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Lesson 47: Advanced Pronouns

Vocabulary

Rather than give an extended list of all the possible forms with their English translations, here they are in grid form. Under each column heading, the Subject form is followed by the reflexive base form in (parentheses). Both of these forms will receive any appropriate case endings. Of course, the nature of the reflexive usually precludes its use as the Subject of a sentence.

 

 

 

Singular

Several

Many

1st person

neutral

le (leyóo)

lezh (leyóozh)

len (leyóon)

beloved

la (layóo)

lazh (layóozh)

lan (layóon)

honored

li (liyóo)

lizh (liyóozh)

lin (liyóon)

despised

lhele (lheleyóo)

lhelezh (lheleyóozh)

lhelen (lheleyóon)

2nd person

neutral

ne (neyóo)

nezh (neyóozh)

nen (neyóon)

beloved

na (nayóo)

nazh (nayóozh)

nan (nayóon)

honored

ni (niyóo)

nizh (niyóozh)

nin (niyóon)

despised

lhene (lheneyóo)

lhenezh (lheneyóozh)

lhenen (lheneyóon)

3rd person

neutral

be (beyóo)

bezh (beyóozh)

ben (beyóon)

beloved

ba (bayóo)

bazh (bayóozh)

ban (bayóon)

honored

bi (biyóo)

bizh (biyóozh)

bin (biyóon)

despised

lhebe (lhebeyóo)

lhebezh (lhebeyóozh)

lheben (lhebeyóon)

indefinite

neutral

beye (beyeyóo)

beyezh (beyeyóozh)

beyen (beyeyóon)

beloved

baye (bayeyóo)

bayezh (bayeyóozh)

bayen (bayeyóon)

honored

biye (biyeyóo)

biyezh (biyeyóozh)

biyen (biyeyóon)

despised

lhebeye (lhebeyeyóo)

lhebeyezh (lhebeyeyóozh)

lhebeyen (lhebeyeyóon)

As you may already have observed, the “–ye–” infix is an indefinite marker that is attached to the “be” (third person pronoun) forms. This would in no way interfere with the “be” portion of the indefinite pronouns carrying the sense of “beloved” or “honored” or “despised.”

Inflected Pronoun Forms

The pronouns of Láadan are perfectly serviceable in their neutral forms. However, we can convey more information about our perception of the person being referred to by inflecting the pronoun. This is accomplished by changing the vowel of the base form away from the “e” of the neutral form.

We can incorporate the meaning “beloved” by changing the “e” to “a.” To imbue the pronoun with the sense “honored,” we change the vowel to “i.” The third inflection of the pronoun brings the meaning “despised;” to do this, rather than changing the vowel, we attach the prefix “lh–” (pejorative) to the base form (of course, we must also insert the “e” to separate the “lh” from the consonant that begins the base form).

In the following excerpt from an online conversation with Suzette Haden Elgin, the italic paragraph is the question posed to Dr. Elgin; the rest is her response:

Whereas I can reconcile with myself 2nd & 3rd person usage (e.g. “na,” “ni,” “lhene”), I have some difficulty with 1st person (e.g. “la,” “li,” “lhele”). Is the agent ambiguous for all persons (“na” meaning “you, beloved by someone”) rather than specific (“na” meaning “you, beloved by me”)? I have some difficulty not seeing “la” and “li” as rather conceited if the agent isn’t ambiguous.

That’s a very good question, and I don’t mean that in the cliche sense—it really is a good question; it falls into the area of linguistics called pragmatics. But you’ve already answered it for yourself. It certainly would be conceited and arrogant for anyone to refer to himself or herself in the first person using the “beloved” or “honored” pronoun forms. There might be special and extraordinary situations in which that would be appropriate, but they would be extremely rare. (Example: in a very intimate situation, one lover might say to the other, “I am so honored to be your beloved,” or something of the kind, and that might involve the beloved/honored pronoun forms. And it wouldn’t be likely to happen more than once.) It’s one thing for someone to say “Honored-you” or “Honored-she”; it’s quite another to say “Honored-I.” In referring to oneself, the neutral pronouns would be used 999 out of 1000 times.

Implicit in that answer you may have noticed that, as the questioner puts it, the agent is not ambiguous; the “honor” or “love” or “despite” is from the point of view of the speaker. In other words, “na” does mean “you, beloved by me” and “bi” does mean “she, honored by me” and “lhele” does mean “I, despised by myself”.

Reflexive Pronouns

When the Subject and another Case Phrase both refer to the same person, the other Case Phrase uses what is referred to as a reflexive pronoun. In English, this is signalled by the suffix “–self;” in Láadan, we use the infix “–yóo–” between the base form (“le,” “ne,” or “be”) and the number ending (“–Ø,” “–zh” or “–n” for singular, few/several or many, respectively) and then the case suffix. The result looks similar to the “beye” forms (referred to grammatically as indefinite pronouns), except that reflexive pronouns are not limited to the third person.

Examples

Bíi eril di ba wa.listen to this pronounced

She (beloved) spoke.

Bíi eril di ba ledi wa.listen to this pronounced

She (beloved) spoke to me.

Bíi eril di ba bayóodi wa.listen to this pronounced

She (beloved) spoke to herself.

Báa menaya nin beyeth?listen to this pronounced

Are you (many, honored) caring for someone?

Báa menaya nin niyóoneth?listen to this pronounced

Are you (many, honored) caring for yourselves?

Notice that, when the honored/beloved/despised form is used in the Subject, it is proper form to also use that form in the reflexive—since the same person(s) is(are) being referred to.

Bíi aril meheb withid edeth wáa.listen to this pronounced

The men will buy grain.

Bíi aril meheb withid edeth omideda wáa.listen to this pronounced

The men will buy grain for the horse.

Bíi aril meheb withid edeth beyóozheda wáa.listen to this pronounced

The men will buy grain for themselves.

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1  

Shathul, thad dam ni donidaneth lhebenedihóo bebáawáan?listen to this pronounced

2  

Háawith letha, bíidi len woho “lheben” láathu beyehóotho wa; báali ril en na?listen to this pronounced

3  

Bíi ril medush meden háawith letha bayóozheth bash bazhehóothonan wa.listen to this pronounced

4  

Bíidi eríli áhesheháalish Hu Elízhabeth; elash bi rahadihad waá.listen to this pronounced

5  

Bíili aril meháana nazh widahath nosháad berídan nazhetha wa.listen to this pronounced

6  

Báa rilrili doroledim with bebáawáan?listen to this pronounced Bróo naya rawith beth, i thad naya ra be beyóoth wa.listen to this pronounced  ¶listen to this pronounced

Did you note, in #1, that this sentence is clearly a question, even though it lacks the “báa” at the front? With a form of “bebáa” present (which clearly marks the utterance as interrogative), we may omit the leading “báa”. Of course, if we want to specify the “mood” of the question, we’d need the “báa” to attach a Speech Act Suffix onto.

Change the inflection of the underlined pronoun to that described; translate into English before and after.

7  

Bíi aril mime le eduthahádi nedebe eril mehulanin bezh eduthath bebáahahée wa.listen to this pronounced

honored

8  

Bíi shóodehul Shósho; ham dush shub bi dalethehóo menedebeháa sháaleya ril wáa.listen to this pronounced

beloved

9  

Bíi eril di Mázhareth áalaádi wáa, “Bíi áyahal ne wa,” izh lhezhubedi, “Modi ne wa.”listen to this pronounced

beloved; despised

10  

Bíi aril did le loshádi; rilrili meloláad bezh lhohoth bróo menéde meheb bezh belid lethoth wa.listen to this pronounced

despised

11  

Bíi aril bithim le háawith i hóowith i sherídan i hosherídan lethath menedebe heshehotheha sháaleya aril; ril ul le aril methad meham ben wohohé wa.listen to this pronounced

beloved

12  

Bíi ril ulanin shoná ewitheth; wil redeb be nenath wa.listen to this pronounced

honored

Translate the following into Láadan.

13  

Many respect (despite negative circumstances) the priest who dwells in the town because she (honored) teaches the ways of goodness.

14  

You (several, honored) must keep the rapist inside this room because he (despised) feels joy (bad reason) from injury.

15  

I want to give her (beloved) these (many) flowers because their color is like her (beloved) eyes.

16  

The group of farmers feels love (holy) for all-that-is, but they (many, honored) feel indifference toward money.

17  

[lovingly] I am grateful (good reason) to you (beloved), Mom; you (beloved) did many wonderful things for me when I was a child.

18  

[celebratorily] A traveler will make music in the garden in order to greet you (several, honored) on her own behalf (on behalf of herself) before the celebration [I dreamed].

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Answers

1  

Honored parent, why are you (honored) able to show lovingkindness to THEM (despised)?

2  

My child, [didactically] we all are “they (despised)” according to SOMEone’s perception; [lovingly] now do you (beloved) understand?

3  

My children have to help themselves with their own common sense now.

4  

[didactically] Queen Elizabeth was extraordiarily responsible; she (honored) never played (from a dubious source).

5  

[lovingly] You (few, beloved) will be asleep when your aunt arrives.

6  

Why would a person [overeat-in-lieu-of-self-care]? Because no-one cares for her, and she cannot care for herself.

 

7  

I shall ask the physicians where they studied medicine.

Bíi aril mime le eduthahádi nedebe eril mehulanin bizh eduthath bebáahahée wa.listen to this pronounced

I shall ask the physicians where they (honored) studied medicine.

8  

Magic Granny is very busy; there are many things that she (honored) must do today.

Bíi shóodehul Shósho; ham dush shub ba dalethehóo menedebeháa sháaleya ril wa.listen to this pronounced

Magic Granny is very busy; there are many things that she (beloved) must do today.

9  

Margaret said to the butterfly, “You are quite beautiful,” but to the noxious insect, “You’re ugly.”

Bíi eril di Mázhareth áalaádi wáa, “Bíi áyahal na wa,” izh lhezhubedi, “Modi lhene wa.”

Margaret said to the butterfly, “You (beloved) are quite beautiful,” but to the noxious insect, “You (despised) are ugly.”

10  

I shall speak [angrily] to the bankers; perhaps they will be ashamed because they want to sell my house.

Bíi aril did le loshádi; rilrili meloláad lhebezh lhohoth bróo menéde meheb lhebezh belid lethoth wa.listen to this pronounced

I shall speak [angrily] to the bankers; perhaps they (despised) will be ashamed because they (despised) want to sell my house.

11  

I will meet my many children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews at the park tomorrow; I hope they (many) all can attend.

Bíi aril bithim le háawith i hóowith i sherídan i hosherídan lethath menedebe heshehotheha sháaleya aril; ril ul le aril methad meham ban wohohé wa.listen to this pronounced

I will meet my many children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews at the park tomorrow; I hope they (many, beloved) all can attend.

12  

The peacemaker is studying anthropology; would that she find contentment (good reason).

Bíi ril ulanin shoná ewitheth; wil redeb bi nenath wa.listen to this pronounced

The peacemaker is studying anthropology; would that she (honored) find contentment (good reason).

 

13  

Bíi meloláad beyen ohehenath habelid wíitham miwithehasháadi bróo om bi weth thalethuth wáa.listen to this pronounced

14  

Bíi ril medush medóbenem nizh ralháth shodeha hi nil bróo loláad lhebehid thunath olobewáan wa.listen to this pronounced

15  

Bíi néde ban le mahinath hin badi bróo mezhe liri benethu i oyi batha wa.listen to this pronounced

16  

Bíi meloláad olowod ábedáthu ohameth abeshedi, izh meloláad bin lasheth loshedi wáa.listen to this pronounced

17  

Bíili loláad le wéná nadi, Mathul; eril shub na mewothaleháalish wodaleth menedebe leda widahath le háawith wa.listen to this pronounced

18  

Bíilan aril alehale bithim imáhóo nizheth beyóoda elahela erilehéwan déelaha we.listen to this pronounced

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