5.7. Linked sumti: be-bei-be'o

The following cmavo are discussed in this section:



linked sumti marker



linked sumti separator



linked sumti terminator

The question of the place structures of selbri has been glossed over so far. This chapter does not attempt to treat place structure issues in detail; they are discussed in Chapter 9. One grammatical structure related to places belongs here, however. In simple sentences such as Example 5.1, the place structure of the selbri is simply the defined place structure of the gismu mamta. What about more complex selbri?

For tanru, the place structure rule is simple: the place structure of a tanru is always the place structure of its tertau. Thus, the place structure of blanu zdani is that of zdani: the x1 place is a house or nest, and the x2 place is its occupants.

What about the places of blanu? Is there any way to get them into the act? In fact, blanu has only one place, and this is merged, as it were, with the x1 place of zdani. It is whatever is in the x1 place that is being characterized as blue-for-a-house. But if we replace blanu with xamgu, we get:

Example 5.63. 

ti xamgu zdani
This is-a-good house.

This is a good (for someone, by some standard) house.

Since xamgu has three places (x1, the good thing; x2, the person for whom it is good; and x3, the standard of goodness), Example 5.63 necessarily omits information about the last two: there is no room for them. Room can be made, however!

Example 5.64. 

ti xamgu be do bei mi [be'o] zdani
This is-a-good (for you by-standard me) house.

This is a house that is good for you by my standards.

Here, the gismu xamgu has been followed by the cmavo be (of selma'o BE), which signals that one or more sumti follows. These sumti are not part of the overall bridi place structure, but fill the places of the brivla they are attached to, starting with x2. If there is more than one sumti, they are separated by the cmavo bei (of selma'o BEI), and the list of sumti is terminated by the elidable terminator be'o (of selma'o BEhO).

Grammatically, a brivla with sumti linked to it in this fashion plays the same role in tanru as a simple brivla. To illustrate, here is a fully fleshed-out version of Example 5.19, with all places filled in:

Example 5.65. 

ti cmalu be le ka canlu
This is-a-small (in-dimension the property-of volume
bei lo'e ckule be'o
by-standard the-typical school)
nixli be li mu
(girl (of-years the-number five
bei lo merko be'o bo ckule
by-standard some American-thing) school)
la bryklyn.
in-that-named Brooklyn
loi pemci
with-subject poems
le mela nu,IORK. prenu
for-audience-the among-that-named New-York persons
le jecta
with-operator-the state.

This is a school, small in volume compared to the typical school, pertaining to five-year-old girls (by American standards), in Brooklyn, teaching poetry to the New York community and operated by the state.

Here the three places of cmalu, the three of nixli, and the four of ckule are fully specified. Since the places of ckule are the places of the bridi as a whole, it was not necessary to link the sumti which follow ckule. It would have been legal to do so, however:

Example 5.66. 

mi klama be le zarci bei le zdani [be'o]
I go ( to-the market from-the house ).

means the same as

Example 5.67. 

mi klama le zarci le zdani
I go to-the market from-the house.

No matter how complex a tanru gets, the last brivla always dictates the place structure: the place structure of

Example 5.68. 

melbi je cmalu nixli bo ckule
a (pretty and little) (girl school)

a school for girls which is both beautiful and small

is simply that of ckule. (The sole exception to this rule is discussed in Section 5.8.)

It is possible to precede linked sumti by the place structure ordering tags fe, fi, fo, and fu (of selma'o FA, discussed further in Section 9.3), which serve to explicitly specify the x2, x3, x4, and x5 places respectively. Normally, the place following the be is the x2 place and the other places follow in order. If it seems convenient to change the order, however, it can be accomplished as follows:

Example 5.69. 

ti xamgu be fi mi bei fe do [be'o] zdani
This is-a-good ( by-standard me for you ) house.

which is equivalent in meaning to Example 5.64. Note that the order of be, bei, and be'o does not change; only the inserted fi tells us that mi is the x3 place (and correspondingly, the inserted fe tells us that do is the x2 place). Changing the order of sumti is often done to match the order of another language, or for emphasis or rhythm.

Of course, using FA cmavo makes it easy to specify one place while omitting a previous place:

Example 5.70. 

ti xamgu be fi mi [be'o] zdani
This is-a-good ( by-standard me ) house.

This is a good house by my standards.

Similarly, sumti labeled by modal or tense tags can be inserted into strings of linked sumti just as they can into bridi:

Example 5.71. 

ta blanu be ga'a mi [be'o] zdani
That is-a-blue ( to-observer me ) house.

That is a blue, as I see it, house.

The meaning of Example 5.71 is slightly different from:

Example 5.72. 

ta blanu zdani ga'a mi
That is-a-blue house to-observer me.

That is a blue house, as I see it.

See discussions in Chapter 9 of modals and in Chapter 10 of tenses for more explanations.

The terminator be'o is almost always elidable: however, if the selbri belongs to a description, then a relative clause following it will attach to the last linked sumti unless be'o is used, in which case it will attach to the outer description:

Example 5.73. 

le xamgu be do noi barda cu zdani
The good-thing for you (who are-large) is-a-house.

Example 5.74. 

le xamgu be do be'o noi barda cu zdani
The (good-thing for you ) (which is-large) is-a-house

(Relative clauses are explained in Chapter 8.)

In other cases, however, be'o cannot be elided if ku has also been elided:

Example 5.75. 

le xamgu be le ctuca [ku] be'o zdani
the good (for the teacher) house

requires either ku or be'o, and since there is only one occurrence of be, the be'o must match it, whereas it may be confusing which occurrence of le the ku terminates (in fact the second one is correct).