Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Adjectives vs. stative verbs, plus general info

From:Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
Date:Monday, March 18, 2002, 19:01
On Fri, 15 Mar 2002 17:13:50 -0800
Jesse Raccio <jraja0722@...> wrote:

> Well, I am exploring my possiblities for the lang I am > putting together. I am curious if anyone else has > played with removing adjectives all together and > simply using stative verbs? I figured that in complex > sentences one would break it into a stative verb > phrase and append a tran/intrans verb to these > phrases.
Yep, I'm doing something like that in my current lang (called ML2 for the mo) which is the child or brutal bashing into more pleasing form of another lang (ML) whose [lack of] grammar displeased me. During this evolution or deformation, verbs and adjectives have partly fallen together, due to sound change + analogy with some already existing stative verbs. I say "partly" since while the most commonly used part of the verb ends in -e (<sfohe evte>, "I love you") while the commonest form of the adjectives end in -en (<mivlen auncesh> "a reassuring outcome"), really what is happening is the the 'adjectival' use is a non-finite form of the verb, [some sort of participle I think]. Where the stative verb is to be used 'verbally' it would typically be used in a finite form as the main verb of a clause, while being used 'attributively', you might use a nonfinite form. In fact, these differences reflect more the degree of focus on the stative-verb clause. Now the verb "to happen" is <cfide>. Behold: <cfide auncush> "the outcome is happening" ('verbal' usage) <chfide auncush> "the outcome was happening" ('verbal' usage) <chfide de auncush> "the outcome happened" ('verbal' usage) <cfiden auncesh> "the outcome which is happening" ('adj' usage) <chfiden auncesh> "the outcome which was happening" ('adj' usage) (*) <chfideden auncesh> "the outcome which happened" ('adj' usage)
> The happy man went home. would translate best literally as: The man, > who is happy, went home.
Yes, < theive de ir fsaren cjete> departed the being-happy man cf, with different emphasis <theive de ir fsare cjete> departed the (man is happy), which amounts to an embedded subordinate clause other possibilities <theive de ir cjete sfee fsare> departed the man who happies <theive de ir cjete sfee fsaren> departed the man who happy [verb to be must be supplied in translation] What the last one means really is that when I say "fsaren cjete", really, or at least etymologically, 'fsaren' is a genuine adjective and there is a verb 'to be' omitted - "te fsaren cjete", with 'te' = 'is'. It's this tendency (very strong) to omit the verb to be that allows etymological adjectives to be included in the same category as verbs. I suspect the verb 'to be' doesn't exist in ML2, except maybe as an 'emergency copula'.
> since the language is to be inflecting I figured one could chain > together a number of these stative verbs to describe in a few words > current, past and possible future states of an object. > > In english would be something like saying this. > > The man, who is happy but was once very unhappy and may soon be > unhappy again, went home. > > yet being able to say it in less words i.e. man happy happy happy pres > past,neg fut,neg,possible
Very nice, I like that idea. Probably wouldn't work in my lang which is gradually moving towards every adj. or adverb qualifying a noun-phrase or verb-phrase having the force of an embedded clause, with minimal use of 'functional' words and inflections.
> Other info about the lang itself. SOV order, heavily inflecting. 5 > noun classes 6 noun cases. I am toying with ergative/absolutive simply > because I think it is interesting, never had any expereince of it > till I bumped into a Basque grammar online. Beside those cases, if I > go with them, there is Locative, in or on. Allative, to or towards. > Instructive/Instrumental, means and the stative case which is a null > case. A syllabic alphabetic script. Lots of fricatives. Very little > use of the present tense. >
I made a nice discovery in my (more or less inflecting) lang concerning word order and the ergative system - you can have ergativity marked by word order rather than inflection (if ye so desire) just by using an order such as SOV or VOS, since this gives AOV / VOA for transitive verbs and SV / VS for intransitives. Simple, but nice I think.
> That is it so far all subject to wild change. I would love to hear > some comments that may help me work this out.
I really like the idea of an identity between adjs and stative verbs, especially how it suggests 'inline' subordinate clauses. If you want to see an example of a language which seems to do this with supreme elegance, look at chinese. [ I say seems, since I'm currently learning out of books which think that syntax is a dirty word and prefer to explain by examples, and seem to think that examples can teach you how to employ a lang for yourself, rather than just understand passively. Maybe for some people, but I need to read a good non-nonsense grammar before I can actually *produce* the simplest sentence. Hence I await with eagerness the copy of Yip & Rimmington's 'Basic Chinese' which is currently somewhere in the postal system... ]
> Thanks
And thanks for the opportunity to explain what I think my language is doing - it helps to show me that it's really doing something else entirely ;) stephen