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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:50 am 
Lebom
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The latest Conlangery podcast had me finally wanting to write out how different relations are marked in Majiusgaru. Its been sitting in my head for sometime but I never put it down.

Experiencers, themes, and patients are treated as Patients. This means they are marked with the absolutive (by position, the S in VS and the P in VPA) and on the verb with a suffix. Experiencers take precidence over themes, such that if both occur the experiencer is marked on the verb and takes the left most position.
sleep-3S eel The eel slept
hit-3S eel The eel was hit
1S-hit-3S eel ERG 1S I hit the eel
see-1S 1S eel I saw an eel.
HAB-COP 1S green I am green (I habitually experience greenness)

Agents, causes, forces are treated as Agents. They are marked with an ergative preposition and position (A in VPA) and on ditransitive verbs with prefixes. The antipassive voice lets them be treated as Patients (see above). Also some verbs are unergative. There is no passive construction so there is a lexical distinction, e.g. travel vs be transported. A participant can only be an agent if it as volition. If a cause is such that it takes away volition then it is the agent and non-volitional participant is demoted to instrument.
3S-bite-1S 1S ERG eel The eel bit me
3S-wet-1S rain The rain wetted me
ANTP-bite-3S eel The eel bit
leave-1S I left
3S-eat-3PL eel-PL ERG hunger INST 1S Hunger made me eat the eels (lit. Hunger ate the eels by means of me)

Directions/goals, recipients, purposes, and beneficiaries are marked by the benefactive preposition and oblique position (X in VSX and VPAX). Often the difference between a purpose and a cause is its effect on volition. If an agent choose to do an action then the reason is a purpose. If an agent is forced to do the action then the reason is a cause. The position hierarchy is Direction/Goal > Recipient > Beneficiary > Purpose.
go-1S BEN summit I went to the summit
1S-give-3S apple BEN 2S I gave an apple to you
1S-eat-3PL eel-PL BEN hunger I ate the eels because of hunger
1S-catch-3PL eel-PL BEN 3S I caught the eels for him
1S-give-3PL eel-PL BEN Sara BEN Tomi BEN 3S-hunger Tomi I gave eels to Sara for Tommy for his hunger.

Instruments, durations, and origins are marked with the instrumental preposition and oblique position (X in VSX and VPAX). A would-be agent demoted due to a cause taking its volition is considered an instrument. Instruments generally precede origins, except when highlighting origin. Generally instrumental obliques are mentioned after benefactive obliques.
1S-hit-3S eel INST club I hit the eel with a club
sleep-1S INST 3 hour-PL I slept for 3 hours
come-1PL INST Tegucigalpa We came from Tegucigalpa
come-3PL INST boat-PL INST Spain They came by boats from Spain
come-3PL INST Spain INST boat-PL It was from Spain they came from in their boats

Spatial and temporal locations are marked with the locative preposition and oblique position (X in VSX and VPAX). Generally spatial location takes precedence over temporal location. Time can also be handled with certain temporal adverbs.
sleep-1S LOC boat I slept in the boat
1S-eat-3S eel LOC sunset I ate an eel at sunset
1S-eat-3S eel LOC boat LOC sunset I ate an eel in the boat at sunset

Comments, questions, terminology corrections, etc are appreciated.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:58 pm 
Lebom
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I really like that you conflate so many things together— often we are tempted to treat instrumentals and comitatives and allatives and postelatives and everything else uniquely, so it's nice that you have ambiguity both in your prepositions and verbal concord.

If you conflate patients/themes and experiencers, (how) do you distinguish transitivity for certain experiential verbs? In I saw an eel, how do you know (slash does it matter that you know) the verb's transitivity? How do we know eel isn't an oblique?

Have you thought of grouping experiencers with beneficiaries rather than themes? Languages tend to do this more often, in my experience (not that I'm suggesting that you should— just have in mind the syntax consequences. Having two absolutives possible in a noncopular sentence is pretty unusual, for instance)

Quote:
hit-3S eel The eel was hit
Is this a passive? Unaccusative? Is there a pro-dropped zero-morph 3rd person ergative argument?
Quote:
3S-eat-3PL eel-PL ERG hunger INST 1S Hunger made me eat the eels
I really like this construction. Is this how all causatives are formed?

Do you have more specific prepositions (from, across, between, to, etc), or are a lot of spacial concepts marked by the instrumental/locative and disambiguated solely by context?

I'm wondering how do you deal with verbs like these: have (possession), want, die, smile, become (something or a quality), weather verbs.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:24 pm 
Lebom
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ná'oolkiłí wrote:
If you conflate patients/themes and experiencers, (how) do you distinguish transitivity for certain experiential verbs? In I saw an eel, how do you know (slash does it matter that you know) the verb's transitivity? How do we know eel isn't an oblique?
Many verbs in Majiusgaru are labile. Transitivity is determined by the number of constituents. If eel was an oblique it would be marked one way or another. However, there is a chance for ambiguity with a new sentence that is topic fronted and even then only if it is a new line of thought. There are several languages that use a double absolutive construction, and even more if you include those that only use it for experience verbs.

Quote:
Quote:
hit-3S eel The eel was hit
Is this a passive? Unaccusative? Is there a pro-dropped zero-morph 3rd person ergative argument?
This is just a plain intransitive ergative verb with a zero-marked absolutive.

Quote:
Quote:
3S-eat-3PL eel-PL ERG hunger INST 1S Hunger made me eat the eels
I really like this construction. Is this how all causatives are formed?
It is the primary causative construction. There is also a lesser used construction using a verb that means construct/manipulate/arrange, but that tends to be used in matrix clauses

Quote:
Do you have more specific prepositions (from, across, between, to, etc), or are a lot of spacial concepts marked by the instrumental/locative and disambiguated solely by context?
"From" is an origin and thus used with the instrumental preposition. "To" is a goal and thus used with the benefactive preposition. There is a verb to cross, the thing being crossed in the purpose and thus used with the benefactive. Different directions of motion (e.g. pass through) are indicated by different verbs. Different positions are indicated by possessed body part metaphor, e.g. on the table = LOC 3S-head table

Quote:
I'm wondering how do you deal with verbs like these: have (possession), want, die, smile, become (something or a quality), weather verbs.
"have" is done through location. Some language use the dative for "have", so I extrapolated using the locative. There is potential for ambiguity between possession and location. LOC eel 1S could mean I have an eel or an eel is near me. That can be disambiguated by being specific about location, e.g. LOC eel 1S-foot-PL the eel is at my feet. <re> have quite a few uses, it can signal the locative, it can be a locative copula, and it can be the existential copula.

"want" is done through an optative morpheme and the wanter can be optionally stated by using the benefactive. There is a verb to want and it is used similarly the causative verb, i.e. usually in matrix clauses.

"die" and "smile" depend on volition. If a cause is volitional (Tommy made me smile or Johnny killed me) then they are simply labile verbs, the agent takes the ergative. Non-volitional causes are instruments (I died because of old pork). Forces of nature, e.g. tidal waves, are considered volitional.

Weather is handled through existential/locatives or as agent since nature is considered to have volition. There are still some sticky points I am working on though.


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