Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

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

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Thursday, November 18, 2004, 17:36
Ray Brown wrote:
> On Wednesday, November 17, 2004, at 08:07 , Roger Mills wrote:
> > In the Listserv Archive, see msg. #78359 of Jan.13, 2003, for some > > examples > > from the Tsou lang. of Taiwan; > > Haven't tracked it down yet - but it seems there was a quite a thread > going on at the time about triggers etc.
Put "Tsou" in the topmost search box; my email in 2003 was that will narrow down the search. -------------------------------
> > [snip] > > 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 > > So it is _focus_ that we are concerned with, that is *new information* - > and not the _topic_ under discussion?
Aye, this seems to be the problem. Perhaps we ANists are misusing "focus"; but it's the term that's used.
> > The affix on the verb indicates which focus is being used; the > > argument-in-focus (loosely, the subject) > > This is where confusion can arise. Subjects in unmarked sentences > correspond to the topic, not the focus.
This may be where Phil.langs. depart from (or confuse) familiar usage. In Engl. we can passivize on DO's and IO's-- "water was brought for the family...", "the family was brought water...". Certainly in our terms "water" and "family" are promoted to subjects(topic) here. OK-- Tag. can "passivize/promote to subject" more arguments than Engl. can; so sentences like: Agent Focus: Bring-AF link woman..... (Engl. "active") Goal Focus: Bring-GF link water.... (Engl. "passive") Inst.Focus: Bring-IF link bucket.... (Engl. ???) Ben. Focus: Brink-BF link family.... (Engl. ???) are all exactly parallel in Tag.-- AIUI. But what shall we call "bucket" and "river" in the last two? -------------------------------------
> > Is the verbal affix the trigger and the focused NP the target? _or_ > Is the marked NP the trigger and the verb the target? > > I cannot help thinking some other terminology would be more helpful. Is > there indeed an alternative terminology for this feature of Philippine & > related languages?
I agree totally; "trigger/target" seems to be adding a level of terminology that is confusing and unncessary, and to my knowledge those terms simply ARE NOT USED by Philippinists. We'll see what Prof. Naylor uses when she replies (my msg to her is still in draft, because I have to keep adding questions...) ------------------------
> >> 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." > > The cleft construction does show focus, the passive usually does not. > However "a bucket" rather than "the bucket" does suggest this is new > information.
I had overlooked that, and may be wrong. Barry Garcia's latest post mentions that definite/indefinite does make a difference. Well, one more Q for Prof. Naylor......(I'd better finish/send that msg before it turns into a PhD dissertation :-((( ) -------------------------------


Tim May <butsuri@...>