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

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Thursday, November 18, 2004, 17:32
Ray Brown scripsit:

> >3) The trigger NP is not itself marked for semantic role; it is either > >unmarked or it is given a semantically neutral mark meaning "this is > >the trigger". > > Like Tagalog _ang_ or _si_, i guess.
Just so.
> >>[In the answer "Ein Buch" is the topic; the focus is "zum Geburtstag".
(I sensed something a little odd about this before, but didn't know what.) It seems very strange to have an indefinite NP as the topic, since the topic is presupposed information, unless indeed "ein Buch" can mean here "a certain book" = "a particular book I'm not naming". "Das Buch" would be a much more natural topic.
> > Was das Buch angeht, das hat sie ihm ZUM GEBURTSTAG geschenkt.
And indeed this version does show "das Buch".
> Oh dear. This quite the opposite that I have been understanding from Pablo' > s web-page and from John. I had understood that the NP marked with 'ang' > or 'si' was the _trigger_, not the target.
The form I'm using here is what I learned from the article on Tagalog by Paul Schachter in Comrie ed., _The World's Major Languages_, which very clearly explains the terminology and the reasons behind it (and is the ultimate source of any clarity in *my* explanations).
> >Those that do not have a trigger affix:. > > Now should we be speaking of the 'trigger affix' or the 'triggered affix'.
"Triggered affix", technically. But "trigger affix" is common form.
> But you are saying the NP is the target. Are you saying the affix is the > trigger or is the verb+affix? I suppose it triggers the target by causing > the target to loose its role marking & to be marked with _ang_ or _si_.
There is nothing impossible about this analysis, but it's not the conventional one. If we analyzed English subject-verb agreement by saying that the use of "am" as a verb triggers the subject pronoun "I", we'd quickly get into perversities, but the Tagalog situation is more symmetrical. Whether the NP triggers the verb agreement (as is usually said) or the verb triggers the use of a non-semantic particle on the NP is a more theoretical question. Nevertheless, we conventionally say that the NP triggers the verb, just as in English.
> Sorry, I do not follow how we can have a _trigger affix_ and a _trigger > particle_. Either the NP is the trigger or the verb is the trigger. Either > the affix or the particle is being _triggered_. I am finding the current > terminology confusing.
"Trigger particle" is the particle marking the trigger as such. "Trigger affix", which as you say should be "triggered affix", is the affix specifying the semantic role of the trigger. ========================================================================= ObConlang: The engelang Voksigid is a non-trigger, semantic-case-marking, verb-first language with an interesting relation to the ones we've been discussing. Like Tagalog, it uses prepositions to mark the semantic functions of the NPs. For example, "tor" marks an actor, and "tum" a benefactee. But these same prepositions are *also* used as suffixes to derive nouns from verbs, and all nouns (except names) are in fact so derived. So: dona tor donator tum donatum Give (with-actor) giv-er (with-benefactee) giv-ee. The giver gives to the recipient of the gift. or more naturally dona tor cercetor tum brodalen Give (with-actor) seek-er (with-benefactee) be:brother-one The seeker gives to (his) brother. The suffix "-len", which I have glossed "-one" above, converts a stative verb ("be a brother") in this case to a noun referring to something in that state. Voksigid details at . -- "But the next day there came no dawn, John Cowan and the Grey Company passed on into the darkness of the Storm of Mordor and were lost to mortal sight; but the Dead followed them. --"The Passing of the Grey Company"


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>