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Generic Plurals (was: Irish/Hebrew proverb)

From:Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
Date:Thursday, October 15, 1998, 1:48
On Wed, 14 Oct 1998 20:39:44 -0400 Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...> writes:
>vardi wrote: >> > "It's bad manners to talk about ropes in the house of a man whose >father >> > was hanged." - Irish proverb >> >> In Hebrew: >> lo mazkirim Hevel beveyto shel haniddon lemavvet =
This reminds me of something... I've always liked the construction used at the beginning of the Hebrew version, when the present (male) plural is used ambiguously, in such a way that it isn't clear whether it's a command "you don't mention...!", a description of _we_, "we don't mention...", plural _you_, "you don't mention...", or _they_, "they don't mention...". Since the same form, _mazkirim_, is used for (male/mixed) "we", "you (plural)", and "they", it makes the saying more general, from a simple description of a specific person or persons or an order to a "stam" statement of how things are and/or ought to be. A more common expression that uses it is _ein somkhin `al haneis_, "we/you/they do not rely on miracles" (lit. "the miracle"). Luckily, i've been able to recreate this very useful verb construction in Rokbeigalmki by using a subject-verb complex that begins without the subject-pronoun's vowel: amzoi'nyih-darazk = "we don't remind" emzoi'nyih-darazk = "you (pl) don't remind" uhmzoi'nyih-darazk = "they don't remind" and, by cutting off the initial vowel, we get: _mzoi'nyih-darazk_ = "ein mazkirim". -Stephen (Steg) "i emzii-deiyus ta'dzuwaurg-a tzme-a, i emzii-tezat khalu suddeiyusm" ___________________________________________________________________ You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail. Get completely free e-mail from Juno at or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866]