Author Topic: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"  (Read 1079 times)

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Offline Nawmaritie

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translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« on: February 04, 2010, 06:51:13 pm »
Kaltxì,


I've read "ke zene", the negation of "zene - must", several times by now and just translated it to the english "must not", which was okay until I wanted to use it myself (I'm from Germany)

The reason, why I'm asking, is, because the negations of "must" and its counterparts in other languages (e.g. the German "müssen") have different meanings. The only languages I speak are German and English, so that's what I'll refer to here:

         EnglishGerman
         I mustIch muss
         meaning               I have toI have toidentical
         NegationI must notIch muss nicht          
         meaning     I'm not allowed to          I don't have todifferent


Funnily enough, there is the exact opposite, if you translate the english "I have to/must" with the German "Ich habe zu" (not really used anymore actually):

         EnglishGerman
         I have toIch habe zu
         meaning               I have toI have toidentical
         NegationI don't have toIch habe nicht zu      
         meaning     I don't have to              I must notdifferent

So the english "must" shows the same behaviour as the german "habe zu" and vice versa.

So I think you see my dilemma. Depending on what translation one uses in english and german, "ke zene" might have totally different meanings.
It's no problem to translate "must" and "must not", because everyone knows the difference (at least I hope so).
But I guess most german-speaking learners of the Na'vi language are not first translating everything to english first.


I didn't find anything in the canon or the forum about this, but maybe someone knows ...

Does "zene" show the behaviour of the English "must" or the German "müssen"

EDIT:
I just realized that it's the same with the english "must" and "have to".
The normal meanings are the same, the negations are different.
So the question could also be whether "zene" shows the behaviour of "must" or "have to"


Kìyevame
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 07:04:40 pm by Nawmaritie »
ke'u tsatìfkeyuyä hapxìmungwrr
a frakrr tìkawngit neiew mivunge
slä tìsìltsanit ngop nì'aw frakrr

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Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 07:08:50 pm »
That's a very good question...  And without a corpus example I couldn't say for sure.

Considering Frommer is only really fluent in English, I'd imagine it would be like the English "must".  But he isn't oblivious to other languages like some uneducated American either.

This also might play into the double negative thing of Na'vi...

*Oe ke zene tsive'a pot
I not-must see him - I don't have to see him, but I can if I want to?
*Oe ke zene ke tsive'a pot
I not-must not-see him - I am forbidding myself from seeing him?

There are actually several ways to say the positive in English.
I must see him
I have to see him
I need to see him

The second two would be synonyms, in that the negation doesn't preclude the option.  The middle we don't have a way to say in Na'vi (I don't think "lu oeru fwa tive'a pot" would work) but we have a word for must (zene) and a word for need (kin).

I guess it's something to add to the list of what we don't know.
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Offline hufwesiyu

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Re: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 05:16:00 am »
It seems to me the key is the point of negation....

We can consider "must" as an imperative state. "I must eat (or I will die)" -> "It is imperative that I eat (or I will die)". The negation can then either work on the imperative-ness of the situation or indeed on the action itself : "It is not imperative that I eat (because I have a lot of fat reserves and will last a few more days)" vs "It is imperative that I do not eat (because I have already eaten too much and if I eat any more I will rupture my stomach and die)".

I would consider the German version more logical since it is negating the imperative-ness of the situation rather than the action itself. Furthermore, I see no good reason why we cannot explicitly negate the action itself thus :

Oe zene ke tsive'a pot

I must (not see) him -> "It is imperative that I do not see him (because if he sees me he will kill me)".

This would leave no ambiguity as to what is being negated - with ke zene we would be negating imperativeness and with zene ke <verb> we would be stating it is imperative that the verb does not happen.

Of course the Na'vi might disagree with that logic and may have already settled on a de-facto interpretation (as is the case in English and German, but they just happen to be different). Over to karyu Pawl... :)
 
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Offline roger

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Re: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 05:46:40 am »
Leaving aside whether zene indicates social or physical necessity, I rather doubt that the placement of ke would distinguish these meanings. That reminds me of the Victorian logical 'not' that we use in standard English, but which isn't used in Na'vi. If it is not distinguishable through word order, presumably there's a default reading (whether like English or German I don't know), with the other conveyable through periphrasis.

So, if oe ke zene kivä means "I mustn't go", then s.t. like oe zene kivä a furi, ke lu might mean "I don't have to go", and if oe ke zene kivä means "I don't have to go", then s.t. like ke kä a furi, oe zene sivi might mean "I mustn't go". (Just guessing here.)

Offline Erimeyz

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Re: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 06:21:29 am »
We've seen that Na'vi uses double negatives, which shows that Na'vi doesn't necessarily follow "logic" when it comes to parsing negatives.

Flexible word order is a high priority in Na'vi.  There are some constraints, but not many.  In particular, everywhere we've seen a two-item construction it's been possible to swap the order of those two items without changing the meaning.  So "ke zene" and "zene ke" probably have to mean the same thing.

Here's a possibility: maybe "ke zene kivä" means both "I must not go" and "I don't have to go".  It's possible that Na'vi speakers tolerate ambiguity in such cases and depend on context to make it clear.  It's even possible that in the simple construction they don't distinguish between the two meanings, and use more complicated sentences when they want to express one or the other concept exclusively.

Whatever the correct rules are, they probably also apply to "can" and "want", which have similar issues with respect to negation.

  - Eri

Offline hufwesiyu

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Re: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 07:58:37 pm »
Free word order is indeed a good point and one which I must have subconsciously dismissed before even considering it, d'oh!

Retracing my thought process and trying to figure out why it happened led me to the conclusion that for some reason I "knew" that ke is not free and must precede the verb being negated; the only "problem" with that is I can't prove that's correct, LOL. The closest clue I can find that comes even remotely close to explaining why I thought ke was not free is in its adjective form.

Theoretically both kea and ake "should" be valid, but only kea appears to exist (admittedly my search was not exhaustive). Furthermore, kea is clearly commented as needing to precede a noun (fair enough, that is axiomatic).

I guess I'de simply taken the lack of ake's existence as an indication that it's not valid; if that is true then the only way to negate a noun is by preceding it, and hey presto free word order is gone, well at least for nouns, and I think I must have just associated this with negation as a whole.

The flaws in that logic are that there is no proof that ake cannot exist (just because it isn't listed doesn't mean it cannot be, and if it was then it would stand to reason it would be clearly commented as needing to follow the noun) and that attributing fixed word order to negation as a whole is perhaps unjustified.

Ultimately, though, only Paul can decide what is correct :)

Eywa ngahu.


Offline Keylstxatsmen

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Re: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 11:19:54 pm »
I rather doubt that the placement of ke would distinguish these meanings.
It seems to me as well that it can go on either side and means the same thing:

Poltxe oe, san zene ke uniltìranyu ke'u ziva'u fìtseng.

This ke is with zene, because uniltìranyu is the subject of the verb zene, it seems to me.  You can see also, the subject of the sub. verb is negative, but not the verb itself.  That seems like a pretty safe bet to me, with no subject implicately stated there would be no need for more negation.

Quote
s.t. like ke kä a furi, oe zene sivi might mean "I mustn't go". (Just guessing here.)

"Si" can't be used without a noun, srak? Also, what is *furi? ??? fì'u + ìri? Is that something we have been given?



How about this (for now):

I must not go:
Oe ke zene kivä. or Oe zene ke kivä

I do not have to go: (am not required)
Ke lu oeru kea tìkin a kä or Ke lu kea tìkin a oe kä or less likely Oe ke kin kivä

-Keyl

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Txo nga new leskxawnga tawtutehu nìNa'vi pivängkxo, oeru 'upxaret fpe' ulte ngaru srungit tayìng oel.  Faylì'ut alor nume 'awsiteng ko!

Offline Lance R. Casey

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Re: translation/meaning of the negation of "zene - must"
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2010, 06:17:01 am »
Also, what is *furi? ??? fì'u + ìri? Is that something we have been given?
Almost -- we have furia, the reverse of which is a fì'uri. (penultimate Jan 20 entry)

// Lance R. Casey

 

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