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  • Squib:Dynamic vs. Stative Verbs in Mantauran (Rukai)1
  • Elizabeth Zeitoun

1. Introduction.

In articles appearing in this same issue (Zeitoun and Huang 2000, Huang 2000),2 Lillian Huang and I show that in many Formosan languages, dynamic and stative verbs exhibit different morphological alternations. In their finite forms (AF constructions), dynamic verbs can be marked by different focus/voice affixes (-um-, -əm-, m-, Ø, etc.), while stative verbs are marked by ma- or Ø. In their nonfinite forms,3 dynamic verbs are unmarked, whereas stative verbs are marked by ka-. Though Mantauran Rukai differs from the other Formosan languages in a number of respects (see Zeitoun 1995, 1997a-b),4 (most) verbs can also be categorized as either dynamic or stative, based on their conjugation patterns (finite, nonfinite, and subjunctive forms).5

The aim of the present paper is twofold. First, to list all the constructions that induce a nonfinite verb form to further support the idea—as an addemdum to Zeitoun and Huang (2000)—that in many Formosan languages and in Mantauran Rukai in particular, ka- must be singled out as a distinct morpheme and be treated as the counterpart of the stem-forming affix ma-: ka- occurs in nonfinite stative verbs, and ma- in finite stative verbs. Second, to examine dynamic/stative verbs marked as subjunctive and determine the paradigms that frame such marking.

2. "Finite" vs. "Nonfinite."

In the active voice, dynamic verbs are usually marked by o- (few are marked by om-, even fewer by m-) and stative verbs by ma-.6

(1) Dynamic verbs in their finite forms

  • o-akamə      'roast'

  • o-coroko      'jump'

  • o-ðapələ      'fish'

  • o-əcəvə      'cross a river'

  • o-həcəιə      pinch'

  • o-kəʔətə      'cut'

  • o-laŋai      'buy'

  • o-ιihoʔo      'know'

  • o-ŋəιəcə      'frown'

  • o-poιavo      'plant (millet)'

  • o-riŋiriŋi      'fry'

  • o-sialaιa      'hear'

  • o-tipitipi      'beat'

  • o-vaʔai      'give'

  • o-ʔoŋolo      'drink'

  • om-iki      'exist'

  • om-oa      'go'

  • m-aavaʔi      'come'

(2) Stative verbs in their finite forms

  • ma-ðalamə     'love'

  • ma-haʔaoco     'scold'

  • ma-ιakasə     'lazy'

  • ma-pacai     'dried'

  • ma-ravəravərə     'happy'

  • ma-taaðiʔi     'good'

  • ma-takoιa     'bad'

  • ma-ʔamaðə     'dislike'

As in other Formosan languages, in their nonfinite forms, dynamic verbs are unmarked for voice—the absence of marking will be represented in the subsequent examples as Ø—and stative verbs are marked by ka-. The occurrence of a nonfinite verb form usually accompanies the prefixation to the stem of a verbal affix (see 2.1-2.5), but it might also be triggered by the occurrence of a coordinator (such as la 'and', see 2.6) or a conjunction (e.g., mani 'then', see 2.7).

2.1 Irrealis Mood.

We showed in Zeitoun et al. (1996) and Zeitoun and Huang (1997) that (i) most Formosan languages exhibit a realis/irrealis dichotomy, and (ii) temporal/aspectual and modal distinctions can be marked morphologically (through affixation and/or reduplication) or lexically (through the occurrence of an auxiliary verb or temporal adjuncts). Rukai is one language where the irrealis is marked on the morphological level, with the prefixation of amo- to the verb stem.

(3) Dynamic verbs in the irrealis

o-ləkatə 'measure' amo-Ø-ləkatə 'will measure'
o-coroko 'jump' amo-Ø-coroko 'will jump'
o-ðapələ 'fish' amo-Ø-ðapələ 'will fish'
om-oa 'go' amo-Ø-oa 'will go'
m-aavaʔi 'come' amo-Ø-kaavaʔi 'will come'

[End Page 416]


  1. a. o-ləkatələkat-inamə               kapaðaʔanəŋa7
    ACT/REAL-RED.MEASURE-1PL.EXCL.OBL     all.houses
    'They drew the plan for us for all the houses.'

  2. b. mani patoʔ-inamə     atalialai   pakisa:    "amo-Ø-ləkaləkatə-ŋa-
    then   tell-1PL.EXCL.OBL   chiefs     plain     will-Ø-RED.measure-already-
    -mita          ʔina  takasaə-ni     ooma"   ia-ŋ-inamə.
    -1PL.INCL.NOM  that    share-3SG.GEN   field     so-already-1PL.EXCL.OBL
    'Then the local government told us (they) would measure our fields (to see) how big they were.'

(5) Stative verbs in the irrealis

ma-ravəravərə 'happy' amo-ka-ravəravərə 'will be happy'