Author Topic: States, nouns, and the <us> infix  (Read 2035 times)

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Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« on: February 09, 2010, 04:27:03 pm »
Alright... I was talking on Skype today and someone wanted to translate a sentence into Na'vi.

The sentence was:

My mind burns with insanity.

At first, this seems simple:

Oeyä ronsem nekx keye'ungfa.

But it didn't take long before I realized that that sentence is very wrong.
That sentence would REALLY mean:

My mind burns (other things) using insanity (as it's tool for burning).

Obviously this doesn't work as intended, so the sentence required some revision.

We broke the sentence down like this:

My brain is in the state of burning with/because.of insanity.

Alright - so it became apparent that burning here is a state, used as neither fully noun nor fully adjective, but somehow both.
This brought me to the <us> infix, which (from what we know) can be used as Present Participle.

Then I was perplexed as to when using <us> would be proper, however.  English uses the Present Participle to represent imperfective aspect verbs, gerund nouns, and adjectives.

Part of Sp. ::   English         |       Na'vi
Verb        :: He is hunting.  |   Poan teraron.
Noun       :: Hunting is bad. |  Tìtaron kawng lu.   <---This I'm not sure on, might be <us>, since tìtaron = "a hunt"
Adjective :: A hunting man |   Tusaron tutean.  <---This is based on Taronyu's example, also not sure about this.

So - do we have a way of representing a verb as a state-noun that is used somewhat like an adjective?  I thought about lenekx, but that still doesn't quite convey the point correctly...

Anyway, the sentence we settled on looked something like:

Oeyä ronsem nusekx lu keye'ungfa.

Oel kin srungit!

Irayo.
Oeyä ayswizawri tswayon alìm ulte takuk nìngay.
My arrows fly far and strike true.

Offline Plumps

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 05:07:20 pm »
Alright... I was talking on Skype today and someone wanted to translate a sentence into Na'vi.

The sentence was:

My mind burns with insanity.

At first, this seems simple:

Oeyä ronsem nekx keye'ungfa.

But it didn't take long before I realized that that sentence is very wrong.
That sentence would REALLY mean:

My mind burns (other things) using insanity (as it's tool for burning).

[...]

Interesting question and I'm eager to see what others have to say about that ... but I would say that you understood "to burn" in its transitive and intransitive meaning. Your re-translation into English would require *oeyä ronsemìl nekx (ayla'ut) ... but I don't know if it's possible to use "burn" in that way...
IF this is possible then your Na'vi sentence is okay, I guess: "My mind burns [= intransitive] (because of) with madness."

Please correct me if I'm on the wrong trek here ;)

My 2c

Offline wm.annis

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 05:20:23 pm »
Ma Plumps83, I agree that a lot of this question revolves around transitivity more than state.  The ASG definition of nekx is burn, consume.  Given the consume part of the definition, and the compound krr·nekx take, consume time, I'm strongly inclined to see it as a transitive verb.  A good candidate for the intransitive sense, the fire burns hot, is the reflexive, txep n‹äp›ekx nìsom.

Ma Alìm Tsamsiyu, it does seem that ‹us› — whatever its full role in Na'vi will turn out to be — is primarily adjectival in nature, based on the small attested vocabulary that is derived with it.  So, "the hunting person" needs the attributive marker, I would think, tusarona tute or tute atusaron.

I personally have a hard time seeing this particular example as a question of state, and even so, many (most — I can't think of one) languages that have participles do not usually consider them especially related to state, but instead use other modifications to the verb or some new syntax to indicate the stative.
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Offline Plumps

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 05:28:29 pm »
Ma Plumps83, I agree that a lot of this question revolves around transitivity more than state.  The ASG definition of nekx is burn, consume.  Given the consume part of the definition, and the compound krr·nekx take, consume time, I'm strongly inclined to see it as a transitive verb.  A good candidate for the intransitive sense, the fire burns hot, is the reflexive, txep n‹äp›ekx nìsom.

Thanks for the confirmation :)

Are you sure the sentence the fire burns hot is intransitive? I'd say it's transitive with an adverb ... or do you take it as meaning: 'it burns so that it becomes hot' ?

Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 05:36:03 pm »
Hmm.  I thought about using the attributive marker but my reasoning for leaving it off was that it is not used with the le- prefix as far as I know, and I figured it may be the same way with this infix.

Yes, I made sure burn was the transitive version before I came to the conclusion of the meaning of the first sentence.

If it isn't a state, what is it?  Could you, perhaps, say "My burning-with-insanity brain" ? Doesn't seem to carry the same meaning as the English version, but maybe it would work... then expanding that out into "My brain which is burning with insanity" you could still use the participle construction with "burning" still being an adjective.

Could you offer your suggestion of the translation, ma william? ;)
Oeyä ayswizawri tswayon alìm ulte takuk nìngay.
My arrows fly far and strike true.

Offline wm.annis

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 05:36:51 pm »
Are you sure the sentence the fire burns hot is intransitive?

Yes.

:)

We can say this of things that are burning, can we not?  "The candle burns brightly," etc.  It just means the fire is going, and there is nothing in particular that is getting burnt, as opposed to a phrase like, "the candle burned my hand" in which case it is transitive — something quite specific is the patient of the verb action.
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A Na'vi Reference Grammar

Offline wm.annis

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2010, 05:46:06 pm »
Hmm.  I thought about using the attributive marker but my reasoning for leaving it off was that it is not used with the le- prefix as far as I know, and I figured it may be the same way with this infix.

Ahh, but it is used with le- adjectives — when the noun follows the adjective (Canon, Dec 27).  So, txon lefpom but lefpoma txon.

Quote
If it isn't a state, what is it?  Could you, perhaps, say "My burning-with-insanity brain" ? Doesn't seem to carry the same meaning as the English version, but maybe it would work... then expanding that out into "My brain which is burning with insanity" you could still use the participle construction with "burning" still being an adjective.

My discomfort with your solution is that you have then reproduced the English progressive idiom (be + participle).  Unfortunately, English doesn't have a nice, succinct way to distinguish state.  If Na'vi does, I don't think we've seen it yet and I'm reluctant to guess.

Quote
Could you offer your suggestion of the translation, ma william? ;)

I'm afraid I'm going to punt.  Among other things, we don't know that the Na'vi use fire idioms to indicate sickness and disease. :)
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A Na'vi Reference Grammar

Offline Lance R. Casey

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2010, 05:47:17 pm »
Here's a simple one: :)

Oeyä ronsem nekx nìkeye'ung

// Lance R. Casey

Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2010, 06:12:06 pm »
Here's a simple one: :)

Oeyä ronsem nekx nìkeye'ung

....*facepalm*

Did you actually read all the posts leading up to this one? :-\

Hmm.  I thought about using the attributive marker but my reasoning for leaving it off was that it is not used with the le- prefix as far as I know, and I figured it may be the same way with this infix.

Ahh, but it is used with le- adjectives — when the noun follows the adjective (Canon, Dec 27).  So, txon lefpom but lefpoma txon.

Ahh - I didn't know that.  Irayo.

And yeah, I'm not sure what to do with this sentence either then... if that awkward construction I offered doesn't fit the bill.
Oeyä ayswizawri tswayon alìm ulte takuk nìngay.
My arrows fly far and strike true.

Offline Lance R. Casey

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 05:57:47 am »
Did you actually read all the posts leading up to this one? :-\

Haha, yes, I did. ;)

The above was a quick-and-dirty cheat, obviously, and should be taken as nothing but one. Move along, folks.

// Lance R. Casey

Offline Ataeghane

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2010, 07:56:03 am »
Is it incorrect to say:
Oeyä ronsem näpekx keye'ungfa. ???
Correct me please, if I'm wrong.

Oer wivìntxu ngal oey keyeyt krr a tse'a sat. Frakrr.

Offline wm.annis

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2010, 08:23:35 am »
Is it incorrect to say:
Oeyä ronsem näpekx keye'ungfa.

It is grammatical.  I'm not sure it would communicate the intended message to a Na'vi, though.
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A Na'vi Reference Grammar

Offline Ataeghane

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2010, 08:31:43 am »
I think it would. If we mean "by means of insanity" :P.

Oer wivìntxu ngal oey keyeyt krr a tse'a sat. Frakrr.

Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2010, 10:33:55 am »
I think it would. If we mean "by means of insanity" :P.

That still doesn't quite convey the message, that one says "My mind burns itself by.means.of insanity."

While it may be the closest we can get for now, it seems different from the intended meaning by making it seem like something done on purpose.  "My mind burns with insanity" seems to be something uncontrollable.  It pretty much boils down to the whole transitive/intransitive thing again, since it's a transitive verb it seems like your mind is purposefully burning itself using insanity as it's tool for burning.

I still think it sounds like a state, but an intransitive verb "to burn" is really what we need.

I just had an interesting thought though... perhaps we could say "Insanity burns/consumes my mind."  While it doesn't come out to the same English wording, the meaning is the same.  Take that, passive voice!

Keye'ungìl oeyä ronsemit nekx.
Oeyä ayswizawri tswayon alìm ulte takuk nìngay.
My arrows fly far and strike true.

Offline Ataeghane

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2010, 10:46:41 am »
Keye'ungìl oeyä ronsemit nekx.
Tewti! THAT'S great idea. I like it ;D.

Oer wivìntxu ngal oey keyeyt krr a tse'a sat. Frakrr.

Offline Erimeyz

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2010, 12:28:25 pm »
As wm.annis points out, nekx is "burn, consume", as in "fire burns trees" rather than "trees burn".

So how do you say "trees burn" in Na'vi?  Assuming that we don't end up with a separate word for it (as in "spears kill you" / "you die"), I think it's appropriate to use an implied subject: Ayutralit nekx, (Something) burns trees.

So while Keye'ungìl oeyä ronsemit nekx Insanity consumes my mind is good, I think even better would be Nìkeye'ung oeyä ronsemit nekx (Something) consumes my mind insanely or Keye'ungfa oeyä ronsemit nekx (Something) consumes my mind with insanity.

  - Eri


(Edit - forgot to make trees plural...)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 12:48:25 pm by Erimeyz »

Offline Ataeghane

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2010, 12:47:08 pm »
Im not sure, if Accusative is allowed, when we don't use Ergative.

I think "Trees burn" would be: Ayutral näpekx.

Oer wivìntxu ngal oey keyeyt krr a tse'a sat. Frakrr.

Offline Erimeyz

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2010, 01:01:19 pm »
Im not sure, if Accusative is allowed, when we don't use Ergative.

I think we have attested examples of both implied subjects and implied objects, although I'll admit I'm not positive.  If I'm right, then you can have an accusative without an ergative, and you can have an ergative without an accusative.  The presence of either one in the sentence implies the existence of the other, even if it's not explicitly stated.

I think "Trees burn" would be: Ayutral näpekx.

I don't think that Ayutral näpekx could be correct, because the trees aren't consuming themselves.  It could be an idiomatic usage, but we don't know that, and it doesn't sound right to me.

  - Eri

Offline Ataeghane

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2010, 01:20:50 pm »
Quote
I don't think that Ayutral näpekx could be correct, because the trees aren't consuming themselves.  It could be an idiomatic usage, but we don't know that, and it doesn't sound right to me.
Hm... You know, I'm not sure if we can't say that they're consuming themselves. OK, maybe it's a little bit idiomatic, but I think this usage is not very incorrect. Or maybe... I think we can't be sure... So every usage is correct as for now.

Oer wivìntxu ngal oey keyeyt krr a tse'a sat. Frakrr.

Offline wm.annis

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Re: States, nouns, and the <us> infix
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2010, 03:06:40 pm »
I don't think that Ayutral näpekx could be correct, because the trees aren't consuming themselves.

The issue is here is what Frommer means by "reflexive."  If by that term he means anything like what that word implies in Romance languages, ayutral näpekx is probably just dandy.
'Awa lì'fya ke tam kawkrr.
A Na'vi Reference Grammar

 

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