5.14. Some types of asymmetrical tanru

This section and Section 5.15 contain some example tanru classified into groups based on the type of relationship between the modifying seltau and the modified tertau. All the examples are paralleled by compounds actually observed in various natural languages. In the tables which follow, each group is preceded by a brief explanation of the relationship. The tables themselves contain a tanru, a literal gloss, the languages which exhibit a compound analogous to this tanru, and (for those tanru with no English parallel) a translation.

The tanru discussed in this section are asymmetrical tanru; that is, ones in which the order of the terms is fundamental to the meaning of the tanru. For example, junla dadysli , or clock pendulum , is the kind of pendulum used in a clock, whereas dadysli junla , or pendulum clock , is the kind of clock that employs a pendulum. Most tanru are asymmetrical in this sense. Symmetrical tanru are discussed in Section 5.15.

The tertau represents an action, and the seltau then represents the object of that action:

Table 5.1. Example tanru

pinsi nunkilca'a pencil sharpener Hungarian
zgike nunctu music instruction Hungarian
mirli nunkalte deer hunting Hungarian
finpe nunkalte fish hunting Turkish,Korean,Udmurt,Abazin fishing
smacu terkavbu mousetrap Turkish,Korean,Hungarian,Udmurt,Abazin
zdani turni house ruler Karaitic host
zerle'a nunte'a thief fear Sanskrit fear of thieves
cevni zekri god crime Sanskrit offense against the gods

Table 5.2. Mini-Glossary













The tertau represents a set, and the seltau the type of the elements contained in that set:

Table 5.3. Example tanru

zdani lijgri house row
selci lamgri cell block
karda mulgri card pack Swedish
rokci derxi stone heap Swedish
tadni girzu student group Hungarian
remna girzu human-being group Qabardian group of people
cpumi'i lijgri tractor column Qabardian
cevni jenmi god army Sanskrit
cevni prenu god folk Sanskrit

Table 5.4. Mini-Glossary









Conversely: the tertau is an element, and the seltau represents a set in which that element is contained. Implicitly, the meaning of the tertau is restricted from its usual general meaning to the specific meaning appropriate for elements in the given set. Note the opposition between zdani lijgri in the previous group, and lijgri zdani in this one, which shows why this kind of tanru is called asymmetrical.

Table 5.5. Example tanru

carvi dirgo raindrop Turkish,Korean,Hungarian,Udmurt,Abazin
linji zdani row house

The seltau specifies an object and the tertau a component or detail of that object; the tanru as a whole refers to the detail, specifying that it is a detail of that whole and not some other.

Table 5.6. Example tanru

junla dadysli clock pendulum Hungarian
purdi vorme garden door Qabardian
purdi bitmu garden wall Quechua
moklu skapi mouth skin Imbabura Quechua lips
nazbi kevna nose hole Imbabura Quechua nostril
karce xislu automobile wheel Chinese
jipci pimlu chicken feather Chinese
vinji rebla airplane tail Chinese

Table 5.7. Mini-Glossary



Conversely: the seltau specifies a characteristic or important detail of the object described by the tertau; objects described by the tanru as a whole are differentiated from other similar objects by this detail.

Table 5.8. Example tanru

pixra cukta picture book
kerfa silka hair silk Karaitic velvet
plise tapla apple cake Turkish
dadysli junla pendulum clock Hungarian

Table 5.9. Mini-Glossary



The tertau specifies a general class of object (a genus), and the seltau specifies a sub-class of that class (a species):

Table 5.10. Example tanru

ckunu tricu pine tree Hungarian,Turkish,Hopi

The tertau specifies an object of possession, and the seltau may specify the possessor (the possession may be intrinsic or otherwise). In English, these compounds have an explicit possessive element in them: lion's mane , child's foot , noble's cow.

Table 5.11. Example tanru

cinfo kerfa lion mane Korean,Turkish,Hungarian,Udmurt,Qabardian
verba jamfu child foot Swedish
nixli tuple girl leg Swedish
cinfo jamfu lion foot Quechua
danlu skapi animal skin Ewe
ralju zdani chief house Ewe
jmive munje living world Sanskrit
nobli bakni noble cow Sanskrit
nolraitru ralju king chief Sanskrit emperor

Table 5.12. Mini-Glossary



The tertau specifies a habitat, and the seltau specifies the inhabitant:

Table 5.13. Example tanru

lanzu tumla family land

The tertau specifies a causative agent, and the seltau specifies the effect of that cause:

Table 5.14. Example tanru

kalselvi'i gapci tear gas Hungarian
terbi'a jurme disease germ Turkish
fenki litki crazy liquid Hopi whisky
pinca litki urine liquid Hopi beer

Table 5.15. Mini-Glossary





Conversely: the tertau specifies an effect, and the seltau specifies its cause.

Table 5.16. Example tanru

djacu barna water mark Chinese

The tertau specifies an instrument, and the seltau specifies the purpose of that instrument:

Table 5.17. Example tanru

taxfu dadgreku garment rack Chinese
tergu'i ti'otci lamp shade Chinese
xirma zdani horse house Chinese stall
nuzba tanbo news board Chinese bulletin board

Table 5.18. Mini-Glossary




source of illumination



More vaguely: the tertau specifies an instrument, and the seltau specifies the object of the purpose for which that instrument is used:

Table 5.19. Example tanru

cpina rokci pepper stone Quechua stone for grinding pepper
jamfu djacu foot water Sanskrit water for washing the feet
grana mudri post wood Sanskrit wood for making a post
moklu djacu mouth water Hungarian water for washing the mouth
lanme gerku sheep dog dog for working sheep

The tertau specifies a product from some source, and the seltau specifies the source of the product:

Table 5.20. Example tanru

moklu djacu mouth water Abazin,Qabardian saliva
ractu mapku rabbit hat Russian
jipci sovda chicken egg Chinese
sikcurnu silka silkworm silk Chinese
mlatu kalci cat feces Chinese
bifce lakse bee wax Chinese beeswax
cribe rectu bear meat Turkish,Korean,Hungarian,Udmurt,Abazin
solxrula grasu sunflower oil Turkish,Korean,Hungarian,Udmurt,Abazin
bifce jisra bee juice Hopi honey
tatru litki breast liquid Hopi milk
kanla djacu eye water Korean tear

Table 5.21. Mini-Glossary





Conversely: the tertau specifies the source of a product, and the seltau specifies the product:

Table 5.22. Example tanru

silna jinto salt well Chinese
kolme terkakpa coal mine Chinese
ctile jinto oil well Chinese

Table 5.23. Mini-Glossary


source of digging

The tertau specifies an object, and the seltau specifies the material from which the object is made. This case is especially interesting, because the referent of the tertau may normally be made from just one kind of material, which is then overridden in the tanru.

Table 5.24. Example tanru

rokci cinfo stone lion
snime nanmu snow man Hungarian
kliti cipni clay bird
blaci kanla glass eye Hungarian
blaci kanla glass eye Quechua spectacles
solji sicni gold coin Turkish
solji junla gold watch Turkish,Korean,Hungarian
solji djine gold ring Udmurt,Abazin,Quechua
rokci zdani stone house Imbabura Quechua
mudri zdani wood house Ewe wooden house
rokci bitmu stone wall Ewe
solji carce gold chariot Sanskrit
mudri xarci wood weapon Sanskrit wooden weapon
cmaro'i dargu pebble road Chinese
sudysrasu cutci straw shoe Chinese

Table 5.25. Mini-Glossary





Note: the two senses of blaci kanla can be discriminated as:

Table 5.26. Example tanru

blaci kanla bo tarmi glass (eye shape) glass eye
blaci kanla bo sidju glass (eye helper) spectacles

The tertau specifies a typical object used to measure a quantity and the seltau specifies something measured. The tanru as a whole refers to a given quantity of the thing being measured. English does not have compounds of this form, as a rule.

Table 5.27. Example tanru

tumla spisa land piece Turkish piece of land
tcati kabri tea cup Korean,Abazin cup of tea
nanba spisa bread piece Korean piece of bread
bukpu spisa cloth piece Udmurt,Abazin piece of cloth
djacu calkyguzme water calabash Ewe calabash of water

Table 5.28. Mini-Glossary


shell-fruit, calabash

The tertau specifies an object with certain implicit properties, and the seltau overrides one of those implicit properties:

Table 5.29. Example tanru

kensa bloti spaceship
bakni verba cattle child Ewe calf

The seltau specifies a whole, and the tertau specifies a part which normally is associated with a different whole. The tanru then refers to a part of the seltau which stands in the same relationship to the whole seltau as the tertau stands to its typical whole.

Table 5.30. Example tanru

kosta degji coat finger Hungarian coat sleeve
denci genja tooth root Imbabura Quechua
tricu stedu tree head Imbabura Quechua treetop

The tertau specifies the producer of a certain product, and the seltau specifies the product. In this way, the tanru as a whole distinguishes its referents from other referents of the tertau which do not produce the product.

Table 5.31. Example tanru

silka curnu silkworm Turkish,Hungarian,Abazin

The tertau specifies an object, and the seltau specifies another object which has a characteristic property. The tanru as a whole refers to those referents of the tertau which possess the property.

Table 5.32. Example tanru

sonci manti soldier ant
ninmu bakni woman cattle Imbabura Quechua cow
mamta degji mother finger Imbabura Quechua thumb
cifnu degji baby finger Imbabura Quechua pinky
pacraistu zdani hell house Sanskrit
fagri dapma fire curse Sanskrit curse destructive as fire

Table 5.33. Mini-Glossary



As a particular case (when the property is that of resemblance): the seltau specifies an object which the referent of the tanru resembles.

Table 5.34. Example tanru

grutrceraso jbama cherry bomb
solji kerfa gold hair Hungarian golden hair
kanla djacu eye water Karaitic spring
bakni rokci bull stone Mongolian boulder

Table 5.35. Mini-Glossary


fu'ivla for cherry based on Linnean name

The seltau specifies a place, and the tertau an object characteristically located in or at that place.

Table 5.36. Example tanru

ckana boxfo bed sheet Chinese
mrostu mojysu'a tomb monument Chinese tombstone
jubme tergusni table lamp Chinese
foldi smacu field mouse Chinese
briju ci'ajbu office desk Chinese
rirxe xirma river horse Chinese hippopotamus
xamsi gerku sea dog Chinese seal
cagyce'u zdani village house Sanskrit

Table 5.37. Mini-Glossary









Specifically: the tertau is a place where the seltau is sold or made available to the public.

Table 5.38. Example tanru

cidja barja food bar Chinese restaurant
cukta barja book bar Chinese library

The seltau specifies the locus of application of the tertau.

Table 5.39. Example tanru

kanla velmikce eye medicine Chinese
jgalu grasu nail oil Chinese nail polish
denci pesxu tooth paste Chinese

Table 5.40. Mini-Glossary


treatment used by doctor

The tertau specifies an implement used in the activity denoted by the seltau.

Table 5.41. Example tanru

me la .pinpan. bolci Ping-Pong ball Chinese

The tertau specifies a protective device against the undesirable features of the referent of the seltau.

Table 5.42. Example tanru

carvi mapku rain cap Chinese
carvi taxfu rain garment Chinese raincoat
vindu firgai poison mask Chinese gas mask

Table 5.43. Mini-Glossary



The tertau specifies a container characteristically used to hold the referent of the seltau.

Table 5.44. Example tanru

cukta vasru book vessel Chinese satchel
vanju kabri wine cup Chinese
spatrkoka lanka coca basket Quechua
rismi dakli rice bag Ewe,Chinese
tcati kabri tea cup Chinese
ladru botpi milk bottle Chinese
rismi patxu rice pot Chinese
festi lante trash can Chinese
bifce zdani bee house Korean beehive
cladakyxa'i zdani sword house Korean sheath
manti zdani ant nest Guarani anthill

Table 5.45. Mini-Glossary


fu'ivla for coca



The seltau specifies the characteristic time of the event specified by the tertau.

Table 5.46. Example tanru

vensa djedi spring day Chinese
crisa citsi summer season Chinese
cerni bumru morning fog Chinese
critu lunra autumn moon Chinese
dunra nicte winter night Chinese
nicte ckule night school Chinese

The seltau specifies a source of energy for the referent of the tertau.

Table 5.47. Example tanru

dikca tergusni electric lamp Chinese
ratni nejni atom energy Chinese
brife molki windmill Turkish,Korean,Hungarian,Udmurt,Abazin

Table 5.48. Mini-Glossary



Finally, some tanru which don't fall into any of the above categories.

Table 5.49. Example tanru

ladru denci milk tooth Turkish,Hungarian,Udmurt,Qabardian
kanla denci eye tooth

It is clear that tooth is being specified, and that milk and eye act as modifiers. However, the relationship between ladru and denci is something like tooth which one has when one is drinking milk from one's mother , a relationship certainly present nowhere except in this particular concept. As for kanla denci , the relationship is not only not present on the surface, it is hardly possible to formulate it at all.