Monday, October 28, 2013

in which I briefly ponder the morphology of greetings

Lately, for reasons that I may or may not explain in due course, I've been thinking a lot about the classification of words (parts of speech et al.). Normally what I do is consider the more nebulous categories (indefinite pronouns, quantifiers and alike), but today somehow I got to thinking about verbs and how - at least in Standard Average European and immediate surroundings - they tend to be easily identifiable based on morphological criteria only. And then I thought of "čau".
To explain: In addition to all the formal[1] and semi-formal[2] options, there are basically three standard informal greetings in Slovak: "ahoj", "čau" and "servus". The etymology is of course obvious and interesting in itself, the use of the first one tends to baffle German and English-speaking visitors to no end, but these are otherwise unremarkable interjections (Pauliny 1981:207). Well, not entirely unremarkable. You see, unlike with most other interjections in Slovak, when you use these to greet a group of people, you can add a suffix "-te", ending up with "ahojte", "servuste" and "čaute". What is that suffix, you ask? Why it's none other than the suffix of the second person plural imperative, i.e. a verbal suffix. This would fit nicely into the paradigm where second person singular imperative lacks overt marking for some verb classes (e.g. "rob" = do.2SG.IMP, "robte" = do.2PL.IMP), so one could argue that some Slovak interjections actually take some verbal suffixes.
Hang on, is that the only explanation? Well, no. One could for example consider the influence of analogy where these forms would be based on greetings like "maj(te) sa" which is a honest-to-Ninurta verb in the imperative: the full form is "maj(te) sa dobre" = "be well"[3] "mať", lit. "to have", metaphorically "to be in a X condition"[4]. The absence of the reflexive pronoun might "sa" would have to be explained, but surprise surprise, "čaute sa" and "ahojte sa" do indeed frequently occur and from there, it's just one step to the forms we've seen, so that's plausible enough. We would thus have greetings formulas formed by analogy with an existing one and I don't think it matters that "maj(te) sa" is exclusively a farewell greeting, while the rest are universal.
But here's the thing: in addition to 2PL.IMP suffix "-te", there is also a 1PL.IMP suffix "-me" (Pauliny 1981:178). And guess what? Yes, you got it, "čau" and "ahoj" take "-me", too, to form "čaume" and "ahojme" and there is even one instance of "servusme" on teh intert00bz. These definitely cannot be explained by simple analogy with the "maj(te)" greeting, since appears to be no greeting formula "majme sa (dobre)"[5]. And so even if the 2PL imperative forms of "čau" and "ahoj" arose in analogy with "maj(te) sa" (which is possible, but in no way certain), they developed in their own way: first, they dropped the reflexive (which is not possible for "maj(te) sa" since the verb would then lose its idiomatic meaning) and once they could take one imperative suffix, nothing prevented them from taking the other one.
So, to sum up: some Slovak interjections take the full set of imperative suffixes. Now that is some awesome shit.

1. "Dobrý deň", lit. "good day".
2. "Zdravím", lit. "I greet".
3. See Swedish/Norwegian "ha det bra".
4. Note that in Slovak, one can inquire about other person's well-being by simply asking "Máš sa?". Normally this type of sentence would require a sentence-final adjective (for a simple question), a sentence-final interrogative particle (for focus on the particle) or a different word order (interrogative particle - reflexive - verb), but "Máš sa?" is perfectly cromulant, if informal, Slovak.
5. The main reason could be that the 1PL.IMP form of "mať" is not specific enough to facilitate a pragmatic interpretation as a greeting. In other words, when I hear "majme sa", I expect the next word to be the next part of one of the multiword expressions "mať" often features in, like "majme sa radi" ("let's like each other") or "majme sa na pozore" ("let's be careful"). Also, the imperative of "mať" is fishy in general.

Pauliny 1981: Pauliny, Eugen. Slovenská gramatika: Opis jazykového systému. Bratislava: SPN.


David Marjanović said...

I bet this is helped by the -j of ahoj, which looks like the imperative singular ending already. Maybe the word was intentionally misinterpreted at first, as a joke?

So, to sum up: some Slovak interjections take the full set of imperative suffixes. Now that is some awesome shit.

I see your shit and pile it higher and deeper. Where I come from, the clitic version of the 2nd-person sg. pronoun is the verb ending, -/st/. In other words, /obst/ can mean "fruit" (collective) as well as "whether you".

Congratulations on retaining a true imperative for the 1st p. plural, though. That's awesome.

David Marjanović said...

Gah, I forgot to mention the obsolete German farewell gehabt euch wohl.

(There doesn't seem to be a word *gehaben otherwise. I smell some kind of connection to English behave, though; ge- and be- are somewhat interchangeable between German dialects.)

bulbul said...

-j of ahoj, which looks like the imperative singular ending already
Indeed, altough the class of the verbs it affects is small and

the clitic version of the 2nd-person sg. pronoun is the verb ending, -/st/
A worthy contender and another example of how the funny stuff morphology does.

David Marjanović said...

I keep forgetting to mention tschüß euch. That's a deliberate joke, though.

Unknown said...

michael kors outlet online
adidas nmd r1
pandora jewellery
pandora jewelry
cheap oakley sunglasses
canada goose jackets
ghd hair straighteners
valentino shoes
canada goose outlet
ray ban sunglasses

琐事 said...

michael kors handbags
redskins jerseys
pandora jewelry
cheap jordan shoes
christian louboutin shoes
omega watches for sale
yeezy boost 350 white
seattle seahawks jerseys
ed hardy clothing
cheap nfl jerseys wholesale

Unknown said...

hermes birkin
pandora outlet
christian louboutin outlet
birkenstock sandals
fit flops
ray ban sunglasses outlet
louboutin chaussures
longchamp outlet
christian louboutin
tommy hilfiger shoes

Kian said...

We synced before Google had their own tool and still sync after they have given up. download driver To run PhotoSync WiFi you have to download and run the WinRemote Server on a Windows PC.

Gabriel said...

His insightful book, named after Art of War by Sun Tzu, contends that writing quick inefficient code is sweeping the dirt under the rug. download manuals The range that you can measure is from 25 to about 200 yards.

Matthew said...

From Maihue Ltd: iScope is a project manager app like you have never seen before. check out this Then the phone rang, and it was Brad, a college flame who'd become a Harvard scientist with a book coming out.

Samuel said...

4) Icons - It would be nice to change these or have a few options given for different pages. This link Wondering what product style and color combinations will look best.

Unknown said...

Be organized into themed Constellations for easier control. downlodable apps For a limited time, invite your friends and get 100 coins FREE!Use of this app requires a Facebook account.

raybanoutlet001 said...

oakley sunglasses
jordan 8
ugg boots
mont blanc outlet
ugg boots
ugg boots
gucci shoes
reebok shoes
ugg outlet
jordan shoes

Unknown said...

The faux-Peruvian background music fits the tripped-out story line, but you can disable it if it distracts you. downlodable serial numbers Many hotels will not require a credit card for a reservation.

Unknown said...

Consider upgrading to the full 5 in 1 Kitchen Timer to replace the burners with four new timers. You can play as many times as you want, your scores will be added to the score board.

millenium said...

So pay attention to the accuracy info at the bottom of the display. Opting out of background executionImproving game heuristics.

Unknown said...

The &'lite&' version of Mazetrix feaures 7 addicting levels. hacking etico pdf I can even put the application on a thumb drive and take it with me to my doctor visits.

adidas nmd said...

nike factory outlet
cleveland browns jerseys
cheap ray bans
michael kors handbags
ecco shoes online
michael kors outlet clearance
michael kors uk
ralph lauren shirts
yeezy shoes
mbt shoes clearance outlet

AMELIA77 said...

It even includes our patent pending Huddle Sync recommendations. No more waiting for sign-off on paperwork, or attending the office to pick up job information or address details.

Unknown said...

Were bringing you a new update full with bug fixes, performance improvements and other exciting tech stuff. download warez Thank you Michael for helping me out so fast and efficient.

Unknown said...

The first way is fairly straightforward but powerful:1. User can create any number of Wounds for given particular patient.

Unknown said...

Products tested were selected randomly and reception ranges and operating specifications vary: Watch YouTube videos of the game action on some of the most popular courts.

millenium said...

When deleting a word from the favorites section the app doesn't jump back to the beginning. Points are awarded for fewer words and for longer ones.

AMELIA77 said...

RATING: Suitable for adults with an interest in Roman or military history. Names are encrypted to ensure privacy and you can PIN protect access to the application.

Matthew said...

: Met Shopcat vind je snel de meeste winkels, pinautomaten, caf, restaurants, tankstations en andere verkooppunten in Nederland. This link Retrouvez tous les mois le nouveau numro de GQ France et profitez d'offres d'abonnement exclusives, rserves aux dtenteurs de l'application.

Unknown said...

ralph lauren uk
nike outlet
canada goose outlet
canada goose outlet
moncler jackets
coach outlet online
yeezy boost 350
broncos jerseys
reebok shoes
ray ban eyeglasses

Unknown said...

michael kors outlet
bvlgari jewelry
kate spade outlet
givenchy jewelry
cartier jewelry
cheap jordans
cheap jordans
lakers jerseys
canada goose outlet
pandora charms sale clearance

Anonymous said...

Hungarian has szervusztok and sziasztok, 2nd person plural forms of szervusz resp. szia. According to Wiktionary szia is a backformation from sziasztok ← szevasztok ← szervusztok.

yanmaneee said...

moncler jackets
christian louboutin outlet
yeezy boost 350 v2
nike react
curry 5 shoes
nike shoes
adidas yeezy
yeezy boost
golden gooses outlet
jordan retro

cara menggugurkan kandungan said...

I thank you for the information and articles you provided

Paumig said...

You’ve done an incredible job Click Here

Dennis said...

I learned a lot

Samuel Badree said...

Mobile Prices Bangladesh that is called an amazing web

Frank said...

These certainly can't be clarified by basic relationship with the hello, Need Someone To Write My Essay since seems, by all accounts, to be no hello recipe.

Unknown said...

webpage replica bags korea reference joy replica bags review navigate to this website replica bags toronto

Anonymous said...

I find this so interesting. Keep sharing! Appliance Repair near me

Anonymous said...

High! Yo! dude-withe-lude!
Y'thinkY'know all the greetnz
in the whole, wide world, dya?
Y'havent seeNthn yet, Pops:
● ●
Cya soon, brudda...