Talking Rock in Kenda Soro

Soronen Kidi

Here is the full text of the Talking Rock story, plus an interlinear of the first sentence and an explanation of all that is going on. More sentences will appear in upcoming posts.

Text and Translation

Tili lonos kini ŋamaza lireye, soronen ŋeŋihe kides libana ikanda liye irato baŋibaŋi. Likasaya soronen ŋeŋihe kidilo, sadu sorove, “U! Soronen kidi diŋi?” Kideya evi, “La! Soronen kidi liŋi!” Kidido keŋive, “Zodu diya lidu libanaraza seŋipe?” Kideya rusuve, “Ŋeya piŋividu soronen kidi liŋi.” Liya kidenda soronda likehes piŋiranda ebeves sama dimidimi ira. Zovalas lirunos kidi venala sapeye.

Yesterday, I was going along the shoulder of the land, when I had to stop from coming into contact with my foot against a rock that could talk. I with my hand picked up the rock that could talk, and said to it, “Hey, are you a talking rock?” The rock said, “Yes! I am a talking rock!” I asked the rock, “Why did you fail to warn me about my foot’s going?” The rock replied, “I am a talking rock who causes pain.” Because the rock’s words put pain in my belly, I threw it into the sea. I never saw the rock at any time again.

Interlinear and Explanation

Tili lonos kini ŋamaza lireye, soronen ŋeŋihe kides libana ikanda liye irato baŋibaŋi.

tili
tili
past
lonos
lono=s
day=LOC
kini
kini
land
Å‹amaza
Å‹ama=za
shoulder=PATH
lireye
li=ra=yi
1SG=GO=CONT
soronen
soro=nen
word=COM
ŋeŋihe
Å‹e=Å‹i=hi
SGan=MOVE=POT
kides
kidi=s
rock=LOC
libana
li=bana
1SG=foot
ikanda
i=ka=nda
3SGan=TOUCH=SRC
liye
liye
1SG
irato
i=ra=to
3SGan=GO=STOP
baŋibaŋi
baŋibaŋi
unexpectedly
Yesterday, I was going along the shoulder of the land, when I had to stop from coming into contact with my foot against a rock that could talk.

Taken in order, the first clause starts with a time period marked with locative =s. The locative is used for attained destinations, locations, and time periods.

The next phrase in the clause uses =za to mark an area, the land’s shoulder, a whole::part noun phrase showing an inalienable possession construct. This is the standard construction for inalienable possession: the whole followed by the possessed part. Inalienable possession is only used for parts of wholes and metaphorical parts of wholes and not for kinship. The shoulder of the land would be the part of the land that gently slopes into not-land, i.e. sea, so the beach.

The final phrase is the subject pronoun, the verbal motion partical, and an aspectual continuative particle all glommed together to make one phonological word showing vowel decay li=ra=yi -> lireye. The continuative is used here to set the scene for the next clause.

The second clause starts with a locative phrase modified by a relative clause. This is the most common type of relative clause, one where the modified noun is the subject of the relative clause. The otherwise inanimate rock uses the animate relative pronoun because of the potentiality (marked on the verb with =hi) of talking. Talking makes a thing a rational animate. Talking here is indicated with soro=nen, word=COM or ‘word-having’. This is a use of =nen for turning a noun into an adjective indicating an attribute. Note the vowel decay.

The next part of the second clause is an embedded clause marked with =nda. The primary use of this particle is to mark a point of origin. The use in this case is to mark a cause or reason, an origin of the action in the main clause. The embedded clause libana ika is using body part metonomy, where a possessed body part stands in for the rational animate possessor. This causes the body part to act like a rational animate, taking rational animate agreement. But, the subject on the verb is the third person animate used for non-volitional action. So the embedded clause is conveying that the reason for the main clause is the non-volitional contact of my foot on a location: the rock that can potentially talk.

The main part of the second clause is the first person singular subject repeated as a third person animate subject, conveying additional non-volitionality. This is attached to the verb ra GO and the aspectual particle =to for stopping. The clause ends with the conjunction baŋibaŋi conveying an unexpected situation.