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3. Ayeri by Carsten Becker

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Habas Atay

Ang saraye envan veno
manga luga satiruya,
nāry' ang raypaya habas
envanas takamenya, nay
naraya habasang atay:

"Ah! vāng veno-ing ikan!
Sa silvyang va, ang tavyon deng
nivaye nā palay'ri.
Sa kamavāng ven' kolun.
Ang no may kanāy vās."

Sa tangyeng narānye nay
cunye apayam envanang:
"Ang no kan'va yas sinyisa?
Sa koronoyvāng-nyama
garan nā. Ningu yām!"

"Garanas van'? Vāng tangkay?
Na kəprantoyyang adanya;
narayang, da-koronvāng:
'Ang no may kanāy vās!'
Sinya guratanley vana?"

"Dareng guratanley nā,"
naraye envanang nay sa
visyeng devo habasena
singeri yena seri kang
nay para, tenyisa naynay.

Luga sa hemis'yeng devo
tipuyya nasay malingya,
ang naraya takamenya
devo habasena atay:
"Sining... guratanley vana

  Smooth English

A beautiful woman went over a bridge, when a goat suddenly stopped her and said audaciously: "Oh, you're so beautiful. If I see you, my eyes are filled with joy! You are as beautiful as the moon. I want to marry you." The woman heard the words and began to laugh: "Why do you want to marry me? You don't even know my name. Do tell!" — "Your name? Are you deaf? That I didn't ask for; I said, just so you know: 'I want to marry you.' Now, what is your answer?" — "This is my answer," said the woman and cut off the head of the goat with her sharp, quick, and deadly sword. While she laid the head into the grass by the river bank, the head of the audacious goat suddenly spoke: "Does that mean... your answer is 'yes'?"



Go here if that doesn't play correctly.




Two same vowels colliding result in a long vowel, e.g. [a]# + #[a] results in [aː] <ā>. A combination of [t, k] + [j] <y> results in [tʃ] <c>; likewise [d, g] + [j] <y> results in [dʒ] <j>.


Word order is usually V A P O, where O is any of the oblique arguments (here: genitive, locative, instrumental). Modifiers generally follow their heads, and this also goes for possessive constructions, where the order is possessee-possessor. Even noun-noun compounds take this order. Question words usually take the position of the phrase they replace.


Nouns are either animate or inanimate, also they may differ in number between singular and plural. They take case markers as suffixes, or a zero suffix when being focussed, i.e. when made definite and the kind-of-subject of the sentence.


Personal pronouns are marked for gender, number and case. They may also be focussed, in which case the case marker is split off, resulting in the same form as the verb agreement. If the Agent NP only consists of a pronoun, this pronoun replaces verb agreement and thus becomes cliticized to the verb stem.


The relative pronoun, if not marked for case, refers to the immediately preceding NP. Otherwise, e.g. if it is separated from the noun it refers to by a modifying adjective, it agrees with its head-NP in case.


Verbs usually agree with the Agent of the sentence in person and number. If the Agent NP only consists of a pronoun, this pronoun replaces verb agreement. Verbs can be negated as well. Also, they are frequently preceded by the case marker of the focussed noun phrase (which in turn becomes zero-marked) in its unbound (i.e. non-suffixed) form, e.g. NOUN-as -> sa VERB NOUN-Ø. The copula is a zero-morpheme, so predicative adjectives or phrases appear juxtaposed to verbs. If a verb has another verb as a complement, this complement will be a participle. A few verbs, like 'no-', are an exception to this, however, since the bare stem (i.e. 'no') is used as a kind of modal particle in this case, and the complement verb carries all inflection instead.


Adjectives and adverbs are not inflected. They always follow their heads. Adjectives may function as descriptive adverbs also. Quantifying adverbs are usually expressed as suffixes to conjugated verbs.



adanya - pron - that (one), it
ah - int - Oh!, Ah!, ...
ang / -ang - part - animate agent case marker
apa- - v - to laugh
-as / sa - part - animate patient case marker
atay - adj - audacious, cheeky; witty
-ay - pron - 1st person singular (agreement or focussed)
cun- - v - to begin
da- - part - such, so that/as + verb
dareng - pron - such (one)
deng - adj - full
devo - n ani - head
-(e)na / na - part - genitive case marker
envan - n ani - woman
-(e)ri / ri - part - instrumental case marker
garan - n ani - name
guratan - n in - answer, reply
habas - n ani - goat; here: he-goat
hemisa- - v - to lay
-ikan - adv - many, much; very
-ing - adv - so + adj
kama- - v - to be like, to be as ... as
kana- - v - to marry
kang - adj - sharp(-edged)
kə- - part - near past marker
kolun - n ani - moon
koron- - v - to know
-ley / le - part - inanimate patient case marker
luga - prep - among, between; while, during; manga ~: through
maling - n in - bank, shore
manga - part - indicates motion and progressive aspect
may, māy - part - intensifier (with verbs)
may - int - yes
na - part - see '-na'
nā - pron - 1st person singular genitive
nara- - v - to say, to speak
narān - n ani - word; language, speech
nārya - conj - but, however, though
nasay - prep - in the near of
nay - conj - and
naynay - conj - also, as well, too; and so on, furthermore
ning- - v - to tell
niva - n ani - eye
no- - v - to want
-nyama - adv - even
-oy - part - negation marker
palay - n ani - joy, fun
para - adj - fast, quick
prant- - v - to ask (s.o. sth.)
raypa- - v - to stop
ri - part - see '-(e)ri'
sa - part - see '-as'
sara- - v - to go (to)
satiru - n in - bridge
s(i)- - pron - relative pronoun
silv- - v - to see
sing - n in - large knife, sword
sining - conj - that means
sinya - q - what?, which?, who?
sinyisa - q - why?, because of what/who?, what for?
takamenya - adv - suddenly
tang- - v - to hear
tangkay - adj - deaf (cf. tang 'ear; to hear' + kayvay 'without')
tav- - v - to become, to get
tenyisa - adj - deadly, lethal
tipuy - n ani - grass
-u - part - imperative marker
-va - pron - 2nd person singular/plural (agreement or focussed)
vana - pron - 2nd person singular/plural genitive, 'your'
vāng - pron - 2nd person singular/plural agent, 'you'
vās - pron - 2nd person singular/plural patient, 'you'
veno - adj - beautiful, handsome, pretty
vis- - v - to cut (off)
-ya, -ea / ya - part - locative case marker
-ya - pron - 3rd person singular masculine (agreement or focussed)
-yam / yam - part - dative case marker
yām - pron - 1st person singular dative, '(to/for) me'
yang - pron - 1st person singular agent, 'I'
yas - pron - 1st person singular patient, 'me'
-ye - part - plural marker
-ye - pron - 3rd person singular feminine (agreement or focussed)
yena - pron - 3rd person singular feminine genitive, 'her'
yeng - pron - 3rd person singular feminine agent, 'she'
-yon - pron - 3rd person plural neuter (agreement or focussed)



Habas Atay
goat cheeky
The Cheeky Goat

Ang sara-ye envan-Ø veno
AF go-3SF woman-FOC pretty
A pretty woman went

manga luga satiru-ya,
MOT through bridge-LOC,
over a bridge,

nārya ang raypa-ya habas-Ø
but AF stop-3SM goat-FOC
but a goat stopped

envan-as takamenya, nay
woman-P suddenly, and
the woman suddenly, and

nara-ya habas-ang atay:
speak-3SM goat-A cheeky
the cheeky goat said:

"Ah! Ø vāng veno=ing ikan!
"Ah! COP 2S.A pretty=so much!
"Oh, you're so beautiful!

Sa silv-yang va-Ø, ang tav-yon deng
PF see-1S.A 2S-FOC, AF become-3PN full
(If) I see you, (then) become full

niva-ye-Ø nā palay-eri.
eye-PL-FOC 1S.GEN joy-INS.
my eyes with joy.

Sa kama-vāng veno kolun-Ø.
PF be_like-2S.A pretty moon-FOC.
You are as beautiful as the moon.

Ang no may kana-ay-Ø vās."
AF want INT marry-1S.FOC 2S.P."
I want to marry you."

Sa tang-yeng narān-ye-Ø nay
PF hear-3SF.A word-PL-FOC and
The words she heard and

cun-ye apa-yam envan-ang:
begin-3SF laugh-PTCP woman-A:
the woman began to laugh:

"Ang no kana-va-Ø yas sinyisa?
"AF want marry-2S.FOC 1S.P why?
Why do you want to marry me?

Sa koron-oy-vāng=nyama
PF know-NEG-2S.A=even
You don't even know

garan-Ø nā. Ning-u yām!"
name-FOC 1S.GEN. tell-IMP 1S.DAT!"
my name. Tell me!"

"Garan-as vana? Ø Vāng tangkay?
"name-P 2S.GEN? COP 2S.A deaf?
"Your name? Are you deaf?

Na kə-prant-oy-yang adanya-Ø;
GENF NPST-ask-NEG-1S.A that-FOC;
I didn't ask for that;

nara-yang, da=koron-vāng:
speak-1S.A, such=know-2S.A:
I say/said, so you know:

'Ang no may kanāy vās!'
'AF want INT marry-1S.FOC 2S.P.'
'I want to marry you.'

Ø sinya guratan-ley vana?"
COP what answer-P.INAN 2S.GEN?"
What is your answer?"

"Ø da-reng guratan-ley nā,"
"COP such-A.INAN answer-P.INAN 1S.GEN,"
"Such is my answer,"

nara-ye envan-ang nay sa
speak-3SF woman-AF and PF
said the woman and

vis-yeng devo-Ø habas-ena
cut-3SF.A head-FOC goat-GEN
cut (off) the head of the goat

sing-eri yena s-eri Ø kang
sword-INS 3SF.GEN REL-INS COP sharp
with her sword that is sharp

nay para, tenyisa naynay.
and quick, deadly also.
and quick, and also deadly.

Luga sa hemisa-yeng devo-Ø
While PF lay-3SF.A head-FOC
While she laid the head

tipuy-ya nasay maling-ya,
grass-LOC near shore-LOC,
into the grass near the river bank,

ang nara-ya takamenya
AF speak-3SM suddenly
suddenly spoke

devo-Ø habas-ena atay:
head-FOC goat-GEN cheeky:
the head of the cheeky goat:

"Sining... Ø guratan-ley vana
"that_means... COP answer-P.INAN 2S.GEN
"Does that mean... your answer is




For the Interlinear

1, 2, 3 - 1st, 2nd, 3rd person
Ø - covert morpheme
A - agent case
AF - agent focus
COP - copula
F - feminine
FOC - focus
GEN - genitive case
IMP - imperative mood
INAN - inanimate
INS - instrumental case
INT - intensifying particle
LOC - locative case
M - masculine
MOT - motive particle
NPST - near past
P - patient case; plural (in pronouns, e.g. 3PM = 3rd pl. masc.)
PF - patient focus
PL - plural
PTCP - participle
REL - relative pronoun
S - singular

For the Lexicon

adj - adjective
adv - adverb
ani - animate
conj - conjunction
in - inanimate
int - interjection
n - noun
part - particle
prep - preposition
pron - pronoun
q - question word, wh-word
v - verb

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