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verb terminology

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  • qiihoskeh
    The latest version (Oct26) is coming along well (and rapidly!) except that I m having trouble describing the syntax. One problem is that verbs are split into
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 30, 2013
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      The latest version (Oct26) is coming along well (and rapidly!) except that I'm having trouble describing the syntax. One problem is that verbs are split into 2 parts. The 1st part consists of the verb root, aspect/mood and grammatical voice suffixes, and object prefixes. The 2nd part, which may be 0, consists of polarity, tense, and subject person and number. Possibly, the 1st part is really a participle, since it can also be used as a noun modifier; I don't know whether to call it a participle or a verb. And I don't know what to call the 2nd part either; I don't want to call it an auxiliary.

      Another question is whether I should refer to the clause syntax as Subject-Complement or Subject-Predicate.

      TIA for any help.
    • R A Brown
      As no one has apparently replied so far, I ll kick off: ... Not unknown in natlangs. In fact this is quite usual, e.g., in colloquial Welsh. ... It would seem
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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        As no one has apparently replied so far, I'll kick off:

        On 31/10/2013 03:17, qiihoskeh wrote:
        > The latest version (Oct26) is coming along well (and
        > rapidly!) except that I'm having trouble describing the
        > syntax. One problem is that verbs are split into 2
        > parts.

        Not unknown in natlangs. In fact this is quite usual, e.g.,
        in colloquial Welsh.

        > The 1st part consists of the verb root, aspect/mood and
        > grammatical voice suffixes, and object prefixes. The 2nd
        > part, which may be 0, consists of polarity, tense, and
        > subject person and number. Possibly, the 1st part is
        > really a participle, since it can also be used as a noun
        > modifier;

        It would seem to be so if, as you say, it can be used as a
        noun modifier.

        > I don't know whether to call it a participle or a verb.

        A participle is a non-finite part of the verb. Presumably
        you mean, I guess, whether to call it a finite verb; yet as
        it may, in your own words, modify a noun and it does not
        show polarity, tense or person, I do not understand why you
        hesitate in calling it a participle.

        > And I don't know what to call the 2nd part either; I
        > don't want to call it an auxiliary.

        Why not?

        Also, you say this entity that you do not want to call an
        auxiliary [finite verb] may be zero, even though it shows
        polarity, tense and person. Presumably zero shows the verb
        is impersonal and has a timeless, gnomic meaning.

        But what do mean by polarity? I consult both Trask and
        Crystal and they both seem to speak of negative~positive
        polarity. So does a zero second entity show indifference as
        to negative and positive, or what?

        I think actual examples from your language with glosses
        would help. The lack of these may be why you've has no
        response before.

        > Another question is whether I should refer to the clause
        > syntax as Subject-Complement or Subject-Predicate.

        Subject-predicate

        --
        Ray
        ==================================
        http://www.carolandray.plus.com
        ==================================
        If /ni/ can change into /ɑ/, then practically
        anything can change into anything.
        [YUEN REN CHAO]
      • Jyri Lehtinen
        2013/11/2 R A Brown ... Polarity indeed refers to the distinction between affirmation and negation. It s much more natural for
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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          2013/11/2 R A Brown <ray@...>

          > Also, you say this entity that you do not want to call an
          > auxiliary [finite verb] may be zero, even though it shows
          > polarity, tense and person. Presumably zero shows the verb
          > is impersonal and has a timeless, gnomic meaning.
          >
          > But what do mean by polarity? I consult both Trask and
          > Crystal and they both seem to speak of negative~positive
          > polarity. So does a zero second entity show indifference as
          > to negative and positive, or what?
          >

          Polarity indeed refers to the distinction between affirmation and negation.

          It's much more natural for languages to reserve null marking for the most
          common and default value of each of the category that has it. So after
          encountering a language with a full person marking system on verbs but also
          one of the slots being null, my first guess would be that that slot marks
          the 3rd person singular. Impersonal marking might be coupled together with
          the SG3 form, but if it has a separate marking strategy I'd expect it to
          have heavier marking of the two.

          Similarly the absence of negative marking should just indicate affirmative.
          Ambivalence towards polarity sounds like a very specific need that wouldn't
          be important enough to get zero marking. In any case it sounds much more of
          a moody thing and I would rather group it together with whatever methods
          the language has for marking modality.

          For this particular system with person, tense and polarity marked on a
          satellite of the verb, I'd guess that the null satellite marks something
          like the 3rd person singular affirmative in present or non-past depending
          on the tenses the language has.

          A naming related question to qiihoskeh, since the detached secondary parts
          of the finite verbs (which I've been calling satellites here) include
          person marking, is there any reason why these couldn't actually be called
          subject pronouns that have attracted tense and polarity marking on them?
          I'm guessing that you already have good reasons not to do this, such as
          there already being another set of pronouns that obey a totally different
          syntax or that the person/number part of these satellites can't be
          successfully understood as the morphological base on which the tense and
          polarity markers would have accumulated. But the possibility is still worth
          checking.

          -Jyri
        • qiihoskeh
          ... This must have helped. ... You re right; what I ve described is a participle. But I ve since discovered that it can be followed by a polarity word, which
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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            On Sat, 2 Nov 2013 09:07:56 +0000, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
            >
            >As no one has apparently replied so far, I'll kick off:

            This must have helped.

            >On 31/10/2013 03:17, qiihoskeh wrote:
            >> The latest version (Oct26) is coming along well (and
            >> rapidly!) except that I'm having trouble describing the
            >> syntax. One problem is that verbs are split into 2
            >> parts.
            >
            >Not unknown in natlangs. In fact this is quite usual, e.g.,
            >in colloquial Welsh.
            >
            >> The 1st part consists of the verb root, aspect/mood and
            >> grammatical voice suffixes, and object prefixes. The 2nd
            >> part, which may be 0, consists of polarity, tense, and
            >> subject person and number. Possibly, the 1st part is
            >> really a participle, since it can also be used as a noun
            >> modifier;
            >
            >It would seem to be so if, as you say, it can be used as a
            >noun modifier.
            >
            >> I don't know whether to call it a participle or a verb.
            >
            >A participle is a non-finite part of the verb. Presumably
            >you mean, I guess, whether to call it a finite verb; yet as
            >it may, in your own words, modify a noun and it does not
            >show polarity, tense or person, I do not understand why you
            >hesitate in calling it a participle.

            You're right; what I've described is a participle. But I've since discovered that it can be followed by a polarity word, which may have been in the back of my mind. But I guess the 1st part is still a participle.

            >> And I don't know what to call the 2nd part either; I
            >> don't want to call it an auxiliary.
            >
            >Why not?

            I also have modal auxiliary verbs, such as "can", "must", etc. and I need a term for those.

            >Also, you say this entity that you do not want to call an
            >auxiliary [finite verb] may be zero, even though it shows
            >polarity, tense and person. Presumably zero shows the verb
            >is impersonal and has a timeless, gnomic meaning.
            >
            >But what do mean by polarity? I consult both Trask and
            >Crystal and they both seem to speak of negative~positive
            >polarity. So does a zero second entity show indifference as
            >to negative and positive, or what?
            >
            >I think actual examples from your language with glosses
            >would help. The lack of these may be why you've has no
            >response before.

            I'll have to give some in a later post.

            >> Another question is whether I should refer to the clause
            >> syntax as Subject-Complement or Subject-Predicate.
            >
            >Subject-predicate

            OK.

            >--
            >Ray
            >==================================
            >http://www.carolandray.plus.com
            >==================================
            >If /ni/ can change into /ɑ/, then practically
            >anything can change into anything.
            >[YUEN REN CHAO]
          • qiihoskeh
            ... That s correct (except that 3rd person and 2nd person don t distinguish number, which may be unusual). And there _is_ a marked impersonal (although it
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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              On Sat, 2 Nov 2013 15:38:11 +0200, Jyri Lehtinen <lehtinen.jyri@...> wrote:

              >2013/11/2 R A Brown <ray@...>
              >
              >> Also, you say this entity that you do not want to call an
              >> auxiliary [finite verb] may be zero, even though it shows
              >> polarity, tense and person. Presumably zero shows the verb
              >> is impersonal and has a timeless, gnomic meaning.
              >>
              >> But what do mean by polarity? I consult both Trask and
              >> Crystal and they both seem to speak of negative~positive
              >> polarity. So does a zero second entity show indifference as
              >> to negative and positive, or what?
              >
              >Polarity indeed refers to the distinction between affirmation and negation.
              >
              >It's much more natural for languages to reserve null marking for the most
              >common and default value of each of the category that has it. So after
              >encountering a language with a full person marking system on verbs but also
              >one of the slots being null, my first guess would be that that slot marks
              >the 3rd person singular. Impersonal marking might be coupled together with
              >the SG3 form, but if it has a separate marking strategy I'd expect it to
              >have heavier marking of the two.
              >
              >Similarly the absence of negative marking should just indicate affirmative.
              >Ambivalence towards polarity sounds like a very specific need that wouldn't
              >be important enough to get zero marking. In any case it sounds much more of
              >a moody thing and I would rather group it together with whatever methods
              >the language has for marking modality.
              >
              >For this particular system with person, tense and polarity marked on a
              >satellite of the verb, I'd guess that the null satellite marks something
              >like the 3rd person singular affirmative in present or non-past depending
              >on the tenses the language has.

              That's correct (except that 3rd person and 2nd person don't distinguish number, which may be unusual). And there _is_ a marked impersonal (although it patterns with the grammatical voices). As for polarity, I'm calling the 0-marked alternative "positive" since there's also a contrasting "affirmative", used for denying a negative. And the tenses are present, past, and future.

              >A naming related question to qiihoskeh, since the detached secondary parts
              >of the finite verbs (which I've been calling satellites here) include
              >person marking, is there any reason why these couldn't actually be called
              >subject pronouns that have attracted tense and polarity marking on them?
              >I'm guessing that you already have good reasons not to do this, such as
              >there already being another set of pronouns that obey a totally different
              >syntax or that the person/number part of these satellites can't be
              >successfully understood as the morphological base on which the tense and
              >polarity markers would have accumulated. But the possibility is still worth
              >checking.

              I've thought about it and I think the subject markers may be enclitic pronouns (there are also the distinct nominative forms used for topic or focus) since in the absence of polarity or tense, they attach to the verb/participle. The polarity and tense parts don't do that. I think I'll go with your term "satellite" for now, which I hadn't thought of.

              > -Jyri

              BTW, the person/numbers are 1S -(o)m, 1P -ma, 2 -s(o), 3 -0, and SS (same subject) -tu.
            • R A Brown
              ... [snip] ... OK ... Yep. ... Yes, now after several cups of coffee, the brain s working well and i agree with you :) ... Indeed. [snip] ... Yes, we need
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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                On 02/11/2013 13:38, Jyri Lehtinen wrote:
                > 2013/11/2 R A Brown:
                >
                >> Also, you say this entity that you do not want to call
                >> an auxiliary [finite verb] may be zero, even though it
                >> shows polarity, tense and person. Presumably zero
                >> shows the verb is impersonal and has a timeless,
                >> gnomic meaning.
                >>
                >> But what do mean by polarity? I consult both Trask
                >> and Crystal and they both seem to speak of
                >> negative~positive polarity.
                [snip]

                > Polarity indeed refers to the distinction between
                > affirmation and negation.

                OK

                > It's much more natural for languages to reserve null
                > marking for the most common and default value of each of
                > the category that has it.

                Yep.

                > So after encountering a language with a full person
                > marking system on verbs but also one of the slots being
                > null, my first guess would be that that slot marks the
                > 3rd person singular. Impersonal marking might be coupled
                > together with the SG3 form, but if it has a separate
                > marking strategy I'd expect it to have heavier marking of
                > the two.

                Yes, now after several cups of coffee, the brain's working
                well and i agree with you :)

                > Similarly the absence of negative marking should just
                > indicate affirmative.

                Indeed.

                [snip]

                > For this particular system with person, tense and
                > polarity marked on a satellite of the verb, I'd guess
                > that the null satellite marks something like the 3rd
                > person singular affirmative in present or non-past
                > depending on the tenses the language has.

                Yes, we need to know the tense system.
                ======================================================

                On 02/11/2013 19:06, qiihoskeh wrote:
                > On Sat, 2 Nov 2013 09:07:56 +0000, R A Brown wrote:
                [snip]
                >>
                >> A participle is a non-finite part of the verb.
                >> Presumably you mean, I guess, whether to call it a
                >> finite verb; yet as it may, in your own words, modify
                >> a noun and it does not show polarity, tense or person,
                >> I do not understand why you hesitate in calling it a
                >> participle.
                >
                > You're right; what I've described is a participle. But
                > I've since discovered that it can be followed by a
                > polarity word, which may have been in the back of my
                > mind. But I guess the 1st part is still a participle.

                Yes, the fact that polarity is shown by the auxiliary/
                satellite (or whatever) does not matter. In modern
                colloquial nearly everything in the active can be done by
                using "to be" (which shows person, tense and polarity) and a
                what is traditionally called the 'verbnoun' preceded by the
                particle __wedi_ for perfect aspect or _yn_ for non-perfect.
                This verbnoun preceded by the particle is roughly
                equivalent in the verb construction to your participle
                which, i note, also shows aspect.

                >>> And I don't know what to call the 2nd part either; I
                >>> don't want to call it an auxiliary.
                >>
                >> Why not?
                >
                > I also have modal auxiliary verbs, such as "can",
                > "must", etc. and I need a term for those.

                Oh - but your earlier wrote that the participle "aspect/mood
                and grammatical voice suffixes". So mood is also shown by
                auxiliaries going with which part of your verb construct?

                BTW I would call them 'modal auxiliaries'. I'll have a
                think about the bit which seems to correspond roughly to
                colloquial welsh "to be."
                =======================================================

                On 02/11/2013 19:27, qiihoskeh wrote:
                > On Sat, 2 Nov 2013 15:38:11 +0200, Jyri Lehtinen wrote:
                [snip]
                >> For this particular system with person, tense and
                >> polarity marked on a satellite of the verb, I'd guess
                >> that the null satellite marks something like the 3rd
                >> person singular affirmative in present or non-past
                >> depending on the tenses the language has.
                >
                > That's correct (except that 3rd person and 2nd person
                > don't distinguish number, which may be unusual). And
                > there _is_ a marked impersonal (although it patterns
                > with the grammatical voices).

                Modern English doesn't distinguish number for the 2nd
                person, except in a few dialects. In fact, Piashi also did
                not distinguish number in the 2nd and 3rd persons either :)

                > As for polarity, I'm calling the 0-marked alternative
                > "positive" since there's also a contrasting
                > "affirmative", used for denying a negative.

                Oh, three-way polarity.

                > And the tenses are present, past, and future.

                So the unmarked tense is present, and past & future are marked?

                --
                Ray
                ==================================
                http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                ==================================
                If /ni/ can change into /ɑ/, then practically
                anything can change into anything.
                [YUEN REN CHAO]
              • Jyri Lehtinen
                2013/11/2 qiihoskeh ... Might be a bit rarer but not at all unusual. Kuman from the central highlands of New Guinea for example has
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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                  2013/11/2 qiihoskeh <qiihoskeh@...>
                  >
                  > (except that 3rd person and 2nd person don't distinguish number, which may
                  > be unusual).
                  >

                  Might be a bit rarer but not at all unusual. Kuman from the central
                  highlands of New Guinea for example has pretty much the same system for its
                  pronouns having number distinction only in the 1st person: SG1 na, PL1 no,
                  2 ene, 3 ye. There are far more exotic person/number conflations around. My
                  favourite has to be marking SG2 and PL1 with the same or a closely related
                  person or affix, which again pops up here and there among Papuan languages.

                  BTW, the person/numbers are 1S -(o)m, 1P -ma, 2 -s(o), 3 -0, and SS (same
                  > subject) -tu.
                  >

                  Looks nice and tidy. Bonus points for having good taste and including a
                  switch reference system.

                  I might have a related question concerning the SS affix since you list it
                  together with the regular subject markers. Can it only refer to the subject
                  of another verb within the same sentence or are you implying that it
                  actually has a similar distribution to the rest of the subject markers and
                  can in fact carry the (topical) subject from one detached sentence to the
                  next? I think I've only encountered systems where verbs marked for switch
                  reference can only occur in conjunction with another verb which is marked
                  for an unambiguous person and the SS reference can be carried only within
                  single sentences. On the other hand, I don't see why it wouldn't be
                  possible for the SS to be able to refer to past sentences, at least under
                  certain restrictions.

                  2013/11/2 R A Brown

                  > Oh, three-way polarity.


                  A morphological contrastive affirmative that has an opposition with the
                  unmarked "positive" form is found at least in Yukaghir. And of course, the
                  contrastive affirmative use of the supporting do does exist in English.

                  -Jyri
                • qiihoskeh
                  ... I had a bit of trouble waking up myself today which was why I didn t respond sooner. ... OK. ... There might be volitive (?), epistemic, deontic, etc.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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                    On Sat, 2 Nov 2013 20:40:47 +0000, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:

                    >On 02/11/2013 13:38, Jyri Lehtinen wrote:
                    >> 2013/11/2 R A Brown:
                    >>
                    >
                    >Yes, now after several cups of coffee, the brain's working
                    >well and i agree with you :)

                    I had a bit of trouble waking up myself today which was why I didn't respond sooner.

                    >======================================================
                    >
                    >On 02/11/2013 19:06, qiihoskeh wrote:
                    >> On Sat, 2 Nov 2013 09:07:56 +0000, R A Brown wrote:
                    >[snip]
                    >>>
                    >>> A participle is a non-finite part of the verb.
                    >>> Presumably you mean, I guess, whether to call it a
                    >>> finite verb; yet as it may, in your own words, modify
                    >>> a noun and it does not show polarity, tense or person,
                    >>> I do not understand why you hesitate in calling it a
                    >>> participle.
                    >>
                    >> You're right; what I've described is a participle. But
                    >> I've since discovered that it can be followed by a
                    >> polarity word, which may have been in the back of my
                    >> mind. But I guess the 1st part is still a participle.
                    >
                    >Yes, the fact that polarity is shown by the auxiliary/
                    >satellite (or whatever) does not matter. In modern
                    >colloquial nearly everything in the active can be done by
                    >using "to be" (which shows person, tense and polarity) and a
                    >what is traditionally called the 'verbnoun' preceded by the
                    >particle __wedi_ for perfect aspect or _yn_ for non-perfect.
                    > This verbnoun preceded by the particle is roughly
                    >equivalent in the verb construction to your participle
                    >which, i note, also shows aspect.

                    OK.

                    >>>> And I don't know what to call the 2nd part either; I
                    >>>> don't want to call it an auxiliary.
                    >>>
                    >>> Why not?
                    >>
                    >> I also have modal auxiliary verbs, such as "can",
                    >> "must", etc. and I need a term for those.
                    >
                    >Oh - but your earlier wrote that the participle "aspect/mood
                    >and grammatical voice suffixes". So mood is also shown by
                    >auxiliaries going with which part of your verb construct?

                    There might be volitive (?), epistemic, deontic, etc. verbs but I haven't worked out the syntax; the different groups seem to have different requirements. I guess I will call them all modal auxiliaries, though. The moods that pattern with aspect are the hypothetical and the contrafactual; these are mainly used for conditional sentences ("If" is the same word as "when").

                    >BTW I would call them 'modal auxiliaries'. I'll have a
                    >think about the bit which seems to correspond roughly to
                    >colloquial welsh "to be."
                    >=======================================================
                    >
                    >On 02/11/2013 19:27, qiihoskeh wrote:
                    >> On Sat, 2 Nov 2013 15:38:11 +0200, Jyri Lehtinen wrote:
                    >[snip]
                    >>> For this particular system with person, tense and
                    >>> polarity marked on a satellite of the verb, I'd guess
                    >>> that the null satellite marks something like the 3rd
                    >>> person singular affirmative in present or non-past
                    >>> depending on the tenses the language has.
                    >>
                    >> That's correct (except that 3rd person and 2nd person
                    >> don't distinguish number, which may be unusual). And
                    >> there _is_ a marked impersonal (although it patterns
                    >> with the grammatical voices).
                    >
                    >Modern English doesn't distinguish number for the 2nd
                    >person, except in a few dialects. In fact, Piashi also did
                    >not distinguish number in the 2nd and 3rd persons either :)

                    Oh, good. And Klingon, I think.

                    >> As for polarity, I'm calling the 0-marked alternative
                    >> "positive" since there's also a contrasting
                    >> "affirmative", used for denying a negative.
                    >
                    >Oh, three-way polarity.
                    >
                    >> And the tenses are present, past, and future.
                    >
                    >So the unmarked tense is present, and past & future are marked?

                    Yes.

                    >--
                    >Ray
                    >==================================
                    >http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                    >==================================
                    >If /ni/ can change into /ɑ/, then practically
                    >anything can change into anything.
                    >[YUEN REN CHAO]
                  • qiihoskeh
                    ... Good, again. ... That must make some interesting conversations. ... What I want is something to refer in subordinate clauses to the subject of the matrix
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 2, 2013
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                      On Sun, 3 Nov 2013 00:38:45 +0200, Jyri Lehtinen <lehtinen.jyri@...> wrote:

                      >2013/11/2 qiihoskeh <qiihoskeh@...>
                      >>
                      >> (except that 3rd person and 2nd person don't distinguish number, which may
                      >> be unusual).
                      >
                      >Might be a bit rarer but not at all unusual. Kuman from the central
                      >highlands of New Guinea for example has pretty much the same system for its
                      >pronouns having number distinction only in the 1st person: SG1 na, PL1 no,
                      >2 ene, 3 ye.

                      Good, again.

                      > There are far more exotic person/number conflations around. My
                      >favourite has to be marking SG2 and PL1 with the same or a closely related
                      >person or affix, which again pops up here and there among Papuan languages.

                      That must make some interesting conversations.

                      >>BTW, the person/numbers are 1S -(o)m, 1P -ma, 2 -s(o), 3 -0, and SS (same
                      >> subject) -tu.
                      >
                      >Looks nice and tidy. Bonus points for having good taste and including a
                      >switch reference system.
                      >
                      >I might have a related question concerning the SS affix since you list it
                      >together with the regular subject markers. Can it only refer to the subject
                      >of another verb within the same sentence or are you implying that it
                      >actually has a similar distribution to the rest of the subject markers and
                      >can in fact carry the (topical) subject from one detached sentence to the
                      >next? I think I've only encountered systems where verbs marked for switch
                      >reference can only occur in conjunction with another verb which is marked
                      >for an unambiguous person and the SS reference can be carried only within
                      >single sentences. On the other hand, I don't see why it wouldn't be
                      >possible for the SS to be able to refer to past sentences, at least under
                      >certain restrictions.

                      What I want is something to refer in subordinate clauses to the subject of the matrix clause as well as refer back in a main clause to the subject of a clause joined by a coordinating conjunction. I'm afraid this dual usage may be too exotic, but it cuts down on the number of markers. I also don't see why it couldn't refer to an immediately preceding sentence.

                      This may be a place where examples are needed.

                      John giraffe-Def see=SS want. "John wants to see the giraffe."
                      John giraffe see Pst and run Pst=SS. "John saw the giraffe and ran."


                      >2013/11/2 R A Brown
                      >
                      >> Oh, three-way polarity.
                      >
                      >A morphological contrastive affirmative that has an opposition with the
                      >unmarked "positive" form is found at least in Yukaghir. And of course, the
                      >contrastive affirmative use of the supporting do does exist in English.
                      >
                      > -Jyri
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