Posted by Philip Newton on 11:01 12/5/01
In reply to: Celmetát de mudhe posted by Philip Newton on 10:51 11/30/01
While I was doing the translations of Durm and the Sojourner, I came up with a couple of questions. Some of them I'm fairly sure what the answer is and others I had to guess a little.
I apologise for the length of this posting.
How are streets named in Verdurian? In English or German, streets named for a person or place simply have that noun placed before the word for the type of street -- for example, Lincoln Avenue or Friedrich-Ebert-Straße. However, Greek puts the name of the type of street first, followed by the person or place it is named for in the genitive case -- for example, odós Metaxá or Leofóros Eleftherías.
The main source of information appears to be those drilldown parts that show Verduria city -- drill6.htm for the city and drill7.htm for Ishira quarter. On the map, the names are given without the word for "street" (as would also be the case on most Greek street maps; the "default" noun is "odós" if no other type such as leofóros is explicitly given); I suppose prosia is what is understood in Verdurian.
Most street names appear to be in the nominative case (e.g. Rafát, Enäron, Ishira, Mëranac 1e or even what looks like an adjective Bolyáshe (though I would have expected Bolyáshë, to agree with prosia). But there is also mention of a Prosia Atüchii Flavei "Yellow Rascal Street", which uses the genitive. Is this an exception?
I would have expected Verdurian to use the genitive case, since it doesn't generally allow nouns to modify nouns simply by being placed next to each other, preferring an adjective, the genitive case, or a compound noun instead. However, that place also notes the exception "A name or title can follow another noun", and the preposition i, which is used when saying what something is named for, also takes the nominative. Is the nominative in street names due to one of those two?
How does Verdurian handle the case of possession where the possessors are many and they each possess one thing? For example, German and English tend to treat this in different ways. English tends to use the plural (All the doctors brought their wives) while German would tend to use the singular (Alle Ärzte brachten ihre Frau mit), since each doctor only has one wife. What about Verdurian?
For example, in my translation of Durm, there is the phrase he noted the ships' flags. If we assume that each ship only has one flag, would one translate this into Verdurian as indumne soem znurem navirië (plural; this was the form I chose, as a guess) or indumne soa znura navirië (singular)? (I think that navirië has to stay plural since he saw the flags of many ships. Is that also correct?)
Hm, on the other hand, in this case even German would say Er betrachtete die Flaggen der Schiffe, with flags in the (accusative) plural. So I suppose indumne soem znurem navirië is the only way to say it. But what about my English/German example sentence -- is it Tësî lekaroi ametnu cira zaë or Tësî lekaroi ametnu cirem zaë?
Is it correct to use the accusative in zet duisre hipco soa scafa "He headed down the dock"? Heading somewhere involved for me more turning in place rather than motion anywhere, but it does kind of imply motion.
Is it correct to translate (the) hundreds of xxx as (soî) shatemî xxxei? That is, can shatem be treated like a noun, forming a regular plural?
What verb tenses are used with fayir when the necessity is not in the present but, for example, in the past (as in this story)? I wanted to translate a pair of falcons had to be captured as he had to capture a pair of falcons, since Verdurian has no passive, and thought that had to here was best expressed by fayir dy, since it wasn't an obligation on him, which devir probably would have implied.
But which tenses to use? I could imagine any of fayre dy matune dhun sokolië, fayre dy matue dhun sokolië, or faye dy matune dhun sokolië. I decided to use the first, because it felt most appropriate -- fayre is in the past tense because the necessity is in the past (at the time where the story is set) and matune is also past because that's the tense I would have to use if he had just gone and caught the pair of falcons. Greek, which uses a similar construction (prepei na ...) was not much help here since the main verb is in the subjunctive, and the only time indicator is thus in the tense of prepei/eprepe/tha prepei/tha eprepe (faye/fayre/fayrete/faycele).
So I still think that any of the three constructions could be right.
Actually, a construction such ilun fayre matuan dhun sokolië would also have made sense to me, with the subject of the main verb turning into an indirect object to fayir and the main verb in the infinitive, which solves such temporal problems -- but that contradicts the example in Ver2Eng.doc which goes Faye dy proshaleei rather than Len faye proshalean. But syntax.htm shows an example with fayir + infinitive: Faye zet abilen dör domán. And Eng2Ver.doc has a sentence with the construction dative + fayir + infinitive, though in the sense of to take (a certain period of time) rather than to be necessary (to do something): Ihanon fayre pan zonin urokeshen.
Which is it to be?
How to express you have to capture them wild? I chose faye dy tu cam matue dharimi, using the adjective in the appropriate form (masculine accusative plural) after the verb. Perhaps an adverb would be better? (But that might get confused with a description of the manner of capture -- "you have to capture them in a wild manner" rather than "you have to capture them [while they are] wild".)
How is isu used?
Does it conjugate? Or does it simply take a noun in the appropriate case and number after it?
For example, would Do we have enough bread? be Tenom isu lon? and Do we have enough flowers? be Tenom isu zhortem??
What about with adjectives? Is the order adjective + enough, as in English or German (strong enough, stark genug), or enough + adjective, as in French or Greek (assez fort, arketa dhinato)? I guessed it's the second -- isu zol.
And what about the construction <adjective> enough to xxx? Is that formed with dy + indicative? For example, is fue isu bolyáshë dy epne nasitan pezim lië for it was large enough to carry his weight correct? What about fue isu bolyáshë dy nasitne pezim lië, without the epan -- would that give the same meaning, or would it mean something like it was strong enough that it carried his weight (rather than ...to carry his weight) instead?
What construction is used with tro; specifically, when one wants to express too X to Y? Is dy + indicative used again? Or maybe the infinitive?
For example, how would you translate This box is too heavy to lift? As Ci-sista e tro seshuë dy tu epe ilat sevan, perhaps? Or Ci-sista e tro seshuë dy tu ilat seve? Or Ci-sista e tro seshuë sevan? Or maybe Ci-sista e tro seshuë and ilat sevan?
Is a pronoun used, as in French cette boîte est trop lourde pour le porter? Is the infinitive used, as in English or German? Is a preposition used, as in French? Is a finite form of the verb with impersonal (or, if appropriate, personal) subject used, as in the first example (which is how Greek would put it AIUI -- Afto to kivotio einai poly bary gia na to sikosei kaneis)?
Is it correct to translate they were useless to him as ilun fueu agbütî -- that is, with the dative?
Do eto and tot have a plural? It seems that they don't, but that caused me a bit of awkwardness in my translation. I translated [the highest-flying of falcons,] those of the land of the Turicali as [soî sokolî kio letu so mudhe altece,] tot pázhianei Turicalië, and I really wanted a plural pronoun here to refer to "those" falcons. But kio also doesn't have a plural, which also feels weird to me, so I suppose that's just the way it is with inanimate objects. Is the translation of those as tot here correct?
Finally, a question that's not connected to the translation but which came to me: how does Verdurian form negative commands? For example, how to translate Don't steal my clothes!? English uses don't at the beginning, German uses nicht ("not") at the end, Greek has a special particle mi which goes with the subjunctive, French IIRC uses a regular negation ne <imperative> pas.
If Verdurian does it like French, then I would expect something like Rho velenei uverä esë!. But perhaps there's a separate word?
And what about the abbreviated form, often used for example by mothers to tell their children to stop doing whatever they're at? In English one can use Don't!, in German Nicht!, in Greek Mi! -- in all those cases, the separate word used to negate the imperative. I presume it would be similar in Verdurian, with Rho! meaning not only No! but also Not!/Don't!. (Or whichever word is used to negative imperatives, if it's not rho.)