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In a message dated 10/25/01 3:57:56 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:

<< 1. What are some different verb types, and what do they mean/ function as?
Like, for example, transitive, intransitive, auxillary, and... uh, it's a
verb form in French that I don't remember the name of, but an example of one
would be "se laver", I think.... (and any other ones?) >>

    I'd say it depends on what type of a language you've got.  But as a "kind
of/sort of" list...

1.) Intransitive, non-experiencer: "I walk", or "I'm walking" (the subject is
performing an action which
    no one is really affected by, per se)
2.) Intransittive, experiencer: "I grieve" (while there could be some sort of
a physical idea involved
    with "grieving", it's generally just an emotion the speaker feels that
isn't an action and which has
    no stimulus, though it could)
3.) Transitive, non-experiencer: "I eat the donut" (the subject acts upon a
single object)
4.) Transitive, experiencer, sensual: "I see the deer" (this and the next are
a distinction which just
    might not be made in any language.  Anyway, here the deer can be thought
of as the stimulus to
    the act of seeing by the subject.  The deer isn't affected in anyway--it
may not even know it's
    being seeing.  That's why it's not the same as a normal transitive verb.
I call it "sensual" because
    it has to do with one of the physical senses, whereas...)
5.) Transitive, experiencer, non-sensual: "I love you" (Here, "you" is the
stimulus, and "I" is the one
    affected by the stimulus.  It's non-sensual because emotion isn't a
physical, see-able sense.  Again
    this distinction may not exist, but there is a difference.)
6.) Transitive, unintentional: "You please me", "He accidentally stepped on a
rose", etc.  (This is rather
    broad.  I know someone's language had a marker which indicated accidental
action, but it's the
    first example I want to talk about, since it could really fall under
either of the two previous
    categories.  In the sentence "You please me", the person who is
supposedly doing the pleasing
    may not being doing anything at all, and may not know what the hell the
speaker's talking
    about.  Thus, the phrase does more to express the attitude of the speaker
rather than making a
    statement about any action that the supposed agent makes.)
7.) Ditransitive, positional: "I put the book on the table".  (With "put" or
"place", you can't say "I put
    the book" or "I put on the table"; it just doesn't make sense.  There are
two definite roles that
    have to be fulfilled in order for the phrase to make sense.)
8.) Ditransitive, benefactive: "I give the book to you" (This may be a
biproduct of Western thought,
    and not a real verb type.  After all, you could imagine a language where
this idea would be
    expressed "I take the book give you".  In fact, that goes for the other,
as well.  Ditransitives can
    really be expressed with two clauses or with serial verbs.)
9.) Deontic: "I should go", "You must reply", etc.  [I hope I'm not mixing up
the names and their re-
    spective descriptions!] (These type of verbs [which, indeed, needn't be
verbs at all, and hardly
    are in English] express the speakers attitude about whatever the action
in question.  I actually
    shouldn't have included these, but it's important to know that this is
not inherently a verb-based
    idea.)
10.) Epistemic: "He should be here", "He must have gone", etc. (These
indicate the speaker's attitude
    about the factuality of a particular situation.  These aren't really
types of verbs.)
11.) Performative: "I bet you he won't show up", "I now pronounce you man and
wife", etc. (These
    are called "performative" because the idea is that they perform an action
merely by speaking
    them, so when you bet somebody something, you really bet them; when some
holy fellow
    pronounces a couple spouse and spouse, he's supposedly performing the act
right then [even
    though, due to legal stuff, that's no longer true in most places].  While
it's a class of verbs, many
    can be intransitive "I bet you can't do it", transitive "I bet a dollar
that you can't do it" and
    ditransitive "I bet you a dollar that he can't do it".)

A couple of the things you said in your question are things that aren't
really verb types, so much as things that verbs can be, or things that verbs
can do.  For instance, "auxilliary" isn't a class of verb.  Some would argue
that it's not even a thing at all, just a convenient way to deal with
Indo-European languages that do this sort of thing.  It's essentially just a
second particle that happens to be a verb that helps the other verb along,
like "I SHOULD go to the store", "He WAS walking to the store", "I WILL eat
my dinner".  So while those can all be lumped together as "auxilliaries",
they each perform a very different function, and so, aside from the fact that
they kind of are verbs and they're not the main verb of the clause, there's
no reason why they should be lumped together at all.
    As for the French example "se laver", if it's taken very literally, it's
just a reflexive, and any transitive verb can be reflexive; it just means
that the subject is the object, as well: "I wash myself", "I see myself", "He
eats himself", etc.  It's not a verb type; just something they can do.  As
for the other functions this "reflexive" form serves, I think you'd better
ask Christophe or someone who speaks, because even though he tried to explain
it to me very recently, I still don't get it.
    One of the functions might be the so-called "middle voice", which I
disagree with whole-heartedly--I think it's just a glorified passive with no
agent.  Nevertheless, it's in phrases like "The stew cooks nicely" ("up" is
often added after the verb), "It eats like a meal", "It smells good"
(??!?!?).  And so on and so forth down the line with all the "suprasegmental"
things that can happen to verbs.  The main types, though, I think I listed,
unless I blanked and missed some, or unless my theoretical base is somehow
different or wrong.

<<2. What is the difference between an inflectional language, and an
agglutinating one? What, for that matter, is an agglutinating language? (I
read about it somewhere, I just REALLY don't understand the concept...)>>

Inflectional:
zela, noun, "bird"

Singular:
Nominative: zela (the bird)
Accusative: zelo (Subj transitive verb "the bird")
Dative: zelin (Subj ditransitive verb direct object "to the bird")
Genitive: zelaj (of the bird)

Plural:
Nom.: zelas
Acc.: zeloro
Dat.: zelir
Gen.: zelajn

    versus...

Agglutinative:
zela, noun, "bird"

Plural suffix: -no
Accusative suffix: -ha
Genitive suffix: -me
Dative suffix: -ki

"bird" = zela
"birds" = zelano
I hit "the bird" = zelaha
I hit "the birds" = zelanoha
I give a ball "to the birds" = zelanoki
"the bird of the birds" = zela zelanome

    See, in inflectional, there are different endings for each case, whereas
in agglutinative, there's a non-changing affix for each morpheme, and it's
never reduced; they just get piled on.  I hope that's a simple (if not
over-simplified), non-controversial explanation of the difference.  :)

-David