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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 3 of 7

Author:  Chagen [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Hm....I'm having some trouble fully grasping the section for polysynthesis.

This is a sentence from one of my conlangs, Ngith. What kind of incorporation would this be?

"Uden-ngeit t'ejetanevk'i".
[food-cook-PTCPLE give-IMPER-3.SG.IA-BENF-LOC]
("Give me something to cook this food in".)
(Literally, "Give me something for the purpose of food-cooking".)

Author:  Whimemsz [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Chagen [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Hm....Ngith has all of the first two, somewhat.

Type one:
Thļongea.
[bird-cook-1.SG]
"I cook birds."

Type two:
Warislaan.
[bad-see-1.SG-3.SG.IA]
"I see it, but badly/I can't see it very well."

Author:  Radius Solis [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Your second example would still be type 1: "bad" isn't a body part and its incorporation doesn't affect what the verb's subject or object can be. Instead it is narrowing the scope of the verb to denote a particular action (seeing badly).

Author:  Chagen [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Oh. Well, type 2 is still possible in Ngith (I don't have enough words for it yet but saying something like [leg-break-1.SG-PASSIVE.ACT] for "My leg got broken" is perfectly acceptable in Ngith).

Author:  Rik [ Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Someone please remind me to vote for this thread in next December's awards thingy. Superb work from everyone who's contributed, but most especially Whimemsz.

Now I'm gonna have to come up with a new descriptive word for my Akat, because it's clearly not 'polysynthetic' ...

Author:  Gojera [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  dhok [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

You know, I feel like if Whim were willing to let it be used for that purpose, Zomp should copy this and include it as an appendix in the LCK 2.

Author:  Whimemsz [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Solarius [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Paperfolding is okay, but a little weird.

Doctorreccomending is just wrong.

Author:  Whimemsz [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Whimemsz [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

9 - Where To Go From Here

So, we've covered the basics of polysynthesis: what it is, some of the many types of meaning and relations that can be marked on the verb in such languages, some ways in which polysynthetic traits can develop. But where to go from here in developing your own polysynthetic language or in learning more about them? From personal experience I can tell you that the most effective thing is to learn a polysynthetic language. This takes a tremendous level of dedication and patience, so it's certainly not for everyone, but it can provide you with so much more insight into some of the myriad possibilities open to you than reading a summary ever could. On the other hand, just reading grammars or grammatical sketches of polysynthetic languages will undoubtedly be very helpful.

There's been a good deal written about polysynthesis, and I've skipped over a lot of it here (and of course, I haven't read all of it!). In particular, I've really glossed over much of the theoretical stuff involved, partly because I don't understand all of it myself, and partly because I was trying to keep this introduction as basic as I could, with the hope that it would be as accessible as realistically possible. I'd love to hear from some of our more theory-knowledgeable and oriented members on the topic. In the meantime, the most significant theoretical work is Mark Baker's book The Polysynthesis Parameter, written in a Principles and Parameters framework, although I haven't read it, and many other linguists have disagreed with Baker's conclusions. There have also been some good typologically-oriented but less theoretical approaches to aspects of polysynthesis. I'd especially recommend two works by Marianne Mithun: her 1984 article on noun incorporation and the book Languages of Native North America (see the references section below).


10 - Sources

*Tariana examples:
Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2006). Evidentiality. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

*Warlpiri example:
Austin, Peter and Joan Bresnan (1996). "Non-Configurationality in Australian Aboriginal Languages." Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 14(2): 215-268.

*Wambaya example:
Bender, Emily M. (2008). "". Proceedings of the HPSG08 Conference, NICT, Keihanna, Japan.

*Spokane examples:
Carlson, Barry F. (1990). "Compounding and Lexical Affixation in Spokane". Anthropological Linguistics 32(1/2): 69-82

*Abkhaz example:
Cysouw, Michael (1998). "". In: Heleen Strating & Jorn Veenstra (eds.). Proceedings CLS Opening Academic Year '98/'99. Tilburg: Center for Language Studies, 27-50.

*Most Nuuchahnulth examples:
Davidson, Matthew (2002). . Ph.D. dissertation, SUNY Buffalo.

*Baniwa of Içana, Dekwana, Cuiba, and Yanomami examples:
Dixon, R. M. W. and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, eds. (1999). The Amazonian Languages. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.

*West Greenlandic and Bininj Gun-wok examples:
Evans, Nicholas and Hans-Jürgen Sasse, eds. (2002). Problems of Polysynthesis. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

*Some Yup'ik examples and the Seneca examples:
Goddard, Ives, ed. (1996). Languages. Vol. 17 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

*Muskogean reconstructions and the Caddo example:
Hardy, Heather K. and Janine Scancarelli, eds. (2005). Native Languages of the Southeastern United States. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

*Koasati examples:
Kimball, Geoffrey D. (1991). Koasati Grammar. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press

*Noun incorporation discussion and examples:
Mithun, Marianne (1984). "The Evolution of Noun Incorporation." Language 60(4): 847-894

*Some Yup'ik examples, one Nuuchahnulth example, and the Acoma Keresan, Lake Miwok, and Numic examples:
Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

*Some Ojibwe examples (the remaining Ojibwe examples are from my personal background knowledge):
Valentine, J. Randolph (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Author:  Whimemsz [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

woooooooooooooooooooo





FINAfuckingly.

god



never doing this again you guys

Author:  Solarius [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

This. Is. Awesome.

You have inspired me to make one of my languages polysynthetic.

Author:  Gojera [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  WeepingElf [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

ROCK'N'ROLL! *standing ovation*

Author:  Gojera [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

O ja. I don't know how many thousands of words all of that is, but it's a lot! That was a ton of work to put this together for us, and it's a huge contribution to us, and to the forum. Thanks!

Author:  Chagen [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

According to your part on NI, a lot of my conlangs could be on the way to productive NI if I did diachronics.

Many of my conlangs allow stacking noun/adjectives/other verbs onto a verb to create a new one. A few examples:

Cryset: Abvuchen ("to graze/scrape"[friction-hit])

Pazmat: Sceptconya ("to have an epiphany/finally gain true understanding of something", from "Sceptya (to realize)" and "Conya (to think)")

Would this be analyzed as NI or something else entirely? This compounding is productive in both ofthe above conlangs.

Author:  Whimemsz [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

Read up more on noun incorporation.

Author:  Drydic [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  cromulant [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

1. I haven't said it yet, but this thread is brilliant.
2. I don't think anyone should be posting about their conlangs here, unless they are accomplished polylangers who really know their shit like Vohp Himself.

Author:  Radius Solis [ Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  Gojera [ Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices


Author:  dhok [ Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

What other polylangs have case? You mentioned several of California and the Plateau region, and I know the Eskaleut languages have case (certainly the Yupik and Inuit branches, and whatever the hell Aleut has that looks like case). Anywhere else?

Author:  Bristel [ Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Polysynthesis for Novices

I have two examples in Japanese, is the latter noun incorporation? It wouldn't be polysynthetic, I'm just trying to learn more about NI.

目が覚める me ga sameru (to open the eyes, to awaken)
目覚める mezameru (to eye-open, to awaken) [this has dakuten sound changes]

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