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? Hallow XIII Primordial Crab
posts: 502
, 巴塞尔之子

A short dialogue in Jalvaan


This dialogue is a short exchange between two adult males who are reasonably close friends.

A: Arē, iššeš halen nyuraš ā?
arelder.brother-VOC iššeštoday halenwhat.ACC.SG nya-2S>3S-urdo-aš-2S āQ
A: Big brother, what are you doing today?

B: Moi nihē, ningē jō kašdaraht jākohyōre nyasōreš!
moiEXCL nihyounger.brother-VOC ninggarden-LOC 1S.POSS kašdweed-ar-PL-aht-ACC jā-1>3P-kohyōrrip.out-e-SBJ nya-2S>3S-sōreknow-2S
B: Ey, little brother, you know that I have to clear the weeds in my garden!

Like in many natural languages, it is common to address unrelated people with kinship terms. In this case, aran and nihan are used, implying a closer relationship: a complete stranger might be addressed as mānyar uncle or doman cousin. The use of a vocative here is interesting insofar that very few nouns have one; for these two, it is identical to the genitive, but examination of other nouns in other declensions (like ašil elder sister, gen. ašerat, voc. ašerē), reveals that it is uniformly .

B: Hoika aku ilim tōg‌āš ningē virērat āōšdayōš!
hoikaEXPL akunow ilithat.CLS-m-NOM tōg‌thing-āš-CLS.NOM ninggarden-LOC virēratall.over ā-3P-ōšdagrow.over-yōš-PST.IPFV
B: Shit, these things have already grown over everything!

Hoika is a mild expletive (although still considered unsuitable for use in mixed company) that is often used jocularly. It is unlikely that the man's garden has actually been left in such a state, since the crops usually grown in such a garden are a rather important part of a common family's diet.

A: Ambat, tisā gorā!
ambagood-t-ADV tisgrain.shed-DAT gorfull-DAT
A: Well then, good luck!

The expression translated here as good luck, tisā gorā, might be more literally rendered as (may you have) a full granary. It is a general expression of encouragement.

A: Mārar šō kalat ā?
mārwife-ar-PL šō2S.POSS kalathow āQ
A: How are your wife and children doing?

This phrase is not otherwise interesting, but demonstrates the use of the Jalvaan associative plural: your wife and children is rendered literally as your wives. The general structure of what A says might seem strange to English speakers, but to a Jalvaan speaker, this is a perfectly normal way of switching the topic.

B: Ambar yor.
ambawell-r-PL yor3P
B: They are well.

B: Bošan ek kohōen itaruvat, magā ō ōron kumbeš.
bošanson ekone kohōenyesterday i-3S-taruget.sick-va-PST.PFV-t-3S magābut ōNEG ōronlarge kumbešsickness
B: One of my sons got sick yesterday, but it was no big thing.

B: Kahtā sāryā, onnēn nifayī.
kahtluck-DAT.SG sārybad.luck-DAT.SG onnnothing-ēn-ACC.SG ni-2S-faysayī-IMP
B: Say nothing of good or bad luck!

This is an idiom that means, approximately, "don't worry about minor problems; don't get excited about minor boons".

A: Yalen faihō.
yalentrue faihōword
A: Well said.

A: Darvoi onnoi nyabirgavaš?
darvDarven-oi-GEN onnnothing-oi-GEN nya-2S>3S-birgahear.about-va-PST.PFV-2S
A: Have you heard anything of Darven?

Onnen, glossed here as nothing, means anything in questions and nothing in declarative sentences. To get the same meaning as English "have you heard nothing?", one would have to say onnoi ō.

B: Ō yo, šayirē ‌māhirē idarjūt.
ōNEG yoEXCL šayday-ir-CLS-DATmāhweek-ir-CLS-DAT i3S-darjūlabor-t-3S
B: Aiyo, nothing! He's away for days and weeks!

This sentence exhibits one of the peculiarities of the language: it's fourth grammatical number. While the singular and dual are relatively uncontroversial, there have been debates about whether to call the other two terms of the system "plural" and "classive", or "paucal" and "plural", or something else. We will use the first option in these glosses. The exact uses and distribution of these categories are hard to pin down, but here the classive expresses that the man is away for a continuous stretch of time.

B: Māran tō minirat i ō bikassovat, nyaberī ikīvat yo!
māranwife 3S.POSS mininews-r-PL-at-GEN i3S ōNEG bi-1S-kattell-so-IRR-va-PST.PFV-t-3S nya-2S>3S-bersee-IMP i-3S-die-va-PST.PFV-t-3S yoEXCL
B: If his wife didn't have news of him, you see that he'd died!

Darven is a rather common male name among the Jalvaan. Presumably this man is a fisher or laborer who stays away from home for times felt to be uncomfortably long. Nyaberī, you see!, is used to express likelihood or expectation.

A: Māran halen yurat ā?
māranwife halenwhat.ACC.SG y-3S-urado-t-3S āQ
A: What is his wife doing?

B: Oi, šayirē šayirē.
oiEXCL šayday-ir-CLS-DAT šayday-ir-CLS-DAT
B: Oh, the usual.

The usual = day for day.

B: Darven ō yāš, etta ilē ekmārat bohūn akunjūrā yāš.
darvenDarven ōNEG yāšbe.at.3S ettaCONSEQ ilthatē-DAT ekonemārwomanat-ADV bohwork-ūn-ACC.SG a-3S.O-kunjūdo.work-rā-INF yāšbe.at.3S
B: Darven isn't there, so she has to do all the work herself.

B: Baivō tō, ambān faihōht kāndivarā yāšanar ā?
baifather-vō-DL.NOM 3S.POSS ambgood-ān-ACC.SG faihōidea-ht-ACC kāndithink.up-va-PST.PFV-rā-INF ya-3.NSG-a-3S.O-šanfeel-ar-3P āQ
B: Do you think her parents feel they've made a good choice?

Again, an associative number is used to express the notion of parents, literally father in the dual. Note that while the noun is in the dual, the verb shows plural agreement. This, too, is a rather common pattern: while nouns can inflect for four numbers, in almost all dialects verbs contrast a maximum of three, and in the third person, as is the case here, the dual-plural distinction is often collapsed as well. "Making a good choice", here, refers to the marriage arrangement.

A: Oi, okenarat bīhturā, ō ōron mahkeš yo.
oiEXCL okenother-ar-PL-at-GEN bīhtucompare-rā-INF ōNEG ōronlarge mahkešsuffering yoEXCL
A: Oi, if you compare it with what happens to others, it's no large suffering.

This parallels the ō ōron kumbeš yo used before by B, referring to his son's sickness. This is a rather common structure, and can also be used to play down positive things: ō ōron tahtō yo, it's no big victory.

A: Torut, bimire. Amban nitarī.
torutEXCL bi-1S-mirgo-e-SBJ ambanwell ni-2S-tarstay-IMP
A: Well, I need to go. Stay well.

B: Amban nyondeyi.
ambanwell ny-2S-ondewalk-yi-IMP
B: Go well.