I said I would not be linear, and here it goes: let’s jump to the interesting speech in frame 2728.

This frame is interesting, because it’s one of the Beanish “data points” closer to being a “Rosetta stone”. After some initial and difficult communication, when Cueball apparently learns the Beanish word for “water” (frames 2708/2709), he and Megan try to communicate with the Beanie by drawing. When Cueball makes it clear that they came from the lowlands, where we know the sea is rising, the Beanie seems both surprised and excited and fires three questions: ᔪᖉᔭᑫ ᕒᖚᐧ ᘊᓭᐧᑲᐤ ᑦᘈᖽᐣ ᔭ ᖆᖽᒣ ᓭᘖᑦ ᖊᘊᐤ ᕋᖗ ᖆᕬᖉᔭ ᘖᐣᖗᔭ, ᘊᓭᘖᔭᓄᐤ As Cuegan don’t (doesn’t?) understand, the Beanie takes the stitch and draws some parallel lines to indicate that the sea is rising.

We can make many educated guesses. The first sentence is probably a result of the surprise/excitement of the Beanie (remember that, as Rosetta will later explain, they did not imagine there were still people living there). One of the two last sentences (or possibly both, but I guess only the last one) is likely related to the the rising of the sea, and it seems a good guess that among those questions one of them is something like “How did you get here?” or, at best, “Are you (two) alone?”.

Syntactically, the first question is the one that helps us most. We have ᔪᖉᔭᑫ ᕒᖚᐧ ᘊᓭᐧᑲᐤ (“nafagaθa laka pataɲa?”), which is stringkly similar to the very first Beanish sentence, ᔪᕒᖚᐧ ᘛᔭᐤ (“nalaka zaga?”), in frame 2663. We have seen that this first question probably means “Where are you from?” or “Who are you?”, with the “question prefix” ᔪ (“na”) — that seems to work as a clitic, like most of Beanish morphemes –, the “locative adverb/preposition” ᕒᖚᐧ (“laka”) — sorry to keep the linguistic jargon, basically something which denotes a physical location, probably something translated as “here/there/where/in/at/…” (but at least I am not saying things like “place deixis”! –, and ᘛᔭ (“zaga”), likely a verb. In our new sentence, we keep the ᔪ (“na”) clitic, along with the ᕒᖚᐧ (“laka”). But we also have the common ᘊᓭᐧᑲ (“pataɲa”) word, which — unless Randall gave us homographs — is the name of the place where Cuegan come from (cfe. frame 2906, a.k.a. “the map”); I like to think of it as “Balearic”, to omit the fact that it might be a composite. However, the word seems to be the result of, at least, the ᘊ- (“pa-“) prefix and the word ᓭᐧᑲ (“taɲa”), used in the “good night” sentence of frame 2697. A case of homography here is not probable, and it raises an interesting hypothesis: that, maybe, perhaps, who knows, possibly, just a guess, ᘊ- (“pa-“) does not mean “big, superior”, but is a kind of determinative (an “article”, or maybe a “demonstrative”), used in precise circumstances. Think about the usage of articles in Ancient Greek — I keep going back to it as Randall spoke of Linear A, even though I know that Linear A is not Greek (as far as we know, it is not even Indo-European) –, including the fact that its usage in what we suppose to be Rosetta’s name might be an honorific.

We then have two sentences, one likely “QUESTION-(from) (to come)” and one “QUESTION-(?) (from) (Balears)”. The ᖉᔭᑫ (“fagaθa”) word is unfortunately very obscure, but, using the logic of English, it should be a verb. The alternative of having the first as “QUESTION-(person/who) (are, inflected 2nd plural)” and the second as “QUESTION-(?) (person/who) (Balears)” has some difficulties due to the later usage of ᕒᖚᐧ (“laka”), but it can’t absolutely be ruled out (a more fluent English translation would be “Are you Balearic?”). For the time being, we should study the corpus with both possibilities in mind: ᕒᖚᐧ (“laka”) as “from/where/there/here” (the one I favor) and as something that is or work as a copula verb (“to be”).

The second question, ᑦᘈᖽᐣ ᔭ ᖆᖽᒣ ᓭᘖᑦ ᖊᘊᐤ (“osaʤe ga daʤaʧa tebo ðapa?”), is more difficult. No word in it is clearly related to anything else in our corpus, not to mention the uncommon diacritic in initial position in ᑦᘈᖽᐣ (“osaʤe”). ᓭᘖᑦ (“tebo”) could be related to ᓭᘖᔭᓄ (“water”), but there is not clear indication of that — this is one of the few words where calculating the probability of a random similarity — I’ll do it, eventually — may actually help us, but once more what we need are good hypothesis to test. What do you all think this second sentence means?

We finally have ᕋᖗ ᖆᕬᖉᔭ ᘖᐣᖗᔭ, ᘊᓭᘖᔭᓄᐤ (“raʃa daʎafaga beʃagai patebava?”). We are naturally drawn to ᘊᓭᘖᔭᓄ (“patebava”), almost certainly a compound of the prefix ᘊ- (“pa-” — “big, superior” or a determinative) and ᓭᘖᔭᓄ (“tebava” — “water”). Based mostly in the following sentence by Megan (“Yes! The sea is rising!”), most people (including myself) speculated that this is, loosely, semantically similar ot the third question, which goes hand in hand with the translation of ᘊᓭᘖᔭᓄ as “sea” (“big water”). This has, however, some problems, in particular the fact that we know almost for sure that “sea” is written ᘊᖊᑦᓄ (“paðeva”). azule has suggested in the XKCD fora that ᓄ (“va”) is actually “water, liquid”), and while I am not completely confident with his/her hypothesis of freely joinable morphemes with independent semantic load (I use this complex description because I am not sure if he/she thinks about something more like Klingon or more like Chinese, but we are talking of somewhat-analytic languages), this makes a lot of sense here. Plus, it supports the hypothesis of ᘊ- (“pa-“) as a determinative: in our sentence, “water” is used with a determinative (maybe it’s the subject, maybe some other rule is at play), and in the maps, for example, the prefix is explained by proper nouns (ᘊᖊᑦᓄ ᘊᓭᐧᑲ would be something like “the-Sea the-Balearic”).

The other words in the sentence are, unfortunately, obscure. I agree that we should expect something like “up” or “rise” or “increase” in it, but we cannot go much farther than guessing. ᕋᖗ (“raʃa”) has both uncommon glyphs and uncommon features; the initial ᖆ- (“da-“) in ᖆᕬᖉᔭ (“daʎafaga”) could mean “good” (“up”?), but it doesn’t fit very well with the supposed meaning of the sentence; the only word very loosely similar to ᘖᐣᖗᔭ, (“beʃagai”) is ᖚᐣᘖᖗᑫ (“kebaʃaθa”), which doesn’t add much either. You’ve guessed it: we need more and better hypothesis for the translations.