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zompist bboard • View topic - Transitive vs. Intransitive

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 12:52 pm 
Lebom
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I can't speak for American or Pacific langs, but in the NWC languages transitivity and valence are important to keep separate, and since they mark arguments (in the verb and to a lesser extent nominals) ergatively, it's very easy to tell—if there is something ergative, the verb is transitive; if not, intransitive.

Here's a trivalent intransitive from Abaza. Applicatives increased its valence:
s-wə-z-lə-ts-tsa-jt’
1S.ABS-2S.DAT-BEN-3S.F.DAT-COM-go-PRES.DYN
"I'm going with her for you"

There are some verbs that take a meaningless object marker. I don't know if any are taken as an absolutive, though. This is Kabardian.
s-ja-saʁɕ
1S.ABS-3S.DAT-swam
"I swam"

There are also some unexpected things you can do by changing a verb from transitive to intransitive but keeping its valence. Again, Kabardian.

ɕ’aːla-m | txʲəɬ-ər | Ø-j-a-dʒ
boy-OBL(ERG) | book-ABS | 3.ABS-3S.ERG-PRES-read
"The boy reads the book" (telic)

ɕ’aːla-r | txʲəɬ-əm | Ø-ja-aw-dʒa
boy-ABS | book-OBL(DAT) | 3.ABS-3S.DAT-PRES.INTR-read
"The boy is reading the book" (atelic)

This example is somewhat complicated, but pretty cool:

səmadʒa-m | məʔaresa-r | Ø-j-a-ʃxʲ
sick.man-OBL(ERG) | apple-ABS | 3.ABS-3S.ERG-PRES-eat
“The sick man eats the apple”

səmadʒa-m | məʔaresa-r | Ø-Ø-xʷ-aw-ʃxʲ
sick.man-OBL(DAT) | apple-ABS | 3.ABS-3S.DAT-POT-PRES.INTR-eat
“The sick man can eat the apple”

The verb is first detransitivitized, so we go from ERG/ABS marking in the subject/object to ABS/DAT. Then the potentiality morpheme causes case inversion so we have DAT/ABS. Because Kabardian the dative and ergative case are marked with the same ending, this gives the illusion that the verb marks its arguments as if it were intransitive, but the nominals are marked transitively.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:34 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 10:34 pm 
Sanci
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In Faerelo, transitives end with high vowels and intransitives end with front mid and front low vowels. It also has verbs which can be either (as English does--consider 'eat'), and these are marked with an <o>. They don't conjugate any differently. The difference only shows up in the base infinitive form of the verbs.

I don't know if there's an official name for verbs that can be either; I just started calling them "versative" (versatile transitive).

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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:18 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 2:35 pm 
Lebom
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transexualitive

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 2:19 am 
Sanci
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@ Tom:

Faerelo verbs are, like Spanish verbs, considered to be uninflected in their infinitive forms, which are <-ar, -er, -ur, -ir, -or> (the whole vowel inventory). The <or> verbs are the versative (or ambitransitive--mine is easier to type ^_^ ) ones. Since these forms are the base forms, then there is no conversion going on to change them. Regardless of the verb type, the inflection (for now) occurs exactly the same way, so inflected verbs have no differences. The morphological difference between a transitive and intransitive clause that uses a versative verb is evident from the case marker on the main NP. Faerelo uses tripartite case alignment (I swear I found after the decision that Na'vi does, too--and still annoyed about it), so the transitive arguments take nominative and accusative case markers while the intransitives take absolutive case markers (which are also used in passive voice constructions). There is one situation where such verbs will take a nominative argument without taking a direct object; this is a nuance play that only works if it can be reasonably expected that the direct object is understood without being named explicitly (and I think the opposite will be true, but haven't yet had occasion to generate such an utterance).

Is that about what you just described in the last paragraph before the dashed line?

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:34 am 
Avisaru
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Location: Llundain
You do realise that the infinitive ending is as much an inflection as anything else, right?

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 3:17 pm 
Sanci
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Insofar as it is distinct from other endings, yes. In fact, Faerelo even has an uninflected form that's different from the infinitive that's used for compounding and subordination, but the removal of the infinitive ending is considered to be the derivation, not the other way around. If you ask an L1 for a verb, he or she will give you the infinitive, not the uninflected.

As with all things, it's relative.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:09 am 
Smeric
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My latest language, Xuáli, lacks a difference between nouns and verbs. It is as though all verbs have been replaced by agent nouns. To say "I will kill you" you essentially say "I = future killer-of you". Consequently, transitivity is treated in exactly the same way as a genitive relationship. Transitivity/genitive relationships are marked with a suffix on the "verb"/"possessed noun" which indicates grammatical person, number, gender and definiteness of the "object"/"possessor"

-an = "my" / "me"

dac-an = kill(er of) me
el-an = love(r of) me
toli-an = house of me; my house

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:07 am 
Avisaru
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How are agent relationships marked?


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 2:38 pm 
Sanci
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Location: Herndon, VA, USA


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 9:58 am 
Smeric
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