Unit 5. Attributes
Fundamental observations – demonstrated by means of strange individual achievements of the contrariness of everyday life, which is probably a bit too long as a title, the more so as it contains a (let’s be honest) most inelegant genitive chain.
We are now pretty much finished with the basics. Now, in the second quarter of the tutorial, things will be getting more serious.
Bracket and coordination
A bracket is a two-word construction where the object’s outer case equals the predicate’s inner case.
|The second and third words in this sentence form a bracket:|
|speakà assembleèi nexwaklÌje.||Someone speaks to the assembler, Nechwatal.|
|speak-fact1 assemble-nom-dat2 Nechwatal-acc-nom3.|
Here we have a predicate ‘assembler’ (‘the sender of assembling’) with ‘Nechwatal’ as its nominative object, which means that Nechwatal is, yes, the sender of assembling: the assembler just mentioned. This is the first application of brackets: the translation of English appositives, which are essentially attributes consisting of a noun (and this will become important in a moment).
A coordination consists of two sibling objects in the same outer case.
|speakà assembleeì nexwaklÌji.||Someone speaks to the assembler, Nechwatal.|
|speak-fact1 assemble-nom-dat2 Nechwatal-acc-dat2.|
This also equates ‘assembler’ with ‘Nechwatal’ as both are the recipient of speaking. Recall there is only one recipient, so we can exclude the possibility of Nechwatal and the assembler being spoken to (which would be phrased with an inner partitive). And the exact reason why there is only one recipient is still to come.
We will be using brackets more often because they suggest that one of the two words (‘assembler’ in our example) is ‘nearer’ to the predicate (‘speak’), while the other is a specification of the first. The coordination implies that both words are more or less equally important, or at any rate equidistant to their predicate. In this sense, the bracket is more suited to translate appositives and similar constructions.
Actually, we have already seen brackets (in the factive) in the previous unit when we treated desorption, and also coordinations when we translated ‘and’ and ‘or’.
Adjectives and participles as attributes and adverbs
As you know, Lemizh does not make any difference between nouns and adjectives. It also doesn’t distinguish nouns and participles: just as whiteÌ. can mean ‘the white one, a white thing; white’, giveè. can mean ‘the giver; giving’, and giveÌ. ‘the given thing; given’. Hence we can use brackets (and coordinations) to translate attributes consisting of an adjective or a participle.
|maleÌ wiseÌy.||a man, a wise one||a wise man|
|maleÌ speakèy.||a man, a speaker||a speaking man|
|milkÌ spillÌy.||milk, spilt one (the content of spilling)||spilt milk|
While in English ‘a speaking man’ refers to a man speaking at the present moment, and ‘spilt milk’ refers to the effects of milk having been spilt in the past, the Lemizh phrases do not contain any temporal information. The perfect aspect of ‘spilt milk’ will be treated in the chapter on the perfect in unit 10, temporal distinctions (‘a speaking man’ vs. ‘a man, which will be speaking’) in the chapter on tense in unit 12.
Make sure you don’t confuse active participles (‘a speaking man’), gerunds (‘Speaking is difficult with one’s mouth full’) and the continuous forms of verbs (‘He is speaking’).
Feel free to include additional information in the form of objects of the bracket’s object, keeping in mind that the outer case of a word defines its relation to its predicate’s stem (as in ‘the teller of a war’).
|maleÌ speakèy childyì elephantÌy.||a man speaking to a child about elephants|
|male-acc1 speak-nom-acc2 child-acc-dat3 elephant-acc-acc3.|
|milkÌ spillÌy floorÌir.||milk spilt on the floor|
|milk-acc1 spill-acc-acc2 floor-acc-ill3.|
Adverbial adjectives and participles work just the same. The English verb is translated as the bracket’s predicate, the adverb as the object. Because we are translating verbs with an inner factive, the bracket’s case is also the factive. (But we will use other inner cases for translating verbs in the chapter on topic in unit 10.)
|behaveà strangeÌa.||the behaviour (the behaving), the strange one||He behaves strangely.|
Coordinations and brackets within brackets
A further object of the bracket’s predicate can result in a coordination inside the bracket, and an object of the object can result in nested brackets.
|maleÌ wiseyÌ2 paleÌy2.||a wise, pale man; a wise and pale man|
|male-acc1 wise-acc-acc2 pale-acc-acc2.|
|maleÌ wiseÌy2 paleÌy3.||a pale wise man|
|male-acc1 wise-acc-acc2 pale-acc-acc3.|
|maleÌ paleÌy2 wiseÌy3.||a wise pale man|
|male-acc1 pale-acc-acc2 wise-acc-acc3.|
The first phrase uses a coordination to desribe a man which is wise as well as pale. Note that this use of English ‘and’ differs from the one we saw in the previous unit. The man is wise and pale at the same time (the man = the wise one = the pale one), so we don’t use an inner partitive here. The second phrase uses a bracket to describe a wise man, which is also pale (say, as opposed to a wise man which is red-faced). The third one describes a pale man, which is also wise.
Also note that the second and third phrases differ only by an inversion. A bracket is the only situation in which an inversion works even though there is no main predicate involved; this is rather unimaginatively called a bracket inversion.
Attributes and adverbs that are not brackets
Sometimes an attributive adjective does not translate as a bracket.
|speakè goodÌa.||a good speaker|
‘good’ specifies the speaking, not the speaker. You can think of this as of an inversion of goodá speakày. ‘He makes the speaking good’, the gerund ‘speaking’ being translated with an inner factive. The bracket speakè goodÌe. would mean something like ‘a speaker who is a good person’.
The same applies to adjectives that are used adverbially to describe participles. Adverbial adjectives describing other adjectives translate a bit differently.
|maleÌ speakèy goodÌa.||a man, a good speaker||a man speaking well|
|male-acc1 speak-nom-acc2 good-acc-fact3.|
|windÌ hotÌy terribleÌil.||(The wind is a hot thing, and the heat is terrible.)||terribly hot wind|
|wind-acc1 hot-acc-acc2 terrible-acc-cons3.|
The second example contains an inversion of terribleà hotìly. ‘Someone makes the heat terrible’, ‘heat’ being an abstract noun related to an adjective and therefore containing an inner consecutive, as we have seen before.
Partitive bracket and coordination
The brackets we have discussed up till now (outer case of the object = inner case of the predicate) are called cumulative brackets because they accumulate information: it is a man and it is a wise one and it is a pale one. A partitive bracket (partitive outer case of the object, but plain inner case of the predicate) is quite a different matter: it defines a basic set for its predicate.
|maleÌ wiseÌyn.||a man from the set of wise ones|
(The wise ones are the set from which the man is taken.)
|a wise man|
|wiseÌ maleÌyn.||a wise one from the set of men||a wise man; a wise one among the men|
|loudÌ mÌsyn.||a loud one from the set of mice||a loud mouse; one that is loud for a mouse|
|There are partitive coordinations as well:|
|speaká maleyè wiseÌen.||A man from the set of wise ones is speaking.||A wise man is speaking.|
|speak-fact1 male-acc-nom2a wise-acc-partnom2.|
|speaká wiseyè maleÌen.||A wise one from the set of men is speaking.||A wise man is speaking.|
|speak-fact1 wise-acc-nom2a male-acc-partnom2.|
The exclusive ‘or’ (‘either … or’) is a partitive bracket or coordination of ‘one’, ‘some’ or another suitable numeral with an ‘and’-construction (i.e. inner partitives), which results in the numeral plus an inclusive ‘or’ construction (i.e. inner and outer partitives). If possible, the inclusive ‘or’ – without the numeral – is to be preferred, as it is shorter.
|searchà rÌy snrynkÌn bucmÌnyn.||They are searching for one from the set consisting of the Snark and the Boojum.|
|They are searching for either the Snark or the Boojum.|
|search-fact1 one-acc-acc2 Snark-partacc-partacc3 Boojum-partacc-partacc3.|
|searchà ryÌ snrynkÌn bucmÌnyn.||(coordination)|
|search-fact1 one-acc-acc2 Snark-partacc-partacc2 Boojum-partacc-partacc2.|
Other partitives in brackets
An outer partitive of the bracket’s predicate sometimes, but not always, poses a problem; this is mainly the case with instrumental nouns.
|seeà veì maleÌen wiseÌy.||I see some of the wise men.|
|see-fact1 PIn−2-nom-dat2 male-acc-partnom2 wise-acc-acc3.|
|liftá veè sailùyn heavyÌu.||I am hoisting part of the heavy means of sailing.|
|lift-fact1 PIn−2-nom-nom2a sail-ins-partacc2 heavy-acc-ins3.|
The first example is about wise men, some of which I see – all is fine here. But the second, intended to mean ‘I am hoisting a heavy sail’, claims that the means of sailing is heavy, when only part of it – the sail – is. This problem can be solved by inverting the bracket or by using a coordination, resulting in partitive brackets or coordinations.
|liftá veè heavyÌy sailùyn.||Partitive bracket: I am hoisting a heavy thing from the set of the means of sailing (a sail).||I am hoisting a heavy sail.|
|lift-fact1 PIn−2-nom-nom2a heavy-acc-acc2 sail-ins-partacc3.|
|liftá veè sailuÌn heavyÌy.||Partitive coordination: I am hoisting a sail, a heavy thing.|
|lift-fact1 PIn−2-nom-nom2a sail-ins-partacc2 heavy-acc-acc2.|
A predicate with an inner partitive is no problem; the object’s outer case is still a plain (non-partitive) case despite the fact that the two cases don’t match.
|speaká maleÌne paleÌy.||The pale man, among other [people], is speaking.|
|speak-fact1 male-partacc-nom2a pale-acc-acc3.|
The noun phrase tellè warày. ‘the teller of a war’ is derived from tellà warày. ‘She tells about a war’ by a simple change of the main predicate’s inner case. The same process can be used to translate noun phrases describing materials.
|laceà threadÌi. →||He makes lace from thread. The thread becomes / turns into lace.|
|laceÌ threadÌi.||lace made from thread|
|doorÌ woodÌi.||a door made of wood||a wooden door|
|saladÌ potatoÌi.||salad made from potatoes||potato salad|
These phrases are nearly, but not quite, brackets. doorÌ woodÌy. would equate the door with the wood (‘the door, [which is] wood’), while the dative object in doorÌ woodÌi. makes clear that the door is what we are speaking about, while wood is the thing (or material) that was made into a door.
Translated with the benefactive
The genitive marker ‘-’s’ and the preposition ‘of’ as used in ‘the courtyard of the castle’ have more or less the same function, so we will call them both ‘genitives’ here. Their most prominent function is to mark possession. In Lemizh, the benefactive case (U, beneficiary, i.e. the one who receives a favour, for whom the action is done) can express possession as well as some non-possessive uses of the Indo-European genitive: ‘the courtyard of the castle, a man’s world, the teacher’s lounge, runner’s high’ etc. Depending on the situation, the causative (el, cause) or persuasive cases (Ol, reason) might also be appropriate.
|coatÌ assembleèU.||The coat is made for the assembler.|
The assembler is the beneficiary of coat-making.
|the assembler’s coat|
|courtyardÌ castleÌU. courtyardÌ castleÌOl.||The courtyard is made for the castle.|
The castle is the beneficiary of / reason for courtyard-making.
|the courtyard of the castle|
|courtyard-acc1 castle-acc-ben2. courtyard-acc1 castle-acc-psu2.|
Translated with other cases
Quite often, though, the genitive has other functions, and the benefactive case does not suit our purpose. ‘the man’s gift’ is not a gift made for the man, but one given by him. In such situations it is a good idea to transform the construction into a seperate sentence to find the appropriate case, and then replace the predicate’s inner factive with a different case. Note that some of the objects are agentive.
|dá Ìxe. → dý Ìxe.||The man gives.||the man’s gift|
|give-fact1 male-acc-nom2a. → give-acc1 male-acc-nom2a.|
|musicý malÌce.||Mahler made music.||Mahler’s music|
|woolÌ goatÌe.||The goat produces wool.||goat’s wool|
|dnù boyÌy.||The boy walks.||the boy’s leg (tool noun)|
|colourìl snÌwy.||The snow is coloured.||the colour (abstract noun) of snow|
|sleepà girlÌi.||The girl sleeps.||the girl’s sleep (gerund-like abstract noun)|
|bookÌ childÌUl.||Someone makes books for children.||children’s books|
|dreamÌ nightÌaR midsummerÌy.||Someone dreams in a midsummer night.||A Midsummer Night’s Dream|
|dream-acc1 night-acc-temp2 midsummer-acc-acc3.|
|warà dÌhyR yearìly.||War is made for ten years.||ten years’ war|
|war-fact1 ten-acc-dur2 year-cons-acc3.|
|Ìx lemÌcar.||Men have been made at something Lemizh [at a Lemizh place].||men of Lemaria|
Kinship terms with genitive attributes are translated with the nominative. This is easiest to see with ‘child’: the assembler’s child was made by the assembler. But, as already mentioned, the nominative has nothing to do with the assembler acting. ‘The baker’s uncle’ is still formed with a nominative object, because the baker is the source of the uncle-ness; he (inactively) confers the property of being an uncle on his, well, uncle.
|childÌ assembleèe.||the assembler’s child|
|uncleÌ bakeèe.||the baker’s uncle|
|wifeÌ kingèe.||the king’s wife|
Translated with brackets
Lastly, we have got appositive genitives and other genitives that are translated as brackets (or coordinations).
|maleý teachìy.||a man, one having been taught; a learned man||a man of learning|
|countryÌ lemàrcy.||a country, Lemaria||the country of Lemaria|
|artà rideàa.||an art (gerund-like abstract noun), riding (gerund)||the art of riding|
|glassÌ fillìy wineÌy.||a glass filled with wine (receiving use of a verb of movement)||a glass (full) of wine|
|glass-acc1 fill-dat-acc2 wine-acc-acc3.|
Brackets also serve to paraphrase genitives of all kinds to express finer differences.
|coatÌ sellýy assembleèi.||the coat sold to the assembler / bought by the assembler (receptive)|
|coat-acc1 sell-acc-acc2 assemble-nom-dat3a.|
|coatÌ wearýy stealìe.||the coat being worn by the thief|
|coat-acc1 wear-acc-acc2 steal-dat-nom3a.|
|musicÌ composeýy malÌce.||music composed by Mahler|
|music-acc1 compose-acc-acc2 Mahler-acc-nom3a.|
Indo-European genitives cover a wide array of meanings. We will meet some further ones in later units: for ‘a group of people’, see Grouping numerals in unit 7; for ‘day’s work’ see Distributive numerals in unit 8; for ‘the inside of the ship’ see Adverbials in unit 12; for ‘two weeks’ notice’ see Measuring in unit 12; for ‘a painting of the girl’ (as opposed to ‘a painting of the girl’s’) see ‘about’ and language related objects in unit 14.
Adjectives of possession
Adjectives indicating possession are translated like the genitive.
|houseÌ fatherèU.||father’s house||the paternal house|
Adjectives indicating the possessed thing are inversions of the genitive.
|animalÌ featherÙy.||a feathered animal, an animal having feathers, an animal with feathers|
|the beaver’s fur|
|the beaver’s dam|
|the love of music|
|the [biological] family of tortoises|
|a bearded baker|
|a plastic spoon|