Linsin kufan lezu,
When the little bird sings with greatness,
Linsin kufan lezu, NomS pref-Rad Rad Jemnon sejfibo-lag nesaj izu|lebi ge, NomS Rad-Rad NomPe Inf-Nom Rad of vaux Lezulinan Dodapa djolaj, NomS NomS pref-Inf-Nom Lezedun plisesif ezve|si ige. AccSe NomPe Par-Gen pres-vaux
"Artist of the river" (jemnon) is a metaphor for some kinds of birds with long legs that live near rivers and lakes. "Reigners" (plisif) is another metaphor that applies to gods or celestial beings. Jemnon is an everyday metaphor (it's really the way you name most big waterbirds in Moten). Plisif has been created for the poem. In fact, there are no simple ways to name gods or God in Moten, it just lacks the words. So many metaphors are used, depending on which nuance you want to give.
Just some comments about Moten (if you read my translation of the Babel text, I think you don't need much help):
- the word order is consistently SOV, but OSV is not unfrequent.
- verb conjugation is periphrastic, with the use of two auxiliaries (agem: to have, and atom: to be).
- declination consists of three cases: nominative, accusative and genitive, which are used also with impersonal forms of verbs to make the conjugation.
- Moten is written with the roman alphabet, with only four new letters: |s and |z, which are the affricate counterparts of s and z, and |l and |n which are the palatalised counterparts of l and n. The other letters have their IPA values.
Don't forget it's a poem, and poetic licence is strong in Moten (for instance, using nominative instead of accusative for the object of a sentence, if the subject is already put before it, or lack of atom as an auxiliary, or concatenation of a substantive and its postposition - always showed by the presence of a hyphen - , or personification - when a word becomes a proper noun, the definite article disappears -).
© Irina Rempt, Christophe Grandsire 23-06-1999