|Date:||Thursday, February 24, 2000, 15:51|
G'amah has a rich set of particles, some of which are
similar to articles, and others more like prepositions,
or combinations of both. They are used primarily on
noun phrases, but verbs (verb stems, actually) take
them too and use them to mark aspects and moods. These
particles are clitics, not prefixes; I usually write
them either hyphen-separated, or as one word, capitalizing
theFirst letter oftheRoot likeThis.
Any comments will be appreciated.
The "articles" come in two flavours: normal articles,
Def. Def.Link Indef. Indef.Link
Masc. ha ah
Fem. hi ash
Anim. lli all n'a an
Neut. o ho n'o an
(Let's leave the 'genders' out of the discussion for
The normals are used more or less as in English (or
Spanish -- the main difference here would be regarding
the definite article in general statements, which I
still have to think about). The linkers have a variety
of uses, assimilable to a loose genitive.
Number is not marked on nouns; to specify number you
reduplicate the article. For example:
ha-zag'a allall- znam
MD lord LAD.DUP fly
'the lord of the flies'
Note that due to the rule that forbids two same-kind
glottalics in a row, there's a change in DUP indefinite
n'ana- hoh s- n'ono- gulung
AI.DUP mouse in NI.DUP cave
'some mice in some caves'
Out of the system we also have the partitive particle,
<mi>. This particle is used (so far) for general statements
and with numerals and other quantifiers:
d'ul (mi-) nhach mi- hoh
eat (PRT) cat PRT mouse
'cats eat mice'
ud zhi sh- pa mi- nhos
see 1s ACC three PRT tree
'I see three trees'
(Note the last example uses ACC marking, since it's 1st person).
Even if there's no quantifier, <mi-> can be used as a general
hnur cha zhi sh- mi- tot
hit PRF 1s ACC PRT man
'I have hit (several) men' (at some point in time)
PARTICLES FOR VERBS
Most particles that can be applied on nouns can also be
applied to verb roots, along with some auxiliaries.
Articles mark subordinates; some prepositions, along
with auxiliaries, form TMA constructions.
Subordinates where the antecedent is the subject of the
verb are marked by prefixing the corresponding normal
article to the verb:
n'a-luku n'a- k'ing
AI dog AI jump
'a dog that jumps'
Where the antecedent is the object, the linker article is
llilli- hoh allall- d'ul lli-nhach
AD.DUP mouse LAD.DUP eat AD cat
'the mice (that) the cat eats'
(Since the ABS case of the mouse is usually zero-marked,
but the ACC case of 1st and 2nd person pronouns is not,
I'm not sure what happens with agreement if the latter
are used -- maybe they have to be resumed and marked:
tad'a ah- nhot mi- hoh sh- tad'a
2s LMD bite PRT mouse ACC 2s
*'you whom mice bite you'???)
THE AUXILIARY _OJ_
A status verb, _oj_, is extensively used with other
verbs and prepositions for periphrastic TMAV
constructions. For example:
Oj lli-luku nu- nhot lli-nhach.
STA AD dog DAT bite AD cat
'The dog is going to bite the cat.'
(DAT is otherwise the dative mark for indirect
objects of ditransitive verbs.)
The progressive aspect uses _oj_ and <j'a-> 'with':
Oj ha-zag'a j'a- dul.
STA MA lord with eat
'The lord is with to eat.' = '... eating.'
(Note the de-glottalization phenomenon, j'a- + d'ul =
There's a kind of 'passive voice' using _oj_, using
a linker article on the verb:
Oj- an- d'ul lli- hoh.
STA LNI eat AD mouse
'The mouse is of to eat' = 'The mouse is eaten'
(_oj_, the article, and the verb root form a
Oj- anan- hnur llilli-luku.
STA VNI.DUP hit AD.DUP dog
'The dogs are of to hit.' = 'The dogs are hit.'
(Note the linker on the verb agrees in number, but
not definition, with the one on the noun -- for the
verb, you always use the indefinite one).
This 'passive' is not intended to emphasize the
object of the action too much -- it conveys a
sense of lack of control over it.
This construction cannot be used with 1st and 2nd
person pronouns, but there's one that can, using
a different verb, _sur_, which is a general possession/
relationship auxiliary, and the preposition <uk->
Sur mi- hnur uk- zhi.
have* PRT hit over 1s
*'I have of hitting over me' = 'I have been hit'
(the perfect tense in the translation is generally
implied, but not always.)