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Re: Ambiguities (was Re: Vocab 2.4)

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 12, 2002, 2:14
On Mon, Nov 11, 2002 at 07:54:06PM -0500, Roger Mills wrote:
> All due respect to Aidan-- here are some sentences that are considerably > more ambiguous; all, of course, depend on context--
In Ebisedian, there is considerably less room for ambiguities.
> 1. She gave him her picture = > a. Mary gave John a picture of herself.
In Ebisedian, "noun association tags" would be prefixed to each pronoun. Also, reflexive references are explicitly marked. In (a), the Ebisedian would render it as: jhit0' byy'jh chi'du n3 s0lu d3 <picture><cvy> she(org) give him(rcp) - herself(rcp) - (No word for "picture" yet, so I'm just transliterating it.) In this particular example, although the reflexive particle _s0lu_ does not inflect for gender, it can only refer to "she" because of case agreement (originative-originative).
> b. Mary gave John a picture of Sonia
kijhit0' byy'jh chi'du n3 cujitu d3 <picture><cvy> <ki>she(org) give him(rcp) - <cu>her(rcp) - Here, the prefixes ki- and cu- are the associative prefixes. Associative prefixes are attached to pronouns to disambiguate them. They are "assigned" by previous mention; e.g., `ykimari' kijhiti'. kijhit0' tww'ma cujhitu' <ki>Mary [is] she. <ki>She speak <cu>her "<ki>she is <ki>Mary. <ki>she(Mary) says to <cu>her(someone else) ..." Here, the associative tag <ki> appears as an infix. The Ebisedian equivalent of "Mary" is _`ymari'_ [Hyma"r`i]. In the second sentence, the second pronoun is tagged differently; and hence it refers to someone else.
> c. Mary gave John a picture that Mary owned. (implies she only owns one!)
In this case, there is ambiguity, as this would be identical to (a).
> d, Mary gave John a picture that Sonia owned (ditto)
This would be identical to (b).
> e.. Mary gave John a picture that Mary had drawn > f.. Mary gave John a picture that Sonia had drawn. > (Also depends on the polysemy of "picture")
Ebisedian probably would not exhibit polysemy for "picture", so this doesn't really apply here.
> And I think the all-time winner, so n-ambiguous that I lose count: > "The police were ordered to stop drinking on campus after midnight."
In Ebisedian, this would be quite unambigous: 1. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> myso' drink(v) campus(loc) after-midnight(loc) <t3m3> The <t3> and <t3m3> are subordinating particles that delimit exact boundaries for the subordinate clause. So (1) implies that the order was for them (the police) to stop drinking on campus after midnight. _myso'_ is a negative optative particle meaning "let it not be so". It implies an order directed at the listeners (the police themselves). 2. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> stop(v) drinking(cvy) campus(loc) after-midnight(loc) <t3m3> Here, the verb stop (_p0'ju_) is an imperative, and "drinking" is a gerund. Hence, it means for them to interrupt the act of drinking (by others, although it does not exclude the police themselves). 3. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> stop(v) drink(cvy) campus(loc) <t3m3> after-midnight(loc) The order is that for the police to interrupt the act of drinking on campus; and the order was given after midnight. 4. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> myso' drinking <t3m3> campus(loc) after-midnight(loc) The order is that the police stop drinking, and the order was given on campus after midnight. Note, of course, that this is stretching Ebisedian grammar a bit. Generally, Ebisedian dislikes long, complex sentences like this. In this particular case, it would like to break up the sentence depending on the intended semantics: 1) The police were ordered to stop (their own) drinking. In this case, the sentence as it stands is perfectly acceptable, with _myso'_, the prohibitive, replacing the English verb "stop". Literally, it would read something like "let it not be so, that [you] drink". 2) The police were ordered to stop others' drinking. Although the versions I give above are plausible, a native speaker would paraphrase the sentence as: If you(pl,police) see(v) [ drinking(instr) who ] person, then stop the person(cvy). In orthography, ana 3co'miu fww't3 n0 <drinking,instr> du bis33'di. keve p0'ju b3s33'd3. Ebisedian does not distinguish between direct and indirect discourse; so this can be transplanted into the main sentence: Tww'ma 3co'miu t3 ana 3co'miu fww't3 n0 <drinking,instr> du bis33'di. keve p0'ju b3s33'd3. t3m3. "It was asserted to the-close-ones[*] [ If the-close-ones see the-drinking-person. Then stop person. ]" I formatted this a bit creatively so that you can see the nesting enclosed by t3...t3m3. [*] Raw transliteration of the Ebisedian pronoun. Here, I'm substituting a pronoun for "police", since I don't have a word for "police" yet. :-)
> Kash at least can disambiguate this a little (litterally, without bothering > to translate):
> The disadvantages of lacking a passive, and the two adverbial clauses create > a raft of other problems.........
*Tries to resist urge to boast about Ebisedian's active/passive-less grammar* ;-) T -- People say I'm indecisive, but I'm not sure about that. -- YHL, CONLANG