[Back to Table of Contents]
Prev: [Possessives]
Next: [Translation 2]
[Printable (pdf) version of this lesson]

Lesson 12
Relativizer


Vocabulary

á–

Prefix (life-form): infant

aba

to be fragrant

berídan

aunt

dizh

kettle

du–

Prefix (verb): try to VERB

léli

to be yellow

mahina

flower

oba

body

othel

to be blessed

wo–

Prefix (verb-and-noun pair): relativizer

Our first vocabulary item above is just one of a set of life-stage prefixes: á– (infant); háa– (child); yáa– (adolescent); sháa– (adult); and zháa– (senior). These prefixes can be applied to with (person), or any animal to make specific what life-stage the person or animal has achieved. For example, the life-stages of humans would be “áwith” (infant), “háawith” (child), “yáawith” (teenager), “sháawith” (adult), and “zháawith” (senior).

Note the word “háawith:” it means “child” as a stage of maturity; it is distinct from “shem” (offspring). Therefore, unless you live where child slavery is the norm, you might be careful about any phrase where a child is owned; it’s more appropriate to say “shem X-tha” (X’s offspring).

And of birds: “ábabí” (hatchling), “háababí” (nestling), “yáababí” (fledgeling), “sháababí” (adult bird), and “zháababí” (senior bird). We probably have blood-sport—in the form of falconry, which was popular among English aristocracy—to thank for the variety of English words for the various life-stages of birds.

Relativizer

[Verb (Neg) CP–S]

Láadan has a form that is much like an English “adjective + noun” sequence, as in “green tree” or “small child.” You can take any sequence of verb and subject (remembering that “adjectives” are only ordinary verbs in Láadan) and put the marker “wo–” at the beginning of each one. “Beautiful woman” is thus “woháya wowith.” This is very useful, but it is a bit different from English because it can only be used if you have just one verb. You cannot use this pattern to translate an English sequence like “little red brick wall.”


The plural marker is always the last piece added to any verb; thus “beautiful women” will be “mewoháya wowith.”


Of course, translating “woháya wowith” as “beautiful woman” and “mewoháya wowith” as “beautiful women,” as quoted above, is the older female-default version of Láadan.

Linguistic Note:

English derives “the green grass” from “the grass which is green,” with “which is green” the relative clause; when a language does that with a morpheme instead of by grammatical processes like moving things around and deleting and inserting stuff, the morpheme is called a “relativizer.” So, “liyen” is “be green” and “hesh” is “grass;” “woliyen wohesh” is “green grass” because of the relativizing prefix.

Examples

Bíi aba mahina wa.

The flower is fragrant.

Bíi laya mahina wa.

The flower is red.

Bíi aba wolaya womahina wa.

The red flower is fragrant.

Bíi laya wohaba womahina wa.

The fragrant flower is red.

Bíi aba wolaya womahina ábedátho wa.

The farmer’s red flower is fragrant.

Bíi laya wohaba womahina ábedátho wa.

The farmer’s fragrant flower is red.

Báa owa belid?

Is the house warm?

Báa owa belid amedarahátho?

Is the dancer’s house warm?

Bíi óoha amedarahá wáa.

The dancer is tired.

Báa owa belid wohóoha wohamedarahátho?

Is the tired dancer’s house warm?

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1

Bíi do wobalin wowith wa. listen to this sentence pronounced

2

Bíi melawida mewoshane womid ábedátho wáa.

3

Bíi wam wohaba woshum bethethu wi.

4

Báa meralóolo mewoháya wobabí i womíi woberídan Elízhabeth betha?

5

Báa doth woshóod wohomideth bebáatho?

6

Báa dathim wothal wothul Therísha betha?

Transform the following into relativized form in Láadan; then translate the result into English.

Example: “Bíi áya withizh wa. Balin withizh.” becomes “Bíi áya wobalin wowithizh wa.” (The old woman is beautiful.)

Note that the Type-of-Sentence Word and Evidence Word are not included in the second source sentence. They would have to be if they changed or if the sentences were not connected to each other. The sentences are, by the nature of the exercise, connected; we can therefore assume that the Type-of-Sentence Word and the Evidence Word are the same.

7

Bíi owa áwith wa. Áana áwith.

8

Bíi lalom onida omátha wa. Rahíya onida. Héeya omá waá.

9

Báa duhal hothul? Bíi zháadin hothul wa.

10

Bíi memahina ra dala wáa. Née dala.

11

Bíi amedara muda wa. Tháa muda. listen to this sentence pronounced

12

Bíi melithehul eshoná wáa. Merabalin eshoná.

In #10, did you have any trouble translating “memahina”? Remember that any Láadan verb can be used as a noun (so long as the meaning isn’t nonsense). Just so, Láadan allows you to use a noun as a verb. This process is just as simple as the reverse. Simply apply the appropriate verb affixes (even the lack of an affix for a singular verb) to the noun and use it in the verb’s position in the sentence. Using more Latinate language, “a flower” (mahina) could be termed “an efflorescence;” in the same idiom, “to flower” would be “to effloresce.” Here the noun is clearly derived directly from the verb; I think we can safely use “mahina” to mean the verb “to flower” as well as the noun “flower.”

Translate the following into Láadan.

13

The new worker laughs.

14

Isn’t Anna’s red fish eating?

15

The black sheep don’t jump.

16

Carol’s wise sister’s ugly friend is menstruating.

17

Anthony’s tired heart-sibling’s small goats and slow cow are present.

18

Of whose green house are the purple door and the blue windows open?

In #13, did you have any difficulty translating “new”? The worker isn’t “new” as a person; however, as a worker, she is. Thus, we can use “bun” (new, of inanimates; occasionally of persons “new” to a role or position).

top

Answers

1

The old person is strong.

2

The farmer’s furry creatures are pregnant.

3

The fragrant air of home is still (obviously).

4

Are the beautiful birds and Elizabeth’s amazed aunt quick?

5

Whose busy horse follows?

6

Does Teresa’s good parent needlework?

 

7

Bíi owa woháana woháwith wa.

The sleeping baby is warm.

8

Bíi lalom worahíya wohonida wohéeya wohomátha waá.

The fearful teacher’s large family sings.

9

Báa duhal wozháadin wohothul? listen to this sentence pronounced

Is the menopausal grandmother trying to work?

10

Bíi memahina ra mewonée wodala wáa.

The alien plants are not flowering.

11

Bíi amedara wotháa womuda wa. listen to this sentence pronounced

The thriving pig dances.

12

Bíi melithehul meworabalin woheshoná wáa.

The young peace-scientists think deeply (I’m reliably informed).

 

13

Bíi ada wobun wohalá wáa.

14

Báa yod ra wolaya wothili Ána betho?

15

Bíi mehoób ra mewoloyo wohéesh wa.

16

Bíi osháana womodi wolan wowoth wohenatho Hérel betha wáa. listen to this sentence pronounced

17

Bíi meham mewohíya wohéezh i wolóolo wodithemid wohóoha wohéenatho Ánetheni betho wa.

18

Báa merahu wolula woháath i mewoleyi wodem woliyen wobelidethu bebáatho?

top