- I have gotten some work now. These breaks don't last long and I guess
I should be grateful for that. But before I immerse into that stuff
(I really like the English middles), I'd like to make a Gaajan
version of the FLIGHT text. I am not making a precise translation
this time, because Gaajan is designed to express things in what I
perceive as kind of a bronze age frame of mind.
FLIGHT - KABEDE
That evening, I was considering whether I would eat my supper when
the man arrived at our house, hungry and exhausted.
Asusodaen inisatu jat kunalima ij atjo gut, muje kesonke ejenani
sanala jaen. (lit. evening-that-at wonder I-did/had/was-to-it/she/he
supper-my eat I-do/have/am-to-it/she/he-cond hungry, tired man-erg
house-our arrive it/she/he-did/had/was-to-it/she/he-then)
He was tall, with hair dyed blacker than a crow, after the custom of
This fits poorly into the Gaajan syntax, which requires preceding
attributes and clauses containing verbs, so I'll rephrase a little:
Engen iju, mon sapelamin anganjusa wensag waasu ositu ijues. (tall it/
she/he-was/had/did hair north-loc-gen hab-method-instr black-comp
crow-rel dye-midd it/she/he-was/had/did-and)
These auxiliaries have the meanings 'be', 'do', 'have' depending on
the content of the clause. Obviously the first one means 'was',
because the clause only contains an adjective. The last one means
'did' because it is preceded by a verb. If the clause contains no
verb, but a noun, optionally preceded by an adjective or other
modifiers, the meaning is 'had', but then a transitive auxiliary is
used. If the noun precedes the adjective, the meaning is 'was' again.
Examples (using the present tense):
Engen ju - it(or she, he) is tall.
Osi ju - it dyes.
Keson engen ju - the man is tall.
Keson a - it has a man.
Engen keson a - it has a tall man.
The noun here is always in the absolutive, which is unmarked. Only
when the subject of a transitive action is specified within a clause,
there is need for an ergative marker. Examples:
Kesonke kunali ij a - the man eats the supper.
Kesonke kunali a - the man is the supper.
Kesonke ij ate - the man eats me.
Below I will only mention the relevant meanings in the literal
translations. Also the language has no gender, but I will mention
only the relevant English pronouns in the literal translations below.
While he was washing I had to dry his clothes for him in front of the
Hutu ijuga sisam jat gapiauni ekokaen iku anjitaila. (wash-refl he-
did-while must I-did-to-it clothes-his fire-before-adv dry I-did-to-
He ate voraciously and drank a cup of wine which made him sleep.
Guten ij iju ointik minsa mim jas ei jasu. (hungry-adv eat he-did
wine-part cup drink he-did-to-it-and sleep it-did-to-him-rel) I have
also 'eraj' which means 'put to sleep', but it seems I really don't
need it here.
The next morning he warned us to leave that place immediately, as the
floods would soon overwhelm it, and it was almost too late to escape.
Fianik lunden arakis jagai sisam agla junda wedenen joan giula,
ispoanimajke uteti kensun adara kabede susoti juais. (following
morning-at warn he-did-to-it-for-us must we-do-to-it-subj place-that
once-at leave we-do-subj flood(sg)-erg soon overpower fut-it-do-to-it-
caus flight too-late-allat it-was-for-it-and) Hm, hope I got that
right. Note that -en is used both as an adverbial marker and as a
All five of us mounted the horses we had bought at the last festival
and followed him, but not without wondering fairly seriously whether
he was in fact insane.
Soske idunani ekowe ilin janjinje gasos satilien sukadjai janjigsu
fian jages ara ilpanenika inisatuae jagere bowiu sujen ijujo. (all-
erg 5-our horses mount they-did-to-them last festival-at perf-buy we-
did-to-them-rel follow we-did-to-him-and not serious-adv-direct
wonder-not we-did-to-it-but insane real-adv he-was-cond) Wonder if
I'm handling the double negation right there. Too bad I don't have
any Gaajans to ask.
How lucky we were!
Gida akuju igiu! (how! lucky we-were)
Not two days later, the waters destroyed our house and all the fields
beyond it, and most of our neighbours, who had mocked us fleeing,
were pitiably drowned.
Ara anim asuwe usotagen poweke ejenani soses heautikjomai sab
janjinje osiktauke lagamunantik galawen isnelatu ijunji kabedenani
sunaralai janjesu. (not two days later-at waters-erg house-our all-
and fields-part-yonder-loc-dat destroy they-did-to-them most-those-
erg neighbours-our-part pitiable-adv drown-midd they-were flight-our
That's it. And it wasn't so hard! I got a few new words again, and
didn't need to change the grammar (much). (Though I'd like to look
for a different partitive marker.) It's quite strong now I think, and
can handle this kind of stuff. I like this language a lot. It has a
very analytical way with these clauses.
Text in full:
Asusoda inisatu jat kunalima ij atjo gut, muje kesonke ejenani sanala
jani. Engen iju, mon sapelamin anganjusa wensag waasu ositu ijues.
Hutu ijuga sisam jat gapiauni ekokaen iku anjitaila. Guten ij iju
ointik minsa mim jas ei jasu. Fianik lunden arakis jagai sisam agla
junda wedenen joan giula, ispoanimajke uteti kensun adara kabede
susoti juais. Soske idunani ekowe ilin janjinje gasos satilien
sukadjai janjigsu fian jages ara ilpanenika inisatuae jagere bowiu
sujen ijujo. Gida akuju igiu! Ara anim asuwe usotagen poweke ejenani
soses heautikjomai sab janjinje osiktauke lagamunantik galawen
isnelatu ijunji kabedenani sunaralai janjesu.
Hm, doesn't look as much as it felt, really...
Thanks for the exercise. Time to work now.