tërcífia nípa'art dógaki
càlpa tèrenp'da ke dölònia të'càlap'n fà'c? nipàlip fèmari të'cílvëv'r liévdi fàgë, hródi yt'èln'r nípa'c. të'tyraisödàp'r nípa'c; të'nalàlip'r të t'anílëp'r nípali.
ni agà nípa të'katàkë'n nipàlipic, të të'fòranicë'n mèma'c nérgë, të të'lómbë'n àn mèmakesanic, të të'vërdàv'n àn dëlàfianic tàmëkö dèlchë'c'ashdi.
càlpa dö'hàlap'fa tölíö? ka'tèrenp'a.
tóho nëyëdàp'fa calàpia'c ëàmliö hródi à nànüra rüdipàripi ka'ki'pàtatëp'ë patatéfia'c rülískesi.
The story about the dangerous baby
Do you know that tragedy has befallen us? A beautiful girl came to our house, to see the baby. She made the baby happy; she played and sang with the baby.
But suddenly the baby attacked the girl, and tore her body apart, and ate the pieces, and threw the remains through the window onto the ground.
What should we do? I don't know.
Therefore we are hiding this occurence, so that the over-eager investigator will not ask too many questions.
Notes about orthography
The mërèchi love diacritics. The diacritics are mostly meaningless (they encode vowel pronunciation as well as stress, but stress is not usually important and vowel pronunciation is rarely other than standard). If you cannot read them, the interlinear is presented diacritic-free, and the vocabulary includes diacritic-free versions of all the words.
The apostrophe is written by convention to indicate where certain prefixes and suffixes have been attached to a word. It is not pronounced. Apostrophes in the text can be helpful in finding prefixes and suffixes, but not all prefixes and suffixes are set off by apostrophes; however, you can be sure that an apostrophe never occurs inside a word root.
All the vowels in the text presented have the standard values:
a, à /A/ e, è /E/ ë, é /e/ o, ò /O/ ö, ó /o/ i, í /i/ ü, ú /u/
Additionally, y in some contexts (and ý always) is /i/.
Consonants also have IPA values except:
c /k/ ch /x/ sh /S/ y /j/ between vowels, /i/ next to consonants
The grammar defaults to English-like unless otherwise specified. The major differences are that mërèchi features postpositional phrases (just like prepositional only backwards), and that adjectives (and all other modifiers except the article) follow the noun. Adjectives do not agree in case, number or postpositions with the noun. Overall sentence structure is SOV.
Verbs take an optional negative prefix, an optional tense or mood prefix, optional derivational prefixes and suffixes (such as the causative), a mandatory aspect suffix, and a mandatory pronoun/agreement suffix. If no tense or mood prefix appears, the verb is in present tense. Perfective aspect is used for simple past actions; imperfective is used in the past tense to show that someone habitually used to do something, or was doing it for some time; the present tense usually uses the imperfective.
Example: ka'ki'tinidep'a ka- ki- tinide -p -a NEG FT remember IMP 1P.SG "I will not remember" Tense prefixes: ki-, k- future te-, t- past Mood prefixes: yt'- optative ("may") do-, d- obligatory ("should") Aspect suffixes: -p, -ip, -n imperfective -v, -e perfective
Pronouns can appear as verb suffixes, in which case they agree with or are the subject of the verb, or they can appear elsewhere as independent words with a case or postpositional suffix. If the sentence appears to have no subject, the subject is the pronoun on the verb. Otherwise, the subject will be the noun without a case suffix or postposition, and will agree with the pronoun on the verb.
Smooth translation from Kélen
About the Dangerous Baby
Have you heard about the tragedy we experienced? A pretty girl came to our home to see the baby. She entertained the baby; she played games and sang songs. Suddenly, the baby attacked her and tore her to pieces and ate them and then threw the remains out the window. What should we do? I don't know! So we are keeping this event a secret lest some overeager detective start asking questions.
I must say, I really hope the rather unsettling character of this text is not due to some misunderstanding on my part :) This has got to be one of the odder ones I've translated.
© Jan van Steenbergen, Amanda Babcock, 15 Aug. 2004