Monday, September 22, 2014

Exploring the possible scope of quoting

I need to look up a bunch of Bislama examples to do this properly, but basically, the idea is that le could expand its usefulness beyond just marking proper names. I think we can generalize to say that it could be used to mark anything that’s being mentioned rather than used. So maybe

kea sa le iuna?
"what's a train?"

But more than that, it could potentially also be used as an alternate strategy to mark clauses that are currently just being nominalized. So

ta sano le ni loha le Keoni
"she said that she loves John"
literally "she said, 'I love John'"

Apparently the above is (amazingly) the normal strategy for this kind of sentence in Quechua. Now I’m getting confused, though, because I was starting to think of it like Bislama se, in which case the sentence above should appear as

ta sano le ta loha le Keoni
i.e. hem i talem se hem i lavem John
“She said that she loves John”

More work is needed here. Probably for this usage, either ko or ve ought to be adequate, since the meaning would be identical [and the difference between ko and ve in this usage is...what?]. If we really are mentioning rather than using, I suspect direct quotation is the use we most need.

One final thought: trying to translate “mean,” as in “what does that mean?” Which of these is correct?

1. Kea sa le toa?
2. Le kea sa toa?

Ugh...I’m having trouble mustering an argument either way. Let’s think about it.