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Lesson 14: Identifier Case

Vocabulary

ana

food

dal

thing

en

to understand

hath

time

hóowith

grandchild; granddaughter

hoth

place

–hul

Degree Marker: to an extreme degree; extremely

láa

perception

owa

to be warm

yom

to be safe; to be secure

Notice the word “hóowith” (grandchild) above. It is derived, clearly, from “háawith” (child), but the “háa–” prefix is changed to “hóo–” under the influence of “ho–” (grand–) from “hothul” (grandparent). Linguists call this type of change “assimilation of place;” we have also seen this process in “hóya”; (beautiful: said of a place) wherein “áya” (beautiful) gains the initial “h” from “hoth” (place) and its “á” becomes “ó,” assimilating to the “o” of “hoth.” And in “háya” (beautiful: of a time) wherein “áya” is similarly affected by “hath” (time).

Identifier Case

[(Aux) Ø–Verb (Neg) CP–S CP–Identifier]

To mark a Case Phrase as an Identifier (that which identifies the subject by profession, sexual gender, nationality, etc.), add the zero ending—that is, add no ending. This is identical to the rule for Subject Case Phrases.

The other item of note about a sentence using an Identifier Case structure is that there is no apparent verb. Láadan doesn’t have a “cupola” (the stand-alone verb “to be” that English uses, among other things, to equate two things). The Láadan Identifer structure appears to have no verb (linguist-speak: the verb presents a null surface form); we simply present the Subject (the one being Identified) and the Identifier (what the Subject is being Identified as). If we’re placing the Identification in another time or denying the Identification altogether, the Auxiliary will precede, and the negative will follow, the invisible verb.

Examples

Bíi le with wa.listen to this pronounced

I am a person.

Bíi le wothal wowith wa.listen to this pronounced

I am a good person.

Bíi le wothalehul wowith wa.listen to this pronounced

I am a extremely good person.

Notice that, as always, the Subject Case Phrase comes before any other Case Phrase.

Notice, also, the ending “–hul”. This is the first you have seen of a whole set of Degree Markers. This one means that the verb (remember that adjectives in Láadan are just verbs) to which it is attached is a “extemely” form of itself.

Bíi le omá wa.listen to this pronounced

I am a teacher.

Bíi le omá i thul wa.listen to this pronounced

I am a teacher and a parent.

Bíi ra le omá wa.listen to this pronounced

I am not a teacher.

Notice that the Subject (“le” or “I” in all the above examples) can be Identified with more than one other noun, as in the second example above. We can also deny the Identification by inserting “ra” after the verb, just as usual—except that the verb is invisible (linguists refer to this as the verb having a “null surface form”).

Báa with thul?listen to this pronounced

Is the person a parent?

Bíi eril ra with thul wa.listen to this pronounced

The person was not a parent.

Bíi ra with thul wa.listen to this pronounced

The person is not a parent.

Bíi aril with thul wa.listen to this pronounced

The person will be a parent.

Notice in the above, that in the Identifier Case structure, just as usual, the auxiliary comes before the verb and the negative comes after the verb; the only difference here is that the verb has that “null surface form” (it’s invisible).

Báa shon bebáa?listen to this pronounced

What is peace?

Báa shon yom?listen to this pronounced

Is peace safety?

Bíi om en wa.listen to this pronounced

Teaching is understanding.

Consider the Láadan sentence “Bíi áya wíi wa”listen to this pronounced from Lesson 3. Up ‘til now, we have translated it, “Being alive is beautiful.” If we reconsider the same sentence as an Identifier Case sequence, it would be translated “Being beautiful is being alive” or “To be beautiful is to be alive” or “Beauty is aliveness.” It is instructive to note that these two very different (in English) thoughts are expressed in exactly the same way in Láadan.

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1  

Bíi berídan halá wáa.listen to this sentence pronounced

2  

Bíi ra wohóoha wodená thul wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

3  

Báa bebáa ábedá?listen to this sentence pronounced

4  

Bíi ra wíi yom wi.listen to this sentence pronounced

5  

Bíi Therísha mahá wáa.listen to this sentence pronounced

6  

Báa ra áath dem?listen to this sentence pronounced

Note the word “dená” in #2; it is formed from “den” (to help) and means “helper” or “assistant.”

Notice the word “mahá” (listener) in #5. It’s formed from “ma” (to listen) and “–á” (doer; one who). Within a morpheme (indivisible meaningful word part), the vowel sequence “aá” would be allowable, but because one of these comes from “ma” (to listen) and the other comes from “–á” (doer), they must be separated by an “h.”

Equate the following—in a question and a statement to answer it—using the Identifier Case, and translate both into English. The first word will be the Subject. The second column will give time and/or negative where appropriate.

Example: “with, thul” with “past, not” give “Báa eril ra with thul?”listen to this pronounced (Wasn’t the woman a parent?) and “Bíi eril ra with thul wa.”listen to this pronounced (The woman was not a parent.)

7  

nen, ebalá

future, not

8  

be, wothal wohana

9  

dan, Láadan

not

10  

om, den

11  

wodo wowith, hothul

not

12  

hoth, déela

past

Note the word “ebalá” in #7. Formed from “e–” (science of) + “bal” (bread) + “–á” (doer), it means “baker.” Láadan is very good at allowing speakers to “make up” the word that fits the meaning they need.

Also in #7, note the plural form of the pronoun. There is a way to indicate that a noun is plural without a perceptible verb, and we’ll see that in a few lessons. Until then, a plural pronoun is our only mechanism for indicating plural in an Identifier Case sequence.

Translate the following into Láadan.

13  

Is the plant green grass?

14  

The furry creature is not a cat.

15  

Being old will be a lot of work.

16  

Milk is a beverage.

17  

To laugh and dance is to be beautiful.

18  

The thing was not a car.

Note: As we see in #15, nouns can also be made “more so” by the addition of “–hul;” however, their increase in degree isn’t usually translated well in English by the word “extemely.”

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Answers

1  

The aunt is a worker.

2  

The tired assistant is not a parent.

3  

Who is the farmer?

4  

To be alive is not to be safe (or: Being alive is not being safe).

5  

Teresa is one who listens.

6  

Isn’t the door a window?

 

7  

Báa aril ra nen ebalá?listen to this sentence pronounced

Won’t you (many) be bakers?

Bíi aril ra nen ebalá wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

You (many) will not be bakers.

8  

Báa be wothal wohana?listen to this sentence pronounced

Is it good food?

Bíi be wothal wohana wáa.listen to this sentence pronounced

It is good food.

9  

Báa ra dan Láadan?listen to this sentence pronounced

Isn’t the language Láadan?

Bíi ra dan Láadan wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The language is not Láadan.

10  

Báa om den?listen to this sentence pronounced

Is teaching helping (or: Is to teach to help)?

Bíi om den wi.listen to this sentence pronounced

Teaching is helping (or: To teach is to help) (obviously).

11  

Báa ra wodo wowith hothul?listen to this sentence pronounced

Isn’t the strong woman a grandmother?

Bíi ra wodo wowith hothul wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The strong woman isn’t a grandmother.

12  

Báa eril hoth déela?listen to this sentence pronounced

Was the place a garden?

Bíi eril hoth déela wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The place was a garden.

 

13  

Báa dala woliyen wohesh?listen to this sentence pronounced

14  

Bíi ra woshane womid rul wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

15  

Bíi aril balin halehul wáa.listen to this sentence pronounced

16  

Bíi lal rana wi.listen to this sentence pronounced

17  

Bíi ada i amedara áya wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

18  

Bíi eril ra dal mazh wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

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