Author Topic: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}  (Read 1559 times)

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Offline wm.annis

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adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« on: October 30, 2010, 10:26:59 am »
Once we learned from Frommer that tok is a transitive verb meaning more inhabit, occupy a place, all sorts of new questions presented themselves.  In particular, what verb do we use if we want simply to express location with an adposition using a neutral verb.  How would we say, "they are under the Tree of Souls"?

In discussions here, and in email with Frommer, many many possibilities have been raised.  Frommer himself has not yet given a firm answer on this either.

1.  We could just use lu.  However, to many people this doesn't taste very Na'vi, especially in light of tok.  Frommer himself, though initially accepting of things like pa'li lu uo utral the direhorse is behind the tree, felt it was unnatural given tok (or at least he did back in April).

2.  We could just use tok.  This presents a few syntactic puzzles, however.  The verb is transitive, but to use it only with a preposition seems a bit off.  One dodge, which O.F. came up with, is to use a prop noun, tseng, as in pa'lil tok tsengit a uo utral the direhorse is (in the place) behind the tree.  I'm not really sure how often we say things such as "X is PREP Y" compared to using adpositions with more substantial verbs, so I'm not sure there's any problem with a slightly wordy way to say "X is PREP Y."

3. We could avoid the issue altogether.  This idea has been percolating in my head for the last few days.  In many, many languages, there is no copula, nothing that is quite like lu, or it is restricted so much it can only be used to equate nouns and pronouns ("he is a healer," etc.).  Instead of using a copula, such languages use postural verbs.  The most basic set of postural verbs is fairly common, and is the one English has:

  stand something longish is upright somewhere
  lie something longish is supine or horizontal somewhere
  sit something of unspecified shape is located somewhere

Some languages elaborate their postural verbs quite a lot.  Amusingly, one variation is sit which refers to a mass of non-solid material, like a pile of sand or rope — or people sprawled out carelessly.  :)

In any case, in such languages you use a postural verbs as auxiliaries for things such as state ("he lies sick, she stands annoying") and location ("it's sitting beside the tree").  We actually have a hint of this in Na'vi, from film dialog:

  eo ngenga kllkxem ohe I stand before you (Jake to Tsu'tey).

Unfortunately, we don't yet have a verb for to lie, but we do have kll·kxem for stand and heyn for sit.

I'll repeat that Frommer has yet to give a solution for this matter.  Perhaps some day I'll offer this to him as a possible approach.  But for now, I'm just posting it here as a dodge, a stylish way to avoid a grammatical quagmire at least some of the time.
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Offline Nyx

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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2010, 08:55:36 pm »
Personally I like solution 3. It gives a lot of room for variation. Swedish does it this way, but you can often just use a version of "to be" instead. I've seen people, whose native language only uses one verb for all those cases (so, things just "are" somewhere, they don't "sit" or "stand"), learning the way it's often done in Swedish and they complain about how silly that is. Some of them just had trouble wrapping their heads around why you'd even have to be that specific. I wonder what the final decision in Na'vi will be, and how alternative ways of putting things would be understood.

Anyway, thanks for bringing this up, I actually hadn't given it much thought till now.

Offline Muzer

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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2010, 09:54:13 am »
I dislike 1 a lot, but I'm perfectly happy with 2. I'm a bit cautious of 3, because we only have a hint of it, and from a (canonical) non-native at that.
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Offline 'Oma Tirea

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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2010, 11:14:03 pm »
I dislike 1 a lot, but I'm perfectly happy with 2. I'm a bit cautious of 3, because we only have a hint of it, and from a (canonical) non-native at that.

Mllte, kop:

I wonder what the final decision in Na'vi will be, and how alternative ways of putting things would be understood.

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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 01:48:27 am »
On #1 being unnatural, I went back and read his message again today, and it isn't clear if it is that form which he feels is unnatural, or the fact that other adpositions are treated differently than mì.  I get the impression that it is actually the latter, not the form itself.
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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 05:13:39 am »
On #1 being unnatural, I went back and read his message again today, and it isn't clear if it is that form which he feels is unnatural, or the fact that other adpositions are treated differently than mì.  I get the impression that it is actually the latter, not the form itself.
Umm... how are they treated differently? (I feel like I missed something big)

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 11:27:37 am »
Because mì gets different treatment from other adpositions if it's the case that you can't use mì with lu, but other adpositions you have to.

Ikran tsurokx uo utral. Ikran lu uo utral.
Ikran tsurokx mì utral. Ikranìl tok utralit.
Ftxey lu nga tokx ftxey lu nga tirea? Lu oe tìkeftxo.
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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2010, 11:45:30 am »
1. seems natural to me with tok being the accepted form of *"lu mì" & *"lu ro".
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2010, 04:46:36 pm »
I'm a bit cautious of 3, because we only have a hint of it, and from a (canonical) non-native at that.

What's wrong with 3 as a stylistic variant?  Remember, I'm not saying this the way to address this issue, just one way to sidestep it until Frommer finally lays down the law.
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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 03:12:27 pm »
Because mì gets different treatment from other adpositions if it's the case that you can't use mì with lu, but other adpositions you have to.

Ikran tsurokx uo utral. Ikran lu uo utral.
Ikran tsurokx mì utral. Ikranìl tok utralit.

I think this is clearer if we don't think of tok as be (at a place) but rather inhabit or something similar.  It's then very natural that tok takes a direct object.

The banshee rests in the tree (tsurokx mì utral).
The banshee rests under the tree (tsurokx uo utral).
The banshee inhabits the tree (tok utralit).
The banshee inhabits a place under the tree (tok tsengit a uo utral).
*The banshee inhabits in the tree.
*The banshee inhabits under the tree.



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Re: adpositions with verbs: more than just {tok} and {lu}
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2010, 06:25:20 pm »
1. seems natural to me with tok being the accepted form of *"lu mì" & *"lu ro".




Because mì gets different treatment from other adpositions if it's the case that you can't use mì with lu, but other adpositions you have to.

Ikran tsurokx uo utral. Ikran lu uo utral.
Ikran tsurokx mì utral. Ikranìl tok utralit.


I think this is clearer if we don't think of tok as be (at a place) but rather inhabit or something similar.  It's then very natural that tok takes a direct object.

The banshee rests in the tree (tsurokx mì utral).
The banshee rests under the tree (tsurokx uo utral).
The banshee inhabits the tree (tok utralit).
The banshee inhabits a place under the tree (tok tsengit a uo utral).
*The banshee inhabits in the tree.
*The banshee inhabits under the tree.




mllte.

tok is probably closer to inhabit or occupy. lu means be, it has the properties of an =, but that doesnt mean that lu is always a =.

I remember talking to Frommer face to face the first night of the workshop about the lu vs. tok ordeal. I believe annis, Prrton, maybe even Omängum fra'uti were there too. i asked how -ro+ was even used, he said, "ro helku sempul ke lu" and i said ahh so we CAN use ro with lu, and such. why didnt you use tok? as in kelkut sempulìl ke tok? turns out, there is more than one way to say stuff in Na'vi. [gasp.] doesnt really matter, he says. lu ro, lu mì, tok.

but I think there are times where one over the other seems more natural or appropriate.

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