On Tuesday, February 3, 2004, at 11:49  AM, Tim May wrote:

> Dirk Elzinga wrote at 2004-01-23 10:27:58 (-0700)
>> On Thursday, January 22, 2004, at 05:22  PM, Tim May wrote:
>>> If so, what would "sepite ehammeka esepeken i atapune" mean?
>>> What about "pite ehammeka esepeken i atapune"?  Are these valid
>>> sentences?
>> The first would be '(He) saw Cottontail's children playing'; there
>> is an implied third person subject when there is no overt person
>> marking on the predicate. The second sentence would be '(He) saw
>> his children playing.' Since neither implied 'he' nor 'his' is a
>> subject, there is no way to tell if they are coreferential or not
>> (switch reference is only sensitive to subjects), so there is a
>> potential ambiguity between
>> He[1] saw his[1] children playing.
>> and
>> He[1] saw his[2] children playing.
> I folow your translation of my first sentence but not the second.  Are
> you sure that what you thought I wrote was what I wrote?  It's meant
> to be
>   pite e=  hamme  -ka e=  se-    <Vk>   pen   i   a=  tapune
>   see  SS= play:U -UN SS= 3poss- <COLL> child OBL DS= Cottontail
> whereas it seems to me that perhaps you thought I had written
> something along the lines of
>   se-    pite e=  hamme  -ka e=  se-    <Vk>   pen
>   3poss- see  SS= play:U -UN SS= 3poss- <COLL> child
> But perhaps I'm missing something.  My question (in this case)
> concerned what meaning, if any, would be attached to a morpheme like
> _pite_ in the absence of possessive marking.

Ah. You're right; I completely missed this. Your original sentence
without the possessive prefix looks like a "covert passive", but that
doesn't feel right. I don't know if I would judge it as grammatical or
not; I lean towards "not", but not for any good reasons I could give
you right now.

I originally thought of _pite_ as the "eye" word, but it came to mean
'see' almost immediately. After I thought about this particular
strategy for psych predicates (i.e., showing the experiencer as a
possessive), I never thought about what the stem would mean unaffixed.
I see now that I'll have to give it some thought. Any suggestions?

>>> Does _pen_ show the same ambiguity between "offspring" and
>>> "juvenile" as English "child"?
>> No. There is a lexical suffix _-ttsi_ glossed 'young, diminutive'
>> which is intended to refer to the young of a species. The word
>> _pen_ is restricted to offspring, but only when young. There are
>> separate words for 'son' and 'daughter' which can be used for adult
>> offspring as well as children.
> Ah, very good.  Lexical suffixes are marvellous things.  (I've just
> recently found a dissertation* on the grammar of Southern Wakashan
> languages, in which such morphemes play a prominent role.)  Does
> _-ttsi_ apply to humans and personified entities?

Yes. I thought of this suffix being used to show endearment as well as
diminutive (two notions which always go together for me). It is added
to kin terms used as titles and to describe animals as pets:

nami  'mother'
namittsi  'Mother'

tsiwi  'sparrow'
tsiwittsi-wa  'my pet sparrow' (-wa 'first person possessive')

> Incidentally, David Peterson asked you some questions on the subject
> in a
> post of 2001-01-24, and I don't recall seeing your reply.  It's
> possible
> that you didn't recieve the post, as the subject line was extensively
> garbled.  The archived copy is at
> wa?A2=ind0401d&L=conlang&F=&S=&P=30815

I did see the message, but I couldn't respond to it at the time. I was
putting together my initial review dossier (which I turned in
yesterday). Thanks for the reminder; I'll respond directly. And my
apologies to David!