CHUKCHEE

CHAPTER 5 TRANSITIVITY AND TRANSITIVITY ALTERNATIONS

1. The ergative construction (Active voice)

2. Degrees of ergativity

2.1 Ergative syntax

2.2 'Mixed' ergative or accusative

2.3 Accusative syntax

3. Antipassive voice

4. Noun incorporation

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Direct object incorporation

4.3 Incorporation of non-object complements

4.4 Incorporation of unaccusative subjects

4.5 Transitivity alternations with incorporation

4.6 Incorporation of adjuncts

4.6.1 Incorporation of noun roots

4.6.2 Incorporation of adverbial/adjectival roots

4.6.3 Incorporation of verb roots

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1. The ergative construction (Active voice)

Note: for nouns of decl. 1, 3 number isn't usually expressed in oblique cases, including Ergative.

Examples of decl. 1, 3.

(1)

ytlyg-e qora-ñy tym-nen

 

father-ERG deer-ABS kill-3sg/3sg

 

'The father killed the reindeer.'

 

 

(2)

ytlyg-e ry-wiliw-et-y-rkyn-ine-t ynn-y-t

 

father-ERG TR-sell-TR-PRES-3-PL fish-ABS/PL

 

'The father is selling fish.'

 

 

(3)

gyt-ym ?ytt-e ne-n-req-e-kwyt (>ne-r-req-ew-gyt)

 

thou-ABS-EMPH dog-ERG/(PL) 3plS-TR-what-TR-2sgO

 

'What did the dogs do to you?'

 

 

(4)

luur qej-?ytty-qej-e na-penr-y-sqycat-gym

 

suddenly DIM-dog-DIM-ERG/(PL) 3plS-attach-SUDDEN-1sgO

 

'The puppies suddenly attacked me.'

 

 

(5)

ne-n-req-ew-yn ?ytw-y-l?-e ñireq-ew ryrky

 

3plS-TR-what-TR-3sgO hunt-PTCPL-ERG/(PL) second walrus-ABS/SG

 

'What did the hunters do with/to the second walrus?'

Examples of PRES II and PAST II, in which subject and object are not distinguished on the verb.

(6)

riquke-te ge-nu-lin tykec?-yn

 

fox-ERG PAST II -eat bait-ABS

 

'The fox(es) ate the bait.'

 

 

(7)

req-e ge-tul?et-lin qora-t?ol

 

what-ERG PAST II-take deer-meat-ABS

 

'What stole the venison?'

 

 

(8)

qeper-e ge-tul?et-lin

 

wolverine-ERG/(PL) PAST II-take

 

'The wolverine(s) stole (it).'

 

 

(9)

paraxod-a n-ine-n-cim-ew-qin gilgil

 

boat-ERG PRES II-3sgO-TR-break-TR-3sg ice-ABS

 

'The boat breaks the ice.'

Examples of decl. 2

(10)

jetyl?y-ne imti-nin utt-imyt

 

Yetylyn-ERG/SG bring-3sg/3sg wood-bundle

 

'Yetylyn brought a bundle of wood.'

 

 

(11)

jetyl?y-ryk n-?emet-qin orgoor

 

'Yetylyn-ERG/PL PRES II-drag-3PL/3SG sledge-ABS/SG

 

'The Yelylyn family dragged the sledge.'

 

 

(12)

gym ine-ny-gjek-w?i ñawjelo-na

 

I-abs 1sgO-TR-wake-3sgS aunt-ERG/SG

 

'Aunt woke me up.'

 

 

(13)

ñawjelo-ryk ne-tejk-yn ñaakkaqaj-ety ewir?-yn

 

aunt-ERG/PL 3pl-S-make-3sgO girl-ALL clothing-ABS/SG

 

'The aunts made clothes for the girl.'

 

 

(14)

mik-y-ne ra-j?og-nen ñotqen-y-na

 

who-ERG/SG FUT-catch-3sg/3sg. this-ERG/SG

 

'Who will catch him up?' 'This person.'

 

 

(15)

mik-y-ryk ge-ny-pkir-et-line-t ñinqeg-ti ñotqen-y-ryk

 

who-ERG/PL PAST II-TR-arrive-TR-3plO this-ERG/PL

 

'Who (which people) brought the children?' 'These.'

If the verb is transitive the subject is ALWAYS Ergative and the direct object ALWAYS Absolutive and vice versa (for highly restricted exceptions, see Nedjalkov, 1979:249).

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2. Degrees of ergativity

(See Comrie, 1979, Nedjalkov, 1979, Polinskaja and Nedjalkov, 1987).

2.1 Ergative syntax

(Comrie, 79, Nedjalkov, 79): past participle.

(16)

qaa-t [ytlyg-e] jep a-nmy-ky-l?-ena-t

 

deer-ABS/PL [father-ERG] still NEG-kill-NEG-PTCPL-3pl-ABS

 

'The deer are not yet killed (by the father)'.

 

 

(17)

qaa-t [ytlyg-e] tym-jo-lqyl-te

 

deer-ABS/Pl [father-ERG] kill-PTCPL-MUST-PL

 

'The deer are to be killed (by the father).'

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2.2 'Mixed' ergative or accusative

EITHER subj. OR obj. can control (possibly zero) pronoun in coordinate structures:

(18)

ytlyg-yn pykir-g?i ynk?am w?i-g?i

 

father-ABS arrived-3sg and die-3sg

 

'The father came and died.'

 

 

(19)

ytlyg-e ekyk winren-nin ynk?am jet-g?i

 

father-ERG son-ABS helped-3sg/3sg and left-3sg.

 

'The father helped the son and he left.' [ambiguous; contrast 'The father helped the son and left.']

Contrast Dyirbal (Dixon, 1972), in which only the Absolutive can control in coordinate structures.

2.3 Accusative syntax

(See Comrie, 1979) Control of null subject in infinitivals ...

(20)

gym ty-tegjeñ-y-rkyn pelat-yk ñargyn

 

I-ABS 1sg-want-PRES I stay-INF outside

 

'I want to stay outside.'

 

 

(21)

yninel?-e [gym] ena-cyñ-g?e qyt-yk ñalwyl?-ety

 

elder brother-ERG [me-ABS] invited-3sg/1sg go-INF herd-ALL

 

'My elder brother invited me to go to the herd.'

...and gerunds:

(22)

qametwa-k plytko-ma ynpynacgyn luur wetgaw-y-ñño-g?e

 

eat-INF finish-GER old man-ABS suddenly speak-begin-3sg

 

'Having finished eating, the old man suddenly began to speak.'

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3. Antipassive voice

Two affixes - prefix ine-/ena- and suffix -tku/tko. All six T/A forms. Formed from transitives only. Take same inflections as intransitives.

Example:

wiriñ- 'defend'

Declarative mood

 

Past I

Past II

1sg

t-ine-wiriñ-g?ek

g-ine-wiriñ-i-gym

2sg

ine-wiriñ-g?i

g-ine-wiriñ-i-gyt

3sg

ine-wiriñ-g?i

g-ine-wiriñ-lin

1pl

myt-ine-wiriñ-myk

g-ine-wiriñ-muri

2pl

ine-wiriñ-tyk

g-ine-wiriñ-turi

3pl

ine-wiriñ-g?et

g-ine-wiriñ-line-t

 

 

Present I

Present II

1sg

t-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

n-ine-wiriñ-i-gym

2sg

ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

n-ine-wiriñ-i-gyt

3sg

ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

n-ine-wiriñ-qin

1pl

myt-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

n-ine-wiriñ-muri

2pl

ine-wiriñ-yrkynityk

n-ine-wiriñ-turi

3pl

ine-wiriñ-yrkyt

n-ine-wiriñ-qine-t

 

 

FutureI

FutureII

1sg

t-r-ine-wiriñ-g?e

t-r-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

2sg

r-ine-wiriñ-g?e

r-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

3sg

r-ine-wiriñ-g?e

r-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

1pl

myt-r-ine-wiriñ-g?e

myt-r-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

2pl

r-ine-wiriñ-ñytyk

r-ine-wiriñ-yrkynityk

3pl

r-ine-wiriñ-nyt

r-ine-wiriñ-yrkyt

Imperative mood

 

Perfective

Imperfective

1sg

m-ine-wiriñ-g?ek

m-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

2sg

q-ine-wiriñ-gi

q-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

3sg

n-ine-wiriñ-g?en

n-ine-wiriñ-yrkn

1pl

myn-ine-wiriñ-myk

myn-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

2pl

q-ine-wiriñ-gytyk

q-ine-wiriñ-yrkynityk

3pl

n-ine-wiriñ-yne-t

n-ine-wiriñ-yrkyne-t

Conditional mood

 

Perfective

Imperfective

1sg

t?-ine-wiriñ-g?ek

t?-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

2sg

n?-ine-wiriñ-g?en

n?-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

3sg

n?-ine-wiriñ-g?en

n?-ine-wiriñ-yrkn

1pl

myn?-ine-wiriñ-myk

myn?-ine-wiriñ-yrkyn

2pl

n?-ine-wiriñ-tyk

n?-ine-wiriñ-yrkynityk

3pl

n?-ine-wiriñ-yne-t

n?-ine-wiriñ-yrkyne-t

Similarly: ty-wiriñy-tku-g?ek etc., etc.

Examples:

Subject appears in ABSOLUTIVE (not Ergative); direct object either isn't expressed or appears in OBLIQUE case (Allative, Instrumental or Locative).

(22)

gym t-ine-tejky-rkyn orw-ety

 

I-ABS I-AP-made-PRES/II sledge-ALL

 

'I am making a sledge.'

 

 

(23)

muri myt-ine-rety-rkyn kimit?-e

 

we-ABS we-AP-carry-PRES/II load-INSTR

 

'We are carrying the load.'

 

 

(24)

?aacekyt ine-gynrity-rkyt qaa-k

 

youths AP-guard-PRES/II deer-LOC

 

'The youths are guarding the deer.'

[For further examples and discussion see Comrie, 1979, Nedjalkov, 1979, Polinskaja and Nedjalkov, 1987, and especially Kozinsky et al. 1988]

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4. Noun incorporation

4.1 Introduction

[I:93f, II:232]

[See Muravyova 1988, Nedjalkov 1976, Polinskaja 1991, Polinskaja and Nedjalkov1987, Polinsky1990, 1993, Skorik 1948, Spencer 1995. Kozinsky et al. 1989 discuss a number of interactions between noun incorporation and other diatheses.]

In this section I discuss incorporation, a pervasive feature of Chukotkan morphosyntax in which a syntactic construction such as verb + object, verb + adjunct or noun + modifier alternates with a construction in which the head verb or noun forms a compound with that object, adjunct or modifier. It is generally taken to be a defining property of incorporation that the construction has to alternate with a fully syntactic variant with essentially the same meaning. The main difference in interpretation is then usually one of focus, topicalization, backgrounding or whatever (though other factors may be important in specific instances). It is this which seems to distinguish incorporation in Chukchee from simple compounding (e.g. N-N compounding), because in compounds there is no analytic syntactic equivalent (I:108). (However, it is not clear to what extent this is really true, since newly coined compounds at least might well be synonymous with Rel. Adj. + Noun constructions. Thus, there might not be a clear distinction between lexicalized compounds and true incorporation, save that incorporation isn’t lexicalized.)

The phenomenon has come to be referred to as Noun Incorporation, because this is its most obvious manifestation: the formation of a Noun-Verb compound in which the Noun realizes some sort of complement function of the verb. The usual case is the incorporation of the direct object. In Chukchee this renders the verb intransitive (i.e. the verb does not agree with its incorporated object, as it would do in, say, S. Tiwa). For this reason it is convenient to discuss Noun Incorporation under the heading of transitivity alternations, though as is apparent from this section the phenomenon in Chukchee is much wider. This is because Chukchee, rather unusually, permits incorporation of a wide variety of adjuncts (the Australian language Mayali is similar in this regard), and incorporates words of all classes, including numerals, demonstratives, ‘participles’, adjectives, verbs and adverbs (I:98). One element which is not incorporated is pronouns (Skorik stress this point), and the ‘incorporation’ of elements clearly derived from pronouns to realize agreement functions is clearly a matter of cliticization not compounding.

There is no doubt that the incorporative complex is a species of word formation (true compounding) and not just some sort of tightly knit phrase formation. This is shown by two facts: first, the incorporated stem(s) come immediately before the verb stem, forming a derived verb stem to which the usual array of verb prefixes is attached; second, the whole complex is subject to vowel harmony in the manner of a word.

I first illustrate the incorporation of complements and various transitivity alternations arising from that (4.1- 4.3), then discuss the incorporation of adjuncts. The discussion will be very brief because these matters are dealt with in some detail in Spencer 1995.

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4.2 Direct object incorporation

Schematically -

The man killed the deer Þ

 

The man deer-killed.

 

(24)

a.

ytlyg-e tym-nene-t qaa-t

 

 

father-ERG killed-3SG/3PL deer-ABS/PL

 

 

 

 

b.

ytlyg-yn qaa-tym-g?e

 

 

father-ABS deer-killed-3SG

 

 

'The father killed the deer.'

NB: verb becomes intransitive after incorporation; cf. antipassive. More examples:

Root: kili-/-rkili 'spread'

(25)

a.

ytlyg-e mytqymyt kawkaw-yk kili-nin

 

 

father-ERG butter bread-LOC spread-3SG/3SG.

 

 

 

 

b.

ytlyg-yn kawkaw-yk mytqy-rkele-g?e

 

 

father-ABS bread-LOC butter-spread-3SG.

 

 

'The father spread butter on the bread.'

 

 

 

(26)

a.

ty-ntywat-g?en utkuc?-yn

 

 

1SG-set-3SG trap-ABS

 

 

 

 

b.

t-otkoc?-y-ntywat-yn

 

 

1SG-trap-set-1SG

 

 

'I set a trap.'

 

 

 

(27)

a.

ty-r?e-mne-rkyn

 

 

1SG-what-sharpen-PRES I

 

 

 

 

b.

r?enut ty-mne-rkyn

 

 

what-ABS 1SG-sharpen-PRES I

 

 

'What am I sharpening?'

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4.3 Incorporation of non-object complements

Examples with complements which wouldn't be direct objects in English (or Chukchee).

(28)

a.

myt-uwicwet-yrkyn qepl-e

 

 

1PL-play-PRES I ball-INSTR

 

 

 

 

b.

myt-qepl-uwicwet-yrkyn

 

 

1PL-ball-play-PRES I

 

 

'We are playing at ball.'

 

 

 

(29)

a.

ty-tke-rkyn ynn-e

 

 

1SG-smell-PRES I fish-INSTR

 

 

 

 

b.

t-ynn-y-tke-rkyn

 

 

1SG-fish-smell-PRES I

 

 

'I smell of fish.'

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4.4 Incorporation of unaccusative subjects

(See Nedjalkov 1976, Polinsky 1990, 1993). Unaccusative subjects incorporate but not unergative ones (for possible exceptions see Polinsky’s work):

(30)

ym?yloñet ty-lewt-y-pygt-y-rkyn

 

all.day 1sg-head-hurt-PRES.I

 

‘I’ve had a head ache all day’

(31)

ynqo ge-j?ilg-inini-lin

 

then PAST.II-moon-appear-3sg

 

‘Then the moon appeared’

4.5 Transitivity alternations with incorporation

NI feeds 'Dative Shift'

(32)

a.

ytlyg-e (akka-gty) qora-ñe tym-nen

 

b.

ytlyg-yn (akka-gty) qaa-nm-at-g?e

 

c.

ytlyg-e ekyk qaa-nm-y-nen

 

 

'The father killed the deer for the son.'

Other obliques become derived objects. Eg. from 20:

(33)

c.

ytlyg-e kawkaw mytqy-rkele-nen

 

 

father-ERG bread-ABS butter-spread-TR

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4.6 Incorporation of adjuncts

Chukchee permits incorporation of nouns, adverbs and verb roots with an adverbial function. (This, together with similar data from Mayali, is a direct counterexample to the thesis advance by Baker (1988, 1996).

4.6.1 Incorporation of nouns with adverbial function

(34)

a.

ty-lejw-y-rkyn

 

 

1sg-wander-PRES.I

 

 

‘I am wandering’

 

b.

ty-nyki-lejw-y-rkyn

 

 

1sg-night-wander-PRES.I

 

 

‘I am wandering at night’

(35)

a.

ty-?ejñe-rkyn

 

 

1sg-shout-PRES.I

 

 

‘I am wandering’

 

b.

ty-kejñ-y-?ejñe-rkyn

 

 

1sg-bear-shout-PRES.I

 

 

‘I am shouting like a bear’

(36)

 

ty-ralko-wañe-rkyn

 

 

1sg-bed.curtain-sew-PRES.I

 

 

‘I am sewing inside the bed curtain’

(37)

 

ty-jara-pker-y-rkyn

 

 

1sg-house-arrive-PRES.I

 

 

‘I am arriving home’

This last two examples illustrate the vowel harmony properties of incorporation: the base form of the word for ‘tent’ is relkun with recessive vowels. Similarly, in (30) the dominant vowelled stem jara- ‘house’ induces vowel harmony of the recessive stem pkir ‘arrive’.

(38)

gymnan t-y-gytka-rkypl-yn reqokalgyn

 

I.ERG 1sg-leg-hit-3sg fox.ABS

 

‘I hit the fox on the leg’

Note that in this example we have a transitive verb which retains its object (‘fox’) but which is modified by a noun lit. ‘I hit the fox in a leg-fashion’ (II:236).

Some examples of multiple incorporations (I:102; see also Spencer 1995):

(39)

t-y-winw-y-jyq-ejmew-y-rkyn

 

1sg-secretly-quickly-approach-PRES.I

 

‘I quickly, secretly approach’

(40)

t-y-mejñ-y-lewt-pygt-y-rkyn

 

1sg-great-head-hurt-PRES.I

 

‘I have a splitting headache’

(41)

t-y-janra-y-kopre-ntywat-y-rkyn

 

1sg-separately-net-set-PRES.I

 

‘I am putting out the net separately’

In Chapter 3 I discuss incorporation of modifiers by nouns. A noun with an incorporated modifier can itself be incorporated by the verb (I:102):

(42)

t-y-kolqoc-y-kemet?-y-gynret-y-rkyn

 

1sg-kolkhoz-load-guard-PRES.I

 

‘I am guarding the kolkhoz’s load’

(43)

t-y-t?ar-qora-kyn?or-rkyn

 

1sg-how.many-reindeer-lasso-PRES.I

 

‘How many reindeer am I lassoing?’

(44)

t-y-r?a-wala-mna-rkyn

 

1sg-what-knife-sharpen-PRES.I

 

‘Which knife am I sharpening?’

Likewise, a modifier can be derivationally complex (I:107):

(45)

t-y-lge-korg-owecwat-y-rkyn

 

1sg-very-happily-play-PRES.I

 

‘I am playing very happily’

Skorik (I:103) states that it is generally objects or other unambiguous complements to verbs that allow modified nouns to be incorporated. Unlike some languages (Eskimo languages, Mohawk, …) modifiers can’t be ‘stranded’, i.e. an external adjective, numeral or whatever can’t modify an incorporated noun (see Spencer 1995 for other types of modifier incorporation and the case of ‘possessor stranding’). Skorik (I:105) doesn’t say this directly, rather he claims unequivocally that the incorporated noun can’t ‘enter into direct syntactic relations with a syntactically realized word form or other sentence constituent’.

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4.6.2 Incorporation of adverbial/adjectival roots

(II:234)

(46)

ynan ge-pynn-y-twy-len cinitkin wagyrgyn

 

he.ERG PAST.II-dejectedly-speak-3sg self.POSS life

 

‘He sadly recounted his life’

(47)

yrgynan n-iwyp-y-gite-net ñewysqetegti

 

they.ERG 3pl.SUBJ-shy-look-3pl.OBJ girl.ABS.PL

 

‘They shyly looked at the girls’

4.6.3 Incorporation of verb roots

(48)

gymnan ty-gacgaw-peresqycat-yn caat

 

I.ERG 1sg-hurry-grab-3sg.OBJ lasso

 

‘I hurriedly grabbed the lasso’

II:238 provides explicit comparison of these incorporations with analytic syntactic equivalents (in which the incorporated verb stem generally appears as a gerund; see also Spencer 1995 for further examples).

Skorik (II: 241) provides the following example of multiple incorporations:

(49)

myn-nyki-ure-qepl-uwicwen-myk

 

1pl.IMPER-night-long.time-ball-1pl

 

‘Let’s play ball for a long time in the night’

cf.

(50)

nyki-te n-ur-?ew myn-uwicwen-myk qepl-e

 

night-INSTR ADV-long.time-ADV 1pl.IMPER-play-1pl ball-INSTR

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This page created on 11 July 1999.


Last modified 16 July 1999.