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Re: Words for "Death"

From:Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>
Date:Friday, August 8, 2003, 3:09
On Thursday 07 August 2003 07:10 pm, Herman Miller wrote:
> On Wed, 6 Aug 2003 20:53:35 -0700, Arthaey Angosii
> wrote: > > >Saw this message on the CogLing mailing list and thought it might
make good
> >fodder for us conlangers: > > > >>For a medical paper on brain death we are wondering whether there
> >>languages with > >> > >>(1) more than one word for the phenomenon we call ''death'' > >>(2) no equivalent for the English word ''death'' > > >So, anyone with a conlang like that? He certainly only wants natlang > >examples, but I'm interested in conlangs. :) > > Well, there are at least two ways to translate "death" in Zireen
> (event of dying, state of being dead), but I'm presuming that they're > looking for one or the other of these. It's actually impossible to say > "He's dead, Jim" in a typical Zireen language; if you did say that, a > native speaker would assume you meant he's in a coma or similar state
> deep unconsciousness -- personal pronouns and names can only be used
> reference to living beings. In my prototype Zireen conlang (known > provisionally as "Zircon"), "saita" (an adjective) means "dead" in the > sense "inanimate, lifeless", while "kasi" (a verb) means "to die". So > "death" can be translated either as "dhasaita" (the state of being > lifeless) or "nenkasi" (event of dying), but there's no simple word > specifically meaning "death". > > For "He's dead", a Zireen would say "He died". > > Vakasi miti peKrimi! > va-kasi mi -ti pe -Krimi > PF-die ABS-he VOC-Jim > He's dead, Jim! >
Hmm, there are two ways to say "He's dead, Jim" in Kélen. The baseform -nóñ- doesn't vary, though its inflection does, due to the fact that the relational varies... 1) la-cim, sema annóña; Voc-Jim, death Jim, he's experiencing death.../he's dead or 2) la-cim, ñi sáen manóña; Voc-Jim, NI dead-person Jim, he's become a dead person (due to some unnamed cause) In short, SE says that something (in this case 'death') has a source (unnamed & unreferenced) and a goal (our deceased redshirt). One could also say la sáen manóña LA dead-person but that implies an ongoing state, i.e. he's been dead for some time, in which case manóña, being animate is probably not the right word. la sáen janóññú; LA corpse 'He's a corpse'/'The corpse is he' would be more correct. I have no idea how long one retains person-hood in a deceased state. NI, on the other hand, implies a change of state due to some cause. So, the redshirt has changed his state (from alive to dead), and the cause/reason is unnamed. McCoy would probably use SE for confirming a death & NI for announcing one. "I'm a doctor, not a conlanger." -Sylvia -- Sylvia Sotomayor Kélen language info can be found at: This post may contain the following: á (a-acute) é (e-acute) í (i-acute) ó (o-acute) ú (u-acute) ñ (n-tilde)