Author Topic: The causative infix  (Read 2876 times)

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Offline Tawtakuk

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The causative infix
« on: February 17, 2010, 05:56:58 am »
I've just noticed that the Wikibook lists the long anticipated causative infix among the pre-first position ones as <eyk>, including usage examples and also a paragraph on its usage in the Syntax section.

Anyone knows where is it sourced or has more info on that?
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Offline Kì'eyawn

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2010, 11:02:59 am »
I've just noticed that the Wikibook lists the long anticipated causative infix among the pre-first position ones as <eyk>, including usage examples and also a paragraph on its usage in the Syntax section.

Anyone knows where is it sourced or has more info on that?

Wow, if this info is right (and i'm assuming it is), this...complicates things.  Whoever's maintaing the Na'vi dictionary will want to update the verb entries with transitive/intransitive info so we know when we'll need to use this infix.  Fun stuff.
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Fra'uri tìyawnur oe täpivìng nìwotx...

Offline wm.annis

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2010, 11:08:28 am »
Wow, if this info is right (and i'm assuming it is), this...complicates things.  Whoever's maintaing the Na'vi dictionary will want to update the verb entries with transitive/intransitive info so we know when we'll need to use this infix.  Fun stuff.

The problem right now is that only Frommer knows the transitivity of a lot of verbs.  He's been asked about these matters before.  We may have to wait on his official dictionary (Fox! get moving on this!) before we'll have a good handle on a bunch of words.

I'm personally more curious to see what happens when a transitive verb is given the causative infix.  What happns to the cases?

 Oel taron yerikit I hunt yerik.

If this turns into a causative, t‹eyk›aron, what case does the original object go in and what case does the original subject turn into.  Given Frommer's love of the dative case, I currently suspsect it's dative for the original subject —

 *Eyktanìl oeru t‹eyk›eraron yerikit The leader has me hunting yerik,

but this is a big guess, of course.
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Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2010, 03:42:02 pm »
There are some things on the Wiki that seem a little bit contrary to what we know from Frommer's examples....

One thing in particular that I notice:

Quote from: Wiki
Oe tsun pivey trrit a nga tayìng ayoer(u) nì'ul.
"I can await the day when you will give us more."

Since when can 'a' by itself translate to "when"? I suppose the trr+a combination might invoke this meaning like krr+a does, but with the accusative marker attached, I have my doubts.

Thus far, I have yet to fully trust anything the Wiki says (despite Frommer's indirect blessing) and have gleaned all my current knowledge from discussions on the forum, available resource documents (.PDFs), and posted correspondences with Dr. Frommer.

In short - I don't trust it.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 03:46:10 pm by Alìm Tsamsiyu »
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2010, 03:48:07 pm »
Quote
Oe tsun pivey trrit a nga tayìng ayoer(u) nì'ul.
"I can await the day when you will give us more."

Since when can 'a' by itself translate to "when"? I suppose the trr+a combination might invoke this meaning like krr+a does, but with the accusative marker attached, I have my doubts.

Do not be misled by the translation here.  Of course a does not mean "when," but because the antecedent is "day" the relative "when" makes a somewhat more idiomatic English translation than "which, that."

This sentence is from the Canon, vetted by Frommer himself.  There is no reason to distrust it.
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Offline Alìm Tsamsiyu

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2010, 03:53:18 pm »
Hmm. I see - I was thinking about that shortly before you posted this, thinking that could be what was happening.

Still, I don't like the wide open nature of Wikipedia... Call me old fashioned, I guess :P
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Offline kewnya txamew'itan

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2010, 11:49:36 am »
If this behaves in the way it seems (and is actually the causative infix) then I think the original subject -> indirect (dative) object is good.

Personally though, I don't want this to be right. Given it's similarity to the verb eyk which would make sense in this context so I'd quite like eyk to be a modal verb creating causative forms.

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Offline wm.annis

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2010, 12:00:00 pm »
Personally though, I don't want this to be right.

It is.  So, astonishingly, is my dative guess.  I hope to be able to officially update the Canon soon.
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Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 12:39:43 pm »
Hmmm, speaking of the similiarity to lead...

Awngeyä eyktanä tìterkupìl oet eykeyk.
Ftxey lu nga tokx ftxey lu nga tirea? Lu oe tìkeftxo.
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Offline Erimeyz

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 12:45:38 pm »
It is.  So, astonishingly, is my dative guess.  I hope to be able to officially update the Canon soon.

... I'm guessing that means that you're going by something other the Wikibooks assertion.

  - Eri

Offline Erimeyz

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 12:56:32 pm »
Still, I don't like the wide open nature of Wikipedia...

First, it's now Wikibooks, not Wikipedia.  All the content that used to be on Wikipedia moved to Wikibooks about two weeks ago.

Second, it's not the wide-open nature that should hinder your trust.  The forum is no less wide-open - anyone can post anything.

Third, your trust should be based on the degree to which material you encounter (whether on Wikipedia, Wikibooks, the forum, or your own email inbox) is supported by references to reliable sources.  The author behind most of the Wikibooks content (and the Wikipedia content before it) is very good at conducting analysis but is stunningly poor at providing references or explaining his analysis.  I generally assume anything he's written is correct, but I'm never comfortable until I see others making the same conclusions from corpus analysis, or until I see the emails from Frommer that he's relying on being posted.

  - Eri

Offline wm.annis

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 04:48:55 pm »
... I'm guessing that means that you're going by something other the Wikibooks assertion.

Yes.  I just need to clear up some attributions.
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2010, 06:31:07 pm »
Voilà — Extracts (added by roger), Feb 17 for the causative issue.
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Offline Erimeyz

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2010, 09:01:36 pm »
Outstanding!  Another big drop of email from roger, another treasure trove of Na'vi Na'ledge!  Thanks for sharing, gents.

If you're just tuning in to the thread, you should definitely check out the wiki link above.

  - Eri

Offline wm.annis

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2010, 09:27:32 pm »
Hmmm, speaking of the similiarity to lead...

Awngeyä eyktanä tìterkupìl oet eykeyk.

The "caused subject" of a transitive verb is in the dative, so it would be oeru in place of oet.  Whatever the original object is (like "the people" or "the war party") stays in the accusative.
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Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2010, 12:04:59 am »
Srane, oel tse'a tsat set.
Ftxey lu nga tokx ftxey lu nga tirea? Lu oe tìkeftxo.
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Offline Erimeyz

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2010, 06:59:13 am »
I posted this in a different thread, but it belongs here:

The causative works differently for transitive and intransitive verbs.  This point is a bit confusing, and worth going through slowly (since it's covered in two different emails from Pawl):

Intransitive:
Po holahaw He slept
Oel heykolahaw poti I caused-to-sleep him

Transitive:
Pol tolaron ayfoti He hunted them
Oel teykolaron ayfoti poru I caused-to-hunt them him

It's a little weird to my way of thinking, honestly.  You'd think that using the causative infix would have the same effect on both the intransitive's subject and the transitive's agent, i.e. they would both become the patient of the causative and thus both take the accusative.  After all, they're the ones that the causative force is being applied to (they're the ones being caused to do something).  But NO!  That's not what happens!  The intransitive's subject becomes the causative's patient, but the transitive's agent becomes the causative's indirect object, and the transitive's patient remains the causative's patient.

Weird.  But totally in keeping with the idea of a tripartite system.  The intransitive's subject IS NOT LIKE the transitive's agent.  There's no reason for them to behave similarly when causativified.

  - Eri

Offline wm.annis

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2010, 07:46:13 am »
I posted this in a different thread, but it belongs here:It's a little weird to my way of thinking, honestly.  You'd think that using the causative infix would have the same effect on both the intransitive's subject and the transitive's agent, i.e. they would both become the patient of the causative and thus both take the accusative.

It does seem odd at first, but imagine a transitive verb is made causative.  If you shift the causee to the accusative, what happens to the original direct object?  Some languages object powerfully to having more than one direct object in a clause.

I was able to guess this dative construction with the Wondrous Powers of Linguistic Typology.  Most human languages fiddle with the case of the causee, rather than shift the original object around.  Shifting the causee to the dative (or the language equivalent, like Japanese relational ni) is most common, with an instrumental (case or adposition) coming in second.  For example, if we made a causative of a verb that already takes a dative (like tìng), it's possible Frommer's fa construction might be the only option for the causee.

Edit: after a quick bit of research — a double dative is more widely acceptable than a double accusative, so maybe fa wouldn't be required for the t‹eyk›ìng.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 07:53:35 am by wm.annis »
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Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2010, 01:55:08 pm »
The one I'm wondering about is....  What about verbs like slu, lu or tok?  What happens to the subjects of being, becoming or being at?  I don't know enough linguistics to even predict that.
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Re: The causative infix
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2010, 03:27:47 pm »
The one I'm wondering about is....  What about verbs like slu, lu or tok?  What happens to the subjects of being, becoming or being at?  I don't know enough linguistics to even predict that.

Oh, my.

Tok is just a plain old intransitive verb related to location, like and za'u.  I go to some place, I come from some place, I am at some place.  There are no phrase constituents with tok that need to be adjusted — it's all adverbs and adpositional phrases of place.

  Oe tamok mì na'ring I was in the forest.
  Pol teykamok oeti mì na'ring She caused me to be in the forest.

Lu is a bit of a mess because it has rather distinct jobs to do.  In the sense of existence (lu sute there are people) a causative makes a certain sort of sense.

  Lu wutso There is a meal.
  Ngal leyku wutsot You cause there to be a meal.

This seems a bit grandiose, but in some languages the causative can be used as a sort of politeness distancing.  Important people, of course, do not actually do things — heavens, no! — but say a few words and make things happen.  No idea if this would apply to Na'vi.

The copular sense of lu (A = B) raises more serious troubles, both grammatical and semantic.  How often will it make sense to say, "someone caused me to be a human."  This seems odd.  From the grammar standpoint, you'd have to deal with translating not one, but two, nominatives.

Finally, lu is used for adjective predication.  Since adjectives aren't marked for case anyway, perhaps *oe tsat leyku apxa could make sense — but it sure seems odd to me.  If ever there's a time I'd want verbal morphology to go into an adjective, this is it.

Slu shares the same problems as the copula and adjectival predicate forms of lu.  Perhaps some periphrasis will come to the rescue.
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A Na'vi Reference Grammar

 

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