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Int, a resumptive "pro-stem"

From:Christophe Grandsire <grandsir@...>
Date:Thursday, September 9, 1999, 12:56

        This mail is about Chasma"o"cho, but it will be much shorter than the
others, dealing only with a small part of Chasma"o"cho syntax, but a
very important and neat one. And maybe I'll give ideas to some of you.

        It deals with the stem int /'int/ (irregular construct state ente
/Ent'e/) which is used in topicalisation.

        As I already said, word order in clauses in V(O) S when the object is
incorporated, and V S O otherwise. That doesn't mean that the position
in front of the verb is forbidden. On the contrary, it can be used for
topicalisation, and nearly anything can be topicalized (yes, you can
topicalize verbs and prepositions as well as nouns or adjectives).

        To topicalize a word, just put it in front of the verb of the clause
(it can often be used also in subclauses, except with relative
subclauses - because the topic place is already taken by the antecedent
-). The topicalize word must appear as a stem only, without any affix or
complement (even the article or the definite suffixes or the personal
suffixes). At its normal place in the sentence, the stem is thus
reminded by the stem int that takes all the affixes and complements, and
gives thus the grammatical function of the topicalized stem, sometimes
at the other end of the sentence. That's why I call it a "pro-stem" as
it reminds a stem, like a pronoun reminds a noun. Int is totally
regular, except for its construct state (used also as a construct stem),
and can be used as a noun, an adjective, an adverb, a verb or a
preposition, depending on what affixes it takes and its position in the
sentence. Particles (at least the ones that are not tied to a word, so
ae for the infinitive is out) and adverbs can be topicalized, but as
they are already free words in the clause, they don't need int to remind
them in the clause after the verb.

        Here are some examples, which will show you how it works:

DevAngelgemedarc, /dev@ng@lgemd'aRk/ or DevAngelgemec, /dev@ngElg@m'Ek/

dev-Angelgem-e-('darc' or 'c')
go-England-article-1st sing. (long form and short form respectively)
I go to England.

NOTE: The name of countries are always inanimate, and the article is
always used with them (even if in this case, it disappears when the long
form of the subject suffix is used).

NOTE 2: Even if the first form uses the long form of the subject suffix,
it is more likely to be used as it triggers a stress pattern that is
more natural (the second form triggers an accent on the article used
with the word 'Angelgem', which is not very natural). Since now, I will
only show the long forms, even if the short ones are still possible.

NOTE 3: Nouns and adjectives related to nations or people are always
capitalised, and they stay capitalised even incorporated in the verb.

Angelgem devintedarc, /ang@lg'Em devint@d'aRk/ or

Angelgem dev-int-e-darc
England  go-"pro-stem"-article-1st sing.
It is to England that I go.

RanAngelgemedarc chiu dev, /Ran@ng@lgemd'aRk dZEwd'Ev/

ran-Angelgem-e-darc            chiu dev
aux-England-article-1st sing.  not  go
I don't go to England.

Chiu ranAngelgemedarc dev, /dZEwRan@ng@lgemd'aRk d'Ev/

chiu ran-Angelgem-e-darc          dev
not aux-England-article-1st sing. go
I DON'T go to England.

Angelgem ranintedarc chiu dev, /ang@lg'Em Ranint@d'aRk dZEwd'Ev/

Angelgem ran-int-e-darc                  chiu dev
England aux-"pro-stem"-article-1st sing. not  go
It is to England that I don't go.

        It is only a small example but it shows you well how int is used and
when it is used. Of course, chiu is a free particle and can thus be put
in front of the topic position (Chiu Angelgem ranintedarc dev,), without
changing of meaning, as chiu can only negate clauses and verbs
(prepositions too). To negate a noun (and make in this case the
sentence: It is not to England that I go), you must use the adjective
chiu: zero, no (AR- adjective), and in this case, 'Angelgem' or 'int'
can't be incorporated:

Angelgem ranc dev int chiu', /ang@lg'Em R'anc d'Ev 'int dZ'Ew/

Angelgem ran-c        dev int       chiu-e
England aux-1st sing. go "pro-stem" no-article
It is not to England that I go.

NOTE: The article is still used, but on the adjective (as it is after
the noun it completes) and it disappears after iu (with an apostrophe in
the writing).

NOTE 2: The negation behaves like in French, with ra"ne behaving like
'ne' and chiu like 'pas'. So when a negative word is in the sentence,
the sentence must use the auxiliary ra"ne, but not the particle chiu (in
French, we say: 'je ne vais pas le voir', but 'je ne vais voir
personne'). But ra"ne without any negative word has an interrogative
meaning, not a negative one.

        Of course, your comments are welcome. What do you think of it? Do you
know any natlang or conlang that has such a feature? And for you, is the
name "pro-stem" valid for such a feature? Thank you for your answers.

        Christophe Grandsire

        Philips Research Laboratories --  Building WB 145
        Prof. Holstlaan 4
        5656 AA Eindhoven
        The Netherlands

        Phone:  +31-40-27-45006