Tidbits from beyond IE

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Re: Tidbits from beyond IE

Post by Guest »

hwhatting wrote:
Glenn Kempf wrote:Kazakh (a Turkic language) normally expresses possession in a manner similar to that in Hungarian (a Uralic (Finno-Ugric) one), by using a possessive noun/pronoun plus an indication of existence or nonexistence.
For example:

(Mening) mysyghym bar = I have a cat.
(Mening) mysyghym zhoq = I don't have a cat.

Hi Glenn,

just curious: I met people (mostly Kazakhs with only little command of their native language and Russians trying to speak Kazakh) using the construction

Mende mysyq bar / zhoq = I have / don't have a cat

This seems to be a calque of Russian "u menya est' koshka / net koshki".

Did you also encounter this construction?

Sau bol,

Hans-Werner


Assalaumaghaleikum! (For those of you listening in, this is a greeting between Kazakh men--and yes, it is indeed "Kazakhified" Arabic.)

I think I have indeed encountered the construction above, and yes, it does parallel the Russian, although I'm not sure that it's derived from it. In my fuzzy recollection of my Kazakh lessons, I believe that I encoutered both construction, but that the one I gave above was considered more "correct" (and literary), while the more Russian construction was considered more colloquial. (I think some of the other modal constructions have similar pairs--don't have my textbook with me, though.)

If true, it does provide an example of how languages can influence each other grammatically--even in the case of "native speakers."

Sau bol,
Glenn

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Post by Glenn »

'Scuse me for not logging in again--those last couple "Guest" messages are indeed me. :wink:

(I usually browse the board and only log in if I want to add something--and sometimes I forget. Ooops!)

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Re: Tidbits from beyond IE

Post by hwhatting »

I think I have indeed encountered the construction above, and yes, it does parallel the Russian, although I'm not sure that it's derived from it. In my fuzzy recollection of my Kazakh lessons, I believe that I encoutered both construction, but that the one I gave above was considered more "correct" (and literary), while the more Russian construction was considered more colloquial.

Salem Glenn,
(Salem = the Kazakh equivalent for "Hi")

the Kazakh construction you gave is definitely the typical construction of most Turkic languages, and that's exactly why I suspect that the construction with the locative I gave is a calque from Russian.
Anybody out there who knows whether constructions of the type
"X" + Locative Y exist / exist-not = X has Y
can be found in Turkic languages not influenced by Russian (Old Turkic, Turkish, Uighur in China, etc.)?
BTW, the traditional theory is that Russian got this construction from the Uralic languages, which may be the case. But even classical IE languages like Latin have constructions like
mihi felis est - (to me is a cat = I have a cat)
and the communis opinio seems to be that Proto-IE used constructions like this, before most of the daughter languages developped words meaning "have".
Sau bol,
Hans-Werner

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Post by Fee »

pne wrote:
In this context, it might be interesting to note that a common German idiom for "there is/there are" is "es gibt" -- literally, "it gives". For example, "In Hamburg gibt es viele B?ume" = "In Hamburg gives it many trees" ("There are many trees in Hamburg").


Thanks, pne. We just learned this in German today, and the idiomaticness (ouch, that's awful) of it left me a little confused.

hwhatting wrote:
(Salem = the Kazakh equivalent for "Hi")


So that means that it's probably related to the Hebrew "Shalom", the Arabic "Salayim", and the Somali "Salamen"?

And by the way, every time I see the word Kazakh, I can't help but think of the dog from Galápagos. :)

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Post by Glenn »

Fee wrote:hwhatting wrote:
(Salem = the Kazakh equivalent for "Hi")


So that means that it's probably related to the Hebrew "Shalom", the Arabic "Salayim", and the Somali "Salamen"?


Right you are--it's borrowed from the Arabic, thanks at least in part to the adoption of Islam.

Fee wrote:And by the way, every time I see the word Kazakh, I can't help but think of the dog from Gal?pagos. :)


Say what?

p@,
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Post by Glenn »

All right, I'm back home and took a look at my Kazakh textbook--it only has the "correct" (non-Russified) structure for possession ("Mening mysyghym bar = I have a cat).

The other form I was thinking of was that for expressing need--with either nouns or verbs. With nouns, the needer is in the dative, and the thing needed in the nominative, followed by the word kerek, indicating need, or kerek yemes, indicating lack of need:

Maghan nan kerek (yemes).
I-DAT bread-NOM need (not)
"I need (don't need) bread." (literally, "To me bread is (not) needed."

...which is the same structure as in Russian (Mne kleb nyzhen/ne nyzhen).

With verbs, on the other hand, the possessive form of the verbal noun (which also serves as the infinitive) is used with kerek, and the verb itself is negated:

Mening baruym (barmauym) kerek.
I-GEN [to go]-1p/POSS ([to go]-NEG-1p/POSS) need
"I need (don't need) to go"; literally, "My going (not going) is needed."

However, I have definitely also encountered the dative structure used with the verb as well:

Maghan bary kerek (yemes).
I-DAT [to go] need (not)
"I need (don't need) to go" = "To me going is (not) needed."

...which matches the Russian (Mne nado idti).

[Somewhere I was also taught about attaching personal endings to kerek: keregim "my need," kereging "your needed"--but I don't recall where they were used.]

The reason I make a big deal of this is that it's a clear case of one language lifting a piece of grammar from another, which is something I didn't think much about previously or know how to handle. I knew that Kazakh had borrowed many words from Russian and created Kazakh calques of Russian words (temir zohly, or "iron road" for railway, from the Russian zheleznaya doroga, which means the same thing), but I hadn't realized that there were grammatical borrowings as well (although I did notice the similarities).

This is something I'll have to keep in mind as I have my conlangs influence each other (although it might be difficult, seeing as how thus far my two most important language families are different in almost every way: VSO vs. SOV, prepositions vs. postpositions, head-first vs. head-final, gender vs. no gender, etc.). Any idea how two languages like that might mix?

p@,
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Post by Drydic »

Some ideas:
VSO~SOV: Welsh-Old English.

pre-~post-: Hungarian-German (postpositions, cases, doesn't really matter.)

head.first-head.final: no ideas yet

gender-no.gender: Hungarian-German
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Post by Glenn »

Drydic_guy wrote:Some ideas:
VSO~SOV: Welsh-Old English.

pre-~post-: Hungarian-German (postpositions, cases, doesn't really matter.)

head.first-head.final: no ideas yet

gender-no.gender: Hungarian-German


I guess my question is this: how do such different languages influence each other? Or, to take a topic from the old board, how to speakers of one mess the other up? For example, to take the languages above, are there typical ways in which Hungarian-speakers speaking German twist the latter, or vice versa?

p@,
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Post by Ran »

How about Chinese influencing English? Different enough? ;)

Singaporean English is a dialect of English that formed under influence from Southern Chinese dialects. It started out probably as a pidgin of English, Hokkien, Cantonese, Malay and Tamil, but slowly became a full-fledged dialect with plenty of interesting quirks:

(I'll also put the Chinese construction there for reference.)

ENG "Do you have any?"
S. ENG "Have or not?"
CHI have no-have

ENG "Have you finished yet?"
S. ENG "Do finish already?"
CHI do-finish-perf question

ENG "Don't go, ok?"
S. ENG "Don't go, can?"
CHI no-go, can-question

ENG "Tell me!"
S. ENG "Tell me lah!"
CHI tell-me-emotmark

and so on and so forth.

As for those other examples:

VSO ~ SOV
end with a language with a moveable verb?

pre ~ post
why not a language using both? e.g. Chinese "from-table-under" = from under the table

head.first ~ head.final
end up with English maybe, with adjective before the noun but adjectival clauses after the noun. or the other way around...?

gender ~ no.gender
probably ending up with no gender :D
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Post by Glenn »

ranskaldan wrote:How about Chinese influencing English? Different enough? ;)


Indeed.

Thanks for the examples--they did help. I hadn't been thinking so much in terms of two languages merging (although there might be a case or two of that as well), but it did provide food for thought about how they might influence each other and each other's speakers.

I thought of a clear example from my own immediate experience: last year I worked with young Kazakh children; while I was helping them learn their first words of English, we talked mostly in Russian, since that was the main language we have in common. Russian has three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter; Kazakh, as an Altaic language, has none--there is even only one word (ol) for "he/she/it". A few of the children who spoke only Kazakh at home and school (two boys in particular), had trouble working out the pronouns; they mixed up "he" and "she", and usually ended up just sticking with one or the other (using "he" to refer to both boys and girls, for instance--the girls, needless to say, were offended. :wink: )

Another little girl, on one occasion, wanted to say "You took it!" This is an unusual perfective verb in Russian: the future form of the sentence would be "Vy yevo vozmite!", and the past is "Vy yevo vzyali!" The girl couldn't remember the proper past form, so she stuck the regular past ending onto the future form and accused me, "Vy yevo vozmili!"

Which is almost like saying "You taked it!" in English--incorrect, but perfectly logical.

I'm sure you can think of people messing up your conlangs in similar ways... :wink:

p@,
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Post by Ran »

Glenn Kempf wrote:
Indeed.

Thanks for the examples--they did help. I hadn't been thinking so much in terms of two languages merging (although there might be a case or two of that as well), but it did provide food for thought about how they might influence each other and each other's speakers.


My example was an English dialect, not a creole... In essence, it is like the Russian that the Kazakh kids would speak if they grew up and passed on those features as "regular grammar" to their children. It's still Russian, just Kazakhified Russian.

That, I think, is pretty much how all languages influence each other.
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Post by Glenn »

ranskaldan wrote:
Glenn Kempf wrote:
Indeed.

Thanks for the examples--they did help. I hadn't been thinking so much in terms of two languages merging (although there might be a case or two of that as well), but it did provide food for thought about how they might influence each other and each other's speakers.


My example was an English dialect, not a creole... In essence, it is like the Russian that the Kazakh kids would speak if they grew up and passed on those features as "regular grammar" to their children. It's still Russian, just Kazakhified Russian.

That, I think, is pretty much how all languages influence each other.


Yes indeed--and an example like Singaporean English is what I was looking for. 8) My "merging" comment referred to your examples of the final fate of VSO vs. SOV, pre- vs. postpositions, and so on. Sorry if it wasn't clear.

Indeed--even people who technically speak the same language often have trouble understanding each other... :wink:

p@,
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Post by Ran »

Been reading through adverbial phrases in Chinese. I can't resist posting any more:

Chinese, being head-last, (tail-first?), puts the adverb before the verb:

Ta1 gao1xing4-de chang4-zhe.
He happy-adv sing-prog.
"He is singing happily."

However, this is NOT how English adverbial clauses should usually be translated. Consider the following sentence:
"He speaks very clearly."
The sentence is pigeonholed into a subj-verb-adv structure, but in reality, we have an adverb being the "focus" of the sentence, describing the entire sentence's "state".

Hence, in Chinese, this must be treated differently:
Ta1 shuo1-de hen3 qing1chu.
He speak-adv very clear.
"He speaks very clearly."

To put an object into the sentence, you either repeat the sentence:
Ta1 shuo1 hua4 shuo1-de hen3 qing1chu.
He speak words (,) speak-adv very clear.
"He speaks words very clearly."

Or, you paraphrase with a genitive structure:
Ta1-de hua4 shuo1-de hen3 qing1chu.
He-adj words speak-adv very clear.
"His words speak very clearly."
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Post by Aidan »

I've got a little tidbit that I was reminded of by the discussion of Turkic languages. (Though maybe everyone knows this but me? Linguistics is not my foremost area. Evo-bio is my real strength, but i'm trying to catch up on the linguistics.)

You know how some dialects of English use a double negative: "I don't got no book", but of course standard English disallows (or even ridicules) that. For other languages however that's the standard construction.

In formal French, for example, "Je n'ai pas de livre": I neg.-have not of book. (Though the "ne" is often dropped these days in normal speech).

So, it turns out in Turkish double plurals aren't allowed. Saying "the two books are on the table" is incorrect because it marks the plurality three times: with "two", "-s", and "are". (Sorry, I don't know the actual words at the moment, I just remember the concept.)

Instead you say "the two book is on the table" or "books is on the table". There's a plural form of the noun, but you can't use it if you are also specifying the number, it's redundant.

It would probably sound like there are two sets/types of bookness on the table, just like English speakers try to analyze both negative seperately.

p.s. Unfortunately, just as I joined this board, which created a link to my website, my server went down. This isn't a normal state of affairs.

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Post by eodrakken »

Hi, Aidan. Welcome to the board.

Aidan wrote:In formal French, for example, "Je n'ai pas de livre": I neg.-have not of book. (Though the "ne" is often dropped these days in normal speech).


Actually, I believe that literally means "I have not a step of book." I've heard that French started with just ne before the verb, and eventually grammaticalised several idioms like "I have not a drop of water" and "I have not a bit of food", ending up with only pas (which still means "step" as well).

A better example is Russian, which legally says, "I don't never read books" and the like.

Aidan wrote:So, it turns out in Turkish double plurals aren't allowed. Saying "the two books are on the table" is incorrect because it marks the plurality three times: with "two", "-s", and "are". (Sorry, I don't know the actual words at the moment, I just remember the concept.)


That's interesting. I know of languages that make double plural-marking unneccessary (Kebreni, Klingon, natlangs too I'm sure), but this is the first I've heard of one where it's actually illegal.

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Post by Glenn »

I'm going to break my pledge and insert a reply...

In studying Kazakh (a Turkic language), what I was taught is that a noun following a number is always singular ("two book"), which is what the discussion above is about. In addition, some expressions that are plural in English would be singular in Kazakh, i.e. "in the mountains," meaning within a mountain range, would be "in the mountain" (tauda), with "mountain" effectively acting as a collective noun.

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Post by eodrakken »

I just realized there's another interesting point to be made about the French negative. It is "I don't have book", not "I don't have books" as we say in English. In a conlang you could say "I don't have book" meaning that you have zero books, and "I don't have books" meaning that you have only one.

Reminds me of The Simpsons...

Kid: This is the "No Homers" club, you can't come in.
Homer: But you let Homer Smith join!
Kid: It's "No Homers". We can have one.

;)

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eodrakken wrote:Hi, Aidan. Welcome to the board.


Thank you. p@ (sorry to steal from you Glenn, it just seemed the appropriate response :D )

eodrakken wrote:
Aidan wrote:In formal French, for example, "Je n'ai pas de livre": I neg.-have not of book. (Though the "ne" is often dropped these days in normal speech).


Actually, I believe that literally means "I have not a step of book." I've heard that French started with just ne before the verb, and eventually grammaticalised several idioms like "I have not a drop of water" and "I have not a bit of food", ending up with only pas (which still means "step" as well).


Umm. No. "Pas" also means "step", but it's much more common homonym is "not". The word meaning "step" comes from latin "passus" (realted to "pace", "passage", etc.), I don't know the exact etymology of the one meaning "not", but I do know it already had its modern meaning in 1080, so if they ever the same word (which, really, I doubt), it was long, long ago.

Je n'ai jamais de livres: I neg.-have never books
Je n'ai pas de livres: I neg.-have not books
Je n'ai rien: I neg.-have nothing
Je ne connais personne: I neg.-know no-one

French employs a two part negative, formally.

Oh, and yes "personne" is "no-one" in that context. "Un personne" is "a person", "deux personne" is two people, "de personnes" is people in general. Of course the -s doesn't change the pronunciation at all, so "no-one", "person" and "people" all sound identical. As does "deux" and "de". In French there are meaning distinction which are made in the written language that you ust have to figure out from context when it's spoken, becuase there are so many silent letters.

eodrakken wrote:I just realized there's another interesting point to be made about the French negative. It is "I don't have book", not "I don't have books" as we say in English.


It's actually more like "I don't have bookness". When you talk about a lack of something in French you put it into the uncountable form (can't remember the correct term for this); the form you use all the time for things like water. But, yeah, it does address that loophole that's in English.

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Post by Aidan »

gahh!

Though, again, that was obviously me above, I'll state it clearly anyway.

I keep expecting the automatic login to work, and it keeps not.

p.s. and I mis-typed "deux personnes" as "deux personne" above, too. Again, not that it would change how you said it.

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Post by zompist »

Aidan wrote:
eodrakken wrote:I've heard that French started with just ne before the verb, and eventually grammaticalised several idioms like "I have not a drop of water" and "I have not a bit of food", ending up with only pas (which still means "step" as well).


Umm. No. "Pas" also means "step", but it's much more common homonym is "not". The word meaning "step" comes from latin "passus" (realted to "pace", "passage", etc.), I don't know the exact etymology of the one meaning "not", but I do know it already had its modern meaning in 1080, so if they ever the same word (which, really, I doubt), it was long, long ago.


Eodrakken is right, I'm afraid... negative pas does derive from 'step'; it evolved from expressions like "I didn't walk a step", "I didn't drink a drop", "I didn't eat a crumb". Some of these words, indeed, continued to form negatives well into the medieval period, and IIRC at least one of them survived in Catalan as well. I think ne...point is part of this family as well.

I stole the whole concept for Isma?n...

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Post by Aidan »

zompist wrote:
eodrakken wrote:I've heard that French started with just ne before the verb, and eventually grammaticalised several idioms like "I have not a drop of water" and "I have not a bit of food", ending up with only pas (which still means "step" as well).


Eodrakken is right, I'm afraid... negative pas does derive from 'step'; it evolved from expressions like "I didn't walk a step", "I didn't drink a drop", "I didn't eat a crumb". Some of these words, indeed, continued to form negatives well into the medieval period, and IIRC at least one of them survived in Catalan as well. I think ne...point is part of this family as well.


Okay, I'm corrected. I see it my Petit Robert, now. The etymologie for the second meaning of pas is: "specialis. du subst. (-> 1. pas) avec des v. du type aller, marcher." (specialization (in meaning) of the substantive of the first sense of "pas" with verbs like go, walk).

Hmm, neat. That is a very interesting point for conlang. I've just sort of done the opposite in a language, the idiomization of certain grammatical structures (primarily the dual), but I think that's probably more common (i.e. less interesting :wink:), yes?

On the other hand, my understanding is that very few native speakers would associate those words. For evidence, every French dictionary I've ever seen gives them two seperate entries. Because the grammaticalization of the idiom was made prior to the 12th century, as far as I can tell.

So I think my original statement stands, that French uses a two-part negative, even if it's historically derived from idiomatic one-part negatives. (And if you look in a French-English dictionary, I bet you would find "pas" translated as "not", rather than "ne" being so.)

It's really interesting that modern French is now tending to drop the "ne", which was originally the important part of the negative construction.

Reminds me of the evolution of the 2nd person plural pronoun in English. Eep, but right now I really need to go, I'll get back to my thoughts on that.

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Post by Ran »

Chinese has 3 negative particles as far as I can tell:

Zuo3 "to do"

Bie2 zuo3. don't do (imperative)
Mei2 zuo3. didn't do (perfective)
Bu2 zuo3. don't do (imperfective)

Bie2, I believe, was originally a word meaning "other" or "to twist around". Mei2 could originally have been an adjective for nouns "not any". Bu2 - I frankly have no idea, it seems to have been there, always.
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Post by eodrakken »

Aidan wrote:[...]"no-one", "person" and "people" all sound identical. As does "deux" and "de".


Je crois que la voyelle dans "de" est normalement moins distinct. C'est possible que j'ai tort. Mon fran?ais n'a jamais eu parfait, mais il est utile.

Aidan wrote:So I think my original statement stands, that French uses a two-part negative, even if it's historically derived from idiomatic one-part negatives. (And if you look in a French-English dictionary, I bet you would find "pas" translated as "not", rather than "ne" being so.)


Bien s?r. Je seulement croyais que tu omettais le fait plus int?rressant.

I wasn't saying you were wrong. Not a crumb. ;)

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Post by zompist »

Got home to check the Larousse ?tymologique... though negative ne...pas dates back to 1080, ne... mie ('not a crumb') was actually more common, and survived till the 17th century.

ranskaldan wrote:Bie2, I believe, was originally a word meaning "other" or "to twist around". Mei2 could originally have been an adjective for nouns "not any". Bu2 - I frankly have no idea, it seems to have been there, always.


I checked this in Norman... indeed, bu4 (i.e. b?) was the ordinary negator in wen2yan2, which however had at least four other negatives: fu2, fei1, wu2, wu4, and wei4.

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Post by eodrakken »

zompist wrote:Got home to check the Larousse ?tymologique... though negative ne...pas dates back to 1080, ne... mie ('not a crumb') was actually more common, and survived till the 17th century.


Fascinating. Do you (or does anyone else) know what tipped the scales in favor of 'pas'?

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