I realize I said that I submitted my last research assignment, but my professor asked me to explore a topic that came up as a supplement (i.e. extra credit). Of course, I couldn’t resist overworking myself. Here’s an excerpt of my latest findings (the total page count was 7 pages single spaced, but I’ve only included the first 4, plus the source list – the first four are really all that counts, while the last 3 are more of my assumptions and support of them).
Unless I choose to do research for fun (which seems unlikely because I’m burnt out from the school year), I’m going to say that this will, in fact, be my final post that contains linguistic data, until the next school year (if, in fact, the next school year allows me to take more research classes).
Also, when I reference Assignment 4, I’m referencing the research report from which this excerpt stems from.
In my previous research of Tagalog causative constructions (Assignment 4), I found the Tagalog language to be far more complex and specific in its constructions that those in English. My previous research focused mainly on the difference of constructions with Tagalog lexical causatives and Tagalog productive causative. Because I will not be discussing the constructions through a specific focus on lexical or productive causative for the purposes of this assignment, I’ll briefly summarize the previous findings and a basic groundwork for the material I intend to cover.
In English, the lexical causative is distinctive to its verb, such as the word “kill,” which can be interpreted to mean “X cause Y to die.” The productive causative in English is formed by the addition of a separate causative constituent, commonly the verb “make.” The productive English causative can be illustrated as such: “I made him buy the book.” Because the construction of the productive English causative simply requires the addition of a separate causative constituent, the English causative construction can be interpreted as flexible. This is illustrated through its flexibility in allowing some lexical causatives to be expressed as productive causatives, such as the lexical causative sentence “Susan killed the plants,” which can be just as easily expressed in the productive causative sentence “Susan made the plants die.”
While both constructions exist in Tagalog, the construction is more explicit in that both constructions have specific affixation to the verb. Furthermore, because Tagalog is a topicalizing language, the language undergoes a series of morphosyntactic properties in which the causative morpheme undergoes a transformation to include the topicalizing morpheme as well. The lexical causative in Tagalog is formed by adding the prefix pag- to the root of the verb, while the productive causative in Tagalog is formed by adding the prefix pagpa- to the root of the verb. When undergoing topicalization, the prefixes reflect an addition of the topic morpheme n-/m- at the beginning of the word. Thus, a word that has undergone topicalizer + causative construction will reflect the following:
(1) n-/m- + pag-/pagpa- + root
TOP L-CAUS/P-CAUS root
It is important to note, however, that context may play an important role in differentiating between two-place predicate productive causative and three-place predicate productive causatives in Tagalog. My previous research explained this more in detail, but as an oversimplification, the productive causative has more transformation properties than just the addition of the topicalizer morpheme. The productive causative must first be placed in its lexical construction, the drops the lexical root pag-, and then introduces the productive affix pagpa-. This causes an issue where the two-place predicate productive causative looks exactly the same as the three-place predicate productive causative. The entire transformation process has been explored in my previous assignment, which has been appended to this assignment.
For this assignment, I’ll focus on the differences between causative constructions in respect to aspect and topic focus. Because Tagalog causative constructions are more specific than English constructions, aspect and Agent/Theme topic play an important role in what other morphemes are incorporated with the L-CAUSE or P-CAUSE affixations. In Tagalog, there are two aspectual morphemes. The first morpheme (ASP1) is n-/-in-, which encodes the fact that the event has begun. Adopting the reference found in Travis (2010), I will refer to this as +start. The second morpheme (ASP2) is a reduplication, which encodes incompletion, referred to as +incomplete. Interesting to note is that the reduplicative morpheme appears between pag- and the root, when in a lexical imperfective construction.
Transitivity alternations in Tagalog lexical constructions at first give the appearance that, while pag- undergoes a visible topicalizing transformation, reduplication of –um- includes topicalization as well, where the infix –um-, whether reduplicated or not, serves as a topicalizing infix. (A side note: While ang and ng/nang can be topicalizing constituents, -um- infix can be used to topicalize as well. Native speakers have mentioned this phenomenon repeatedly, however, there are specific words which can use the infix, and others which cannot. There is much data on this topicalizing phenomenon, but to explore it in-depth would digress from the topic of this assignment.) Given the following alternations, it is easy to assume that mag- and –um- are equal in their purpose.
(2a) t-um-umba X fall down
s-um-abog X explode
l-um-uwas X go into the city
s-um-abit X join
(2b) mag-tumba Y knock X down
mag-sabog Y scatter1 X
mag-luwas Y take X to the city
mag-sali Y include X
To support the assumption that mag- and –um- serve the same purpose, one could reference the phenomenon of mag- and –um- disappearance when a theme is topicalized as opposed to when an actor is topicalized (where –in is the Theme Topic morpheme).
(3) Root Translation Actor Topic Theme Topic
hiwa cut mag-hiwa ø-hiwa-in
luto cook mag-luto ø-lutu-in
huli catch h-um-uli h-ø-ulih-in
tahi sew t-um-ahi t-ø-ahi-in
1Curiously, in Tagalog, the verb “explode” (sabog) changes meaning to “scatter” when in a causative construction.
However, when the addition of maka- (able) we find that mag- and –um- act differently, and are therefore not equal in purpose.
(4) Adaptive maka- (able)
- “able to join” maka-sali *maka-s-um-ali
- “able to include” *maka-sali maka-pagsali
First, the above examples prove that mag- is bimorphic, including the m- topicalizing morpheme, which is dropped when the adaptive is included, and the pag- prefix, which is left behind. Second, the examples debunk the assumption that mag- and –um- are the same; rather, it shows that –um- is parallel to topicalizing m-, because both disappear with the addition of the adaptive.
Although I have been focusing on the phenomenon surrounding the use of –um-, with reference to its involvement in ASP2 reduplication, this has been but a small exploration of reduplication’s role in causative constructions. As previously stated, reduplication occurs between pag- and the verb root to form infinitives in lexical causative constructions, implying that ASP2 requires ASP1 to be present in them.
(5) Stem: trabahoh “work”
Prefix: mag-pa P-CAUSE
Infinitive: mag-pa-trabahoh “X causes (unspecified) to work”
Contemplative: mag-pa-pa-trabahoh “X will cause (unspecified) to work”
In the above example, we see the role of reduplication in productive causative constructions to have a different result. The above example supports the notion that context is important when utilizing productive causative constructions in Tagalog – without the context, the causee is simply unspecified, and the verb is classified as infinitive, and does not require the use of reduplication to form the infinitive. However, reduplication in productive causative constructions is still utilized to encode ASP2 properties (+incomplete). As the above example shows, the reduplicated morpheme is requires the ASP1 morpheme of mag-pa- and places itself between that and the verb root, to encode the contemplative or +incomplete aspect.
This phenomenon, however, is not solely bound to causative constructions. While causative constructions are an excellent way to explore the relationship of ASP1 and ASP2 morphemes, this relationship can be seen as present in non-causative constructions.
(6) Stem: trabahoh “work”
Prefix: maka AGT+POT
Infinitive: maka-pag-trabahoh “X is able to work”
Contemplative: maka-ka-pag-trabahoh “X will be able to work”
(7) Prefix: mag-paka AGT-INT
Infinitive: mag-paka-trabahoh “X works very hard”
Contemplative: mag-pa-paka-trabahoh “X will work very hard”
(8) Prefix: magsi-pag MULT-AGT
Infinitive: magsi-pag-trabahoh “X’s work together”
Contemplative: magsi-si-pag-trabahoh “X’s will work together”
The above examples show that reduplication in Tagalog verbs serves to encode ASP2 properties, regardless of whether the construction is causative or not. Furthermore, the examples bring to light that, when the prefixes contain more than one syllable, it is the second syllable of the prefix that is reduplicated. Given my findings, it is evident that the morphosyntax of Tagalog works on various levels. Not only is Tagalog causative constructions sensitive to whether the causative is lexical or productive, it also has to undergo various processes, which include insertion of topicalizer markers and inclusion of aspect markers. Because my area of focus for this assignment was aspect, I find it important to note that Tagalog’s sensitivity to marking aspect, especially ASP2 properties branches to more areas, including causative constructions. However, causative constructions seem to be a comprehensive starting point for a brief exploration of aspectual sensitivity, as shown in my findings. Tagalog’s overall sensitivity to aspect may be more complex, and is another topic entirely.
Travis, Lisa de Mena. “Chapter 1: Introduction.” Inner aspect the articulation of the VP. Dordrecht [u.a.:Springer, 2010. 8-9. Print.
Travis, Lisa de Mena. “Chapter 3: Inner Aspect and Event.” Inner aspect the articulation of the VP. Dordrecht [u.a.:Springer, 2010. 64-70. Print.
Travis, Lisa de Mena. “Chapter 6: L-Syntax and S-Syntax.” Inner aspect the articulation of the VP. Dordrecht [u.a.:Springer, 2010. 202-208. Print.
Ramos, Teresita V. “Chapter 7: Causative Sentences.” Tagalog structures., Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1971. 147-154. Print.