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CONLANG  June 2004, Week 3

CONLANG June 2004, Week 3

Subject:

Translation theory; was: Subordinate Clauses

From:

Sally Caves <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 19 Jun 2004 02:42:47 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (245 lines)

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Barrow" <[log in to unmask]>

> Sally Caves wrote:
>
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "David Barrow" <[log in to unmask]>

David wrote:
> >>'The dog that I saw that was with the man was green'   breaks down thus:
> >>
> >>the dog was green
> >>I saw (the dog)  (the dog) is replaced by the first 'that'
> >>(the dog) was with the man  (the dog) is replaced by the second 'that'
> >>
> >>3 sentences so embedding 2 relative clauses
> >>
> >>whereas my sentence
> >>
> >>'The dog that I saw was with the man was green'    breaks down thus:
> >>
> >>the dog was green
> >>I saw [that (the dog) was with the man] [object clause]   (the dog) is
> >>replaced by the only 'that'
> >>
> >>2 sentences so embedding 1 relative clause
> >>
> >>
Sally said:
> >Wouldn't it be easier just to say "The dog that I saw with the man was
> >green"?  After my fervent posting on Wittgenstein, I feel unenergetic
about
> >arguing this distinction, I'm afraid.  But I'll try to absorb your
comments.
> >
David:
> Yes, it would,  And I think most of us would say it that way.
> But remember I provided my sentence because of the ambiguity of who
> 'with the man'  qualifies

Right, but I think I'm gonna cast my vote here with Roger, who responded to
your message by declaring that the two sentences make the same statement:

    Roger elo krespr:
>>
Excuse me, the two S's say exactly the same thing, and aside from the
delected second "that", the same structure.

Main sentence: The dog was green.
Embed 1: I saw the dog
Embed 2: the dog was with the man

Somewhere in the derivation, Embed 1 & 2 are combinable into
Embed 1-prime: I saw the dog AND I saw that the dog was with the man. which
paraphrase to: I saw the dog that was with the man. When you embed this into
Main Sentence, lo and behold--

The dog |that I saw that was with the man| was green.
<<

I'll let the two of you thrash this out, it's a late night for me, and we
only have five posts a day!  But here are some responses to your other kind
and curious questions:

> the dog that I saw that was with the man was green
>
> Is clearer on this, but it has the double copula you don't like

I don't like the double copula in this sentence because it makes the
statement confusing, as I explain below.  It's not that I'm against copulas
piling up as a rule.

> >>The relative pronoun is not the object of I saw,  it is the subject of
> >>the object clause
> >
> >It's still an infelicitous sentence that is confusing, especially with
the
> >two "was"s.  I find it almost unreadable.  The dog that I saw was with
the
> >man was green.   Your other sentence about the missing money is better
> >because it doesn't involve this ugly double copula.
> >
> But it does have a double copula:  WAS missing - has BEEN found

Yes!

> or am I missing something in your dislike/definition of double copula

You are missing the fact that it's a confusing sentence.  It makes one
stumble.  The one you give below, with its plethora of copulas, does not.
It makes one stumble because "the dog that I saw was with the man" seems
like a completed statement with a relative clause.  The dog was with the
man.  I saw it.  One reads this far, then one finds the weird extension:
"was green."  I have to go back and read the sentence again!  And yes, there
IS a missing relative that I tried to supply between "saw" and "was" to
clarify what I perceived as sentence with two relatives, one embedded within
the other.  I call this particular kind of awkwardness "squinting diction;
it seems to look in both directions with the suppression of the second
relative pronoun.  None of your other examples have been so badly worded.
It was so confusing I misunderstood you completely.  That's not good.  It
leads to misunderstandings and long posts saying "what I meant was, but what
*I* meant was..." encouraging unhealthy obsessive/compulsive disorders. :)
And the task at hand (a translation exercise) isn't accomplished.   Now,
granted, I could have been having one of my brain farts... they seemed to
pile up over the last few days--but the sentence DOES squint at first
glance.

> how about
>
> those who ARE late ARE not TO BE allowed in?

No problem.  It doesn't squint.

> >And your sentence
> >below, because it substitutes who/whom clarifies the relationship (to a
> >person instead of an animal/thing) and introduces case.   When I said
> >"nobody" would say that, of course I was using hyperbole, and yes I was
> >appealing to spoken discourse; but I do believe that an editor of a
formal
> >essay would call you on this sentence and ask you to reword it.  It's
only
> >really interesting because of the super subtleties you are expressing in
it,
> >but as a workable written sentence, I think it stinks.  I'm a stylist,
see,
> >and Teonaht reflects that propensity!  :)
> >
>
> Fair enough,
>
> since you introduced 'the dog that I saw that was with the man was
> green' as what seemed
> to me to be a correction of my sentence I'm simply trying to point out
> that it is grammatical

So all this is about correcting each other?  :)  Bad word.  It was an
attempt to understand you, not correct you.

I said earlier:
> >I think the problem with this exercise is that it forces Teonaht (or any
> >other language) to be what it's not: have the same density that English
has
> >in some of its expressions and to express restricting or embedded clauses
in
> >exactly the same way.  Teonaht regards restriction and emphasis somewhat
> >differently and possibly imprecisely according to English standards.
This
> >is because Teonaht has its own quirky laws that have to be obeyed.  This
is
> >indeed a difficulty of  close translation.

> The thing is to express the same idea

Not at this microlevel.  (Remember, I side with Roger on the business of
your sentence.)  What is "the thing" that you're appealing to?  Is there
only one "thing"?  What is "same"?  This gets into thorny issues of
translation theory.  Lots of translations bend to the target languages and
not the source, and don't mind adding to or subtracting a phrase from the
idiom that suits the target.  I wrote out Aelfric's long paragraph about
translating Latin into English and then erased it, because this opens up a
whole new can of worms.  Essentially, so my labor won't be wasted, here's
the final sentence of that passage:

aefre se the awent oththe se the taecth of Ledene on Englisc, aefre he sceal
gefadian hit swa thaet thaet Englisc haebbe his agene wisan, elles hit bith
swythe gedwolsum to raedenne tham the thaes Ledenes wise ne can.

"Always he who translates or he who interprets from Latin into English,
always he must arrange it so that the English may have its own fashion, or
else it will be very misleading to read for those who know not the fashion
of Latin."

TERRIBLE!  Reworded with an emphasis on the target language, standard modern
English:

"He who translates or interprets from Latin into English must always arrange
it so that the English keeps its own idioms, otherwise it will be very
difficult to read for those unfamiliar with Latin's idioms."  I guess that
was my point about Teonaht; as it starts developing its own idioms, its
"fashion" for saying things, it starts resisting exact equivalences in
translation exercises.

> >>hain = which  IT, ACTUALLY, AND IT'S IN THE ACCUSATIVE
> >>
> you used which in your translation. Teonaht has no distinction between
> subject and relative pronouns?

Sure it does.  Hai is "ai" with an "h" added.  It used to be
"ihhai/n"--particle "ih" added at an earlier time to render it relative.
Actually, the regular pronoun could probably be used.  Relatives in Old
English and many other languages developed out of ordinary juxtaposed
pronouns or articles.  I stood by the man.  Him I chose.  I stood by the man
whom I chose.  Ic stod bi tham menn tham the ic ceas.

> >>uo = and
> >>le = the  VOLITIONAL DETERMINER
> >>
> what's the difference between a subject and a determiner in the context
> of li and le above

Maybe I'm using the term incorrectly.  I've heard it used of articles and
possessive pronouns.  I've always used "article," but it functions also to
determine the volitionality of the subject, not marked on the subject
itself--T. is a largely uninflected language.  Article, determiner, whatever
the better term is.

> >>zef  = man

> >>vyrm li kohs kelsoyts, yryi le zef-jo
> >>
> >>vyrm = green
> >>li = the
> >>kohs = dog
> >>kelsoyts = saw-we
> >>yryi  = I  in a tense? which one?  EMPHASIZED VOLITIONAL
> >>le = the  VOLITIONAL DETERMINER
> >>zef-jo  = the man + tense? the man + and?  AND

> I'm curious about the different 'and's in the two sentences

Teonaht can pre- or postposition its conjunctions, especially "and," and
especially where style requires it.  Yryi ends with a vowel, two unstressed
ones, and in written T., which is mostly what I've charted, it's preferable
to have Yryi le zef-jo instead of yryi uo le zef.    /'iri&le'zEfZo/  rather
than /'ir&jole'zEf/.  In Menarilihs, you can say, ryi jo le zef.  But I
haven't gotten to Menarilihs, yet.   Need to feel more comfortable in formal
Teonaht before I develop grammars for its variants.  This is working
ass-backwards, I know, but there it is.  Ass backwards into the future.
(Another thread)  :)

> >Hey.  Grateful that you're interested in Teonaht.  ;-)  Of course T. has
> >deficiencies compared to the subtleties of English.  And I am unpracticed
in
> >this process of sentence analysis.
> >
> It's even harder when you're analysing a language you know nothing
> about. Word for word tranlations help
> with the definitions,  but you still have to go beyond your own
> language's (s)'  mindset(s)

I agree completely.  What language(s) are you working on?  Nat and con?

Sally, who must resist her obsessive/compulsive disorder and turn away from
this finally.

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