Archive for February, 2018

#515

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

A logographic language where the character for “loss” is 

Ŋʒädär and Ćwarmin Phonologies and Correspondences: Vowels pt 1

Monday, February 12th, 2018
This post has been under work for a very long time. Now that it is done, Ćwarmin, Ŋʒädär and even Dagurib stuff might start appearing at a steadier pace.
Ŋʒädär has a much larger vowel inventory than its relative Ćwarmin has:
FrontBack
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedRounded
iüɯu
eöɤo

ä*
a
/ä/ is not strictly speaking rounded, but mostly patterns with the rounded vowels as far as distribution goes.
A thoroughly consistent orthography that occurred to me, but is somewhat unwieldy and has a weirdly placed <e> would be the following:
FrontBack
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedRounded
ïüıu
ëöeo

ä
a
I am not going to use this orthographical system,
but it is appealing in some way.
Halfway through typing this thing, I realized the best way of representing the vowel system would probably be this, and I will be editing old posts on Ŋʒädär to conform to this system. Changes are marked with bold typefaces: 
FrontBack
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedRounded
iüıu
eöəo

ä
a
 /ä/ is not necessarily as rounded as ü and ö, but patterns with them.
Diphthongs currently basically exist in the following forms in Ŋʒädär:
Opening: ie, üö, öä. ıə, uo,oa
Closing: äe, äü, ei, a͜u, əı, aə
Diphthongs in Ŋ originate in several different situations in PŊƷD: long vowels under some circumstances, original diphthongs, vowels in hiatus, vowels with semivowels, vowels in combination with certain consonants, stressed vowels in open syllables.

The front unrounded and back unrounded vowels in Ŋʒädär are separate phonemes, and not allophones triggered by different vowel harmony situations. Minimal tuplets exist, like
ri - day, today (from *dzij)
rı - weak (from *rig or *rix ?)
rü? - is this so? (from *rü)

dəb - sweet (from *dɛɔb)
deb - niece (from *deib)
döb - belt (from *düǧp')
dob - plate (from *dob)

Compare this system to the much reduced Ćwarmin system:
Front
(-Centre)
Back
i
u
eəo


a
Diphthongs: ie, ei, əi, eə, əe, ua, au, ou, oa. Diphthongs only appear in morpheme-initial syllables.
We find the following cognates to the Ŋʒädär words not preserving the minimal-pair:ness on account of vowel harmony, but on account of other phonemic distinctions, here, some cognate Ćwarmin vocabulary:
zi, ziti - day, today (from *dzij)
rəŋi - loose, soft (from *rig:ə or *riǧ:ə, derived from *rig or *rix by -suffix)
-ri/-ru - suffix that marks doubtfulness (from *)
dəp - honey
listep - sister-in-law (*lins-deib > linstep > listep), where lins- originally signified 'by marriage', and was restricted to use with women, the corresponding male term being 'oŋx-')
dep - a strap used for carrying certain kinds of things
(no cognate to dob)

In Ćwarmin, non-initial PĆŊ diphthongs have been monopthongized, whereas some open, initial syllables have diphthongized. The system out of which these two systems originate may have looked something like this:

Front
(Neutral)
Front
Round
Back
Round
iüu
e(ö)o
ɛ
ɔ

äa
possible reconstructed vowel system
for Proto-Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär
PĆŊ diphthongs come in a few types with different outcomes. The first group consisted of an onset round vowel tailing toward  neutral vowels, thus
üi, äi, öi, ui, ai, oi, aɛ, uɛ, oɛ, üɛ, äɛ
If /ɔi/ and /ɔɛ/ existed, they seem to have been merged with /oi/ and /ɔɛ/ already by the time Ŋʒädär and Ćwarmin diverged. Sound-change-wise, in Ćwarmin these sometimes leave a slight change on the next consonant:
PĆŊ: üisɛ > üśɛ > iśə (wind > breeze, Ćwarmin)
PĆŊ: uik'ɛs > uć'ɛs > ućos (louse > bug)
PĆŊ: airaw > aʒaw > aʒo (high up > tall (of animate things))
PĆŊ: noɛg > noj (narrow > close)
PĆŊ: ǧoibi > fobu (dull > clumsy)
In Ŋʒädär, these diphthongs often remain in initial syllables, but tend to become uniform as far as frontness or backness goes. /i/ in the second syllable can cause back vowels to front.
PĆŊ: üisɛ > üise (wind > cold)
PĆŊ: uik'ɛs > uık'əh (louse > itch)
PĆŊ: airaw > aırau (not attested)
PĆŊ noɛg > noək (narrow > any physical constriction)
PĆŊ ǧoibi > ǧöibi > ʒöibi (dull > inferior (of the quality of things))
The second set of diphtongs would be open ones to close ones within one harmony group:
ei, ɛi, ou, au, äy, öy
In Proto-Ŋʒädär, these first become long vowels of the first type:
e:, :, o:, a:, ä:, ö:
By the time of Ŋʒädär, this length distinction had been lost.
Proto-Ćwarmin kept these intact. Ćwarmin happens to behave almost identically to Ŋʒädär in these regards, but cognate languages on both sides diverge on this. The only difference between Ŋ and Ć is that  /au/ and /a:/ become /o/.

A final type of diphtong consists of front-to-back or back-to-front movement. In Ŋʒädär, these generally moved to the backness of the latter part, and then eliminated that latter part in Ŋʒädär. In Ćwarmin, the latter part often becomes a consonant:
dɛɔb > dəɔb > dəb (Ŋʒädär)
dɛɔb > dɛwb > dəjb (Ćwarmin, unattested)
The diphtongs in PŊĆ seem more to have consisted of "point of departure + direction", and the actual end point does not seem to have made any difference. So /ɛi/ sometimes may well have come out /ɛe/, and /au/ may well have come out /ao/ in actual pronunciation.

In the Dagurib branch, most languages do not have vowel harmony. Dagurib itself, however, retains many traces of an almost nascent vowel harmony that just about caught on. The vowel system below is from the insular Dagurib language Ěvusǐb.
FrontBack
TenseLaxLaxTense
iǐǔu
eěǒo



a

In Dagurib, an additional (tense) /y ö/ exist, and the cognates of ǔ and ǒ are endolabial mid vowels, giving:
FrontBack
Tense                          Lax              Lax             Tense     
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedEndolabialRounded
iüǐǔu
eöěǒo




a
In Ŋʒädär, some morphemes will have harmony that adheres to (almost) all features of the previous vowel. Most words are either fully front or fully back, but exceptions exist. This system probably evolved out of a system not entirely unlike that of Finnish, but with the back vowels causing retraction of the "neutral" vowels {i, e}. An opposite situation whereby neutral vowels {ı, ɤ} were fronted is unlikely on typological grounds. In Ćwarmin, the system went through quite a different set of changes, merging the neutral vowels with back vowels, so /i, e/ in words with back harmony became /u, o/. Meanwhile /ü/ merged with /i/, and {ö} with {e, ə} in ways where stress as well as surrounding consonants influenced the outcome.

Phonotactically, early Proto-Ŋʒädär seems to have had a restriction whereby the second syllable of a root either had an unrounded vowel, or the same vowel as the previous syllable. Diphthongs only occurred in the first syllable or in open final syllables. A variety of changes where consonants and partial harmony have interacted have led to this system changing, and now the only restriction that exists with regard to vowel distribution is the vowel harmony itself.

The Proto-[[ĆŊ]-Dagurib] vowel system probably was even more complicated, due to various changes that cannot be accounted for by an eight-vowel system with two sets of harmonizing vowels and two neutral vowels. It is, however, somewhat unlikely that Proto-ĆŊD had vowel harmony.

Ŋʒädär and Ćwarmin Phonologies and Correspondences: Vowels pt 1

Monday, February 12th, 2018
This post has been under work for a very long time. Now that it is done, Ćwarmin, Ŋʒädär and even Dagurib stuff might start appearing at a steadier pace.
Ŋʒädär has a much larger vowel inventory than its relative Ćwarmin has:
FrontBack
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedRounded
iüɯu
eöɤo

ä*
a
/ä/ is not strictly speaking rounded, but mostly patterns with the rounded vowels as far as distribution goes.
A thoroughly consistent orthography that occurred to me, but is somewhat unwieldy and has a weirdly placed <e> would be the following:
FrontBack
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedRounded
ïüıu
ëöeo

ä
a
I am not going to use this orthographical system,
but it is appealing in some way.
Halfway through typing this thing, I realized the best way of representing the vowel system would probably be this, and I will be editing old posts on Ŋʒädär to conform to this system. Changes are marked with bold typefaces: 
FrontBack
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedRounded
iüıu
eöəo

ä
a
 /ä/ is not necessarily as rounded as ü and ö, but patterns with them.
Diphthongs currently basically exist in the following forms in Ŋʒädär:
Opening: ie, üö, öä. ıə, uo,oa
Closing: äe, äü, ei, a͜u, əı, aə
Diphthongs in Ŋ originate in several different situations in PŊƷD: long vowels under some circumstances, original diphthongs, vowels in hiatus, vowels with semivowels, vowels in combination with certain consonants, stressed vowels in open syllables.

The front unrounded and back unrounded vowels in Ŋʒädär are separate phonemes, and not allophones triggered by different vowel harmony situations. Minimal tuplets exist, like
ri - day, today (from *dzij)
rı - weak (from *rig or *rix ?)
rü? - is this so? (from *rü)

dəb - sweet (from *dɛɔb)
deb - niece (from *deib)
döb - belt (from *düǧp')
dob - plate (from *dob)

Compare this system to the much reduced Ćwarmin system:
Front
(-Centre)
Back
i
u
eəo


a
Diphthongs: ie, ei, əi, eə, əe, ua, au, ou, oa. Diphthongs only appear in morpheme-initial syllables.
We find the following cognates to the Ŋʒädär words not preserving the minimal-pair:ness on account of vowel harmony, but on account of other phonemic distinctions, here, some cognate Ćwarmin vocabulary:
zi, ziti - day, today (from *dzij)
rəŋi - loose, soft (from *rig:ə or *riǧ:ə, derived from *rig or *rix by -suffix)
-ri/-ru - suffix that marks doubtfulness (from *)
dəp - honey
listep - sister-in-law (*lins-deib > linstep > listep), where lins- originally signified 'by marriage', and was restricted to use with women, the corresponding male term being 'oŋx-')
dep - a strap used for carrying certain kinds of things
(no cognate to dob)

In Ćwarmin, non-initial PĆŊ diphthongs have been monopthongized, whereas some open, initial syllables have diphthongized. The system out of which these two systems originate may have looked something like this:

Front
(Neutral)
Front
Round
Back
Round
iüu
e(ö)o
ɛ
ɔ

äa
possible reconstructed vowel system
for Proto-Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär
PĆŊ diphthongs come in a few types with different outcomes. The first group consisted of an onset round vowel tailing toward  neutral vowels, thus
üi, äi, öi, ui, ai, oi, aɛ, uɛ, oɛ, üɛ, äɛ
If /ɔi/ and /ɔɛ/ existed, they seem to have been merged with /oi/ and /ɔɛ/ already by the time Ŋʒädär and Ćwarmin diverged. Sound-change-wise, in Ćwarmin these sometimes leave a slight change on the next consonant:
PĆŊ: üisɛ > üśɛ > iśə (wind > breeze, Ćwarmin)
PĆŊ: uik'ɛs > uć'ɛs > ućos (louse > bug)
PĆŊ: airaw > aʒaw > aʒo (high up > tall (of animate things))
PĆŊ: noɛg > noj (narrow > close)
PĆŊ: ǧoibi > fobu (dull > clumsy)
In Ŋʒädär, these diphthongs often remain in initial syllables, but tend to become uniform as far as frontness or backness goes. /i/ in the second syllable can cause back vowels to front.
PĆŊ: üisɛ > üise (wind > cold)
PĆŊ: uik'ɛs > uık'əh (louse > itch)
PĆŊ: airaw > aırau (not attested)
PĆŊ noɛg > noək (narrow > any physical constriction)
PĆŊ ǧoibi > ǧöibi > ʒöibi (dull > inferior (of the quality of things))
The second set of diphtongs would be open ones to close ones within one harmony group:
ei, ɛi, ou, au, äy, öy
In Proto-Ŋʒädär, these first become long vowels of the first type:
e:, :, o:, a:, ä:, ö:
By the time of Ŋʒädär, this length distinction had been lost.
Proto-Ćwarmin kept these intact. Ćwarmin happens to behave almost identically to Ŋʒädär in these regards, but cognate languages on both sides diverge on this. The only difference between Ŋ and Ć is that  /au/ and /a:/ become /o/.

A final type of diphtong consists of front-to-back or back-to-front movement. In Ŋʒädär, these generally moved to the backness of the latter part, and then eliminated that latter part in Ŋʒädär. In Ćwarmin, the latter part often becomes a consonant:
dɛɔb > dəɔb > dəb (Ŋʒädär)
dɛɔb > dɛwb > dəjb (Ćwarmin, unattested)
The diphtongs in PŊĆ seem more to have consisted of "point of departure + direction", and the actual end point does not seem to have made any difference. So /ɛi/ sometimes may well have come out /ɛe/, and /au/ may well have come out /ao/ in actual pronunciation.

In the Dagurib branch, most languages do not have vowel harmony. Dagurib itself, however, retains many traces of an almost nascent vowel harmony that just about caught on. The vowel system below is from the insular Dagurib language Ěvusǐb.
FrontBack
TenseLaxLaxTense
iǐǔu
eěǒo



a

In Dagurib, an additional (tense) /y ö/ exist, and the cognates of ǔ and ǒ are endolabial mid vowels, giving:
FrontBack
Tense                          Lax              Lax             Tense     
UnroundedRoundedUnroundedEndolabialRounded
iüǐǔu
eöěǒo




a
In Ŋʒädär, some morphemes will have harmony that adheres to (almost) all features of the previous vowel. Most words are either fully front or fully back, but exceptions exist. This system probably evolved out of a system not entirely unlike that of Finnish, but with the back vowels causing retraction of the "neutral" vowels {i, e}. An opposite situation whereby neutral vowels {ı, ɤ} were fronted is unlikely on typological grounds. In Ćwarmin, the system went through quite a different set of changes, merging the neutral vowels with back vowels, so /i, e/ in words with back harmony became /u, o/. Meanwhile /ü/ merged with /i/, and {ö} with {e, ə} in ways where stress as well as surrounding consonants influenced the outcome.

Phonotactically, early Proto-Ŋʒädär seems to have had a restriction whereby the second syllable of a root either had an unrounded vowel, or the same vowel as the previous syllable. Diphthongs only occurred in the first syllable or in open final syllables. A variety of changes where consonants and partial harmony have interacted have led to this system changing, and now the only restriction that exists with regard to vowel distribution is the vowel harmony itself.

The Proto-[[ĆŊ]-Dagurib] vowel system probably was even more complicated, due to various changes that cannot be accounted for by an eight-vowel system with two sets of harmonizing vowels and two neutral vowels. It is, however, somewhat unlikely that Proto-ĆŊD had vowel harmony.

Conlangery #135: Using Linguistic Theory for Conlanging

Monday, February 5th, 2018
Joey Windsor and Christophe Grandsire-Koevets join George to discuss what tools we can get from more advanced linguistics theoretical frameworks. What tools do they provide the conlanger, and where do you have to be careful about applying them. Top of Show Greeting: Gidurguyt [ɡɪ-ərdɡuː-jɪt] LCC Presentations: Doug Ball’s Talk Unfortunately, the video of Joey’s talk... Read more »

monster is muirvö

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
muirvö = monster (noun) (Some things Google found for "muirvo": a rare term; French references to movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir followed by VO which stands for Version Originale aka the language in which the movie was created; videos by people with the last name Muir followed by VO which may also stand for Voice Over; bad OCR of old text documents)

Word derivation for "monster" :
Basque = munstro, Finnish = hirviö
Miresua = muirvö

This is a brand new word.

I'm returning to the Miresua conlang after a break of sixteen months, more than a year away. Time will tell how often I'll be publishing new posts, but I intend to slowly resume creating (and modifying) words.

The word monster doesn't appear in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but it can be found eight times, several times as a plural, in Through the Looking-Glass.
The Lion looked at Alice wearily. "Are you animal -- vegetable -- or mineral?" he said, yawning at every other word.

"It's a fabulous monster!" the Unicorn cried out, before Alice could reply.

monster is muirvö

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
muirvö = monster (noun) (Some things Google found for "muirvo": a rare term; French references to movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir followed by VO which stands for Version Originale aka the language in which the movie was created; videos by people with the last name Muir followed by VO which may also stand for Voice Over; bad OCR of old text documents)

Word derivation for "monster" :
Basque = munstro, Finnish = hirviö
Miresua = muirvö

This is a brand new word.

I'm returning to the Miresua conlang after a break of sixteen months, more than a year away. Time will tell how often I'll be publishing new posts, but I intend to slowly resume creating (and modifying) words.

The word monster doesn't appear in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but it can be found eight times, several times as a plural, in Through the Looking-Glass.
The Lion looked at Alice wearily. "Are you animal -- vegetable -- or mineral?" he said, yawning at every other word.

"It's a fabulous monster!" the Unicorn cried out, before Alice could reply.

Pronouns into predicates

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
I was just reading my Nahuatl grammar and serendipitously reached the chapter in which they introduce the emphatic pronouns and describe them as basically a slightly anomalous kind of predicate. Nahuatl being one of only a handful of languages I'm aware of that handle lexical classes like Koa, I feel like it's worth taking note of how it uses these kinds of forms.

From what I just skimmed and what I recall from previous readings, the main uses to which Nahuatl puts its emphatic pronouns are topic/focus constructions and, sort of formally overlappingly, when the pronoun needs to be used as a predicate. For example:

ca nèhuātl
DECL 1SG
"It's me" (pronoun as predicate)

(ca) nèhuātl in ni.qu.i in ātl
(DECL) 1SG DEF 1SG.3SG.drink DEF water
"I'm the one drinking the water" (focus...hopefully I got this right)

I'm wondering whether these could be directly calqued to Koa and what that would look like! Remaining agnostic on the form of Koa emphatic pronouns but using the reduplicated ones just for the moment, the first could be put as i nini or more likely nini sa and the second as nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu.

This isn't why I started writing just now, but I can't resist comparing the syntax of that last form (1A) with the usual way we handle focus (2A):

1A. nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu
1SG FOC DEF IMPF drink DEF water
"I'm the one drinking the water"

2A. ni sa ma ipo ka anu
1SG FOC IMPF drink DEF water
"It's me who's drinking the water"

I glossed these differently but I think they're semantically equivalent. I also think there's no reason type 1 above could logically be disallowed, which means we need to figure out (as usual) the kinds of conditions that would determine its use. Most worthy of note here, though, I think, is that what's going on between these seemingly extremely similar sentences is in fact surprisingly different formally.

In type 1, nini is actually the predicate: without focalization, the clause could be rearranged as

1B. ka ma ipo ka anu i nini
DEF IMPF drink DEF water FIN 1SG
"The one drinking the water is me."

Therefore, if we were to say that in Koa, as in Nahuatl, an emphatic pronoun is required in order for it to play a predicative role, then type 1 clauses would have to appear as above and not, for example, as *ni sa ka ma ipo ka anu.

In type 2, what's going on is simple movement of the focus into initial position followed by sa, without structural change from the theoretical matrix clause: that is to say, the pragmatically neutral clause would be

2B. ni ma ipo ka anu
1SG IMPF drink DEF water
"I'm drinking the water"

Um...wait just a second, though. I previously said that ni sa ka ma ipo ka anu would be incorrect, but check out these three sentences:

1B. ka ma ipo ka anu i nini
DEF IMPF drink DEF water FIN 1SG
"The one drinking the water is me."

1C. nini i ka ma ipo ka anu
1SG FIN DEF IMPF drink DEF water
"I am the one drinking the water."

1D. ni ka ma ipo ka anu
1SG DEF IMPF drink DEF water
"I am the one drinking the water."

If focalizing nini, 1B and 1C would both yield the identically same clause, nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu! And focalizing ni in 1D would give us ni sa ka ma ipo ka anu...which means it's not incorrect after all. However, though, what on earth is the pragmatic difference between 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 2A, five different ways of expressing (seemingly) the exact same thing? Just for clarity, with apologies for what I've just realized is the total lameness of the example sentence I'm using here, here's that lineup all together, all saying something like "I'm the one who's drinking the water":

1A. nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu
1B. ka ma ipo ka anu i nini
1C. nini i ka ma ipo ka anu
1D. ni ka ma ipo ka anu
2A. ni sa ma ipo ka anu

First of all, I have no clue how to differentiate pragmatically between 2A and 1ACD. 1B is, I think, slightly different from the others in a way that might make its use a little clearer. Okay, like...maybe the choice between all the 1's and 2A is whether "the one drinking the water" is already an identifiable entity on the discourse stage. In Nahuatl, of course, this kind of structural strategy is the only way they can pull off focus, but Koa can introduce this kind of subtlety because it also has fronting à la Yoruba. This can be filed in that general folder of Advanced Koa Pragmatics...as to which, whatever happened to that document where I was trying to list every possible way of expressing the same transitive clause so we could try to determine how they were different? I think I might have burned out after the 25th permutation.

ANYWAY, none of the above is what I intended to write about here! What I wanted to point out is that, if a primary purpose for emphatic pronouns is providing a form to use as a predicate where required, we do actually already have an entirely different and extremely well-established way of doing this with a different set of pronouns: ti/to/ke. Here we have

na ipo to sahi!
NEG drink that wine
"don't drink that wine!"

but, I now realize

na ipo to.a!
NEG drink that.PRON
"don't drink that!"

This raises two questions for me: (1) could/should emphatic personal pronouns be done like this as well, i.e. nia, sea, taa, nua, soa, tua? and (2) going the other direction, could/should ti/to/ke be used as pronouns independently, e.g.:

ke sa se halu?
what FOC 2SG want
"what do you want?"

na ipo to!
NEG drink that
"don't drink that!"

...alongside the traditional

ke.a sa se halu?
what.PRON FOC 2SG want
"what do you want?"

na ipo to.a!
NEG drink that.PRON
"don't drink that!"

I'm not sure. This is a pretty big potential change, so we need to take the time to make sure we're clear on what this really means. Both of these sets of particles can be used directly with a predicate without an article -- i.e. they essentially replace the article -- as in

ti tako
this octopus
"this octopus"

ke tako?
what octopus
"which octopus?"

ni tako
1SG octopus
"my [inalienable] octopus" (incidentally also "I am an octopus")

I'm really into this strange little conversation I've just accidentally created. But the point is that the two sets have different meanings when used in this way: the demonstratives have deictic force, whereas the pronouns are possessive. As such I'm not whether what the predicates in -a when applied to pronouns should actually mean: should nia be emphatic "I," or just "mine?"

Maybe a way to think about this is that the personal pronouns actually -- at least superficially -- have two entirely different meanings when prefixed to a predicate, as in ni tako above, so there needs to be a way to create a predicative form for each of those meanings. This is getting kind of crazy, but what if we had nia "mine" AND nini "I"?

Although...this makes me think that titi and toto (uh-oh) should also exist, meaning...um...what, exactly?

In summary, I've settled absolutely nothing, but these are some interesting questions...


Pronouns into predicates

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
I was just reading my Nahuatl grammar and serendipitously reached the chapter in which they introduce the emphatic pronouns and describe them as basically a slightly anomalous kind of predicate. Nahuatl being one of only a handful of languages I'm aware of that handle lexical classes like Koa, I feel like it's worth taking note of how it uses these kinds of forms.

From what I just skimmed and what I recall from previous readings, the main uses to which Nahuatl puts its emphatic pronouns are topic/focus constructions and, sort of formally overlappingly, when the pronoun needs to be used as a predicate. For example:

ca nèhuātl
DECL 1SG
"It's me" (pronoun as predicate)

(ca) nèhuātl in ni.qu.i in ātl
(DECL) 1SG DEF 1SG.3SG.drink DEF water
"I'm the one drinking the water" (focus...hopefully I got this right)

I'm wondering whether these could be directly calqued to Koa and what that would look like! Remaining agnostic on the form of Koa emphatic pronouns but using the reduplicated ones just for the moment, the first could be put as i nini or more likely nini sa and the second as nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu.

This isn't why I started writing just now, but I can't resist comparing the syntax of that last form (1A) with the usual way we handle focus (2A):

1A. nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu
1SG FOC DEF IMPF drink DEF water
"I'm the one drinking the water"

2A. ni sa ma ipo ka anu
1SG FOC IMPF drink DEF water
"It's me who's drinking the water"

I glossed these differently but I think they're semantically equivalent. I also think there's no reason type 1 above could logically be disallowed, which means we need to figure out (as usual) the kinds of conditions that would determine its use. Most worthy of note here, though, I think, is that what's going on between these seemingly extremely similar sentences is in fact surprisingly different formally.

In type 1, nini is actually the predicate: without focalization, the clause could be rearranged as

1B. ka ma ipo ka anu i nini
DEF IMPF drink DEF water FIN 1SG
"The one drinking the water is me."

Therefore, if we were to say that in Koa, as in Nahuatl, an emphatic pronoun is required in order for it to play a predicative role, then type 1 clauses would have to appear as above and not, for example, as *ni sa ka ma ipo ka anu.

In type 2, what's going on is simple movement of the focus into initial position followed by sa, without structural change from the theoretical matrix clause: that is to say, the pragmatically neutral clause would be

2B. ni ma ipo ka anu
1SG IMPF drink DEF water
"I'm drinking the water"

Um...wait just a second, though. I previously said that ni sa ka ma ipo ka anu would be incorrect, but check out these three sentences:

1B. ka ma ipo ka anu i nini
DEF IMPF drink DEF water FIN 1SG
"The one drinking the water is me."

1C. nini i ka ma ipo ka anu
1SG FIN DEF IMPF drink DEF water
"I am the one drinking the water."

1D. ni ka ma ipo ka anu
1SG DEF IMPF drink DEF water
"I am the one drinking the water."

If focalizing nini, 1B and 1C would both yield the identically same clause, nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu! And focalizing ni in 1D would give us ni sa ka ma ipo ka anu...which means it's not incorrect after all. However, though, what on earth is the pragmatic difference between 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 2A, five different ways of expressing (seemingly) the exact same thing? Just for clarity, with apologies for what I've just realized is the total lameness of the example sentence I'm using here, here's that lineup all together, all saying something like "I'm the one who's drinking the water":

1A. nini sa ka ma ipo ka anu
1B. ka ma ipo ka anu i nini
1C. nini i ka ma ipo ka anu
1D. ni ka ma ipo ka anu
2A. ni sa ma ipo ka anu

First of all, I have no clue how to differentiate pragmatically between 2A and 1ACD. 1B is, I think, slightly different from the others in a way that might make its use a little clearer. Okay, like...maybe the choice between all the 1's and 2A is whether "the one drinking the water" is already an identifiable entity on the discourse stage. In Nahuatl, of course, this kind of structural strategy is the only way they can pull off focus, but Koa can introduce this kind of subtlety because it also has fronting à la Yoruba. This can be filed in that general folder of Advanced Koa Pragmatics...as to which, whatever happened to that document where I was trying to list every possible way of expressing the same transitive clause so we could try to determine how they were different? I think I might have burned out after the 25th permutation.

ANYWAY, none of the above is what I intended to write about here! What I wanted to point out is that, if a primary purpose for emphatic pronouns is providing a form to use as a predicate where required, we do actually already have an entirely different and extremely well-established way of doing this with a different set of pronouns: ti/to/ke. Here we have

na ipo to sahi!
NEG drink that wine
"don't drink that wine!"

but, I now realize

na ipo to.a!
NEG drink that.PRON
"don't drink that!"

This raises two questions for me: (1) could/should emphatic personal pronouns be done like this as well, i.e. nia, sea, taa, nua, soa, tua? and (2) going the other direction, could/should ti/to/ke be used as pronouns independently, e.g.:

ke sa se halu?
what FOC 2SG want
"what do you want?"

na ipo to!
NEG drink that
"don't drink that!"

...alongside the traditional

ke.a sa se halu?
what.PRON FOC 2SG want
"what do you want?"

na ipo to.a!
NEG drink that.PRON
"don't drink that!"

I'm not sure. This is a pretty big potential change, so we need to take the time to make sure we're clear on what this really means. Both of these sets of particles can be used directly with a predicate without an article -- i.e. they essentially replace the article -- as in

ti tako
this octopus
"this octopus"

ke tako?
what octopus
"which octopus?"

ni tako
1SG octopus
"my [inalienable] octopus" (incidentally also "I am an octopus")

I'm really into this strange little conversation I've just accidentally created. But the point is that the two sets have different meanings when used in this way: the demonstratives have deictic force, whereas the pronouns are possessive. As such I'm not whether what the predicates in -a when applied to pronouns should actually mean: should nia be emphatic "I," or just "mine?"

Maybe a way to think about this is that the personal pronouns actually -- at least superficially -- have two entirely different meanings when prefixed to a predicate, as in ni tako above, so there needs to be a way to create a predicative form for each of those meanings. This is getting kind of crazy, but what if we had nia "mine" AND nini "I"?

Although...this makes me think that titi and toto (uh-oh) should also exist, meaning...um...what, exactly?

In summary, I've settled absolutely nothing, but these are some interesting questions...


Tiny Unnumbered Detail:Case Spreading

Thursday, February 1st, 2018
In a language with case, in phrases such as 'man against man' or 'man against nature' or 'day by day', have case spread to the left, so that both nouns always are marked by the same case whenever the NP is not clearly part of a VP.

Tiny Unnumbered Detail:Case Spreading

Thursday, February 1st, 2018
In a language with case, in phrases such as 'man against man' or 'man against nature' or 'day by day', have case spread to the left, so that both nouns always are marked by the same case whenever the NP is not clearly part of a VP.