We had a fascinating foray into the depths of the [Yellow] Hackett Lexicon yesterday in Grammar Verse class. Sam showed us how to look up auxiliary verb phrases and verbal collocations. Oh I so fondly remember my first week of classes when Dr. Hackett visited us and I asked, "What's a verbal collocation?" The air of mystery has never fully lifted.
On Lexicon p454, we find གསལ་ [I can't seem to make this text larger(?)] Luckily for us, all the tenses are the same, so we didn't actually need the Tense Index on p465, but it's a good practice to use it. In the last column on p455, after passing by all the "AUX" constructions and entering the "COLLOC" section, we finally arrive at "རབ་ (ཏུ་) གསལ།" in the three tenses (still all the same). The definitions, "to be very clear, to shine, to be evident," feel more like Class II (1/7 nominative-locative) than "The Mirror Clarifying the Important Points." They are unequivocally intransitive. The subject does the verb just by itself, not to any object. But "The mirror that clarifies the important points" feels definitely transitive to me. The important points are the object. This is how I think Bill read it and how I read it.
But in the middle of the night it hit me, "It can't be a Class III (1/2 nominative-objective) (our other guess) because the 'important points' are the object!" We were reading it transitively, But a Class III reading would be like the mirror is somehow just off clarifying. Not clarifying any thing. So how about: "The mirror of important points for the application of the letters that shines; (is evident; is very clear)"? I dig it!
BUT CHECK THIS OUT:
Keep reading the examples in the lexicon. In the first one, the plot totally thickens. I know this is heavy, but I think it's important. And we are about to get into them with Craig. It's the future auxiliary བར་བྱ་ (see Lex p20). That seems like a possible candidate for the missing grammar that could make the verb function transitively: "I shall light a lamp" (Lex 455) with a nominative object. Just like in our title. The mirror clarifies the points. And then the example goes on "...for the path to enlightenment." Maybe like, "mirror that clarifies important points for the arrangement of the letters"? I dig that too. (But does the "I shall" in the example matter? My guess: no.)
Now have a look at the second column of Lex 454. Back to the auxiliaries! གསལ་ (བར་) བྱ་ [I can't make byed come out with its འགྲེང་བུ་ on right.] "To cause to make clear, to clarify! So we probably secretly have both things in our verbal phrase: རབ་ (ཏུ་) གསལ་ (བར་) བྱ་ ! To very clarify. To totally clarify. To really, really excellently clarify. Back on Lex 20, we saw that the auxiliary བར་བྱ་ can make an intransitive verb function transitively. But thinking of the mirror as an agent is one thing, but I would guess that if Tibetans don't see inanimate objects as agents (fair enough!), then we shouldn't be surprised when our "agent-in -English" isn't marked with a third case. Leaving aside that this is a poem, and worse, a title, so all grammar particle bets are off. A bigger question: What in the world is མེ་ལོང་ (mirror) is doing after the verb?? Awesome.
I can't wait to learn all about these little verbal critters this week in Craig's class! Thanks for reading! Don't worry about knowing this yet, this is why we have classes!