Monday, 29 September 2014

Moten Words for the Day

voslim /vo̞slim/, noun: “beauty, appropriateness, fitness for purpose”

uflebe /ufle̞be̞/, noun: “quality, objective value, value”

kemabal /ke̞mabal/, noun: “opinion, subjective value, value”

No meme right now.

Okay, those nouns are going to need a small explanation. If they look familiar, it’s because they are: they are formed by mashing together the pairs of words I presented in the last three posts.

What’s happening here is that in Moten, when two nouns are semantically opposites (i.e. like “big vs. small”, “wide vs. narrow”, “rich vs. poor”), it’s common to form the noun that refers to the generic concept underlying them by compounding them. In English, it would be as if the generic concept of “size” (in general, rather than a big or a small size) was referred to by the word “bigsmall” :).

So that’s what’s happening here:

  • Voslim is the combination of vo|sa and slim, and refers to appropriateness or fitness for purpose in general;
  • Uflebe is the combination of ufan and tlebe, and refers to objective quality in general;
  • Kemabal is the combination of kemi and abal, and refers to the concept of opinion in general.

In all cases, those nouns refer to a generic concept, and not to a specific value of that concept. It’s easy to understand with a word like kemabal, where the translation “opinion” is also neutral. It’s slightly more difficult for a word like voslim, where the usual translations (“appropriateness”, “fitness for purpose”) tend to have a positive connotation in English. But voslim doesn’t have a positive connotation in Moten. It’s perfectly neutral, just like kemabal. It doesn’t refer to appropriateness as a positive quality (that’s what vo|sa means), but to the generic concept of appropriateness. You can see vo|sa and slim as extreme points on a scale, while voslim refers to the entire scale itself.

The idea of compounding opposites to form the name of a generic concept is common in Moten, so keep it in mind as I describe new words in future posts.


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