[Back to Table of Contents]
Prev: [Negative]
Next: [Your Turn 1]
[Printable (pdf) version of this lesson]

Lesson 6
Translation 1


In the sixth of each seven-lesson set, we’ll take a moment out to try some free translation. We will usually add some vocabulary, but only what is necessary for the text at hand.

After the workspace for your translation—as part of my English translation—I’ll give a morpheme-by-morpheme analysis. If grammar-geekiness intimidates you, feel free to skip this part; however, those willing to take the “risk” will find that it sheds considerable light on how Láadan words and sentences are put together.

Vocabulary

bol

to be fleecy-clouded (of the sky)

–de

Suffix (Type-of-Sentence Word): said in narrative; said as a story

hathal

good (of a time)

háya

beautiful (of a time)

hothal

good (of a place)

hóya

beautiful (of a place)

izh

but

leyi

to be blue

lith

to think

lula

to be purple

sháal

day

tháa

to thrive; to be well

thosh

sky

wo

Evidence Word: imagined or invented by the speaker; hypothetical

yod

to eat

Story

Hathal Sháallisten to this paragraph pronounced

Bíide hóya Halishóni wo. Míi Méri i di, “Bíi háya sháal wi.”listen to this sentence pronounced  ¶

Bíide medathim Méri i Ána wo.listen to this sentence pronounced Laya bud, izh melaya ra thom; melula thom.listen to this sentence pronounced  ¶listen to this paragraph pronounced

Bíide di Méri wo, “Bíi óoha le wa,” izh óoha ra Ána.listen to this sentence pronounced Áana Méri.listen to this sentence pronounced  ¶listen to this paragraph pronounced

Bíide u áath wo.listen to this sentence pronounced Tháa i liyen hesh.listen to this sentence pronounced Leyi i bol thosh.listen to this sentence pronounced Mehéeya ra mid; di Ána, “Bíi meháya nezh wa.”listen to this sentence pronounced  ¶listen to this paragraph pronounced

Bíide yod Ána wo.listen to this sentence pronounced Methal bal i rana, izh thal ra thilhi.listen to this sentence pronounced  ¶listen to this paragraph pronounced

Bíide lith Ána wo, “Bíi hothal Halishóni wa.”

Morpheme-by-Morpheme Analysis

Láadan uses words and word-parts to build more complex words—like toy blocks. To avoid any confusion in the following analysis, words that have their own meanings will begin with a capital letter (Word); words that are built of two or more “pieces” will be presented with each “piece” beginning with a capital (Word + Word). Words that are there to give context but don’t have their own translatable meaning will be presented in all-capital letters (WRD). Prefixes and suffixes will also be presented in all-capital letters (PREF + Word + Word + SUFF); notice that the context words, prefixes and suffixes may be abbreviated.

Hathal Sháal

Hathal

BeGoodTime

Sháal

Day

Day Being-Good-Time


Bíide hóya Halishóni wo. Míi Méri i di, “Bíi háya sháal wi.”

Bíide

DECL + NARR

hóya

BeBeautifulPlace

Halishóni

California

wo.

MADEUP

Míi

BeAmazed

Méri

Mary

i

And

di,

Say

“Bíi

DECL

háya

BeBeautifulTime

sháal

Day

wi.”

SELFEVID

California was beautiful. Mary was amazed and said, “The day is beautiful.”


Bíide medathim Méri i Ána wo. Laya bud, izh melaya ra thom; melula thom.

Bíide

DECL + NARR

medathim

PL + Needlework

Méri

Mary

i

And

Ána;

Anna

wo.

MADEUP

Laya

BeRed

bud,

Clothing

izh

But

melaya

PL + BeRed

ra

NEG

thom;

Pillow

melula

PL + BePurple

thom.

Pillow

Mary and Anna were needleworking. The clothing was red, but the pillows were not red; the pillows were purple.


Bíide di Méri wo, “Bíi óoha le wa,” izh óoha ra Ána. Áana Méri.

Bíide

DECL + NARR

di

Say

Méri

Mary

wo,

MADEUP

“Bíi

DECL

óoha

BeWeary

le

I

wa,”

MYPERC

izh

But

óoha

BeWeary

ra

NEG

Ána.

Anna

Áana

Sleep

Méri.

Mary

Mary said, “I’m weary,” but Anna wasn’t tired. Mary slept.


Bíide u áath wo. Tháa i liyen hesh. Leyi i bol thosh. Mehéeya ra mid; di Ána, “Bíi meháya nezh wa.”

Bíide

DECL + NARR

u

BeOpen

áath

Door

wo.

MADEUP

Tháa

Thrive

i

And

liyen

BeGreen

hesh.

Grass

Leyi

BeBlue

i

And

bol

BeFleecyClouded

thosh.

Sky

Mehéeya

PL + BeAfraid

ra

NEG

mid;

Creature

di

Say

Ána,

Anna

“Bíi

Statement

meháya

PL + BeBeautiful

nezh

You2-5

wa.”

MYPERC

The door was open. The grass was thriving and green. The sky was blue and fleecy-clouded. The animals were not afraid; Anna said, “You are beautiful.”


Bíide yod Ána wo. Methal bal i rana, izh thal ra thilhi.

Bíide

DECL + NARR

yod

Eat

Ána;

Anna

wo.

MADEUP

Methal

PL + BeGood

bal

Bread

i

And

rana,

Beverage

izh

But

thal

BeGood

ra

Not

thilhi.

Fish + PEJ

Mary ate. The bread and beverage were good, but the fish had gone off and was not good.


Bíide lith Ána wo, “Bíi hothal Halishóni wa.”<

Bíide

DECL + NARR

lith

Think

Ána

Anna

wo,

MADEUP

“Bíi

DECL

hothal

BeGoodPlace

Halishóni

California

wa.”

MYPERC

Anna thought, “California is good.”

My English Text

Day Being-Good-Time

California was beautiful. Mary was amazed and said, “The day is beautiful.”

Mary and Anna were needleworking; the clothing was red, but the pillows were not red; the pillows were purple.

Mary said, “I am weary,” but Anna was not tired. Mary slept.

The door was open. The grass was thriving and green. The sky was blue and fleecy-clouded. The animals were not afraid; Anna said, “You are beautiful.”

Anna ate. The bread and the beverage were good, but the fish had gone off and was not good.

Anna thought, “California is good.”

Comments

This story is rather cartoonish, but what more can be expected with a limited vocabulary and only a few grammatical features to work with?

Note that the Láadan title of the story lacks the Type-of-Sentence Word and the Evidence Word. The concepts are there, but there’s no “framework” to “hang” them on. Without the form provided by the Type-of-Sentence and Evidence Words, it’s impossible to translate them into an English sentence.

Note that the Type-of-Sentence Words need not be repeated in connected speech. Of course, the content of a new paragraph is not connected to that of the previous paragraph, so the Type-of-Sentence Word would be required again. Also, the text within a quotation is not connected to that outside the quotation, so the speaker would include a Type-of-Sentence Word, so when she’s quoted, the Type-of-Sentence word would be included in the quotation.

Similarly, the Evidence Word need not be repeated within connected speech once it is established. The constraints regarding quotations and paragraph boundaries would also apply.

In this story we are introduced to the first of the Mood Suffixes. These will all modify the Type-of-Sentence Word; the sentence will still be a statement, question, and so on, but the purpose or emotional state behind the sentence is made specific. In this case –de signifies that what is being related is a story. And, in conjunction with the new Evidence Word wo, it is clearly a made-up story.

The Mood Suffixes can also be attached to any communication verb: “dide” would mean “speaks, in narrative form,” and “dibíide” would mean “states or declares, in telling a story.”

Did you note the word “thilhi” in the second-to-last paragraph? We know the word “thili” (fish). Láadan makes it easy to adapt a word to incorporate a “pejorative” (negative) meaning on-the-fly. The sound “lh” is used in Láadan for nothing else, and can be added to the beginning, middle or end of any word to lend a temporary deprecatory meaning—so long as the addition doesn’t violate Láadan’s requirement that vowel sounds and consonant sounds within a word occur in strict alternation. In addition, if the word contains the sound “l,” that letter can be changed to “lh” (as was done to “thili” here). In either case, the change would not be included in any dictionary; it’s strictly temporary and carries the sense of distaste or disapproval of a particular occurrence of the thing—of the fish, in this case.

A somewhat different case involving “lh” is words whose meanings are inherently negative. These words will often include the sound “lh” as a core part of their makeup. This is not temporary and such words would be found in a dictionary.

top