(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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eldin raigmore
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 13 Nov 2018 07:43

Thanks, creyeditor. I didn’t know that.
shimobaatar, I knew about the example you mentioned, and I’m sure that’s right. And thanks!
I’m hoping eventually for an explanation both broader (I.e. explaining more uses) and deeper (I.e. explicating the sequence of evolution of the change of use).
I might need to consult a book. Anyone know which book?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by cedh » 13 Nov 2018 09:14

Creyeditor wrote:
13 Nov 2018 02:03
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.'
I can think of a few other examples of this type of construction. However, they often don't use the -e verbal noun, but various other types of nominalized verbs (which are not all feminine in gender, and do not all require a definite article either):

Es ist in der Schweb-e.
3SG.N.NOM COP.3SG.PRS.IND in DEF.SG.F.DAT hover-NMLZ.F
'It is being suspended.' (i.e. to be decided; to be continued)

Es ist im Gang(-e).
3SG.N.NOM COP.3SG.PRS.IND in:DEF.SG.M.DAT go[NMLZ.M]-DAT.M
'It is going on.'

(Note that the -e ending on the verbal noun here is not a nominalizer, but a fossilized dative case morpheme. It may be omitted, but at least for me this would change the default reading to a purely locational 'it is in the hallway', using a different sense of the word Gang [or a homophonous but different word, because there's this morphological difference].)

Es ist im Druck.
3SG.N.NOM COP.3SG.PRS.IND in:DEF.SG.M.DAT print[NMLZ.M]
'It is being printed.'

Es ist in Arbeit.
3SG.N.NOM COP.3SG.PRS.IND in work[NMLZ.F]
'It is being worked on.'

Es ist in Verhandl-ung.
3SG.N.NOM COP.3SG.PRS.IND in negotiate-NMLZ.F
'It is being negotiated.'

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » 13 Nov 2018 13:01

eldin raigmore wrote:
13 Nov 2018 07:43
Thanks, creyeditor. I didn’t know that.
shimobaatar, I knew about the example you mentioned, and I’m sure that’s right. And thanks!
I’m hoping eventually for an explanation both broader (I.e. explaining more uses) and deeper (I.e. explicating the sequence of evolution of the change of use).
I might need to consult a book. Anyone know which book?
I'm not sure what more could be said - the change in meaning in question is so slight that there isn't really a "sequence of evolution" or the like.

"I would rather" or "I would sooner" (synonymous IMD) both no doubt began as perfectly literal constructions - given two options, the one you try first is the one you think is better, less frightening, more likely to succeed, etc. Would you rather punch a tiger or have a cup of tea? I should certainly do the latter before the former. And note here the exact same extended meaning in "I would do X before Y". Indeed, I'm not sure how you'd describe the concept of preference other than as one option taking priority over another, and in English it's not easy to find expressions that don't have their origin in that, I don't think. Note that "prefer" itself originally meant "carry in front" or "carry first". It replaced English 'foreset', "place in front" (i.e. place where you get to it sooner).

The only thing in the case of "rather do" is that it's mostly lost its non-preferential meaning, while "sooner do" and "do before" and so on have retained theirs.

I'd also note I think 'rather' was originally 'more easily' or 'more directly', rather than specifically 'prior in time', and the semantic link between "I would find it easier to drink tea" and "I would prefer to drink tea" is even stronger.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nachtuil » 13 Nov 2018 13:18

In an introductory linguistics book I am reading, vowel tenseness/laxness is listed as a distinct feature along with vowel height, backness and rounding. For the languages I know this property almost certainly seems deftly explained by vowel pitch and duration for non-central vowels rather than being a distinct and meaningful property in how a sound is produced in the mouth. I grant in specific languages it allows a grouping of vowel phonemes that may be useful but that doesn't seem to validate it as a core quality of a vowel. Is vowel tenseness/laxness a phenomena an outdated concept linguistically speaking?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 13 Nov 2018 13:35

Nachtuil wrote:
13 Nov 2018 13:18
In an introductory linguistics book I am reading, vowel tenseness/laxness is listed as a distinct feature along with vowel height, backness and rounding. For the languages I know this property almost certainly seems deftly explained by vowel pitch and duration for non central vowels rather than being a distinct and meaningful property in how a sound is produced in the mouth. I grant in specific languages it allows a grouping of vowel phonemes but that doesn't seem to validate it as a core quality of a vowel. Is vowel tenseness/laxness a phenomena an outdated concept linguistically speaking?
"tense" and "lax" as linguistic terms don't really have very good/clear/absolute definitions, and are mostly just useful for describing the vowels of English. Whereas we can measure formants and such to determine the height and backness of vowels, and we can observe the degree and type of rounding used to produce vowels, "tense" vowels seem to be primarily defined as "not lax", and "lax" seem to be primarily defined as "not tense". I've seen/heard people try to explain "tense" vowels as being pronounced with greater force or emphasis or something along those lines, but that doesn't mean much to me.

I've only really encountered the terms in introductory linguistics classes, which attempt to introduce phonetics and phonology by presenting the sound system of English.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Znex » 13 Nov 2018 13:53

Tense/lax have some meaning and are certainly relevant to more languages than just English (the distinction easily corresponds to other Germanic languages for instance; the bias is perhaps because of the sheer quantity of vowel phonemes compared to other language families) as opposed to more clear distinctions like vowel length and quality, but the exact definition will and does differ between languages.

The analogue terms for the consonantal distinction are fortis/lenis which have similar problems but similarly are more helpful and perhaps preferable to other descriptions, eg. in Korean, Old Irish, and particularly Alemannic German, and Hittite.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 13 Nov 2018 14:38

Znex wrote:
13 Nov 2018 13:53
Tense/lax have some meaning and are certainly relevant to more languages than just English (the distinction easily corresponds to other Germanic languages for instance; the bias is perhaps because of the sheer quantity of vowel phonemes compared to other language families) as opposed to more clear distinctions like vowel length and quality,
Oh, interesting. I wasn't aware that those terms are used for other Germanic languages.
Znex wrote:
13 Nov 2018 13:53
but the exact definition will and does differ between languages.
Ah, yes, I should have been clearer. I meant that they don't have very clear definitions cross-linguistically, especially compared to terms like "high" or "back".

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 13 Nov 2018 19:17

Tense/lax and fortis/lenis seem to both refer to the energy of the pronunciation, which is necessarily a relative description. It reminds me of when people describe sounds as "hard" and "soft". They often seem more about perception of the sound than something that can be described down to a science. There's a psychological reality to these terms for speakers, but I don't know how useful they are outside of language-specific traditions.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 14 Nov 2018 00:57

Creyeditor wrote:
14 Nov 2018 00:57
Nachtuil wrote:
13 Nov 2018 13:18
In an introductory linguistics book I am reading, vowel tenseness/laxness is listed as a distinct feature along with vowel height, backness and rounding. For the languages I know this property almost certainly seems deftly explained by vowel pitch and duration for non-central vowels rather than being a distinct and meaningful property in how a sound is produced in the mouth. I grant in specific languages it allows a grouping of vowel phonemes that may be useful but that doesn't seem to validate it as a core quality of a vowel. Is vowel tenseness/laxness a phenomena an outdated concept linguistically speaking?
Someting that is acoustically similar and definitely attested as being the sole distinctive feature is the ATR/RTR distinction in many languages, especially in Africa.

Also, @cedh: thank you. I really like the 'in der Schwebe' example. The other examples are also intriguing though [:)]
Last edited by Creyeditor on 14 Nov 2018 01:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Znex » 14 Nov 2018 01:27

Fortis/lenis at least is usually used to describe a consonantal distinction that can't be plainly nailed down to the plainer distinctions of aspirated/tenuis or voiced/unvoiced for instance. Consonant length or quantity is one common feature denoted. Hittite is one language that is known to completely lack a voiced/unvoiced distinction or a clear aspirated/tenuis distinction: the main distinction instead is between non-peripheral single and geminate consonants (*T > TT, *D(ʰ) > T). Alemannic German similarly has no voiced-voiceless distinction and the consonants may be described in terms of quantity. On the other hand, Korean has aspirated, tenuis, and "fortis" consonants; "fortis" here corresponds more to faucalised voice, but more plainly "articulatory strength" (ie. how involved the vocal cords are).
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 14 Nov 2018 01:53

Just a quick comment on the Korean case. I've seen phonetic studies showing that for many speakers it is actually a distinction in pitch on the following vowel. I don't think this can be nicely linked to "articulatory strength" anymore.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by GrandPiano » 14 Nov 2018 05:04

Creyeditor wrote:
14 Nov 2018 01:53
Just a quick comment on the Korean case. I've seen phonetic studies showing that for many speakers it is actually a distinction in pitch on the following vowel. I don't think this can be nicely linked to "articulatory strength" anymore.
I tried learning a bit of Korean on LingoDeer and in the recordings they used it definitely sounded like the main difference between e.g. 가 and 카 at the beginning of a word was pitch, not aspiration (카 having a higher pitch).
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nachtuil » 15 Nov 2018 05:52

I just wanted to say thank you all for the responses.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nortaneous » 20 Nov 2018 00:23

LinguoFranco wrote:
31 Oct 2018 06:05
Nortaneous wrote:
23 Oct 2018 14:46
It's common for coda palatals to be realized with a palatal onglide in languages that have them.
Could you elaborate further, please?
In many Mon-Khmer languages, you'll have /-aɲ/ [-ajnʲ] and so on. This is why coda palatals are written -in etc. in Khasi -- that's what they sounded like to the Welsh missionary who wrote it down.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » 20 Nov 2018 01:11

and those langs use tight syllable structure with unreleased stops, so it helps to have some extra auditory cue to rely on when there is no /j/ afterglide.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by cedh » 22 Nov 2018 18:22

Does anyone know of a natural language where the grammatical marking of a certain type of oblique object is suppletive based on the number, definiteness, or topicality of the subject of the clause? For example, a language that regularly uses one adposition to mark a certain type of oblique object when the subject is singular, and a different adposition to mark the same type of oblique object when the subject is plural?

To illustrate what I mean, let's imagine a hypothetical version of English where the following grammaticality judgements apply:

I give the book to you. (subject is singular, therefore recipient is marked with to)
*I give the book for you. (ungrammatical or at least very unusual)

*We give the book to you. (ungrammatical or at least very unusual because subject is plural)
We give the book for you. (subject is plural, therefore recipient is marked with for)

Is a pattern like this attested? It doesn't need to be about recipients though; any other common oblique role also counts (causer, instrument, source, goal, location...) And if yes, do you have any information about how it evolved?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 22 Nov 2018 19:42

cedh wrote:
22 Nov 2018 18:22
Does anyone know of a natural language where the grammatical marking of a certain type of oblique object is suppletive based on the number, definiteness, or topicality of the subject of the clause? For example, a language that regularly uses one adposition to mark a certain type of oblique object when the subject is singular, and a different adposition to mark the same type of oblique object when the subject is plural?

To illustrate what I mean, let's imagine a hypothetical version of English where the following grammaticality judgements apply:

I give the book to thee. (subject is singular, therefore recipient is marked with to)
*I give the book for thee. (ungrammatical or at least very unusual)

*We give the book to y’all. (ungrammatical or at least very unusual because subject is plural)
We give the book for y’all. (subject is plural, therefore recipient is marked with for)

Is a pattern like this attested? It doesn't need to be about recipients though; any other common oblique role also counts (causer, instrument, source, goal, location...) And if yes, do you have any information about how it evolved?


(Fixed your examples for you! ;-) )
Edit: No, I didn’t fix them! Sorry 😐! My mistake!
(It’s “I” vs “We” that counts, not “thee” vs “y’all”)

Would English’s “between” vs “among” count?
There the difference is two vs more-than-two; but English no longer has a dual-vs-plural grammatical-number distinction.
So I’m not sure it’s what you’re asking for.
Although maybe it could interest you anyway?
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 23 Nov 2018 19:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 » 23 Nov 2018 07:26

eldin raigmore wrote:
22 Nov 2018 19:42
Would English’s “between” vs “among” count?
Probably not. Cedh was talking about the subject of the sentence, not the object of the adposition. I don't know of any natlang examples off the top of my head, but the idea doesn't seem implausible, particularly if the adpositions come from more traditional agreement targets, like adjectives or participles.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 23 Nov 2018 07:50

In English, possessive “pronouns” — such as my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs — agree with:
the person of the possessor;
and with the number of the possessor if it’s 1st or 3rd person;
and with the gender of the possessor if it’s 3rd singular;
and with the case of the possessum.

In French, such pronouns agree with the person and number of the possessor, but not with the gender of the possessor;
and with the case and number and gender of the possessum.
This leads to calling His Holiness “Sa Sanctite’”.
(Sorry that the above is only approximately right. It’s past 1:00AM here and it seems to be difficult to look up how to do it right.)

———

I wonder;
Does anyone know of a natlang whose possessive pronouns encode the person and number and (at least for 3rd singular possessors) gender of the possessor, and also the case and number and (at least for singular possessums) gender of the possessum?
If you don’t know of one, do you have an idea of how to go about finding one?
If there isn’t one, is there any theoretical reason why there shouldn’t be one?
Whether or not that happens in a natlang, would it be reasonably naturalistic and realistic to do it in a conlang?

—————
Dormouse559 wrote:
23 Nov 2018 07:26
eldin raigmore wrote:
22 Nov 2018 19:42
Would English’s “between” vs “among” count?
Probably not. Cedh was talking about the subject of the sentence, not the object of the adposition. I don't know of any natlang examples off the top of my head, but the idea doesn't seem implausible, particularly if the adpositions come from more traditional agreement targets, like adjectives or participles.
I re-read it, and — oh fuck. You’re right.

Never mind!

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Zekoslav » 23 Nov 2018 09:38

Re: agreement of possessive pronouns

Probably all Slavic languages which have possessive pronouns - certainly the Western South Slavic languages.

All possessive pronouns agree with the gender, number and case of the possessum, like adjectives (pronouns and adjectives tend to share a common declension pattern, but this isn't absolute).

For the first and second person (singular, dual or plural), gender of the possessor isn't distinguished since these pronouns are old derivatives from PIE. personal pronoun stems, which didn't distinguish gender: Common Slavic *mojь "my", *tvojь "your (sg.)", *našь "our", *vašь "your (pl.)"

Third person possessors seem to have originally used the genitive case of the third person personal pronoun, which distinguished gender in the singular, but not in the dual or the plural: *jego "3. sg. masc.", *jeję "3. sg. fem.", *jeju "3. du.", *jixъ "3. pl." These genitive cases, being case forms and not adjectives, didn't agree with the possessum.

However, South Slavic languages turned these case forms into pronouns agreeing with the possessum by suffixing a possessive/relational adjective ending to them, giving Serbo-Croatian/Slovene njegov "his", njen (S-C also njezin) "her", njihov "their", Slovene also has the dual njun.

So, we can have:

njegov m. possessor, m. possessum

njegova m. possessor, f. possessum

njegovo m. possessor, n. possessum

njen f. possessor, m. possessum

njena f. possessor, f. possessum

njeno f. possessor, n. possessum

The neuter gender shares (almost) all case forms, and therefore also possessive pronouns with the masculine gender - most neuters are inanimate anyway, and only animates can use possessive pronouns/adjectives (inanimates use the genitive case).
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