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So it sounds like the answer is, as it so often seems to be, that I can do whatever I want as long as I'm consistent. 

I often feel like as this linguistics stuff is so far above my head that I have no business even trying to create a conlang.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. You've given me much to think about. Slowly I'm making progress.


* Michael - [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Logan Kearsley
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2018 9:52 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Verb Objects

On 27 April 2018 at 18:48, Michael Martin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On to a different question.
>
> The verbs in my conlang conjugate for subject and object. For example the verb "lovir" is "to love". To say "I love you" would be "lovikei". The "-i-" indicates subject is first person singular and the "-kei" indicates the object is second person singular. Obviously this is a very simple sentence. I also have a suffix to indicate no object which is "-kev".
>
> My question is, can there be a sentence with no direct object but that does have indirect objects? Like in the sentence "He cried for you" is "you" the direct object or an indirect object?

That is something you have to decide for your language in particular.
It is certainly possible for a language to allow indirect objects to occur without direct objects--in multiple ways, even. E.g., you may have a class of verbs which only require a single object, but nevertheless treat that object as an indirect object, in whatever ways are relevant for that language (i.e., triggering a certain case marking, occupying a certain syntactic position, triggering or failing to trigger polypersonal agreement, etc.); or, you may require that all verbs that take an indirect object specify a direct object as well, but permit extensive argument dropping (i.e., allow situations where the direct object can be omitted, because it isn't considered important or is obvious from context, even though it is still implied to exist).

> My word for the verb cry is "yanir" so "he cried..." is "priyana-" ("pri-" makes it past tense, and "-a-" indicates subject is third person singular), but which object suffix do I use? "-kei" for second person singular, or "-kev" for no direct object?

Either one! There are certainly common trends in what sort of semantic roles are treated as direct or indirect objects in various languages, but it's really up to you how any specific verb happens to work in your language. As far as polypersonal agreement goes, it would be really weird for an object introduced by a preposition (or
postposition) to trigger agreement on the verb. It is also weird for an indirect object (if such can be identified by other means) to trigger verb agreement. So, if the phrase "for you" is in fact introduced with a preposition in the translation into your language, or if you want to treat it as an indirect object with no adposition, then you'd probably go with "no direct object". But if the semantics of that verb specifies "you" as a direct object, then mark the verb accordingly. And that could be the case even if it also requires a preposition--after all, even English has multi-part phrasal verbs which require specific particles or prepositions to accompany the verb root.

-l.