Re: Commentary: From Tokana to Denden (LONG)
|From:||Matt Pearson <jmpearson@...>|
|Date:||Friday, November 19, 1999, 1:40|
This message doesn't seem to have gone through, so I'm sending it
again. Apologies if you get two copies! -- Matt.
>>> I must not have provided nearly enough info, because you seem to have
>>> parsed these sentences incorrectly. The correct structure is:
>And Boudewijn Rempt replied:
>>Well, what made me go wrong was the bit in the notes:
>> So "itan maha olat" in the above poem can only mean "that which
>> one hears". It can't mean "that which hears things".
>>So I took that for the relative clause, and tried to connect the
>>dative 'suhoi' and 'sihe' and so on to the verb.
>To which I reply:
>Clumsy me. I should have spelled out what I meant in more detail.
>Perhaps if I'd phrased it this way: <quote> "Itan maha olat..." can
>only mean "That which is heard...". It can't mean "That which
>hears...". <end quote>
>Then again, maybe that isn't all that much clearer (see below).
>>> [ itan maha olat suhoi ] uthma tsampatin
>>> [ that which (one) hears in-the-wind ] gives health
>>> [ itan maha olat sihe ] uthma pamihati
>>> [ that which (one) hears in-the-stream ] gives nourishment
>>> So SUHOI and SIHE are part of the relative clause.
>>> The ending -AT on OLAT indicates that this verb is part of an embedded
>>> clause (here, a relative clause headed by MAHA "what"). The ending -A on
>>> UTHMA, by contrast, indicates that this verb is in the main clause.
>And Boudewijn replied:
>>Well, I'd really like to see a thorough syntactic analysis of this
>>constructions - it's still not entirely clear to me.
>OK, you asked for it! Let's begin with the basics:
>(1) Noun phrases in Tokana are inflected for case. The absolutive and
>(or nominative) cases are unmarked, while the remaining cases (dative,
>instrumental, ablative, and comitative) are marked by suffixes on the noun.
>(2) Definite noun phrases are preceded by a determiner which 'agrees' in case
>with the noun (like in German). When the noun phrase in question is an
>of the verb and appears right-adjacent to the verb, then the determiner
>to the verb as a suffix (cf. "-n" and "-na" in (3) below).
>(3) In main clauses, unmarked order is SVO or OVS:
> Na moiha kahta-n mikal
> the.ERG girl hit-the.ABS boy
> "The girl hits the boy"
> Ne mikal kahta-na moiha
> the.ABS boy hit-the.ERG girl
> "The girl hits the boy"
>The OVS (or 'inverse') sentence is often given a passive-type reading:
>is hit by the girl".
>(4) Transitive sentences like the ones in (3) contain an ergative subject and
>an absolutive object. Either of these arguments may be deleted if its
>is unknown or irrelevant. When the absolutive object is deleted, a special
>'antipassive' prefix "u-" must be added to the verb. The word order is SV:
> Na moiha u-kahta
> the.ERG girl ANTIPASS-hit
> "The girl hits [things]"
> "The girl is a hitter"
>The ergative subject, on the other hand, can be deleted freely, without the
>need for a special marker on the verb. When the subject is absent, the word
>order is OV:
> Ne mikal kahta
> the.ABS boy hit
> "The boy is hit"
> "[Someone] hits the boy"
>(5) In embedded clauses, the word order is typically VSO (VOS is also
>possible, but less frequent). In order to indicate that the clause is
>one of a special set of 'dependent order' suffixes is added to the verb.
>suffix appears after the verb stem and before the suffixed determiner (if
> ... kahta-n-na moiha ne mikal
> ... hit-DEP-the.ERG girl the.ABS boy
> ... "that the girl hits the boy"
> Ikime iona kahta-n-na moiha ne mikal
> we.DAT know hit-DEP-the.ERG girl the.ABS boy
> "We know that the girl hits the boy"
>(6) Just as in main clauses, embedded clause arguments may be freely
>deleted if their referents are unknown or irrelevant. As in main clauses,
>deletion of the absolutive object is accompanied by the prefixing of "u-"
>to the verb, while deletion of the ergative subject requires no verb
>marking. The word order is VS or VO:
> Ikime iona u-kahta-n-na moiha
> we.DAT know ANTIPASS-hit-DEP-the.ERG girl
> "We know that the girl hits [things]"
> Ikime iona kahta-n-ne mikal
> we.DAT know hit-DEP-the.ABS boy
> "We know that [someone] hits the boy"
> "We know that the boy is hit"
>(7) Relative clauses are formed using dependent suffixes on the verb
>as well. In relative clauses, one of the arguments (viz. the one
>corresponding to the head of the relative clause) is obligatorily absent.
>Relative clauses always follow the noun they modify, just like in English:
> moiha [ kahta-n-ne mikal ]
> girl hit-DEP-the.ABS boy
> "a girl who hits the boy"
>Here, the relative clause "kahtanne mikal" modifies "moiha". Notice
>that the argument inside the relative clause is marked with absolutive
>case. Thus, we know that it is being interpreted as a direct object,
>which means that the missing argument must be the subject. This is
>how we know that the girl is the one who is doing the hitting.
> mikal [ kahta-n-na moiha ]
> boy hit-DEP-the.ERG girl
> "a boy whom the girl hits"
> "a boy who is hit by the girl"
>Here, the relative clause "kahtanna moiha" modifies "mikal". Notice
>that the argument inside the relative clause is marked with ergative
>case, and is therefore the subject of the verb "hit". This is how we
>know that the boy is the one being hit.
>(8) In relative clauses, just as in other kinds of embedded clauses,
>it is possible to delete an argument whose referent is unknown or
>irrelevant. As before, a deleted absolutive is marked by the prefix
>"u-", while a deleted ergative is unmarked:
> moiha [ u-kahta-t ]
> girl ANTIPASS-hit-DEP
> "a girl who hits [things]"
> "a girl who is a hitter"
>(Notice that we have "-t" instead of "-n" as the dependent suffix in
>this case. "-t" and "-n" are just phonological variants of the same
> mikal [ kahta-t ]
> boy hit-DEP
> "a boy who is hit"
>Notice that in both expressions, "moiha ukahtat" and "mikal kahtat",
>there is no subject or object after the verb. In other words, these
>relative clauses contain 2 gaps. Because the verb is prefixed with "u-"
>in the first case, we know that the verb denotes an action directed at
>an unknown/irrelevant object; therefore the noun being modified by
>the relative clause ("girl") must correspond to the subject of the verb.
>In the second case ("mikal kahtat") there is no "u-" prefix on the verb.
>Therefore we know that the direct object is NOT unknown/irrelevant.
>Therefore, it must be the SUBJECT which is unknown/irrelevant, while
>the missing object corresponds to the head of the relative clause ("boy").
>(9) It is also possible to form what are called 'free relative' construc-
>tions, equivalent to the following:
> the one who hits the boy
> s/he who hits the boy
> the thing which the girl hits
> that which is hit by the girl
> what the girl hits
>These are formed using a series of interrogative/indefinite
>quantifiers roughly equivalent to "wh-" words in English:
> mioh "who, someone"
> mah "what, something"
> melh "where, somewhere"
> ima "when, sometime" etc.
>If a determiner is added to these, they become definite expressions:
> ne mioh "the one who...", "s/he who..."
> te mah "the thing which...", "that which..."
> te melh "the place where..."
> te ima "the time when..."
>These are literally "the who", "the what", "the where", and "the
>when". (Note that "ne" is the unmarked determiner used with
>animates, while "te" is the unmarked determiner for inanimates.)
>Putting the determiner + interrogative together with an embedded
>relative clause gets us the following:
> ne mioh [ kahta-n-ne mikal ]
> the who hit-DEP-the.ABS boy
> "the one who hits the boy"
> "s/he who hits the boy"
> ne mioh [ u-kahta-t ]
> the who ANTIPASS-hit-DEP
> "the one who hits [things]"
> ne mioh [ kahta-n-na moiha ]
> the who hit-DEP-the.ERG girl
> "the one who is hit by the girl"
> ne mioh [ kahta-t ]
> the who hit-DEP
> "the one who is hit [by someone]"
>So, the subject noun phrase in the Tokana poem has the same form as
>this last example:
> te mah [ ola-t suhoi ]
> the what hear-DEP wind.DAT
> "the thing which is heard [by someone] in the wind"
> "that which is heard in the wind"
>Now, to put this phrase inside the larger sentence:
>The verb phrase is:
> uthma tsampatin
> give body-balance
> "gives balance to the body"
>Since the word order is SVO, the noun phrase "te mah olat suhoi" will
>precede the verb. One final wrinkle: Since this expression is the
>subject of the sentence, it must appear in the appropriate case. When
>a subject is animate, the ergative case is normally used (as in
>the sentences about the girl hitting the boy). However, "te mah olat
>suhoi" is inanimate, and inanimate subjects must appear in the
>instrumental case. Thus, the proper form will be "itan maha olat
>suhoi" (where "itan" is the instrumental form of the inanimate
>determiner "te", and "-a" is the instrumental noun suffix):
>[ Itan maha [ ola-t suhoi ] ] uthma
> the.INST what.INST hear-DEP wind.DAT give body-balance
>"That which is heard in the wind gives balance to the body"
>Is that clear at last? I hope so...