|From:||Peter Bleackley <peter.bleackley@...>|
|Date:||Monday, February 20, 2006, 16:25|
staving Paul Bennet:
>Br'ga verbs each have exactly one argument. Some verbs are more case-like
>(to be an agent, to be an undergoer, and so forth), but it makes the
>language definition much more rational to refer to them all as verbs,
>because they can be altered by the same derivational operations as the
>rest of the class, and that way every non-particle word (and I'm trying to
>avoid particles) is made up of exactly one noun (including pronouns and
>noun classes) root and one verb (or case-oid verb) root.
>I'm having a real tough time delineating semantic space, though. To make
>it work, different verbs attach by default to a noun in a specific
>semantic role. "Learn" attaches to the subject being learned, and might
>better be described as "to be studied", for instance, and "traverse" and
>"ascend" (i.a.) attach to their paths, and again might be better thought
>of in the passive voice.
>Anyway, I'm having difficulty determining the core argument that makes up
>the essence of any given verb. You can dig without a tool, for instance,
>but you have to dig *something*, a hole, a grave or a fortification, or
>whatever. It's tough to figure out in some cases though, what the right
>argument is -- in typing this, I have realised I'm tending instinctively
>towards "undergoer", but that's probably not a universal definition. It
>might just be that that's the cultural mindset of the Br'ga people, but
>I'd like to keep the language and people a little less one-track than that.
>Any suggestions, hints, or pointers?
I came up with a similar idea a while ago - see
et seq. for how I tackled it. I recently did a relay translation using a
language called "iljena" based on these ideas, so from some time next month
it should be possible to see an entire text in such a language - plus the
effects of trying to translate it back into a human language.
Basically, every noun is the subject of its verb in iljena. I thought that
this would cause problems with translating objects (for example, that the
verb meaning "undergo" might end up doing the work of an accusative a fair
amount of the time). The approach I took with iljena was to ask myself
"What is each participant in the sentence doing?" Think of the whole
sentence as one action, in which noun is one participant, playing a
particular role given by its verb. One way I might phrase "the boy studies
physics" in iljena might gloss as