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Ayeri: How would you name this construction?

From:Carsten Becker <carbeck@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 15:03
Hi all,

I've got a question about some not-too-weird construction
in Ayeri that feels natural to me but I don't know how to
call it grammatically -- certainly it's just my usual
German/English/French bias, but let me explain:

Ayeri HAS an infinitive, but does not make use of it, except
for giving the base form of a verb. The ending corresponding
to English "to ..." is _-ao_, e.g. _condao_, to eat,
_cutāo_, to thank etc. But after modal verbs, i.e. those
verbs that take another verb instead of a patient noun
phrase, the verb stem (cond-, cuta-) is marked with the
*benefactive* case ending of nouns, which is _-yam_, giving
_condyam_ and _cutayam_. Here's an example:

  Sira ma.langu.ay.ang bihan.yam narā iyạ.ena
  T:P PST.strain.1s.A understand.BEN speech.PL.T 3s.GEN
  I strained to understand his words.

(T = Trigger; A = agent, P = patient, as usual; PL = plural)

Now there you've got the same in English -- "strained TO
understand" (and the same construction exists as well in
German) so I guess it's really some bias towards German --
who might have expected this? Oh, of course, "to" marks the
infinitive that is technically absent in Ayeri here, but
"to" also indicates motion towards a receiver. The German
cognate would be "zu" of course. Since the benefactive
and the meaning of "to" as "for someone" are basically the
same, the constructions of English, German and Ayeri work
actually the same way.

_-Yam_ can nevertheless also be added to verbs to make them

  MiranaYAM cepauarạ naranoaris.
  VerbING weirds language.

  LayaYAM palayaris.
  ReadING is fun.

A restriction I think I'm going to drop is that gerunds
cannot be triggered and also cannot receive any case
endings, although they're acting like nouns taking a patient

So, what do you think, how should I name this beast
technically? Secondary infinitive?! Infinitive II?! Or could
this be considered some mode? (No, I haven't had a look at
the list I asked for yet, but thank you nevertheless,
Veritos Project, whatever your real name is.) Well, I don't
know if I actually need the _-ao_ infinitive then ... but
then, it's become so familiar ... But anyway, German also
distinguishes between _VERBen_ and _zu VERBen_.


Maybe I'll show some stuff from Ukele and/or Tarśanian when
through my final exams and have more time for conlanging

"Miranayam cepauarạ naranoaris."
(Calvin nay Hobbes)


Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>