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Skerre (detailed analysis)




1. Esin-tari sivera

Esin-tari: compound noun made up of esin 'story, tale' and tari 'time'. The compounding rules of Skerre have the head first (backwards from English), thus this compound would be 'timestory' in English.

sivera: noun meaning 'chaos, disorder'

Esin-tari sivera is a possessed-possessor noun phrase (in that order). The fact that there is no particle between the two nouns indicates inalienable or intrinistic possession of esin-tari by sivera.


2. Visor ki era esin-tari, e tik xan a tirisa jiket i oto ni hahak-oto

Visor: complementizer meaning either 'because' or 'in order to, in order that.' Here it means 'in order to/that' because of the TAM marker ki which follows it.

ki: TAM marker marking the following verb with the irrealis mode; here it cues the purposive (not the causal) meaning of visor.

era: verb, 'to begin' (has just one argument).

e: TAM marker marking the following verb with the perfective aspect--the event is seen being complete; having had both a start and finish.

tik: verb 'must, have to' marks necessity. It is frequently followed by another verb (with which it shares a TAM marker).

xan: verb 'make, manufacture' (has two arguments with it).

a: syntactic marker which marks the following noun phrase in the ergative case - marking them as subjects of transitive clauses.

tirisa: noun, 'universe'.

jiket: quantifier 'all', takes a genitive NP.

i: syntactic marker which marks the following noun phrase in the genitive case.

oto: noun, 'water'.

ni: sometimes the conjunction 'and' sometimes the comitative syntactic marker 'with', sometimes either reading will work.

hahak-oto: a compound noun, made up of the head hahak 'PL-path' (plurality here makes the whole word plural) and oto 'water' (see above about compound nouns).

jiket i oto ni hahak-oto: the object of xan (0 syntactic marker marks the absolutive case - assume those noun phrases unmarked with a syntactic marker are absolutive).


3. ir e-ta tik suare is

ir: another word for 'and'. It's used for linking clauses (ni links just NPs).

ta: 3SG subject pronominal clitic. The hyphen marks it as an enclitic to e (this punctuation rule occurs with other TAM markers and clitics throughout the text).

suare: verb, 'let go, release'--without force and with very little control (takes 2 arguments).

is: noun 'light, stuff made up of photons'.


4. Visor e-ta resa ter, e qein sivera ir e-sa ranxa

Visor: purposive/causal complementizer, again. With the TAM marker e it means 'because'.

resa: verb 'do' (very little semantic content), perfective form. Has 2 arguments.

ter: demonstrative pronoun, 'this' - closest to the event just mentioned.

qein: verb 'arrive' (1 argument).

sa: 3'SG subject pronominal clitic. The 3' forms are the obviatives - they are non-protagonist third persons. So, sa cannot refer back to the same person as ta. Ta will always refer to the protagonist (from a certain point of view, which can change), sa will refer to others (and yes, there can be more than one obviative in a sentence, although that doesn't happen in this text).

ranxa: verb 'cry out, call out, yell' maybe somewhat similar to the French crier (has 1 argument).


5. kæt e-sa xenta vivisa sehes ja hahak-oto

kæt: complementizer marking the clause that was a result of something.

xenta: verb made up of causative prefix, x- and enta 'become' so in total, the verb is 'cause to become.' (3 arguments: a causer as a subject pronominal clitic or ergative NP, a causee as a dative pronominal or NP, and a patient as object pronominal clitic or absolutive NP).

vivisa: plural noun, 'places'.

sehes: stative verb 'be dangerous' here in attributive position.

ja: dative syntactic marker, marks following noun phrase as dative.


6. Æ ik antan i siserra ni antan i sisehes va sivera.

Æ: gnomic TAM marker. It has this timeless/aspectless quality to it  - it frequently marks permanent or long-standing conditions, or other instances where other TAM markers don't quite fit.

ik: verb, 'exist' (1 argument).

antan: quantifier, 'a lot, beaucoup (Fr.)' it takes a genitive NP of what it quantifies.

siserra: complex noun make up of nominalizer si- and the stative verb serra 'be beautiful'.

sisehes: complex noun made up of nominalizer si- and the stative verb sehes 'be dangerous'.

va: locative syntactic marker, marks that the following NP is at a location.

Phrase 6 is an existential construction.


7. Tha ter kanar, u-ha sik aset sivera

Tha: syntactic marker meaning 'by means of'.

ter: demonstrative pronoun, 'this', closest to the fact just presented.

kanar: stative verb 'be alone' here in attributive position.

u: imperfective TAM marker, marks the following verb as started and in-progress, but says nothing about the finish.

ha: 1SG subject pronominal clitic.

sik: verb 'can, be able.' It frequently takes another V (who shares the TAM marking) as it does here.

aset: verb 'understand [concepts], grasp how something/someone works' It's a far more active understanding than the the understanding meant by uket (its semantic brother), which is frequently used in the sense of comprehending what people are saying. (aset has 2 arguments)


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