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Modality and Politeness
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A description of how to show modality and politeness
This public article was written by clawgrip, and last updated on 19 Oct 2017, 06:51.

[comments] Menu 1. Modality 2. Politeness
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.

[top]Modality

Modality is expressed through a combination of morphological and periphrastic means. Verbs conjugate into three base moods: realis, irrealis, and transitional. Realis and irrealis function much as expected, while the transitional mood is a subset of irrealis which is used for conditional, potential, and other such moods.

Realis is indicated with the base form of the verb.

Transitional is identifiable by the suffixes -an, -ăn, -en which appear before the personal endings.
Irrealis is identifiable by the suffix -a which appears in various positions. First person suffixes generally have a different form.

Examples:

First person
tagi tagi "I eat" (realis)
tagani tagani "I eat" (transitional)
tage tage "I eat" (irrealis)

Third person feminine
tagum tagum "she eats" (realis)
taganum taganum "she eats" (transitional)
taguma taguma "she eats" (irrealis)

These three base moods are combined with modal adverbs to a complex system of modality and politeness. This article will explain how the three morphological moods interact with the following modal adverbs:

num num, for guesses, deductions, hypotheses
sat tat, for opinions and beliefs
hi ngi, for inferences and guesses
tug tug, for possibilities and abilities
lar lar, for requirements and necessities
gwdim gĕdim, for wants and desires
ga gu, for imperatives


Num (num)
As mentioned above num shows guesses, deductions, or hypotheses. In essence, it shows events the speaker believes may or may not be true, or that the speaker knows not to be true.

When it is used with the realis mood, this adverb indicates deductions about the past or present, that is, events that the speaker believes to be true based on indirect factors:
Dundukwmnum ariux mumot
Ḍundukĕm num Aryĭ mumot.
buy-PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
have verb-ed
-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
(.REALRealis mood (mood)
actual, real events
) num Aryu.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
olive-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.DEFDefinite
"the"

"Aryu must have bought the olives."

turrukehnum
Turrukeng num.
fail-PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
have verb-ed
-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
(.REALRealis mood (mood)
actual, real events
) num
"You appear to have failed."

When num is used with the transitional mood, it indicates future speculation, essentially a future tense:
nadikanornum umbu
Nadikanor num umbu.
travel-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-INDIndicative mood (mood)
a common form of realis
.3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
num soon
"They will travel soon."

With the irrealis mood, num marks hypothetical future events:
Bimbariganum eidotilahga
Ḅim bariga num e dotilangga?
if leave-1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.IRRIrrealis
mood
num QInterrogative
question
remain.behind-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
-IRRIrrealis
mood

"If I were to leave, would you remain behind?"


Tat (sat)
Similar to the above, tat shows the speaker's opinions on the truthfulness of a statement. Although it is similar to num in its basic meaning, it differs in practical usage.

When used with the realis mood, tat marks events that the speaker is certain about.

unotsat baioxt nillo
Unot tat bayŏt nillo.
be-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
food.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.DEFDefinite
"the"
good.INANInanimate (gender/class)
inanimate, sessile
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few

"The food is certainly good."

Combined with the transitional mood, tat marks potential (non-abilitative) events.
uDadaxndulmutsat
Uḍadăndul mut tat.
understand-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
NEGNegative (polarity)
not
tat
"It's possible he didn't understand."

Here, word order between the negative and modal is important in determining the meaning:
uDadaxndulsatmut
Uḍadăndul tat mut.
understand-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
tat NEGNegative (polarity)
not

"It's not possible that he understood."

When used with the irrealis, tat marks optative statements, i.e. those the speaker wishes or hopes to be true.

iGuxarasat unel
Iġuwara tat unel.
consider-IRRIrrealis
mood
-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
tat 3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient

"If only he would consider it."

Ngi (hi)
This shows degrees of uncertainty regarding specific events. Once again, it is similar to the above but differes somewhat in actual usage.

As ngi is primarily used to show uncertainty, it not used with the realis mood.

With the transitional mood, it indicates a type of inferential mood, that is, events that the speaker did not witness firsthand and thus cannot confirm as true:

hurankwmhi moiurum
Ngurankĕm ngi Moyurum.
leave-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
have verb-ed
-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FEMFeminine (gender)
feminine or female
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
ngi Moyur-NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument

"I hear that Moyur has left."

With the irrealis mood, ngi marks statements whose truthfulness the speaker has reason to doubt:

puturahi aDagix pir
Putura ngi aḍagĭ pir.
speak-IRRIrrealis
mood
-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
king-NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
now
"The king is unlikely to speak now."


Tug (tug)
This modal is shows abilities, capabilities, and possibilities.

When used with the realis mood, it is both potential and abilitative. The potential overlaps somewhat with tat used in the transitional mood.
uxrtugmut atumutlikul ipixru
Wĭr tug mut atumut likul ipĭru.
run-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
tug NEGNegative (polarity)
not
man-SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
old(.ANIMUnknown code.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
) far
"The old man cannot run far."

With the transitional mood, tug is a polite hortative that offers suggestions.
kamahtug uxmuno
Kamang tug w umuno.
talk-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
tug to 3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location

"You should talk to them."

Tug has no distinct meaning with the irrealis mood.


Lar (lar)
This modal indicates requirements or hortatives.

xaGaxhlar ummul
Xaġăng lar ummul.
stretch-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
must 3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FEMFeminine (gender)
feminine or female
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient

"You have to stretch it."

hulasummuslar
Ngulatum mut lar.
leave-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.FEMFeminine (gender)
feminine or female
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
NEGNegative (polarity)
not
NECNecessitative mood (mood)
must, have to

"She must not leave."

As with tat, alterations in word order may alter the meaning:

araduoxlarmus
Aradwŏ lar mut.
accept-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
.3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
NECNecessitative mood (mood)
must, have to
NEGNegative (polarity)
not

"They need not have accepted."

Used with the transitional mood, lar instead functions as a hortative:

bulanohlar rimoloxt tiburdurut
Bulanong lar rimolŏt tiburdurut.
drink-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
lar juice-SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.DEFDefinite
"the"
sage-SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.GENGenitive (case)
possessive
.DEFDefinite
"the"

"You should/must drink the sage juice."


Gĕdim gwdim
This modal is used for indicating wants and desires.

In the realis mood, it marks the desires of the subject.

hunnoxrgwdim uxmuxabixu radut
Ngunnŏr gĕdim wĭm uwabixu radut.
leave-HABHabitual (aspect)
done often or out of habit
.3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
gĕdim before come-ACTActive voice (valency, volition)
the subject acts, voluntarily
.INFInfinitive (TAM)
non-tensed verb
night-MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.DEFDefinite
"the"

"They usually want to leave before night falls."

When applied to the transitional mood, it shows desires that the the subject thinks may or may not be fulfilled.
geuabanurgwdim rahGagw
Gewabanur gĕdim ranġagĕ.
return-TRANUnknown code-3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
gĕdim tomorrow-ADVAdverbial
e.g. English '-ly'

"He hopes to return tomorrow."

With the irrealis mood, it indicates desires that the subject believes unlikely to be fulfilled.

iuxomgwdim xakulumut saki
Yuwom gĕdim Xakulumut taki.
see-IRRIrrealis
mood
.FEMFeminine (gender)
feminine or female
.3Third person (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
gĕdim Xakul-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.DEFDefinite
"the"
someday
"She wishes he could see Xakul someday (but she does not expect it to happen)."

Gĕdim is often contracted in speech and writing to gĕm gwm

Gu (gu)
This marks various types of imperative.
axhgu iimixur
Ăng gu ĭ mixur!
become.2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
IMPImperative (mood)
command
CMPComplementiser (syntactic)
[clause] that [clause]
quiet
"Be quiet!"

The above information may be assembled into a table for ease of reference:

RealisTransitionalIrrealis
Ø indicativeif-conditionalif-conditional hypothetical
num deductivefuture speculativefuture hypothetical
tat certaintivepotentialoptative
ngi inferentialdubitative
tug abilitative/potentialhortative
lar necessitativeexhortative
gĕdim/gĕm desiderativedesiderative potentialdesiderative dubitative
gu imperativesuprahortative


[top]Politeness

You will notice some combinations are blank, perhaps conspicuously so. In fact, Uyendur employs alterations in the base mood to adjust the politeness of a particular modal adverb. Politeness in Uyendur is based on avoiding placing impositions on the listener, and this is accomplished grammatically by making statements not refer to reality, i.e. by adjusting the verb one step further toward irrealis. Not all forms can be shifted, but the following occur:

Simple declarative statements are shifted from realis to transitional to increase politeness.

Plain (realis):
ox uabah
Ŏ, wabang.
ah come.REAL-PERF-2.SG
"Ah, you've arrived."

Polite (transitional):
ox uabkeh
Ŏ, wankeng.
ah come.TRANUnknown code-PERFPerfect (aspect/tense)
have verb-ed
-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity

"Ah, you've arrived."

Regular conditionals are shifted from transitional to irrealis, making them grammatically hypothetical statements. Something similar happens in English, and this is used in the following English translations:
Plain (transitional):
unanioumio iiara-xumu sintekiladdur
Unanyo umyo ĭ araxumu tintekil addur.
be-TRANUnknown code-1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
pleased-MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.ANIMUnknown code CMPLUnknown code accept-ACTActive voice (valency, volition)
the subject acts, voluntarily
.PRTPreterite (tense)
denotes a past action, often perfective
visit-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.GENGenitive (case)
possessive

"We are pleased to have you visit."

Polite (irrealis):
unioxumio iiara-xumu sintekiladdur
Unyŏ umyo ĭ araxumu tintekil addur.
be-IRRIrrealis
mood
-1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
pleased-MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.ANIMUnknown code CMPLUnknown code accept-ACTActive voice (valency, volition)
the subject acts, voluntarily
.PRTPreterite (tense)
denotes a past action, often perfective
visit-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.GENGenitive (case)
possessive

"We would be pleased to have you visit."

The transitional mood is a more polite form of the imperative:

Biiahgu iril
Ḅiyang gu iril.
wait-(REALRealis mood (mood)
actual, real events
)-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
IMPImperative (mood)
command
1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient

"Wait for me!"

Biianahgu iril
Ḅiyanang gu iril.
wait-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
IMPImperative (mood)
command
1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.MASCMasculine (gender)
masculine or male
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient

"Please wait for me."

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