Prepositions in Gjarrda
In the English sentence "I come from Alabama", come is an intransitive verb, and it is necessary to add the prepositional phrase from Alabama to specify your point of departure. Gjarrda uses a transitive verb, corresponding to the English "come from" (note the squiggle before "Alabama", a Gjarrda punctuation mark that denotes proper names):
sam (ziRa) …ElabEma sam (zira) Elabema
[come-from (I-erg.) Alabama]
"I come from Alabama"
One Gjarrda equivalent of the English phrase "from Alabama" is "that comes-from Alabama" (n8 samvi …ElabEman neo samvi Elabeman). But this construction is awkward, and there is a simpler alternative, the active participle ending in -a -a or -La -lja (sama …ElabEma sama Elabema "coming-from Alabama"). For all practical purposes, the participle sama sama may be considered the equivalent of the English preposition "from", although it may take verb endings like any other verb (samase samasei "while coming from", samaje samayei "reportedly from"). There is also a passive participle ending in -e -ei or -Le -ljei, which is useful in making prepositions from verbs such as "support" (Kiz dhliz). The participle Kize dhlizei, "supported by", is the Gjarrda equivalent of "on" (Jenga Kize sko gjeinga dhlizei skou "a banjo on [my] knee").
A participle coming after a verb is treated as an adverb: sam lena Jenga sam leina gjeinga "I come with a banjo". However, "I come from Alabama with a banjo" cannot be translated as sam …ElabEma lena Jenga sam Elabema leina gjeinga if precision is required, since the participle in this case would normally be associated with the noun …ElabEma Elabema. Ordinarily, this causes no difficulty in interpretation, since there isn't such a place as "Alabama-with-a-banjo", and the participle would be re-interpreted as an adverb. But the conjunction ze zei ("while") indicates specifically that the phrase is to be interpreted as an adverb. Thus, the most complete and precise way of saying "I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee" in Gjarrda is:
sam ziRa …ElabEma ze lena Jenga Kize sko zie sam zira Elabema zei leina gjeinga dhlizei skou zi'ei
[come-from I-erg. Alabama while having long-necked-lute supported-by knee I-gen.]
"I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee" (verbose)
Although precision is available when necessary, it is usually possible to infer missing words from the context of the sentence. If a subject is omitted, for instance, it can often be assumed to be ziRa zira "I (erg.)". Similarly, it is reasonable to assume that the banjo is on the speaker's knee, and not someone else's, so the final zie zi'ei would normally be omitted as well.
sam …ElabEma lena Jenga Kize sko sam Elabema leina gjeinga dhlizei skou
[come-from Alabama having long-necked-lute supported-by knee]
"I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee" (concise)