Soeira

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Soeira

Post by Omzinesý » 26 Dec 2015 23:08

Soeira is a updated edition of Suyra viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4676&hilit=Suyra. Most preserved parts are syntactic. The phonology has changed much.

Interesting features
- Bi-radical consonantal roots (i.e. roots concist of two consonats) which vocalic patterns are added to
- Labialized consonants are contrastive
- Consonant gradation applies to single consonants and consonant clusters, so the radical consonants can look very different in different patterns
- Split-S alignment
- Verbs have very vague argument structure (things like transitivity don't play important role)
- Compounding can be done either by compounding roots and adding a four-consonantal pattern (root compounding) or by adding the dependent stem in construct state (I'm not sure of the term)
(- I'm considering adding a complex system of compound local cases, which are postpositions actually, but I'm not sure)

Phonology

Morphology:

Open lexical classes:

Verbs
- no inflection
- derivational aspect category
- Two or four participles

Nouns
- Three genders
- Two states
- Three numbers
- Two cases

Adjectives Adjetives- Three genders
- Two states
- No number inflection
- Two cases
- Positive, Comparative/superlative and 'too'-form

Closed Lexical Classes
- Personal Pronouns

- Numbers
Last edited by Omzinesý on 04 Jan 2016 18:49, edited 18 times in total.

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Re: Soeira (phonology)

Post by Omzinesý » 26 Dec 2015 23:14

The description of the phonology has many lacks. Free to ask if something is said unclearly.

Consonant inventory

Code: Select all

							
	p	pʷ			   t		k	kʷ
	b	bʷ			   d		g	gʷ
	f	φʷ	s	sʷ	θ	ʃ		
	v	βʷ	z	zʷ	ð	ʒ
	mb  mbʷ			  nd	  ηg  ηgʷ
	m	mʷ			   n		η	ηʷ
Labialization is written with <o> preceding or following the consonant in question.

There are quite a few phonetic allophonic rules.
1. Voiced stops become semi-vowels, respectively, when preceded by a consonant. In that position, they are also written <bh, dh, and gh>.
2. Voiced non-sibilant fricatives become semivowels, respectively, when preceded by a consonant.
3. Voiced sibilants become voiceless, when preceded by a consonant.
Those rules do not apply to geminates.


Monophthongs

i <i> ɯ* <u>
ɛ <e> ɑ <a>
* ɯ is a compressed, unrounded vowel and resembles Japanese u

Long vowels and diphthongs

ei* <ei> ɤɯ <uu>
ɛ: <ee> ɑ: <aa>
High long vowels have become rising diphthongs.

Diphthongs
ɑi <ai>, ei* <ei>

*Historically there was a long vowell /i:/ and a diphthong /ɛi/. They have merged for /ei/.

ɑɯ <au>, ɛɯ <eu>
/ɑi/ is the only diphthong that appears in word patterns. ɑɯ <au> and ɛɯ <eu> only appear in sandhi phenomena.

Phonetic rules
Back-vowels are rounded when followed by a labialized consonant. They are also written with <å> and <ů>.

Sandhi

A big number of Soeira nouns end or begin in a vowel. So vowel sandhi appears often.
Basic sandhi rules:
Second word begins in /a/ => the last vowel of the first word is lengthened
The second word begins in /e/ => the /e/ disappears
The second word begins in a high vowel => the vowels form a diphthong.

Code: Select all

The last vowel of the first word on the left and the first vowel of the last word up.
      a    e    i    u
  _____________________
a|  aa   a    ai     au
e|  ee   e    ei     eu
i|  ei   i    je     ju
u|  uu   u    yi/wi  yu/wu 


Consonant gradation appears in nominal/adjectival patterns

1. A geminate consonant in the strong grade has a short consonant in the weak stem.
2. A voiceless (obstruent) consonant as the second component of a consonant cluster
Different kinds of first components
- Voiced obstruent
Becomes the corresponding voiceless obstruent
- Voiceless stop
In the strong grade becomes preaspirated
- Voiceless fricative
The second component is geminated in the strong stem
- Voiced resonant
The second component is geminated in the strong stem
3. A semi-vowel as the second component (Semivowels are created from voiced fricatives and plosives after a consonant)
The first component behaves as in 1, i.e. is geminated in the strong stem
4. A nasal or a liquid as the second component
- Voiced first component is devoiced in the weak grade
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Re: Soeira (verb)

Post by Omzinesý » 27 Dec 2015 00:00

Soeira is a split-S language. Agent-like intransitive subjects are thus marked with the agentive case and the patient-like with the patientive case. Verbs have very vague argument structures. With one argument in the agentive case, the verb functions as a unergative intransitive verb. With one argument in the patientive case, the verb functions as an unaccusative intransitive verb. With one argument in the agentive case and one argument in the patientive case, the verb works as a transitive verb.

Verbal morphology copies Suyra quite feithfully.

The only (bi-radical) verb pattern is CVC. Verbs do not inflect. The only moving part of the verb pattern is the one vowel. Changing it is used to form aspect. What I call aspect in Soeira is a derivational devise, and the meaning of a verb in one aspect cannot be derived from a verb with another aspect of the same root. Aspects are, thus, derivational. All roots cannot form all aspects. All roots don't actually form verb, at all.

The aspects are:
Inchoative - Durative - Cessative
i - e -u
i - a - u
e - a - u
The lexeme defines which of the three 'paradigms' above is used for forming the aspects.

Semantics of the aspects.
The inchoative and cessative express momentaneous action, while the durative expresses action that has duration.

In the easiest case, the durative expresses a state or a process that has a clear starting point and an end point. The inchoative expresses the startingpoint and the cessative the end point. The cessative can have perfective meanings of success but they are not primary.

ker 'sit down'
kar 'sit'
kur 'stand up from sitting position'

Kind 'buy'
Kand 'own'
Kund 'sell'

Mono-radical roots

Mono-radical verb roots form the aspects similarly to the bi-radical ones. Their pattern is VC. The vowel participates in sandhi.

ev 'be born, give birth'
av 'live'
uv 'die, kill'

Root-compounded verbs
In root compounding, a root of a noun, adjective, or verb is added before the root of the head verb. It's, of course, impossible to see if the dependent root belongs to a verb, adjective, or noun because the markers of the lexical class appear in the pattern, not the root. Root compounds are, thus, very lexicalized.

Inchoative - durative - cessative
CeCCiC - CaCCaC - CuCCuC (the consonant cluster appears in the waek grade)

rav 'to swim'
ruuvi 'a fish'
shal 'to hunt'
=> rafshal 'to fish' (not 'hunt by swimming')

refshil 'to leave a harbour in order to swim'
rafshal 'to fish'
rufshul 'to get fish'

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Re: Soeira (Noun)

Post by Omzinesý » 29 Dec 2015 00:11

Soeira nouns are much more complex than the verbs.

Nouns have three genders: animate, inanimate, and abstract. The gender is always marked with a vocalic suffix at the end of the stem. The suffixes are: -i/e, -a, and –u, respectively.

Animate nouns have two cases: the agentive (case of transitive agents and agent-like intransitive subjects) and patientive (patient of transitive clauses and patient-like intransitive subjects). -i is the agentive animate suffix and -e is the patientive animate suffix. All other genders only have the patientive case. If an inanimate or abstract noun is the “agent”, some kind of a postpositional phrase is used.

All nouns (and adjectives) have two states. The states are the absolute state and the dependent state. The dependent state marks dependents (attributes) of nouns. It somewhat resembles the English preposition “of”.

Nouns have three numbers: singular, paucal, and plural. Paucal is about 2-5 objects, while plural is more than 5 objects. The division is not strict and seven ants could maybe be expressed with the paucal but seven cows wouldn’t because the paucal expresses small numbers and ants normally appear in bigger groups than cows.
The singular is always the unmarked number. The plural and paucal can be formed in three means.
1) Suffixally
Suffixal plurals/paucals can be (and normally are) formed of the patterns 1. and 3. The number suffix appears between the stem and gender suffix. The paucal suffix is –f and the plural suffix is –t. They are positioned before consonant gradation rules and consonant gradation applies to the last consonant of the stem and the number suffix as a consonant cluster.
2) Suffixally changing the stem
Plurals/paucals of the pattern 2.are normally formed by changing the pattern to 3 and adding the same number suffixes as in 1).
3) Broken paucals/plurals
The pattern 4. forms its plurals/paucals consistently as broken plurals. The new patterns are usually of the pattern 1l. Plurals CaaCa or CeeCa, and paucals CaiCa and Cauca, respectively. In every pattern there are, however, nouns that form broken plurals.

Bi-radical patterns
There are seven patterns for nominals. They are classified in four groups that form their dependent state identically. In the classes 1, 2, and 3 there is a subdivision in patterns with a long vowel (l) and patterns with a short vowel (s). Formation of the pattern 2 and 3 is not possible for all roots. All patterns below are presented in the inanimate class.

Code: Select all

     Absolute state 	Dependent state 
1s	CVC:a	          CVCa
1l	CV:Ca	          CVCa
2s	VCCa	           VCCa
2l	V:CCa	          VCCa
3s	VC:əCa	         VCəCa
3l	V:CəCa	         VCəCa
4	 CCa:	           CCa
- Schwa is an extrashort vowel that copiens the value of the preceding vowel.
- The absolute states of 1s, 2s, and 3s have a strong grade of consonant gradation, whale the other forms have the waek grade. In 1s. and 3s., the strong grade is just gemination of the consonant. In 2s., the whole consonant cluster has the strong grade. The formation of the grades is explained in the phonology section.

There are some limitations for the formation of the patterns.
1) 3. cannot be formed if the second radical is a prenasalized stop. They cannot form an affricate with the preceding radical.
2) 4. pattern cannot be formed if sonoricity of the radicals is deminishing, i.e. if the second radical isn't as sonoric as the second one. Two same consonants cannot form the consonant cluster in 4. either.

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Re: Soeira

Post by All4Ɇn » 29 Dec 2015 19:33

Loving everything about this so far! Hope to see more [:)]

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Re: Soeira (nominal prefixes)

Post by Omzinesý » 31 Dec 2015 14:32

All4Ɇn wrote:Loving everything about this so far! Hope to see more [:)]
Thanks! I hope I find time to let you see.

Some nominal prefixes can be added to the patterns 2. and 3., which begin in a vowel. The patterns can be changed if a prefix should be added to a noun beginning with a consonant. 3. patterns are the usual new patterns.

The prefixes I have so far are:
k- diminutive
bo- augmentative
n- place for X
t- the process of adding the quantity of X or making something X.

1s. zhuoggoi 'king/ruler'
3l. kaazhagoi 'prince'
3l. keezhagoi 'princess'

1l. taadi ' father'
3l. bååtådi 'paternal grandfather'

1l. naaså '(text) book'
3l. naanaså 'library'

2s. uhpså (p-so) 'poison'
2s. tuhpsů 'poisoning'

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Re: Soeira

Post by Omzinesý » 01 Jan 2016 13:01

There are six patterns for compound (4-radical) roots. I call number them 13, 22,and 42 because the positions of the consonants somewhat resemble combinations of the mentioned stems. Semantically, 13 has nothing to do with the stems 1 and 3.

13s. CVCCəCa (strong grade)
13l. CV:CCəCa (weak grade)

22s. VCCVCCa (strong grade)
22l. V:CCVCCa (weak grade )

42s. CCVCCa (strong grade)
42l. CCV:CCa (weak grade)

Their dependent states are formed similarly to those of 2-radical stems. The strong grade of s-stems becomes weak and l-stems shorten their vowel.

13. CVCCƏCa (weak grade)

22. VCCVCCa (weak grade)

42. CCVCCa (weak grade)

22. and 42 have the same limitations of allowed roots as 2. stems have.

42. have the same limitations of allowed roots as 4. have.
13. is the only stem that can form suffixal plural and paucal.

Examples:
maami 'mother', taadi 'father'
42s. tdhummi [tɹɯm:i] 'parents' (sg.)

(More examples coming!)[/spoiler]
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Re: Soeira (adjectives)

Post by Omzinesý » 02 Jan 2016 15:33

I'm not too happy with the patterns of the compound roots. I'll change them somehow. I'm not sure what is the relationship between prefixes and stem compounding either. Some process could be analysed either of them. I'm still thinking about that.

This message is about adjectives, anyway.

Adjectives use the same patterns as nouns. Especially, the patterns 3. are used for deriving adjectives from nouns in other patterns.

2s. emmi 'woman'
3s. emmemi/a/u 'feminine'

Adjectives agree the gender and case of their head. Many adjectives can be used nominally, but when used adjectivally, adjectives do not agree the number of their head.
Adjectives can appear either in the absolute state or the dependent state. The dependent state is used when the adjective is descriptive and the absolute state is used when it is non-descriptive.

Adjectives have some prefixes.
pth - comparative/superlative
ksh - 'too'
(I may make more of them.)

pthemmemi/a/u 'more/most feminine'
kshemmemi/a/u 'too feminine'

Some adjectives change patterns so that the prefixes can be added.
4. psei/aa/uu 'bad'
2s. pthehpsi/a/u 'worse/worst'
2s. kshehpsi/a/u 'too bad'

Adverbs of manner is not an independent class in Soeira. They are just abstract gender forms of adjectives.
psuu 'badly'
emmemu 'in a feminine way'

An example on descriptiveness

Mure aamme av teethte bůhttu.
short.DEP-AN.PAT women-AN.PAT live man.DEP-PL-AN.PAT long_lasting-ABSTR
'Short women live longer than men.'
In that clause, men and short women are compared. aammj av teethte bůhtu.
short.DEP-AN.PAT women-AN.PAT live man.DEP-PL-AN.PAT long_lasting-ABSTR
'Short women live longer than men.'
In that clause, men and short women are compared.'

Murre aamme av teethte bůhttu.
short.ABLSOL-AN.PAT women-AN.PAT live man.DEP-PL-AN.PAT long_lasting-ABSTR
'Women, who are short, live longer than men.'
The only difference is the state of the adjective "murr-' In the second clause, women and men are compared. Shortness is given as extra information that is probably interpreted causal.

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Re: Soeira (participles)

Post by Omzinesý » 02 Jan 2016 17:03

I said that verbs don't inflect. That's true of finite verb. Soeira participles are, however, quite finite.

Soeira has two participle stems: iCCa and uCCa, where a stands for a gender suffix, as usual.
iCCa is the inchoative perfect participle. So,it expresses consequences of an inchoative action.
uCCa is the cessative perfect participle and express consequences of cessative action.
Because inchoative means starting of the durative action, its perfect participle actually refers to action/state expressed by the durative aspect. If the aspects aren't that compositional, participles become vague.

Soeira participles are not oriented like those of English. So they can refer to the agent or the patient or more or less any argument.

iv, av, uv 'be born/give birth, live, die/kill'
The root is actually 1-radical, and its participle pattern is VC:a.

ivvi 'who has given a birth, (born), living'
uvvi 'who has killed, killed, dead'

There is a progressive auxiliary "bel" 'be Xing', that changes the Aktionsarts that have no duration to having duration. It's hard to analyse if bel is a verb or a particle.
bel iv 'is giving a birth/is being born'
bel uv 'is killing/is dying'

That root can be made a prefix attached to participles "bl-".

So iv and uv become blivvi and bluvvi as progressive participles. They mean 'who is giving birth/who is being born' and 'who is killing/who is dying', respectively.

Participles agree and precede their head like all adjectives.

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Re: Soeira (personal pronouns)

Post by Omzinesý » 03 Jan 2016 20:07

Personal pronouns are of the pattern 4. but form broken plurals and paucals. Many of tgem are mono-radical.

shei, shee 'I'
aushi, aushe 'we exc pauc'
aashi, aushe 'we exc pl'

tsoei, tsoee 'you sg'
tussoi, tussoe 'you pauc'
tassoi, tassoe 'you pl'
(Inclusive we has a compound root'
aausshoi, tausshoe 'we inc pauc'
taasshoi, taasshoe 'we inc pl'

3th person pronoun inflects in gender and has regular suffixal plurals. It's just polysemy that v also means 'to live'
vei, vee 'he/she' evfi, evfe 'they pauc' evti, evte 'we pl'
vaa 'it' evfa 'they pauc' evta 'they pl'
vuu 'it'

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Re: Soeira (numbers)

Post by Omzinesý » 04 Jan 2016 18:40

Numbers
The system is decimal:
Numbers 1-9 are of the pattern CVC
1 tuth
2 ned
3 gåt
4 zoik
5 zir
6 nuŋ
7 kesh
8 tam
9 nil

Tens are of the pattern uuCaC
10 uutath
20 uunad
30 uugåt
40 uuzåk
50 uuzar
60 uunaŋ
70 uukash
80 uutam
90 uunal

The nine numbers can be added to them in the pattern CuuCaC in which the two first consonants are the numbers 1-9 and the two last consonants are the decades.
57 kuushsar
84 zůůktam

Numbers follow the noun. The noun is inflected as always. If the number is one, the noun is in the singular; if 2-5, in the paucal, and if bigger, in the plural. If the noun has the dependent form, the relationship is restrictive; and if the noun has the absolute state, the relationship is non-restrictive. Non-restrictive relationship between a noun and a number is, though, much more common than that between a noun and an adjective.

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Re: Soeira (M-M root)

Post by Omzinesý » 05 Jan 2016 12:24

Root: M-M "woman things" "mother things"

2s.e ehmmi - sg. 'woman','female person (no inference to age)'
2l.au aummi - pauc.
2..a aammi - pl.
=> 2s.e ehmmu 'womanhood', 'being a woman'
=> 3s.e emmimi/a/u 'feminine' 'womanlike'

(n- is a suffix for places.)
n-2l.e neemmi 'kitchen'

1l.a maami - 'mother'
(suffixal numbers)
=> 1l.a maamu 'motherhood'
=> 3l.a maammami/a/u 'mothernal'

1l.u muumi - 'dam/mother of an animal'
(suffixal numbers)

Verbs are rarely derived from nouns. The process nearly always happens to the other direction. M-M is primarily a nominal root. The inchoative is the only exception. Mim is a social concept. Iv means concretely 'to give birth/life'.
mim - 'to become mother'
=> 2s.i (stem for the inchoative perfect participle) ihmmi - 'mrs', 'woman that has (legal) children' - used as a vocative or adjectivally as a titel, no number inflection

3l.i eimmimu 'mother's love'

3s.i immima 'breast'
=> imima-sesh 'breastfeed' (sesh 'to eat', 'to feed')

(bo- is the augmentative prefix)
bo-2l.a bååmmi 'mothernal grandfather'
bo-2l-e boeemmi 'mothernal grandmother'

(k- is the diminutive prefix)
k-2l.a kaammi 'half brother from mother's side'
k-2l.e keemmi 'halfsister from mother's side'

(T-D is the root foor 'father') T-D-M-M is a compound stem for 'parents'
42s.u tdhuhmmi 'parents' (as singular word)
I think its bigger numbers should be of the pattern 43s.u and suffixal: tdhummumfi (pauc. 'some pairs of parent') and tdhummumti (pl. 'many pairs of parents')


The society in which Soeira is spoken is quite sexist as can be seen. Woman = Mother

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Re: Soeira (On Argument Structure)

Post by Omzinesý » 08 Jan 2016 23:08

The same verbs can be used as transitive verbs, as unergative intransitive verbs, or as unaccusative intransitive verbs. With the intransitive verbs, the case of the only argument (agentive vs. patientive) is what determines the semantics.

Mbur + AG ’to win’
Mbur + PAT ’to lose’
Mbur + AG + PAT ’to beat in a game’

Roots do not have argument structures. MB-R in the durative (mbar) means to play a game, and its agent is the player and its patient is the game, not the opponent, like in the cessative above.

The verb uv, meaning both ‘to kill’ and ‘to die’, has already been mentioned. The killer takes the agentive case while the dying one takes the patientive case, regardless of the verb’s being transitive or intransitive. Any unaccusative verb can be causativized just by adding the agent, and any unergative verb can take an occasinal object, "sing a song".

The argument of reflexive verbs is marked with the agentive case, and reflexive pronoun te is used.
Shei te rim. ‘I washed (myself).’

There are also so called affected agents. Verbs like ‘to eat’ and motion verbs have them. You both move actively but are also affected by the moving.

‘To eat’ is an exception. The root has two duratives. There is sham ‘to eat’, and the eater takes the agentive and the food takes the patientive; and shem ‘to feed’, where there the feeder takes the agentive and both the eater and the food take the patientive.

Affected agents of otion verbs take the patientive case.
‘I went’ is Shee půl. instead of Shei půl.

They can be transitivized by adding an argument in the agentive case. It makes them mean something like ‘to bring’ and ‘to take’. Agentivity of the one who moves can be emphasized by using the reflexive pronoun.

Shei te půl. ‘I (actively) went.’ Lit. ‘I took myself.’


I'm still unsure about the framing of the motion verbs.

1) I could make the motion verbs deictic so that the aspects would be poil ‘come (telic)’, pål ‘go around (atelic)’, and půl ‘gå (telic)’.

2) Another option would be verb framing so that the verbs encode direction.
poil ‘enter’, pål ‘be somewhere’, and půl ‘leave’.

The second option would better fit how aspects usually work in Soeira. On the other hand, atelic movement should be coded somehow anyway - auxiliaries are possible though. I would also like to make a complex system of local compound postpositions and it seems a bit redundant if the verbs encode direction.


Verbs of perception and experience are another case, where it's not clear which argument is more agentlike. In Soeira, experiencers take the patientive case and stimuli take the agentive.
Shee tsei tal. 'I love you'. Lit. 'Me you please.'

Verbs of perception have the perceiver in the agentive and the perceived in the patientive.
Shei tsee kůz. 'I saw you.'

Like all verbs, they can be intransitive as well.
Shee tal. 'I am in love.'

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Re: Soeira - syntax (at last) - predicate focus

Post by Omzinesý » 09 Jan 2016 15:14

Knud Lambrech defines three focus structures: predicate focus, argument focus, and sentence focus.
Predicate focus is the typical focus structure which most sentences belong to. In it, there is some "old" information, given in the earlier discource, ABOUT which something is said. Terminology of information structure is messy (a mild expression). I’m going to call this old information a (discourse-pragmatic) topic. I would actually like to call it theme and preserve topic to be a term of formal side of syntax, but I think that making my own use of terminology would make it even messier.) This topic is joined with something which can be new or old information. What really is stated in the clause the connection between the topic and the other part of the sentence?

In Soeira , clauses with predicate focus consist of a noun phrase (the topic) and a verb phrase or noun phrase (focus). This is how basic generative grammars always start a syntax tree - NP and VP. Lambrecht speaks about topic and focus domains but I think it’s more or less the same as the phrases below the S node. There is a short pause between them, at least if they are any longer. Sandhi does not happen on their border.

The topic phrase precedes the focus phrase. The topic phrase can encode an agent or patient or any argument of the clause. Defining subject is Soeira is impossible. I’, pondering is I postposition should have some movements in the topic phrase, but I haven’t thought about postpositions, so I don’t say anything about them. There is not much to say about the topic phrase.

The focus phrase can be nominal. Soeira used zero-copula. In copular structures, both the topic and the predicate appear in the patientive case. Xing’s Nizhmel has a nice idea of marking the predicate noun with an essive postposition. I might copy it in the future.
Shee teere. ‘I[am] a (hu)man.’

The “nominal” predicate can be a participle, too, which has a perfect meaning. Dependents of nominals always precede their head and take the dependent state. That’s not the case with verbs.
Participle: [Shee]NP [ziri ihtle]NP. ‘I am fallen in love with a girl.’
Finite verb: [Shee]NP [tal zeiri]VP. ‘I love a girl.’

A verbal focus phrase can be just a verb or a verb with its arguments (object, obliques, adjuncts). (I’ll speak about complex verbs later.) The main thing in the word order inside the VP is that definite participants go before the verb while indefinite participants go after it. So defining the basic word order is tricky. Generic nouns are considered indefinite, when they are not incorporated.
Shee zeiri tal. ‘I love the girl.’
Zeiri shee tal. 'I'm loved by the girl.' - Personal pronouns are always definite.

Indefinite or generic noun can however be incorporated. Then they appear before the verb and have the dependent state. Incorporation implies that they are not important for the discourse. Incorporation is not very complete. Case marking is still preserved.
Shee zeri tal. ‘I girl-love.’ The clause is more about sexual orientation than feelings.
Edit: This is not about topicalization - 'X as for, it...', 'When it comes to X...' etc. I'm not sure what the meaning topicalization delivers is. I guess it has something to do with sentence-external discourse, how (discource-pragmatic) topics change between sentences.
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Re: Soeira (Argument focus & Pseudo-cleft)

Post by Omzinesý » 09 Jan 2016 16:08

Argument focus and pseudo-cleft

The second focus structure is argument focus. Typically argument focus is used in answers to questions. If I’m asked “Where do you live?” me and my living become given in the discourse. In my answel “I live in Helsinki.” the only new participant is Helsinki, which is focused. This is somewhat different use of the term focus, because now only one participant is focused. In European languages, excluding French, express argument focus with an intonation peak. “I like in Hélsinki.” Japanese uses ga to mark the subject (Japanese being nom-acc, subject is an adequate term for it) as argument focus and wa to mark topics of predicate foci. Argument focus also covers what is called contrastive focus. “Does Taylor or Brooke love Ridge?” – “Táylor loves Ridge, now.” or a cleft structure: “It’s Taylor who loves Ridge, now.”

Soeira is very strict with the rule that old information always comes first. The same NP VP/NP clausal construction is used as with the predicate focus. Because all but one participant is given, all that is put in the topic NP. That is called pseudo-cleft. Because the topic must always be nominal, the verb is made a participle. All the other arguments are dependents of the participle and have the dependent state. The case of the participle and the predicate noun is the patientive, like in all copular structures.

Predicate focus: Tfei uv nieve. ‘The dog killed a cat.’
Argument focus on the agent: [Neve uvve]NP [tfee]NP. ‘Who killed a cat was the dog.’
Argument focus on the patient: [Tfi uvve]NP [nieve]NP. ‘Who was killed by the dog was a cat.”

The dynamic bl- participles can also be used:
Argument focus on the agent: [Neve bluvve]NP [tfee]NP. ‘Who was killing a cat was the dog.’
Argument focus on the patient: [Tfi bluvve]NP [nieve]NP. ‘Who got/was being killed by the dog was a cat.”

PS. I thought the examples as so simple I don't have to gloss them. Should I?
Edit: I don't know how to say: Where I live is Helsinki. I think I'll allow postpositions to be added as prefixes to partixiples to mark peripheral roles of relative clauses.
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Re: Soeira (Sentence focus)

Post by Omzinesý » 09 Jan 2016 20:21

The third focus structure is sentence focus. It’s kind of the first sentence in a discourse that cannot have a given topic. (There are still potential topics in the language-external world. People usually start a conversation by speaking about weather or themselves.)
Lambrecht’s example is: A rich man is standing on a bus stop and explains his atypical behaviour: “My car broke down.” It’s not a sentence ABOUT his car, but about his standing on the bus stop. The whole sentence would be: “I’m standing on the bus stop because my car broke down.” It is a sentence about himself - a language-external topic. Because the uttered clause doesn’t have a topic, it should be doomed topicless.

In Soeira, sentence focus structures are very similar to the predicate focus structures. The sentence isn’t, however, split in a topic phrase and a focus phrase. All of the clause belongs to the focus domain. So there is no pause between the two phrases (because the two phrases are not there) and all words are prone to sandhi phenomena. As a written sentence, it’s very possible there is no difference from a predicate focus structure.

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Re: Soeira

Post by Omzinesý » 09 Jan 2016 20:37

S-G is the root foor "home", "living", "family".

sig 'to move in'
sag 'to live (somewhere)'
sug 'to move out'

sagga 'home'

issghi 'inhabitant' - a participle

saagi 'husband' - with whome you live
seigi 'wife'

aasagi/eisigi 'an in-law relative'

assghi 'family'
assagi 'family member'

kaassagi 'son, a family member of younger generation'
keissagi 'doughter, a female family member of younger generation'


sghaa 'village'
suggi 'villager'
ussghi 'villagers' - a collective noun

grůssgha 'inhabited areas'
gro- is a negative prefix 'un-', 'dis-' etc.

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Re: Soeira (Sentence focus)

Post by gach » 09 Jan 2016 23:02

Omzinesý wrote:In Soeira, sentence focus structures are very similar to the predicate focus structures. The sentence isn’t, however, split in a topic phrase and a focus phrase. All of the clause belongs to the focus domain. So there is no pause between the two phrases (because the two phrases are not there) and all words are prone to sandhi phenomena. As a written sentence, it’s very possible there is no difference from a predicate focus structure.
Would there be an option of using some dummy topic for sentence focus? What I'm thinking of might be for example a way to mark a break in the discourse or a literary device to allow differentiating sentence focus from predicate focus in writing? An example of such a dummy topic in the wild would be sitä in the Finnish sentence

Tää-llä si-tä ol-laan.
this-ADE it-PART be-IMPERS
"So, we're here."
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Re: Soeira (Sentence focus)

Post by Omzinesý » 10 Jan 2016 01:02

gach wrote:Would there be an option of using some dummy topic for sentence focus? What I'm thinking of might be for example a way to mark a break in the discourse or a literary device to allow differentiating sentence focus from predicate focus in writing? An example of such a dummy topic in the wild would be sitä in the Finnish sentence

Tää-llä si-tä ol-laan.
this-ADE it-PART be-IMPERS
"So, we're here."
That's very possible [O.o]
I don't know if that really needs to be marked more sophisticatedly. If there is no word that would be a potential topic, people just interprete that there is no topic. But maybe there could be some "optional" means to mark it when needed.

I've, by the way, never realized that sitä is a marker for sentence focus. Finnish information structure with its nine possible word orders of a transitive clause isn't easy at all. Have you read any book on it?

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Re: Soeira

Post by gach » 10 Jan 2016 14:53

I haven't read any books on the subject but you can find papers dealing with it, such as Parsing in a free word order language (Karttunen & Kay, 1985)
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