How to Express ‘to Be’ in Eilauners

Written by Dyami Millarson

The verbs wazze (to be), sitte (to sit) and leze (to lie) are all very commonly used to express ‘to be’ in Eilauners. The verb wazze is the translation proper of ‘to be’ or the ‘to be’ proper as I call it. However, sitte and leze express locations. These locations that the verbs sitte and leze express must be perceived along a horizontal-vertical axis. Sitte expresses a vertical position, while leze expresses a horizontal location. In contrast to these to two verbs, wazze can be used to express location more abstractly by ignoring the aspect of the horizontal-vertical axis; one may use wazze if one wishes to be vague as to the position in a 2D reality. Wezze (to become), which can be used to form the passive, may sometimes be translated to English with ‘to be’, but this will be discussed in greater depth in another article that deals with the construction of the passive voice. Gain (to go) may also be used to express a sense of ‘to be’ in Eilauners, but in that case it is always used in conjunction with the preposition ieuwr (about). Furthermore, the verb stain (to stand) may be used synonymously with sitte.

  • Jò is fandei slim blyd. She is very happy today. (Here wazze is used as a connective/copulative verb: It connects the subject and an adjective.)
  • It búek leit der. The book is (located) there. (Leze expresses a horizontal position. It may also be translated in this case as The book lies there.)
  • It búek is der. The book is there. (No further information is provided by wazze about whether the book is in an upright or lying position.)
  • It búek sit/stie der. The book is (located) over there. (Sitte/stain expresses a vertical position. It may also be translated as The book is standing on the ground over there.)
  • Wer leit/sit/is it? Where is it (located)? (All of these express location in some sense. Wazze ignores the horizontal-vertical axis, while leze/sitte embrace it. This means that wazze is more abstract and provides the listener with less specific information about the item that is being searched for. Since it is hard to predict the exact position of an item that is being searched for, the verbs sitte and leze are often just used to express an assumption on the part of the speaker, which might be false, and when the item is found, the correct verb may be chosen to describe the item’s position to fit it into the 2D reality of the horizontal-vertical axis.)
  • Der sit/stie it! It is (located) over there! (Vertical position.)
  • Der is it. It is over there. (Just a location, no position specified.)
  • It wedt kaud. It is becoming cold; it is going to be cold. (Wezze, which is a copulative like wazze, expresses a process rather than a state; it describes something that not yet is, but is going to be at some point in time or is expected to exist after a while.)
  • It wedt dien. It is being done. (Wezze is here used to construct the passive. It may thus be translated with ‘to be’ in English.)
  • It gie ieuwr heel wat eeuwrs. It is about something completely different. (Gain is here used to express a topic, such as of discussion, research, etc.)

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