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).
... 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_