Valence in Classical Trevecian – part 2/3

(Part 1 can be accessed here.)

Part 2: Valence Adjusting Operations

Valence adjusting operations in Classical Trevecian are handled through different configurations of valence particles, as well as other syntactic mechanisms such as serial verb constructions or pronoun reduplication.

2.1 Valence increasing operations

2.1.1 Causatives

Most causatives are formed through a serial verb construction with the verb lerû ‘to be initiated; to cause, force (to)’. The only causative not formed in this way is the causative form of intrinsically intransitive verbs where the causee is not of Class 1 (see below).

There are four basic types of causative constructions. The choice of causative construction varies with regard to the transitivity of the verb and whether the causee is a human being or not. In addition, different valence particles occur with human causees depending on the degree of control the causee retains over the event.

I. Causative of intransitive verbs with non-human causees. This is the only causative construction not formed with the verb lerû. Moreover, by contrast with other causative constructions, the causee precedes the verb, while the causer follows it directly. Finally, the valence particle follows the causer. It is invariably rê:

šîm kuyhun kûf rê
horse sleep man P
“the man made the horse sleep”

Note that, despite different word order, the verb is inflected for first person if the causer is in the first person (as it normally is with first-person agents), even though the causee attaches to the verb if it is a pronoun:

de-huyhunâ hu rê
it-sleep.1 I P
“I made it sleep”

II. Causative of intransitive verbs with human causees. This construction uses the verb lerû, with the causer preceding and the causee following. The valence particle follows the verb complex, and is either dorh or žårs depending on the degree of control retained by the causee. dorh implies more causee control, while žårs implies less. Note that only the verb lerû is inflected for the person of the causer:

u-yhašû kahâ dorh gî
I-cause.1 cough E1 child
“I got the child to cough” (e.g. by telling it to)

u-yhašû kahâ žårs gî
I-cause.1 cough P1 child
“I made the child cough” (e.g. by slapping it on the back)

III. Causative of transitive verbs with non-human causees. This is identical to the causative of intransitive verbs with human causees, the only difference (apart from verb transitivity) being that the valence particle used is invariably sith. Any patient affected by the causee is marked by the locative particle nu:

kûf larû mañû sith šîm samê-te nu
man cause eat A.P horse hay-IND.PL LOC
“the man made the horse eat hay”

IV. Causative of transitive verbs with human causees. This is more or less identical to the causative of transitive verbs with human causees if the causee retains little degree of control over the event, the only difference being that the valence particle used is sîm:

kûf larû mañû sîm gî tilamâ-ta nu
man cause eat A.P child cherry-IND.PL LOC
“the man made the child eat cherries”

If the causee retains some control over the event, however, the particle used is sîri. Moreover, the causee now effectively appears as an oblique with the instrumental particle da, while use of the locative particle nu for the affected patient is optional:

u-yhašû mañû sîri gî da tilamâ-ta (nu)
I-cause.1 eat A.P.O child INSTR cherry-IND.PL (LOC)
“I made the child eat cherries”

2.1.2 Applicatives

An applicative construction exists in which the (oblique) instrument of an event may be promoted to an object of the verb. In this case, the instrument is not accompanied by the instrumental particle da (as it normally would), while the valence particle agrees with the class of the promoted instrument, rather than the patient. Thus, in the following example, the second (applicative) sentence uses the valence particle sith (for a Class 2 patient), rather than kari (which would be normally used for a Class 1 patient and Class 2 oblique):

u-hažû kari dê kôman da
I-thrust.1 A1.P1.O2 he dagger INSTR
“I poked him with the dagger”

u-hažû sith kôman dê
I-thrust.1 A1.P2 dagger he
“I thrust a dagger [at] him”

Note that the patient remains a direct argument of the verb since it is not demonstrably demoted to an oblique role; it is valence particle agreement that signals the instrument as having a direct object role as well. Such applicative constructions are most often used to focus entities semantically understood as instruments.

2.2 Valence decreasing operations

2.2.1 Reflexives and reciprocals

Reflexives are formed by using valence particles marking the only argument of a verb as Experiencer on intrinsically transitive verbs. Thus, in the following example, the particle dorh (agreeing with a Class 1 experiencer) is used instead of a particle that would agree with a Class 1 agent:

kûf žaman dorh
man kill E1
“the man killed himself”

Reciprocals are formed in an identical way, the only difference being that the agent~patient is reduplicated in the form of an appropriate pronoun following the valence particle:

uma fušâ dorh uma
we.two greet E1 we.two
“we greeted each other”

so-hûf žaman dorh derê
this-man.DEF.PL kill E1 they
“the men killed each other”

2.2.2 Antipassives

Antipassives are formed similarly to reflexives and reciprocals, by using valence particles marking the only argument of the verb as an Experiencer rather than an Agent. There is never any pronoun reduplication, however, and the demoted patient must appear in an oblique role, often with the distributive particle kêse:

de-mañû dorh ñehê kêse
he-eat E1 bread DISTR
“he ate (bread)”

This construction should be distinguished from simple object omission, since the valence particle implies only a single core argument of the verb.

2.2.3 Passives

In Classical Trevecian, ‘passives’ are merely middle constructions (single-argument transitive verb clauses) with the agent expressed in an oblique role, usually with the instrumental particle da:

de-žaman žårs urên-en da
he-kill P1 wolf-INDEF.PL INSTR
“he was killed by wolves”

There are no limits on the kind of agents demoted in this way, but such clauses are relatively rare. They are sometimes used to imply an agent belonging to a class that cannot provide agents for ‘active’ clauses. Such clauses have borderline grammaticality, however – inverse constructions (see following section) are preferred to convey similar meanings:

??de-žaman žårs âzith da
he-kill P1 mountain INSTR
“he was killed by the mountain” (e.g. due to the perils naturally encountered on it)

2.2.4 Inverses

Inverse constructions are formed with the verb tu ‘will be formed, created’. Using this verb implies that the roles of agent and patient are effectively ‘switched’ compared to the normal implications of the main verb:

de-timê rhe sith suña
he-break PERF A1.P6 house
“he destroyed the house”

suña tu timê rhe sith dê
house will.form break PERF A1.P6 he
“the house destroyed him”

Note that this does not affect the valence particle, which appears to be ‘polar’ with respect to its normal role. That is, the appearance of the verb tu in the verb complex signals that the normal agreement implications of the valence particle are switched – that the argument belonging to the class it normally agrees with in Patient role should be understood to be the Agent, and vice versa. This construction is used especially frequently to express a more active role of entities belonging to a class that cannot normally act in the role of Agent:

âzith tu žaman sith dê
mountain will.form kill A1.P6 he
“the mountain killed him”

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