Kaita

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Frislander
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Kaita

Post by Frislander »

OK, this language came about when I saw the phoneme inventory of Proto-Arapaho-Atsina (reproduced below):

/t k ʔ/
/θ ʃ h/
/n j m/

/i e o/

I found this to be very attractive (notice in particular how the consonants fit into a very neat 9x9 square), and having already acquired a fondness for Arapahoe, decided to do a polysynthetic language based on that inventory, though not necessarily on the grammar.

So, after having done a little bit of shuffling, I ended up with this

Phonology

Consonants

I decided fairly quickly upon this inventory of consonants:

/t tʃ~ts k/ <<t c k>>
/θ ʃ~s h/ <<θ s h>>
/n j w/ <<n y w>>

Nothing much to be said here, except to note the distinct lack of bilabials (a paucity of bilabials is a feature of many North American languages I have long loved), and that the post-alveolar/palatal affricate and fricative are in free variation with their alveolar counterparts, and that while θ is dental, t and n are both alveolar.

Vowels and Phonotactics

I have decided to do the vowel inventory and phonotactics together because of how I structured this part of the phonology.

There are 3 fully phonemic vowels in Kaita (fully hìiycakùunita kayta, or "that which people speak") and 2 marginal ones:

/a e i (o) (u)/

These each occur in both long and short, and with one of 2-3 tones (see below). Allophony is of course rampant; /e/ can be anything from [e] to [æ], while /a/ sometimes even approaches [ɔ].

Why are o and u in brackets, you might ask? It has to do with the phonotactics.

The language's syllable structure is rather strict; it only allows CV(C) syllables, where the final C is one of n, y or w. Any of the three phonemic vowels (a, e or i) may occur with any of these final consonants (with /ij/ manifesting as [ɨj]). However, when e and i (of any length) are followed by w in the coda (and only in the coda; if the w is intervocalic, this does not occur), they coalesce into the vowels o and u respectively (or oo and uu if the original vowel was long). This results in the non-occurrence of these vowels with the coda n and coda y, and their exculsion from the vowel phoneme inventory, despite them being very much present phonetically.

Tones

Did I mention there are tones? There are 3 tones in Kaita: 2 on short vowels and 3 on long.

Short vowels display a 2-way contrast of high and low tone, with low tone being unmarked and high tone having an acute accent in the romanisation.

Long vowels have a 3-way tonal contrast between high, low and falling tones. The long vowel itself is represented by doubling the vowel in question, which includes doubling the acute accent on a high vowel. A falling tone is denoted by placing a grave accent on the first vowel only.

The combinations of tone and length are thus represented orthographically like so:

<<a á aa áá àa>>

(Interestingly, in some dialects the high and low tones on long vowels develop rising and low-falling contours. Then length is lost and the language has a resulting five-value tone system (low, high, rising, highfall and lowfall), minus length)

EDIT: Phonological processes

There are EDIT: three general phonological processes in Kaita: h-dropping and glide-degemmination.

Whenever h follows another consonant it is lost. This includes monophthongised /ew/ and /iw/, in which case they unpack.

hííkóku "he would do it" -háw "interrogative" becomes hííkókiwáw "Would he do it?"

Also, whenever a geminate /w/ or /y/ would occur, again including after monophthongised /ew/ and /iw/, it is degemminated/

EDIT: háy- "ought to" nésenacííθikí "I am making him eat it" becomes háyésenacííθikí "I ought to make him eat it"

The second example demonstrates an affix-specific morphological process in Kaita: the causative prefix is né- when it appears word-initially and EDIT: -yé- when it appears word-internally. Other affix-specific alternations will be given when the affix is described.

EDIT: Thirdly, when more than three high tones occur in succession, the fourth in the sequence becomes low if it is short and falling if it long, with all successive high tones directly following it lowered.

híínócíícííθúku "He would down it (a drink)" becomes híínócíícìiθuku
Last edited by Frislander on 23 Jul 2016 18:37, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

Noun morphology

There isn't much to noun morphology in Kaita: the only real affixes are the adverbial suffix -kèe and the honorifics. There is a four way noun-class distinction, but that is marked only on the verb and will be described there. Note that I, II and III in the glosses refer to said noun class agreement affixes.

Case

There is only one marked case in Kaita: the adverbial, marked by the suffix -kèe. The adverbial is used to denote nouns in a variety of adjunct role, ranging from location to instrument, dependent on a combination of the semantics of both the noun and the main verb.

cáwàanìiyaan saayankèe
cá-wàa-nìiya-:n saayan-kèe
DEL-1.SUB.PL-sleep-PRF day-ADV
We slept for a day

sinàayníku yíhàankèe
sina-`:y-ní-ku yíhàan-kèe
cut-HAB-1.OBJ-3.PROX.AGT knife-ADV
He cuts me with a knife

All other case roles are unmarked: a bare noun may appear as the subject, direct object or indirect object of any clause.

kayta kawe
kayta ka-we
person I-go.PRF
The person went

EDIT: nantèe seθesíwiin kaaséseθecííθi
nantèe se-θe-síwi-:n kaasé-se-θe-cííθi
fish II-2.SUB-pick_up-PRF must-II-2.SUBJ-eat
You must eat the fish you have caught

wàay kítan yenakaantaané
wàay kítan ye-na-kaanta-:n-hé
NEG man III-1.SUB-give-PRF-3.OBV.OBL
I did not give it to the man

Honorifics

There are several honorific affixes in Kayta, often with several uses. Most of these may also be placed on verbs, and there are also several honorific affixes which only occur on verbs. The precise details of their usage will be covered in pragmatics; only a general outline will be given here.

ha-: a general all purpose honorific used for anyone or anything the speaker has at least some reverence for, and as a form of augmentative.

we--i/y: an honorific used to denote people or things held in high regard by the speaker. (Note the allophony with the suffix: i occurs after consonants, y after vowels)

(-)nèetay: an honorific used by the speaker to mark people of authority respected by the speaker: this is clearly a contraction of the expression wenehatay, teacher/leader (highly respected). This suffix may also stand as an unbound noun.

-can: this suffix has an interesting gender-based dichtomy of usage: among males it is used (slightly derogatorily) to mark those of lower status than the speaker, and also as a kind of diminutive; among women, however, it is often used, by older women especially, when addressing those younger than the speaker, even young men, in an affectionate kind of way, and to indicate intimacy with the listener.

hí-: a prefix marking things which inspire fear in the speaker.

hawàacéényata wàanísiwaθétoo
ha-wàa-céénya-ta wàa-nísiwa-θé-too
"ha"-1.PL.POSS-precede.IMP-NOM 1.PL.SUB-thank.POL-2.OBJ-"too"
We thank you great ancestor

natìiykincan nàaykèe θehen
na-tìiykin-can nàay-kèe θe-hen
1.POSS-son-"can" PROX.VIS-ADV 2.SUB-go.PRF
Come here son (female speaker)

híwasìi, nanikeciintoo wíθecáhàaytákaníya!
hí-wasìi, na-nikeci-:n-too wí-θe-cáhàay-táka-ní-ya
"hí"-snake, 1.SUB-ask.POL-PRF-"too" NEG-2.SUB-tooth-hit-1.OBJ-GER"
Oh snake, please don't bite me!
Last edited by Frislander on 08 Jul 2016 18:22, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Davush »

I am a fan of conlangs which have unusual case marking - I really like the idea of only having an adjunct case and no other marking! I also like the minimal phonology and tone system and I will be interested to learn about the verbal system. Looking forward to seeing the development of this.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

Well if you like verbs as much as I do then you're in for a treat.
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Re: Kaita

Post by DesEsseintes »

Firstly, hooray! It's amazing to see more conlangs based on Arapaho! [:D]

The vowel system is a nice twist here. It reminds me of Wichita. If it were me, I would be tempted to have /ewe iwi/ sequences turn into oo uu to get long rounded vowels. You actually have one morpheme too in your examples. Is that from underlying /eew/ perhaps?

What do the I, II, III mean in the glosses? I'm sure you're gonna tell us when you get to verbs, right?

Looking forward to more! [:)]
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Re: Kaita

Post by shimobaatar »

Things are looking great here so far. Hopefully we'll get to see even more of the language in the future.
Frislander wrote: the post-alveolar/palatal affricate and fricative may vary with their alveolar counterparts
Sorry, but what exactly do you mean here?
Frislander wrote: (Interestingly, in some dialects the high and low tones on long vowels develop rising and low-falling contours. Then length is lost and the language has a resulting five-value tone system (low, high, rising, highfall and lowfall), minus length)
Interesting indeed!
Frislander wrote: Also, whenever a geminate /w/ or /y/ would occur, again including after monophthongised /ew/ and /iw/, it is degemminated/
Do [o u] return to [ew iw] in this kind of situation?
Frislander wrote:There is a four way noun-class distinction, but that is marked only on the verb and will be described there. Note that I, II and III in the glosses refer to said noun class agreement affixes.
If there are four noun classes, why only I, II, and III?
Frislander wrote: There is only one marked case in Kaita: the adverbial, marked by the suffix -kèe. The adverbial is used to denote nouns in a variety of adjunct role, ranging from location to instrument, dependent on a combination of the semantics of both the noun and the main verb.
Cool idea!
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Re: Kaita

Post by DesEsseintes »

shimobaatar wrote:
Frislander wrote: the post-alveolar/palatal affricate and fricative may vary with their alveolar counterparts
Sorry, but what exactly do you mean here?
I'm guessing /t͡ʃ ʃ/ vary in their realisations between [t͡ʃ ʃ] and [t͡s s]?
Frislander wrote:There is a four way noun-class distinction, but that is marked only on the verb and will be described there. Note that I, II and III in the glosses refer to said noun class agreement affixes.
I totally missed this. Frislander, please ignore my question two posts above.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Ælfwine »

Perhaps he means [t͡ʃ ʃ] and [t͡s s] will be in free variation.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

DesEsseintes wrote:You actually have one morpheme too in your examples. Is that from underlying /eew/ perhaps?
Indeed. I forgot to mention in the OP that monophthongisation occurs regardless of length. Will edit that.
shimobaatar wrote:
Frislander wrote: Also, whenever a geminate /w/ or /y/ would occur, again including after monophthongised /ew/ and /iw/, it is degemminated/
Do [o u] return to [ew iw] in this kind of situation?
Yes, that is what it is supposed to mean.
shimobaatar wrote:
Frislander wrote:There is a four way noun-class distinction, but that is marked only on the verb and will be described there. Note that I, II and III in the glosses refer to said noun class agreement affixes.
If there are four noun classes, why only I, II, and III?
Because class IV is used for mass nouns and abstracts (generally uncountable), and there are none of those in the examples.
Ælfwine wrote:Perhaps he means [t͡ʃ ʃ] and [t͡s s] will be in free variation.
Basically yes, but I'll edit the post to make it clearer.
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Re: Kaita

Post by shimobaatar »

Frislander wrote: Because class IV is used for mass nouns and abstracts (generally uncountable), and there are none of those in the examples.
Ahh, got it. I should have figured that out myself, sorry. Thanks for your explanations.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

Pronouns(ish)

Personal Pronouns (or not)

There are no real personal pronouns per-se in Kaita. Actually, I should probably stop calling it Kaita, as that word means "person". the proper name should probably be Wàayaakita ("thing that we speak").

Anyway, there are no real personal pronouns in Kaita. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't things like them. For speech-act-participants, the subject-prefixes are placed on the suffix -ha "to be" to create verbs with the meaning "to be me", "to be us" etc. The combinations are thus:

Code: Select all

    singular plural
1st naha    wàaha
2nd θeha    tèeha
3rd persons use the demonstratives (see below).

These pronouns are generally not used with core arguments except to focus that argument.

kasííhaanní naha
ka-sííha-:n-ní na-ha
I-see-PRF-1.OBJ 1.SUB-be
He saw ME.

Demonstratives

Demonstratives exhibit a 3-way distance contrast: near-speaker, near-listener and distant (for convenience, these will use the abbreviations prox., med. and dist. respectively).

Code: Select all

prox. nàay
med.  kèey
dist. sìiy
yenahóóθeen nàay
ye-na-hóóθe-:n nàay
III-1.SUB-make-PRF PROX
I made this

kecaasenacííθi kèey nantèe
kecaa-se-na-cííθi kèey nantèe
fear-II-1.SUB-eat MED fish
I'm afraid to eat that fish

There is also an enclitic =hen which is suffixed onto the following word to denote an invisible or absent referent.

wàay sìiy caakáhen senacínnaasiin
wàay sìiy caaká-hen se-na-cín-naasi-:n
NEG MED dog-INV II-1.SUB-un-cover-PRF
I did not skin that dog

Interrogatives

There are two interrogative pronouns: the animate "kaway" and the inanimate "kitin". These are used for all interrogative referents, along with the interrogative mood.

kaway háykanakééwaháw?
kaway háy-ka-na-kééwa-háw
INT.ANI ought-I-1.SUB-follow-INT
Who should I follow?

EDIT: kitin θòoniθáánatákáwθéhaw?
kitin θòoni-θáá-na-táka-^w-θé-háw
INT.INA want-BEN.APP-1.SUB-hit-IRR-2.OBJ-INT
Why would I want to bite you?

The is also the suffix -cekán "what kind".

kanantèecekánaháw?
ka-nantèe-cekán-ha-háw
I-fish-what.kind-be-INT
What kind of fish is it?

Indefinites

Indefinite pronouns are equal to the interrogative pronouns plus the suffix -ta.

kawayta kaθeheca
kaway-ta ka-θe-heca
INT.ANI-ta I-2.SUB-sense
You know someone

kitinta yàanyenahaynaθé
kitin-ta yàan-ye-na-hayna-θé
INT.INA CON-III-1.SUB-show-3.OBJ
I'm trying to show you something
Last edited by Frislander on 29 Jun 2016 20:48, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

Verbs - the Stem

Now I'm going to be honest with you: though the phonology is very much Arapohoan, the verb structure is most definitely not, except in its complexity. This means that I'm going to have to break down the description of the verbal morphology into segments: and this first one is on the verbal stem.

Most verb stems consist of minimally a verb root, which normally are bisyllabic, though a few (such as suppletive polite forms) are tri-syllabic and one (we, to go, which is also irregular) is mono-syllabic (-ha to be does not count as it is a suffix attached to nouns). The final vowel of the root is always one of the three phonemic vowels (a, e or i) that is short and has a low tone: this could probably be best described as the "thematic vowel" and will be denoted by -V in the following description.

Example root shapes are thus:

neha to rule/teach
wiisi be small
hóóθe to build/make
hìiyca to repair

Now, like Navajo, Wàayaakita has a thing which is referred to as "mode", a slightly weird blend of tense, aspect and mood. Wàayaakita has four: imperfective, perfective, habitual and irrealis. Also like Navajo Aspect is a separate category from this concept of mode, and as such will be dealt with in a future post. These modes are expressed by modifications to the thematic vowel of the root.

Imperfective is the default mode (i.e. it is expressed by -V and is unmarked in the glosses) and if the citation form for verbs. It expresses events seen as continuous irrespective of time.

kàanìiya
kàa-nìiya
I.PL-sleep
They are/were sleeping

The perfective is expressed by -VVn: that is, by lengthening the stem vowel and suffixing -n. I expresses events seen as unitary and indivisible.

EDIT: θetákaanku
θe-táka-:n-ku
2.SUB-hit-PRF-3.ERG
He hit you

kayta kahen
kayta ka-hen
person I-go.PRF
The Kaita went

The habitual is expressed by -`VVy: lengthening the vowel, adding a falling tone and suffixing -y. It expresses events which occur, or previously occurred, regularly or frequently.

secííθìiyku
se-cííθi-`:y-ku
II-eat-HAB-3.ERG
He eats is regularly/frequently

The irrealis is expressed by -^Vw: adding a high tone and suffixing -w (including monophthongisation of ew and iw). This expresses events which have not (yet) occurred or might possibly occur.

kecaayesakáwku
kecaa-ye-saka-^w-ku
fear-III-break-IRR-3.ERG
He was afraid of breaking it

sinàayciyetèewaceehóóθéwáw?
si-nàayci-ye-tèe-wacee-hóóθe-^w-háw
POL-able-III-2.SUB.PL-building-build-IRR-INT
Would you be able to build it?

That last example also highlights something else about the verb stem: it is where incorporated nouns go (and possibly other stuff: I haven't sorted that one out fully yet). These precede the verbal root. Noun-incorporation is mostly a syntactic phenomenon and will be further explored elsewhere, but for now it is interesting to note that in the example given the incorporated noun wacee building serves to further classify the 3rd person argument marked by ye- in the verb complex and thus to further specify hóóθe as "to build" as opposed to "to make": Wàayaakita thus has Type IV noun-incorporation (and I didn't even realise it!).

EDIT: we "to go" is highly irregular, so it's stem modifications have been given here separately:

IMP: we
PRF: hen
HAB: wèey
IRR: hó

kehe "to do/use" is also rather irregular, varying like so:

IMP: kehe
PRF: keen
HAB: kèey
IRR: kó

More to follow soon.
Last edited by Frislander on 29 Jun 2016 20:48, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Kaita

Post by shimobaatar »

Frislander wrote:Actually, I should probably stop calling it Kaita, as that word means "person". the proper name should probably be Wàayaakita ("thing that we speak").
I think it's fine to give the language an English name that doesn't necessarily make perfect sense in the language itself, especially if you've already gotten into the habit, so to speak, of calling it that.
Frislander wrote: These pronouns are generally not used with core arguments except to focus that argument.
When are they typically used?
Frislander wrote: There is also an enclitic =hen which is suffixed onto the following word to denote an invisible or absent referent.
Lots of cool ideas here, but this one stood out to me for whatever reason.
Frislander wrote:Most verb stems consist of minimally a verb root, which normally are bisyllabic, though a few (such as suppletive polite forms) are tri-syllabic and one (we, to go, which is also irregular) is mono-syllabic (-ha to be does not count as it is a suffix attached to nouns). The final vowel of the root is always one of the three phonemic vowels (a, e or i) that is short and has a low tone: this could probably be best described as the "thematic vowel" and will be denoted by -V in the following description.
Verbs are looking good so far. [:)]
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Re: Kaita

Post by DesEsseintes »

Frislander wrote:Now I'm going to be honest with you: though the phonology is very much Arapohoan, the verb structure is most definitely not, except in its complexity. This means that I'm going to have to break down the description of the verbal morphology into segments: and this first one is on the verbal stem.
Fantastic. :mrgreen:
Now, like Navajo, Wàayaakita has a thing which is referred to as "mode", a slightly weird blend of tense, aspect and mood. Wàayaakita has four: imperfective, perfective, habitual and irrealis. Also like Navajo Aspect is a separate category from this concept of mode, and as such will be dealt with in a future post. These modes are expressed by modifications to the thematic vowel of the root.
We seem to be in love with the same languages. [B)]
Imperfective is the default mode (i.e. it is expressed by -V and is unmarked in the glosses) and if the citation form for verbs. It expresses events seen as continuous irrespective of time.

kàanìiya
I.PL-sleep
They are/were sleeping
It would be helpful if you would separate morphemes in your glosses with dashes. What is the root/imperfective stem of sleep here? Is it níiya?
The perfective is expressed by -VVn: that is, by lengthening the stem vowel and suffixing -n. I expresses events seen as unitary and indivisible.

kayta kahen
person I-go.PRF
The Kaita went
I don't see a lengthened vowel in the verb form. Is it meant to be kaheen or am I missing something again?

Really enjoying this! [:D]
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

shimobaatar wrote:
Frislander wrote: These pronouns are generally not used with core arguments except to focus that argument.
When are they typically used?
I'm going to be honest with you: not much! Probably they're used with general locations, but since a lot of locational concepts (such as "above" and "in front of" are expressed by verbs, they'd often use verb marking anyway).
DesEsseintes wrote: It would be helpful if you would separate morphemes in your glosses with dashes. What is the root/imperfective stem of sleep here? Is it níiya?
I'll do that: the root is nìiya by the way.
DesEsseintes wrote:I don't see a lengthened vowel in the verb form. Is it meant to be kaheen or am I missing something again?
Sorry, I should have given an example with a regular verb root: we is irregular and I eant to give the conjugation of it at the end of the post, but I obviously forgot: I'll rectify that now, and give a better example.
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Re: Kaita

Post by shimobaatar »

Frislander wrote: I'm going to be honest with you: not much! Probably they're used with general locations, but since a lot of locational concepts (such as "above" and "in front of" are expressed by verbs, they'd often use verb marking anyway).
That's a perfectly fine answer! Thanks for your response. [:)]

I like the looks of the irregular verbs, by the way.
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

Person Marking

I probably could have done with doing this earlier, but anyway.

In Wàayaakita there is a major alignment split in person marking on verbs: speech-act-participants are nominative-accusative and 3rd person arguments are ergative-absolutive. The nominative and absolutive arguments are marked by prefixes and the accusative and ergative are marked by suffixes which are placed directly onto the verb stem in the order:

absolutive-nominative-stem-accusative-ergative-(oblique)

The absolutive prefixes exhibit a 4-way noun class distinction not found elsewhere in the grammar. Class I, the animate class, is used for humans and higher animates such as dogs when they are alive, along with a few others. Class II is the "vegetable" class, and is used for a variety of things, including plants, dead animates and natural features. Class III is the object class, used for inanimate objects. Finally class IV is the "uncountable" class, used for masses and also abstract nouns. Note that none of these classes is overtly marked on the noun itself. Class I in addition exhibits a singular-plural number distinction. The forms of the absolutive prefixes are given below:

Code: Select all

    SING PLUR
I   ka-   kàa-
II     se-
III    ye-
IV     híí-
kítan kahen
kítan ka-hen
man I-go.PRF
The man went

The nominative prefixes also exhibit a two-way number distinction, though there is no inclusive-exclusive.

Code: Select all

    SING PLUR
1st na-  wàa-
2nd θe-  tèe-
natántàay
na-tánta-`:y
1.SUB-dance-HAB
I dance regularly

The accusative suffixes are similar in form to the nominative prefixes, with the addition of the high tone and more regular plural forms.

Code: Select all

    SING PLUR
1st -ná  -nàaní
2nd -θé  -θèení
yaatátákaanθékùuni
yaa-CV-táka-:n-θé-kùuni
body-INT-hit-PRF-2.OBJ-3.PL
They hit you over and over/they beat you up

The ergative suffixes, unlike the absolutive prefixes, do not show a noun-class distinction. This is partly due to the fact that most ergative arguments would count as class I anyway. However, there is a basic proximate-obviate type distinction for tracking referents in the discourse.

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   SING PLUR
3  -ku  -kùuni
3' -ho  -hòoni
hííkókiwáw?
híí-ke-^w-ku-háw
IV-do-IRR-3-INT
Would (s)he do it?

The oblique suffixes show the same categories as the ergative suffixes.

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   SING PLUR
3  -kí  -kìini
3' -hé  -hèeni
wàasííhàaykí kayta tákaanθékú
wàa-sííha-`:y-kí kayta táka-:n-θé-kú
1.SUB.PL-see-HAB-3.OBL person hit-PRF-2.OBJ-3.ERG
We know the person who hit you

The nominative prefixes and ergative suffixes are also used as head-marked possesives on root nouns (nouns derived from verbs often behave differently).

nawàahí
na-wàahí
1.POSS-child
my child

hayθánku
hayθán-ku
group-3.POSs
His/her group

kanaasita
ka-naasi-ta
I-cover-NOM
His/her clothes (lit. that which covers him/her)
Last edited by Frislander on 23 Jun 2016 14:12, edited 1 time in total.
shimobaatar
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Re: Kaita

Post by shimobaatar »

Frislander wrote:In Wàayaakita there is a major alignment split in person marking on verbs: speech-act-participants are nominative-accusative and 3rd person arguments are ergative-absolutive. The nominative and absolutive arguments are marked by prefixes and the accusative and ergative are marked by suffixes which are placed directly onto the verb stem in the order:

absolutive-nominative-stem-accusative-ergative-(oblique)
Sorry if I'm missing the answer to this somewhere, but what would happen in, for example, a situation like one of the following:
  • the agent is third person, but the patient is a speech act participant
  • the agent is a speech act participant, but the patient is third person
  • the agent and patient are third person, but the oblique argument is a speech act participant
  • the agent and patient and speech act participants, but the oblique argument is third person
Spoiler:
Frislander wrote: The absolutive prefixes exhibit a 4-way noun class distinction not found elsewhere in the grammar. Class I, the animate class, is used for humans and higher animates such as dogs when they are alive, along with a few others. Class II is the "vegetable" class, and is used for a variety of things, including plants, dead animates and natural features. Class III is the object class, used for inanimate objects. Finally class IV is the "uncountable" class, used for masses and also abstract nouns. Note that none of these classes is overtly marked on the noun itself. Class I in addition exhibits a singular-plural number distinction. The forms of the absolutive prefixes are given below:
Frislander wrote: The nominative prefixes also exhibit a two-way number distinction, though there is no inclusive-exclusive.
Frislander wrote: The accusative suffixes are similar in form to the nominative prefixes, with the addition of the high tone and more regular plural forms.
Frislander wrote: The ergative suffixes, unlike the absolutive prefixes, do not show a noun-class distinction. This is partly due to the fact that most ergative arguments would count as class I anyway. However, there is a basic proximate-obviate type distinction for tracking referents in the discourse.
Frislander wrote: The oblique suffixes show the same categories as the ergative suffixes.
Frislander wrote: The nominative prefixes and ergative suffixes are also used as head-marked possesives on root nouns (nouns derived from verbs often behave differently).
This is all very interesting, and I like the forms of the affixes.
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Frislander
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Re: Kaita

Post by Frislander »

shimobaatar wrote:
Frislander wrote:In Wàayaakita there is a major alignment split in person marking on verbs: speech-act-participants are nominative-accusative and 3rd person arguments are ergative-absolutive. The nominative and absolutive arguments are marked by prefixes and the accusative and ergative are marked by suffixes which are placed directly onto the verb stem in the order:

absolutive-nominative-stem-accusative-ergative-(oblique)
Sorry if I'm missing the answer to this somewhere, but what would happen in, for example, a situation like one of the following:
  • the agent is third person, but the patient is a speech act participant
  • the agent is a speech act participant, but the patient is third person
  • the agent and patient are third person, but the oblique argument is a speech act participant
  • the agent and patient and speech act participants, but the oblique argument is third person
Well the diagram does give the respective orders of the affixes, but clearly I need to explain a bit more throughly.

So scenario 1: the speech-act-participant suffix is followed by the agentive suffix (the exaple for the object suffixes shows this and is repeated here):

yaatátákaanθékùuni
yaa-CV-táka-:n-θé-kùuni
body-INT-hit-PRF-2.OBJ-3.PL
They hit you over and over/they beat you up

Scenario 2: the third person patient prefix precedes the speech-act-participant agent prefix, as in:

naasinàaníta sáyewàaθàawaan
naasi-nàaní-ta sá-ye-wàa-θàawa-:n
cover-1.OBJ.PL-NOM TER-III-1.SUB.PL-wash-PRF
We finished washing our clothes

Scenario 3: I didn't properly make this clear (will edit), but the object suffixes are also used for oblique speech-act-participants, so the oblique suffix precedes the agent suffix in this instance:

yekaantaannáho
ye-kaanta-:n-ná-ho
III-give-PRF-1.OBJ-3'.ERG
He gave it to me

Scenario 4: This one's easy: the relevant affixes occur in their respective order (however, they do not necessarily fulfill the expected semantic roles from a European perspective: speech-act-participant objects in ditransitive clauses are recipients if the 3rd person argument is absolutive, but themes if the third person is in the oblique):

nahaynaθékí
na-hayna-θé-kí
1.SUB-show-2.OBJ-3.OBL
I am showing you to him/her

kanayáwèenθiθé
ka-na-yáwèenθi-θé
I-1.SUB-show.POL-2.OBJ
I am showing him/her to you
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Re: Kaita

Post by shimobaatar »

Frislander wrote: Well the diagram does give the respective orders of the affixes, but clearly I need to explain a bit more throughly.
I meant more in terms of alignment, not the order of affixes. Since, if I understand correctly, speech act participants trigger nominative-accusative alignment, and third person arguments trigger ergative-absolutive alignment, I wanted to make sure I understood what would happen if both were present. It seems like the two can coexist just fine, though?

Thank you very much anyway for your explanations! I've found I'm not always the best at interpreting examples.
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