Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Still More Verbs

From:Jim Grossmann <steven@...>
Date:Saturday, March 2, 2002, 0:20
Hi, Christophe,

Actually, I'm not sure my attempted analysis holds for English verbs either.
People can't sing themselves or sing each other;   say themselves or say
each other;   scream themselves or scream each other;  write themselves or
write each other....

Oh, well.

I'm beginning to think that the delineation of the transitive/intransitive
distinction is more language particular than I thought.  I should have
realized that when I heard that, in Tamil among other languages, the utility
of this distinction for analysis is doubtful.

For the kinds of verbs I'm thinking about now, Palo has active, passive,
reflexive,  and reciprocal particles.   The "passive" and "active" particles
are also used with verbs that NEVER take objects, depending on whether the
referents of the subjects of these verbs control the action, making Palo a
"fluid S" language, to borrow a term from R.M.W. Dixon's "Ergativity."
e.g. intransitive FLY (which does NOT mean "pilot an aircraft" in Palo)
takes the active particle with a bird as a subject, but the passive particle
with a glider as the subject.

Some of my English intransitives are coming out as Palo passives and
reflexives, e.g. ROLL, HANG.
English "I rolled down the hill" is more like "I rolled myself down the
hill" in Palo, whereas "The log rolled down the hill" is more like "The log
was rolled down the hill" in Palo.

passive:        be roll hill.loc down log
reflexive:   so roll hill.loc down 1sg

Also, only a limited number of English transitives double as intransitives.
I'm leaning toward
using an affix to derive intransitives from transitives in Palo, in cases
where the action denoted by the verb can be usefully treated as the sole
focus in a sentence.  People don't ask whether Johnny can push (things) as
often as they ask whether Johnny can eat (things).

Jim G.