Friday, February 23, 2018

Detail #372: Limited Tripartite Marking for Participles

Not only nouns in verb phrases and congruence on finite verbs can showcase alignment. Participles are a main other locus of alignment. English has a fairly limited system on its participles, with tense/aspect and voice being somewhat conflated in a peculiar way.

An alignment I have spoken very little about on this blog is tripartite marking. This one has a unique marker for each of
  • intransitive subject
  • transitive subject
  • object
Implementing this on participles is rather easy:
  • intransitive → intransitive participle
  • transitive, active  → active participle 
  • transitive, passive  → passive participle 
However, the topic of this post is limited tripartite marking. How would we limit it, and what would we gain by doing so?

Consider a system that is either accusative or ergative or even split. Now, certain verbs may have a different meaning depending on whether they're intransitive or transitive, such as run. When intransitive, running generally refers to motion, either concretely or in some metaphoric way. When transitive, it can sometimes refer to the same action, with the object being the distance or the path, but sometimes, it refers to being in charge of something.

We could imagine that at least some verbs with this property would have a different intransitive participle available.

What marking strategies would be nice for this? Maybe double the participle marking for the transitive version, getting, here in an accusative alignment setting:
  • running: actually running, physically
  • runninging: being in charge
  • run: being controlled by
Unique morphemes could of course also be used, but some other type of reuse of morphology could be interesting: maybe omit congruence for the intransitive participle?

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