[tlhIngan Hol] the problem with {naw'wat}

nIqolay Q niqolay0 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 13 08:10:28 PDT 2021

On Mon, Sep 13, 2021 at 7:47 AM mayqel qunen'oS <mihkoun at gmail.com> wrote:

> nIqolay Q:
> > What remote, desolate, big places do you have in mind?
> SuStel:
> > Because the word refers to a place, not an area. It refers to a place
> isolated in a desolate area,
> > which makes the place relatively small. If the place were large, it
> wouldn't be isolated in its desolation.
> I'm confused by this distinction between "place" and "area"; so I'll
> write an example.
> You set out to visit the rocky mountains, but your gps malfunctions.
> You end up driving hours in the wilderness, and after having driven on
> some godforsaken dirt road, you exit your car, not having seen a
> single sign of civilization for the past 300 miles. All you see, is
> uncultivated, untouched by human hand, wilderness, as far as the eye
> can see.
> Don't you call that in english "remote, desolate place"?

I'd probably call it remote and desolate, yes. But I don't think I would
call the Rockies themselves "the middle of nowhere" (which seems to be the
implied idiomatic English translation with *naw'wat*). In this case, they
*are* the nowhere, which I am in the middle of. (Actually, they're pretty
nice, from what I remember.)

Regarding the original topic, though: there are still plenty of uses for
*naw'wat*, even if it doesn't include vast, desolate areas. I'm not sure
what the problem is, really. (I suppose you could refer to a place like
Antarctica as a *naw'wat'a'*, if you were feeling facetious.)
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