ngye.llal3 Twiyh 3e.mnaw3
"if" a bird of a greatness be a singer,
ng> 0> y<l>lal3 0> Twiyh 3:U> mnaw3 IR COR:U> <AGT>sing COR:U> bird GEN greatness ng> 0> N<l>3u33 3> hke.hka33 p> IR> COR:U> <AGT>ruffle GEN:U> "feather":COLL:3inh OBL:U> Lhi3h 0> Twiyh 3> Lkuyh mist COR:U> bird GEN:U river ng> 0> s<l>pi3h 3N> pliy3 3N> IR> COR:U> <AGT>glorify GEN:B star GEN:B> pngungh 0> Twiyh 3> ylal3 night COR:U> bird GEN:U> song k> ng> 0> k<l>lelh 3> ylal3 N> knenghnengh INF IR> COR:U> <AGT>hear GEN:U> song COR:B> ruler:DIST
Below are notes to help interpret the Boreanesian translation. I have divided it up into what notes apply to what line in the poem. I'll start first with notes that apply to all lines. Then I'll move on to notes that apply to specific lines.
Phase: All nouns and predicates are marked for phase in Boreanesian. For nouns, the bound phase denotes a specific reference, while for predicates it denotes perfective aspect. On the other hand, the unbound phase denotes a non-specific reference in nouns, and an imperfective aspect in predicates.
Modal and Evidential Particles:
You will notice that each line starts with one of these particles. In the poem, the irrealis and the inferential particles are used. These are explained below:
The irrealis mode makes no assertion whatsoever that an event or state actually holds true. This is not the same as the negative where in an event did not or will not take place, it simply makes no claims with respect to the actuality of the event or situation described. In most cases, an irrealis mode can best be translated as an "if" mode. But it can be translated into different meanings depending on the situation, e.g., conditional, imperative, optative, hypothetical, potential, etc.
The inferential particle in Line 4 is a subcategory of the irrealis and as such (you will notice) must be attached to the irrealis particle itself. It indicates the speaker's certainty of truth. Here, it best translates as "might", (as in something might occur).
There are three argument markings: Core, Oblique, and Genitive. Refer to word order (below) for the explanation of the core argument marking. The oblique is simply an all purpose preposition applying to all spatio-temporal frames. The genitive is roughly equivalent to the English preposition "of".
Since Boreanesian has only predicate nominal (non-transitive) clauses and only one core case, the roles played by various constituents are express by nominalizing the verb. In the poem, all the verbs have been nominalized as an agent. For instance, in the first line, the verb for "sing" has been nominalized as an agent: "singer". The other predicates should therefore be easy for you to figure out.
You will notice that each line has two phrases marked as core arguments. The first of these is actually the predicate, the second is the argument in focus. Boreanesian does not have transitive statements, only statements of the nominal predicate type. That is, the predicate asserts something about the focus. Take the first line for instance, (ignoring the irrealis mode) it asserts that the focus "bird" is an agent that sings (i.e., "a singer").
Boreanesian does not have adjectives. Here the idea of a "great bird" is expressed as "bird of greatness".
This is one of the categories of plurality that Boreanesian expresses. The collective plural refers to a collection of objects which can be grouped together, implying some kind of internal structure or coherence to the group. Here, it is applied to feathers giving that subtle meaning that the predicate of ruffling is applied to the feathers as a group rather than to each individual feather.
Some words in Boreanesian are inherently possessed. This includes body parts like hair (or in this case feathers). In this line, the feathers is inherently possessed by a third person (the bird).
Compounding is not a very productive feature in Boreanesian. The idea of the night star is expressed with the genitive.
Refer to Modal and Evidential Particles under notes in the section of 'All Lines'.
This is another category of plurality in Boreanesian. Unlike its collective counterpart, it is conceived as a group of individuals rather than a collection. The predicate is therefore applied to each object individually rather than a collection as a whole.
In the fourth line, it is applied to rulers that are bound in phase (or specific). Together with the distributive plural, it means "every ruler".
I have chosen to use the distributive plural here to demonstrate Boreanesian's flexibility in expressing plurality. I could have easily just use the collective plural. If I did, it would together with the bound phase translate as as "all rulers". There was nothing in the previous (Eloshtan) translation about this distinction, but this distinction is meticulously distinguished in formal Boreanesian contexts - especially in poetry.
I have not yet figured out how to represent Boreanesian satisfactorily in a ascii-Roman transcription. So I will represent Boreanesian in a transcription that roughly imitates how it sounds in normal speech (with clusters created from vowel reduction). Very broadly, the graphemes to take note of are:
Note that syllable final <h> marks a slack phonation (slack register tone), while syllable final <3> marks a stiff phonation (stiff register tone).
Note also that I will place syllable breaks <.> where appropriate. So when two syllable-initial consonants appear together, they are pronounced as clusters.
Primary stress is regularly on the final syllable.
"" - encloses my best translation
(refer to glossary)
hka33 - his/her/its hair - but used in this poem to refer to
it aviary equivalent "its feather".
© Irina Rempt, Kristian Jensen 23-06-1999