Agh, I'm way to wishywashy about this kind of stuff. I've decided not to develop Ȧbhannı has an conlang for a conworld but just as a personal language. Maybe once I'm more confident in my skills I'll try my hand at "true" diachronic conlanging. Regardless, my reconstruction of Old Ȧbhannı is still going to inform my construction of Ȧbhannı, but I won't focus very hard on it.
Here's my new LaTeX grammar
, featuring an attractive sans-serif font and more details and examples than previously. I would greatly appreciate any feedback or criticism you have about formatting/writing/organization/etc.
Anyways, this post is going to be about a very important topic for Ȧbhannı, its morphosyntactic alignment, which I've overhauled somewhat.
Morphosyntactic alignment is expressed through four "core" cases for which verbal arguments are marked: stative
, and vocative
. The following will not explore the vocative case, which is outlined in the linked grammar.
The case used for an argument is dependent on whether the verb is of the volitional
class. Since these classes are fixed, i.e. a verb cannot change its class, Ȧbhannı could be classified as a split-S active-stative
language. However, this is not entirely accurate, as will be seen below, since the volitionality class also applies to transitive verbs (active-stative languages are also called split-intransitive
, since the S
argument, the subject of an intransitive clause, can take different markings).
Active and Stative
The stative case is the default case, taking a null ending. It is generally associated with objects of volitional verbs and subjects of non-volitional verbs. In contrast, the active case is associated with subjects of volitional verbs and objects of non-volitional verbs. Moreover, in contrast to the dative case, the stative case analyzes verbs as being merely events or actions, rather than experiences. The following examples demonstrate the stative case (henceforth unmarked) and the active case in their uses as verbal arguments:
‘the cat is eating’
‘the boat is rocking’
ohta-n rah-ar okon-nı
cut_down-PST man-ACT tree-PL
‘the man cut down the trees’
ėhaȷ-an enık sabah-ar
wash_away-PST water dust-ACT
‘the water washed away the dust’
Note that in the fourth example, the agent is marked stative, because the verb is non-volitional.
The dative has two main uses in Ȧbhannı. The first as an indirect object, and the second is as a replacement for the stative case. Both of these uses function as verbal arguments. The use as an indirect object is seen on trivalent verbs, which take active and stative arguments as usual. Many occurences of the dative as an indirect object are a result of valence-increasing operation. The dative argument is classically associated with an allative meaning (‘to’), but can take others depending on the verb, especially given different valence-increasing operations. The following example shows its use as the direct object of a “true” (i.e. underived) trivalent verb:
amȷat ȷȧo abır berrak-ı-m
sent_to food 3pl.ANIM.ACT village-PL-DAT
‘they have sent food to the villages’
However, the dative case can also replace the stative (but not active) argument of a monovalent or divalent verb. This usage focuses on the experience impacted upon the stative argument, particularly the emotional state caused. For example:
tezka-n e ar
hit-PST 1sg 3sg.ANIM.ACT
‘he hit me’ (a retelling of events, I don’t care anymore, etc.)
tezka-n em ar
hit-PST 1sg.DAT 3sg.ANIM.ACT
‘he hit me’ (it hurt, I cried, he should be punished, etc.)
Note that (c) is emotionally charged, effectively blaming the agent (the hitter), while (b) takes a (relatively) neutral stance on the occurence. The following examples show this dative-substitution used with a monovalent verb:
As before, the second example conveys emotional meaning. However, since there is no agent and the subject is not the first person, the use of the dative conveys empathy toward the subject rather than emphasizing the experience. In a case where the subject is not an experiencer, the dative substitution can be used to express empathy towards those effected by the situation.
Here, with the dative-substitution, we see another way in which Ȧbhannı differs from a standard split-S ACT-STAT language, in that the dative can freely replace the stative case regardless of the verb in question; this bears resemblance to a fluid-S ACT-STAT alignment. However, as already seen, it again differs in that the argument split occurs with transitive verbs as well.