Monday, April 17, 2017

Interrogatives in Sargaĺk

[This post was accidentally deleted, and retrieved from the LCC aggregator]
The interrogatives in Sargaĺk have a few interesting properties, and there are also both gaps and additions in the case system that differ from the case system elsewhere in the language.

Two pronouns correspond to English what: səre and bəre. səre is for count noun-like things, bəre for mass noun-like things. Both lack the pegative form, but səre has several additional locative forms, and the bəre has an ergative form, exceptionally enough. Səre invariantly takes masculine case morphology, even when being a determiner for a feminine noun. Bəre invariantly takes feminine case morphology.

The additional cases for səre are allative -lu, illative -li, elative -rsas.

For persons, the interrogative pronoun is t'əre. T'əre has an accusative form, t'əra. It can take feminine case markers when the answer is assumed or required to be female. The female accusative, t'ərat, is falling out of use in favour of the absolutive. The feminine absolutive is t'əri.

For questions such as 'which X', the pronoun is suffixed to the noun. Otherwise interrogative pronouns are the first element of the NP, or even fronted to sentence-initial position but possibly leaving the NP behind. Usually they are in-situ, though.

A fourth stem with only two forms - the absolutive and the instrumental-comitative - zəre, zərmai. The first is basically a way of asking someone what they think or what they'd say, the second is the main way of asking for a speaker to repeat what he said because you didn't hear. Zərmai is seldom used in any actual phrases, but as a stand-alone word. Essentially zər- sort of is an interrogative for elements of the set of possible utterances.

The interrogative root zər- appears in derived verbs and nouns and adjectives, in ways that parallel the other interrogative pronouns. More about those in a later post.

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