Old Sanhr Syntax: Arguments and Roles
|From:||Peter Ara Guekguezian <pag-conlanglist@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, January 25, 2007, 21:12|
This is the third (of four) posts recapping work I've done on Old Sanhr.
It's about the most important part of Old Sanhr, the syntactic core and
the three-argument/three-mode system I presented before. I'm hoping you
guys'll be more interested in this one (I am).
I had said before on das website (www.soapboxindustries.com):
"External = An external agent voluntary effects a (trans-)action, or
intends that something/-one be affected in some way
Developmental = An quality or relation is gradually developed, or a
natural process is undergone, or an event happens accidentally
Internal = An inherent or necessary tendency is possessed, or an
internal state or effect is experienced "
I've done some changes. The modes can differ quite a bit, depending on
the type of verb.
A quick overview of the associated syntax may help (also from das website):
"However, any given verb may use the modes to express any range of
distinctions. To show how different types of verbs handle the modes,
I've given several examples below. "A", "B", and "C" all refer to NP's
with the arguments "agent", "recipient", and "patient", respectively.
"D" refers to an NP that is not one of these arguments, and is thus in
apposition to the rest of the clause. "X" is a modifier of an NP, and
thus has the same argument. Only two arguments can be marked on the
verb; thus, any argument in parentheses can not be marked on the verb."
In Old Sanhr, every independent clause (i.e., one with a non-participial
verb) has a clause core. This core consists of a Verbal Phrase at the
end, and from one to three core Noun Phrases preceding it. Every verb
requires a certain number of core NP's, which depends on the mode. Core
NP's are NEVER marked morphologically for case/argument. Prototypically:
External Mode has 3 core NP's 'C' 'B' and 'A', ordered like this: "C B A
VP". 'A' is the subject, meaning it is a necessary part of the core. If
there is only one NP in the core, it will always be 'A'. If there are
two NP's, the first will be 'B', and the second will be 'A'. If there
are three NP's, then the first is 'C', the second 'B', the third 'A'.
Developmental Mode has 2 core NP's 'C' and 'B' : "C B VP". 'C' is the
subject, meaning it is a necessary part of the core. If there is only
one NP in the core, it will always be 'C'. If there are two NP's, the
first will be 'C', and the second will be 'B'.
Internal Mode has 1 core NP 'B' : "C B VP". 'C' is the subject, meaning
it is a necessary part of the core. If there is only one NP in the core,
it will always be 'C'.
Remember, these are only prototypical, and a sizable chunk (20% ~ 40%)
of verbs take a non-prototypical number of core arguments for each mode.
Just a review:
Clause Core = 'C' 'B' 'A' 'VP'
(('C') 'B') 'A' 'VP-EXT'
'C' ('B') 'VP-DEV'
Now, a summary of the roles of the arguments 'A', 'B', and 'C' ::
Argument 'A' -- subject of 'External' mode :
"pure" agent (i.e., action happens under its control or with its
instrument, if representing an animate or willing agent;
intender, willer, purposer.
Argument 'B' -- subject of 'Internal' mode :
recipient of object, (bene-)ficiary of action;
agent, if action happens without its control or permission (e.g.,
agent of adversative passive);
instrument, force of nature (not representing an animate or willing
patient, if able to resist or respond voluntarily to the agent;
experiencer, sentient being, judge;
intuitor, one-who-has-just-realized-something, receptacle of revelation;
possessor of inalienable characteristic, tendency or state.
Argument 'C' -- subject of 'Developmental' mode :
inanimate or involuntary patient (or at least non-agent or -instrument);
animate or voluntary patient, if unable to resist or respond
voluntarily to the agent;
material possession, object presented by 'A' to 'B';
object of sensory perception or physical or mental manipulation;
recipient of naturally developed or alienable characteristic
Or, using a different schema:
'A' - if action happens under its control or with
'B' - if action happens without its control or
'B' - if able to resist or respond voluntarily to
'C' - if unable to resist or respond voluntarily to
'A' - if representing an animate or willing agent
'B' - if not representing an animate or willing agent
'C' - always
As you can guess, there are quite a few other possible semantic roles
for each of the arguments, often with subtle significances. Each
particular verb determines what it does semantically with the three
arguments. Part VI of the website, though slightly outdated, can give
some helpful examples.
Again, I appreciate your help with this. I know I haven't really done
much for you guys so far, but hopefully as time (and my skills)
progress, I'll be able to reciprocate the favor.