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On Mon, Nov 11, 2002 at 07:54:06PM -0500, Roger Mills wrote:
> All due respect to Aidan-- here are some sentences that are considerably
> more ambiguous; all, of course, depend on context--

In Ebisedian, there is considerably less room for ambiguities.

> 1.  She gave him her picture =
> a. Mary gave John a picture of herself.

In Ebisedian, "noun association tags" would be prefixed to each pronoun.
Also, reflexive references are explicitly marked. In (a), the Ebisedian
would render it as:

jhit0'   byy'jh chi'du   n3 s0lu         d3 <picture><cvy>
she(org) give   him(rcp) -  herself(rcp) -

(No word for "picture" yet, so I'm just transliterating it.)  In this
particular example, although the reflexive particle _s0lu_ does not
inflect for gender, it can only refer to "she" because of case agreement
(originative-originative).

> b. Mary gave John a picture of Sonia

kijhit0'     byy'jh chi'du   n3 cujitu       d3 <picture><cvy>
<ki>she(org) give   him(rcp) -  <cu>her(rcp) -

Here, the prefixes ki- and cu- are the associative prefixes. Associative
prefixes are attached to pronouns to disambiguate them. They are
"assigned" by previous mention; e.g.,
        `ykimari'     kijhiti'. kijhit0' tww'ma cujhitu'
        <ki>Mary [is] she.      <ki>She  speak  <cu>her
        "<ki>she is <ki>Mary. <ki>she(Mary) says to <cu>her(someone else) ..."

Here, the associative tag <ki> appears as an infix. The Ebisedian
equivalent of "Mary" is _`ymari'_ [Hyma"r`i]. In the second sentence, the
second pronoun is tagged differently; and hence it refers to someone else.

> c. Mary gave John a picture that Mary owned. (implies she only owns one!)

In this case, there is ambiguity, as this would be identical to (a).

> d, Mary gave John a picture that Sonia owned  (ditto)

This would be identical to (b).

> e.. Mary gave John a picture that Mary had drawn
> f.. Mary gave John a picture that Sonia had drawn.
> (Also depends on the polysemy of "picture")

Ebisedian probably would not exhibit polysemy for "picture", so this
doesn't really apply here.

> And I think the all-time winner, so n-ambiguous that I lose count:
> "The police were ordered to stop drinking on campus after midnight."

In Ebisedian, this would be quite unambigous:

1. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> myso' drink(v) campus(loc)
   after-midnight(loc) <t3m3>

The <t3> and <t3m3> are subordinating particles that delimit exact
boundaries for the subordinate clause. So (1) implies that the order was
for them (the police) to stop drinking on campus after midnight. _myso'_
is a negative optative particle meaning "let it not be so". It implies an
order directed at the listeners (the police themselves).

2. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> stop(v) drinking(cvy) campus(loc)
   after-midnight(loc) <t3m3>

Here, the verb stop (_p0'ju_) is an imperative, and "drinking" is a
gerund. Hence, it means for them to interrupt the act of drinking (by
others, although it does not exclude the police themselves).

3. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> stop(v) drink(cvy) campus(loc) <t3m3>
   after-midnight(loc)

The order is that for the police to interrupt the act of drinking on
campus; and the order was given after midnight.

4. Police(rcp) ordered <t3> myso' drinking <t3m3> campus(loc)
   after-midnight(loc)

The order is that the police stop drinking, and the order was given on
campus after midnight.

Note, of course, that this is stretching Ebisedian grammar a bit.
Generally, Ebisedian dislikes long, complex sentences like this. In this
particular case, it would like to break up the sentence depending on the
intended semantics:

1) The police were ordered to stop (their own) drinking. In this case, the
   sentence as it stands is perfectly acceptable, with _myso'_, the
   prohibitive, replacing the English verb "stop". Literally, it would
   read something like "let it not be so, that [you] drink".

2) The police were ordered to stop others' drinking. Although the versions
   I give above are plausible, a native speaker would paraphrase the
   sentence as:
        If you(pl,police) see(v) [ drinking(instr) who ] person,
        then stop the person(cvy).

In orthography,
        ana 3co'miu fww't3 n0 <drinking,instr> du bis33'di.
        keve p0'ju b3s33'd3.

Ebisedian does not distinguish between direct and indirect discourse; so
this can be transplanted into the main sentence:
        Tww'ma 3co'miu t3
                ana 3co'miu fww't3 n0 <drinking,instr> du bis33'di.
                keve p0'ju b3s33'd3.
        t3m3.
        "It was asserted to the-close-ones[*] [ If the-close-ones see
        the-drinking-person. Then stop person. ]"

I formatted this a bit creatively so that you can see the nesting enclosed
by t3...t3m3.

[*] Raw transliteration of the Ebisedian pronoun. Here, I'm substituting a
pronoun for "police", since I don't have a word for "police" yet. :-)

> Kash at least can disambiguate this a  little (litterally, without bothering
> to translate):
[snip]
> The disadvantages of lacking a passive, and the two adverbial clauses create
> a raft of other problems.........

*Tries to resist urge to boast about Ebisedian's active/passive-less
grammar* ;-)


T

--
People say I'm indecisive, but I'm not sure about that. -- YHL, CONLANG