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Kisáangan Verb Morphology
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it's a bit complicated
This public article was written by severy, and last updated on 12 Feb 2017, 08:09.

[comments] Menu 1. Fused TMNE prefix 2. Lower clause Polypersonals 3. Object & manner incorporation 4. Roots & derivation 5. Little v devices
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Kisáangan is a polysynthetic language and its verbs can make up an entire sentence or two in the right circumstances. As one might imagine this indicates that verb structure is quite complex and building verbs takes a bit of practice.

Verbs are inflected for tense, aspect, mood, negation, evidentiality, and voice, and must agree with both subject and object, and can also feature incorporated objects or "manners" (/methods).

The ordering of parts is:

TMNE - M - A - T - AGR - INCO.OBJ - ROOT(+deriv) - v - M.Q - ADV

That is: fused tense/ mood/ negation/ evidential prefix; other moods; aspect; other tenses; polypersonal agreement; incorporated objects; the root (and derivations) ; and little v devices (valency, voice, etc) - . Some interrogative verbs may take a final mood instead of an early one. The root may also have derivational affixes. Adverbs can be affixed directly to the end of the verbal complex, although they are usually visually separated with a hyphen.

An example verb dissection of suzeslísyúykián'stalsaijá, "I will begin to not be able to hear songs" :

su-
[so-
NVISNon visible (proximity)
Thing out of sight
.NEGNegative (polarity)
not
-
ze-
ʒɛ̃-
CAPCapability (mood)
'can'
-
şís-
ɬɪ́s-
INCEPInceptive (aspect)
beginning of an action
-
yúy-
júi-
FUTFuture (tense)
action occurring after the moment of speech
-
kiá-
gjá-
1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.EEpenthetic
something 'meaningless' inserted for structural reasons
-
n'stal-
nə̥stal-
song-
sai
saɪ
hear
-já
-xá]
OBJObject (argument).PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.AGRAgreement


[top]Fused TMNE prefix

This section provides a basic overview of the available forms. Check here for a more in-depth explanation of the meaning and usage behind them.

INFRIMP*IMP.WITNVSLVSLCONDSEMDUBSRLCNSQGER
NPSTPOS Øu-şi-úx-t'-i/y-nój-ŧe-j'-jua-hak-
NEG su-hu-ṡux-ts'-si-nó-ŧu-xu-ṡua-N/A
PSTPOS a-N/Aáoh-yo-ya-anó-aŧ-j'-gua-
NEG la-lux-so-ţii-lún-laŧ-xu-zua-

There are three realis evidentials (nonvisual sensory, visual, and inferential), two imperatives (basic and wtiness), two syntactic operators (serial and consequential), and three irrealis moods/evidentials (conditional/hypothetical, dubitative/questioning, and semblative). Again, see this article for more information.

Distinct TAM prefixes
MoodQ.MAspectTense
CAP ze--ni ? HAB ţú- FUT yúi-
OPT uw--nwá ? PROG qua- ANT nók-
NEC 'cih--n'cih ? INCEP şís- AFT any-
CESS ŧai-


[top]Lower clause Polypersonals


In lower clauses, things are a bit more complicated.

  • Use upper clause agreement:
    1. In upper clauses
    2. Neither subject nor object match
    3. Objects match, but subjects don't

  • Use zów- if:
    • Subject and object match

  • User lower clause agreement if:
    • Subjects match, but objects don't


Lower clause agreement prefixes
Coindexed SUB, different OBJ
INTR+INCO123a3i4
Øçéhír-tír-sír-wɑ́-nír-
Upper clause OBJ is lower SUB
Øṫúa-ṫúax-ṫúak-ṫúal-ṫúas-ṫúaz-


[top]Object & manner incorporation

Base noun roots (not NPs) may be incorporated into verbs as direct objects. Since it is just the root and not a phrase, it will not show case marking, determiners, adjectives, postposition clitics, numerals, or other markings. The incorporated object appears directly before the stem. Verbs with an incorporated object are considered transitive, and therefore cannot take intransitive polypersonal prefixes; instead a specific series of polypersonals indicate that there is an incorporated object in the verb.

Indirect objects cannot be incorporated. (There are cases where a Kisaangan verb may look to an English speaker as though it has incorporated an indirect object, but they are not considered indirect to the Kisaangan verb.)

Besides direct objects, a class of words called mannerisms may also be incorporated. Mannerisms are typically similar to adverbs in meaning, such as 'quickly' or 'roughly,' but they may have a different form from the standard (clitic) adverb. They also tend to function in a more derivational facet than a typical clitic adverb. Mannerisms occupy the "incorporation slot" and so cannot co-occur with an incorporated object - but they license intransitive polypersonals.

[top]Roots & derivation

Generally derived verb are formed of a verbal root and an affix. However compound verb roots can also be formed of multiple verbs and/or nouns, adverbs, etc.

Two of the most common derivational affixes that form verbs are -zi and . These are called the 'malefactive' and 'benefactive' verbalizers respectively. They are sometimes translated as 'poorly, unkindly' and 'well, favourably' or similarly.

The basic verbalizer is -x or -ux.

Other verbalizing affixes include sih-, hr'- "bleeding" and "absorbing" (indicating a losing or leaking, and a taking-on or gaining of the verbalized noun) ; -ɂus, -héŧ un-. dis-, not & un-, not yet, before ; guáts-, a 'vague object' verbalizer (often used with euphemistic words), and -cún, the 'specifier', which narrows/focuses the target of an action or increases its impact.

[top]Little v devices

Little v devices in Kisaangan include number agreement, coindexed incorporated object possession, and two voices (inverse and causative).

Number agreementSubjectObject
UnspecifiedUnmarked
Plural-yi-já
(Both PL)-tsí
Specific #-#N/A

As indicated by the table, the number system is best understood as "nonspecific/plural" instead of "singular/plural," although for ease of explanation the "unspecified" number is usually as singular. Numerals can be suffixed to the verb to specify a literal number of subjects, but not objects (to get a specific object count, a standalone object can take a numeral). If a numeral appears in the incorporated object slot, it is functioning as a noun (e.g. "two things," "five of those," "one person") and not modifying anything.

Some examples of agreement at work:

KisaanganGlossTranslation
kitsu1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.INTRIntransitive (valency)
has one argument
-see
'I see'
kitsuyi1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.INTRIntransitive (valency)
has one argument
-see-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
'We see'
kit'tsu 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
-EEpenthetic
something 'meaningless' inserted for structural reasons
-see
'I see you'
kit'tsujá 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
-EEpenthetic
something 'meaningless' inserted for structural reasons
-see-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
'I see y'all'
kit'tsutsí 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>2Second person (person)
addressee (you)
-EEpenthetic
something 'meaningless' inserted for structural reasons
-see-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
.PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
'We see y'all'
kitsukúwa 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.INTRIntransitive (valency)
has one argument
-see-two
'We two see'
kiwsu n'náa 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>3IThird person inanimate (person)
it, not he/she/they
-see OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
-house
'I see (a) house(s)'
kiwsujá n'náa 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>3IThird person inanimate (person)
it, not he/she/they
-see-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
-house
'I see houses'
kíakúwasu 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
-two-see
'I see two (things)'
*kíakúwasu n'náa 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>INCOIncorporated (affix)
object infixed into verb
-two-s8ee OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
-house
'*I see two (things) house'
*kiwkúwasu 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>3IThird person inanimate (person)
it, not he/she/they
-two-see
'I see it two (things)'
*kiwkúwasu n'náa 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>3IThird person inanimate (person)
it, not he/she/they
-two-see OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
-house
'*I see it two (things) house'
kiwsu n'kúwanáa 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
>3IThird person inanimate (person)
it, not he/she/they
-see OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
-two-house
'I see two houses'


Voices
There are two voice markings in Kisaangan: inverse and causative.

There is no passive voice. Use instead the polypersonal agreement with '0 subject.' e.g. kitsu 1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
.INTRIntransitive (valency)
has one argument
-see 'I see' vs taksu 0Unknown code>1First person (person)
speaker, signer, etc; I
-see '(something) sees me, I am seen.' In order to get a structure like English "I was seen by him," you must simply use the active correspondent (he saw me) or you may use the inverse marker to emphasize the object over the subject.

The inverse marker, -quik, is not used particularly frequently (Kisaangan is not a hierarchical language and direct-inverse is not its primary alignment) but appears occasionally in serialized constructions, for emphasis, or to approximate a passive voice. The inverse marker cannot occur with intransitives.

    kiwye 1First person (person)
    speaker, signer, etc; I
    >3IThird person inanimate (person)
    it, not he/she/they
    -eat 'I eat it'
    zihye 3IThird person inanimate (person)
    it, not he/she/they
    >1First person (person)
    speaker, signer, etc; I
    -eat 'It eats me'
    kiwyequik 1First person (person)
    speaker, signer, etc; I
    >3IThird person inanimate (person)
    it, not he/she/they
    -eat-INVInverse marker (valency)
    AKA action redirector
    'It eats me/I am eaten by it'
    zihyequik 3IThird person inanimate (person)
    it, not he/she/they
    >1First person (person)
    speaker, signer, etc; I
    -eat-INVInverse marker (valency)
    AKA action redirector
    'I eat it/it is eaten by me'


The causative takes -jó. This is distinct from the derivational causativizer/transitivizer xó- (although it is likely they share a history); xó-, a prefix, changes the meaning of a verb without affecting its sentence valence. The causative voice should also not be confused with the consequental TMNE or mood.


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