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Re: THEORY: genitive vs. construct case/izafe

From:Julia "Schnecki" Simon <helicula@...>
Date:Monday, July 25, 2005, 12:43

On 7/22/05, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
> Hi! > > "Julia \"Schnecki\" Simon" <helicula@...> writes: > > Hello! > > > > While designing a case system for my (still unnamed) conlang project, > > I started wondering about some terminology. You see, I'd really like > > to have izafe (construct case/construct case constructions/whatever), > > but I'm not sure about the difference between genitive case and > > construct case. > > Quite easy: the opposite noun is marked. Genitive marks the modifier > and the modified is marked for case of the whole phrase, while a > construct case marks the modified and the modifier carries the case of > the whole phrase. Assume the whole phrase is in case X, then you get: > > Modifier-GEN Modified-X == Modifier-X Modified-CONSTR > > (Of course, order is insignificant in the example here and depends on > language.)
Of course. :-) This is a good starting point for me... Of course, I've found out in the meantime that "construct" is a "state" rather than a "case"; and I've remembered that in constructions where the possessed appears in construct, one or both nouns may still be marked for case (as in Arabic, where the possessor is in genitive case and the possessed is in construct state and whatever case its role in the sentence requires).
> > (Should I write "izafe" or "idafe"/"idafa"? The latter feels sort of > > silly to me, since without Unicode I can't spell it properly. And the > > ArabTeX transliteration "i.dAfaT" doesn't look like a good alternative > > in this otherwise TeX-free mail, either... so I tend towards the > > Turkish spelling, for which plain ASCII is sufficient.) > > I don't know I've never read that and only know 'construct case'. I > assume that's Semitic terminology?
Oh, sorry! Here I go again, throwing around exotic terms without explanation just because "if I know it, it must be common knowledge, because how else would I know it"... (One day I'll write a Julia HOWTO and list this under "known bugs". ;) Yes, "izafe(t)" etc. come from Semitic grammar. I first encountered the word (in its Arabic spelling) in Arabic class. It apparently belongs to the Arabic root .DYF (d-with-dot, i.e. pharyngealized/"emphatic" /d~/), which means "to (be on a) visit". The word is a nominalization of a derivation of that root, and its literal meaning is "addition" or "augmentation".
> > But what about other (i.e. non-Semitic) languages that mark the > > possessed either instead of or in addition to the possessor? For > > example, > > > > Turkish _ev_ "house", _kapI_ "door", _ev kapIsI_ "front door" > > (generic term; a specific front door, i.e. the front door of a > > specific house, is _evin kapIsI_ with _ev_ in genitive case; > > _-(s)I_ is the 3sg possessive marker, so _ev(in) kapIsI_ > > literally means "(of-)house its-door") > > > > Hungarian _fiú_ "boy", _könyv_ "book", _a fiú könyve_ "the boy's > > book" (with _könyv_ bearing the 3sg possessive marker _-e_, so a > > literal translation would be "the boy his-book") (Note that there > > is no genitive case in Hungarian AFAIK.) > > > > Could these constructions be called izafe? If not, what should I call > > them? > > Hmm, unfortunately, I do not know about the construction in these > langs. I'd say it's a genitive case construction, since the modified > will be marked for the phrase's case.
I'll try to find out how these Turkish and Hungarian phrases are marked for case... I *think* I remember something about case (and plural) suffixes being attached to _kapIsI_ rather than _ev_ in a phrase like _ev kapIsI_ above, but I'm by no means sure.
> In colloquial German, there is > a similar construction -- so the 3rd persion possessive pronouns seems > common in conjunction with genitive (only Germans colloquial > construction uses dative case):
["dem Vater sein Haus" example snipped] *grins* I had thought of that as well. You're in Saarbrücken, aren't you? I'm not *in* Saarbrücken right now (haven't been in a long time but will be sometime in August, but I digress); but I'm *from* Saarbrücken, so when I speak German, I tend to use "X sein/ihr Y" constructions rather than the proper genitive, "Xs Y" or "Y des/der X". (Interestingly enough, Hungarian has a similar construction where the possessor appears in dative case: e.g. _a fiúnak a könyve_ (IIRC), lit. "to-the-boy his-book".)
> > And what about languages where the possessor-possessed relationship is > > expressed simply by juxtaposing two nouns, or a noun and a pronoun, > > without any case markings ("of-Peter book"), possessor affixes ("Peter > > his-book"), connecting particles (like Mandarin _de_), or similar? > > What do we call that kind of construction? > > If you don't have cases, it's difficult to say, of course, and maybe > irrelevant. Still: the difference is what part is marked for the > modification and which one is marked for the whole phrase. Since 'the > book of' is not a phase while 'of Peter' is, this is a 'genitive' > construction to me. And in Mandarin, you can say: 'Zhe shi wo de' = > It is *mine*, so also, 'de' is part of the modifier, so this is also > more a 'genitive' construction.
Hmm... I remember seeing entries in a Mandarin dictionary that ended in _de_ and were translated as adjectives (along the lines of <wood>+_de_ "wooden", <poison>+_de_ "toxic", etc.)... Regards, Julia -- Julia Simon (Schnecki) -- Sprachen-Freak vom Dienst _@" schnecki AT iki DOT fi / helicula AT gmail DOT com "@_ si hortum in bybliotheca habes, deerit nihil (M. Tullius Cicero)


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>