Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Detail #287: Suppletion and Voice

Let's consider a language with a relatively rich verbal morphology. One thing in this language is a set of voice/transitivity operators, including passives, causatives, applicatives and a variety of others.

Now, for most verbs, these only come as some kind of affix, but for a handful, there's a suppletive causative root. The usual situation would be this:
regular root: die-
causative root: die-
applicative root: die-
passive*: die-
* The passive of an intransitive verb might default to being parsed as the passive of the causative.
Some verbs might have a causative alteration going, where the causative has a distinct root - English die/kill is of course an example of that kind of situation.

However, for some verbs – maybe specifically movement verbs - the causative root is used for all voices except the unmarked one, making, for instance, the following set:
regular root: go-
causative root: send-
applicative root: send-
passive: send-
Now, applicatives include several potential subforms, of course, but e.g. a lative applicative, 'to go to', would thus have the same root as the causative send. 

This would be pretty neat.

The bulk of this post was contributed by an American gentleman.

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