Archive for February, 2017


Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
A. kuje=A=O A twist, turn O
B. kuje=S S twist, turn

Kuje is derived from an older form of the word kuwu ‘hand’ and the obsolete particle ye ‘out’.

As a simple intransitive, kuje means ‘twist, turn’ where the subject is the person or thing twisting or turning. Kuje can also be used to describe braiding (twisting together) and other activities done with long strands of something. Weaving can also be described with kuje (though kuje-kullo is the usual verb, but I haven’t covered kullo yet.). If one is creating something with all this twisting, the thing being created is generally the object and the material being twisted can be in a peripheral phrase marked with pe. One can also make the material the object and thing created can be in a peripheral phrase marked with du.

Sentences with kuje.

Tomorrow: kutta.

Dairwueh: A Subject and Object Preposition

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
Dairwueh also has prepositions marking the subject, object and the indirect object, although these prepositions are very optional. They serve a few roles, however, and are mandatory when the conditions for some of these roles are fulfilled:
  • enabling preprepositional arguments for subjects, objects and indirect objects
  • intensification of the verb (optional)
  • topicalization (optional for fronted objects)
  • gerund formation for whenever the gerunds are subjects or objects
  • a variety of things with regards to transitivity-changing operations
    • introduces direct objects with normally intransitive verbs
    • introduces datives for verbs that normally do not take them
  • marking resumptive pronouns that are objects (mandatory)
The subject preposition ne cannot take genitive subjects in most dialects, but does tend to imply definiteness - and is also the main way of marking definiteness for intransitive subjects. The object preposition ne takes whichever case the direct object of the verb takes, and thus is one of the few prepositions to take many different cases. Obviously, the prepositions for subjects and objects are identical except for the case they take. The indirect object preposition ser takes the dative.

Preprepositional arguments of subjects and objects serve certain roles:

For subjects, it represents the role a subject is or is imagined to be in:

goodis3sg I
as a farmerArmusgoodis
as a farmer, Armus is good
For objects, it represents, likewise, the role an object is in; there can be a causal relation - I ate something because it was food. I gave someone something because it was their inheritance. For indirect objects, ne can also be used for causal relations: I gave someone something because he was a cleric. ser does not permit causal relations: the preprepositional marks the use for which a direct object was given the indirect object. Notably, ser cannot stand with all dative arguments, only with those that are indirect objects.

deme & tello

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
A. auxiliary V-deme ought to V
B. auxiliary V-tello must V

Both of these verbs are auxiliary only. Deme expresses mild obligation and tello expresses strong obligation. Tello is used for polite imperatives, as in: Kuno-tello=di=nu! ‘You must get the thing!’ or ‘Get the thing!’.

Deme is probably derived from da ‘go’ and the obsolete particle me ‘in’. Tello is derived from tene and the obsolete particle lo ‘up’.

Deme and tello are used with kuno to express want and need. Kuno-deme with a complement clause is ‘want to’ and kuno-tello with a complement clause is ‘need to’.

These two auxiliaries exist because as a native English speaker I cannot imagine not having them. I know of no work-arounds to expressing obligation than using ‘should/ought’ or ‘must’ (or ‘need’ or ‘got to’). I am sure there are other ways to express obligation, but I have no idea what they are or how they work. Of course, I haven’t gone looking recently for other ideas because the existing system works so well!

Sentences with deme.

Sentences with tello.

Tomorrow: kuje.

Sargaĺk: Exceptional Alignment Situations #1

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017
The Sargaĺk alignment situation has one further quirk. The negative is a lightly 'extended' fluid-s. The negative particle is ort(a)-, which is prefixed to some noun or verb. The distribution of the prefix matters with regards to parsing the information structure.

The lightly extended fluid-s signifies that for intentionally negative verbs, the subject will be in the pegative no matter the transitivity of the verb, but for verbs that are negative by omission or failure to act,intransitive and transitive subjects are absolutive. The exceptional verb forms for 1st and 2nd person singular subjects of ditransitive verbs are also used whenever the subject is pegative in the negative.

If ort(a)- is prefixed to the subject, it signifies that the subject's not carrying out the action is of interest, whereas if ort(a)- is prefixed on another NP, it signifies that the action not being carried out on that NP is of interest. On the verb, ort(a)- just generally negates the whole thing.


Tuesday, February 21st, 2017
A. kadde=S S act, do a task
B. kadde-kadde=A=O A help O

Kadde is an intransitive verb meaning ‘act, do something, perform a task, work’, with the person or thing acting as the subject. The task or action is not named as an object. If it must be specified, it would be marked with ne. A companion would also be marked with ne. A beneficiary of the action can be marked with du.

Kadde can incorporate nouns that specify the type of task. Jede-kadde ‘do a game, play’ is common. Here a companion in play is marked with ne. In contrast, a co-locution like gehe kadde, which could be interpreted as ‘behave’ is not considered to be a verb phrase, as gehe here really modifies the entire clause ‘act well’.

The reduplicated form kadde-kadde specifically means ‘help’ and is transitive. The task one is helping O with would be marked with du.

Kadde and kadde-kadde take all the appropriate auxiliaries. Additionally, the form kadde-seje ‘finish a task’ is attested in addition to the expected kadde-tetta ‘stop or finish a task’.

The derivation of kadde is unknown.

Sentences with kadde.

Tomorrow: deme and tello.

setta, tetta & seje

Monday, February 20th, 2017
A. setta=S S stop moving
B. setta=A=O A stop, thwart O
C. seje=A=O A finish O
D. *auxiliary V-seje finish V-ing
E. auxiliary V-tetta stop V-ing

These three verbs all refer to cessation of activity. Setta is derived from sede and the obsolete particle ta ‘down’, tetta is from tene plus ta, and seje is from sede plus obsolete ye ‘out’.

Setta is not used with the auxiliaries no, da, nolo, or nota. Nor is it used with noye or tetta in sense A, though it can be with sense B. Seje is not used with noye or tetta either.

V-tetta is the most common way to stop V-ing, and can be used with most every verb. It is not, however, used with data. Instead seje is used in place of an auxiliary as it implies coming to a natural end. Aside from these and a few other verbs, seje is not used as an auxiliary. Some of the other verbs are:

F. dello-seje=S S expand to fill a space. Dello can also use tetta.
G. dello-tetta=S|A(=O) S stops rising, A stops O rising.
H. noye-seje=S S appear, finish emerging. Noye does not use tetta.
I. setta-seje=S S die. Setta does not use tetta

Sentences with setta.

Sentences with tetta.

Sentences with seje.

Tomorrow: kadde.

Detail #331: Determiners with Case-Number-… Mismatching

Sunday, February 19th, 2017
EDIT: reposted because of accidental deletion
Consider a situation wherein the case systems (or gender systems, or whatever) differ for singulars and plurals. Now, consider some determiner which semantically is plural-like but formally singular. This happens, sort of, in English, with the determiner 'each'.

Now, let's assume that the case system in the plural makes fewer distinctions than it does in the singular, e.g.
  • conflates accusative and nominative?
  • conflates locative and dative?
  • conflates genitive and comitative?
The exact details are irrelevant - come up with them at your own leisure.

Now comes the twist: the case markers are singular (or at least we omit the plural marker if we're dealing with a more agglutinating language), but follow the distribution and function of plural cases. Thus, 'each' is followed by a formally singular noun with the plural case system. Similar mismatches can of course be enforced with, say, gender systems or any other similar thing.


Sunday, February 19th, 2017
A. noye=S S emerge, come out
B. noye=A=O A emit O
C. N-noye=A(=O) A do bodily function N (at, to, for O)
D. noye-deye=A=O A be transformed into O
E. noye-nome=A=O A create, make O
F. auxiliary V-noye start to V

Noye, another opposite of deye, is derived from the verb no and the obsolete particle ye ‘out’. It means emerge or come out with no volitionality whatsoever. Noye is not used with the auxiliaries da or no.

In sense C noye is used for bodily functions and noises. These constructions are treated as intransitive and any O argument is considered to be a beneficiary. So wudu-noye=S ‘ S emit breath, breathe’, butu-noye ‘S defecate’, dini-noye=S ‘S laugh’ and dini-noye=A=O ‘A laugh at, mock O’.

Noye interacts with the causative auxiliaries in a less than transparent manner, as shown in senses D and E. The material or source of the transformation or creation is marked with pe.

Sentences with noye as a main verb.

Sentence with noye as an auxiliary verb.

Tomorrow: setta, tetta, and seje.

kanne & wo

Saturday, February 18th, 2017
A. auxiliary V-kanne passive for transitive V
B. auxiliary V-wo not V
C. imperative wo! don’t!

Taking a small break here from da– and no– verbs to discuss another valency changing auxiliary.

Kanne creates the valency-decreasing passive construction by either removing the A argument or relegating it to a peripheral phrase marked by pe. It is not used with intransitive or copular verbs.

The other valency-decreasing construction, the antipassive (removes the O argument) is not used. Though one could, I suppose, leave off the O argument in the mental activity verbs callo and canno to make them intransitive. The O argument could even be relegated to a peripheral phrase marked with ne, making it a true antipassive construction.

So: increase valency with causatives (old A moved to O and old O marked with du) and applicatives (add an O to an intransitive), and decrease valency with passives (old A argument marked with pe) and antipassives (old O argument marked with ne).

Sentences with kanne.

Wo is the negative auxiliary. It is boringly regular. It can also form the negative imperative interjection ‘don’t’.

Sentences with wo.

I don’t have any sentences (yet) with wo! But, something like Gada cammedigo, wo! ‘Drink the water, don’t!’ would work.

Tomorrow: noye.


Friday, February 17th, 2017
A. nome=S S come out, appear
B. nome=A=O A pull O out, make O come out
C. auxiliary V-nome let V

Nome is in some ways the opposite of deye, and comes from the verb no and the obsolete particle me ‘in’, though nowadays it means more ‘come out’ or ‘pull out’. As an auxiliary, it is used for an indirect or weak causative ‘let V’.

Nome is not used with the auxiliaries da or no.

Nome-nome=A=O is ‘let O appear’.

Sentences with nome as a main verb.

Sentences with nome as an auxiliary verb.

Causatives are the most common valency increasing construction in Xunumi-Wudu, being created in three ways: by directly transitivizing an intransitive verb, by using the auxiliary deye, and by using the auxiliary nome. Deye and nome can be applied to transitive verbs as well, demoting the original A argument to O, and either removing the original O or relegating it to a peripheral phrase marked with du.

The other valency increasing construction, the applicative (adding an O argument to an intransitive) is not used, though one could argue that the audience O with se is optional and thus creates an applicative construction when present.

Tomorrow: kanne and wo.