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Re: Infinitives & gerunds

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Friday, October 6, 2006, 7:14
H. S. Teoh wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 05, 2006 at 10:39:20AM +0100, R A Brown wrote:
>>>1) As a nominal verb (like the English gerund): >>> hapasi nijibin so sianas baibai. >>> (harm-GND RCP:child CVY) shameful COMPL >>> Harming a child (or, the harming of a child) is shameful. >> >>Latin: puerum laedere est foedum
>>There are all nominalized clauses, aren't they? Certainly they must all >>be expressed in Latin using an infinitive; a gerund is not possible for >>any of those examples. > > Hmm. Now I'm confused about the difference between a gerund and an > infinitive... Surely (1) at least would be a gerund?
Probably because you're confusing the use of the Latin gerund & the English gerund; tho they're similar animals, they ain't the same :) In Latin one definitely could not use the gerund. As subject of _est_, the infinitive is mandatory. The gerund would give a different meaning, namely: puerum laedendum est foedum = Having to harm a child is a disgraceful thing - it would show _necessity_ or _obligation_. In English also the infinitive can be used: It is disgraceful to harm a child. The difference between an infinitive & a gerund is language specific. [snip]
>>I think to test fully one needs a L1 TF population - not likely, but >>indeed one can dream ;) > > Ah, so if I speak TF to my children, and they speak TF to *their* > children, and ... Yeah, not likely.
Nor IMO enough to test whether the language can function as a means of everyday spoken communication. What we need is for some community to take it up like, say, the people of Monaco decide they need their own language to make them distinct from the French, so they decide to adopt TF - about as likely as the moon being made of cheese. Maybe one day computer modeling will be advanced enough to model a population actually communicating in a given conlang and see how the language develops or fails. Who knows? [snip]
>> >>One could move the subordinative verb to the front of its clause? > > Actually, I was referring to the distance between the head noun and its > associated case particle. I think the overt use of secondary case > inflections for the subordinative verb's arguments already adequately > prepares the listener to expect a subordinative verb coming at the end. > For the head noun, though, one has to keep it "on hold", not knowing its > case function, until we reach the end of the phrase, even though in the > middle of it the case functions of the subordinate clause's arguments > are already made clear.
Oh dear - I fear I've misunderstood something else. I was not intending to refer to case functions of the subordinative verb's arguments; I was, I thought, referring to the keeping "on hold" of the head nouns function. I thought this was indicated by the core case inflexion of the subordinative verb at the end of the clause. I must've got this wrong {sigh} [snip]
>>>of this may lead to repeated cognitive clash at the end of each NP. I >>>think Tagalog had it right with putting case markers in front of the >>>noun. :-) >> >>Now that's another interesting language! Does it actually have >>(finite) verbs? But we have, I think, discussed that before on >>Conlang. > > [...] > > I don't remember what the consensus was...
I do not think there was/is a consensus.
> although I do remember > reading an interesting analysis on some website somewhere that proposes > that Tagalog really does not distinguish between noun and verb at the > root level,
What I have before me is a paper by Paz Buenaventura Naylor in which it is argued that Tagalog verbal words are _syntactically nominal_, i.e. behave as nouns :) =================================== Andreas Johansson wrote: > Quoting "H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh@...>: > > >>Hmm. OK. I'm still stuck on the point that infinitives have no time >>element associated with them, whereas in TF, esp. in reported speech, a >>time element could certainly be present. > > If Latin can make aspectual distinctions in its infinitives (_monstrare_ "to > show" vs _monstravisse_ "to have shown"), it seems little stretch to me to > imagine infinitives with temporal distinctions. Yes - and the Latin gerund *cannot* make such distinctions! Latin text books also include 'future infinitives' - but these are strictly periphrases which are needed for reported speech which, of course, is the very thing Teoh is concerned about. From a Latin point of view, the infinitive can show aspectual/temporal differences but the gerund can't. ================================== Mark J. Reed wrote: > On 10/5/06, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...> wrote: > >> If Latin can make aspectual distinctions in its infinitives >> (_monstrare_ "to >> show" vs _monstravisse_ "to have shown"), it seems little stretch to >> me to >> imagine infinitives with temporal distinctions. > > It's an etymological difficulty more than anything else. Temporal > distinctions are of necessity "finite", when viewed in the sense in > which infinitives are "infinite". But if we're going to get hung up on the etymology of traditional grammatical terms, we're going to encounter a whole host of problems. Some are due to faulty Roman translation of Greek terms devised by grammarians whose linguistic understanding was often, to say the least, rather shaky. 'Infinitiuus' was a translation of 'aparemphatos' and seems to have originally meant 'indefinite' or 'undefined' rather than 'infinite'. It refers to the fact that the 'infinitive mood' (yes, they reckoned a mood in the same way as the indicative, subjunctive etc are moods) did not have endings indicating the subject - they were thus 'undefined'. Trask says of the infinitive: {quote} A *non-finite* form of the verb occurring in some (but not all) languages and typically serving to express the meaning of the verb in the abstract, with no marking for or restriction in tense, aspect, mood or person (though some languages exhibit two or more infinitives distinguished in tense or aspect). {/quote} That seems to me a pretty accurate description. Latin had tense/aspect distinction for the infinitive, especially in reported speech. So I see no problem with TF behaving similarly. -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB} -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB} -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB}