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Non-concatenative perfect in Tokana

From:J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 23, 2000, 18:30
Dirk Elzinga will be please to learn that I have finally come up
with a use for the "-i-" infix I described on this list a week or
so ago--thereby reintroducing non-concatenative morphology into
Tokana.  I've now decided that the function of this infix is to
mark the perfect on verbs (which used to be marked with a
suffix).  Here's the scoop:

In order to turn an eventive verb into a perfect verb, the infix
"-i-" is added after the final stressed vowel of the stem.  Note
that (just like the dative suffix "-i") the infix "-i-" triggers
lowering of a preceding high vowel, making things look more like
ablaut than infixation.  The function of the perfect is to
convert an eventive verb (denoting a change-of-state) into a
stative verb which denotes the state resulting from the event.
Perfect verbs in Tokana generally correspond to adjectival
passives in English:

   itskana     "arrive"
   itskaina    "be arrived, be present"

   stelhma     "find"
   steilhma    "be found" (as in "I once was lost but now
                   I'm found")

   lima        "open"
   leima       "be open"

   tioka       "die"
   tioika      "be dead"

   mukta       "close"
   moikta      "be closed"

Perfect verbs are treated just like underived stative verbs in
Tokana (such as "toma" = "be big" or "liuna" = "be old").  They
may be made past tense by replacing the unmarked suffix "-a" with
the past habitual "-un", and they may be made into modifying
nouns by changing "-a" to "-i":

  Ma     lim-e-h          hitol
  1s.Nom open-Pst-the.Abs door
  "I opened the door"

  Te      hitol lim-e
  the.Abs door  open-Pst
  "The door opened"
  "The door was opened (by someone)"

  Te      hitol leim-a
  the.Abs door  open(Perf)
  "The door is open"

  Te      hitol leim-un
  the.Abs door  open(Perf)-Pst
  "The door was open (but now it's shut)"

  Me     kloh-e-i                hitol-a   leim-i
  1s.Abs go.through-Pst-the.Inst door-Inst open(Perf)
  "I went through the open door"

Having a perfect in the language allows me greater flexibility in
word derivation.  For instance, I can now express fine
distinctions between simple states (underived) and states
resulting from an action (perfect):

  halhka      "be dry"
  tehalhka    "cause to be dry, dry (something) out"
  tehailhka   "be dried" (Perf)

  kahu halhki     "dry fish" (i.e. fish which isn't wet)
  kahu tehailhki  "dried fish" (i.e. fish which has been
                    dried out)