Author Topic: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi  (Read 5486 times)

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Offline Na'rìghawnu

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #60 on: January 23, 2010, 01:21:34 pm »

Yes, doolio, you can use the Latin construct of the "dativus possessivus" (how it is called in Latin grammar) with anything you want.

Mihi     est   gladius.
1-DAT  COP  sword
"I have a sword."

No problem.
(I'm earning my money teaching Latin. So you can trust me at least in this point.  ;)
But if you don't like to, I can of course give you many, many examples of this - very common - construct taken right from the ancient texts.)

Offline Doolio

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #61 on: January 23, 2010, 01:32:47 pm »
lol i mistranslated the 'book':)
i am sorry:)


okay, serbian examples:

nominative of first person singular is "ja", so "ja" means "i" = oe
dative of first person singular is "meni", so "meni" means "me; to me" = oeru
verb "be" in third person singular is "je"

meni je muka - lit. to me is illness - i am ill; i feel bad;

but:

meni je automobil - lit. to me is car - it's nonsensical, it sounds the same as in english. you would have to say "ja imam automobil" (lit. i have car = i have a car) or "ja posedujem automobil" (i possess a car).

you can use "oeru lu" as a part of larger construct to indicate some kind of relation or feeling about something (it's a similar construct as in english for some things, the word order doesn't matter in serbian, but the litteral translation is pretty close to the 'idiomic' translation):

meni je on brat - lit. to me is he brother - to me, he is brother - he is my brother. this is not litteral possession though, as it indicates my relation to him, not that i litterally have him. also, i could say (and it is more natural) "on je moj brat" - lit. he is my brother.
meni je avatar dobar film - lit. to me is avatar good movie - to me, avatar is a good movie.


« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 01:36:41 pm by Doolio »
...taj rad...

Offline Na'rìghawnu

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #62 on: January 23, 2010, 01:51:25 pm »

But what about the noun "news"?

Can you say "Meni je (news)" in Serbian?

In Na'vi this is possible.

Offline suomichris

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #63 on: January 23, 2010, 01:58:33 pm »
lol i mistranslated the 'book':)
i am sorry:)
No worries... I always get confused between "liber" and "liiber"

Quote
okay, serbian examples:

nominative of first person singular is "ja", so "ja" means "i" = oe
dative of first person singular is "meni", so "meni" means "me; to me" = oeru
verb "be" in third person singular is "je"

meni je muka - lit. to me is illness - i am ill; i feel bad;

but:

meni je automobil - lit. to me is car - it's nonsensical, it sounds the same as in english. you would have to say "ja imam automobil" (lit. i have car = i have a car) or "ja posedujem automobil" (i possess a car).

you can use "oeru lu" as a part of larger construct to indicate some kind of relation or feeling about something (it's a similar construct as in english for some things, the word order doesn't matter in serbian, but the litteral translation is pretty close to the 'idiomic' translation):

meni je on brat - lit. to me is he brother - to me, he is brother - he is my brother. this is not litteral possession though, as it indicates my relation to him, not that i litterally have him. also, i could say (and it is more natural) "on je moj brat" - lit. he is my brother.
meni je avatar dobar film - lit. to me is avatar good movie - to me, avatar is a good movie.
Aha!  Okay, this is what I thought might be happening.  So, based on your examples (and my meta-knowledge of linguistics), this is what it looks like is happening in Serbian:

When you have a dative, as in "I am sick," you do have an experiencer subject: itʼs not something you have any control over, it just happens.  We do this in English, some, too, in phrases like "An idea came to me," where it just happens; I didn't do anything.  This, then, doesn't work with "car," because it's a decision, most likely, and you've actively decided to own it.

Now, I will posit that the example with "brother" is actually like "sick": having a brother isn't something you choose, it is simply something that happened to you (for better or for worse :p).  The same with "To me, Avatar is a good movie" (which, one notes, translates into English with a "dative" as well): you didn't decide to like or dislike it, you just do; no control over it.

We should note, then, that it isn't the abstractness of the possessed that is important here, it is whether or not the possessor has control over the possession.

So, what does this tell us about Na'vi?  Well, in lots of places where we have the DAT-lu construction, we don't really have an experiencer: the noun might be abstract, but it is still actively possessed.  Consider again:

Sìlpey oe, layu oeru ye'rìn sìltsan a fmawn ...
"I hope, I will soon have good news ..."

Now, getting good news would perhaps have an experiencer subject, but having it and choosing to share it is a conscious choice.  Likewise with "I have some words for you;"  the words aren't things that just came to him and which he is saying without any control; he has crafted his words, and possesses them, and chooses to share them.  These two examples are perhaps a bit ambiguous, and could go either way.  But consider:

Ätxäle si tsnì livu oheru Uniltaron.
"I request that I have the Dream Hunt."

Now, my sense is that, if the DAT-lu construction were really marking an experiencer, this sentence wouldn't make any sense; you can't ask to experience something; it is just something that happens.  But, since he is specifically asking for something here, with DAT-lu, I think it is a true possessive along the lines of Latin, and not an experiencer subject.

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #64 on: January 23, 2010, 02:37:14 pm »
That....  actually made sense to me.

That then raises the question, are there examples of languages where the distinction actually IS physical vs abstract?
Ftxey lu nga tokx ftxey lu nga tirea? Lu oe tìkeftxo.
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Offline suomichris

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #65 on: January 23, 2010, 02:57:34 pm »
That....  actually made sense to me.
See?  Linguistics ain't so hard!  English speakers tend to find things like dative subjects REALLY weird, until it is pointed out to them that English actually does this, too, just with a more limited set of verbs/constructions.

Quote
That then raises the question, are there examples of languages where the distinction actually IS physical vs abstract?
I know of none, but that doesn't mean such a thing exists.  And, one could see how, since things that just "come to you" tend to be more abstract, this could get reinterpreted in the way that Taronyu posited at the beginning.  But, as far as I know, there is usually an actual idea of direction/volition, albeit abstract.

Offline Doolio

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #66 on: January 24, 2010, 12:13:49 am »
that makes sense to me too...although i don't know if you're right, but for now, your explanation seems logical...i'll try to ask some professors of serbian and russian about the concept of possessive dative usage in those languages, i know a couple of them, but we do not tend to socialize very often:)

another thing that might support your theory comes from serbian too:
for example, it is possible to make a construction like this:

meni je jakna na sofi - lit. to me is jacket on the sofa - to me, jacket is on the sofa. this, of course, means that my jacket is on the sofa.

also, i must point out that this construct on it's own (meni je jakna; to me is jacket) doesn't work (same as the example with the car). if we were to say "meni je automobil u garazi" (to me is car in the garage), it would work, but on it's own it makes no sense.

based on these examples, and on your interpretation, i would add that maybe it is the passiveness of the speaker that matters. i am not at the moment connected to the event in question, it just happens without my interference (the jacket is on the sofa and i am not actively participating in it being there). i could interfere if i want, i am not helpless, i may or may not be in control, but as the event is happening, i am but a passive announcer.
...taj rad...

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #67 on: January 24, 2010, 12:19:37 am »
That still seems to agree though, in an odd way.

If you're holding a jacket, it's physically possessed by you at that point.  Ownership is not necessarily yours.

But when you say "To me is jacket on the sofa" - you don't actually possess it...  But it is yours, and it is on the sofa.  So while you have the power to change that it is on the sofa, it is still describing a state of things being your jacket and on the sofa, just like "sick" is a state of things.
Ftxey lu nga tokx ftxey lu nga tirea? Lu oe tìkeftxo.
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Offline Doolio

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #68 on: January 24, 2010, 12:29:43 am »
well, yes, i said that the example is supporting his theory:)



« Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 12:35:34 am by Doolio »
...taj rad...

Offline Lance R. Casey

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #69 on: January 25, 2010, 03:44:23 pm »
A similar yet different construction exists in North Sámi, where the locative case is used for possessive clauses:

Mun oainnan máná
I-NOM see-1sg-PRES child-ACC
I see a child

Mun lean mánná
I-NOM be-1sg-PRES child-NOM
I am a child

Mus lea mánná
I-LOC be-3sg-PRES child-NOM
I have a child (lit. "At me is a child")

This is, I do believe, used both for physical objects and abstract concepts.

// Lance R. Casey

Offline suomichris

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #70 on: January 25, 2010, 06:31:05 pm »
A similar yet different construction exists in North Sámi, where the locative case is used for possessive clauses:

Mun oainnan máná
I-NOM see-1sg-PRES child-ACC
I see a child

Mun lean mánná
I-NOM be-1sg-PRES child-NOM
I am a child

Mus lea mánná
I-LOC be-3sg-PRES child-NOM
I have a child (lit. "At me is a child")

This is, I do believe, used both for physical objects and abstract concepts.
Yup, similar thing in Finnish.  And, it occurs to me that Finnish does KIND OF make an abstract/literal difference here, but it's not along the lines we were thinking.  Both constructions use a locative suffix, but they are different in a similar way to English "in" and "at", where "in" is a smaller, more confined area.  So, when you have the "in" type suffix in Finnish, it means, literally, "in me," which is used for things which are viewed as being innate parts of someones character (like "I am brave" or "I have sisu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisu).")  The "at" form is used for physical possession and more abstract/temporary states...

Offline Doolio

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #71 on: January 25, 2010, 09:27:14 pm »
in serbian, we have similar construct in terms of using "in" for possession. it is an archaic form, but nevertheless, correct.
the tricky part is that we do not use locative for that, probably because it's idiomic, as we use locative properly otherwise. and generally, serbian is a language that do not have many exceptions or rule bending, it is somewhat like math when it comes to grammar, phonetics etc.

instead we use genitive, which is pretty illogical as the "in" requires a locative. but, it is a construct in a couple slavic languages, as i can see here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genitive_case#The_genitive_case_in_Slavic_languages

on the page is, among others, this example from russian language:
Quote
Possessives can also be formed by the construction "У [subject] есть [object]":
Nominative: "Вот Сергей" ("Here is Sergei").
Genitive: "У Сергея есть карандаш" ("Sergei has a pencil").

"У" is the cyrillic "U" and it means "in". but "sergei" is in genitive, not locative.

in serbian is the same as the example above:

u mene je gitara
in i-GEN be-3sg-PRES guitar-NOM
lit. in me is guitar;

u njega su dve cerke
in he-GEN be-3pl-PRES two-NOM-FEM daughters-NOM
lit. in him are two daughters;

as we can see, very similar to mentioned constructions, but with the (pretty idiomic) usage of genitive. but "in" is here also.
...taj rad...

Offline Na'rìghawnu

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #72 on: January 26, 2010, 12:49:52 am »

I know, I shouldn't say something to that, because my Russian is very, very rusty. But as I remember, "У" in Russian doesn't mean "in" rather than "at" or "besides", while the local "in" (answering to the question "where?") is "в" (w) followed by the prepositive (6th case).

So "У Сергея есть карандаш" is not so much "In Sergei there is a pencil", but rather "At Sergei there is a pencil".

So I think, if you wanted to say "in Sergei" (there is e. g. a parasite) you wouldn't use "У Сергея", but rather "в Сергее", would you?



Offline Doolio

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #73 on: January 26, 2010, 07:23:35 am »
that very well might be, i was jumping to conclusions by inertia (since russian and serbian are somewhat similar, and in serbian "u" means "na"). okay, "u" in russian is "at".
well, the example might still work, as "at" is the preposition for location naturally. for example, we use "in" or "on" in cases where an english speaker would use "at", but we don't have the adequate translation for "at".
(ja sam na aerodromu - i am ON the airport - i am at the airport; ja sam u banci - i am IN the bank - i am at the bank). so, we use "in", "on" or maybe "besides" for "at".
so i think that those examples are still similar to each other (sami, serbian, russian, finnish).
okay, in serbian, it is the same as with russian, but we use "in" instead (but we use "in" as "at" as we don't have the word for "at") so it is basically same thing.

i'm sorry for confusion that i could cause, thanks for correction:)
my mother is a proffessor of russian language and literature, next time i might go ask her before i make assumptions:)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 07:28:50 am by Doolio »
...taj rad...

Offline Na'rìghawnu

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #74 on: January 26, 2010, 08:16:35 am »
;)
No need for that, ma doolio. As I said, I'm nearly completely out of practise with my Russian. But, yes, of course you are right, that the difference between "in" and "at" doesn't really make a difference to the grammatical phenomenon you were talking about.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 08:19:09 am by Na'rìghawnu »

Offline AuLekye'ung

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #75 on: February 09, 2010, 06:19:29 pm »
Kaltxi.

Um, I just read through all of this discussion, and now I'm wondering...

What was the actual conclusion of the lu + dative argument?

If it was already stated somewhere I missed it, and now I'm confused by the at vs. in discussion.
Txo *fìzìsìst*it oel ke lu, kxawm oel tutet lepamtseo lu.  Oe pxìm fpìl nìpamtseo, oel rey letrra ayunil oeyä nìpamtseo.

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Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #76 on: February 09, 2010, 06:47:10 pm »
Kaltxi.

Um, I just read through all of this discussion, and now I'm wondering...

What was the actual conclusion of the lu + dative argument?

If it was already stated somewhere I missed it, and now I'm confused by the at vs. in discussion.

http://forum.learnnavi.org/language-updates/auxilary-verb-si-possessive-dative-krr/

Offline AuLekye'ung

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Re: Lu and the Dative, and the Epistemology of Na'vi
« Reply #77 on: February 09, 2010, 07:03:32 pm »
Irayo, Eywa ngahu.
Txo *fìzìsìst*it oel ke lu, kxawm oel tutet lepamtseo lu.  Oe pxìm fpìl nìpamtseo, oel rey letrra ayunil oeyä nìpamtseo.

- Älpert Aynstayn

 

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