A Likely Translation Challenge

This is a cross-posting from the ZBB, as a note-to-self kind of thing.

Yāng minjisānas nilay.
[gloss]Ø yāng mindoy-isa-an-as nilay.
COP 3SM.AGT choose-CAU-NMLZ-PAT probable[/gloss]
‘He is a/the likely candidate.’
Yāng nilay minjisānas.
[gloss]Ø yāng nilay minjisān-as.
COP 3SM.AGT probably electee-PAT[/gloss]
‘He likely is/will likely be a/the candidate.’

Neat-o. Except I need an easier word for “candidate”…

What do we see here? Well, we see difference in meaning through word order in action:

  1. Modifiers mostly follow their heads, so in the first case, where “likely” modifies the “candidate”, nilay follows accordingly.
  2. The second case is a little trickier, and I’m not quite sure about it. Ayeri has a zero copula which I’ve so far glossed as “Ø/COP” at the beginning of sentences, since this is the place verbs usually appear in. However, in the second example above I have what’s technically an adverb follow the agent NP. There are languages that use personal pronouns as copulas actually, e.g. Hebrew (cf. Payne 117), so could we argue here that yāng fulfills the role of the copula here? This demands further investigation!
  • Payne, Thomas E. Describing Morphosyntax: A Guide for Field Linguists. Cambridge: CUP, 1997. Print.
  • Prmysl. “TC: Likely.” Zompist BBoard. 6 Jun. 2011. Mark Rosenfelder, 2002. Web. 6 Jun. 2011.