Re: Verb Classes [fairly long]
|From:||Jim Grossmann <steven@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, June 13, 2000, 6:54|
Comments are interspersed between lines of original message.
> 1. Verbs of physical movement, e.g. going (somewhere), fleeing,approaching,
> 2. Verbs of movement. This includes volitional actions such as picking
> something up, as well as non-volitional actions such as water flowing.
> 3. Spoken actions. Included are begging, offering, speaking, persuading,
> etc. a word such as 'persuade', however, could function in a differentclass
> depending on case. if someone used their feminine charms to persuade
> someone, then the verb would probably be used with the 2nd class.
> 4. Mental actions. Thinking, believing, analysing, remembering, etc.
> 5. so-called "change" actions. at first, this applied only to actions in
> which the subject underwent some sort of major change, such as dying,aging,
> growing, freezing, rusting, etc.
> 6. "Emotional actions". loving, hoping (although in certain situations,
> hoping could be considered a mental action), crying, smiling, laughing
> (although these are physical actions as well as emotional actions, to
> classify them as such would indicate that they weren't heartfelt.)
> 7. "Stative" verbs. sitting, owning, tasting/smelling like something.many
> mental actions can also be categorized as stative with varying meaning,for
> example, if one was said to love someone using the "stative" classmarker,
> that love would have to be an essential part of someone's character.
> 8. "Sensory" verbs. smelling, feeling, hearing, etc.
Overall, I like this scheme. There are some things I question.
Class 6: "emotional actions" Some of these just aren't actions (hope,
hate, etc.). Some of these are just actions (smile, cry, etc.). A
speaker can't always tell whether actions such as the latter are heartfelt;
quite a few people get better at faking such responses as they get older,
and then of course, you've got the people who either are actors or should
have been. I think the speakers of your language would have to be
excellent at discerning sincerity for the contrast between smile-6 and
smile-1 to be useful. I'd just put cry, laugh, etc. in class 1, and call
class 6 "emotions."
Class 1 comprises at least two kinds of verb: intransitive verbs of
volitional motion (go) and transitive verbs of volitional motion (flee,
Class 2 comprises at least two kinds of verb: transitive verbs of
volitional action, and intransitive verbs of non-volitional motion.
Do you want to be consistent about the distinction between volitional and
non-volitional? If so, maybe you should separate the kinds of verbs
you've got in class 2.
If you're making distinctions between verbs of motion and other verbs on one
hand, and verbs that stand for volitional actions on one hand and
non-volitional actions on the other, what you've got is four classes. Let
me substitute the word "travel" for "motion," since most actions involve a
motion of some kind or other, but so-called "verbs of motion" usually refer
to verbs that imply a trajectory of some kind:
travel/volitional: flee, run, roll, go, approach, turn (change direction)
travel/non-volitional: flow, fall, roll, go, approach, turn (change
non-travel/volitional: write, pick up, file, penetrate, mark, turn
non-travel/non-volitional: sneeze, cough, penetrate, mark, turn (rotate)
Yes, a number of verbs will fall into more than one class, but this is NOT a
defect in your scheme. In fact, if enough verbs fall into more than one
class, your scheme could serve as a way of semantically cross-referencing
the subject of the verb, at least some of the time. (Maybe not in
sentences like "Wally hit John," but probably in sentences like "Wally ate
Be on the lookout for verbs that are only non-volitional in English, but
that could be volitional and non-volitional in your language. e.g. With
a volitional/non-volitional contrast in the inflections, one verb could mean
"fall" with one ending and "drop to the ground" with another.
Class 5: Is dying an action in the same sense that writing is? I'd call
these processes, but I defer to the judgment of semantics experts on that
one. BTW, your class 5 verbs could fall into the non-travel/non-volitional
class I just described.
Class 3: Do "spoken action" verbs encompass verbs of communication that
pertain to modalities other than speech? Is "write" a class 3 verb?
If it is, then it can fall into both classes 3 and 2. I wrote-3 a book.
I wrote-2 a symbol.
"persuade" is not only accomplished by speaking and actions. Facts can
persuade without the actions involved in speaking and caressing.
Class 7: Are you sure that "sit" and "wait for" can be properly
classified as "stative?" I don't know, but if I were you, I'd double-check
the definition of that term.
Be on the lookout for verbs that fall into both classes 7 and 1: sit-7 =
to be sitting, sit1= sit down; stand-7 = to be standing, stand-1 = stand
> Each verb is made up of a stem and a suffix. the suffix distinguishes
> volitional/non-volitional. In addition, each verb, when used in asentence,
> must be accompanied by an indicator of one of the above classes. atfirst,
> this class referred specifically to the action and its subject and servedto
> disambiguate homonyms, e.g.:
OOPS! I wrote some of the above before seeing this part. Sorry.
However, I think that non-volitional/volitional can be worked into the class
system. Consider the fact that speaking, & thinking will always be
volitional, while undergoing a process will always be otherwise.
I think you're going to have to spend a lot of time classifying verbs by
which sets of categories they can belong to. However, if you enjoy the
time thus spent, the end result will be fascinating.
BTW, where are your existential and copular verbs?
I like the way that you use your endings to disambiguate homonyms and
distinguish different ways of angering people. I still don't understand
the last example:
> tam gedne sondal-in nal
> he broke glass---->[5: change]
> Which emphasized the fact that the glass is broken. Without 'sondal'being
> marked with the -in suffix, the sentence would mean that breaking theglass
> fundamentally changed the sentence's subject. A similar sentence wouldbe:
> tam gedne sondal wam
> he broke glass [2: movement]
> which simply indicates that it is because of some physical movement ofours
> that the bottle broke.
> Joe Mondello
Hope this helped. Correct my errors at will!