Compass directions and rivers

Posted by Philip Newton on 2:37 9/15/01

In reply to: Compass directions posted by Mark Rosenfelder on 00:22 9/14/01

Hi Mark, you wrote in response to me:

For example, how would one translate 10 cemisî south of Pelym?

I would write azh Pelymán erán po dec cemisen.

Ah, thanks. Having looked up azh in the dictionary, I can see the precedent for such use.

The one grammatical oddity is that the direction in a region's name is declined as a noun. That is, it doesn't agree with the toponym in gender.

So east of South Viminia would be azh Erán(masc. dat.) Vimínian(fem. dat.) sarán? And I hate South Viminia, disai Er(masc. acc.) Vimíniam(fem. acc.)?

I have another question. How would the River Elbe be translated into Verdurian? For my recent posting in Cadhinor, I guessed the equivalent of soa Elbe selë, with both Elbe and selë in the feminine singular nominative, and when I declined it, I declined both words equally (treating Elbe as a feminine noun due to its -e ending): azh soan Elben selen erán, south of the(fem. dat.) Elbe(fem. dat.) river(fem. dat.).

What would one say in Verdurian, however? In German, river is nearly always left off, and only the name of the river is used (and takes the feminine article except for very large rivers such as the Nile, the Amazon, or the Mississippi, which are masculine). In English, river is optional, but when present, usually comes before the name (boating on the (River) Nile). In Greek, the word for river usually comes after the name of the river: ο Έλμπε ποταμός (o Élbe potamós), but I'm not sure how the name of the river declines in different cases.

I could imagine any of the folllowing:

Which would you go for? Or maybe none of the above, as with my guesses at compass directions?

Oh -- and are foreign common and proper nouns declined at all (according to their ending), or are they invariant? Would it perhaps be soan Nil and soan Elbe (foreign, invariant) but soan Shayun and soan Svetlan (native, change ending)? And lädai Hamburg but lädai Pelymán?

And if foreign nouns that have not been naturalised are invariant, are they all considered masculine, or all feminine, or maybe either according to the ending the word happens to have? Could it be, perhaps, Tenao dhuni(masc. pl. acc.) chip and Lelnai dhunem(fem. pl. acc.) muvi? (And yes, I know about dhëska and bezhecî.)


-- Philip Newton
Mark responds:

Your phrases about Viminia are correct. (And don't worry... nobody is very fond of south Viminia.)

For the rivers... this is the sort of question I'm always tempted to answer ad hoc, and then I discover from some existing material that I faced it before and decided the other way. :) So I did search through my map folder for relevant things, and found that I normally use the pattern <geographical term> <name>. Thus: Zëi Mishicama Mishicama ocean; Endi Kellide Kellyde Forest; Müsa Mazhtana City Cape. And in fact there's a town in Krasnaya, not unfortunately on one of the maps on the web, called Selë Fäbula, the River Fäbula.

There are also a few places with names like Silva Icëlanië ' forest of the icëlani', Tas Verdúrë 'Bay of Verduria'.

What about articles? I find that in "Subrel i aksubrel" the hero rides co soan Svetlan 'along the Svetla'; but in the Practical Course, Vyat is found u Eärdurán 'on Eärdur'. The grammar says that so is avoided in locative expressions, which I think explains the latter usage; we might say that the first expression is not a locative but an adverbial of manner.

That leaves us, I think, with this rule: Either so (gliny) Nil or soa (gliny) selë Nil is correct. So agrees with the name of the river if selë is not present. Thus: So Eärdur e beluana, ac ditavu soa selä Raum, 'the Eärdur is beautiful, but I prefer the river Rau'. The river name does decline.

For the bare locative, follow the Practical Course: Zhésifo zet tróue u Svetlan. So would tend to return with other prepositions. Note that sur Svetlan would mean, on the surface of the river... a good place for a boat but not a city. :)

Foreign nouns can all be assimilated into Verdurian, and therefore all decline. You choose the declination according to the ending. (For personal names, Verdurians would manhandle the word in order to get the right gender. Names in -a can of course be either gender. A name like the Hebrew Avi would be written Avy. I said Barakhinei Benhêk would be Verdurian Benëk, but I think this is wrong-- it should be Benëca. Spanish Consuelo would probably be turned into Consuela. (I hate when Americans do that!))

(Foreign adjectives sometimes are not assimilable, because they don't fit into any declension. So e.g. zhuzhu 'stoned' is invariant.)

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