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C'ali update: optative mood and future constructions

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Friday, August 1, 2003, 4:45
Here's a little sketch of futurity and modality in C'ali:

C'ali has grammaticalized only one mood completely, the optative.
(There are partial exceptions to this in some dialects, which
also have a subjunctive.) This mood is primarily used for wishes,
polite commands, and futurity; on occasion, especially in poetry,
it may also simply function as an irrealis.  The construction of
the optative is straightforward, though not simple:  consonant
verb stems change the final consonant to a nasal at the same place
of articulation if bilabial or coronal; if velar or uvular, /n/ is
the allomorph. Vocalic stems sometimes take /r/, sometimes /n/.
(Most of the following example reflect C'ali examples, and are not
the creation of this researcher. 8P )

(1) dal-           'look at'
    daltani        'I am looking at it'
    dantani        'Would that I look at it'

(2) qætu- /qæt_w/  'perorate'
    qætutaparsu    'I am perorating (concerning) them [the gods]'
    qæmtaparsu [1] 'Would that I perorate concerning them'

(3) t[eöq(')-         'reduce (militarily)' (an inversion verb)

  t[ai-t[eöq'e-les-ni-s [2]       thur-i    ca   tyl-in
  3PlDat.III-reduce-3.V-3Pl-DatPl majesty-1 city plain-Obl5
  "My majesties [=I] are reducing a city of the plain"

  t[ai-t[eön-dres-ni-s [3]            thur-i    ca   tyl-in
  3PlDat.III-reduce/Opt-3.V-3Pl-DatPl majesty-1 city plain-Obl5
  "May my majesties reduce a city of the plain"

(4) no-               'desire' (also inverse)
    t[ai-no-les-ni        saxmë-n  kwon-teio  hana
    3SgDat.I-desire-3Sg.V man-OBL3 power-PAT6 above-all
    "Man(kind) desires power above all else'

    t[ai-nor-les-ni               saxmë-n  kwon-teio  hana
    3SgDat.I-desire/Opt-3Sg.V-3Pl man-OBL3 power-PAT6 above-all
    "Man(kind) may desire power above all else'

[1] Note here how the phonemic labialized /t_w/ behaves
    phonologically like a labial.
[2] This stem shows glottalizing mutation, an unpredictable feature
    of some verb stems.
[3] As in Phaleran, /n/ + /l/ sequences triggers dissimilation, which
    also subsequently invites an excrescent [d].

(Note, generally, that plurality is a category of verbs, not nouns.)


Like many languages, modality and futurity are notions that
are closely linked grammatically.  Unlike Phaleran, for which
tense and aspect are morphologically distinct from modality,
C'ali expresses futurity by an agentive intransitive auxilliary
_muol-_ "go (by foot)" plus a subordinate clause in the optative
fully inflected for agent and/or patient of the verb. Thus:

Muol-ta  eskhar-ta-iö              ar-lai
go-1SgA  lay.waste/Opt-1SgA-3Pl.IV rebel.district-PAT5
"I will lay waste the rebellious districts"

Usually, no subordinator is used in these constructions,
though technically they lie in different clauses.

Thomas Wier            "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
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