Tag Archives: conjunctions

The North Wind and the Sun, Revisited

For the past few days, I have been retranslating the story by Aesop, “The North Wind and the Sun.” While translating, two things came up to consider:

  • How does Ayeri deal with gender resolution (Corbett 243–253)?
  • How does Ayeri handle “the … the …” and “as … as …” constructions? Does it have them at all, or will rephrasing be necessary when translating from e.g. English?

Regarding the latter question, there is a blog article, “Correlative Conjunctions” (2012-12-10), but it fails to account for the two combinations mentioned above.

  • Aesop. “The North Wind and the Sun.” Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Ed. International Phonetic Association. 9th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 39. Print.
  • Corbett, Greville G. Agreement. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics 52. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. Print.

Correlative Conjunctions

In the course of my website renovation I added a way to search the dictionary by semantic fields (‘tags’) so as to be able to list words thematically as well. While working on tagging words, I came across yet another bit about Ayeri that’s been annoying me for a longer time: correlative conjunctions, specifically either … or and its negative counterpart neither … nor. According to what is in the dictionary, these are formed as in … in and sing … sing, respectively.

While I don’t think it’s too odd a strategy to introduce both NPs with the same particle, what I now think is kind of stupid is that both in and sing do not occur in any other context and aren’t related to anything else. As particles, they’re not alone in this regard, but as a part of Ayeri’s esthetics, I was trying to keep its system of conjunctions as simple as possible, mostly relying on nay ‘and’, soyang ‘or’ and nārya ‘but, although’. So here are some thoughts on avoiding in and sing, which I haven’t used much in the past anyway.

1. AND

[gloss]Ang vacye {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} nay {sa Paul.}
AT like-3SF T.NAME P=NAME and P=NAME.[/gloss]
“Mary likes John and Paul.”
[gloss]Ang vacye sano/kamo {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} nay {sa Paul.}
AT like-3SF both/same T.NAME P=NAME and P=NAME.[/gloss]
“Mary likes both John and Paul.”
= “Mary equally likes John and Paul.”

The explicit emphasis of Mary liking both men can be produced by using sano ‘both’ or kamo ‘equal, same’ as an adverb.

2. OR and XOR

[gloss]Ang vacye {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} soyang {sa Paul?}
AT like-3SF T.NAME P=NAME or P=NAME?[/gloss]
“Does Mary like John or Paul (or possibly both)?”

Since Ayeri is not supposed to be a loglang, i.e. a logical language, inclusive and exclusive OR are conflated and must be interpreted by the recipient according to context, just like in English and many (most? all?) other natural languages.

[gloss]Ang vacye sano/kamo {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} soyang {sa Paul.}
AT like-3SF both/same T.NAME P=NAME or P=NAME.[/gloss]
[gloss]Ang vacye {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} soyang-soyang {sa Paul.}
AT like-3SF T.NAME P=NAME either~or P=NAME[/gloss]
“Mary likes either John or Paul.”

The same construction as with nay ‘and’ above can be used here, but with soyang ‘or’. Alternatively, the conjunction can be reduplicated to soyang-soyang, compare naynay ‘and also, furthermore’.

3. NAND and NOR

The constructions here are like their positive counterparts above, but with a negated verb:

[gloss]Ang vacoyye {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} soyang {sa Paul?}
AT like-NEG-3SF T.NAME P=NAME or P=NAME?[/gloss]
“Doesn’t Mary like John or Paul (or possibly both)?”
[gloss]Ang vacoyye {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} nay {sa Paul.}
AT like-NEG-3SF T.NAME P=NAME and P=NAME.[/gloss]
“Mary doesn’t like John and Paul.”
[gloss]Ang vacoyye sano/kamo {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} nay {sa Paul.}
AT like-NEG-3SF both/same T.NAME P=NAME and P=NAME.[/gloss]
[gloss]Ang vacoyye sano/kamo {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} soyang {sa Paul.}
AT like-NEG-3SF both/same T.NAME P-NAME or P-NAME.[/gloss]
[gloss]Ang vacoyye {Ø Mari} {sa Jon} soyang-soyang {sa Paul.}
AT like-NEG-3SF T.NAME P=NAME either~or P=NAME.[/gloss]
“Mary doesn’t like both John and Paul.”
= “Mary doesn’t like either John or Paul.”
= “Mary likes neither John nor Paul.”

The examples so far have only covered objects of transitive verbs, but conjunctions of course may also be used between adjectives, for example, in predicative constructions, which is what we want to deal with in the following paragraphs.

4. AND with predicative adjectives

[gloss]Seygoreng tuvo nay paso.
apple-A.INAN red and sweet.[/gloss]
“The apple is red and sweet.”

This is the same as with the object NPs of transitive clauses. However, when emphasizing that both qualities are to be applied to the subject, the verb kama- ‘to be equal, to be as … as’ is used in place of the adverb kamo (or sano, respectively) above:

[gloss]Kamareng tuvo nay paso.
be.equal-3S.INAN.A red and sweet.[/gloss]
“It is both red and sweet.”

Note that this is slightly different from adjective comparation – although the same verb kama- is used in that circumstance – in that there is no conjunction between NPs in comparation:

[gloss]Eng kamāra seygo paso bilingley.
AT.INAN be.equal-3S.INAN apple.T sweet honey-P.INAN.[/gloss]
“The apple is as sweet as honey.”

[gloss]Eng kamāra seygo paso tuvo.
AT.INAN be.equal-3S.INAN apple.T sweet red.[/gloss]
“The apple is as sweet as (it is) red.”

5. OR and XOR with predicative adjectives

[gloss]Adareng tuvo soyang paso?
that-A.INAN red or sweet?[/gloss]
“Is it red or sweet (or possibly both)?”

Again, the same construction as with regular object NPs is used for simple coordination.

[gloss]Kamareng tuvo soyang paso.
be.equal-3S.INAN red or sweet.[/gloss]
“It is either red or sweet.”

This construction is a little more idiomatic and uses kama- as well, however with soyang ‘or’, not nay ‘and’ in order to express disjunction. The construction with reduplicated soyang does not occur here.

6. NAND and NOR with predicative adjectives

Of course, negation is possible with predicative adjectives as well.

[gloss]Adareng voy tuvo soyang voy paso?
that-A.INAN not red or not sweet?[/gloss]
“Is it not red or not sweet (or possibly neither)?”

The same strategy as with simple predicative adjectives is used here for negation, compare:

[gloss]Seygoreng voy paso.
apple-3S.INAN not sweet.[/gloss]
“The apple isn’t sweet.”

Since there is no verb that the negative suffix -oy can attach to, it is used in its free particle form, voy. For ‘neither … nor’, the following construction can be used in analogy to the positive version above:

[gloss]Kamoyreng tuvo soyang paso.
be.equal-NEG-3S.INAN red or sweet.[/gloss]
“It is neither red nor sweet.”