Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Unnai genitive specifier

Unnai has three kinds of genitives: a possessive, a genitive, and a 'specifier' which is a kind of genitive particular to this language. The specifier is used to overtly mark that something belongs to the possessor expressed and to no one (or nothing) else. So you can have a sentence where you can say

shagay ajnaiyiq kran my friend's pencil
me.POSS friend.GSP pencil

Here the meaning is that I'm talking about that particular pencil which belongs to my friend, no other pencil. So the same sentence can even be rendered 'the pencil which belongs to my friend', with no problems, serving also as a relative clause marker. It can also be used in such constructions as 'The city of Athens' or also 'The Age of Courage' Hence the Unnai proverb

ajnai ölgayiq, ajnai akayiq
ɑʒ͡nˈaĭ ˈɛlgajiq͡χ ɑʒ͡nˈaĭ aˈkajiq͡χ
He who is friend to everyone is friend to no one.

Similarly the Unnai translation of the Pater Noster employs this kind of construction.

öttay tall ogrurtiq Our Father who art in heaven
ɛt̪t̪ˈaj t̪all oˈgɾuɾt̪iq͡χ
we.POSS father heaven.FER.GSP

Which actually translates more accurately to "Our Father who is heaven-ridden" or "of the heaven-ridden kind" more precisely. In this doing a clear distinction is made between this father and any other father and to this father is the prayer directed.

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