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
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
<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
> 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
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