Thursday, September 26, 2013

Detail #60: A lexical derivation detail

In some language lacking grammatical gender, form adjectives/nouns for members of ethnicities or tribes by

  • female members designated as [tribe name][causative][agent]
  • male members designated as [tribe name][past participle, or passive causative or likewise]

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Onwards with Detail #59

So, what cool things could we do with detail #59?

An obvious origin for it could be retention of dual first persons for just a few verbs. Another option could be somewhat more tense-aspect-like: we did is more likely to be exclusive than we will. How would that be extended into all tenses and aspects? Possibly by generally weakening the ~transitivity~ of inclusive verbs.

The logic behind this might not be all that obvious, so I'll walk it through a bit. [...]

Another obvious thing to do could be to have separate lexical entries for exclusive and inclusive. Here, the kind of meanings expressed by the morphemes I'd expect to show up for this kind of thing are here showcased with fake English exsamples:

withtravel - travel (including you);
travel - travel (without you);
co-oppose - oppose (each other, you being one of the opponents)
oppose - oppose in general, but not used if opposition between 1st and 2nd person is present.
meet - meet each other, 2nd person inclusion assumed
foremeet - meet someone not included in the present company

The inclusive version could have an extra fake-dual use: singular person inclusive includes the 2nd person (so 1st person singular: you and I, 3rd person singular: you two (of whom one person is not present)).

A limited set of reciprocally marked verbs easily could acquire such notions as well? meet-rcp-2pl 3rd-person.obj = we.incl meet him, meet-2pl 3rd-person.obj = we.excl meet him.

Most other sources I can imagine for clusivity seem to - at least to my mind at least - tend to lend themselves rather badly to a limited kind of clusivity, so I will not go into the general sources of it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Detail #59: Limited clusivity

Imagine a language where first-person plurals can be inclusive/exclusive, but only in certain specific situations. The most obvious thing would be to only distinguish inclusive/exclusive in certain cases - say the nominative and the accusative, while merging it in other cases. Another option would be to have it linked to certain verbs. These specific verbs would then have separate markers for inclusive and exclusive first person (probably a separate affix from the first person plural marker). The verbs that have this would be verbs where such a distinction is culturally significant. 

Some verbs could likewise have this in the passive (but not in the active), if it's culturally important in those. 

It would generally not be used productively, though.