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Re: Strange construction pops out of nowhere

From:Pablo David Flores <pablo-flores@...>
Date:Saturday, August 10, 2002, 16:44
Roger Mills <romilly@...> writes:

> Pablo Flores wrote: > >Yue leade. "Night is black." > >Yue wo leamo. "This night is becoming black." > > I call this "inchoative" in Kash; "inceptive" is also orthodox.
Maybe I wasn't very clear. I knew about "inceptive", but I thought it was more like "beginning to", not "becoming". In truth, the translation of |Yue wo leamo| could be "Night blackens [middle voice]." The continuous aspect is not there really.
> >Ekheba leakomo yiyuech. "Clouds are turning the night black." > Why the genitive? (Why not, eh?) Is there an accusative case?
No, there isn't. Subject and object are always unmarked. That's why I felt this construction odd, because |yuech| (yes, |-ch| /C/ (/ç/) means definite) is clearly the direct object. I don't remember why the genitive popped out in my mind, but I was thinking about after- and before-states -- the after-state is |lea| "black", while the before-state is |yuech| "the night". Since genitive is also ablative, it may have looked as if you were saying "Clouds made black [night] from the night".
> Is _komo_ literally "cause-become" or just a more general > causative marker?
It's a causative-inceptive copula, in your terms. It applies to predicates only (adjectives and noun phrases).
> (I.e., can -ko occur alone? Or could you have -kode 'cause to be...'?
No, and yes. Though |kode| is nonstandard, just a parallel to |komo|, which means practically the same.
> If word order is fairly fixed SVO, there seems no compelling need to > case-mark the object; position suffices.
Except the predicate that |komo| should attach may be rather long, in which case either (1) a part of it will go after |komo|, which will attach to the head of the predicate only; or (2) the sentence will become SOV-like. SYV is rather SVO, but |komo| is a copula, which is a different part of speech -- and SYV tends to (NP) (Predicate+Copula). In some cases, e. g. when the NP is just one noun (or a pronoun), it goes (Predicate+Copula) (NP) or even (Predicate) (NP+Copula). These each convey different kinds of emphasis and topicality, so I need to have a free word order for copulas. That's why one of the arguments of |komo| must be marked somehow.
> Where you will run into problems is with causatives > of normally transitive verbs, if SYV can do that......
Haven't thought of that. I have a causative prefix, |ce-|, for verbs, though. I could use the same scheme: Kheri viru Sali. "Harry met Sally." Kouye yiSali chebiru Kheri. father+1s GEN-Sally know-PST Harry "My father made Sally know Harry." (|bir-| > |viru| and |ce-bir-| > |chebiru| are regular changes -- the PaST tense marks are |-u| and a stop->fricative mutation). --Pablo Flores ... I cannot combine any characters that the divine Library has not foreseen, which in some of its secret tongues do not bear some terrible meaning. No-one can articulate a syllable not filled of caresses and fears; which is not, in some one of those languages, the powerful name of a god... Jorge Luis Borges, _The Library of Babel_