On Polypersonal Agreement

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Ælfwine
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On Polypersonal Agreement

Post by Ælfwine » 11 Aug 2017 04:07

I’ve been toying with the idea for a romance language for a while now — first I wanted to make it extremely agglutinative, but I toned down that idea as a surviving Latin language in Turkey became somewhat hard to believe. So, I moved the location to the northeast of Spain and southwest of France, where the language would be influenced by Spanish, French and Basque. I am tentatively calling the language Erromanz, see if you can guess some sound shifts by the name alone. (Hint: <z> is /t͡s/.)

What I am currently interested in is making Erromanz somewhat like Basque in the grammar. Now, I don’t know it would be agglutinative as much as it would be extremely fusional given the sound shifts I have, but like Spanish clitics start stacking in a semi-agglutinative manner. Somewhere along the line I want polypersonal agreement to development, perhaps from pronouns or a fossilized case.

So, my question is, what is an easy way to develop full on polypersonal agreement for a language derived from Latin spoken in the area I described above? My current idea is that the “clitics” described above would start to agree with the verb, though I am a bit at a loss on how this could develop otherwise.
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Sumelic
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Re: On Polypersonal Agreement

Post by Sumelic » 11 Aug 2017 08:58

Ælfwine wrote:I’ve been toying with the idea for a romance language for a while now — first I wanted to make it extremely agglutinative, but I toned down that idea as a surviving Latin language in Turkey became somewhat hard to believe. So, I moved the location to the northeast of Spain and southwest of France, where the language would be influenced by Spanish, French and Basque. I am tentatively calling the language Erromanz, see if you can guess some sound shifts by the name alone. (Hint: <z> is /t͡s/.)

What I am currently interested in is making Erromanz somewhat like Basque in the grammar. Now, I don’t know it would be agglutinative as much as it would be extremely fusional given the sound shifts I have, but like Spanish clitics start stacking in a semi-agglutinative manner. Somewhere along the line I want polypersonal agreement to development, perhaps from pronouns or a fossilized case.

So, my question is, what is an easy way to develop full on polypersonal agreement for a language derived from Latin spoken in the area I described above? My current idea is that the “clitics” described above would start to agree with the verb, though I am a bit at a loss on how this could develop otherwise.
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by "start to agree with the verb" (does that just mean that they start to become obligatory?), but I agree that pronominal clitics are the most likely way for a romlang to acquire what is called "polypersonal agreement". Some people have argued (I don't know whether entirely seriously, or mainly out of a sense of contrarianism) for analyzing clitic pronouns in French as affixes, due to things like their relatively high level of obligatoriness, strict ordering constraints, ability to occur with co-referential noun phrases etc. (See e.g. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf, for a random example of a text that mentions this).

Conversely, I think I remember reading somewhere an analysis of Basque that argued for some technical syntactic reasons that its verbal/auxiliary person markers are actually derived from a process of clitic doubling rather than agreement in the strict sense. Ah, here it is: A NEW APPROACH TO CLITIC DOUBLING IN BASQUE, Laura Siebecker (Georgetown) & Ruth Kramer (Georgetown):
ERG and ABS affixes on the AUX root are doubled clitics, not agreement markers (cf. Arregi & Nevins, 2012) (henceforth, A&N), for the following reasons [read it to see the reasons] (page 3)

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Re: On Polypersonal Agreement

Post by Creyeditor » 11 Aug 2017 17:11

Auxiliaries might also play a role. Clitics might attach to an auxiliary which in turn fuses with the verb. Something like S.CLITIC=O.CLITIC=AUX.S V > S.CLITIC-O.CLITIC-AUX-V, like in French Je=te=ai vu > j't'ai vu [ʃtɛvy]
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Ælfwine
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Re: On Polypersonal Agreement

Post by Ælfwine » 12 Aug 2017 23:33

Sumelic wrote:
Ælfwine wrote:I’ve been toying with the idea for a romance language for a while now — first I wanted to make it extremely agglutinative, but I toned down that idea as a surviving Latin language in Turkey became somewhat hard to believe. So, I moved the location to the northeast of Spain and southwest of France, where the language would be influenced by Spanish, French and Basque. I am tentatively calling the language Erromanz, see if you can guess some sound shifts by the name alone. (Hint: <z> is /t͡s/.)

What I am currently interested in is making Erromanz somewhat like Basque in the grammar. Now, I don’t know it would be agglutinative as much as it would be extremely fusional given the sound shifts I have, but like Spanish clitics start stacking in a semi-agglutinative manner. Somewhere along the line I want polypersonal agreement to development, perhaps from pronouns or a fossilized case.

So, my question is, what is an easy way to develop full on polypersonal agreement for a language derived from Latin spoken in the area I described above? My current idea is that the “clitics” described above would start to agree with the verb, though I am a bit at a loss on how this could develop otherwise.
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by "start to agree with the verb" (does that just mean that they start to become obligatory?), but I agree that pronominal clitics are the most likely way for a romlang to acquire what is called "polypersonal agreement". Some people have argued (I don't know whether entirely seriously, or mainly out of a sense of contrarianism) for analyzing clitic pronouns in French as affixes, due to things like their relatively high level of obligatoriness, strict ordering constraints, ability to occur with co-referential noun phrases etc. (See e.g. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf, for a random example of a text that mentions this).

Conversely, I think I remember reading somewhere an analysis of Basque that argued for some technical syntactic reasons that its verbal/auxiliary person markers are actually derived from a process of clitic doubling rather than agreement in the strict sense. Ah, here it is: A NEW APPROACH TO CLITIC DOUBLING IN BASQUE, Laura Siebecker (Georgetown) & Ruth Kramer (Georgetown):
ERG and ABS affixes on the AUX root are doubled clitics, not agreement markers (cf. Arregi & Nevins, 2012) (henceforth, A&N), for the following reasons [read it to see the reasons] (page 3)
I can't remember what I meant actually.

I knew these languages had something like that, this definitely gives weight to my ideas. I'll admit some of this is above my current level of knowledge, but I have a vague idea of what is going on. I'll have to give it a closer look.
Creyeditor wrote:Auxiliaries might also play a role. Clitics might attach to an auxiliary which in turn fuses with the verb. Something like S.CLITIC=O.CLITIC=AUX.S V > S.CLITIC-O.CLITIC-AUX-V, like in French Je=te=ai vu > j't'ai vu [ʃtɛvy]
Auxiliaries such as a romance future tense marker? Claw gave me a good example of how the romance person markers could be regularized before the development of the future tense on my older thread here, I am wondering if they could develop in the way you say...
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Re: On Polypersonal Agreement

Post by xroox » 15 Dec 2017 02:10

Maybe you could turn verbs into a closed class like in Basque, where most verbs can't be conjugated by their own and require auxiliaries. Since clitics usually attach to the auxiiary it would begin to show agreement with more than one argument. At some point the new conjugated auxiliary can become affixed to the lexical verb and become object+TAM auxiliaries.
It your phonological changes erode the subject agrement you could recover it with the reduction of free pronouns (to clitics, maybe affixes later) OR leave it like that and have your verbs agree to the subject in an ergative manner, making the object-TAM affix work with intransitive verbs.

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