Archive for December, 2017

23rd Lexember Word

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

turáppo [tuˈɾäˑpːə̆], nominalisation: “baby, nameless child”

As I mentioned before, the “logical” way to refer to a nameless child or baby, i.e. the word ussáppo, has taken on such a negative connotation that it’s hardly ever used that way anymore. But people still need a way to refer to babies, don’t they? How can they do so?

That’s where turáppo comes in. When a serviceable word becomes so pejorative that it cannot be used in its original sense anymore, people will either start extending another word to cover that sense, or create a new way to refer to that sense. In this case, the Haotyétpi speakers chose the second method. They started referring to unnamed children as turáppo, which is the nominalisation of turáp, a verb which when used intransitively means “to be able to be, to be able to exist” (it’s the potential form of ás: “to be, to exist”). In other words, it means “one that can be, one that can exist, one that has potential”.

This way of referring to children goes very well with the Mountain Folk point of view that nameless children have the potential to be many things, hence they shouldn’t hastily be given a name that may not fit what they are going to become. Also, it is a very positive way of referring to someone, even if that person were to be an adult, so there is little chance that the word will get a negative connotation anytime soon.

Because of that, the use of turáppo has spread among the Haotyétpi speaking community quite fast, despite it being a relatively recent coinage (at least when used in that sense), and is now the standard way of referring to babies or nameless children. It is, however, never used as a temporary name for nameless children. The main reason is probably the very positive connotation this word brings, which clashes with the strong tradition to use words with negative connotations to call nameless children.


from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2DAKK5F
via IFTTT

22nd Lexember Word

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

ussáp ortáse [uˈsːäˑp o̞ɾˈtäˑʑə̆], noun phrase: “nameless god(s)/spirit(s)“

These last few days, I’ve kept mentioning these “malevolent spirits” that could discover and attack children if they were given a name too early. As it happens, the Mountain Folk have a generic name for these spirits, so I might as well mention it. In Haotyétpi, these spirits are called ussáp ortáse, i.e. “nameless spirits” or “nameless gods” (the traditional Mountain Folk animist religion does not really make a distinction between spirits and gods).

According to tradition, these “nameless gods” are spirits that for some reason lost their names. Either they got their names stolen by other spirits, or they lost them to an unnaming ceremony performed by human beings (according to Mountain Folk beliefs, the spirits must be respected and honoured to maintain balance in the world, but that respect must go both ways, and humans are entitled to punish spirits for not doing their part of the bargain), or they simply lost them to carelessness or wickedness. As I mentioned before, names have power in Mountain Folk beliefs, and for a spirit losing one’s name is equivalent to losing most of one’s identity. The god loses form, purpose and even most of its capacity to reason (if it had any) and becomes a formless, wandering spirit that yearns only one thing: to fill in the gap left by its lost name. Such spirits tend then to aggregate and will try to attack other spirits or even humans to steal them their strength, their health, their turá, even their name if they can.

The effect on people, according to traditional Mountain Folk beliefs, is diseases, i.e. the ussáp ortáse were traditionally considered to be the main cause of diseases, hence the need to ward people, especially young children and babies, against such spirits.


from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2zcdhen
via IFTTT

22nd Lexember Word

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

ussáp ortáse [uˈsːäˑp o̞ɾˈtäˑʑə̆], noun phrase: “nameless god(s)/spirit(s)“

These last few days, I’ve kept mentioning these “malevolent spirits” that could discover and attack children if they were given a name too early. As it happens, the Mountain Folk have a generic name for these spirits, so I might as well mention it. In Haotyétpi, these spirits are called ussáp ortáse, i.e. “nameless spirits” or “nameless gods” (the traditional Mountain Folk animist religion does not really make a distinction between spirits and gods).

According to tradition, these “nameless gods” are spirits that for some reason lost their names. Either they got their names stolen by other spirits, or they lost them to an unnaming ceremony performed by human beings (according to Mountain Folk beliefs, the spirits must be respected and honoured to maintain balance in the world, but that respect must go both ways, and humans are entitled to punish spirits for not doing their part of the bargain), or they simply lost them to carelessness or wickedness. As I mentioned before, names have power in Mountain Folk beliefs, and for a spirit losing one’s name is equivalent to losing most of one’s identity. The god loses form, purpose and even most of its capacity to reason (if it had any) and becomes a formless, wandering spirit that yearns only one thing: to fill in the gap left by its lost name. Such spirits tend then to aggregate and will try to attack other spirits or even humans to steal them their strength, their health, their turá, even their name if they can.

The effect on people, according to traditional Mountain Folk beliefs, is diseases, i.e. the ussáp ortáse were traditionally considered to be the main cause of diseases, hence the need to ward people, especially young children and babies, against such spirits.


from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2zcdhen
via IFTTT

#511

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

In your conlang, your words for the types of speech are all their respectful type of speech. There is no noun word for adjective, for example> you must describe the concept of adjectives as some words being adjective-y or having an adjective state. The word for pronoun is actually a pronoun that can be used to substitute any other pronoun.

#511

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

In your conlang, your words for the types of speech are all their respectful type of speech. There is no noun word for adjective, for example> you must describe the concept of adjectives as some words being adjective-y or having an adjective state. The word for pronoun is actually a pronoun that can be used to substitute any other pronoun.

21st Lexember Word

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

ussáppo [uˈsːäˑpːə̆], nominalisation: “baby, nameless child; moron“

Today’s word is a simple nominalisation of yesterday’s ussáp, using the nominalising suffix -ko which assimilates to -po after p.

As I mentioned yesterday, ussáp is used more and more to indicate stupidity and less and less to indicate actual namelessness (although that meaning hasn’t disappeared entirely). In the case of ussáppo, that semantic shift has gone even further, and whenever it is used it’s mostly as an insult meaning “moron”. In any case, it’s never used to refer to babies or nameless children in general.

The only times when ussáppo is actually used in its original meaning is as a temporary name to refer to a specific nameless child. As I explained before, nameless children are referred to in various ways when needed, and just calling a child ussáppo is a common way to do so. This usage persists despite, but also probably because of the overwhelmingly negative connotations that this word has taken. As I wrote before, using words referring to unattractive things (or with negative connotations) to refer to nameless children is believed to protect them against malevolent spirits, as those spirits will only attack children that have something worth stealing (strength, intelligence, and other positive characteristics). By using insulting words to refer to nameless children, the Mountain Folk believe they can fool spirits into thinking they are not worth attacking.


from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2oXCHN1
via IFTTT

21st Lexember Word

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

ussáppo [uˈsːäˑpːə̆], nominalisation: “baby, nameless child; moron“

Today’s word is a simple nominalisation of yesterday’s ussáp, using the nominalising suffix -ko which assimilates to -po after p.

As I mentioned yesterday, ussáp is used more and more to indicate stupidity and less and less to indicate actual namelessness (although that meaning hasn’t disappeared entirely). In the case of ussáppo, that semantic shift has gone even further, and whenever it is used it’s mostly as an insult meaning “moron”. In any case, it’s never used to refer to babies or nameless children in general.

The only times when ussáppo is actually used in its original meaning is as a temporary name to refer to a specific nameless child. As I explained before, nameless children are referred to in various ways when needed, and just calling a child ussáppo is a common way to do so. This usage persists despite, but also probably because of the overwhelmingly negative connotations that this word has taken. As I wrote before, using words referring to unattractive things (or with negative connotations) to refer to nameless children is believed to protect them against malevolent spirits, as those spirits will only attack children that have something worth stealing (strength, intelligence, and other positive characteristics). By using insulting words to refer to nameless children, the Mountain Folk believe they can fool spirits into thinking they are not worth attacking.


from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2oXCHN1
via IFTTT

Sargaĺk Cases as Bundles of Features

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
In this post I try, in retrospect, to analyze the case system of Sargaĺk in terms of features. Unlike the post on the case system of ÅŠÊ’ädär, a far share of actual usage examples will also be presented. Warning: this is still somewhat waffly.

The case system consists of the pegative-genitive, the absolutive (with three subcases that differ on syntactical grounds, and one subcase that differs for some pronouns), the comitative-instrumental, the familiar comitative, the locative, the ablative and the lative.

This adds up to a set of maximally eight morphologically distinct cases, maximally ten syntactically distinct cases but minimally six morphologically distinct cases. Each of these sets are worth investigating separately, as is the use of cases with regards to time.

Temporal usages of the locative cases and the absolutive case are the easiest to look into, since the dimensions are rather 'easy' to come up with: punctual vs. time-span, start-point, end-point, location in time vs. amount of time.
The cases that are used in expressions of time are the absolutive, the locative, the ablative, the lative and the comitative-instrumental.


We begin with the ten syntactically distinct cases:
  • ditransitive subject / genitive
  • transitive subject
  • intransitive subject
  • direct object
  • indirect object
  • comitative-instrumental
  • comitative-familiar
  • locative
  • lative
  • ablative
The three additional locative cases that appear on some pronouns will not be dealt with.

An immediate quick partitioning of these might hint at sets along these lines: {{the two transitive subjects, intransitive subject?}, {objects, intransitive subject?}}, {comitatives}, {locatives}.
The number of binary features needed to distinguish ten is 4, or rather 3.3..., while the number of trinary features is 2.1... Since we basically need quite a bit "too much" space no matter what way we do, I will not use them very optimally. Control and direction will both be binary, and I will get back to what they even signify in a bit. The third I'll call 'involvement', and I will give that one three values - active, passive, frame.

controldirectioninvolvement
dit. subj.++a
tra. subj.+-a
intr. subj.+-a
dir. obj.--p
ind. obj.++p
com-instr.--p
com-fam.±(?)-a
loc.--f
lat.-±f
abl.-+f

The lative case is interesting in that in disdainful utterances with verbs of location (rather than verbs of movement), it can be used with a locative meaning, i.e. 'hither I sit' would signify something along the lines of 'bollocks, here I sit again'.
The comitative-instrumental, likewise, takes on a disdainful meaning when used with nouns for which comitative-familiar is expected. These are very limited uses, but they are common.

It turns out approaching the maximal form does not provide any very neat-looking decomposition into features. The eight morphologically distinct cases might be a bit more promising, given that 8 is 23, three features could exactly account for them. We now deal with absolutive, accusative, pegative, comitative-instrumental, comitative-familiar, locative, lative and ablative.
Here, we'll parse the feature 'direction' not as one of physical movement towards, but rather as 'involving' even any sense of metaphorical direction.
"Activity" is a conflated "involvement"-version.

controldirectionactivity
absolutive+-+
accusative++-
pegative+++
comitative-
familiar
+-+
comitative-
instrumental
--+
locative---
lative-+-
ablative-++



The minimal set of distinct forms occur with inanimate nouns, and most animals (the comitative-familiar is attested with some pets and some anthropomorphized animals in mythology). These nouns distinguish absolutive, pegative, comitative(-instrumental), locative, lative and ablative. This set itself is of some interest, since we also know that the comitative-familiar can be replaced in all positions by the comitative-instrumental for all nouns that distinguish the two, so a more coarse system of features could leave out the comitative-familiar entirely. We now have two options: three features, and two cases get to cover two of the combinations - alternatively one covers three combinations.

We could put the locative ones in one bag, and the three other ones in the other - getting us 'grammatical vs. locational/oblique', and distinguish them by some trinary feature that seems to line up - maybe having the locative and the absolutive, the pegative and the ablative, and the lative and the comitative-instrumental paired up sharing the value of the second feature. This, however, seems somewhat weird. Certainly pegatives and ablatives are slightly similar, both being in some sense 'origins', and locatives and absolutives are sort of similar in 'intrinsicness' to an event. But comitatives and latives do not seem very similar at all, unless we create some kind of wastebin category. I decided to call this wastebin category 'indirect'.

Thus:

originintrinsicindirect
grammaticalpegativeabsolutivecomitative
obliqueablativelocativelative
This would seem contrived if it were not for this actually appearing as a pattern in some parts of the language:
  • With passives, where nouns in the three upper cases can be demoted into the three lower cases. This is not very common with the comitative, but nevertheless attested.
  • Adnominally, you get a clear pegative-ablative correlation: animate possessors tend to be pegative, inanimate tend to be ablative.
  • With expressions of time, specific times are given in the absolutive or locative (depending partially on the type of time - named times are absolutive, generic nouns may be locative, partially on whether it's a complement or adjunct, with adjuncts being locative). A similar pattern occurs with time spans but with comitative and lative marking the end of the time-span and the pegative or ablative marking the onset.
  •  A handful of verbs can take  comitative and lative arguments. Among these we find narol, share. One can share 'with' or 'to', where the distinction seems to be one of volition on the part of the subject. 
  • Similarly, a few verbs permit for a similar alternation among direct objects or subjects: ırsal, 'to reach' where the case on the object seems to mainly correlate with some kind of aspectual notion, i.e. absolutive objects indicate arrival, locative objects indicate physical length or habitual arrival, altul 'to embrace, to contain', where absolutive subjects indicate embracing, and locative subjects indicate containing.
However, a different set of patterns fit a different analysis, where a set of binary features appear, but the absolutive and locative take an indeterminate/ambiguous/superimposed/ignored value. Mostly this is a very similar analysis to the previous one, giving similar pairings - pegative-ablative, comitative-lative, and absolutive-locative. The table below does not collapse absolutive and locative onto the same row, however, but uses an analysis where absolutive is 'rather central' and locative is rather 'peripheral'. The terminology here is not very clearly defined, but 'central' vs. 'peripheral' has two independent possible significances: it indicates canonical uses of verbs and adpositions, peripheral signifies less typical such usages; meanwhile, 'central' also signifies topicality, direct physical involvement and so on, whereas 'peripheral' either signifies lesser significance to the topic under discussion or less physical involvement.



grammaticaloblique
staticcentralabsolutive(absolutive)

peripheral(locative)locative
dynamiccentralpegativeablative

peripheralcomitativelative




The decision to analyse the system like this relates to the fact that we sometimes find patterns where the pegative and comitative operate as a pair of complements, as do the ablative and lative; the absolutive and locative, however, also operate as such a pair as well, so whereas the other cases each have relations to two cases, the absolutive and locative occupy both those spots for each other.

Such examples include certain adpositions (nup, 'under' with the ablative, 'covered by' with the lative; int, 'among' with the pegative, 'surrounded by' with the comitative - generally, the peripheral case for these provides a more 'specific', less general meaning, thus less 'central' to the meaning-space of possible meanings).

The description given here cover the dialects closest to the mainland. Further off, we find systems where the absolutive-locative part of the above diagram have been rearranged, so that the locative covers every part except the grammatical-central slot.

Sargaĺk Cases as Bundles of Features

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017
In this post I try, in retrospect, to analyze the case system of Sargaĺk in terms of features. Unlike the post on the case system of ÅŠÊ’ädär, a far share of actual usage examples will also be presented. Warning: this is still somewhat waffly.

The case system consists of the pegative-genitive, the absolutive (with three subcases that differ on syntactical grounds, and one subcase that differs for some pronouns), the comitative-instrumental, the familiar comitative, the locative, the ablative and the lative.

This adds up to a set of maximally eight morphologically distinct cases, maximally ten syntactically distinct cases but minimally six morphologically distinct cases. Each of these sets are worth investigating separately, as is the use of cases with regards to time.

Temporal usages of the locative cases and the absolutive case are the easiest to look into, since the dimensions are rather 'easy' to come up with: punctual vs. time-span, start-point, end-point, location in time vs. amount of time.
The cases that are used in expressions of time are the absolutive, the locative, the ablative, the lative and the comitative-instrumental.


We begin with the ten syntactically distinct cases:
  • ditransitive subject / genitive
  • transitive subject
  • intransitive subject
  • direct object
  • indirect object
  • comitative-instrumental
  • comitative-familiar
  • locative
  • lative
  • ablative
The three additional locative cases that appear on some pronouns will not be dealt with.

An immediate quick partitioning of these might hint at sets along these lines: {{the two transitive subjects, intransitive subject?}, {objects, intransitive subject?}}, {comitatives}, {locatives}.
The number of binary features needed to distinguish ten is 4, or rather 3.3..., while the number of trinary features is 2.1... Since we basically need quite a bit "too much" space no matter what way we do, I will not use them very optimally. Control and direction will both be binary, and I will get back to what they even signify in a bit. The third I'll call 'involvement', and I will give that one three values - active, passive, frame.

controldirectioninvolvement
dit. subj.++a
tra. subj.+-a
intr. subj.+-a
dir. obj.--p
ind. obj.++p
com-instr.--p
com-fam.±(?)-a
loc.--f
lat.-±f
abl.-+f

The lative case is interesting in that in disdainful utterances with verbs of location (rather than verbs of movement), it can be used with a locative meaning, i.e. 'hither I sit' would signify something along the lines of 'bollocks, here I sit again'.
The comitative-instrumental, likewise, takes on a disdainful meaning when used with nouns for which comitative-familiar is expected. These are very limited uses, but they are common.

It turns out approaching the maximal form does not provide any very neat-looking decomposition into features. The eight morphologically distinct cases might be a bit more promising, given that 8 is 23, three features could exactly account for them. We now deal with absolutive, accusative, pegative, comitative-instrumental, comitative-familiar, locative, lative and ablative.
Here, we'll parse the feature 'direction' not as one of physical movement towards, but rather as 'involving' even any sense of metaphorical direction.
"Activity" is a conflated "involvement"-version.

controldirectionactivity
absolutive+-+
accusative++-
pegative+++
comitative-
familiar
+-+
comitative-
instrumental
--+
locative---
lative-+-
ablative-++



The minimal set of distinct forms occur with inanimate nouns, and most animals (the comitative-familiar is attested with some pets and some anthropomorphized animals in mythology). These nouns distinguish absolutive, pegative, comitative(-instrumental), locative, lative and ablative. This set itself is of some interest, since we also know that the comitative-familiar can be replaced in all positions by the comitative-instrumental for all nouns that distinguish the two, so a more coarse system of features could leave out the comitative-familiar entirely. We now have two options: three features, and two cases get to cover two of the combinations - alternatively one covers three combinations.

We could put the locative ones in one bag, and the three other ones in the other - getting us 'grammatical vs. locational/oblique', and distinguish them by some trinary feature that seems to line up - maybe having the locative and the absolutive, the pegative and the ablative, and the lative and the comitative-instrumental paired up sharing the value of the second feature. This, however, seems somewhat weird. Certainly pegatives and ablatives are slightly similar, both being in some sense 'origins', and locatives and absolutives are sort of similar in 'intrinsicness' to an event. But comitatives and latives do not seem very similar at all, unless we create some kind of wastebin category. I decided to call this wastebin category 'indirect'.

Thus:

originintrinsicindirect
grammaticalpegativeabsolutivecomitative
obliqueablativelocativelative
This would seem contrived if it were not for this actually appearing as a pattern in some parts of the language:
  • With passives, where nouns in the three upper cases can be demoted into the three lower cases. This is not very common with the comitative, but nevertheless attested.
  • Adnominally, you get a clear pegative-ablative correlation: animate possessors tend to be pegative, inanimate tend to be ablative.
  • With expressions of time, specific times are given in the absolutive or locative (depending partially on the type of time - named times are absolutive, generic nouns may be locative, partially on whether it's a complement or adjunct, with adjuncts being locative). A similar pattern occurs with time spans but with comitative and lative marking the end of the time-span and the pegative or ablative marking the onset.
  •  A handful of verbs can take  comitative and lative arguments. Among these we find narol, share. One can share 'with' or 'to', where the distinction seems to be one of volition on the part of the subject. 
  • Similarly, a few verbs permit for a similar alternation among direct objects or subjects: ırsal, 'to reach' where the case on the object seems to mainly correlate with some kind of aspectual notion, i.e. absolutive objects indicate arrival, locative objects indicate physical length or habitual arrival, altul 'to embrace, to contain', where absolutive subjects indicate embracing, and locative subjects indicate containing.
However, a different set of patterns fit a different analysis, where a set of binary features appear, but the absolutive and locative take an indeterminate/ambiguous/superimposed/ignored value. Mostly this is a very similar analysis to the previous one, giving similar pairings - pegative-ablative, comitative-lative, and absolutive-locative. The table below does not collapse absolutive and locative onto the same row, however, but uses an analysis where absolutive is 'rather central' and locative is rather 'peripheral'. The terminology here is not very clearly defined, but 'central' vs. 'peripheral' has two independent possible significances: it indicates canonical uses of verbs and adpositions, peripheral signifies less typical such usages; meanwhile, 'central' also signifies topicality, direct physical involvement and so on, whereas 'peripheral' either signifies lesser significance to the topic under discussion or less physical involvement.



grammaticaloblique
staticcentralabsolutive(absolutive)

peripheral(locative)locative
dynamiccentralpegativeablative

peripheralcomitativelative




The decision to analyse the system like this relates to the fact that we sometimes find patterns where the pegative and comitative operate as a pair of complements, as do the ablative and lative; the absolutive and locative, however, also operate as such a pair as well, so whereas the other cases each have relations to two cases, the absolutive and locative occupy both those spots for each other.

Such examples include certain adpositions (nup, 'under' with the ablative, 'covered by' with the lative; int, 'among' with the pegative, 'surrounded by' with the comitative - generally, the peripheral case for these provides a more 'specific', less general meaning, thus less 'central' to the meaning-space of possible meanings).

The description given here cover the dialects closest to the mainland. Further off, we find systems where the absolutive-locative part of the above diagram have been rearranged, so that the locative covers every part except the grammatical-central slot.

A Question of Alignment XI: Control

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

In this series of blog articles—taken (more or less) straight from the current working draft of chapter 5.4 of the new grammar for better visibility and as a direct update of an old article (“Flicking Switches: Ayeri and the Austronesian Alignment”, 2012-06-27)—I will finally reconsider the way verbs operate with regards to syntactic alignment.


Control verbs behave basically in the opposite way of raising verbs: the subject of the subordinate verb is also an argument of the verb in the matrix clause—subject or object—and this argument acts as a controller for the subject of the subordinate verb. The main clause predicate thus is thought to assign two thematic roles. In GG it is assumed that the subject of the lower clause is a silent PRO element which is coindexed with the controller (Carnie 2013: 442–445, 451).

    1. Subject control:

      Johni tries [that Johni gets a job]
      = Johni tries [PROi to tPRO get a job]

    2. Object control:

      The officer ordered Maryi [that Maryi turn back]
      = The officer ordered Maryi [PROi to tPRO turn back]

Kroeger (1991) refers to subject control as ‘Equi’ and reports that according to Schachter (1976: 505), it is typically the actor of the subordinate verb that is the target of deletion. At first sight this would be a strong argument in favor of defining the actor NP as the subject, however, he notes that under certain circumstances, “the controllee in a transitive complement clause [is allowed] to be either the Actor (regardless of case marking) or the argument which bears nominative case” (Kroeger 1991: 37). This is the case, for instance, with himukin ‘persuade’ and magpilit ‘insist on’. Subordinate verbs marked for non-volitive mood form an exception as well (36–37, also 96–97). Kroeger (1991) illustrates the main pattern of control in Tagalog with the following set of example sentences in (2).

  1. Tagalog (adapted from Kroeger 1991: 37):

While the nominative argument of the subordinate verb changes between the actor in (2a), the theme in (2b), and the recipient in (2c), it is always the actor which is dropped as the coreferential argument. Why the example sentences in (2) use balak ‘plan, intend’ in its object-voice form is not explained. However, Kroeger (1991) mentions that “alternation in the voice category of the matrix verb and the case marking of the controller does not affect the control relation” (37). In other words: whether the actor in the matrix clause is the subject or not does not matter; for Tagalog’s equivalent of subject-control verbs the control relationship always finds its origin in the actor argument, although there are a few exceptions, as mentioned above. The set in (3) presents an interesting example of (‘obligatory’) control based on the patient/theme argument in Tagalog’s equivalent of object-control verbs.

  1. Tagalog (adapted from Kroeger 1991: 93–94):

Regarding (3ab), Kroeger (1991) explains that “when the complement verb appears in its volitive (unmarked) form, the controllee must be the Actor of the embedded clause” (93). Thus, Maria cannot be the patient subject in (3b), since she is still the controllee. If the verb of the embedded clause is marked for non-volitive mood as in (3c), however, the sentence becomes grammatical: “When the embedded verb is marked for non-volitive mood, the pattern is reversed: the controllee must be the subject, and not the Actor. Actor gaps cannot be controlled in non-volitive complements” (94). The difference between obligatory and non-obligatory control adds a further complication to acceptability, but these details do not need to preoccupy us for the purpose of comparison to Ayeri, which lacks these distinctions.

As previously with raising verbs, it is possible in Ayeri to combine a subordinating verb with a full complement clause (4a), an embedded IP complement (4b), or complete incorporation (4c). In both (4a) and (4b) cases, it is necessarily the actor which is coreferened, as the bottom arrow shows. In (4c), the bottom arrow does not show coreference, but the relation of verb agreement. The arrow on top, as before, shows what the respective verb picks as the clause’s topic for all example sentences.

As with raising verbs, the embedded and incorporated verbs appear in a non-finite form, the participle. For (4b) the reason may be that there is no overt agent in the clause with which to agree, and agreement with the patient does not make sense here because the clause does not express a passive either. In (4c) the reason may be that the main verb already carries person features. If the topic marking on the finite verb is altered as in (5), the meaning of the sentences does not change with regards to grammatical relations and voice, giving us yet more reason to assume that the agent is the grammatical subject, and that topic marking has no influence on these matters. Ayeri thus has actual subject-control verbs in the way English has them.

In object-control constructions, the object of the matrix clause’s verb is an actual argument of it, as shown in (6). This argument becomes the subject of the embedded clause, and there is no change in the meaning of the verb between both versions of sentences. We have seen above that Ayeri does not allow to-object raising, since it is not possible to assign patient case to an external agent because Ayeri’s case marking is not purely based on grammatical functions, but there is still also some semantic motivation. Ayeri does, however, allow object control, so it seems to be possible at least to implicitly convert the matrix clause’s patient or theme to the agent of the embedded clause, while the opposite is apparently not possible. Whether syntactic precedence or some kind of accessibility hierarchy is involved here still needs to be investigated.

    1. John asked [Mary to give Peter the book]
      = John asked Mary
    2. The teacher instructs [the students to calculate parables]
      = The teacher instructs the students
    3. I persuaded [my friend to come along]
      = I persuaded my friend

The example sentences in (7) follow the format of those above. Again, it is generally possible to use a complement clause as in (7a) or (7b), as well as complementing the verb in the matrix clause with a non-finite clause with object control (7c). However, the incorporation strategy is not possible here because this would cause a doubling of case roles (7d). As we will see below, however, this is not an issue for intransitive complement clauses.

Strictly speaking, it does not matter in (7a) and (7b) whether the coreferenced argument is the topic in both clauses or not; it is simply not unlikely that it is. Again, topicalization does not have an effect on grammatical relations—although it was shown above that Tagalog, in the canonical case, deviates from its normal behavior as well with regards to control verbs to the point where this construction has been used as an argument in favor of the actor argument being the subject. As for Ayeri, unlike in coordinated main clauses, topicalization is not a strategy for disambiguation of several possible controllers for the pronominal agent of the complement/embedded clause here. Due to the semantics of the verb in the matrix clause, it is clear that the patient argument is to be understood as the agent of the subordinate verb. Thus, there is no ambiguity in anaphoric reference in the complement clause.

  • Carnie, Andrew. Syntax: A Generative Introduction. 3rd ed. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2013. Print. Introducing Linguistics 4.
  • Kroeger, Paul R. Phrase Structure and Grammatical Relations in Tagalog. Diss. Stanford University, 1991. Web. 17 Dec. 2016. ‹http://www.gial.edu/wp-content/uploads/paul_kroeger/PK-thesis-revised-all-chapters-readonly.pdf›.
  • Schachter, Paul. “The Subject in Philippine Languages: Topic, Actor, Actor-Topic, or None of the Above?” Subject and Topic. Ed. Charles N. Li. New York: Academic P, 1976. 493–518. Print.