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Lesson 41: Embedded Relative Clauses

Vocabulary

to be perverse; to be quirky; to be odd; to be hard to understand

é–

Prefix (any): potential

–háa (variant: –sháa)

Suffix (embedded clause): Relative Clause Embedding marker

heb

down (direction)

héeda

to be sacred; to be holy

hu

boss, ruler

olowod

group [wod (sit)]

mahin

cooking pot

mel

paper

rawedeth

to be murky; to be obscure

Note the prefix “é–” (potential). It is a tremendously useful little prefix. One example of how useful it is occurs in the word “édáan” (lexical gap) [é– (potential) + dáan (word)].

Embedded Relative Clauses

A relative clause is a dependent clause that modifies a noun (in this sentence, “that modifies a noun” is, itself, a relative clause modifying the noun phrase “dependent clause”). The relative clause always modifies a noun or noun phrase; this noun or noun phrase could stand alone (without the dependent clause), resulting in a less detailed sentence. This is an important point in learning how to form embedded relative clauses in Láadan. In the first sentence of this paragraph, a less-detailed version (without the relatve clause) would read “A relative clause is a dependent clause.”

A clause in Láadan is defined as: (Auxiliary) + Verb + (Negative) + Noun Phrase(s)—just like a simple sentence, except without the Type-of-Sentence or Evidence Words. By this nature of the clause in Láadan, when we embed a clause—whether declarative, interrogative or relative—the first word in the embedded clause will be either a verb or an auxiliary.

To embed a sentence as a relative clause, add the ending “–háa” to the last word of the embedded sentence.


When “–háa,” the suffix for embedding a relative clause, follows the Place Case suffix, “–ha,” it changes to “–sháa.” [Formally, the “h” is deleted and “sh” is inserted in its place.] This is to avoid the sequence “–ha+háa,” which becomes “–ha+sháa.”

Examples

In Láadan, unlike in English, the embedded relative clause contains the noun phrase it modifies. That noun phrase, of necessity, fulfills some case role in the outer sentence. So the embedded relative clause fulfills the same case role that the noun phrase, unmodified by the embedding, would. As a consequence, case suffixes applied to the embedded clause as a whole become much more crucial—and much less likely to be optional.

In the examples to follow, I’ll present the embedded relative clause in [brackets] as I have been. I’ll also underline the noun phrase in the embedded relative clause that could stand alone to give a less-detailed sentence.

Bíi an behid witheth wa.listen to this pronounced

He knows a woman.

Bíi lalom with wa.listen to this pronounced

The woman sings.

Bíi an behid [lalom with]eháath wa.listen to this pronounced

He knows a woman who sings.

As was the case when we were learning about the Relativizer, there are, in essence, two sentences being combined into one. The first, or outer, sentence is that “less-detailed” sentence alluded to before this example set: “Bíi an behid witheth wa.listen to this pronounced The second sentence (embedded as a relative clause), gives context or detail about a noun in the outer sentence: “Bíi lalom with wa.listen to this pronounced

In this very basic example, the same woman is being referred to, whether she’s referred to as “a woman” or as “a woman who sings,”—that is, with or without the relative clause. In the outer sentence “with” (woman) is the Object of “an” (to be acquainted with). In the embedded clause “with” is the Subject of “lalom” (to sing). When we embed the second inside the first, the embedded clause contains the noun that is common to both sentences, and the entire embedded clause fulfills the case-role that that noun used to fulfill in the outer sentence—in this example, in the resultant sentence-with-embedding, “Bíi an behid lalom witheháath wa,listen to this pronounced the embedded clause, “lalom witheháa” (a woman who sings), is the new Object of “an” (that is, the embedded clause fulfills the case-role of “with” in the outer sentence), and “with” is the Subject of “lalom” (consistent with the second sentence).

Another way to look at the process is that it’s somewhat similar to how we form Possessives. In Possessives we insert the possessor and the ending indicating the type of possession between the thing possessed and its case ending. Here we’re inserting the entire embedded clause between the noun and its case ending—the difference is we then delete the original noun since it’s duplicated in the embedded clause.

Bíi láad ehá [mehaba mahina]hé(thlisten to this pronounced) wa.listen to this pronounced

The scientist perceives that the flowers are fragrant.

Bíi láad ehá [mehaba mahina]hée(thlisten to this pronounced) wa.listen to this pronounced

The scientist perceives if/whether the flowers are fragrant.

Bíi láad ehá [mehaba mahina]háath wa.listen to this pronounced

The scientist perceives the flowers that are fragrant.

The three examples above illustrate how the three types of embedding in Láadan change the meanings of otherwise identical sentences. In this very simple third example, it is true that the same meaning could have been conveyed using the relativizer instead of embedding a relative clause, giving “Bíi láad ehá mewohaba womahinath wa.listen to this pronounced On the other hand, using the embedded relative clause structure allows us to also use the relativizer, as illustrated below.

Báa eril láad ne [hal wodo wowith]ehé(thlisten to this pronounced)?listen to this pronounced

Did you perceive that the strong woman worked?

Báa eril láad ne [hal wodo wowith]ehée(thlisten to this pronounced)?listen to this pronounced

Did you perceive whether the strong woman worked?

Báa eril láad ne [hal wodo wowith]eháath?listen to this pronounced

Did you perceive the strong woman who worked?

The embedded clause, since it takes the place of a noun phrase in the larger sentence, likely will also require a Case ending that refers to the entire embedded clause. This Case suffix will be the same one that was on the noun phrase that is being replaced by the embedded clause. This clause-level Case ending will follow the embedding marker.

Bíi di le [hal with]eháanal wa.listen to this pronounced

I speak like (in the manner of) the woman who works.

Bíi di le [hal with]eháada wa.listen to this pronounced

I speak for (on behalf of) the woman who works.

Bíi di le [hal with]eháadi wa.listen to this pronounced

I speak to the woman who works.

Bíi le [hal with]eháa wa.listen to this pronounced

I am the woman who works.

Bíi di [hal with]eháa wa.listen to this pronounced

The woman who works speaks.

The embedded relative clause may, of course, have one or more case phrase(s), each with its Case ending, within it; a Case ending on the final noun internal to the embedded clause will occur before the embedding marker. One more, slightly more adventurous, example will illustrate:

Bíi íthi [sháad with bodi]háa wa.listen to this pronounced

Since “sháad with bodi,” the embedded clause, is the Subject of the larger sentence, no Case ending would be appropriate to follow the “–háa.” But there are two noun phrases within the embedded clause, the Subject, “with,” and the Goal, “bo.” So would the sentence as a whole mean “The woman who went to the mountain is tall” or “The mountain the woman went to is tall?” In usual writing or conversation, this ambiguity would not be an issue. We’d already be talking about tall people or tall mountains. In the event that the ambiguity is, or is likely to be, troublesome, we can disambiguate using the Focus Marker, as follows:

Bíi íthi [eril sháad withehóo bodi]háa wa.listen to this pronounced

The woman who went to the mountain is tall.

Bíi íthi [eril sháad with bohóodi]háa wa.listen to this pronounced

The mountain that the woman went to is tall.

And one more example, even more complex because it has two internal case phrases and the entire embedded clause is a Goal Case element:

Bíi aril sháad le [habelid lan letho bohóoha]sháadi wa.listen to this pronounced

I shall go to the mountain where my friend dwells.

Bíi aril sháad le [habelid lanehóo letho boha]sháadi wa.listen to this pronounced

I shall go to my friend who dwells on the mountain.

Note that we have to use the variant embedding marker, “–sháa” in these examples because it follows “–ha”, the Place case suffix.

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1  

Bóo yod ra ne mehaba mahinaháa(thlisten to this pronounced).listen to this pronounced

2  

Báa radazh ham bad yedehasháa?listen to this pronounced

3  

Bíi eril noshumáad babí naya with shamidetheháadi wa.listen to this pronounced

4  

Bíi áhesh omá mewéedan bedihá áabeth menedebeháath wáa.listen to this pronounced

5  

Báadu lali aril dutha damaháa?listen to this pronounced

6  

Bíi aril edethi ril edeláad onidaháa wa.listen to this pronounced

Notice, in #2, that the embedded clause is the Subject of the sentence.

We also see, in #2, the verb “radazh” for the first time. Just as you may expect, it means “to be hard; to be firm” [ra– (non–) + dazh (to be soft; to be pliant; to be yielding)].

Also in #2, we see “–sháa,” the alternate form of “–háa,” which occurs when it follows “–ha,” the Place case ending.

In #4, we see the embedded clause “mewéedan bedihá áabeth menedebelisten to this pronounced (students read many books) as the Object of the verb “áhesh” (to be responsible). This needs to be noted in the definition of “áhesh”: that, if it takes an Object, the thing or person over or for which/whom the Subject is responsible is that Object.

Change the embedded sentence/question into a relative clause; translate into English before and after.

7  

Báa dom hu marithu eril shóod withidehé?listen to this pronounced

8  

Bíi héeya onin rilrili delishe diháhée wáa.listen to this pronounced

9  

Bíi eril láad halá oyinan them ehá denethehé wa.listen to this pronounced

10  

Bíi ril lothel ehená mebú nedeloth menedebehé wa.listen to this pronounced

11  

Báa en bebáa habelid wolíithi woháalaá sheshihahée?listen to this pronounced

12  

Bíi ulanin imá meyom wethehée wáa.listen to this pronounced

In #10 we see “nedeloth” (fact); it is formed from “nede” (one) + “loth” (information).

Embed the second sentence within the first sentence (the underlined noun/noun phrase is the same in both sentences). Translate into English before and after.

Example: “Bíi néde eb Ána yuth wehede wa. Bíi melaya i meléli yu wa,listen to this pronounced (Anna wants to buy fruit from the store. The fruit are red and yellow.) gives “Bíi néde eb Ána melaya i meléli yuháath wehede wa,listen to this pronounced (Anna wants to buy the fruit that are red and yellow from the store.).

13

Bíi ul di Elízhabeth woháya woduthahádi wáa. Lalom i amedara duthahá wa.listen to this pronounced

14

Bíi eril wod rul urahuha ihé wa. Bíi rilrili nahóoha ra rul rahadihad wo.listen to this pronounced

15

Báa láadom Méri lometh? Bíi eril thod hóowith Máyel betha lometh wa.listen to this pronounced

16

Bíi aril elash Ána amedarahádan buzheya obée wáa. Bíi ril nosháad amedarahá eba bethoden wáa.listen to this pronounced

17

Bóo duheb ne laleth woyide woháwitheda. Bíi thi ra áwith ditheth waá.listen to this pronounced

18

Bíi aril ban edin letha anath ledi binenan bim wa. Bíi ril thóhel thul letha bin bim boshenan wa.listen to this pronounced

Translate the following into Láadan.

19  

The child stroked the dog that was gentle.

20  

The sudden storm broke the bridge that was old.

21  

I shall (a promise) dance with the farmer who traveled.

22  

Someone who stays at home may be a housekeeper.

23  

My friend knows many who intended to go to the mountain.

24  

Several who play music have a meal of fish and vegetable.

Notice, in #20, that the relativizr does the same conceptual work in the Subject that the embedded relative clause does in the Object.

In #22, did you remember to use the alternate form of “–háa?”

Also in #22, we see the word “elodá” [e– (science of) + lod (household) + –á (doer)], a new word, meaning “doer of household-science, housekeeper”. Of course, it’s used here in an Identifier structure, so no suffix is required.

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Answers

1  

Prithee do not eat the flowers that are fragrant.

2  

Is the mineral that is in the valley hard? OR
Is the valley that the mineral is in hard?

3  

The bird finished flying to the woman who was caring for the domestic animal. OR
The bird finished flying to the domestic animal that the woman was caring for.

4  

The teacher is responsible for students who read many books. OR
The teacher is responsible for the many books that the students read.

5  

Is rain the touch that will heal (asked poetically)?

6  

The family that believes will share.

 

7  

Does the ruler of the island remember that the man was busy?

Báa dom hu marithu shóod withideháath?listen to this pronounced

Does the ruler of the island remember the man who was busy?

8  

The nurse fears lest the speaker may cry.

Bíi héeya onin rilrili delishe diháháath wáa.listen to this pronounced

The nurse fears the speaker who may be crying.

9  

The worker saw that the scientist needed help.

Bíi eril láad halá oyinan them ehá denetheháath wa.listen to this pronounced

The worker saw the scientist who needed help.

10  

The philosopher knows that many facts are hard to understand.

Bíi ril lothel ehená mebú nedeloth menedebeháath wa.listen to this pronounced

The philosopher knows many facts that are hard to understand.

11  

Who understands whether the white butterfly dwells in sand?

Báa en bebáa habelid wolíithi woháalaáhóo sheshihasháath?listen to this pronounced

Who understands the white butterfly that lives in sand?

12  

The traveler studies whether the roads are safe.

Bíi ulanin imá meyom wetheháath wáa.listen to this pronounced

The traveler studies the roads that are safe.

 

13  

Elizabeth hopes to speak to the beautiful healer. The healer sings and dances.

Bíi ul di Elízhabeth lalom i amedara woháya woduthaháháadi wáa.listen to this pronounced

Elizabeth hopes to speak the beautiful healer who sings and dances.

14  

The cat sat in front of the gate. The cat may never tire.

Bíi eril wod rilrili nahóoha ra rul rahadihadeháa urahuha ihé wa.listen to this pronounced

The cat who may never tire sat in front of the gate.

15  

Does Mary recognize the song? Michael’s granddaughter wrote a song.

Báa láadom Méri eril thod hóowith Máyel betha lomehóotheháath?listen to this pronounced

Does Mary recognize the song Michael’s granddaughter wrote?

16  

Anna will play with the dancer at the convention. The dancer is arriving with her spouse.

Bíi aril elash Ána ril nosháad amedaraháhóo eba bethodeneháadan buzheya obée wáa.listen to this pronounced

Anna will play with the dancer—who is arriving, now, with her spouse—during the convention.

17  

Prithee try to buy milk for the hungry baby. The baby has, so I’ve heard but I don’t believe it, no voice.

Bóo duheb ne laleth thi ra woyide woháwith dithetheháada.listen to this pronounced

Prithee try to buy milk for the hungry baby who has no voice.

18  

My cousin will give me food in four bowls. My parent has, just now, made the four bowls out of wood.

Bíi aril ban edin letha anath ledi ril thóhel thul letha binehóo bim boshenaneháanan wa.listen to this pronounced

My cousin will give me food in the four bowls my parent just now made out of wood.

 

19  

Bíi eril lámála háawith lema lanemideháath wa.listen to this pronounced

20  

Bíi eril then wobishib worohoro balin oódóoháath wáa.listen to this pronounced

21  

Bé aril amedara le eril im ábedáháaden.listen to this pronounced

22  

Bíi rilrili benem beye bethehasháa elodá wa.listen to this pronounced

23  

Bíi ril an lan letho eril menédeshub mesháad beyenehóo bodiháa wáa.listen to this pronounced

24  

Bíi methi mehalehale beyezheháa anadaleth thilithu i medathu wa.listen to this pronounced

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