Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Bi-objective Prepositions & betweeness

From:takatunu <takatunu@...>
Date:Saturday, January 3, 2004, 15:43
Caleb Hines <cph9fa@...> wrote:

> Like a flower > Born again > Each morning > Between the sky > And the sea > Oh my country!
As I was thinking about translating that into Akathanu, I realized something which I find to be rather odd. While most prepositions take a single object ('to the car', 'from him', 'for you', 'of me', etc...), 'between' apparently can take _two_ objects ('between X and Y'). Of course, it can also take one (plural) object ('between the houses'). It seems very odd to me that this preposition can have two objects, while most only have one. Akathanu (an agglutinating lang) normally treats prep. phrases as a single word, so for example: 'busahua' /bu.sA.wA/ = 'bu'+'sahua' = above + water = Above the water. I'm not sure how to translate "between+X+and+Y" though, because I only want one main noun per word. For the moment, I'm using "below+X, above+Y" but this isn't universally applicable (*"below a rock, above a hard place"?). What I'll probably do is repeat the conjunction twice: "between+X, between+Y". [snip] Anyone have any insights on this technique, know a better way to do it, or know of other prepositions that behave like this ('amongst' would probably be one). Also, are there any natlangs that might have a funny way to express 'between-ness'.
Talking about an "adposition" and its "object" right away is already half-way heading to the comitative solution (that is using "and.") Why not talk of a circumstance occuring in or throughout an interval ? "Between" is a relation implying the delimitation of a notional/spatial/temporal INTERVAL. Something happens or lies either on a point of, or throughout the whole of, that interval. That's why my previous "mechanical" analysis of "between" details the theater of the occurence as the "WHOLE" of the interval by contrast to a "POINT" of this interval. A relation is a behaviour relating two entities called "referees". The two referees are usually a "reference" and a "referent". Sometimes the reference is "everything" and is therefore omitted like for "every", "each", "no", etc. In "some dog", "dog" is a referent and "some" a relation with the omitted reference of "all possible" (dogs.) "X amongst Y" is a relation making the referent X a unit part of a group of Y's (the reference) and reads: "Entity X being one of the entities Y who potentially behave in the same way." "Between" is a notional reciprocal relation with both referees being each other's reference and referent in space, time or notion. So of course, expressing this relation with a verbal or "adpositional" technics where you need a neat "object" of the adposition by contrast to its "subject"--that is, part or all the predicate and arguments of the clause itself--looks sometimes a bit tricky. The usual technics is to use a comitative (Japanese "to", French "et", Hebrew "ve-") but repeating the same role like you say looks fine (and is precisely already used in plenty of langs with the comitative as well or negative comitative: Fr. "Ni lui ni aucun homme...") For instance in Japanese you say "(doing stuff) in the interval of and-X and-Y" = Xto Yto no aida ni." OT Yesterday I read an odd article in the last issue of "La Linguistique" written in English by a British linguist (Mr. Rastall, I think) who writes about Martinet's theory of entity+behaviour minimal pairs as something "revolutionary" (!!!) and explains it with examples in.... Malay :-)))) There was also an interesting article about Ingush verbal system and plenty of examples of switching from ergative to antipassive. The Ingush word shape and ergative system cum verbal pronominal affixes made me really think of the Sumerian ones.