Monday, August 13, 2012

Kleider machen Leute: Va

The fifth and last sentence of the first paragraph is:
Das Fechten fiel ihm äußerst schwer, ja schien ihm gänzlich unmöglich, weil er über seinem schwarzen Sonntagskleide, welches sein einziges war, einen weiten dunkelgrauen Radmantel trug, mit schwarzem Samt ausgeschlagen, der seinem Träger ein edles und romantisches Aussehen verlieh, zumal dessen lange schwarze Haare und Schnurrbärtchen sorgfältig gepflegt waren und er sich blasser, aber regelmäßiger Gesichtszüge erfreute.
This is a key sentence for the book as a whole as it sets up the trigger for the entire plot. In this post, I will start with the first clause:
Das Fechten fiel ihm äußerst schwer, …
Which is literally: 'the begging was falling extremely hard to him'. I'm going to flip this around so that 'he' is the subject, and I'll use the verb kite [to find, see]. So it will start:
E kite ana ia [he was finding/seeing]
The object clause is: 'das Fechten war äußerst schwer'. This, by itself, would be:
He tino uaua te inoi
That is, He [predicate] [subject] where the predicate (äußerst schwer) is tino uaua and the subject is the verb inoi nominalised with the article te. My understanding of nominalisation is that a single instance requires the nominalisation suffix but repeated doesn't. (See Harlow 2001, p206 ff.) In this case, I don't think a specific instance of begging is being referred to but his begging in general.

If we now join these together we get:
E kite ana ia he tino uaua te inoi
Which is saying that he found/saw that begging was extremely difficult. What is missing is the linking of the begging as his begging — ie I've missed the subject of the verb in the nominalisation. This is done by changing the article to be possessive (I think inoi is intransitive so o-type possession is required):
E kite ana ia he tino uaua tōna inoi
The next clause, 'ja schien ihm gänzlich unmöglich', effectively qualifies the 'äußerst schwer' [extremely difficult] as even 'gänzlich unmöglich' [completely impossible] — the verb 'schien' = seemed/looked. By itself, the predicate of this clause would be:
Kāore te inoi e taea rawa ana e ia.
This is a negative transformation of:
E taea rawa ana te inoi e ia.
The 'gänzlich' is given by the manner particle rawa. The verb taea is equivalent to 'können' [to be able] and takes a type of passive construction, so this is literally: 'he is/was completely unable to beg'. Broken down into components:
[E taea rawa ana]verb-predicate [te inoi]patient [e ia]agent
The negative transformation involves inserting kāore at the start and moving the patient to just before the verb. The verb 'schien' might be translated using the idiom te āhua nei [it would seem/it looks like]. In this case the clause as a whole would be:
Te āhua nei, kāore te inoi e taea rawa ana e ia.
The two clauses can be joined by engari 'but/indeed/actually':
E kite ana ia he tino uaua tōna inoi, engari te āhua nei, kāore te inoi e taea rawa ana e ia …
The rest can wait for my next post. Any thoughts?

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