Learn Na'vi > Advanced Grammar

Passive in Na'vi

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Tìtstewan:

--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 13, 2014, 05:17:29 pm ---(Any further discussion about passive and modals should result in a split with all that stuff in its own thread to prevent further derailment of this thread about the "yawnyewla a" and/or "lam fwa" constructions)
--- End quote ---
I created this topic because it's interesting. :)


--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 13, 2014, 05:17:29 pm ---
--- Quote from: `Eylan Ayfalulukanä on June 13, 2014, 04:55:00 pm ---As far as passive voice goes, this is really subtle. TA's description makes quite a bit of sense. Now, just to catch myself doing in the future. I guess the most important thing here is there are two verbs, the second would be that there is only an object. The only other common construction that one regularly sees two verbs would be a modal construction, and those are usually 'giveaways' in that there is a limited set of modal verbs, and the <iv> infix in the controlled verb.

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Right. The easiest way to spot Passive in English is almost surely one of these:

Transitive verbs:

Object is verbed
Object is being verbed
Object was verbed
Object was being verbed

Intransitive verbs:

It is verbed
It is being verbed
It was verbed
It was being verbed

with any past-tense verb in place of verbed. And Object is any noun which could be a direct object of the verb. Notice how it's the object first and treated as if it's a subject. The point is to emphasize the action and object and remove the real subject who did the verb from the equation altogether.

Modals are most easily spotted whenever verbs like can, cannot, must, want, try, etc. are used and directly tied to a second verb.
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--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 13, 2014, 12:00:51 pm ---passive voice would be more like this calque example:

*tsa'u lolu rawnun (that thing was found)

The passive voce in English is the verb BE and then the past tense of whatever verb. This is done for the sake of leaving out the subject, but including any objects.
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Hmm, that example is like
    X was <adj.>   instead   X was <verbed>
But this sounds really germanic.

So, the germanic way transformed in Na'vi would be like - transitive verbs:
Active:

Ngal taron yerikit.
You hunt the hexapede.

Passive:

*Yerik t<??>aron <preposition> nga.
The hexapede is hunted by you.

Active:

Palulukanìl yamom ngat.
The thanator ate you.

Passive:

*Nga y<??>om <preposition> palulukan.
You were eaten by the thanator.


Intransitive verbs:
Active:

Oeyä 'eylan pamrel sami 'upxarer.
My friend wrote a message.

Passive

*'Upxare pamrel s<??>i <preposition> oeyä 'eylan.
A message was written by my friend.


As you see, passive in Na'vi is full of problems. Theoretically, we would need an infix for passive verb, a quasi <awn+tense> infix. And there is missing a preposition like by, but with the meaning of the cause.

Plumps:
See the mail from Feb 17, 2010


--- Quote from: Frommer ---Correct—I haven’t included a passive because I thought that any function it would serve was already satisfied by other mechanisms in the language.

For the equivalent of an agentless passive, you’re right—just use fko.

For passives with agents, the flexible word order of Na’vi should obviate the need for a passive, or so it would seem. There’s no semantic distinction between

    (1) Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
    (2) Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.

but the two are not equivalent in discourse, where focus is a consideration. In Na’vi, however, the equivalent of (3) is fully grammatical and not at all strange:

    (3) Hamlet Shakespeare wrote.

which should fulfill the functions of (2).

But maybe not entirely. Conjoining might cause a problem. “Hamlet was written by Shakespeare and is the most famous play in the world.” If that comes from “H was written by S” and “H is X,” could you drop the second occurrence of H in the Na’vi sentence? Probably not, since the two occurrences of H (assuming the first occurrence is in the form of (3) above) are in different cases. Maybe Na’vi just doesn’t allow that kind of conjoining. Doesn’t seem unreasonable. But I’ll think more about it.
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But the function of how Na’vi word order of (3) serves the English (2) is interesting.

That would mean that:

’upxarer ’eylan oeyä pamrel soli would take care of “a message was written by my friend”, and

yerikit ngal t(er)aron for “the hexaped is hunted by you” etc.

Tìtstewan:
So, if I understood this message of Pawl (which I completely forgot...) correctly,

’upxarer ’eylan oeyä pamrel soli
could mean:
My friend wrote a message.
OR
A message was written by my friend.

Yerikit ngal t(er)aron.
A) You hunt the hexapede.
B) The hexapede is hunted by you.

???

Tirea Aean:
Na'vi has no passive voice by design. The known solution to translating an English sentence that has passive voice is to use fko in Na'vi.

Fkol pole'un fì'ut. This is decided.

EDIT: Interesting. I didn't remember about that little bit about word order. But something tells me there that he was still considering that and never really said outright that it is definitely the case that word order where the object comes first would work as passive voice.

Kame Ayyo’koti:
Horen §7.1.5 mentions this, although he doesn't say where Frommer said it:

--- Quote ---Na’vi does not have a passive voice, but Frommer has suggested the word order OSV as one way to communicate the same effect (but see also fko, §6.3.3.2).
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