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Re: Indicating verbs valence? (Was: The disappeared conlang)

From:Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
Date:Friday, January 25, 2002, 1:56
On Thu, 24 Jan 2002 10:53:53 -0500
Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...> wrote:

> Stephen Mulraney wrote: > >>Perhaps you could have a 'valence' inflection (or particle, or whatever) >>on the verb which specifies how many and what kind of 'arguments' >>the verb takes. I learnt a lot about this kind of thing from David Bell's >>grammar of ámman îar (thanks David!). You can see the kind of valencies >>that his language inflects for at section 7.3 on >> >>You might need to read the section at >> >>too, in order to understand the dialect of English used in this grammar ;)
> I already have verb prefixes to indicate which argument position maps to > which core case role. I call this grammatical voice, although it only > shuffles arguments without deleting any. Currently, the 2nd object can be > omitted with no other indication. For a different language this would be a > good solution.
Interesting. Maybe in this kind of 'stuck' situation you should ask yourself - "what would a natlang do?". Natlangs are absurdly resilient to misdesign and damage. I imagine that none has ever gotten stuck ;). In other words, from observing the way natlangs act, one can surmise that there exists a possible, and relatively simple modification to your lang that will introduce the missing functionality AND retain 'backwards compatability'. I suppose that natlangs in such situations usually resort to round-about 'lexical' solutions. For example, when the loss of the Latin future tense was felt in Romance (or whatever ancestor of modern romance langs it was) something like it - a 'future of obligation' was constructed using the verb 'to have' (like the English idiom 'to have to do something'), so e.g. (in proto-French) 'laver ai' "I have to wash" > Mod Fr 'je laverai' "I'll wash". [snip]
>> If this sounds like the method of semitic languages, you're rightish. >> PL had a triconsonental root for each word, with different vowel values >> and affixes to form different kinds of words, including different valences >> of verbs. E.g. the root S`-g-(r) [(r)=voiceless 'r', S`=retroflex s] is for >> "cut" and we get "caer" < S`Ego(r), while "coirin" < S`egu(r)eX\i. >> In ML the 3-root system is no longer productive, and the ML forms are the >> reflexes (descendants) of these two PL forms... in theory. All I need now >> is some convincing sound-laws connecting them... In principle, you should >> not need to know PL grammar to know ML grammar, since by analogy there >> should be only a few conjugations of verbs, and a few simple rules for >> changing intransitive->transitive etc. > > Coming up with sound-laws is especially tricky when _both_ endpoints have > already been determined.
Yes ;). In practice this won't be a problem - the current method is just to 'bootstrap' the creation of enough words for me to invent a grammar (it's especially necessary to see what the words look like since there are lots of phonetical tricks used to implement grammar). I could just pick the words out of the air, but then knowing my imagination, they would all be CVCCV and have 'eth' in them. So I can get some more varied form in this way, and the restricted number of shapes in the Primitive Lang will give rise to some inflectional classes - conjugations, declensions etc. One the grammar has been stabilised, all etymologies and primitive roots will be thrown out, and I'll be in a position where I can employ the simplest sound laws that suit the data. Chomskian recontruction of the rule-system, I suppose (and of the underlying forms - is that allowed, or does Noam say No?). [Damn Chomskians - what couldn't they be just plain wrong?!]
>> Oh, I meandered... how unusual ;)
Ditto myself... Anyway, I'll post a sample of this lang soon.
> I wanted to first review the possibilities, before seeing how they might > apply. But most solutions won't work without a complete redesign).
See above. ;)
> BTW, I finally uploaded my 'Yemls pages (at > > I think), but what I have is mainly poorly organized notes.
It seems to work. Looks very interesting - I'll give it a perusal.
> Jeff