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Comments? Applicative and Noun Incorporation

From:Elliott Lash <al260@...>
Date:Friday, April 12, 2002, 15:39
In my morphology class we've recently started discussing applicative movements
and noun incorporation. Applicative refers to things like the English dative

"He gave the book to Mary"  >  "He gave Mary the book"

or a "locative" shift:

"He loaded the hay onto the wagon  > "He loaded the wagon with hay"

Because I was so enthralled with this, I created a few sentences of a makeshift
language, which uses both these "applicative processes" and uses
noun-incorporation. (oh, and it's split-ergative: nouns take
ergative-absolutive marking, pronouns take nominative-accusative marking).

Some examples:
dai   ngwe  jo  anjü dò      ñyisu
I-NOM  eat  ABS meat with/at dinner
/daj Nwe dZo andZy dO n:jisM/       "I ate meat for dinner, I am eating meat for dinner"

for those who can't read the characters:
anjü = anju"
dò = do\
ñyisu = n~yisu
Applicative processes promote the oblique phrase "dò ñyisu"
to the direct object position, while at the same time, causing the demoted direct
object to be incorporated into the verb
dai   njü-ngwè-ryì  jo ñyisu
I-NOM meat-eat-APPL.ABS dinner
/daj ndZyNwErjI dZo n:jisM/  "I usually eat meat with dinner, I eat meat with dinner"

if you can't read the characters:
njü-ngwè-ryì = nju"ngwe\ryi\

Notice that the difference between the sentence without the Applicative Suffix and
without Incorporation, indicates punctuality or basically, the action is/was
happening, but is no longer. With the Applicative/Incorporation sentence, the
meaning is more habitual, or iteritive (in some cases)

Further more, the applicative sentence can be turned into an agent noun itself, if the
copula "da" is added:

dai   njü-ngwè-ryì da
I-NOM meat-eat-APPL COPL
"I am a meat-eater/carnivore" ----------------------------------------------------------------
Two more examples and I'll stop.

dau    jìda       şër    bòì
We-NOM look-after ABS-pl child
/daw dZIda S@r bOI/
"We're looking after some kids, we looked after some kids"

dau    bòì-jìda-ryì
We-NOM child-look-after-APPL.
"We have kids, We're raising children"

for those who can't read the characters:
jìda = ji\da
şër = s-cedilla-e"-r
bòì = bo\i\
Now for some contrast:

şë      mwao nyì mwë?
he-NOM  sing DAT who/what
/S@ mwao njI mw@/
"for whom is he singing/did he sing?"

the answer would be:

şë     mwao nyì najyë
he-NOM sing DAT girl
/S@ mwao njI nadZj@/
"he is singing for the girl/he sang for the girl"

şë = s-cedilla-e"
nyì = nyi\
mwë = mwe"
najyë = najye"


şë     mü-mwaò-ryì    jo  mwë?
he-NOM song-sing-APPL ABS what/who
/S@ mymwaOrjI dZo mw@/
"he song-sings what?"
"For whom does he sing (songs)?"

the answer would be:

şë     mü-mwaò-ryì    Mü-hwa    që  jo  Gao
he-NOM song-sing-APPL song-bird ADJ ABS band/troupe
/S@ mymwaOrjI myhwakw@ dZo gao/
"He sings for the "Birdsong Troupe"

şë = s-cedilla-e"
mü-mwaò-ryì = mu"mwao\ryi\
mwë = mwe"
që = qe"
Mü = Mu"

(notice the absolutive particle: "jo" is an proclitic, inserting itelf between the
noun and the modifier in Mühwa që Gao)

The first one without the Applicative/Incorporation is just a regular present/past
tense, whereas the Applicative/Incorporation construction creates the feeling
of timelessness, or habituality.

But notice that even though the translation is "He sings for the "Birdsong
Troupe", the meaning is more like "He song-sings the "Birdsong Troupe" and thus
the marking for Mühwa që Gao, is absolutive and not a dative.

Thanks for listening to this rambling long post..I hope you enjoyed it.

Elliott Lash


The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>