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Re: THEORY: Verb voice

From:Gerald Koenig <jlk@...>
Date:Friday, May 28, 1999, 2:44
>From: (Stephen DeGrace) >To: >Subject: Re: THEORY: Verb voice >Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 07:57:16 GMT > >On Wed, 5 May 1999 00:18:40 -0700 (PDT), Gerald Koenig ><jlk@...> wrote: >>>=Ray >>>Ah, now 'volition' immediately suggests _modality_ to me, i.e. a different >>>"mood". Modal distinctions, whether made inflexionally or, as in English, >>>with modal auxiliaries, cover a wide range of meanings, especially >>>attitudes on the part of the speaker/writer towards the factual content of >>>what is uttered or written, e.g. uncertainty, factuality, possibility, >>>necessity etc. It would seem to me that is 'non-control' a modal attribute >>>of the verb.
>>=GLK >>Ray's paragraph just above expresses exactly what I thought when I >>first read R. Nierse's post about the non-control grammar, but due to a >>persisting mental haze from the flu, I didn't voice it. I like this >>mode, and I would like to adopt it into NGL. I would call it the >>"injussive mode" because it declares the lack of command and control. >>Jussive has as its root, command. The jussives for Nilenga NGL are:
> >>XA type of modals. [jussives] >>xa::-must,legal shall. x says y must make "p" true. No choice. x may be y. >>xam::-may x says that y may make "p" true. >>xap::-permits x permits that y make "p" true. >>xad::-demands x demands that y make "P" true. >>xas::-please x politely asks that y make "p" true. >>xal::-should (ought to) x ought to make "p" true, he has a choice. >> Default y is subject of "p".
>=Stephen > >I like the variety of forms this represents. Let me run some examples >by you and see if I have the use of this right. > >"Jane has to finish her term paper." >In this case we have no x, only y and p, where: >y = Jane >p = finish her term paper >At least, x is not explicitly stated, but we may assume that an x may >be implicit, e.g.: >x = the Monday deadline
When I conceived these I had in mind a flesh and blood speaker, with the aim of getting away from statements like "the computer said you must...". The x should stand ultimately for a person, but since that person is unknown here, "x", it might as well be what you have written. I conceive of "x" as a person who could be the enforcer or someone simply reporting a fact, that if Jane doesn't turn in the paper it will result in an F. With this definition I was trying to prevent the assumption of an author-anonymous omnipotent point of view. The plain <xa> does imply enforcement for non-compliance with the proposition. I can see that the enforcement could be construed as coming from the laws of nature, such as "Jane XA come in out of the blizzard" (or freeze her feet). In that sense I think your usage of "the Monday deadline" works, and I don't fault it. We have been anthropomorphizing nature always, and we will continue, it's just a matter of being conscious of it. But for these usages, we have to assume that "the Monday deadline" and "The Blizzard" are metaphorically speakers. It is an interesting extension of the meaning you have created by usage.
> >So, we could render it: >{Xa Jane ev inyynfe esrltjane.}
>Which translates back literally as: >"Some unstated cause says that Jane must make it true that she is >gonna finish her paper." >Or, we could include the cause: >{Ku cikinyun du'itru xa Jane ev inyynfe esrltjane.} >Where "some unstated cause" becomes "the Monday deadline".
Agreed, except that "some unstated cause" is "some unstated metaphor for a _speaker_"
>I don't think {xa} needs to be tensed, as the cause is obviously >immediate.
> >Another example, illustrating a neat use of these modals (if modal is >the right word for the way these things work): >"Please bring me a glass of water." >Here: >x = me >y = you >p = bring a glass of water to me >I think that x need not be explicitly stated, and that {xas}, >"please", need not be tensed. Again I choose to tense the act with >{ev}.
I'm not sure whether {ev} is a Zumirtok word; three nilenga tensors are <am> from pA Me, <em> from tE Me, and <um> from fU Me; where me comes from MEmber of the time-vector. <am> is past, <em> is present, <um> is future; all are progressive. Vu+um= VUM; you will be verbing. So:
>{Xas vev birin umi rl su`fir vod.} >{vev} is {vu} + {ev}. I _think_ {umi} is the dative of {mi}, I hope >I'm not making a mistake.
umi is correct.
>I would think that the most formal form would be: >{Mi xas vu vev birin umi rl su`fir vod.} >Translating literally as: >"I ask politely that you are going to make true that you are gonna >bring me a glass of water." > >I still don't feel 100% confident that I have used these correctly or >interpreted the explanation correctly, though.
Your usage is exactly what I had in mind. Particularly I like the distinction you make between formal and informal usage; I never thought of it. The reason these things are so stilted in translation is that they are all cast in a canonical form for a modal which was first given by the philosopher, Prior, one of the pioneers in the explication of modals. He was of the view that anything that can be reasonably put in the form, "It is -----that ----" ; where the second blank is a proposition or sentence, is a modal. I have done away with the "it" which really refers to the second blank, and added the speaker place; and made the "is true" explicit for my forms. And I have defined as a modal any verb that modifies the truth of the second blank, "p". I have much more to say on this in an upcoming post, titled "What's 'that'?"
> >>And now there is the inverse of XA: >>inxa::-helpless to affect x says that y cannot exert control over the >> underlying event that makes "P" true or false.
>>R. Nierse again: >>>>> The -n@x- indicates that the actor has no control over the action. I was
>> >>Then we can say things like: >> >><inxa> The Kosovo women are losing their men and their homes. >>Someone [speaker] asserts that someone else [actor] cannot influence >>the event of the Kosovo women losing their men and their homes. >> >><inxa> Black holes attract matter. >>No one can control that black holes attract matter. > >Okay, this one is a bit of a mental twister, I think it may need some >work.
You may be correct. I am working on it. I think there may be a problem with the canonical form of the definition, where I have substituted an event for the proposition that refers to it, as well as the difference between "actor can't control" and "uncontrollable". This idea is due to R. Nierse and I'm not sure I translated it exactly. Also, the inverse of uncontrollable would be controllable, not "Must". I was using "inxa" as a very general inverse of the class of <xa> modals. In both cases, the x and the y are missing, right? So you have,
>basically, {inxa [p]} stated explicitly. So, putting in an x and y, >would we have: >{Milosevic inxa q Wes q faduines Kosovoi' te insynma maduinese & >mafese.} >"Milosevic says the West is helpless to affect that the Kosovo women >are losing their men and their homes."
Again, this makes sense to me, and is the way I see this grammar used. But I have a little trouble with the second "q".
>The inverse being: >{Milosevic xa q Wes q faduines Kosovoi' te insynma maduinese & >mafese.} >"Milosevic says the West must make true that the Kosovo women are >losing their men and their homes." > >Well, maybe there's nothing wrong with it, but I must confess to >having a little bit of trouble wrapping my head around it. It is >certainly a unique form, unlike anything I'm used to in other >languages (at least the way it's described), and it will take some >work on my part to get on to it. So, naturally, feedback to my >gropings is most welcome :-). > >Naesverig, > >Stephen > >
Thanks again Stephen for your comments and unerring grammatical instincts. Jerry