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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:29 pm 
Avisaru
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Hm....I'm having some trouble fully grasping the section for polysynthesis.

This is a sentence from one of my conlangs, Ngith. What kind of incorporation would this be?

"Uden-ngeit t'ejetanevk'i".
[food-cook-PTCPLE give-IMPER-3.SG.IA-BENF-LOC]
("Give me something to cook this food in".)
(Literally, "Give me something for the purpose of food-cooking".)

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satisfaction-DEF.SG-LOC live.PERFECTIVE-1P.INCL but work-DEF.SG-PRIV satisfaction-DEF.PL.NOM weakeness-DEF.PL-DAT only lead-FUT-3P


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:46 pm 
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It's hard to say with just one example, and without knowing the full context of the statement. But it's probably either type one or type four incorporation?

A really simplified summary of the types might go like this (and of course keep in mind things are rarely quite this neat in real life, plenty of languages probably have incorporation that's somewhere in between two of the types, etc. etc. etc.):

  • Type one: The incorporated noun serves to qualify or narrow the scope of the verb, in order to derive terms describing unitary, common, significant activities ("berry-pick", "mountain-climb", etc.).

  • Type two: The noun (usually a body-part term) is incorporated so that another more topical noun in the sentence (usually the body-part's possessor) can become the subject or direct object of the verb (e.g., "my back aches" [with "my back" as the subject] > "I back-ache (=I have a backache)" [with "I" as the subject]).

  • Type three: Nouns are incorporated in order to background their referents in the discourse -- thus, in a given discourse, new information or very topical participants are often expressed with separate nouns, while old information and less-topical participants are referred to only with incorporated nouns.

  • Type four: Incorporated nouns can be used as classifiers. Often they are used along side more specific independent nouns in the same sentence; and often they are used over a stretch of discourse as the only means of referring to a given participant (e.g., "I fish-cooked the trout. Then I fish-ate. They fish-tasted-good.").

Remember also that Mithun formulates this as an implicational hierarchy: any language that has type two NI will also have type one; any language that has type three will also have types one and two; and any language that has type four will have all four types of NI.

Does that help at all?


Last edited by Whimemsz on Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Hm....Ngith has all of the first two, somewhat.

Type one:
Thļongea.
[bird-cook-1.SG]
"I cook birds."

Type two:
Warislaan.
[bad-see-1.SG-3.SG.IA]
"I see it, but badly/I can't see it very well."

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satisfaction-DEF.SG-LOC live.PERFECTIVE-1P.INCL but work-DEF.SG-PRIV satisfaction-DEF.PL.NOM weakeness-DEF.PL-DAT only lead-FUT-3P


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Your second example would still be type 1: "bad" isn't a body part and its incorporation doesn't affect what the verb's subject or object can be. Instead it is narrowing the scope of the verb to denote a particular action (seeing badly).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:05 pm 
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Oh. Well, type 2 is still possible in Ngith (I don't have enough words for it yet but saying something like [leg-break-1.SG-PASSIVE.ACT] for "My leg got broken" is perfectly acceptable in Ngith).

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satisfaction-DEF.SG-LOC live.PERFECTIVE-1P.INCL but work-DEF.SG-PRIV satisfaction-DEF.PL.NOM weakeness-DEF.PL-DAT only lead-FUT-3P


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:42 pm 
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Someone please remind me to vote for this thread in next December's awards thingy. Superb work from everyone who's contributed, but most especially Whimemsz.

Now I'm gonna have to come up with a new descriptive word for my Akat, because it's clearly not 'polysynthetic' ...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:07 am 
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ná'oolkiłí wrote:
It's significant, though, that all but one of your examples are substantivized. English is certainly very flexible with deverbal compounds, but not really so much with "NI". Consider: My cousins deer hunt all the time out in the country, He doctor recommended me a new allergy medication, Polysynthetic languages often noun incorporate and head mark. They aren't awful or uninterpretable, but they sound somewhat stilted or playful. Babysit is an interesting counterexample (or is it? When one babysits one doesn't sit babies).


One thing I might point out is that noun incorporation (in languages that use it heavily) is often used to discuss actions as a unitary event that is considered as a whole. It seems like this sense would correspond most directly to English's progressive aspect, and indeed the progressive aspect is the most natural example for considering NI in English.

Also, it seems to me that English allows verbs with incorporated nouns to take a direct object in some (rare) circumstances. Compare

The origamist is folding some paper.

He is paperfolding a crane.


How does that latter example sound to y'all?

EDIT
He doctor recommended me a new allergy medication

This seems really weird to me b/c I don't know how to break it down. "He is recommending some doctors" could incorporate to "He is doctorrecommending", I suppose, although I have a hard time seeing it. Doctors have a high agency, and it's hard to see how doctorrecommending could be a background unitary activity that you'd engage in as opposed to some other kind of recommending (lawyerrecommending?). But furthermore, it's being promoted to be a ditransitive, rather than monotransitive verb. That seems pretty weird. "Recommend" is ditransitive, but NI usually reduces the valency of the verb, unless it promotes some other element as direct object.


Last edited by Gojera on Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:16 am 
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You know, I feel like if Whim were willing to let it be used for that purpose, Zomp should copy this and include it as an appendix in the LCK 2.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:12 pm 
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Gojera wrote:
He is paperfolding a crane.

He doctor recommended me a new allergy medication

Both of those are entirely ungrammatical to me. "Doctor-recommend" can only be used as a past participle modifying some sort of medicine: "these pills are doctor-recommended." And English doesn't have classificatory NI. At least no variety of English I've ever heard or seen or heard of. There's no real nice way to ask this, but are you a native speaker?

Gojera wrote:
"He is recommending some doctors" could incorporate to "He is doctorrecommending"

Neither of those even make sense, let alone are grammatical. [Well, the first one makes sense, but not with the meaning it would need to have for the incorporated form to have the correct meaning]

I'd argue that the correct interpretation of constructions like "doctor-recommended" is that they are incorporations after passivization (as evidenced by their restriction to past participial forms with a form of "to be" preceding -- i.e., the same morphosyntax used in passivization): "doctors recommend this medicine" (active) > "this medicine is recommended by doctors" (passive, with the medicine now the subject and doctors an oblique) > "this medicine is doctor-recommended" (incorporation of the oblique).

EDIT: Wait I just realized that there's totally another way to analyze "doctor-recommended" constructions based on their form (I'm dumb), but NEVERTHELESS, my intuition certainly says they're incorporated passives. This also makes sense because it fits with the normal use of NI to incorporate backgrounded (and nonreferential/nondefinite) participants, and passivization is another way of backgrounding participants -- in both cases here, the precise identity of the doctor(s) in question is irrelevant; all that's relevant is that they're (a) doctor(s).


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:48 pm 
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Paperfolding is okay, but a little weird.

Doctorreccomending is just wrong.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:39 pm 
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8 - How Does Polysynthesis Arise?

Alright! So, we've covered a number of the basic traits that polysynthetic languages tend to have, which should hopefully help with creating your own! But, I suspect many of you are considering developing a polysynthetic conlang out of a non-poly language or conlang that you already have (or perhaps as a future descendent of some non-poly natlang). A natural question, then, is what are some pathways by which polysynthesis can develop? I'm not going to try to cover all the possibilities here, just a few of them (I'm not even sure how much research has been done in this area, to be honest), in roughly the same order as the various traits of polysynthetic languages were discussed in previous sections.


8.1 - Sidebar: Grammaticalization

Before getting into the discussion, though, it's important to know the basics of what grammaticalization is. Grammaticalization is the evolution of formerly independent words into grammatical markers -- often clitics or affixes. Roughly speaking, clitics are phonologically bound to a host word, but behave syntactically as though they were independent; for example, the English possessive suffix is a clitic, since it is phonologically part of the preceding word, but attaches to an entire noun phrase, rather than necessarily to the possessor noun, for instance: [the Queen of England NP]='s crown (where the actual possessor is the Queen, not England). Clitics are normally set off with equals signs "=" in glosses. Several things tend to happen in the process of grammaticalization: there is often irregular phonological reduction/erosion of the word/clitic/affix, and semantic bleaching, where much of the specific meaning of the original word is lost as it comes to indicate broader grammatical relationships instead.

I'll give a classic example from English to demonstrate the basic ideas involved. Originally, the expression "going to" only had one meaning: the literal sense of "being in motion toward a goal". So, "I'm going to meet with him" meant quite literally, "I'm on my way to meet him". It's easy to see, though, the connection this sense has with an intentive/future sense: if I'm on my way to meet with someone, presumably I will actually be meeting him soon in the future. So "going to" began to become grammaticalized into a marker of future tense, and now the normal interpretation of "I'm going to meet him" is the same as "I will meet him." We can see in this process semantic bleaching: "going to" no longer has a full lexical meaning in this use, but rather expresses the grammatical category of future tense. We can also see phonological reduction: in normal speech, "going to" in its future sense is rarely pronounced as two full words, but rather as something like [ɡə̆nə] or just [nə], and usually cliticizes to the preceding word. In normal speech, I'd say "I'm'na meet with him" (for me, something like [aɪmnə miʔ wɪθɨm], aɪ=m=nə miʔ wɪθ=ɨm, 1sg.SUBJ=AUX:1sg=FUT meet with=3sg.MASC.OBJ). Similar process of grammaticalization have operated many times in English (for instance the other common future form, the clitic ='ll, comes from "will", originally meaning "want to", a meaning still reflected in the corresponding noun "will") and in languages throughout the world. It is grammaticalization that can help to create new affixes, and thus greater synthesis, as we will see in the sections below.


8.2 - Polypersonal Marking

The pathway by which polypersonal marking on verbs develops is quite straightforward: through grammaticalization, independent pronouns become cliticized with the verb root and eventually become inseperable affixes, often with some phonological reduction from their earlier form.

Various Romance languages actually offer good examples of this. Most Romance languages continue the Latin system of already marking the subject with an inflection on the verb (recall the Spanish examples above: hablo, "I speak"; hablas, "you speak", etc.). However, Romance languages also mark objects on the verb as well, using pronominal clitics, though the placement of these clitics varies from language to language and depending on the exact situation. Some examples (again from Spanish) can help demonstrate this:

  • no me lo digas, "don't tell me that" (more accurately: no me=lo=dig-as, don't to.me=it.OBJ-say:SUBJUNCTIVE-you.SUBJ). Here, the subject is marked with a verb suffix (-as), as usual in Romance, and both the direct object (me=, "me") and indirect object (lo=, "it, that") are indicated with clitics that are attached to the beginning of the verb.

  • ayer la vi, "I saw her yesterday" (more accurately: ayer la=vi, yesterday her=I:saw). Here again, the verb is inflected to mark the subject, and the direct object (la=, "her") is marked with a clitic preposed to the verb.

  • melo, "give it to me" (more accurately: dá=me=lo, give:2sg.SUBJ.IMPERATIVE=to.me=it.OBJ). Once again the verb inflects to mark its subject, and the object(s) are marked with clitics, though in this case they follow the verb (and by Spanish spelling convention, are written as one word).

In fact, in a number of Spanish dialects these clitics are well on the way to being obligatory person markers, in that they often cooccur with a coreferent full NP, as in colloquial San Salvadoran Spanish:[NOTE 1]

  • ya los leí los libros.
    "I already read those books" (or more literally, "I already read-those those books")
    (ya los=leí los libros, already them.MASC=I:read the.MASC.PL books)

Note that these object pronouns are reduced versions of the full pronouns of Latin: thus, lo for example is from Latin illum, "that", which has irregularly lost its initial vowel in the process of gramaticalization into an unstressed clitic. Note also that unlike in Latin, these Romance object clitic pronouns cannot freely occur in many different positions. Instead, there are a limited number of places within the clause where they can occur (generally either directly before or directly following the verb): this is another indication that they have become grammaticalized and are no longer completely independent pronouns, but rather are partly on the way to becoming verbal affixes marking person. Many Romance languages, thus, are a good demonstration of the beginning stages of the creation of polypersonal marking.

In fact, one Romance language is well known for having already developed true polypersonal marking, and is sometimes called "polysynthetic": French. In its evolution from Latin, French has undergone a number of phonological reductions, which have ultimately resulted in the French verb no longer effectively inflecting to mark the person of its subject, as other Romance languages are capable of (see here for an overview of some of these changes). As a result, French makes much more frequent use of personal pronouns than other Romance languages -- but in unmarked contexts these "pronouns", in fact, have become fused to the verb, both phonologically and morphosyntactically. Though they are still (sometimes) written as separate pronouns in the standard orthography, there are arguments for considering them true verbal affixes marking person.

Take the French sentence, je vais le lui donner, "I'm going to give it to him/her". Though written as several separate words, this is phonologically a single word, [ʒvɛləlɥidɔne]. There are also syntactic criteria for considering this a single word, though I'm not going to get into them here -- if you're curious, see this PDF for a number of arguments in favor of considering sentences like this as a single grammatical word in French).[NOTE 2] The point here, though, is not to prove whether spoken French should be considered "polysynthetic"; the point is that this provides an example of how polypersonal marking could arise, whether or not French's pronominal verbal markers are clitics or true affixes.


8.3 - Noun Incorporation

Marianne Mithun, in the same article proposing a typology of NI (which I used as a significant source in the section on noun incorporation above), discusses pathways by which the process of NI can develop. At its most basic level, of course, NI is simply a compound composed of a noun root + a verb root, and thus the development of NI is in many ways as simple as a language coming to permit noun-verb compounds as a productive process. Nonetheless, I'll note here a few ways in which some of the other common characteristics of NI can develop, and some examples of languages at various stages of developing productive NI.

Firstly, Mithun notes a common tendency, in many languages, for verbs "to coalesce with indefinite direct objects," and provides several Hungarian examples, "in which the referentiality and definiteness of the object affect the form of the predicate":

  • Péter olvassa az újságot = "Peter is reading the newspaper"
    (Peter reads-OBJ the newspaper)
    (object is both referential and definite; object follows the verb and the verb is marked with the definite transitivity suffix -sa)

  • Péter olvas egy újságot = "Peter is reading a [specific] newspaper"
    (Peter reads a newspaper)
    (object is referential but indefinite; no definite transitivity suffix appears on the verb)

  • Péter újságot olvas = "Peter is reading a newspaper, Peter is newspaper-reading"
    (Peter newspaper reads)
    (object is nonreferential and indefinite; object precedes the verb and verb shows no definite transitivity suffix)

It's quite easy to see that we're well on the way here to true noun incorporation. When the object of a verb is not a clear, definite, referential object, but is rather indefinite and nonreferential (and thus serving more as a modifier of the verb, rather than an independent participant), it is more closely connected syntactically with the verb, which itself now lacks transitive marking. All that is needed to develop full NI is for such constructions to become lexicalized and to cease being merely a marker of definiteness.

Lahu, a Tibeto-Burman language, takes this a bit further. While the noun and verb remain distinct phonological words, in instances of "incorporation", the two are more closely tied syntactically, and have a difference in meaning from unincorporated examples. For instance, compare the following two examples:

  • jɨ̀ thà’ dɔ̀ = "to drink (the) liquor" (="to drink the liquor in question, e.g., as opposed to something else")
    (liquor OBJ drink)

  • jɨ̀ dɔ̀ = "to drink liquor" (="to drink liquor in general")
    (liquor drink)

Again, these remain two separate words, but we can see here that in the "incorporated" second example, the liquor is no longer marked as a direct object of the verb, but simply is acting to "qualify the type of drinking involved." Apparently, children are reinterpreting such structures as unitary syntactic words; for example, while adults normally place the negative particle immediately before the verb (as in the first example below), children sometimes treat the noun-verb compound as a unity verb and place the negative particle before the entire complex, as in the second example below:

  • ni-ma mâ hā = "I'm not sad"
    (heart not wretched)

  • mâ ni-ma hā
    (not heart wretched)

A similar case can be seen in some languages in Oceania. Take the following examples from Mokilese:

  • ngoah kohkoa oaring-kai = "I am grinding these coconuts"
    (I grind cocount-these)

  • ngoah ko oaring = "I am coconut-grinding"
    (I grind coconut)

Note that while the verb and its "incorporated" object are still separate phonological words, in the incorporation manifest in the second example here, the verb and noun are syntactically bound to one another, and behave as a single unit. In Oceanic languages with this sort of incorporation, furthermore, the verbs involved generally behave as though they are intransitive (recall that incorporation is generally a valence-reducing operation). The following example from Tongan can illustrate this well, because Tongan is an ergative language: that is, the subject of transitive verbs (the ergative participant) is marked differently from both the subject of intransitive verbs and the object of transitive verbs (both of which are marked the same as one another, as the absolutive participant):

  • na‘e inu ‘a e kavá ‘é Sione = "John drank the kava"
    (PAST drink ABS CONN kava ERG John)

  • na‘e inu kava ‘a Sione = "John drank kava, John kava-drank"
    (PAST drink kava ABS John)

Note how in the first sentence (without incorporation), the kava is marked as the absolutive (here, the object of a transitive verb) with the preceding particle ʻa, and John is marked as the subject of a transitive verb with the preceding ergative particle ʻé. In the second sentence (with syntactic, though not phonological, incorporation), John is now marked with the absolutive particle, and the kava is unmarked, thus indicating that the verb is now intransitive, with John -- now the subject of an intransitive rather than a transitive verb -- marked as absolutive.

Thus, we can see here several steps in the development of NI, from independent direct objects coalescing with a verb when they are indefinite and nonreferential, to such nouns ceasing to be verbal arguments at all, and becoming qualifiers of the verb. From here, we simply need phonological fusion of the verb and noun to have "classic" compounding and NI, of the kind described in section 4 above.


8.4 - Other Affixes

I'll have a bit less to say on this topic. Partly this is because of the wide variety of things that fall under the umbrella of "other affixes." But this is also because the origin of such "other affixes" are often very straightforward. In cases where there is evidence on their origin, they are normally derived from older compounding: either noun-verb compounds (incorporation), or verb-verb compounds. I'll provide a few examples here, focusing especially on the languages exemplified in section 5 above, and with the goal of simply providing a demonstration of some of the many possibilities open to you via the grammaticalization of older compounds.

Instrumental affixes in Numic. These were not discussed in section 5, but they are parallel to many of the sorts of affixes that were discussed there. In many cases, the reconstructed Proto-Numic instrumental affixes have clear similarities to reconstructed Proto-Numic (PN) or Proto-Uto-Aztecan (PUA) independent noun or verb roots (NB: I don't know how current some of these reconstructions are, and they don't mark any of the geminating, spirantizing, etc. characteristics of Numic morphemes):
  • *ma-, "with the hand" (cf. PUA *mai, PN *moʔo, "hand")
  • *ca-, "with the hand, grasping" (cf. PN *caʔi, "grasp")
  • *ta-, "with the foot" (cf. PUA *tannah, "foot")
  • *kɨ-, "with the teeth" (cf. PUA *kɨʔi, "bite")
  • *mu-, "with the nose" (cf. PUA/PN *mupi, "nose")
  • *co-, "with the head, shoulder" (cf. PUA *cohŋi, "head, shoulder")
  • *ko-, "top, face" (cf. PN *koba-i, "face")
  • *su-, "with mental activity" (cf. PUA *sunna, "heart", *suuwa, "believe")
  • *pi-, "buttocks, back" (cf. PUA *pih, "back")
  • *ku-, "with heat" (cf. PUA *kuh, "fire")
  • *sɨ-, "with cold" (cf. PUA *sup, "cold")
  • *ta-, "with sun" (cf. PN *taba, "sun")
  • *wɨ-, "with long object/with force" (cf. (PUA? PN?) *wɨ, "penis")
  • *ci-, "with the point of a long object" (cf. (PUA? PN?) *ci-a, "rose")

Yup'ik Postbases (see section 5.3). Most postbases have no known connection to corresponding roots with similar meaning. However, there are a few postbases where the etymology seems clear, and the ultimate origin of most of the root-postbase combinations seems clearly to be from old compounds. A few postbases with identifiable sources are:
  • -tur = "to eat, to use" (cf. atur-, "to use")
  • -carte = "to hit in the (body part)" (cf. qacarte-, "to hit or slap with the hand")
  • -ngirte = "injured, be injured in the (body part)" (cf. akngirte-, "to hurt, get hurt")

Lexical Affixes (see section 5.4). Although most of the lexical suffixes in Northwest Coast languages have no obvious cognates in independent roots, there are several which do, and which indicate that root+lexical suffix combinations originated in compounds. The examples below are from Spokane, a Salishan language (this presentation glosses over the complex specifics of how exactly the lexical affixes are derived from independent roots; essentially, roots that became lexical suffixes lost their initial consonant, and both roots and/or suffixes could sometimes be reanalyzed as containing a connective affix -ł- used in compounds, or the nominalizer s-):
  • -eneʔ, "ear, surface" (cf. t̓éneʔ, "ear")
  • -úlixʷ, "ground, dirt, earth" (cf. st̓úlixʷ, "ibid.")
  • -elixʷ, "person" (cf. sqélixʷ, "ibid.")
  • -ic̓eʔ, "skin, hide" (cf. síc̓-m, "blanket" (with -m, middle voice))
  • -łčey̓, "urine" (cf. tčéy̓, "to urinate")
  • -łq̓ey̓t, "shoulder" (cf. łáq̓-t, "it is wide" (with -t, durative))
  • -ey̓, "sickness" (cf. wéyt, "he's sick" (with -t, durative))
  • -ewł, "conveyance, boat" (cf. séwłkł [sic?], "water")
  • -eslk̓ʷ, "wood" (cf. luk̓ʷ, "stick of wood")
  • -asq̓l̓, "roaster" (cf. q̓ʷl, "to roast")
  • -esšn̓, "knobbed object, rounded object, berry, fruit, rock, forehead" (cf. šsén̓s, "stone")
  • -epł, "buttock" (cf. , "thick")
  • -cin, "mouth, food, words, language, edge, shore" (cf. cn, "to hum, speak softly") (?)

Koasati (see section 5.5). The origins of a number of the Koasati verbal affixes I described can be determined. I'll discuss them in the order in which they were presented in section 5.5.

  • The indefinite prefix aat-, "someone" (slot 9) is connected to the independent noun ááti, "person". As far as I can tell, its use as an indefinite prefix began with a form of incorporation (person-[verb], meaning "[to verb] someone/people"), a process that can be easily seen in this prefix's use in nominalizations: aatasíhka, "policeman" (lit., "person-tier", from asíhkan, "to tie up"); atholló, "witch" (lit., "person-dangerous", from hollon, "to be dangerous"); aatistahoobachilká, "camera" (lit., "people-photographer", from stahobaachin, "to photograph").

  • The directional and instrumental prefixes of slots 7 and 8 have their origin in earlier free verbs used in clause chains. The final -t- of all of these prefixes, in fact, was at one point the same-subject marker (Muskogean languages have a switch reference system, where, basically, verb suffixes identify whether the follow verb has the same subject or a different subject from the verb to which the suffix is appended). So, for example, the origin of the general instrumental prefix (i)s(t)- is in Proto-Muskogean constructions involving the verb *isi, "to take", e.g., *isi-t aya-n (= "take and go") > stááyan (= "to carry (i.e., to go with something)"). The directionals have similar origins: oht- "go and..." is from Proto-Muskogean *oNa-t..., "arrive there and..." (with *oNa, "reach"); iit- "come and..." is from Proto-Muskogean *ila-t..., "arrive here and..." (with *ila, "come").

  • The distributive and iterative prefixes (slot 6) seem to date back to the Proto-Muskogean plural/impersonal proclitic *oho=.

  • A number of the specific locative prefixes (slot 3) can be seen to derive from older incorporated noun roots:
    • itta-, "action on the ground or in fire" may be connected to the Mikasuki noun i:ti, "fire."
    • oo(w)-, "action in water" is connected to the independent noun okí, "water."
    • paa-, "action on a raised, artificial, or non-ground surface" is connected to the postposition páána, "on top of."
    • ibii-, "action on the human face" seems to be related to the nouns ibitáála, "face"; ibisááni, "nose"; and ibithkaní, "nasal mucous."
    • ichoo-, "action on the mouth" I presume is derived from the Proto-Muskogean noun *i-¢okV, "mouth."
    • nok-, "action on the human throat" is from the Proto-Muskogean noun *nok-, "neck, throat"

  • Many of the adverbial suffixes (slot 1) can be derived from formerly free words that were at some point incorporated into the verb. Thus, for instance, aahoosi-, "very", is cognate with Choctaw ahosi, "most, almost, near, nearly"; and Chickasaw ao’si, "almost."

  • The ability suffix (slot 5) -halpiisa probably derives from an earlier clause chain construction, as with the instrumental and directional prefixes. The chain would have consisted of the main verb, with the suffix -h, a subordinating connector, followed by a verb related to the modern verb stalpíísan, "to be enough" (this form has the instrumental prefix st-, so the original verb would have been alpíísan).


-------------------------- NOTES ---------------------------

1) Thanks to Serafín for this example and for bringing this phenomenon to my attention!

2) Unfortunately, I don't speak any French, so I can't really evaluate the claims there. Also unfortunately, there's several obvious errors in the phonetic transcriptions there, but hopefully that's not a sign of general sloppiness in analysis...


Last edited by Whimemsz on Tue May 15, 2012 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:40 pm 
Avisaru
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9 - Where To Go From Here

So, we've covered the basics of polysynthesis: what it is, some of the many types of meaning and relations that can be marked on the verb in such languages, some ways in which polysynthetic traits can develop. But where to go from here in developing your own polysynthetic language or in learning more about them? From personal experience I can tell you that the most effective thing is to learn a polysynthetic language. This takes a tremendous level of dedication and patience, so it's certainly not for everyone, but it can provide you with so much more insight into some of the myriad possibilities open to you than reading a summary ever could. On the other hand, just reading grammars or grammatical sketches of polysynthetic languages will undoubtedly be very helpful.

There's been a good deal written about polysynthesis, and I've skipped over a lot of it here (and of course, I haven't read all of it!). In particular, I've really glossed over much of the theoretical stuff involved, partly because I don't understand all of it myself, and partly because I was trying to keep this introduction as basic as I could, with the hope that it would be as accessible as realistically possible. I'd love to hear from some of our more theory-knowledgeable and oriented members on the topic. In the meantime, the most significant theoretical work is Mark Baker's book The Polysynthesis Parameter, written in a Principles and Parameters framework, although I haven't read it, and many other linguists have disagreed with Baker's conclusions. There have also been some good typologically-oriented but less theoretical approaches to aspects of polysynthesis. I'd especially recommend two works by Marianne Mithun: her 1984 article on noun incorporation and the book Languages of Native North America (see the references section below).


10 - Sources

*Tariana examples:
Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2006). Evidentiality. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

*Warlpiri example:
Austin, Peter and Joan Bresnan (1996). "Non-Configurationality in Australian Aboriginal Languages." Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 14(2): 215-268.

*Wambaya example:
Bender, Emily M. (2008). "Radical Non-Configurationality Without Shuffle Operators: An Analysis of Wambaya". Proceedings of the HPSG08 Conference, NICT, Keihanna, Japan.

*Spokane examples:
Carlson, Barry F. (1990). "Compounding and Lexical Affixation in Spokane". Anthropological Linguistics 32(1/2): 69-82

*Abkhaz example:
Cysouw, Michael (1998). "Syntagmatical Variation in the World's Pronominal Systems". In: Heleen Strating & Jorn Veenstra (eds.). Proceedings CLS Opening Academic Year '98/'99. Tilburg: Center for Language Studies, 27-50.

*Most Nuuchahnulth examples:
Davidson, Matthew (2002). Studies in Southern Wakashan (Nootkan) Grammar. Ph.D. dissertation, SUNY Buffalo.

*Baniwa of Içana, Dekwana, Cuiba, and Yanomami examples:
Dixon, R. M. W. and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, eds. (1999). The Amazonian Languages. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.

*West Greenlandic and Bininj Gun-wok examples:
Evans, Nicholas and Hans-Jürgen Sasse, eds. (2002). Problems of Polysynthesis. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

*Some Yup'ik examples and the Seneca examples:
Goddard, Ives, ed. (1996). Languages. Vol. 17 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

*Muskogean reconstructions and the Caddo example:
Hardy, Heather K. and Janine Scancarelli, eds. (2005). Native Languages of the Southeastern United States. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

*Koasati examples:
Kimball, Geoffrey D. (1991). Koasati Grammar. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press

*Noun incorporation discussion and examples:
Mithun, Marianne (1984). "The Evolution of Noun Incorporation." Language 60(4): 847-894

*Some Yup'ik examples, one Nuuchahnulth example, and the Acoma Keresan, Lake Miwok, and Numic examples:
Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

*Some Ojibwe examples (the remaining Ojibwe examples are from my personal background knowledge):
Valentine, J. Randolph (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


Last edited by Whimemsz on Tue May 15, 2012 4:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:41 pm 
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woooooooooooooooooooo





FINAfuckingly.

god



never doing this again you guys


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:42 am 
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This. Is. Awesome.

You have inspired me to make one of my languages polysynthetic.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:32 am 
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Whimemsz wrote:
Gojera wrote:
He is paperfolding a crane.

He doctor recommended me a new allergy medication

Both of those are entirely ungrammatical to me. "Doctor-recommend" can only be used as a past participle modifying some sort of medicine: "these pills are doctor-recommended." And English doesn't have classificatory NI. At least no variety of English I've ever heard or seen or heard of. There's no real nice way to ask this, but are you a native speaker?


That "doctor-recommended" sounded weird and nonsensical to me was the whole reason for pointing it out. That's not something I said, it's something I'm disputing. Saying "a doctor-recommended medicine" makes sense, but I just don't see how you promote that to be a ditransitive verb. As I said, I don't see how you could break "doctor recommended me a new allergy medication" down; at least into something that makes any sense. Whereas They deer hunt or These languages noun incorporate may sound stilted and strange, but at least make some basic sense.

"Paperfolding" is an established compound in English, in origami circles, usually as a noun synonymous with "origami". It's a calque, sure. Googling around for some examples, it certainly appears to be the case that "paperfolding" followed by an article is very rare. But here's an example: Make connections between literature, data collection, and geometry by paperfolding a jumping frog,

If He was paperfolding a crane sounds ungrammatical to you, that's fine; that's basically the question I was asking. What about: She's babysitting Jill for us tonight.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:22 am 
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ROCK'N'ROLL! *standing ovation*

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:58 am 
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O ja. I don't know how many thousands of words all of that is, but it's a lot! That was a ton of work to put this together for us, and it's a huge contribution to us, and to the forum. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:52 pm 
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According to your part on NI, a lot of my conlangs could be on the way to productive NI if I did diachronics.

Many of my conlangs allow stacking noun/adjectives/other verbs onto a verb to create a new one. A few examples:

Cryset: Abvuchen ("to graze/scrape"[friction-hit])

Pazmat: Sceptconya ("to have an epiphany/finally gain true understanding of something", from "Sceptya (to realize)" and "Conya (to think)")

Would this be analyzed as NI or something else entirely? This compounding is productive in both ofthe above conlangs.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Read up more on noun incorporation.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Chagen wrote:
According to your part on NI, a lot of my conlangs could be on the way to productive NI if I did diachronics.

Many of my conlangs allow stacking noun/adjectives/other verbs onto a verb to create a new one. A few examples:

Cryset: Abvuchen ("to graze/scrape"[friction-hit])

Pazmat: Sceptconya ("to have an epiphany/finally gain true understanding of something", from "Sceptya (to realize)" and "Conya (to think)")

Would this be analyzed as NI or something else entirely? This compounding is productive in both ofthe above conlangs.


No, since you have clearly misunderstood NI. It is not a diachronic process, it is an active, on-the-fly process. What you have is simple compounding, nothing more.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:26 pm 
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1. I haven't said it yet, but this thread is brilliant.
2. I don't think anyone should be posting about their conlangs here, unless they are accomplished polylangers who really know their shit like Vohp Himself.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:39 pm 
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YAY! I'm very glad to see this completed. Congratulations, Whim, you've likely won a ZBB award already!

cromulant wrote:
2. I don't think anyone should be posting about their conlangs here, unless they are accomplished polylangers who really know their shit like Vohp Himself.

We should make a distinction with that:
- It should be perfectly appropriate in a thread like this for people to ask questions pertaining to their own works for the purpose of gaining understanding, as the answers may be educational for others too.
- Whereas we have two whole forums for self-promotion of conlangs already, so cluttering this thread with that would be inappropriate.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:39 pm 
Lebom
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Chagen wrote:
Pazmat: Sceptconya ("to have an epiphany/finally gain true understanding of something", from "Sceptya (to realize)" and "Conya (to think)")


This isn't noun incorporation. NI is a kind of noun-verb compound in which a noun that is the patient, location, or instrument of a verb becomes incorporated into it.

What you have there in Pazmat is a verb-verb compound, a compound verb. Which is fine! Mithun points out that different languages allow compounds differently; she says Tuscarora only allows noun-verb compouns.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:26 pm 
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What other polylangs have case? You mentioned several of California and the Plateau region, and I know the Eskaleut languages have case (certainly the Yupik and Inuit branches, and whatever the hell Aleut has that looks like case). Anywhere else?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:55 pm 
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I have two examples in Japanese, is the latter noun incorporation? It wouldn't be polysynthetic, I'm just trying to learn more about NI.

目が覚める me ga sameru (to open the eyes, to awaken)
目覚める mezameru (to eye-open, to awaken) [this has dakuten sound changes]

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