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Re: Tagalog & trigger idea: I'd like comments. :)

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 21:44

"H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh@...> writes:
>... interesting explanations ... > > attention, one might say. This NP will always be the first NP to > appear in the sentence. In the indicative mood, this NP precedes the > verb, whereas the other NPs follow the verb. For example: > > kiran ka kira firasa sei diru nei esan. > young_man ORG give flower CVY young_lady RCP COMPL > "The young man gives (a flower/flowers) to the young lady." > > (_esan_ is the verb complement, which is not relevant to our present > discussion.) > > In this particular sentence, "young man" is made the "subject", the > center of attention. Hence, another way to translate this might be: > "It is the young man who gives flowers to the young lady."
Hmm, I would not say this is triggerish, but I'd say the language uses word order to mark the focus, just like German. The example sentence you gave works exactly like that in German: give= geben (with = gibt) the man= der Mann the woman= die Frau the flower= die Blume Funny, even the genders are the same. :-) Case markers are in front in German and also contain definedness information -- they are articles, of course. And there is no verb complement. :-))) The case mapping is: giver -> nominative: der Mann recipient -> dative: der Frau patient -> accusative: die Blume As in your language, the focus is fronted. focus = subject is the default: Der Mann gibt der Frau die Blume. NOM DAT ACC
> This happens to be in the familiar English word order. But let's now > consider other possibilities. We may, for example, wish to emphasize > that it is to the young lady that the flowers were given. We do this > by simply fronting "young lady", and relegating "young man" to the > back of the sentence:
Der Frau gibt der Mann die Blume. DAT NOM ACC
> diru nei kira firasa sei kiran ka esan. > young_lady RCP give flower CVY young_man ORG COMPL > "The young lady was given flowers by the young man."
(Just as a remark: for more emphasis plus demotion of 'der Mann', you may also choose to use passive voice in German, in this case, indirect passive voice (with 'bekommen' or 'kriegen') to get nominative case marking for 'Frau': Die Frau bekommt die Blume von dem Mann gegeben. NOM ACC OBL )
>... > The interesting point about this second sentence is that the *same* > case marking is retained for "young man". >...
The same in German.
>... > We could also decide to emphasize the fact that it was *flowers* which > were given to the young lady by the young man, in which case we would > front "flowers" and leave the young man and young lady in the back: > > firasa sei kira kiran ka diru nei esan. > flower CVY give young_man ORG young_lady RCP COMPL > "Flowers were given by the young man to the young lady." >...
Die Blume gibt der Mann der Frau. ACC NOM DAT (Again, with passive voice, this time direct passive with 'werden': Die Blume wird der Frau von dem Mann gegeben. NOM DAT OBL )
>... > How is this related to triggers? Tatari Faran, unlike Tagalog, does > not move the case marking of the trigger NP onto the verb. It also has > no special trigger marker. >...
I think that's the point. The system I see is focus by word order, not triggers. Triggers as I understand them involve changing the verb form to indicate which role is the trigger, and then requiring the trigger case for that role. (The other roles may keep their case marking or be changed as well, depending on language). This is similar to voices, but also different, since usually triggers mark *roles* instead of purely syntactically changing case assignment, and they usually do not demote anything to obliqueness. Marking roles is the reason why trigger languages often have more choices for triggers that for cases (Tagalog, if I remember correctly, has five (or only four?) choices for triggers on the verb, but only three cases). At least, this is my understanding. Triggers have created so much confusion here that I will not claim that I understood them correctly. I just describe what *I* understood. :-)))
>... > Based on this, I would propose that Tatari Faran, indeed, does exhibit > triggeriness. >...
Hmm, I don't think so, since the system is really identical to that of German, which is clearly accusative and never even has anyone I met considered that it had triggers. :-) **Henrik


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>