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Success and Failure

From:Joe Mondello <rugpretzel@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 5, 2000, 23:58
I was struck by the passage in "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things" about the
Japanese "hon" particle being used to indicate success, and I decided that
rodnús needed a convenient way to grammaticalize success, indeterminate
result, and failure.  The result has decreased the number of words my
language needs, leaving me with some collapsed meanings to play around with
My solution is this:

Tense and aspect previously behaved like so:
    Past:       first consonant of verb becomes voiced.
    Perfective: first consonant of subject becomes voiced.
    Future:     verb is suffixed with -n
    Incipient:  subject is suffixed with -n

I've collapsed the incipient and the future, so that suffixing -n on the
subject is now the future tense marking.  The verb suffix -n now indicates
indeterminate result.

Failure is indicated by the infix -ól-, and success is the unmarked form.
Here are some examples:

jey       tob  lobr~ wam fí
she-PERF. give food  VC2 you
She's given you food

jey       tob-en      lobr~ wam fí
she-PERF. give-INDET. food  VC2 you
She's offered you food (but I don't know whether or not you've accepted it).

jey       tólob      lobr~ wam fí
she-PERF. give-FAIL. food  VC2 you
She's offered you food (and you refused it).

VC2     Verb Class 2 (which deals with physical actions)
PERF.   Perfective
FAIL.       Failure
INDET.  Indeterminate result

This system works very well, and it gives my language certain words and
nuances it didn't have almost from thin air (such as the appearance of the
word 'habmen'- "to lobby" from the root 'habmex'- "to persuade")  One major
issue I have is the  Verb Class Markers.  pairs such as "to offer"/"to give"
seem to naturally utilize different verb classes ('offer' would normally be a
verbal action (ra) while 'give' would be a physical action (wam)).  Anyone
have any Ideas on this?  what I'm concerned about is that by making both
halves of the pair use the same class markes, different aspects of the action
may become emphasized (e.g. using the "physical marker" with "offer" gives it
a less social, civilized connotation (as Tarzan non-verbally thrusting a
piece of meat in Jane's face or something) while using the "verbal marker"
with "give" sounds sort of formal, like "bequeath" or "bestow"

Any Ideas?
Joe Mondello