Since the beginning of this blog, I have been saying that some good clues on Beanish vocabulary and syntax (and, maybe, even on its origin) might be found in Rosetta’s errors. It is common in language learning to use the errors of an adult learner to pinpoint (and, thus, work with) the “parts” of its mother language that are actually more unlike the language he/she is trying to speak.
GLR and the linguist(s) that helped him were certainly aware of that, and might have bestowed upon us some indications in the unusual graphical representation of Rosetta’s Unglish (which, for example, has settled the matter on what the the circle diacritic meant — it is question mark). So, without further ado:
In frame 2865, “Somewhat” seems to have an interference of an expression “some what”, where the words/morphemes/semantic units are separated. It might just be an expression of Rosetta’s difficulty, but it might indicate a language where they are usually separated. Think about Italian, where you can have both “qualcosa” and “qualche cosa”, in different context (unfortunately, not the one we have here). The same happens with French (Proto-Beanish?), where “qualque peu” (or, farther from the context, “un peu”), an acceptable translation, is separated.
In frame 2868, we have “Where” and “(From) Whence”. “Whence” sounds, of course, archaic, but it could indicate Beanish as a language in which “where” is not used in questions (or, in detail, in questions with this kind of movement — think of the difference between in+ablative and accusative in Latin when describing movement, both of which would generally be translated as “where” in English), and where the best Unglish translation is “Whence”. Regarding the “From” in Whence, while most rigid grammarians of English will complain, it is an attested form since the 14th century — still, it could indicate a language where the equivalent of “from” is eeded.
In frame 2870, I cannot read the faint “to-(something)” at the beginning. The only other notable correction is “sand-(something)” for “desert”, which would an expected substitution from a speaker with Rosetta’s proficiency.
In frame 2873, Rosetta says “Your language is like those spoken by the (…) difficult”. By investigating the space after the article, either she immediately stopped the sentence (which seems unlikely) or the noun is extremely short, two or three letters. My guess would be “old”, and it is not impossible that, somewhere in the Beanish sentences (like in 2723 or in 2861) we have the Beanish equivalent for “old”.
Frame 2874 suggests that Beanish neutral form is “have patience” and not “be patient” (like in most Romance languages).
In frame 2878, Rosetta says “They understand nothing”. While this is normal for Unglish, it shows nothing of the normal interference of Romance languages that makes us expect the double negative “They don’t understand nothing”. It could be that she just got it right, it could be that it works the same in Beanish (maybe it is an evolution of dialects of Italian and French where you have only postponed negations, like in “(non) Capisco mica”), maybe it means nothing.
In frame 2879, Rosetta says “packs” for “bags”. As “packs” would be understandable and she corrects it, it probably indicates that in Beanish “pack” and “bag” are referred to with the same word.
In frame 2880, Rosetta corrects an initial “For (they are heavy)”. It could indicate that in Beanish the equivalent is mandatory.
In frame 2886, Rosetta corrects “house” with “home”; once more, it might indicate that the word for “house” and “home” is the same, or that it this type of sentence you usually use the word for “house”.
I remember that many people in OTT noticed the strange syntax in frame 2890, “How many people strong are you?” (the “strong” is, however, somewhat dubious). The superimposed word seems to be “numerous”.
I have already discussed frame 2891 — it suggests that in Beanish there are no names for large numbers, that they are composed like in modern French.
Frame 2894 is probably a good clue in terms of the final verb used by Rosetta. We should probably ask a good Scrabble player what he/she thinks of it (I get .EL…NA)
In frame 2895, we have yet another particular syntax in “Your sea does not stand alone”.
In frame 2897, a Beanish synonym for “hill” seem to be “rock”. Our Scrabble expert has a new challange, a synonym for “closed” in terms of “…RBIDE”(?).
Frame 2899 shows an interesting and somewhat unexpected used of “build” in “build a map”, with “find” as a tentative synonym. It is also worth nothing the syntax “to understanding”, with a preposition and gerund.
In frame 2901, I have already noted the construction of possessive used by Rosetta “X is (pronoun)”. Once more, it somewhat reminds of French, or maybe Latin, or Greek, or…
In frame 2904, Rosetta uses “forefathers” as synonym to “parents”. It is analog to her usage of “whence”, and could point to a similar construction in Beanish (once more, it brings to mind Romance words, like Italian “ante-nato” and, even better, Portuguese “ante-passados”, not to mention the forms derived from Latin “pro-genitor”, which, by the way, is the source of the English “forefather” calque).
In 2908, it has been noted that Rosetta calls the “castle” a “fortress”.
In frame 2917, we might have another interesting syntax interference, “much too long”.
What now? Well, back to building a Beanish grammar!