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Re: Basque Gender Marking (was Re: Further language development Q's)

From:Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 22, 2004, 13:46
Tamas Racsko wrote:

>On 21 Sep 2004 Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@NTL...> wrote: > > > >>basques can use special auxilliary >>verb forms which also reflect the gender of the addressee! >> >> > > Basque makes inanimate vs. animate distinction in another >connection. Before locative suffixes animate noun phrases are >marked by a suffix |ga|, but |ta| is inserted in case of inanimate >noun phrases that have no singular determiner (inanimate noun >phrases with singular determiner take zero suffix). > > Therefore I think about the gender marking in personal agreement >slots of Basque verbs as subclasses of animate class. In this >respect, it is not grammatical "gender" but natural "sex". Sex in >2nd-person utterances is often expressed even in languages which >have no gender marking (in 2nd person or at all) by >supragrammatical means, cf. |Come here, _boy_|, |How are you, >_girls_|. > > > >
*shrugs* It still seems strange to me. I don't actually know any of the intimate forms (so I didn't know they didn't occur in the nor slot) since they aren't really used much in most "learn basque" courses, given the number of verb forms you need to acquire just to speak formally to someone.
>>the auxilliary verb agrees with the Actor, Patient, Recipient, and >>the Gender of the addressee (if that addressee is familiar or >>intimate) >> >> > > AFAIK synthetic verbs (not just auxiliary but a few others also) >have three functional slots for personal agreement marking: "nor" >or absolutive slot, "nori" or dative slot, "nork" or ergative slot. >Patient fills "nor" slot, Actor is ambivalent: it tries first to >connect to "nor" slot; but if it is already occupied by Patient, >Actor opens and fills "nork" slot. (A similar interesting >precedence rule determines the actual position of "nork" slot in >the suffix chain.) > > >
This doesn't seem unusual to me given the ergative morphology of the rest of Basque. It seems to make perfect sense. :)
> Gender (or sex) marking is possible only in "nori" and "nork" >slots, "nor" slot has a single allomorph for both male and female >2nd person morpheme. > > > > >>I don't think even Inuit can beat this level of agreement lol... >> >> > > I am not aware of Inuit grammar, but polysynthetical languages >may have additional slots for further case agreement. I have an >example from Sumerian where locative marking is involved in >addition: |mu-na-ni-n-du-{}| 'he/she has built it there for >him/her'; |mu| ventive modality: Actor is animate; |na| < |ra| - >dative marker: sg3 animate Recipient; |ni| - locative marker; |n| - >ergative and aspect marker: sg3 Actor from perfective (=hamtu) >series; |du| - verbal stem: to build; |{}| (terminal zero morpheme) >- absolutive marker: sg3 inanimate Patient. > > >
AFAIK, inuit exhibits agreement with the Actor and Patient only, but I don't speak the language so I might be wrong. :) Its quite difficult to get good materials even for Basque... its impossible it seems to learn inuit unless you go and live with a speaker, since there seem to be no good teaching books/tapes etc.