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For Sally: Ursula LeGuin's conlang Kesh

From:Amanda Babcock <langs@...>
Date:Monday, April 14, 2003, 18:31
...and anybody else who is interested when this came up a few months ago.

I unearthed that letter from Ursula LeGuin.  Apparently what I'd asked about
was the lack of a complete set of verb agreement suffixes (suffixed pronouns)
in the attested examples.

In response, she wrote:

--- begin typed-in paper letter excerpt ---

        I can't send you the Complete Grammar (there isn't one!) but -
yes - the person of the verb is/can be indicated by a suffixed subject
pronoun - take the word _dad_ as verb _to go_: in the continuative-present
tense (prefix ge-) -

        Singular                        Plural

1. gedadr*, I am going                  1. gedadsur, we [=you + I] are going
2. gedadres, you-singular [thou]           gedadrin, we [they + I] are going
   [belonging to my House] art going    2. gedadreres, you [of my House] are
   gedades*, " [not belonging to my        going
   House]                                  gedadres, you [not of my House]
3. gedad, sexless or unspecified           are going
   subject - it is going                3. Same as singular -
   gedadin, it, he or she, is going        gedad, they are going
   gedada, he is going                     gedadin, they +O and/or O-> ...
   gedadó, she is going                    gedada, they O-> ...
                                           gedadó, they +O ...

* you asked about these

--- end typed-in paper letter excerpt ---

"House" is a type of clan system among the Kesh.  There are five Houses
that the Kesh are born into, and four non-human ones for the various

Did anybody find out if the Music and Poetry of the Kesh tapes are still
available?  The offer to provide copies if they aren't still stands.



Sally Caves <scaves@...>