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'Yemls Morphology

From:Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>
Date:Sunday, July 8, 2001, 7:31
to the list:

Here's most of what I have so far on 'Yemls morphology. I know it's not
very clear and I'd like to get some comments.



M. Morphology

M.1. Word Classification

Words in 'Yemls are classified according to whether they represent actions
or states. State words are classified according to whether they represent
transient states or inherent states. The morphological paradigms partly
depend on which of these classes a word belongs to. Action words will
sometimes be called _verbs_, transient state words will sometimes be called
_adjectives_, and inherent state words will sometimes be called _nouns_.
The use of these terms only very roughly corresponds with their
conventional usage. Also note that these classes also include words used as
adverbs and prepositions.

M.2. Inflections, Affixes, and/or Clitics

Note: I have not attempted to distinguish between the terms inflection,
clitic (en- and pro-), and affix (suffix and prefix), using the last set
for all.

M.2.1. Subject Marking

An expressed subject is marked by lengthening the last vowel without
changing the stress (see Vowel Lengthening), i.e. if the subject was
originally monosyllabic, it remains unstressed. If the subject is
qualified, the marker is added to the last qualifier. If the last word is
not the head of the last qualifier (or the subject itself), a resumptive
particle {?} is needed?

M.2.2. Focus/Emphasis Marking

A morpheme is emphasized by lengthening the vowel of its stressed syllable.
In this case, an originally monosyllabic word becomes stressed.

M.2.3. Aspects

There are a number of possible aspects. Some of these are indicated by
lexical means (i.e. aspectual auxiliaries), while others are primary. The
latter are:

o _progressive_ for an action in progress,
o _resultive_ for a state resulting from an action,
o _stative_ for a current state,
o _causative_ for a change of state in progress or an action causing a
o _instantive_ for a change of state or an action taken as a whole.

The unmarked aspect is progressive for action words and stative for state
words. The resultive aspect is derived from the progressive, and the
causative from the stative. The instantive aspect is derived from either
the progressive or the causative. For a few words, the unmarked aspect can
be interpreted as either stative or progressive; these words can thus have
both resultive and causative aspects.

M.2.4. Moods and Tenses

The moods are classified as to whether the tense of an word is specified
explicitly (i.e. morphologically) or implicitly (through context). The
unmarked form is for the explicit moods. The moods are also classified as
to whether the subject is expressed (this includes impersonal subjects) or
is linked to (i.e. implicitly refers to) a matrix argument, but this
classification is not distinguished morphologically.

Note: This gives the following (arbitrarily named) moods:
o Indicative explicit tense with expressed subject
o Relative explicit tense with linked subject
o Subjunctive implicit tense with expressed subject
o Infinitive implicit tense with linked subject

The tense of a word either indicates that the time of the event is
_general_ (non-specific) or specifies the time of the event relative to the
time of its matrix event; this can be either _past_, for events occurring
before the matrix event,
_present_, for events in progress at the time of the matrix event, or
_future_ for events occurring after the matrix event. For nouns, the
present tense must be marked, since the general tense is unmarked. For
other words, the present tense is unmarked and the general tense must be

M.2.5. Aspects, Moods, and Tenses Combined

The causative and resultive aspects are marked by adding suffixes to the
root and shifting the stress to the final syllable of the root. For the
marked tenses and moods, suffixes are added to the end, without shifting
the stress. The instantive aspect is indicated by shifting the stress to
the syllable before the tense/mood suffix. Note that the instantive aspect
can't occur with the present tense.

Currently, the aspect suffixes are {x} for causative and {a} for resultive,
the tense suffixes are {f} for past, {m} for future, {T} for present (when
marked), and {r} for general (when marked), and the implicit mood suffix is

*** I hope the following is readable; the dashes represent the root/stem ***

Table of Aspect, Mood, and Tense Combinations
                      Implicit    Explicit Tenses:
Aspect      Class      Tense  General Present Past  Future
----------- ---------- -----   -----   -----  -----  -----
Progressive Verbs      '—–q    '—–r    '—–    '—–f   '—–m
Stative     Adjectives "       "       "      "      "
"           Nouns      "       '—–     '—–T   "      "
Resultive   (1)        —'–aq   —'–ar   —'–a   —'–af  —'–am
Causative   Adjectives —'–xq   —'–xr   —'–x   —'–xf  —'–xm
"           Nouns      "       —'–x    —'–xT  "      "
Instantive  (1)        —'–q    —'–r           —'–f   —'–m
"           Adjectives —–'xq   —–'xr          —–'xf  —–'xm
"           Nouns      "       "              "      "
(1) verbs and some adjectives

M.2.6. Grammatical Voice

The grammatical voice of a word indicates whether its subject functions as
an agent (active voice), a patient (passive voice), or a complement
(complementive voice). The grammatical voice is active for action words and
passive for state words when unmarked; this can be changed using prefixes.
Changing the grammatical voice accomplishes the following:

1) it changes the topicality and order of the arguments, and
2) most importantly, it makes sure that the subject when linked has the
proper case role.

Changing the grammatical voice of a word doesn't change the its class, and
changing the word's aspect doesn't affect the grammatical voice.

Currently the prefixes are {A} for active, {P} for passive, and {C} for

*** if you've gotten this far, congratulations ***


Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>A sojourn in Wales