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Re: How to kick the infinitive habit

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  • H. S. Teoh
    ... Maybe not. In which case, I d like to be enlightened as to what is better terminology to describe what TF is doing. :-) Maybe participle is a better term
    Message 1 of 43 , Oct 3, 2006
      On Tue, Oct 03, 2006 at 10:40:02AM +0100, R A Brown wrote:
      > H. S. Teoh wrote:
      > [snip]
      > >The infinitive is perhaps closer to a relative verb: the case
      > >inflections are to indicate the subject NP's role in the sub-clause.
      > >In fact, the infinitive forms are identical to the forms used in
      > >relative clauses. The gerundive, OTOH, behaves like a NP, complete
      > >with the usual trailing case particle (always neuter in this case).
      > Ooh - seems confusing to me. I can understand that _participial_
      > clause could be used instead of a relative clause. In ancient Greek,
      > definite article + participle is frequently used where Latin & English
      > require a relative clause.
      > But the gerundive a NP! This is a bit hard for us who have been
      > brought up with the Latin gerundive which is a verbal _adjective_. Are
      > you sure you're using the best terminology.

      Maybe not. In which case, I'd like to be enlightened as to what is
      better terminology to describe what TF is doing. :-)

      Maybe "participle" is a better term for the "infinitive"? Or maybe not.

      And perhaps I should just call the "gerundive" a plain ole gerund,
      because that's really what it is, except that the nouns that modify it
      appear in secondary forms. (Tatari Faran NPs are marked for one of 3
      cases, but there are two different ways of doing this, one for marking
      NP's in the main clause, and the second for marking NP's in
      embedded/subordinate clauses. The former uses the formula "noun +
      (adjectives) + case particle", whereas the latter "prefix + noun +
      (adjectives)". Thus, NP's in the main clause are overtly different from
      NP's in embedded/subordinate clauses. The arguments to a gerundive, or a
      gerund, are marked using the latter.) Thus, it is possible to speak of a
      gerundive phrase (or gerund phrase?) comprising of the gerund itself
      plus its arguments, which are overtly distinct from the other NP's in
      the main clause. What is the best terminology to describe this?

      > >The infinitive is used when the subject NP inside the sub-clause is
      > >the same as the subject NP of the main clause.
      > Sort of like we find in certain constructions in ancient Greek :)

      Article + infinitive?

      > >The gerundive is used when the action is independent of the subject
      > >NP of the main clause.
      > OK - but why isn't it called a gerund?

      Maybe it should be? :-) The main thing, I think, is that TF gerunds can
      take NP arguments, although now that I think of it, it's really not that
      different from, say, phrases like "the sinking of the ship" in English,
      where the genitive function of "of the ship" marks it as modifying the
      gerund rather than the clause as a whole.

      So maybe I should just call it a gerund.

      > >More examples of the infinitive:
      > > huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan bata.
      > > 1sp CVY go slope RCP CVY:mushroom pick_up:RCP COMPL
      > > I go to the slope (of a mountain) to pick mushrooms.
      > Ah! An infinitive to show purpose. Not uncommon - but there are
      > languages with infinitives that do not allow them to be used this way.

      Interesting. There is actually another way to indicate purpose in TF,
      using the postpositional _utu_ ("for the purpose of"):

      huu sa tapa tun na ibuneis arapan utu bata.
      1sp CVY go slope RCP (CVY:mushroom pick:RCP for) COMPL
      I go to the slope for the purpose of picking mushrooms.

      One could argue that the so-called "infinitive" in the previous example
      is really just an abbreviated form of this latter construction, with
      _utu_ elided.

      > I guess possibly the most well known is Classical Latin. You could
      > *not* use the infinitive in such a sentence. In the other hand you
      > could have:
      > (a) Ad cliuum collis eo ut fungos carpam.
      > ut + subjunctive
      > (b) Ad cliuum collis eo ad fungos carpendum.
      > ad + gerund, 'fungos' (acc.) being the direct object of 'carpendum'
      > (Oh - a split gerund :)

      Cool. :-)

      > (c) Ad cliuum collis eo ad fungos carpendos.
      > ad + gerundive, where 'ad' governs the accusative 'fungos' & the
      > gerundive (adjective) "agrees with" fungos.

      Ahh, I see.

      > (d) Ad cliuum collis eo fungos carptum.
      > supine (carptum) with 'fungos' as its direct object.
      > Ain't language wonderful :-D

      Interesting indeed. I think one degree of freedom in natlangs that is a
      bit lacking in TF is the number of ways of express the same thing. I'm
      working on it, though. :-)

      > BTW some prescriptive grammars will tell you that (b) is
      > 'ungrammatical' and that you must use (c). But the ancient authors
      > themselves were not aware of that rule ;)

      Hehe... makes one wonder where the prescriptivists got that 'rule' from.

      > Thinks: must have another look at Tatari Faran - it looks interesting
      > :)

      Thanks. :-)


      Without outlines, life would be pointless.
    • Doug Barr
      Halkomelem Salish doesn t have infinitives either, it uses nominalized verbs with the article that refers to hypothetical or remote entities. The example below
      Message 43 of 43 , Oct 13, 2006
        Halkomelem Salish doesn't have infinitives either, it uses
        nominalized verbs with the article that refers to hypothetical or
        remote entities. The example below is in the Cowichan/Island
        dialect's orthography (more or less - the spacing of the 1Sg
        possessive prefix and the nominalizing prefix is problematic and
        differs by dialect, I am using the Musqueam/Downriver dialect's
        spacing because I am more familiar with that dialect). Note that "u"
        represents the schwa /@/ - also, the best CXS equivalent for
        "tl'" (ejective lateral affricate, I *think*) I can come up with is /
        t_K_>/. Morphologically the nominalizing s- is a prefix, however it
        does NOT cause de-aspiration of a following non-ejective stop in
        verbal nominalizations (it does as a noun prefix), so can be written
        suffixed to the previous word in verbal contexts.

        As written:
        Nustl'i' kw'unus nem'. /n@'st_K_>i? ,k_w_>@n@s 'nem?/

        Nu-s-tl'i' kw'u nu-s-nem' = my-[nominalizer]-want/be.precious
        the.remote.or.hypothetical.event/entity my-[nominalizer]-go

        (Literal) My (hypothetical) going [is] what I want. (Free) I want to go.

        'S fhearr an saoghal ionnsachadh na sheachnadh. Better to teach (or
        learn) the world than shun it. (Gaelic proverb)

        On Oct 1, 2006, at 12:24 PM, R A Brown wrote:

        > Indeed there are - modern Greek is an example that comes to mind
        > immediately. Where other languages may use an infinitive or gerund,
        > modern Greek use a clause: na + subjunctive.
        > Thus, e.g. I want go/ I wanna go ---> I want that I (should) go
        > Smoking is forbidden/ It is forbidden to smoke ---> That you
        > (should) smoke is forbidden.
        > etc.
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