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Neat Idea?

From:tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Thursday, August 4, 2005, 19:06

Reading Chris Wright's reply to my
"OVS Word Order or Quirky Case"? question,
and going back over Halldor Sigurdsson's paper,
got me thinking about the generativists' INFL and AGR nodes.

Then, re-reading Martin Haspelmath's
"Argument Marking in Ditransitive Alignment Types",
I took a look at his Maranungku examples.

I was struck by the Maranungku words /kara/, /kanga=na/, and /ayi/.

Maranungku (Western Daly; Australia) (Tryon 1970)

mi  awa  kara       tim  ayi
dog meat 3SG.A.NFUT bury PAST
'The dog buried the meat.'

kantu yuwa tyinta kanga=na         wut  ayi
man   that spear  3SG.A.NFUT=3SG.R give PAST
'He gave the spear to that man.'


Imagine a conlang with the following;
1) A family of five light verbs -- one monovalent, one bivalent, one
trivalent, one 4-valent, and one 5-valent -- which inflect to agree
with their argument(s) in person, number, and gender or noun-class;
but have no other semantic load.
2) A light verb which inflects for tense, mood, aspect, voice, and
version (a thing I have seen only in Georgian and Caucasian
languages), but has no other semantic load.
3a) No verb except those in 1) ever has to inflect for the person or
number or gender or noun-class of any argument.
3b) No verb except that in 2) ever has to inflect for tense or aspect
or version or voice or mood.

This would make every "verbal clause" sentence need three verbs -- a
1) light verb, the 2) light verb, and a lexical verb -- except those
with no arguments at all, which would need only the 2) light verb and
the lexical verb.

But it sure as heck would simplify the paradigms of most of the verbs.

It sort of does for verb-forms something like what using classifier-
words does for noun-classes.


Well? What does anybody think?
Is the idea at least clear and understandable?
Is it any good?
Is there any chance that ANADEW?


Tom H.C. in MI


Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>