It is time to go back to our corpus. I will use the abugida hypothesis I developed, as it makes it easier to explain, and I will try to analyze it without the linearity of the last time, jumping to where it seems necessary.

In frame 2663, we have our first Beanish sentence: ᔪᕒᖚᐧ ᘛᔭᐤ (“nalaka zaga?”). We know it is a question, but there has been much debate about its meaning, the three most accepted suggestions being “Where are you from?”, “Who are you?” and “Do you speak/understand Beanish?”.

The first option is similar to Rosetta’s sentence “Whence have you traveled here?”, the second is the one with less semantic load. We know that ᔪ (“na”) is correlated with questions and ᕒᖚᐧ (“laka”) is common in sentences that probably indicate locations, as it was even proposed to translate it as “where” (but we know that Beanish is supposed to be as different from English as possible, and word-by-word translations are difficult). ᔪ (“na”) could be a mark for incomplete information, to be supplied by the listener, similar to Lojban’s “ma” (i.e., a closer translation would be “(you) came from {na}”, expecting the listener to answer “(we) came from X”). This would make ᘛᔭ (“zaga”) the action (“the verb”), possibly inflected for past and second-person plural; in fact, ᘛ (“za”) is found in other sentences whose meaning seem to include movement, as in frame 2865 (possibly “where are they from?”, or, better, “(do) they came from (the-)wildlands?” — the mark of past, if any, would be in the verb) and in frame 2880 (possibly “you can leave now”). These are the three hypothesis from this interpretation: ᔪ- (“na”) is a prefix for incomplete information, used in questioning; ᕒᖚᐧ (“laka”) refers to physical locations and ᘛ (“za”) is part (root?) of actions (verbs?) related to movement.

Regarding the second hypothesis, “Who are you?”, ᔪ- (“na”) could still be a prefix for incomplete information (even though it makes more sense with the previous option), making ᕒᖚᐧ (“laka”) a word related to people (“who”). It does not seem very plausible to me, as we also probably need to omit either the copula verb (“are”) or the pronoun (“you”); while the second alternative is more common, given the analysis above (for ᘛᔭ “zaga” as “to move/leave”) I’d say it is more likely that the verb is omitted and that ᘛ (“za”) is related to the second-person plural.

Regarding the third option, “Do you speak Beanish?”, it is the one that makes more sense to me in the narration (the Beanies have already heard Cueball and Megan speaking in a foreign language, it wouldn’t make much sense to make any other question other than one that tries to establish a channel of communication — accepting it is a question), but has some linguistic difficulties. We’d have two main semantic elements, the action (“to speak”, or “to understand”) and the name of the language/people (“beanish”). Still accepting that ᔪ (“na”) is common in questions, it could be taken as the mark for a yes/no question, and in fact we assume that, in frame 2880, ᔪᑕ (“naʒa”) is indeed “yes” (some people have translated as “ok”, just like ᖉᑦ, “faj”, in frame 2806, but I believe it actually is “good”). It still a bit difficult to translate this sentence (it could also be “(do) you understand us?”, which is less likely given the later usage of ᕒᖚᐧ “laka”), but I would not rule it out.

(personal note to Randall: if you are reading this, please give us more corpus! even Linear A has more than a thousand specimens! please, please, oh, pretty please!)

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