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mode of forming the plural (see NOUNS) thus, aho e toloo, or aho he toloo, means the third day, whilst it also signifies three days; but the sense in most instances sufficiently points out the distinction.
In connecting cardinal words by the conjunction and, they generally use the word ma instead of mo, except before afe, a thousand, when mo is more commonly used. The conjunction ma is, however, never employed but for connecting numbers. On other occasions, this word is either the preposition for, or the name of a certain preparation of food.
It may appear strange that they have particular names for such high numbers as 10,000 and 100,000, mano, and giloo, for they certainly have no use for them. They often have occasion to count yams to the number of a thousand, or more, and sometimes to the amount of two or three thousand, but never higher. M. Labillardiere, however, has had the perseverance to interrogate the natives, and obtain particular names for numbers as high as 1,000,000,000,000,000!! Here, however, he bas overshot the mark, and instead of names of numbers, has only furnished us with names of things very remote from his speculations at that time: for 1,000,000 he gives us nanoo, which has no meaning that we can discover; for 10,000,000 laoalai, which should be looóle (according to our spelling), which means the præ putium; for 100,000,000 laounoua (low noa) which means nonsense: 1,000,000,000 liaguee, which we take for liagi, and is the name of a game played with the hands, with which probably be made signs; for 10,000,000,000 tolo tafai (tole ho faë), for which see the Vocabulary: 1,000,000,000,000 lingha (linga) see the Vocabulary: for a higher number they give him nava (the glans penis): for a still higher number, kaimaau (ky ma ow), by which they tell him to eat up the things which they have just been naming to him; but M. Labillardiere was not probably the first subject of this sort of Tonga wit, which is very common with them. In the other numbers he is tolerably correct, except in putting giloo for mano, and mano for giloo. His general accuracy in respect to the numbers does him great credit.
To enter minutely into this subject, according to the usual form of grammars, would perhaps tend rather to perplex the memory than to assist the judgment; for we are not treating of a language the rules of which have been before systematically investigated and written down; we are at present only in the act of making an investigation, in which the reader is requested
to accompany us. General rules have already been given un ́der each part of speech; we shall now therefore merely furnish a few other observations in regard to construction, and give a few of the more difficult idioms of speech; and in order that the reader may be better enabled to construe the ensuing specimens of composition, and thereby arrive at the genius of the language, a strictly literal translation will be adjoined to each.
1. In the first place, it must be noticed, that the tenses of verbs are often confounded; the future is frequently used for the present, and the present for the past; thus, I do not know is rendered in Tonga by iky' teoo iloa, literally, I shall not know. The present tense is generally used for the past, when the action spoken of happened not long before.
2. The future tense is also often used to express should, would, likewise can, could: thus, iky' teoo aloo, I cannot go; capów tenne aloo, if he should go.
3. When the future tense is used to express can, could, would, should, &c. and the negative is connected with it; the latter always comes immediately before the sign of the tense te. It must also be observed, that, in this application of the future, the second class of personal pronouns (or those which follow verbs, and may be Englished by myself, thyself, &c.) may either be used or not, in addition to those that come before the verb. Note also, that in this form of the future the third person singu lar is always tenne, &c. : for example,
Iky' teoo aloo (gita); I can, could, would, or should not go.
Iky' tenne aloo (ia); he can, could, would, or should not go. Iky' te mow aloo (gimówooa, or gimówtóloo); we can, could, would, or should not go.
Iky' tetów aloo (gitówooa,
or gitówtóloo); we can, could,
would, or should not go.
Iky' temó aloo (gimóooa, or gimótóloo); ye can, could, would, or should not go.
Iky tenów aloo (ginówooa, or ginówtóloo); they can, could, would, or should not go.
Where the use of the pronouns gita, coy, ia, gimówooa, &c. is 3 quite optional: if this form of tense is used interrogatively, there is no distinction but in the tone of voice.
4. When verbs of the same tense are repeated in a sentence,
Mr Mariner of course only obtained a practical knowledge of the language, for the natives themselves have no other. I have depended upon him to furnish me with good composition, and upon this the whole of the present investigation is built.
or even in several consecutive sentences, the sign of the tense is often left out, except in the first.
5. The personal pronouns that come before verbs, (see PRONOUNS), and are agents of verbs, are sometimes omitted; but then the corresponding personal agents that follow verbs are used instead; as, low gita, I think, instead of te low); where it is seen that the sign of the tense is also omitted: ca tooange gitówtóloo gi he hifoanga, whilst we stand near the descent, (upon the heights): here gitówtóloo follows the verb tooange, but tow does not come before it.
6. The agent to the verb in the third person singular, whether pronoun, proper name, or noun, always follows the verb, and even other words sometimes intervene: as, na feców giate ginówtóloo leva Tangaloa, Tangaloa ordered to them accordingly.
7. The possessive pronoun, when a noun follows, usually has the article preceding it: as, he now vaca, the their canoes.
8. Coia, which signifies that is, that is it, the very same, is often separated, co being put at the beginning, and ia at the end of the sentence: as co he leo möóni ia, that is the true watching or guarding; literally, is the watch true that.
9. The particle be may generally be Englished by one of these conjunctions, and, also, or: often it may be translated only: particularly when, it comes at the end of any member of a sentence, or before the pronoun ia: it is frequently a mere expletive. For the explanation of co and coe, see the ARTICLE. MO may either be the conjunction and, or the pronouns you, your ; or the preposition with. The particle ne is occasionally annexed to words for euphony's sake: as, nofone for nofo, to dwell or remain, &c.; but the e of this particle is scarcely pronounced; it serves, however, to lengthen the o, and the syllable fone is then pronounced like our words cone, prone, the same with tacotone for tacoto; behene for behe, &c.
10. Many of the minor parts of speech are often omitted such as, which, that, since, with, in, is, are, he, she, it, &c.
As to particular idioms of speech, we shall take them, more or less, in the order in which they occur, in the ensuing pieces of composition.
11. Malo is a term of salutation, approbation, and good wishes: it may mean welcome, well done, well borne, well said, &c. When one person visits another, the latter says, malo your coming or arrival: the other answers, malo your staying here: so they may say, malo your harangue or speech; malo your work. If a man has borne a surgical operation with fortitude, they will say to him, malo your patience or fortitude.
12. The figure of speech which grammarians call antiphrasis is very much used in the Tonga language, not ironically, but
on the most common and the most serious occasions. If they? wish to express how great any thing is, they call it little; or how many there are, how few. Instead of saying, what a num. her of yams are here, they will say, here is only one yam! I love you much, I don't love you at all: hence the word chiodofa, a term of affection and endearment, is derived from chi atoo ofa, signifying, literally, small towards you (my) love; but really meaning my love for you is very great. Several exam. ples of this figure occur in Finow's speech to the Vavaoo peo ple on his accession to the government. The sense of the context, or the manner or voice of the speaker, always sufficiently indicates what is truly meant. This figure is also used in derision, and it must be acknowledged they have a vein for irony.
13. If a man is very brave, it is an usual form of phrase to say, he is the only brave man: if a woman is very beautiful, she is the only beautiful woman, and so with other things.
14. There are several familiar phrases which often occur in conversation, some of which it would be difficult to understand from a literal translation; such as,
Coe low; they say; it is said that.
Coe möóni: true; it is true.
Co ho möóni; it is your truth; you are in the right.
Gooa lillé; very well.
Na ger ifé? where hast thou been? where wert thou?
Na ifé ia? where has he been? where was he?
Iký chi; not so much as a little; not at all; also (by antiphrasis) a great deal.
Cówcá aloo au; whilst I go.
Here is another instance of the pronoun au following the verb, instead of the pronoun te coming before it.
Iký obito; not at all; by no means.
Coehá? what? it means also, what is the matter. Gooa te lillé ai; am I good there; i. e. I am glad of it. He mea coia covi; the thing that bad; i. e. I am sorry for it. Coehá na ia: I wonder at it. This seems an obscure idiom; its etymology is probably thus, coihá! what! na was, ia it? (so.)
In Finow's speech, which is given the last, there are several phrases difficult to translate; for it is not only the finest piece of composition, but it has more idioms than those which precede it; for which reason it is placed after the others; and to render it more easy to be understood, we here explain those phrases which are the most difficult to comprehend.
15. HE MOW-MOW NAI TOOBOO HE TOW TAI TOOGOO HE TACOTO GI MALA'I; he mow-mow, the destruction; nai, the sign of the past tense na, and the pronoun ia (he); tooboo, caused by, or
which has sprung from; he tow, the war; taitoogoo, unceasing; he tacoto, the chief lying prostrate (metaphorically, dead); gi málai, in the malai or place where his grave was; i. e. the destruction (which) has been caused by the war unceasing (of) the prostrate chief (now) in the malai.
16. CO LOLOTONGA ENI; lolotonga, period, duration; eni, this; i. e. now is the time.
17. GOOA FY-FY BEA-HA? Good, the sign of the present tense used for the past; fy-fy, to keep doing, to be incessantly doing; béa-há, and what? or, and what is the result; i. e. we have been doing a great deal, (waging wars, &c.) and what good results from it.
18. TAHA HE FOO EGI MO TANGATA TOW GOOA TAW! Taha, one; he foo egi, the great chief; mo tangata tow, and warrior; gooa taw, is fallen; meaning (by antiphrasis), most of the great chiefs and warriors are fallen!
19. Co HE LOTO AHA'I? Co he loto, it is the disposition or wish; ahái, of whom? whose wish or intention is it? meaning, how could it be helped; it has happened in spite of our disposition to the contrary.
20. ILONGA BE TANGA'TA: ilonga, a mark, sign, or character; be, only; tangata, (of) a man, (the wisdom of a man); i. e. it is a manly or noble characteristic.
21. HE MEA COIA TAI LOW-NO'A: he mea, (it is) a thing; coia, truly; tai low-noa, not at all foolish; meaning, (by antiphrasis), it is a thing exceedingly foolish.
22. TOONGA MEA; toonga, a sign of the plural number of animate beings; mea, things, affairs; toonga mea, is used idiomatically to express persons, people.
23. 0'00A NA MO MANATOO GI HE TOW; óooa, desist: na, in case that; mo manatoo, you (are) thinking; gi he tow, about war; i. e. in case that, or if your thoughts are bent upon war; desist, or give up those thoughts.
24. OFA-BE; Oh that; would to God; let but: a contratraction for of a-be ho egi; which is an idiom of speech praying the gods to show so much love or mercy as to permit that, &c.
25. LAHI LE'VA HE TOW GNO'OOE, TATTO'W-BE MO IA HE TOW TOA: lahi leva, great accordingly; he tow gnóooe, our agricultural works; tattów-be, in like manner; mo ia, with it; he tow toa, our bravery; meaning, as the cultivation of our land becomes improved, our bravery in like proportion will become greater, as we shall have something worth fighting for.
26. COE LEO MOÓNI IA; coe leo, the guarding; mooni, true; ia, that: that is the true guarding (he tow fonnooa, of our land), alluding to the above method, cultivating it.
27. O'00A CHI NA MO BEHE HE Mо LOTO; óooa; desist; chi, &