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Re: monovalence

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 boy.learn physics.inform. Pete


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Adam Walker <carrajena@...>