Salmoneus wrote: ↑28 Oct 2020 23:18
I must say, I'm surprised by the way people seem to have had no difficulty translating this syntactically peculiar idiom! And I'm disappointed by how many people have chickened out in glossing and just written 'who'!
The English uses an interrogative clause instead. But many languages do not have indirect interrogative clauses. [this is why it would be better if people didn't gloss their word for 'who' as just 'who' - in modern SAE, the interrogative and relative pronouns are same, but this was not true in Germanic languages even a thousand years ago (not sure when Romance made the switch), and will not be true in most non-SAE languages*]. And Interrogative clauses have to be licensed by specific verbs in (most?) languages that have them, and "talking about" is not the sort of verb most likely to license such a clause. (Indeed, even in English, this sentence feels rather uncomfortably close to ungrammaticality to me!) So even in many languages with embedded interrogatives, a direct translation of this sentence probably would not be possible.
Yep. English speakers use these question words as relatives all the time. "Tell me why you're wearing that T-shirt." "I know what you did last summer". "Let me guess how many chocolates are in the jar!" "I wonder when my girlfriend is coming back." But far from every natlang does this.
In Kankonian, there are the simple WH-question words: hiel
is what, ku
is when, ans
is how, anti
is how many, il
is who(m), etc. And then there are a class of words called question-relatives. A question relative comes from a WH-word with the prefix houm- before it. (Houm-
is a contraction of hous
, the preposition "about", and ham
, meaning "this" or "that"). These are the question-relatives in Kankonian:
Is steanas houmiel Verma abamen shil luzkat inam.
1s wonder-PRS QR-what Verma eat-PST as meal one-ORD
- hiel -> houmiel (what)
- ku -> houmku (when)
- iri -> houmiri (where)
- il -> houmil (who)
- er -> houmer (why)
- ans -> houmans (how -- manner or method)
- anti -> houmanti (how much or how many)
- to -> houmto (how -- degree)
- eur -> houmeur (like what)
- hing -> houming (or -- alternative questions)
- ku ad ku -> houmku ad houmku (how long)
I wonder what Verma ate for breakfast.
BTW, if you want to read more about Kankonian's question-relatives, including some crazy ones that aren't listed above like "how much more", you may search for the term in my Kankonian grammar at http://khemehekis.angelfire.com/basic.htm
There are a lot of interesting things going on in the OP:
Wir nophatwelen safga houmil id houmil betzithas.
1pl discuss-PST in_the_process_of QR-who done_to QR-whom love-PRS
We were talking about who loves whom.
OK, you already know that Kankonian distinguishes WH-words from question-relatives lexically. But there's more.
Note that normally Kankonian doesn't have WH-fronting:
Ar betzithas il?
2s love-PRS whom
Whom do you love?
Sambri abamen anti vitzakhes?
Sambri eat-PST how_many vitzakh-PL
How many vitzakhs did Sambri eat?
When it comes to the question-relatives, though, it's a big exception, and the question-relative has to come at the beginning of its clause:
Is steanas houmanti vitzakhes Sambri abamen.
1s wonder-PRS QR-how_many vitzakh-PL Sambri eat-PST
I wonder how many vitzakhs Sambri ate.
And there's a counterexception: the situations when "where" is the object of a preposition:
Is hauess ad houmiri Cliff daitroken.
1s know-PRS to QR-where Cliff walk-PST
I know where Cliff walked.
So since "whom" here also becomes a question-relative in Kankonian, it's fronted before the verb "loves":
houmil betzithas houmil -> houmil id houmil betzithas
See that two-letter word, id
, that's now become jambed between the two houmil
's? To make matters short, that's a preposition that usually marks the object of a gerund -- roughly equivalent to the "of" in The Taming of the Shrew
Adhashar id goshaniya en hethet stoern.
clean done_to toilet PST task difficult
Cleaning the toilet was a difficult task.
When it combines with the relative az
(that, who, which), it can also form azid
piva az betzithas is
girl REL love-PRS 1s
the girl who loves me
piva azid is betzithas
girl REL-ACC 1s love-PRS
the girl (whom) I love
Most Kankonian sentences are just SV or SVO, entailing the placement of a direct object directly after the verb without a preposition. You wouldn't say Is betzithas id piva
for "I love the girl", in other words.
When you need to link two nominals, however, be it a gerund and a noun or a pronoun and another pronoun, and the "subject/agent" would otherwise abut its "object/patient", id
comes to the rescue.
Does anyone else want to explain interesting things that are going on in her/his translation? I see Dormouse has explained hers well.