Continuing from previously, the final two sentences in Soronen Kidi.
Liya kidenda soronda likehes piŋiranda ebeves sama dimidimi ira.
Because the rock’s words put pain in my belly, I threw it into the sea.
This sentence consists of a single clause starting with a rational animate agent, then an embedded clause with multiple uses of =nda. The embedded clause is kidenda soronda likehes piŋira ‘the rock’s words put pain in my belly’. The first=nda, on rock, marks alienable possession, so ‘the words of the rock’. The second=nda marks an inanimate cause or agent, ‘the words of the rock cause…’. My belly (likehe, actually li=kahi with vowel decay) is the attained destination of the subject, piŋi ‘pain’. And the verb is ra GO, so ‘the words of the rock cause pain to be put into my belly’. And all that is suffixed with another =nda to indicate the origin of the action of the main verb.
This is followed by the attained destination ‘into the sea’ and then the main subject and verb: sama dimidimi ira. Ignoring dimidimi for the moment, this is sama ira, indicating a third person singular rational animate (the rock) acting non-volitionally, in this case being acted upon by the =ya argument. Dimidimi is an adverb conveying the use of force. Adverbs come right before a verb, between the subject and the verb, and thus trigger the use of a pronoun for the verb to attach to. Without the adverb, this would still be sama ira due to the non-volitionality. The equivalent volitional phrase would be sara (sa=ra) and with the adverb sama dimidimi sara. I have no doubt that there are some speakers who would shorten that to sama dimidimera.
Zovalas lirunos kidi venala sapeye.
I never saw the rock at any time again.
In the final sentence, we start with another time phrase, this time the indefinite ‘some time’. This is followed by another attained destination: ‘my eye’. Using an eye as an attained destination is the standard way to convey experiencing by seeing. The scene is usually the subject of =no COME. Here it is the subject of =pe FAIL, as the scene has failed to come to the eye. Furthermore, =pe is followed by continuative aspect marker =yi indicating an ongoing situation. This sentence also contains another adverb venala ‘never’ as indicated by its position between the subject kidi and the verb with repeated pronominal subject sapeye. Without the adverb, this would be kidipeyi.
Next text will be the Eye-Juggler, Dirk Elzinga’s version mostly.
Continuing from previously, the next two sentences in Soronen Kidi.
Kidido keŋive, “Zodu diya lidu libanaraza seŋipe?”
I asked the rock, “Why did you fail to warn me about my foot’s going?”
In this sentence we have a question with a question word, zodu, a combination of the inanimate singular relative clause pronoun zo= wearing its other hat as a general indefinite pronoun and the goal marker =du. Indefinite zo= is the basis of a number of question words. The noun seŋi ‘warning’ is considered speech, and so we have a speech-emitter ‘you’, an audience ‘me’, and then =za to mark indirect speech, which can be anything from an indirect quotation to the bare subject or topic of the speech. Finally, rather than the usual =vi OUT for speech, we have =pe FAIL, as the speech presumably failed to be emitted.
Kideya rusuve, “Ŋeya piŋividu soronen kidi liŋi.”
The rock replied, “I am a talking rock who causes pain.”
For the reply, more direct speech. The first phrase is an embedded clause marked by =du. Here =du marks an intent, a metaphorical goal. The noun piŋi ‘pain’ is abstract enough to be emitted. Otherwise sensations, physical and mental, tend to use =me IN or =no COME as their main verb. Using =me or =no here would imply that the rock was feeling pain rather than causing pain.
Note also that the animate singular relative clause pronoun is used here in what is not an actual relative clause. These pronouns are also used for indefinite reference and questions. I go back and forth on whether this should be the first person pronoun instead.
Continuing from previously, the next two sentences in Soronen Kidi.
Likasaya soronen ŋeŋihe kidilo, sadu sorove, “U! Soronen kidi diŋi?”
I with my hand picked up the rock that could talk, and said to it, “Hey, are you a talking rock?”
The first clause in the second sentence starts out with another example of body part metonomy and with =ya, which only ever attaches to a rational agent. The subject of the first clause is our rock, modified by a relative clause. This is the same relative clause as in the first sentence. It is still potentially a talking rock. It’s identity has not yet been confirmed.
The second clause is an example of speech, using the verb most often used with speech, namely =vi OUT. This is because speech is considered to be sound, and sound is generally emitted by something. The emitter, when indicated, is marked by =ya, because speech is a characteristic of rational animates. The audience is marked with =du, for a goal or not yet attained destination. One doesn’t assume that one’s words have reached a destination.
The third clause is the direct speech. Direct speech is indicated with intonation and a juxtaposition of clauses. The speech starts with the attention-getting interjection u! and continues with a question of identity. Here we lose the relative clause and ask directly if the rock is word-having.
Kideya evi, “La! Soronen kidi liŋi!”
The rock said, “Yes! I am a talking rock!”
And the rock says yes! Identity confirmed. The inanimate plural pronoun refers to speech in general.
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.
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.
All of the consonants can occur initially and medially. Only /n/ and /s/ can occur finally. Consonant clusters allowed medially are /mb/, /nd/, and /ŋg/.
There are five vowels: /ieaou/.
Syllables are generally (C)V, with occasional CVC if the final C is /n/ or /s/. (C)VCCV is allowed with the medial CC being either /mb/, /nd/, or /ŋg/.
Stress is on the first syllable and then every other syllable. It is never on the final syllable. Thus words with an odd number of syllables end in two unstressed syllables. Vowels will change in this environment.
Phonological words have a minimum of two syllables.
Some words are partial reduplications of other words. The initial syllable only is reduplicated. If the word begins with a vowel, the first vowel and consonant pair is reduplicated. This triggers consonant dissimilation. If the first consonant of the word is voiceless, then the second voiceless stop or fricative /ptsk/ become the voiced equivalent /bdzg/. Voiceless /h/ does not dissimilate. If the first consonant is already voiced then /bdzg/ become /vrsh/. So, /s/ becomes /z/, and /z/ becomes /s/. Likewise, /l/ becomes /y/ and /y/ becomes /l/. Furthermore, /d/ becomes /r/ and /r/ becomes /d/ with the further development of metathesis so that a word with the pattern rVdVX becomes dVrVX. This metathesis only occurs with /r/ -> /d/. The nasals /m/ and /ŋ/ both dissimilate to /n/. /n/ does not dissimilate.
Adjective basa ‘bad’ -> Noun bavasa ‘badness’
Adjective poto ‘sick’ -> Noun poboto ‘sickness’
Noun runu ‘eye’ -> Dual noun duruno ‘pair of eyes’
Noun tutu ‘lesson’ -> Noun tuduto ‘learning’
Noun uri ‘wind’ -> Noun udure ‘air’
Adjective zeye ‘dark’ -> Noun zeseye ‘darkness’
Unstressed vowels are subject to vowel decay. This primarily affects the high vowels /i/ and /u/. /iu/ will lower to /eo/ before a consonant cluster and before a final /s/. They will also decay if they are the final vowel in the two unstressed syllable sequence that occurs at the end of words of three or some other odd number of syllables. Hence duruno above rather than the expected durunu. And tuduto and udure. This decay does not happen if the word is augmented by a particle in some way so that the affected syllable is no longer unstressed or no longer the second unstressed vowel. So sama yanu duruno ‘his wide eyes’, but sadurunu ‘his eyes’.
A second type of vowel decay affecting /i/, /u/, and /a/ happens only when the vowels are in a sequence of unstressed syllables. XCiCa becomes XCeCa and XCuCa becomes XCoCa. Furthermore XCaCi becomes XCeCe and XCaCu becomes XCoCo.
So the new language continues to evolve, and right now it is in a good place. It’s current name is Kenda Soro. First a short grammar sketch. In a few days I’ll post something on the phonology. Grammar is more important!
Short Grammar Sketch
The central idea in the grammar is motion. Clauses are built around a noun in motion (the subject) and everything else is marked in relation to the subject.
Word order is verb final. The primary predicates of the language are all single-syllable particles, so they attach themselves to the end of the subject. All the predicates are intransitive, so other arguments in the clause are all oblique by definition.
Particles are grammatical words that do not follow the phonological rules. They are single-syllable, and so have to glom onto another word. The primary predicates of this language are all particles. Aside from the single syllable pronominal particles, all other particles act as suffixes and attach to the end of the preceding word. Pronominal particles act as prefixes. A predicate can consist of a pronominal prefix and a verbal suffix with no added material in between.
There are twelve particles that attach to the end of the noun phrase in motion to convey the type of motion and type of noun. These are: ŋi MOVE, se STAY, ra GO, no COME, lo UP, ta DOWN, me INTO, vi OUT, ka TOUCH, ki BY, pe FAIL, and vu NOT.
MOVE or ŋi marks motion in place, or internal motion (moving one’s limbs, breathing, etc.). It is also used to mark identity, attribution, and location of an animate nouns.
STAY or se marks non-motion, remaining in place. It is used to mark identity, attribution, and location of inanimate nouns.
GO or ra marks motion along a path or in a single direction, to or from a location. Motion is away from the speaker or the deictic center of the clause. The deictic center is the argument with the highest animacy.
COME or no is the equivalent of GO, but the motion is towards from the speaker or the deictic center of the clause. The deictic center is the argument with the highest animacy. COME is often used to express the metaphorical motion of an object to one’s eye or a sound to one’s ear.
UP or lo and DOWN of ta are also equivalents of GO, with the deictic center being the ground. In addition, UP and DOWN also can convey MORE or LESS of an attribute. or the increase or decrease in a non-physical noun (like darkness).
INTO or me marks inward motion, usually by light, sound, air, water, fire, or some sort of mass substance. It is also used for things that are being created.
OUT or vi marks outwards motion, usually by light, sound, air, water, fire, or some sort of mass substance.
TOUCH or ka marks motion with impact or touching. When used with =za it can convey physical possession.
BY or ki marks motion passing by a location or leaving behind a location. This can also negate the possession use of ka.
FAIL or pe marks a failure to move in a direction or to achieve a destination. This negates most of the other motion particles, at least in some contexts.
NOT or vu negates se.
Motion particles can be inflected for aspect: =na for the starting of motion, =to for the stopping of motion, and =yi for continued motion. Continued motion is used to set a scene of background motion and to express continuation of a situation despite an effort to change the situation.
Motion particles can also then have two optional future particles added: =hi for potential future and =zi certain or intended future.
Other particles mark the other noun phrases in the clause. These can mark a motion phrase once the motion phrase has been nominalized.
=s marks location at, on, in, onto, into. It implies that the motion is complete, that is that the subject has finished moving and arrived at a destination marked by =s.
=za marks a path along which a subject is moving. It is also used to mark any position that involves elongation, such as fingers around a grasped object, and thus marks objects held or grasped, and the subject of speech (about).
=du marks a destination that has not been reached, and so conveys motion towards a goal, a direction, the end of a sequence, a purpose or intention, a result, and an audience for speech.
=nda marks location form, a source of motion, a beginning of a sequence, the source or substance something is made from, the stimulus of mental activity, a standard of comparison, or the whole that something is part of.
=ya marks a rational animate cause of motion, and can be considered an animate, volitional version of nda.
=nen is a very general comitative, also used as an instrumental.
Since motion is the central idea of the grammar, nouns are divided into groups based on ability to move (animacy) and volition.
Things that move of their own volition.
Things that move, but without perceived volition.
Things that only move when made to do so by an outside entity or force.
Group A includes people and deities. These are the rational animates. Group B includes animals, and certain celestial phenomena. B also includes the wind, flowing water, wildfires, sound, and light. These are all animate, though not rational. And C includes still air, still water, campfires, earth, most landscape items, plants, body parts, objects, and everything else. These are the inanimates.
Since nouns are not marked in any way, membership in the various classes is determined by pronoun usage and which motion particles are used to denote an attribute of the noun, and which source particles can be used.
Source or Cause
First, a quick list:
1 (first person singular and exclusive plural)
1+2 (1+2 dual and first person inclusive plural)
2 (second person)
3 rational animate, volitional
3 other animate, 123 non-volitional
relative clause common argument animate
relative clause common argument inanimate
Number is obligatory only in pronouns and rational animate nouns. All other nouns are neutral in regards to number and can be read as either singular or plural. That said, nouns that appear to be partially or fully reduplicated will take plural pronoun agreement. Number can also be specified by adding a quantifier to the noun phrase.
Singular refers to a single entity, and plural to more than one entity. The exception is the dual pronoun ŋiye, which acts like a singular even though it refers to two.
First and second person are straightforward. Third person is broken up into three classes: rational animates, other animates, and inanimates. Rational animate nouns have plural marking, and so trigger use of the plural pronouns. Other animate nouns do not, so which pronoun to use depends on the context. With inanimate nouns, again, which pronoun to use depends on context. But, some inanimate nouns are or appear to be partially or fully reduplicated. These always use plural pronouns, even when the subject seems to be singular.
Rational animate nouns will sometimes use the animate rather than the rational animate pronouns. This signals non-volitionality. It is used in imperatives as well.
Adjectives and Quantifiers
Adjectives precede the noun they modify. Basic, non-derived adjectives can be partially reduplicated to indicate intensity or continuation of a process. A noun phrase can consist solely of an adjective.
Quantifiers act like adjectives in that they precede the noun. Quantifiers convey number, but are not used for counting! Some quantifiers also modify adjectives.
Adverbs, Conjunctions, and Interjections
Adverbs go between the subject and the motion particle, triggering a need for a pronominal prefix on the motion particle. Conjunctions go at the end of the clause. Interjections go anywhere.