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Re: Kamakawi Relative Clauses

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 6:04

I've come to the point where I'm: (a) Fleshing out; (b) fixing; and (c) 
improving upon all the languages I've created so far (a lifelong process), rather 
than doing any actual creation (though I have got this Georgian-like language 
on my mind [get the pun?]).  In the process of fixing and improving, I've 
changed Kamakawi relative clauses, and found a way to incorporate features I'd 
already created but had found little use for.

The basic relative clause is like, "I hugged the fish who saw a woman":

Ka mama ei ie nawa poke mata i eine.

/past hug I OBJ. fish GEN.-past see *gap* OBJ. woman/

Basically, you use (one of) the genitive prefix(es), /po-/, and attach it to 
the beginning of a new sentence, which has the subject marker that indicates 
that the subject is the same, and so the subject is left blank.  The whole 
thing, then, becomes a compliment to the noun.  So, if you wanted to say "The 
woman who saw the man hugged a fish", you'd say:

Ka mama eine poke mata ie hopoko i nawa.

/past hug woman GEN.-past see *gap* OBJ. man OBJ. fish/

Now, a problem arose with relativizing objects.  I didn't want to have any 
transformation-like gaps in this language, if I could possibly avoid it (note: 
You can omit the subject already if it's understood), but I had nothing which 
deleted objects.  So, I fixed that: I made a rule whereby only subjects could 
be relativized (a not uncommon rule in the world's languages), and now objects 
are relativized by putting the verb in the relative clause in the passive:

Ka mama eine poke mata'u tie hopoko i nawa.

/past hug woman GEN.-past see-PASS. OBL. man OBJ. fish/

This led to the question: What about PP's, and other phenomena?  This is 
where my applicative suffix came in.  I didn't have much use for it before now, 
but now I do.  Here's an example:

Ka kavi apule poke mataka'u ti nawa.

/past be-big store GEN.-past see-APPL.-PASS. OBL. fish/

"The store where I saw a fish was big."

What this is doing is positing that the following is a sentence, as well:

Ka mataka nawa i apule.

/past see-APPL. fish OBJ. store/

Which would means something like "Fish are/can be seen at the store", or 
"Fish are at-seen the store".  Thus, the passive is, "The store is at-seen by 
fish" (clunky rendering in English, but it works).

This led me to another problem: Serial verbs.

To say something like, "I gave you a fish", you'd have to say:

Ka li ei i nawa ke nevi i ia.

/past get I OBJ. fish past(same subject) give OBJ. you/

The verb "nevi", then, is something like "to give to".

Using the applicative, you can get a kind of ditransitive though:

Ka neviki ei i nawa ti ia.

/past give-APPL. I OBJ. fish OBL. you/

Then when this is passivized, you get:

Ka neviki'u nawa i ia (ti ei).

In this case, the objective marker /i/ is *not* the objective marker, but the 
dative/benefactive marker (the forms are identical).

Thus, when forming a relative clause:

Ka mama eine i nawa poke neviki'u i ia.

/past hug woman OBJ. fish GEN.-past give-APPL.-PASS. *gap* DAT. you/

"The woman hugged a fish that was given to you."

This seemed to me to be the only way to relativize a subject with serial 
verbs (i.e., you can't: You have to use the applicative).

To those with knowledge of applicatives/relative clauses/passives in natural 
languages: How is my line of thinking here?

That's it.  :)