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Re: Ordinal (and other numerical) adverbs

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Thursday, February 28, 2008, 17:08
On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 7:22 AM, John Vertical <johnvertical@...> wrote:

> >1. Add another suffix to mean "for the Nth time". > > Fairly basic, whether replacing or simply adding, but consider also: > 1a. Add other words to disambiguate, such as "in series" for "for the Nth > time" (Finnish does basically this) or "of all" for "Nth in sequence"
So, maybe, kwĭ im mrân-zô dâ-pa. sequence in-part.of eat-V.ACT three-ORD That's not any terser than the "nu dâ-pa i" postpositional phrase, but it's clear enough.
> >3. Require the "for the Nth time" sense to be > >expressed with a postpositional phrase. > > Clumsy, but this might not be a distinction that comes up too much anyway, > so something like this might also suffice when required to disambiguate.
Actually, it does seem to be a distinction that comes up fairly often, given that my primary use for the language is in writing my journal, which mostly consists of accounts of my daily actions. Doing something for e.g. the third time in a given day vs. doing something as the third in a sequence of miscellaneous actions is a distinction I need to make at least a couple of times a week, or once out of several corpus pages.
> >#3 requires the least change to the existing > >grammar, but it's also most verbose. #2 > >extends a precedent set by evidentiality > >and attitudinal adverbs (which are so far > >the only adverbs that can go at the beginning > >of the sentence).
> Does this usage of these adverbs imply a similar semantic shift too? Like "I > was angry by the time I jumped" -vs- "I angrily jumped"?
No; an attitudinal adverb would mean "I am angry that I jumped". "I angrily jumped" would be expressed with an adverb in postverbal position, marked with the normal adjective-forming suffix rather than the attitudinal-adverb suffix. "I was angry by the time I jumped" would require two clauses, I reckon.
> Oh, and one further idea. Maybe you could use a different verbal form to > distinguish? Finnish has something like five infinitiv forms (altho not > useful for this purpose).
Um, no. The verb system has been stable for eight years now and isn't going to change, at least not so radically. gjâ-zym-byn will be ten years old in a few days; I'm fairly fluent in the written form, though still stuttery when talking to myself, and the only parts of the language that are still subject to change are those that are used relatively infrequently. -pa ordinals are used once in a few pages (0.35% of the corpus), and probably less than half the time do they suffix this ambiguity that I'm trying to fix; most of the verb suffixes are used on almost every page, and two of them are among the ten most common morphemes in the language. -- Jim Henry