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Lesson 39
Cause Case


Vocabulary

bash

common sense

delishe

to cry (not of babies); to weep

diídin

holiday

heyi

pain

ib

crime

láadom

to recognize [láad (to perceive) + dom (to remember)]

loth

information

lud

debt

nedaba

Postposition: which (see Suzette Haden Elgin’s discussion of “nedaba” below)

óowa

fire [owa (warm)]

Cause Case

[(Aux) Verb (Neg) CP–S CP–Cause]

The ending used to mark a Case Phrase as the Cause of what is in the statement. The Cause Case ending is –wáan,” meaning “due to, because of.”

Along with the Cause Case comes the conjunction “úwáanú” (why; from what cause). Not a question-word, “úwáanú” introduces a clause that fulfills the Cause case-role, as in the English sentence, “I know why (from what cause) birds fly.”

Suzette Haden Elgin coined a limited set of conjunctions like “úwáanú.” Her formation in this set for “why” was “widahuth.” We won’t be using it here, but you should recognize it if you should happen upon it.

Nedaba

[In response to Elfquest Chaoist’s question, “It seems that question words don’t have any way to indicate whether they’re asking about a person or an object or a location, although some questions will be obvious,” Suzette Haden Elgin wrote:]

EC is correct; the third person pronoun is ambiguous in questions, so that “Báa eril yod bebáa thilith?” could be either “Who ate the fish?” or “What ate the fish?” and “Báa eril sháad ne bebáade?” could be either “Where did you come from?” or “What did you come from?” This sort of ambiguity is typical of human languages—the classic example for English is sentences like “Visiting relatives can be difficult”—but is a problem only for isolated examples. In actual discourse, spoken or written, ambiguity is very rare, and the language has plenty of resources for fixing it if it happens.

Nevertheless, EC’s question makes it clear that it would be useful for Láadan to have a “which” question word. Let’s add one—“nedaba,” roughly “Only + Q”—and set it up like this.


1

Báa

Q

eril

PAST

yod

Eat

bebáa

Qprn1 + SUBJ

thilith?

Fish + OBJ

Who/what ate the fish?

To disambiguate:

Báa

Q

eril

PAST

yod

Eat

bebáa

Qprn1 + SUBJ

thilith?

Fish + OBJ

(Báa)

(Q)

with

Person

nedaba?

Which

Who ate the fish?

or

Báa

Q

eril

PAST

yod

Eat

bebáa

Qprn1 + SUBJ

thilith?

Fish + OBJ

(Báa)

(Q)

mid

Creature

nedaba?

Which

What ate the fish?


NOTE: The parentheses around the “Báa” before “nedaba” means that it’s optional; it can be used or left out, as the speaker/writer wishes. And you could of course specify “wild animal” or “domestic animal” instead of the generic “creature” if the context required it.


2

Báa

Q

eril

PAST

sháad

ComeGo

ne

You1

bebáade?

Qprn1 + SRC

Where/What did you come from?


To disambiguate, follow the sentence with either “(Báa) hoth nedaba?” (which place) or “(Báa) dal nedaba?” (which thing).

NOTE: This doesn’t mean that the Láadan word “which” should be used the way the English one is; “nedaba” is intended only as a question word. You wouldn’t use it to translate “I know which child ate the fish.” How that would be done is a separate issue, and this is enough for now.

Examples

Bíi hal Ána wa.

Anna works.

Báa hal Ána?

Why does Anna work?

Bíi hal Ána beyewáan wa.

Anna works because of something.

Bíi hal Ána hiwáan wa.

Anna works therefore (because of this/that).

Bíi hal Ána ludewáan wa.

Anna works because of debt.

Bíi hal Ána lud bethowáan wa.

Anna works because of her debt.

Bíi hal Ána lud ebatho bethowáan wa.

Anna works because of her spouse’s debt.

Bíi hal Ána rawáan wa.

Anna works because of nothing in particular.

Bíi hal Ána lud rawáan wa.

Anna works in spite of (anti-because of) debt.

Once again—for thoroughness even though you likely do not require the restatement of the obvious—the case ending moves to the end of the Possessive case phrase.

Bíi eril di beye ledim úwáanú mehaba mahina wa.

Someone told me why flowers are (what causes flowers to be) fragrant.

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1

Bíi eril amedara ábedá thena ebatho bethowáan wáa.

2

Báa mesháad háawith bethedim rohorowáan e nanáalewáan?

3

Bíi eril loláad withizh heyith olobewáan wóo.

4

Bíi aril lámála Máyel Therísha beth áazhewáan wa.

5

Báa mehen thul úwáanú áana áshem betha?

6

Báa náhu urahu déelathu bebáawáan? Halá nedaba?

In #3, did you notice we now have two ways to talk about being in pain? We can either use the verb “úuya” (to hurt) or the verb “loláad” (to perceive, internally) with “heyi” (pain) as its Object.

Incorporate the second noun as a Cause; translate into English before and after.

7

Báa áada ehá?

bebáa

8

Bíi boóbin Ána delith hoberídanetha betha wa.

naya

9

Bíi aril óoha elodá wáa.

diídin

10

Bíi meyod zhub menedebe yuth wi.

yide

11

Bíi eril ada Doni lóolonal we.

sha

12

Bíi hóya Halishóni wa.

ro i obeyal

In #9, did you have any trouble with “elodá?” “Lod” is “household;” “elod,” the “science of household,” is “housekeeping;” and “elodá,” a “doer of housekeeping,” is a “housekeeper.” This may or may not be a role fulfilled by a “lodá” (householder; househusband; housewife).

Did you recognize the “place” variant of “beautiful” in #12?

Translate the following into Láadan.

13

The student is always working because of his debt and because of common sense.

14

The old man sold his house suddenly due to illness.

15

My assistant will drink the tepid coffee only because of his/her thirst.

16

Any student needs to recognize much information and many facts despite ignorance.

17

Why is the hostess weeping? Because of crime or a burden?

18

You (few) know why (because of what) the bushes are green.

In #16, did you have any trouble forming a word for “fact”? Consider that a “fact” is “one piece of information”. Try “nedeloth” [nede (one) + loth (information)].

And in #16, did you have any trouble with creating a word for “ignorance”? “Ignorance” is the opposite of “knowledge”; “knowledge” is the nominalized form of “to know.” Try “ralothel” (to not know; to be ignorant) [ra– (NON) + lothel (to know)]; when used as a noun, it means “ignorance.”

Also in #16, please note that (unlike English wherein we use “many” when things are countable and “much” when they’re not) in Láadan, “menedebe” means “a lot” whether things are countable (as “nedeloth menedebe:” “many facts”) or not (as “loth menedebe:” “much information”).

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Answers

1

The farmer danced from (because of) his/her spouse’s joy.

2

Are the children going home because of a storm or because of sunset?

3

The woman felt pain because of a trauma [no information].

4

Why (because of what) is the bird afraid? Because of fire or because of a tower?

5

Do the parents understand why their baby sleeps?

6

Because of which worker is the garden gate still open?

 

7

Is the scientist rejoicing?

Báa lo ehá bebáawáan?

Why (because of what) is the scientist rejoicing?

8

Anna braids her great-aunt’s hair.

Bíi boóbin Ána delith hoberídanetha betha nayawáan wa.

Anna braids her great-aunt’s hair because of caring

9

The housekeeper will be weary.

Bíi aril óoha elodá diídinewáan wáa.

The housekeeper will be weary due to a holiday.

10

Many insects eat fruit (obviously).

Bíi meyod zhub menedebe yuth yidewáan wi.

Many insects eat fruit from (because of) hunger [obviously].

11

The Earth laughed slowly [dream].

Bíi eril ada Doni lóolonal shawáan we.

The Earth laughed slowly because of harmony [dream].

12

California is beautiful.

Bíi hóya Halishóni rowáan i obeyalewáan wa.

California is beautiful because of the weather and gold.

 

13

Bíi hal hadihad bediháhid lud bethowáan i bashewáan wáa.

14

Bíi eril eb wobalin wowithid belid bethoth éeyawáan wa.

15

Bíi aril rilin dená letho wohowahil woyobeth yada bethowáan wa.

16

Bíi hóya Halishóni rowáan i obeyalewáan wa.

17

Báa delishe elodáhizh bebáawáan? Ibewáan e doshewáan?

18

Bíi melothel nezh úwáanú meliyen hemen wa.

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