2.9. tanru

When two brivla are adjacent, the first one modifies the second, and the selbri takes its place structure from the rightmost word. Such combinations of gismu are called tanru. For example,

Example 2.26. 

sutra tavla


has the place structure

Example 2.27. 

x1 is a fast type-of talker to x2 about x3 in language x4

x1 talks fast to x2 about x3 in language x4


When three or more gismu are in a row, the first modifies the second, and that combined meaning modifies the third, and that combined meaning modifies the fourth, and so on. For example

Example 2.28. 

sutra tavla cutci


has the place structure

Example 2.29. 

x1 is a fast-talker type of shoe worn by x2


That is, it is a shoe that is worn by a fast talker rather than a shoe that is fast and is also worn by a talker.

Note especially the use of type-of as a mechanism for connecting the English translations of the two or more gismu; this convention helps the learner understand each tanru in its context. Creative interpretations are also possible, however:

Example 2.30. 

bajracutci
runnershoe

most probably refers to shoes suitable for runners, but might be interpreted in some imaginative instances as shoes that run (by themselves?). In general, however, the meaning of a tanru is determined by the literal meaning of its components, and not by any connotations or figurative meanings. Thus

Example 2.31. 

sutratavla
fasttalker

would not necessarily imply any trickery or deception, unlike the English idiom, and a

Example 2.32. 

jikcatoldi
socialbutterfly

must always be an insect with large brightly-colored wings, of the family Lepidoptera.

The place structure of a tanru is always that of the final component of the tanru. Thus, the following has the place structure of klama:

Example 2.33. 

mi

[cu]

sutra klama

la .meris.

I

-

quickly-go

to Mary.


With the conversion se klama as the final component of the tanru, the place structure of the entire selbri is that of se klama: the x1 place is the destination, and the x2 place is the one who goes:

Example 2.34. 

mi

[cu]

sutra

se klama

la .meris.

I

-

quickly

am-gone-to

by Mary.


The following example shows that there is more to conversion than merely switching places, though:

Example 2.35. 

la .tam.

[cu]

melbi tavla

la .meris.

Tom

-

beautifully-talks

to Mary.

Tom

-

is a beautiful-talker

to Mary.


has the place structure of tavla, but note the two distinct interpretations.

Now, using conversion, we can modify the place structure order:

Example 2.36. 

la .meris.

[cu]

melbi se tavla

la .tam.

Mary

-

is beautifully-talked-to

by Tom.

Mary

-

is a beautiful-audience

for Tom.


and we see that the modification has been changed so as to focus on Mary's role in the bridi relationship, leading to a different set of possible interpretations.

Note that there is no place structure change if the modifying term is converted, and so less drastic variation in possible meanings:

Example 2.37. 

la .tam.

[cu]

tavla melbi

la .meris.

Tom

-

is talkerly-beautiful

to Mary.


Example 2.38. 

la .tam.

[cu]

se tavla melbi

la .meris.

Tom

-

is audiencely-beautiful

to Mary.


and we see that the manner in which Tom is seen as beautiful by Mary changes, but Tom is still the one perceived as beautiful, and Mary, the observer of beauty.