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THEORY: When is a verb not a verb?

From:Paul Bennett <paul.w.bennett@...>
Date:Sunday, January 27, 2008, 20:36
I have encountered a bit of a funny question about Uinlitska.

There is a class of incorporating verbs that seem to exist in a perfectly
rational and reasonable way, getting along jusdt fine with the rest of the

Within that class, though, there are a few that have given me pause. They
work just like the others, attaching to a noun, and forming a compund word
that is surface-verby. Where the oddness comes in is with a few very short
ones, including some that are monophonemic.

By their size, these seem to straddle the grey area between derivational
operations and incorporating verbs. They are neither necessary nor
sufficient to turn a root into a word (needing person and TAM marking),
and they cannot stand alone-but-inflected (needing a noun), which seems
like a decent set of criteria for defining derivational operations.

On the other hand, all of the other verbs in that class fit the exact same

So, what's a conlanger to do? What, for that matter, would a real live
field linguist do?

Is the phonological difference between (e.g.) /-m/ and /-xi~tA/ enough to
put the two in different categories?

Please help me decide.



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