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"The Swallow Song" in Phaleran

From:Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Monday, August 27, 2001, 13:13
A couple weeks ago, as I'm sure some of you will remember, I posted
a Greek lyric poem, "The Swallow Song".  I didn't post a Phaleran translation
of that poem then because I knew that Phaleran was about to undergo some
fairly major changes, and so I thought it fit to wait until I'd worked on the
grammar some more.  Here's the product, FWIW:

The Swallow Song                                Ailta tšerfamuo

The swallow is coming, is coming            Iffarissi, iffarissi ailta,
bringing hours of beauty, years of beauty þeigwanni teianâs khanâssa dmatagwassi
on her white belly,                                   phorgwanti tšasawo hnî
on her black back.                                  mnagwanti t'eixûo hnî.

Bring on the fruitcake,                             Isfaneio tyei oišateoštaxoru ga,
from your fatted house,                           k'olugwanti hlantrâþþa kh'ai,
and a cup of wine,                                  lumaçekû ñâ šr|enolsa,
and a basket of cheese.                          tþadissâku ñâ zagoilsa.

And the swallow does not disdain           Ai freli suparnalsa
wheat-bread or                                       ailtallu saihasyotentha
pulse-porridge, either.

Should we go, or get something?              Hrontariltâ, sim thî liskasyolta ne?
If you give us something, [good],              Fû thî hwaitwo sekituntšaxoru, eo mesu;
but if you don't, then we won't let you be: ene fuma, sore nasetutelþes tyas kh'orwanâþþa:
we'll carry away the door and the lintel,    ksantumne pyug|alsa dmatasyolþa
or your wife sitting inside --                      sim makas aðneigwassi hwirra --
she's small; we'll carry her easily.              eskarinti, sore eoi dmatasyolþa sañka.
But if you give us something,                     Ene fû thî sekituntšaxoru,
let it be something big,                              auknagwanta thî sekituntša ga!
Open, open the door for the swallow,       Senþnuntša, senþnuntša tyei ga
for we are not old men, but children.         ksantumne ailtâs, pelna xâfen tharictas
                                                                ene syasei.

(ABS: absolutive case;  DAT:  dative case;  INTR:  intransitive marker;  1~2~3: first, second
or third person;  Prog:  progressive aspect;  Pros: prospective "aspect" (really a tense
marker, but is grammaticalized in same place as aspect);  Pf: perfect aspect;  Re:  realis
mode;  Ir:  irrealis mode; S: sensory evidentiality;  C:  cognitive evidentiality;  REL:
relativizing suffix;   INST:  instrumental case; PL:  noun pluralizer;  PlEx:  exclusive plural
verb subject)

Ailta                tšerfamuo
swallow-ABS ode.DAT

Iffarissi,                              iffarissi ailta
come.INTR.3SgProgRe.S             swallow-ABS
þeigwanni                             teianâs             khanâssa [1]         dmatagwassi
be.beautiful.REL.3SgPfRe.S times.PL.BEN year.PL.BEN-and bear.REL.3SgProgRe.S
phorgwanti                       tšasawo     hnî
be-white.REL.3SgPfRe.S belly.DAT  on
mnagwanti                        t'eixûo        hnî.[2]
be-black.REL.3SgPfRe.S back.DAT on

Isfaneio             tyei       oišasyoštaxoru                   ga,  [3] [4]
fruit-cake.ABS 2SgAbs bring-out.2SgProgIr.5>2  IMP
k'olugwanti                           hlantrâþþa        kh'ai,
be-fattened.REL.3SgPfRe.S house-hold.AB out-of
lumaçento   ñâ    šr|enolsa, [5]
wine.INST with  cup-ABS.and
tþadissânto    ñâ    zagoilsa.
cheese.INST with basket-ABS.and

Ai    freli                      suparnalsa
And wheatbread-ABS pulsebread-ABS.and
ailtallu             saihasyotentha. [6]
swallow.ERG  avoid.TR.Neg.3SgPfIr

Hrontariltâ, sim thî liskasyolta ne?
leave.INTR.1PlExProsIr.Ques or   3SgObjIndef take.TR.1PlExProsIr Ques
Fû thî                  hwaitwo     sekituntšaxoru,               eo  mesu;
If   3SgObjIndef 1PlExDAT  give.DITR.2SgPfIr.5>2 3Sg good
ene fuma, sore nasetuteltas                                tyas     kh'orwanâþþa:
but  if-not then let-be.DITR.Neg.1PlExProsIr.C 2SObj trouble.PL.AB
ksantumne pyug|alsa          dmatasyolþa,
door-ABS lintel-ABS.and  bear.TR.1PlExProsRe
sim makas aðneigwassi                 hwirra --
or   inside  sit.REL.3SgProgRe.S  wife-ABS
eskarinti,                            sore eoi          dmatasyolþa                sañka.[8]
be-small.INTR.3SgPfRe.S then  3SgObj  bear.TR.1PlExProsRe easy
Ene fû thî                  sekituntšaxoru,
but  if  3SgObjIndef  give.DITR.2SgPfIr.5>2
auknagwanta              thî                 sekituntša               ga!
be-big.REL.3SgPfRe 3SgObjIndef give.DITR.2SgPfIr  IMP
Senþnuntša,               senþnuntša tyei         ga
open.CAUS.2SgPfIr                   2SgAbs  IMP
ksantumne ailtâs,              pelna     xâfen                    tharicfas    [9] [10]
door-ABS swallow.BEN because PL.old-man-ABS be.INTR.Neg1PlExProgRe.C
eima  syasei.
rather PL.child-ABS

[1] The conjunctive clitic "-lsa" is used only between two or more NPs, never
on the clausal level.  In some cases, it surfaces as its allomorph -sa where an
otherwise unaccetable consonant cluster:  khanâs-lsa > khanâssa
[2] One of the allomorphs of the dative case is -ûo, where a final -u is lost
leaving its length to the following -u.
[3] In imperatives, the subject of the imperative verb takes the absolutive
case whatever the transitivity of the verb.
[4] Phaleran imperatives are highly caste-sensitive. There are separate morphological
endings for giving commands to someone of the same caste, someone either one or
two castes below you in rank, and yet another for someone 3 or more castes below
you.  In this instance, however, I am interpreting the command as being giving by
someone from a lower to a higher caste*, and for this, there is no distinct formal
morphological imperative verb form.  Instead, one takes the verb form in irrealis
mode, plus a politeness marker (here, from the fifth-ranking caste  to the second-ranking
caste), and then in addition use the imperative particle _ga_.  I'll give more details in a
later post.  *(Indeed, a Phaleran would likely interpret the song itself as an allegory
between the native Phaleran nobility [class 2] and the urban proletariat [class 5]
representing the social tension of patron-client relationships.)
[5] One use of the uses of the instrumental that I did not use at the time of my post
on the subject is the comitative instrumental, as we see here.  It is often used
with the postposition _ñâ_ [Na:], but this is not necessary.  Use of the bare instrumental
in this sense is quite frequent in poetry.
[6] Negative constructions grammatically *require* the irrealis mode, even though
this is actually redundant, since there is an overt negative marker in addition to the
person-aspect-mode marker.
[7] Questions also require the irrealis mode.  There are two types of overt question
markers:  a bound /-a/, which only surfaces when no evidentiality marker is used
(and hence merges with a final -a required by the phonology to make an acceptable
syllable), and a free _ne_, which is a sentence final particle.  Both are used in this
[8] _sañka_ here is grammatically a particle, as are all adverbs.  There is no overt
adverb marker.
[9] _xâfen_ is an irregular reduplicated plural.  The singular is _xafen_, and the plural
results from the following shifts:  *xaxafen > xahafen > *xaØafen > xâfen (_xahafen_
is attested in some dialects and in earlier forms of the language).
[10] The distinct negative suffix has merged with the person-aspect-mode
suffix for the verb _thari_, "be".  Most dialects do not allow a syllable final <c> /t_s/,
and so many either epenthesize an [a], or shift it to /s/, which is allowed syllable-finally.

Thomas Wier | AIM: trwier

"Aspidi men Saiôn tis agalletai, hên para thamnôi
  entos amômêton kallipon ouk ethelôn;
autos d' exephugon thanatou telos: aspis ekeinê
  erretô; exautês ktêsomai ou kakiô" - Arkhilokhos


Thomas R. Wier <artabanos@...>