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Avoiding Henry James...

From:David Peterson <digitalscream@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 11, 2001, 4:05
    I'm supposed to be reading The Portrait of a Lady right now, but this new
language and Monday Night Football are usurping my Puritan work ethic...
    I've been working on Mbasa pretty much all day, and so now I'll post my
grammar, small though it be:

1.) Subject Status:             2.) Personal Pronouns:
100% New Subject: u-                    Sing.   Plur. (exc.)    Plur. (inc.)
Plur. (all inc.)
Same Subject: i-                1st:        wi      we          wo          wa
New Subject (D.O.): a-      2nd:    sa      ---         tso         ---
New Subject (I.O.): e-          3rd:        hu      he          ---
New Subject (Stim/other): o-

The last three subject markers compensate for the fact that Mbasa makes no
gender distinction in its pronouns.  So, using marker #3 as an example, if
you already knew that the direct object of the first sentence was a woman,
then you'd simply use the third subject marker to indicate the subject of the
new sentence is the same as the direct object of the previous.  Also, the
difference between inclusive and all-inclusive is that the inclusive only
includes the speaker and the one(s) s/he's talking to.  The all-inclusive
includes others the speaker identifies with as well as those s/he's speaking
to.  Also, the "other" new subject marker (along with stimulus) is used
whenever something is relativized that is not an object, a subject or a

3.) Reflexive Particle: ma      4.) Agent Marker: za, Stimulus Marker: ho

5.) Modals:             6.) Tense:  7.) Prepositional Prefixes:
Abilative: dze (can)        Present: na Benefactive: sa     Contrastive: va
Ducative: pa (should)       Past: ka        Malefactive: tSo
Obligative: ja (must)       Future: la  Causative: dZe (because of)
Evidential: Na                      Becausative: Go (in spite of)
Desirative: ke                      Commitative: mu Genitive: mba

These aren't the only modals; I'm sure I'll add others later.  I'm fairly
certain that there are no such terms as "causative" or "becausative", or if
there are, they have different definitions.  Also, I'm not sure about the
Contrastive.  It indicates "without someone/thing" or "against someone/thing".

8.) Aspect/Mood:
Completive: k       Progressive: s      Irrealis: n Habitual: S Repetitive: l
Inceptive: p            Terminative: v      Continual: x    Comand: Z
Indicative: h

In the past tense, the indicative and completive are pretty much identical;
the completive just emphasizes that the action has been completed, as opposed
to the action simply occuring in the past.  The terminative (made-up term)
indicates the termination of an action.

9.) Coordination Particles:
And (Then): a       While/During: i If/then: o      But/yet/however/though: u
So that/in order to/so as to/so as: e   Following phrase is a relative
clause: an
Current/Previous phrase is relative: iS     Therefore/And So: ep
Because: eZ At the Time When: us        In the Way That: ol

Are there more of these?  Am I missing any?  There are examples for -an and
-iS below.

10.) Relative Pronouns (for target of relativization only):
        Sing.       Plu. (exc.) Plu. (inc.)     Plu. (all inc.)
1st:        wu          mi          me          ma
2nd:    tsu                     tse
3rd:    xu          hi

These pronouns are used in the relative clauses themselves, in place of the
ordinary pronouns.

11.) Satellites:
Subject: ---                Indirect Object*: m-/M-/n-/n_j-/N- (underlying
[m], used with V-initial)
Direct Object: a-/al-       Prepositional Phrases: affix appropriate prefix
to noun in question
Stimulus: h-/ho-            Genitive: mb-/mba-

This is the realization of the idea I had.  There are some examples below.
Finally, this is the order of the morphemes in each verb (note: The subject
is infixed into the verb root, including agent/stimulus prefixes and
reflexive markers):

(Subject Status)-(Direct Object)-(Modals)-(Motion/Place Adverbs)-(Manner
Adverbs)-(Verb (Subject) Root)-(Tense)-(Indirect Object)-(Prepositional

Example Sentences:
1.) "I will eat it": uhumazawisalah.
u     -     hu      -      ma      -   za    -     wi       -       sa      -
     la      -       h
N.S.-3rd.s.acc.-Eat(part I)-AGT.-1st.s.nom.-Eat(part II)-future-indicative

2.) "I'm giving it to you because of them": uhutSezawisanadZehes.
u    -      hu     -      tSe      -      za     -    wi    -        sa
   -     na  -       dZe    -    he     -      s
N.S.-3rd.s.acc.-give(part I)-AGT.-1st.s.nom.-give(part II)-pres.-because

3.) "I saw him who gave it to you (all)": uhohuhewisakahan ohutSezaxusakatsoh.
u   -    ho   -     hu    -  he  - wi-sa    -   ka  - h  -    an
 o       -     hu    -   tSe   -    za  -    xu     -   sa
ka -  tso      -       h

4.) "I gave the woman's man a tooth": uhutSezawisakahumbahuk MvendzumbajaSa
u  -   hu- tSe   -    za  - wi-  sa   -  ka- hu-mba-hu-k
M-vendzu-mba-baja     a- zandze
N.S.-3s.-give(I)-AGT.-I-give(II)-past-3s-gen.-3s-comp.   dat.-man-gen-woman

5.) "The woman to whom I gave a tooth is inside the house":  jaSa azandze
    ehunewimbanah amaGa.
jaSa   -      a-zandze    u-  hu  - tSe -   za  - wi- sa    -   ka - xu  -
h   -   iS
woman   acc-tooth   N.S.-3s-give(I)-AGT-I-give(II)-past-3s.rel-ind.-rel.part.
e    -       hu      -   ne    -     wi  -  mba      -         na  -  h
a -  maGa
N.S.(i.o.)-3s-to be inside(I)-I-to be inside(II)-pres-ind     acc-house

    So, what do you think?