The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.
Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Question:||Kabiye (Gur, Togo) expresses comparison by means of a subordinate clause flanked by the morphemes ɛzɩ … yɔ like, as. It is in this context, and only here, that one of two verb conjugations may occur, a Comparative Perfective and a Comparative Imperfective. Does anyone know of other languages that have dedicated verb paradigms for expressing comparison or similitude? Here are some examples: Comparative Imperfective 1 Maacɛkɩ́ kpakpá ɛzɩ ŋcɛkʋʋ́-yɛ́ yɔ́. Je-NEG-coupe noix-de-palme comme tu-coupes-lesSUB I don't cut palm nuts like you cut them. 2 Maañɔɔzʋʋ mon-kpokpó ɛzɩ́ ŋñɔɔzʋʋ́ ñɛ́ŋ́gʋ yɔ́. je-NEG-répare ma-moto comme tu-répares la-sienne SUB I don't repair my motorbike like you repair yours 3 Maahʋŋ mɛ-ɛyáa ɛzɩ́ ŋhʋngʋʋ́ ñɛ́ḿba yɔ́. je-NEG-coiffe mes-gens comme tu-coiffes les-tiens SUB I don't cut my clients' hair like you cut yours. Comparative Perfective 4 Mɛntɛcɛ́ kpakpá ɛzɩ́ ŋcɛ́bʋ-yɛ́ yɔ́. je-NEG-ai-coupé noix-de-palme comme tu-as-coupé-les SUB I didn't cut the palm nuts like you cut them. 5 Mɔntɔñɔ́ɔ́zɩ mon-kpokpó ɛzɩ́ ŋñɔɔzʋ́ʋ ñɛ́ŋ́gʋ yɔ́. je-NEG-ai-réparé ma-moto comme tu-as-réparé la-tienne SUB I didn't repair my motorbike like you repaired yours. 6 Mantahʋ́ mɛ-ɛyáa ɛzɩ́ ŋhʋ́m ñɛ́ḿba yɔ́. je-NEG-ai-coiffé mes-gens comme tu-as-coiffé les-tiens SUB I didn't cut my clients' hair like you cut yours. Dave Roberts|
|Reply:||I've just seen this query after returning from a holiday, and since no-one else appears to have responded meanwhile, let me just say: Gosh! No, I have never encountered anything like that. To me it seems quite surprising that an inflexion subsystem would be reserved for a purpose as specialized and, surely, relatively infrequent as comparison. If no-one else has responded, I surmise that may be because they haven't seen anything like it either. (Each of us of course has experience only of a limited number of languages, but between the panelists I think we probably have quite a wide coverage.) I hope this negative response is useful to you. Geoffrey Sampson|
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|