A little bit of Lisnäit 9: Time units

As I explained in a previous post, Lisnäit uses base-12 numbers. This affects many areas of the language, one of them being the way Lisnäit speakers divide days and years. Today, I’m explaining Lisnäit time units, which are a rather complex area.

The fundamental time unit is the day, called  Sälna (plural säilna).However a day is consider to start when the sun rises, not at midnight (actually, it rather starts in a fixed hour in the morning, not at the actual sunrise).

Just like we do, Lisnäit speakers have weeks, but they are 12 days long. This groups of a dozen days are called yeselna (plural yeseilna). The first two days of a yeselna are free days (sort of a weekend), then there come 4 workdays, another free day and 5 more workdays. Of course, that’s the most usual arrangement, some people’s working schedules may be reorganized just as they are often modified in the real world. The duration of a Lisnäit month is variable, so weekly evaluations are more common than monthly evaluations.

With the exception of the first day (called sälnä’an), weekdays don’t have names. They are just referred as “second day” (sälna et) and so on.

Lisnäit’s is actually a lunisolar calendar: both moon and seasonal cycles are taken into account. A new month starts with the closest sälnä’an (the first day of a yeselna) to a night with a full moon. Should two sälnä’an be equally away from a full moon, the month would start with the last one. Because of this definition of a month, all months (and also all years) begin a new week (so there is no need for a calendar to know the weekday of a date), but the duration of a month can vary greatly, being either 2 yeseilna long (24 days) or 3 (36 days). The average duration of a month is roughly 2.5 yeseilna or 30 days (not unlike ours).

Years (called ‘äitayï, singular ‘ätayï) begin with the month whose first day is the closest to March equinox (when spring starts in the north hemisphere and autumn begins in the south). The duration of a year also varies, so a 365.25 days long tropic year (called i’ätayï) is often used for science, economy, astronomy, etc.

Not only a Lisnäit year may have a different amount of days, but also a different numbers of months. It can be either 12 or 13 months long. Unlike weekdays, months are named from the first to the last. Name etymologies are usually associated with Southern Hemisphere seasons.

  1. Lämna Nowi, young month (for being the first one). Near March.
  2. Lämna Rosnï, orange month (because of falling autumn leaves). Near April.
  3. Lämna Mämïräi, month of memory (there is a celebration where the past, ancestors and those who have passed away are commemorated during this month). Near May.
  4. Lämna Gälse, cold month (near (southern) winter). Approximately in June.
  5. Lämna Gäläis, ice month (winter). Near July.
  6. Lämna ʔäitäir, the month of the storms. Near August.
  7. Lämna Isäntäi, sunrise month (southern spring is coming, plants sprout again, which makes for a (metaphorical) sunrise). Near September.
  8. Lämna Kräinou, the month of passions (because of a celebration similar to St. Valentine’s day). Near October.
  9. Lämna Räisäil, flower month. October-November.
  10. Lämna Säläin, Sun’s month (because it is close to the southern Summer solstice). November-December.
  11. Lämna Fäinäir, fire-month (because of the bonfires of the December solstice celebrations). December-January.
  12. Lämna Kolïr, hot month (because of summer). January-February.
  13. Lämna Sonïm, additional month, leap month (because not all years have a 13th month). February-March

Years are often grouped in dozens (similar to our decades), groups of 144 years (similar to our centuries) and larger groups of 1728 (similar to our millenia).

The current year is 7091 (it started on March 15 2011 and will end in March 8th 2012). The current date (for February 4th) would be:

S-Y-(RN)TA
Es Kolïr
(eryän) etya’
3 Month-12 (41) 2B
3rd (of) Kolir (seven thousand) 91*

Being the third day of the month also means that it is the third day of the yeselna (week). The base-12 year number is 412B (4×1728+1×144+2×12+11=7091). In the same fashion people often shortens a year number to two digits (saying ’86 instead of 1986), Lisnäit years are often truncated to two digits, so 412B (eryän etya’) becomes 2B (etya’, equivalent to 35 in base 10).

Since a given date will always fall on the same weekday there is no need for a calendar to list all days of a year. Instead, they usually mark how many weeks long a year is, how many month it does have and how long each of those months are. The following image depicts the calendars for Lisnäit years 7091 and 7092:

The numbers on the top are the number of the year and the number of weeks (yeseilna) in the year. Blue and yellow circles stand for months, blue ones are 24 days long whereas yellow ones are 36 days long. The year on the right has 13 months while the other is just 12 months long. More complete calendars would also mark the dates of solstices, equinoxes and celebrations.

On the other hand, days are divided into 12 equal parts called häirak (singular härak) each two hours (120 minutes) long. In turn, häirak are divided into 12 häirka, 10 minutes long each. Dividing the day in 144 10-minute intervals is very convenient. Lisnäit speakers would generally refer to the current time with just two digits, one for häirak and one for häirka.

Häirka can also be divided into 12 shorter periods: 50-seconds long hïräika. Tämanäipar, one 144th of a hïraika, are used in science. They are 347.222… milliseconds long.

As I said above, days are traditionally considered to start with the sunrise. However, the start hour for a Lisnäit day has been fixed to 7:00 am (thus ensuring that at least the duration of a day remains constant). An odd characteristic of Lisnäit hours is that häirak (2 hours long) are counted from 1 (N, än) to 12 (Y, ye) whereas häirka and hiräika are counted from 0 (U, u) to 11 (A, a’i), so the first hour of a day is 1:00 LT (equivalent to 7:00 am) and the last one would be 12:11 LT (equivalent to 6:50 am of the following day). (LT stands for Lisnäit time)

The following table lists some hour equivalences:

Hour

LT

Hour

LT

Hour

LT

Hour

LT

12:00pm

9:6LT

WK

6:00am

12:6LT

YK

12:00am

3:6LT

SK

6:00pm

6:6LT

KK

12:30:pm

9:9LT

WW

6:30:am

12:9LT

YW

12:30:am

3:9LT

SW

6:30:pm

6:9LT

KW

1:00am

10:0LT

DU

7:00am

1:0LT

NU

1:00pm

4:0LT

RU

7:00pm

7:0LT

PU

1:30am

10:3LT

DS

7:30am

1:3LT

NS

1:30pm

4:3LT

RS

7:30pm

7:3LT

PS

2:00am

10:6LT

DK

8:00am

1:6LT

NK

2:00pm

4:6LT

RK

8:00pm

7:6LT

PK

2:30am

10:9LT

DW

8:30am

1:9LT

NW

2:30pm

4:9LT

RW

8:30pm

7:9LT

PW

3:00am

11:0LT

AU

9:00am

2:0LT

TU

3:00pm

5:0LT

MU

9:00pm

8:0LT

BU

3:30am

11:3LT

AS

9:30am

2:3LT

TS

3:30pm

5:3LT

MS

9:30pm

8:3LT

BS

4:00am

11:6LT

AK

10:00am

2:6LT

TK

4:00pm

5:6LT

MK

10:00pm

8:6LT

BK

4:30am

11:9LT

AW

10:30am

2:9LT

TW

4:30pm

5:9LT

MW

10:30pm

8:9LT

BW

5:00am

12:0LT

YU

11:00am

3:0LT

SU

5:00pm

6:0LT

KU

11:00pm

9:0LT

WU

5:30am

12:3LT

YS

11:30am

3:3LT

SS

5:30pm

6:3LT

KS

11:30pm

9:3LT

WS

(The first column below LT shows the hour with decimal western numbers, the latter shows the same numbers written in Lisnäit numerals (though here represented with Latin letters)).

While digital clocks (would) do exist, analogic clocks would be the most traditional alternative for timekeeping. Lisnäit clocks resemble typical western clocks… however, this resemblance is just skin dept.

First of all, needles are distributed differently: the longest needle stands for häirak, a shorter one stands for häirka and a much thinner one may usually stands for hïräika (though it may be absent). This contrast with our clocks, where the longest unit (hours) is marked by the shortest needle.

Another big difference is that needles spin the other way round, “counterclockwise”. Of course, their speed is different to those on a regular clock: the longest needle takes a whole day to make a complete turn, the short one would take two hours while the thin one would only take 10 minutes to complete a turn.

One of the most confusing things about Lisnäit analogic clocks is that the härak-needle (the long one) isn’t on the top of the clock (as the hour-needle at 12 o’clock in regular clocks) but at the right (as if it were marking 3 o’clock). This is justified because in a clock facing south (specially in the Southern Hemisphere), the härak-needle would (loosely) follow the sun’s trajectory in the sky, being on the top near midday, below the ‘horizon’ (a line horizontal line along the middle of the clock) at night and so on.

Nonetheless, the other needles are at 12 o’clock at the start of each härak. Different scales are used for the long needle and the other two. Usually, the härak scale is on the same place where numbers are in real-world clocks, whereas the other scale is inner.

The following image shows both an analogical Lisnäit clock and a seven-segment display digital one:

Lisnäit analogical clock, Lisnäit digital clock, the hour as written with Sikäitt numerals and with western (arabic) numerals.

In the following little bit of Lisnäit (to be published… some week) I’ll speak about other units for other magnitudes as lengths, weights but also acceleration, force, electrical capacitance, etc. See you!

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Posted on 2012/02/04, in English, Lisnäit (en). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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