New Vocabulary, Part 2

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New Vocabulary, Part 2
Release date February 20, 2011
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Here's Part 2 of the new vocabulary post from last time. Some of these words, I think, will turn out to be quite useful.


1. li (adv.) ‘already'


Tìkangkem li hasey lu. ‘The work is already finished.'


Li pol terok fìtsengit srak? ‘Is she already here?'


Ayfohu li oe ultxa soli. ‘I've already met with them.'

What does li add to a sentence? To paraphrase the lucid analysis of one of the vocabulary committee members, li does two jobs: (1) it indicates completion, and (2) it's a way for speakers (or writers) to react to their reasonable assumptions about what listeners (or readers) are thinking.

For example:

A: Srake new nga oehu yivom wutsot? ‘Do you want to have dinner with me?' B: Oer txoa livu. Li yolom. ‘Sorry. I've already eaten.'

Here, B sees from A's question that A is assuming she (B) hasn't yet eaten. B's response says, in effect, “You evidently think I haven't had dinner, but in fact I have.”

For the negative, Na'vi doesn't use a separate lexical item like English (already ~ not yet) or French (déjà ~ pas encore) but simply negates li:

A: Fo li polähem srak? ‘Have they already arrived?' B: Ke li. ‘Not yet.'

Li has some idiomatic uses as well:

A. In imperatives to convey strong urgency:

Ngal mi fìtsengit terok srak? Li kä! ‘You're still here? Get going!'.

(Note: It's the verb that gets the sentence stress, not the li: li KÄ!)

Also note the set phrase:

Li ko. ‘Well, get to it, then.' OR ‘Let's get on it.' (Here li gets the stress: LI ko.)

B. As a somewhat hesitant or weak ‘yes,' as in colloquial English “Well, yeah, kind of.”

A: Nga mllte srak? ‘Do you agree?' B: Li, slä … ‘Well, yes, I guess so, but . . .'

The negative of this usage is simply ke li, which could be translated in colloquial English as ‘not really.' This overlaps the ‘not yet' usage above, but in most cases the context will disambiguate.

C. Combined with sre (ADP+) to indicate ‘by' in the time sense—that is, ‘before or up to, but not after.' For example:

Kem si li trraysre. ‘Do it by tomorrow.'

If sre comes before the time expression, it fuses with li into lisre (LI.sre), an adposition that is still ADP+ . . . i.e., that will cause lenition:

Kem si lisre srray. ‘Do it by tomorrow.'

Regarding ‘already,' I want to say a big irayo to the vocabulary committee for an extremely rich discussion from which I learned a lot. I got great examples of how the corresponding words for ‘already' are used in Japanese, Thai, Spanish, Irish, German, Swedish, Latin, Ancient Greek, and Nahuatl. Tewti, ma eylan! Lì'fyari lu aynga sulfätu nìwotx.


2. ronsrelngop ‘imagine, envision' (vtr., infixes 33) (RON.srel.ngop)


Tsat ke tsun oe ronsrelngivop. ‘I can't imagine that.'


Oel ronsrelngop futa Eywevengit tok. ‘I imagine that I'm on Pandora.'

The etymology of this word is probably clear: ronsem + rel + ngop, ‘mind-picture-create.' Note, however, that in colloquial as opposed to careful or formal speech, ronsrelngop is usually pronounced ronsrewngop. (The sound change vowel + l –> vowel + w has occurred in Earth languages as well, for example in the history of French. Compare “salsa” and “sauce”!) This has led to a popular misunderstanding, or “folk etymology,” where the word is connected to srew, ‘dance,' as if imagination were a dance in the mind. It's a nice idea, but that's not where the word actually comes from.

Derivation: ronsrel (n.) ‘something imagined' (RON.srel)

Ayronsrel peyä hängek nìtxan. ‘His imaginings are (unpleasantly) weird.'

Derivation: tìronsrel (n.) ‘imagination' (tì.RON.srel)

Lu poru tìronsrel atxanatan. ‘She has a vivid imagination.'

Note: txanatan (adj.) ‘bright, vivid' (TXA.na.tan, from txan + atan)

Derivation: leronsrel (adj.) ‘imaginary'

Oe new sivop ne tsakifkey leronsrel. ‘I want to journey to that imaginary world.'

Derivation: nìronsrel (adv.) ‘in/by imagination'

Oe pxìm pängkxo ngahu nìronsrel. ‘I often talk with you in my imagination.' OR ‘I often imagine I'm talking with you.'

3. srefey ‘expect' (vtr., vitr., infixes 22) (sre.FEY, from sre and pey)

This verb can be transitive or intransitive, so there are alternate structures to express the same idea:

Set srefey oel futa tsampongu tätxaw maw txon'ong. OR: Set srefey oe tsnì tsampongu tätxaw maw txon'ong. ‘I'm currently expecting the war party back after nightfall.'

Note the useful idiom srefereiey nìprrte', ‘looking forward':

Tsaria ngahu ye'rìn ultxa si nìmun, oe srefereiey nìprrte'. ‘I'm looking forward to getting together with you again soon.'

You can use this phrase by itself as a positive response to someone's offer:

A. Oeng rewonay 'awsiteng tivaron ko. ‘Let's you and I go hunting together tomorrow morning.' B. Srefereiey nìprrte'. ‘I'll look forward to that.' OR ‘I'd love to.'

FRACTION PARADIGM


mawl (n.) ‘half'

Tsu'teyìl tolìng oer mawlit smarä. Tsu'tey gave me a half of the prey.

As you see, to say ‘half of something' you simply use the genitive of the noun.

pan (n.) ‘third, one third'

Tsu'teyìl tolìng oer panit smarä.

Tsu'tey gave me a third of the prey.

Two thirds is simply mefan (me.FAN), with the dual me effecting lenition in the usual way.

For fractions with denominators higher than 3 we use the prefix form of the number plus the suffix pxì, derived from hapxì ‘part.' Hapxì is stressed on the second syllable (ha.PXÌ), and this has influenced the fraction words, which retain the stress on pxì.

tsìpxì ‘one-fourth' (tsì.PXÌ)


mrrpxì ‘one-fifth' (mrr.PXÌ)


pupxì ‘one-sixth' (pu.PXÌ)


kipxì ‘one-seventh' (ki.PXÌ)


vopxì ‘one-eighth' (vo.PXÌ)


To make higher fractions from these, use simple numbers:

munea mrrpxì – ‘two-fifths'

kipxì atsìng – ‘four-sevenths'


Tam. Hayalovay, ma oeyä eylan.