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From Tokana to Denden

From:Boudewijn Rempt <bsarempt@...>
Date:Thursday, November 18, 1999, 17:27
Well, I got Matt's translation - which wasn't as clear
as his smooth translation makes out! Retrospectivities
are marked with an asterisk.

To keep it manageable, I first give my Denden smooth
translation (more of a literal translation. If I were
to try to render this poetically in English, I'd choose
other words):

The sayings of Qunayir

The wind giving health is what she always hears
The stream giving sustenance is what she always hears
The separation saddening the belly is what she always listens to
Praise, praise to the ears of Qunayir

The forest strengthening the household is what she always sees
The fear enveloping the child in the dark is what she always sees
The neighbour's riches that makes the wife's husband break [his] love
  is what she always looks at
Praise, praise to the eyes of Qunayir


The stuff I sent to Rob was as follows (btw - I really think
we'll have to drop the linear stuff - Rob isn't available until
Tuesday, and, anyway, the internet with it's time-zone spanning
unreliability isn't very much suited to neat, sequential events.):


Beste Rob,

Hierbij de Denden versie van Matt's versie van Josh's versie van Sally's
gedicht ;-). Het commentaar en zo heb ik gelijk in het Engels geschreven,
opdat het straks meteen in de web-pagina's geplakt kan worden - ik heb
geen zin om het commentaar bij een vertaling te gaan vertalen. Het was een
knap lastig stuk, dat Matt me gegeven heeft, en ik ben bang dat ik op een
paar punten onderuit ben gegaan. Ik geef je een interlineaire versie met
uitleg van de afkortingen. Voor meer info kun je nog altijd de grammatica
van het Denden in het Jaarschrift raadplegen, of anders de nieuwe grammatica
op mijn website. Aantekeningen tussen de regels.


Word-order is SOV in this text. Most vocabulary is Southern Colloquial,
keeping in line with the simple topic of the text.


RTV - relative particle. General 'glue'; genitive, dative, ablative,
DUP - reduplication. Reduplication of nouns signals plurality, of verbs
      it indicates the delimitative aspect.
NOM - nominalisation. The nominalisation particle _ga_ nominalises phrases,
      making them subordinable. It can also function as a copula.
3   - third person
s   - singular number
HGH - high grade honorific
TEG - tegimentive case: covered with
SREL - subject relative pronoun (see posting on relative sentences)
DAT - dative particle


Tan Qunayir din.din
RTV Qunayir line/phrase/sentence.DUP

  Qunayir is the Charyan goddess of cats. She's not a cat herself,
  although she can take the shape of a cat, as can her followers.
  She's kind, helps poor people and likes children. See

  for more information.


neh  lahid  jerat ga  serasdir tening.ini
wind health give  NOM 3pHGH    hear.HAB

senush elatet jerat ga  serasdir tening.ini
stream food   give  NOM 3pHGH    hear.HAB        bini  tahir  ga  serasdir githan.ini
separate.thing belly sadden NOM 3pHGH    listen.HAB

   _nemrin_, 'separate thing', the object participle of _nemr_ 'to
   separate', can be translated as 'separation' or as screen, as in a
   screen that divides a room. The belly is the seat of all emotions.

la,    la     lye Qunayir
praise praise DAT Qunayir ear.DUP


wemunes garon     hevir      ga  serasdir qir.ini
forest  household strenghten NOM 3sHGH    see.HAB

   _garon_, house(hold) can be used for the nuclear family of three
   parents and their children. It has the connotation of home.

(* I was in error here: I have an unfortunate predilection for
the last meaning giving in any lexicon, and I took strengthen,
instead of nourish...)

tan aday  cendra tayr alat ga  serasdir qir.ini
RTV child dark   TEG  fear NOM 3sHGH    see.HAB

   Originally, this was the 'place under the bed children fear', but
   since Charyan beds are simply mats on the ground (at least for
   children - rich adults may have large beds), this was quite

tan naiwudan  taret  yohox tan yumir umir    yavai qazir ga  serasdir yondir.ini
RTV neighbour riches SREL  RTV wife  husband love  break NOM 3sHGH    look_at.HAB

    Take a look at my recent posting on relative sentences for this one,
    it's quite complex.

la,    la     lye Qunayir qirtin.tin
praise praise DAT Qunayir eye.DUP


What Matt gave me was this (with my own interlinear translation):


Ten         Pastet
3pINAN/ABS prayer.3sANIM/N_ABS Bastet
The sayings of Bastet


Itan        mah.a        suhoi    uthm.a   tsampatin
3sINAN/INST what.INST hear.PRS/DEF wind.DAT give.PRS wellness/health
That which it hears is the wind that gives health

Itan        maha      olat         sih.e      uthm.a   pamihati
3sINAN/INST what.INST hear.PRS/DEF stream.DAT give.PRS nourishment/sustenance
That which it hears is the stream that gives nourishment

Itan        maha           senin.a     temout.a   soun.e
3sINAN/INST what.INST listen_to.PRS/DEF screen.INST sicken.PRS heart.DAT
That which it listens to is the heart that sickens behind the screen

Ifon.e,    ifon.e.h                  Pastet!
praise.IMP praise.IMP.3sINAN pair_of_ears.3sANIM/N_ABS Bastet
Praise, praise to the ears of Bastet


Itan        maha      hielat      loka.i     kul.a.h                       emok
3sINAN/INST what.INST see.PRS/DEF forest.DAT nourish/strenghten.PRS.3sINAN household
That which it sees is the forest that strenghtens the household

Itan        maha      hielat      loma.i              tsol tehathu.a.s         pyi
3sINAN/INST what.INST see.PRS/DEF area_underneath.DAT bed  frighten.PRS.3pANIM children
That which it sees  is the area under the bed that frightens children

Itan        maha      skonat          itan               nentsulhon
3sINAN/INST what.INST look_at.PRS/DEF 3sINAN/INST DIM.window.INST.3sANIM/N_ABS neighbour
That which it looks at is the small window by which the neighbour makes the spouse loose her love

        lohk.a    kaisunt.oi.n        sol
        cause.PRS cold.RES.3sANIM/ABS spouse

(* Well, this fogged me - I didn't interpret this in the sense of
peeping at the neighbours wife through the keyhole - but rather
lusting after his wealth.)

Ifone,     ifoneh                     Pastet!
praise.IMP praise.IMP.3sINAN pair_of_eyes.3sANIM/N_ABS Bastet
Praise, praise to the eyes of Bastet


Grammatical notes:

(1) Basic word order is SVOX-OVSX-XVSO in main clauses, and VSO in
dependent clauses.

(2) This poem contains examples of the absolutive, dative, and instrumental
cases.  The absolutive case marks the direct objects of transitive verbs,
and the subjects of most transitive verbs.  Dative case indicates location
("at") or motion towards ("to"), among other things.  Instrumental case is
used to indicate not only instruments, but also paths ("with, through,
along, across, by means of, via").  Instrumental case is also used to mark
the subject of a transitive verb if that subject is indefinite and/or

(3) Non-absolutive pronouns and pronominal endings can be freely dropped if
their referent is indefinite, unknown, or recoverable from the context.
Thus, any missing transitive subjects in the above poem should be construed
as 'generic' subjects (like "one" or generic "you" in English, "man" in
German, "on" in French).

(4) Indefinite absolutives are never dropped.  So "itan maha olat" in the
above poem can only mean "that which one hears".  It can't mean "that which
hears things".

(5) Singular/plural is not marked on nouns.

(6) Possessive constructions are formed as follows:  determiner +
possessed-SFX + possessor, where SFX = the appropriate non-absolutive
person/number suffix.  For example, "John's house" is "te katiana Tsion",
literally "the house-3sg John" or "the house-his John".


>-A = (on nouns: instrumental case suffix) >-A = (on verbs: simple present tense, used for present states and generic >events) >-AT = (simple present tense, definite order: used to indicate that the >verb is the head of a subordinate clause, e.g. a relative clause) >-E = (on nouns: dative case suffix) >-E = (on verbs: archaic imperative/optative suffix) >EMOK = family, household (lit. those who share a single hearth) >-H = the, it (3rd person singular inanimate suffix; goes with the following >object noun, if any) >HIEL- = see >HUILOI = window >-I = (dative case suffix) >IFON- = praise (verb) >INIE = pair of eyes >ITAN = it, the (3rd person singular inanimate determiner, instrumental case) >ITAN MAHA = that which, the thing which (instrumental case) >KAISUNT- = be cold, be frigid, be unemotional or unresponsive, give >(someone) the cold shoulder >KI- = (diminutive prefix) >KUL- = feed, nourish, strengthen, enrich >LOHK- = make, cause >LOKA = forest, woods >LOMA = area underneath >MAH- = what, something >-N = the, her/him (3rd person singular animate absolutive suffix; goes with >the following object noun, if any) >-NA = the, his/her (3rd person singular animate non-absolutive suffix) >NENTSULHON = neighbour >NULIE = pair of ears >-OI = (resultative suffix; indicates that the verb to which it is attached >is the head of a clause which is the direct object of a verb of making or >causing) >OL- = hear >PAMIHATI = nourishment, sustenance (lit. "food-warmth/strength") >PASTET = Bastet (proper name, reshaped to fit the Tokana sound system) >PYI = child >-S = the, them (3rd person plural animate suffix; goes with the following >object noun, if any) >SENIN = a cloth screen hung from the rafters, used to divide a large room >in a house into private sleeping areas (commonly used in metaphors dealing >with privacy; e.g., "to speak in private, to speak confidentially" is >literally "to speak behind the screen") >SIH- = stream, current >SKON- = look at >SOL = spouse >SOUN = heart >SUHOI = wind (dative case) >TEHATHU- = frighten >TEMOUT- = sicken >TEN = it, the (3rd person plural inanimate determiner, absolutive case) >TEUL- = listen to >TOKITSIN = proverb, folk saying, aphorism >TSAMPATIN = health, ease, composure, wellness (lit. "body-balance") >TSOL = bed, sleeping platform >UTHM- = give
Boudewijn Rempt |