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Re: A Survey

From:Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 1, 2003, 0:12
On Monday 29 September 2003 08:41 pm, Rob Haden wrote:
> I'm curious to see everyone's answers to the following questions: > > 1. Does your language(s) distinguish between active ("X breaks Y"),
> ("X breaks (apart)"), and passive ("X is broken (by Y)")? > > 2. If the answer to #1 was "yes," what method(s) does your language(s)
> to make some/all of the above distinctions? > > 3. What method(s) does your language(s) use to distinguish between
> nouns and verbs of the same root (i.e. "a hit" vs. "he hits")? >
To begin with, Kélen has no verbs as such, so 'he hits' and 'she broke it' have nouns for 'a hit' or 'broken thing' instead. That said, Kélen makes a big distinction between 'change-of-state' situations and otherwise. For example, when something breaks, it changes its state from whole to broken. When someone is hit, however, that person is still the same, maybe feeling a little pain and humiliation, but not otherwise changed. An inanimate object that's been hit isn't changed either, unless it becomes damaged, which would be a different word. So, lets consider the following: She hit the door (with her hand, knocking, say...) The door was hit (by someone unspecified) She broke the door (hit it too hard, i guess) The door is broken/The door broke. tamma jataxéta mo jaxúra; (She gave a hit/strike/blow to the door) te jataxéta mo jaxúra; (Someone/something gave a hit/strike/blow to the door) órra ñamma jaxúra jahúwa; (She made the door a broken thing) órra ñi jaxúra jahúwa; (Someone/something made the door broken) or (The door became broken/made itself broke) The first two sentences use the relational SE, which denotes transaction and not a change of state. The last two sentences use NI, which does denote a change of state. Further, the first two differ from each other in that only an animate source gets marked on SE. So 'tamma' parses to goal. NI also inflects for animate agent. This means that an inanimate source/agent is treated the same way as an unspecified or non-existent one: te jataxéta mo jaxúra to janíran; (The branch gave a hit/strike/blow to the door) órra ñi jaxúra jahúwa á janíran; (The branch made the door broken) Passive is not distinguished in Kélen. I discovered recently that nouns such as jataxéta prefer the distributive jattaxétien to the regular plural form jataxéti, as in: te jattaxétien mo jaxúra to janíran; (The branch gave hits/strikes/blows to the door) This is probably because the distributive conveys the idea of repetition over time and the plural does not. -- Sylvia Sotomayor Kélen language info can be found at: This post may contain the following: á (a-acute) é (e-acute) í (i-acute) ó (o-acute) ú (u-acute) ñ (n-tilde)


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>