On Wed, 5 May 2010 09:58:19 +0100, Peter Bleackley
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Suppose we have a language with a system of noun classes that includes
>I. Member of the tribe
>II. Foreigner
>III. Domestic animal
>IV. Wild animal
>...amongst others. How could we talk about humans in general, or animals
>in general?
>Maybe there could be a process that when applied to a noun X from a
>certain class Y, produced a noun that meant "something like an X, but
>does not necessarily belong strictly to class Y". The noun thus formed
>would thus still belong morphologically to class Y, but would
>semantically be seen as a member of a broader superset of class Y.
A couple thoughts: (1) since there are more "foreigners" than "our tribe",
and more "wild animals" than "domestic", I'd use a word from Class II and
Class IV, resp., with, perhaps, an affix of some sort to indicate "in general". 

Atoni (aka Timorese, Dawan) does something like that, where e.g. ate-
'liver' + an inalienable poss.suffix (-k, -m, -n etc.) refers to the body
part, but ate-f means 'liver, in general'.

(2) following on that, if you have alienable/inalien. possession-- Class I
and III words would be inalien. and always require a possessor, Class II and
IV  would be alienable or never occur in a possessive construction. 

MCL Prevli (the lang. of the Lań-Lań minority) in just one case (so far)
uses one form of the word _prevli_ 'language' + inalien. poss-- prevli-nta
'our...' for their own language, but an unmetathesized form _pervil_ for
non-Lań-lań languages, and that form is alienable-- 

kaftu die/z pervil 'the (Kash) language of Kavatu (nation, people)'
Kavatu POSS-3s language

It occurs to me that I could do the same with other words, for ex. /gilaN/
'person', where the metathesized plual form gilgät(a) could be inalien. and
refer only to Lań-lań, while unmet. plual giläkta could refer to outsiders,
and be alienable-- kaftu diez giläkta 'people of Kavatu'.  Hmmmm. 

>Anyone know of anything similar?