Supines and gerundives in Miwonša - are they moods?

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Supines and gerundives in Miwonša - are they moods?

Post by Plusquamperfekt » 26 Oct 2015 22:54

I am currently working on an official grammar book for my conlang Miwonša and my problem is not that I would not know how my own conlang works, but how to classify some grammar categories correctly... Please take a look first at the chart which contains the complete conjugation of the verb "žaniwa" (to see): ... a.png?dl=0

According to my own analysis, there are three moods (indicative, conditional, imperative), but I wonder what to do with my supines... I use them in many different ways:

Code: Select all

------- USE 1: "in order to"

mašk-im-an   koro   (nak)  šayo=š      žanj-anti
go-1SG-IPFV  there  (to)   2SG.DAT=to  see-SPN

Meaning: "I go there in order to see you."

------- USE 2: Gerundive I

kwa-mi-š-an          sjo=š          žanj-anti

Meaning: "I must see that" (= I am obliged to see)

------- USE 3: Gerundive II

kwa-mi-š-ai          sjo=š          žanj-anti
COP-1SG-Ø-COND       DET.SG.DAT=to  see-SPN 

Meaning: "I should see (= It's necessary)

------- USE 4: Accusative + Supine

yež-im-an      šai      mič-iwa
want-1SG-IPFV  2SG.ACC  eat-INF

Meaning: "I want to eat you."

yež-im-an      šai      mič-anti
want-1SG-IPFV  2SG.ACC  eat-SPN

Meaning: "I want you to eat."

yež-im-an      woi           šayo=š      mič-anti
want-1SG-IPFV  3SG.ACC.masc  2SG.DAT=to  eat-SPN

Meaning: "I want him to eat you."

Two questions:

1. Is my terminology correct or would you use different names for my supines and gerundives?
2. Would you classify them as moods? (I think supines are rather infinite verb forms, but I'm not sure about the gerundives...)

(BTW don't be surprised about the forms "šayoš" and "sjoš" --- accusative objects of finite verbs and infinitives become prepositional objects of supines and gerunds... "ša + DAT" is like a "sub-ordinated accusative case" to avoid confusions in the syntax)

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Re: Supines and gerundives in Miwonša - are they moods?

Post by Creyeditor » 26 Oct 2015 23:00

I think this question is impossible and very easy to answer: Formally they may be supines, infinitives and so on, since there is no tense inflection, but functionally they are moods, since the constructions in your examples all involve some meaning of modality.
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Re: Supines and gerundives in Miwonša - are they moods?

Post by Sumelic » 28 Oct 2015 00:28

I agree with Creyeditor partially, but I'd like to say a bit more. For me, it's useful when grammatical categories group things into natural classes or paradigms.

However, there are at least 2 different perspectives: morphological and semantic. For example, in English, the following terms don't make much sense morphologically: "present tense," "past tense", "future tense," "conditional mood." That's because the first two categories are expressed by inflection on the main verb, while the second two are expressed by auxiliary verbs. The distinctions between present-past and future-conditional are even analogous morphologically, so we could in theory express them as a four-celled square with the two axes tense {±PAST} and mood (unmarked by default, and marked by a handful of modal auxiliaries, in this case "will"). But semantically, the conditional functions differently from a mere combination of "will" and the past tense.

Another example is with the category traditionally labelled "aspect." We talk about "progressive aspect" and "perfect aspect" in English, yet these are actually two orthogonally marked categories, that don't behave in exactly the same ways. In fact, in the CGEL analysis, the perfect is a type of tense.

Overall, I'd say you have a wide range of freedom when you're the first person describing the grammatical system of a language. I tend to prefer a more morphologically transparent classification scheme, so I wouldn't classify the "supine" or "gerundive" as moods. But others, like Creyeditor, may prefer a more semantic system.

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