The Dailies. August 8, 2022
Did you work on your language today? Create any new rules of grammar or syntax? New progress on a script? New words in your lexicon?
On the other hand, do any excavating or reading or enjoying stuff you’ve already created? Do you have any favorites to share?
How did you conlang today?0
3 thoughts on “The Dailies. August 8, 2022”
Well, I’m apparently conlanging at least one of these at too fast to really report on while also continuing rather ridiculous amounts of linguistics reading, which at least has given me a solid image of some more diachronic paths of Akachenti, wherein:
Topical agreement is a wrench in the entire agreement structure, but it is constrained to only the first verb in a sentence, which is basically a V1 language now, with a very limited list of things that can precede a verb, e.g. an actually topical independent argument, a dative/benefactive/comitative, etc. This mandatory topical agreement on the first verb likely arose due to two major factors in discourse: head-final alignment, the language is basically OVS, and using it as a stand-in for not repeating a topic, even through a freestanding pronoun, that carries through multiple sentences.
Basically, strong tendencies to serial and/or complex verb structures led to a preverb floating in front of the object a lot, which took topical agreement.
Further, when a verb acts as a complex predicate, the controlling verb is firmly to the right. Even when you can grammatically front a controlling verb, it’s strongly dispreferred. Causatives, desideratives, etc. tend to go last, which should be pretty unsurprising given the way modern Akachenti verbs look, and thus the accented accusative actually came from marking the coreferential object of the controlling verb.
When the entire verb phrase turned into a single word, the object sandwiched in the middle of a preverb and main verb became rampant noun incorporation. The tendency to use post-verbs for both derivation and grammar led to a large number of fixed-form or behaves-like-a-verbal-stem suffixes. The preverb became the topical agreement marker (and modality / number on the super rare occasions number is there and dative / benefactive / comitative when present), which is how it got glomped by the verb.
So with horrible glossing of the parts of the verb at some stage before Modern Akachenti:
[TOP / DAT]-[MODAL VERB]-[PAT]-[INCORPORATED STEM]-[BASE VERB STEM]-[TAM / INCORPORATING VERB STEM]-[AGT]
Now, TAM inflection / affixation and an incorporating verb stem do not coexist. The initial modal verb can indicate interrogativity, negative polarity, pluractionality, or a host of other things and it’s typically going to use one of a closed set of semantically bleached verbs to do it.
As this complex verb form became eroded, the topical agreement / modal verb / patientive slots tended to collapse together, which led to the use of the coreferential accusative marking on a controlling verb to be used to indicate:
Interestingly, in its initial use, this accusative or oblique agreement could coreference with either the object or the subject of the complex predicate. In abaga dáko, the initial example sentence that set me off on realizing where that accented patientive marking came from, the coreferential “pivot” argument is ‘we.’
The topic is ‘we’, so the object of the first verb is omitted, to leave topical agreement fronted. The controlling verb is ‘they want’, so it’s final. The 2nd person agreement on the 3rd person argument is due to social deixis. It’s considered rude and dehumanizing to discuss a person in hearing range in the third person, and that sort of just grammaticalized at a certain point in most situations.
But interestingly, despite the complex person marker up front hiding what could have been a truly unmarked agreement pattern, dáko showed off both the marked patientive and marked agentive. Because it’s a controlling verb that hasn’t turned into an incorporating stem yet, and it surfaces whatever’s left of the original ergative affix. Nothing ever surfaces with the unmarked patientive, so I’m inclined to think it’s absolutive originally.
That said, this could have been ibaga dáko or abaga ídako, and that would have either made 1. the thing that should be done topical or 2. the thing to be done what he wanted rather than them needing to do it, respectively. So the initial main point of this marked accusative was coreferentiality.
So now we have, again, horribly glossed since I’m not looking up how to do it correctly:
[TOP ARG.MOD]-[INCORPORATED STEM]-[BASE VERB STEM]-[TAM / INCORPORATING VERB STEM]-[NON-TOP ARG]
And I’m going to stop there because bedtime, but definitely lots more done and to do!
Sorry, I’m having some trouble parsing this, not unusual for me as you know.
Taken together, how would you translate abaga dáko?
Would you call Akachenti an active-stative language?
Not unusual considering I was sleepy and trying to explain something that complex too.
I don’t really know if it’s active-stative due to the fact that it’s, well, kind of accusative but also kind of variable. I think I’m going to go with accusative until proven otherwise because that marking gets prioritized due to it being well, more marked.
Abaga dáko means “us should do (that) they want”, aka He/She wants us, that we should do that.
It doesn’t translate easily but it definitely demonstrates one of the more complex structures and allows me to figure things out from it.