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zompist bboard :: View topic - Polysynthesis for Novices
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Polysynthesis for Novices
http://www.incatena.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=40054
Page 7 of 7

Author:  Trebor [ Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Trebor [ Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Also, how would Lakota handle a sentence like this?

c. Alex, a mutual friend, brought the package to me for you. He wanted to save you the trouble.

Author:  Astraios [ Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

The main verbs in the glosses aren't especially exciting:

itȟáŋčhaŋ=kiŋ | tȟa-wo-wa-ší=kiŋ oyás'iŋ | wa-kȟatÁ-yA-pi waŋží~RED=la | opȟé<wičha-kiča>tȟuŋ='
chief=DEF | 3.POSS-NMLZ-ABST-command=DEF all | ABST-hot-CAU-NMLZ one~DIST=DIM | buy<3P.ANI-DAT>=DECL

wa-uŋspé-wičha-khiyA=kiŋ | tȟa-wa-yawá=kiŋ hená | itȟáŋčhaŋ=kiŋ etáŋ | wa-wičha-kiči-lá='
ABST-learn-3P.ANI-CAU=DEF | 3.POSS-ABST-read=DEF DIST.PL | chief=DEF from | ABST-3P.ANI-BEN-request=DECL

ABST = 'abstract' indefinite patient, devalentizer; lá X requests Y; walá X makes a request.


And c. uses an adverb too, you can't mark both dative 'to me' and benefactive 'on your behalf' both at once:

Alex okȟólauŋye kiŋ | iyéš čha | nitȟáŋtaŋhaŋ | wópȟaȟte kiŋ | makáhi. | Aníkpataŋ kta čha | íničiksape.
"Our friend Alex | he was the one who | on your behalf | the package | he brought it to me. | In order that you spare yourself | he took the trouble on your behalf."

o-kȟolá-uŋ-yA=kiŋ | iyé-š=čha | ni-tȟáŋtaŋhaŋ | wo-pȟaȟtÁ=kiŋ | ma-ki-a-hí=' | a-ni-k-pataŋ=ktA=čha | í<ni-kiči>ksapA='
NMLZ-friend-1DU-CAU=DEF | 3.COP-ADVS=SUB | 2.POSS-behalf | NMLZ-bundle=DEF | 1SG-DAT-bring-come.PRF=DECL | APP-2-REF-hold.back=IRR=SUB | take.trouble<2-BEN>=DECL

There's only a very fine line between dative and benefactive, cf.:

kahí (dative)
ki-a-hí
DAT-bringing-come.PRF
X has come bringing Y to Z

kíčahi (dative)
ki-[kahí]
DAT-[bring.PRF]
X has come bringing Z's Y to Z (without Z's knowledge/permission)

kíčičahi (benefactive)
kiči-[kahí]
BEN-[bring.PRF]
X has come bringing Z's Y to Z (as a favour to Z)

, but there's no such verb as X has come bringing Y to Z on A's behalf. The only verb I can think of that allows four separate arguments in one go is kíčič'u X gives A's Y to Z:

wičhámiyečič'u
wičha-mi-ya-kiči-k'ú='
3P.ANI-1SG.DAT-2.ACT-BEN-give=DECL
"you gave my Y to them"

, where the DAT argument works sort of like a malefactive (you gave Y to them 'to my detriment'), but it's quite a unique example.

Author:  Radagast revived [ Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

I forgot this thread where I had some unaddressed questions.

Regarding Dyirbal and australian dependentmarking polysynthesis this view is advanced by Nicholas Evans and Hans-Jürgen Sasse in a 2002 edited volume called "Problems of Polysynthesis". Thety are argueing for a definition of polysynthesis that is closer to the classical definition where it describes languages that have high morpheme to word ratios and "sentence words". This would mean that languages with heavy case stacking could be considered dependent marking and polysynthetic at the same time. It would also mean that languages like Esimo-Aleut and Athabascan could be considered polysynthetic. I think the problem with this definition is that it becomes very broad almost so as to become meaningless, but on the other hand it also does show that word length itself is not simply related to headmarking syntax. It also shows that we probably ought not to talk about polysynthesis but about different kinds of polysynthesis that seem much more likely to be predictive of other grammatical features.

Author:  gach [ Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Radagast revived [ Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

The first question about the possible text corpora I dont know how to answer well. Since I mostly work with languages that are underdocumented I dont know which languages in the world really have good corpora. What I would do would be to use reference grammars of individual languages which tend to have a small corpus of texts presented in a glossed and a systematically represented and analyzed way. These are very small corpora however, and may not yield sufficient material. On the other hand if you are going for comparative breadth rather than depth then maybe that is OK.

Now, would it yield distinct populations? That is an interesting question that can ultimately only be answered empirically. The trouble would be making operational definitions that accurately represent the morpheme and meaning structure of each language. For example it is possible to have sentence words without having many morphemes. And often it is a question of analysis whether morphemes are clitics, relatively free function words or bound morphemes (the by now classic example of this problem is French). I for example consider Otomi to be polysynthetic but most experts don't (they consider time and subject to be expressed with proclitics which I consider prefixes). In so far as the example were to yield distinct populations I think that would be much more likely to be a result of historical process language spread and diffusion than to something inherent in linguistic typology - so the question is what we would learn from that fact.

Author:  gach [ Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Trebor [ Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Radagast revived [ Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Not really, the only one I know who has worked on that is Mark Baker who uses it as one of his traits that they dont have true quantifiers. I dont think anyone else has paid any attention to quantifiers (partly because if ones definition of polysynthesis is purely morphological as opposed to syntactic then there is no reason to think there would be any particular relation between quantification and polysynthesis)

Author:  Trebor [ Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Radagast revived [ Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

A "true quantifier" in the sense used by Baker is a quantifier that acts as the head of a noun phrase and "governs" the noun (e.g. forcing it to agree with the quantifier). Using generative jargon Baker defines it as quantifiers that C command a pronoun that it coindexes, shows weak crossover effects and triggers singular agreement on the verb. In English these are quantifiers like each and every and no, but not all, two, many.


Here are two papers about the phenomenon, the one about Navajo by Yazzie and Speas is particularly good (they argue against Baker):



Author:  Trebor [ Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Radagast revived [ Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Hmm, if you pm me your email I can send you the springer article by baker. The other article is really better but it is probably not possible to get that as something your screen reader can handle, maybe through your local library you can get it if you have some way to read physical books. If at some point I get time maybe I could read it and send it to you as an mp3. But that would be a little while before Icould do that.

Author:  Trebor [ Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Radagast Revived--I sent you a PM. :)

Author:  vec [ Fri May 18, 2018 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

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?

Author:  Soap [ Fri May 18, 2018 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Is the morpheme order on the English gloss intentional? I'm not aware of any polysynthetic lang that has verbobj incorporation but allows a person marker to split the two morphemes up again.

In my conlangs, "serve milk " would behave like any other verb, being transitive when the object is specified and intransitive otherwise. The incorporated object is indefinite, so it doesn't affect transitivity. E.g. like the English verb "hunt" , though one always hunts for something, when used alone is intransitive.

Author:  malloc [ Fri May 18, 2018 1:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

@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.

Author:  Soap [ Fri May 18, 2018 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Cedh [ Sat May 19, 2018 4:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  vec [ Wed May 23, 2018 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Soap [ Sun May 27, 2018 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

viewtopic.php?p=955528#p955528

in the first page of this thread is an answer that i think answers the question there.

a language that has classifier based incorporation must also have arbitrary incorporation. that is, if you can say "hunt for animals", you can also make arbitrary incorporation like the above. Therefore, classifier-based incorporation is a subset of arbitrary based incorporation, not the other way around. there are exceptions butt i suspect they are not polysyntheticlanguages, but rather languages that have classifiers in general such as Swahili. where verbs are classified according to concord with the subject if the phrase.

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