The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

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Dormouse559
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The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Dormouse559 »

I saw this sentence in a news report awhile ago, and it has some interesting interplay of number and possession. Is "public" singular or plural in your language? Does it get singular or plural anaphora? How do you handle distributive possession?

:eng: English
The public's eyes are blind, their ears are deaf, and their mouths have no words.



Image Silvish
Lo-z eû dî mòndo i ssont aveûglo, sa-z orêlye la sson soùrta e ssa boùhe mànca de mo.
[ləˈzœː diˈmɔ̃n.də ʔis.sɔ̃n.ta̝ˈvøː.glə | sa.zəˈʁɛː.ʎˑə lɑs.sɔ̃ˈsuʁ.ta ʔɛs.sa̝ˈbu.hə ˈmɑ̃ŋ.ka dəˈmo]
DEF-M.C-PL eye of-DEF.M people 3P be.3P blind-M.C | 3S.POSS-F.C-PL ear 3-F.PL be.3S deaf-F.C and 3S.POSS-F.C mouth lack-3S of word


"Public" is translated with a singular noun in Silvish, and it gets singular agreement in the rest of the sentence. Additionally, when talking about multiple people possessing one each of something, the possessum is singular. So while English says "their mouths", my translation reads ssa boùhe (lit. its mouth).

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VaptuantaDoi
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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by VaptuantaDoi »

Proto-Nomadic

*gdagóo é gook dá tiik-uk-guk, ddaák-tií, kdíígak-daa
negatively INDEF work PRES NEG eye-PREP-person, understand-TOOL, bite-PLACE
[gɾàɣôː é ɣòːk dá tsìːkùkɣùk dɾǎːktsǐː kɾíːɣàkɾàː]
“The eyes of the people, their understanders and their biting-places don’t work.”
Spoiler:
PN uses a series of adverbs to convey more nuanced or emphasised forms of mood, like gdagóo above. Most of the body-part nouns aren’t separate roots, or at least, the modern forms rarely descend from anything but compounds (apart from “eye”, which is retained in all branches for some reason).

Úkux

é-hyx-tá šiš žaaší číača kux
/éhəʔtá ʃiʃ dʒāʃí tʃíatʃa kuʔ/
3S/P-work-NEG eye ear mouth people
“The people’s eyes, ears and mouths don’t work.”
Spoiler:
kux derives from a reduplication of PN *guk “person,” which unreduplicated became Úkux hux. It’s not the same etymologically as the -kux in Úkux, but the speakers often think it is.

Standard Cartaguinhisi
publique uolha se queca, illi aurilhe se surde, e illi bucque se mute
/puˈblikɛ ˈu̯ɔʎa se ˈkɛka, illi au̯ˈriʎɛ sɛ ˈsuɾdɛ ɛ illi ˈbukkɛ sɛ ˈmutɛ/
public-GEN eye-NOM.PL be.3PL blind-NEUT.N.PL, 3-N.SG.GEN ear-N.PL be.3PL deaf-F.N.PL. and 3-N.SG.GEN mouth-NOM.PL be.3PL mute-F.N.PL.
PUBLIC-E UOLH-A SE QUEC-A ILL-I AURILH-E SE SURD-E E ILL-I BUCC-E SE MUT-E
“The public’s eyes are blind, their ears are deaf and their mouths are mute.”
Spoiler:
Although “public” is a feminine singular noun, the pronouns referring back to it are neuter plural. This happens with a few collective nouns, where they are morphologically feminine but referred to with neuter plural pronouns. Other examples are “people,” (popla), “government” (governaria) and “house” (masiuna).

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Reyzadren
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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Reyzadren »

:con: griuskant (without the conscript)

erseae oezjiskon un oezraeinon un taeyaishon az jez kani.
/'ərsəe 'ɯzdʒiskɔn un 'ɯzreinɔn un 'tejaiʃɔn az 'dʒəz 'kani/
N-IMP-PL-N-POSS intra-see-EB-PASS and intra-hear-EB-PASS and opinion-EB-PASS is less can-A
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Iyionaku
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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Iyionaku »

:con: Yèlian

A'gagúlan o'bárvasal cèlobul, cenim reian ceribul èpa cenim dipun cibiyli matayan.
[ɐgɐˈxuːlɐn ɔ̈ˈbaɾvɐsɐl ˈkɛlɔ̈bʉl, ˈkeːnɨm ˈɾɛɪ̯.ɐn ˈkeːɾɪ̯bʉl ɛpɐ ˈkeːnɨm ˈdiːpʉn kɨˈba̯iːli ˈmaːtɐʃɐn]
DEF.ANIM=eye-PL DEF.GEN=public blind-COP.3PL, 3PL.POSS ear-PL deaf-COP.3PL and 3PL.POSS mouth-PL NEG-have.3PL word-PL
The public's eyes are blind, their ears are deaf, and their mouths have no words.

It was pretty interesting to see that the plural of gacúl "eye", according to the existing grammar rules, is gagúlan, which looks and sounds pretty awful. I have never needed to use this plural before, as you usually use the dual gacúm when talking about someone's eyes, which was not applicable here as the public's got more eyes than two.
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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Salmoneus »

Old Wenthish:

súil bíuth blídó thásó liadó, áid eosen dábé, áid stáith uordó náinna in hioró múdem
eye be_3p blind-PL DET_GEN.PL person-GEN.PL and ear-PL deaf-PL and be_3p word-GEN.PL in her_GEN.PL mouth-DAT.PL

lit. (the) eyes are blind of the people, and (the) ears (are) deaf, and stand of words not one in their mouths.


There's a few interesting things here, actually. "Súil" is unmarked for number in the nominative; note how it is separated from both its genitive phrase and its adjective. "blídó" is marked as plural, feminine, and also strong, leaving no doubt what it modifies. "Liadó" is plural, meaning simply "of the persons" or "of the citizens"; but the plural of this word is very often used with a collective sense to indicate "the nation".

In the second clause, the verb is dropped as it is clear from context, due to parallelism; again, the adjective is strong, which indicates new information (i.e. predication). In the third clause, plain "ne uord" would be permissable ('no words'), but the construction here is stronger, in keeping with this being a core assertion made by the speaker - in English, loosely, "not a single word" or "no words at all".

"hioró" means either "hers" or "theirs", but is clear from context here.

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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Dormouse559 »

Iyionaku wrote:
03 Jan 2020 17:22
It was pretty interesting to see that the plural of gacúl "eye", according to the existing grammar rules, is gagúlan, which looks and sounds pretty awful. I have never needed to use this plural before, as you usually use the dual gacúm when talking about someone's eyes, which was not applicable here as the public's got more eyes than two.
Hmm, gagúlan doesn't so bad to me personally (though it does remind me of the villains from a sci-fi series, the Goa'uld [:P] ). Will you do anything to make it fit your aesthetics better?
Salmoneus wrote:
04 Jan 2020 01:22
"Súil" is unmarked for number in the nominative; note how it is separated from both its genitive phrase and its adjective. "blídó" is marked as plural, feminine, and also strong, leaving no doubt what it modifies.
Hey, that's pretty neat. What triggers that word order? A stylistic preference? A grammatical/syntactic consideration?

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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Salmoneus »

Dormouse559 wrote:
07 Jan 2020 07:09
Iyionaku wrote:
03 Jan 2020 17:22
It was pretty interesting to see that the plural of gacúl "eye", according to the existing grammar rules, is gagúlan, which looks and sounds pretty awful. I have never needed to use this plural before, as you usually use the dual gacúm when talking about someone's eyes, which was not applicable here as the public's got more eyes than two.
Hmm, gagúlan doesn't so bad to me personally (though it does remind me of the villains from a sci-fi series, the Goa'uld [:P] ). Will you do anything to make it fit your aesthetics better?
'gagúlan' is indeed a very nice word. Certainly much better than 'gacúl'!
Salmoneus wrote:
04 Jan 2020 01:22
"Súil" is unmarked for number in the nominative; note how it is separated from both its genitive phrase and its adjective. "blídó" is marked as plural, feminine, and also strong, leaving no doubt what it modifies.
Hey, that's pretty neat. What triggers that word order? A stylistic preference? A grammatical/syntactic consideration?
It can be because of emphatic fronting/topicalisation; and in particular, genitives* have a tendency to be kicked down to the back. In this case, however, it's also triggered by extremely strong Wackernagel behaviour - copulas and certain clause-modifying adverbs so strongly desire to be in second position that they even cut up phrases to sit in the middle of them. So "the blind dog is yellow" would be "the blind is dog yellow", and so on.

*likewise, conjunctions. So "my hands and feet are cold" would usually be ordered "my hands are cold and my feet", and so on.

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Zekoslav
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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Zekoslav »

Ha, clitics splitting up phrases due to strong Wackerangel behavior reminds me of my native language (although it's more characteristic of the written language than the spoken one).
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Dormouse559
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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Dormouse559 »

Salmoneus wrote:
07 Jan 2020 21:06
It can be because of emphatic fronting/topicalisation; and in particular, genitives* have a tendency to be kicked down to the back. In this case, however, it's also triggered by extremely strong Wackernagel behaviour - copulas and certain clause-modifying adverbs so strongly desire to be in second position that they even cut up phrases to sit in the middle of them. So "the blind dog is yellow" would be "the blind is dog yellow", and so on.
Ooh, I didn't know about Wackernagel's Law. Funnily enough, I did this with clitics in a previous conlang without knowing it had a name. ANADEW, as ever.

"The blind is dog yellow" looks truly harrowing, but I'm guessing "yellow" would be in a strong form to show it's predicative.

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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

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Zekoslav wrote:
08 Jan 2020 16:24
Ha, clitics splitting up phrases due to strong Wackerangel behavior reminds me of my native language (although it's more characteristic of the written language than the spoken one).
Tell me more!

Unfortunately, most of the things I can find about Wackernagelisation seem to assume you already know what they're talking about because you studied it in your philology class at school. They often assume you can both read and understand un-translated (untransliterated!) ancient Greek and Sanskrit, which I cannot...

(I do notice, however, that many things now seem to be saying that Wackernagel's Law is only a coincidence anyway, or at least that it wasn't a primary law, but the by-effect of other prosodic and syntactic processes; I don't know to what extent that's true, and to what extent it's just the usual academic iconoclasm...).

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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Salmoneus »

Dormouse559 wrote:
08 Jan 2020 17:03
Ooh, I didn't know about Wackernagel's Law. Funnily enough, I did this with clitics in a previous conlang without knowing it had a name. ANADEW, as ever.
It's fun! Likewise, breaking up noun phrases and randomly scattering the parts through a sentence because "ah, the agreement will sort it all out!" is a very traditional old european thing to do! European languages used to be fun! And/or nightmarish!

"The blind is dog yellow" looks truly harrowing, but I'm guessing "yellow" would be in a strong form to show it's predicative.
Exactly.

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Re: The Public's Eyes, Ears and Mouths

Post by Zekoslav »

Re: Wackerangelisation

I'll speak from my own experience of standard Croatian and my own substandard variant thereof. The same should apply to other standard languages which broke of from the Former Yugoslav Language of Serbo-Croatian (as one linguistics blog's commenter nicely calls it) and probably to other Slavic languages as well.

Enclitics follow Wackerangel's law to the letter, and there's plenty of them: finite forms of the auxiliary verbs "to be" and "to have", accusative and dative forms of personal pronouns and various discourse particles.

These can stack, and should be positioned in a chain following the first accented word in the sentence. This leads to constituent breaking exactly like in Old Wenthish:

Oči su javnosti slijepe, njihove uši gluhe, a njihova usta bez riječi.
eye_N.pl be_3pl blind_N.pl.fem, their_N.pl.fem ear_N.pl. deaf_N.pl.fem and (contrastive) their_N.pl.fem mouth_N.pl without word_G.pl

Jučer sam dao knjige svojoj sestri. Svomu sam ih pak bratu dao prekjučer.
Yesterday be_1.sg give-Lptc.sg.m refl.poss_D.sg.f sister_D.sg. refl.poss_D.sg.m be_1.sg they_A.pl.f however brother_D.sg give_Lptc.sg.m before_yesterday.
"Yesterday I gave some books to my sister. As for my brother, I gave them to him the day before yesterday.

We have a reflexive possessive pronoun ("the subject's", whoever/whatever the subject is) separated from it's noun by a chain of clitics. This is awkward, and the standard language has a different method from the spoken one to get around this.

The standard language allows the chain of clitics to also follow the first word in the verb phrase rather than the first word in the sentence. This usually makes them go between the verb and the object and doesn't break noun phrases.

Oči javnosti slijepe su. Svomu *pak bratu dao sam ih prekjučer.

*Pak has to go in the noun phrase since it applies to "brother". One proof that wackerangel's law really is a conspiracy of different clitic behaviors!

The spoken language is even less strict. Instead of the first word in the sentence, wackerangel's law applies to the first phrase in the sentence. No more breaking of constituents!

Oči javnosti su slijepe. Svomu bratu sam ih pak dao prekjučer.

Due to the unmarked word order being SVO, this makes the entire chain of enclitics liable to being reanalized as proclitics to the verb. And this indeed happens in many dialects!

In other words, horror for the learners of the standard language, native and non-native alike: "Why Ja se zovem Zekoslav(I refl. call-1.sg Zekoslav) but Zovem se Zekoslav (call-1.sg refl. Zekoslav)?"

TL;DR Wackerangel's law can apply to different constituents: words, phrases, subject and the predicate... clitics always follow the first accented one of these. If it applies to words this means breaking of constituents, if it applies to larger units this means no such a thing.
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