Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 10:25:16 +0100
Subject: response to Chris Court's query (fwd)

He calls the "psycho-collocations". In Thai, if the bodypart word comes
first it tends to refer to a permanent trait, and the reverse to a
temporary state: "heart good" means 'kind', while "good heart" means
'glad' (adj. follows noun in Thai, and in N + Adj, such as "good heart"
the N has to be interpreted as a locative: 'feeling good in the heart'.
Does anyybody know of such a distinction being made elsewhwere?
In Indonesian (Malay) the underlying grammar is a bit more transparent, although you will probably fail to find this in the grammar books. The normal thing is for an attribute to follow the target noun, and a circumstantial complement to follow the target verb or adjective.
   tangan panjang <hand><long> "a long hand" 
   panjang tangan <long><hand-wise> "longhanded, i.e prone to stealing, k.o. kleptomaniac"
The "secret" of understanding the second construction, is that nouns in Indonesian (and not only in this language) have a homonymic attributive form, which differ from the corresponding "nominal" form only in not sharing most of the potential syntactical valencies of the latter. The noun in the position of circumstantial complement to a verb or adjective (not to be confused with direct or indirect objects of the verb, where nouns are in the "nominal" form) is in this attributive form (as also in non-possessive attribute to a noun). The difference is very subtle, and not always easy to determine. Thus, in
   Ia menjual nasi "he is selling/sold rice"
nasi is the direct object of the transitive verb menjual, and thus shares all the potential valencies of the "nominal" form. In
   Ia berjual nasi "he sells rice" ("he does rice-selling")
nasi is a circumstantial complement of the intransitive verb berjual "to sell (as a habit, custom, profession)" and is in the "attributive" form.
Cf. further:
   hati baik<liver><good>"a good heart"
   baik hati<good><liver-wise> "goodhearted, kind"
   hati besar<liver><big>"a big heart"
   besar hati<big><liver-wise>"optimistic, glad"
   kepala keras<head><hard>"a hard head"
   keras kepala<hard><head-wise>"stuborn, idiosyncratic"
   akal tajam<wit><sharp>"a sharp wit"
   tajam akal<sharp><wit-wise>"sharpwitted"
It is my impression that languages can be divided into two types: those in
which most expressions for states of mind or character qualities do not
require a morpheme referring to the conceived locus of the state of
characteristic, and those in which they do. English, and European
fall into the first type, for while we do have such "transparent"
expressions as "kind-hearted", "broad-minded", "slow-witted" etc. we have
many more words of the "opaque" type without morphemes for "heart" and so
on, such as "stupid, clever, generous, glad,
surprised,happy, depressed" etc. The other type, found in SEA and Oceania
and probably elsehwere, prefers "transparent" expressions.
It might be prudent though to first check up the possibility, that perhaps all languages have some basic words for states of mind and character qualities, and compose additional ones, when required, by the described means. In this, languages with longer histories of sophisticated literary tradition will probably have accumulated a larger "basic" vocabulary of "psychic" words, partly through borrowing from a standard prestige language (Latin, Greek, Sanskrit/Pali, Chinese, Arabic, ...).
Another source of variation, I think, comes closer to what you are trying to establish. Different culture traditions have their different preferred styles of speech. Thus Indians, Americans, and Britishers speak English differently, not only from a dialectal point of view (phonological correspondences, different words for e.g. truck/lorry, gas/petrol etc.), but also stylistically. Thus, the British speaker prefers to say it with simple mono and bisyllabic words, where the American and the Indian would go for a more sophisticated expression (Americans and Indians, in turn, not usually going after the same style of sophistication).
An important culture difference between Southeast Asia and Europe, which may have consequence on the feature interesting us here, is that in Europe, good manners are traditionally expected firstly from socially higher-positioned, whereas in SEA it is the other way round. The higher the social position, the less courtious (and sophisticated in one's speech) one has to be.
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 20:41:22 +0100
Subject: Re: Grammatical Categories in Indonsian

David Gil asked:
My question -- to Waruno or to anybody else who is interested -- is as
follows: how do we go about justifying claims such as, eg., the "nasi" in
"Ia menjual nasi" belongs to a different grammatical category ("nominal"
as opposed to "attributive") than the "nasi" in "Ia berjual nasi"? Or, in
other words, what otherwise puzzling facts about Indonesian syntax and/or
semantics are explained by invoking such distinctions?
a very good question, particularly since I did not provide explicit objective criteria for the distinction, other than a nebulous reference to characteristic valencies of the one form (nominal) not shared by the other (attributive).
One such valency is the combination with a preposed numeral group, which may be a cardinal number, such a number + classifier or unit of measure or the like, or a word like suatu.
Thus, one may say:
   Ia menjual dua piring nasi "he is selling/sold two plates of rice"
but not:
  *Ia berjual dua piring nasi "he does two-plates-of-rice-selling[?]"
Placing such a numerical group before a noun in the attributive automatically "converts" it into the nominal. In the above axample, the consequence was that the circumstantial complement became transformed into a direct object, which, the preceding verbform being intransitive, resulted in a non-grammatical utterance.
In the following example, where the noun in the attributive serves as qualitative attribute to a noun, the "conversion" has as consequence the transformation of the qualitative attribute into a possessive attribute. The meaning of the resulting phrase is perhaps exotic, but it is not non-grammatical:
   rumah batu "stone house"
   rumah se-buah batu "the house of [belonging to] a stone"
I presented a paper on this in Leiden some years ago, which has meanwhile been published as:
"Distinguishing Homonymic Wordforms in Indonesian", pp. 181–216 in Ger P. Reesink (ed.), Topics in Descriptive Austronesian Linguistics, Semaian 11, Leiden: Vakgroep Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië (1993).
Best regards, Waruno
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 15:04:30 +0100
Subject: Re: In Search of Panlingua

Pisaunya tipis, The knife is thin.
Unfortunately, Malay, like all languages, is diabolically inconsistent.
You said it. And to illustrate this in conjunction with your examples from above:
   (1) Besar-nya seperti gajah "He is as big as an elephant"  
   (2) Besar-nya di kota "He grew up in the city"
Much of what happens in Indonesian morphology takes place below the surface, which is one of the reasons which lets particularly colloquial forms of the language appear grammatically "amorphous" as suggested by David Gil for Riau Indonesian.
In the paper I cited in my reponse to Chris Court a week or so ago, I made a first attempt at taking a peek under that surface, in that I proposed some ways of detecting apparently unmarked morphological distinctions (i.e. distinguishing homonymic forms in the morphological paradigm of a word) in Indonesian. I among others came to the conclusion that the term "nominalized form" for verbs and adjectives was inadequate, there being more than one such form. And one of these (the one involved in the two besar examples above) I proposed to call the gerund.
In the said examples, besar in (1) is the basic gerund of the adjective besar "big, be big", whereas in (2) it is that of the verb membesar "become big, grow up". For the latter, compare also membesarkan "to cause to become big, to raise (children)".
The main message here is not to rely too much on the written or printed representation of a speech happening, and not to consider such data, whether written or spoken, in isolation. The following four examples involves (3a-b) two of the participles (as I called) them, which in Indonesian (as in many European languages too) easily lend themselves to conversion to nouns, as in (4a-b):
   (3a) kaca pembesar "magnifying glass" <glass/mirror><big-making> 
   (3b) pendudukan Jepang "the occupation of Japan (e.g. by the US)" <the-sitting-upon><Japan>

   (4a) kaca pembesar "mirror of a/the high-ranking official" <glass/mirror><fella-him-be-big> 
   (4b) pendudukan Jepang "the Japanese occupation (e.g. of Indonesia)" <occupation><Japan>

Strictly speaking pembesar in (4a) is not the result of conversion of that in (3a), but is a noun derivation of the verb membesar, whereas that in (3a) is one of the participles of the same verb. It would take too much space here, to demonstrate the underlying grammatical distinctions involved here. I'll just stop on one, because it was already dealt with in previous messages:
In (3a), pembesar is a qualitative attribute, in (4a) it is a noun serving as possessive attribute. As such, it combines with a preposed numeral attribute:
   kaca seorang pembesar "mirror of a (some) high-ranking officer"
When the attribute is a noun, a possessive attribution can be optionally mediated by nya acting as possessive copula:
   kaca-nya pembesar (itu) "mirror of the (that) high-ranking officer"
Neither of the two expansions is possible for (3a).
Must stop here now.

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