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Lesson 38: Embedded Sentences

Vocabulary

dam

to manifest; to show signs of some state or emotion

dedide

story

–hé

Suffix (embedded clause): Sentence Embedding marker

láadom

to recognize [láad (to perceive) + dom (to remember)]

lema

to be gentle

onin

nurse

oth

to be important

thé–

Prefix (verb): about to VERB, any second

thée–

Prefix (verb): about to VERB, but not any second

thó–

Prefix (verb): to have just VERBed

Embedded Declarative Sentences

This is a lesson about embedding one sentence inside another sentence. In the examples, the embedded sentence will be enclosed in brackets to help make the process clear.

Unlike Verb Complexes, where the subject of the embedded sentence is identical to the subject of the main sentence (and so can be deleted as redundant), here the Subject of the embedded sentence need not be the same as that of the main sentence.

To embed a declarative sentence, add the ending “–hé” to the last word in the [embedded] sentence.


[In] the embedded sentences the verb will be first in the sentence, or the auxiliary will if one is present. (This is the reverse of what appears in the English translations.)

The usual word order in a Láadan sentence puts the verb (or auxiliary) as the first element in its clause. When we’re hearing or reading a sentence, if a verb/auxiliary follows a noun or pronoun, we can reasonably expect that that verb/auxiliary begins an embedded clause.

Examples

Bíi lith le [áya with]ehé wa.listen to this pronounced

I think [the woman is beautiful].
I think that the woman is beautiful.
I think the woman is beautiful.

Bíi lith ra le [áya with]ehé wa.listen to this pronounced

I don’t think [the woman is beautiful].
I don’t think that the woman is beautiful.
I don’t think the woman is beautiful.

As a general rule, if we use the English word “that” to lead into the embedded clause, it will help to ease the translation into English—as in the second line of the English in all the examples above. These are all trivial examples, but the mechanism will prove useful as we go along.

Bíi ul le [naham lali]hé wa.listen to this pronounced

I hope [it’s starting to rain].
I hope that it’s starting to rain.
I hope it’s starting to rain.

Bíi ul le [noham lali]hé wa.listen to this pronounced

I hope [it’s finished raining].
I hope that it’s finished raining.
I hope it’s finished raining.

Bíi ul le [ham ra lali]hé wa.listen to this pronounced

I hope [it’s not raining].
I hope that it’s not raining.
I hope it’s not raining.

In all of the examples above, the embedded clauses are all Objects of “lith” (to think) or “ul” (to hope). Since sentences neither think nor hope, there is no confusion, and we can omit the Object suffix. The Object suffix is grammatically correct and could be included at the speaker/writer’s option. The first example above, “Bíi lith le áya withehé walisten to this pronounced (I think that the woman is beautiful) could, equally gramatically, be “Bíi lith le áya withehéth wa.listen to this pronounced The Object suffix indicating that the embedded clause is the Object of “lith” will follow “–hé” (the embedded clause suffix). This will be important if you should ever have a sentence in which the case role of the embedded clause could be mistaken or is not optional.

Bíi néde le [thi Ána nemeth]ehé wa.listen to this pronounced

I want [Anna have a pearl].
I want that Anna have a pearl.
I want Anna to have a pearl.

Notice here that the embedding suffix follows the Object Case suffix that is internal to the sentence. “Nem” (pearl) is the Object of “thi” (have), the verb in the embedded clause. Of course the embedded clause is the Object of “néde” (want), the verb in the outer sentence, so the Object Case suffix can follow “–hé”—or not, at the speaker/writer’s discretion. With the embedding-level Object suffix, this sentence would read, “Bíi néde le thi Ána nemethehéth wa.listen to this pronounced

Bíi hal be [aril thad yod onida betha]héwan wa.listen to this pronounced

She works so (in order that) [her family will be able to eat].

Bíi eril eb le nemeth [ril thad ban le beth eba lethodi]héwan wa.listen to this pronounced

I bought a pearl so (in order) that [I am able to give it to my spouse].
I bought a pearl so I would be able, now, to give it to my spouse.

Here we see a non-optional embedding-level case suffix. The Purpose Case suffix indicates that the embedded clause is the reason for her to work and the reason for me to buy the pearl.

Bíi oth [thi Ána nemeth]ehé wa.listen to this pronounced

Be important [Anna have a pearl].
That Anna have a pearl is important.
It’s important that Anna have a pearl.
It’s important for Anna to have a pearl.

The two verbs together in this example might confuse you into thinking this is a simple Verb Complex, but it’s not. To form a Verb Complex, both verbs must have the same Subject, and “Ána” is not the Subject of “oth” (to be important). In fact, in this sentence, it’s the embedded clause (Anna have a pearl) that is the Subject of “oth.” Of course, the Subject suffix (“–Ø”) is already present on the “–hé.”

An ambiguity that occurs in English is readily resloved in Láadan. In an English sentence such as “You understand that the work pleases me when the sun is shining,” it is impossible to tell whether the dependent adverbial clause “when the sun is shining” refers to “you understand” or to “the work pleases me.” We can make it clear by reordering the clauses, but the Láadan is much clearer even without that mechanism to fall back upon:

Bíi ril en ne [shi hal leth widahath ham rosh]ehé wa.listen to this pronounced

You understand [the work pleases me when the sun shines]
You understand that the work pleases me when the sun is shining.

Bíi ril en ne [shi hal leth]ehé widahath ham rosh wa.listen to this pronounced

You understand [the work pleases me] when it’s sunny.
You understand, when it’s sunny, that the work pleases me.

Since the subject of “widahath” has come up, there is one more point to make about this word and its kin relative to embedding. We’ve been using the forms “widahath” (when), “widahoth” (where), “widaweth” (how), and “widahuth” (why)—all subordinating conjunctions, not question words—for some time to introduce adverbial dependent clauses. We can now cover the same semantic “territory” using embedding, as follows:

I know when the bird sings.

Bíi lothel le widahath lalom babí wa.listen to this pronounced

Bíi lothel le [lalom babí]héya wa.listen to this pronounced

Do you perceive that embedding the clause “lalom babĂ­” (the bird sings) and treating the embedded structure as a Time Case element brings the sense of “the time at which the bird sings” or “when the bird sings.” We can also use the same mechanism for the other “wida–” forms:

I know where the bird sings.

Bíi lothel le widahoth lalom babí wa.listen to this pronounced

Bíi lothel le [lalom babí]héha wa.listen to this pronounced


I know how the bird sings.

Bíi lothel le widaweth lalom babí wa.listen to this pronounced

Bíi lothel le [lalom babí]hénal wa.listen to this pronounced


I know why the bird sings.

Bíi lothel le widahuth lalom babí wa.listen to this pronounced

Bíi lothel le [lalom babí]héwan wa.listen to this pronounced OR Bíi lothel le [lalom babí]héwáan wa.listen to this pronounced

In this last example, the embedded versions are more specific than the dependent clause version because the form “widahuth” conforms more closely to the English word “why” than it does to either the Láadan Purpose (to what end) Case or Cause (due to what) Case.

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1  

Bíi ril lith le lamith lan netho losh bethothehé wa.listen to this pronounced

2  

Bíi eril dam ra Máthu rahowa anahé wáa.listen to this pronounced

3  

Báa en bebáa mehéthe mudahé?listen to this pronounced

4  

Bíi eril láad ezha oyinan théshumáad babíhé wa.listen to this pronounced

5  

Bíi eril shóo shebasheb yáanin wemaneyahé wa.listen to this pronounced

6  

Bíi lothel wohim woduthahá mebalin obeth nethohé wáa.listen to this pronounced

7  

Bíi ril dom háawith eril naham rohoro bishibenalehé wa.listen to this pronounced

8  

Bíi lishid thóo eril lámála withid rulethehé wáa.listen to this pronounced

9  

Bóo dom di ne omá nethodi aril methad meham ra lezh sheshihotheha wumaneyahé.listen to this pronounced

10  

Bíi eríli thod wothá mesháad romid widahoth methad mesháad ra shamidehé wáa.listen to this pronounced

Note, in #3, that, although the form of the main (or outer) sentence is a question, there is no question as to whether the pigs are clean. Embedded questions like that would be are a topic for another lesson. The only question here is who understands that they’re clean.

Note, in #5, that there is no apparent Subject for the outer sentence. In English, we would say “’it’ came to pass...,” but Láadan doesn’t use an “it” in this case. In fact, the embedded sentence (about the tree dying in winter) is the Subject of “shóo” (to happen; to occur; to come to pass).

Translate the following into Láadan

11  

The baker remembered that the dog was gentle.

12  

The farmer promised that the baby kittens would be warm.

13  

Did the story teach us that the birds showed no fear?

14  

The scientist can smell that the flowers are fragrant.

15  

The healer signed that Margaret’s mother will be well.

16  

The philosopher will write that she is singing a song now.

17  

It’s important that we (many) work extremely hard.

18  

Teresa thinks the nurse has just read a good book.

19  

The family knows that the insect is unusually colorful.

20  

Didn’t anyone tell you that the horse is about to give birth to two foals?

#17 is similar to #5 above in that the embedded sentence (about us working very hard) is the Subject of “oth” (to be important).

In #20, did you successfully form a word for “foal?” Think “infant horse:” “áhomid.”

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Answers

1  

I think your friend is counting her money.

2  

Matthew showed no sign that the food was cold.

3  

Who understands that the pigs are clean?

4  

The snake saw that the bird was about-to-fly-at-any-moment.

5  

It came to pass that the tree died in winter.

6  

The traveling healer knows your neighbors are old.

7  

The child remembers that it began to storm suddenly.

8  

The guest is signing that the man caressed the cat.

9  

Prithee remember to tell your teacher that we will be unable to be present at the beach in the summer.

10  

Long ago a sage wrote that wild animals go where domesticated animals cannot go.

 

11  

Bíi eril dom ebalá lema lanemidehé(thlisten to this pronounced) wáa.listen to this pronounced

12  

Bíi eril bédi ábedá mehowa árulehé(thlisten to this pronounced) wa.listen to this pronounced

13  

Báa eril om dedide lezhedi medam ra babí héeyathehé(thlisten to this pronounced)?listen to this pronounced OR
Báa eril om dedide lezhedi medam mehéeya ra babíhé(thlisten to this pronounced)?listen to this pronounced

14  

Bíi thad láad ehá oyonan mehada mahinahé(thlisten to this pronounced) wa.listen to this pronounced

15  

Bíi eril lishid duthahá aril tháa thul Mázhareth bethahé(thlisten to this pronounced) wáa.listen to this pronounced

16  

Bíi aril thod ehená ril lalom be lomethehé(thlisten to this pronounced) wa.listen to this pronounced

17  

Bíi oth mehalehul lenehé wa.listen to this pronounced

18  

Bíi lith Therísha thówéedan onin wothal woháabehé(thlisten to this pronounced) wáa.listen to this pronounced

19  

Bíi lothel onida lirihal zhubehé(thlisten to this pronounced) wa.listen to this pronounced

20  

Báa eril di ra beye neth ril théewóoban omid áhomideth shinehé(thlisten to this pronounced)?listen to this pronounced

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