ámman îar predicates are invariably formed using a multiple verb and particle construction that distributes across the predicate expression according to well-defined syntactic rules. These constructions are composed of three components,
Consider the predicate en inarunarth ûelcorrieth in the following example:
ûelcorrieth eni vastmëar inarunarth i galdranes The soup may not be heated by Galdor. LEXICAL VERB en ... inarunarth PAT-VALENCE AGT-VALENCE VOICE STEM VALENCY CLASS. en 0 in aruno a rth . PAT - PASS hot PAT STATE. AUXILIARY VERB ûelcorrieth POLARITY MOOD ASPECTUAL ASPECT TENSE. u el cor i eth . NEG ASS REL PERF PAST.
The first form (inarunarth in the above example) containing the verb stem is called the Lexical Verb. This form specifies the semantics of the verb, expressing the main lexical content of the predication. The components of the Lexical Verb are as follows:
LEXICAL VERB inarunarth VOICE STEM VALENCY CLASS. in aruno a rth . PASS hot PAT STATE.
The valency inflection, while illustrated above and appearing to be a lexical verb inflection, is considered an integral part of the Predicate Inflection (discussed below) rather than specific to the lexical verb.
The second form (ûelcorrieth in the above example) is called the Auxiliary Verb. This form is semantically empty specifying rather the verb's grammatical usage. The components of the Auxiliary Verb are as follows:
AUXILIARY VERB ûelcorrieth POLARITY MOOD ASPECTUAL ASPECT TENSE. u el cor i eth . NEG ASS REL PERF PAST .
NOTE: There is no root or stem form for the auxiliary verb. It is wholly formed by inflectional elements that modify the concept expressed by the main lexical verb.
Predicate inflections distribute across the entire predicate and specify its argument structure.
The morphologically possible permutations that these tables suggest ( 7 Voices, 5 Valency Markers, 4 Class Indicators, 2 Polarities, 12 Modalities, 3 Aspectuals, 4 Aspects, and 3 Tenses) would generate a very large number of potential predicate forms (7*5*4*2*12*3*4*3 = 1,209,960). However, analysis of available corpora reveals that very few of these potential forms are semantically realizable. They are not all free variables. The semantics of the lexical verb usually determines the Valency and Classes that are realizable. In addition, each of the four Verb Classes has a default Tense, Aspect, and Modality (TAM) which is realized in the vast majority of utterances. This generally leaves only Voice, Polarity, and Aspectual to vary somewhat freely and with the possible exception of Polarity, even these are subject to semantic restrictions.
Strictly speaking, there is no verb infinitive in ámman îar. The citation form (the verb stem plus the suffix -o) is an atavistic throwback to a now obsolete usage. Although generally referred to as the 'infinitive', this form does not occur naturally in the modern language.
|vasco||citation (infinitive form)||to throw|
|eleth an sarn ervascel||inflected form||i threw a stone|
Traditional infinitive usages are performed by serial verb forms in ámman îar, such as 'to come" in sentences like:
en alan erthulel löimîarth He wants to come. (elieth) en alan er- tulo -e -l loimo -ia -rth . [S] [Ref] :AGT :ACTN want :PAT/REF :STATE. (does ) he coming wants .
Here, the infinitive usage of the verb is formulated using a serial verb construction:
erthulel loimiarth < tulo / loimo = 'to come- to want',
where the valency of the main verb
loimiarth < loimo -ia -rth
indicates cross-reference with the S-function argument alan as Patient of 'want' with an oblique argument in the form of the "gerund-like" verb form erthulel as Theme. Meanwhile the valency of the "gerund'
erthulel < tulo -e -l
indicates cross-reference with the same S-function argument alan as agent of 'come'. This example translates literally as "he is in the state of wanting the act of his coming" or "he wants coming".
The Predicate Inflections in ámman îar determine the number and types of core arguments that the verb may take. Unlike tradition inflections, these are only notionally inflecting as they are manifested as particles, clitics and pure inflections distributed across the predicate rather than bound to the verb alone. These inflections provide a semantic role marking and pronominal cross-referencing paradigm that is active in nature, i.e. unlike the case system, which is purely syntactic, the Predicate Inflection is based on the semantics of the arguments.
The valency inflection consists of up to three components
In the chart below, the Patient/Theme Particle must immediately precede the patientive argument of the predicate when present or the Theme argument when present. In the presence of both (Patient/Theme Valency), the Patientive argument takes precedence.
|patient||en||-||-a-||used in intransitive constructions where the argument in S-function is semantically patientive|
|agent||-||er-||-e-||used in intransitive constructions where the argument in S-function is semantically agentive|
|agent/patient||an||er-||-o-||used in transitive constructions where the argument in A-function is semantically agentive and the argument in P-function is semantically patientive|
|patient/theme||en||-||-ia-||used in transitive constructions where the argument in A-function is semantically patientive and the argument in P-function is a semantic theme|
|agent/theme||in||er-||-ie-||used in transitive constructions where the argument in A-function is semantically agentive and the argument in P-function is a semantic theme|
The patient argument of a verb is the noun or noun phrase that experiences the state or change of state described by the verb. Patients in ámman îar include such semantic arguments as experiencer and benefactor.
When the argument in S-function relative to an intransitive predicate is semantically patientive, the predicate must be inflected according to the patient valence paradigm. Note that this definition restricts Patient valency to State and Process verbs.
eliras eni thoren orgöirar The eagle is dying. eliras en i thoren orgöiro -a -r . PAT S=PAT :PAT :PROC. is the eagle die ing .
The agent argument of a verb is the noun or noun phrase that is responsible for the event described by the verb.
When the argument in S-function relative to an intransitive predicate is semantically agentive, the predicate must be inflected according to the Agent valence paradigm. Note that this definition restricts the Agent valence to Action verbs.
i dais ergabdhel életh The tiger pounced. i dais er cabedho -e -l eleth. S=AGT AGT :AGT :ACTN . the tiger pounce did .
When a transitive predicate takes a semantically agentive argument in A-function and a semantically patientive argument in P-function, the predicate must be inflected according to the agent/patient valence paradigm. Note that this definition restricts the Agent/Patient valence to Action/Process verbs.
i daisse életh an finlavan erechöiron The tiger killed a goat. i daisse eleth an finlavan er- echoiro -o -n . A=AGT PAT P=PAT AGT :AGT/PAT :ACTN/PROC. the tiger did goat kill .
Each of the above Valency forms can take an additional Theme argument. The Theme serves as a reference point for the event described by the verb, but is unaffected by that event, i.e. it is not patientive.
When a transitive predicate takes a patientive argument in A-function that experiences the state or change of state described by the lexical verb, as well as a Theme argument in P-function that is the point of reference for the event described by the verb, the predicate must be inflected according to the Patient/Theme valence paradigm. Like the Patient valence, this valency is restricted to State and Process verbs.
eni dais thorenen henîarth The tiger saw an eagle. (elieth) en i dais thoren -en heno -ia -rth . PAT S=PAT Obl=REF :DAT :PAT/REF :STATE. (did ) the tiger eagle see .
When a transitive predicate takes an agentive argument in A-function that is responsible for the event described by the lexical verb, as well as a Theme argument in P-function that is the point of reference for the event described by the verb, the predicate must be inflected according to the Agent/Theme valence paradigm.
i daisse életh in thoren erhenîel The tiger looked at an eagle. i dais -e eleth in thoren er heno -ie -l . A=AGT :ERG PAT P=REF AGT :AGT/REF :ACTN. the tiger did eagle see .
The semantic distinction between the last two examples is captured in the predicate inflections. In the former example, both the Patient/Theme Particle, en preceding the A-function argument i dais and the valency (-ia-) inflection on the verb henîarth indicate that the tiger as Patient was in the state (-rth) of seeing an eagle as Theme, thus "The tiger SAW an eagle". In the latter example, the Patient/Theme Particle in precedes the Theme argument indicating the absence of a patientive argument while the agentive (er-) and valency inflections (-ie-) of the lexical verb erhenîel indicates that the tiger as Agent was responsible for the action (-l) of seeing an eagle as Theme, thus "The tiger LOOKED AT an eagle."
Predicate inflections specify the core argument valency of the predicate only, irrespective of the existence of any oblique arguments. For this reason, so-called ditransitive verbs that take an agentive argument in A-function, a patientive argument in P-function and an oblique Theme that serves as the point of reference for the event take the Agent/Patient predicate inflection.
alan életh an nerin erhirron narnen He told me a story. alan eleth an nerin er hirro -o -n narnen . A=AGT PAT P=PAT :AGT/PAT Obl=REF. he did me tell story .
Note that this is the canonical form for all such "ditransitive" verbs, (i.e A=AGT / P=PAT / Obl=REF). Unlike English, the verb must undergo a voice transformation for the following:
alan narn ertholhirrîen an neren életh He told a story to me. alan narn er tol- hirro -ie -n an neren eleth. A=AGT P=REF AGT APPL: :AGT/REF PAT Obl=PAT . he story tell me did .
Although we will revisit this construction in the discussion of voice, it is instructive to note the salient differences between these two examples.
- It is notable that the semantic roles of the three arguments remain invariant in the two examples (alan, he=Agent, nerin/neren, me=Patient and narnen/narn, story=Theme);
- In order to facilitate the promotion of the underlying oblique argument (narnen) to P-function, the verb must be put in the Applicative Voice;
- The lexical verb must be inflected for Agent/Theme valency (-ie-) in the second instance instead of Agent/Patient valency (-o-) to reflect the new core argument structure.
- The Patientive Particle an remains associated with the semantically patientive argument in both instances.