I just discovered today that German has a very unproductive progressive passive that I would really like to see expanded. You nominalize the verb by taking the stem and attaching a schwa. The resulting noun is of feminine gender and gets a definite determiner inside a locational copula construction, where the subject is the figure and the nominalized verb is the ground. I only know of one good example actually, but it is fun to think of other imaginary examples. Here is the good example:
Es ist in der Mach-e.
3SG.N.NOM COP.3SG.PRS.IND in DEF.SG.F.DAT make-NMLZ.F
'It is being produced/made.'
Here is a bad example (because this construction does not combine with this verb):
*Ich bin in der Haue.
1SG.NOM COP.1SG.PRS.IND in DEF.SG.F.DAT hit-NMLZ.F
'I am being hit.'
Other similarly restricted tense/voice forms include German going-to future. This one is used for immediate future. In some varieties it does not entail a change of place anymore, i.e. you can say Ich geh Zähne putzen.
if you are already in the bathroom at the sink. I think it does not work with all verbs. Here are some examples.
Ich geh schlaf-en.
1SG.NOM go.1SG.PRS.IND sleep-INF
'I am going to sleep.'
Ich geh Zähne putzen.
1SG.NOM go.1SG.PRS.IND tooth.PL clean-INF
'I am going to brush my teeth.'
Ich geh einkaufen.
1SG.NOM go.1SG.PRS.IND buy_grocery-INF
'I am going to buy groceries.'
And the more well known am-progressiv, which at least in my variety only works with bare objects. Definite articles make the example sound bad.
Ich bin am Tee trink-en.
1SG.NOM COP.1SG.PRS.IND at.DEF.SG.N.DAT tea drink-INF
'I am drinking tea.'
Ich bin am den Tee trink-en.
1SG.NOM COP.1SG.PRS.IND at.DEF.SG.N.DAT DEF.SG.M.ACC tea drink-INF
'I am drinking the tea.'
Interestingly, all three of these have some locational construction as their source. Do you know of any minor tense, aspect or voice constructions in other natlangs?
eldin raigmore wrote: ↑
Tue 13 Nov 2018, 01:53
How did “rather than” come to mean “instead of” rather than “sooner than”?
It might be a more general Germanic thing. German uses 'eher' in similar contexts.