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17 Processes of Sentence Formation: Subject Shifting and Preposing of Possessor

17.1. FOUR SPECIAL POSSESSED NOUNS

We have already had occasion to mention a special group of obligatorily possessed nouns (cf. 3.5) which refer to certain basic ideas such as liking, disliking, ability, and obligation. These nouns are used in sentences like the following, which we repeat from 3.11:

(1)   a.   Ng soak a biang.
        ‘I like beer.’
         
    b.   Ng chȩtil a rrom.
        ‘He dislikes liquor.’
         
    c.   Ng sȩbȩchir ȩl mong?
        ‘Can they go?’
         
    d.   Ng kirem ȩl mong?
        ‘Do you have to go?’

Even though the English equivalents for the above examples con­tain verbs (like, dislike) or verbal expressions (can go, have to go), we should not be misled into thinking that the corresponding Palauan sentences necessarily contain verbs to express the same ideas. For example, sentences la and 1b do not contain any verbs at all, but instead have the possessed nouns soak ‘my liking’ and chȩtil ‘his disliking’ followed by concrete nouns such as biang ‘beer’ and rrom ‘liquor’. Thus, these sentences seem to mean something like ‘My liking is beer’ and ‘His disliking is liquor’, respectively.1

We know that words like soak ‘my liking’, chȩtil ‘his dis­liking’, sȩbȩchir ‘their ability’, and kirem ‘your obligation’ of 1 above must be nouns because their form varies according to whose liking, disliking, ability, or obligation is involved. These four words are to be classified as obligatorily possessed nouns because 334they each must take one of the sets of possessor suffixes described in 3.3. Since these words occur so frequently in Palauan sentences, we shall list their possessed forms below:

(2)   Possessor Suffix Noun of Liking Noun of Disliking
         
    1st pers sg soak chȩtik
    2nd pers sg soam chȩtim
    3rd pers sg soal chȩtil
    1st pers pl incl soad chȩtid
    1st pers pl excl somam chȩtimam
    2nd pers pl somiu chȩtimiu
    3rd pers (hum) pl sorir chȩtirir
         
      Noun of Ability Noun of Obligation
         
    1st pers sg sȩbȩchek kirek
    2nd pers sg sȩbȩchem kirem
    3rd pers sg sȩbȩchel kirel
    1st pers pl incl sȩbȩched kired
    1st pers pl excl sȩbȩcham kiram
    2nd pers pl sȩbȩchiu kiriu
    3rd pers (hum) pl sȩbȩchir kirir

The forms given above show that the noun of ability and the noun of obligation have possessor suffixes belonging to the e-set, while the noun of liking and the noun of disliking take possessor suffixes belonging to the a-set and the i-set, respectively. The only irregularity we observe is in certain forms of the noun of disliking: in the “plural possessor” forms chȩtimam, chȩtimiu, and chȩtirir, we note the unexpected insertion of i before the consonant-initial suffixes -mam, -miu and -rir (cf. 3.3, ex. 4).

Before we can adequately explain the grammatical structure of the sentences in 1, we must take a preliminary look at an important Palauan sentence type—namely, the equational sen­tence. As we will see in 18.6, an equational sentence is one in which two noun phrases are equated with each other. In the present tense, Palauan equational sentences contain no verb at all, but merely consist of a subject noun phrase followed by another noun phrase. Note the examples below:

(3)   a.   Ak ngalȩk ȩr a skuul.
        ‘I’m a student.’ 335
         
    b.   A Droteo a sensei.
        ‘Droteo’s a teacher.’

The sentences of 3 simply make a statement of the form “A is B”: in other words, in 3a the subject noun phrase ak ‘I’ is asserted to belong to the class of individuals designated by the second noun phrase ngalȩkȩr a skuul2 ‘student’, and in 3b the subject noun phrase Droteo is said to belong to the class of individuals referred to by the second noun phrase sensei ‘teacher’. In the past tense, Palauan equational sentences contain the auxiliary word mle ‘was, were’, which joins the two noun phrases. Thus, with 3ab, compare the following examples:

(4)   a.   Ak mle ngalȩk ȩr a skuul.
        ‘I was/used to be a student.’
         
    b.   A Droteo a mle sensei.
        ‘Droteo was/used to be a teacher.’

17.2. SUBJECT SHIFTING

In order to understand the structure of sentences 1ab above, we shall first propose that they are basically equational sentences. In other words, sentences 1ab are derived by a certain gram­matical process from sentences like the following:

(1’)   a.   A biang a soak.
        ‘Beer is what I like.’
         
    b.   A rrom a chȩtil.
        ‘Liquor is what he dislikes.’

The sentences in 1’ are equational sentences containing two noun phrases; in each case, the subject noun phrase (biang ‘beer’ or rrom ‘liquor’) is being equated with one of the special possessed nouns discussed in 17.1 above. Therefore, the interpretation of 1’ab follows the “A is B” pattern, and the two sentences literally mean something like ‘Beer is my liking’ and ‘Liquor is his disliking’ (which of course are not good English sentences).

Now, the equational sentences in 1’ are used relatively rarely by Palauan speakers. Such sentences would only be uttered if the speaker wishes to emphasize or single out a particular thing as the thing he likes or dislikes. Thus, 1’a implies, for example, that it is beer and only beer (out of a choice of several different beverages) that the speaker has developed a taste for. For some reason, the equational sentences in 1’ must usually undergo a modification in 336form before they can be spoken as natural, fully acceptable sen­tences of Palauan. This modification in form is brought about by the very important process of subject shifting, which we have already touched upon in 4.7. In order to see how subject shifting works, let us look at sentences 1ab together with their respective “source” sentences 1’ab, as in the following scheme:

(5)   Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
    a.   A biang a soak.     Ng soak a biang.
                ‘I like beer.’
                 
    b.   A rrom a chȩtil.     Ng chȩtil a rrom.
                ‘He dislikes liquor.’

Depending on whether we are looking at the process of change in 5ab from the viewpoint of the source sentence or the resulting sentence, our interpretation of the arrow notation will be ex­pressed differently. Thus, if we are focusing our attention on the source sentence, the arrow means that the source sentence is “changed into” or “transformed into” the resulting sentence. On the other hand, if our discussion is from the viewpoint of the resulting sentence, the arrow is interpreted to mean that the resulting sentence “results from” or “is derived from” the source sentence.

In 5 above, the resulting sentences are derived from the source sentences by the process of subject shifting. This process shifts the subject noun phrase of an (equational) source sentence to the right of the second noun phrase. Thus, in the resulting sentences of 5, biang ‘beer’ and rrom ‘liquor’—the subject noun phrases in the source sentences—have come to appear to the right of the possessed nouns soak ‘my liking’ and chȩtil ‘his disliking’. When a sentence subject gets shifted in this way, a trace of it remains in its original position in the form of a non-emphatic pronoun (cf. 4.2 and 4.7). Because the shifted noun phrase subjects biang ‘beer’ and rrom ‘liquor’ in the examples of 5 are 3rd pers. sg. nouns, the pronominal trace which they leave behind is the 3rd pers. sg. non-emphatic pronoun ng. Thus, the pronominal traces which occupy the original subject position in the resulting sen­tences of 5 agree with the shifted noun phrase subjects biang ‘beer’ and rrom ‘liquor’.

The analysis given above may seem unconvincing and un­necessary until we see that the process of subject shifting is quite widespread in Palauan and must therefore be included as part of any adequate description of the language. To illustrate this point, 337let us repeat our discussion of examples 2324 in 4.7, which are given as 67 below:

(6)   a.   A Droteo a mla mei.   ‘Droteo has come.’
    b.   Ng mla me a Droteo.    
             
(7)   a.   A ralm a mȩkȩlȩkolt.   ‘The water is cold.’
    b.   Ng mȩkȩlȩkolt a ralm.    

To Palauan speakers, the a- and b-sentences in 67 above are equally acceptable and natural. While the a-sentences have their subjects at the beginning, as we would expect, in the b-sentences these same subjects have been shifted to the right of the verb phrases (mla me ‘has come’ and mȩkȩlȩkolt ‘cold’). In other words, the b-sentences are derived from the a-sentences by the process of subject shifting, and since the shifted subjects (Droteo in 6 and ralm ‘water’ in 7) are 3rd pers. sg. nouns, they leave the pronominal trace ng in their original position. If the shifted subject is human plural, then the pronominal trace which it leaves behind is the 3rd pers. human pl. non-emphatic pronoun tȩ. Thus, with 6, compare the examples below:

(8)   a.   A rȩsȩchȩlim a mla mei.   ‘Your friends have come.’
    b.   Tȩ mla me a rȩsȩchȩlim.    

In the b-sentences of 68, the verb phrase is not introduced by the word a because it has come to be preceded by a non-emphatic pronoun—namely, the pronominal traces ng or (cf. 4.2).

Practically every Palauan sentence of the form subject noun phrase + intransitive verb phrase (+ relational phrase) or subject noun phrase + transitive verb phrase (+ object noun phrase) (+ relational phrase) (cf. 5.2) can be transformed by the process of subject shifting. This change in form does not result in any change of meaning for many speakers; therefore, we will find that the a-and b-sentences of 68 above are often used interchangeably. Some speakers, however, use the a-vs. b-sentences in rather different situations. Thus, though both members of 8 say that the hearer’s friends have arrived, their implications are different: 8a, with “normal” word order, is used to express new or unexpected information and therefore implies that the speaker had no advance knowledge that the visitors would come, while 8b, with “shifted” word order, seems to confirm an event which the speaker was waiting for or expecting.

To summarize what we have said above, the process of sub­ject shifting will account for the following two types of deriva­tions: 338

(9)   Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
             
    a.   A biang a soak.     Ng soak a biang.
                ‘I like beer.’
                 
    b.   A Droteo a mla mei.     Ng mla me a Droteo.
                ‘Droteo has come.’

The processes of change in 9a and 9b are identical in that the sub­ject of the source sentence is shifted and a pronominal trace is left in its place. What differentiates the two examples, however, is the following. First, in 9a, which is an equational sentence, the sub­ject is shifted to the right of the second noun phrase, while in 9b, which is an intransitive sentence, the subject is moved to the right of the verb phrase. Second, in 9a, subject shifting is nearly obliga­tory, since the source sentence is used only rarely, while the resulting sentence (with shifted subject) is the usual way of ex­pressing the idea involved. By contrast, in 9b, both the source sentence and the resulting sentence are common and acceptable; therefore, the application of subject shifting is just optional. Why subject shifting is nearly obligatory in 9a but optional in 9b seems to be a matter of style which we cannot predict or explain. Rather, all we can do is describe the situation by saying that equational sentences containing possessed nouns like soak ‘my liking’ and chȩtil ‘his disliking’ must usually undergo the process of subject shifting. This accounts for the fact that such sentences nearly always have ng (a pronominal trace) in initial position and an­other noun (the shifted subject) following the possessed noun. As we will see below and in later chapters, there are other Palauan sentence types which resemble sentences containing soak, chȩtil, etc. in that subject shifting is either obligatory or, at least, pre­ferred.

17.3. PREPOSING OF POSSESSOR

In the examples below, we observe some further instances of subject shifting. In each case, the shifted subject (italicized) happens to be a noun phrase of possession (cf. 3.7) with a specifical­ly-mentioned third person possessor:

(10)   Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
             
    a.   A chimal a Droteo a mȩringȩl.     Ng mȩringȩl a chimal a Droteo.
                ‘Droteo’s hand hurts.’
                 
    b.   A ochil a mlik a tȩlȩmall.     Ng tȩlȩmall a ochil a mlik.
                ‘The wheel of my car is broken.’ 339
                 
    c.   A rȩkil a Toki a lluich mȩ a etiu.     Ng lluich mȩ a etiu a rȩkil a Toki.
                ‘Toki’s age is 29.’/‘Toki is 29 years old.’
                 
    d.   A ultutȩlel a babier a klou.     Ng klou a ultutȩlel a babier.
                ‘The letter is (very) impor­tant.’

Since both the source sentences and the resulting sentences of 10 are natural and acceptable, the process of subject shifting is optional in the examples above. Some speakers, however, tend to prefer the sentences with shifted subjects.

Now, with the resulting sentences of 10, compare the follow­ing sentences, which are identical in meaning:

(11)   a.   A Droteo a mȩringȩl a chimal.
        ‘Droteo’s hand hurts.’
         
    b.   A mlik a tȩlȩmall a ochil.
        ‘The wheel of my car is broken.’
         
    c.   A Toki a lluich mȩ a etiu a rekil.
        ‘Toki’s age is 29.’
         
    d.   A babier a klou a ultutelel.
        ‘The letter is (very) important.’

The examples of 11 represent a very common sentence type in Palauan whose structure is best understood if we assume that the examples of 11 are derived from the resulting sentences of 10 by a special grammatical process called preposing of possessor. In comparing the two sets of sentences, we see that the specific possessors Droteo, mlik ‘my car’, Toki, and babier ‘letter’, which were originally shifted to the right in 10 as part of the italicized shifted subjects chimal a Droteo ‘Droteo’s hand’, ochil a mlik ‘wheel of my car’, etc., are optionally moved back to sentence-initial position in 11, where they substitute for the pronominal trace ng; at the same time, the possessed nouns chimal ‘his hand’, ochil ‘its wheel’, etc. come to appear in sentence-final position. This process is called “preposing of possessor” because a specific possessor is removed from the (shifted) noun phrase of possession of which it is a part and preposed (or moved forward) to the beginning of the sentence. The type of preposing under discussion here is only possible if the preposed noun phrase is a possessor. Thus, if we try to prepose a noun phrase which is not a pos­sessor, as in the example below, we get a completely ungrammati­cal sentence: 340

(12)   A John a chillȩbȩdii a bilis.
    ‘John hit the dog.’ →
    *A bilis a John a chillȩbȩdii.

If we accept the validity of the grammatical processes of sub­ject shifting and preposing of possessor, we can easily explain the unusual order of words in the sentences of 11, as well as the fact that the preposed noun phrases (which at first glance look like subjects) are actually interpreted as the possessors of the various possessed nouns found in sentence-final position. Thus, a sentence like 11a is ultimately derived from the source sentence of 10a by the following steps:

(11a’)   A chimal a Droteo a mȩringȩl.   (source sentence)
    Ng mȩringȩl a chimal a Droteo.   (by subject shifting)
    A Droteo a mȩringȩ1 a chimal.   (by preposing of possessor)

In derivations such as 11a’, it is very important that the subject shifting and preposing of possessor rules be applied in the order indicated: in other words, the possessor is preposed after it has been moved to the right (together with the rest of the noun phrase of possession of which it is a part) by the subject shifting rule.

In the additional examples below, the order of words in the first (or independent) clause is due to the application of the sub­ject shifting and preposing of possessor rules. The preposed pos­sessor has been italicized, and the possessed noun which has been left “isolated” at the end of the clause has been given in bold type. The second clause, which is introduced by ‘and so’ (see chap. 25), is added to make the sentences sound more complete; this clause describes some action or state which results from (or is a consequence of) the action or state of the preceding clause:

(13)   a.   A Droteo a mlo ȩr a Guam a bȩchil mȩ ak mo mȩruul a kȩlir.
        ‘Droteo’s wife went to Guam, so I’m going to prepare their (i.e., the family’s) food.’
         
    b.   A sȩchȩlik a smechȩr a dȩmal mȩ ak mo omes ȩr tir.
        ‘My friend’s father is sick, so I’m going to visit them.’
         
    c.   A Toki a milsesȩb a blil, mȩ ng kie ȩr a blik.
        ‘Toki’s house burned down, so she’s staying at my place.’
         
    d.   A Satsko a mlo ȩr a skuul a rȩngȩlȩkel mȩ ng diak a chad ȩr a blil.
        ‘Satsko’s children have gone to school, so there’s no one at home.’ 341
         
    e.   A ngȩlȩkek a tȩlȩmall a rrat ȩr ngii mȩ ng kirel ȩl di mȩrael ȩl mo ȩr a skuul.
        ‘My child’s bicycle is broken, so he’s got to walk to school.’

In 13e, the original noun phrase of possession is rrat ȩr a ngȩlȩkek ‘my child’s bicycle’, in which the possessor is expressed in a possessor phrase introduced by the relational word ȩr because the noun rrat ‘bicycle’ is unpossessible (cf. 3.8). When the possessor is preposed in such cases, a trace of it must be left in the form of a pronoun following the relational word ȩr. Since the relational word ȩr can only be followed by emphatic pronouns (cf. 4.3), the pronominal trace in 13e must be the 3rd pers. sg. emphatic pronoun ngii.

Let us now return to some sentences containing the possessed nouns soal ‘his/her liking’ and chȩtil ‘his/her disliking’. If a specific third person possessor is mentioned, we get sentences like the following:

(14)   a.   Ng soal a Droteo a biang.   ‘Droteo likes beer.’
    b.   A Droteo a soal a biang.    
             
(15)   a.   Ng chȩtil a Toki a sasimi.   ‘Toki dislikes Sashimi.’
        A Toki a chȩtil a sasimi.    

The sentences above can be easily explained in terms of the rules of subject shifting and preposing of possessor. Thus, the deri­vation of 14a and 15a follows the pattern given in 5 above, since these sentences show the shifted subjects biang ‘beer’ and sasimi ‘sashimi’. In other words, 14a and 15a are derived by subject shifting from equational sentences in which the first noun phrase is biang or sasimi and the second noun phrase contains soal or chȩtil followed by a specific possessor. These equational sentences are the source sentences in the scheme below:

(16)  

Source Sentence

      Resulting Sentence
             
    a.   A biang a soal a Droteo.     Ng soal a Droteo a biang. ‘Droteo likes beer.’
                 
    b.   A sasimi a chȩtil a Toki.     Ng chȩtil a Toki a sasimi. ‘Toki dislikes sashimi.’

Just as in the examples of 5, the application of the subject shifting rule to the source sentences of 16 is nearly obligatory, since the occurrence of these source sentences is quite rare.

The b-sentences of 1415 are derived from the a-sentences by preposing the possessor, but the conditions under which this rule applies are somewhat different from what we described 342earlier. Thus, in deriving 14b from 14a, for example, we note that the possessor Droteo can be preposed even though it Was never moved to the right as part of a shifted subject. In order to account for the correct ordering of words in 14b, however, we must still assume that the preposing of possessor rule applies after the sub­ject shifting rule. The step-by-step derivation of 14b is therefore as follows:

(17)   A biang a soal a Droteo.   (source sentence)
    Ng soal a Droteo a biang.   (by subject shifting)
    A Droteo a soal a biang.   (by preposing of possessor)

17.4. SUBJECT SHIFTING AND PREPOSING OF POSSESSOR WITH EXPRESSIONS CONTAINING reng

In this section we will examine another common Palauan sentence type in which the processes of subject shifting and preposing of possessor play an important role. Palauan has a very large number of expressions consisting of a possessed form of the abstract noun reng ‘heart, spirit’ followed by an intransitive verb—usually a state verb. These expressions are used to express emotional states, feelings, personality traits, and the like. Often, it is difficult or impossible to predict the exact meaning of these expressions from the meaning of the independently-occurring intransitive verb, as the following examples indicate:

(18)   a.   Ng ungil a rȩnguk.
        ‘I’m happy.’
         
    b.   Ng klou a rȩngul a sensei.
        ‘The teacher is patient.’
         
    c.   Ng smechȩr a rȩngmam.
        ‘We’re homesick.’

In the sentences above, we can see the connection between the two meanings of ungil ‘good’—‘happy’, klou ‘big’—‘patient’, and smechȩr ‘sick’—‘homesick’, but we have no consistent way of pre­dicting how the meaning will change when the particular intransi­tive (state) verb is associated with the abstract noun reng ‘heart, spirit’.

Before discussing the grammatical structure of the sentences of 18, we shall list some of the most commonly-used expressions with reng. The gloss given in parentheses is the meaning which the intransitive verb has when it occurs independently (i.e., without reng): 343

(19)   ngmasȩch a rȩngul ‘angry’ (‘rise’)
    kȩsib a rȩngul ‘angry’ (‘perspiring’)
    mȩched a rȩngul ‘thirsty’ (‘shallow’)
    mȩkngit a rȩngul ‘be in a bad/sad mood’ (‘bad’)
    beot a rȩngul ‘easygoing, nonchalant, unmotivated’ (‘easy’)
    mȩsisiich a rȩngul ‘hardworking, well-motivated’ (‘strong’)
    bȩralm a rȩngul ‘lazy, unmotivated’ (‘watery’)
    mȩchitȩchut a rȩngul ‘easily discouraged’ (‘weak’)
    kekȩdeb a rȩngul ‘short-tempered’ (‘short’)
    kekȩre a rȩngul ‘uncomfortable’ (‘small’)
    mȩsaul a rȩngul ‘not feel like’ (‘tired’)
    suebȩk a rȩngul ‘worried’ (‘fly’)
    songȩrengȩr a rȩngul ‘have a strong desire for’ (‘hungry’)
    diak a rȩngul ‘inconsiderate, im­polite’ (‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’)

It is easy to see that the examples of 18 are derived by the process of subject shifting. In other words, we propose that 18ac have the following source sentences:

(18’)   a.   A rȩnguk a ungil.
        (‘I’m happy.’)
         
    b.   A rȩngul a sensei a klou.
        (‘The teacher is patient.’)
         
    c.   A rȩngmam a smechȩr.
        (‘We’re homesick.’)

The sentences in 18’ are not acceptable to any speakers, however, and we must therefore conclude that subject shifting is obligatory if the sentence contains a special expression with reng ‘heart, spirit’. If we follow the subject shifting analysis proposed here, we can easily explain what would otherwise be two rather unusual facts about sentences like 18. First of all, such sentences always end in a noun phrase of possession which contains a possessed form of reng; this is of course due to the fact that the sentence subject is always obligatorily shifted. Second, sentences of this kind always begin with ng; this ng is the pronominal trace which appears in the spot originally occupied by the shifted 3rd pers. sg. noun phrase subject.

If we compare a sentence like 18b with the following, which is identical in meaning, 344

(20)   A sensei a klou a rȩngul.
    ‘The teacher is patient.’

we see immediately that the process of proposing of possessor (cf. 17.3 above) also applies to sentences containing noun phrases of possession with reng. Since both 18b and 20 are perfectly accept­able sentences, the rule which preposes the possessor is of course optional rather than obligatory. A couple of examples parallel to 18b and 20 are given below; the preposed possessor has been italicized:

(21)   a.   Ng suebȩk a rȩngul a Droteo.   ‘Droteo is worried.’
    b.   A Droteo a suebȩk a rȩngul.    
             
(22)   a.   Ng mȩched a rȩngrir a rȩsȩchȩlik.   ‘My friends are thirsty.’
    b.   A rȩsȩchȩlik a mȩched a rȩngrir.    

17.5. PREPOSING IN RECIPROCAL SENTENCES

In 10.1 we noted that reciprocal verbs must always have plural subject noun phrases. One type of plural subject consists of two single nouns or two noun phrases joined by the connecting word ‘and’ (cf. 25.4), as shown in the examples below:

(23)   a.   A Droteo mȩ a Toki a kausȩchȩlei.
        ‘Droteo and Toki are friends.’
         
    b.   A tȩkoi ȩr a Ruk mȩ a tȩkoi er a Belau a kakȩrous.
        ‘Trukese and Palauan are different.’
         
    c.   A rȩchad ȩr a Merikel mȩ a rȩchad ȩr a Sina a mle kauchȩ­raro.
        ‘The Americans and the Chinese used to be enemies.’

Just like any other subject noun phrase, the plural subject noun phrases in 23 can be moved to the right of the verb by the process of subject shifting explained in 17.2 above. Thus, when we apply subject shifting to 23ac, we get the following sentences, which are equivalent in meaning:

(24)   a.   Tȩ kausȩchȩlei a Droteo mȩ a Toki.
        ‘Droteo and Toki are friends.’
         
    b.   Ng kakȩrous a tȩkoi ȩr a Ruk mȩ a tȩkoi er a Belau.
        ‘Trukese and Palauan are different.’
         
    c.   Tȩ mle kauchȩraro a rȩchad ȩr a Merikel mȩ a rȩchad ȩr a. Sina.
        ‘The Americans and the Chinese used to be enemies.’ 345

Because the shifted subjects in 24a and 24c designate human beings, the 3rd pers. human pl. non-emphatic pronoun is used as a pronominal trace. In 24b, however, the pronominal trace is ng because this pronoun substitutes for the non-human plural noun phrase tȩkoi ȩr a Ruk a tȩkoi er a Belau ‘Trukese and Palauan’ (cf. 2.4).3

The sentences of 24 can be further changed (or transformed) by a process of preposing, but one which differs somewhat from that already discussed in the sections above. Before explaining what is involved, let us compare the sentences below with those of 24:

(25)   a.   A Droteo a kausȩchȩlei ngii mȩ a Toki.
        ‘Droteo is friends with Toki.’
         
    b.   A tȩkoi ȩr a Ruk a kakȩrous ngii mȩ a tȩkoi er a Belau.
        ‘Trukese is different from Palauan.’
         
    c.   A rȩchad ȩr a Merikel a mle kauchȩraro tir mȩ a rȩchad ȩr a Sina.
        ‘The Americans used to be enemies of the Chinese.’

In the sentences of 25 we note that the first noun or noun phrase of the shifted subjects of 24 has been moved back to sentence-initial position, where it replaces the pronominal traces ng or tȩ. This type of preposing is different from the process of preposing of possessor in two important respects. First, the preposed noun or noun phrase is, of course, not a possessor, but rather the first member of a plural noun phrase of the form A B. Second, when the first member of (shifted) A B is preposed, a trace of it must remain in the form of an emphatic pronoun. This accounts for the occurrence of ngii in 25ab, where the preposed noun phrase is singular, and for the occurrence of tir in 25c, where the preposed noun phrase is plural.

To summarize what we have said above, the sentences of 24 are derived from those of 23 by subject shifting, while those of 25 are in turn derived from those of 24 by the special process of preposing just described. Note the sample derivation below, which relates 23a, 24a, and 25a:

(26)   A Droteo a Toki a kausȩchȩlei.   (source sentence) →
    Tȩ kausȩchȩlei a Droteo a Toki.   (by subject shifting) →
    A Droteo a kausȩchȩlei ngii a Toki.   (by preposing of first member of A B)

As the English equivalents for 25 show, the sentences with pre-346posed subjects involve a change of viewpoint. Thus, in 23a and 24a, for example, the speaker is paying more-or-less equal atten­tion to both members of the plural subject (Droteo and Toki), while in 25a the speaker’s attention is focused more on the person designated by the preposed noun (Droteo).

In some reciprocal sentences, the plural subject is a noun phrase of possession in which the possessor is a sequence of the form A B. Thus, in the sentence below,

(27)   A blȩkȩrdȩlir a Droteo a Toki a kakngodȩch.
    ‘The personalities of Droteo and Toki are different from each other.’

the possessed noun blȩkȩrdȩlir ‘their personalities’ has the 3rd pers. human pl. possessor suffix -ir, which agrees with the follow­ing plural possessor Droteo a Toki ‘Droteo and Toki’. Now, the italicized subject noun phrase of 27 can be moved to the right of the verb by the process of subject shifting, resulting in the sentence below:

(28)   Ng kakngodȩch a blȩkȩrdȩlir a Droteo a Toki.
    ‘The personalities of Droteo and Toki are different from each other.’

Since the sequence Droteo a Toki of 28 is a possessor, it can be moved back to sentence-initial position by the process of pre­posing of possessor which we described in 17.3 above. We there­fore obtain the following sentence:

(29)   A Droteo a Toki a kakngodȩch a blȩkȩrdȩlir.
    ‘Droteo and Toki are different in personality.’

17.6. SUMMARY OF PROCESSES AFFECTING PALAUAN WORD ORDER

In 17.25 above, we have seen how two major grammatical processes—subject shifting and preposing—bring about striking changes in the word order of Palauan sentences. These processes are of wide applicability in Palauan and can account for many types of sentences other than those dealt with above. Thus, as we will see in later chapters, the processes of subject shifting and preposing not only play an important role in the formation of questions and passive sentences, but they also affect sentences containing negative verbs, existential verbs, and time clauses.

In addition to the major processes of subject shifting and preposing, there are a few relatively minor processes which 347affect the word order of Palauan sentences. Perhaps the most obvious of these is found in sentences containing the verb msa ‘give’, which characteristically takes two objects.4 Thus, in the examples below, the first object—the person who receives what is given—is italicized, while the second object—the thing which is given—is printed in bold type:

(30)   a.   Ak milsa a Helen a omiange.
        ‘I gave Helen a souvenir.’
         
    b.   Ak milstȩrir a rȩsȩchȩlik a hong.
        ‘I gave my friends a book.’
         
    c.   Ak mo mȩskau a udoud.
        ‘I’m going to give you some money.’
         
    d.   A Droteo a milskak a present.
        ‘Droteo gave me a present.’

As the examples above show, the verb msa ‘give’ is unusual in the following respects. First of all, this verb seems to have only perfective forms, but no imperfective forms. Second, the various object pronoun suffixes found in these perfective forms agree in person and number with the first object—namely, the person receiving what is given—rather than with the second object, which identifies the thing given. Thus, in 30a, the form milsa ‘gave (it to) him/her’ has the 3rd pers. sg. object pronoun suffix -a,5 which agrees with the following specific 3rd pers. sg. object Helen. By contrast, milstȩrir ‘gave (it to) them’ of 30b has the 3rd pers. human pl. object pronoun suffix -tȩrir because the following noun rȩsȩchȩlik ‘my friends’ is human plural. Finally, the second object can never be preceded by the specifying word ȩr (cf. 2.7); therefore, there is no overt way of marking this object as specific vs. non­ specific or singular vs. plural. For this reason, the object hong in 30b could also be interpreted to mean ‘(some) books’, ‘the book’, or ‘the books’.

In the sentences of 30, the order of the two objects can be reversed. The process which brings about this change in word order is of relatively minor significance in that its application is limited to sentences containing the verb msa ‘give’. If the first object is singular, as in 30a, reversing the order of the two objects usually results in a sentence which is identical in meaning and equal in acceptability—namely,

(31)   Ak milsa a omiange a Helen.
    ‘I gave a souvenir to Helen.’6 348

If, however, the first object is plural, as in 30b, interchanging the two objects results in a rather awkward sentence which some Palauan speakers accept but others reject—i.e.,

(32)   ?Ak milstȩrir a hong a rȩsȩchȩlik.
    ‘I gave a book to my friends.’

Perhaps 32 is of questionable acceptability because the 3rd pers. human pl. object pronoun suffix -tȩrir has come to appear next to a singular, non-human noun (hong ‘book’).7

17.7. DEPENDENT CLAUSES RESULTING FROM SUBJECT SHIFTING

As we have seen above, the process of subject shifting accounts for sentences in which the nouns of liking and disliking (soal and chȩtil) are directly followed by concrete nouns or noun phrases. Now, with a sentence like la, repeated here for convenience,

(1a)   Ng soak a biang.
    ‘I like beer.’

compare the following:

(33)   Ng soak ȩl mȩlim a biang.
    ‘I want to drink some beer.’

While soak is followed by the concrete noun biang ‘beer’ in 1a, the sequence following soak in 33 has some of the characteristics of dependent clauses mentioned in chap. 15. First of all, this se­quence is introduced by ȩl, and second, it does not contain any overtly-expressed subject. We nevertheless know that the under­stood subject of mȩlim ‘drink’ is the same as the person identified by the possessor suffix on soak—namely, the speaker (ak ‘I’). If we put a sentence like 33 into the past tense, we have further evidence that the sequence introduced by ȩl is a dependent clause. Thus, in the sentence below,

(34)   Ng mle soak ȩl mȩlim a biang.
    ‘I wanted to drink some beer.’

the verb form mȩlim remains in the present tense even though the whole sentence designates a past situation.

Just as we derived example la by subject shifting according to the following scheme,

(5a)   Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
             
    A biang a soak.     Ng soak a biang.
            ‘I like beer.’ 349

we propose that subject shifting is also responsible for examples like 33, except that the structure of the source sentence is more complex. Observe, therefore, the following:

(35)   Source Sentence       Resulting Sentence
             
    [Ak mȩlim a biang] a soak.     Ng soak ȩl mȩlim a biang.
            ‘I want to drink some beer.’

The source sentence of 35 is of course not spoken in Palauan, but must always be transformed into the resulting sentence. Let us now explain the process of derivation schematized in 35. While the source sentence of 5a has a single noun (biang ‘beer’) as its subject, we propose that the “real” subject of the source sentence of 35 is the bracketed sentence ak mȩlim a biang ‘I drink beer.’ In other words, the subject of soak does not necessarily have to be a concrete noun, as it is in 5a, but it can also be a whole activity which involves a subject (or doer) and a verb phrase. The brack­eted sentence in subject position in 35 symbolizes the fact that in this example the subject of soak, is the whole activity ak mȩlim a biang ‘I drink beer.’ Thus, the source sentences in both 5a and 35 are equational sentences in which the subject is being equated with the noun phrase soak; the only difference is that in 35 an (abstract) activity rather than a concrete thing is being asserted as the speaker’s desire.

If we formulate the source sentence of 35 as described above, we can easily account for the resulting sentence of 35 in terms of processes and principles with which we are already familiar. Fur­thermore, we can see that the derivation of sentences like la and 33 (= the resulting sentences of 5a and 35) is really very similar in that the process of subject shifting is involved in both cases. Now, let us look at the derivation of 35 in detail. In this example, subject shifting applies to the whole bracketed sentence ak mȩlim a biang, since this sequence is the subject of soak. The application of subject shifting results in the following structure:

(35’)   [Ak mȩlim a biang] a soak.     Ng soak [ak mȩlim a biang].

The resulting sentence of 35’ is still not a spoken sentence of Palauan, but it is “halfway there” in the sense that it contains sentence-initial ng, which of course is a pronominal trace left behind by the shifted subject. Two further changes are necessary to transform the resulting sentence of 35’ into a full-fledged grammatical sentence—namely, into 33 (= the resulting sentence of 35). These changes turn the shifted subject ak mȩlim a biang into a dependent clause—i.e., 350

(36)   Ng soak [ak mȩlim a biang].     Ng soak ȩl mȩlim a biang.
            ‘I want to drink some beer.’

In 36, the subject ak ‘I’ of the shifted bracketed sentence is deleted because the possessor suffix on soak already makes it clear that the drinker of the beer will be the speaker. In other words, the sub­ject ak ‘I’ of the bracketed sentence is deleted under identity with the pronominal possessor of the preceding possessed noun soak. In addition, the word ȩl is inserted to introduce the shifted se­quence. The resulting sentence of 36 has therefore come to con­tain the dependent clause ȩl mȩlim a biang.

In the discussion above, we have seen that the process of subject shifting accounts for both of the sentences 1a and 33, repeated here as 37ab:

(37)   a.   Ng soak a biang.
        ‘I like beer.’/‘I’d like some beer.’
         
    b.   Ng soak ȩl mȩlim a biang.
        ‘I want to drink some beer.’

What differentiates 37a from 37b is that in the former example, a concrete noun phrase has been shifted, while in the latter ex­ample, an (abstract) bracketed sentence has been shifted. This difference in shifted subject correlates with the following con­sistent difference in meaning. Example 37a, with a concrete noun phrase following soak, can be either a general statement (‘I like beer.’) or a statement of the speaker’s desire on a specific occasion (‘I’d like some beer.’) By contrast, example 37b, with a dependent clause following soak, can only be a statement about a specific occasion. A similar contrast in interpretation is found in sentences containing the noun of disliking chȩtil. Thus, with 37ab compare the following pair of sentences:

(38)   a.   Ng chȩtirir a sasimi.
        ‘They dislike sashimi.’ /‘They don’t want any sashimi.’
         
    b.   Ng chȩtirir ȩl mȩnga a sasimi.
        ‘They don’t want to eat any sashimi.’

As we have seen above, the possessed forms of soal ‘his/her liking’ and chȩtil ‘his/her disliking’ can be followed by shifted subjects which are either concrete noun phrases or (abstract) bracketed sentences. In other words, soal and chȩtil occur in equational source sentences of the form noun phrase + soal/ chȩtil or [sentence] + soal/chȩtil. As opposed to soal and chȩtil, the obligatorily possessed nouns sȩbȩchel ‘his/her ability’ and kirel 351‘his/her obligation’ (cf. 17.1 above) cannot occur in an equational source sentence whose subject is a concrete noun phrase; therefore, source sentences containing these two special nouns can only be of the form [sentence] + sȩbȩchel / kirel.8 For this reason, the possessed forms of sȩbȩchel and kirel are always followed by shifted subjects which are (abstract) bracketed sentences that take the form of dependent clauses. This is the case in 1c–d above and in examples like the following:

(39)   a.   Ng sȩbȩchek ȩl eko ȩr a blim ȩr a klukuk.
        ‘I can come to your house tomorrow.’
         
    b.   A Droteo a sȩbȩchel ȩl ousbech ȩr a mlik.
        ‘Droteo can use my car.’
         
    c.   Ng kirek ȩl mȩnguiu ȩr tia ȩl hong.
        ‘I have to read this book.’
         
    d.   A Toki a kirel ȩl mȩsuub er a elȩchang.
        ‘Toki has to study today.’

In deriving 39b and 39d, the processes of subject shifting and preposing of possessor must both be applied. The step-by-step derivation of 39b is therefore as follows:

(40)   a.   [A Droteo a ousbech ȩr a mlik] a sȩbȩchel a Droteo.
        (source sentence) →
         
    b.   Ng sȩbȩchel a Droteo [a Droteo a ousbech ȩr a mlik].
        (by subject shifting applied to bracketed sentence) →
         
    c.   Ng sȩbȩchel a Droteo ȩl ousbech ȩr a mlik.
        (by dependent clause formation) →
         
    d.   A Droteo a sȩbȩchel ȩl ousbech ȩr a mlik.
        (by preposing of possessor).
In step c, we use the term “dependent clause formation” to refer to the rules which introduce ȩl and delete the subject (Droteo) of the bracketed sentence under identity with the preceding occur­rence of Droteo as possessor of sȩbȩchel. Since the sentence in 40cis an acceptable Palauan sentence, application of the preposing of possessor rule to derive 40d is merely optional.9

17.8. SUBJECT SHIFTING AND DERIVED ACTION NOUNS

At the end of the preceding section, we noted that the possessed forms of soal ‘his/her liking’ and chȩtil ‘his/her disliking’ can be followed by shifted subjects which are either concrete noun phrases or (abstract) bracketed sentences. In this section, we will 352examine a third type of sequence which can follow the possessed forms of soal and chȩtil—namely, abstract noun phrases contain­ing derived action nouns in o-. These action nouns, as we saw in 8.6, are derived simply by prefixing o- to transitive or intransitive action verbs—e.g., we have omȩluchȩs ‘writing’ from mȩluchȩs ‘write’, omilil ‘playing’ from milil ‘play’, and so on. Derived action nouns designate actions or activities as abstract or general con­cepts and are used in examples like the following:

(41)   a.   A omȩruul ȩl kall a urerir a rȩdil.
        ‘Preparing food is women’s work.’
         
    b.   A omȩnguiu ȩl tȩkoi ȩr a Sina a kmal mȩringȩl.
        ‘Reading Chinese is very difficult.’
         
    c.   Ak chilitii a omȩlamȩch ȩl dȩkool.
        ‘I gave up/quit smoking cigarettes.’

In 41ab, the action nouns omȩruul ‘preparing’ and omȩnguiu ‘reading’ are part of the italicized subject noun phrases, while in 41c the action noun omȩlamȩch ‘smoking’ is found in the italicized object noun phrase. Since omȩruul, omȩnguiu, and omȩlamȩch are derived from transitive verbs (mȩruul ‘make, prepare’, mȩnguiu ‘read’ and mȩlamȩch ‘smoke, chew’) they can be associated with objects. These objects are always introduced by ȩl, which there­fore precedes kall ‘food’, tȩkoi ȩr a Sina ‘Chinese’, and dȩkool ‘cigarettes’ in 41ac above.10

In the examples below, possessed forms of soal and chȩtil are followed by shifted subjects which contain derived action nouns in o-.

(42)   a.   Ng soak a omȩlim ȩl biang.
        ‘I like drinking beer.’
         
    b.   Ng soam a {omȩngȩdub/omȩsub/omȩrael}?
        ‘Do you like {swimming/studying/traveling}?’
         
    c.   A Toki a chȩtil a omȩruul ȩl kall.
        ‘Toki dislikes preparing food.’
         
    d.   Ng chȩtik a omȩlamȩch ȩl buuch.
        ‘I dislike chewing betel nut.’
         
    e.   A sensei a chȩtil a omȩngȩrodȩch ȩr a klas.
        ‘The teacher doesn’t like people making noise in class.’

As expected, the source sentences for 42ae are equational sen­tences 353in which the subject noun phrase contains a derived action noun. Thus, 42c, for example, is derived in the following manner:

(43)   a.   A omȩruul ȩl kall a chȩtil a Toki.
        (source sentence) →
         
    b.   Ng chȩtil a Toki a omȩruul ȩl kall.
        (by subject shifting) →
         
    c.   A Toki a chȩtil a omȩruul ȩl kall.
        (by preposing of possessor).

Because derived action nouns in o- designate actions or activities as abstract or general concepts, as mentioned above, it is no surprise that the examples of 42 are interpreted as general statements (or questions) rather than as statements (or questions) about specific occasions. Because 42a, for example, is a general statement, it contrasts in meaning with 33, which refers to a speci­fic occasion. Both of these examples are now repeated here for purposes of comparison:

(44)   a.   Ng soak a omȩlim ȩl biang.
        ‘I like drinking beer.’
         
    b.   Ng soak ȩl mȩlim a biang.
        ‘I want to drink some beer.’

As the English equivalents show, the sentences of 44 are quite different from each other in meaning. In 44b, which has a de­pendent clause following soak, the action of drinking beer refers to a specific occasion. Therefore, this sentence would be used by the speaker at the very moment when he has a desire to drink beer. By contrast, example 44a, which has a derived action noun following soak, views the action of drinking beer in a general (or perhaps, habitual) sense. For this reason, 44a could be spoken at any time as an expression of the speaker’s habit or preference, but would not be appropriate to express the speaker’s momentary desire to drink beer. In other words, 44b would be a suitable an­swer to the question ‘What would you like to drink?’, while 44a would not.

The contrast in meaning between 44ab is paralleled in the pairs of sentences below, which contain possessed forms of chȩtil ‘his/her disliking’ and sȩbȩchel ‘his/her ability’:

(45)   a.   A Toki a chȩtil a omȩruul ȩl kall.
        ‘Toki dislikes preparing food.’
         
    b.   A Toki a chȩtil ȩl mȩruul a kall.
        ‘Toki doesn’t want to make the food.’ 354
         
(46)   a.   Ng sȩbȩchem a omȩlim ȩl rrom?
        ‘Are you capable of drinking liquor?’
         
    b.   Ng sȩbȩchem ȩl mȩlim a rrom?
        ‘Can you have a drink of liquor?’

Example 46a is a rather challenging question in which the hearer is being asked whether he has the ability—i.e., strength or maturity—to drink liquor. By contrast, 46b is simply an invitation to drink liquor and implies nothing about the hearer’s “prowess” as a drinker.

17.8.1. Possessed Forms of Derived Action Nouns

Just like any other nouns, the derived action nouns in o- dis­cussed above can take the various possessor suffixes. The resulting possessed forms can be used in sentences with soal and chȩtil, as follows:

(47)   a.   A sensei a soal a omȩsubek ȩr a tȩkoi ȩr a Merikel.
        ‘The teacher likes the way I’m studying English.’
         
    b.   Ng soam a omȩlmȩchel a Droteo ȩr a dȩkool?
        ‘Do you like Droteo’s smoking (so many) cigarettes?’
         
    c.   A dȩmak a chȩtil a omȩrȩllek ȩr a party.11
        ‘My father dislikes my having (so many) parties.’
         
    d.   Ng chȩtik a omȩlmil a Cisco ȩr a rrom.
        ‘I dislike the way Cisco drinks (so much) liquor.’
         
    e.   Ng chȩtik a omililel a Droteo ȩr a klȩbȩsei.
        ‘I don’t like Droteo’s fooling around (so much) at night.’

In the possessed forms omȩsubek ‘my studying’ (cf. mȩsuub ‘study’), omȩlmȩchel ‘his smoking’ (cf. mȩlamȩch ‘smoke’), omȩ­rȩllek ‘my preparing’ (cf. mȩruul ‘make, prepare’), and omȩlmil ‘his drinking’ (cf. mȩlim ‘drink’), you should be able to recognize certain patterns of vowel reduction and vowel deletion (cf. 3.4 and 3.4.13). Note, further, that the objects following these pos­sessed nouns must be expressed by a relational phrase (cf. 14.9). Thus, the objects tȩkoi ȩr a Merikel ‘English’ of 47a, dȩkool ‘cigarettes’ of 47b, party of 47c, and rrom ‘liquor’ of 47d are all preceded by the relational word ȩr.

As the English equivalents for the sentences in 47 are de­signed to show, the possessed forms of action nouns in o- always imply that the habitual action in question is a fact—i.e., that it is being pursued regularly by the person referred to by the posses­sor 355suffix. Thus, in 47b, for instance, the speaker assumes (or presupposes) it is a fact that Droteo smokes a lot of cigarettes and then asks the hearer whether he approves of this fact. Similarly, in 47e the speaker recognizes the fact that Droteo does a lot of fooling around and then offers his (negative) opinion or judgment about this fact.

In 47b, 47d, and 47e, where a specific 3rd person possessor is mentioned, this possessor always identifies the agent—i.e., the person who is doing the action denoted by the possessed action noun in o-. Thus, in omȩlmȩchel a Droteo ‘Droteo’s smoking’ of 47b, the “possessor” Droteo is the one who is pursuing the activity of smoking. Occasionally, we will observe expressions of the form possessed action noun in o- + specific possessor which are interpreted differently from those of 47b, 47d, and 47e. Thus, in the examples below, the italicized “possessors” actually de­signate the objects of the actions denoted by the possessed action nouns in o-:

(48)   a.   A omȩrȩllel a mlai a kmal mȩringȩl.
        ‘(The method of) making canoes is very difficult.’
         
    b.   Ak mla mȩlasȩm ȩr a omȩrȩllel a kall ȩr a Sina, e ng di ng diak lsȩbȩchek.
        ‘I’ve tried (the method of) preparing Chinese food, but I’m not good at it.’

17.9. Soal AND Chȩtil FOLLOWED BY HYPOTHETICAL VERB FORMS

The possessed forms of soal and chȩtil can be followed by hypothe­tical verb forms (cf. 4.10) to convey the idea “X wants/does not want Y to do something”. Observe the following sentences:

(49)   a.   A sensei a soal a kusuub.
        ‘The teacher wants me to study.’
         
    b.   A dȩmak a chȩtil a kuruul a party.
        ‘My father doesn’t want me to have parties.’
         
    c.   Ng soak a rȩngalȩk a lomȩngur.
        ‘I want the children to eat.’
         
    d.   Ng chȩtik a ngȩlȩkek a lolamȩch a dȩkool.
        ‘I don’t want my child smoking cigarettes.’
         
    e.   A rȩsȩchȩlik a sorir a chobong.
        ‘My friends want you to go.’

In each of the sentences above, one person (or group of persons) X wants or doesn’t want another person (or group of persons) 356to do something. While X is identified by the possessor suffix on soal or chȩtil, Y is expressed by the hypothetical pronoun which is prefixed to the hypothetical verb form. Furthermore, if X or Y is a third person, then a specific noun may be mentioned. In 49a, for example, X—the person desiring something—is identified by the specific noun sensei ‘teacher’ and the 3rd pers. sg. possessor suffix on soal, while Y—the person who is expected to do some­thing—is identified by the 1st pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun prefix ku- ‘I’ on kusuub. Similarly, in 49e, X is identified by the specific plural noun rȩsȩchȩlik ‘my friends’ and the 3rd pers. human pl. possessor suffix on sorir, while Y corresponds to the 2nd pers. (sg. or pl.) hypothetical pronoun prefix cho- ‘you’ on chobong.

It appears that the italicized portions of 49ae are actually instances of conditional clauses. As we will see in 19.1, Palauan conditional clauses express events as possible occurrences rather than as real facts; this important feature of their interpretation is observed in the following example:

(50)   A kbo ȩr a Guam, e ak mo omes ȩr a Toki.
    ‘If I go to Guam, then I’ll see Toki.’

In 50, the event “I go to Guam” is not a real occurrence but in­stead one which is hypothesized or put forth as a possibility. For this reason, the italicized conditional clause of 50 corresponds to English sequences introduced by ‘if’. As the examples of 49 and 50 show, Palauan conditional clauses contain hypothetical verb forms (which characteristically designate unreal or hypothesized events—hence, the term hypothetical) and are introduced by the conditional clause marker a ‘if’. If we are correct in assuming that the italicized portions of 49ae are conditional clauses, then we should recognize that the English equivalents for these examples are rather free. For instance, we have translated 49a as ‘The teacher wants me to study’, but a word-for-word translation would be something like ‘The teacher would like it if I studied.’ Both the free translation and the more literal translation are really equi­valent, however, since they both imply that the speaker has not been studying and that the teacher would like the situation to change.

Since the sentences of 49 contain conditional clauses and therefore express possible events, their meaning is quite different from the examples of 47, in which the possessed forms of action nouns in o- clearly refer to real events (i.e., facts). This contrast 357is observed in the following pairs of sentences (= 47a vs. 49a and 47c vs. 49b):

(51)   a.   A sensei a soal a omȩsubek.
        ‘The teacher likes my studying (so hard).’
         
    b.   A sensei a soal a kusuub.
        ‘The teacher wants me to study.’
         
(52)   a.   A dȩmak a chȩtil a omȩrȩllek ȩr a party.
        ‘My father dislikes my having (so many) parties.’
         
    b.   A dȩmak a chȩtil a kuruul a party.
        ‘My father doesn’t want me to have parties.’

In the a-sentences above, the possessed forms omȩsubek ‘my studying’ and omȩrȩllek ‘my making (a party)’ describe activities or events which are actual facts, and the possessed forms soal and chȩtil express some third person’s opinion about these facts. By contrast, the activities described by kusuub ‘(if) I study’ and kuruul ‘(if) I make (a party)’ in the b-sentences are not real facts at the present moment, but are events which some third party would react favorably or unfavorably to if they occurred.

17.10. FURTHER DISCUSSION OF THE FOUR SPECIAL POSSESSED NOUNS

In the sections above, we have examined the most important aspects of the meaning and use of the four possessed nouns soal, chȩtil, sȩbȩchel, and kirel. In this section we will mention some further details about each of these words.

a.   soal and chȩtil.

As we have seen above, soal and chȩtil are opposite in mean­ing. Therefore, 53a below usually has 53b as its opposite:

(53)   a.   Ng soak ȩl mong.
        ‘I want to go.’
         
    b.   Ng chȩtik ȩl mong.
        ‘I don’t want to go.’

It is also possible to derive an opposite of 53a by adding the negative verb diak ‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’ (see chap. 18); thus, we have

(54)   Ng diak lsoak12 ȩl mong.
    ‘I (really) don’t want to go.’

Though 53b and 54 are interchangeable in many contexts, some 358speakers feel that 54 is more emphatic, blunter, or less polite than 53b.

The 3rd pers. sg. possessed form of soal can also be used in the meaning ‘look as if’, as shown in the examples below:

(55)   a.   A eangȩd a soal ȩl mo ungil ȩr a klukuk.
        ‘The weather looks as if it might be good tomorrow.’
         
    b.   A chull a soal ȩl mo ȩr ngii ȩr a kȩbȩsengei.
        ‘It looks as if it’s going to rain tonight.’
         
    c.   A ngais a soal ȩl ruebȩt mȩ bo mungil ȩl orrekȩd.
        ‘The eggs look as if they’ll fall out, so hold on to them carefully.’

In a related meaning, the 1st pers. sg. possessed form soak corres­ponds to ‘feel as if’, as in the following:

(56)   Ak kmal mȩdingȩs mȩ ng soak ȩl mo smechȩr.
       ‘I’m very full, so I feel as if I’ll be sick.’

The uses of soal and soak described here imply that the speaker has evidence—through observation or direct personal experience—that some event is going to take place. Thus, 55ab, for example, are predictions based on the speaker’s observation of some natural phenomenon—e.g., the condition of the sky.

b.   sȩbȩchel.

In our discussion above, we referred to sȩbȩchel as a noun of “ability”: in other words, sȩbȩchel expresses the fact that some­one is able to do something because he has the time (or oppor­tunity) to do it, or has the physical capacity to perform the task involved. In addition to this meaning, sȩbȩchel can also express the fact that someone has permission to do something: in this case, someone is able to do something in the sense that no one else is preventing or forbidding his doing it. Often, it is only the context or situation which tells us whether sȩbȩchel refers to ability or permission. Therefore, the following sentences are ambiguous when examined in isolation (the same is true for 1c, 39ab, and 46b above):

(57)   a.   Ng sȩbȩchek ȩl mo er a mubi ȩr a klukuk.
        ‘I can go to the movies tomorrow.’ (= ‘I have time to go to the movies tomorrow.’/‘I have permission to go to the movies tomorrow.’)
         
    b.   Ng diak lsȩbȩchem ȩl mo ȩr a che er a elȩchang?
        ‘Can’t you go fishing now?’ (= ‘Aren’t you able to go fishing now?’/‘Aren’t you allowed to go fishing now?’) 359

As 57b shows, the possessed forms of sȩbȩchel remain ambiguous when they are preceded by the negative verb diak ‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’. It is also interesting to note that the best English equivalent for sȩbȩchel—namely, can—is ambiguous in the same way.

c.   kirel.

In the examples 39cd above, we saw that the possessed forms of kirel, when followed by a dependent clause, convey the idea of obligation or necessity. The possessed forms of kirel can also be associated with derived action nouns in o-, in which case they imply that someone is suited to performing a particular activity. This usage is normally found in negative sentences like the following:

(58)   a.   A omȩsuub ȩl ochur a diak lȩkirel a Droteo.
        ‘Studying math is not something Droteo is suited for.’
         
    b.   A omȩlim ȩl biang a diak lȩkirir a rȩngalȩk ȩr a skuul.
        ‘Drinking beer isn’t meant for students.’

Instead of a derived action noun in o-, a derived abstract noun in klȩ- (cf. 8.5) may be associated with kirel, as in the example below:

(59)   A klsensei a diak lȩkirek ȩl ureor.
    ‘Being a teacher isn’t meant for me.’

When sentences like 39cd are turned into negative sentences by adding diak ‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’, the resulting meaning is either ‘must not’ or ‘doesn’t have to’. Note the following ex­amples:

(60)   a.   Ng diak lȩkirek ȩl melim a biang.
        ‘I must not drink beer.’
         
    b.   Ng diak lȩkirem ȩl mo sensei. Ng kirem ȩl mo toktang.
        ‘You must not become a teacher; you must become a doctor.’
         
    c.   Ng diak lȩkirir ȩl mong.
        ‘They don’t have to go.’

A noun phrase of possession containing a possessed form of kirel can be used as a kind of specifying clause (cf. 15.7) to identify the person who benefits from some activity or the thing which is the cause or purpose of some activity. Such specifying clauses are italicized in the sentences below:

(61)   a.   Ak mȩngȩtmokl ȩr a blai ȩl kirel a Toki.
        ‘I’m cleaning the house for Toki.’ 360
         
    b.   Ak mȩruul aika ȩl kiriu.
        ‘I’m doing these things for you.’
         
    c.   A rȩngalȩk ȩr a skuul a mȩsuub ȩl kirel a test.
        ‘The students are studying for the test.’
         
    d.   Ak mo mȩruul a kall ȩl kirel a party.
        ‘I’m going to make food for the party.’
         
    e.   A Droteo a mle suebȩk a rȩngul ȩl kirel a test.
        ‘Droteo was worried about the test.’
         
    f.   Aki milȩngȩtmokl ȩr a bȩluu ȩl kirel a eisei.
        ‘We were cleaning up our village for the sake of proper sanitation.’
d.   The Four Possessed Nouns and Various Tenses.

As we saw in 4a–b above, Palauan equational sentences in the past tense contain the auxiliary word mle ‘was, were’. This auxiliary is also used to indicate the past tense in sentences con­taining the possessed forms of soal, chȩtil, sȩbȩchel, and kirel, since such sentences are basically of the equational type (cf. our discussion in 17.2). Note, therefore, the examples below:

(62)   a.   Ng mle soak ȩl mo ȩr a chei.
        ‘I wanted to go fishing.’
         
    b.   A Toki a mle chȩtil ȩl mȩruul a kall.
        ‘Toki didn’t want to prepare the food.’
         
    c.   Ng mle sȩbȩchem ȩl mo milil er a elii?
        ‘Were you able/allowed to go out and play yesterday?’
         
    d.   Ng mle kiram ȩl mȩsuub.
        ‘We had to/were supposed to study.’
         
    e.   A Droteo a mle kirel ȩl oureor ȩr a Guam, e ng di ng mlo ȩr a Hawaii.
        ‘Droteo was supposed to work in Guam, but he went to Hawaii (instead).’

In order to indicate the future tense in an equational sentence, we use the directional verb mo ‘go’ as an auxiliary. In such cases, use of mo not only designates a future event but also implies a change of state (cf. 13.5.1). Observe the following equational sentences in the future tense:

(63)   a.   A ngȩlȩkek a mo sensei.
        ‘My child is going to become a teacher.’ 361
         
    b.   A Toki ng mo chad ȩr a Merikel er oingarang?
        ‘When is Toki becoming an American citizen?’

Since sentences with soal, chȩtil, sȩbȩchel, and kirel are equational sentences, they too use mo ‘go’ as an auxiliary to indicate future tense. The following examples are typical:

(64)   a.   Ng mo sȩbȩchem ȩl me ȩr a blik ȩr a klukuk?
        ‘Will you be able to come to my house tomorrow?’
         
    b.   Ng mo soam ȩl mȩsuub ȩr a klukuk?
        ‘Will you be wanting to study tomorrow?’

To express a past change of state in equational sentences, we use mlo or mla mo (for relatively remote vs. recent past, re­spectively), as in the sentences below:

(65)   a.   mlo sensei er oingarang?
        ‘When did you become a teacher?’
         
    b.   A ngȩlȩkel a Toki a mla mo padre.
        ‘Toki’s child has become a priest.’

Equational sentences containing the four possessed nouns under discussion also use mlo and mla mo to designate changes of state in the past, as illustrated below:

(66)   a.   Ng mlo soak a sasimi er se ȩr a kngar ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘I got to like sashimi when I was in Japan.’
         
    b.   A Toki a mla mo chȩtil ȩl mȩsuub a ochur.
        ‘Toki has gotten to dislike studying math.’
         
    c.   A Satsko a mlo sȩbȩchel ȩl mo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘Satsko had the opportunity to go to Guam.’
         
    d.   Ng mla mo kirek ȩl mo rȩmei.
        ‘It’s gotten to the point where I have to go home.’

Notes

   a. Ng soak a sensei.   ‘I like the teacher.’
  b. Ng chȩtil a Satsko.   ‘He dislikes Satsko.’
    a. Ngak mȩ a Helen a kausȩchȩlei.   ‘Helen and I are friends.’
  b. Aki kausȩchȩlei ngak mȩ a Helen.    

Here, the shifted plural subject contains the emphatic pronoun ngak ‘I’, which refers to the speaker, and the noun Helen. Since the speaker is part of the shifted subject, the pronominal trace in b appears as aki, the 1st pers. pl. excl. non-emphatic pronoun.

    a.   A Toki a olisȩchakl ȩr a rȩngalȩk a tȩkoi ȩr a Merikel.
      ‘Toki is teaching the pupils English.’
  b.   A Toki a olisȩchakl a tȩkoi ȩr a Merikel ȩr a rȩngalȩk.
      ‘Toki is teaching English to the pupils.’
    A Droteo a chȩtil ȩl smechȩr.   ‘Droteo dislikes being sick.’

1. The noun following words like soak and chȩtil does not necessarily have to be inanimate (i.e., non-living) as it is in examples 1a-b. Thus in the sentences below, soak and chȩtil are followed by human nouns: 515

2. This is a noun phrase of characterization—cf. 3.7 and 3.9, ex. 31.

3. Observe the sentences below, which are equivalent to each other in meaning:

4. Cf. the discussion in 16.5, where other sentences containing two objects are analyzed.

5. The 3rd pers. sg. object pronoun suffix -a is extremely rare. Cf. 4.9.4.c and chap. 4, note 10.

6. As the English equivalents for 30a and 31 show, the grammar of English also contains a rule which can interchange the two objects of give.

7. Another verb which takes two objects is olisȩchakl ‘teach’. The order of these objects can be reversed, as the following sentences show:

8. For ease of understanding, this discussion has been somewhat oversimplified. See 17.8.c below.

9. In all of the examples presented in this section, the dependent clause following the possessed forms of soal, chȩtil, sȩbȩchel, and kirel contains an action verb. Occasionally, such clauses contain state verbs, as in the example below:

10. Any adequate explanation of the occurrence of ȩl before the ob­ject of omȩruul, omȩnguiu, and omȩlamȩch in 41a-c would require a complex, lengthy analysis which would be beyond the scope of the current discussion. Though far oversimplified, it is sufficient to say that the object of a transitive verb must be “marked” with ȩl when this transitive verb is changed into an action noun by the prefixing of o-.

11. This sentence can also be interpreted as ‘My father dislikes the things I do at parties.’

12. After the negative verb diak, all nouns must be prefixed with the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun—hence, lsoak. Further discussion of this phenomenon will be provided in chap. 18.

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16 Object Clauses

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18 Negation

Additional Information

ISBN
9780824879075
MARC Record
OCLC
1053883872
Pages
333-361
Launched on MUSE
2018-09-19
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-ND
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