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Subject: Comparative conjugation
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
Date: 15-Oct-2012

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