Author Topic: info on duals and vocative  (Read 1193 times)

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Offline Will Txankamuse

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info on duals and vocative
« on: March 06, 2010, 12:48:01 pm »
Some info on use of the dual from Frommer:

Quote from: Frommer
The dual forms are expected with things that naturally come in pairs. So if you’re talking about your eyes, ears, feet, or hands, you should use those forms. “My eyes” is therefore “oeyä menari,” not “oeyä aynari.” (I know a little Hebrew, and I think that’s the case in Modern Hebrew as well.) But what if you wanted to say, “Many eyes were staring at him”? There I’d use the regular plural; “many two eyes” doesn’t make sense. (But I should ask my Israeli friends what happens in that case in Hebrew.)

I agree that to say “I have two cars,” the dual shouldn’t be enforced.

Quote from: me
Q: How many children do you have? (not using dual, because I don't know the answer)

A: I have two.

Q: How old are they? (now are you using the dual for 'they', or can you use the plural?)

Quote from: Frommer
As to pronouns, your hypothetical conversation is right on the beam: Once you’ve established that there are two kids, you should use the dual form.

A useful guideline is this: If it’s natural to say “both” in English, then it’s likely you should use the dual in Na’vi. In the case of your conversation, the last speaker could have said, “How old are they both?” So s/he would probably use “mefo” for “they.”

I myself have trouble remembering to use the dual form when two people are involved, especially in the first person. One thing I’ve found that helps is that if I can substitute “we two” or “the two of us” or “you and I” for “we,” then I know I should use the dual form. Same for the second person forms (“you two”) and third person forms (“those two”).

And, some info on use of vocative from an older email

Quote from: Frommer
As for the inconsistency in using the vocative . . . well, let's just say that consultants like me don't have "creative control," and sometimes a bit of back-fitting is necessary. With the vocative, I've modified the rule so that it's obligatory when you're talking to people (including Eywa!) but optional when talking to animals. I think you get the point. ;-)

Will
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Offline Plumps

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 01:12:10 pm »
Some info on use of the dual from Frommer:

Quote from: Frommer
The dual forms are expected with things that naturally come in pairs. So if you’re talking about your eyes, ears, feet, or hands, you should use those forms. “My eyes” is therefore “oeyä menari,” not “oeyä aynari.” (I know a little Hebrew, and I think that’s the case in Modern Hebrew as well.) But what if you wanted to say, “Many eyes were staring at him”? There I’d use the regular plural; “many two eyes” doesn’t make sense. (But I should ask my Israeli friends what happens in that case in Hebrew.)

I agree that to say “I have two cars,” the dual shouldn’t be enforced.

Thanks for sharing. :)
Just to see whether I get that right - the dual (and probably trial as well) is optional with things that doesn't come in pairs naturally (or do I misunderstand "shouldn't be enforced"?). That would mean that you could say either
lu oeru mehunsìp
or
lu oeru munea kunsìp or ... munea ayhunsìp ???

Offline Will Txankamuse

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 03:46:04 pm »
I read 'shouldn’t be enforced' meaning that it's valid to use either the dual (me-) or the normal plural (ay-) when pluralising things that don't come naturally in pairs (e.g. the 'two cars' example he gave, you could use either).

When using a numeral as an adjective attached to a noun it would appear that the noun doesn't take the plural e.g when Norm is talking to Grace he doesn't pluralise 'year' but seems to just attach five as an adjective (and also see 'awa tìpawmìri here).

so in your example

lu oeru hunsìp (I have gunships, using plural, dropping the ay-)
lu oeru mehunsìp (I have gunships, using the dual)
lu oeru ayhunsìp (I have gunships, using plural)
lu oeru munea kunsìp (I have two gunships)

would all be fine (in my view).

Will
Txo ayngal tse'a keyeyit, oeyä txoa livu.  I am learning Na'vi too!
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Offline roger

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 06:13:50 pm »
I read ... it's valid to use either the dual (me-) or the normal plural (ay-) ... e.g. the 'two cars' example he gave, you could use either).

I doubt that's what he meant. If it's "two cars", or you know it's two cars, I doubt you could use the plural. I think what he meant is that if you say "two cars" you don't need the dual, but can use the singular, as in your example.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 06:15:42 pm by roger »

Offline Erimeyz

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 10:24:03 pm »
Thanks for sharing!

Offline Prrton

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2010, 12:41:04 am »

And, some info on use of vocative from an older email

Quote from: Frommer
As for the inconsistency in using the vocative . . . well, let's just say that consultants like me don't have "creative control," and sometimes a bit of back-fitting is necessary. With the vocative, I've modified the rule so that it's obligatory when you're talking to people (including Eywa!) but optional when talking to animals. I think you get the point. ;-)

Will

I'm glad to see this. I thought that the vocative was kxanì with animals. I'm glad that it can be used! Sìltsan leiu nang!

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2010, 12:49:11 am »
Now I just need to find out where the line is between sevin and lor...

For example is a nantang sevin or lor?  What about a kxetse?  A kxetse nangangä?  How about a plant, is that sevin or lor?  What if it's one of the weird Pandoran plants that has a nervous system and reacts to the environment in an animal like way?  Etc etc.
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Offline roger

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2010, 01:39:03 am »
I imagine it's how the person means "pretty". When we say an animal is beautiful, or a landscape, we don't mean it in the same way as a person being beautiful. I think that's prob'ly the diff, not the animacy of the thing. If you said a person was "lor", you'd mean that they're beautiful the way you think a horse is beautiful, but not physically attractive. (Well, unless you're into horses, but we won't go there.)

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2010, 04:20:56 am »
The physically attractive comparison of a horse vs a person doesn't work though, because Grace uses "sevin" on the Na'vi children, and you would hope there is also not the same sort of attraction there.  So if Grace can find that sort of beauty in Na'vi children, why can't someone find that sort of beauty in, say, an animal?

It could still be a semantic difference though, for example "sevin" could be something like "Radiant".
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Offline roger

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2010, 04:53:03 am »
But we do the same thing in English. Although we deny it, we do speak of children being beautiful the way we speak of adults, or we'll say "she's going to be beautiful when she grows up", or "he's gonna be a real heart-breaker", which is just a way of getting around the taboo. Or "my you're getting handsome/pretty". And we dress up our children to be handsome/beautiful too, even when they're quite young. We even have beauty pageants for little girls, though granted some people do find that rather gross. (Consider the recent controversy in Rio.) By "physically attractive" I don't mean "sexy", but we do see children as beautiful as fellow human beings in a way we don't see animals or flowers as beautiful. Women will also speak of other women as beautiful (my mom does it constantly), and men sometimes admit that other men are handsome, but that doesn't mean they're gay (at least for women; most straight men are too phobic to be comfortable saying s.t. like that). Why else would little boys dislike being called "pretty", or would it be an insult to call a little girl "handsome"? "Handsome" is actually a good parallel to "sevin": it's almost restricted in use for male people. We even speak of newborns as "beautiful" when by all objective criteria they're pretty disgusting looking. (Sorry, I've never seen a baby before about 6 mos. that was cute. But to their parents they're gorgeous.)

Certainly a word for human/Na'vi beauty could be lexicalized to be required for all people.

Or, if calling a child pretty sets off too many alarms, consider that it's Grace, and that her Na'vi is pretty bad.

But I could imagine that if you really anthropomorphize an animal, you might use "sevin". I know people who would do that with their dogs! If you dress it up in a suit, feed it at the dinner table, and teach it to walk on its hind legs, you'd probably call it "sevin". I could imagine maybe saying that for a pa'li or esp. your ikran. But I expect that would be a very marked exception, and a wild one would be "lor". Unless I'm completely misjudging the distinction.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 05:01:12 am by roger »

Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2010, 05:19:25 am »
I think at this point we are trying to assign our own views on what the meaning would be...  But the truth is we don't know what the distinction is, except that sevin would not be used to describe a language.
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Offline roger

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Re: info on duals and vocative
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2010, 05:36:24 am »
In English we distinguish male from female/neuter; Na'vi might divide things differently. Agreed, it would be nice to get this spelled out.

 

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