Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dagurib: The Copula

Out of the three Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär branches, the Dagurib branch (being the smallest, and even omitted in the main name of the family) has copulas appearing most frequently in speech. In addition, the copulas feature prominently in a variety of constructions.

The Dagurib branch has been somewhat eager at acquiring prefixing morphology, as can be seen from the body-part prefixes in use on many verbs. However, another set of prefixes appear on copulas and related verbs (a list can be found at the end of the post). These can co-occur with body prefixes, and some of the combinations even have been somewhat lexicalized.

They convey a form of semantic congruence with the copula. This at times permits the complement to be omitted. Existential use of the copula can also take these.

Most are monosyllabic, with a few exceptions. A large handful are not even syllabic, but there's only one monosegmental example, viz. t-. If the t- forms a cluster that is not permissible word-initially, a vowel will be inserted. Here are only some examples. This class is not entirely closed, and sometimes parts of adjectives are sucked into this construction.
'good', 'beneficial', 'advantageous' (from the point of view of the speaker)

'good', 'beneficial', 'advantageous' (from the point of view of the subject)

'more than [one of the complements]'

'pleasant' (from the point of view of the speaker)

'bad', 'disadvantageous', but also used with negations of neutral or good complements.
'exceedingly, intensely, possibly to a detrimental degree'

incompletely, partially, inconsistently, uncertainly.

factually mistaken, misshapen, lightly 'bad'

morally wrong, detestable. strongly 'bad'

unknown, but assumed to be of some quality; often used with questions. Sometimes reduplicated to mark a lack of quality. This also has the dissimilated form ulur-/ülür- appearing.
scary, dangerous, raging

large, reputable, strong (also metaphorically of spices)

cold, sharp (of knifes)

coarse, unpleasant, bitter, sour, poisonous

sick, weakened, hurt, damaged, insulted, dying, frail, broken,

The root of the usual copula in Dagurib is -wav-. However, other copula-like verbs exist:
-köbs- seem (by reputation, by reason, or by general impression)
-ints- seem (by visual inspection)
-ʊlk- become
-odu- remain, keep being
-nʊdu- cease being
-wyor- be considered, be held to be, be esteemed to be
-südr- be expected to be
-nımb- resume being
Some lexicalized combinations exist, and these retain traces of vowel harmony at times:
uzganʊdu- - to repent
üzints- mislead (takes dative 'object')
mökints- stink (previsouly, ints- more generally indicated 'seem (by any sense')
tʊtsnʊdu - when used of trees, signifies the yearly loss of foliage; when used of flowers kept for their beauty, the loss of flowers.
tʊʊlk, tʊgawulk - of fruits and grain and vegetables, 'to mature', with the -ga- morpheme basically encoding whether it's the speaker or some other NP who is in possession of the produce.
ofnʊdu - to mature, to grow up
turxʊlk -
sanımb -
a verb denoting the onset of winter
kärʊlk - to get beard growth

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