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Coatlalopeuh Evidentials

From:Shreyas Sampat <shreyas@...>
Date:Thursday, May 2, 2002, 21:27
The Coatlalopeuh verb phrase has a mood/evidential marker device, which
manifests as a particle appearing between the focus and the verb.
The complex is formed by concatenating the mood and evidential particles,
mood preceding.
Once the evidence of a discourse is established, it can be omitted, but mood
is always required.

These moods are in evidence:
hi- : indicative.  This only appears in subordinate clauses; it marks
whatever was the preceding noun as the focus of the following sentence.  In
primary clauses its form is zero.
tlit- : irrealis.  This mood is used for yes-no and wh-questions, and also
for the condition in conditionals.  It's also pseudo-evidential; it has
connotations similar to the evidential |mlu| when neither interrogative nor
kao- : imperative 1.  Strong commands.
sao- : imperative 2.  Suggestions.  Neither imperative accepts evidentials.
pan- : contrafactual.  This works similarly to the English contrafactual, or
as a negation.
xiih- : interrogative.  This form is used only with an evidential to ask for
the *source* of the evidence.

These are the evidentials:
-soan : witness.  This is not required in the indicative mood.
-rei : hearsay.  Someone told the speaker.
-mlu* : implication.  The speaker supposes this, drawing on observation.
-ñlla* : (that's |<n-tilde>lla|) mystical.  The speaker supposes this,
drawing on little or no earthly evidence.
-ittoi : narrative/prophetic.  This evidential marks things that "are said",
literature, prophecy, and that sort of thing.

*: |tlit|-, |pan|- and |xiih|- lose their final consonant before these.
Also, the combination of |xiih| and |ittoi| is |xihiittoi|; by the
sllabification rules the final /j/ of |xiih| becomes the onset of a syllable
and its spelling changes.

I thought I'd translate the infamous Red Bird exercise to illustrate.

Muroin sao llaoseattaxta tineakeitxiih!
Sim llaoseatixta!
Paneuk soan risuehhi koareussa muroineulaih!
Aa! Sim tlisoan koareussa?

mrnu: tree
llstao: vision
tnki: smallness
rshi: red
krsoa: beautiful
sim: 3p pronoun

There are various weird oblique formations going on there... interlinear:
parentheses indicate ephenthetic vowels.
V is vowel duplication, : is morphological length.
in phonetic transcription, |L| is a palatal lateral, |'| is primary stress,
|,| is secondary stress.  Stress when not emphatic is unmarked in
There are two lines of morphemic analysis and two more-and-less-strict

["mu.4win saw "Law.Sat.taS.,ta ",tSij]
Muroin sao 0-llaoseat-:V-xta tineak-eV-txiih!
tree IMP sg-see-3-ACC small-OBL-GEN
The small tree, look!
Look at the small tree!

[sim "Law.Sa.teS.,ta]
Sim 0-llaoseat-(i)xta!
3sg sg-see-ACC
It, I see!
I see it!

["pan.juk fan "ri.sujh.hi "k^ ",laj]
Paneuk soan 0-risueh-:V-0 koareus-:V-0 muroin-eV-laih!
bird WITNESS sg-red-3-NOM sg-beautiful-3-NOM tree-OBL-superessive
A bird is red and beautiful in the top of the tree.
A beautiful red bird is in the top.

["a: sim " k^]
Aa! Sim tli-soan 0-koareus-:V-0?
Ah! 3sg INTERROG-WITNESS sg-beautiful-3-NOM
Ah! Isn't it beautiful?
Ah!  It's beautiful, isn't it?