Hanleni halsen (introduction)
List of translations
axa watalu wa k@ e sa ise xerehan
axa adoyamu wa k@ isiuh xiuhine ihwedy@h hu ta ayera
axa xerehu wa k@ iso nolane ayihxek alayu hu
tah axereha wa na seikimes sayanine inya hu
A great bird, if she sings...
A bird of the river, if she ruffles her feathers in the mist...
A bird of song, if she praises the stars of the night...
Then the song, that every ruler hears it...
axa watal.u wa k@ e sa ise xerehan
bird greatness.GEN TOP if she AGT MET sing
axa a.doyam.u wa k@ isiuh xiuhin.e ihwe.d.y@h
bird DEF.river.GEN TOP if MET ruffle.3SF feather.COL.3SFn ACC
axa xereh.u wa k@ iso nolan.e ay.ihxe.k a.lay.u hu
bird song.GEN TOP if MET praise.3SF DEF.star.PL DEF.night.GEN ACC
tah a.xereha wa na seikime.s sayan.ine in.ya hu
then DEF.song TOP REL ruler.DIS hear.3P it.RES ACC
I know it seems odd to introduce an argument as a topic and then use it
as an agent, but it's a classical poetic device in Asiteya called siukat
awahangitema or "doubling the subject". Anyway, I like the parallel
structure it gives it.
Asiteya doesn't have adjectives; it uses verbs or genitive nouns.
Only a transitive verb may take an enclitic personal ending, so having a
personal ending implies that the subject is an agent (see note 1).
Intransitive, like in line one, must have a free pronoun.
Notice the metaphoric particle has a different form in each line. This is because if the particle directly precedes the verb, the final vowel of the
particle is brought into direct vowel harmony with the first syllable of the
A plain relative clause (like in line 4) is often understood as "May
Pronunciation : x = English sh; vowel + h = breathy aspirated vowel (in
Standard dialect) / voiceless vowel (in Northern dialect); r = tap; t, d,
and n are dental; @ = mid central vowel; other vowels approximately Italian.
I don't think Asiteya has gender per se, but there are a number of items
and concepts that for cultural reasons I haven't yet fully explored take the
feminine pronoun, especially in poetry.
I still haven't found where understanding birdness came to include something
about a ruler, though I think it's neat how a bird "washing its clothes"
mutated into ruffling its feathers.
MET: metaphoric; verbal particle that indicates that the action is not happening in quite the same way as a simple indicative, sort of "outside" the indicative; appropriate to use after "if"
DEF: definite article prefix
3SF: third person singular feminine verb ending
COL: collective plural; in this case, the feathers considered as a whole
3SFn: third person singular feminine noun ending, shows possession
ACC: accusative particle/direct object argument marker
PL: unmarked/default plural
REL: relative pronoun
DIS: distributive plural, glossed "each" or "every"
3P: third person plural verbal ending
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