Prepositions

Prepositions are used in Talossan in the same way they are used in English, and in the main not much needs to be said about them.

Talossan has a great many prepositions; it would be a chore to list them all. Some of the most common ones are à (= at, or to, or towards), da (= of, or from), cün (= with), sür (= on), per (= for), come (= like, or as), osprei (= after), avant (= before), and par (= by). Obviously, there are many more   think of any English preposition, such as above, below, beside, inside, etc., and there is a Talossan preposition for it.

In English, it is not unusual for a verb that sometimes takes a preposition also to be able to be used without it, as seen in the two English statements “he faces the wall” and he faces “toward the wall”, which have identical or near-identical meaning. This is not done in Talossan. To fail to use a preposition with Talossan verb that requires one would be improper, similar to the way such an omission is improper in the English phrase “I cling you” (which should properly be “I cling to you”). For example, o faça àl mür (= he faces toward the wall) is proper, while o faça el mür (= literally, he faces the wall) is improper.

The reverse is also true. It is improper to employ a preposition with a verb that does not use this way of relating to its noun. For example, avititscharh (= to cling to) is one such verb in Talossan, and o avititscha sieu matra (= he clings to his mother) is proper Talossan, where the equivalent English phrase would require that the preposition “to” be made explicit. To include the preposition in Talossan, as in o avititscha à sieu matra would be improper, similar to the way such an inclusion is improper in the English phrase “he loves to his mother”.

Just as in English, certain verbs “work” with certain prepositions. For example, you wouldn’t use the preposition “from” with “to listen” — although “I listen to you” makes sense, “I listen from you” makes no sense at all. In the main, most Talossan verbs “work” with the same prepositions as in English. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes a verb that would take one preposition in English will take a different one in Talossan. (This usually indicates that the verbs aren’t 100% identical in meaning, no matter what an online translator might say.) For example, where in English you would say “he seeks for it”, the closest equivalent Talossan would be o quaira à ça (literally = he seeks to or toward it).

Notice that in English, some prepositions have idiomatic uses. For example, the preposition “on” in the phrases “the dinner burned on me” and “the car stalled on her” does not have its normal semantic meaning (surmounting, atop). Instead, in these phrases, it means something like, “which was a bad thing for”. Talossan uses the preposition pa (= upon) in a similar idiom. For example, l’avendaziun breneva pa mhe (= the dinner burned on me) and l’auteu caßeva pad eia (= the car stalled on her). However, this idiomatic use of pa has a (slightly) different use from English “on”, in that with pa, whether the event was good or bad for the “third party” is undefined (and therefore might be expressed in English using the preposition “for” instead). For example, in the phrase o cumplicheva va figlha sè vida pa mhe (= he complicated my daughter’s life on/for me), it is unclear whether the complication was a good or bad thing for the speaker, only that it involved or affected the speaker in some way.

Prepositional Contractions, Elisions, and Mutations

The prepositions à and da contract with the definite article, becoming àl (= to the), del and dal (both = of the, with del used for masculine nouns, and dal for feminine nouns).

The prepositional phrase osprei eia (= after her) contracts, becoming ospr’eia.

The prepositions à, da, per, come, intra (= between), and contra (= against) are followed the second case form (iens and iensa) of the indefinite article (rather than being followed by the first case form, ün(a) or ‘n), and typically contract with it, becoming à’iens (= to a/an), d’iens (= from a/an), pr’iens (= for a/an), com’iens (= like/as a/an), intr’iens (= between a/an), and contr’iens (= against a/an). When the noun in question is feminine in gender, of course, the words become à’iensa, d’iensa, etc., and when the noun is plural, à’iensas, d’iensas, and so forth.

The preposition à becomes àð (or, as is often seen, àd) when preceding any word that begins with a vowel (other than the article el, of course, when you get àl). For example, àð ingen temp (= at any time) is proper, while à ingen temp is improper.

Rather than àð acest, however (and àð aceasta and àð acestilor), you may see the forms à’cest (and à’ceasta and à’cestilor).

The preposition da elides (becoming d’) with the following word, or alternatively becomes dad, when preceding any word that begins with a vowel (except the definite article el, of course, when you get del). The prepositional phrase dad üns (= of us, ours) is the only case where the dad construct is more commonly used than d’.

Note that the final d in dad (and ad) is pronounced as a ð according to the pronunciation rules, since falls between two vowel sounds.

The two forms àð and dad can be thought of very much like the English word “an”. Although “an” is actually the older, original form of the indefinite article in English, and “a” developed simply out of people’s laziness, most people think of “a” as needing to become “an” before vowels, rather than what actually happened, which is that “an” became “a” before consonants. In Talossan, think of à and da becoming ad and dad before vowels.

Notice, though, that not every vowel gets the English “an” treatment. For example, although the words “wonder” and “unicorn” obviously start with vowel sounds, neither one of them is typically (anymore) seen with “an” — rather, people say “a wonder” and “a unicorn”. This same thing is true of Talossan, and so you do not need (although it is not improper) to use ad or dad if the next word begins with a vowel combination that starts with the letter i or u (which means that these words may also start with j or w). For example, zoneveu el glhibreu à Ieremiac’h (= I gave the book to Jeremiah).