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Locative constructions in a:seka`eni (long)

From:James W. <emindahken@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 8, 2006, 14:52
Hey all,

I'm currently working on the locative constructions in
a:seka`eni. I found a really interesting paper by Marcus
Kracht, "On the Semantics of Locatives (2000)" describing
them as consisting of a configuration and a mode (I only
made it to about p. 15 before getting lost :( )

So, for a:seka`eni I have come up with eight basic
configurations: above, below, behind, in front of, beside,
near, on, in. Each of these configurations can appear in any
of six modes: stative, cofinal, coinitial, transitory,
approximative, recessive. The exception to this is in the
above and below configurations, which don't appear in the
recessive mode, because they seemed to me to be semantically
identical to each other in the approximative mode (see the
chart below for clarification).

Definition of the modes (from Kracht, p.2-3):
While there is no plausible bound on the number of
configurations that a language distinguishes, the number of
modes seems to be limited: there is evidence for the
stative, the cofinal, the coinitial, the transitory and the
approximative mode. [James W.: I saw another reference to a
recessive mode somewhere also, but can't remember where.]
The mode is _stative_ if the object remains in that
configuration during event time (e.g. Finnish Inessive
talossa, in the house); the mode is _cofinal_ if the object
moves into the configuration during event time (e.g. Finnish
Illative taloon, into the house); the mode is _coinitial_ if
the object moves from the configuration during event time
(e.g. Finnish Elative talosta, out of the house). The mode
is _transitory_ if the object moves in and again out of the
configuration (e.g. through the tunnel). Finally, the
_approximative_ mode describes a movement approaching a
configuration (e.g. towards the tunnel). [Recessive would
describe a movement away from a configuration, I think.]

It seems to me that the approximative and recessive (and
maybe transitory?) are kind of like a continuous aspect,
where the others are more like a perfective aspect. So there
is a difference in meaning between, say, a cofinal and an
approximative construction with the same configuration.

I've laid out all the possible combinations in the chart
below. What I need is for you to check my interpretation of
the config + mode combinations, especially for the
approximative and recesisve modes. Do they make sense? Are
there any natlangs with systems that work like this? I'm not
too concerned if there aren't, but hopefully the system is
plausible, because it is supposed to be humanly useable.

In the chart the configurations are in all caps (I'm not
yelling, it just helps the layout make sense :) ) followed
by the six modes and the definition of their combination.

stative: above
cofinal: up to
coinitial: down from
transitory: passing over
approximative: ascending
recessive: descending [unsused, seems the same as below +

stative: under/below
cofinal: to below
coinitial: from below
transitory: passsing below/burrowing
approximative: descending
recessive: ascending [unused, seems the same as above +

stative: behind
cofinal: to behind
coinitial: from behind
transitory: passing in back of
approximative: fading into the background
recessive: coming out (of hiding)

stative: in front of
cofinal: to the front
coinitial: from the front
transitory: passing in front of
approximative: coming to the forefront
recessive: leaving the front

stative: beside/next to (in a:seka`eni it implies that the
objects are touching)
cofinal: (attaching) to the side
coinitial: (detaching) from the side
transitory: brushing against
approximative: coming to the side
recessive: leaving the side

stative: near, in the vicinity of
cofinal:  to
coinitial: from
transitory: passing along side
approximative: towards
recessive: distancing, away from

stative: on, at
cofinal: onto
coinitial: off of
transitory: across
approximative: arriving at
recessive: departing from

stative: in, inside
cofinal: into
coinitial: out of
transitory: through
approximative: entering
recessive: exiting

There is one construction that I noticed I couldn't find in
the above combinations: around (encircling). So I have added
it as another configuration. However, I couldn't come up
with satisfactory modal shadings of it. So I challenge
everyone to see if you can come up with some :)

Morphological forms of these to come in a later post.

Thanks for looking, and sorry about the length.

James W.


Larry Sulky <larrysulky@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>