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198733Re: Periphrastic Verbs

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  • Anthony Miles
    Sep 6, 2013
      I agree, -te-, -ka-, etc., are modal verbs which happen in Siye to be expressed as suffixes. The verb /elenuputenama/ is just a single verb. But the importance of aspect (perfective vs. imperfective) in Siye cannot be stressed enough. The imperfective root /nu/ 'make, do, build' together with the directional /na/ 'up' creates the imperfective stem of the verb 'to build'. /e-/ and /le-/ are the 4th and 1st person pronoun prefixes, respectively. The number suffix /pu/ is singular and must refer to the subject prefix /-le/ because the verb is in the imperfective aspect – the number of the object remains undefined on the verb. The desiderative suffix (Position 6 suffix) /te/ can only appear in verbs with imperfective aspect. The suffix /ma/ indicates the verb possesses imperfective aspect, positive polarity, and indicative mood.

      The verb /elekepukanana/, on the other hand, illustrates the perfective aspect. The perfective root /ke/ with the directional /na/ is the perfective equivalent of the imperfective stem /nu/ plus /na/. The number suffix /pu/ indicates the singular number of the object prefix /e/, because the verb is perfective – any number indication of the subject must occur outside the verb. The intentive suffix /ka/ can only appear in a perfective verb. The suffix /na/ after the directional /na/ indicates the verb possesses the same polarity and mood as the imperfective form, but the perfective aspect.

      Siye participles are formed from the finite verb by removing the pronominal prefixes and the number suffix from the verb. The participle originated as a verb form derived from a verb with the coordinative suffix /-am/. Historically, a verb such as /edediyoputenama/ became /edediyoputenamaang/ with the addition of the coordinative suffix. The addition of /ngi/, the comitative suffix, to /ang/, depending on the semantics of the verb, resulted in the new suffix /angi/. Later changes produced the two forms /ani/ and /a'i/. The latter reduced to /a/ under vowel dominance, and the former was reduced to /an/ and reanalyzed as the regular positive verbal ending with an epenthetic /n/ to preserve the initial vowel of the following verb. The aforementioned loss of the prefixes and suffix also occurs Thus the maximal form of /edidiyoputenamaangi/ became /litenama(n)/

      Now, here is why I call it periphrastic. The sentence “I want to stop smoking tobacco” /topako samokanemena-n-elenuputema/ has two Position 6 suffixes, /te/ and /neme/. Since /te/ must take the imperfective, but /neme/ the perfective, two verbal forms are required. /samoka/, as a loanword, uses the same form in both aspects, but /neme/ must take the perfective aspect. /elenuputema/ is a fully inflected transitive verb, with both prenominal prefixes and the number suffix. The object prefix /e-/ refers to the object of the periphrastic verb and not the participle, which is grammatically inanimate. Although the /nu/ in /elenuputema/ is the same imperfective root that underlies /nu/ plus /na/ 'to build', in this construction it is one of two possibilities, the other being /kim/ plus the directional /ki/, 'to stand, to be', which Siye uses as an auxiliary verb. The suppletive roots /nu/ and /ke/ 'to do' are used with notions of moving or doing, while /kim/ plus /ki/ is used with notions of being or staying. The choice of imperfective verb root /nu/ rather than the perfective verb root /ke/ is conditioned by the desiderative suffix /te/, which must appear in an imperfective verb. Thus the literal rendering of the phrase is “smoke-stop-perfective-epenthesis-it-I-”do”-singular-want-imperfective”.

      Although this phrase runs together, the epenthesis only occurs before the 3rd and 4th person pronominal prefixes. In the sentence / sa tumsumkomtuma salenupuyammu samokanemenanelenupukomnu/ “I cannot become engaged to (promise to marry) you because you have not decided to quit smoking”, the participle /tumsumkomtuma/ and the verb /salenupuyammu/ do not run together. Even /samokanemenanelenupukomnu/ is not perfectly bound, since both verb roots /samoka/ and /nu/ retain their original primary stress - /'samoka”neme”na ele'nupu”komnu/.

      An example of a periphrastic phrase with /kim/ plus /ki/ is /ilo umhitamlosumkina/ /tamsumkina umhikimlokakina/ or /tamsukinanumhikimlokakina/s 'They decided to settle here'.
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