Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meaning

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Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meaning

Unread postby Lyat'aag » 30 Jan 2011 03:07

In this thread, I hope we can get a much better understanding of Mando'a by looking at the meanings of words and the relationships between similar words. Let me give an example, because I feel that it would best describe what I hope to do here.

In the future, we may decide to open more

Example: "Bad" vs "Incorrect" and the meaning of the word, "Wrong."

To begin, I pose the question of what can one do if one wants to say in Mando'a that something would be wrong. There is no direct translation for this word, so we need to look at other words which can convey the same meaning. We then come to a situation in which "wrong" can mean different things. It can either mean that something is "bad" which has negative connotations suggesting that something should not be a certain way, or it can mean that something is "incorrect" which is morally neutral and tells us that something simple isn't a certain way.

We know that the moral compass of Mando'a is already set for us: Good is jate and bad is dush.

For "incorrect," we have the situation where there is a word for correct (which is serim), but not for its negative counterpart, implying that the "nu" prefix ought to be applied to form the word. This raises an interesting question as to why "good" and "bad" do not also utilize the "nu" prefix. A quick look at the words appearing to be related to jate and dush may give us some insight on their meaning.

Jate is related to the words, jat'ca'nara, jate'kara, jate'shya, jatisyc, and jatne along with all the phrases it forms. Clearly, each of these related words are derived from jate and not the other way around, so we don't learn very much about jate from it's relatives. However, since Jate is related to words like, "delicious," "luck, destiny," and "Best brother" (which is pretty much the Mando'a equivalent, of "good sir," or "my good man") it appears that Jate has some connotation of describing something or someone which has a pleasing or positive effect on people.

Dush, however, seems to be possibly related to duse, which literally means, "unclean things" and has evolved to mean, "rubbish, waste." Not that we can actually study the etymology to determine if there is or is not a relationship between the words, but it does make some sense if they actually are related. Assuming the two words to be related to each other, we start to see that "unclean things" are viewed as "bad." This is not unusual by any means. Hebrew had similar relationships between words. Their name for "evil spirits" was actually the same thing as saying, "unclean spirits." If this relationship exists, then it tells us that Mando's at least at one time culturally viewed certain types of uncleanliness as undesirable or even morally objectionable. What exactly qualified as "unclean" is something we may never know, however, so remember that it doesn't have to mean that they thought that mando's with poor hygiene were considered evil. It's equally likely that "unclean" people were people who were not yet purified by the fires of war or it could refer to spiritually unclean people who were simply morally objectionable.

So, from here, we might say that good and bad are not necessarily polar opposites in Mando'a. While unclean things typically have no pleasing or positive effect on others, the relationship is perhaps less direct than what we might initially expect. It is possible that saying, nu'jate would mean, "not pleasing" more than it would mean, "unclean." Likewise nu'dush could mean "Not unclean" instead of "pleasing." Does the difference make itself apparent, yet?

---

Let us now take a look at serim, which means, "accurate, correct." Since something is either correct or not, "wrong" being used as "incorrect" really is as simple as using the "nu" prefix to form "incorrect": nu'serim

But before we leave the discussion at that, it is interesting to note that the Mando'a command, Ke serim! means, "Take aim!" Since we know serimir means, "to be accurate, to be correct," and that ke is only the imperative prefix, what the phrase is literally saying is, "be accurate!" Thus we start to get a little bit of semantic crossover between aiming a gun and trying to relay correct information. Telling someone that they're wrong in the sense that they're incorrect will have the connotations of telling them that they missed the mark they were aiming for.

Why is any of this worth thinking about? Well, just think about the difference between telling a Mando that he's unclean for something he said or did compared to telling him that he missed the mark he was aiming for. The difference is as big as telling him that he disgusts you and telling him that he needs to practice his aim a bit more. Of course, there are many situations in which either connotation is exactly what you want to say (or depending on how much bigger than you the other mando is, perhaps very much what you DON'T want to say), but the important thing is understanding what it is you're actually saying. Connotations are a HUGE part of language. Metaphors are a tool cultures use all the time and to be fluent in a language, you must not only consider what you are saying, but also what the people you're talking to will hear.

More to come in the future. Let me know what you guys think about this stuff.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Adi'karta » 30 Jan 2011 03:08

*Bows in respect* That is precisely why I love language.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Lyat'aag » 30 Jan 2011 04:45

"Though"

–conjunction
1.
(used in introducing a subordinate clause, which is often marked by ellipsis) notwithstanding that; in spite of the fact that; although: Though he tried very hard, he failed the course.
2.
even if; granting that (often prec. by even ).


There are a couple of solutions to the problem of the word, "though." To find them you must find a rather indirect route. The real problem is that the word, "though" has almost completely Old English and Germanic roots which barely relate to the concepts we want to use for the word "though" (or so it seems to me). This is why we need to look at the synonyms to root out the real semantics behind what we're saying when we want to say, "although."

Synonyms:
notwithstanding
nevertheless
nonetheless
although
despite
...


The particular synonyms which my research has found useful information on are the words, "despite" and "nevertheless." The latter word actually DOES have a direct translation into Mando'a: bantov, but we need to be careful which definition of "though" we are comparing the word to. The first definition is probably best related to the word, "despite."

"Despite" is clearly related to the word, "spite," but what do these words mean and how are they related? Here are the etymologies of the two words:

Spite

Spite wrote:c.1300, shortened form of despit "malice" (see despite). Corresponding to M.Du. spijt, M.L.G. spyt, M.Swed. spit. Commonly spelled spight c.1575-1700. The verb is attested from c.1400. Phrase in spite of is recorded from c.1400.


Despite

Despite wrote:c.1300, from O.Fr. despit (12c., Mod.Fr. dépit), from L. despectus "a looking down on, scorn, contempt," from pp. of despicere (see despise). The preposition (early 15c.) is short for in despite of (late 13c.), a loan-translation of O.Fr. en despit de "in contempt of." Almost became despight during 16c. spelling reform.


Indeed, we WILL see despise now that it has been related:

Despise

Despise wrote:c.1300, from O.Fr. despis-, prp. stem of despire "to despise," from L. despicere "look down on, scorn," from de- "down" (see de-) + spicere/specere "look at" (see scope (1)). Related: Despised; despising.


What does all this have to do with the synonymous use with the word, "though"? This etymology tells us that to say, "in spite of the fact..." "despite the fact..." or "though the fact remains..." are all different ways of saying, "Without respect/regard to the fact..." How so? Simply put, "despite the fact," literally means, "with contemptuous disrespect to the fact..." meaning that the "fact" being stated here is actually being maliciously ignored. It is the idea of rebellious defiance to some imposed limitation. Some "fact" is meant to be a limiting condition, declaration, or verdict of a given situation and something that happens "despite it" is happening "to spite it" because that "something" - "despises" that "fact."

It's like going to the moon just to prove wrong everyone who told you that you couldn't. "I'll go DESPITE what you say!"

Though there is no word for "despite" in Mando'a, there is duraan and duraanir, which mean "hold in contempt, look down upon," and "scorn, hold in contempt," respectively. Note that this is exactly the origin and meaning of the word, "despise" listed above. Therefore, it would be quite appropriate to use the word duraan in place of "despise" and probably even "despite" if used in proper context.

Whether you use simply, "duraan" to mean, "in spite of," or if you want to combine it with another word to make a compound word (such as nari'duraan'yc to say, "to act contemptuously [towards]") is probably a matter of preference which phrase a mando would use and we could make it an indicator of social register and style. Higher-class mandos might use a compound word to express formality and level of education while Lower-class mandos would probably use the more colloquial and shorter variant.

---------

For the words, "nevertheless" and "nonetheless," there is no implication of malice toward the "fact" of the situation. It neutrally declares that the "fact" has been suspended or proven false by example and experimental evidence.

It's like telling people who tell you that you can't go to the moon that someone has already been to the moon. "Nevertheless, other people have already been there, which means I can too."

In fact, the use of the word, "nevertheless" is far better related to the second definition of "though." In the definition, it says that "though" is equivalent to, "even if" which can be expanded into, "even if the fact is true..." From there, it is easy to see the extended, general meaning of the semantic idea: "even if the previously stated fact is true, it is not any less true that this other thing is also true."

Of course, "it is not any less true that" is practically the definition of the word, "nevertheless," ("it is nevertheless true that..." --> "nevertheless, this other thing is true") demonstrating how it can be used in relation to the word, "though."

This mechanic for the word, "nevertheless" works just the same for, "nonetheless," though "nonetheless" may be more typically used towards the end of a sentence rather than the beginning and vice versa for "nevertheless."

---------

In conclusion, if you want to say, "despite," you should use some form of the word duraanir. If you want to say, "even if, granting that," then you should say, bantov. As always, make sure you understand the difference between them when choosing which to use.

This concludes this study of the word, "though." If you have any questions, comments, or responses, feel free to post them as you please. If I made mistakes somewhere, I would love to have some help finding and correcting them.

More will come as I find anything useful in translating and disambiguating Mando'a words.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Cuyan Atinii » 31 Jan 2011 23:31

Lyat'aag wrote:Though there is no word for "despite" in Mando'a, there is duraan and duraanir, which mean "hold in contempt, look down upon," and "scorn, hold in contempt," respectively. Note that this is exactly the origin and meaning of the word, "despise" listed above. Therefore, it would be quite appropriate to use the word duraan in place of "despise" and probably even "despite" if used in proper context.


First - very nice. you put alot more thought into the 'history' of Mando'a than me.

Second - "Ni'duraa" means "You disgust me" so duraa imo would mean despise (Ni'duraa = I despise.)
So to me "duraan" appears to be a 'nouned' form of the verb 'duraa'.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Lyat'aag » 01 Feb 2011 08:02

Well, don't forget that Duraanir is the original verb form too. If we followed the normal rules for noun-ifying the verb, the infinitive would drop, leaving, Duraan. The phrase Ni'Duraa is clearly an exception to many rules. For some reason, the subject and verb have been spliced into a single word. Perhaps this is to avoid redundant syllables. If you did not omit the last syllable, the spliced word would be, ni'duraani, which may make the ni sound repetitive (and open up many a good Monty Python and the Holy Grail jokes).

Though we can't be sure why this particular exception is made, it's clear that the use of this word does not always follow the fanonical rules we have interpreted from the use of other words.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Cuyan Atinii » 01 Feb 2011 21:55

I was rushed, and that was poorly stated.
What I meant was,from what i've seen, 'vowel-N' seems to be semi-common for turning verbs into nouns.

So, "Duraar" or "Durar" could be a term, that was made a noun with the "N".
As I often use, "Cuy" "Cuyan".
I'm not saying that "Duraan" is actually one of those cases, I was just saying it's a possibility.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Lyat'aag » 02 Feb 2011 07:15

It could be, but it seems to me that it doesn't matter which way you do it (duraar or duraanir). It seems both words are not only synonymous, but virtually identical in use. I still feel like they aren't separate words so much as different ways to say the same thing.

Or is that what you meant to say all along?
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Cuyan Atinii » 02 Feb 2011 19:05

Lyat'aag wrote:Or is that what you meant to say all along?


Basically.
Maybe originally I had some point, but i've forgotten it now...
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby guilderrant » 30 Apr 2012 14:14

Just a thought on an early point in this thread, (the semantic crossover between relaying correct information and aiming a weapon, serim/ke'serim -- accurate/correct?). Remember the earliest origins of Mando culture, as nomads and warriors... The passing on of information could literally have been the difference between life and death. Think reconnaissance/espionage. In an engagement of combat accurate intelligence on enemy firepower, numbers, placement is the key to victory.

Along the same lines, accuracy/skill with a weapon was also key for survival. A Mando'ade who cannot hit what he aims at, or land a strike in melee, does not live to raise ade of their own.

So it makes sense, at least to me, that the word for accurate could very well mean both accurate as in 'on target' and 'correct information', as they both stem from the same concept. Also, remember that in basic both possible definitions can be expressed using the same word. "Be accurate with the answers to your test" and "Be accurate at the shooting range" or something to those effects... I apologise for a lack of better examples, but being nocturnal for work and diurnal for family catches up to you after a while...

Thanks for letting me throw my two bits in.

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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Vlet Hansen » 03 Apr 2013 16:12

What do you suppose the difference between "adate" and "droten" is? Both mean people, one seems to do more with... maybe a political sense? As it's being used in "tsad droten" to mean "republic" so maybe it carries more of a sense of "people who are involved with the community" or something?
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby BlackSwordKirito » 18 Feb 2015 20:44

looking through the dictionary, and one word jumped out at me as being somewhat strange. Beroya (Bounty hunter, for those lazy ones who don't want to look it up) comes from the root word oya (Hunt). That part is pretty straightforward. However, I can't find the other part of the word anywhere in the dictionary...
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Vlet Hansen » 19 Feb 2015 13:56

I think it means "hired," much like boracyk and verborad and such
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby BlackSwordKirito » 19 Feb 2015 18:30

Ah, that would make sense.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby BlackSwordKirito » 21 Feb 2015 09:04

Going through the dictionary, trying to find connections between various words (Whats my excuse for doing so at 0200 hours, you may ask? Simple; I have no life XD), and I noticed the word solus means among other things, alone as well as united... Just mildly interexting food for thought.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Vlet Hansen » 09 Apr 2015 12:22

What does ke'gyce mean? Ke is used as a prefix, yc is usually an adjective, and e is usually plural. Is "orders" ke'gyce or ke'gycese? If it's plural, how do I say "commanding"? Ke'gycyc?
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Taljair te Mir'ad » 10 Apr 2015 08:17

I think ke'gyce is already plural and isnt used in singular form. To indicate the only a single order was given you just say "solus ke'gyce" or "sol ke'gyce". Commanding i think would be "aloryc".

About "solus". From mando'a it literally translated as 'one'. So depending on the context it can mean 'alone' as well as 'united' ('be as one').

But all that is just my opinion.
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Taljair te Mir'ad » 16 Apr 2015 14:08

Vode, ni copaani gaan!

Was analysing words related to "weapon" concept. And i got a bit puzzled.
The word for "weapons" is besbe'trayce. The first part is a slang word for "kit", but the second is... absent!
Trayce isnt translated, so im wondering what it can mean? An add word to for names for weapons? Not really, "blaster", "sword", "flute" is all different, although "blaster" is close.

So im asking for help.
What can this word mean?
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Re: Semantics: Analyzing Mando'a words and their real meanin

Unread postby Vlet Hansen » 17 Apr 2015 15:01

I'm pretty sure it's rooted out to [besbe]>metal (items) [trayce]>relating to fire

So, kinda like "firearms"
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