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zompist bboard • View topic - Infinitival predicates (kind of a TC, but not really)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:53 pm 
Sanno
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Over the past couple of days I've been tinkering with how infinitival predicates (or "infinitive complements") are handled in Tailancan, and was wondering how your conlangs deal with them.

For example, what form of the verb is used as a complement of another verb, as in sentences like the following:

John wants to eat.

Is it an infinitive or other non-finite form of the verb? Or is it a finite clause? Does your language use the same structure when the second verb itself takes arguments?

John wants to eat the cake.

If your language has infinitives, or infinitive-like forms, how many arguments does the infinitive permit? For example, would a structure like the following be grammatical?

John wants Martin to eat the cake.

In cases where the subject of the matrix clause is coreferential with the embedded clause (whether this is finite or non-finite), how does your language handle this? Going back to our first sentence, "John" is the agent of both "want" and "eat": is he expressed overtly in both clauses, or just one?

How about in cases which, in English, are ambiguous? Like the following:

John asked Martin to go early.

Who's the subject of "to go" there: John or Martin? Can your language disambiguate between the two grammatically?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:14 pm 
Avisaru
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Proto-Vdangku

John wants to eat.
iān ezpengbbā.
John.ABS eat.DES.Ns.impf
Proto-Vdangku uses the desiderative mood to express "want" in reference to verbs. Wanting objects and wanting intangibles are expressed using separate verbs.

John wants to eat the cake.
ziiān miltuongten ezpengbbā.
John.ERG sugar.conglomerate.ABS eat.DES.Ns.impf
Nothing really special here, John moves into the ergative case as the patient "cake" is introduced since ezp- can function as both an intransitive and transitive verb.

John wants Martin to eat the cake.
miltuongten ziiān mādin ezpengbbā.
sugar.conglomerate John.ERG Martin.ABS eat.Des.Ns.impf
The patient shifts to Martin, as he is the one being "wanted to eat" by John. Cake is moved to the front of the sentence as a caseless noun.

John asked Martin to go early.
ziiān uepit buiadā angvtu mādin ilggāong.
John.ERG object.REL.ABS [beginning.ATTR Martin.ABS go.Ns.POT] request.Ns.Npast.Perf
"Martin goes early" is treated as a relative clause, and Martin is considered the subject of the verb "to go", as he is the one potentially performing the action.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:29 pm 
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In Tirase, there's a closed class of verbs that can take infinitive complements, most of which express aspect or mood, though not all. The infinitive complement is limited to having the same subject as the matrix clause.

John kab tét-an su famárred
John want[3sg] eat-INF the cake
John wants to eat the cake.

*John kab Martin tét-an su famárred
John want[3sg] Martin eat-INF the cake

Verbs outside of this closed class can take finite complements, where the subjects of the two clauses don't have to be co-referential, though they may be. The identity of the complement's subject can be ambiguous out of context.

John vut tet su famárred
John want[3sg] eat[3sg] the cake
John wants to eat the cake (or) John wants him/her to eat the cake.

John vut Martin tet su famárred
John want[3sg] Martin eat[3sg] the cake
John wants Martin to eat the cake.

Tirase normally doesn't use subject pronouns; tet su famárred is a finite clause meaning "he/she eats the cake". A disambiguating pronoun can be used, though this appears at the beginning of the sentence, not the beginning of the clause it belongs to.

séze tet su famárred
3sm eat[3sg] the cake
HE eats the cake.

séze John vut tet su famárred
3sm John want[3sg] eat[3sg] the cake
John wants HIM to eat the cake.

*John vut séze tet su famárred
John want[3sg] 3sm eat[3sg] the cake

I'm trying to think whether Tirase would have any instances like "John asked Martin to go early". I don't think so, off the top of my head. In any case, that particular example definitely wouldn't be ambiguous because "John asked to go" isn't the way Tirase expresses "John asked for permission to go".

John núdebir Martin zer bélo su mav
John ask[3sg] Martin leave[3sg] under the hour
John asked that Martin leave early.

John núdebir Martin fezír zer bélo su mav
John ask[3sg] Martin allow[3sg] leave[3sg] under the hour
John asked Martin to allow him to leave early.

Multiple finite complements in that last one. Grammatically it could be ambiguous who gets the permission to leave early, but semantically it's unlikely that Martin would give himself permission to do something (though I suppose it could be possible as a slightly extended sense; in English we can give ourselves permission to do things).

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:42 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:10 pm 
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Tasak Nos: Puttering along on the grammar. TCs like this are helpful for working out details!

John wants to eat.
Zan natak teme kes
Zan-∅ nat-k tem-e kes-∅
John-NOM eat-GER instance-ACC want-IND
John wants to eat [once].
This is grammatically ambiguous; it could be read "I want John to eat" as well, but that would normally be directed to John with an irrealis verb: <Zon, nadus.> "John, could you eat?" (Actual imperative is if the speaker is rude or threatening about it, or a ruler ordering around subordinates.) The ambiguity could be clarified by pushing John to the end of the sentence, or just before the verb, but that's a bit odd. It's also a bit odd to be talking about what other people want like this, but maybe John can't get food for himself. If John wants to eat all the time, replace <teme> with <noze> "habit-ACC."

John wants to eat the cake.
Zan gantage natak teme kes
Zan-∅ gantak-e nat-k tem-e kes-∅
John-NOM cake-ACC eat-GER instance-ACC want-IND
John wants to eat the/a cake [once].
This is ambiguous for the same reason as above. "gantak" refers to a sort of wheat-based cake that's almost swimming in honey; it's not normal food for commoners. Maybe John is a noble's brat? Definiteness is unmarked.

John wants Martin to eat the cake.
Zan Mātin gantage natak teme kes
Zan-∅ Mātin-∅ gantak-e nat-k tem-e kes-∅
John-NOM Martin-NOM cake-ACC eat-GER instance-ACC want-IND
John wants Martin to eat a/the cake [once].
This isn't very ambiguous: adjacent noun phrases in the same case can be taken as an inclusive list, but that is used only rarely with nominatives. This sentence implies that either Martin doesn't want the cake (unlikely) or that he normally can't eat one; perhaps John has outgrown his gluttonous ways and offered a dessert to a peasant?

John asked Martin to go early.
If Martin is the one doing the going (my natural interpretation):
Zan Mātin seŋgep bāk teman [tege] pokretot
Zan-∅ Mātin-∅ seŋgep bā-k tem-an [tege] pokret-ot-∅
John-NOM Martin-NOM earlier.LOC go-GER instance-INS [3h.ACC] request-PFT-IND
John asked him [Martin] if Martin would go earlier [than the expected time].
There's no proper dative case, so verbs of giving (here used figuratively) use the instrumental for the thing being given, and accusative for the recipient. "Earlier" is just a noun fused into locative case, which is used for temporal adverbs; the answer to "earlier than what" would be a genitive noun phrase subordinate to the adverb. The destination of going is left out, so the speaker and listener must already know what that is. The pronoun is third person human; inhuman <pade> would imply that Martin is a barbarian savage. In this sentence, it can be left out in informal speech, but formal speech is rather prolix.

If John is asking Martin for permission to leave:
Zan seŋgep bāk teman Mātine pokretot
Zan-∅ seŋgep bā-k tem-an Mātin-e pokret-ot-∅
John-NOM earlier.LOC go-GER instance-INS Martin-ACC request-PFT-IND
John asked Martin if [John] could leave earlier [than the expected time].
This could be parsed as "I asked Martin if John could leave early." If John himself said that he had asked to go, he would normally drop the nominative argument, but he could also give <karo> "I" instead of his name and the two parses would have the same meaning.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:07 pm 
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Last edited by vec on Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:10 pm 
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I've always favored handling things like this as "I want (that) I eat", "I want (that) you eat", and so on. None of my conlangs have infinitives. In Poswa, though, you can just be blunt and use an imperative: "Let me eat!"

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:50 pm 
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Jån löus, an kåg eta (used löba instead of wuljo, because the latter is modal)
John loves to eat cake

Subordinate clause introduced by particle/thingamajig an, which is roughly equivalent to English to in this case.


Jån wuljes, Martens etäs zen kåg (in this case it is not a modal)
John wants that Martin eat the cake
or
Jån wuljes, an Martens eta zen kåg
John wants that Martin to eat the cake

The latter is considered «wrong» by prescriptivists, but is found aplenty; the former uses the verb in present subjunctive, though different verbs and situations require present indicative, past indicative or past subjunctive. In both cases, Marten is in the genitive case, Martens. It derives from an older alternative, using a nominal form of the verb, such as an English gerund, but which has long fallen in disuse, roughly John wants Martin's eating [of] the cake. The first construction predates the latter.


Jån räges Martens, an ärlig läbba
John asked Martin to leave early

This is the only construction for this and is ambiguous when isolated, as there is no indication as to what the agent of läbba is. (Martens in this sentence is dative, and is just the indirect object of verb räkja, to ask, request, nothing to do with agent-genitive).


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:12 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:01 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:02 pm 
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I assumed John's asking for permission.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Longwinded post that nobody will read, so I am shrinking the entire thing so people can skim over it easily:

seyól Ch'an ma huíchel
se-yór-0 Ch'an ma huích-el
REFL-want-3PS.ANIM.ABS John SUB eat-3PS.INAN.ABS
"John wants to eat."

OR

seyól ma huíchel Ch'an
se-yór-0 ma huích-el Ch'an
REFL-want-3PS.ANIM.ABS SUB eat-3PS.INAN.ABS John
"John wants to eat."

No real usage differences there, aside from the latter putting a bit more emphasis on it being John who wants to eat it rather than someone else.

Next:

seyól Ch'an ma huíchel ma néstac
se-yór-0 Ch'an ma huích-el ma néstac
REFL-want-3PS.ANIM.ABS John SUB eat-3PS.INAN.ABS ERG* cake
"John wants to eat the cake."

OR

seyól ma huíchel Ch'an ma néstac
se-yór-0 ma huích-el Ch'an ma néstac
REFL-want-3PS.ANIM.ABS John SUB eat-3PS.INAN.ABS John ERG* cake
"John wants to eat the cake."

The same rule as above applies here; when John is in the subordinate clause, he's pretty much marked as the topic.

This next one can also be expressed in two different ways:

tleyól Ch'an ma huíchel Máltin ma néstac
tle-yór-0 Ch'an ma huích-el Máltin ma néstac
3PS.ANIM.INDIR-want-3PS.ANIM.ABS SUB eat-3PS.INAN.ABS Martin ERG* cake
"John wants Martin to eat the cake."

OR

tleyól Ch'an na Máltin ma huíchel ma néstac
tle-yór-0 Ch'an na Máltin ma huích-el ma néstac
3PS.ANIM.INDIR-want-3PS.ANIM.ABS DAT Martin SUB eat-3PS.INAN.ABS ERG* cake
"John wants Martin to eat the cake."

As far as the ambiguity goes, it's rather simple with use of the reflexive. The way the ambiguity here is prevented and is based on the rule that the agent of a subordinate clause is marked as an indirect object on the verb of the main clause.

There's actually three different interpretations of the sentence (John wants himself to go early, John asked for Martin to go early, and John asked early for Martin to go), but the last one doesn't seem particularly relevant. There's actually a few more options in South Eresian that are syntactically relevant, though:

tlexén Ch'an na Máltin ma atíc e príseha
tle-xénw-0 Ch'an na Máltin ma a-íc-0 e prís-eha
3PS.ANIM.INDIR-request-3PS.ANIM.ABS John DAT Martin SUB 3PS.INAN.INDIR-go-3PS.ANIM.ABS ADV high-SIT
"John asked Martin that Martin go early."

OR

tlexén Ch'an ma atíc Máltin e príseha
tle-xénw-0 Ch'an ma a-ic-0 Máltin e prís-eha
3PS.ANIM.INDIR-request-3PS.ANIM.ABS John SUB 3PS.INAN.INDIR-go-3PS.ANIM.ABS Martin ADV high-SIT
"John asked someone that Martin go early."

And then:

setlexén Ch'an na Maltin ma atic e priseha
se-tle-xenw-0 Ch'an na Maltin ma a-ic-0 e pris-eha
REFL-3PS.ANIM.INDIR-request-3PS.ANIM.ABS John DAT Martin SUB 3PS.INAN.INDIR-go-3PS.ANIM.ABS ADV high-SIT
"John asked Martin that John go early."

OR

setlexén na Máltin ma atíc Ch'an e príseha
se-tle-xénw-0 na Máltin ma a-íc-0 Ch'an e prís-eha
REFL-3PS.ANIM.INDIR-request-3PS.ANIM.ABS DAT Martin SUB 3PS.INAN.INDIR-go-3PS.ANIM.ABS John ADV high-SIT
"John asked Martin that John go early."

(I'm using <néstac> for cake. It's actually a minty thing, the composition of which varies greatly from region to region. It's generally considered a sweetish food for special occasions much like cake)

*I am increasingly baffled as to how to gloss this particle, since it comes before the absolutive in a sentence and marks that the verb is transitive and thus has an ergative role regardless of whether it is explicitly marked or not. God I'm a terrible conlanger, I know precisely what is going on with half this stuff and am awful at describing it and the morphosyntactic alignment in particular is a huge tangled mess and most of it is probably wildly implausible :(

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:01 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:36 am 
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I've hardly written any of the syntax of Qevesa yet, so chances are this will probably change quite a bit. I really need to work out relative clauses properly as I'm not entirely happy with the results.

John wants to eat.
Johna nulisamir.
John-a nulis-am-ir
John-NOM eat.IMPF-3SG;ERG-VOL

Qevesa uses the volitive mood on the main verb to express intangible desires, hopes or wishes.


John wants to eat the cake.
Johna pilataş nulisamir.
John-a pilat-aş nulis-am-ir
John-NOM cake-ACC eat.IMPF-3SG;ERG-VOL

“cake” is added as an argument of the verb, in the accusative case to indicate it is the patient. Note that if emphasis were to be placed on the cake (say, for example, John wanted to eat cake, and not something else), “cake” would be raised to topic, and the associated topical agreement would be marked on the verb:

It is cake that John wants to eat.
Pilata Johnam nulisňoşir.
Pilat-a John-am nulis-ňoş-ir
Cake-NOM John-ERG eat.IMPF-3;INANIM;ACC-VOL


John wants Martin to eat the cake.
Johna Martinam pilataş nulisil aş ruvilamu.
John-a Martin-am pilat-aş nulis-il aş ruvil-am-u
John-NOM Martin-ERG cake-ACC eat.IMPF-IRR REL.ACC want.IMPF-3SG;ERG-IND
“Martin eats cake” is treated as a relative clause, and the object of “John wants...”


John asked Martin to go early.
Johna Martinam qeinnuovöżi kinutoła aş kirotamu.
John-a Martin-am qeinnuov-öżi kinuto-ła aş kirota-m-u.
John-NOM Martin-ERG early-ADV go.INCH-PREC REL.ACC request.PFV-3SG;ERG-IND
“Martin goes early” is treated as a relative clause, and Martin is considered the agent of the verb “to go”. Furthermore, as Martin’s leaving is a request, “to go” is in the precative mood.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:52 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:01 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:37 am 
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(1) No konja ang John.
No kond-ya ang John.
want eat-3SM A John
John wants to eat.

(2) Le no konja ang John biban.
Le no kond-ya ang John biban-Ø.
PF.INAN want eat-3SM A John cake
John wants to eat the cake.

(3) Noya ang John, le konja ang Martin biban.
No-ya ang John, le kond-ya ang Martin biban-Ø.
want-3SM A John, PF eat-3SM A Martin cake-FOC
John wants Martin to eat the cake.

(4a) Pinyaya ang John, sarongya benem ang Martin.
Pinya-ya ang John, sara-ong-ya benem ang Martin.
ask-3SM A John, leave-SUBJ-3SM early A Martin
John asks that Martin go early.

(4b) Ang pinyaya John sa Martin, ming sarongyāng benem.
Ang pinya-ya Ø John sa Martin, ming sara-ong-yāng benem.
AF ask-3SM FOC John P Martin, can leave-SUBJ-3SM.A early.
John asks Martin, if he could go early. (this is ambiguous)

1: no- is one of the few semi-modal verbs that are not inflected when used as modals. Instead, the complement is inflected. For other verbs that can be used with an intransitive verb complement, this complement consists of a participle, e.g. Pinyayāng sarayam. 'He asks to go.'
2–4: If the verb complement is transitive, you need a complement clause, however, if it is not and just takes an adverbial, no complement clause follows (as in 1), e.g. Garicāng sarayam kardangya. 'He denies to go to school.' or 'He denies going to school.' Complements of non-finite verbs can't be focussed.


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