Wednesday’s Word – set that down!

Warning: today’s word entry is more about meaning and doesn’t really include examples – I wasn’t up for it tonight.

In Mychai, you have a couple of different ways to express set. And by set, I mean like in the  first one in the following example, but definitely not the second.

Set that book down before I set you on fire!

In much the same way that many Native American languages encode shape, consistency, etc of an object in the verb, so does Mychai’s verbs for what in English is covered by set down/place/lay.

zui verb to place something non-rigid down
téco verb to place something rigid down in a non-upright or improper orientation or place
a verb to place something rigid on a horizontal surface in an upright position or in its proper orientation or place

There are two different distinctions being made here.  The first is the rigidity of the direct object. Nonrigid objects like a pillow, T-shirt, piece of meat or necklace would need zui.

Whereas rigid objects, or those that don’t change form easily need to use either téco or a. The distinction between when to use téco or a has to do with the final resting position of the direct object after it has come to rest. If the object comes to rest or is placed in what is deemed its proper or natural position (an upright glass, a closed book, fruit in a fruit bowl), then a is used. If the object is not in a position that is deemed to be proper or is skewed or not in its proper place (a shoe on the ground knocked over, a book placed downward and open as to save a position, or a sock that didn’t quite make it to the hamper) then téco is used.

Importantly, these cannot be used for people or animates in general. Thus a baby that you set in its highchair would need a different verb entirely. Or maybe it would need a causative locative expression, along the lines of I caused my baby to be in its highchair. (I haven’t decided yet!)


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1 Response to Wednesday’s Word – set that down!

  1. Pingback: Wednesday’s word – guta | Mychai – a conlanger's blog

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