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project Gamma: Notes

From:Jeffrey Jones <jsjonesmiami@...>
Date:Friday, February 3, 2006, 21:07
Hi all,
This language is giving me a lot of trouble. I have no specific questions,
but comments are welcome.


* to have a minimal difference between forms with coreference and forms
* to use gender for head-dependent agreement
* to limit actants of a given type to a specific slot as much as possible


Word Classes
Lexical classes and syntactical classes are similar but distinct:
syntactical classes apply to complete word forms and are relevent
syntactically; lexical classes apply to word stems and are relevent
morphologically. There are also valence classes.

The lexical classes are: verb, noun (subdivided according to gender),
temporal words, instrument words, other inflected words, and particles.

Lexical adjectives are a subclass of lexical verbs.

The syntactical classes are: verb, noun (subdivided according to gender),
temporal forms, instrument forms, other inflected forms, and particles.
Also significant are whether or not the Auxiliary affix is present and
whether Coreference is marked (or implied).

Forms with coreference are used for nouns, infinitives, and coverbs; forms
without are used for main verbs, complement verbs, and adjunct(???) verbs.

Infinitives and complement verbs are words following auxiliary forms.

The genders are animate, inanimate, and location.

A location-gender phrase can be added to a clause if there's not already a
possible location-gender argument.

A temporal-class argument can always be added.

New referent arguments are distinguished from old referent arguments; this
is marked only on the dependent phrases.

Number (singular and plural) is marked both on the head and on dependent
phrases, and is useful in determining which argument slot the phrase
corresponds to.

The gender of a phrase is also used in determining which argument slot it
corresponds to, since each slot, for a particular word stem, allows a
subset of the genders.

The gender of a phrase is that of the lead noun; adjectives must agree with
the lead noun in gender.

The gender of a lead noun may be overridden in order to match a particular
argument slot; in this case the adjectives agree with the override gender,
not the noun's original one.

If two 3rd person arguments are the same in both gender and number and
there's both a new referent phrase and an old referent phrase, the new
referent phrase corresponds to the normally less "animate" argument slot.

The normal "animacy" of the slots is: Personal > Animate > Inanimate; this
means that the Personal slot must not allow a gender of lesser "animacy"
then the Animate slot etcetera.

The "animacy" of the genders is animate > inanimate > location.

Focus and topicality may also be useful in matching phrases to argument

When a phrase is an apposite of a 1st or 2nd person actant, it must be a
(restrictive) relative clause following the appropriate personal pronoun.

Non-restrictive relative clauses must be (here at least) treated as
separate sentences.

Word Order
The order of phrases within a clause is pragmatic, except where syntax
requires that the head appear first.

Adjectives follow the lead noun, but strictly speaking both lead nouns and
adjectives are syntactical nouns, even if lead nouns are usually lexical

Split phrases are occasionally possible.

Inalienable possessors are dependents, not adjectives, and immediately
follow their heads.

A quantifier, if any, immediately precedes the lead noun.

A phrase containing a determiner is called a "determined" phrase. The
determiner immediately precedes the quantifier, if any, or the lead noun.

The partitive construction consists of a quantifier immediately preceding a
determined phrase.

The superlative construction consists of a lexical adjective immediately
preceding a partitive construction.

Alienable possession makes use of various relationship words.