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Learning Matoran: Lesson 8

Posted by Tolkien , in Matoran Language, Long Entries, linguistics, Language and Etymology, Bionicle Feb 25 2013 · 266 views

LEARNING MATORAN

- LESSON 8 -

 
I. Objective Particles:
 
You have already encountered the subject, basic objective, and possessive particles in previous lessons, but there are many particles that remain to be discussed. The particles discussed in this lesson can also be classified as objective particles, but, in contrast to the basic objective particle, they provide information on the spatial and temporal positioning of a noun, as well as on nature of the action denoted by the verb. Six particles will be discussed in this lesson, and these can be organized into two series of three particles each: The first three are “locative” in nature, while the last three deal with concepts such as the endpoint, origin, and transition/path of an action.
 
Ia. The Basic Locative Particle.
 
The basic locative particle specifies a position spatially in/at/on or temporally during the noun with which it is paired. The exact interpretation (i.e. temporal or spatial) is up to the context and the denotation of the noun itself.
 
The basic form of the particle is two-fold, depending on its placement with respect to the noun. Recall from the previous lesson the discussion of “variable placement” with the possessive particle: wa(i) before the noun, but ui/u’i after the noun. The basic locative particle exhibits a very similar case of variable placement, although it is more analogous to the variable placement of the verbal particle ya, which can be “split” into a- and -i (see Lesson 6, section I.).
 
To begin, the basic form of the particle is oki when it is placed after the noun. This particle can be “split” into a particle ki or ke (interchangeable) which is displaced before the stem, and a particle ō  which remains after the stem. A few examples will be useful to illustrate the variation (the particle ō can vary with ou, particularly if it follows a vowel):
 
1) a. matoran-oki  OR ki-matoran-ō, ke-matoran-ō   “in/on/at the Matoran”
     b. wahi-oki OR ki-wahi-ou, ke-wahi-ou   “in/at the Wahi”
     c. aval-oki OR ki-aval-ō, ke-aval-ō   “in/during the time/period” (aval “time, period (of time)”)
 
IIb. The Ante-Locative Particle.
 
The ante-locative particle specifies a position temporally before/preceding/prior to or spatially behind/on the other side of the noun with which it is paired. The exact interpretation (i.e. temporal or spatial) is up to the context and the denotation of the noun itself.
 
The basic form of the particle is oki or okī (interchangeable) and it is always placed before the noun. Additionally, the o- of the particle can optionally be dropped (oki > ki, okī > kī). Note that the basic form of this particle is identical to that of the previous particle except for its position with respect to the noun.
 
2) a. (o)ki-nuyo, (o)kī-nuyo   “behind/on the other side of the mountain”
     b. (o)ki-matoran, (o)kī-matoran   “behind/on the other side of the Matoran”
     c. (o)ki-azal, (o)kī-azal   “before/prior to the attack”
 
IIc. The Post-Locative Particle.
 
The post-locative particle specifies a position temporally after/subsequent to or spatially after/in front of/on this side of the noun with which it is paired. The exact interpretation (i.e. temporal or spatial) is up to the context and the denotation of the noun itself.
 
The basic form of the particle is hi, and it is always placed after the noun.
 
There are a few variations in the form of the particle, depending on the form of the stem: If the stem ends in a short vowel, hi is strengthened to khi (hoto-hi > hotokhi). If the stem ends in a long vowel, hi becomes gi (kolhī-hi > kolhīgi). If the stem ends in a consonant, hi becomes ki (brakas-hi > brakaski), unless the consonant is n, in which case hi becomes gi (matoran-hi > matorangi).
 
In addition, there is some variability that is the consequence of etymological developments in noun stems. For example, if a noun stem ends in a long vowel, the particle would usually become gi (kolhī-hi > kolhīgi). Historically, many noun stems ended in long vowels which have since shortened, leading to variation between the khi and gi forms of the particle. One common example involves the derivational nounal particle hi (as in wa-hi, kano-hi, etc.), which has been shortened from older . As a result, the form of the post-locative particle when it is attached to such stems frequently varies between khi and gi: wahikhi vs. wahigi, kanohikhi vs. kanohigi, etc.
 
3) a. ihnu-khi   “in front of/on this side of the hill” (ihnu “hill”)
     b. matoran-gi   in front of/on this side of the Matoran”
     c. daika-khi   “after/subsequent to the music” (daika “music, notes”)
     d. azal-ki   after/subsequent to the attack”
 
IId. The Endpoint Particle.
 
The endpoint particle specifies that the noun with which it is paired is the endpoint of the action of the verb. It will usually be translated into English as “to”. Depending on the context and the denotations of the noun and verb, an endpoint can manifest in many different ways. For example, with a verb expressing some kind of movement, the endpoint could be expressed as the location to which the subject moves (“Kopaka went to Ko-Koro.”). Conversely, with a verb expressing an event where the subject affects an object in some way, the endpoint could be the person or location at which the object ends up (“Tahu gave the mask to Gali.”). Additionally, there is an interplay between this particle and the basic locative particle discussed above, particularly with verbs expressing the latter situation. This interplay will be noted in a later lesson.
 
The basic form of the particle is ī or ih, and it is always placed before the noun. The ī form is usually used before a stem beginning in a consonant (ī-matoran), while the ih form is used when a stem begins with a vowel (ih-akaku).
 
4) a. ī-metru   “to/toward the city”
     b. ī-matoran   “to/toward the Matoran”
     c. ihazal   “to/toward the attack”
 
IIe. The Origin Particle.
 
The origin particle specifies that the noun with which it is paired is the origin-point of the action of the verb. It will usually be translated into English as “from” or “out of”. Depending on the context and the denotations of the noun and verb, an endpoint can manifest in many different ways. For example, with a verb expressing some kind of movement, the endpoint could be expressed as the location from/out of which the subject moves (“Kopaka came from Ko-Koro.”). Conversely, with a verb expressing an event where the subject affects an object in some way, the endpoint could be the person or location from which the object originates (“Tahu took the mask from Gali.”). Additionally, as with the other particles, there is an interplay between this particle and the other objective particles, particularly with verbs expressing the latter situation. This interplay will be examined in a later lesson.
 
The basic form of the particle is ha, and it is always placed after the noun.
 
There are a few variations in the form of the particle, depending on the form of the stem (note that these variations mirror the variations exhibited by the posterior-position particle hi): If the stem ends in a short vowel, ha is strengthened to kha (hoto-ha > hotokha). If the stem ends in a long vowel, ha becomes ga (kolhī-ha > kolhīga). If the stem ends in a consonant, ha becomes ka (brakas-ha > brakaska), unless the consonant is n, in which case ha becomes ga, frequently strengthened to , from earlier * (matoran-ha > matoranga, matorangō)
 
In addition, just as with the post-locative particle hi, there is a degree of variability that is the consequence of etymological developments in noun stems. For example, if a noun stem ends in a long vowel, the particle would usually become ga (kolhī-ha > kolhīga). Historically, many noun stems ended in long vowels which have since shortened, leading to variation between the kha and ga forms of the particle. One common example involves the derivational nounal particle hi (as in wa-hi, kano-hi, etc.), which has been shortened from older . As a result, the form of the post-locative particle when it is attached to such stems frequently varies between kha and ga: wahikha vs. wahiga, kanohikha vs. kanohiga, etc.
 
5) a. ihnu-kha   “from/away from/out of the hill”
     b. matoran-ga, matoran-gō   from/away from the Matoran”
     c. metru-kha   “from/away from/out of the city”
     d. azal-ka   from/away from the attack”
 
IIf. The Transitional-Instrumental Particle.
 
The transitional-instrumental particle specifies that the noun with which it is paired is the path, transition, or instrument by which the action of the verb progresses. It will usually be translated into English as “through” or “by” or “with”. Depending on the context and the denotations of the noun and verb, a path/transition meaning can manifest in many different ways. For example, with a verb expressing some kind of spatial movement, the transition could be expressed as the location through or by means of which the subject moves (“Kopaka came/went through Ko-Koro.”). Conversely, with a verb expressing an event where the subject affects an object in some way, the transition could be expressed as the instrument through or by means of which the object is affected (“Tahu attacked the Rahi with his sword.”). Additionally, as with the other particles, there is an interplay between this particle and the other objective particles, particularly with verbs expressing this latter instrumental situation. This interplay will be examined in a later lesson.
 
Mirroring the basic locative particle, the basic form of the transitional particle is two-fold, depending on its placement with respect to the noun (“variable placement”). To begin, the basic form of the particle when it is placed after the noun is amu when the stem ends in a consonant and mu when the stem ends in a vowel. This particle can be “split” into a particle u or ou (interchangeable) which is displaced before the stem, and a particle ma (with a truncated variant -n) which remains after the stem. A few examples will be useful to illustrate the variation:
 
6) a. matoran-amu OR (o)u-matoran-ma   through/by the Matoran”
     b. wahi-amu OR (o)u-wahi-ma, (o)u-wahi-n   “through/by the Wahi”
     c. azal-amu OR (o)u-azal-ma   “through/with the attack”
     d. onoto-amu OR (o)u-onoto-ma, (o)u-onoto-n   by/with the tool”

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He returns! For a time I had given up, but checked today on a whim. Very good stuff. 

 

I've actually been doing a lot of language stuff recently (Not as much as you, obviously, I'm an undergrad and language is a hobby, not area of study), and one of the coolest things I find about it is etymology. I was wondering, have you considered how the matoran language might have developed? It sounds really cool, but to be able to associate words and gramatical concepts with matoran culture would be (I think) really fun.

 

Obviously this wouldn't work (as it would require overhauling much of the language), but it would be neat to have multiple "declensions" (I don't know what the proper term is for a particle-based system) based on the six base elements; this would also replace the need for gender. When considering the matoran universe, I notice the tahunga separate themselves purely on this basis. Ga-matoran have what we see as feminine characteristics, but in the matoran universe they would be seen as Ga characteristics, and so-forth.

 

It's all for fun though. I just love discussing language. :)

 

P.S., Unfortunately it will be some time until I can study this in depth again (though I will keep up as it progresses). I'm currently studying Anglo-Saxon for a humanities GDR, as well as learning latin online (And greek is in the queue). Let's just say I have a thing for the classics.

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Anglo-saxon, eh? Þæt is swīðe gōd þing!

 

I actually did consider basing Matoran grammar on some elemental patterns early on, but decided against it eventually because I couldn't find a good way to integrate six (or more) different morphemes with mostly lexical meanings (ta = fire, ga = water, etc.) into functional/grammatical roles.

 

If you're more interested in etymology, check out the latest blog post, which deals with the etymology of various mask-names. Either way, I appreciate the interest.

 

JRRT

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Thanks! What was going through my head was that the morphemes (I learned a new word it seems!) would represent the cultural/natural/etc. context of each koro, ie a table would be po (as it is of craftsmanship), or spirit would be fire. And they wouldn't always have to make sense; wīf, for instance, the Old English word for woman/wife, is neuter. 

 

I suppose it would make the learning process rather arduous, though. 

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I've been watching this prject for a while, and what an incredible project it is. Two of my greatest interests perfectly blended.

 

I tried making sense of the matoran language once with no luck, but this is really fascinating to read through.

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Chapter I

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A Short Bio of the...Author?

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The author of this blog currently resides in the rather dry, bare, sandy climate of the southwest United States. He is a grad-student and teaching associate at his university, currently working toward a Ph.D. in rhetoric/composition and linguistics.
 

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