Sorry if this has been answered somewhere and I missed it (so many pages!).
Let's take a transitive verb such as from dhok's question from almost a decade ago: "My mom gave me milk". If there's a verb milk-give and you can say a thing such as my-mom she-milk-me-gave, is the verb still transitive or does the incorporation turn it intransitive? Could you say something like my-mom she-milk-me-gave skim milk?
Perhaps another way to word waht I wrote:
The transitivity is determined by the person marking of the verb. The incorporated object is analogous to an English adverb, not an English (in-)direct object. With a content verb like "hunt" or "fish", one can say in English "I hunted for deer
" where for deer
is an adverbial phrase. This is our best analog to the incorporated nouns of polysynthetic languages. But in "I hunted for deer", the verb hunted
is intransitive because there is no specified object in the sentence.
I used a different example because "give" is an open-ended verb and I wouldnt expect many languages to have incorporated forms like that since almost any noun could go there. Whereas with hunt, I could see a language having a specific word for hunting deer, hutning rabbits, and hunting birds, but nothing else.
@Soap: Is the conlang in your signature polysynthetic? The word lamempambo appears to incorporate two nouns along with the subject into one free-standing word.
Yes. But the gloss isn't quite what you'd expect ... lamempa
by itself means "ice cream in a bowl", from lamem
"ice cream" (itself a compound, of course) plus -pa
"in a container". Therefore, lamempa
behaves as a single noun and it is only one noun being incorporated. To be honest, it looks like a narrower translation of that verb would be "I want ice cream in a bowl", without "my", since that would require a separate morpheme, but I think I was translating loosely on purpose. (I havent actually worked with Poswa for a while so I had to look up the root.)