Monday, June 30, 2014

Tatediem: Various subordinating conjunctions

As you may recall, Tatediem has a slightly peculiar 'and' - morphologically it is a noun. (Oftentimes, though, conjunctions are absent in coordinated noun phrases. In addition, the 'and' also serves a few other roles as a particle.) Most other conjunctions, likewise, are nouns. In fact, certain distinctions are made by noun morphology.

One common subordinating conjunction originates with the word Tatediem word for 'event, case, circumstance, occurrence'. Normally, this is a neuter 2 noun, (ye)med-, but sometimes it is given the grammatical class marker instead, giving remed-. This has a few uses, depending on which cases are applied to it: instrumental - as a mass noun: if, remest, absolutive - whether, remedo, dative - in order to, remesti. As a singular definite partitive remeti, during. Remedo mainly functions as a direct object of verbs such as know. A form remesti is used for 'regardless if' or 'whether' in constructions like "whether he arrives or not is of no relevance"

The word for 'and' likewise has a nominal origin, in the noun 'group, tribe', (ku)el.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Barxaw: Register, lexical intensification and comparatives

In Barxaw, my isolating conlang, intensity of verbs and adjectives is lexically coded - thus, running, running fast and running slow are separate lexemes, as are speaking, shouting and screaming. We notice from the second English tuplet that this is not unusual in English either.

In Barxaw, however, many such lexemes form pretty long hierarchies:

to know (in the sense of 'to have knowledge'), to be able to:
sep < ìpe < máw < nòtè < ram < léc < kudò

It turns out sep is the lowest in most registers. However, in slightly formal registers, ipe is the lowest, and in some ram is the lowest. In the case of {sep, ... kudò}, the higher the register, the more 'inflation' there is to the value of the verb (or adjective or even some nouns). {sep, ... kudo} is thus a verb set that decreases in value - in Barxaw, this is known as pék èn da màt ús ús - the words that shrink. (pék = word, èn = plural + class marker, da = plural pronoun for that class, màt ≃ do, ús ús = shrink, literally "small small")

An example of pék èn da màt o ko - words that grow (o, ko = big, the k in ko comes from a morphophonological thing where o ends in a 'lost consonant' that reappears in hiatus) - is "need"
wan - témì - nuh - pò' - síg - ŋím
Thus pò is the usual 'baseline' intensity, but in higher registers, nuh, then témì, then wan replace it, and pò becomes increasingly intense.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Detail #90: Even more congruence shenanigans!

As the one trick pony I am, I present even more congruence things!

Let us assume something a bit like the previous post: gender/class or number congruence is only marked on one constituent in the VP: when there is a subject complement in the verb phrase (i.e. something like Y in "... is Y", "... becomes Y", "... stands Y" (as in "stands tall"), etc, the congruence marker appears on Y instead of the verb. However, let us go even further: person congruence migrates to the complement - provided that the complement can carry it. Otherwise, the congruence is lost.

Thus, even adjectives can inflect for person, but only do so when standing with some kind of copula, with reduced marking on the copula if there is a complement. The copula takes on existential meaning without a complement.

Let us also have object congruence on verbs in the language, but that congruence likewise migrates to the complement:
she slapped you silly :  slap.3sg_fem silly.2sg_obj

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Detail #89: Curses

How about a language where almost all curse words are verbs, and defective ones at that - so they only ever really occur as finite verbs?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ćwarmin: The Verb and its Non-finite Form(s)

The Ćwarmin verb morphology, as previously stated, has a bunch of derived nouns (and adjectives) which might somewhat approach gerunds and participles in use and meaning.

Among these we find -abtil which is a somewhat irrealis participle/gerund.
X.nom verbs (Y.acc) → X.gen (Y.gen) verb-abtil-poss.suff(agrees in num/person with subj)
The protatis in conditional sentences are often expressed using it, thus 'if he sent it yesterday, it should arrive today' → his send.abtil yesterday, it arrives today.

Another commonly used one is -ećel, a gerund signifying mandatory actions. It inflects for a few cases, but not the nominative complement.

The main bulk of commonly appearing infinitive verbs in Ćwarmin, however, is the infinitive itself. For some verbs, the infinitive is identical to the verb stem, but a bunch have some changes happen, compare these verb pairs:
to bring: stem: eləp-, infinitive:  eləp
to swim: stem: eləp-, infinitive: eleft

to run: stem: tral-, infinitive: tral
to pass on a message: trajk-, infinitive: tral

Most auxiliary verbs take the infinitive. Some pseudo-auxiliaries take the infinitive inflected in the accusative case.

In combination with case endings, it can be used for a variety of constructions.

When definite, with all cases, the infinitive basically serves as a gerund in that case. The instrumental also can work as a gerund despite not distinguishing definiteness. The indefinite infinitive is a bit more interesting though, and a full overview of it, in combination with cases may be of some interest.:

With the nominative, it can serve as subject or object of verbs. The gerund is sometimes used to emphasize such statements, both gerunds and infinitives are basically permitted in that position.

Subject Complement
The infinitive with subject complement marking basically encodes the immediate past when it is used as a predicate. If used as an attribute with a noun, it basically marks a regular active present/progressive participle. It can also mark actions that accompanied the main action, when used in a sentence that has a predicate.

With the accusative, the infinitive can serve as:

  • the main verb in a causative construction (with some auxiliary also present)
Object Complement
Several roles:
  • when it is an attribute of a noun it basically serves the role of a passive participle
  • as a complement of certain auxiliary verbs
  • describing the state of an object (i.e. 'see someone running' or things along those lines; here, certain verbs only permit for it to signify the state of the object ("have them running" as a result of the action, thus a kind of causative construction where the caused verb is not, notionally, "closely linked" to the causation, i.e. it's an indirect consequence), others require it to be a state the object was in regardless of the main verb)

Reflexively Possessed Accusative

  • a construction similar to the ablative absolute in latin, except the subject is in the genitive
  • both the functions of accusative and object complement but with regards to reflexively possessed objects

Mainly a kind of semantically intensified version of the nominative and subject complement. Can also be used as an imperative.

Intended actions, certain moods can be marked with this but require some type of tense-marked auxiliary.

Certain kinds of negative ideas expressed: un-participling, un-participled, in-verbable. Also, negative imperative.

General Ablative

locative cases
Depending on how the spatiality of the verb is perceived by speakers, the locative-to cases can replace the datives with regards to intention. -from cases similarly express cessation or non-progressiveness at present. The -by cases express progressive aspect.

The on-cases can also be used to mark striving towards/to keep up/away from something, whereas the at-cases

Expresses manner by which something is done, but can also substitute for some of the nominative and subject complement uses.

Verbs do not combine with the comitatives.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reflexivity in Tatediem

Tatediem has a complication with regards to its reflexives. Transitive verbs come in two varieties, and for want of a better term I will describe these as endoreflexive verbs and exoreflexive verbs.

Endoreflexive verbs mark reflexivity by the usual object congruence system - when the subject and object markers code for the same gender-number combination, the verb is understood as reflexive.

For exoreflexive verbs, the same construction would be parsed as referring to another entity.

Lìwkàmíl sar-ra-m-pìx 
Liwkamil washes her(self)
Tíkunam né-é-m-pág 
Tikunam sees him
To obtain a separate object for endoreflexives, an external object is needed:
Kewmokin sar-rá-n-dàket ra-pék
Kewmokin argued in her (someone else's) favour
Kewmokin sarrándàket = Kewmokin argued in her (own) favour. 
For exoreflexives, the external object instead codes for reflexiveness, and is prefixed to the object marker -tèb. Further complications exist with regards to things such as congruence when reciprocals appear; there also are some verbs where reflexiveness is assumed for intransitive constructions.