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Re: A Survey

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 12:37
On Mon, Sep 29, 2003 at 11:41:45PM -0400, 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"), middle > ("X breaks (apart)"), and passive ("X is broken (by Y)")?
Yes and no (explained below).
> 2. If the answer to #1 was "yes," what method(s) does your language(s) use > to make some/all of the above distinctions?
There is a single verb for "break" (_Ca'ne_ ["tS_han&], to shatter). Depending on the noun cases involved, you can tell whether something is being broken, or breaking something else: a) Originative + verb: C3n0' Cww'ne. stone(org) break(v) "The stone breaks (something else)." [Note: _Cww'ne_ is the perfective form of the verb _Ca'ne_.] b) Conveyant + verb: Can3' Cww'ne. stone(cvy) break(v) "The stone broke." However, (b) may also be understood in the passive sense, "the stone was broken". It would necessarily be passive if an originative noun were present: byo'n0 Cww'ne Can3'. Monster[*](org) break(v) stone(cvy) "The monster breaks/shatters the stone." OR, "The stone was broken by the monster." So in a sense, there is no distinction between active and passive at all; the conveyant noun is always the undergoer, the originative is always the inflictor. But in translation, a distinction can be made based on which nouns are present--if only an originative is present, it's active; if only a conveyant is present, it's passive/middle; if both are present, it can be either active or passive. (Or rather, it is *simultaneously* active and passive.) [*] _byo'n0_ (loc. _by0'ni_) refers to a short, humanoid creature in the Ferochromon, possessing rather potent powers.
> 3. What method(s) does your language(s) use to distinguish between basic > nouns and verbs of the same root (i.e. "a hit" vs. "he hits")?
[snip] By inflection. For example, _Ca'ne_, "to break", and _Cani'_, "stone" or "fragment", are cognate. The verb forms are: Ca'ne ["tS_han&] (inceptive) c3C3'ne [tS@\"tS_@\n&] (progressive/imperfective) Cww'ne ["tS_h8:n&] (perfective/aorist) The noun forms are: C3n0' [tS_h@\"nA] (originative) Canu' [tS_ha"nu] (receptive) Cana' [tS_ha"na] (instrumental) Can3' [tS_ha"n@\] (conveyant) Cani' [tS_ha"ni] (locative) Note that usually, cognate nouns and verbs are accented differently, as here. However, verbs can also turn into gerunds, in which case they usually retain the stress position of the verb. E.g.: Ca'ne -> Ca'nai to break breaking (gerund; eg. "the breaking of") Note the distinction between _Cani'_ [tS_ha"ni] and _Ca'nai_ ["tS_hana?i]. Grammatically, both are nouns, but semantically, the latter is a gerund, not a "real" noun. Historically, gerunds developed much later than cognate nouns; so the cognate nouns retain the stress shift[1] of the archaic language which been obsoleted in the modern language, while the gerunds show their more recent origin in lacking the stress shift. That's my explanation of it, anyway. :-) [1] The archaic stress shift still shows up in gender inflections; e.g. _bis33'di_ (epicene), _pii'z3di_ (masculine), _biz3tai'_ (feminine). But you probably didn't need to know that. :-P T -- VI = Visual Irritation