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Agency and the lexicon, and Modexúr Olo

From:Joe Mondello <joemond@...>
Date:Friday, October 18, 2002, 5:27
I've decided I'll probably call my new language 'i modexúr (pi xarez xaz ki e lum'
dize)', which means "the language (of the time when I want to speak to
myself)"). It breaks down as follows:

i        modexúr  pi-z        xare xa-z        ki        e  lu-m'    dize
Det1 language Det2-G  time Det3-G  want   I   self-D  speak

Det1-3: three different definite determiners/pronouns, which always occur in this
sequence as the situation demands
G: genitive
D: dative/allative

More likely, though, It will be called Modexúr Olo, which translates to either
"this language" (very creative, eh?) or, more accurately "[the] Language
[that's] over here".

Anyway, one of the major design features of the language is a pronounced distinction
between subject-as-agent (sub=agent) and subject-as-experiencer (sub=exp.). A
subject precede the verb when it is an agent, and follows it when it's an
experiencer, e.g.

xarín i-z        iyo-nu medruyab-ka gendar-o e-z,  e xindro  u
time  Det-G she-N  mock-Prf       boot-Pl    I-G,  I  kick      he
When he mocked my boots, I kicked him (deliberately)

xarín i-z       e-nu  minde-ga   dru-m',        xindro e u
time  Det-G I-N    seat-From  leave-Prg,  kick     I  he
When I was getting out of my seat, I (accidentally, unwittingly) kicked him.

Prf: perfective
Pl: plural
N: nominative
Prg: progressive

I've found this distinction pretty helpful in coining new meanings for existing
words. For example, when the subject of 'jabejúr' is the experiencer, it means
"be obvious", and when the subject is the agent, it means "be honest". "Ris"
can mean "pass" in the physical sense or "be more than", depending on whether
the subject is agent or experiencer, respectively. I have included several
other examples below.

sub=agent: áhwayo -  polite, behaved
sub=exp.: áhwayo -  proper, correct

sub=agent: ájayo  -  compensate, make up for
sub=exp.: ájayo  -  enough

sub=agent: doúxmyo  -  elect, single out
sub=exp.: doúxmyo  -  prefer

sub=agent: droyáb-  alienate, be mean to deliberately
sub=exp.: droyáb-  mean, cruel, be mean

sub=agent: égo  - lie down
sub=exp.: égo  -  lie (be situated)

sub=agent: éndega  -  insinuate onself, make oneself important, M
sub=exp.: éndega  -  important, M

sub=agent: gadérim-  secretive
sub=exp.: gadérim-  secret

sub=agent: gríyo  -  live in a certain way, live one's life somehow
sub=exp.: gríyo  -  live vi.

sub=agent: ják-  polite, H
sub=exp.: ják-  proper, right, H

sub=agent: kí  -  plan to, gonna
sub=exp.: kí  -  want, hope

sub=agent: kíklayo  - careful, cautious 
sub=exp.: kíklayo  -  afraid

sub=agent: mowísneyme -  treacherous
sub=exp.: mowísneyme -  slippery

sub=agent: moyúdame -  evasive
sub=exp.: moyúdame -  rare, scarce

sub=agent: núgro  -  bend oneself
sub=exp.: núgro  -  flexible, bend

sub=agent: powábar -  ignore, disregard
sub=exp.: powábar -  forget

sub=agent: rayágros -  prepare for, brace oneself for
sub=exp.: rayágros -  worry about, stress out over, dread

sub=agent: úwanora -  alienate oneself, be aloof, M
sub=exp.: úwanora -  foreign, M

The system sometimes parallels the neuter verb extension in some Bantu languages.
In Shona, for example, the neuter extension can be used to indicate what I
believe to be the anti-passive voice (e.g. the neuter construction "huku
inobikika"- 'the chicken is cooking', cf. "ndinobika huku"- 'I'm cooking
chicken'). The neuter can also be used to express the potential of an action
("jongwe inodyika"- 'the rooster is edible"). The same is true in Modexúr Olo,

e nugro-ka  sodize     e  lubo
I  bend-Prf  and.then  I   run
I bend/stretch before I run 

mur-me  nugro  imar-o
wind-in   bend   tree-Pl
Trees bend in the wind 

nugro i      gis   nemar-o olo  wam'  kayo  si    i
bend  Det thin  stick-Pl   this  if        dry    not Det
These thin sticks are (probably) flexible if they are not dry.

The Bantu connection is not deliberate but welcome, as it puts me in familiar
waters. What do y'all think of this system? does anyone know of any langs, con-
or nat-, which have a similar system?