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Jáhkarrá: Syntax of the passive and discourse deixis
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Use of the passive and its connection to animacy. Use of the fourth person and deixis in discourse
This public article was written by Hastrica, and last updated on 14 Dec 2018, 10:36. Editing of this article is shared with A Priori Conlangers.

[comments] [history] Menu 1. Use of the passive 2. Distinguishing participants - discourse deixis
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.


TODO glosses and formatting to be added

[top]Use of the passive


Animacy, although not marked as a grammatical category in Jáhkarrá, plays an important role in the choice of the correct verb stem and in the syntax of sentences. nouns describing humans (including pronouns) get preferential treatment when a verb gets assigned its core participants, and nonhuman animates still rank higher than inanimates.

If a nonhuman/nonanimate is the agent, the passive is used to present the more animate NP in the subject slot nevertheless:

1Rargŋ-ea állá čos-a-vv-a.
dog-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
woman hit-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.OBJObject (argument).3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SUBSubject (argument)
"The woman hit the dog."
2Rargŋ-e állá naŋ-u-vva-h-a.
dog-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
woman bite-PASSPassive voice (valency)
be verb-ed
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.OBJObject (argument)-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SUBSubject (argument)
"The woman was bitten by the dog."
3Hadn-ea rargŋá eajj-a-vv-a.
stone-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
dog lick-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.OBJObject (argument).3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SUBSubject (argument)
"The dog licked the stone."
4Hadn-e rargŋá čos-u-vva-h-a.
stone-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
dog hit-PASSPassive voice (valency)
be verb-ed
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.OBJObject (argument)-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SUBSubject (argument)
"The dog was hit by the stone."
5Hadn-ea állá stirger-a-vv-a.
stone-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
woman carve-TRANSTransitive (valency)
has two arguments
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.OBJObject (argument).3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SUBSubject (argument)
"The woman carved the stone."
6Hadn-e állá čos-u-vva-h-a.
stone-ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
.SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
woman hit-PASSPassive voice (valency)
be verb-ed
-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.OBJObject (argument)-3SThird person singular (person)
neither speaker nor addressee
.SUBSubject (argument)
"The woman was hit by the stone."


In dependent clauses, the case marking of the other argument in the dependent clause is determined by the thematic role of the head, since the mechanism of Jáhkarrá dependent clauses leaves a gap where the head NP would be in an independent clause (note that the nominative is replaced by the genitive, while other cases remain). If the the head is the patient (11 and 13), the other argument is in the genitive; if the head is the agent (12) it is in the accusative.

If the head is the agent and higher on the animacy scale than the patient, the verb is active (sentences 7 and 8). The verb is also active if the head is the patient, but lower on the animacy scale (9 and 10). If the head and the other argument are on equal levels, the verb is always active.

7hadn-ea stirger-a-l-v-á állá

"the woman who carved the stone"
8rargŋ-ea čoss-a-l-v-á állá

"the woman who hit the dog"
9áll-á stirger-a-l-v-á hadna

"the stone that the woman carved"
10rargŋ-á eaiz-a-l-v-á hadna

"the stone that the dog licked"
11orgŋ-ea raiŧ-a-l-v-á állá

"the woman who saw the man"
12orgŋ-á raiŧ-a-l-v-á állá

"the woman whom the man saw"
13dorb-á hast-a-l-v-á hadna

"the stone that the hammer broke"


If the head is the patient and higher on the animacy scale (14 and 15), the verb must be passive. Likewise, a head that is the agent but lower on the animacy scale forces the verb into the passive (16 and 17). The case marking on the argument in the dependent clause again is determined by the role of the head: if the head is the patient, the argument is in the ergative, while the head as the agent puts the other argument in the genitive. It bears repeating that the Jáhkarrá passive is not a valency-changing operation but rather in many cases the mirror image of the active, with the thematic core roles of agient and patient simply swapped.

14rargŋ-e naŋŋ-u-l-v-á állá

"the woman who was bitten by the dog"
15hadn-e čoss-u-l-v-á állá

"the woman who was hit by the stone"
16áll-á čoss-u-l-v-á hadna

"the stone that the woman was hit by"
17rargŋ-á čoss-u-l-v-á hadna

"the stone that the dog was hit by"


The verb stem choice in a dependent clause can thus be summarised as follows:

Head
agent
patient
humananimateinanimatehumananimateinanimate
Other argumentagenthuman
-
activeactiveactive
animatepassiveactiveactive
inanimatepassivepassiveactive
patienthumanactivepassivepassive
-
animateactiveactivepassive
inanimateactiveactiveactive


Jáhkarrá makes no distinction between pronouns, proper nouns and humans and considers them all to occupy the same rank. Pronominal agents do not cause passivisation if they appear together with other humans. Neither do they require the passive if, for instance, a first person is the object and a second person the subject:

18Állá čosavvana. The woman hit me.
19Állea čosavvai. I hit the woman.
20Čosavvanan. You hit me.


However, if nonhuman animates and inaninmates are involved, the passive must be used:

21Hadne čosuvanna. I was hit by the stone.
22Rargŋe naŋuvassa. You were bitten by the dog.


The passive must also be used if a third person pronoun refers to a noun lower on the hierarchy and is the agent:

23Hadna ovivvi. Állá čosuvvaha. The stone fell. The woman was hit by it.
24Rargŋá čárivvi álárá. Naŋuvvaha. The dog ran to the woman. She was bitten by it.


The same rules hold in dependent clauses:

25sábalváčai állá the woman that I met (subject 1S suffix)
26sábalváčana állá the woman that met me (object 1S suffix)
27čossalváčan rargŋá the dog that you hit
28naŋŋulváčan rargŋá the dog that you were bitten by
29čossalváča rargŋá the dog that he hit
30naŋŋulváča rargŋá the dog that he was bitten by
31hastalváča čossos the blow that broke it (active, must be inanimate)
32hastulváča čossos the blow that broke him (passive, must be animate)


[top]Distinguishing participants - discourse deixis


The third/fourth person distinction is used to differentiate between third person nouns. If there are only two salient participants to an action, the third person will point to the nominative-marked one. References to the object are picked up by the fourth person.

33Orgŋea állá čosavva. Uimmivivi. The woman hit the man. She screamed.
34Orgŋea állá čosavva. Uimmivivis. The woman hit the man. He screamed.
35Jeaŋŋalea hadna čosavva. Hassovivvi. The statue was hit by the stone.
It (the stone) shattered.
36Jeaŋŋalea hadna čosavva. Hassovivvis. The statue was hit by the stone.
It (the statue) shattered.


In passive sentences the third person refers to the nominative-marked NP as well, with the fourth person assigned to the ergative NP.

37Hadne állá čosuvva. Hassovivvis. The woman was hit by the stone. It shattered.
38Rargŋe állá naŋuvvaha. Burivvi. The woman was bitten by the dog.
She growled.
39Rargŋe állá naŋuvvaha. Burivvis. The woman was bitten by the dog.
It growled.


If there are more participants or salient participants remain from preceding sentences, deictic suffixes are used in conjunction with the person markings. The most common is the distal deictic, which essentially forces the listener to backtrack and search their mental map of participants for likely references. As with ordinary nouns, a third person deictic refers to nouns that last appeared nominative-marked while a fourth person deictic refers to accusative or ergative nouns.

40Állá čossalvá rargŋá bujivvi. Naŋuvvaha orgŋo. Burivvi.
The dog that the woman had hit jumped. It bit the man. He growled. (3rd, man nom.)
41Állá čossalvá rargŋá bujivvi. Naŋuvvaha orgŋo. Burivvis.
The dog that the woman had hit jumped. It bit the man. He growled. (4th, dog erg.)
42Állá čossalvá rargŋá bujivvi. Naŋuvvaha orgŋo. Burivvilu.
The dog that the woman had hit jumped. It bit the man. She growled.
(3.DIST, woman nom.)
43Álle naŋŋulvá rargŋá bujivvi. Naŋuvvaha orgŋo. Burivvisu.
The dog that the woman had hit jumped. It bit the man. She growled.
(4.DIST, woman erg.)
44Állá dárbášalvá leani bujivvi. Čosavva orgŋea. Uimmivivvi.
The boy whom the woman had scolded jumped. He hit the man.
He (the boy) screamed.
45Állá dárbášalvá leani bujivvi. Čosavva orgŋea. Uimmivivvis.
The boy whom the woman had scolded jumped. He hit the man.
He (the man) screamed.
46Állá dárbášalvá leani bujivvi. Čosavva orgŋea. Uimmivivvilu.
The boy whom the woman had scolded jumped. He hit the man.
She screamed.


If a participant is excluded from the nouns that can perform the action, these reference rules may be broken, avoiding the deictic suffix. In such cases the third person frequently references the last mentioned noun while the fourth person may be any preceding one. In the following example, the stone is unable to scream, so the 3rd person is understood to refer to the man and the fourth to the woman:

47Állá stirgeralvá hadna ovivvi. Čosuvvaha orgŋo. Uimmivivi.
The stone that the woman had carved fell. The man was hit by it. He screamed.
48Állá stirgeralvá hadna ovivvi. Čosuvvaha orgŋo. Uimmivivis.
The stone that the woman had carved fell. The man was hit by it. She screamed.



In practice, elaborate backreferences like these are avoided through the use of clause chaining methods. Consider the sentences (5) to (7) above, which can be rewritten as follows:

49Állá dárbášalvá uibmilá leani bujivvi, čossale orgŋea.
The screaming boy whom the woman had scolded jumped, hitting the man.
50Állá dárbášalvá leani bujivvi, čossale uibmilá orgŋea.
The boy whom the woman had scolded jumped, hitting the screaming man.
51Uibmilá állá dárbášalvá leani bujivvi, čossale orgŋea.
The boy whom the screaming woman had scolded jumped, hitting the man.


In the rewritten sentences, the exact order of events is different, portraying the screaming as a concurrent action by the use of present participles. To emphasise the sequentialness, aspect suffixes can be employed, most notably -ird “start to” and the momentane suffix -uj.
A present participle in the illative, indicating a result, also works.

52Állá dárbášalvá leani, čossale orgŋea bujilve, uimirrivvi.
Jumping, hitting the man, the boy whom the woman had scolded started to scream.
53Állá dárbášalvá leani bujivvi, čossale uibmujilá orgŋea.
The boy whom the woman had scolded jumped, hitting the man, who screamed.
54Állá dárbášalvá leani čossale orgŋea bujivvi uimihkaleraiča.
The boy whom the woman had scolded jumped, hitting the man,
resulting in her screaming.


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on 14/12/18 10:36+376Hastricamore explaining on passivey stuff
on 06/12/18 11:07-205Hastricaputting more text into more tables
on 06/12/18 11:02-98Hastricaputting text into tables
on 05/12/18 16:43+4048Hastricatables and formatting, round 1
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