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Orz
Member
Posts: 15

In retrospect, I should have joined and posted something about the Unwritten Kickstarter (here)--and the Guild of Linguists reward tier--some time ago. It simply failed to occur to me that you might not have known about it.


As it has completed successfully, and since I backed the Kickstarter at the Guild of Linguists tier, I expect to be able to submit a single sentence to RAWA for translation in roughly two weeks' time. I intend to use that sentence to try to fill in some holes in the D'ni grammar.


My current candidate sentence is:

Then what more fitting name is there to call him by than "Fool", if he has never been anything else in your (pl.) presence?

This should get us a content question; a comparative; an objective-case third-person pronoun*; the second-person plural genitive pronominal suffix; the indefinite pronoun "anything"; and the verb "to call" (in the appellative sense), along with the structure of its arguments**.


Is anyone aware of any other holes in the known D'ni grammar that I could try to fill? More generally, does anyone have any suggestions to improve the candidate sentence?




* I suspect one of two things: 1) this will specifically be the masculine animate third person pronoun, or 2) no third person objective pronouns exist at all, and a) a periphrastic substitution such as *mot kahm (that ?man) will be used, or b) nothing at all will be used, and D'ni is simply a pro-drop language in this context.


** The verb "to call" is low priority: it's just something I wanted, and I'm willing to toss it out for the sake of other missing grammatical elements. Other things I would have liked would be "to prefer", "to claim" (= to attest, to state, to aver), "never" (in the dynamic sense, rather than the stative implied by tsanril), and "god" (in the anthropological sense of "some worshipped entity" rather than the D'ni-specific sense of "Yahvo, The Great Maker").

November 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

The consensus in the community is that there will be a single 3rd person singular object pronoun, corresponding to the single 3rd person singular subject pronoun. Our most likely candidate is tah, but it would be good to confirm that, or get the correct word. Also, the 2nd person plural possessive pronoun has been on object of speculation for many years, and it will be good to complete that section of the grammar, especially if we can get hold of it before the languages lessons reach that point.

I think it would be a good idea to work 'because' in there somewhere, as that is still only a speculative translation.

Colours are something that would be nice to know.

Colours aside, what you have, plus my request for 'because' would make me very happy indeed.


As an aside, we should urge others who selected the Linguists tier to go for words and formulae we do not yet know.

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November 10, 2013 at 4:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Korov’ev
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Posts: 160

Well, thank you! Unfortunately it seems you're the only one.

Maybe you could start the phrase with "Because of these claims then, what more fitting name..."

November 10, 2013 at 5:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
Site Owner
Posts: 381

Well, all things considered, it is doubted that the D'ni marked gender on their pronouns, because no other pronoun does. Not even the 3rd singular possessive.


That is a real shame


That is very impressive.

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November 10, 2013 at 6:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Orz
Member
Posts: 15

@Kathryn Aveara:

> The consensus in the community is that there will be a single 3rd person singular object pronoun, corresponding to the single 3rd person singular subject pronoun.

Is there an attested (presumably emphatic) standalone 3s subject pronoun, or are you referring to the verb ending -en? In the latter case I don't think that's a viable argument for a single 3s object pronoun: most Indo-European languages (including English!) also mark verbs with 3s subjects uniformly regardless of animacy and gender, but still have different object pronouns for them.


> As an aside, we should urge others who selected the Linguists tier to go for words and formulae we do not yet know.

All none of them, alas. I'm the only one.


> I think it would be a good idea to work 'because' in there somewhere, as that is still only a speculative translation.

Hmm.

Who among you is there who can claim that you would never have knelt to her, merely because your homes and your fortunes and your children were in danger, and because you feared their immediate loss more than the black and red retribution of her whom you called the White and Blue God?

(I would have preferred to use char-black and blood-red, but it might be difficult to separate them out, since neither char nor blood are attested. I suppose the intended semantics are clear enough.)



@Korov'ev:

> Because of these claims then, what more fitting name...

I don't believe that would work for either Kathryn or myself. Because of is distinct from because: the former is a multi-word preposition (governing a noun), while the latter is a subordinating conjunction (governing a full dependent clause). Also, claims (noun) ≠ to claim (verb).

November 10, 2013 at 6:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
Site Owner
Posts: 381

KathTheDragon at November 10, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Well, all things considered, it is doubted that the D'ni marked gender on their pronouns, because no other pronoun does. Not even the 3rd singular possessive.


That is a real shame


That is very impressive.


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November 10, 2013 at 6:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Orz
Member
Posts: 15

> Well, all things considered, it is doubted that the D'ni marked gender on their pronouns, because no other pronoun does. Not even the 3rd singular possessive.

I see your point. I'm still weakly of the opinion that it's (Watsonian) derived from an archaic verbal construction, or (Doylist) constructed to parallel the verbal endings, with no direct connection between the two. However, a quick Wikipedia survey of languages with pronominal possessive clitics indicates that gender distinction (or its lack) does typically match between possessive clitics and standalone pronouns.


This is less true for animacy: Persian's standalone pronouns distinguish animacy, while its posessive clitics and verbal forms don't.


(Also, sorry about the vanishing post, earlier; I had formatting issues and decided to rework it.)

 

November 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
Site Owner
Posts: 381

You can reformat posts with the Edit tool. And sorry about the clunkiness of the site, but I'm forced to web-host right now.

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November 10, 2013 at 6:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Orz
Member
Posts: 15

@Kathryn: I was aware, but I was also afraid that fixing things would take more than ten minutes. ^_^;;


I decided to take a stab at glossing the candidate sentence I tossed out in my earlier post, to suss out possible sources of ambiguity. The bracketed Greek letters scattered everywhere match up with footnotes; [English words in brackets] are of course placeholders for the D'ni words. Thanks to Talashar for the convenient reference.


Who among you are there who can claim that you would never have obeyed her, merely because your homes and your fortunes and your children were in danger, and because you feared their immediate loss more than the black and red retribution of her whom you called the White and Blue God?


[α]kamroveh teh shemtee kehntee kamrov [β][claim] roo [γ.1][obey]tee [her] [never (dynamic)] [η][merely] [because]tee tomahntee[2pp] gah [δ]tsosahtahvtee[2pp] gah [child]tee[2pp] [γ.2]kehnehneet [δ]t'loopah [η] gah [because] [ζ] [γ.2][fear]tee [ζ] [ε]oshahntahv [immediate] [ζ] reh[retribution] [black] gah [red] okh [her] [θ]kamrov ko[called]tee [κ][god] [white] gah [blue] [ζ]?


Except for the [ζ], it seems clear. In this respect alone I think it's slightly preferable to my earlier candidate sentence, in which "more fitting name" and "than 'Fool'" might have been unanalyzable due to word-order issues.


 

Footnotes:


α: Talashar has covered the issue of content questions; -eh is a cheerful stab in the dark.


β: "can claim", of course, but the use of voohee vs. chahn- is not well understood. (Or at least, not by me.)


γ: No particular tense stands out as appropriate for these verbs, although γ.1 seems sufficiently irrealis as to almost demand an auxiliary verb or additional affix. (Then again, I speak English.) If pressed I would use bodol- for γ.1 and the gnomic present for γ.2, but I wouldn't put money on it.


δ: These are hapax legomena that I've pressed into service.


ε: Assembled from oshahn + -tahv; unattested.


ζ: There are several places the bits and pieces of "more than" could go. Mostly I feel confident that "more" would precede "than", but this is still the bit that I'm most worried about being ambiguous.


θ: Using kamrov unmarked as an objective-case relative pronoun feels weird due to animacy issues: it's currently attested only as the subject of its relative clause. Kam is used in an almost parallel construction as the object of its clause, but kam is also presumably low enough on the animacy scale that it doesn't seem inappropriate at all. Offhand, I see three possibilities:

  • It might be A-OK, and I'm just projecting from English whom. (kamrov koXXXXtee ...).
  • kamrov may require "call" to be passivized. (kamrov t'shemtee koXXXXij ...).
  • "to call" may require the thing named fall under the preposition behn or somesuch, rather than being ditransitive. (behn kamrov koXXXXtee ...) Come to think of it, are any ditransitive verbs attested so far?

All of these should use constructs that we already partially know, though, and none should be difficult to read.


κ: See θ concerning the arguments of [call]. This probably doesn't have a preposition on it, but it could—or there could be some sort of quotative marker (à la Japanese to or tte), which worries me a little. But even if there is, I'm pretty sure it would be a separate word, rather than some sort of affix or clitic that might conceal the lexeme for "god".


η: I don't know if "merely" will occur clause-initially or clause-finally. I'm pretty sure it's limited to one of those two, though, and I don't think it can be confused with the adjacent lexemes in either

November 11, 2013 at 1:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381
That looks great!
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November 11, 2013 at 2:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Orz
Member
Posts: 15

 

I would have liked to post this yesterday, but hardware failure struck.

I've noted a few surprising things with Greek letters: I've already asked RAWA to confirm that these are as intended, but obviously I don't expect to hear anything until after Obduction has gone to the presses, and likely not even then.


The original text was provided in D'niFont (and has here been manually copied from another screen an another computer, where I'm doing a drive recovery). Before the hardware failure, I also performed a semi-automated OTS translation on it (which I then transferred to paper for ease of interlinear translation). Any scribal errors I may have introduced in these fragments should therefore be mostly uncorrelated. The periods in the OTS text are used to separate morphemes where I believe morpheme boundaries exist. I have not been consistent about h-deletion.

.Kåmrov teSemtE vUhE belen rU xanril KobolKEbaen ze nEgeS gopa tomanatEomE [α] gamUDentEomE gaxotOtEomE KoKenEt t'pAcavo gagopa KosofeguEt zo'e'os gimit inA r'Ax'DA oKo garUDS okze Kåmrov KofUsaEt rebareltan haza gatrel

kåmrov teh.shemtee voohee behl.ehn roo tsahnril ko.bol.keebah.ehn zeh neegehsh gopah tomahnahtee.omee [α] gah.mooden.tee.omee gah.tsotoy.tee.omee ko.kehn.eet t'.paychahvoh gah.gopah ko.sofeguh.eet zo'e'os gimit ihnay r'.ayts'day ohkoh gah.roodsh okh.zeh kåmrov ko.foosaheet reh.bahrehltahn hahzah gah.trehl

The [α]s mark what appears to be either an irregular plural or an error in the transcription: tomahnahtee rather than tomahntee.


A quick rundown of the new vocabulary, in occurrence. [β] denotes words with significant departures from known D'ni phonotactics.

behl, v. claim

keebah, v. obey

neegehsh, adv. merely

gopah, conj. because

mooden, n. fortune (as 'possessions, valuable things owned')

tsotoy, n. child

t'paychahvoh, idiom in danger (probably paychahvoh, n. danger, but could be something surprising)

sofeguh, v. fear

zo'e'os, n. loss [β]

gimit, adj. immediate

ayts'day, n. retribution

ohkoh, adj. black

roodsh [β], adj. red

foosah, v. call

hahzah, adj. white

trehl, adj. blue 

We have:

  • two former hapax legomena, neegehsh and trehl. Not at all the ones I was expecting!
  • one maybe-former-hapax-legomenon, keebah. Given this, I suspect Gehn's /kiːbaːjem/ should be keebahehm, and likewise that his /aːrojem/ is probably ahroehm.
  • a rare (but not unprecedented) three-syllable verb sofeguh. (See oehnahzo and tokituh.)
  • that bahrehltahn, despite its literal meaning of "one who creates", would probably still be used in reference to non-creator deities featured in the religions of non-D'ni cultures.


And, finally, the new grammar.

No explicit interrogative marker

The relative pronoun kåmrov is used without alteration as the interrogative pronoun. There is also no distinct interrogative punctuation marker. "Thoe" is probably a phoneticism.

kobol-, past irrealis(?) verbal prefix

This corresponds to the English would [...] have in the original text. Whether bol- can be used without ko-, in nonnegative sentences, or in any realis contexts is unknown. (It's technically even possible that bolkeebah is a single verb, but I doubt it.)

zeh, 3rd person object pronoun

This may be specifically animate. (Or animate-feminine; but, as Kathryn Aveara has pointed out, that's unlikely.) It's surprising, but it does match with the first-person object pronoun zoo: perhaps this is indicative of historical suppletion?

-omee, 2nd person plural possessive suffix

Not what I was expecting either!

ihnay, comparative marker

This may, grammatically, be either a preposition or a conjunction.

kåmrov, animate relative object pronoun

Already attested as the animate relative subject pronoun, of course.

-ehn/-eet, ??? [γ]

Where the English text uses "you" as the verbal subject, the D'ni has third-person verbal suffixes. There are several possible reasons for this, including:

  • a general aversion to 2nd person plural subjects, due to frequent confusion with nominal plural (consistent with the paucity of examples we have); 
  • kåmrov specifically requiring the third person in modern D'ni, even when interrogative, and this carrying through to the rest of the sentence;
  • simple error.
None of these explanations strike me as so much more likely than the others that I'll stake an opinion on them.

 

 

April 3, 2014 at 5:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Orz
Member
Posts: 15

(... the random orange text in the transcription was failed forum formatting; please ignore it.)

April 3, 2014 at 5:18 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

The passage in RTS:

.kamrov teshemtee voohee belen roo tsahnril kobolkeebahen ze neegesh gopah tomahnahteeomee gahmoodenteeomee gahtsotoyteeomee kokeneet t'peychahvo gahgopah kosofegueet zo'e'os gimit iney r'ets'dey oko gahroodsh okhze kamrov kofoosaheet rebahreltahn hahzah gahtrel

 

This will make it easier for me to read. I'll analyse this in a minute. Congrats on getting such a rich array of new words!

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April 3, 2014 at 7:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

Some initial thoughts.

kobolkeebahen should probably be kobolkeebahem

kosofegueet should probably be kosofegutee

gahroodsh should probably be gahroodesh

kofoosaheet should probably be kofoosahtee


New vocab plus some musings.

belen - claim (v)

kobol- - seems to be a subjunctive marker

keebah - obey

ze - a 3rd person object pronoun, contrasting with tah?

neegesh - merely, thus:

neeg - mere

gopah - because. Well now I need to think of something else for oyn.

tomahnah - home. Perhaps contrasted with tomahn - house?

-omee - at last, the ever-elusive 2nd plural possessive pronoun! And preserving my neat D'ni phonotactics.

mooden - fortune

tsotoy - child. Maybe deriving from tso and -oy?

peychahvo - danger

sofegu - fear (v)

zo'e - loss

gimit - immediate

iney - more than. Perhaps this is a particle meaning 'above'?

ets'dey - retribution

oko - black

rood(e)sh - red

foosah - call, name (v)

bahreltahn - god. Bahreltahn as an epiphet of Yahvo seems to have been lexicalised as 'god' in addition to 'creator'

hazah - white

trel - blue


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April 3, 2014 at 7:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

Oh, Orz, would you be able to come to the AGM in Moula on Saturday? I'll bring this up during my announcements, and I think it'd be good to have the man of the moment with us.

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April 3, 2014 at 7:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Talashar
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Posts: 30

Lots of good stuff!  It's nice to have those paradigm gaps filled at last.  One odd thing that hasn't been mentioned is that voohee precedes the verb here rather than following it as in all our previous examples.

--

Talashar Geltahn; Ki 183867 An overview of D'ni grammar | My books

April 3, 2014 at 8:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

I think this could be riddled with odd things, like the apparent lack of a second vowel in roodsh.

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April 4, 2014 at 2:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Korov’ev
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Posts: 160

Holy Mackerel! I can fill some blanks in the Notes :)

For thoroughness’ sake, here are the NTS and UCSUR versions:


.kæmrov tešemtí vúhí belen rú canril kobolkíbaen ze nígeš gopa tomanatíomí gamúdentíomí gacotótíomí kokenít t’péçavo gagopa kosofeguít zo’e’os gimit iné r’éc’dé oko garúdš oxze kæmrov kofúsaít rebareltan haza gatrel


                            


Maybe ón means lastly:
“lastly, I am thankful especially [for – possibly implicit in mor’ox’mor] it was the urge...”, AP.;
“lastly, the Great Master...”, Talash.

--

  46116   —  D’ní notesFontsGoodies
.fa  mEstav  Kat  Kenen  xanril  fUru

April 4, 2014 at 6:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

KathTheDragon
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Posts: 381

No, oyn is definitely a conjunction.

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April 4, 2014 at 7:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Orz
Member
Posts: 15

Kathryn Aveara wrote:

> gahtsotoytee should probably be gahtsotoyteeomee

But it is! (The remainder are as I received them, though they looked odd to me, too.)

> Oh, Orz, would you be able to come to the AGM in Moula on Saturday? I'll bring this up during my announcements, and I think it'd be good to have the man of the moment with us.

Probably not, largely due to aforementioned hardware failure.


Talashar wrote:

> Lots of good stuff! It's nice to have those paradigm gaps filled at last. One odd thing that hasn't been mentioned is that voohee precedes the verb here rather than following it as in all our previous examples.

Wow, I completely missed that. I can confirm it's not a scribal error on my part. It could be related to the fact that all our other examples use kehn-...?


Korov'ev wrote:

> .kæmrov tešemtí vúhí belen rú canril kobolkíbaen ze nígeš gopa tomanatíomí gamúdentíomí gacotótíomí kokenít t’péçavo gagopa kosofeguít zo’e’os gimit iné r’éc’dé oko garúdš oxze kæmrov kofúsaít rebareltan haza gatrel

It looks like it matches my other autotransliteration, for what that's worth.



April 4, 2014 at 11:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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