PREPOSITIONS. PART 2
In the last lesson we've seen how Emilian prepositions can be roughly divided into two categories: those that are composed of just one word (i.e. the "prepositions proper") and those that are made of an adverb + one or more prepositions (the "preposition(al) phrases").
The topic of today's lesson will be the second set. While there are many more preposition phrases than there are prepositions, they mostly have only one meaning, so this lesson might be longer but easier.
A side note: I know that "prepositional phrase" means something else in English. I just couldn't come up with a better term, so I used a direct translation of what we say in Italian (locuzione prepositiva). If anybody has any suggestions, I will gladly use the good old find and replace function and clear this up.
If we use a cube to represent the space around the speaker, you will identify 10 zones of interest:
All of these are rendered by preposition phrases in Emilian:
left -> a sinéstra ed
right -> a děstra ed
on -> edcǒ a
under -> sàta a
above -> ed sǒver da
below -> ed sàta da
in front -> davanti a
behind -> ed drě da
inside -> deinter a
outside -> fǒra ed
All of these phrases can be used without the preposition if they act as adverbs, and with the preposition when they modify a noun. Take these sentences as an example:
A vâg deinter. - I'm going inside.
La mâchina l'è deintr'al garâg'. - The car is inside the garage.
Don't confuse <davanti a> e <ed drě a> with these adverbs, expressing motion in a direction:
avanti - forward(s)
indrě - backward(s)
Have a look at these sentences:
Andàm avanti. - Let's go on/forward.
S'et màt la rětro, la mâchina la và indrě. - If you put it in reverse, the car will move backwards.
"Left" and "right" stay unchanged in such a context:
Vǒlta/gîra a sinéstra. - Turn left.
Notice that both <sinéstra> and <děstra> are virtually always found after a preposition: <a> for motion to or towards, and <da> for motion from.
You might be interested in a couple more phrases expressing a state in place:
in the middle (of) -> in mêż a
near -> atěṡ a
far -> luntan /lun'tãː(n)/ da
around -> (d')intǒren a
along -> lóng a
opposite (to) -> ed frunt a (watch out: this is a false friend)
Another interesting phrase is <atâc a>, i.e. "next to with contact, attached to". This phrase is often used vith vertical surfaces, making it quite similar to German <an> (compare <auf> for the other usages of "on"). For example:
Atâc al mûr a gh'ò un quêder ed Van Gòg. - I have a Van Gogh painting on the wall.
Various prefixed forms of <dôs> (which can't be used by itself, and comes from Latin dorsum
) have similar meanings, but are related to people. <adôs> is the basic form:
Et gh'ê un ragn adôs. - You've got a spider on you.
<indôs> is used for something you're wearing:
Al gh'îva indôs na fělpa něgra. - He was wearing a black sweatshirt.
<da dôs> (sorry, people spell this one differently from the others, and common usage wins over logic) means "off of [someone]", where that someone is the indirect object of the main verb:
Lěvem cal ragn da dôs! - Take that spider off of me!
Stâm só da dôs! - Get off of me!/Let me f***ing breathe!
The two most important phrases concerning time are without a doubt
préma ed - before
dàp (ed) - after
Now, <dàp> is a bit of a weird case, because it's only very rarely found with its preposition. Even when it servers its purpose as a prepositional phrase, it's typically used alone:
Arcôrdet d'an dêreg ménga da magnêr dàp meżanôt! - Remember to not feed them after midnight!
I'd go as far as saying that using the preposition <ed> in the sentence above is ungrammatical.
The one instance where it is always found together with said preposition is before a personal pronoun:
L'è arivê subét dàp ed mè. - He arrived immediately after me.
None of this applies to <préma ed>, which follows the rules we discussed for the other prepositional phrases.
Naturally, both phrases have an adverbial usage; those can be rendered in English as "earlier" and "later" respectively.
«A vâg a zeina.» «Mè ag soun andê préma.» - «I'm going to have dinner.» «I've already had it earlier.»
«Pǒrta fǒra al rósc!» «Sè, dàp ag vâg...» - «Take out the trash!» «Yeah, whatever, I'll do it later.»
<préma ed> can take a verb in the infinitive to express "before doing":
Peinsa préma'd dîr dal cajunêd! - Think before saying bullshit!
The verb can also be in the past infinitive (infinitive of the auxiliary + past participle):
Préma d'ěsr'andê a Parîgi, an n'ěra mâi stê in Francia. - Before/Prior to visiting Paris (lit. before having gone to Paris)
, I had never been in France.
<dàp> can be followed by an infinitive, too, but in this case the infinitive must
be a past one:
Dàp avěr vést i vǒt ed so fiǒl, al l'à impî'd scupazoun. - After seeing his son's grades, he spanked him real hard.
If the action of the main clause will happen in the future, don't use <dàp> + past infinitive. Prefer <quand> + compound past:
Quand t'ê finî ed magněr, và a lêt. - After you're done eating, go to bed.
As a side note, both <préma> and <dàp> can have spatial meanings, indicating that something is positioned along the road to somewhere and is encountered respectively before or after that something.
We have already met the phrase <(in cal) meinter che> during lesson 9, when discussing the past tense. This is not technically a prepositional phrase - rather, it is a conjunction - but it works a lot like prepositional phrases, if you consider "che" to be its preposition:
(In cal) meinter ch'a magnêva, a m'è sunê al telěfon. - While I was eating, my phone rang.
Remember that, for past sentences, "meinter" is always followed by a verb in the imperfect tense. You could also used with a present, which is more interesting when it comes to its adverbial usage:
(In cal) meinter ch'am parpêr, tîra fǒra la mâchina. - While I get dressed (reflexive in Emilian, whence the <am>)
, get the car out of the garage.
This sentence could be rewritten as follows.
Mè am parpêr. Tè, indal/in cal meinter, tîra fǒra la mâchina. - I'll get dressed. Get the car out of the garage in the meantime.
Two things to notice: first, the adverbial usage of <meinter> means "in the meantime". Second, you can use <indal> ("in the") in place of <in cal> ("in that") in such a sentence, but one of the two is mandatory. You can not
use <meinter> alone.
Most other prepositions of time are "prepositions proper", and we've already covered them. There is one last prepositional phrase I want to teach you:
fin a - until
Now, this phrase is complicated. First of all, it has no adverbial form, meaning that you will never find <fin> without <a> (if not as a noun meaning "end" or an adjective meaning "fine", but those are just homographs).
Second, <fin a> can only be followed by a noun:
Fin a sîra - until the evening
Fin al 2015 - until 2015
... or it can be followed by a verb in the infinitive:
L'à magnê fin a scupiêr. - He ate until he blew up. (ideomatic phrase meaning "he ate too much")
In such a case, the verb in the infinitive must have the same subject as the main verb, i.e. you can't say "l'à infiê al baloun fin a scupiêr" for "he inflated the balloon until it blew up" (the sentence I wrote would mean "he inflated the balloon until he himself blew up").
If the subjects don't agree, or if you want to put a whole clause after <fin>, you need to replace the preposition <a> with the conjunction <che>. However, rather than <fin che>, you will always find <finchè>, because the Italian counterpart of this... "conjunction phrase"? is written as one word, namely <finché>.
Stay with me now, because <finchè> is a tricky one.
When the clause that follows is about an ongoing situation, no big deal. The meaning just changes slightly to "as long as":
Finchè la mâchina la và, an la câmbi ménga. - I won't change this car as long as it still runs.
It might also mean "while", as in "while you're still on time":
Finchè t'ě żǒven, gôdet la véta. - Enjoy life while you're still young.
Another "very Emilian" usage of <finchè> is the following:
Finchè t'ě in cuṡeina, pǒrtem un bicěr d'âqua. - Since you're in the kitchen, bring me a glass of water.
Here, the meaning of <finchè> is something between "since" and "while". Think of the sentence above as "oh wait, don't leave the kitchen just yet, pour me a glass of water and bring it to me on your way here".
When the clause after <finchè> expresses a change at some precise point in time, things get a bit more complicated. Have a look at this sentence:
Finchè t'an finés la verdûra, t'e-stê a têvla. - You will stay here until you've eaten all your vegetables.
Here, the verb "finîr" (to consume completely, to finish up) is in the negative
. The rule is that if a verb expresses a change rather than a state, it must be in the negative when <finchè> comes into play. Think of it this way: Emilian has no word for "until", and <finchè> means "as long as". Thus, you have to say "as long as you haven't finished your vegetables".
This does only half of the trick, though. You can clearly see that <finés> is in the present tense, so the sentence literally says "as long as you don't finish up your vegetables", which, in English, means the exact opposite.
Of course, "as long as" is just an ideomatic expression in English, that can be replaced with "if" without too big a change in meaning, so this is only an unfortunate coincidence. You should rather think of the Emilian sentence as "while what you are doing is not finishing up your vegetables, you won't leave the table".
The same rules apply in the past, but here the tenses come to our help, since we now have an imperfective vs. perfective distinction:
Finchè la mâchina l'andèva, an l'ò mâi cambiêda. - While the car still worked, I didn't change it. (yeah, this sentence doesn't make much sense in English, does it?)
A j ò tgnû la mâchina finché l'an s'è ràta. - I kept the car until it broke (again reflexive in Emilian)
As you can see, the first sentence uses an imperfect past and expresses an ongoing (imperfective) action, and thus it has an affirmative verb, just like you'd expect. The second one, on the other hand, expresses a change ("the car broke"), thus it has a verb in the negative and it uses the simple past (kind of like a perfective aspect). Grammatically speaking, with <finchè>, any verb in the imperfect tense will be in the affirmative, and any verb in the past simple will be in the negative. You could
find a negative verb in the imperfect tense I guess ("while X was not doing..."), but it's a lot better to just rework the sentence so that it uses a verb of change instead ("until X started doing...").
Here is a very short collection of miscellaneous prepositional phrases you might be interested in.
insàm a - together (with)
seinza (ed) - without (just like for <dàp>, the preposition is used only before a personal pronoun)
This phrase doesn't have an adverbial usage, thus it is always found together with its preposition:
par vìa ed - because of
Good job reading through this entire monster of a lesson! Now have fun trying to complete these exercises.
- Fill in the blanks with a prepositional phrase indicating place. Pay attention if you need to include the preposition or not.
- A gh'ò un giardein _________ cà. - I have a backyard. (lit. I have a garden behind home)
- Quî ch'i stan chè ________ i fan seimper dal caṡein. - The guys leaving upstairs (EML: "here above") are always making a lot of noise.
- Màt't a sěder ________. - Have a seat in the front.
- Ed sôlit i ǒv i ein _______ la galeina. - Usually the eggs are under the chicken.
- _______ la banca a gh'è al cìnema. - The cinema is opposite to the bank.
- This time, fill in the blanks using prepositional phrases of time.
- _______ incuntrêret a pinsêva t'an n'esistés ménga. - Before I met you I thought you didn't exist.
- _______ al film a sàm andê a magnêr quêl insàm. - After the movie, we went to eat something together.
- T'm piaṡîv dimóndi, _________ t'an n'ê dét che t'ěr vegetarian. - I liked you a lot, until you told me you were vegetarian.
- A gh'ò da lavêr i piât. ___________, tè, pulés al bagn. - I have to wash the dishes. You clean the bathroom in the meantime.
- As tàca'd restêr in cà _______l 3 ed mâż. - We'll have to stay at home until May 3.
- Complete this text using any prepositional phrase you find suitable. Watch out for hints regarding articles.
Al Lêg dla Ninfa l'è un lagàt artificiêl situê ________  al Mount Cimoun, indal comun ed Sěstla. Indi ûltem 50 an l'à guadagnê seimper pió popolaritê, ______  dvintêr al lagàt pió famǒṡ ed tóta la pruvincia ed Môdna.
_________  al lagàt as pǒl peschêr, a cundizioun ed turnêr a butêr _______  tót quàl ch'un al pàsca.
S'un al deṡvin dal paěṡ e al guêrda věrs al lagàt, ___________  al vàd dû ristorant, un un pǒ pió grand e un un pǒ pió cin; __________ , invěci, al vàd la piněta, parfêta par fêreg un picnìc.
Se __________  d'arivêr al lagàt un al vǒlta _________ , al câta na sbâra ch'la blôca la strêda, e un parcàg' par lasêreg la mâchina e andêr só a pě. Subét _______  la sbâra, infâti, la tâca la strêda ch'la và ___  ______  arivêr indun spiâz ind'a gh'ein dǒ funtaneini d'âqua fràsca (Al Funtâni), e pò la cunténua ______  la vàta dal Cimoun.
_______  la muntâgna a gh'è un oservatôri metereolôgic e l'antàna dal telěfon ch'la servés tóta la żôna. Quand ag vâg mè, am piěṡ seimper guardêr al celulêr e fêr la batûda: "oh, al ciâpa anc chè ______ !".
Insàma, s'av câpita d'ěser a Môdna, av cunséli'd tǒrev na giurnêda par andêr al Cimoun. Parparêv parchè al viâż l'è lóng - pió o měno 75 (stanta-zinc) chilômeter - mo a soun sicûr ch'av pieṡrà. E pò d'istê, quand in pianûra a gh'è 40 (quaranta) grêd, al Lêg ed sôlit ag n'è měno ed 25 (vint-zinc)...
The Ninfa lake is a small artificial lake situated on top of  Mt. Cimone, in the municipality of Sestola. During these past 50 years it gained a lot of popularity, until  it became the most famous lake in the province of Modena.
Around  the lake fishing is allowed, but it's mandatory to throw back into (inside ) the lake whatever fish you get.
Coming from the town of Sestola and looking towards the lake, on the left  you can see two restaurants, one slightly bigger than the other; on the right , instead, you can see a pinewood, perfect for a picnic.
If you turn left  before  arriving at the lake, you will find an iron bar blocking the way, and a parking lot where you can leave your car and continue on foot. In fact, right after  the bar, you will find a road that goes up  until  a small square with two fresh water fountains (Le Fontane), and then goes on until  the peak of Mt. Cimone.
On top of  the mountain you will find a weather observatory and a telephone repeater, serving the whole zone. When I go there, I never miss the opportunity to look at the phone screen and jokingly say "that's incredible, I have service even up  here!".
In short, if you ever happen to be in Modena, I advise that you save a day to go to Mt. Cimone. Be warned, the journey is long - more or less 75 km (46 miles and a half) - but I'm sure you'll like it. Moreover during the summer, when the temperature in the plains reaches 40 °C (104 °F), usually it's lower than 25 °C (77 °F) by the lake...