Author Topic: Correlatives: krr and kem  (Read 110 times)

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Offline Mech

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Correlatives: krr and kem
« on: January 11, 2018, 04:49:35 pm »
Two irrelevant questions about the correlatives.

About krr: I see that the expected word fìkrr is actually not directly attested. It can be surmised by analogy with other correllatives and from tsakrr, and some derivatives like lefkrr and nìfkrr. Do we have any specific information whether fìkrr exists as a standard lexical term, and what is the difference with set "now"?

About kem: As we know from everyday speech, words like "now", "here", "there", "why", "thus" etc are useful and common ideas and in Na'vi they form lexical terms in the correllatives table. But it seems that the notion of "action" is as common in Na'vi as is time and space. I say this because "this action" (fìkem), "that action" (tsakem) etc constitute lexical terms much like "here", "now" etc.

I confess that it is something I haven't grasped well since I first heard about Na'vi. Where can we use expressions like "this action", "that action", and why are they so common in Na'vi alongside "here" and "then" and "why"?

I mean, Na'vi can be analytic and even fill "gaps" of English and other natural languages, but I don't see a reason for -kem words to exist. Do we have equivalents in natural languages, or texts where the usage of -kem words are demonstrated?

Offline Vawmataw

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Re: Correlatives: krr and kem
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 05:53:25 pm »
About krr: I see that the expected word fìkrr is actually not directly attested. It can be surmised by analogy with other correllatives and from tsakrr, and some derivatives like lefkrr and nìfkrr. Do we have any specific information whether fìkrr exists as a standard lexical term, and what is the difference with set "now"?
Unless Paul Frommer has talked about it, fìkrr is not an official entry in the dictionary. However, it's a productive word that you can get from fì- and krr.
I don't necessarily know what it could mean, but I think it could be used in this context: "At this time, we used to do XYZ".

Quote
Where can we use expressions like "this action", "that action", and why are they so common in Na'vi
I'll start with the second question so I can answer the first one better. This expression is used commonly because in Na'vi, the meaning governs the language. The word "that" in English barely carries any meaning. If you say "do that", the "that" can be a cake or an action. We generally imply the meaning from the context, but the Na'vi prefer to say the whole thing instead of using bland, general words. So the same sentence in Na'vi would be "tsakem sivi" or "fìkem sivi".

For the first question, the expression can be used whenever there is an action. For instance, you don't say that something happened but rather that an action, an event or even an accident happened.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 06:02:14 pm by Vawmataw »
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Offline Mech

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Re: Correlatives: krr and kem
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 01:59:11 am »
It makes more sense now. It seems that -kem words can somehow refer to or replace verbs or verbal expressions.

Still, do we have specific canonical examples (or official descriptions) that show the range of its usage? "Tsakem" can refer to events like physical phenomena, historical events, wars, concerts, and/or birthday parties?

Offline Wllìm

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Re: Correlatives: krr and kem
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 08:12:51 am »
kem is definitely rather broad. Besides kem si to do, for example, a common sentence pattern is pehem leren? what's happening? Therefore I'd guess that kem can include any activity or event that happens... basically anything that takes time. (Disclaimer: this is just my gut feeling, not anything official.)

Just to compare kem with other ‘broad’ words. Firstly, there's 'u thing. As far as I understand it, 'u can describe basically anything, that is, physical objects, actions, emotions, and so on. Then there is zum (physical) object that would be used only for physical things that actually exist. I would regard kem and zum as ‘specializations’ of 'u. This raises the question if it is the case that any 'u is either a kem or a zum. In particular, emotions such as tìyawn love: in my opinion that is definitely not a zum... but is it a kem? I mean, it takes time, but it's not really an action, it's more like a state of being. Does kem include states of being? I have no idea :P And what about abstract things like krr time? Is that even a 'u? I think that all of those questions are actually related very much to how the Na'vi think about those things. And maybe there is not even a clear answer, for example in English, is ‘time’ a ‘thing’?

Okay, now I'm just more confused than when I started writing this post :o
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Offline Mech

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Re: Correlatives: krr and kem
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 08:42:56 am »
Wllim, I think that abstract concepts can be expressed with tsat?

I wish we could know (and perhaps it would provide more insight) if Pawl borrowed the idea from a natural language that separates this-action from this-object

Offline Wllìm

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Re: Correlatives: krr and kem
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 11:01:27 am »
tsat is the shortened form of tsa'ut, which is the patientive (t-form) of tsa'u that thing. (tsa- is a prefix meaning that; you can apply it to any word like utral tree> tsautral that tree).

So, for example

oel tse'a tsat
= oel tse'a tsa'ut
I see that thing

Similarly you have tsaw for tsa'u, tsal for tsa'ul, and so on. All of these are actually forms of 'u.
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: Correlatives: krr and kem
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 02:16:30 pm »
I wish we could know (and perhaps it would provide more insight) if Pawl borrowed the idea from a natural language that separates this-action from this-object

I'm not aware of any language that has forms exactly like the kem column in the Na'vi correlative table. However, there are languages that have anaphoric verbs that mean things like "do this, do that, do what?" My guess is that once he created something like kempe si nga? (this is in film dialog), the rest followed naturally.

It's not too hard to come up with a situation where 'u and kem can make clear what exactly is going on —

A: Ninat pamtseo si fa wokau. Ninat is playing the pendulum drum.

Two possible replies:

B: Ke sunu oer tsa'u. I don't like that (that particular drum) vs.
B: Ke sunu oer tsakem I don't like that (what's happening)

But I agree it might be nice to have an idea how much we should expect the kem forms to be used outside the si constructions.
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Offline Blue Elf

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Re: Correlatives: krr and kem
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 03:55:10 pm »
I confess that it is something I haven't grasped well since I first heard about Na'vi. Where can we use expressions like "this action", "that action", and why are they so common in Na'vi alongside "here" and "then" and "why"?
IMHO main function of tsakem/fìkem is in connection with si - the only way to say "do that" is Tsakem si (not * kem si tsakemur). But of course it can be used alone, like in Fìkem ke sunu oer (I don't like this action)

Quote
Just to compare kem with other ‘broad’ words. Firstly, there's 'u thing. As far as I understand it, 'u can describe basically anything, that is, physical objects, actions, emotions, and so on.
by definition, 'u is thing (object, fact, abstraction), so it is not action. If it would, what is difference between 'u and kem? Also I would not use it for event, as we have tìlen. I understand action as something what someone does. Event is something what happens without anyone's action.
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