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zompist bboard • View topic - Basic distinctions: No word for "eat"

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:39 am 
Avisaru
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that claims the Maniq language (Austronesian) has no basic verb that translates "to eat"; rather there are several specific verbs depending on the foodstuff being consumed:

hãw (eg. rice)
kap (eg. animal flesh)
lɨk (eg. mangoes)

Something that occurs to me is that when people develop highly specific vocabularies for conlangs, they often emphasise specialised nouns rather than specialised verbs. According to this paper, though, Maniq has a preference for basic verbs with a high level of specificity.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:32 am 
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Thanks, I have to put that on my reading list.

At a quick glance it seems that the language has developed a family of classificatory verbs around the basic meaning of ingestion. That's not that different from the classificatory existentials and handling verbs that are found in many other languages. The choice of the basic verb meaning is more exotic here, but on the other hand it's not that far from the alimentary classification in possessive constructions that's found across the Oceanic family. I might think of stealing something like this for some of my conlangs.

However, the paper divides the non-human ingestion verbs according to their agents, which doesn't necessarily fit that well with the picture I described above. Prototypically verbal classification is done for the S/O argument of the verb and not the A. But even here you might think that a given animal only eats certain types of food and thus the verbs still work ultimately by O-based classification. I have to read the paper properly to say more about this.

BTW, Maniq belongs to the Aslian branch of the Austroasiatic family. Not Austronesian then, but also somehow not surprising for having semantic weirdness going on. The closely related language is famously reported to have basic vocabulary for flavours of odour.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:50 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:21 am 
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Sure, and that's easy to explain simply as a feature of the lexicon without needing to describe a deeper grammatical model. With more complicated patterns, like in Maniq, it becomes much more interesting to consider coherent models for what's happening with the word choices. Here I was musing how well the Maniq verbs could be understood as typical classificatory verbs, which in the languages that have them don't classify the agent.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:37 am 
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I wonder what they would use if they were eating, say, both rice and meat in a meal. Would they use a more generic verb to say "eat rice and meat", or would they say "eat1 rice and eat2 meat"? Kind of like how we have "eat rice and drink water" vs "consume rice and water".

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:58 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:03 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:09 am 
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In DGS, eating is represented by classificatory verbs that indicate the manner of eating - but there is also a generic "eat" used in sentences such as "What do you want to eat?"

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:49 am 
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Somewhat on point: I seem to remember a discussion about a year ago of a language or a few languages using a null root for "eat."


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:54 am 
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Is English remarkable for having verbs for eat, drink and consume?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:01 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:15 am 
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Xhosa has two words for drink: sela 'drink cool beverage' and phunga 'drink warm beverage'. IIRC Yup'ik also has this distinction. Is this more common than having multiple 'eat' distinctions?

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