Author Topic: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)  (Read 5310 times)

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Offline wm.annis

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Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« on: November 18, 2010, 05:55:19 pm »
Background

As I write this there is still a good deal of fuzziness about how and when we can use Na'vi's topical case in new situations.  We do of course have some set phrases where the topical is standard, as in expressions of thanking and apologies, for example.

 Fìskxawngìri tsap'alute sengi oe.
 I apologize for this moron.

 Sìpawmìri oe ngaru seiyi irayo.
 I thank you for the questions.

We're safe using such expressions on our own.

In a July Blog post, Frommer let us know that another use of the topical is marking "inalienable possession."  English doesn't distinguish different sorts of possession very much, but this sort of distinction is very common among Human languages.  Inalienable possession is basically possession for those things which, in theory, cannot ever not be yours. The most common words to require inalienable possession marking are blood relatives: my mom can never not be my mom.  Body parts are next in line to require inalienable possession marking, followed by objects you have created (if I write a book, for example, that book is mine inalienably, even if other people have physical possession of it).

At this point, I want to quote Frommer:

Quote from: Frommer
Note that in sentences like this that involve possession, especially "inalienable possession," the –ri form (i.e. the topic marker) is slightly more idiomatic than the possessive pronoun, although both are correct.

Note carefully that he is not saying that the topical is the required form for inalienable possession, just preferred.  Notice his use in the Hunt Song:

  Oeri tìngayìl txe'lanit tivakuk Let the truth strike my heart
  Oeyä txe'lan livu ngay Let my heart be true.

There's no metrical reason to prefer oeyä in the second line, but it does bring it back into a parallel structure with the rest of that verse.  (There is a subtle interpretation possible here about the switch, but I'd rather wait for confirmation from Frommer before airing that.)

Moving on to the "practicum" part of this, I'm going to give a bunch of frames below you can use to practice this inalienable use of the topical.  This is a nice place to start, since so often with the inalienable use, there's clearly an interest or participation of the individual in the topical.  For example, from the film:

  Ngari hu Eywa salew tirea, tokx 'ì'awn... Your spirit goes with Eywa, your body remains...

Clearly the "you" addressed is seriously involved in the proceedings.


Two Assumptions

First, I very strongly suspect that you only get one topical a clause, just as you only get one subject or direct object.  So, I expect other uses of the topical to override the inalienable use.  In "I apologize for my son," for example, the needs of the apology construction will result in the use of a genitive possession,

 Oeyä 'itanìri tsap'alute sengi oe.

Second, in every single prose example we have from Frommer, the topical goes at the start of the clause, even in inalienable constructions where the possessum (the thing possessed) is deep in the clause — see the Ngari hu Eywa...example above.  Our single exception occurs in poetry.  This pattern matches what is very, very common in Human languages, too, so for now I strongly advise keeping the topical at the start of the clause.

Note that in Frommer's examples, topicals still do follow conjunctions.  I include srake as one of the things a topical probably follows, based on other things said about that.


For Practice

Here are some frames for practice.  Most of them will give you good practice in learning body parts.  I give a full sentence, and then an example with a gap, followed by some suggested things to fill in.

  Oeri re'o tìsraw si.  My head hurts.
  Oeri ____ tìsraw si.  (arm) (hand) (foot) (etc)

Etc., etc.  If you have a friend to work with, or a teacher from NgayNume, you could pair off saying body parts (in English) and getting the correct sentence back (nìNa'vi).  Le'eylan could draw pictures for things like...

  Oeri nantangìl tsyokxit frolìp!  The viperwolf bit my hand!
  Oeri nantangìl ______ frolìp!   (leg, butt, etc...)

Or, you could do question answer patterns:

  Srake ngari hì'angìl sngolap keyit? Did a bug sting your face?
  Kehe, oeri tsal ke sngolap keyit. No, it didn't sting my face
or
  Srane, oeri tsal sngolap keyit.  Yes, it stung my face

  Srake ngari hì'angìl sngolap _____? (finger, toe, knee, etc).


Some Possibilities

So, the things I've listed above is just a small taste of the sorts of practice you can give yourself once you have a model you feel confident in.

Here is a few more sentences, without translation, for you to think about.  All of these could be the basis of more practice frames like I gave above.

  Fìutralìri ayvur txur lu nìtxan.
  Pori torukìl 'oleko tsmuket.
  Yayori 'om lu mesyal.
  Fori ye'rìn päheiem syay.
  Yerikìri oel nìsyiä kxetset.

Have fun!

Sìlpey oe, tsnì ayngari oel tìsraw ke seykilvi eltut!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 06:13:43 pm by wm.annis »
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Offline Lisa

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 09:49:05 am »
Ma wm.annis, ngeyä 'upxareri atxantsan oe ngaru seiyi irayo!*  

This is so incredibly useful!  I love the explanation, the examples, and the exercises! 

Sìlpey oe, tsnì ayngari oel tìsraw ke seykilvi eltut!

Tse, slä fì'u lu tìsraw asìltsan!*

Quote
Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)

Dare I hope this is the first of many Practicum posts?   :)
Oeru syaw "Tirea Ikran" kop slä frakrrmi layu oe "Grammar Skxawng"   :)

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 04:34:45 pm »
Seems really useful.


 Fìskxawngìri tsap'alute sengi oe.
 I apologize for this moron.

 Sìpawmìri oe ngaru seiyi irayo.
 I thank you for the questions.

Doesn't the topical highlight the "for" in both cases?

[img]http://swokaikran.skxawng.lu/sigbar/nwotd.php?p=2b[/img]

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Offline wm.annis

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 04:37:27 pm »
Doesn't the topical highlight the "for" in both cases?

Nope — that "for" is just a side effect of English idiom.  We have no way to apologize for something except to put that something in the topical.
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 04:39:21 pm »
Dare I hope this is the first of many Practicum posts?   :)

I don't know about many, but there will be more of them.
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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2010, 10:03:28 pm »
Dare I hope this is the first of many Practicum posts?   :)

I don't know about many, but there will be more of them.

this is great. *tweets*

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Offline Le'eylan

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« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 06:50:23 pm by wm.annis »
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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2010, 04:01:08 pm »
Txantsan :) :D

But correct to write sängi, not sengi :)
Nìrangal frapo tsirvun pivlltxe nìNa'vi :D

Offline Carborundum

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2010, 04:05:16 pm »
Txantsan :) :D

But correct to write sängi, not sengi :)
Sengi is acceptable too. Frommer has used it on a number of occasions.

From the wiki:
Quote
Optionally, when the negative affect infix ‹äng› occurs before the vowel i, the vowel of the infix may be raised, giving ‹eng›. Thus the early example, fìskxawngìri tsap'alute sengi oe. (Wm asked this over a beer).
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 04:07:43 pm by Carborundum »
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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2010, 04:17:32 pm »
Ok. But does it mean what now we have an infix <eng>? Do we need to add that to infix list? :-\ We already have there two infixes <ìyev> and <iyev> with the same meaning :)
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 04:46:02 pm »
Ok. But does it mean what now we have an infix <eng>? Do we need to add that to infix list?

Yes (sort of — it's just ‹äng› in disguise) and yes.
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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2010, 03:54:31 am »
:)

These are so cute Le'eylan!

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« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 06:50:52 pm by wm.annis »




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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2010, 09:18:44 am »
Ma Le'eylan, txantsana ayrel nang! :)
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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2010, 10:46:44 pm »
Ma Le'eylan, txantsana ayrel nang! :)

Mllte ;D

Slääää... I don't quite understand the last example.  Wouldn't the genitive work better here?

[img]http://swokaikran.skxawng.lu/sigbar/nwotd.php?p=2b[/img]

ÌTXTSTXRR!!

Srake serar le'Ìnglìsìa lì'fyayä aylì'ut?  Nari si älofoniru rutxe!!

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2010, 10:52:41 pm »
Ma Le'eylan, txantsana ayrel nang! :)

Mllte ;D

Slääää... I don't quite understand the last example.  Wouldn't the genitive work better here?



inalienable possession. let's rearrange:

oeri tsyokxit nantangìl frolìp!

;P

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2010, 11:01:38 pm »
Ma Le'eylan, txantsana ayrel nang! :)

Mllte ;D

Slääää... I don't quite understand the last example.  Wouldn't the genitive work better here?


inalienable possession. let's rearrange:

oeri tsyokxit nantangìl frolìp!

;P

*keytsyokx*

...and that's where the potential confusion is: topicals treated as inalienable posession yet not directly next to the word they modify :P

[img]http://swokaikran.skxawng.lu/sigbar/nwotd.php?p=2b[/img]

ÌTXTSTXRR!!

Srake serar le'Ìnglìsìa lì'fyayä aylì'ut?  Nari si älofoniru rutxe!!

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2010, 11:28:11 pm »
Ma Le'eylan, txantsana ayrel nang! :)

Mllte ;D

Slääää... I don't quite understand the last example.  Wouldn't the genitive work better here?


inalienable possession. let's rearrange:

oeri tsyokxit nantangìl frolìp!

;P

*keytsyokx*

...and that's where the potential confusion is: topicals treated as inalienable posession yet not directly next to the word they modify :P




yeah... never was there a rule that the topical as used for inalienable possession MUST be adjacent to its noun, as the GEN is... :P you just gotta get the feel for it i guess.

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 12:26:23 pm »
This being a very old thread, is it safe to assume that this OP still represents current knowledge? I assume so, since I dont note anything from op that I recognize is a contradiction to extant grammar documentation.

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2012, 04:52:37 pm »
This being a very old thread, is it safe to assume that this OP still represents current knowledge? I assume so, since I dont note anything from op that I recognize is a contradiction to extant grammar documentation.

Seems up to date to me.

Offline wm.annis

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Re: Na'vi Linguistics Practicum: Topicals (I)
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2012, 05:00:32 pm »
This being a very old thread, is it safe to assume that this OP still represents current knowledge? I assume so, since I dont note anything from op that I recognize is a contradiction to extant grammar documentation.

I believe everything in there is still correct.  What we're missing is a "Topicals (II)."
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