Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Detail #228: Conegative Verbs with a Lexical Twist

Consider the system present in many Finnic languages, where verbs have forms without (much) congruence whenever the verb is negated, i.e.

minä syön - minä en syö
sinä syöt - sinä et syö
hän syö - hän ei syö
me syömme - me emme syö
. . .
The examples above give I, you, he/she, we (don't) eat. Not all forms conflate the connegative and the third person:
hän tulee -  hän ei tule
Imagine some verbs whose meaning are somehow seen as 'negative' in some sense - lie, be missing, deceive, fail, forget, etc. Now, let's assume these lack the con-positive form entirely. So, in a normal positive utterance, they do not take congruence (or, if the language works differently from Baltic Finnic, take some extra marker or some other congruence or whathaveyou). In Finnish, for forget, you'd thus get this form:
*minä unohda (vs. minä unohdan)
*sinä unohda (vs. sinä unohdat)
*hän unohda (vs. hän unohtaa)
*me unohda (vs. me unohdamme)
. . .
Some amount of redundancy has been lost here, though. In a language that very much enforces some level of redundancy, we could imagine a positive marker becoming mandatory here, thus
*minä kyl unohda
*sinä kyl unohda
*hän kyl unohda
Where kyl is colloquial Finnish for kyllä, yes. One could go analogously to the negative auxiliary and do something like
*minä kyn unohda
*sinä kyt unohda

Mutatis mutandis for however your conlang deals with negation.

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