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Prepositions II

This lesson covers the advanced use of prepositions.  This includes simple and complex comparisons, common compound prepositions, implied words, and contractions.

Simple Comparisons

A simple comparison is a relationship described between the subject and an object.  Two items can be compared in a relative manner by using the comparative prepositions Qw (dthooh, "more-than"), Qwj (dthoohch, "less-than"), QC (dthauw, "similar-to"), and QCj (dthauwch, "different-than").  Equality in quantity or quality is usually indicated using QwXr (dthooh-zhur, "more-than lacking").  Identity, when two things are exactly the same in all respects, is indicated by QCJy (dthauw-jee, "similar-to maximal").

By default, these prepositions do not specifically refer to quantity or quality.  A simple comparison that targets a subject relies entirely on context to provide meaning:

  • I'm not as good as you: Wy Qwj Yw. (wee dthoohch yooh, "me less-than you.")
  • You and I are equals: Yw QwXr Wy. (yooh dthooh-zhur wee, "you more-than lacking me.")
  • 2 > 1: nukw Qw nuRw. (n'kooh dthooh n'rooh, "indefinite two more-than indefinite one.")
  • Dogs are similar to wolves: nuRcf QC nuWG. (n'ruof dthauw n'wohl, "indefinite dog similar-to indefinite wolf.")

For non-reflexive prepositions Qw (dthooh, "more-than") and Qwj (dthoohch, "less-than"), the relationship is relative to the target of the phrase.  So, Wy Qwj Yw. (wee dthoohch yooh, "me less-than you.") means that the subject, Wy (wee, "me"), is the lesser of the two.  This is similar to how other non-reflexive prepositions are defined, as described in the (basic) Prepositions lesson.

A simple comparison can imply a generic superlative relationship such as "best" if the object being compared is JuWw (j'wooh, "all-of it").  It's like saying "better than all the rest":

  • You're the best: Yw Qw JuWw. (yooh dthooh j'wooh, "you more-than all-of it.")

Simple comparisons must always target the subject of a sentence.  If a comparative preposition targets a verb or an object, it is a complex comparison instead.

Complex Comparisons

In English, nouns can be compared with comparative (such as "bigger than") and superlative (such as "biggest") adjective forms, which are constructed using the words "more" and "most", or the suffixes "-er" and "-est".  English comparisons are sometimes further qualified with an "at" or "with" phrase, such as "better at chess".

In Primal, expressions that describe details about a relationship between two or more nouns are called complex comparisons.  To make a complex comparison, modify a verb or an object with a comparative preposition.  The object of the comparative preposition is being compared over the quality described by its target object.  The subject of the comparison is the target's object's target (often, this is the subject of the sentence):

  • I jump better than you: Wy fim Qw Yw. (wee fim dthooh yooh, "me jump-over more-than you.")
  • I'm faster than you: Wy su xwx xuQw Yw. (wee s'shoohsh sh'dthooh yooh, "me containing speed phrase more-than you").
  • I jump as fast as you: Wy fim Wi xwx xuQwXr Yw. (wee fim wih shoohsh sh'dthooh-zhur yooh, "me jump-over with speed phrase more-than lacking you").

In the first example, "better" is implied, but this can depend on context.  Modifying a verb directly isn't much more specific than modifying the subject.  Such comparisons usually imply that the quality of the action (or the ability to perform it well) is being compared.

Although it is rarely done, a comparative preposition can target an object of another object.  In this case, the comparison doesn't involve the subject at all.  The comparison is between the object of the comparison phrase, and the target of its target.

Common Compound Prepositions

The following are translations for some of the most common compound prepositions:

Preposition Pronounced Meaning Translation
xysy (shee-see) above slight on top of
xyXr (shee-zhur) above lacking level with, on par with
WuXr (w'zhur) left lacking central to, in the center of
hrXr (hur-zhur) before lacking during, as soon as, while, when
hyXr (hee-zhur) overlapping lacking touching, bordering
hyjlw (heech-looh) separate within between
,lwXr (looh-zhur) within lacking aligned with
RiJy (rih-jee) near-to maximal at (location)
Yixy (yih-shee) around above over the top of
YixyWu (yih-shee-wuh) around above left counter-clockwise from
YixyWuj (yih-shee-wuhch) around above right clockwise from
Yijlw (yihch-looh) by-way-of within through
pwlw (pooh-looh) to-target within into
jwfw (chooh-fooh) to-help-with therefore in order to cause
QwXr (dthooh-zhur) more-than lacking equal to (in quantity or quality)
QCJy (dthauw-jee) similar-to maximal identical to, the same as
QCkE (dthauw-kel) similar-to beyond defined to (used to make pronouns)

The highlighted prepositions are composed of multiple preposition words, which means they must take a noun suffix if they become a noun, as described in the Noun Forms lesson.

Implied Words and Contractions

If a verb or verb suffix appears after a preposition, the word nu (nuh, "indefinite") is implied.  This automatically makes the verb or verb suffix into a noun, as described in the Noun Forms lesson.  Primal also has one other case where a word can be implied.  The other implied word is the preposition su (suh, "containing"), when following a preposition prefix:

Preposition Prefix Pronounced Meaning (If No Preposition) Implied Word
xu (shuh) phrase+containing xusu (sh'suh)
Xu (zhuh) both+containing Xusu (zh'suh)

Whenever a preposition prefix is followed by an object noun (when it has no preposition), the preposition su (suh, "containing") is implied.  The implied word xusu (sh'suh, "phrase+containing") from xu (shuh, "phrase") is very common.  This can simplify the example from the (basic) Noun Phrases lesson:

  • The orange ball: RukSq su Hix xu nO. (r'karth s'khhihsh sh'nall, "this ball containing red phrase+containing yellow").

It is possible for both su (suh, "containing") and nu (nuh, "indefinite") to be implied together, if the preposition prefix is followed by a verb or verb suffix:

  • I have a heart filled with desire: Wy su sOj xu Dy. (wee s'sallch sh'dzee, "me containing heart phrase+containing indefinite+desire.")

There are two contractions in Primal.  These are shortened forms of two other commonly used prepositions:

Contraction Pronounced Meaning Equivalent To
xuj (shuhch) phrase+member-of xusuj (sh'such)
Xuj (zhuhch) both+member-of Xusuj (zh'suhch)

For the purpose of classification, the contractions are considered to be simple possessive prepositions.  Contractions may not take a preposition prefix, as they already include one.

Implied prepositions and contractions may not be used in selective phrase targeting, as described in the Special Phrases lesson.  To selectively target a phrase, you must use the long format.

Since Hix xu nO (khhihsh sh'nall, "red phrase+containing yellow") always means orange, while Hix su nO (khhihsh s'nall, "red containing yellow") may mean "orange" or "red and yellow" depending on where it appears in a sentence, it may be tempting to use xu (shuh, "phrase+containing") in place of su (suh, "containing") when unnecessary.  This is considered bad grammar, however, and should be avoided.  Never use a preposition prefix in a phrase that immediately follows a subject or verb.

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