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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 2:27 am 
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So Haleza Grise wrote:
Also notable are the elaborate methods of avoidance discourse when talking about a taboo subject (for example, one's mother-in-law - i'm not kidding.) Unfortunately, I can't give a lot of detail on this mainly because I skipped the relevant lectures . . . But yeah, I guess it's just interesting the extent that cultural taboos are reflected in the language, which has certain structures (varying from language to language) to allow discussion of them. Another one is the dead - it is very important not to make direct reference to someone who has recently died.


R.M.W. Dixon thinks this last bit is very significant in generating the variety of Australian languages. It puts a premium on borrowing, since the easiest way to replace a word that sounds like the dead person's name is to grab the equivalent from another language.

Amusing instance: the process applies to loanwords, too. A man named Jack (a speaker of the Western Desert language) died; the taboo affected the English loanword "cheque". During the taboo period, people said "letter" instead.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 6:17 am 
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zompist wrote:
R.M.W. Dixon thinks this last bit is very significant in generating the variety of Australian languages. It puts a premium on borrowing, since the easiest way to replace a word that sounds like the dead person's name is to grab the equivalent from another language.

Amusing instance: the process applies to loanwords, too. A man named Jack (a speaker of the Western Desert language) died; the taboo affected the English loanword "cheque". During the taboo period, people said "letter" instead.


I had a professor in linguistics (Norbert Boretzky) whose pet theory it was that, basically, because of such processes it would be almost impossible to reconstruct language families further back than the stage of early agricultural society. His opinion was that processes of wholesale taboo substitutions are typical for languages of hunter-gatherers living in small groups, and the blurring of liguistical isoglosses connected with that would simply render it impossible to establish which parts of a given language are similar to another because of common inheritance, and which similiarities are due to wholesale borrowing.
A "fun fact" I remember from his lessons: it sems that in some Australian Aborigene groups there was even some kind of "language planning" going on, i.e., the elders would get together and decide which new word to use if some word would become taboo.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 2:58 pm 
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hwhatting wrote:
I had a professor in linguistics (Norbert Boretzky) whose pet theory it was that, basically, because of such processes it would be almost impossible to reconstruct language families further back than the stage of early agricultural society. His opinion was that processes of wholesale taboo substitutions are typical for languages of hunter-gatherers living in small groups, and the blurring of liguistical isoglosses connected with that would simply render it impossible to establish which parts of a given language are similar to another because of common inheritance, and which similiarities are due to wholesale borrowing.


That's very similar to what Dixon says (in The rise and fall of languages). He thinks that the prototypical development of a family of languages is characteristic of either conquest or the exploration of new territory-- so the Australian families that can be recognized are mostly in areas where a group immigrated relatively recently. Absent these two conditions, languages exist in a stable equilibrium for milennia, furiously exchanging vocabulary to the point that you can't reconstruct much of anything.

Since agriculture is a new thing, this sort of equilibrium would really be the default state for human language.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:12 pm 
eodrakken wrote:
So Haleza Grise wrote:
I'm pretty sure that's a palatal approximant. Maybe not as palatal as in some other languages, but it's definitely too far forward to be velar.


You could be right. I've seen it grouped with the velars in English phonology charts. It's with the alveolar-palatals in the chart on zompist.com. I'm really starting not to trust Engligh phonologies. They never make a retroflex column for the /r/; who knows what other oversimplifications they're perpetuating?


Rhotics are a tough call, though. Many native speakers don't pronounce /r/ as retroflex; I for one use more of an alveolo-palatal approximant, as do most of my family and acquaintances. But generally it gets grouped with the dentals/alveolars in charts, because in most languages (and some forms of English) it's an alveolar or post-alveolar flap.

However, any chart that puts the Y sound in the velar column is really stretching. Putting it in with alveolo-palatals isn't perfect, but it's closer.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:42 pm 
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So Haleza Grise wrote:
In an effort to have more non-IE tidbits . . .

Australian languages generally have something like double-case agreement in some constructions - there's a technical term for it, but i can't find the entry in my linguistics dictionary where I first saw it.

Suffixaufnahme?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 4:26 pm 
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zompist wrote:
That's very similar to what Dixon says (in The rise and fall of languages). He thinks that the prototypical development of a family of languages is characteristic of either conquest or the exploration of new territory...

Since agriculture is a new thing, this sort of equilibrium would really be the default state for human language.


Sorry, don't mean to be obtuse, but I'm not quite seeing how those two strands of argument connect. Does Dixon argue that the rise of agriculture necessarily implies conquest or exploration of new territory, and on what basis if so?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 5:07 pm 
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ils wrote:
zompist wrote:
That's very similar to what Dixon says (in The rise and fall of languages). He thinks that the prototypical development of a family of languages is characteristic of either conquest or the exploration of new territory...

Since agriculture is a new thing, this sort of equilibrium would really be the default state for human language.


Sorry, don't mean to be obtuse, but I'm not quite seeing how those two strands of argument connect. Does Dixon argue that the rise of agriculture necessarily implies conquest or exploration of new territory, and on what basis if so?


Definitely. Agriculture allows the population of an area to increase fivefold, tenfold, or even more. Agriculture also puts great demand on fertile land - causing agricultural populations to displace outwards. The nomadic populations of the immediate vicinities may simply be swallowed up by the spread of agriculture, and with it, language, genes, and culture.

Conversely, the allure of rich agricultural nations may also entice nomads in, who then install themselves as the elite over the peasantry and slowly impose their language down the ladder.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 5:43 pm 
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ranskaldan wrote:
ils wrote:
zompist wrote:
That's very similar to what Dixon says (in The rise and fall of languages). He thinks that the prototypical development of a family of languages is characteristic of either conquest or the exploration of new territory...

Since agriculture is a new thing, this sort of equilibrium would really be the default state for human language.


Sorry, don't mean to be obtuse, but I'm not quite seeing how those two strands of argument connect. Does Dixon argue that the rise of agriculture necessarily implies conquest or exploration of new territory, and on what basis if so?


Definitely. Agriculture allows the population of an area to increase fivefold, tenfold, or even more.


Of course, but what I'm getting at is, does that expansion of population necessarily take them outside the broader range of territory occupied by their more nomadic predecessors? I'm thinking population can expand and agriculture intensify without this necessarily being the case. The highlands of Papua New Guinea come most immediately to mind.

ranskaldan wrote:
Conversely, the allure of rich agricultural nations may also entice nomads in, who then install themselves as the elite over the peasantry and slowly impose their language down the ladder.


But usually by nomadic pastoralists, not hunter-gatherers (who generally don't have the numeric muscle for that sort of takeover).

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 8:47 pm 
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ils wrote:

Of course, but what I'm getting at is, does that expansion of population necessarily take them outside the broader range of territory occupied by their more nomadic predecessors? I'm thinking population can expand and agriculture intensify without this necessarily being the case. The highlands of Papua New Guinea come most immediately to mind.


That probably has something to do with New Guinea's geography, it being an island with high mountain ranges and isolated valleys. That does not facilitate migrations, just the spread of ideas...

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But usually by nomadic pastoralists, not hunter-gatherers (who generally don't have the numeric muscle for that sort of takeover).


Yes.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:04 pm 
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Wait a sec, ar eoyu guys syaing that Agriculturalism causes more languages to evolve or that it causes sound changes to happen, period?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:13 pm 
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Jaaaaaa wrote:
Wait a sec, ar eoyu guys syaing that Agriculturalism causes more languages to evolve or that it causes sound changes to happen, period?


I'd say that it diminishes the number of languages, with the establishment of empires, and the movements of peoples and all that...

as for sound changes -> I have no idea. Perhaps more interaction = more sound changes? But on the other hand, there are less languages around to interact with.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 10:51 pm 
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k, thx. Have thye figured out exaclty what cuases sound changes yet?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 11:13 pm 
Smeric
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Jaaaaaa wrote:
k, thx. Have thye figured out exaclty what cuases sound changes yet?


Plenty of theories...

I've always thought that a foreign accent entering the mainstream could be a factor. But I've never seen that anywhere. However, that WOULD explain the retroflex consonants in the Indian IE languages.

But here are some possibilities:

Drift: the pronunciation of /O/ starts drifting off to /o/. You see, in no language is /O/ just one point, rather it's a blob of many many locations that people tend to use, thinning out at the edges. (Like an electron cloud). The blob starts moving, and slowly migrates up/down/left/right. All the blobs migrate together.

Jump: The blobs simply switch places, jumping from one place to the next. So the blobs are now teleporting across empty space and displacing the next blob.

As for the actual process, in general it starts with a few words, goes on to get more and more and more, until pretty much all of the words are covered. The process isn't "all at once", which is why sometimes exceptions - not often - arise.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 11:53 pm 
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Jaaaaaa wrote:
k, thx. Have thye figured out exaclty what cuases sound changes yet?


William Labov has been working on this for a few decades. It takes almost as long to read his books, so consider this a preliminary report.

The very first inkling of a sound change is probably random. Some folks pronounce things a slightly different way. What Labov has shown is that what happens next isn't random: people adopt the sound changes that make them sound like people they identify with.

You could say that people adopt "prestigious" sound changes, those associated with a prestigious group, so long as it's understood that different groups find different people prestigious. In the US right now, for instance, whites in the city are moving in one direction (the Northern Cities Shift), while blacks are following their own path (Black English Vernacular). Both of these changes move away from standard General American.

Studying sound changes after they've occured, we generally can't pin down the original culprits. But studying ongoing sound changes, Labov has found that there's a wide spectrum of leaders and followers. And as Ranskaldan noted, some words are affected before others. By the time the sound change is done, however, it's usually affected every word with the given environment.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2002 12:01 am 
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ils wrote:
zompist wrote:
That's very similar to what Dixon says (in The rise and fall of languages). He thinks that the prototypical development of a family of languages is characteristic of either conquest or the exploration of new territory...


Sorry, don't mean to be obtuse, but I'm not quite seeing how those two strands of argument connect. Does Dixon argue that the rise of agriculture necessarily implies conquest or exploration of new territory, and on what basis if so?


Re-reading Dixon, I find that I've oversimplified his remarks. Agriculture is just one of the things that can end a state of linguistic equilibrium. Other possibilities: natural disasters; plagues; settlement of an uninhabited area; warfare.

To answer another question, languages do continue to change during an equilibrium period; they simply don't tend to develop into language families. Rather, each language continues changing, and words and grammatical features diffuse between them. You could say that there's simply no room for a language family to develop. A tribe isn't going to split into a hundred grouplets... unless something happens that allows it to greatly expand in population, such as one of the things listed above.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2003 3:59 am 
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Hmm... should I do this or research PACs for Government? Not a hard decision, really... :roll:

I suppose Basque is the non-IE lang I know the most about (not much, really). I think the verbal system is particularly cool; a very few verbs use synthetic forms, but most require an auxiliary that encodes tense, person (of subject, object, and a dative argument), mood, and even gender occasionally:

jaten naiz - I'm eating
jaten nintekeen - I could eat (i.e. 'was able to eat')
eman geniezazkiake - We might have given them to you (male listener, as opposed to geniezazkinake, which indicates a
female listener)

Obviously, the auxiliary carries tons of meaning (which also allows for pretty free word order). In fact, I calculated that it has 2640 distinct forms! The only thing the main verb really does (beside providing the root meaning, of course) is indicate aspect:
janaria saltzen dugu - We sell food (imperfective)
janaria saldu dugu - We've sold food (perfective)

Nouns can take various case or postposition suffixes; these are agglutinative, although there's some fusion sneaking in:

txakur (dog) + -ak- (plural) + -z (instrumental) -> txakurrez

Interestingly, certain postpositions are treated differently with animate nouns (as usual, animate doesn't always mean what we think; 'idea' is animate, for example):

eskolarantz - towards the school
gizonarenganantz - towards the man

I remember someone mentioning how the English possessive -'s can attach to a noun phrase ('I found [the man who stole my car]'s wallet'; ambiguous, but oh well); Basque does this type of thing frequently:

liburua irakurri dut - I read the book
But: [liburu interesgarri]a - (the) interesting book
(-a is a determiner)

I guess that's it. (Hope I haven't made too many mistakes).

Damn, I really need to do that homework... :evil:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:09 pm 
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The Khoisan languages have productive compound verbs. That's a tidbit.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2003 2:12 pm 
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pharazon wrote:
I remember someone mentioning how the English possessive -'s can attach to a noun phrase ('I found [the man who stole my car]'s wallet'; ambiguous, but oh well); Basque does this type of thing frequently:

liburua irakurri dut - I read the book
But: [liburu interesgarri]a - (the) interesting book
(-a is a determiner)


Oooooo. I like that a lot. I should steal that for Loomish somehow.

--John

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2003 2:28 pm 
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I'm going to use a feature like that in Xap. From now on, Xap will have two genitive markers ... -la for a word, and -axa for a whole clause. I'll do similar things for the other noun cases. I also read the first page of this thread and I want to adopt that redundancy feature found in Chinese which lengthens a word in order to distinguish it from homophones. I've been already doing that actually, without realizing it ... but now that I know what I'm doing, I can make it work better.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:13 pm 
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eodrakken wrote:
So Haleza Grise wrote:
I'm pretty sure that's a palatal approximant. Maybe not as palatal as in some other languages, but it's definitely too far forward to be velar.


You could be right. I've seen it grouped with the velars in English phonology charts. It's with the alveolar-palatals in the chart on zompist.com. I'm really starting not to trust Engligh phonologies. They never make a retroflex column for the /r/; who knows what other oversimplifications they're perpetuating?

So Haleza Grise wrote:
Is this by any chance what the "huh" was in reference to? ;)


That did occur to me! "Whoa, did I make a blindingly obvious error?" I guess we'll have to ask Jaaaaaa about that.


I figured I'd reply a year and a few months late and say that my /r\/ seems to be rather velar. I also had a speech impediment as a child that made "Ronald Reagan's rabbit" come out like "Wonald Weagan's wabbit".

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:45 am 
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Hallo!

To get back onto the topic:

Some interesting "non-IE" features can be found in Caucasian languages. The Caucasus is a linguistic wonderland, with more than 50 languages in an area about the size of Germany or France. And most of these languages are interesting.

Georgian has uvular and ejective stops - and it has an active-stative case marking pattern in the aorist and perfect (with different cases used for the agent in the aorist and the perfect), but a nominative-accusative case marking in the present. The verb system is fiendishly complex, with various tense/aspect/mood forms and person/number markers for subject, direct object and indirect object. Old Georgian also has suffixaufnahme (a genitive noun agrees in case and number with the head noun just like an adjective), though this is no longer productive in Modern Georgian.

The Northeast Caucasian languages have even more rock'n'roll consonants - pharyngeals, lateral fricatives, etc. - in addition to the uvulars and ejectives of Georgian. Most of them also have noun class systems almost like Bantu (though with fewer classes, but they do have class agreement markers on verbs and adjectives). Many Northeast Caucasian languages have lots of cases - up to 40 and more in some languages. These cases are built from a kind of "construction kit" - one morpheme expressing spatial relationship such as 'on', 'in', 'below', etc., and one expressing direction of motion: 'to', 'from', 'through', 'at' (no motion), etc. And finally, these languages are ergative.

Then there are the Northwest Caucasian languages. They have some of the biggest consonant inventories ever. They have just about every consonant found in Northeast Caucasian languages, and more. Just about everything can be plain, labialized or palatalized. Whew! The price they pay for that are poor vowel inventories - according to some analyses, some languages have only two. They also have only few noun cases or none at all, but highly complex verb morphologies, and they too are ergative.

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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 2:41 pm 
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WeepingElf wrote:
Hallo!

To get back onto the topic:

Some interesting "non-IE" features can be found in Caucasian languages. (snip)
Georgian has uvular and ejective stops - and it has an active-stative case marking pattern in the aorist and perfect (with different cases used for the agent in the aorist and the perfect), but a nominative-accusative case marking in the present.


That (a split ergative system) you can also find in (IE) Iranian languages, with the past being ergative and the present being nom-acc. The reason for this is that the past goes back to a constuction based on "to be" and a past passive participle - as if the English past tense would be *"he is killed by an assassin" while the present would be as it is actually - "the assassin kills him".
The additional distinction in case use between aorist and perfect is, admittedly, something I don't have seen in IE languages.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 4:06 am 
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EDIT: Note to anyone who may be reading this years later: there's some inaccuracies (or, rather, extreme simplifications) in the discussion below, mostly regarding the derivational morphology of nouns and verbs and such. The other stuff, about conjunct verbs etc., is still correct

Tidbits from Ojibwe! Yay! Many of these features apply to Algonquian languages more generally, as well.

The Polysynthetic Conlang thread already has a great deal of information on how polysynthetic languages work; Ojibwe certainly isn't as polysynthetic as they come, but it's not too shabby either (my favorite example is the word aniibiishaabookewininiiwiwag, "they are Chinese." It's made up of seven morphemes, aniiby-ish-aaboo-ike-inini-iwi-wag, elm-PEJORATIVE-liquid-make-man-be-PLURAL. More literally, it could be translated "they are leaf-liquid [i.e., tea] makers." And "leaf" in "leaf-liquid" itself is more literally something like "pathetic elm tree").

Verbs are by far the most interesting words. They can be preceded by prefixes called "preverbs," which provide information about the manner, time, location, or properties associated with the action (e.g., bimaadizi, "he lives," combined with the preverb oshki-, "young," yields oshki-bimaadizi, "he is young," and the root -biisaa-, "to rain," combined with the preverb ishkwaa-, "after," yields ishkwaabiisaa, "it stops raining"). Verb roots can sometimes be simple (-odamino-, "to play;" -abi-, "to sit, to be at home"), but the great majority are either derived from nouns or other verbs by means of derivational suffixes or are compounds of multiple morphemes, usually a basic root with an "initial" which adds meaning. For example, there is a suffix -ikaa, which forms from nouns verbs with the meaning "there is a lot of [noun], there are many [nouns]." When combined with the noun manidoons, "bug" (itself derived from the noun manidoo, "spirit," and meaning literally "little spirit"), it forms the verb manidoonsikaa, "there are a lot of bugs." Combined with the noun nibi, "water," it forms the verb nibiikaa, "it's wet out" (i.e., "there is a lot of water"). Or, for some examples of verbs built from descriptive initials prefixed to more general verb roots, consider the root -amanji'o-, "to feel." Among the verbs derived from this verb root are inamanji'o, "he feels thus, he feels a certain way" (initial in-, "a certain way"), dakamanji'o, "he feels cold" (initial daki-, "cold"), minwamanji'o, "he feels good" (initial minw-, "good"), and ayekwamanji'o, "he feels tired" (initial ayekw-, "tired"). Or take the verb root -batoo-, "to run." Among the verbs derived from this root are biijibatoo, "he runs here," gizhiikaabatoo, "he runs fast," maajiibatoo, "he starts off running," and bimibatoo, "he runs along, he runs by" (the closest equivalent to English "run;" examples from Nichols and Nyholm, A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe, 1995).

Many verbs also specify, with suffixes, the animacy of their subject or object, depending on the verb class (Ojibwe nouns have an animate/inanimate gender system). For example, take the root -maanaad-, "ugly." The animate suffix -izi yields maanaadizi, "he is ugly," while the inanimate suffix -ad yields maanaadad, "it is ugly."

Another neat thing about verbs: a number of them contain morphemes which specify the quality of their subject nouns (e.g., if the noun is stringlike, or clothlike, or mineral, or liquid, etc.). For example, agaasaabikad, "it (something mineral) is small," agaasaabiigad, "it (something string-like) is small," agaasaakwad, "it (something stick- or wood-like) is small," and agaasiigad, "it (something sheet-like) is small." It is not optional to specify these qualities; if the object being described as small is a stick, the form agaasaakwad must be used, not some general verb meaning "be small" (although among younger speakers this is often no longer true). Body parts and instruments are often incorporated into the verb. For example, bookonike, "he has a broken arm" (c.f. -nik-, "arm"), bookogaade, "he has a broken leg" (c.f. -kaad-, "leg"), and bookojaane, "he has a broken nose" (c.f. -jaanzh-, "nose").


There are also three so-called "orders" of verbs: imperative, conjunct (used in subordinate clauses and in certain other complex situations), and independent (all other verbs). Conjunct verbs are very interesting. They are most often used to mark verbs as subordinate (e.g., gaawiin gii-bi-izhaasiin gaa-aakozid, "he didn't come because he was sick, where the independent form of the second verb would be gii-aakozi, "he is sick;" example from here). However, I just finished reading a really interesting article on conjunct verbs: Rogers, Jean H. (1978). Differential Focusing in Ojibwa Conjunct Verbs: On Circumstances, Participants, and Events. International Journal of American Linguistics, 44: 167-179. The article deals with a distinction among conjunct verbs between "plain conjunct" and "changed conjunct" (forms in which the first vowel in the verb complex undergoes a predictable ablaut). Rogers argues that plain conjunct forms are used in basic, neutral sentences, while changed conjunct forms are used to place special focus on some aspect of the verb, either the circumstances surrounding the action, the participants involved in the action, or the event of the action itself. It's extremely fascinating, and I'm going to provide some examples from Rogers (though altered somewhat to fit the dialect I have so far been describing, Southwestern Ojibwe as spoken in Minnesota and Wisconsin):

An example of the neutral conjunct is in the sentence Mii sa azhigwa de-apiitizid (it.is thus now enough-be.of.a.certain.age-3SG.SIMP.CONJCT), "It's that he's old enough now." A changed conjunct form, however (also involving the initial apiiti-/apiichi-, "extent"), focuses on the circumstances surrounding the action; in this case, the degree or extent involved; for example, gaawiin ingii-gashkitoonziin ji-onishkaayaan gaa-apiichi-zegiziyaan (not 1-PAST-be.able-NEG to-get.up-1SG.SIMP.CONJCT PAST.CHANGED.CONJCT-extent-be.scared-1SG.CONJCT), "I wasn't able to get up, the extent to which I was scared" (i.e., "I couldn't get up I was so scared"). Or, to take a different example, using the preverb onji- (changed conjunct wenji-), "location," an example sentence using the independent order would be Mille Lacs indoonjibaa (Mille Lacs 1-come.from), "I'm from Mille Lacs." An example using the changed conjunct, however, is Mii iwidi wenjibaayaan (it.is over.there come.from.CHANGED.CONJCT-1SG.CONJCT), "It is there that I come from; that's where I come from," with the focus on the location, rather than a just being a neutral statement.

Verbs can also place focus on their participants through the changed conjunct form. Nominal verbs, called "participles," are quite common in Ojibwe, and are simple third person changed conjunct verbs used as nouns, with the meaning "someone/something who is [verb], does [verb]" (a number of common nouns are actually verbs in participle form, for example bemisemagak, "airplane," literally "something that flies along," the changed conjunct form of bimisemagad, "it flies along, it flies past"). These can be interpreted as changed conjunct verbs placing focus on the subject participant of the action.

A final area on which the changed conjunct can focus is on the occurrence of the action itself. For example, there is the simple conjunt form in the clause giishpin oodetooyaan (if go.to.town-1SG.SIMP.CONJCT), "if I go to town." The changed conjunct form appears in the verb wedetooyaanin (go.to.town.CHANGED.CONJCT-1SG.CONJCT-ITER), "whenever I go to town." Rogers points out that in this case "reference is to particular repeated events" (175). In other words, the focus is on the occurrence itself, and not just a neutral statement.

Okay, that's all the time I have for now. I should talk about the direct/inverse system, but I think the Wikipedia article covers it fairly well. And there's also more info on Ojibwe grammar in its Wikipedia article.


Last edited by Whimemsz on Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:00 pm 
Smeric
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I'd say that's more than a tidbit. :P

Anyway, I've got some info on Nepālī. I don't think I can type in Devanagārī, so bear with me.

First of all, verbs have positive and negative forms, like Japanese:

hũ~hoina (I am~I am not)
chas~chainas (you (intimate) are~you are not)
bolchu~boldina (I speak~I don't speak)

Secondly, there is a special inflection upon adjectives, a "qualified" form: quite tall, nice enough, rather short. It can be formed either by a qualifying adverb or by changing the adjective ending:

dublo~dublai (tall~quite tall)
hoco~hocai (short~rather short
rāmro~rāmrai (nice~nice enough)

ali dublo: quite tall
ali hoco: rather short
ali rāmro: nice enough

I like this idea. In Dhāna, I think that rather than special comparative and superlative degree inflections of adjectives, I'll have qualified, emphasized, and "too much" forms: quite tall (just less than tall), very tall (taller than tall), too tall (tall enough to be a problem).

I haven't gotten that far in Teach Yourself Nepali, so I can't really say much more.

_________________
agus tha mo chluasan eòlach air a’ mhac-talla fhathast / às dèidh dhomh dùsgadh
(mona nicleòid wagner, “fo shneachd”)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:50 am 
Sumerul
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Posts: 4772
Location: Bonn, Germany
Arunas wrote:

Anyway, I've got some info on Nepālī. I don't think I can type in Devanagārī, so bear with me.


Nice tidbits, but they're not exactly "from beyond IE":

http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=nep

Best regards,

Hans-Werner


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