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

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 8:09
Sally Caves wrote:

> Can you give an example of the various triggers in a Philippine language? > Or > even just a made-up one?
In the Listserv Archive, see msg. #78359 of Jan.13, 2003, for some examples from the Tsou lang. of Taiwan; most Philippine langs. have much the same system (IMO, with more straightforward morphology than Tsou). I might be able to find assorted exs. from Tagalog, culled from peoples' papers, but no complete series that rings all the possible changes. But see the inventions below.......... Basically you can have: Agent focus - goal/patient focus - location focus - instrument focus - benefactive/dative focus. (Not every PI language has all possibilities; and sometimes it's hard to come up with a sentence with all the appropriate arguments.) Agent and Goal focus of course correspond to familiar active and passive
> For instance, in your above statement you remark that the affix is on the > verb. And then in the next sentence you say it's on the noun. Are there > two affixes? Please show me and Rodlox with an example.
The affix on the verb indicates which focus is being used; the argument-in-focus (loosely, the subject) is marked with a sort of article (in Tagalog, ang for common nouns, si for proper names, special forms of pronouns. The non-focused arguments use a different article or prepositions/different pronoun forms.
> > I'm thinking something like: > > Woman bring water river family bucket. > > Now how would a trigger language say:
First of all, I'm going to relay these sentences to a former colleague at U.Mich who is Filipina and used to teach Tagalog. That's the definitive way to answer the question. I just hope she isn't out of town, she goes to the PI frequently. For now: With a slight change in your wording, here are my _approximations_ of how a Philippine language would do it:
> > The woman brings water from the river to her family in a bucket.
Agent focus: bring/i ta woman o water o family do rio ni bucket
> The woman brought river water to her family in a bucket.
Same-- Agent focus (+ past tense if that's marked)
> The family was brought water from the river in a bucket by the woman.
Benefactive/dative focus: bring/an ta family o woman o water do rio ni bucket
> Water was brought from the river in a bucket by the woman to her family.
Goal/patient focus: bring/u ta water o woman o family do rio ni bucket
> A bucket was used to bring water from the river by the woman to her > family.
Instrument focus: bring/um ta bucket o woman o water do rio o family (It's accidental that the smooth Engl. translation has to be passive; it could be a cleft S: "It was with a bucket that the woman...etc." LOC.focus: bring/it ta river o woman o water o family ni bucket. Again, cleft S is the best translation, "it was from the river that the woman brought...etc." or "The river is where the woman brought the water from...." I suspect that aside from the verb-first/affix + immediately following "subject/focus" with _ta_, the ordering of the remaining arguments can be pretty free. (The 3 sentences I deleted aren't really in the same series) Hope that helps. (I had fun :-))) )


Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>