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Help: Zhyler ECM/Raising Verbs (Longish)

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Sunday, April 4, 2004, 9:34
Hi all,

I discovered a problem that, for some reason, never occurred to me before in the
course of working with Zhyler.

Zhyler has a whole bunch of suffixes. For verbs, most of the suffixes are aspectual
(finsishing something, starting something, ability, etc.). At least one,
though, works as a (subject) raising or ECM verb would. As anyone who speaks a
language knows, these types of verbs (well, provided you know to what they
refer) are odd. In order to try to sweep that under the rug, I decided to make
one such verb a suffix and not a verb. The result is the volitive suffix, which
indicates wanting. The intent of this suffix is to add desire to a verb. So, if
you want to say "I want a chocolate", you add the volitive to "eat" or

The problem that arose was with sentences like "I want you to do x" or "I want the
man to do x". You can't just add the suffix to the verb, because it doesn't
work if the speaker is different from the subject. So...

uspan-ar us-po-m /food-ACC. eat-VOL.-1sg./ = "I want to eat", but

uspan-ar us-po-l /food-ACC. eat-VOL.-2sg./ = "?I want you to eat the food" or "You want
to eat the food"

For that matter, what if someone else wants it? It's a big mess. You don't run
into this problem with something like "can", though, because you can't get, *"I
can you to run" (meaning something like, "I'm able to (be?) your running").
However, you do run into the problem here.

The first part of my solution was simply to add a dummy verb, and that verb is "to
see". So, what you get are sentences like, "I want to see you eat the food"
which would have the same meaning as the neutral English sentence, "I want you
to eat the food". That's all fine and well, but I'm having **A LOT** of trouble
figuring out how to get it to work.

So far, I've only got two things down: (1) The verb is "to see"; and (2) the
subject of the verb is the one who wants x to do whatever. Everything else I
have no idea what to do. Here are some of my ideas:

(1) The direct object of the verb "to see" is the one who's wanted to do x. This
would be a kind of ECM construction, since the subject of the action would be
in the accusative case. What form is the verb in, though? Presumably, I could
put it into some oblique case, but what about its arguments? A verb can have a
seemingly infinite number of arguments in Zhyler, but if I made them *all*
oblique, or even came up with a system changing one type of argument to a
particular type of oblique, it would just become unruly.

(2) The direct object of the verb "to see" is the whole sentence itself. So this
would be like a subject raising construction: "I want [you to eat the food]" or
actually "I want that [you eat the food]". If this is the case, though, does
the whole phrase get an accusative tag? Each member of the phrase (note: Zhyler
can double-case mark)? Also, how can a verb be an object?

(3) The whole seeing phrase is a relative clause about the subject of the embedded
clause. This would be like, "The I want him to man eats the food" (?). I'm not
even sure if this can make sense.

(4) The embedded clause is the object of the verb "to see", but rather than being
a verb, it's a verbal noun. What this would require is a genitive construction,
such that the meaning is something like, "I want your eating of the food". This
is something like what Tagalog does (or am I thinking of Cebuano?). The
difference, though, is that genitive constructions work very differently in
Zhyler. So, if you wanted to say, "I want the man to eat the food", you'd end
up with:

[uspan-ja-(ar?)?] sexa-ja-(ar?) [uspan-ja-(ar?)?] usal-uf-(ar?) [uspan-ja-(ar?)?] mat-po-l-um

Let me break this down this way:

[uspan-ja-(ar?)?] = food-POS.-(ACC.?)
sexa-ja-(ar?) = man-POS.-(ACC.?)
usal-uf-(ar?) = food-GEN.-(ACC.?)
mat-po-l-um = see-VOL.-obj.-1sg.

The genitive in Zhyler goes as follows: x-POS. y-GEN. = "the y of x" or "x's y".
So, if you wanted to say "the man's dog's food", you'd say:

sexa-ja celven-yv-je uspan-uf [man-POS. dog-GEN.-POS. food-GEN.]

And you could go on for as long as you want. But how could it possibly work in
this "want" construction? What we want is "the eating of the food *by* the
man", or "the man's eating of the food". I don't see a way to order these to
make it work. Oh. Maybe it's because of that animacy issue, where you can say
"the eating of the food" in English, but "the food's eating" sounds strange. So
would it just be--no. Because the man owns the eating, not the food. So you
couldn't say "the man's food's eating" like you'd say "the man's dog's food",
because there has the first element has to own the second, and the man doesn't
own the food. So it seems like this construction just doesn't work, but I just
think I'm not thinking about it the right way.

So, can anybody help? ~:D I realize that this message is very long and very
technical, and requires something of a knowledge of Zhyler (or raising
constructions), but I'm really just stuck with this thing and I have no one
else to turn to. Be my shoulder to cry on, O CONLANG! Be my shelter from the

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...>
Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Remi Villatel <maxilys@...>
Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Rik Roots <rik@...>