Qþyn|gài: A Polysynthetic Language (S7)
Affixes & Cores
Qþyn|gài distinguishes four persons.
|1: 1st person||xysty|
|2: 2nd person||xyxky|
|3: 3rd person, known||xyhhy|
|4: 3rd person, unknown||xytry|
Both third and fourth person can be expressed by 'he, she, it' in English. Qþyn|gàis third person requires the referent to be know, and thus, to be finite, while the fourth person use used if it is unknown. Depending on context, translations for the fourth person are 'someone' or 'you' (impersonal use, like German 'man') or simply 'he, she, it' as well.
The valence is marked at the head of the predicate in Qþyn|gài. The following paragraphs give an overview of the infixes for valence information.
|Neither Agent Nor Patient|
|If a head has no agent and no patient, it will usually not have a valence infix at all. It will also lack evidence/mood information. The vowel slot after the classifier is filled with a case infix instead. However, if you want to add an evidence/mood affix, you must also add a valence infix. The valence infix for 'zero' valence is:|
|An Agent, But No Patient||A Patient, But No Agent|
|Both Agent and Patient|
In this table, the patient and the reflexive or reciprocal agent are represented in one argument, like in 'Humans fight each other.' Qþyn|gài also allows two arguments to be given that act on each other, i.e. for reciprocals, like in 'Peter and Mary love each other.', here expressed by a coordination in English, but more research has to be done to find out the infixes.
The table seems quite chaotic. However, there are some tendencies concerning the complexity of the infix (more complex means that there is an additional syllable).
- free arguments require more complex infixes than incorporated or unmentioned arguments
- free agents require more complex infixes than free patients
Because Qþyn|gài is head-marking, no core case is marked at the dependent. Instead, core case is marked in the valence of the predicate.
If the dependent does not modify anything itself, it is in predicative case. If it modifies something, one of the following case affixes is used.
This holds for clauses as well: if a matrix clause has a sub-ordinate clause, the predicate of the sub-ordinate clause has a certain case marking indicating how it modifies the matrix clause.
For other than core cases, the adjunct is marked with a given case. The case infixes are closely related to lexicon entries. This relation can be seen when an adjunct is right-dislocated (it usually precedes the modified clause). When an adjunct is moved to the right, it is transformed into a serial verb construction using the verb that corresponds to the given case. By this, the clause becomes heavier. This is in accordance with right-dislocation due to a heavy clause (heavy clauses are preferred at the end of sentences). Note that this adjunct-heavy-shift can only be performed when modifying predicates with an evidence affix.
|–y–||Predicative||Either the agent or the patient when governed by a predicate, or this is the predicate itself.|
|–ú–||Causative||Expresses 'because of' or 'by influence of'|
|–í–||Agitative||Expresses 'by influence of'. This is similar to causative, but in contrast, this is an active source of influence.|
|–i–||Dative||Marks the goal, recipient, or affected. English often uses 'to' or 'for'.|
|–úi–||Benefactive||Like a dative, but with a positive connotation, an advantage.|
|–ìu–||Malefactive||Like a dative, but with a negative connotation, a disadvantage.|
|–w/yỳ–||Instrumental||'with the help of', 'using'.|
|–ù–||Comitative||'together with', 'along with'.|
|–k/iu–||Genitive||general modification, possession. Relative clauses in English are usually translated as a predicate in genitive case used as an adjunct of the matrix clause.|
|–ài–||Appositive||Case used for appositions. English often uses 'of': City of New York, German uses juxtaposition. Qþyn|gài has a special case for this.|
|–à–||Topicative||restriction of topic, 'concerning', 'with respect to'. Do not mix up with the focus particle.|
|–àu–||Vocative||used for addressing. Can be used to mark the addressee when later in the sentence, the 2nd person is referred to: 'Mary, can I help you'|
|–x/uak/i–||Locative / Essive||'at', 'in', etc.: marks the location; also 'as'|
|–x/uáin/a–||Allative / Finalis||'to', 'into', etc.: marks the destination; also marks purpose: in order to|
|–íu–||Ablative / Initiative||'from', etc.: marks the (spatial) source. As a notional case, marks the creator: John's book (which he wrote)|
|–ui–||Perlative||'through', etc.: marks the way. It is used only when a significant part of the location is traversed, especially all the location. If the portion is not significant, locative is used. E.g. 'A bird flies through the sky' would not be feasibe, but 'A bird flies in the sky.' But 'A bird flies through the tunnel.'|
|–x/uau–||Circumjective||'around', etc.: marks the place of a nonspecific, usually random movement or a vague locative.|
|–ý–||Terminative||'resulting in', etc.: marks the final resulting space/time/state|
Note that it is very common to add degree affixes to cases, e.g. to an essive case to clarify that 'as' is meant instead of 'like' or to change an instrumental 'with' into a 'without' (dito for comitative)
Genitive is an interesting case, because it can serve several purposes. It not only shows possession, but quite generic modification. The personal pronouns, when deriving words, also get a genitive meaning. But be careful when translation actions + possession like 'my running' etc., because genitive cannot generally be used for agentive or patientive genitive, i.e., specifying an actor. You can use a normal clause for this. Some words *do* get agentive or patientive meaning, but it depends on what the stem means in zero valence. Check the lexicon. E.g. 'eat' + '1p' = 'my food' but 'want' + '1p' = 'my will' (both unambiguously so).
Please also note that in many cases, ablative is used instead of what corresponds to a genitive in other languages. E.g. 'my book', if I own it, is translated as 'I.GEN book'. But if I wrote it, Qþyn|gài uses ablative to express the origin: 'I.ABL book'. This 'notional ablative' is also called 'initiative'.
The spatial cases (loc, all, abl, per, cir) are also used for temporal adjuncts, therefore, temporalspatial or spacetime cases is an appropriate term. The following table shows question words, verbs and prepositions corresponding to each case.
Further, some spatial cases may be used in a notional way. The translations are listed in the following table.
If it is to be made clear whether spatialy, temporal or notional usage is meant (which is usually very clear from the context), a derivational suffix can be used on the stem: either -time or -location or -action.
|locative||where? / be located||when?||as|
|allative||where to/whither? / to go to||towards||leading to; in order to|
|ablative||where from/whence? / to come from; to originate||from then on, since||from, by|
|perlative||through where? / to traverse||during||through, by|
|circumjective||around, in, at (vague)||around||like|
|terminative||until, up to; to arrive||until||until, to|
Spatial relations are divided into sub-categories. Some of these categories are marked at the head, some at the dependent.
The direction/state type is handled by temporalspatial cases on the head: (in the house (locative), into the house (allative), out of the house (ablative), through the house (perlative), (a)round in the house (circumjective))
Touching/non-touching (picture on the wall vs. chair at the wall).
Precise/vague direction (from the house (general), from at the house (precise), from the direction of the house (vague))
Viewpoint: speaker vs. location
Relative point at the given place (in, at, over, under...). This is handled either by a genitive construction ('under the table' = 'the table's under'.locative), or by composition ('under the table' = 'table-under'.locative).
Second direction point: 'down from the house.'
Position of speaker wrt. scene: German: 'Er stürzte hinein.' vs. 'Er stürzte herein.'
Topic, Focus (and Subjects?)
To begin with, the term 'subject' shall not be used for Qþyn|gài. Sentences possibly contain agents, possibly patients, possibly none of the two, but I will not talk about subjects and also not about objects. The terms are inappropriate.
Topic and Focus
The topic may be viewed as the context the sentence is interpreted and understood in. It has a vague relationship to the predicate, so it is no argument, but rather an adjunct. The topic in Qþyn|gài is quite similar to that of Japanese, Korean, or Chinese in that it is easily suppliable in a sentence (without paraphrastical gymnastics). A good, but rather awkward English translation would be 'with respect to _' or 'regarding _' or the like.
The focus on the other hand, is that part of the sentence that is stressed. It is the most important piece of information in the sentence, the one that is emphasised. Qþyn|gài uses a suffix to mark the focus. It can be applied to any morpheme in a clause, including affixes.
Consider the following English sentence:
'With respect to fish, Bob loves white ones.'
Here, the topic is 'fish': the sentence is interpreted with 'fish' in mind. On the other hand, 'Bob' is the focus, which English would mark with increased stress, indicated by italic font style.
Qþyn|gài is not a clean topic-prominent language like Japanese or Korean, however. Giving the topic is purely optional and in fact, much less frequent than in Japanese and Korean. Usually, arguments to a predicate are prefered. When a topic is given, however, subsequent empty argument slots or pronouns typically refer to the topic, unless marked to refer to agent or patient.
Evidence and Mood
Evidence/mood particles are mandatory in Qþyn|gài. They are even extremely mandatory in that words are incomplete if they are missing.
Evidence/mood is relative in Qþyn|gài, which means that you may apply tense and other evidence/mood particles to an evidence/mood particle. In any cause, the outermost particle of a clause must be an evidence/mood particle to provide a syntactally correct word (and phrase).
|ql–||fact||For states ('red') or events ('crash'): general fact. For entities ('dog'): general existence in this sentence.|
|kx–||belief||States a belief or otherwise strongly near-to-fact statement (from the point of view of the speaker). (This evidence is neutral in value for believers of the stated proposition and non-believers, it just carries the information that the proposition based on belief, so it is usually used in religious texts without the religous people thinking they should better use factual evidence instead.)|
|r–||experience||First-hand knowledge by involvement, experience.|
|ng–||perception||First-hand knowledge by observation, perception.|
|qþ–||hearsay||Second hand knowledge, hearsay. There is no distinction between liable and unknown sources. This is to prevent politicians from using the 'liable source' evidence. 'Hearsay' evidence also has to be used when information was retrieved through media like newspaper or television.|
|||–||conclusion, consequence||Inferred, concluded; also used in sentences that express a notional consequence: [To prevent X].OPTATIVE, [I do Y].CONCLUSIONAL.|
||k–||opinion||The clause is true in the speaker's opinion. Distinguish this from 'belief'!|
|tl–||instinct||The clause is true by the speaker's instinctive feelings.|
|ks–||internal, intuition||Utterance of internal state. E.g. 'I don't know'.|
|nǂ–||declaration||The clause is declared ('You are husband and wife!').Also for perlocutive acts ('I greet you!', 'I promise that ...').|
|!–||Interrogative||The clause or a part of the clause (which must be marked) is questioned. If a part is questioned, the answer is that part, otherwise, the answer is yes or no. This pretty much like the Japanese '-ka' particle (and not like the Chinese 'ma' particle, since that only applies to YN questions)|
|Conditional||The truth of this clause modifies another clause. The 'if'-part of if-then constructions would be marked with this mood and added as a locative adjunct to the modified clause. The 'then' part of such a construction may be consequential mood, or in any of the normal moods/evidences, depending on meaning.|
|Consequential||The truth of this clause will be the consequence of another clause. E.g. '(die forest.PAT).COND.GEN (die human.PAT).CONSEQ' = 'When/After the forest dies/has died, the humans (will) die (consequently).'|
|Irrealis||The clause is marked as not generally true. The 'then'-part of an if-then construction can be put into irrealis to stress that the condition was not true.|
|nd–||Optative||Expresses the wish for the clause to be true.|
|s–||Imperative||Marks a command. Note that the agent is not restricted to be second person as in other languages. If missing, however, it is usually interpreted to be 2nd person, though.|
|nǂg–||Suggestive||Marks a suggestion, a weak imperative. Often translated as imperative in other languages, thus the same remarks applies: the agent is not restricted to be second person. Don't mix up 'opinion evidence' + suffix 'should', i.e., see the difference between '[I suggest that you] put the flour into bowl.' and '[It is my opinion that you] should put the flour into the bowl.'|
Note that there is no indicative mood, since the set of evidentials can be said to express indicative mood.
Counting entities (a subset of states) is straightforward and needs no clarification of what is counted. When counting events, a translation would be 'n-times'. Counting of this kind can be applied to words that describe actions. Counting in general is only semantically constrained. Syntax allows to put number affixes to any full word. (E.g., a semantical restriction would be the following: to count timeless or inherent states, like 'red' seems infeasible. However, note that since states are syntactically the same as entities, one could interpret 'two red' as 'two red ones' or 'to be two red ones'.)
All numbers can be incorporated, even composite ones. Additionally, the numbers 0, 1, 2 and 3 can be used as number affixes.
The root !–!k– together with degree vowels forms grammatical number suffixes in Qþyn|gài.
You might want to compare this to the general degree affixes. One difference is the scoping: numbers use broad scope by default, while degrees use narrow scope.
The following coarse-grained number affixes exist (sorry for the piglatin number names...):
The following fine-grained number affixes exist:
|!–!kù||subnullar||absof*ckinglutely no (emphatic, colloquial, informal, or religious usage)|
|!–!ký||tenupaucal||finegrained scale: a few|
|!–!y||tenoligal||finegrained scale: average, some|
|!–!kỳ||tenuplural||finegrained scale: many|
|!–!kì||superomnial||absof*ckinglutely all (emphatic, colloquial, informal, or religious usage)|
The following vague number affixes exist:
|!–!kau||collectival||generic, unspecified number|
|!–!káu||unexpected, surprising, unnormal number|
|!–n!gàu||expected, non-surprising, normal number|
|!–!kai||(explicitly) unknown number (often combined with an additional evidence/mood affix, e.g. interrogative, to form 'how many')|
|!–n!gài||(explicitly) known number (often combined with an additional evidence affix to make clear the source of information, or with a demonstrative to form 'that amount')|
|!–!kúi||distributival||regularly distributed number|
|!–!kìu||iniquitival||irregularly distributed number|
The following counting number affixes exist:
|!–!kái||singular||the numeral 1|
|!–!kíu||dual||the numeral 2|
|!–!kùi||trial||the numeral 3|
Number endings may be applied more than once. All but the outermost amount are automatically understood as a collective amount even without the collective ending. (Note that the collective can be applied several times, too.) The outermost ending is understood to be distributive. To get a plain collective, use number + unspecified degree as outermost affix.
Moreover, number endings may be modified with degree endings, e.g. to form a number meaning 'unexpectedly many'. This meaning cannot be derived from to number endings, because a number ending on a number ending results in a collective meaning for the first. X.many.unexpected-amount would mean 'unexpectedly many groups/flocks/herds/swarms of many X each'.
There are digit words for the numbers 0 to 16. They use the following roots:
Further, the number stems use the following degree vowels.
The number stems are as follows.
The numbers are suffixed to a stem 'x' to derive a stem meaning 'n (times, pieces of) x'. The system is borrowed from Tyl Sjok. Thus, the number format is basically: number = exponent base digit*, where exponent is another number.
Additionally to these short numbers, sums of such terms (with decreasing exponent) can be used, just like in Tyl Sjok, usually to replace many (e.g. more than three) zero digits in a row or to simply stress the exponent is long numbers. This sum of terms must be taked to be coordination, and indeed ks–hhú is used, which is otherwise used as a clitic with the meaning 'and'. (So numbers are exception from the rule that no coordination can take place inside words in Qþyn|gài).
As in Tyl Sjok, numbers may be expressed natively in any base from 2 to 16. Base 10 seems to be most widely used among mortals, while computer scientics and other nerds often use 2, 8 and 16.
It is not yet investigated whether Qþyn|gài allows generic unit words to be used additional to words for numeric bases, like Tyl Sjok does. Linguists are still studying the language on this matter.
Suffixed numbers in Qþyn|gài are always introduced by a grammatical number marker. For normal counting, a grammatical number marker is used, which is modified by the number. By default, the 'known' number !–n!gài is used, but to stress that individual entities/events are counted, number '1' (!–!kái) is also feasible. Accordingly, counting pairs works by using number '2' (!–!kíu) and triplets can be counted by using number '3' (!–!kùi). Others numbers are possible and have their regular meaning.
Freestanding numbers use the stem 'number' with the suffixed number without the number marker (otherwise, we'd get the meaning 'n numbers'). This is also one option when answering questions for quantity in short, like 'how many days do you stay?' 'number five.' The more common way, however, would be to repeat the head-word from the question, and modify it with a counter. In the previous example, the answer would correspond to 'five days'.
Numbers 0 to 3 can be affixed directly by number markers, so the interesting counting begins with 4.
Tense particles specify the temporal relation of a phrase wrt. its matrix clause. Tense modifiers are always relative to the tense of an outer level clause in Qþyn|gài, i.e., they to not describe the temperal placement wrt. the whole utterance.
As a consequence of being relative, tense particles may be applied more than once to form complex tenses like near-future-in-remote-past tense, or aorist-in-past (used in fairy tales) etc.
Tense particles are optional in Qþyn|gài. If no tense is given, it has to be inferred from context. There is no default tense.
The following tenses exist:
|tr–||ky||aorist||timeless: not absolutely timeless, but to a subjective degree, or wrt. the lifetime of something|
Together with degree, near and remote tenses can be constructed.
Aspect modifiers change or make clear the internal temporal structure of a state or an event.
Aspect particles are mandatory in Qþyn|gài. If no aspect is defined, the aspect cannot be misunderstood to be different from the lexicon entry. Most lexicon entries are stative.
There may be several aspect markers attached to a word, all of them are optional, but in frequent use.
|stative||to be in the state of _; this is often implicit in the lexicon entry|
|tr–ndì||inchoative||for _ to be in the process of becoming true (to be full -> to fill). This is easily mixed up with resultative. Be careful: this denotes the beginning or the process of becoming true ('to fill'), while the resultative denotes that the final result is reached ('to (finally) get full').|
|Expressed by case||plain causative||to cause _ (to be on fire -> to be on fire by one's influence; to be on fire + resultative + causative -> to ignite (by s.o. influence)). Qþyn|gài expresses this by using either a core case AGT, or CAU or AGI adjuncts. Strictly speaking, 'causative' is not an aspect.|
|tr–nda||resultative||for _ to become true, to approach the final state _ (to be full -> to fill up; to be on fire -> to ignite (by itself)).|
|tr–nda||resultative causative||to make _ (to be on fire -> to make burn; to be on fire + resultative + causative -> to ignite).|
|tr–ndỳ||durative||for _ to happen for some time, continously, without change (a lasting state) (to be bright -> (for light) to burn, to kill -> to keep killing)|
|progressive||for _ to continuously happen, with change to be recognisable (a lasting event) (to eat -> to be eating)|
|habitual||for _ to take place regularly (to be at work -> to work)|
|tr–ndài||manifestatial||for _ to exist (to rain -> for raining to exist)|
|momentary||for _ to happen once so quickly that no internal temporal structure is recognisable (to be bright -> to flash (once))|
|iterative||for _ to be done regularly over and over again (to hit -> to knock)|
|repetative||for _ to repeat irregularly (to cry -> to sob)|
Aspect markers often derive words that are then lexicalised.
From 'no' to 'definitely yes', a series of cores and affixes is available to distinguish the degree of the preceding affix. For some affixes, a suffixed degree affix is mandatory (the lexicon with state this clearly). All of these degree stems use the common root for 'degree'.
Usually, without a degree affix, the degree has to be inferred from context. Surely, no negative degree (one below the mid level) is meant when it's missing.
In order to keep the lexicon as free from biases as possible, there is no series of opposite degrees. I.e., the degree scale is form 0 to 1, not from -1 over 0 to +1. This means that for pairs of opposites (e.g. good vs. bad, left vs. right), the language's lexicon always provides two seperate stems in order to not favor one of the opposites as the 'basic' form.
For some pairs, a degree of 0 might be interpreted to be the 'opposite' of a degree of 1 (e.g. wet vs. dry). In these cases, the lexicon sometimes provides only one, sometimes two entries.
Note that number and degree affixes share the same vowels. You might want to compare this to the section about numbers.
The following coarse-grained degree affixes exist:
The following fine-grained degree affixes exist:
|!–rù||absof*ckinglutely not, 0% (emphatic, colloquial, informal, or religious usage)|
|!–rú||a wee bit|
|!–rý||finegrained scale: a bit|
|!–ry||finegrained scale: average, 50%|
|!–rỳ||finegrained scale: very|
|!–rì||absof*ckinglutely (emphatic, colloquial, informal, or religious usage)|
The following vague degree affixes exist:
|!–rau||generic, unspecified degree|
|!–ráu||unexpected, surprising, unnormal degree|
|!–ràu||expected, non-surprising, normal degree|
|!–rai||(explicitly) unknown degree (often combined with an additional evidence/mood affix, e.g. interrogative)|
|!–rài||(explicitly) known degree (often combined with an additional evidence affix to make clear the source of information)|
|!–rúi||e.g. with aspect: regularly distributed degree|
|!–rìu||e.g. with aspect: irregularly distributed degree|
|!–rái||uniqueness: numeral 1|
|!–rùi||trinity, numeral 3|
These modifiers may optionally be attached to any phrase to show the speakers feelings about that phrase. The range is from loving to strong derogatory.
Inclination is formed with an inclination affix plus a degree affix.