Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Some grammatical features of Inuktitut (pt. ii)

Indicative and Interrogative verb endings.

These series should have started with the Indicative mood, pronominal verb endings. These endings indicate or state progressive or perfected present (depending on…), and their forms conjugate thus:
first person, Indicative
singular:

[-junga]*
/[-tunga] – ‘I…                        isumajunga      ‘I think (that)…’
                                                  isiqtunga          ‘I enter’

dual:

[-juguk]
/[-tuguk] – ‘You and I…’          anijuguk          ‘You and I exit’
                                                   pisuktuguk       ‘You and I walk’

plural:

[-jugut]
/[-tugut] – ‘We (many)…’         tukisijugut        ‘We (many) understand’
                                                   siniktugut         ‘We (many) sleep’

 *some schools of thought contend that this morpheme [-junga] varies with [-vunga], but I say that the bilabial form, [-vunga]/[-punga], is a symbol of “formality” when not to ask but to state something as in [isuma-vunga] which is clearly different from the interrogative.

The interrogative forms look like this:

first person, Interrogative

singular:

[-vungaa]
/[-pungaa] – ‘Do I..?’           takuvungaa     ‘(You ask) if I see?’                                                    
                                            isiqpungaa       ‘(You ask) if I (have) enter(ed)?’

dual:

[-vinuuk]
/[-pinuuk] – ‘Do You and I...?’              qaujivinuuk     ‘Do you and I (now) know?’
                                                               nattiqpinuuk    ‘Did you and I catch a seal?’

plural:

[-vuguut]
/[-puguut] – ‘Do we (many)..?’              pivuguut          ‘Do we (many) get some?’
                                                               tusaqpuguut     ‘Did we (many) hear?’

-all of which I consider differently from:

first person, Formal/Indicative

singular:

[-vunga]
/[-punga] – ‘I am…’                              apirivunga       ‘I am asking (you)’
                                                              tusaqpunga      ‘I hear (that)…’

dual:

[-vuguk]
/[-puguk] – ‘You and I…’                      tukisivuguk      ‘You and I (now) understand (that)…’
                                                               isiqpuguk         ‘You and I enter’

plural:

[-vugut]
/[-pugut] – ‘We (many)…’                    takuvugut        ‘We see (that)…’
                                                              nirijariiqpugut ‘We (just) finish(ed) eating’


-we may now surmise from the examples above that its grammatical pattern seems to go like this:

-the formal form is used for reporting on or stating a present, progressive/perfective fact – as in: nirijariiqpugut ‘We (just) finish(ed) eating’ ; otherwise,

-using such a morpheme creates a transitive phrase (ie, the main phrase needs another phrase to complete the grammaticality) – as in: apirivunga tavva ilinnit… ‘And I ask you (now)…’

-this class may be differentiated from the “pure” Indicative morphemes, such as: [-junga] which are always intransitive phrases (ie, grammatically complete, in and of themselves) – pisuktunga ‘I walk(ed)’ – the use of (while) appositional may be converted as pisukłunga ‘while I walked…’ in North Baffin, but that deviates from the argument of intransitivity of [-junga].

These are highly restrictive constraints governing linguistic analysis. The formal form [-vunga] when an intransitive construct may denote progressive/perfective tense, but; when it functions in the transitive present progressive tense, it is always occurs with the main verb. The form, pisukłunga ‘while I walked…’ in North Baffin, is an “appositional” tense (while I…) and, therefore, treated as a different class by virtue of its tense designation.

The forms slowly begin to stand out if one persists in seeking order from these conjugations/declensions. The use of practical logic is easier to do than to discern its origins, its technical statements – what I’m saying is that order is easier to see here than to connect it to an abstract name. We see and discern things long before we name them.

Logic gives beauty and form to the possible formulations and interpretations of these structures. The mathematical principles are sound but it will always be possible to formulate a more elegant statement of these facts using logic and reason alone.

Jay

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