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'Na' and what to do with it
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An article showing the many uses of 'na'
This public article was written by hashi, and last updated on 16 Dec 2014, 01:49.

[comments] Menu
1. Numerative particle
2. Relative clause marker

The particle/suffix/conjugation 'na' is very versatile and can be tricky to determine the exact meaning. This article aims to demistify it a little and provide examples of usage.

[top]Numerative particle

First and foremost, 'na' is used as a particle to glue together a noun and a numeric quantifier. For example:

Otau na ta asi. house.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
NUMNumeral two own.PRSPresent Tense (tense) I own two houses.

Note that any case markings are still applied directly to the noun, and not the numeric quantifier. Second thing to note is that when in nominative case, and the noun ends in a vowel, 'na' is often shortened to ''n'.

Poske'n ta koa otau asi. man=NUMNumeral two this-GENGenitive (case)
possessive
house-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
own.PRSPresent Tense (tense) Two men own this house.

This is exactly the same as saying:

Poske na ta koa otau asi. man NUMNumeral two this-GENGenitive (case)
possessive
house-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
own.PRSPresent Tense (tense) Two men own this house.

Both are perfectly acceptable in writing. Please also note that when using non-numeric quantifiers (such as 'ipe'), the 'na' particle is not needed.

Otau ipe asi. house.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
a.lot own.PRSPresent Tense (tense) I own a lot of houses.


[top]Relative clause marker

The suffix 'na' is also used on the end of verbs to show that the preceding clause modifies the following noun phrase. This is Nithalos' way of creating relative clauses.

Veda kuđnivana kuram vas toaš to eštiva. yesterday buy-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-RELRelative car INSTRInstrumental (case)
'with' 'using'
town to go-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
I went to town in the car that I bought yesterday.

In this way using 'na' here ties the verb 'kuđni' to the noun 'kuram'. By extension, 'veda' is also tied to 'kuram' as it is part of the same clause as 'kuđni'.

The relative clause marker can also be conjoined with other particles. This creates extra meaning without needs for additional verbs. The two examples below demonstrate this.

Konma orna šakaunu taprila. child BENBenefactive (case)
recipient of benefit
-RELRelative candy-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
eat-AORAorist (tense/aspect)
usually the simple past
I ate all the candy that [was] for the chlid(ren).

Meše alna šakaunu taprila. shop LOCLocative (case)
'in, on, at' etc
-RELRelative candy-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
eat-AORAorist (tense/aspect)
usually the simple past
I ate all the candy that [was] in the shop.


The relative clause marker can also be applied to both a verb and adjective to mean 'the thing that [is]...', and can then be declined just like a normal noun. This acts as a sort of nominaliser, but not entirely like one. With adjectives, this is usually also separated by an apostrophe. In the examples below, this has been glossed as a nominaliser (NMZNominaliser
makes other word a noun
).

Oko'nau tasi se! big=NMZNominaliser
makes other word a noun
-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
want.PRSPresent Tense (tense) EMPEmphatic
stressed or emphasised
I want the big one!


Amaninau tasi se! jump=NMZNominaliser
makes other word a noun
-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
want.PRSPresent Tense (tense) EMPEmphatic
stressed or emphasised
I want the one that jumps!


Additionally, if there is need for just a relative clause (espeically in poetry or lyrics), the 'na' particle can be separated and act as a conjunction. This is not generally done outside of the aforementioned writing.
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