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Na'vi Linguistics: in the Deep 'Si'

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wm.annis:
Si-construction verbs are strange enough that it seems useful to collect all that we know about them in one place.  I do so in my reference grammar, but the information about them isn't all in one place, nor do I include the links to every one of Pawl's pronouncements about them.  I'll do that here.


The Na'vi si-verb is a particular construction in which a noun or adjective element is followed immediately1 by the element si.  The resulting phrase is taken together to be a verb, so:

  srung si to help
  irayo si to thank
  win si to rush something

All verb inflections (tense, aspect, mood, etc.) go into the si element:

  irayo sayi will thank

The only time the X si order is broken is to negate the verb, with either ke or rä'ä:2

  oeru irayo ke soli (he) didn't thank me
  tsaru ätxäle rä'ä si! don't ask for that!

The main grammatical strangeness with these verbs is that they are intransitive.  The subject must take the (no-ending) subjective case.  If there is something like a "direct object" it will go into the dative, not the patientive:3, 4

  oe ngaru irayo si I thank you.
  po kavuk soli awngar He betrayed us.

Si-verbs do not have gerunds.  Instead, the simple noun is used.5  Si-verbs do have participles, but the resulting word is hyphenated in writing, with the attributive a attaching to the entire hyphenated phrase:6

  srung-susia tute
  tute asrung-susi

If a noun is the element in a si-verb, then an attributive adjective may be attached to it in the usual way:7

  wina uvan si play a quick game

If you are answering or repeating part of a si-verb phrase, you can drop the noun part and just use an inflected form of si alone:8

  Nga tsap'alute soli srak?
  (Srane,) soli.

_____
   1 In A few quickies from Frommer he says that all in si-verbs except irayo si the word order is fixed: X si.
   2 From Ultxa Ayharuä: Ke.
   3 Extracts from various emails (Jan 29).
   4 Si Constructions.
   5 Ultxa Ayharyuä: Refinements of si-construction verbs.
   6 Ultxa Ayharyuä: Participles
   7 Ultxa Ayharyuä: Refinements of si-construction verbs.
   8 Auxiliary Verb SI

omängum fra'uti:
What about the bit about using si alone when the other word is clear from context?  From http://forum.learnnavi.org/language-updates/auxilary-verb-si-possessive-dative-krr/


--- Quote ---About the only time si stands alone is when the non-verbial element has already been mentioned and is understood from the concept.  The example he gave of this was...

--Nga tsap'alute soli srak?
--Soli.
--- End quote ---

Though looking at that, it seems like I had a minor error in transcription, not sure why I went from "discourse" to "concept", I think I meant to say context....  This is the original wording from Frommer.

--- Quote from: Karyu Pawl ---About the only time si stands alone is when the non-verbal element has already been mentioned and is understood from the discourse:

--Nga tsap'alute soli srak?
--Soli.

(Or: Srane, soli.)
--- End quote ---

wm.annis:
Ooh, good.

I also need to find a citation for the oddball use when the noun part of a N si construction is a relative clause pivot.  We have examples, but no canon citations available (as far as I can see).

omängum fra'uti:
You mean like my "Oel tse'a kemit a nga soli" example in the other thread?

I've lost track of so many of the examples we've gotten, I don't even know if that sort of example exists from Frommer.

Plumps:
This is really helpful.
Thank you so much, ma William


--- Quote from: wm.annis on April 05, 2011, 05:23:05 pm ---If a noun is the element in a si-verb, then an attributive adjective may be attached to it in the usual way:7

  wina uvan si play a quick game
--- End quote ---

Makes me wonder whether *uvan awin si is also possible  :-\ What happens if it’s a quick and fun game?

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