On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 10:07:55PM -0700, H. S. Teoh wrote:
> 	tse na       ti'   jirabunas ta?
> 	2SG RCP:MASC notch how_many  Q
> 	How old are you? (Lit. to you how many notches?)

I forgot to point out the etymology of _jirabunas_: it is a contraction
of _jiras bunas di'as_ "one two three". It's like asking "you have one,
two, or three notches?" (with an implied "etc." after "three" --
induction, y'know). Well technically, it's _jiras ta bunas ta di'as ta_
(the construction _X ta Y ta_ meaning "X or Y"), which simplified to
_jiras bunas di'as_ > _jirabunari'as_ > _jirabunas_, through a process
of successive simplification via contraction and elision.

TF numerals are agglutinative, you see; "eight", for example, is
_di'apikas_, from _di'as_ (3) + _pikas_ (5). However, these
agglutinations are only valid between numerals of a group belonging to a
different power of 5: 1-4 are the first group, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 are the
second group, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125 are the third group, etc., up to 5
groups (with 3125 being the largest root, thus a maximum nameable
numeral of 3905). The agglutination _jirabunari'as_ is therefore an
invalid numeral, so the contraction _jirabunas_ does not conflict with
any numeral, and can safely stand in for the interrogative numeral. :)

(Kids on the street have been heard simplifying this even further to
_jiabunas_ or _jabunas_ (or *shudder* _jabun_), but this is frowned on
by the older folk and isn't part of the official TF dictionary published
by the town grammarians.)


Stop staring at me like that! You'll offend... no, you'll hurt your eyes!