Author Topic: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners  (Read 2879 times)

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Offline Ftiafpi

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Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« on: January 13, 2010, 11:42:39 am »
Wrote this to someone I'm tutoring in Na'vi and it became so in-depth that I figured I'd clean it up a bit and share it. Basically this is Na'vi Pronouns for Dummies (with a bit about topic markers in there as well since they sort of go together).

A bit about pronouns in general, basic stuff cut and pasted from wikipedia:

"A pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun (or noun phrase) with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English."

"For example, consider the sentence "Lisa gave the coat to Phil." If the coat, Lisa, and Phil have been previously mentioned then all three nouns in the sentence can be replaced by pronouns: "She gave it to him.""

One of the biggest things with Na'vi pronouns is the use of the topic marker "-ri". The topic marker denotes the topic of the latter sentences. A quick side note on "-ri" is that it replaces any other genitive, ergative, or accusative affixes. However, the replaced affixes are still implied, so just "pretend" they are there. Anyway, the topic marker can define what a pronoun describes.

For example, if I said
tsat-ri oe-yä lu ikran
That-TOP me-GEN be banshee
"that is my banshee"

and you replied,
peu ikran lu ngayä?
which banshee be you-GEN
"which banshee is yours?"

and then I replied
ke fi'u, tsa'u ikran
not this one, that banshee
"not this one, that one."

Notice that since I defined the topic in the first sentence (using a pronoun but we can assume that I would have pointed to my banshee indicating it) that in the 3rd sentence I can use the pronouns of 'this' and 'that'. 'This one' is defined by the sentence context as not the topic and 'that one' is defined by the sentence context as referring to the original topic.

The other thing about pronouns is they encoded clusivity. That is, there are different words for "we" depending on whether the speaker is including the person spoken to or not. There are also special forms for "the two of us" (oeng "you & me", moe "s/he & me"), "the three of us", etc. Note that Na'vi pronouns do not inflect for gender (moe can mean either "she and me" or "he and me") unless you mark them with an affix for gender.

Here's a list of pronouns:

Pronouns    sing.     dual        trial        plural
exclusive:        oe        moe        pxoe        ayoe
inclusive:        —        oeng        pxoeng   ayoeng, awnga
2nd person:    nga        menga      pxenga   aynga
3rd person:    po        mefo     pxefo      ayfo, fo

Translated:

Pronouns    singular
exclusive:    I/me
inclusive:    —
2nd person:    You
3rd person:    He/she

Pronouns    duel
exclusive:    We (but not the person being spoken to, like telling a friend "me and my brother, we are going to the store")
inclusive:    We (you and the person being spoken to)
2nd person:    You two
3rd person:    Those two

Pronouns    trial
exclusive:    We (but not the person being spoken to, like telling a friend "me and my two brothers, we are going to the store")
inclusive:    We (you, someone else, and the person being spoken to)
2nd person:    You three
3rd person:    Those three

Pronouns    plural(more than 3)
exclusive:    We (but not the person being spoken to, like telling a friend "me and all my friends are going to the store")
inclusive:    We (everybody in the topical group)
2nd person:    You (indicating a group of more than 3)
3rd person:    Them (indicating a group of more than 3)

This is just the basics on pronouns and there are a few more rules regarding their usage. In addition there are things that we just don't know yet so I'm going to leave this 'as is' for now and perhaps expand on it later. Hope this helps.

For more on the topic marker please see: http://forum.learnnavi.org/prefixes-infixes-and-suffixes/the-complete-beginners-guide-to-the-topic-marker-ri/
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 01:04:53 pm by Ftiafpi »

Offline Taronyu

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Re: Pronouns for Beginners
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2010, 11:44:48 am »
Looks good. Don't see why you went into case markers so much, but yeah, I like it.

Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Pronouns for Beginners
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2010, 11:48:27 am »
Looks good. Don't see why you went into case markers so much, but yeah, I like it.

Well, I figured that the topical marker and pronouns go hand in hand so I put that stuff in there. I modified the title a bit though since, you're right, this kind of became not just about pronouns.

Offline kewnya txamew'itan

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Re: Pronouns for Beginners
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2010, 11:49:31 am »
I'm not very keen on people translating aynga for example as you all, it is idiomatic American English but not British English and might confuse people who speak other languages as their native tongue. I think it's generally better to leave it as you and add a note in brackets saying that there are more than three of you.

If I'm talking to five people but referring to four, this distinction is important. Aynga would mean any four of them whilst aynga nìwotx [verb] would be needed to refer to all five.

Just a little pet hate of mine. The rest looks great.
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Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Pronouns for Beginners
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2010, 11:51:09 am »
I'm not very keen on people translating aynga for example as you all, it is idiomatic American English but not British English and might confuse people who speak other languages as their native tongue. I think it's generally better to leave it as you and add a note in brackets saying that there are more than three of you.

If I'm talking to five people but referring to four, this distinction is important. Aynga would mean any four of them whilst aynga nìwotx [verb] would be needed to refer to all five.

Just a little pet hate of mine. The rest looks great.

Good point, fixed.

Offline Jaysc

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2010, 12:02:11 pm »
Awesome post! It cleared up a few things i didn't understand about pronouns. Irayo!

Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2010, 12:29:30 pm »
Awesome post! It cleared up a few things i didn't understand about pronouns. Irayo!

Glad it helped

Would we want to sticky this for people or no?

Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 01:06:47 pm »
Hmmmm, just found this thread (I know it took me a while, but why is it in phrases/vocab?) perhaps this and that one should be combined in some way?


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Re: Pronouns for Beginners
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2010, 01:23:08 pm »
I'm not very keen on people translating aynga for example as you all, it is idiomatic American English but not British English and might confuse people who speak other languages as their native tongue. I think it's generally better to leave it as you and add a note in brackets saying that there are more than three of you.

If I'm talking to five people but referring to four, this distinction is important. Aynga would mean any four of them whilst aynga nìwotx [verb] would be needed to refer to all five.

Just a little pet hate of mine. The rest looks great.

I like ya'll, and I'm not even from the south. Where did you get a four-person distinction?

Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Pronouns for Beginners
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2010, 01:26:31 pm »
I'm not very keen on people translating aynga for example as you all, it is idiomatic American English but not British English and might confuse people who speak other languages as their native tongue. I think it's generally better to leave it as you and add a note in brackets saying that there are more than three of you.

If I'm talking to five people but referring to four, this distinction is important. Aynga would mean any four of them whilst aynga nìwotx [verb] would be needed to refer to all five.

Just a little pet hate of mine. The rest looks great.

I like ya'll, and I'm not even from the south. Where did you get a four-person distinction?

Yeah, I didn't understand the 4 person distinction at all but I do agree that it's probably better to not you "you all" and rather explain that it's "you" but referring to a group of larger than 3.

Offline kewnya txamew'itan

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2010, 01:28:01 pm »
What I meant is that if you're talking to a group of four or more and say you all (or y'all) then you should be referring to every person in that group whilst a Na'vi plural you could be referring to any number of them that is four or more.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 01:50:30 pm by kawng mungeyu »
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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2010, 01:30:43 pm »
What I meant is that if you're talking to a group of more than four and say you all (or y'all) then you should be referring to every person in that group whilst a Na'vi plural you could be referring to any number of them that is four or more.

I repeat: where are you getting the number four? Four or more I understand, but not the initial more than four.

Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2010, 01:31:20 pm »
What I meant is that if you're talking to a group of more than four and say you all (or y'all) then you should be referring to every person in that group whilst a Na'vi plural you could be referring to any number of them that is four or more.

I would disagree, my understanding is that Na'vi plural means the entire group (to which you are referring) similar to "you all".

Quote
I repeat: where are you getting the number four? Four or more I understand, but not the initial more than four.

I think he means that "you all" in English means a group of X out of X objects. Where as the Na'vi plural means X out of Y objects where X > 3 (like addressing a group of 20 people and saying "you 10 people on the right" as the plural).

However, I don't think this is correct (but that's just me).
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 01:34:31 pm by Ftiafpi »

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2010, 01:35:59 pm »
Quote
Quote
What I meant is that if you're talking to a group of more than four and say you all (or y'all) then you should be referring to every person in that group whilst a Na'vi plural you could be referring to any number of them that is four or more.

I repeat: where are you getting the number four? Four or more I understand, but not the initial more than four.

I'm excluding singular, dual and trial yous.

Quote
What I meant is that if you're talking to a group of more than four and say you all (or y'all) then you should be referring to every person in that group whilst a Na'vi plural you could be referring to any number of them that is four or more.

Quote
I would disagree, my understanding is that Na'vi plural means the entire group (to which you are referring) similar to "you all".

So if you are refering to a number of people such that a singular, dual or trial form would not work out of a group (but not the entirety/all of that group) how would you say that?

In English you might say you five or you four but I'm not sure if that's possible in Na'vi.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 01:39:29 pm by Ftiafpi »
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Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2010, 01:40:22 pm »
Quote
So if you are refering to a number of people such that a singular, dual or trial form would not work out of a group (but not the entirety/all of that group) how would you say that?

In English you might say you five or you four but I'm not sure if that's possible in Na'vi.

Why wouldn't it work?

P.S. I apologize for accidentally editing your post, I hit "modify" and not "quote", my bad.

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2010, 01:44:31 pm »
I don't know really, for some bizarre and unexplainable reason I can't seem to explain, I just think that the you # doesn't work in Na'vi.

Unless you meant the singular dual or trial? In that case, I meant if you are referring to four or more (so not singular, dual or trial) but not all of the group. In that case, you all is misleading because it is not all of the group, just 'many' of the group.
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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2010, 01:45:20 pm »
You can't differentiate, just as in English with a group of indeterminate size. We don't know how you'd do it in Na'vi. You're assuming.

Four or more. Not more than four. Mispelling of yours.

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2010, 01:50:32 pm »
In that case, you all is misleading because it is not all of the group, just 'many' of the group.

Yes, I agree with this, hence the change.

Anyway, my earlier question that got buried:

Quote
Hmmmm, just found this thread (I know it took me a while, but why is it in phrases/vocab?) perhaps this and that one should be combined in some way?

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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2010, 01:52:25 pm »
I'm assuming about the not being able to just add a number srak? Or with the you all?

The thing is, in English there is a way to differentiate between part of a group and all of the group, either with numbering or using you all only refer to the whole group.

As I say, this is a little pet hate of mine so I may be a little stubborn about it.
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Re: Pronouns (and Topic Markers) for Beginners
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2010, 01:53:05 pm »
Perhaps. I don't know how. I could make a document on LaTeX? :D

Kawng, it may be a pet hate, but we don't know how it works in Na'vi.

 

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