WW #42: Not Picking Fruit

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This is a continuation of the previous post. The typical response to Mwozlaslotha mwalevo, s’achishi (“A fair wind has blown you to me”) is:

Sakeslo mwalevo! Snlwi sho awnlevoyovamwaleri ka!

[saˈke.ɬo
sa-ke-slo
hang-INTENS3s
mwaˈle.vo
mwale-vo
wind-true
ˈsn̥.lwi
sn-lw-i-Ø
FUT-sad-1s3s.A
ɕo
sho
when
a.wən.le.vo.jo.va.mwaˈle.ri
a-wn-le-voyo-va-mwale-ri
NEG-pick-away-fruit-LOC.APPL-wind-1p
ka]
ka
NEG
A fair wind indeed! It would be such a shame not to take advantage of it.
Gloss provided by Gloss My Gloss

The word sakeslo, which I’ve translated as “indeed”, is really the postural verb sanyo “to hang” plus an intensive suffix. Nitherian has several other postural verbs, including pino “to stand”, cho “to sit”, and ymvo “to sit cross-legged”. In addition to their literal meanings, these verbs are the usual way to assert the existence of things or describe their location; instead of “there’s a tree in the field”, you say “a tree stands in the field”. Different kinds of things use different postural verbs: trees “stand”, houses and rocks “sit”, ropes “sit cross-legged”, and the wind “hangs”.

The idiomatic compound ownlevoyovaso, literally “pick fruit off of”, means to take advantage of a situation.

The usual way of forming a negative in Nitherian is by applying one of its negative prefixes, a- in this case, to the verb. However, speakers will often reinforce this by adding the negative particle ka after the verb. This particle originally meant “seed”, but speakers used it so much in negative sentences to mean “not even the smallest amount” that it simply became a negative intensifier.

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