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[LONG] - using object status in Gevey

From:Rik Roots <rikroots@...>
Date:Sunday, November 18, 2001, 14:26
Below are my latest thoughts on how "status" is used with Gevey nouns and
pronouns (objects). Thoughts and comments are always welcome. Apologies for
the long post, but it's a difficult idea for me to put into words succinctly.

Brief explanations: Inanimate, animate simple, animate internal and animate
external are the four status cases which are available to any noun or
pronoun. Causative objects can be thought of as people, animals, etc which
are capable of causing an action to take place, while applicative objects
cannot start an action.


Determining the appropriate status for a given noun or pronoun in a
particular situation may seem to be a dark art. Indeed, the number of
grammatical rules governing the use of status may number in the dozens (a
number of them have still not been formally described by Gevey linguists).
And yet, these rules exist, and are deployed everyday by native Gevey speakers.

Teaching the grammar of status use to students learning Gevey in later life
is difficult, mainly because many of the grammatical rules have not been
fully determined by linguists. Nevertheless, some of the more basic rules
are discussed below.

*Causative nouns*
Observe the following:

Tuusrhe strimate basyuu kliy
A dog ran along the road (animate simple)

Tuusrho strimo basyuu kliy
The dog runs along the road (animate external)

Tuusrho ten strimo basyuu kliy
My dog runs along the road (animate external)

Tuusrha rispa ya luets tokan
Dog[s] like to chase cat[s] (animate internal)

Tuusrhuu frudhatuu suusyuu blom
The dead dog was found under the table (inanimate)

As can be seen, a causative noun (in this case tuusrh-, dog) can use any of
the three animate status endings, depending on the context in which the
object is being used. The object can also become applicative by taking the
inanimate status. The rules governing the status of causative nouns have a
little in common with the use of articles in English, but the two sets of
rules (Gevey and English) are not equivalent.

The base status for causative nouns is the animate simple state - whenever
in doubt, this is the status a causative noun should take. Animate simple
causative nouns have a similar meaning to nouns with an indefinite article
(a, an, some) in English.

Similarly, animate external causative nouns have a resemblance to English
nouns using the definite article (the). However, the use of the animate
external status is more restricted. It is used mainly to identify causative
objects with which the speaker or narrator has a practical relationship.

A common use of the animate external status with causative nouns is with
the genetive pronouns ten and den: rapto ten (my boy); yo tuusehrh ten (my
dog); luetso den (your cat). This also happens with the genetive impersonal
pronouns telaan, tuzaan, tagraan and bozaan. Each of these demonstrates a
particular instance of the object - luetso telaan (this cat), rapto bozaan
(the other boy).

Animate internal causative nouns represent a template, or model of the
object. In English, objects associated with the phrase "in general" or
"typically" would, in Gevey, use the animate internal status.The internal
status is also often used in conditional clauses, or with future tense
verbs. For instance: tog rispana yuu pouzuul luetsa - the cat might chase
the stick.

People's names (and nicknames) tend to use the animate external status for
when that person is present in the group, or active in the conversation,
and the animate simple status for when they are not present. Thus you could
say ta'magzuups tathato yuu pan Jono (John bought the bread in the shop) if
John was standing next to you when you said it, and ta'magzuups tathate yuu
pan Jone when John is not present in the group. Also, when a person
introduces themselves, or when greeting someone, always use the animate
external form of their name: Haetu, Jono! (Hi, John!).

The animate internal form of a person's name can be used for people younger
than yourself, but it
carries a slightly insulting quality, like you consider that person to be
"undeveloped" or "juvenile". The inanimate status should never be used with
a person's name: this form is a deadly insult, and will usually lead to
instant, often physical retaliation.

*Applicative nouns*
The base status of applicative nouns is the inanimate status. Applicative
nouns do not take into account the definiteness of the noun - a painting
and the painting are both translated as zhablakuu. Genetive forms also tend
to use the inanimate status, except where a particular aspect of the object
(discussed below) is being posessed - zhablakuu ten (my painting),
zhablakuu tuzaan (that painting).

However, Gevey society believes that it *is* possible for a painting to
interact with its surroundings - in particular, a painting can have a very
profound effect on someone who looks at it, studies it. Thus in Gevey
zhablake (animate simple status) is a legitimate word, and would be used to
describe the painting in terms of the emotional impact it has on someone
looking at it: te ko'zhablakes noimeghate - ke tiy segzhmekate, I
sympathised with the painting - it saddened me.

Gevey society goes further. The choice and layout of the images themselves
will have an effect. The way images are devised and laid out on the canvas
give expression to the vision of the artist who made the painting. This can
also extend to the materials used to create the painting - paint, canvas,
frame, lighting, hanging. When discussing this external view of the
painting, Gevey will use the external animate status form of the object -
zhablako: te co zhablak noivrhoshmate - the painting's aesthetics affected
me (lit. I reacted towards the painting).

And there is an even deeper level of understanding of the painting. The
images, and the way they interact suggest an underlying story - and imply
the culture within which that story takes place. For example, a picture of
a knight in shining armour slaying a dragon would suggest to a literate
Briton a medieval story based firmly in the Christian Arthurian tradition,
but hinting also at an older culture - which possibly believed in the
existence of dragons - and even exploring the conflict between early
Christian and Pagan cultures. Equally, a different person viewing the
painting may see an allegory of the Christian fight between good and evil.
This aspect, the internal animate status, of the painting would be called
zhablaka: te ca zhablak noivrhoshmate - the painting's context affected me.

So, to summarise:
- the base status of applicative objects is inanimate
- when discussing the impact on the narrator or writer of an applicative
object, use the animate simple
- the animate external is used when discussing the applicative object's
constituent parts, outside of any context
- and the animate internal is applied when considering the applicative
object's place within the wider context of its existence

Emotional states in Gevey are applicative objects. But unlike other
applicative objects, their base status is usually the animate simple
status: thus tratejre (fun), trazhmekhe (sadness).

te ye tratejehr noishloeklate ta'Jones
John and I had a good time (lit. I experienced fun with John)

te ye tratejehr stigate sneklan ta'tuusrhes
I had fun playing with the dog

te ye trazhmekh noimeghate ko'raptes
I felt sad for the boy (lit. I sympathised sadness with the boy)

*Personal pronouns*
Third person personal pronouns, whether for applicative or causative
objects, take the same status as the object they replace in a clause or
sentence. Thus:

te ca zhablak noivrhoshmate becomes te ta-kaey noivrhoshmate
tuusrhuu frudhatuu suusyuu blom becomes kuu frudhatuu suus-kou
tuusrho ten strimo basyuu kliy becomes ko ten strimo bas-kou
te ye tratejehr stigate sneklan ta'tuusrhes becomes te kiy stigate sneklan
te ye trazhmekh noimeghate ko'raptes becomes te kiy noimeghate ko-kes
ta'magzuups tathato yuu pan Jono becomes ta-kuups tathato kou ésko

Both for the first person and second person personal pronouns, a different
set of rules apply. Similar to names, these pronouns tend to take either
the animate simple or animate external status, with animate simple being
the base case and animate external being the emphatic case.

While using the inanimate status with first and second person personal
pronouns remains highly derogatory (and teenage angst poetry is instantly
recognisable for the excessive use of tuu, mizuulh and ïsuul), the animate
internal is often employed by people when discussing their spiritual, and
sometimes even their secular or rational, development and fulfilment.

Primate te ta-debz ye rhahshek
I gave the goat to you (lit. gave I to you goat)

Primato to ta-debz ye rhahshek
I myself gave the goat to you

Primate te ta-dobz ye rhahshek
I gave the goat specifically to you