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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 
Sanno
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Dewrad wrote:
What form of the verb is used as a complement of another verb, as in sentences like the following:

John wants to eat.

Buruya Nzaysa does not inflect its content verbs, conjugating a mandatory auxiliary instead. (One could possibly even get away with saying that all content verbs are used only as complements.) Since the language has an optative auxiliary, the easiest way to render the above sentence is actually the default pattern for any intransitive sentence with an overt subject:

Ɛ’iyə Yona tul.
OPT.AUX-3SG John eat
John wants to eat.

It's also possible to use a full complement clause, which is subordinated with the conjunction ri (NOM) / (ACC). The subclause fills the object slot, triggering transitive agreement on the aux. Complement clauses are not syntactically different from main clauses, which means that they must have a fully conjugated auxiliary of their own. Overt complement clauses with a content verb meaning 'want' are fairly rare; they are used mostly for emphasis, and also to indicate distinctions of tense or aspect that are not possible to express while using a finite optative auxiliary. Complement clauses subordinated to other verbs, such as 'say', are much more common.

Sa Yona uysa rɛ sə tul.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John want SUB.ACC NULL.AUX-3SG eat
John does want to eat. (lit. John does want it that he eats.)

Note that the subject of the subclause, which is the same as that of the main clause, is omitted. Like the literal translation into English, the result is ambiguous because it could also refer to a different subject, although in the latter case a deictic determiner would normally be added for clarity.

Quote:
Does your language use the same structure when the second verb itself takes arguments?

John wants to eat the cake.

As there's no real difference between main clauses and complement clauses, both of the above constructions can easily take additional arguments:

Ɛ’iya Yona ɔ miga tul.
OPT.AUX-3SG>3 John INDEF.ACC bread eat
John wants to eat bread.

Sa Yona uysa rɛ sa ɔ miga tul.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John want SUB.ACC NULL.AUX-3SG>3 INDEF.ACC bread eat
John does want to eat bread.

Quote:
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.

This one is only possible with a complement clause, because the optative auxiliary can express volition only on the part of the subject of the content verb in the main clause.

Sa Yona uysa rɛ sa Matən lu miga tul.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John want SUB.ACC NULL.AUX-3SG>3 Martin DEF.ACC bread eat
John wants that Martin eats bread.

Quote:
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?

If John is requesting Martin to go (rather than asking for his intentions), Martin is the subject of "to go", and this can be expressed as a complement clause:

Na Yona mevu rɛ sə ogo Matən noñə.
PFV.AUX-3SG>3 John request SUB.ACC NULL.AUX-3SG early Martin leave
John requested that Martin would leave early.


If John and Martin go together, you can use this structure with both the verbs "to ask" and "to request":

Na Yona mevu rɛ nah ogo Matən o xə kwə noñə.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John request SUB.ACC NULL.AUX-3PL early Martin and this.NOM with.3 leave
John requested that Martin and him would leave early.

Na Yona kənu rɛ nah ogo Matən o xə kwə noñə.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John ask SUB.ACC NULL.AUX-3PL early Martin and this.NOM with.3 leave
John asked that Martin and him might leave early.


If John is the only subject of "to go", things get more complicated because of the different argument structure of the two verbs. With "to request", you can still use a complement clause, because the addressee is expressed as a prepositional phrase. Note however that the resulting sentence is again ambiguous as to who is the subject of the subclause, although same-subject coordination is treated as the default reading if no demonstrative is present.

Na Yona u Matən mevu rɛ olə ogo noñə.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John of.3 Martin request SUB.ACC OBL.AUX-3SG early leave
John₁ requested of Martin₂ that he₁ should leave early. (also grammatical as John₁ requested of Martin₂ that he₂ should leave early, but that reading would presuppose Martin having been established as a sentence topic earlier)

Na Yona u Matən mevu rɛ olə ogo tse noñə.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John of.3 Martin request SUB.ACC OBL.AUX-3SG early that.NOM leave
John₁ requested of Martin₂ that he₂ should leave early.


However, with "to ask", you can't use a complement clause here because Martin is now the direct object, and the content of the question must be expressed adverbially, using the conjunction ni and a conditional auxiliary. The sentence structure remains parallel though, and the same type of ambiguity occurs.

Na Yona Matən kənu ni pɔ’ɔwə ogo noñə.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John Martin ask if COND.AUX-3SG early leave
John₁ asked Martin₂ whether he₁ might leave early. (also grammatical as John₁ asked Martin₂ whether he₂ might leave early, but that reading would presuppose Martin having been established as a sentence topic earlier)

Na Yona Matən kənu ni pɔ’ɔwə ogo tse noñə.
NULL.AUX-3SG>3 John Martin ask if COND.AUX-3SG early that.NOM leave
John₁ asked Martin₂ whether he₂ might leave early.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:10 pm 
Avisaru
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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 
Avisaru
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Quote:
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?

In Imuthan this is handled: [want _ [to-eat John]]. The verb want is finite and the head of the sentence, John is moved into the complement clause, headed by an infinitive:
wed osei Gjon
In these cases, wedei 'to want' is taken as inherently passive.
Quote:
John wants to eat the cake.

Is the same, except with an added patient within the infinitive clause:
wed osei Gjon ê'kuba
Quote:
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.

Yes, but here the verb wed must be marked as active and Gjon appears in the main clause:
wedôņ Gjon osei Martin ê'kuba
[want-ACT John-NOM [eat-INF.NOM Martin-NOM DEF.ART=kuba]

Quote:
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?

Like explained above, Gjon is deleted from the main clause and moved into the complement clause, so he's not overtly marked in both.

Quote:
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?

This I've never actually thought about.

Well. I'll figure it out here and now.

The verb 'to ask' is êŗi. It takes three arguments, agent <nominative>, patient (what's being asked) <nominative>, recipient <dative>. Right. Looking at it in front of me, it would do the same thing as want above: êŗi is made passive, êjjai, then Gjon is moved into the complement clause:

êjjai danei Gjon e-gjo Martinû
|ask-PASS _ [go-INF.NOM John-NOM start-near]] Martin-DAT

The Imuthan passive is not really used for patient topicalisation, as agent movement or omission due to repetition. Some verbs are inherently passive such as wedei, and need to be marked for active. Some are inherently active, such as êŗi and need to be marked for passive.

Nope, not right. I'll have to give this more thought.

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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 
Smeric
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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 
Avisaru
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Dewrad wrote:
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?

I'd never realized this was ambiguous in English. I always figured it was the same as in Swedish, where Martin is the only possible subject of "to go". To make John the subject, you'd have to use få gå 'be allowed to go'.

/off topic, sorry

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:01 am 
Lebom
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Ulrike Meinhof wrote:
Dewrad wrote:
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?

I'd never realized this was ambiguous in English. I always figured it was the same as in Swedish, where Martin is the only possible subject of "to go". To make John the subject, you'd have to use få gå 'be allowed to go'.

/off topic, sorry

For me, I'd assume Martin was the one going unless context suggested otherwise. If it's understood that Martin is John's boss, I would certainly read "John asked Martin to go early" as John asking for permission to go, though it wouldn't be my first choice of ways to express that. I would find it most natural to say, "John asked Martin if he could go early" -- which, in fact, is also ambiguous! It could also mean that John is the boss and is asking his employee Martin whether he'd mind leaving early. But for me it leans more toward John being the one going.

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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 
Avisaru
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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 
Lebom
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Victot li Rhák has a non-finite verb form, but I think maybe it's more of a gerund. But it's not used much anyway, and not here.

Quote:
John wants to eat.
...
John wants to eat the cake.

These use a sort of serial verb construction:

John lóm máshr xaper.
John AUX want.3PA eat.3PA
"John wants eats"

An object can be added easily enough, since máshr xaper basically acts like a compound verb:

John lóm máshr xaper kék.
John AUX want.3PA eat.3PA cake
"John wants eats cake"

This is probably a reduction of a full complement clause -- John lóm máshr bang (lóm/cóm) xaper "John wants that he eats" -- which is required for the next sentence:

Quote:
John wants Martin to eat the cake.

John lóm máshr bang Martin (cóm) xaper kék.
John AUX want.3PA COMP Martin (AUX.COND) eat.3PA cake
"John wants that Martin (would) eat the cake"

The infinitive would, I think, be used for an impersonal sense:

John lóm máshr xapeic kék
John AUX want.3PA eat.INF cake
"John wants eating the cake / John wants the cake (to be) eaten" (but he doesn't care who does it)

An infinitive can't be used in the next sentence, since it can't take a subject. So you use the same structure as "John wants Martin to eat the cake".

Quote:
John asked Martin to go early.

Martin is the subject of "go":
John lódenam cakr bang Martin cóm xet ridr
John AUX.PERF ask.3PA COMP Martin AUX.COND early go.3PA
"John asked that Martin (would) go early"

John is the subject of "go":
John lódenam cakr ma Martin bang (lle) cóm xet ridr
John AUX.PERF ask.3PA of/from Martin COMP (REFL) AUX.COND early go.3PA
"John asked of Martin that (himself) would go early"

This is, incidentally, similar to eodrakken's alternative "John asked Martin if he could go early" (which I think I would use myself). Like the English version it's technically ambiguous, but I think this would be the normal interpretation (partly for pragmatic reasons and partly because you'd use the first sentence if "Martin" were the subject of "go"), and the reflexive pronoun can be used to make clear that "John" is the subject of "go".

An infinitive could be used if John is the subject, but "Martin" would have to be demoted to an oblique, or omitted altogether. And as before, this creates an impersonal sense.

John lódenam bocr xet ridic (ma Martin)
John AUX.PERF ask.3PA early go.INF (from Martin)
"John asked for early going (from Martin)"
or "John asked for early dismissal"
(Note also different verb for "ask" when the object is a noun phrase)

Such constructions would likely be used in more formal situations, and for avoidance / distancing, similar to passives: "Someone asked to go early" / "It was asked (by John) whether one could go early".

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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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Dewrad wrote:
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?


This might be a dialect thing, or just a personal thing, but as far as my usage and interpretation is concerned, that's quite clearly and unambiguously with Martin as the intended subject of "go". If John was meant as the subject, as I see it, it would have to be "John asked Martin if he could go early" (which is indeed potentially ambiguous).

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:01 am 
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High Eolic has no direct verbal complements (modality is handled through TAM markings + possibly addition of oblique nominal arguments - 'I wish to' is rendered as 'my-wish-SOC', etc.). Proper full clause complements can be added with the conjunctions nget or lecá, taking up the object valence slot of the matrix verb. The verb in the complement must be in the POTENTIAL mode (the most irrealis one available). Only verbs of seeing, utterance, and cognition may normally take such complements. Using an example copied from my Grammar of High Eolic (PDF here):

ca ngúrn-am nget már rassá marc-es
I see.PERF-TRANS COM he/she become.POT tall-ESS
“I saw that he/she had grown.” (= “I saw that he/she became tall”)

Quote:
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?


Normally, just the matrix clause, although:

Quote:
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?


I'm guessing that one could distinguish between the two possibilities using topic-focus contrasts. Consider the following two sentences:

1) már sind-am mác nget már ndungá-cá-m ma-ndarend-al-ut
he/she ask.PERF-TRANS he/she.BEN COM he/she find-POT-TRANS his/her-sword-ACC-DEF

2) már sind-am mác nget ndungá-cá-m ma-ndarend-al-ut
he/she ask.PERF-TRANS he/she.BEN COM find-POT-TRANS his/her-sword-ACC-DEF

(“He/she asked him/her whether he/she had found his/her sword [yet].”)

Given that topicalized arguments are more likely to be pro-dropped, and that pre-verbal arguments are more likely to be topicalized, sentence (1) above would imply that it was the benefactive object of the matrix clause doing the potential finding, whereas sentence (2) would imply that it was the subject of the matrix clause doing so. QED.

Of course, two caveats... there is no way of distinguishing whose sword had to be found (since playing around with different ways of expressing possession does not have pragmatic implications, just internal description of the possessor-possessee relationship); and, second, if the matrix clause has any other topicalization strategy present, this of course affects the interpretation for the complement clause as well. So if for instance you focus the subject of the matrix clause through left-dislocation (e.g. Andárut már sindam mác nget... ('Andárut, he asked him whether...')), the interpretations of the above sentences would be exactly reversed.

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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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