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Re: Infinitives & gerunds: -- Participles, Verbal Nouns, Nominalized Verbs

From:Eldin Raigmore <eldin_raigmore@...>
Date:Saturday, October 7, 2006, 20:27
On Sat, 7 Oct 2006 17:21:54 +0100, R A Brown <ray@...>
>Eldin Raigmore wrote: >>I have read the definition of a participle is a verbal adjective that >>refers to a participant in the verb. (Or something like that; forgive me >>if the quote is not perfect). > >Participle: >"Any of various non-finite verb forms which act as the heads of verbs >phrases functioning as adjectival or adverbial modifiers..." >[Trask] "In linguistics, a participle is a kind of verbal adjective; it indicates that the noun it modifies is a participant in the action that the participle refers to." OTOH\ /WhatIsAParticiple.htm doesn't mention anything about "participant in the action". I take it Trask doesn't either?
>I'm not sure what you mean by "participant in the verb".
The agent or patient (or, I suppose, the instrument or beneficiary or ... ) of the verb from which the participle is derived. The passive participle "cut" derived from the verb "cut" indicates that the modified noun was the patient of the cutting; "the cut flowers". The active participle "cutting" derived from the verb "cut" indicates that the modified noun was the agent of the cutting; "the cutting insult".
>They can, of course, as heads of adjectival phrases, modify the subject of >the verb or, indeed, any of its other noun arguments.
You seem to be referring to the verb of the clause in which the participle is used? I was referring, instead, to the verb from which the participle is derived.
>>There are several verbal nouns (or deverbal nouns or nominalized verbs) > >I'm not sure what meaning of "or" is intended. But it verbal nouns are >*not* the same thing as deverbal nouns. A verbal noun is nominalized >form derived from a verb *which still retains some verbal functions*, in >particular they make have have verbal object arguments and are modified >by adverbs (not adjectives) - they are infinitives and.or gerunds. > >A deverbal noun is a straight noun formed from a verb; it has no verbal >functions, e.g. realization <-- realize; development <-- develop etc.
Yes, I knew that. I was not proposing that participles be deverbal adjectives; I know that participles are verbal adjectives. I was wondering whether some people think all verbal adjectives are participles, or whether some people think a participle has to indicate that its "head noun" was or is or would have been a "participant" in the action indicated by the verb. I was not asking for a term to cover deverbal nouns; I was asking for a term to cover verbal nouns which denote participants in the action indicated by the verb. But some nominalizations are deverbal rather than verbal, I think. (Or at least some of them could be in some languages.) In English it is harder to tell the difference if the verb in question is intransitive than if it is transitive. For instance, is "evanescent" a participle or a deverbal adjective? Is "evanescence" a gerund or a deverbal noun?
>I am not clear what you mean by "nominalized verbs."
I was not using as strict a definition as that in\ /WhatIsANominalization.htm I believe, if I remember correctly, that Payne's "Describing Morphosyntax" has a list (which IIRC he did not claim was complete) of nominalizations of verbs. Also look at: part I.B. (from Verb to Noun). Examples are listed below:
>>which refer to a participant in the verb; agent-nominalization, patient- >>nominalization, place-nominalization, instrument-nominalization, time- >>nominalization, and of course event-nominalization, are all examples that >>come to mind. > >Could you give examples.
In English; Verb: "employ" Agent-nominalization: "employer" Patient-nominalization: "employee" Verb: "cut" Agent-nominalization: "cutter" Instrument-nominalization: "cutter" Effected-result-nominaliztion: "cut" Verb: "discover" Agent-nominalization: "discoverer" Effected-result-nominalization: "discovery" Event-nominalization: "discovery" Verb: "brew" Agent-nominalization: "brewer" Effected-result-nominalization: "brew" Place-nominalization: "brewery" And so on. ("Event-nominalizations" wouldn't denote a "participant". The time and the place are semantically much closer to synonymous with the event, so I'd imagine in some languages time-nominalizations and place- nominalizations, if there are such, wouldn't be treated as denoting a "participant". But the agent (if there is one) and the patient (if there is one) are always "participants".)
>I am not clear what you are getting at.
Have I become any clearer? I hope so.
>Are you thinking in terms of something like Tagalog verbal forms which some >people regard syntactically as nouns?
That sounds interesting in its own right whether it's what I meant or not. And it sounds as if it could include examples of what I meant. But I don't know enough to say whether it does or it doesn't. If you have time, could you tell us more?
>>Would it make sense to call verbal nouns such as these "participial nouns" >>or some such term? > >Without examples, I am not certain. But my feeling that what you are >getting at is something different.
If Trask's definition of "participle" (not all of which you quoted?) doesn't say anything about participation, and Trask's is corrrect and the Wikipedia's definition is incorrect, then you are probably right and I was getting at something else. I was looking for an "umbrella term" to cover all verbal nouns which denoted participants in the verb from which they were derived. But you proposed, below, some examples of the kinds of verbal nouns I was talking about; though as you say in each of the examples below, the participle in these cases is actually a verbal adjective used as if it were a substantive noun.
>By participial noun I would understand a participle being used as a noun, >e.g. Latin 'amans' (loving) used nominally to mean 'a loving person, a >lover';
That would be one of them.
>so also in Esperanto, _esperanta_ "hoping" --> _esperanto_ "a person who >hopes" :)
That also would be one of them.
>>Some of them might still inflect for tense or mood or such things. > >In that participles may reflect time/aspect difference. There is in >Esperanto an unofficial 'conditional participle' (esperunta "who would >hope") used by some - but it is unofficial, and I cannot think at the >moment of a natlang that shows modal distinctions in the non-finite >parts of the verb.
Well, there's "intended" or "intendo" for a husband-to-be; that inflection is as much modal as temporal. That is, it refers as much to the fact that the marriage is intended instead of actual, as to the fact that it is future instead of past. Also consider, say, the verb "shoot". (In the following, forgive my use of the adjective "participial"; I've put it in quotes to indicate that it should eventually be replaced with whatever adjective I should have used instead.) One could have a present, active "participial" noun meaning "the one who is shooting right now". One could have a past, active "participial" noun meaning "the one who has shot". One could have a present, passive "participial" noun meaning "the one who is being shot right now". One could have a past, passive "participial" noun meaning "the one who was shot".
>(There is no reason why a conlang should not experiment with such forms).
Makes sense. Does anyone else know of a natlang which has modal inflections for verbal nouns or verbal adjectives?
>>Would any of them qualify as infinitives or gerunds? > >Not the things I understand as 'participial nouns'
That's what I thought too. My follow-up question would be "why not"? They are verbal nouns (not deverbal nouns). They have some of the features of verbs; some of them can even take participants, though in genitive-or-whatever-case instead of nominative or absolutive or ergative or accusative. For each one there is at least one "participant" with which the finite forms of the verb from which they are derived might have to agree, with which the verbal noun in question can not be made to agree; so these are non-finite verbal nouns. But I have the feeling that's not enough to qualify them as infinitives or gerunds. So what else is necessary? I'm having trouble putting it into words.
>- but, as I say, I am not clear what you are getting with 'nominalized >verbs', so I cannot say whether I think they qualify or not.
Well, I wasn't really asking for an umbrella term for all nominalized verbs (though it might be nice to have one); in fact I wasn't looking for a term that would cover any deverbal nouns, only some of the verbal ones. I wanted a term to cover all verbal nouns which denote participants in the action referred to by the verb from which the verbal noun is derived.
>>I would expect we would prefer to keep most of them as "participial >>nouns", and let only the event-nominalizations be infinitives or >>gerunds. Is my expectation correct? > >Only verbal nouns (and *not* deverbal nouns) would be reckoned >infinitives and/or gerunds IMO.
That makes sense. I'm saying, I guess, that infinitives and gerunds are always verbal nouns which are "event-nominalizations"; they refer to the event or situation or state or relationship which was referred to by the verb from which the verbal noun was derived. I wanted a term to denote all verbal nouns which denote a participant in the (action, event, relationship, situation, or state) referred to by the verb from which the verbal noun is derived. It is my expectation that whatever that term is, it wouldn't cover infinitives nor gerunds, even though they are also non-finite verbal nouns.
>-- >Ray >==================================
Thank you, Ray. And thanks, as well, to anyone else who contributes. ----- eldin


R A Brown <ray@...>