Re: Thoughts on Tarsyanian verbs
|Date:||Thursday, September 29, 2005, 22:41|
--- 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.
> > 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?
> > 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.
Well, I think that what people mean when they say "trigger systems"
is also what Klaiman means when he says "focus-salience voice
systems". I don't guess he would generalize that to all information-
salience voice systems. But, any system in which the verb is marked
in order to show what case the subject is in, shows a certain
similarity to all of the information-salience systems Klaiman gave
examples of. His Mayan examples mark the verb to show which case the
Topic is in; his Philippine examples mark the verb to show which case
the Focus is in; and Tarsyanian marks the verb to show which case the
Subject is in.
One big difference is, the notion of Subject doesn't really apply to
the Philippine languages nor the Mayan languages. In the Philippine
languages, the Focus acts a lot like a Subject in many ways, and the
Actor acts a lot like a Subject in many other ways; so that a Focused
Actor is the closest thing to a Subject in a Philippine language: but
even that is not quite a Subject. According to you, Tarsyanian
clauses have Subjects.
> > 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?
Some people divide Experiencers of emotions like LOVE from Perceivers
of senses like HEAR and SEE. If I SEE the light, the light is the
Stimulus and I am the Perceiver. If I LOVE my daughter, I am the
Experiencer, but I don't think my daughter is the Stimulus; I think
some other word is used to describe her role.
However, you have correctly understood a distinction I make between
Agent/Patient relationships and Perceiver/Stimulus relationships.
In Agent/Patient relationships,
the Agent has Control of both the Agenda and the Outcome, and
the Agent is not Affected but the Patient is Affected, and
the Agent must be Animate but the Patient need not be Animate.
In Perceiver/Stimulus relationships,
the Perceiver has Control of the Agenda,
but not of the Outcome,
while the Stimulus has Control of the Outcome,
but not of the Agenda,
the Perceiver is Affected , but the Stimulus is not Affected;
the Perceiver must be Animate, but the Stimulus need not be Animate.
In Experiencer/whatever relationships, there is a somewhat similar
difference from the Agent/Patient relationships; yet it is not
exactly the same as the Perceiver/Stimulus relationship either.
The Experiencer has Control of both the Agenda and the Outcome;
the "whatever" has Control of neither the Agenda nor the Outcome.
Example: if "I fear the Greeks", I am the Experiencer, and the Greeks
are the "whatever". It is in my control whether or not to fear the
The Experiencer is Affected; the Whatever is not Affected.
(my Fear or Love affects me, not whatever I fear or love.)
The Experiencer must be Animate, but the Whatever need not be.
> 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
Klaiman decided that all voice-systems mark verbs to indicate
variations in some kind of hierarchy. Derived-voice systems mark
verbs to indicate variations in a hierarchy of grammatical relations;
basic-voice systems mark verbs to indicate variations in a hierarchy
of control or affectedness; and information-salience voice systems
mark verbs to indicate variations in a hierarchy of topicality or
focality (or some other kind of salience).
One thing to consider is that a language can mark all of those things
somewhere and yet mark only one of them on the verb. If you don't
mark any of them on the verb you don't have a voice system. (Or at
least not one that fits into Klaiman's proposed sketch of a typology
of human natlangs.) If you mark two or all three on your verbs you
have a mixed voice system, and that's probably just fine. But you
could mark one on the verbs, another on the nouns, and another on
> > 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.
Maybe you should. Most languages do.
> See, experiencers are essentially
> indirect objects being the subjects of sentences.
Not necessarilly. This is language-dependent.
> German has
> this feature and Icelandic makes even more use of S=DAT
> Why do experiencers affect the voice system?
Whether or not they do depends on what type of voice-system the
In a Basic Voice System, an Experiencer would be the participant
chiefly affected; this would be shown by marking the verb as being in
the Middle Voice.
In Icelandic and German, which afaik have Derived Voice Systems, the
way the fact that the Experiencer is the participant chiefly affected
would be marked, is to mark the nominal for the Experiencer as being
in the Dative Case. In Icelandic and German, the verb is not marked
to show which participant is the Affected participant.
Many Basic Voice systems are Active/Middle systems.
In Active/Middle Voice systems, verbs of Perception and Emotion are
probably going to be in Middle Voice.
About 40% of verbs will have both Active and Middle forms.
For some of these verbs, the Active and Middle forms will either both
be Intransitive, or both Transitive.
For many of them, the Active form will be Transitive, and the Middle
form will be Intransitive.
For just a few of them, the Active form will be Intransitive, and the
Middle form will be Transitive.
Quite a few verbs will have an Active form but no Middle form, or a
Middle form but no Active form.
There is usually also a Passive form, which is a derived voice,
derived from the Active or the Middle form, whichever exists.
Some verbs don't have a Passive form.
> 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.
Passives and Antipassives are derived voices.
Passives promote direct objects or primary objects to subjects, while
demoting subjects to instrumentals.
Antipassives promote ergatives to absolutives, while demoting
absolutives to datives.
Passive and Antipassive necessarily decrease the valency by one.
Other derived voices include:
Causativization, which introduces a new agent, demoting the former
agent to the highest unfilled position (raising the valency by one
unless it is already as high as possible).
Applicativization, which promotes an oblique to direct or primary
object, demoting the former object to oblique (converting an
intransitive to a transitive, otherwise not changing the valency).
Dative movement, which moves a recipient or beneficiary (an indirect
object) to direct-object position.
These are not your only choices if your voice system is not a Derived
Voice system. In the other super-types, voice alterations usually do
not change the valency.
> 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.
Why is there a need for voice even in English? Yet we have it.
You inflect the verb of a Tarsyanian clause for the case of its
I label that phenomenon as "voice", following Klaiman's description
of a similar phenomenon of Philippine languages in which he calls
The usual reason for doing this in both the Philippine languages and
the Derived Voice systems, is that the Focus (in the Philippine
languages) or the Subject (in the Derived Voice systems) is likely to
be a shared participant (a "pivot") of more than one clause.
> > 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 ;-)
Specifically, "Possessor", rather than "possessum".
Yeah, if you think about it as weird, it definitely comes up weird;-)
> >> 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.
Fourth Thursday in November for U.S.Americans; sometime in October
I wasn't aware that any country in Europe even had a National Day of
That suggests some OT SURVEY questions:- What is/are your home nation
(s), and do they have a National Day of Thanks-Giving annually, and
if so, when is it?
Tom H.C. in MI