Looks very interesting. First of all, I have to say I love complex or discontiguous roots. But to what extent are the augments productive or transparent in meaning? For example, are there a number of other verb roots that can take the augment -t- with a meaning of "set into motion by VERB", or is it just sakkung-t- and maybe a handful of others?
Not productive, but sometimes transparent. There aren't that many verbs with augments (particularly final augments), but there are definitely patterns tying meanings to particular augments. On the other hand there are probably some rare words with seemingly random augments.
[The final augments are mostly derived from serial-verb constructions where the second verb has eroded almost entirely]
Of course, this is all rather hypothetical, as my languages are rarely so gauche as to have, you know, actual lexicons. [Particularly this language, because I can't work out diachronics that please me and that produce a language that pleases me].r
The detailed and very complex status/rank/politeness-marking system is also quite well-done (although I don't know enough about natlangs with morphological politeness marking to offer much of a critique on it).
A few other random questions and comments that popped into my head as I was reading:
- I don't understand this: "wa- is often used as a neutral and inclusive exclusive plural". Is it inclusive or is it exclusive? Or did I just completely mis-parse that statement?
My word, that is nonsensical, isn't it? It's exclusive. Singular, or exclusive plural. In that instance! On a concrete verb, on the other hand, it's an inclusive plural. [It started as an inclusive, but in liquid verbs it became primarily just plural, and then the singular vanished so it took over that job, and a new prefix was required to specify inclusivity]
I'm curious how a distinctive set of pronouns arose among nightsoilmen and such...
Prefixes originally arising from pronouns; the pronouns were probably originally just generic terms of self-debasement, but at some point the system of respect became more structured, and particular debasements specialised to particular speakers. We see the reverse in English, with honorifics - at one point they were all interchangeable, but now 'your grace' is a duke and 'your majesty' is a monarch and 'your highness' is a minor monarch or the relative of a monarch, and 'your excellency' is an ambassador and 'your beatitude' is a... an orthodox bishop, yes? 'Your All-Holiness' is either an Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople or a Metropolitan Bishop of Thessaloniki, 'Your Most Eminent Higness" is Fra' Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ, etc.
[Not only does the guy get special status at the UN (the only sovereign ruler without territoriality), he even gets his own mode of address!]
Alternatively, some of these prefixes may originally have come from nouns for professions.
Quote:Does using third person morphology to refer to oneself carry any connotations in terms of the whole system of rank/respect/etc.? Or is it pretty much status-neutral?
It's strictly status-neutral, which is why it happens. The society now feels itself to be very egalitarian and informal, and eschews all that old fussing about with details of formality. In practice, of course, there's still a lot more formality than they admit.
Refering to oneself in the third person usually involves using nouns as pronouns, and the choice of noun may encode some status information, but not in a strictly 'i'm better than you' way.
Quote:"zero-marking is used when the object is human and the action is intransitive, or when the subject is human and the action is intransitive." In the first clause there, did you mean "transitive" instead of "intransitive"? It doesn't make much sense otherwise.
Oh, my head hurts now. No, I think it makes more sense like this, except that in the first case it should be that both the subject and object are human and the action is transitive, and the subject is masculine. To be honest, it's a little arbitrary, since I can wing the history either way - it's more about what I feel works better.
If you're confused by 'intransitive' and 'object' near to each other, I'm using 'transitive' to mean something more specific than 'has an object'. Verbs can be bivalent but intransitive.
Quote:What is "version", in the sense of "version agreement" etc.?
It's a fairly empty word in real linguistics - Chris gives one meaning, and georgian uses it as a marker of the presence of certain types of indirect object (mostly benefactors and possessors, apparently).
My sense is more literal. First version is a thing, second version is another instance of the same type of thing. so a sort of anti-definite, except it also often has deictic and possessive and realis implications (my vs your, this vs that, this actual vs that possible); there are also third and fourth versions, where third version turns something into a local noun (a noun that wants to become the deictic locus of the discourse - often topographic features like 'the hill' or 'the village') and fourth version marks possessed nouns.
Quote:I like the "messiness" involved in deriving concrete forms of verbs from their liquid counterparts. It's quite naturalistic (and kiiind of reminds me of how Muskogean languages derive verbs with different voices/valencies from one another) (except not really...) (I dunno)
That said, I don't really get the distinction between liquid and concrete verbs. I get that concrete forms have a more limited range of grammatical categories they mark, but how do they differ in terms of semantics or pragmatics from the corresponding liquid forms?
You don't get it because I haven't explained it. that sort of thing is for another chapter. Concrete verbs are derived from nominalisations, and they are used in cases where a more 'solid' and 'nounlike' verb is needed. For instance, any time you make the verb the topic, it has to be concrete. There will also be hierarchies of concretisation, which I haven't worked out entirely, but in which, for instance, conditionals and perfects are more likely to be concrete.
Quote:I also like the simple/abstract contrast in infinitives (though why do you say there are three types of infinitives? You only seem to mention these two...)
Confusing writing. The three forms are the abstract, the liquid simple and the concrete simple.
[To be honest, infinitives are probably quite up-in-the-air still, along with the whole noun/verb interface thingamajiggy]
Thanks for the interest!