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Lesson 40
Cause Case



common sense








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






Conjunction: therefore


fog [úuzh (bed-sheet) + shili (mist)]


Prefix (Type of Sentence Word): said in fear

Cause Case

CP–Instr CP–Assoc
CP–Goal CP–Src CP–Plc CP–Time
CP–Benef CP–Purp CP–Coz]

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

The difference between the Cause Case and the Purpose Case may seem a bit abstruse. Partly this is because in English we answer the question “Why…?” either with a Cause or with a Purpose—the nature of the reply is left entirely up to the answerer. As an example, if I were asked why I’m going home, I’m free to answer, “Because I’m tired,” (Cause) or, “So I can rest,” (Purpose); both answers are germane to a “why” question.

Láadan places this burden on the questioner instead. The words “bebáawáan” (Cause) and “bebáawan” (Purpose) are not so ambiguous as the English “why.” Once the question is asked, the respondent may answer the question or not—indeed, she may answer the other question if she wishes. However, it will be evident that the question has been “ducked.”

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.” Unfortunately, “widahuth” was a very English type of “why” that made no distinction between the Cause and the Purpose. With “úwanú” and “úwáanú” at our disposal, we won’t be using “widahuth” here, but you should recognize it if you should happen upon it.


Bíi hal behid wa.

He works.

Báa hal behid bebáawáan?

Why (from what cause) does he work?

Bíi hal behid lhitharilewáan wa.

He works from (because of) worry.

Bíi hal behid Méri bewáan wa.

He works because of Mary.

Bíi hal behid lhitharil Méri bethowáan wa.

He works from Mary’s worry.

By this time it should be routine to note that personal names do not take suffixes, as in the fourth and fifth examples above, and that the Case ending will move to the end of the Possessive case phrase, as in the fifth.

Bíi medibíi bezh úwáanú hal behid wa.

They (few) declare why (from what cause) he works.

Bíi mehal bezh hiwáan wa.

They (few) work from (because of) this/that.

Bíi mehal bezh zhewáan wa.

They work from (because of) the same.

Bíi mehal bezh beyewáan wa.

They work from (because of) someone/something.

Bíi mehal bezh rawáan wa.

They work because of nothing.

Bíi mehal bezh lhitharil rawáan wa.

They work because of anthing but worry.
They work despite the fact that worry is present.

Bíi mehal bezh hizh hizhewáan wa.

They work from each other’s causes.

Notice the pair of examples using “rawáan[ra– (NON) + –wáan (COZ)]. The first of these is a straightforward statement that there is nothing to which the Cause Case applies. The second, on the other hand, states that the case does apply, but that the noun it would be applied to absolutely does not. In effect, this example excludes this noun from the Cause Case function.

Idiomatically, this construction also has the effect of reversing the action of the Cause Case function, stating that the action is despite the presence of the person/thing named in the case phrase; this reversal is true in all three of the “intentional” cases (Beneficiary and Purpose, presented previously; and Cause, presented here).


Translate the following into English.


Bíi eril loláad withizh heyith olobewáan wóo.


Bé eril amedara dehenihá withedan woho rano thena ebatho bethowáan wa.


Báa rilrili mesháad háawith bethedim rohorowáan e nanáalewáan?


Bíi ril dam dathimá nenath dosh betho rawáan i ib rawáan wa.


Báa náhu urahu déelathu bebáawáan? Haláwáan nedaba?


Bíi wil mehen thul úwáanú áana áshem bezhetha wa.

In #1, 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.

In #2, did you have any trouble with “dehenihá” (butcher) [deheni (meat) + –á (DOER)]?

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


Bée aril óohahal elodá wi.

worahéthehul wobeth nazhetho


Bíi ril boóbin Ána delith hoberídanetha betha wa.



Báa hóya Halishóni?

ro bethu e obeyal


Bíidu ada Doni lóolonal we.

sha i shon


Béeya rilrili methónilesháad romid róomathedim wo.

yide bezhetho


Bóoli wida na, hoshem letha, mahin thulanathuth hi ralóolonal dimodenan hohal woháya wohehasháthodim.


In #7, did you have any trouble with “elodá” (housekeeper) [e– (SCIof) + lod (household) = elod (housekeeping) + –á (DOER)]. This may or may not be a role played by a “lodá” (householder; househusband; housewife) [lod (household) + –á (DOER)].

Also in #7, surely you had no difficulty with “rahéthe” (be dirty) [ra– (NON) + éthe (be clean)].

Did you recognize the “place” variant of “beautiful” in #9?

In #12, there are two new vocabulary words, both comprised of extant roots. The first, “thulana” (soup) [thul (parent) + ana (food)] is not entirely straightforward. The second, on the other hand is: “dimod” (bag; sack; purse) [dim (container) + od (cloth)].

Translate the following into Láadan.


I understand the farmer is always working because of his debt and because of common sense.


I swear the old man sold his house suddenly only due to illness.


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


Prithee, honored-you-few, learn why the bushes are green in the desert today.


Due to which of her guests is the hostess smiling?


There was a heavy fog; therefore, the ornithologist could not see the birds that were eating.

In #15, 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 #15, 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 #15, 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”).

In #17, did you have trouble with “hostess?” Try “ethóoháhizh[e– (SCIof) + thóo (guest) = ethóo (hospitality) + –á (DOER) = ethóohá (hostess/host) + –izh (FEM)].

In #18, how did you do forming a word for “ornithologist?” How about “ebabíhá[e– (SCIof) + babí (bird) = ebabí (ornithology) + –á (DOER)].

In our answer to #18, you will find two possible renditions for the English “therefore.” On the one hand, we have the form “owáano” (therefore); on the other, the demonstrative pronoun “hi” given in the Cause Case, “hiwáan,” also states that the second clause is a result of the first.




I have no idea whether it’s true that the woman felt pain due to a trauma.


I swear the butcher danced with (pleasurably) almost everyone due to her/his spouse’s joy.


Might the children be going home due to storm or sunset?


The needleworker is manifesting contentment for good reason despite her burdens and despite crime.


Due to which worker is the garden gate still open?


Would that the parents understand why (because of what) their baby (infant offspring) sleeps.


(WARN) Clearly, the housekeeper will be unusually weary.

Bée aril óohahal elodá worahéthehul wobeth nazhethowáan wi.

(WARN) Clearly, the housekeeper will be unusually weary because of beloved-your extremely dirty home.


Anna is braiding her great-aunt’s hair.

Bíi ril boóbin Ána delith hoberídanetha betha amewáan wa.

Anna is braiding her great-aunt’s hair out of love-of-blood-kin.


Is California beautiful?

Báa hóya Halishóni ro bethuwáan e obeyalewáan?

Is California beautiful because of its weather or because of gold?


(POETRY, DREAM) The Earth laughs slowly.

Bíidu ada Doni lóolonal shawáan i shonewáan we.

(POETRY, DREAM) The Earth laughs slowly due to harmony and peace.


(WARN, FEAR) I’m guessing wild animals may have just gotten into the barn.

Béeya rilrili methónilesháad romid róomathedim yide bezhethowáan wo.

(WARN, FEAR) I’m guessing wild animals may have just gotten into the barn because of their hunger.


(LOVE) Prithee, my beloved grandchild, carry this pot of soup quickly to the beautiful astronomer’s workplace.

Bóoli wida na, hoshem letha, mahin thulanathuth hi ralóolonal dimodenan hohal woháya wohehasháthodim áayáawáan.

(LOVE) Prithee, my beloved grandchild, carry this pot of soup quickly to the beautiful astronomer’s workplace out of mysterious-love-whose-welcome-is-unknown.


Bíi ril hal ábedá hadihad ludewáan i bashewáan wáa.


Bé eril eb wobalin wowithid belid bethoth bishibenal éeyawáan neda wa.


Bée them láadom bedihá waha lotheth menedebe i nedelotheth menedebe ralothel rawáan wi.


Bóo mebedi nizh úwáanú meliyen hemen shéesha sháaleya ril wa.


Báa ril áada ethóoháhizh bebáawáan? Thóo bethowáan nedaba?


Bíi eril ham úushilihal; owáano, thad láad ra ebabíhá mewoyod wobabíth oyinan wi.
—OR—Bíi eril ham úushilihal; thad láad ra ebabíhá mewoyod wobabíth oyinan hiwáan wi.