Infinitives & gerunds (was: How to kick the infinitive habit)
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 18:48|
I've changed the subject line, as this part of the thread is clearly not
about kicking the infinitive habit. Rather, it is about interesting and
different uses of infinitives :)
H. S. Teoh wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 10:40:02AM +0100, R A Brown wrote:[snip]
>>But the gerundive a NP! This is a bit hard for us who have been
>>brought up with the Latin gerundive which is a verbal _adjective_. Are
>>you sure you're using the best terminology.
> Maybe not. In which case, I'd like to be enlightened as to what is
> better terminology to describe what TF is doing. :-)
> Maybe "participle" is a better term for the "infinitive"? Or maybe not.
Having looked more carefully at your examples, and looking at the TF
grammar http://conlang.eusebeia.dyndns.org/fara, I think they are indeed
infinitives - but TF's way of handling relative clauses is certainly
unusual! But why not? :)
Just to recap your examples from your previous mail:
tara' kei uenai ibuneis ka'aman ia.
(she ORG) want (AUX_CVY:mushroom eat:INF_RCP) COMPL
She wants to eat the mushroom.
huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan bata.
1sp CVY go slope RCP CVY:mushroom pick_up:RCP COMPL
I go to the slope (of a mountain) to pick mushrooms.
I have no problem with these. The words concerned are clearly nouns as
they have the noun case postclitics; but they also have verbal functions
in that they have their own verb arguments. that is, they are verbal
nouns - i.e. infinitives.
Notably, the infinitive clause is identical in form and construction to
a relative clause modifying a noun:
baan ikaren muras kuinin sei tanap buta' fei imi tsi.
(old_lady (CVY:shoe black own:RCP) CVY) dwell hut that in COMPL
The old lady who owns the black shoes lives in that hut.
Well, yes, this is TF's infinitive. It is AFAIK a quite unique way of
handling relative clauses - as I said, I familiar with the idea of using
a participle clause to express this idea (The old lady, the [one] owning
the shoes, lives in that hut), but you haven't use a participle. It's
certainly an interesting way of dealing with things :)
> And perhaps I should just call the "gerundive" a plain ole gerund,
> because that's really what it is, except that the nouns that modify it
> appear in secondary forms.
Yes, I think it would be better called just the plain ole gerund :)
They are definitely verbal nouns, as far as I can see, so I definitely
think 'gerund' would be a better term.
> NP's in embedded/subordinate clauses. The arguments to a gerundive, or a
> gerund, are marked using the latter.) Thus, it is possible to speak of a
> gerundive phrase (or gerund phrase?) comprising of the gerund itself
> plus its arguments, which are overtly distinct from the other NP's in
> the main clause. What is the best terminology to describe this?
gerund phrase, or maybe 'gerundial phrase'?
>>>The infinitive is used when the subject NP inside the sub-clause is
>>>the same as the subject NP of the main clause.
>>Sort of like we find in certain constructions in ancient Greek :)
> Article + infinitive?
No - I was thinking of clauses expressed with acc+infinitive, like they
have in Latin. If the subject of the infinitive is the same as that of
the main verb, Latin a reflexive pronoun, but Greek simply used the
infin. with no 'accusative subject'.
I want us to go.
I want to go (Not: *I want me to go)
>>>The gerundive is used when the action is independent of the subject
>>>NP of the main clause.
>>OK - but why isn't it called a gerund?
> Maybe it should be? :-) The main thing, I think, is that TF gerunds can
> take NP arguments,
So could Latin gerunds and so do English gerunds (tho not subject
arguments, but both can take all other verbal arguments).
> So maybe I should just call it a gerund.
Yes, I think so.
>>>More examples of the infinitive:
>>> huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan bata.
>>> 1sp CVY go slope RCP CVY:mushroom pick_up:RCP COMPL
>>> I go to the slope (of a mountain) to pick mushrooms.
>>Ah! An infinitive to show purpose. Not uncommon - but there are
>>languages with infinitives that do not allow them to be used this way.
> Interesting. There is actually another way to indicate purpose in TF,
> using the postpositional _utu_ ("for the purpose of"):
> huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan utu bata.
> 1sp CVY go slope RCP (CVY:mushroom pick:RCP for) COMPL
> I go to the slope for the purpose of picking mushrooms.
> One could argue that the so-called "infinitive" in the previous example
> is really just an abbreviated form of this latter construction, with
> _utu_ elided.
I guess one could. In English dialect, forms like "I go to the slope of
the hill [all] for to pick mushrooms" were still around in the early
20th cent - but probably died out now :=(
>>BTW some prescriptive grammars will tell you that (b) is
>>'ungrammatical' and that you must use (c). But the ancient authors
>>themselves were not aware of that rule ;)
> Hehe... makes one wonder where the prescriptivists got that 'rule' from.
They have a habit of turning _tendencies_ into fixed 'rules' - even if
it means saying things like "Caesar's Latin is not as good as Cicero's"
- crazy ;)
Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.