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Lesson 4: Plural

Vocabulary

dathim

to needlework

di

to say; to talk; to speak

–id

Suffix: male

le

I (first person pronoun, singular)

lezh

we (first person pronoun, several: 2 to 5)

len

we (first person pronoun, many: 6 or more)

me–

Prefix (on verb): plural

míi

to be amazed

thal

to be good

wáa

Evidence Morpheme: assumed true by speaker because speaker trusts source

Pronouns, as in English, fill the position of nouns and are treated, grammatically, exactly like nouns.

In connected sentences uttered by the same speaker where the Evidence Word would not change (“my perception” vs “trusted report”) from sentence to sentence, it may be omitted after the first sentence.

The male suffix, “–id,” defines the noun or pronoun to which it is applied as male. Without it, the noun or pronoun is gender-neutral. So, to specify “man” we would use “with” (person) and apply the male suffix, giving “withid.” Since Láadan provides this mechanism for making a noun phrase explicitly male but none for making it explicitly female, the noun phrase without the “–id” suffix can be translated as female, barring other factors that make that translation inappropriate. Hence, you may see “with” translated as “woman” as often as you will as “person.”

Plural

[Verb CP–S]

In this and subsequent Pattern models, we will assume that the Type-of-Sentence Word is present at the beginning of the model sentence and that the Evidence Word is at the end. With that assumption (and allowing for abbreviations) you will notice that this model is exactly the same as that in Lesson 2.

To make a sentence plural in Láadan, only the verb is affected. To make a verb plural, put the prefix “me–” at the beginning of the word. Notice that the shape of the noun phrase doesn’t change in the plural.

Láadan insists that consonant sounds and vowel sounds occur in strict alternation. No two consonants may occur together, and no two vowels may occur together (unless one is high-toned and the other is normal-toned and they are otherwise identical—and they’re in the same root word). To accomplish this, Láadan inserts an “h” to separate two vowels or an “e” to separate two consonants. So, if the verb being made plural begins with a vowel, we must insert an “h” between its initial vowel and the final “e” of “me–.”

There is a variant form which is also correct. When the verb being made plural begins with a “d,” it can be pluralized by the use of the variant plural prefix “n–.” This “n–” is known as a “syllabic n;” it is a syllable unto itself—like the last syllable of the English word “button.” As a syllable unto itself, no inserted “e” will be necessary to separate it from the following “d.”

Examples

Bíi hal le wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

I work.

Bíi mehal lezh wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

We (few) work.

Bíi mehal len wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

We (many) work.

Note that the plural form of the verb is used with both the “few/several” form and the “many” form of pronouns.

Bíi di withid wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The man speaks (I’m reliably informed).

Bíi ndi withid wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The men speak (I’m told).

Bíi medi withid wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The men speak (I’m told).

 

Bíi áya with wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The woman is beautiful (my perception).

Bíi meháya with wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The women are beautiful (my perception).

Note the “h” that has been inserted to separate the final “e” in “me–” from the initial “á” in “áya.” Also note that it wasn’t necessary when pluralizing “hal,” which begins with a consonant, “h.”

Bíi áya i thal with wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The woman is beautiful and good (my perception).

Bíi meháya i methal with wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The women are beautiful and good (my perception).

Notice the compound verbs in the examples in the set above. When the sentence is plural, of course, both verbs have to be plural. Compound case phrases are just as easy to form, as you’ll see below.

Bíi meháya thom i hesh wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The pillow and the grass are beautiful.

Bíi mezháadin Ána i Bétheni wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

Ann and Bethany are menopausing (I’m told).

Of course, with a compound Subject, the verb must be plural.

Exercises

Make the following sentences singular; translate into English before and after.

1  

Bíi memíi thul wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

2  

Bíi mezháadin with wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

3  

Bíi meháya thili wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

4  

Bíi methal thom wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

5  

Bíi meháana lezh wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

6  

Bíi medoth hena wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

Make the following sentences plural; translate into English before and after.

7  

Bíi héeya mid wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

8  

Bíi wíi mudahid wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

9  

Bíi hal withid wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

10  

Bíi thal rana wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

11  

Bíi di le wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

12  

Bíi rahu áath wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

Translate these into Láadan (all according to your own perception).

13  

The pigs are tired.

14  

The songs are good.

15  

Carol and Matthew needlework.

16  

We (many) speak.

17  

The stones are beautiful.

18  

The mothers are menopausing.

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Answers

1  

The parents are amazed.

Bíi míi thul wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The parent is amazed.

2  

The women are menopausing.

Bíi zháadin with wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The woman is menopausing.

3  

The fish are beautiful.

Bíi áya thili wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The fish is beautiful.

4  

The pillows are good.

Bíi thal thom wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The pillow is good.

5  

We (few) sleep.

Bíi áana le wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

I sleep.

6  

The siblings follow.

Bíi doth hena wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The sibling follows.

 

7  

The animal is afraid.

Bíi mehéeya mid wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The animals are afraid.

8  

The boar (male pig) is alive.

Bíi mewíi mudahid wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The boars are alive.

9  

The man works.

Bíi mehal withid wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The men work.

10  

The drink is good.

Bíi methal rana wáa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The drinks are good.

11  

I speak.

Bíi medi lenhear to this sentence pronounced (lezhhear to this sentence pronounced) wa.

We (many/few) speak.

12  

The door is closed.

Bíi merahu áath wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

The doors are closed.

 

13  

Bíi mehóoha muda wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

14  

Bíi methal lom wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

15  

Bíi medathim Hérel i Máthu wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

16  

Bíi ndi len wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

17  

Bíi meháya ud wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

18  

Bíi mezháadin thul wa.hear to this sentence pronounced

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