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Na'vi Linguistics: The clause-level attributive and adjective marker a

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Tìtstewan:
Because many beginners have problems with it, I decided to write a little guide about the clause-level attributive and adjective marker a. I do really hope this thread is as helpful as possible for aysmuk. I will write about the -a- particle which is used with adjectives, and the case-level marker a, because they are somehow cognates. Also there will be a little journey to some f-words like futa, furia etc., because they are special, and they also fit here.


* The Adjective Marker
* The Clause-Level Attributive Marker
* Relative Pronoun


The Adjective Marker

Lets start with the easy one, the adjective marker: You simply add an a on that side where the noun is like this example:

         Txantslusama 'eylan uvan si.
OR
         'Eylan atxantslusam uvan si.
         The wise friend plays.

-> <noun> a-<adj.> or <adj.>-a <noun>

The underlined word ('eylan) is the noun which is described by an adjective (txantslusam). As you can see, one can place the adjective before or after a noun, and the adjective marker shows to the noun side.
Now, what's if we want two adjectives? It has the same pattern:

         Txantslusama 'eylan anitram uvan si.
OR
         Nitrama 'eylan atxantslusam uvan si.
         The wise and happy friend plays.

-> <adj.>-a <noun> a-<adj.>

With this way, a noun can have only two adjectives. So what I can do to add more than two adjectives per noun?


The Clause-Level Attributive Marker

To answere the question how one could add more than three adjectives to describe a noun, we need to start with this chapter. In this following way, a will not attached to an adjective, it will be "free". Basically, this a does the same thing like the attached a-version: it connetcs a word that describe a noun.

Like this way, you can add more adjectives to a noun:

         Lu txantslusam sì nitram sì hona a 'eylan uvan si.
OR
         Uvan si 'eylan a lu txantslusam sì nitram sì hona.
OR
         'Eylan a lu txantslusam sì nitram sì hona uvan si.
         The wise, happy and adorable friend plays.

Again, the noun ('eylan) is described by these purple-coloured words (txantslusam sì lefpom sì hona). Note that the verb (uvan si) still refers to the noun ('eylan).
The marker a now works as clause connector.

A "free" a is powerful and it can connect sub-clauses and regular clauses to describe a noun.
here some examples with sub-clauses:

         Ninal yamom yerikit a mì helku peyä. [1]
         Nina ate an hexapede which (is) in her house.

         Oel stawm 'upxaret a ayngal fpe' oer. [2]
         I hear the message that you (all) send to me.

         Poe a inan pukit. [3]
         She who reads the book.

The purple-coloured words are describing the nouns (yerikit, 'upxaret, poe). To find out which part of a sentence is describing a noun or pronoun, you just ask in these examples:
 [1] Where is the hexapede (yerik)? The answer is: which is in her house. (a mì helku peyä.)
 [2] Which message ('upxare) I hear? The answer is: that you (all) send to me (a ayngal fpe' oer.)
 [3] Who she (poe) do? The answer is: she reads the book (a inan pukit.)
So, these both subclauses are decribing the underlined nouns.

You should know, that a can have different meanings in clause - clause or sub-clause constructions, so it does not only mean that/which. There are many ways of translation.

         Lu oeru yayayr a ngal ke tolaron kea yerikit.
         I'm confused that you didn't hunt a hexapede.
         Literally: I have confusion that you didn't hunt no hexapede.

This example is a clause - clause example. You can (theoretically) split the sentence and both new sentences would make sense as it's own. [I have confusion]1 - [You didn't hunt an hexapede]2
And what I mean with different meaning is, one could translate that sentence also in these ways:

         I'm confused, because you didn't hunt an hexapede.
OR
         I have confusion which is, that you didn't hunt an hexapede.
OR
         I have confusion by (the fact/reason that) you didn't hunt an hexapede.

Here you can ask: Why do you have confusing? Because you didn't hunt a hexapede.
Nari si: One could confuse it with taluna which means because (of)!

Sometimes it is very helpful to imagine a as a "glue" (<->),

         Tsko a oe taron tsafa
         The bow that I hunt with it.
         The bow <-> I hunt with it.

         Oe new livawk oeyä sngumit a sawtutel akawng Kelutralit skaya'a.
         I want to talk about my worry that bad people destroy the hometree.
         ...my worry <-> bad people destroy the hometree.

A complex one:

         Nìfrakrr fol ’olem a wutso ftxìvä’ lu nìngay.
         As always, the dinner they cooked tasted really terrible.
         As always, the dinner which they coocked, tasted really terrible.
         As always, the dinner <-> they coocked, tasted really terrible.

Now, a little combination of both, adjective and sentence a:

         Oel tolaron ku'upa yerikit a yomtayìng awngeyä olo'ru.
         I hunted a heavy hexapede that will feed our clan.
         I hunted a heavy<-> hexapede <-> will feed our clan.

Here you see, that an adjective and a subclause are describing the undelined noun (yerikit).

Now you are ready to see the next special thing about a. :)


Relative Pronoun

Ok, they are not "really" relative pronouns, more or less so-called. I have no possibility to explain that in English, because the English language (and some others too) fail at this.
From which relative pronouns I am talking about? It's about fwa, futa, fula, furia, tsawa, tsata, tsala, tsaria. There are, of course, some more similar contractions, but I don't mention them here.

To understand why it's difficult to call them relative pronouns is to see what's their origin:

with casecase + acontractionwith casecase + acontractionSubjectivefì'ufì'u + afwatsa'utsa'u + atsawaAgentivefì'u + -lfì'ul + afulatsa'u + -ltsa'ul + atsalaPatientivefì'u + -tfì'ut + afutatsa'u + -ttsa'ut + atsataTopicfì'u + -rifì'uri + afuriatsa'u + ritsa'uri + atsariaDativefì'u + -rfì'ur + afuratsa'u + -rtsa'ur + atsara
So, the demontrative pronoun fì'u means this thing, tsa'u means that thing. And now fì'u a = fwa means this thing that or - in English - just "this" or "that", tsa'u a = tsawa means that thing that or even "that". As you see, they are weird, but in Na'vi they make sense:

         Oel fpìl futa nga tsun tslivam tsat.
         I think, that you could understand that.
         Literally: I think this thing that you could understand that.

Here "this thing" is descried by the clause nga tsun tslivam tsat by that a in futa = fì'u a.

         Lu Tsenur yawnyewla a lam fwa Va’rul pot txìyìng.
         Tsenu is broken hearted that Va’ru appears to be about to dump her.
         Literally: Tsenu has a broken hearth / broken-heartedness which appears that Va'ru will leave her.
OR
         Lu Tsenur yawnyewla a lam fì'u a Va’rul pot txìyìng.

This shows you, that there are generally just two clauses describes two different words:

 [1] Lu Tsenur yawnyewla
 [2] a lam fì'u
 [3] a Va’rul pot txìyìng.

The noun (yawnyewla) in the sentence part [1] is bescribed by sentence part [2], but the demontrative pronoun fì'u in subclause [2] is described by the clause [3]. In Na'vi you have the possibility to contract fì'u a to fwa.

         Tsaria pol awngati ke txayìng oe ’efu am’ake nìwotx.
         I'm entirely confident that he won’t abandon us.
         Literally: As for that thing that he won't abandon us, I feel completely confident.

In this example, "that thing" (in topical case) is described by a "clause in a clause", even by pol awngati ke txayìng. One could say:

         Oe ’efu am’ake nìwotx tsaria pol awngati ke txayìng.
         Literally: I feel completely confident for that thing that he won't abandon us.

But topical goes usually first.

If you are asking for fì'u + -r + a = fura / tsa'u + -r + a = tsara - this / that thing + dative + attributive marker, you should know that these words haven't been confirmed yet. My personal opinion is, that this case would be covered by the topical, but only Paul Frommer knows the answer... Update: Tsa-Words, The Complete Set


So, I hope that this post could help you to understand the whole thing about the a. :)

Tirea Aean:
Very thorough. Nicely done. Only two things I've noticed:

lefpom is not for people
topic case words, even tsaria and furia should come first in the sentence.

Nice explanations +1

Tìtstewan:

--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 11, 2014, 06:31:58 pm ---Very thorough. Nicely done. Only two things I've noticed:
--- End quote ---
Irayo! :)


--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 11, 2014, 06:31:58 pm ---lefpom is not for people
--- End quote ---
Oops, fixed... :-[


--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 11, 2014, 06:31:58 pm ---topic case words, even tsaria and furia should come first in the sentence.
--- End quote ---
Its already mentioned there  ;)-->

--- Quote from: Tìtstewan on June 11, 2014, 05:52:50 pm ---But topical goes usually first.
--- End quote ---


--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 11, 2014, 06:31:58 pm ---Nice explanations +1
--- End quote ---
Irayo nìtxan! :D :D

PS, maybe one could make this sticky if useful?



Spoiler: the table in html
--- Code: ---[html]<table cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" style="background-color: #000; text-align: center;">
<tr style="height: 50px;">
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; width: 100px;"></td>
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; width: 100px;"><font color="#800080">with case</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; width: 100px;"><font color="#800080">case + a</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; width: 100px;"><font color="#800080">contraction</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; width: 100px;"><font color="#800080">with case</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; width: 100px;"><font color="#800080">case + a</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; width: 100px;"><font color="#800080">contraction</font></td></tr>
<tr style="height: 50px;">
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; text-align: center;"><font color="#0000ff">Subjective</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'u</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'u + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fwa</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'u</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'u + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsawa</b></td></tr>
<tr style="height: 50px;">
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; text-align: center;"><font color="#0000ff">Agentive</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'u + -l</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'ul + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fula</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'u + -l</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'ul + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsala</b></td></tr>
<tr style="height: 50px;">
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; text-align: center;"><font color="#0000ff">Patientive</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'u + -t</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'ut + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>futa</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'u + -t</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'ut + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsata</b></td></tr>
<tr style="height: 50px;">
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; text-align: center;"><font color="#0000ff">Topic</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'u + -ri</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'uri + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>furia</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'u + ri</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'uri + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsaria</b></td></tr>
<tr style="height: 50px;">
<td style="background-color: #cccccc; text-align: center;"><font color="#0000ff">Dative</font></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'u + -r</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fì'ur + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>fura</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'u + -r</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsa'ur + a</b></td>
<td style="background-color: #f5f5f5; color: #000;"><b>tsara</b></td></tr></table>[/html]
--- End code ---

Kame Ayyo’koti:
These explanations have a lot of detail. We definitely needed something like this. Seysonìltsan ulte irayo. :)

Tirea Aean:

--- Quote from: Tìtstewan on June 11, 2014, 06:41:24 pm ---
--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 11, 2014, 06:31:58 pm ---topic case words, even tsaria and furia should come first in the sentence.
--- End quote ---
Its already mentioned there  ;)-->

--- Quote from: Tìtstewan on June 11, 2014, 05:52:50 pm ---But topical goes usually first.
--- End quote ---

--- End quote ---

why not say then,

          Tsaria pol awngati ke txayìng oe ’efu am’ake nìwotx.

so that there is no question on its correctness? ;) At this point, I think that except in poetry/music, topic anywhere but first in sentence/clause feels definitely incorrect. Are there examples of Frommer using it as you originally did? I'm curious. :)


--- Quote ---
--- Quote from: Tirea Aean on June 11, 2014, 06:31:58 pm ---Nice explanations +1
--- End quote ---
Irayo nìtxan! :D :D

PS, maybe one could make this sticky if useful?

--- End quote ---

Fair enough. :)

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