Alternations of Nen

Alternations
Alternation name Description Examples Verbs
C
y Formed from transitive verbs by:
(a) substituting the person/number-coding U-prefix with an invariant middle prefix
n-/k-/g-
(b) dropping the overt NP coding the P role
(c) placing the NP coding the A role in absolutive case (i.e. treating it as an S)
(d) prefixing the diathetic prefix aw- (~ iw-, ew-, a-, o- etc.) to the verb stem
(e) (optionally) deploying a reflexive/reciprocal pronoun, in the position usually occupied by NPs in P role
Semantics permits either reflexive or reciprocal readings, with reflexive reading in singulars and reciprocal the default reading but reflexive readings also possible in non-singulars.
(3)
Ynd nawapnan.
ynd
1sgABS
n-aw-ap-na-n
M:α-RR-cover-ND:IPF-1sgA
‘I'm about to cover myself.’
20
U
n Optional addition of various kinds of adjuncts, marked with a semantically predictable case.
(220)
Ymam kiámb zéḡ wnan aba ymbate.
ymam
3sgERG
kiámb
pig
zéḡ
rope
wn-an
tree-LOC
aba
RCN
y-mba-t-e
3sgU:α-tie-ND:IPF-3sgA
‘He tied the pig to the tree with a rope.’
1
C
y Simple alternation between middle ambifixing verb and transitive ambifixing verb, without diathetic affix. Coded by
(a) substituing the middle prefix n-/k-/g- for the pronominal undergoer prefix
(b) dropping the erstwhile A argument, and treating the other core argument as an S(A), i.e. represented by a core NP in the absolutive and indexed by the Actor prefix
(5)
Kmboke rkrk ws geym nu(ngama) apst korkorp ym.
kmboke
neck
rkrk
narrow
ws
bottle
geym
FOC
nu-ngama
water-ABL
ø-ap-s-t
M.INF-fill-INF-ALL
korkorp
difficult
y-m
3sgU-be
‘The small-necked bottle is difficult to fill.’
2
U
n Destination marked with allative rather than dative; number of arguments and indexing stays unchanged, and there is no morphological marking on the verb in the form of diathetic prefix alternations.
Semantically the allative stresses that the transferred object reaches its recipient (destination) under the supervision of the subject, whereas the dative allows for the possibility that the transferred object was merely left for the recipient to collect later.
This alternation is available with two types of transfer verb: those in which the recipient is the undergoer, and those in which the theme is undergoer.
(20)
Ymam kiémbngama wngrenze moett.
ymam
3sgERG
kiémb-ngama
truck-ABL
w-ng-renz-e
1sgU:α-AW-carry-ND:IPF:3sgA
moet-t
Morehead-ALL
‘He took me to Morehead in a truck.’
1
U
n Dative NP added, as case-marked NP, but no registration of this on the verb through diathetic prefix, middle morphology or change to indexation. Marginal as an alternation type - could simply be treated as the predictable addition of a dative adjunct. Case may be DAT1 or DAT2 - not yet clear what the difference is, but it is subtle and I provisionally lump these two alternations together.
(130)
Är togam mlegeita marirmarir angan aba yramte.
är
person
tog-am
child-ERG
mleg-eita
girl-DAT1
marirmarir
love.song
angan
song
aba
RCN
y-ram-te
3sgU:α-make-ND:IPF:3sgA
‘The boy sang a love song for the girl.’
3
C
y Some three-place verbs (e.g. wayabs 'show') allow alternative frames: in the more basic construction it is the theme which is indexed on the verb; in the derived one it is the recipient. Case choice in flagging remains unchanged. The diathetic prefi (w)a- is added in the dervied recipient-agreement construction. Unlike other diathetic prefixes, this is not always present in infinitives (though it is in some, such as in the alternation tembs 'feed', watembs 'feed up for, fatten up for' (e.g. a pig to be given as a gift).
(33)
Yna äräm ag sombes yawayabae.
yna
DEM
är-äm
man-ERG
ag
coconut
sombes
two
ya-wa-yab-ae
3nsgU:α-BEN-show-3A\duU:PF:PST.PF
‘That man showed (him) two coconuts.’
4
C
y Denotes activities that occur as a result of internal impetus rather than outside influence. Verb root takes e-ä, a,o as diathetic prefix; argument frame reduced from A:P to S, and middle verb morphology employed.
(48)
Yna yéb nedrernda.
yna
DEM
yéb
bag
n-e-drer-nda
M:α-DA-tear-ND:PST.PF:3sgA
‘This bag tore.’
5
C
y 'For one's own benefit'. Verb takes u- diathetic prefix and middle morphology.
Looks like the
u disappears in the future (Ta parwae pip bende dñpangn. (*duñpangn) I’ll cut your meat for myself.) but kept in imperative (Ê, tande parwae pip be kuñpa! Yes, cut yourself a piece of my meat.)
(193)
Yna powa Aesek kr modowa noyabte.
yna
DEM
powa
after
Aesek
Isaac
kr
dead
modowa
bandicoot
n-o-yab-te
M:α-AB-show-ND:IPF:3sgA
‘After that, Isaac is showing off the dead bandicoot.’
8
U
n This simply involves leaving out the agent as a NP, but verb agreement is left unchanged. Currently weakly identified as a construction, since could also be treated as just argument ellipsis.
(62)
Ynd padaran wgmenda.
ynd
1sgABS
padar-an
shoulder-LOC
w-gme-nda
1sgU:α-hit-ND:PST.PF:3sgA
‘I got hit on the shoulder.’
1
C
y Used for expressing reciprocals of bivalent adjectival predicates like mete 'know'. Instead of the ABS ABS Adj BE frame, the 'be' verb is placed in a number appropriate to the conjoined arguments, and the second ABS argument replaced by the RR pronoun.
(80)
Yna är sombes bä ybenzos mete yären.
yna
DEM
är
man
sombes
two
3ABS
ybenzos
3nsgRR
mete
know
yä-ren
3nsg:α-be:DU
‘Those two men know each other.’
1
U
n An absolutive NP is added, as goal, patient or theme, to a middle verb, resulting in a double-absolutive case frame. No marking on verb.
(98)
Grmbo diya ele aba närte sermban.
Grmbo
Grmbo(ABS)
diya
deer(ABS)
ele
hunting
aba
RCN
n-är-te
M:α-hunt-ND:B.IPF.3sgA
sermb-an
night-LOC
‘Grmbo went hunting for a deer in the night.’
1
C
y Middle verbal morphology substituted for transitive; P NP suppressed.
(104)
Bä powangama nowaete.
3ABS
powa-ngama
behind-ABL
n-o-wae-t-e
M:α-DI-follow-ND:B.IPF-3sgA
‘He is following behind.’
1
C
y Involves substituting transitive prefixes (and case frame) for basic middle set, without any other verbal marking (i.e. no diathetic prefix). Decision on which is basic is hard to give watertight arguments for, but in the case of e.g. armbs / warmbs there is an enormous difference in frequency, in favour of the middle form. However, it would still be possible to argue for another anlaysis in which the transitive form is basic, and the middle form is derived by the middle alternation.
[But note if one adds
wazrs 'pour' as an example - the only 'middle' alternation - then causatives can be defined as those where no diathetic prefix is involved, whereas those with a diathetic prefix always go the other way i.e. reduce valency by prefix
(121)
Äräm toge tarmbte lädawama kitara tqt.
är-äm
man-ERG
toge
child(ABS)
t-armb-te
3sgU:β-ascend-ND:IPF:3sgA
läda-wama
ladder-COM
kitara
platform
tq-t
high-ALL
‘The man took the child up the ladder onto the balcony.’
6
C
y One part of the three-way alternation in which all positionals participate: the basic form means 'be in position X' (this has no infinitive, just a root, and is morphosyntactically a prefixing verb taking a special stative suffix), and the derived verb of (causative) placement is a transitive verb meaning 'to put in position X'.
In general the infinitive of placement verbs is based directly on the positional root; their finite forms take an undergoer prefix and an actor suffix.
(168)
Bä kmangret äkmst nopapnda.
3sgABS
kmangre-t
sleep-ALL
ä-km-s-t
RR-lie-NLZR-ALL
n-opap-nda
M:α-begin-ND:PF:3sgA
‘He's about to go to sleep.’
1
C
y This derives middle verbs with the meaning 'assume position X' from positionals meaning '(be in position) X'. Infinitives are generally formed by adding a diathetic prefix to the positional root. Argument structure of assume.positionals is one-place, just like the base positional, but the morphology of the verb is middle rather than intransitive, and it draws on a set of perfective inflections rather than the stative set used in positionals.
(167)
Zimindi nnemne nne ämbs prta ykmangr yna sarnnḡ kunzn.
Zimi-ndi
Jimmy-GEN
nne-mne
eat-ORIG
nne
yam
ämbs
one
prta
36
y-kma-ngr
3sgU:α-lie-ND:STAT
yna
DEM
sarnḡ
yam_house
kunz-n
inside-LOC
‘Here are 36 of Jimmy's eating yams inside the yam house.’
2
C
y Like the middle alternation, this involves the substitution of middle morphology on the verb for transitive morphology, and the coding of the agent by absolutive rather than ergative case. However, unlike it the undergoer remains in place, as a second absolutive argument.
(41)
Ynd boraro ke neretan.
ynd
1sgABS
boraro
bamboo.flute
ke
sound
n-ere-ta-n
M:α-hear-ND:IPF-1sgA
‘I can hear the sound of a bamboo flute.’
2
U
n So far exemplified just with wapls 'load, fill': alternates between A:erg P:abs G:loc U[P].V.A[A] frame, with verb in imperfective, and A:erg G:abs U[G].V.A[A] frame.
(190)
Ymabem gowa sikma pip yapndt kstemne gowa noletnda.
ymabem
3nsgERG
gowa
canoe(ABS)
sikma_pip
too.much
y-ap-nd-t
3sgU:α-fill-ND:PF-3nsgA
kste-mne
heavy-ORIG
gowa
canoe
n-olet-nda
M:α-sink-ND:PST.PF.3sgA
‘They filled the canoe completely to overflowing.’
1