Sunday, 11 December 2016

11th Lexember Word

ossép [o̞ˈɕːe̞ˑp], alienably possessed noun: “clouds, cloud cover“

Originally posted by gabedonohoe

An interesting difference between languages is what they consider countable or uncountable. They needn’t always agree: furniture is a mass noun in English, but a count noun in French. Same with cattle.

What we have here is a similar issue: while clouds are countable in English, in Haotyétpi the word ossép is a mass noun. So one cannot talk about 1 or 2 clouds in Haotyétpi, but one can say things like ayú ossép: “a few clouds“ or yussú ossép: “many clouds“ (literally “a little cloudness” and “a lot of cloudness” respectively).

In terms of etymology, ossép is quite simply a compound of yesterday’s repé: “shadow, shade“ and ós: “sky“, meaning ossép is literally “sky shade”. Do notice the change in consonant due to sandhi effects. This specific sandhi rule is actually not the same for all Haotyétpi speakers, so the form ostép is found as well. It’s just a dialectical (well, more sociolectical really) variation and both variants are known and understood by all speakers.

Ossemmák so a. Wakkunákta cepam tikwá ken!: “It’s starting to get cloudy. I sure hope it’s not going to rain!“

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