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Re: of cakes and men -- doraya syntax

From:Grandsire, C.A. <grandsir@...>
Date:Thursday, November 11, 1999, 10:50
Adam Parrish wrote:
> > On Wed, 10 Nov 1999, Grandsire, C.A. wrote: > > > As I see it, Doraya would be a VSO language where the position in front > > of the verb is available for topicalisation (like my Chasma"o"cho) or > > old information, in which case the fronted noun or nouns must be > > recalled by a pronoun after the verb. On the other hand, a pronoun > > always refer to old information, so if its antecedent is not in the > > sentence itself, the pronoun must be put in front of the verb, even when > > it's a contracted form of two pronouns where only one refers to old > > information not in the sentence. Do I understand it right? > > > > Sounds like you've got it. Here are my rules so far: 1) > fronting of a subject pronoun that occurs alone (i.e., without an > antecedent in the same clause) is mandatory, thus giving: > > tai tyepylen rian > 3ps cake > He ate a cake. (he = given info) > > instead of the expected *_tyepylen tai rian_. 2) Fronting of pronoun > contractions is mandatory. To illustrate, the "underlying" structure of > this sentence: > > kos tasa tyepylen > person 3ps.3pn > The person ate it. (person and it = given info) > > would be something like *_kos tyepylen tai sae_. 3) Fronted > non-subject NPs are marked with the clitic _ui_, as in: > > rianui tasa tyepylen > cake.TOP 3ps.3pn > He ate the cake (As for the cake, it was eaten by him) > > or, to demonstrate _ui_'s cliticness further: > > rian mayaui tasa tyepylen > cake good.TOP 3ps.3pn > He ate the good cake (As for the good cake, it was eaten by him) >
I like the use of this clitic.
> > Well, I don't feel it is unnaturalistic, even if I cannot see any > > examples in natural languages. I find it a very natural way to do it (a > > little like the object being after the verb in French, except in pronoun > > form or topicalised). I think some examples of spoken French that > > Mathias has already given fit well this behaviour, so maybe there is > > indeed a precedent in a natlang. So go for it, it appears very natural > > (at least for me). > > > > My (admittedly inadequate) knowledge of French grammar has > always been an inspiration for Doraya in many regards, particularly > the pronoun fronting feature (a feature of French that I absolutely > adore; nothing beats a good "je lui l'ai donne'" or "il s'en souvient").
It's "je le lui ai donne'", but that's already very good :) .
> But as I mentioned, Castilian Spanish seems to have a structure similar > to Doraya's, except in reverse (Mr. Brandt-Young will no doubt recognize > this example from the Ling 5 midterm): > > Que' hizo Consuelo? > 'What did Consuelo do?' > > Consuelo comio' tu bocadillo. > 'Consuelo ate your sandwich.' ("Consuelo" = given; "comio' tu > bocadillo" = new) > > but > > Quie'n comio' mi bocadillo? > 'Who ate my sandwich?' > > Tu bocadillo lo comio' Consuelo. > 'Your sandwich, Consuelo ate it.' ("Tu bocadillo lo comio'" = > given; "Consuelo" = new) >
I didn't think of that but that's true.
> > Just one last question: could the 10th sentence be put like this: > > > > kos rianui tyepylen tasa. > > person cake.TOP eat.perf 3ps.3pn > > The person ate the cake. > > > > or is it ungrammatical? In my understanding of this pattern, this last > > sentence is perfectly possible, unless you have an additional rule that > > says that compounded pronouns must be put in front of the verb anyway. > > Go for what you prefer! > > > > See rule #2 above. It probably wouldn't be *completely* > ungrammatical; you'd get across the point that there's a cake and > there's a guy and there's some eating going on, but it'd sound a little > odd. > But anyway, I guess the part of this that I'm most concerned > about is the clitic _ui_, which (again) marks non-subject NPs that are > moved out of the main phrase. I like the way it looks, but I wonder if > it's necessary and/or naturalistic. It doesn't seem to be necessary in > either French or Spanish -- but both of those languages have separate > pronoun forms for different cases, a feature that Doraya's pronouns > lack. >
I like the use of the clitic, to be put on topicalized non-subject phrases. It goes well with the fact that the subject is more likely to be topicalized than the object, so when topicalized, the subject need no marking whereas the object needs one.
> Thanks for your feedback!
You're welcome.
> Adam > ----------------------------. > | > | > ----------------------------'
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