't noticed his excellent point about Olmak and Olisi previously, yet it is there and it makes perfect sense. (The logicianspeak technical term for the mistake you made here is the fallacy of argument from ignorance, for the record.)

 

I respectfully disagree about the size of our "huge library" of Matoran words.  We have on the order of 50 words, which given the size of most languages is too little to create a theory with solid evidence.  What I'm suggesting is not that there is no pattern, but that the pattern has no meaning.  Personally, I find the connection between "Olisi" and "Olmak" to be tenuous rather than making "perfect sense," although I will admit that there is a better case for "Makoki" and "Olmak."  My examples of words like "hau" and "rau" and "vahi" and "mohtrek" are intended to demonstrate that there are just as many other patterns, which you dismiss while accepting the evidence that fits the theory.  (The technical term for the mistake you made here is confirmation bias, for the record.  Also, the argument from ignorance is actually the claim that something is true because it hasn't been proven false; I'm arguing something is false because it hasn't been proven true.)

 

Ultimately, we have to step back and remember that this language was created across nine years, probably by several people who are not linguists.  Unlike other fantasy languages like Klingon or Quenya, I doubt Lego put much thought into creating a language structure.  As a result, any patterns found can easily be coincidences.

 

Frustration should never be allowed to enter into it. This is all just entertainment; it's just for fun.  :) If you are getting frustrated, you have your priorities out of whack somehow. We can and often do look into questions like this purely for fun, while thinking about them as we have time, without any obligation to do so, therefore no need for any negative emotions about it.

 

My priorities are perfectly in whack, thank you.  I'm not feeling "negative emotions," I'm simply unable to form a coherent theory due to lack of evidence.  I believe you've misunderstood my use of the word "frustrated."  What I mean to say here is that given the relatively small sample of the Matoran language we have to work with, it is interesting to examine the language but impossible to create a theory that has compelling evidence to back it up.  That is my problem with this theory.  It is logical, it has a couple examples to back it up, but ultimately it tries to make a mountain out of a molehill.  That's not QM's fault.  There simply can never be enough evidence to put together a theory with enough evidence to withstand this sort of scrutiny.

 

So as I said before, I laud the attempts to better understand the Matoran language because I think it's an interesting topic.  I just believe that any "theory" attempting to describe it will necessarily be mostly conjecture, as QM so accurately named this topic.


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#14 Offline -Toa Lhikevikk-

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Posted Feb 04 2013 - 05:44 PM

NOTE: I include the dash with "Kofo-" but in actual Matoran there is no symbol for it, so really it would be "Kofo Jaga". 

 

There actually is a Matoran dash symbol. It's a small hollow dot, like the ones inside the letters, with a short line underneath. I distinctly remember it from the Koro signs and various papers lying around in MNOLG II; I'll show you a picture if I find one.


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#15 Offline LockmanCapulet

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Posted Feb 04 2013 - 06:52 PM

This is awesome. Someone needs to compile this. Make a decent-sized Matoran guide.


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#16 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Feb 05 2013 - 12:43 AM

Dual Matrix, those make a lot of sense, yeah! Although, wasn't Artakha already named when he was made and then had to compete for which mask he'd get? *checks* Yeah. Of course, who knows how much of a role destiny could play in naming. But still. [Edit: Well, BS01 confirms he had to compete for it. I suppose it technically doesn't confirm that he was named -before- winning the competition.]

 

Maybe "ha" is its own root term, while the "ak" is a shortened "ahk"? Though no idea what the "ha" would mean.

 

 

There actually is a Matoran dash symbol. It's a small hollow dot, like the ones inside the letters, with a short line underneath. I distinctly remember it from the Koro signs and various papers lying around in MNOLG II; I'll show you a picture if I find one.

 

Yeah when I typed that post's draft I intended to look it up because I did remember after typing that part that that game might have had something, but forgot to check for it when I submitted. I did check BS01 afterwards though and I could find no reference to it, so I just assumed I was misremembering. Yes, a picture would be cool, and perhaps an edit suggestion for the BS01 languages page! (Assuming it's not already on some other page I missed...)

 

 

 

 

Exitium, it was obviously not my intent to be patronizing. Please just relax and enjoy. :) I had more detail in my original version of this post but it's off-topic and is distracting from the fun here so I've cut most of it.

 

The point is, making theories like this is highly, highly encouraged. It's fun, which is good to avoid being negative, and it's good mental exercise, which is important as well. It doesn't really directly have any real-world relevance, but the practice and positivity gained by it does, indirectly. ^_^ I'm not about to start discouraging all these things that S&T is for; we have so few topics as it is now anyways, the more the merrier! (Within reason. :P)

 

 

no reason to believe that the sample we have access to (which was created by a toy company, not linguists) has any discernible patterns.

Just to be clear because I'm not 100% I have been clear enough -- what language theories in S&T are allowed to do (and we've allowed many topics like this in the past) is look for apparent patterns and theorize what they could plausibly mean within the fictional world, with no reference at all to what that fiction's authors necessarily intended. :) Clear? ^_^

 

 

I respectfully disagree about the size of our "huge library" of Matoran words.  We have on the order of 50 words

Oh it's far, far more than that. All non-English words (other than Bara Magna, but even those can be related) count. :) It's on the order of many hundreds, if not more than a thousand. Not sure exactly, but fifty barely covers the first year or two.

 

 

My examples of words like "hau" and "rau" and "vahi" and "mohtrek" are intended to demonstrate that there are just as many other patterns, which you dismiss while accepting the evidence that fits the theory.  (The technical term for the mistake you made here is confirmation bias, for the record.  Also, the argument from ignorance is actually the claim that something is true because it hasn't been proven false; I'm arguing something is false because it hasn't been proven true.)

Yes, there are other patterns, and we can try to look for them in further posts. That's a good thing; means there's more ground to explore in the future. ^_^ No need to treat this as such a serious thing, man! Relax and just have fun with it, there's nothing to fight about.

 

To your points in parentheses, although this is getting a bit off-topic, I'm a logician; I didn't make any logical errors. :) You seem to be assuming some kind of bias, not sure towards what exactly or "why so serious" :P but none was intended, and I wasn't "accepting" or "dismissing" anything. You're reading a lot into this and I am not sure why, although I have seen this happen to a tiny minority of repliers in theories similar to this throughout the years so I have come to expect it like clockwork. :P I don't know why some people seem to struggle to realize that we do this purely for fun and mental exercise and that complaining about it serves no useful purpose. I just hope that they bring up opportunities to help those who make that mistake learn something from the experience and conversation which can help them. ^_^

 

And your last clause may be a bit misleading to non-logicians, so might as well clarify to avoid possible confusion. In terms of formal jargon, that is technically right, but that is not intended by logicians to mean that the something actually is false, but rather that we can't be certain it is true, therefore we don't positively claim it to be definitely true (and nowhere did I do that; I went out of my way to clarify that we couldn't be sure in both posts, just what seems likely or various possibilities to consider...). Anywho, back on topic, please.

 

 

I'm simply unable to form a coherent theory due to lack of evidence.  I believe you've misunderstood my use of the word "frustrated."  What I mean to say here is that given the relatively small sample of the Matoran language we have to work with, it is interesting to examine the language but impossible to create a theory that has compelling evidence to back it up.  That is my problem with this theory.  It is logical, it has a couple examples to back it up

That's all we ask. And this is explained clearly in the One-Stop S&T rules topic, so we really shouldn't need to go over it in specific theory topics. :P If you haven't already, check it out under "Theory Definition." Especially the "proof" part, which specifically addresses the mistake you made above about "not proven true". No theory is "proven true" (unless it is), and theories predict possible future revelations, which can even include hypothetical canonizations, etc. rather than things necessarily defined in the past by LEGO.

 

Understood that I read too much into that word choice, my apologies. Pet peeve, basically, lol. And having encountered many in the past who actually do get frustrated in relation to Bionicle. Also it seems to send a bad message to post it, to those reading it who also like me may not realize you don't mean it literally. :)


Edited by bonesiii, Feb 05 2013 - 01:11 AM.

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#17 Offline TheSkeletonMan939

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Posted Feb 07 2013 - 06:49 AM

Very intelligent thread. You clearly put a hecka more thought into this than the story team ever did. Kudos to you.


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#18 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Feb 07 2013 - 11:12 AM

Topics like this kind of bother me because they really inevitably boil down to speculation and re-interpreting the story in ways not necessarily intended by the writers. It's a fun hobby and a useful tool for the writing of fanfiction, but I don't think it has much at all to do with storyline, and "theorizing" doesn't make much sense when you're beginning from assumptions that cannot possibly be correct.When you look at BIONICLE terms from a designer's perspective, they are almost invariably based on real-world terms or just on things that suggest certain attributes. Words borrowed directly from real-world languages, without modification, are ubiquitous in the first three years of BIONICLE. Of the 73 Matoran names from 2001-2003, there are only eleven for which I haven't found a real-world term directly related to their elements. There is strong evidence that the original Toa and Turaga's names were real-world terms related to their elements, and the words Toa, Turaga, and Tohunga are Polynesian words for Hero, Chief, and Artisan (though Tohunga also carried the alternate meaning of priest, which is why the term was later disused). Other names were either complete nonsense words chosen for having a particular sound or (in some cases) for relating to already-established terms, like the Bohrok names. Still others were derived from real terms or root words but heavily modified, for example, Axonn, Brutaka, Spinax, Carapar, Antroz, Chirox, etc.These diverse real-world derivations are enough to make uniting them through in-universe morphology impossible or impractical. But furthermore, an additional complication comes from the decision to give certain terms in-universe derivation, especially from 2004 onward. Today, there are several Mata Nui landmarks that are named for those held in high esteem by the Turaga-- yet their real-world derivations are completely unrelated to this.Overall, it's perfectly acceptable to try to imagine related meanings to various Matoran terms, but unless language rules and morphology are expressed or implied in the official story, then any meaning to the relatedness of the terms is entirely non-canon and hardly qualifies as a theory.
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#19 Offline The Legendary TNT

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Posted Feb 07 2013 - 02:29 PM

NOTE: I include the dash with "Kofo-" but in actual Matoran there is no symbol for it, so really it would be "Kofo Jaga". 

 

There actually is a Matoran dash symbol. It's a small hollow dot, like the ones inside the letters, with a short line underneath. I distinctly remember it from the Koro signs and various papers lying around in MNOLG II; I'll show you a picture if I find one.

I found it!

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Translation: Ta-Onu-Le-Koro. It's the sign above the tunnel to the lightstone mine in Ta-Koro in MNOLG.


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#20 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Feb 07 2013 - 05:33 PM

Ah, yes, I remember that symbol now! That's actually pretty obvious lol. There goes my memory. :P

 

Topics like this kind of bother me because they really inevitably boil down to speculation and re-interpreting the story in ways not necessarily intended by the writers. It's a fun hobby and a useful tool for the writing of fanfiction, but I don't think it has much at all to do with storyline, and "theorizing" doesn't make much sense when you're beginning from assumptions that cannot possibly be correct.

The problem with this reasoning is it could be applied to any theory to some extent, even ones that turn out to be true. There is no way to rule out that parts of it might very well be intentional, since it does have evidence. (How could you know that it can't possibly be correct? It extrapolates logically from evidence which is what all good theories are supposed to do.)

 

Also, there may be some "speculating" along with evidenced theorizing as well in S&T topics (this is mentioned as well in the Theory Definition section of the rules under speculation). All theories are "speculative" in the informal sense you are using here because they do go beyond just what the evidence says (the evidence being canon fact and not by itself worthy of this kind of topic). As such we do not consider evidenced theories "speculation" in the sense of the official S&T term, even if we may completely disagree with them based on our own gut feelings or whatever.

 

 

Overall, it's perfectly acceptable to try to imagine related meanings to various Matoran terms, but unless language rules and morphology are expressed or implied in the official story, then any meaning to the relatedness of the terms is entirely non-canon and hardly qualifies as a theory.

Something that doesn't qualify as a theory will not be getting the Gold Key to Nongu. :P

 

Are you saying that if the specific rules he is theorizing are not confirmed, then they should not be theorized? Because if not, then wouldn't the same reasoning ban all theories? Also, he is theorizing that they may be implied. Implication is not something that can be objectively known without the original people who decided the thing in question telling us directly (and honestly they might have forgotten by now lol). Instead, a theory attempts to infer from the evidence found.

 

Or are you saying such a theory only works logically if it's canon that there would be rules, etymologies, etc. in Bionicle? It is completely logical that there would be (all languages do, by definition -- the idea of a language without rules or morphology seems completely impossible to me?), especially since we know of many confirmed language rules and relationships of etymological meaning (the element prefixes related to names of the Toa Mata, Visorak types, etc. as one example). The record is that those who established these things did tend to think about them, not just pick things purely at random. So it seems to me that all the assumptions involved are logical.

 

If you're saying you think the imagined solutions for explaining the evidence are unlikely, that's possible -- what I would encourage doing from there would be to try to think of alternatives and post them. :)

 

(Incidentally, one thing I forgot to add while I'm at it is that I noticed BS01 does confirm his reasoning about the modifier-second format as an actual language rule. Not sure if that is also simply observing the obviously intended pattern, but either way, it's got strong canon evidence.)

 

Also, there is a gray area where evidenced theories can somewhat turn into "suggestions / proposals", meaning that if the explanation of possible connection between evidence wasn't actually intended, maybe it could be adopted, if only as a convention among fans (like fanon). This is especially encouraged with language theories because of the confirmed canon facts that 1) there would be a fully developed language but 2) that here in the real world the full language has not been established. This leaves a vast middle ground where it's okay to be a bit more speculative than normal in S&T. :) This is the reasoning that has been used many times to allow topics that have attempted to come up with some basic grammars and extrapolate some unknown vocabulary, etc.

 

Does this help clear this up? ^_^


Edited by bonesiii, Feb 07 2013 - 08:07 PM.

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#21 Offline toa electro

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Posted Feb 27 2013 - 01:27 AM

Yes I think ki in makoki actually means key,And with lo and ak ahk in the matoran language (just a theory) could be spelled differently as long as they sound the same like ahk= acKo=co something like that . I mean it could theoretically open up ALOT more interpretation for more words!And mak may not nessecaly mean gate but maybe realm or domain or even closed area!Oh and maybe they speak very vague/generallyOne of the examples would be KO As in KO is the prefix for ice but does it literally mean ice?So koro and gukko would be an interesting one to decipher
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