Log in

Thu, Feb. 9th, 2012, 12:08 am
zhanahe: As true as light.

Wil sha, everyone!

I'm sorry I've been absent so long. (The holidays, then I took a short course in Mandarin Chinese.) I finally finished Native Tongue (and checked out The Judas Rose to start tomorrow) and there was one line I really loved from it. One of the women makes a statement and then asks Nazareth, isn't that true? And Nazareth replies,

"As true as water. As true as light."

I admit I haven't even tried the grammar for this one yet. I'm still on Amberwind's Lesson #2, trying to get the vocabulary in my head. Does anyone have a translation? I love this line so much.

Sun, Feb. 12th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)

This isn't nearly so straightforward in Láadan as it is in English. The Láadan comparative structure requires stating that two or more things share some quality and then further that one of them surpasses (hesho). One can also say that none of the things being compared surpasses--that they are equal in terms of this quality.

To translate, literally, "as true as light" and "as true as water" would require a three-way comparison, stipulating that none of the three surpasses any of the others. A literal translation would be something like
"Bíi meshadon hi, ith, i ili; hesho radal wa."
(This/that, light, and water are all true; none surpasses.)

This is distinctly unsatisfying--in part because the English comparative structure is used commonly to make non-comparative statements. The Láadan comparative structure, OTOH, really is used just for comparison. A more Láadan way of asserting the above sentiment might be
"Bíi shadoneháalish hi wa. Zhe meshadon ili i ith."
(This/that is true to an extraordinary degree, according to my perception. Like water and light are true.)


Mon, Feb. 13th, 2012 04:30 am (UTC)

Wow. The direct translation is unsatisfying. But part of the beauty of Láadan is learning new ways to express things. The second way is very beautiful.

Thank you so much.