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Re: Underspecified verbs?

From:jesse stephen bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Saturday, May 19, 2001, 6:01
daniel andreasson sikayal:

> > Intent. Cause. Part. > > Actor + + + > > Agent - + + > > Participant - - + > > Origin - + - > > Causant + + - > > Object - - - > > > Very nice system! I looks like an active system, but with the > semantics generalized to all the arguments, and not just > intransitive verbs.
Thank you very much! Thanks also to all of the other people who gave their comments. This system first showed up as my first attempt at an "active language," but this was before I really knew what an active language was, and so I wound up with what you see above. Not exactly, but the basic idea was there. I like the idea that this system is fluid and perhaps slightly unnatural, because I'm actually using this system for the very ancient predecessor of Yivríndil. The advantage of this is that the system I've described could evolve into just about any imaginable syntactic form. In the Yivríndil language group the system became predominantly Nom-Acc, but with some weird quirks. In Old Yivríndil there were four core cases, which were descended from the original system in this way (not switching Actor and Agent for now, though I probably will later): Actor --> Nominative Object --> Accusative Agent --> Instrumental Participant --> Dative However, the valency for active verbs was different than for stative verbs--the subject/object of an active transitive verb were Nominative/Accusative, while for stative verbs they were Instrumental/Dative. Thus, the system was simultaneously active and nominative! This made at least a little sense diachronically--originally most active verbs like "run" or "take" would take [+intent] subjects, which would correspond to Nominative in Old Yivríndil. Stative verbs like "love" would often be [-intent], and so take Agent as the subject, which would be Instrumental in OY. There were other quirks of OY syntax, as well. All passive verbs took Intrumental/Accusative subjects and objects, regardless of their original valency. There were also trivalent verbs which usually took Nominative, Accusative, and Dative. Fortunately, all of this confusion was lost in the transition to current Yivríndil, wherein all verbs take Nominative/Accusative in active and passive voices. The only remaining fragment of the OY confusion is that stative verbs may still optionally take their objects in the Dative case--but that's all.
> [+event] means that the predicate describes an event as opposed > to a state. [+P/E/I] means that the predicate is performed, effected > or instigated in some way (but not necessarily controlled) and > [+control] means that the predicate is controlled. Compare "hiccup" > and "run" to see the difference between P/I/E and CONTROL.
Makes a lot of sense. I understand this system, too, and it's also elegant in it's own way.
> And then you can introduce new parameters such as "significant > affectedness" and "empathy" [as in Eastern Pomo :) ].
Which reminds me a lot of the parameter "Change of State" that I originally used. Then I realized it wasn't doing anything other than marking Objects as [+COS], and so I got rid of it as superfluous.
> Anyway... I suppose all this falls under the category "other > comments" :)
Fascinating nonetheless.
> I haven't seen a natlang doing it exactly as you have but that > doesn't mean it's implausible. I find it both plausible and very > elegant. Very good work!
<<sigh>>. If only the rest of the language were at all understandable or usable right now. Since it's the ancestor of Yivríndil and Yivríndil was made first, I have to reconstruct all sorts of things and it gets very complicated. But it's fun. Jesse S. Bangs "If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time." --G.K. Chesterton