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Re: lexically restricted constructions

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  • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
    On 2 October 2012 10:25, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones ... I think in English the come/go distinction is based on the topical centre of the action at hand rather
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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      On 2 October 2012 10:25, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones
      <jeff.rollin@...>wrote:

      > As a Brit, were I abroad I would find it perfectly natural to people to
      > say, "you should come to Britain".
      >
      >
      I think in English the come/go distinction is based on the topical centre
      of the action at hand rather than the position of the speaker and/or
      listener. If someone calls you over, they are the topical centre, so you'll
      reply "I'm coming!". That's not necessarily so in other languages. Japanese
      for instance, seems to be strongly "speaker-oriented", as I've seen it
      called, in that the choice between some pairs of verbs like kuru/iku
      (come/go) and ageru/kureru (both mean "give") is based purely on the
      (possibly metaphorical, although usually absolute) position of the speaker.
      Movement towards the position of the speaker will always be described using
      "kuru", while movement away from the position of the speaker will be
      described with "iku" (including movements of the speaker themself). So when
      called over someone will reply with something like "iku wa yo!", literally
      "I go!". This is, among others, one of the reasons why personal pronouns
      are seeing so little use in Japanese: those verbs generally imply a
      specific person as subject. Since "iku" always indicates movement away from
      the speaker, it usually indicates movement of the speaker themself, and
      thus imply "I" as subject, while "kuru" implies movement towards the
      speaker, i.e. movement the speaker themself cannot accomplish, so the
      subject must be "you" or "he/she/it". Same thing happens with the pair
      ageru/kureru. Both mean "to give", but "ageru" implies giving "away from
      the speaker" (i.e. the speaker giving something to the listener or someone
      else, or the listener giving something to someone else), while "kureru"
      (and its honorific synonym "kudasaru") imply that the recipient is always
      the speaker, while the subject can be the listener (usually using
      "kudasaru" to keep the peace :P) or a third party. Those two verbs, by the
      way, are regularly used as auxiliaries (with the main verb in its -te form)
      to indicate the "direction" of the action (usually with the secondary
      meaning of "doing a favour"), which helps remove the need for personal
      pronouns even more.


      My Moten is also a speaker-oriented language, as strict, or maybe even
      stricter than Japanese. Such speaker oriented verb pairs are for instance
      juba|si/jagi (equivalent of kuru/iku, except that "juba|si" also means "to
      arrive, to be enough", while "jagi" also means "to leave, to be worth") and
      joplej/ja|zi|n (equivalent of ageru/kureru, except that they both properly
      mean "to transfer" and can be used to mean "to give", but also "to get, to
      receive, to take, to bring...").


      > In Spanish, if someone calls you over you call back, "ahora voy" :
      > literally "now I'm going".
      >
      >
      French people sidestep the issue by calling back "j'arrive !": "I'm
      arriving!" :) .
      --
      Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

      http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
      http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/
    • Iuhan Culmærija
      2012/10/2 Tristan ... To me there s a difference in meaning/ context - especially in the I will come/go to town example. It seems to
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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        2012/10/2 Tristan <tongues+list@...>

        > I've heard it claimed that there are restrictions on the usage of come in
        > 'proper' English. In particular: the destination must be here relative to
        > the speaker at the time of speech. That is 'I came to town' is licit,
        > whereas 'I will come to town' isn't (though it sounds fine to me).
        >
        >
        To me there's a difference in meaning/ context - especially in the "I will
        come/go to town" example. It seems to rely on the perspective of
        the listener.
        I think Christophe may be right that it's a topic-based distinction
        (although I only have a vague understanding of what that means).

        If I'm at home with someone, I'd tell them "I will _go_ into town."
        If I'm talking to someone who is in town, even if we have no intention of
        meeting-up, I'd say "I will _come_ into town." From their perspective, I
        would be coming into their vicinity.

        Similarly, if I'm at home, writing in my diary for example, I'd use "I went
        into town today" (but I'm not there anymore)
        If I'm still in town - perhaps staying at a hotel - I'd use "I came into
        town today" (or "I arrived in..")



        > Does anyone have restrictions like this in their languages? I can't seem
        > to find any in mine.
        >
        >
        The only a priori conlang I've created had one verb for both come and go.
        Præpositions and case would give it the sense of either coming or going.

        In Afrikaans, the same sentence changes implication, depending on come and
        go:
        Kom na my huis toe (Come to my house; implying that I'm there, waiting for
        "you" to arrive)
        Gaan na my huis toe (Go to my house; implying that I'm somewhere else and
        won't meet "you.")


        > I'm also curious how accepted this type of restriction is in linguistics
        > generally.
        >
        >
        Excuse my reliance on examples; I don't know formal linguistic theory very
        well.
      • Roger Mills
        ... On 2 October 2012 10:25, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones ... I think in English the come/go distinction is based on the topical centre of the action at hand
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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          --- On Tue, 10/2/12, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
          On 2 October 2012 10:25, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones
          <jeff.rollin@...>wrote:

          > As a Brit, were I abroad I would find it perfectly natural to people to
          > say, "you should come to Britain".

          Right. And the person you're urging to visit Britain might well reply, "Yes, I'm _going_ there next month." (NOT _coming_)   If OTOH you're talking to, say, a very bright student, you could (I think) use either "come" or "go" when you tell him/her "You should go/come to Britain to study at Oxford". That fits in with what Christophe writes:
          >
          I think in English the come/go distinction is based on the topical centre
          of the action at hand and/or the point of view of the speaker/writer rather than the position of the speaker and/or listener.

          Suppose you're talking or writing about someone who grows up in a small town in, say, Ohio, and aspires to be a poet. After describing/focusing on his youth there, you then say/write: "Realizing he had no future as a poet in Ohio, in 19XX he _went_ to New York". Your next chapter might then begin "When Smith _came_ to New York in 19XX, his career took off ...." since the focus in now on his life in NY.

          Christophe:
          Since "iku" always indicates movement away from
          the speaker, it usually indicates movement of the speaker themself, and
          thus imply "I" as subject, while "kuru" implies movement towards the
          speaker, i.e. movement the speaker themself cannot accomplish, so the
          subject must be "you" or "he/she/it".

          RM How would Japanese handle the ex. I just gave?

          "Bring" and "take" IMO behave in much the same way (but are often mixed up by English speakers). If you tell someone "I'm taking Mary to the party" it implies that the person you're talking probably isn't involved in the party. OTOH "I'm bringing Mary to the party" suggests that he/she is, or is perhaps the host(ess). Indonesian, as best I recall, uses the same verb (bawa) for both senses, but does distinguish "come/go" as I suggest we do in English.

          Jeff:
          > In Spanish, if someone calls you over you call back, "ahora voy" :
          > literally "now I'm going".

          RM My non-native feeling would be to reply "ahora vengo."
        • David McCann
          On Tue, 2 Oct 2012 12:21:50 +0200 ... Or to any place under consideration. The OED definition is movement towards the speaker or a point where he or she is
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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            On Tue, 2 Oct 2012 12:21:50 +0200
            Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
            > I think in English the come/go distinction is based on the topical
            > centre of the action at hand rather than the position of the speaker
            > and/or listener.

            Or to any place under consideration. The OED definition is "movement
            towards the speaker or a point where he or she is or mentally places
            himself or herself, or towards the person spoken to, or towards the
            person spoken of." They might have added "towards the place spoken of":
            "After ten days, they came to an oasis, where they were able to
            obtain fresh supplies and replace the dead camels."
          • Zach Wellstood
            I probably can t contribute much more about English than has been already, but łaá siri s come/go distinction isn t really similar to English s. come means
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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              I probably can't contribute much more about English than has been already,
              but łaá siri's come/go distinction isn't really similar to English's.
              "come" means something more like "originate" and "go" can be specified as
              "go towards x" or "go from x." "Come" occurs much less frequently than "go"
              does.

              The verbs are actually cliticized to a postposition. So _-ya'_ is a
              postposition/verbal root that means "be at" and it yields _-ya'lii_, "come
              [originate] from" and _-ya'li'aar_ "go." Basically, in English we'd say,
              "Come here," but łaá siri would rephrase this, "ła'la tłasa la'aaya'li'aár,
              " literally, "Go towards me." On the other hand, "Go away" would be "go
              from me." There are other ways of saying the same thing, but I think this
              is the simplest.

              - Zach

              On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

              > --- On Tue, 10/2/12, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <tsela.cg@...>
              > wrote:
              > On 2 October 2012 10:25, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones
              > <jeff.rollin@...>wrote:
              >
              > > As a Brit, were I abroad I would find it perfectly natural to people to
              > > say, "you should come to Britain".
              >
              > Right. And the person you're urging to visit Britain might well reply,
              > "Yes, I'm _going_ there next month." (NOT _coming_) If OTOH you're
              > talking to, say, a very bright student, you could (I think) use either
              > "come" or "go" when you tell him/her "You should go/come to Britain to
              > study at Oxford". That fits in with what Christophe writes:
              > >
              > I think in English the come/go distinction is based on the topical centre
              > of the action at hand and/or the point of view of the speaker/writer
              > rather than the position of the speaker and/or listener.
              >
              > Suppose you're talking or writing about someone who grows up in a small
              > town in, say, Ohio, and aspires to be a poet. After describing/focusing on
              > his youth there, you then say/write: "Realizing he had no future as a poet
              > in Ohio, in 19XX he _went_ to New York". Your next chapter might then begin
              > "When Smith _came_ to New York in 19XX, his career took off ...." since the
              > focus in now on his life in NY.
              >
              > Christophe:
              > Since "iku" always indicates movement away from
              > the speaker, it usually indicates movement of the speaker themself, and
              > thus imply "I" as subject, while "kuru" implies movement towards the
              > speaker, i.e. movement the speaker themself cannot accomplish, so the
              > subject must be "you" or "he/she/it".
              >
              > RM How would Japanese handle the ex. I just gave?
              >
              > "Bring" and "take" IMO behave in much the same way (but are often mixed up
              > by English speakers). If you tell someone "I'm taking Mary to the party" it
              > implies that the person you're talking probably isn't involved in the
              > party. OTOH "I'm bringing Mary to the party" suggests that he/she is, or is
              > perhaps the host(ess). Indonesian, as best I recall, uses the same verb
              > (bawa) for both senses, but does distinguish "come/go" as I suggest we do
              > in English.
              >
              > Jeff:
              > > In Spanish, if someone calls you over you call back, "ahora voy" :
              > > literally "now I'm going".
              >
              > RM My non-native feeling would be to reply "ahora vengo."
              >



              --
              ra'aalalí 'aa! - [sirisaá! <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conlang>]
            • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
              ... When the speaker is just a narrator and isn t involved in any way in the action described, I believe that iku and kuru do not depend on the position of
              Message 6 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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                On 2 October 2012 17:02, Roger Mills <romiltz@...> wrote:

                >
                > Suppose you're talking or writing about someone who grows up in a small
                > town in, say, Ohio, and aspires to be a poet. After describing/focusing on
                > his youth there, you then say/write: "Realizing he had no future as a poet
                > in Ohio, in 19XX he _went_ to New York". Your next chapter might then begin
                > "When Smith _came_ to New York in 19XX, his career took off ...." since the
                > focus in now on his life in NY.
                >
                > Christophe:
                > Since "iku" always indicates movement away from
                > the speaker, it usually indicates movement of the speaker themself, and
                > thus imply "I" as subject, while "kuru" implies movement towards the
                > speaker, i.e. movement the speaker themself cannot accomplish, so the
                > subject must be "you" or "he/she/it".
                >
                > RM How would Japanese handle the ex. I just gave?
                >
                >
                When the speaker is just a narrator and isn't involved in any way in the
                action described, I believe that "iku" and "kuru" do not depend on the
                position of the speaker any longer, but on the speaker's empathy towards
                the origin or the destination of the movement. If the speaker feels empathy
                towards the destination of the movement, they will use "kuru". If they feel
                empathy with the origin of the movement, or with neither the origin nor the
                destination, they will use "iku".

                In the example above, this would mean that the use of "iku" and "kuru"
                would depend on the narrator's feelings towards their story. A truly
                impartial narrator would use "iku" in both sentences. If the narrator wants
                to give the feeling that going to New York was a good idea and they would
                have done the same, they will use "kuru" in both sentences. I'm not sure
                there is a case where the narrator would use one verb in one sentence and
                another in the other sentence.

                That's, in any case, how I understand it all. I may be wrong, as I'm not a
                native speaker. In any case, it's how it's done in Moten when the speaker
                isn't involved in the action they are narrating.


                > "Bring" and "take" IMO behave in much the same way (but are often mixed up
                > by English speakers). If you tell someone "I'm taking Mary to the party" it
                > implies that the person you're talking probably isn't involved in the
                > party. OTOH "I'm bringing Mary to the party" suggests that he/she is, or is
                > perhaps the host(ess). Indonesian, as best I recall, uses the same verb
                > (bawa) for both senses, but does distinguish "come/go" as I suggest we do
                > in English.
                >
                >
                My Moten, as I explained in my first e-mail, conflates "bring" and "take"
                with "give", in two verbs that mean basically "transfer", and behave
                basically like the pair come/go in that language (i.e. similarly to
                Japanese). It makes for very interesting translation challenges :) .
                --
                Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

                http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/
              • Daniel Bowman
                ... My conlang Angosey only distinguishes movement towards or movement away. It does not include information about going into town vs coming into town as
                Message 7 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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                  >
                  > > Does anyone have restrictions like this in their languages? I can't seem
                  > > to find any in mine.
                  > >
                  > >
                  >

                  My conlang Angosey only distinguishes movement towards or movement away.
                  It does not include information about "going into town" vs "coming into
                  town" as has been discussed on recent messages.

                  Seya isha in sayna. I'm coming/going into town.
                  Algihneya isha in sayna. I'm leaving town.

                  I expect a native Angosey speaker would struggle with the come/go
                  distinction in English!
                • Herman Miller
                  ... Tirelat has taga leave, depart from and łuhġa go to , which are transitive, plus zihki arrive , which is intransitive, and ŕahvi move (which was
                  Message 8 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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                    On 10/2/2012 11:28 AM, Zach Wellstood wrote:
                    > I probably can't contribute much more about English than has been already,
                    > but łaá siri's come/go distinction isn't really similar to English's.
                    > "come" means something more like "originate" and "go" can be specified as
                    > "go towards x" or "go from x." "Come" occurs much less frequently than "go"
                    > does.

                    Tirelat has taga "leave, depart from" and łuhġa "go to", which are
                    transitive, plus zihki "arrive", which is intransitive, and ŕahvi "move"
                    (which was intransitive in Relay 6, but currently transitive). For
                    "come", Tirelat would use either zihki or łuhġa, depending on whether it
                    is used transitively. Using ŕahvi in the middle voice (ŕahvimu) is one
                    way to express intransitive "go".
                  • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
                    ... Interestingly, in my native French such a sentence would use the verb arriver : to arrive (or a slightly different construction using the transitive
                    Message 9 of 13 , Oct 2, 2012
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                      On 2 October 2012 17:15, David McCann <david@...> wrote:

                      > On Tue, 2 Oct 2012 12:21:50 +0200
                      > Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
                      > > I think in English the come/go distinction is based on the topical
                      > > centre of the action at hand rather than the position of the speaker
                      > > and/or listener.
                      >
                      > Or to any place under consideration. The OED definition is "movement
                      > towards the speaker or a point where he or she is or mentally places
                      > himself or herself, or towards the person spoken to, or towards the
                      > person spoken of." They might have added "towards the place spoken of":
                      > "After ten days, they came to an oasis, where they were able to
                      > obtain fresh supplies and replace the dead camels."
                      >

                      Interestingly, in my native French such a sentence would use the verb
                      "arriver": "to arrive" (or a slightly different construction using the
                      transitive verb "atteindre": "to reach"). Using "venir": "to come" in this
                      case just feels completely wrong. Same with Roger's example: "When Smith
                      _came_ to New York in 19XX, his career took off ....". In French this would
                      be translated with "arriver", and "venir" would be incorrect. And then
                      there's "I'm coming!" which is best translated as "j'arrive !" ("je viens
                      !" is also possible in this case, but in my eyes indicates some kind of
                      irritation at having to move, while "j'arrive !" is more neutral or even
                      positive).

                      In fact, in many cases where English uses the verb "to come", I feel in
                      French the correct equivalent would be "arriver" rather than "venir".
                      Interestingly, the same isn't true of "partir": "to leave" vs. "aller": "to
                      go" (at least not to the same degree. I do feel using "partir" in French is
                      slightly more common than using "to leave" in English, but not to the same
                      extent as "arriver"). I wonder what this means for the semantic contents of
                      the opposition aller/venir in French, compared to go/come in English. Maybe
                      we should say that French has a triplet of *basic* movement verbs:
                      aller/venir/arriver, rather than a simple pair.

                      I'm not sure what this all means, but it's very interesting!
                      --
                      Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

                      http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
                      http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/
                    • MorphemeAddict
                      ... Movement towards or away from what? The speaker? stevo
                      Message 10 of 13 , Oct 3, 2012
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                        On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 12:27 PM, Daniel Bowman <danny.c.bowman@...>wrote:

                        > >
                        > > > Does anyone have restrictions like this in their languages? I can't
                        > seem
                        > > > to find any in mine.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                        > My conlang Angosey only distinguishes movement towards or movement away.
                        >

                        Movement towards or away from what? The speaker?

                        stevo


                        > It does not include information about "going into town" vs "coming into
                        > town" as has been discussed on recent messages.
                        >
                        > Seya isha in sayna. I'm coming/going into town.
                        > Algihneya isha in sayna. I'm leaving town.
                        >
                        > I expect a native Angosey speaker would struggle with the come/go
                        > distinction in English!
                        >
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