1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: High Valyrian
  4. >
  5. "Bonā geviē riñā baelā?"

"Bonā geviē riñā baelā?"

Translation:Are you helping that beautiful girl?

September 8, 2018



Why does the verb baelagon = to help need a locative object? Doesn't make sense to me. In german it would need a dative object. This confuses me.


What case a verb takes doesn't really need to have any reason behind it. For example, in Turkish the verb binmek "to ride" takes the dative case for the thing you ride, which doesn't make much sense. Sometimes you might be able to make sense of it though the etymology of a word, but most of the time I find you can't. This goes for natural languages as well as fictional languages.


Why is it "riña" and not "riñe"? I don't really know what terms like "locative object" or "dative" mean, so I'm going off of memorization for most of these sentences


So, this is a tricky sentence because it's not intuitive and receives only a brief reference in the tips.

In High Valyrian, the locative case is also used to mark the objects of certain verbs (you'll learn more about these later), and also used to mark the objects of the preposition hae "like, as".

First, a note on dative, locative, etc. These are the names of different noun cases. As you've seen, nouns in High Valyrian have eight different cases that reflect how they are being used in a sentence. The nominative case is used for the subject of the sentence, the one who is performing the action of the verb (taoba in Taoba azanti majaqsa "the boy admires the knight"). The accusative case is the direct object of the verb, the target of the action (the knight azanti in the above example). This is the classic subject-object-verb trio of our grammar lessons.

The dative case is usually used for the indirect object of the verb. For instance, consider the sentence Riña rūklon taobot irughas "The girl is giving a flower to the boy". The girl is clearly the subject, so riña is in the nominative case. The direct object, the target of the action - the thing being given - is the flower, so rūklon is in the accusative case. But we also want to be able to specify who or what receives the flower. In English, we convey this through word order (e.g. "the girl gives the boy a flower") or the preposition "to." In High Valyrian, we instead have the dative case to fulfill this function. It also specifies destinations when travelling.

The other cases are (at their most basic)

  • the genitive case for expressing possession (valo anne "the man's horse")
  • the locative case for expressing location (zenturliot umban "I am waiting at the inn.")
  • the instrumental case for expressing tools or means (dāri ohīlvoso sēntan "I killed the king with a dagger.")
  • the comitative case for accompaniment (Ābra azantommi aerēbas. - "The woman is traveling with the knights.")
  • the vocative case for addressing someone directly (Rytsas, Sansus! "Hello, Sansa")

Most of the time, knowing the intended role of the noun case makes it clear which one should be used. But some verbs are, for reasons clear or unclear, not so straightforward. See the wiki entry for the verb baelagon:

baelagon [ˈbaɛ̯lagon]
perfect: beldan
v. C-fin. to help, to aid, to assist someone →acc. with something →loc.
Taoba ñuhȳ botē baelza. — The boy is helping my work.
with inf.
Meli Voktyssy Mīrīnī lyks mazverdagon beldis. — The Red Priests helped bring peace to Meereen.

In the definition, we see that the target of the assistance is in the locative case. Because it's an object of the verb, we refer to it as the "locative object": the object of the verb in the locative case.

Crucially, this is not common behavior. The verb zoklākogon "to entice" is similar in that it wants its object in the locative case, when one would intuitively assume the accusative.

zoklākogon [zoˈklaːkogon]
v. V-fin. to entice, to entreat →loc. somebody ( < zokla + -ākogon.)
Iōnot zoklākō? — Are you enticing Jon?

Unfortunately, I don't know of any feature of these verbs that would allow you to predict when this occurs - unlike the behavior of, for instance, vaoresagon "to prefer, to like" which finally makes sense when you get to the last lesson in the course. You just have to memorize that baelagon and zoklākogon want their objects in the locative case. Practice the Locative lesson enough times and it becomes more familiar.


Great explanation! But I'm still a bit confused. Also because of this english sentence: "The boy is helping my work." I'm not a native english speaker, so I cannot tell if this is correct english, but to me this sentence seems a bit weird. Shouldn't it be more like: "The boy is helping me with my work." Then you can clearly see, he is helping "with what?" -> "with my work" -> loc. But going back to the sentence of this exercise, you are helping the girl with something. So I don't understand what would be the difference putting the girl in the accusative? What is the difference between these two sentences:
- Riñā baelā.
- Riñe baelā.

Learn High Valyrian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.