Re: Thoughts on Tarsyanian verbs
|Date:||Thursday, September 29, 2005, 0:58|
--- In email@example.com, Carsten Becker <naranoieati@B...>
> On Wed, 28 Sep 2005, 02:01 CEST, Tom H. Chappell wrote:
> >> * The basic paradigm is: <stem> + (T)AM + person + S
> > I had to read further to figure out what the " + S" meant.
> I didn't want to explain it twice.
Of course not! :-) I just meant that I don't always recognize
everything the first time I see it.
> > I like the " + S" idea.
> Verbs agree with the subject in case, why not.
> > It makes Tarsyanian's voice system an "information-salience" voice
> > system, among the three super-types of M.H. Klaimans typology of
> > voice systems in his book "Grammatical Voice"; at least, if I
> > understand both you and him correctly, it does so.
> What does "information-salient" mean?
Well, I guess, if a voice system marks the verb to single out topic
from comment or vice-versa, or focus from non-focus, or given from
new or vice-versa, or theme from rheme or vice-versa, that would be
an information-salience voice system.
M.H. Klaiman's "Grammatical Voice" typologizes the world's voice
systems into three super-types, which he calls "Basic
Voice", "Derived Voice", and "Information-Salience Voice".
"Derived Voice" systems seem mostly to be about moving various
nominals in and out of various grammatical relations. For instance,
if one alters the verb so that the erstwhile direct object is
promoted to subject position, while the erstwhile subject is demoted
to instrumental oblique position or suppressed altogether, that is
Klaiman's examples for "Basic Voice" systems were Fulani, Tamil,
Sanskrit, and Ancient Greek. In these languages a verb was usually
either an Active Voice verb or a Middle Voice verb -- a largish
minority of verbs could appear in both Active and Middle voices. The
difference was, that in a Middle Voice verb, the agent or subject, or
its interests, was affected -- for instance, it might inalienably
possess whatever was chiefly affected -- while in Active Voice verbs,
the agent or subject was not affected. "I burned my leg" would be
Middle, but "I burned the toast" would be Active, I guess. Klaiman
also said that in most "Basic Voice" systems, most "deponent verbs" --
by which /he/ means, verbs about adopting a mental attitude towards
an object, which presuppose that the agent has animacy and control --
are expressed in the Middle Voice.
Most of Klaiman's "Basic Voice" languages also have a Passive Voice,
which is usually derived; so, there is a derived-voice system
operating supplementary to the Basic Voice system.
If an Active/Stative or Split-S or Fluid-S language, in which the
nominals of intransitive verbs are case-marked as A or P differently
depending on whether the verb is considered Active or Stative, is
also a Basic Voice language, this makes Klaiman's points easier to
make. He points this out with several Native American languages.
One of them, a Muskogean language called Alabaman, actually has a
three-way split in intransitive monovalent clauses; the nominal can
be ergative, or accusative, or dative. At least one verb, whose
gloss is "to be high up", can take its argument in all three cases.
"It-ERG is-high-up" means roughly "Wow! Look at that thing shoot up
there!"; "It-ACC is-high-up" means roughly "Gosh, is that thing
sitting at the top of that tree, or what?" while "It-DAT is-high-up"
means roughly "Well, /I/ sure can't reach it; can /you/?"
(BTW Barry J. Blake's book "Case" considers the semantic core of the
Dative case to be, the target of an emotion or perception or activity
which does not affect the target -- the object of LOVE or HEAR or
SEEK, for instance.)
A different subtype of Basic Voice, if I remember correctly, is the
Hierarchical Voice. Instead of "affectedness", nominals are ranked
according to the likelihood, or "potentiality", they have
of "control". If the participant with more power to be in control is
in fact in control, the verb is in the Direct Voice; if the
participant with less power to be in control turns out to be the one
in control, the verb is in the Inverse Voice.
(BTW There is more than one kind of control; there is "agenda
control" versus "outcome control", for instance. On this list in
previous months I argued with Ray Brown and others that in a
Perceiver/Stimulus relation the Perceiver had Agenda Control but not
Outcome Control, whereas the Stimulus had Outcome Control but not
Agenda Control. Furthermore, there is conscious vs unconscious
control; the Perceiver must be aware of any control he/she/it/they
has/have, whereas the Stimulus need not be.)
The third super-type Klaiman's "Grammatical Voice" typology proposes
is Information-Salience Voice. Klaiman gives Mayan languages as
examples of languages in which the voice of the verb tells
which "case" (which "theta-role" or participant) is the "Topic"; and
gives Philippine languages as examples of languages in which the
voice of the verb tells which "case" (which "theta-role" or
participant) is the "Focus".
I am sorry, I am getting kicked out of here. I wanted to reply to
the remarks you made below, too. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.
----- Tom H.C. in MI
> > Other languages fitting into that super-type are some Mayanlanguages
> > and some Philippine languages. The Philippine languages fit intoa
> > type he called "focus-salience" voice systems.
> If you refer to trigger systems, T. is not supposed to have
> that. Ayeri has it to some extent.
> > There are some verbs, surely, in which the Experiencer (verbs of
> > emotion, judgement, or mental attitudes) or Perceiver (verbs of
> > sensation, etc.) may be central, along with the Stimulus (asopposed
> The stimulus is the force that affects the experiencer, no?
> Actually, when having experiencers, I think I should split
> verbs based on volition, that's easiest. OTOH, it would be
> likely to have a fluid-S system then, not a system like I
> wanted where the verb tightly governs the case of its S
> > to the Patient, sense the Experiencer or Perceiver is Affected,and
> > the Stimulus is not); but, you may not wish to separate these out
> > into a different lexical class unless you want to complicate your
> > voice system by having both a "basic voice" system (i.e. someverbs
> > are Active and some are Middle) and the "information-saliencevoice"
> > system you already have. (Many languages do in fact have voice
> > systems of "mixed" type, if Klaiman's book is a reliable guide;
> > usually one of the "types" is dominant -- at least, among his
> > examples, that was the case.)
> I don't see (yet?) why I should not divide between
> Experiencers and Patients. See, experiencers are essentially
> indirect objects being the subjects of sentences. German has
> this feature and Icelandic makes even more use of S=DAT
> constructions. Why do experiencers affect the voice system?
> Seems that I can't follow your point here, sorry. If I
> should decide that there are nouns that cannot take one or
> two of the mentioned theta roles, of course passives and
> antipassives must be used to make nouns fit. But if all
> nouns can take every role, then there is no need for voice,
> except maybe middle voice, but even this one can be avoided.
> > BTW I have read that in some languages which have a "constructstate",
> > the "construct state" is the bare, unmarked stem -- nodefiniteness
> > markers, no case markers, no number markers, etc., no affixes ofany
> > kind. In some such languages, any occurrence of a noun that
> > isn't "construct state" has to have some kind of marker or otheron
> > it. I'm sorry I can't think of a reference. I have also seen,(I am
> > sure, but I can't think of a reference,) that there is at leastone
> > language which does have a specific marker for "construct state".
> Weird, I didn't expect that. Possession as the default
> case -- those little capitalists ;-)
> >> Hope you liked it?
> > Yes, indeed! I liked it a lot. I look forward to getting
> > time to
> > study it.
> Thank you.
> > I should have some time around Thanksgiving to do some of thethings
> > I've been telling people all year I was going to do when I gotthe
> > time.
> > Chances are, I won't ever find time to do all of them.
> > Thus Time doth make liars of us all (well, maybe just of
> > me).
> Not only you ... I know this problem good enough myself.
> Well, you'll see more given that I feel like coming up
> with more until Thanksgiving -- over here, that'd be
> already on coming Sunday, but IIRC the American
> Thanksgiving is sometime in November or December.
> "Miranayam cepauarà naranoaris."
> (Calvin nay Hobbes)
> Current projects: