Home - A Grammar of the Denden Language - Abbreviations - References
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The place of the adpositions relative to the nominal head is not fixed in Denden and all adpositions can be used either as pre- or as postpositions.
Southern Colloquial Charyan has postpositions, while Northern Colloquial has prepositions, and whether the Denden adpositions are used prepositionally or postpositionally seems in some measure to be determined by the mother tongue of the speaker or author.
However, in the Denden as spoken in Broi, postpositionally used particles generally form a phonological unit with the head noun, while prepositionally used particles have a more independent status. It is interesting to note that Broian Denden is currently in a transitional phase, moving from an SVO to an SOV word order; it seems likely that the prepositional usage of particles is in part motivated by an analogy with verbal constructions, i.e. prepositionally placed particles can be interpreted as more verbal in nature.
Whether the postpositionally used case particles are in reality affixes or independent elements of the noun-phrase is a difficult question. As noted about, for instance, New Indo-Aryan (Masica 1991 : 212), '...the line between such analytic elements and agglutinative affixes is uncertain...'. The Denden case particles are in, what Masica (op. cit.), at Zograph's (1976) instigation, terms paradigmatic contrasts. The whole system of forming complex elements of noun phrases must be examined, especially when the analytical elements can just as well be analysed as suffixes, since they form, when one takes the stress patterns into account, a phonological unity with the head noun.
Adpositions often function as "case" particles (Blake 1994, 9-13), and we can distinguish between particles that indicate direct verbal arguments, such as the instrumental particle hye INST and the dative particle lye DAT (note that the core arguments, subject and direct object,rumental particle hye INST and the dative particle lye DAT (note that the core arguments, subject and direct are not marked by any case particle), the particles indicating relationships beween nominals, such as the genitive oib GEN or the possessive lua POSS, and locative particles, such as the locative ar or the inessive yo(murin) INESS.
The following table presents all case particles:
|Ornative||dax ~ daxa||ORN||n/a|
|Proximal Locative||yobal ~ yobar||NLOC||close by|
|Adessive||wau||ADESS||at, close by, near|
|Frontive||atal ~ atahl||FRONT||in front of|
|Postive||qe ~ ke ~ che||POST||behind of|
|Intrative||canuin ~ can||INTRA||through, between|
|Superessive||yülis ~ yülish||SUPER||on top of|
|Partitive||cu ~ zu||PART||from (amongst)|
|Ablative||ob||ABLA||out, out of|
|Illative||ca||ILLA||into, onto, inserting into|
|Augmented Illative||cashe||ILLA2||deeply into|
|Perlative||matan||PERLA||(being or going) alongside|
|Tangentive||par||TANG||going along, while touching|
The instrumental adposition hye INST marks an instrument distinct from the agent of the sentence. It can also indicate a cause or a comitative. However, the sociative is also used in a comitative sense. Causal clauses can be subordinated using the instrumental, but more often using the particle tan TAN.
The instrumental hye marks the instrument with which the agent of a sentence does something:
. lananir.é hon ka, tau.layet, gerran mimir.ir hye layet.ju taste.PT1 after TOP NEG.tasty meat pepper.DUP INST tasty.CRT If you've tasted [it], [and it] isn't tasty, you will certainly make the meat tasty with peppers. . seri basuse seri hye ghijas! 2sHGH wash 2sHGH INST shit You wash yourself with shit! . kaulon Denyal tiran.ini davain hye tyras.as e.da big_house Denyal catch.HAB birds INST hand.DUP poss.3sMGH Denyal from the big house catches birds with his hands . koran hye ka yadir dox ga lyan ga veil INST TOP woman all NOM beautiful NOM With a veil, every woman is beautiful . chaka.hau rai semor e.dos hye! beat.IMP 3pLGG knife poss.1pMGH INST Let's beat them up with our knives!
In this example, chaka 'to beat' is used, and not menar, to cut, to indicate that this is a proper fight, not a knifing from behind.
. soi hye sümzi ka, tan dasir hod'shulas ga, daha. wine INST drunk TOP TAN 3pfMGH head.mist NOM tomorrow They're drunk with wine, they'll have a misty head, tomorrow.
Due to the composite nature of Denden, there is great freedom in constructions. The following examples were taken from Hinadanzi's native grammar:
. garal.al garalbay hye hyahya hair.DUP brush INST brush garal.al hye garalbay hyahya hye garalbay garal.al hyahya garalbay hye garal.al hyahya the hair is brushed with a brush
. Yai hye e.do leham teshit.é yo maile, 2sLGH INST poss.1sMGH money buy.PT1 that shirt yo maile e.do ga! that shirt poss.1sMGH NOM You've bought that shirt with my money, it's my shirt!
Causative constructions with hye are rare, and the usage is almost completely confined to the southern parts of Charya.
. dabbe ca qiri.ri e.do penresh hye tau.qireze.za paint into eye,DUP poss.1sMGH spatter INST NEG.see.EXP Because the paint spattered into my eyes I couldn't see. . ram kisen.onai hye zipaisan hye sero dotyuan. money steal.PERF INST army INST 1sHGH poor Because the army stole [my] money, I've become poor.
Related to the causative usage of hye INST is the figurative usage which indicates which factor made a situation possible:
. canoran seras daxa ga hye serir kaulon ca nahan tau.yindad key 1sHGH ORN NOM INS 1pHGH house ILL go NEG.able_to Because he had the key on him we couldn't enter the house.
The comitative usage of hye INST is purely coordinative, and never indicates enumeration:
. sero hakaq.aq hye Hamal, Hamal qendor, sero qendor, 1sHGH fight.HAB INST Hamal Hamal win 1sHGH win tarna turantos tau.qendor.zi. but nobody NEG.win.AUG I regularly fight a bout with Hamal, Hamal wins, I win, but nobody ever wins out. . Manud yo adan tau.adan ga! da yumir'beru hye qenan, Manud that man NEG.man NOM 3sMGH wife.first INST make_love xong.zi, xong.zi na da yumir'verai hye qenan tired.AUG tired.AUG so 3sMGH wife.second INST make_love tau.yindad. E.da yumir.ir dilogh qenan! NEG.can poss.3sMGH wife.DUP REFL make_love That man Manud, he isn't a man! If he makes love with his first wife he's very tired, he's so tired he can't make love with his second wife. His wives must make love amongst themselves!
The Denden particle tan is notoriously difficult (see also further literature on tan) to describe in a rigorous fashion. Countless generations of PhD students have been able to base their thesises on it. The particle ga is nearly as notorious. I gloss tan consequently as TAN, since the meaning of this particle is very broad and depends on the context.
However, tan TAN can be said to relate clauses and nominals, and in that sense, is a relative particle, and in some cases it should be glossed RTV. The meanings of tan include genitive, ablative, locative, dative and comitative meanings, and in fact, tan can be used in place of almost every distinct case particle.
It must be taken into account when considering the meaning and usage of tan that Denden is a lingua franca, spoken across a large continent by people with a wide variety of mother-tongues. The substratal influences of their native tongues have to a large degree caused the wide variety of usages of tan attested in the sources.
Core usages of tan
The central meaning of tan is genitive. The genitive indicates possession or a belonging together.
There have been attested at least two common genitive constructions with tan:
. kaolon tan Keluxir zi ga house TAN Keluxir great NOM The house of Keluxir is great. . weru doxazdan nahan lohe tan Daine nah. two regiment go to TAN daine side Two regiments went over to the side of the Daine . Tan lauyè purgat.dir cyun.cyun gelaw tayde Hamal ga zunga.dan GEN well god.p very.DUP angry because Hamal NOM curse.AGP The gods of the well are extremely angry because Hamal is one who curses.
Thus: X tan Y and tan Y X both mean 'the X of Y'. The first construction is more general, while the second construction is limited to southern sources, and could be due to the influence of Southern Colloquial Charyan, or to an extension of the genitivus partitivus:
. Tan e.do ram di tejidi tau.getir TAN poss.1sMGH money 2sMGH little NEG.obtain You won't get even a little of my money
In the construction X tan Y the constituents X and Y can swap places:
. séor tan Tacal sword TAN Tacal the sword of Tacal . Tacal tan séor Tacal TAN sword Tacal's swordThe focus is always on the first constituent. In case of ambiguity the possession is the first element; the possessor the second.
A third construction is attested in some eastern sources:
. Snes hanun.un tan plain fly.p TAN The plain of the flies
However, the construction X Y tan has not been imitated by authors from other parts of the continent, while the southern construction tan X Y enjoyed some popularity during the latter half of the three hundred years of the three hundred kingdoms period.
The locative use of tan is an extension of the genitive core meaning of tan. When used in a locative sense, the particle tan indicates "possession of a location" and is most often used as a preposition, though postpositional uses are common, too. The locative is more often expressed with locative suffix <-ar> LOC, though.
. Seras iber tan nevus hahan.alei. Tan nevus ga ke nadul. 3sHGH first TAN west tramp.PT3. GEN west NOM only sand. He travelled first in the west. The west only had sand. . Barush tan Barushladan.dir wu.ni, barush tan gigar ga. mountain TAN barushlan.p live.HAB mountain TAN danger NOM In the mountains the Barushlani live, in the mountains there is danger. . Tau.tau.etand, e.ras dox'tau.yidan ga nothaz NEG.dup.be POSS.3pLGH thing.NEG.normal NOM kill tan kal tu.belay.lay TAN far without.arrow.DUP No, no, theirs is a strange thing that kills from far without arrows.
Tan has usurped the domain of many of the more specialised case particles in Denden. In these cases the usage can either be constructed as derived directly from the genitive usage, or via the locative usage of tan.
. Do tan di tau.gevir.ju ram 1sMGH TAN 2sMGH NEG.give.CRT money I certainly won't give you money. . Mému gjivat tan radan ta.kiraw? QST gjivat TAN man NEG.bad Gjivat isn't harmful for a man? (negative answer expected). . Seri wüwish.do tan do 2sHGH dance.OPT TAN 1sMGH Will you dance for me? . doxaz delai.ai wüwish tan pal thousand girl.p dance TAN emperor A thousand girls dance for the emperor.
. Sera tan harulon tan Qunayir nahan, tarna sera quna tau.ga 3sHGH TAN temple TAN Qunayir come_from, but 3sHGH cat NEG.NOM He comes from the temple of Qunayir, but he isn't a cat. . Seri bachaza.hau hod e.rai tan randa 2sHGH hack.IMP head poss.3sLGH TAN trunk Hack his head off the trunk!
. Sero tau.yalir rezet tan Hamal. 1sHGH NEG.bring bread TAN Hamal I won't bring the bread to Hamal.
. Sero ta.gedir tan bué yani pahang 1sHGH NEG.think TAN DIST daughter fat I don't think of that fat daughter. . Do tan Kirimandir hales.ju 1sMGH TAN Kirimandir trust.CRT I put my trust in the Kirimandir (brother and sister gods) . Sero tajir tan tagyan e.di 1sHGH sad TAN mischief poss.2sMGH I am saddened by your mischief (from parent to child) . Daine chui jahar.onai tan chakahin.yi Daine easily succeed.PERF TAN battle.DIM The Daine easily succeeded in battle
Peripheral usages of tan
Adjectival constructions with tan
As an extension of the genitive usage of tan, the particle is sometimes used to put greater emphasis on an adjectival construction. In these case the normal order noun-adjective is reversed.
. Rorayal denor gigar tan tugar, ca'fentir Rorayal speak danger TAN lie yesterday Rorayal uttered a dangerous lie, yesterday
Adverbial constructions with tan
Adverbial constructions are often made with chains of verbs, but can also be made with the particle tan.
. Serir tan Pal arat tan karinzu 1pHGH TAN emperor fear TAN enter We went to the emperor with fear.
Another redaction of the same text, the memoires of Yundiai lue Erlo, a courtier at time time of the twelfth emperor, has the following:
. Serir Pal.ar arat tan Pal gelaw karinzu 1pHGH emperor.LOC fear TAN emperor fury enter We went to the Emperor's palace in fear of the fury of the emperor.
Which of course is a normal genitive construction.
A clear example of the adverbial use of tan is found in the song lamay neranmen:
. E.do nahak hya tan sunane poss.1s penis smooth TAN saunter My penis smoothly saunters
If hya would be taken as and adjective to nahak, the particle tan would become meaningless, and since there is no rhyme to be gained in the phrase by the addition of a meaningless tan, tan must here be analyzed as forming an adverb.
Tan can also be used as a conjunction. In the next example, tan can either be analysed as an adverbial particle (belonging to tupamo), or as a conjunction between naha and tupamo:
. Pal naha tan tupamo etal.amoi Barushla emperor brave TAN unexpected conquer.RFUT Barushla The brave emperor then unexpectely conquered Barushla. or: The emperor then bravely and unexpectedly conquered Barushla. or even: The brave and unpredictable emperor then conquered Barushla.
Tan can also be used as an undetermined pronoun, like 'one':
. Tan tau.tau.yuan.ini yob TAN NEG.NEG.do.HAB that One doesn't do that.
As a relative pronoun
Although Denden has a perfectly good and usable set of relative pronouns, some authors extend the range of uses of tan into the domain of relative pronouns:
. Do avanrir quhuran.dir tan wüwish 1sMGH love whore.p TAN dance I love whores who dance. . Do tauvan adan tan tauvan do 1sMGH hate man TAN hate 1sMGH I hate those who hate me.
In comparative constructions, tan couples the terms that are compared:
. Klondan.dan. qarnak.yara tan tardan logh farmer.p fuck.DSP TAN animal like Farmers fuck like the beasts. (i.e. without any art).
In passive constructions, tan can be used to mark the passive subject:
. Tarna drai tan najan.ini but girl TAN kiss.HAB But girls are usually kissed.
As a stopgap in poetry
In line 6 of the poem Lamay Neranmen the particle appears to be essentially meaningless and merely used to obtain a rhyme with anyalan, in line 8.
. Yuanei tiran e.di yanang.dir tan pleasure grasp poss.2s breast.pl TAN with pleasure I grasp your breasts
In sum, the usage of tan ranges from a case particle to a meaningless syllable, and only a careful analysis of the text and its provenance can lead the philologist to a correct translation.
|oib|| of, GEN|
There has been a historical tendency where the genitive adposition oib GEN lost a large part of its place to the relative adposition tan TAN, and at the beginning of the Threehundred Kingdoms period the genitive particle oib GEN was only used to indicate actual possession and the place of origin of common people.
In the North and the East, the genitive particle oib GEN remained in fairly widespread usage, but in the South, around Broi and the Xiy'kahra, the adposition had almost completely vanished during the reign of Emperor Rordal Twuindoal Sedom'Chewir.
. Séor oib Tacal verech.zi ga, sero gedir.ju doxaz ajun. sword GEN Tacal old.AUG NOM 1sHGH think.CRT 1000 year Tacal's sword is very old, I think a thousand years.
|Lyane Nechzi oib Siroi||Lyane Nechzi who comes from Siroi|
|Denyal Yaswe tan Yawaizi||Denyal Yaswe who came from Yawaizi|
In contrast with the genitive particle oib GEN, the possessive particle lua was used to indicate the place of origin of noble people whose family would actually have had to have been in possession of the place.
|Nimwéwé lua Peroi||Nimwéwé of the noble family of Peroi|
Originally, the possessive lua was used to indicate actual possession, while the genitive oib was used to indicate the sense of belonging together. The possessive lua is a loan from from the Classical language and was during the reign of Emperor Rordal Twuindoal Sedom'Chewir still used as a high-register alternative for tan TAN in its genitive sense.
. Klonlyan lua Pal cuyinleng lyantara. Lyantara ka arayachar palace POSS emperor outstanding beautiful splendour TOP glory lua Pal.zi pela y lyaunya lua Charya ga. POSS emperor.AUG symbolize COM pride POSS Charya NOM. The palace of the emperor is outstandingly beautiful. The splendour symbolizes the glory of the great emperor and is the pride of Charya.
|dax ~ daxa||ORN|
The ornative suffix dax ~ daxa ORN means 'clothed in, adorned with', 'endowed with', 'equipped with', both in a concrete and an abstract sense.
. lyangar tan taihanun logh daxa Yimilir wüwish tan Pal. eye-brow TAN wing like ORN Yimilir dance TAN emperor Yimilir with the wing-like eyebrows dances before the Emperor. . lyan qoron.yi daxa ga beauty face.DIM ORN NOM She has a pretty face . maile qurejale yar daxa Quandiyal teshitlo'ar nahan. shirt see-through long ORN Quandiyal market.LOC go Leng.leng qureray ga! very.DUP nice NOM Quandiyal went to the market wearing a long, gauze maile. It looked very nice. . Beru wenyisin daxa palenlo achar, Hamal yondir, yondir, cenam one lamp ORN study light Hamal study study night tan atar reniy com yondir. TAN evening morning until study With only one lamp lighting [his] study, Hamal studied and studied, the whole night from evening until the morning.
. Rahnun ar klondan ka da kenta . Weshe wuwish pesen e.da ar . Quashdir hahush sensh cu
|atahl|| in front of|
|canuin, can|| between, through|
|matan|| alongside, past|
|qe ~ ke ~ che|| behind|
|yobal ~ yobar|| here|
|yülis ~ yülish|| above|
|zu ~ cu|| in, inside|
The goal of an action or the beneficiary can be marked with the finalitive particle lya GOAL:
. Klondan maunsir rahnun e.da lya palenta shun farmer plow field poss.3sMGH GOAL noble lazy The farmer plows his fields for the lazy nobles.
|asfran ~ swaran ~ asran|| to, towards|
|ob|| out, out of|
|cashe|| deep into|
|dandir|| SOC: together|
|quat ~ y|| COM: with, together|
|quat ~ y|| COM: with, together|
The comitative adposition y can also have a a cooperative meaning:
. quhuran avanrir adan y yader.iy.dir whore love man COM girl.DIM.p The whore loves the man with [her/the] little friends.
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