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Nakiltipkaspimak goes active!

From:daniel andreasson <daniel.andreasson@...>
Date:Thursday, November 2, 2000, 22:01
We had a black out here for several hours, total darkness,
until I stumbled my way to some candles. The lack of
electricity made it impossible to work on my thesis, so I
decided to do a little field work on Nakiltipkaspimak. And
I discovered a fascinating feature which I haven't seen in
any natlang. Yet. It was also very inspiring to work in candle

Anyway. I discovered that Pimak all of a sudden wasn't
ergative anymore, but active. Hmm... Must have been through
contact with Rinya. Sprachbund! Yay! :) There are a lot of other
stuff that have changed from my first posting on Pimak too.

The activity seems to be based on control, though I haven't
done very much research on that yet, so it's likely to change

What was interesting was the way the activity was marked. Take a
look at these examples:

 (1) nitap mi-patam-0
     man   3SG-fall-PAST
     'The man fell (on purpose).'

 (2) *mi-nitap-patam-0
      'The man fell (on purpose).'

Example (2) is ungrammatical. Now check this out:

 (3) nitap-patam-0
     man  -fall-PAST
     'The man fell (involuntarily).'

There is no way to make a 4th example, since you would have
to let _nitap_ 'man' be a separate word, not incorporated.
And then it would have the _mi-_ prefix. And then it would
mean 'The man fell on purpose'. That is, transitive agents (A)
and intransitive controlling 'subjects' (S:AGT) have agreement
markers, but transitive patients (P) and intransitive non-
controlling 'subjects' (S:PAT) do not. Example (2) can thus
mean *neither* [+ control] *nor* [- control]. A sentence such as

 (4) *nitap patam-0
      man   fall-PAST
      'The man fell.'

is ungrammatical. The freestanding _nitap_ requires there to be
an agreement marker on the verb. Of course if you write and
pronounce the two words together _nitappatam_, (as in (3) you
would have the non-controlled event.

What I have discovered is thus that if a full NP is freestanding,
it is a controlled action. But if it is incorporated it means
that it is a non-controlled action.

Regarding pronominal clauses I'm not sure yet if the same thing
happens or if there are separate AGT and PAT affixes. Probably,
the same thing as for the full NPs above. Cf:

 (5) u-patam-0
     'I fell (by accident).'

 (6) ? i-patam-0
       'I fell (on purpose).'

Example (6) is more likely to be grammatical with a separate
pronoun, like example (7):

 (7) mis mi-patam-0
     1SG 1SG-fall-PAST
     'I fell (on purpose).'

I'll have to investigate this a bit further, although I think
(6) is ungrammatical and (7) is the correct one.

So what do you think? Anyone actually got through this? :)
Myself, I think it's pretty neat.


<>      KATSAYUKNIK PIMAK <> Daniel Andreasson           <>