The Litany Against Fear translated into Angosey

This litany comes from Frank Herbert’s novel Dune – I find it very useful to meditate on when I’m facing hardship.  I’ve translated it into Angosey before – but I think I’ll take another crack at it and post it here.  The act of translation forces me to think carefully about the meaning of each word, and I can hardly think of a better way of internalizing the lesson it contains.

Tha Angnayta Kaytheo Ngasha

The Litany Against Fear

Aye an kaya isha.

I shall not fear.

Ngaharaya kayth al ngagrishnaya ey tha esereth.

Fear is the mind killer.

Oayryea al grishnathne al kayth; i ngagrevaya ey ay serenethta.

Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

Renaya’au isha al kayth eme.

I will face my fear.

Sindral algi’aya iseo ngey  isna elre isna zaneo.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

Araneth algihhnaya ngey es erathaya’au isha al esa zirathna shal ziraya isa in thesa.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Oayleya in analeth in algihhnaya al kayth.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Kho osenaya isha.

Only I will remain.

A couple of things:

Angosey has evidentiality, meaning each verb is marked for how the information is known.  So if the speaker directly experienced the action, the verb is unmarked.  But if the speaker heard it from someone else, the verb takes a prefix to indicate that.  In this case, there is a switch in evidentiality.

The sentence “fear is the mind killer” is unmarked, so it means “I know, or I have experienced, that fear is the mind killer.”

However, the sentence “Where the fear has gone there will be nothing” is marked for thirdhand or learned knowledge, i. e. “It is known that where the fear has gone there will be nothing.”

Sometimes, it takes a lot more to say something in Angosey than in English, compare

Ngaharaya kayth al ngagrishnaya ey tha esereth


Fear is the mind killer.

But Angosey sentences are also a lot more rich than English – they leave less to context.  This is likely because Angosey is solely written, not spoken, so I cannot rely on other cues such as demeanor and facial expression to convey information.  Also, I tend to err on the side of overstatement rather than understatement.


About glossarch

The word "glossarch" doesn't exist. At least, not yet. But let's pretend it does for a second. The first part is "gloss," a word that comes to us from Ancient Greek via Latin and English. It means "language." The second part also comes from Ancient Greek and can mean "having power over." So "glossarch" means simply "language controller." So what am I doing making up words? Well, I made up an entire language once. It's called Angosey. So I'm the Glossarch of Angosey. I'm currently a doctorate student in volcano seismology (a branch of geophysics). I enjoy writing fiction and poetry, launching balloons, programming, and hanging out with my lovely wife! Follow me on Twitter! Writing and language creation: @glossarch Balloons and science: @bovineaerospace
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One Response to The Litany Against Fear translated into Angosey

  1. Like it! Stopped to eat lunch at a rest area south of Pueblo where your great great grandpa worked in the steel mills. Storms covering the Rockies all the way.

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