Author Topic: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals  (Read 2379 times)

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Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« on: April 30, 2013, 09:00:01 pm »
Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals



Source: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
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Offline eejmensenikbenhet

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 06:24:54 am »
Kaltxì, ma eylan

Fìpostì mektsengur teya si. This post fills a gap in our understanding of Na’vi syntax: counterfactual conditionals. The counterfactual structure is a bit complicated, so we’ll go slow, and if necessary, we’ll have further clarifications in subsequent posts.

First, some terminology. What is a conditional sentence? Simply one in “if … then” form. For example, “If you build it, they will come.” In such sentences, the “if” part specifying the condition is called the hypothesis (or if you want to be very fancy, the protasis); the “then” part is the consequence (or apodosis). But there’s no reason for us not to stick to the simple terms “if-part” and “then-part.”

You’re very familiar with the most frequent words for ‘if-then,’ txo and tsakrr. Txo ngal tsat txivula, (tsakrr) fo zaya’u. (Tsakrr is often omitted.) But there’s another pair of words for if-then: zun and zel respectively. They’re used for counterfactual conditionals—that is, for if-then sentences where you’re talking about something that didn’t happen or isn’t the case.

For example, compare these two sentences:

(1) Txo zivup tompa, (tsakrr) ke tsun oe kivä.
       ‘If it’s raining, (then) I can’t go.’

(2) Zun zivup tompa, zel ke tsivun oe kivä.
       ‘If it were raining, (then) I couldn’t go.’

In (1), I don’t know whether it’s raining or not—maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. (I haven’t looked out the window.) If it is raining, then I can’t go. (Usual implication: If it’s not raining, I can go.) In (2), however, it is not currently raining. If it were raining, then I couldn’t go. But it’s not. (Usual implication: Therefore, I can go.) So (2) is talking about a hypothetical situation that we know to be untrue—that is, a counterfactual situation.

To understand the counterfactual system, note two things: first, you always use zun and zel for ‘if-then’ (unlike tsakrr, zel cannot be omitted); second, the verb forms are in the subjunctive—that is, they take the various infixes that contain v. There are 5 such infixes, each built on the pattern -i_v-:

   -i_v- + ∅      →      -iv-

   -i_v- + r         →      -irv-

   -i_v- + m      →      -imv-

   -i_v- + l         →      -ilv-

   -i_v- + y      →      *-iyv-   →   -iyev- OR –ìyev-

So those are the tools we have to work with. Now let’s look at both sentence parts in turn:

The ‘if’ part

A. Something that is not presently the case:

   Zun livu oe Olo’eyktan . . .
   ‘If I were Clan Leader . . .’ (but I’m not)

   Zun nga yawne livu oer . . .
   ‘If I loved you . . .’ (but I don’t)

   Zun oe pxiset tirvaron . . .
   ‘If I were hunting right now . . .’ (but I’m not)

For these situations, we use either the simplest form of the subjunctive infix, -iv-, or the -irv- form to indicate ongoing action.

B. Something that was not the case in the past:

   Zun limvu oe Olo’eyktan . . .
   ‘If I had been Clan Leader . . .’ (but I wasn’t)

   Zun nga yawne limvu oer . . .
   ‘If I had loved you . . .’ (but I didn’t)

   Zun nga fìtìkangkemvir hasey silvi . . .
   ‘If you had completed this project . . .’ (but you didn’t)

For these situations, we use either -imv- (if the past nature of the action is the most important thing) or -ilv- (if the emphasis is on the completion of the action). Often the choice between the two is arbitrary. Note that in counterfactuals there’s no special form for ongoing action in the past; you just have to tell it from the context. So Zun oe timvaron means either ‘If I had hunted’ or ‘If I had been hunting.’

C. Something that will not be the case in the future:

This one is relatively rare, but still possible:

   Zun tompa ziyevup trray . . .
   ‘If it rained tomorrow . . .’ (although we know that of course it won’t)

Here too there’s no special form for ongoing action.

The ‘then’ part

A’. Something that is not presently the case:

   . . . zel oe ngaru srung sivi set.
   ‘. . . then I would help you now.’ (but in fact I’m not helping you)

   . . . zel oe ’ivefu nitram.
   ‘. . . then I would be happy.’ (but I’m not)

   . . . zel oe rirvol pxiset.
   ‘. . . then I would be singing right now.’ (but I’m not)

B’. Something that was not the case in the past:

   . . . zel oe ngaru srung silvi.
   ‘. . . then I would have helped you.’ (but I didn’t)

   . . . zel oe ’imvefu nitram.
   ‘. . . then I would have been happy.’ (but I wasn’t)

   . . . zel oe rimvol pxiset.
   ‘. . . then I would have sung/would have been singing.’ (but I didn’t/wasn’t)

C’. Something that will not be the case in the future

   . . . zel fo sriyevew.
   ‘. . . then they would do a dance.’ (but they won’t)

The if- and then-parts can combine in different ways. Some examples:

   A with A’:
   Zun oe yawne livu ngar, zel ’ivefu oe nitram nì’aw.
   ‘If you loved me, I would be so happy.’
   (but you don’t, and I’m not)

   B with B’:
   Zun oe yawne limvu ngar, zel ’imvefu oe nitram nì’aw.
   ‘If you had loved me, I would have been so happy.’
   (but you didn’t, and I wasn’t)

   C with C’:
   Zun tompa zìyevup trray, zel fo srìyevew.
   ‘If it rained tomorrow, they’d do a dance.’
   (but it won’t, and they won’t)

   B with A’:
   Zun ngal tsafnesyuvet timvìng oer, zel livu oe txur fìtrr.
   ‘If you had given me that kind of food, I would be strong today.’
   (but you didn’t, and I’m not)

   A with B’:
   Zun ayoe livu tsamsiyu, zel tsakem ke simvi.
   ‘If we were warriors, we wouldn’t have done that.’
   (but we’re not, and we did)

   B with C’:
   Zun nga srung silvi oer, zel ke kìyevä oe ne Wasyìngton kintrray.
   ‘If you had helped me, I wouldn’t be going to Washington next week.’
   (but you didn’t, and I am)

One more wrinkle:

In the first three examples above—A with A’, B with B’, C with C’—the forms of the verb in both parts of the sentence are the same: livu/’ivefu, limvu/’imvefu, zìyevup/srìyevew. In such cases—and only in such cases—the verb in the zel-part of the sentence may optionally go into the root form, losing the subjunctive infixes. This simplification occurs very often in colloquial speech and frequently in more formal speech as well. Repeating the three sentences above in this simplified form:

   Zun oe yawne livu ngar, zel ’efu oe nitram nì’aw.
   ‘If you loved me, I would be so happy.’

   Zun oe yawne limvu ngar, zel ’efu oe nitram nì’aw.
   ‘If you had loved me, I would have been so happy.’

   Zun tompa zìyevup trray, zel fo srew.
   ‘If it rained tomorrow, they’d do a dance.’

I think that’s plenty for one post. :)

Don’t worry if you don’t assimilate these structures immediately—it may take some time to get used to them. But you will.

Hayalovay, ma smuk.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 01:36:33 pm by eejmensenikbenhet »

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2013, 07:22:27 am »
Thanks to post the complete Na'viteri post!
With audio content would be nice. :)

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 07:40:17 am »
Woooooo!  We have waited a long time for these.
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A Na'vi Reference Grammar

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 01:38:51 pm »
[Audio added]

This is extremely useful, I already know one phrase I am going to look at again with this new information. There will be plenty of possibilities with this so I'm very happy now.

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2013, 09:55:10 pm »
Well, at least the RSS post bot noticed the update...

Lì’fyari leNa’vi ’Rrtamì, vay set ’almong a fra’u zera’u ta ngrrpongu
Na'vi Dictionary: http://files.learnnavi.org/dicts/NaviDictionary.pdf

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2013, 12:10:53 am »
Well, at least the RSS post bot noticed the update...

Yep, your server-fu has prevailed once again. At least until the next time something updates and breaks the feistiest bot ever.

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 10:26:15 pm »
I am trying to figure out how zun and zel should look in the dictionary...

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Na'vi Dictionary: http://files.learnnavi.org/dicts/NaviDictionary.pdf

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 04:28:23 am »
Seeing as san and sìk are listed apart and without any reference to one another, maybe the same would work for zun and zel...?

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 07:34:17 am »
Seeing as san and sìk are listed apart and without any reference to one another, maybe the same would work for zun and zel...?

This. And more or less, these words zun and zel are the same type of deal as txo and tsakrr.

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Re: Zun . . . Zel: Counterfactual Conditionals
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 02:21:22 pm »
Added. New version is 12.97

Lì’fyari leNa’vi ’Rrtamì, vay set ’almong a fra’u zera’u ta ngrrpongu
Na'vi Dictionary: http://files.learnnavi.org/dicts/NaviDictionary.pdf

 

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