User talk:Ewweisser

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Again, welcome! JamesjiaoTC 21:59, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Verb conjugation table for NV[edit]

Hello Ewweisser --

I'd worked on creating a template for Navajo verb conjugations a while back. Progress stalled as I got busy with other things, but it's mostly close to being usable. I have a use example up at User:Eirikr/Template_Tests/Sample. It's capable of handling verb modes:

  • imperfective
  • perfective
  • future
  • progressive
  • usitative
  • iterative
  • optative

I'm not terribly happy with the header, as some of that info (da plural shift, imperfective/perfective type, etc.) might well go better in a note section underneath, a bit like at {{ja-suru}}. Anyway, I'm curious what you think, particularly about what the header might want to look like. The conjugation tables at tomar#Spanish and anhalten#German are useful for comparison.

Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 21:14, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Wow. I have no idea how much work goes into a template, but I have to say, I'm impressed, and getting the other modes into entries is something I've been hoping for. I see what you mean about some of the info at the top; I like the stem sets and classifier up there especially, but the rest of it, I'm not sure. Everything you have is useful, but I could picture something like plural shift as a note below. As far as the chart as a whole, I like the look. My only concerns are:
* possibly fitting in the passive forms somewhere (although space is already limited)
* for that matter, how do you feel about unspecified and "spatial" (like hózhóní) subjects?
* my area of specialty is in verb morphology and not actual usage, so maybe I'm wrong about this, but it's my understanding that the independent pronouns are not used very often, only when needed for emphasis, in which case I'm not sure if we'd want them by each conjugated form. Then again, I thought the same thing about Spanish, and I see at the tomar#Spanish conjugation table that the pronouns are displayed, so maybe this is just a matter of convention?
* also, I see in Young and Morgan a plural form of : daahó. But as I said, I don't know much about independent pronouns, it's just what I saw.
Anyway, thank you so much for your work on this, and in general with the verbs--I much prefer your wording for the neuter verb note, and didn't really like the old wording, I just figured it had been decided on or something. And by the way, my 'E' is for 'Eric'. Funny.
Ewweisser (talk) 05:22, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Funny old world.  :)
  • Pronouns: Yah, I'd started by copying the code for the Spanish template, and then massively reworked it. I've been slowly digging through Faltz's The Navajo Verb (http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Navajo_verb.html?id=FOXCX14l58AC ), and had fantasies about building the verb conjugation tables algorithmically -- but the considerable limitations of Mediawiki string processing put the kibosh on that. According to Stephen and active NV Wiki editor Seb on Seb's Talk page archive over at w:nv:Choyoołʼįįhí_bichʼįʼ_yáshtiʼ:Seb_az86556/archive3#pronouns, the da- plural pronouns aren't used that much, but Seb's comment wasn't very qualified, so I'm not sure entirely if he means that no one uses them that much, or that just the people in his immediate preferred social grouping don't use them that much.
  • Passives, Spatials: Sure, why not!  :) The more the merrier. The German conjugation tables can get quite large, such as over at anhalten, and contain quite a bit of info. I'm a fan of completeness where possible. Perhaps the NV conjugation table should also contain the object-less forms? And I suspect things could then best be split up a bit like the German entries do, maybe with the most common and basic form of the verb first, a secondary table with the passive, and a tertiary with the object-less, sort of like the "subordinate clause forms" and "composed forms" are split out into separate-but-joined tables for German. Ideas, anyway.  :) -- Ta for now, must run -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 06:04, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
  • PS: My sense is that we should include all the relevant pronouns in the table, and then give usage notes on the pronoun pages to explain usage. For instance, danihí, daabi, and daahó all clearly exist as attestable words, and thus should be included in Wiktionary, but since at least one native speaker (at least I'm pretty sure he's a native speaker) says they aren't used that much, the respective entries should mention that. -- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 06:19, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

NV verb forms[edit]

Okay, so passive is pretty straightforward. What about the ʼa- (unspecified object prefix) forms? What's the nomenclature for them? I've described alghał as a "generic" over at daʼalghał, but I'm not sure if that's right. (Don't have much by Young & Morgan, and Young's Navajo Verb System is really crippled by its lack of index.) Also, are the unspec-object verbs intrans, technically speaking? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 07:03, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

... only I just realized that Neundorf and Young both separately gives this root as -ghal instead of -ghał -- ack. I pulled naaldeehii daʼalghałígíí from the NV Wikipedia page at w:nv:Diyóósh, and searching the NV WP shows that this term gets a good bit of use. Is this shift from regular L to affricated Ł at the *end* of a verb stem a regular phonetic shift? Or is this a typo in Young's book? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 07:37, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I think--most likely, although I've been wrong before--it's a typo in Young. In Y&M's The Navajo Language there are a bunch of stem shapes all under the root entry -ghaał, but all of them that have to do with eating/chewing meat have a final Ł in the imperfective (some have a final L perfective stem, though).
I'd been meaning to get ahold of Faltz's book, cause I think he specifically addresses the in/transitivity of those ʼa- forms. I think I'll get a chance to look at it later this week, and I'll be sure to type up what he says. I'm not really sure about the nomenclature, but "generic" sounds good to me.
Lemme know if there's anything I can do to help with the verb conjugation table! I've also been meaning to ask if there's a page I should use if I have questions or issues to bring up for anyone interested/involved in Navajo verbs on Wiktionary. I don't want to make unilateral decisions, but I figure I also shouldn't just post everything to both your and Stephen's talk pages. Ewweisser (talk) 04:11, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Re: verb stems, thank you for the reply. I've noticed some other final-consonant shifts, such as atłʼó vs. atłʼóóh vs. bitłʼóól, and I wondered if this might be a related phenomenon.
Re: a page for questions, actually, yeah, I started off the Wiktionary:About Navajo page (WT:ANV for short), and the talk page for that would seem to be a good forum for general discussion about how to proceed with Navajo entries here on the EN WT -- the talk page at WT:AJA is used to hash out issues for Japanese entries, for instance.
One issue that had occurred to me for bringing up there is the way verb stem glosses are handled. I'll post an actual thread at Wiktionary talk:About Navajo tomorrow. (Look, it's so new there's nothing there yet. :) )-- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 06:03, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
  • nv-verbconj-experimental contains the basic outermost table layout, and is what a user would call (ultimately under a different name, probably just nv-verbconj to align with other verb conjugation tables).
  • Internally, nv-verbconj-experimental calls nv-header to build the header info, passing along the relevant arguments. I split this out 1) on the theory that it makes the code a bit more modular and easier to deal with, and 2) in case there are situations where a header isn't needed / wanted.
  • Internally, nv-verbconj-experimental then also calls nv-mode once for each mode, constructing the guts of the table. nv-mode determines the background color and mode label based on the value of the mode argument.
I started this in the hope that it would be possible to build verbs algorithmically, where the user would call the template and pass in the verb stem forms, lexical prefixes, imperfective/perfective types, and any other oddities like da- plural shift, and have the template build the forms and create the table automatically. However, the near-complete lack of any string processing in wikicode makes it impossible to handle the sound shifts required, so instead we need users to supply each of the verb forms manually. Once the Mediawiki guys finally implement Lua as a template scripting language, maybe we could revisit that, but for now it's manual or nothing.
Anyway, have a look at the code and let me know what you think. -- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:48, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Verb stems at kʼézdon & kʼédǫǫh[edit]

The perfective stem at kʼézdon is given as -don; the perfective stem at kʼédǫǫh is given as -dǫǫd. The etymology lines at both entries give a gloss of “to be straight, tight”, so I'd expect the perfective stems to likewise be the same. Since they're not, I suspect we're seeing a difference in aspect. Does the Analytical Lexicon mention anything about this? And how should we account for it? Presumably as additional information in the etymology, like "perfective momentaneous verb stem", or "perfective verb stem, momentaneous aspect", etc.? -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:11, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm back! Sorry to leave you hanging. I had to spend all my time on my thesis (on Navajo phonetics!), plus I hadn't been feeling well. But now it's done. As for this, good point. Analytical Lexicon kind of treats neuter as an aspect (which is usually, but not always, synonymous with "conjugable in only one mode"), so, yep--it lists kʼédǫǫh as momentaneous and kʼézdon as neuter. I think I like your latter suggestion, which I'll go ahead and implement. Ewweisser (talk) 23:02, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Although now that I look at another issue you brought up--the absolute/comparative distinction--I read that Analytical Lexicon refers to that distinction as aspect, and refers to "neuter" as a more general "category" of verb. It gives the following categories:
  • active intransitives
  • active transitives
  • neuter intransitives
  • neuter transitives
  • passives
  • mediopassives
  • reflexives
  • reciprocals
However, as I said earlier, AL implicitly treats neuter as an aspect: its first organizational level within a root entry is by aspect, and NEUTER appears at this level. For example, for the root DǪǪD, entries are all listed under A. momentaneous, B. repetitive, C. semelfactive, D. distributive, or E. neuter. This seems like a fairly unimportant inconsistency, but it does kind of tangle our method here, which is to say, I'll actually hold off on implementing anything right now. Ewweisser (talk) 23:33, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
I confess some frustration with Y&M. Why, for instance, did they appropriate the word neuter, used in most other contexts to describe gender, to describe what is in Navajo essentially a stative verb form? Why do they seem to be so allergic to proper indexing in their books (at least, the few I've got on my shelves)? Why no proper treatment of verb roots (though maybe that's what they do in AL)? Why do they consistently choose fonts that make it difficult to distinguish letters (Wall & Young's Navajo-English Dictionary, Young's The Navajo Verb System: An Overview, Young & Morgan's Colloquial Navajo)? Why, in the list above, do they include transitivity / reflexives / etc as part of the verb stem categorization, when these elements of a verb are almost always marked by various prefixes, and where reflexivity / transitivity / etc. is often not an inherent quality of the verb stem? Etc., etc.
I'd be interested in reading your thesis, if that's something you're happy having others read.
Along possibly related lines (between verb stem shifts and phonetic processes), I've noticed that many of the verb roots and other words built around a /ka/ sound seem to have to do with opening or spreading or flat open surfaces, such as in naalkaah, yiską́, bikááʼ, and possibly even naakai. Does the AL do any such exploration of term derivations from roots?
Back to the point at hand with neuter forms, I suspect that neuters can ultimately be derived via phonetic processes from non-neuter roots. Many neuter verbs are perfective, which semantically often even makes sense -- sizį́ (to be standing), for instance, makes sense as the perfective result of some other verb using a related verb stem that means "to stand up: to transition from a non-standing state to a standing state". Similarly, I suspect, for kʼédǫǫh and kʼézdon. Is there any chance that kʼédǫǫh in its description as "momentaneous aspect" might actually mean something closer to "to become straight or tight"? I cannot think how else it would make sense in a momentaneous aspect. But if so, then kʼézdon would describe a similarly semantically sensible resultant state of that becoming. (And, if so, the definition at kʼédǫǫh needs changing.) -- Cheers, Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 17:57, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I'd echo all those frustrations. I can't tell you how long it took me to get comfortable using the big Y&M dictionary, but before I did, I just assumed all the problems were my own lack of understanding.
You're right, kʼédǫǫh can have a more action-y meaning we'd expect--but it's not the first definition given. The AL definition is "to stand straight, erect, straighten up (one's posture)". It's times like these we could really use some solid numbers or a body of recorded/written Navajo to look through to see how the term is really most often used (or, you know, they could have just addressed this). Certainly it should be the momentaneous meaning, etymologically speaking, but I suppose it's possible that the neat separation and distinction between kʼédǫǫh and kʼézdon has degraded over time.
Frustrations aside, AL is a comprehensive treatment of vocabulary by root--you should see it! It does tend to shy away from making assertions, though. They were usually just satisfied with "this may be related to" or "possibly related to", although once in a while you'll get a really cool one.Ewweisser (talk) 16:30, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd dearly love a copy of the AL, but for now, other things take precedence in my budgets for time and money.  :) For instance, I'm also eyeball-deep in researching Japanese etymologies, and now that I've got my hands on some good books about Japanese and Korean linguitics, I'm spending my free reading time on that. A number of writers make the case that JA and KO are only related due to borrowings over centuries of contact, but if that's the case, then why are both of these languages so dissimilar to Chinese, with which both have been in contact for at least two millenia? I see some crossover between the two in semantic groupings that look to me like more than just borrowing, like JA なる (naru, to become, to be born, intrans) / なす (nasu, to do, to bear a child, trans), KO 나다 (nada, to be born, intrans) / 낳다 (nahta, to give birth, trans), and a sort of ablaut verb set with JA のる (noru, to be on top of something, intrans) / のす (nosu, to lay on top of something, trans), KO *노다 (noda, intrans; missing from WT, not sure if this exists) / 놓다 (nohda, trans). (I occasionally run across an interestingly suggestive seeming-cognate between JA and NV, such as NV root -maz "to roll, to curl" (also "to be round"?) and JA root mar- "to be round"; NV prefix ha- "outwardly, up and out" and JA verb root han- "to separate, to come off, to jump up"; NV distributive plural prefix da- and JA explicit plural marker suffix -tachi; but then again I don't want to wander off into la-la coincidence territory.)
Anyway, about kʼédǫǫh's "action-y" nature, I suspect that AL's first definition is actually intended in an action-y way, but that this is obscured by the wording of the English def. Assuming that the entirety of the AL def is "to stand straight, erect, straighten up (one's posture)", then I suspect that the verb in "to stand straight" is EN stand's momentaneous aspect -- i.e., expressing a change in state, rather than an ongoing state. Otherwise, the "momentaneous" categorization for kʼédǫǫh just doesn't make sense, semantically speaking.  :)
Now back to my weekend chores. -- Cheers, Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 22:28, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh man, I can't believe that didn't occur to me. I guess I got so wrapped up in Navajo aspect I didn't consider aspect in English.
I wish I could be of some use with Japanese. I know of the Korean/Altaic relation controversy, but don't actually know anything about the evidence itself. Interesting though! I've always found it interesting that, worldwide, the languages with the most speakers are parts of big families, and isolates have relatively few speakers--except for these two. Ewweisser (talk) 17:26, 10 July 2012 (UTC)