A friend sent me the above graphic. I could not resist sending him the message “Keys are AT home, IN the lounge, ON the table” A perfectly logical statement in English which disproves the proposed rule. Words in English often have multiple meanings, some of them depending on context.
As a matter of fact I had been thinking about prepositions that day. As I typed in song titles in title case, I reflected how it would be nice if all the uncapitalized words belonged to closed groups. It would also be nice if all the prepositions were less than five letters, making the “five letter rule” redundant.
Choice of prepositions in Diinlang needs to be simple. In a previous post I proposed adopting some ideas from Italian. This is an update for Diinlang 2.1, and only deals with a handful of useful prepositions.
“In” has a wider range of use than in English. When travelling, you travel in a vehicle rather than by a vehicle. The exception is when you are physically on top of something such as a horse, camel or bike. Then you travel on, rather than by or in. In can be used for when you are within a location, or for during a time period. You would be “in France” or “in Summer”. Italian also uses in for constructions such that indicate travel towards a large area. “Vai in Francia” rather than “go to France”.
“On” sees less use as a preposition than in English. It is generally reserved for when physically on an object. You ride on a bike, meet on a bridge or are on a mountain. In most cases that English would use on, in Diinlang the preposition “at” would be used instead. You meet at the high street, at the bank, at one at Tuesday. “Veng” (near) may be used instead. The other use of “on” has the meaning “about”. Rather than having a book about Shakespeare or book of Shakespeare, in Diinlang the translation would be a book on Shakespeare.
“At” is used to designate points in space or time, and in most cases replaces the use of “on” in English. It substitutes for “in”, although either can be used when the “within/ during” requirement is met.
“Po” means “from” and is derived from “apo” used in a number of other languages. It is used with various verbs and directives for constructions such as “down-from” or “run-from”. Po is used to construct more logical terms. Rather than saying “a play by Shakespeare”, Diinlang would say “a play from/po Shakespeare”. There is no direct equivalent of the English word “by”. Other words are used in Diinlang to create more specific statements.
The use of “per” has been expanded further in Diinlang. It has the meaning “for/to” and now becomes the complement of “po”. It can also have the meanings “during” (per annum), “for each” (per person), “to each/ in each” (per metre, per hour), “in accordance” (per your request), “by means of” (Li skribis per plumo, Sono passato per il centro) and in some cases mean “as, with, by, via”. For the moment I will retain “ad” for “to”, but expect in most cases per can be used instead. Rather than “Book of Records” or “Book of Shakespeare” the Diinlang construction translates as “Book per Records” or “Book per Shakespeare”
“De” remains in use as a non-specific preposition, to be used when the use of po or per is uncertain, or to substitute for on, in or at. It is the closest word that Diinlang has for “of” in that it complements “vo”: “Jon vo kanis” means “Jon’s Dog” while “Kanis de Jon” is “Dog of Jon”.