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"Transferral" verb form in LC-01

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Monday, June 24, 2002, 23:13
I've been on this list for oh, approximately 122 days, and I haven't
posted much of direct relevance to conlanging.  So I'm going to try to
describe a feature of my conlang LC-01 which I came up with last
night.  It's very much a work in progress, so this post'll be full of
phrases like "but I don't know how that's going to work yet", for
which I apologize in advance.



LC-01 is a vaguely logical personal language.  Words are derived
regularly from a triconsonantal roots by insertion of vowels and
semivowels and the application of affixes.  A root is considered,
essentially, to describe a state. All roots may (theoretically) be
realized as nouns or verbs, the basic noun being "that which verbs",
something which is in the state described by the root.  Word order is

Note that LC-01, as it exists at present, is so incomplete that I
can't really offer any examples.  Therefore, the information below on
_how_ a word is conjugated are presented only for interest; the main
thing is the meaning of the conjugations, not their forms.


The formation of a semantic word (noun or verb) from a root is as

C - [ ICED ] -  PPH  - C - [voice] -  part of - C
     aspect   aspect        infix     speech
     infix    vowel                    vowel

(The 3 "C"s are the consonants of the root)

Part of speech

This may be |i| for verb, |u| for mass noun or |a| for numbered noun.


Voice isn't really worked out yet.  I have some old notes but I'm
hoping to make them obselete.

PPH aspect

All nouns and verbs inflect for aspect, either perfective (state
described by root is considered as a single action), progressive
(state is in progress when something else happens), habitual/intrinsic
(state is something which patient does often, or is in by its nature).

|&| (that's a-ring in a better romanization, pronounced
/Q/) for perfective, |@| (schwa) for progressive, or |a| for

ICED aspect

If this infix is applied, the word describes a change in the state of
the patient.  It may be inceptive (entering the state), cessative
(leaving the state), evolutive (becoming more in the state), or
devolutive (becoming less in the state).

|iy| for inceptive, |ey| for evolutive, |wuw| for cessative, |wow| for

The feature I want to talk about concerns the ICED aspect.

_Derivation of transatives and ditransitives from simpler forms_

Generally, verbs can be intransitive, transitive or ditransitive.  In
LC-01, I am trying to eliminate transitive and ditransitive roots as
much as is practical, preferring to derive them from more fundamental
roots.  This is desirable for a number of reasons.  It reduces the
number of roots required, freeing up space for other concepts.  It
reduces the number of roots which must be learnt for basic understanding
(although it requires a greater knowlege of morphology from a
student).  Hopefully, it will also simplify the case system, as I'm
finding it difficult to come up with a truly satisfying classification of
core case roles in ditransitives.  I don't imagine that all
transitives can be reduced, but it may prove possible to do away with
ditransitive roots entirely.


The first tactic along these lines was to add a causative suffix.
This allows many words which have seperate roots in, say, English to
be derived in LC-01.  For example, a verb "to kill" may be derived
from the verb "to live", in the cessative aspect, plus a causative.
Case is another thing that isn't really worked out, but it's
understood that the subject in a causative construction is in a
seperate (ergative?) case from the subject of an intransitive or
intrinsically transitive verb (nominative?).

Anyway, the use of the causative allows many transitive verbs to be
reduced to intransitives, and some ditransitives can be reduced to
transitives ("to teach" from "to know").


This is the new feature I thought up last night, and I thought it was
interesting.  Potentially it represents a way of deriving many common
ditransitives from transitive roots.

Say you have a transitive root, like "to own".  We'll designate it by
the triliteral t-v-d.

A C tavid.
A owns C.

A and C are nouns, and A is nominative and C accusative, I guess.

Now, suppose A ceases to own C.  This is easily shown by putting it in
the cessative (and the perfective).

A C twuw&vid.
A ceases to own C.

Now suppose that another noun B comes to own C.  This can be done by
putting the verb in the inceptive perfective.

B C tiy&vid.
B begins to own C.

Now suppose that these two events occur as part of the same action,
that there is a transferral of ownership from A to B.  This is the
transferral form that I just made up.  I haven't decided on the nature
of the transferral infix yet, so I'll represent it as X.

A B C tX&vid.
Ownership of C is transferred from A to B.

Now I'm not sure exactly what the case roles of A and B are here...

Now, if A and B can be marked as more than one case at the same time,
and we make the verb causative...

A B C tX&vid&cg. <---causative perfective suffix

If we mark A to be causative-ergative as well as whatever it was
before, then the sense of the sentence becomes "A gives ownership of C
to B".  If we mark B as such, it becomes "B takes ownership of C from

(It's possible that I'll be able to adapt this form to cover _all_
transfers of ownership - sale, theft etc.  I'm not sure exactly how
that'll work, though, and may end up with intrinsically ditransitive
roots for these functions).

The transferral form can, of course, be used for any other transitive
root.  A root meaning "to hold something" could produce something like
"to pass something to someone".  If I can get the voicing right, "to
be located at (a location)" could render "to move (from one location
to another)".

A similar infix, signifying that C which was verbed by A comes to be
verbed by B _without_ ceasing to be verbed by A, could also be useful,
for example allowing a distinction of teaching from ones personal
knowledge, or sharing ownership of something with someone.

So, does this seem like a reasonable feature?  Do any natlangs feature
something similar?


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>