Wenja Grammar: wayda ‘find; know’

In today’s grammar post we’ll be looking at a verb that’s super common in Wenja, but one that behaves a bit unexpectedly.

Depending on where the pronouns are added in the sentence, the verb wayda can either mean ‘to find’ or ‘to know / seem’.  Let’s begin with the meaning that behaves in the normal fashion, ‘to find’. You’ll note that the pronouns are added directly to the verb, as you see with pretty much all verbs.

  1. Shash waydam, waydata, wayda, etc.        I/You/He, She, It find(s) a rock.
  2. Aysh sa waydarsh.                                           They might find him.
  3. U mash-apashkanti brashtar wayda.         Find our lost brothers.
So far so good.  However, if you use stand-alone pronouns at the beginning of the sentence or pronoun suffixes attached to a sentence starter, wayda now means ‘to know’.

  1. Mu / Ta / Sa wayda.                                    I / You / He, She, It know(s).
  2. Nam wayda.                                                    I don’t know.
  3. U-ta wayda!                                                    Know!
  4. Aysharsh wayda.                                            They should know.

Strange, huh? The basic idea is that ‘to know something’ is for ‘something to find you’. Of course, this distinction wasn’t created randomly, it in fact is based off a well-known contrast we find in PIE.  Let’s look at some forms:

  • Latin vīdī, Vedic Sanskrit ávidat ‘he found’, Avestan vīdaṯ ‘finds’, Armenian egit ‘found’, Greek eĩdon ‘I saw’
  • Vedic Sanskrit véda ‘I / he knows’, Avestan vaēdā ‘knows’, Greek oĩda ‘I know’, Old Irish ro-fetar ‘I knew’, German weiß ‘know(s)’

You can see that in PIE there was a distinction between ‘see, find’ & ‘know’, with the first given in one type of tense and the other in a tense called the perfect. Since tense doesn’t exist in Wenja, we had to be a little creative in how to creation this distinction.