Ithkuil: A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language


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5a Verb Morphology
9 Syntax
Introduction
5b Verb Morphology (continued)
10 Lexico-Semantics
1 Phonology
6 More Verb Morphology
11 The Script
  2 Morpho-Phonology  7a Using Affixes 12 The Number System
   3 Basic Morphology 7b Using Affixes (continued) The Lexicon
  4 Case Morphology   8 Adjuncts

 

Chapter 5: Verb Morphology

5.1 Illocution
5.2 Valence
5.3 Version
5.4 Conflation, Derivation and Format
Chapter 5 Continued: Sections 5.5 through 5.7

The Ithkuil verbal formative (termed “verb” in this chapter for simplicity’s sake) is the workhorse of the language, inflecting for twenty-two different morphological categories. These include the eight categories shared by all formatives and already discussed in Chapter 3: Configuration, Affiliation, Perspective, Extension, Focus, Essence, Context, and Designation. Additionally the following fourteen categories apply solely to verbs: Illocution, Valence, Version, Conflation/Derivation, Format, Modality, Level, Case-Frame, Validation, Phase, Sanction, Aspect, Mood, and Bias. The verb can also theoretically take any number of the over 1300 affixes available to formatives. Such affixes are analyzed in Chapter 7.

The full structure of a Ithkuil verbal formative is tripartite, i.e., having three distinct words, these being an aspectual adjunct, a conflation (or valence) adjunct, and the verb itself. In simple sentences, either or both of the two adjuncts may be missing. The following extreme example of a fully inflected Ithkuil verb illustrates all 22 morphological components of the tripartite structure:

 
____
______Listen!

A highly stilted but approximate English translation of the above, capturing as many of the nuances of the Ithkuil phrase as possible, would be: ‘…despite apparently being on the verge, contrary to the allegation, of just so happening to want to succeed in vowing to maybe return periodically to the honorable practice of superlative architecture for others to follow by example

In this chapter we will examine eight of the 14 morphological categories particular to verbal formatives. The six categories specific to aspectual adjuncts will be described in Chapter 6.

 

5.1 ILLOCUTION

Illocution refers to what in linguistics is usually termed types of speech acts, i.e., the general purpose of a statement such as whether it is an assertion, a command, a declaratory pronouncement, a question, a warning, etc. This is a category which is not generally marked within Western languages in any consistent grammatical sense, the nearest equivalent grammatical category usually being Mood. In Ithkuil, Mood (which will be discussed in Chapter 6) functions in a much narrower grammatical range than in Western languages. When the moods of Western language actually relate to types of speech acts, the equivalent function in Ithkuil is shown by the category of Illocution.

There are seven illocutions in Ithkuil: ASSERTIVE, DIRECTIVE, COMMISSIVE, EXPRESSIVE, DECLARATIVE, INTERROGATIVE and ADMONITIVE. They distinguish the type of speech act being performed by the speaker, with a specific focus on the type of commitment being made on the part of either the speaker or the hearer to the truth or purpose of the utterance. They are marked by a consonantal affix to the verb which immediately follows the Affiliation/Extension/Conflation prefix (see Section 5.4.1) and precedes the C1 radical consonant. The illocutions and their prefixes are described below.

 

5.1.1
ASR
The Assertive

The ASSERTIVE illocution is unmarked by any affix. The ASSERTIVE is used to express propositions which purport to describe or name some act, event, or state in the real world, with the purpose of committing the hearer to the truth of the proposition. Thus, an utterance in the ASSERTIVE illocution is one that can be believed or disbelieved, and is either true or false. Such utterances would include general statements, descriptions, and explanations.

 

5.1.2
DIR
The Directive

The DIRECTIVE illocution is marked by the affix -- (i.e., the glottal stop). For stems whose C1 radical is a single stop or affricate consonant (i.e., plus corresponding ejectives or aspirates) in mutational grades 1 through 8, this illocution is shown by gemination of the initial consonant of C1 consonantal form rather than by a glottal stop (e.g., aqqwet, not a’qwet). The DIRECTIVE illocution is for the purpose of committing the hearer to undertake a course of action represented by the proposition, where the proposition describes a mental wish, desire, or intention on the part of the speaker. Thus, an utterance in the DIRECTIVE is one that is neither true nor false because it is not describing something that purports to exist in the real world; rather, it describes an act or situation which can potentially be made real, i.e., that can be fulfilled or carried out. Such utterances include commands, orders, and requests and would generally be marked in Western languages by either the imperative, optative, or subjunctive moods. The commitment on the part of the hearer is not belief or disbelief, but rather whether to obey, comply with, or grant.

5.1.3
CMV
The Commissive

The COMMISSIVE illocution is marked by the affix -n- (with alternative affixes -m- or -- where euphonically appropriate). Preceding a C1 form beginning with -n-, -r-, or --, the affix -m- is used. The COMMISSIVE illocution is similar to the DIRECTIVE above, except that the listener and the speaker are the same person, i.e., the statement is a wish or command directed at oneself as in a promise, vow, pledge, oath, contract, or guarantee.

 

5.1.4
EXP
The Expressive

The EXPRESSIVE illocution is marked by the affix -f-, with alternate forms -- or -z- where euphonically appropriate or where necessary to avoid confusion with a geminated C1 form (i.e., azvar and afar rather than afvar and affar). The EXPRESSIVE is used for various types of specialized utterances where the truth-value of the proposition is taken for granted and the commitment imposed upon the hearer is one of acceptance or non-acceptance. Such utterances include welcomes, offers, congratulations, condolences, and apologies.

 

5.1.5
DEC
The Declarative

The DECLARATIVE illocution is marked by the affix -ç- with alternate forms -p-, -t- or -k- where euphonically appropriate and/or to avoid confusion with a geminated C1 consonantal form. The DECLARATIVE is used for utterances whose purpose is to themselves effect a change upon the real world, based upon convention, cultural rules, law, subjective authority, or personal authority or control of a situation. The commitment imposed upon the hearer is one of recognition or non-recognition. Such utterances include declarations, announcements, proclamations, and various “performative” expressions. Certain languages mark this function of a verb using a mood known as hortative. Examples would be: I dub thee “Clown Master”!, The king will hear all grievances at noon each day, This court is now in session, We hereby declare this treaty null and void!

 

5.1.6
IRG
The Interrogative

The INTERROGATIVE illocution is marked by the affix -r- with alternate form -n- used where euphonically appropriate and/or to avoid confusion with a geminated C1 consonantal form. The INTERROGATIVE is used for utterances corresponding to questions in other languages. Questions, as such, do not exist in Ithkuil. All inquiries and interrogatives are treated as a type of directive in which the speaker tells the addressee to validate the truth of an assertion or provide missing information specified by an interrogative affix to a formative, i.e., when using the INTERROGATIVE, one is not asking Would you like to dance with me? Rather, one is expressing what can only be translated either a specialized command (State whether) you will dance with me or a specialized assertion (I inquire whether) you will dance with me. One does not say What’s your name?, but rather Tell me your name.

Indeed, Ithkuil has no words corresponding to the English words ‘question’ or ‘ask,’ the nearest equivalents being derived from the words for ‘investigation’ and ‘determine.’ Consequently, there is no question mark used at the end of the sentence, nor does the pitch of the voice rise as is usual with Western languages when asking questions. The commitment on the part of the listener in regard to the INTERROGATIVE is one of compliance or non-compliance in divulging the information sought, and the truth value of the utterance is neutral pending the reply.

 

5.1.7
ADM
The Admonitive

The ADMONITIVE illocution is marked by the affix -l- with alternate forms -- or -- used where euphonically appropriate and/or to avoid confusion with a geminated C1 consonantal form. The ADMONITIVE is used for admonitions and warnings, corresponding to English phrases such as ‘(I) caution you lest…,’ ‘(I) warn you against…,’ or ‘Be careful not to….’ The utterance is neither true nor false because it describes only a potential act or situation which may occur unless avoided. The commitment on the part of the hearer is to assess the degree of likelihood of the potentiality, followed by a choice whether to heed or ignore/defy the utterance.


5.1.8 Examples of Illocution in Use


___Listen!

 

5.2 VALENCE

In Ithkuil, the term Valence is used to refer to the manner of participation of two separate entities or parties to any given verb, i.e., participation by one party automatically implies participation by another party to the same act, event, or state in either a parallel, corollary, or complementary fashion. Such dual participation occurs naturally in the verbs of world languages and is the province of what is known as “co-active” verbs. While all languages implicitly have co-active verbs, Ithkuil explicitly shows this dual participation in a formal and systematic way. To illustrate the concept of co-activity in English compare the following pairs of sentences:

1a) I found an old man. 1b) I found an empty can.
2a) I threw the ball at Sam. 2b) I threw the ball at the window.
3a) I performed in front of her. 3b) I performed in front of the wall.

Note that the first member of each sentence pair has an animate object of the verb (an old man, Sam, and her), while the second member of each pair has an inanimate object (an empty can, the window, and the wall). Now compare this set of sentence pairs to the similar set below:

1c) I met an old man. 1d) * I met an empty can.
2c) I threw Sam the ball. 2d) * I threw the window the ball.
3c) I entertained her. 3d) * I entertained the wall.

The asterisk * indicates that the second sentence of these pairs is semantically unacceptable to English speakers. Why?

The second set of sentence pairs parallel the first set except that the verbs find, throw at, and perform have been replaced by the semantically similar meet, throw, and entertain. Nevertheless, the use of inanimate objects with these latter three verbs appears unacceptable. The reason is that the verbs in the first set are “mono-active,” i.e., they do not require that the object participate in the action in any way, whereas the verbs in the second set are “co-active,” requiring that the object participate in the action along with the subject. Thus, while I can find an old man without the old man doing anything about it or even being aware of it, I cannot meet an old man without the old man also meeting me. I can throw a ball at Sam without Sam noticing, but if I throw Sam a ball it implies that he is expected to participate by catching it. Similarly, I can perform in front of someone even if they’re asleep, but I can’t entertain them unless they are participating in the situation by observing me.

The participatory relationship involving the second party of a co-active verb differs depending on the context. It can be a parallel relationship (i.e., both parties participate identically) as implied by the English adverb ‘together’ in He and I jog together, or a reciprocal relationship as in the sentence I met the old man (i.e., and so he met me) or in verbs used with the adverbial phrase ‘each other,’ as in We love each other. The relationship can be one of accompaniment as in I played along with him (e.g., as he sang), or a complementary relationship as in I threw Sam the ball (i.e., and so he caught it).

Other sorts of co-active relationships are possible. It is the differences in these relationships that are systematized in Ithkuil into the category called valence. In English and other languages co-activity is rarely explicit and systematic (the use of adverbs such as ‘together,’ ‘each other,’ or prefixes such as ‘out-’ as in out-perform are some exceptions), and when lexified within a verb itself, are implicitly specific to that verb, giving rise to monoactive/co-active pairs such as find/meet, throw at/throw, perform/entertain, etc.

In Ithkuil, co-activity is explicitly shown morphologically, and the types of co-active relationships, i.e., the valences of the verb, are systematic and fully productive for all verbs. As a result, no mono-active versus co-active lexical distinctions are necessary, i.e., all verbs can function monoactively as well as co-actively.

There are fourteen valences in Ithkuil: the MONOACTIVE, PARALLEL, COROLLARY, RECIPROCAL, COMPLEMENTARY, NONRELATIONAL, DUPLICATIVE, DEMONSTRATIVE, RESISTIVE, IMITATIVE, CONTINGENT, PARTICIPATIVE, INDICATIVE, and MUTUAL. Valence is shown by the initial vocalic affix to a type of adjunct known as either a valence adjunct or a conflational adjunct, depending on whether the verb manifests a derivative conflation (explained later in Sec. 5.4). For now we will concentrate solely on the valence adjunct form. Thirteen of these fourteen vocalic prefixes signify co-active relationships while the first constitutes a neutral valence corresponding to monoactivity. The initial prefix also indicates the additional morphological category of Version, a separate morphological category described later in Section 5.3.

The form of a valence adjunct is Vv + , where Vv is the vocalic prefix signifying the valence and version of the verb. These prefixes are shown below in Table 12. Following the table are explanations of each valence. It should be noted that placement of a glottal stop infix -- between the Vv prefix and assigns positive focus +FC to the main verb.


Table 12: Valence / Version* Prefixes


* see Section 5.3 below for an explanation of Version


The fourteen valences are explained as follows:

5.2.1
MNO
The Monoactive

The MONOACTIVE valence is the default valence and indicates a lack of co-activity, i.e., no participation by a second party is implied.

 

5.2.2
PRL
The Parallel

The PARALLEL valence indicates that a second party is engaging in the same activity as the first party at same time. It would be used in translating sentences such as The children all sang together, We both went jogging on the parkway.

 

5.2.3
CRO
The Corollary

The COROLLARY valence is similar to the PARALLEL, except that the second party engages in related activity at the same time as the first party, rather than the same activity. It would be used in translating sentences such as The children played in the yard (i.e., each child engaged in a different play activity) or The band played my favorite song (implying that not everyone in the band was playing the same instrument, or perhaps that someone in the band sang as opposed to playing an instrument).

 

5.2.4
RCP
The Reciprocal

The RECIPROCAL valence indicates identical activity by each party directed at the other, thus translating the English adverbial phrases ‘each other’ and ‘one another,’ as in They looked at each other, The clown and the grocer despise one another.

 

5.2.5
CPL
The Complementary

The COMPLEMENTARY valence indicates that the second party performs a complementary activity to that of the first party. By “complementary” is meant an activity different from that of the first party, but necessary to complete the whole of the joint activity, i.e., the “other half” of the joint activity. This is exemplified in sentences such as The man and his son played catch, Hortense took me into the woods, The clown read the children a story, where ‘played catch’ implies the complementary activities of throwing and catching, ‘took (into the woods)’ implies someone leading while the other follows, and ‘read’ implies a reader and an audience.

5.2.6
NNR
The Nonrelational

The NONRELATIONAL valence indicates that a second party engages in a completely unrelated activity from the first, i.e., an incidental or circumstantial co-activity. There is no direct way to exemplify this valence in English translation other than to add a periphrastic clause such as ‘while the other did something else’ as in He shaved while she did something else. The way an Ithkuil sentence would utilize this valence would be in sentences overtly constructed to say, for example, ‘They were in the house’ with the NONRELATIONAL valence rendering a connotation of ‘…where one party was doing one thing while the other did something else.’

 

5.2.7
DUP
The Duplicative

The DUPLICATIVE valence indicates that the second party copies or repeats the activity of the first party, as in the sentences Let’s draw a picture (i.e., I’ll draw it first, then you draw the same picture), They both read that book (i.e., first one, then the other), I bought a new car (i.e., and now someone else is buying a new car, too).

 

5.2.8
DEM
The Demonstrative

The DEMONSTRATIVE valence indicates that the first party demonstrates for the second party how to do something or what to do. Thus an Ithkuil sentence constructed as We played chess with the verb in the DEMONSTRATIVE valence would mean ‘I showed her how to play chess,’ while the sentence constructed as They fought us in this valence would mean ‘They taught us how to fight.’

 

5.2.9
RES
The Resistive

The RESISTIVE valence indicates that the second party resists or attempts to avoid participating in the activity of the first party. This sense can sometimes be suggested in English using the adverbs ‘anyway,’ ‘nevertheless,’ or adverbial phrases such as ‘just the same,’ as in sentences such as We took the children to see the clowns anyway (i.e., they didn’t want to go), They fed me liver just the same (i.e., I can’t stand liver), Nevertheless, he told us the story (i.e., despite our not wanting to hear it).

 

5.2.10
IMT
The Imitative

The IMITATIVE valence indicates that the second party mimics, imitates, or attempts to duplicate the activity of the first party. The Ithkuil sentence The clown juggled three balls for the child in the IMITATIVE valence implies that the child attempted to juggle the balls as well.

 

5.2.11
CNG
The Contingent

The CONTINGENT valence indicates that the second party engages in the next or dependent phase of a multi-part activity, the specific activity being dependent on context. Thus the Ithkuil sentence I started the campfire for my friend in the CONTINGENT implies that the friend then performed the next logical step, i.e., he cooked the food.

 

5.2.12
PTI
The Participative

The PARTICIPATIVE valence indicates that the parties take part in an activity involving a greater whole, translatable by the English phrase ‘take part in.…’ Thus, the Ithkuil sentence They raced in the PARTICIPATIVE means ‘They each took part in the race.’

 

5.2.13
IDC
The Indicative

The INDICATIVE valence indicates that the second party perceives a cue, nuance, or implication from the first party’s activity. Thus the sentence I looked at her in the INDICATIVE would mean ‘She understood what I meant from my looking at her’ while the sentence I spoke to them would mean ‘They gleaned what I really meant from my words.’

 

5.2.14
MUT
The Mutual

The MUTUAL valence indicates that both parties alternate performing an activity, as in She and I take turns cleaning or They both alternate teaching the beginning and advanced classes.


5.2.15 Examples of Valence in Use


Listen!

 

5.3 VERSION

Version refers to a six-way aspectual distinction indicating whether the verb refers to an act, event or state which is goal- or result-oriented, and/or whether it has been successfully actualized subsequent to one’s initial intention. Like many Ithkuil morphological categories, version addresses semantic distinctions which are usually rendered by lexical differentiation (i.e., word choice) in other languages.

Version is shown by one of six forms of the vocalic valence prefix to a conflational adjunct as previously discussed and shown in Sec. 5.2, Table 12). The six versions are PROCESSUAL, COMPLETIVE, INEFFECTUAL, INCOMPLETIVE, POSITIVE and EFFECTIVE. They are explained below.

 

5.3.1
PRC
The Processual

The PROCESSUAL describes all acts, conditions, or events which are ends in themselves and not goal-oriented, i.e., are not focused on an anticipated outcome or final purpose toward which a progressive effort is being made. It is the default or neutral version and is shown by the first form of the valence prefix (as shown in Table 12) or, where there is no conflational or valence adjunct, is unmarked.

 

5.3.2
CPT
The Completive

The COMPLETIVE describes acts, conditions, or events which achieve, or are intended to achieve, an anticipated outcome, i.e., which are oriented toward the achievement of some purpose, outcome, or final state. Such a distinction is usually handled by word choice in Western languages. The dynamism of version can be seen in the following comparisons:

PROCESSUAL COMPLETIVE

hunt to hunt down
to be losing to lose
to study to learn
to be winning to win
to strive for to accomplish, achieve
to risk to defeat the odds; win
to work to build, construct, make
to displace; infiltrate infest, to take over; vanquish
to pour out to drain
to remove (incrementally) to eliminate
to increase to maximize
to read to read to the end; finish reading
to decrease minimize
to flank to surround
to enlarge to make gigantic
to spread upon or over to cover, engulf, envelop
to shrink miniaturize
to chase to catch up to
to eat eat all up
to pursue to capture
to compete to win
to be pregnant to give birth
to throw at to hit (with a throw)
to run low on to run out of, deplete
to grow to grow up
to use use up
to possess, hold to keep
to tear/ rip to tear/rip up or to pieces
to join together to unify
to accelerate, speed up to achieve maximum speed
to pour into to fill (up)
to bleed to bleed to death
to run to run all the way
to descend, go down to get to the bottom
to brighten to illuminate
to decelerate, slow down to stop
to search for, seek to find
to polish to burnish
to practice to perfect
to darken to make dark
to ascend, rise to reach the top
to explore to discover


5.3.3
INE
The Ineffectual

This version, the INEFFECTUAL, and the next, the INCOMPLETIVE, operate in parallel fashion to the PROCESSUAL and the COMPLETIVE versions respectively but are specific to acts, events, or states initially expressed (whether explicitly or implicitly) as unrealized intentions, attempts, desires, needs, etc., often in conjunction with a modality affix to the verb (see Sec. 5.5). Such “unrealized” verbs are exemplified in the following sentences: I want to dance, She needs to work, I tried to finish, She must find him, I choose to celebrate. Each of these sentences in itself does not specify whether the action was “realized” or not, i.e., just because I want to dance doesn’t necessarily mean that I actually do dance; her need to work doesn’t tell us by itself whether she in fact will work, etc.

The INEFFECTUAL version indicates that the outcome of an “unrealized” PROCESSUAL verb is unsuccessful. Thus the sentence I want to dance in the INEFFECTUAL would be translated as I want to dance but I’m not going to, while the sentence I tried to eat in the INEFFECTUAL means I tried to eat but couldn’t.

 

5.3.4
INC
The Incompletive

The INCOMPLETIVE version indicates that the outcome of an “unrealized” COMPLETIVE verb is unsuccessful. It functions identically to the INEFFECTUAL, except that it refers to a verb that is result/goal-oriented, as illustrated in the comparative chart shown above for the COMPLETIVE version. Thus, the sentence I tried to eat in the INCOMPLETIVE means I tried to eat all of it but couldn’t.

 

5.3.5
PST
The Positive

Complementing the INEFFECTUAL, the POSITIVE version indicates an intention brought to reality. Thus the sentence I want to dance in the POSITIVE would be translated as I want to dance and so I’m going to, while the sentence I tried to eat in the POSITIVE means I succeeded in eating something.

 

5.3.6
EFC
The Effective

Likewise, the EFFECTIVE version complements the INCOMPLETIVE, indicating the same successful effort implied by the POSITIVE version, only applied to goal-/result-oriented verbs. Thus I wanted to finish in the EFFECTIVE implies that the desire was successfully carried out; I tried to eat in the EFFECTIVE means I succeeded in eating it all up.


5.3.7 Examples of Version in Use


Listen!

 

5.4 CONFLATION, DERIVATION AND FORMAT

Many languages, including English, are able to combine two separate meanings into a single verb, a process termed conflation. This is illustrated in the following English sentences:

1. He bicycled south. = He traveled south by bicycle.
2. She dolled herself up. = She made herself look as pretty as a doll.
3. They’re shelving the books. = They’re putting the books on the shelf/shelves.
4. Slide me a beer. = Give me a beer by sliding it (e.g., along the bar).

The above sentences show four verbs which respectively carry inherent senses of vector movement, transformation, positioning/placement, and giving. The patterning of such “conflated” verbs is usually random and haphazard in any given language. For example, the English to bicycle in sentence (1) means ‘to travel by means of bicycle,’ not ‘to make a bicycle’ or ‘to be a bicycle.’ On the other hand, the verb to doll up does not mean to ‘travel by doll,’ but rather ‘to make appear like a doll.’ Yet, to shelve means ‘to place on a shelf,’ not ‘to travel by means of shelves’ or ‘to make appear like a shelf.’ And none of the verbs in the first three sentences connotes the idea of giving or conveyance as does slide in sentence (4).

As can be seen, verb conflation is essentially a “short-cut” way of combining an unspoken primary verbal sense (such as movement, transformation, placement, giving, etc.) with an overtly expressed verb that conveys a secondary sense such as means, manner, or location. This can be formally notated for our four sentences above as follows:

He [1: (TRAVEL+past tense) south] [2: (BY-MEANS-OF) bicycle]
= He bicycled south.

She [1: (CAUSE-TO-RESEMBLE+past tense+reflexive)] [2: (IN-THE-MANNER-OF) doll]
= She dolled herself up.

They [1: (PUT+progressive) the books] [2: (TO-LOCATION-OF) shelves]
= They’re shelving the books.

[1: (GIVE+imperative)] a beer [2: (BY-MEANS-OF) sliding] to me
= Slide me a beer.

Note that the particular unspoken covert and overt senses (shown by the numerals 1 and 2 in the above analyses) are specific to any given verb and must be subjectively learned by the listener, i.e., a speaker of English must learn that to hand means to GIVE by MEANS of one’s hand, but to shoulder does not mean to GIVE by MEANS of one’s shoulder.

Thus, while conflation of verbs presents a potential opportunity for instantiating verbs with patterns of overt and covert meaning, the lack of systemization prevents one from knowing with certainty what pattern to use when attempting to interpret the usage of a verb form. For example, imagine an English speaker using a new verb form such as ‘to apple,’ as in Let’s ‘apple’ today. Would this mean to pick apples?, to eat apples?, to plant apples?, to bake apples?, to buy apples?, to turn something into an apple?, to wear apple-related clothing? Without a standardized system of conflation, the meaning of such a form could only be learned from hearing others using it in context.

Ithkuil systemizes verb conflation into a complex, productive scheme, in which a verb can convey any of eight covert senses, called formats, which can then conflate with seven primary overt senses and 245 derivative overt senses to theoretically yield 2016 possible semantic combinations. In this manner the Ithkuil verb corresponding to English to shelve, can by systematic conflation be made to indicate meanings as diverse as:


to build shelves
to be a shelf
to make straight as a shelf
to remain a shelf
to seem like a shelf
to support on a shelf
to compare shelves
to reserve a shelf
to convey with a shelf
to make as long as a shelf
to cover with shelves
to arrange on shelves
to place on a shelf
to hurt someone with a shelf
to push using a shelf
to exchange for a shelf

Note, however, that being completely systematic for all verbs, the Ithkuil conflation system generates forms which, for any particular verb, will often be semantically questionable, even anomalous, e.g., to travel by shelf, to taste of shelves, to make as warm as a shelf, to spend time as a shelf, etc. (The fact that such semantically anomalous forms are morphologically permissible presents no problem from a logical perspective and is inherent in human language, as exemplified in English by morphologically permissible but semantically anomalous forms such as ‘re-laugh’ or ‘co-beer.’)

The specifics of primary conflation, format, and derivative conflation are detailed in the following sections.

 

5.4.1 (Primary) Conflation

Primary Conflation, which we will hereafter simply termed Conflation, refers to seven overt senses with which the main verb conflates. These conflations are shown in conjunction with Affiliation and Extension by a vocalic prefix to the main verb. We previously encountered these prefixes for nouns in Table 11 of Sec 3.4. Here, these prefixes are expanded to include the seven primary conflations. The senses of the seven conflations are explained in Table 13 below, while the prefixes themselves are shown in Table 14.


Table 13: Conflations

LABEL
CONFLATION
MEANING
OPR
OPERATIVE To perform the action of X; to do what X does; to carry out X’s function
STA
STATIVE Stative manifestation, i.e. to be in a (temporary) state; does NOT mean “be” in the sense of copula identification as in “I am John”
MNF
MANIFESTIVE To manifest or be identified as a specific entity; this is the nearest equivalent to the “be” copula of identification in Western languages
DSP
DESCRIPTIVE Descriptive manifestation, i.e., to appear or manifest in the manner of; this sense is the nearest Ithkuil equivalent to English adjectives
ATV
ACTIVE Either action or motion in situ, i.e., action performed or movement in place (as in shaking, spinning, wagging, jumping, etc.)
PSN
POSITIONAL Position or location, i.e. to be situated in a location/position in space
ICH
INCHOATIVE Transformation from one state to another or formation of an identity



Table 14: Conflation Prefixes by Extension & Affiliation


* This a- prefix is optional if the nominal versus verbal status of the formative can be determined from other morphological elements or if the meaning of the phrase or sentence is clear regardless of knowing the formative's nominal or verbal status.

5.4.2 Format

As described above, any conflated verb carries both an overt sense and a covert sense. The covert sense constitutes the format of the verb. Format is shown by variation in the - suffix to a valence adjunct, as previously described in Sec. 5.2. The eight formats are explained in Table 15 below along with their respective suffixes to a valence adjunct.

The astute reader may have noted in Table 14 above that the prefixes for the OPERATIVE conflation are the same as the default (i.e., “conflation-less”) Extension/Affiliation prefixes for nouns previously shown in Table 11 of Sec. 3.4. One may ask, then, how one knows whether or not these particular prefixes are meant to show OPERATIVE conflation on a formative. The answer is that, in the absence of one of the formats below, the prefixes do not indicate such conflation.


Table 15: Format Suffixes to Valence/Version Adjuncts

LABEL
FORMAT
SUFFIX
EXPLANATION (COVERT SENSE OF VERB)
SCH
SCHEMATIC
-
Indicates that the verb specifies the manner of the conflated primary sense, e.g., I’m speeding through the book = reading speedily; Clouds blanketed the city = cover like a blanket
ISR
INSTRUMENT-ATIVE
-
Indicates the means, cause, or instrument of causation of the conflated primary sense, e.g., I clubbed him = I hit him with a club; She drove him there = She transported him there by driving
ATH
AUTHORITIVE
-
Indicates that the verb specifies the indirect/enabling cause or circumstance which gives rise to the conflated primary sense, e.g., He sang her cares away = his singing allowed her to forget her cares
PRC
PRECURRENT
-
Indicates that the verb specifies an initial event immediately preceding or continuing on into the conflated sense, where the overt sense is not the cause of the conflated sense, i.e., the conflated sense would have occurred anyway, e.g., I bought some lunch (conflated sense: EAT)
RSL
RESULTATIVE
-
Indicates that the verb specifies the concurrent result of the conflated sense, i.e., an event which occurs in conjunction with the conflated sense but is also caused by it, e.g., The plane crashed into the water (conflated sense: FLY)
SBQ
SUBSEQUENT
-
Indicates that the verb specifies the subsequent cause-and-effect result or purpose (not the concurrent result) of the conflated sense, e.g., I’ll look in on the stew (conflated sense: GO [to kitchen])
CCM
CONCOMITTANT
-
Indicates that the verb specifies an incidental simultaneous event having no causal relationship, e.g., She wore jeans to church (conflated sense: GO); He sweated through her recital (Conflated sense: LISTEN)
OBJ
OBJECTIVE
-
Indicates that the verb specifies the Patient (see Sec. 4.1.1) of the underlying conflated sense, e.g., She dusted the table (conflated sense: REMOVE); They fish that river each spring (conflated sense: GATHER/COLLECT)



5.4.3 Derivation and Conflation Adjuncts

In addition to the seven primary conflations signified by vocalic prefix to the verb, there are 245 additional overt conflation senses which utilize the same seven verbal prefix patterns in conjunction with an additional conflation adjunct preceding the verb. Because these 245 conflations are derived by adding a special adjunct to the verb along with the same verb prefixes of the seven primary conflations, they are called derivations, to distinguish them from the seven conflations. Note that when a derivation is present (evidenced by a conflation adjunct), it is the derivation that determines the conflative meaning of the verb, not the conflation shown by the main verb.

The conflation adjunct used with these derivations is the same adjunct as the valence adjunct already analyzed in Section 5.2. By adding an additional consonantal prefix and the consonantal format suffix from Sec. 5.4.2 above, we generate the following formula:

CN + VV + CK, where:

VV = A vocalic prefix signifying the valence and version of the verb, as previously described in Sections 5.2 and 5.3 above and shown in Table 12. In its basic form, VV always begins either with a vowel, w + vowel, or y + vowel.

CN = A single consonant form signifying a pattern of derivative conflation, whose exact meaning is dependent on which of the seven primary conflation patterns is shown by the vocalic prefix of the verb itself. For example, where CN is p, the actual conflationary meaning differs depending on whether the main verb shows the OPERATIVE, STATIVE, MANIFESTIVE, DESCRIPTIVE, ACTIVE, POSITIONAL or INCHOATIVE pattern. Additionally, each CN has three variations depending on whether VV above begins with a vowel, begins with w- or with y-. Where Vv begins with a vowel, the first form of CN (labelled CN1) is used; where Vv has an initial w-, the second form of CN (labelled CN2) is used and the initial w- to Vv is dropped; where Vv begins with y-, the third form of CN (labelled CN3) is used and the initial y- to Vv is dropped.

For example, the forms of CN = p are as follows: CN1 = p, CN2 = b, and CN3 = p. Thus, combining CN = p with the valence adjunct forms ei, wei, and yei we get the following results:

p + ei = pei
p + wei = bei
p + yei = p’ei


CK = One of the eight format suffixes shown in Sec. 5.4.2 above, indicating the covert sense of the conflated verb.

Examples of basic conflation adjuncts are bram, téu, wiu, llëu, and c˙ua.

The following tables show the CN prefixes and the overt senses associated with these derivations.


Tables 16-1 through 16-40: Derivations

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
p
b
p’
OPERATIVE do, undertake, take on
STATIVE mentally envision
MANIFESTIVE be in a certain position, put, place
DESCRIPTIVE feel, emote
ACTIVE attend to, deal with
POSITIONAL translative motion; move from one place to another
INCHOATIVE happen, occur, take place

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
t
d
t’
OPERATIVE use, utilize
STATIVE stay, remain
MANIFESTIVE comprise, make up, include
DESCRIPTIVE resemble (physically)
ACTIVE act, function
POSITIONAL arrange, set up
INCHOATIVE make, create

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
OPERATIVE get, induce to
STATIVE depend upon
MANIFESTIVE model, emulate
DESCRIPTIVE resemble (behaviorally)
ACTIVE touch, feel
POSITIONAL distribute
INCHOATIVE build, construct

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
k
g
k’
OPERATIVE let, permit, allow
STATIVE think, speculate
MANIFESTIVE organize, coordinate
DESCRIPTIVE resemble (physically and behaviorally)
ACTIVE handle, manipulate
POSITIONAL disseminate, distribute
INCHOATIVE develop into

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
q
q
OPERATIVE have (someone do something)
STATIVE analyze, reason
MANIFESTIVE have order, delineate
DESCRIPTIVE have three-dimensional form or shape of
ACTIVE strike, impact, hit
POSITIONAL contain
INCHOATIVE grow, raise

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
f
v
p
OPERATIVE persuade, cajole
STATIVE learn, study
MANIFESTIVE substitute (identity)
DESCRIPTIVE have or take shape, form or outline of, e.g., the posse ringed them in
ACTIVE shake, spasm
POSITIONAL enclose
INCHOATIVE strive, pursue

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
t
OPERATIVE influence
STATIVE remember
MANIFESTIVE play role of, act as
DESCRIPTIVE texture
ACTIVE touch
POSITIONAL inhabit, store
INCHOATIVE ameliorate, repair, fix

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
OPERATIVE urge, motivate
STATIVE see
MANIFESTIVE declare, pronounce
DESCRIPTIVE compare
ACTIVE derive
POSITIONAL inundate with, overwhelm
INCHOATIVE strengthen

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
x
k
OPERATIVE hint at, suggest
STATIVE hear
MANIFESTIVE present
DESCRIPTIVE impute, ascribe
ACTIVE gather, collect
POSITIONAL shelter
INCHOATIVE enhance, improve

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
l
q
OPERATIVE attract
STATIVE smell, have odor of
MANIFESTIVE exemplify, provide model for
DESCRIPTIVE imitate, mimic, act like
ACTIVE kill
POSITIONAL release, let out
INCHOATIVE open, reveal (physically make visible/available)

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
m
mm
hm
OPERATIVE obey, comply
STATIVE taste
MANIFESTIVE introduce
DESCRIPTIVE be similar, have similarity
ACTIVE regulate, establish rule
POSITIONAL traverse, follow path, go
INCHOATIVE to (be) open, to (be/set) ajar

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
n
nn
hn
OPERATIVE substitute (use)
STATIVE sense, intuit
MANIFESTIVE embody, example of
DESCRIPTIVE mean, signify
ACTIVE embellish, decorate
POSITIONAL journey
INCHOATIVE close, seal, hold fast

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
l
ll
hl
OPERATIVE play, recreate
STATIVE alive, living
MANIFESTIVE mark, reference
DESCRIPTIVE point out, indicate
ACTIVE activate, turn on
POSITIONAL convey, transfer, transport
INCHOATIVE find, discover

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
l
l
h
OPERATIVE work, toil
STATIVE have aura or air of
MANIFESTIVE explain, show how
DESCRIPTIVE wave
ACTIVE prove, demonstrate
POSITIONAL lift, ascend, raise
INCHOATIVE reveal (figuratively), let know

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
h
hh
OPERATIVE command
STATIVE be ill, be sick
MANIFESTIVE support (figurative)
DESCRIPTIVE imbue with
ACTIVE create art, compose
POSITIONAL lower, descend
INCHOATIVE join, connect

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
r
rr
hr
OPERATIVE practice, rehearse
STATIVE injury, be injured
MANIFESTIVE procure, obtain
DESCRIPTIVE (de)limit, constrain
ACTIVE consume, use (up)
POSITIONAL push, contact
INCHOATIVE establish, ordain, to found

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
h
OPERATIVE choose, select
STATIVE engage in
MANIFESTIVE acknowledge
DESCRIPTIVE different(iate)
ACTIVE follow/disciple
POSITIONAL pull, draw
INCHOATIVE fuse, blend, mix

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
OPERATIVE try out, ‘taste’
STATIVE please, enjoy
MANIFESTIVE visit
DESCRIPTIVE have height, be tall
ACTIVE manage, oversee
POSITIONAL destination
INCHOATIVE illuminate

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
s
z
ss
OPERATIVE probe
STATIVE pass time
MANIFESTIVE host
DESCRIPTIVE have width, be wide
ACTIVE relieve of, strip of
POSITIONAL originate (from)
INCHOATIVE determine, ascertain

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
OPERATIVE facilitate
STATIVE occupy space, ‘cover’
MANIFESTIVE project, emanate
DESCRIPTIVE have depth, be deep
ACTIVE surrender, succumb
POSITIONAL arrive
INCHOATIVE be new

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
OPERATIVE support (physically)
STATIVE value, have value
MANIFESTIVE honor, respect
DESCRIPTIVE have length, be long
ACTIVE experiment, test
POSITIONAL spread, overtake
INCHOATIVE react

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
c
c’
OPERATIVE ally (with)
STATIVE relish, adore
MANIFESTIVE sanction
DESCRIPTIVE have volume, have size
ACTIVE cover, apply
POSITIONAL conceal, hide
INCHOATIVE enlarge, increase

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
OPERATIVE do right, best thing
STATIVE experience, undergo
MANIFESTIVE emphasize
DESCRIPTIVE have weight or mass
ACTIVE uphold, preserve
POSITIONAL seek, search, look for
INCHOATIVE shrink, decrease

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
j
OPERATIVE respond, reply
STATIVE behave
MANIFESTIVE encounter
DESCRIPTIVE be rectilinear, be squarely aligned
ACTIVE maintain
POSITIONAL circle, revolve, orbit
INCHOATIVE clean

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
pl
pr
bl
OPERATIVE speak, talk
STATIVE imply
MANIFESTIVE reserve
DESCRIPTIVE critique, criticize
ACTIVE explore
POSITIONAL exchange for
INCHOATIVE heal, treat

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
tl
tr
dl
OPERATIVE hail, acknowledge
STATIVE distinguish
MANIFESTIVE write
DESCRIPTIVE teach, train
ACTIVE entertain
POSITIONAL read
INCHOATIVE help, aid


CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
kl
kr
gl
OPERATIVE hunt
STATIVE protect, keep safe
MANIFESTIVE provide
DESCRIPTIVE be fair, be just
ACTIVE dominate
POSITIONAL remove, rid
INCHOATIVE ensure, certain

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
fl
fr
br
OPERATIVE harm, damage
STATIVE nurture, succor
MANIFESTIVE undermine
DESCRIPTIVE be unfair or unjust
ACTIVE counteract
POSITIONAL trap, catch
INCHOATIVE ruin, break, render useless

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
l
r
dr
OPERATIVE conduct, hold (e.g., a meeting)
STATIVE hang, suspend
MANIFESTIVE carry
DESCRIPTIVE learned in
ACTIVE render harmless, subdue
POSITIONAL set aright, position optimally
INCHOATIVE cook, prepare food

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
xl
xr
gr
OPERATIVE give
STATIVE flap
MANIFESTIVE obsession
DESCRIPTIVE characterize
ACTIVE take
POSITIONAL be upright, vertical
INCHOATIVE generate, give rise to

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
sl
sr
zl
OPERATIVE wear
STATIVE secure, lock
MANIFESTIVE study
DESCRIPTIVE suffer
ACTIVE bring
POSITIONAL be horizontal, be flat
INCHOATIVE draw forth, bring out

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
l
r
l
OPERATIVE hold
STATIVE opine
MANIFESTIVE tolerate
DESCRIPTIVE argue
ACTIVE send
POSITIONAL be perpendicular, be at right angle to
INCHOATIVE approach

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
l
r
l
OPERATIVE harass, bother
STATIVE lay, lie
MANIFESTIVE hide
DESCRIPTIVE endanger
ACTIVE assault, attack
POSITIONAL avoid
INCHOATIVE treachery

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
ks
gz
kst
OPERATIVE commit immoral act
STATIVE commit error
MANIFESTIVE dote upon
DESCRIPTIVE trick, pull a ruse
ACTIVE illegal act
POSITIONAL run
INCHOATIVE bandy, play with

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
ps
bz
pst
OPERATIVE reward
STATIVE prepare, make ready
MANIFESTIVE extract, take out of
DESCRIPTIVE ceremony/ritual
ACTIVE curtail, stop
POSITIONAL linger, hang around
INCHOATIVE subsidize

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
st
sn
st’
OPERATIVE waste
STATIVE make difficult, trouble
MANIFESTIVE circumvent, hinder
DESCRIPTIVE be or act belligerently, be hostile
ACTIVE impede, block
POSITIONAL set foot in or upon, enter into or onto, be in presence of
INCHOATIVE eat/ingest

CN1
CN2
CN3
CONFLATION PREFIX
OF MAIN VERB
CONFLATIVE MEANING OF DERIVATION
sp
sm
sp’
OPERATIVE practice, perform practice of
STATIVE disregard
MANIFESTIVE joke, play around, have fun with
DESCRIPTIVE ridicule, make fun of
ACTIVE violate
POSITIONAL trespass
INCHOATIVE align, be in alignment



5.4.4 Examples of Conflation, Derivation and Format in Use


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Chapter 5 continued >>

 

Home
5a Verb Morphology
9 Syntax
Introduction
5b Verb Morphology (continued)
10 Lexico-Semantics
1 Phonology
6 More Verb Morphology
11 The Script
  2 Morpho-Phonology  7a Using Affixes 12 The Number System
   3 Basic Morphology 7b Using Affixes (continued) The Lexicon
  4 Case Morphology   8 Adjuncts

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