Author Topic: Whoever, Whatever, Whenever . . .  (Read 1112 times)

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Whoever, Whatever, Whenever . . .
« on: March 31, 2013, 04:00:03 pm »
Whoever, Whatever, Whenever . . .

Kaltxì ayngaru, ma eylan—

We’re all familiar with the verb tsranten, which means ‘matter, be important,’ as in:

          Yola krr, txana krr, ke tsranten. listen
          ‘It doesn’t matter how long it takes.’

The negative phrase ke tsranten yields the important word ketsran—not a verb but
an adjective and conjunction—that’s used where English uses “compound relative pronouns”
like whoever, whatever, whenever, etc. to show that the particular identity of someone
or something doesn’t matter.

ketsran (adj./conj., ke.TSRAN) ‘no matter, no matter what, whatever’

Here’s an example:

          Ketsrana tute a nivew hivum tsun tsakem sivi. listen
          ‘Whoever wants (or: may want) to leave can do so.’

Here ketsran is an adjective. The subject of the sentence is ketsrana tute, which is
translated as ‘whoever,’ although it could just as well be ‘whatever person.’ Note that Na’vi doesn’t
use pe- in such cases: you can’t say *ketsrana peu. (But see below.)

Sometimes, though, ketsran acts as a conjunction, linking a subordinate clause to the main clause.
In such cases, of course, it doesn’t take the adjective -a-.

          Ketsran tute nivew hivum, poru plltxe san rutxe ’ivì’awn. listen
          ‘No matter who wants (or: may want) to leave, tell them to please stay.’

In sentences like this one, it may be helpful to think of ketsran as occupying the same slot as
other conjunctions, for example txo. (Txo tuteo nivew hivum, poru plltxe . . . )

Let’s have a few more examples:

          Ketsran tsengne nga kivä, kä oe tsatseng nìteng. listen
          ‘Wherever you go, I’ll go there too.’

          ’U aketsran tsun tivam. listen
          ‘Anything at all will be fine.’

          Ketsran fya’o sivunu ngar, kem si. listen
          ‘Do it however you’d like.’

          Ketsran tutel ’ivem, tsafnetsngan lu ftxìvä’. listen
          ‘That kind of meat is gross no matter who cooks it.’

          Pukit aketsran ivinan. listen
          ‘Read any book at all.’

This last example prompts a caution: be careful not to confuse the two similar-sounding adjectives ketsran
and kesran. The distinction is easier in reading/writing than in speaking/listening, so in conversation you’ll have
to pay close attention to the difference.

          Pukit aketsran ivinan. listen
          ‘Read any book at all.’

          Pukit akesran ivinan. listen
          ‘Read a mediocre book.’

(I wonder if there’s a pithy Na’vi proverb that plays on the similarity between ketsran and kesran. :)  )

Note also that in colloquial speech, ketsran by itself can be a response to a question:

          Nga new yivom ’upet fìtxon? listen
          ‘What do you want to eat tonight?’
          Ketsran. Oeru ke’u. listen
          ‘Whatever. (Or: Anything at all.) I don’t care.’

And note that in the colloquial expression Oeru (ngaru, poru, etc.) ke’u, the stress in ke’u shifts to the second syllable: ke.’U.

          Oe tìkangkem si trrtxon nìwotx, ngaru ke’u! listen
          ‘I work all day and all night, and you don’t give a damn!’

Finally, there’s an alternate way to express some of these ideas that doesn’t use ketsran but instead the full form ke tsranten and, in fact, interrogative pe-:

          Teynga pesu nivew hivum ke tsranten, poru plltxe san rutxe ’ivì’awn. listen
          ‘No matter who wants (or: may want) to leave, tell them to please stay.’
          [Literally: The answer (to the question) who wants to leave doesn’t matter, tell them to please stay.]

This is wordier than the ketsran version, however.

Lì’u alu ketsran tsranten nìtxan nìlaw!


Edit: Audio added.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 12:23:46 pm by Tìtstewan »
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Whoever, Whatever, Whenever . . .
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 04:11:59 pm »
Txantsan! Mipa aylì'u! :D

Edit: Fixed this thread.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2015, 12:23:26 pm by Tìtstewan »

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