A Few New Expressions

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A Few New Expressions
Release date April 5, 2011
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Source Naviteri
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Weeks and months[edit]

As you know, the days of the 'Rrtan week are:

  1. Trr'awve - Sunday
  2. Trrmuve - Monday
  3. Trrpxeyve - Tuesday
  4. Trrtsìve - Wednesday
  5. Trrmrrve - Thursday
  6. Trrpuve - Friday
  7. Trrkive - Saturday

But what about “week” itself and related words? Here's some useful vocabulary:

  1. kintrr (n., KIN.trr) ‘(7-day) week'
  1. mrrtrr (n., MRR.trr) ‘5-day workweek'
  1. 'muntrr (n., MUN.trr) ‘weekend'

Don't confuse muntrr with mesrr, which simply means ‘(any) two days.'

Just like trr itself, these words take fì-, -am, and -ay with the obvious meanings:

  • fìkintrr ‘this (present) week'
  • kintrram ‘last week'
  • kintrray ‘next week'
  • fìmuntrr ‘this (present) weekend'
  • muntrram ‘last weekend'
  • muntrray ‘next weekend'

As for ‘month,' the word is:

It's derived from the phrase vosìpxì zìsìtä, ‘a twelfth of the year.' And we also have:

  • fìvospxì ‘this month'
  • vospxìam ‘last month'
  • vospxìay ‘next month'

The names of the months? We'll save that for another time. But keep in mind that all of these calendar expressions reflect the situation here on earth; they're used by the Na'vi when they want to or need to talk about how the Sawtute reckon time (and of course by us here 'Rrrtamì). Time-reckoning on Pandora is a matter that awaits further research.

Must and should[edit]

As you already know, zene ‘must' and zenke ‘must not' work as follows:

Nga zene kivä. or Zene nga kivä. ‘You must go.'

Nga zenke kivä. or Zenke nga kivä. ‘You must not go.'

Nga ke zene kivä. or Ke zene nga kivä. ‘It's not necessary/obligatory that you go.'

(You can also use these words impersonally: Zene kivä. ‘I/you/she/one/etc. must go. or It's necessary to go.' Note also the ‘hybrid' variant: Ngari zene kivä. Literally: ‘As for you, it's necessary to go.' There's usually more than one way to skin a cat in Na'vi! And I wonder if anyone can come up with the Pandoran equivalent of that expression . . .)

‘Should' works a bit differently. The word is:

  • sweylu (v., SWEY.lu) ‘should'

This is a development of swey lu ‘it's best,' which has fused into a single word that acts somewhat like a modal . . . a quasi-modal, if you prefer, but without the hunchback. (Oeru txoa livu.)

The syntax depends on whether ‘should' refers to something that hasn't yet happened (the more common situation) or something that's already happened. For the former, use txo ‘if' plus the -iv- (subjunctive) form of the verb:

Sweylu txo nga kivä. or Nga sweylu txo kivä. ‘You should go.'

Sweylu txo nga ke kivä. or Nga sweylu txo ke kivä. ‘You shouldn't go.'

(Other word orders are possible too, of course. For example, Sweylu txo ke kivä nga. And then there's the impersonal form: Sweylu txo kivä. ‘I/you/she/one/etc. should go.')

For something that's already happened, use fwa (= fì'u a) or tsawa (= tsa'u a) with the past or perfect indicative (that is, non-subjunctive):

Sweylu fwa nga kolä. ‘You should have gone.'

Slä nari si! This is not the most common use of English ‘should have'—i.e., the counterfactual one, as in: “You should have gone, but you didn't, ma skxawng!” Rather, it's more like, “You went, and in fact it was the right thing to do.” Example:

Tsenu: Spaw oe, fwa po kolä längu kxeyey. ‘I believe it was a mistake for him to go/have gone.'

Kamun: Kehe, kehe! Sweylu fwa po kolä! ‘No, no! He should have gone!'

(Note: Tsenu's sentence above is colloquial and conversational. A more formal version would be: Spängaw oel futa fwa po kolä lu kxeyey.)

So how does one say “should have” in the counterfactual sense? Zene maweypivey, ma eylan. I'm working on a post about counterfactuals in general . . .

One more thing before we leave this topic[edit]

In English and some other languages, words like should and must have developed secondary meanings. In addition to the basic sense having to do with obligation, right and wrong, better and worse, etc. (the “root” sense), there's also a sense having to do with probability, likelihood, etc. (the “epistemic” sense). An example of the latter is, “He's on his way. He should be here any minute.” As another example, consider the sentence, “You must be a doctor.” That can have both a root and an epistemic interpretation:

Root: “Son, your greatgrandfather was a doctor, your grandfather was a doctor, and I'm a doctor. It's our family tradition. Whether you like it or not, I'm afraid you have no choice. You must be a doctor too.”

Epistemic: “I see you're wearing a white coat and you have a stethoscope around your neck and a prescription pad in your pocket. Hmm . . . You must be a doctor!”

The point of all this is that Na'vi does not allow epistemic interpretations of zene and sweylu. They're purely root. If you want the epistemic senses, you need to use probability words like skxakep.

Ye[edit]

And finally, thanks to the vocabulary committee for

  • ye (adj.) ‘satisfied, content; satiated, “full”'

This is an adjective of feeling, so it's used with 'efu ‘feel' in the same way as keftxo, nitram, ohakx, väng, etc.

Tsaria fkol pole'un futa Loak slu taronyu, sempul 'efu ye. ‘Father is content that it's been decided Loak will be a hunter.'

Ngeyä tìkangkemìri 'efeiu oe ye nìtxan. Seysonìltsan! ‘I'm very satisfied with your work. Well done!'

Note the following vocabulary[edit]

  • hasey si (v., ha.SEY si) ‘accomplish, bring to a conclusion'

Nì'i'a po tsatìkangkemvir hasey soli. ‘She finally completed the project.'

  • seysonìltsan (sey.so.nìl.TSAN) ‘well done!' (a conversational expression derived from hasey soli nìltsan)

Note these two derived forms:

  • yehakx (adj., YE.hakx) ‘satisfied from hunger by food, “full stomach”'
  • yeväng (adj, YE.väng) ‘satisfied from thirst by drink, feeling quenched/slaked'

Srekrr 'amefu väng, set yeväng. ‘Before, I was thirsty; now my thirst has been quenched.'

Tsenu: Srake yehakx? ‘Did you get enough to eat?' Kamun: (a) Stum. ‘Almost. (What's for dessert?)' (b) Ye. Tsun tivam. ‘Yes. That'll be enough.' (c) Nìtxan! ‘Very! I'm quite full.' (d) Nìhaawwwng. ‘Oooh. I ate too much.'

More weather expressions are coming . . . Hayalovay!