[Back to Table of Contents]
Prev: [“Wh” Questions]
Next: [Your Turn 2]
[Printable (pdf) version of this lesson]

Lesson 13
Translation 2


Vocabulary

á–

Prefix (life-form): infant

benem

to stay

berídan

aunt/uncle

den

to help

edin

cousin

elash

to play

háa–

Prefix (life-form): child

háawith

child

hi

demonstrative pronoun (this, that)

hoberídan

great-aunt/great-uncle [ho– (one generation removed) + berídan (aunt/uncle)]

hoshem

grandchild [ho– (one generation removed) + shem (offspring)]

hosherídan

grand-niece/grand-nephew [ho– (one generation removed) + sherídan (niece/nephew)]

ná–

Prefix (verb): continue to VERB; keep on VERBing

rado

to be weak [ra– (NON) + do (be strong)]

sháa–

Prefix (life-form): adult

sháad

to come; to go

shem

offspring

sherídan

niece/nephew

yáa–

Prefix (life-form): teen; adolescent; no longer a child but not yet an adult

zháa–

Prefix (life-form): senior; elder

zho

sound


Before the word “shem” (offspring) was coined, following Suzette Haden Elgin’s death, to disambiguate that meaning from “háawith” (child), it was possible for a parent to say, as in English, “You are my child.” When the child protested that s/he was a grown adult, the parent could (with complete linguistic surety) aver that, no matter how old, s/he would always be “my child.” That is no longer possible, given the form “shem;” when a parent states that “You are my offspring,” no argument is possible—or necessary, since there is no longer any imputation of minority. And, in reply, the offspring can readily agree that, “Yes, I am your adult offspring.”

 

Regarding the word “hoshem” (grandchild): an obsolete form for this meaning incorporated “háawith” (child) with the háa– prefix assimilated to the “o” from ho– (one generation removed): hóowith. Of course, in those days, “granddaughter” would be assumed unless –id (male) was added.

Demonstratives

Hi” is known grammatically as a “demonstrative pronoun” and means “this” or “that.” As it is a pronoun, it also has the forms “hizh” and “hin” meaning “these” or “those”—few/several (2 to 5) and many (more than 5), respectively. Whether the item/items to which “hi/hizh/hin” refers is/are nearer (this/these) or farther away (that/those) is subject to interpretation for the purposes of translation into English.

The various forms of “hi” can also be used to convey the information that, in English, is given in what are known as “demonstrative adjectives” which specify which item (or items) from a larger array of such items is (are) under discussion—as in the examples below:

Bíi laya mahina wa.

A flower is red.
The flower is red.

Bíi laya mahina hi wa.

This flower is red.

Báa meháya bo?

Are mountains beautiful?
Are the mountains beautiful?

Báa meháya bo hizh?

Are these mountains beautiful?

In both of these sentences, the item(s) being discussed is (are) one (or a few) of the possible flowers (or mountains). Notice that when used in this way, the “hi/hizh/hin” is postpositional to (immediately follows) the noun it modifies.

Life-Stages

Among the vocabulary for this lesson is 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).

And of birds: “ábabí” (hatchling), “háababí” (nestling), “yáababí” (fledgling), “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.

Láadan Text

Bíi medi omá i háawith wa.

Bíi di omá wa, “Bíide ham onida wo; rahíyahul onida hi. Meham áwith, háawith, yáawith, sháawith, i zháawith. Meham hena i edin; meham thul i berídan; meham hothul i hoberídan; meham shem i sherídan; meham hoshem i hosherídan. Mehal with hin, i tháa déela. Thal ro; wam shum. Mezho babí, i áya zho hi. Tháa hesh. Meliyen dala, i mehaba mahina. Mehelash rul, i ada yáawithizh. Nime benem ra omid; dunasháad be. Rado zháawith; aril nasháad omid.”

Bíi di háawith wa, “Wil benem omidelh wa.”

Bíi di omá wa, “Báade néde duden ne?

Bíide u urahu wo.”

Bíi di háawith wa, “Bíide eril den le wo, i ril rahu urahu. Thad nasháad ra omid; dush náham be.”

Id mehada háawith i omá.

My English Translation with Morpheme-by-Morpheme Analysis

Due to the difficulty in concisely translating a 3rd person singular, gender-neutral pronoun into English, I’ll be using “X” to represent all third-person pronouns in all Morpheme-by-Morpheme Analyses from this point on.

Bíi medi omá i háawith wa.

Bíi

DECL

medi

PL + Speak

omá

Teach + DOER = Teacher

i

And

háawith

CHILD + Person = Child

wa.

MYPERC

The teacher and a child are speaking.


Bíi di omá wa, “Bíide ham onida wo; rahíyahul onida hi. Meham áwith, háawith, yáawith, sháawith, i zháawith. Meham hena i edin; meham thul i berídan; meham hothul i hoberídan; meham shem i sherídan; meham hoshem i hosherídan. Mehal with hin, i tháa déela. Thal ro; wam shum. Mezho babí, i áya zho hi. Tháa hesh. Meliyen dala, i mehaba mahina. Mehelash rul, i ada yáawithizh. Nime benem ra omid; dunasháad be. Rado zháawith; aril nasháad omid.”

Bíi

DECL

di

Say

omá

Teacher

wa,

MYPERC

“Bíide

DECL + NARR

ham

BePresent

onida

Family

wo;

MADEUP

rahíyahul

NON + BeSmall = BeLarge + DEGextrme

onida

Family

hi.

Demo1

Meham

PL + BePresent

áwith,

INFANT + Person

háawith,

CHILD + Person

yáawith,

TEEN + Person

sháawith,

ADULT + Person

i

And

zháawith.

SENIOR + Person

Meham

PL + BePresent

hena

BirthSib

i

And

edin;

Cousin

meham

PL + BePresent

thul

Parent

i

And

berídan;

Aunt/Uncle

meham

PL + BePresent

hothul

GRAND + Parent = Grandparent

i

And

hoberídan;

GRAND + Aunt/Uncle = GreatAunt/GreatUncle

meham

PL + BePresent

shem

Offspring

i

And

sherídan;

Niece/Nephew

meham

PL + BePresent

hoshem

GRAND + Offspring = Granddaughter/Grandson

i

And

hosherídan.

GRAND + Niece/Nephew = GreatNiece/GreatNephew

Mehal

PL + Work

with

Person

hin,

Demo>5

i

And

tháa

Thrive

déela.

Garden

Thal

BeGood

ro;

Weather

wam

BeStill

shum.

Air

Mezho

PL + Sound

babí,

Bird

i

And

áya

BeBeautiful

zho

Sound

hi.

Demo1

Tháa

Thrive

hesh.

Grass

Meliyen

PL + BeGreen

dala,

Plant

i

And

mehaba

PL + BeFragrant

mahina.

Flower

Mehelash

PL + Play

rul,

Cat

i

And

ada

Laugh

yáawithizh.

TEEN + Person + FEM = TeenWoman

Nime

BeWilling

benem

Stay

ra

NEG

omid;

Horse

dunasháad

TRYto + BEGIN + ComeGo = Depart

be.

X

Rado

NON + BeStrong = BeWeak

zháawith;

SENIOR + Person

aril

FUT

nasháad

BEGIN + ComeGo = Depart

omid.”

Horse

The teacher says, “There’s a family; this family is extremely large. There are infants, children, teenagers, adults and seniors. There are siblings and cousins; there are parents and aunts/uncles; there are grandparents and great-aunts/great-uncles; there are offspring and nieces/nephews; there are grandchildren and great-nieces/great-nephews. These people work, and the garden thrives. The weather is good; the air is calm. Birds sing, and this sound is beautiful. The grass thrives. The plants are green, and the flowers are fragrant. Cats play, and a teen-woman laughs. A horse is not willing to stay; it’s trying to depart. The oldster is weak; the horse will depart.


Bíi di háawith wa, “Wil benem omidelh wa.”

Bíi

DECL

di

Speak

háawith

Child

wa,

MYPERC

“Wil

OPTV

benem

Stay

omidelh

Horse + PEJ

wa.”

MYPERC

The child says, “I wish the darn horse would stay.”


Bíi di omá wa, “Báade néde duden ne? Bíide u urahu wo.”

Bíi

DECL

di

Say

omá

Teacher

wa,

MYPERC

“Báade

Q + NARR

rilrili

HYPOTH

néde

Want

duden

TRYto + Help

ne?

You1

Bíide

DECL + NARR

ril

PRES

u

BeOpen

urahu

Gate

wo.”

MADEUP

The teacher says, “Might you want to try to help? The gate is open.”


Bíi di háawith wa, “Bíide eril den le wo, i ril rahu urahu. Thad nasháad ra omid; dush náham be.”

Bíi

DECL

di

Speak

háawith

Child

wa,

MYPERC

“Bíide

DECL + NARR

eril

PAST

den

Help

le

I

wo,

MADEUP

i

And

ril

PRES

rahu

NON + BeOpen = BeClosed

urahu.

Gate

Thad

BeAble

nasháad

Depart

ra

NEG

omid;

Horse

dush

Must

náham

CONT + BePresent = Remain

be.

X1

The child says, “I helped, and now the gate is closed. The horse cannot depart; it must remain.”


Id mehada háawith i omá.

Id

AndThen

mehada

PL + Laugh

háawith

Child

i

And

omá.

Teacher

And then the child and the teacher laugh.

Free Translation

The teacher and a child are speaking.

The teacher says, “There’s a family; this family is extremely large. There are infants, children, teenagers, adults and seniors. There are siblings and cousins; there are parents and aunts/uncles; there are grandparents and great-aunts/great-uncles; there are offspring and nieces/nephews; there are grandchildren and great-nieces/great-nephews. These people work, and the garden thrives. The weather is good; the air is calm. Birds sing, and this sound is beautiful. The grass thrives. The plants are green, and the flowers are fragrant. Cats play, and a teen-woman laughs. A horse is not willing to stay; it’s trying to depart. The oldster is weak; the horse will depart.

The child says, “I wish the darn horse would stay.”

The teacher says, “Might you want to try to help? The gate is open.”

The child says, “I helped, and now the gate is closed. The horse cannot depart; it must remain.”

And then the child and the teacher laugh.

Comments

Did you notice the Evidence Words that were used? The person telling us about the teacher and the child is presenting it as her own experience (ending her sentences with “wa);” the teacher, in that account (it’s not presented as a story), is presenting her story as something made up to amuse or instruct the child (ending her sentences with “wo).”

Did you note the idiomatic usage of “zho” (sound) as a verb to mean (make a sound)? It varies from the English idiom, wherein “birds sing” (mezho babí) and, in some dialects, “kettles sing” while in others “kettles whistle” (mezho dizh); cats “mew” or “meow” (mezho rul); and dogs “bark” (mezho lanemid). It’s used in this sense when referring to animals or made-things that make a sound but do not use language. This differs from the verb “di” (say; speak; tell) and “lalom” (sing) which are communication verbs, and, as such, can take some case endings that we haven’t encountered yet to indicate the content of the utterance and the one addressed. Since linguistic content is not at issue, “zho” doesn’t take these case endings.

The word “sháad” means both “to go” and “to come”; more information on this will be presented in the lessons on the Source and Goal Cases.

Did you have any trouble with the translation of “nasháad” [na– (begin VERBing) + sháad (to go/to come)] as “depart”? Consider that one “departs” when one begins to go or come.

Did you have any trouble translating the Láadan word, “náham”? Consider the strict translation of the two word-parts involved: ná– (continue to VERB) + ham (be present). With those two parts, “continue to be present” would be “to remain; to stay”.

Author’s note about the third paragraph: I lack certain grammatical and vocabulary features to make it clear that the child had become “caught up” in the story and is inquiring as to her place in it. The teacher then creates a role in the story for her, to the amusement of both of them.

top