« ForrigeFortsæt »
me; but nai how giate au co tanga'ta co Paloo would not be grammatically expressed for any sense.
In consequence of the frequent use of co before he, the two, in the rapidity of speech, are coalesced into one, the aspirate being omitted ; thus, co'ë instead of co he, as colë tanga'ta cu Boboto. We have hitherto expressed them se. parately for the sake of clearness, but shall henceforth write colë, according to the strictest pronunciation ; for co he tangalta would not sound very well in the ears of a Tonga chief who took pains to pronounce his language correctly.
The noun has, properly speaking, neither gender nor number: i. e, the gender is distinguished neither by any peculiarity in the word, nor by any sign; and the number is only distinguished sometimes by a sigo, or by some other word of singular or plural signification : but the use of this prefixed sign or word will depend upon whether the noun be significant of an animate or inanimate nature: if of an animate nature, it will depend upon whether it be a rational or irrational nature.
The singular number of inanimate beings is usually expressed by the simple noun, with the article he before it: as, he toʻgi, an axe; he fulle, a house. When it is intended to lay a particular stress upon the circumstance of these being only one, the numeral is used with the word be (only), and the article is left out: as, to gi be taha, axe only one ; fa'lle be taha, house only one. When a certain and fixed number of inanimate objects are meant to be expressed, the numeral is used according to the following form ; toʻgi e oo'a, axes two; fulle e toloo, houses three ; o'ca e fa, canoes four: wherein it is seen that the particle e comes between the noun and the numeral, and which in all probability is the .article, with the aspirate omitted, and placed in this situation for the sake of euphony. When speaking of an indefinite number of inanimate things, the word lathi (many or several), is used before the noun, the article intervening, with its aspirate dropped, as, lalhi e torgi, many the axes; la'hi e vdca, many the canoes.
This sign of the plural, however, is not always used ; as, for instance, whose axes are these ? coʻë togi aha'i co-e'ni, i.e. the axes whose these? Here there is nothing of a plural signification, for coe'ni means this as well as these, and only the general sense or the visible objects can determine it: or it would be better perhaps to express the rule thus: the singular number is often used for the plural, when it is sufficiently evident that the plural must be meant though not expressed, as in the foregoing example.
In respect to animate beings, the singular is formed in the same way as exemplified in regard to inanimate: as, he bovaca, a bog; he goo'li, a dog; he tanga'ta, a man; and if a particular stress is laid upon there being only one, the same form as with inanimate natures is used, provided it be an irrational living being, as, booa'ca be ta’ha, hog only one; gooʻli be ta'ha, dog only one; and such might be the answer to the question, how many hogs, (dogs, &c.) are there? but if the word booa'ca, (goo'li, &c.) is not repeated in the answer, then ta'ha must come before be, as, taha be, one only. But if the living object spoken of be a rational being, as, only one god, one man, one chief, &c. then the word toʻcca (for which no particular meaning can well be given, unless we translate it person or rational individual), must be used before ta'hu, as, tanga'ta be tocca ta'ha, man only, person one; and if in answer to such a question, as, how many men were there? the word tangata be not repeated in the answer, it must be constructed thus: tocca talha be, person one only, tocca coming first, and be last.
In respect to this word to'cca, another observation must be made, viz. that it is never used unless with a numeral, or some word expressive of number; as, la'hi, many; chi, few.
The plural number of animate irrational beings is sometimes formed exactly in the same way as exemplified when speaking of inanimate beings; as in the following instances : if a certain, definite number is to be expressed, thus, boou'ca e ova, hogs two; guo'li e to'loo, dogs three: if an indefinite number is to be expressed, thus, la'hi e booa'ca, many hogs ; lu'hi e goo'li, many dogs: but if, in similar instances, rational beings were to be spoken of, then toʻccu must be used, and the article e left out, according to this form, tanga'ta toʻcca oo'a, two men ; fafi'ne toʻcca to'loo, three women : but if the number of rational beings be indefinite, the mode of expression will be the same as with the irrational beings, with this only difference, that tocca will come before la'hi, as to'cca lu'hi e tanga'ta, many men; tolcca la'hi e hotoo'a, many gods.
There are two other modes of expressing the plural number of nouns of animate natures, and these are by the words cow * and too'nga, which appear to be collective nouns, and to have the signification of company, body, society, or multitude: they may be used indifferently, either with rational or irrational natures ; always observing, that in the former case, where a numeral is used, or the word la'hi or chi (many or few), to'cca must also be used, but not otherwise : as, cow tanga'ta, or too'nga tangata, men, or a body of men, cow boua/ca, or too'nga booa'ca, a quantity of hogs: and if besides such a collective noun a numeral is also added, then the word tocca must be used before the numeral, as in this phrase; a body of men to the amount of a hundred, cow tanga'ta to'ccu tea'oo ; i. e. a body of men, a hundred; or too'nga tanga'ta toʻcca tea'oo.
* The particle cow is sometimes used to inanimate substances, as, cow mya, cordage; cow odfi, yams: but these are particular phrases.'
The Tonga nouns cannot be said to have the signs of cases, or any sort of declension; and although the particle gi has frequently a dative signification, it much more frequently is to be taken in the sense of a preposition. The genitive case, where the proper name of a person is used, is often expressed by the sign a, as, Pinow's speech, Mafanga a Finow: but in this example, viz. the name of the person, there is no sign, as, he hingo'a he jie’na, i. e. the name, the person.
There is one more remark to make in regard to nouns expressing animate natures, (whether intelligent or not); but as this regards rather the personal pronouns which are used for them, we shall only mention it here by the way, and speak more fully upon the subject under the proper head. The remark to be made is, that when such pronouns are the subjects of a verb, or of a question, as (speaking of dogs for instance), give them to me; or in the question, what did you do with them? they admit either of a dual or plural number, accordingly as there are two or more: the dual number of the third personal pronoun (in the above sense) being gino'wooa, and the plural number, gino'wtoloo. But more of this hereafter.
The words of this class, for a general rule (not without exceptions), follow the substantives whose qualities they express: as, he tangtu lillé, a good man; he tógi machila, a sharp axe. They have no distinction of gender or number: as, cow tangáta lillé, good men ; cow fafine lillé, good women; la hi he tógi machila, several sharp axes.
In the exceptions to the rule that the adjective follows the substantive, it never comes immediately before the substantive except in one or two instances, that we can discover, and that is with the adjective (and sometimes adverb), foo, great, very; and foe, whole, entire, single ; which always comes immediately before its substantives : as foo lahi *, very many, or it may be translated, as an adverb, exceedingly great; foo ita, great anger, or as it may also be rendered, very angry. Fóe oóloo a single head, or the whole head; fóe so'fi, a single yam, or an entire yam. In other instances, where the adjective precedes the substantive, some word or words always intervene: of this we have an instance in one of the examples to the former rule, viz. láhi he to'gi machila ; where the adjective machila immediately follows its noun, serving to illustrate that rule ; and the adjective lu'hi comes before the noun, serving to illustrate the present rule, where it is seen that something intervenes, viz. the article he : but for another instance, we have this : viz, he has many axes, goóa láhi enne tógi, i. e. are many bis axest; here the possessive pronoun enne (his) comes between the adjective and substantive.
The adjective in this, as well as other languages, is often used for a substance: as, I regard those brave men, ginowtóloo toa goóa te ófa ángi I, i. e. (to) those brave (men) do I esteem give: here it is seen that the adjective tóa, brave, is
* Lahi may also mean great or large: in these examples we have instances of the indeterminate nature of the elements of the Tonga language.
+ In this example goóa is the sign of the present tense, and as it has a plural signification, we translate it by the word are.
Here the word ginowtóloo implies that three or more persons are spoken of ; had there been only two, it would have been in the dual number : thus, ginówooa, them two, those two, &c. The word ángi may admit of two meanings ; it may either be the verb to give, or the preposition towards : if the first, then ofa (esteem) must be a substantive, as above translated; but if ángi be the preposition, then ófa must be the verb, to esteem, to feel esteem, and the sentence may be thus translated : those brave (men) I feel esteem towards. See angi, under VERJI.