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Nouns with arguments, verbs without arguments

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Thursday, April 10, 2003, 1:45
You might think of verbs as having one or two arguments (intransitive or
transitive), or more in some cases, and nouns as not having any arguments
at all. That's true of English, and I originally thought that Lindiga
worked that way. But I recently learned that some Lindiga nouns have
required arguments, and there are even Lindiga verbs that can't take any
arguments at all. (One difference between the two is that verbs are
inflected for aspect.)

The first hint I had was when I found out how the word {tlazi} "flat piece
of something" works.

tlazi riacha         tlazi sirrek
sheet paper          pane  glass
"a sheet of paper"   "a pane of glass"

Note that the English word "of" is untranslated. In itself, this isn't
necessarily unexpected; Dutch for instance has "vele soorten gerbils",
where English speakers would say "many kinds _of_ gerbils". But in Lindiga,
with ordinary nouns, "of" would be translated by putting the following noun
in the genitive case.

vesetl michi nako  -t
side   east  forest-GEN
"the eastern side of the forest"

And the really weird thing is that "tlazi" can't occur by itself. It needs
an argument. "Vesetl" on the other hand doesn't.

tlazi kae
sheet something
"a sheet or pane of something"

"a sheet, a pane"

"a side"

There could even be Lindiga nouns that have more than one argument, but I
don't yet know of any examples.

Then I began to wonder if there were any verbs that couldn't take
arguments. My Lindiga informant suggested {iønzich} "to rain" (I found out
that the sound I've been writing as {ó} [o] is actually a central vowel,
[8], so now I'm writing it with a slashed o, {ø}).

iønz-u          iønz-a            *iønz-a   lyriva-k
rain-PF         rain-IPF           rain-IPF violet-PL
"It rained."    "It's raining."    "It's raining violets."

Instead of "iønza lyrivak", you have to say "iønza rse lyrivaka" ("it's
raining _as_ violets"). The verb "iønz-" can only take oblique arguments.

So I'm wondering if there are any other langs that work like this.

languages of Azir------> ---<>---
hmiller (Herman Miller)   "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any  email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body,
\ "Subject: teamouse" /  there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Roger Mills <romilly@...>
vaksje <vaksje@...>