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CONLANG  February 2001, Week 3

CONLANG February 2001, Week 3

Subject:

[LISTSERe: The Chant on the Dog's Grave

From:

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Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 17 Feb 2001 17:41:08 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (141 lines)

Well I'll put my money on the cultural diffusion theory. The Slaves
no doubt got it from the Greeks, who would have got it (like much
else) from the Phoenicians, and they got *everywhere*.

Indeed, as the first proto-ibero-semitic pre-phoenicians rowed
through the Pillars of Hercules to reach the Atlantic they were heard
singing the following song ;-)

Keith

---------------------------------------------------------------------
acute = main stress, high tone
circumflex = extra stress, rising tone?
grave = secondary stress, low or falling tone
<x> = [S]; <q> = [G] voiced uvular stop;
<y> = [j]; <?> = [q] voiceless ditto;
<#> = hooked h, voiced [h]
----------------------------------------------------------------------

  ?bratu-weklbim              The Doggie's Grave

Klbum, wegnnaba bxram       A dog, he stole meat
Kay rqbam xehya-lewm        Because he was hungry
?dmum xer?ya wehtyam        Someone who saw the sinner
Wedrba yer?xa-wewm          Hit him right on the head

Webkya wekllu-kalbyim       The dogs all wept
Me#wri-ze?brati-wm          From digging his grave
Wexhya-bez?bni dabrtam      And there was on the stone an inscription

Katbam keznwi tammm :       Written like mine here :

Kalbum, wegannaba baxram ...

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Written as formal prose this would be :

Yegnnaba bxram klbum, ky xehya-leym rqbam. Wedrba ?dmum xer?ya

yehtyam r?xa-ym. Yebkya-me#wri-?brati-ym wekllu-klbiyim.
Wexhya-bez?bni dabrta.katbam keznwi tmmim.

Here the dogs get the ye- (non-human) animate definitive whereas in
verse they are promoted to the human we- class.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Analysis :

klb-um : a dog (nom.)
   kalb- "dog"; -um nominative suffix
we-gnnab-a : (he) stole
   we- determinative (human) indicating subj. "he"/"she"/"they";
   -gannab- "steal" intensive verb from the root GNB;
   -a perfect, marks completed action
bxr-am : (some) meat (acc.)
   baxr- "meat"; -am accusative suffix
kay : because
rqb-am : hunger (acc.)
xe-hy-a : (which) was, there was
   xe- det. (indefinite or relative) "which";
   -hiy- "to be (somewhere)", "to exist"; -a perfect
le-w-m : to him/her
   le- proclitic preposition "to", "with", "for" etc.;
   w(e)- det. (human) acting as a pronoun "he"; -im dative suffix;
   xehiya lewim = "there was to him" i.e. "he had"
?dm-um : a person (nom.) i.e. "someone"
xe-r?y-a : who saw
   xe- det. (indef.) acting as a relative pronoun "who";
   -r?ay- "to see"; -a perfect
we-hty-am : the sinner
   we- det. (human) acting as definite article "the", "that";
   huty-am "sinner" (acc.)
we-drb-a : he struck, hit
   we- det. (hum.) as subject pronoun "he";
   -drab- "to strike"; -a perfect
ye-r?x-a : the head (acc.)
   ye- det. (animate) as def. art. "the";
   ra?x- "head"; -a accusitive suffix
we-w-m : his (emphatic)
   we-w- det. (hum.) as pronoun "he", reduplicated for emphasis;
   -im genitive suffix (same as dative)
   ra?xa-wim = "his/her head (acc.)"
   yera?xa-wewim = "that very head (acc.) of his" (in the present
context
      this phrase implies that the blow was well aimed and deliberate)
we-bky-a : (they) wept
   we- det. (hum.) as subj. pron. referring to wekullum "the whole";
   -bkiy- "to weep"; -a perfect
we-kll-u : the whole (nom.)
kalb-yim : of (the) dogs
   -iyim genitive plural suffix
   note the stress has been shifted from klbiyim to kalbyim to fit
   the metre
me-#wr-i : from digging (dative)
   me- proclitic prep. "from";
   -#war- "to dig", here a verbal noun "digging"; -i dative suffix
ze-?brat-i : of the grave
   ze- det. (inanimate) as def. art. "the", "that";
   ?abrat- "grave"; -i genitive suffix
wm : of him, his
   me#wari-?abrati-wim = "from (the) digging of (the) grave of him",
   "from digging his grave". With ze- before ?abratum the phrase
   means approximately "from digging that very grave of his"
we-x(e)-hy-a : and there was
   we- proclitic conjunction "and";
   x(e)- det. (indef.) here acting and a dummy subject pronoun so as
         to make the verb impersonal;
   -hiy- "to exist"; -a perfect
   wexehiya* reduces to wexhiya according to a rule that deletes
   alternative /e/ vowels as additional proclitics are affixed to the
   root
be-z(e)-?bn-i : on the stone (dat.)
   be- proclitic preposition "in", "at", "on";
   z(e)- det. (inanimate) as def. art. "the", "that";
   ?ubn- "stone"; -i dative suffix
dabrt-am : an inscription (acc.), (from dabr- "word" + -at- formative)
katb-am : (something) written (acc.)
   katub- corresponds to the verb stem -ktab- "to write". It functions
   either as a past participle (adjective) "written", as in the prose
   version "dabrata.katubam" = a written inscription, or as here
   where it is a noun in apposition meaning "something written"
ke-z(e)-nw-i : like mine (dative), like this one of mine
   ke- proclitic prep. "like", "as";
   z(e)- det. (inanim.) agreeing with katubum, "this (one)";
   -naw- poss. pron. nucleus 1st sing. "my one", "mine";
   -i dative suffix
tammm : here (adverb)
   The stress has been shifted from the first syllable tmmim to fit
   the metre.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

for the Grammar in progress see :

http://home.clara.net/carrot/saprutum/grammar.html

for the Babel Text (postscript) see :

http://home.clara.net/carrot/saprutum/babela.ps

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