Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: CONLANG Digest - 21 Feb 2004 to 22 Feb 2004 (#2004-52)

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 24, 2004, 21:13
En réponse à Philippe Caquant :

>The author mentions the following cases in Basque: >- Nominative >- Active >- Mediative >- Inessive >- Elative >- Adlative >- Locative Genitive >- Possessive Genitive >- Dative >- Unitive >- Partitive >- Prolative > >Nominative would probably be called Absolutive >nowadays, and Unitive looks like Comitative. As to >Prolative, I'm still trying to understand what is this >kind of animal ('used in place of the preposition >*for*', and applying only to Indefinite).
Strangely enough, my booklet says that it's the *partitive* that applies only to the indefinite. And it shows examples proving it. For what is worth, it gives the following cases: - Absolutive (also called Nominative) - Ergative - Instrumental - Dative - Possessive Genitive - Comitative (in French it's given as "sociatif") - Destinative ("instead of" or "for the benefit of") - Locative Genitive - Inessive - Adlative - Ablative - Partitive (doesn't exist in definite forms) It also mentions that the adlative can take further suffixes to form the Directive (in the direction of) and Terminative (until). What strikes me is that it doesn't seem that easy to map the two description together (especially with the fact that my booklet says, with examples, that it's the partitive that doesn't exist in the definite.
>What's very interesting is the Number; there is >Singular, Plural, no Dual, but an Indefinite Number:
I'd rather say that there are two definitions: Indefinite and Definite, and number is marked on the noun only in the definite. In the indefinite, you simply use separate marks (and indeed, Basque often uses "bat": "one" with the indefinite to indicate it's singular). Nothing fancy actually.
>*zoin hiritan* means *in what city* or *in what >cities*. This is a very good idea I think. In >counterpart, no Gender, so shall we suppose that the >Basque think that the difference between man and woman >is too insignifiant to be mentioned ?
Since it separates 2nd person singular masculine and 2nd person singular feminine in personal suffixes (-k masculine, -n feminine), I doubt it. Nominal gender has nothing to do with finding sex differences meaningful or not. Nominal gender is just a classification system based on purely etymological circumstances which just happens to fit the "masculine" and "feminine" distinctions for nouns where it's meaningful. But for other nouns, it's just random (if you work only synchronically). What makes a table more feminine than a sofa for instance? Nothing. It's plain random and meaningless. Just a way to add gender agreement so that we know what refers to what in the sentence. No deep meaning to find in that.
> In that case >there are probably wrong. Man and woman brains are >very different, not to speak about the rest of it.
So what? Since when does it mean we *have* to distinguish those things in language? Especially mandatorily and on words that have not even a remote connection to sex? Believe me, I think the Basque find "gizon": "man" very masculine and "emazteki": "woman" very feminine. Not having overt gender marking on nouns doesn't say anything about how people view the universe. Especially since the majority of objects and concepts are genderless. Gender systems are just classification systems (like in Bantu languages for instance) on the verge of extinction or renewal. Christophe Grandsire. You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.


Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>Basque bizarreries (was: Conland Digest etc.)