Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nominalized possessive phrases

We can say ka pasĂșo ka kunu "the dog's food," so logically ka ka kunu must be"the dog's one, the dog's," etc. It's kind of weird because essentially ka ka ends up being a compound particle introducing definite possessives, but you can't argue with the sense of it.

Ka ni i iso i taha ka se "mine is bigger than yours." I suppose there could be some minimal word requirements that would give us ka nii, ka sei, etc...maybe. But anyway you get the point.

Note from 2016 as I'm posting this thing I just unearthed: just because ka ka kunu is logical and has to be admissible, that doesn't mean it's the best way to express this in Koa or that there couldn't be other ways. Using asi as a potential candidate, we could do something like ka asi ka kunu "the dog's (one/thing)," ka asi ni i iso i taha ka asi se "my one/thing is bigger than your one/thing" if needed. Actually I don't dislike my original renderings of these at all, but I can see how the embedding could continue ad absurdum and I just wanted to insert some sanity...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Verbal focus with arguments

Okay, check this out: when the verb is the focus, we've had an insoluble issue with how to manage other sentence arguments. For example:

ni ma suo ka sumo
1SG IMPF eat DEF squash
"I'm eating the squash"

becomes, when the verb is in focus, what exactly?

suo sa ni pe ka
eat FOC 1SG REL DEF squash IMPF
"I'm eating the squash" (stranded particle)

ma suo sa ni pe ka sumo?
IMPF eat FOC 1SG REL DEF squash
"I'm eating the squash" (just how much of the VP do I have to front?)

In this case pe becomes effectively a kind of accusative marker (literally "with respect to") for some pretty strange, not-very-Koa-like syntax. Yuck. But, so I just read, Basque (similarly sensitive to topic/focus) accomplishes this by focusing an unconjugated verb, then using a dummy verb in the usual spot with the usual inflection. Here's how that could look in Koa, with ete, possibly set to replace teke for "do":

suo sa ni ma ete
eat FOC 1SG IMPF do
"I'm eating," i.e. "it's eating that I'm doing"

Done: easy, elegant, totally normal-looking Koa. Note: this would logically require that ete suo be an acceptable usage. Maybe some kind of blanching or euphemistic force when not focusing?

Next up: how to handle topic. We've never figured this out.