Print

Print


Nik Taylor wrote:

> I've never had that happen to me, however, I have had similar
> phenomena
> with the grammar.  I've several times decided "this is the form I'll
> use", but then when I actually write something in Watya'i'sa, it won't
>
> come out that way, it'll sound "wrong", so I'll end up accepting
> another
> form, and often will spend more time trying to figure out the new
> usage
> (and whether it's an unwarrented anglicism) than actually deciding
> what
> it *should* be.  :-)  Especially true with my journal.  I write in
> English, of course, but I start each entry with _Sukaltina'u'tu'
> walaza'z wali'z_ (I start writing about today, roughly), and ends with
>
> _Sukaltina'u'l walaza'z wali'z_ (I'm done writing about today,
> roughly),
> not the original forms.  I also will write out one or two sentences in
>
> Watya'i'sa summarizing the day, and there I'll find that my original
> plan does not work out properly.
>
> If you're interested, a morphemic analysis of those phrases:
> Sukaltina'u'tu' = Su-kaltina'-u-tu; su- = antipassive, kaltina' =
> write,
> -u = 1st singular absolutive; -tu = inceptive aspect
> Sukaltina'u'l = Su-kaltina'-u-l; -l = cessative
> walaza'z = wa-laza'-z; wa- = gender 6 marker; laza' = day (24-hour
> period), -z = genetive
> wali'z = wa-li'-z; wa- = gender 6 marker; li' = this; -z = genetive
>
> Originally, I used an active form of the verb, kaltina'ltu'-ku, -l =
> 3rd
> singular, irrational absolutive; -ku = 1st singular nominative clitic,
>
> and kaltina'lla'-ku, -l = 3rd singular, irrational absolutive; -la =
> cessative; but they just sounded somehow wrong.

It makes perfect sense to me that the Watya'i'sa sentence would
demand to be in the antipassive.  After all, the meaning is not
"I begin to write the day", but something like "I begin to write *of*
the day".  I think what you've got your hands on here is some
sort of partitive (or perhaps 'non-affected object') construction:
The antipassive is used when the direct object denotes not the
patient of the action, but instead, some entity towards which
the action is directed.  Compare "I shot the moose" with
"I shot at the moose".  My guess is that in Watya'i'sa, the
first sentence would appear in active, while the second
sentence would be in the antipassive.  You want to say
"write about the day" rather than "write the day", so
Watya'i'sa whips out its antipassive construction to make
the necessary distinction.

Lots of languages use the antipassive (or some sort of
applicative construction) to mark the direct object as
something towards which the action is directed, but
which is not actually affected (changed) by the action.
Watya'i'sa appears to be falling right into line in
this respect.  Very nice...

Matt.