Next (Old Albic)
aib’ dem.adj. from aiba; this.
abs. Absolute form (SEE NOTES under Verbs)
Rin il tamol fidimoht il htyme ryppre
Ynnehil, ven htesilivarn! Il vilkeodym tsö koin vakrouar hai rrö.
I know the story of the evil child
Listen, good villagers! We know the curse that has hollowed us out.
What must you do? You, you are answerless.
* having to do with Sybua, the tantruming child, the symbol of arrested development.
You really only need to know a few things about Teonaht to grasp this text, which I have set out for you without an interlinear gloss, its parts divided up, so that it will become a kind of puzzle, a connect-the-dots cipher in which you will have to make decisions about who the speaker is, and the nature of the story.
Teonaht is an accusative language with some active tendencies. It is largely analytic in that it is lacking for the most part in case endings, and it depends on word order, and an array of affixes that can attach either to the beginning or the end of the word. These are all set out obsessively in the glossary. See below for examples illustrating the LAW OF DETACHABILITY.
Teonaht is relentlessly OV, and in literary Teonaht OSV: and because it is not synthetic, I resort to terms like subject and object instead of nominative and accusative. I don’t have a separate word for “indirect object,” and neither do the Teonaht. If the object is indirect, it is preceded by one of Teonaht’s vast array of prepositions that are either stative (within), or motive (into), or durative (during) or temporal (after, before, etc.). There are only a few of those here.
In the main clause, objects come first in literary Teonaht, then the subject, and verbs are always final. Very often case will be indicated helpfully by the article, which also expresses volitionality (see under Volitionality). So:
il mabbamba le betö nrina. the (obj) ball the (volitional subject) boy finds.
In subordinate clauses, however, word order is reversed, and mirrors that of the main clause, so it is VSO:
il mabbamba le betö nrina deysha li gwenda hai. the ball the boy found wanted the girl it. The boy found the ball the girl wanted.
“hai” here is a relative pronoun echoing “ball.” A subordinate clause is marked by the chiastic structure of noun verb verb noun. In the one that you will encounter here, it is marked by the resultative ta, and you will note that vera, an adj. meaning “not,” precedes the verb instead of following it as it normally does in a main clause. Le beto ain lo nrina vera. “The boy didn’t find it.”
Nouns have no case markings except for the possessive, and except for the Nenddeylyt nouns, none of which you have in this text.
Plural nouns have an array of prefixes or suffixes, the ones in this text being -n, ni- and mim-. Nenddeylyt nouns, however, have s-, se-, but you won’t see those here.
Vocatives are signaled by a fricatization of the initial stop in nouns beginning with stops.
Adjectives follow nouns in Teonaht with a few exceptions like ven and poy and other short words. The more elaborate adjectives are often made from nouns, in which case they have an adjectival ending, and these are numerous. In this text, you will see only -at or -aht.
I gave you all you needed to know under “Word Order” above, but it’s worth noting that prepositions will prefix the object article.
Verbs are one of Teonaht’s easiest parts of speech. There are no conjugations. There is the verbal noun, which indicates its substantive nature by attaching three different suffixes explained below under volitionality: -rem, -ned, and -ndi. All other forms of the verb take the “absolute” form, which means they are written without the verbal noun endings, and the nouns, pronouns, articles, and tense particles provide information about person, number, tense, and volitionality.
The difficulty in Teonaht nouns comes in its tense, modal, and aspect particles. Tense and aspect are expressed as particles that detach from the ends of their nouns and prefix the pronouns in front of verbs. This is called THE LAW OF DETACHABILITY. Modals will often do the same thing.
Adverbs and modals
Adverbs precede the verb, with the exception of vera, “not.”
A modal is a type of verb that modifies the absolute form of another verb as though it were an adverb. Examples: talrem: Il mabbamba ry tal nrina. “the ball I can find.” Sometimes, however, this is expressed as talry nrina, where the modal prefixes the pronoun. The only one you will have to be watchful for is hmened, an all purpose modal that suggests hypotheticality: should, would, could, might, may. That’s Teonaht’s only gesture towards a subjunctive or obligative.
Teonaht marks verbs, articles, and tense particles for “volitionality.” It matters to the Teonim, but not necessarily to English speakers, whether a subject or a verb is volitional, i.e., whether a subject is an agent or an experiencer. An agent is willfully responsible for its actions, but not an experiencer. Verbal nouns in Teonaht reflect this difference; they are marked by -rem (volitional, agentive actions), -ned (non-volitional, experiencer actions), and -ndi (stative actions--to be in a state of something). So one who kicks is acting agentively, but one who sleeps is acting experientially. One who colds, blues, or absents or knowledgeables, is “acting” statively. Some verbs can take either the -rem or the -ned ending (whereas stative verbs are immutable): so nrinarem means “to find after actively looking” whereas nrinaned means “to stumble upon by accident.”
Volitional and Non-volitional Tense Markers
Those tense particles that become detached and prefix pronouns will express the volitional or stative condition. Here is an example with -es, the futuric particle.
Il mabbamba ry nrines means “the ball I will find,” -es having been suffixed onto nrina, “find.”
But most frequently Teonaht detaches the suffix and prefixes it to the pronoun, under a condition called THE LAW OF DETACHABILITY:
Il mabbamba esry nrina, “the ball will I find.”
If the verb is a -ned verb, and the action non-volitional, then you get:
Il mabbamba nesry nrina. “I will stumble upon, or find by accident, the ball.”
If it is an -ndi or stative verb, then you will get:
Le beto deslo hejvan, “the boy will not be there.” From hejvvandi, “be absent.”
The Continuative or Progressive Gerundial
Teonaht expresses some types of aspect or voice through combinations of preposition and verb noun, the only one that you’ll have to worry about here being the “progressive gerundial.” If you add bom (a variant on the preposition pom) to the verbal noun or gerund), you create what we think of as the progressive or the continuative: bom nrinarem, “finding, in the process of finding, while finding.”
Sometimes, due to the LAW OF DETACHABILITY, it is expedient or stylistically graceful to detach the -rem from the verbal noun and prefix it to the preposition. Hence you can also get revbom nrina, “with finding, while finding.” This occurs in the text, so watch for it.
Don’t confuse it with pomil nistroma: this simply means with + object pronoun + verb, or, turned around: verb with pronoun. The rev in front of that phrase has been detached, because the sa construction (sa means “for,” “to”) requires the verbal noun. It could easily have been written: sa pomil nistromarem, sa toil thindralrem.
These are expressed by the interrogative particle, explained in your glossary. Interrogative pronouns (what, which, why, etc.) are expressed by kwa or kwe preceding a noun, “thing, manner, mode,” etc.
Teonaht is rich in words it derives from old mythologies, and two of the words in this text refer to old gods. This does not mean, however, that this text is about gods or mythologies, and I make this point because so many of our relays devolve into creation myths.
Vilkeodym is a compound with a secular meaning that you can provide yourself, although it does contain the seeds of an old superstition.
Umssybua is another compound that refers to an old god Sybua, the tantruming child who arrests development. I will let you arrive at a translation for this somewhat cryptic word and the light it sheds on the events of this text. You can review Teon’s old gods and their psychological significances, along with some of their expressions at my site: http://www.frontiernet.net/~scaves/gods.html.
Smooth translation of the text received (Asha'ille)
Behold: the story of the Evil Child.
There was an evil child and a beautiful woman.
The intriguing difficulty with Arthaey’s text was noting the aberration in the empathic point of view. I struggled mightily over “aet” in her second line, a pronoun that really ought to belong to non-empathic beings. In one of her explanations, which I took to be significant (i.e, watch for it in this text), she writes “by deliberately using the non-empath pronouns and conjugations with a subject that would normally be expected to take the empathic ones, the author (or speaker) is signaling that there is something wrong with the subject. Mental patients and sociopaths typically evoke such usage.”
From this I deduced that the evil child itself was telling the story, which explains the change in pronoun in my Teonaht rendition. I also considered that the story is false, a tale told by a madman, and refers to a condition within the mind of the teller: so I deliberately used a word for “strike” “befall” (Asha’llean ghachiv) that suggested what was done to the mother, or beautiful woman: “eviscerated,” “hollowed out.” This is a fantasy told by a subject who considers himself an evil child, one who has destroyed and eaten his mother, but who also sees himself as a symbol of the repression of his society. He has been “hidden” (locked away in an asylum?) because his fellow citizens can only repress, but not correct, what he represents: the unbridled passion and violence of human nature.
© Jan van Steenbergen, Sally Caves, 29 Aug. 2004