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Nuances in my conlang (delurking)

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 30, 2001, 15:57
OK, I'm de-lurking for a bit here, so I thought I'd present to the conlang
members a little tidbit from my conlang. This particular tidbit
demonstrates some of the nuances my conlang has.

Here's how the Ebisedi (the speakers of my conlang) might translate the
following English sentence:

        The woman sees the man and goes outside to meet him.

        pii'z3d0 fww't3 biz3tau' keve luy's kul3    loo'ru  zotww' co'mu.
        man      seen   woman    and  go    she     outside look   him
        ORG      PERF-  RCP      CONJ PERF- RCP-CVY RCP     PERF   RCP
                 INCID                DELIB

[IPA (Kirsch) pronunciation of the translation:
        pi:'z@dA Fu":'t@ biz@ta.u'  k&V& lu.y's kul@ lo:'ru  zotu":' co'mu

(Note: apostrophe ' here indicates high pitch.)

a) For those of you who aren't familiar with my conlang, the verb _fa't3_,
"to see" is rather idiomatic: the seer is placed in the receptive case
(RCP), and the thing/person seen is placed in the originative case (ORG).
(Instead of the other way round, as one might expect.) _fww't3_ is the
perfective incidental of _fa't3_. Therefore, the first three words mean
"the woman sees the man" or "the man is seen by the woman".

The perfective form of verbs are always used by default; the Ebisedi
always anticipate that an action/event would be completed, even if they
are speaking of the future. This is true even if the action is currently
going on: although there is a progressive aspect in verbs, that aspect is
not used unless the speaker thinks/knows that the verb will be
interrupted, or will be incomplete. (So a progressive verb might be
understood as "while doing <verb>, <something else> happens".)

b) The conjunction "keve" is usually translated as "and", although it
actually means "and then", "subsequently", or "... on the one hand, and on
the other hand: ...".

c) _kul3_ is in fact not a pronoun, but a particle-like word with dual
inflection, that refers to something in the previous clause. In this case,
its first inflection is receptive (RCP), and therefore refers to the
woman, the receptive noun in the previous clause. Its second inflection is
conveyant (CVY), and is its function in the current clause.

d) _loo'ru_ is the receptive form of _loo'ri_, which fundamentally means
"the countryside" or the "open land". Depending on context, it could mean
"countryside", "country (as in, the land of a nation)", or, as is the case
here, simply "outside".

e) _luy's kul3 loo'ru_ therefore means "she (the woman) goes
outside". (She being in the conveyant case marking her as the moving
object in the action.) The verb _luy's_ is in the deliberative form: it
indicates purpose in the woman's going. The next phrase, _zotww' co'mu_,
explains this purpose: to meet the man.

We could also use the consequential form of the verb and write the last
part of the sentence thus:
        ... lay's       kul3 loo'ru zotww' co'mu.
The consequential verb would give a slightly different nuance: the woman
is caused to go outside because she saw the man. I.e., it is the
consequence of seeing him that she went outside. Here, the emphasis is on
the causal relationship between seeing him and going; whereas when we used
the deliberative verb, the emphasis was on the purpose of her going out,
that is, to meet him.

f) _zotww'_ means "to look at", or "to look in the direction of"; the
thing seen is placed in the receptive case (RCP). In this context, it
means "to meet" (idiomatic usage).

g) _co'mu_ is the masculine singular receptive of the intimate pronoun
_jumi'_, and refers to the man in the first part of the sentence. In this
case, the use of the intimate pronoun implies that the woman and the man
are intimate;  either a close friendship or they are spouses. If we were
to use the distant pronoun _jhidi'_ instead:
        ... lay's kul3 loo'ru zotww' chi'du.
(_chi'du_ is the masculine singular receptive of the distant pronoun
_jhidi'_) Then it would imply that the relationship between the woman and
man is superficial and formal.

h) the phrase _lay's kul3 loo'ru zotww' co'mu_ is actually grammatically
two separate clauses; the verb _zotww'_ is not grammatically related to
the verb _lay's_. In fact, we could just as well treat it as a separate
sentence and write:
        ... lay's kul3 loo'ru  keve k3l0'   zotww'   chi'du.
            go    she  outside and  she     looks-at him
            PERF  CVY  RCP     -    CVY-ORG PERF     RCP

The particle _k3l0'_ is usually dropped since it is clear that the woman
is the one doing the looking; and the conjunction _keve_ is not necessary
here, either. And so we arrive at the translation given at the beginning.
It is perhaps more accurate to understand the entire sentence as "the
woman sees the man, and goes outside, and meets him" rather than "the
woman sees the man and goes outside to see him". However, it still retains
the original English meaning.


Let's eat some disquits while we format the biskettes.