Author Topic: Negating participles (and adjectives) in Na'vi + participles as predicates  (Read 233 times)

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Offline Eana Unil

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Prompted by a discussion on our Discord server, I asked Karyu Pawl whether constructions like ke-<awn>inan-a upxare (so, negating any participle) would be valid or not, since you can (kolan... could up until now) negate adjectives productively, which don't already have "separate lexical items" like described here:

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To form the negative of an adjective, use the negative prefix ke-. Note, however, that for le- adjectives, *kele... > kel...  There are also some idiosyncrasies: for example, keltsunslu is usually reduced to simply keltsun. Also, *keeyawr > keyawr by the general rule that two identical vowels coalesce into one.

This is a productive process when there aren't separate lexical items in the dictionary like the ones you pointed out: tsawl ~ hì'i, koak ~ 'ewan, etc. So there's no *ketsawl, *kehì'i, *kekoak, *ke'ewan, just as in English we don't have *unyoung, *unold, *unbig, *unsmall.

So here's what KP replied to my initial question about negating participles:

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Before looking at participles, let's look at ordinary adjectives. Can we in fact negate them easily using ke? I don't remember talking about that, and if I did, I hope I won't be contradicting myself here (please let me know if you discover that I am!), but I don't think of ke + adjective as being freely productive. We have examples like teng / keteng, eyawr / keyawr, fpomronga' / kefpomronga'. But what about kelor? kenitram? ketsawl? etc. I wouldn't think those exist. And notice that the three examples I gave of ke + adj. are all listed in the dictionary. So it seems clear that ke + adj. is not a freely productive mechanism and such forms have to be treated as individual lexical items.

Turning now to participles with <awn>, we know that <awn> insertion into transitive verbs IS a productive process -- I can't think of any transitive verbs that don't have <awn> forms. And you're right that these are essentially adjectives. But in the same way that you can't necessarily take any adjective you like and turn it into its opposite by prefixing ke, you shouldn't be able to do that with participles either.

There's a parallel situation in English, where Eng. un corresponds to Na'vi ke. We certainly have pairs like seen / unseen, heard / unheard, spoken / unspoken, chosen / unchosen, read / unread, finished / unfinished, and many many more. But can you always do this? Is the process unconstrained? What about unpinched, untorn, unlifted, unironed, unrequired, unpoached, etc. As I wrote those, I got the red squiggle under each one, indicating that Spell Check thought they were not legitimate words. Now it's not at all obvious--at least not to me--which participles can be negated by un and which can't. I have a feeling it's a pretty deep question. But whatever the explanation is, it's clear that you can't freely use un like this; you need to see if the un + participle form is in the dictionary.

It seems to me that Na'vi should work the same way.

But keep in mind that even if a ke + PART form is not in the dictionary and therefore not a word, you can still get the intended meaning across easily. Even if we don't know whether *keawinan is a legitimate word (I suspect it's not, given the use of inan prior to its adoption as the word for reading written language), we can still talk about unread messages by saying "upxare a ke lu awinan." That's only one more syllable than "*upxare akeawinan."

Hope that helps!

Guys... "upxare a ke lu awninan:o (I assume awinan was a typo? Also asked about that, hrh.)
3.6.3.3. of horen being rendered invalid by this, meaning, that participles can indeed be used as predicates! But just to be sure, I asked for confirmation on this.

Anyway, it ties in perfectly with what he wrote about negating adjectives in 2013. However, it leaves me with the question, when to know that it would be safe to negate adjectives (does one have to take English as the source there?) or would it be up to him to create such negated adjectives?
So I asked a follow-up question whether that renders ke- being unproductive (meaning, forming negated adjectives like that would be left to KP only) or if there are any indications to when it would be safe to negate adjectives productively as he indicated in his reply to Blue Elf in 2013.

Will edit this message here, once I have received more word on this.

Tsakrrvay~ :)

Offline Toliman

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Re: Negating participles in Na'vi
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2020, 07:05:44 am »
Eltur tìtxen si nìtxan :)

Again thanks for shating of these interesting things!

Offline Plumps

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Re: Negating participles in Na'vi
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2020, 10:28:28 am »
Guys... "upxare a ke lu awninan:o (I assume awinan was a typo? Also asked about that, hrh.)
3.6.3.3. of horen being rendered invalid by this, meaning, that participles can indeed be used as predicates! But just to be sure, I asked for confirmation on this.

I really hope he reconsiders this :o It has always been said that participles are always used attributively, never as a predicate. He has said so on multiple occasions. So, thanks for asking for confirmation again.

Good to hear about the ke-‘rule’ I was never too keen about that. It always rubbed me the wrong way :P

Offline Wllìm

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Re: Negating participles in Na'vi
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2020, 02:24:07 pm »
Quote from: Pawl
Can we in fact negate them easily using ke? I don't remember talking about that, and if I did, I hope I won't be contradicting myself here (please let me know if you discover that I am!), but I don't think of ke + adjective as being freely productive.

I'm quite sure he actually is contradicting himself: the earlier message you quoted says that it is productive, and now he's saying it's not. Am I missing something?

Personally I do agree with Plumps. I never really liked ke- being productive, so I would like it to go away. Furthermore, I think that almost no one actually knew about and used this rule in their texts, and therefore it would not be a disaster to retcon it.

I really hope he reconsiders this :o It has always been said that participles are always used attributively, never as a predicate. He has said so on multiple occasions. So, thanks for asking for confirmation again.

And yes, zam times this! :-\ I'm assuming it was an oversight when writing the sentence and he meant 'upxare a fkol ke inan or 'upxare a kawtul ke inan or something like that.
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Offline Eana Unil

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Yeah, I've been confused by that, too, that's why I've asked for clarification. Hopefully that will be clarified after he's replied again :)

Tbh I wouldn't mind being able to use participles as predicates, but it would indeed be a sudden and unexpected change after they have been explicitly limited to attributive use only again and again.

Guess we'll see ;)

 

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