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 Post subject: Coordinative compounds
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2003 2:57 pm
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Poswa has a category of words like bes "beavers and trees", pobe "boys and girls", pabba "rabbits with carrots", and pipti "children with apples", fongop "bears and deer", and so on that has no close parallel even in closely related languages such as Pabappa. These words evolved due to the strict SOV word order and the fact that sound changes could apply across word boundaries. Most of these words have etymologies that are opaque even to the speakers, though some have discernible patterns.

These words are used to build short sentences and often also appear in placenames. For example, a forest near the border with Paba is called Fongomiam "place where bears hunt deer", by adding a word meaning hunt and a locative affix to fongop. (Sometimes the locative affix is left off, such that the forest itself would be called "bears hunting deer".)

Just curious if this construction appears in any other conlangs ,or in natlangs.

The second morpheme is usually an inanimate, and it happens that Poswa's grammar offers an alternative interpratation of the compound as a possessive compound ("head + tail?? compounds"). So pipti can also mean "children's apples", and there is no ocnfusion because the apple can never be the agent of a sentence. e.g. piptupi plespemwebi can mean "i stole the children's apples" or "i stole the children with apples" but context makes the first interpretation far more likely;l where as pipti pempwafeži. means only "the children with apples walked towards me" because apples cannot be the subject of the verb meaning "to walk towards (someone)".

moer examples:

pabba tša "the rabbits are eating carrots".
pabbob fobebi "i ate the rabbits' carrots"

bešes pwimbub vo. "I (can) see beavers and trees through my window".
beffaša "the beavers are biting trees"
beffaša "axe"

The collision of the last two words here is due to 2 morphemes both causing palatalization and then disappearing. One marks the present tense verb, the other means "handheld object". However this same morpheme for handheld object is ocmmon in words for such objects and therefore this collision happens quite a lot.

Basically the worsd for ax means "beavers bitign trees". By comparison, on Earth,if there were never any axes in the world the first person to make an axe might call it a treebiter. This is the same except that the subject of the verb is also included in the noun. Like the object, the subject is also indefinite.

pobe tofoša "the boys and girls are chatting with each other"

This last one is different from most of the others because both nouns are animate. But the speakers generally dont know which noun was originally the agent, since the etymology is opaque and no commonly used word for "boy" or "girl" resembles the words here. Boy was originally first, but the ordering was chosen because it flowed better, not because od a difference in animacy hierarchy level. The "bears and deer" is also of this type, but context disambiguates the possible mirrored meanings. e.g. deer dont hunt bears, so there would be no need to name a place Fongomiam "place where deer hunt bears" because it doesnt exist. Thus most verbs that follow animate+animate compounds where the two words have melted together are either recriprocal verbs (".... each other" type verbs), or verbs with an external object. e.g.

pobe popabeži. means "the boys and girls talked to me", not *the boys talked to the girls or *the girls talked to the boys.

Sunàqʷa the Sea Lamprey says:

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