CONLANG Translation Relay 16

Vetela (Ring C)


========= Smooth English =========

Understanding virtue

All people act with compassionate tolerance of faults,
each person's heart making them understand
about the virtues of each other person.
They endeavour to act with compassionate tolerance of faults,
making the needs of their hearts very important.
But few people doubt one virtue;
they understand it.
I'm not sure.

========== Vetela text ==========

Leimea sauna

Eki teulama laumeataiko sanleini menazu vele,
eki eni teulo lecymma
kuteulaya eki eni voltuo leimea saune.
Laumeataiko sanleini menazu vela cynzalme,
kunama tyn lecymo talmua senkanatave.
Nau antaki teulama eni leimea levunuve,
ta saune.
Sa teisuve.

========== Grammar notes ==========

Vetela is head-final / left-branching, so:
- adjectives and other modifiers precede nouns
- adverbs and objects precede verbs
- postpositions, not prepositions
- the verb is the final word in any clause

== Verbs ==

Vetela is an ergative language, so the patient of a transitive verb and the subject of an intransitive verb are treated in the same way (both take the absolutive case, unmarked), while the agent (subject) of a transitive verb is treated differently (it takes the ergative case). Since it's an SOV-order language, in transitive verb constructions the agent generally comes before the patient. Any of these roles may be omitted if they can be inferred from context.

Causative and transitive verb constructions are equivalent. The causative form of any intransitive verb is simply the same verb used transitively. From this it follows that the causative form of an already-transitive verb will be a ditransitive construction; in such situations the "causer" will be marked with the ergative case, the "causee" with the instrumental, and the patient with the absolutive. For example, "Anna does it" would be "Annama ta vele", and "John makes Anna do it" would be "Johnma Annaya ta vele". (As an aside, note that this may also be analysed as "John does it using Anna" - this equivalence is intentional!)

Verbs that behave as auxiliaries (like "cynzalma" in this text) just take as their object a non-finite clause (i.e. a clause whose verb is in verbal-noun form).

== Connected clauses ==

Since a verb always marks the end of a clause, two clauses can be (and often are) run together without any kind of separator (though I sometimes use commas in romanisations, for clarity). This is used in a similar way to how English connects related statements with a semicolon or the word "and". It is also possible for the agent of the first clause to be shared by the second.

True subordinate clauses (which, like all verb modifiers, must precede the verb) don't appear in the text. However, connected clauses are often used to achieve a similar purpose - the first one being equivalent to the main clause, and the second to the subordinate. In these cases, a directional demonstrative (see below) will often fill the role of relative pronoun.

== Nouns ==

Nouns are not marked for definiteness or number, though number may be made explicit by (among other means) simply placing a number before them.

A noun phrase consists of a noun preceded by one or more modifiers. Of course, there can be and often is nesting - modifiers can themselves be modified. If there is more than one candidate for a modifier (i.e. there is more than one modifiable noun to the right of the modifier), it will generally bind to the *nearest* viable target. For example, using words from the text, "kanatavi teulo lecyma" means "important person's emotion" - it is the person which is important, not the emotion. Person's important emotion" could be achieved by swapping the order of the modifiers ("teulo kanatavi lecyma"), since the adjectival "kanatavi" may not be modified by "teulo".

The pronoun "ta" is used only to refer to referents which exist elsewhere in the text; appearing on its own without any prefixes, it will generally be assumed to refer back to the most recent applicable candidate.

The demonstrative "ku-" prefix is here used directionally; it refers back to a previous referent in the text. It appears here on a regular noun as well as in the pronoun "kuna", which is used exclusively to refer backward to entire clauses.

"Every one <thing>" is an idiomatic way of saying "each <thing>".

== Vocabulary ==

As in previous relays, I've simplified things for the vocab section. Word classes such as "noun", "verb" and "adjective" don't exist as such, but I've pretended that they do, listing forms as they appear in the text and labelling them appropriately.

Verbs are listed in their "dictionary" form - a verbal noun in -a, which may be thought of as an infinitive. They mostly appear here in the simple present tense though (-e), which here expresses habitual aspect. The only other verb form complication which appears is the negative infix, -uv-.

The "tr." and "intr." designations for verbs do not imply that the verb "is" transitive or intransitive (as all verbs can legitimately be used in both contexts); rather, they denote in which context the meaning of the verb corresponds to that of the English gloss. For example, "vela" is translated as "to do / to act" when in transitive context but as "to happen / to be done" in intransitive, with only the former interpretation being listed here.

Under some circumstances, nouns drop their final -a before appending suffixes. (I won't detail these circumstances here; it should be clear what's going on.)

Noun cases:

- absolutive (unmarked)
-ma ergative
-ya instrumental (using X)
-o genitive (of X)
-u comitative (with X)


adj. adjective
conj. conjunction
intr. intransitive
n. noun
pref. prefix
pron. pronoun
q. quantifier
tr. transitive
v. verb

Word list:

antaki adj. few in number
cynzalma v. tr. endeavour to
eki q. all of
eni q. one
laumeataika n. fault, defect, weakness (lit. "aspect of bad nature")
lecyma n. emotion, "heart" (figurative)
leimea n. virtue, value (lit. "good nature")
levuna v. tr. believe (when negative, "doubt")
kanatava v. intr. be important; tr. render important
ku- pref. demonstrative (see notes above)
kuna pron. (see notes above)
menaza n. tolerance
nau conj. but, although
sa pron. 1st person (number unspecified but assume singular)
sanleini adj. sympathetic, compassionate
sauna v. tr. understand
sen- pref. very
ta pron. 3rd person (see notes above)
talmua n. need, requirement
teisa v. intr. be certain, confident
teula n. person
tyn pron. genitive of 'ta'
vela v. tr. do, act
voltua n. other

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page started: 2008.Nov.30 Sun
last modified: 2008.Dec.09 Tue
form originated by qiihoskeh;
content copyright Kinetic.