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Showing posts from September, 2011

Kahtsaai Vocabulary: -(i)rwa

Learning a language represents training in the delusions of that language.1 I am a great collector of lexical derivation methods. I ran across one a while ago — I wish I could remember where — which I immediately grabbed for Kahtsaai (PDF). This resulted in a minor lexical upheaval, but I'm very fond of the results.The form is -rwa after vowels, -irwa after all consonants except r, l and ł, in which case it's just -wa. For now, it is only attached to verbs. It produces stative verbs meaning that something has the characteristic of causing or permitting the verbal action. That's a bit obscure. Some examples make it clearer:łeitfear, be afraid ofłeitirwascaryweirbe sickweirwacontagiousposétrust, believepóserwatrustworthy, believabletááítgo to someone for help; seek sanctuarytááítirwamessed up or dangerous beyond one's ability to cope with aloneSome of the resulting words are similar to English nouns in -able, but most are not. It seems very useful, and is so far do…

Natlang Inspiration: Navajo WOD

I sometimes worry that I get too enthusiastic with derivational morphology. Then I read things like this, from The Navajo Verb System: an Overview, by Robert W. Young, and I feel like a derivational slacker. It's a long quotation (pp. 57-59), but it's worth it.Note that in Athabascan linguistics, a "classifier" has nothing to do with the usual linguistic sense of that word, but has to do with transitivity. The null classifier is noted with Ø.The "run" verbs provide classic examples of crystalized metaphor."Singular-run" verbs are derived from a root WOD (Perfective Stem), the base meaning of which is "flex, bend." With Ø-Classifier the Verb Theme ØWOD is produced and this Theme, in combination with adverbial 'ahá-: apart, derives the Verb Base 'ahá-øwod with the meaning "bend apart, become disjointed," as in shigaan 'ahááwod: my arm became disjointed (bent apart). With Ł-Classifier the "bend" theme is…