The modifier kiē refers to the observer’s other side of something, so something behind something else. This makes kiē partially synonymous with īr. The difference is that kiē refers to the observer’s position, and īr does not. If something has an obvious back, then use īr, otherwise use kiē. So, rā NP kiē is to the other side of NP and rū NP kiē is from the other side of NP.
rājakiē is rā NP kiē without a specified location, and so means ‘to the other side’.
Likewise rūjakiē is rū NP kiē without a specified location, and so means ‘from the other side’.
2 Replies to “kiē, rājakiē, & rūjakiē”
Regarding these last two, I remember one of the things I learned in my first linguistics class was the orientation of objects in Chichewa (our instructor was Sam Mchombo, a native speaker). Apparently in (many of?) the Bantu languages, natural objects (trees, rocks, etc.) are understood to be facing away from the speaker. So if one puts something in front of tree in Chichewa, one puts it closest to the side that is furthest from the speaker. Putting something behind the tree, then, is putting it close to the side closest to the speaker. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of English. Metaphorically, in these languages trees and other natural objects are considered to be animate beings, and that animate beings stand and face away from one, as if they’re walking.
Wow, neat! I’ll have to think about that one a bit.
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