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19 Uses of Hypothetical Verb Forms

19.1. CONDITIONAL SENTENCES

As we saw in 18.4, Palauan hypothetical verb forms are required following the negative verb diak ‘isn’t, doesn’t exist’ in certain types of sentences. Hypothetical verb forms are not confined to sentences with diak, however, but appear in a large variety of grammatical constructions. Perhaps the most important of these is the conditional sentence, which we will describe in detail in this and the following sections.

Palauan conditional sentences consist basically of two parts—a condition and a consequent—and express the idea that if some event, action, state, etc., occurs, then something else will happen. The event, action, state, etc. whose occurrence is suggested or put forth as a possibility is the condition, while the event which it would bring about or which would result from it is called the consequent. The meaning of these two terms will become clear from the following example:

(1)   A lȩngar ȩr ngii a ududek, e ak mo ȩr a Guam.
    ‘If I had money, (then) I’d go to Guam.’

In the above conditional sentence, the condition a lȩngar ȩr ngii a ududek ‘if I had money’ is followed by the consequent e ak moȩr a Guam ‘then I’d go to Guam’. The consequent designates an event (going to Guam) which could take place only if the preceding condition were met or “satisfied”—i.e., if the situation designated by a lȩngar ȩr ngii a ududek ‘if I had money’ were to become an actual fact. At the moment of utterance, however, this condition has not been satisfied, and the speaker is merely viewing the idea of having money as a possibility which will hopefully become true.

In example 1 above, both the condition and the consequent are expressed by clauses which contain their own subject and verb. In the conditional clause a lȩngar ȩr ngii a ududek ‘if I had 384money’, which is introduced by the word a ‘if’,1 the noun phrase ududek ‘my money’ is the subject of the hypothetical verb form lȩngar ȩr ngii ‘if there existed’.2 Following the conditional clause is the consequential clause e ak moȩr a Guam ‘then I’d go to Guam’, where ak ‘I’ is the subject of the directional verb mo ‘go’. This clause is introduced by the word e ‘(and) then’ (see 25.1), and unlike the preceding conditional clause, its verb is not in the hypothetical form.

Since conditional clauses describe hypothetical or possible events or states—i.e., ones which are not real but which instead are supposed, imagined, hoped for, etc.—it is quite understandable why they should contain hypothetical verb forms, since such forms commonly designate unreal events or states. Thus, the reason for using hypothetical forms in conditional clauses is the same as that for using hypothetical forms in sentences containing the negative verb diak (cf. 18.4), since in the latter case, too, we are dealing with unreal—i.e., non-occurring—events or states.

19.1.1. Conditions in the Present or Future

If the hypothetical verb form in a conditional clause is in the present tense, then the events or states designated by the condition and the consequent are imagined as occurring either at the present moment or at some time point in the future. The verb of the consequential clause may be in the present or future tense, as the following examples show (cf. 1 above):

(2)   a.   A kudȩnge a tȩkoi ȩr a Siabal, e ak mȩrael ȩl mo ex a Siabal.
        ‘If I knew Japanese, (then) I’d travel to Japan.’
         
    b.   A kbo ȩr a Guam er tia ȩl me ȩl rak, e ak mo kie ȩr a blil a sȩchȩlik.
        ‘If I go to Guam next year, (then) I’ll stay at my friend’s house.’
         
    c.   A kisa a John ȩr a klukuk, e ak dmu ȩr ngii.
        ‘If I see John tomorrow, (then) I’ll tell him.’
         
    d.   A lȩme a Droteo ȩr a klukuk, e ng me kie ȩr a blik.
        ‘If Droteo comes tomorrow, (then) he’ll stay at my house.’
         
    e.   A lȩbo lsechȩr a ngȩlȩkek, e ng diak lȩbo ȩr a skuul.
        ‘If my child gets sick, (then) he won’t go to school.’
         
    f.   A lȩme a chull, e kȩ ngmai a sȩlȩkȩlek.
        ‘If it rains, (then) please bring in my laundry.’
         
    g.   A lȩbȩskak a udoud a dȩmak, e ak rullii a party.
        ‘If my father gave me money, (then) I’d have a party.’ 385

If the subject (or agent) in a conditional clause is a specific third person noun phrase, as in 2dg, then it must occur to the right of the (hypothetical) verb phrase. Thus, the position of the specific third person noun phrases Droteo, ngȩlȩkek ‘my child’, chull ‘rain’, and dȩmak ‘my father’ in 2dg is due to a rule which is rather similar to the subject shifting rule discussed in 17.2. In the case of conditional clauses, the subject (or agent) must be shifted obliga­torily, since a sentence like the following (cf. 2f) is ungrammatical:

(2f’)   *A chull a lȩme, e kȩ ngmai a sȩlȩkȩlek.

19.1.2. Conditions in the Past

If the hypothetical verb form of the conditional clause and the (non-hypothetical) verb form of the consequential clause are both in the past tense, then the condition and the consequent are imagined as having occurred at some time point in the past. Thus, with 1, 2a, and 2g above, compare the following sentences:

(3)   a.   A lȩbla ȩr ngii a ududek, e ak mlo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘If I had had money, (then) I would have gone to Guam.’
         
    b.   A kble kudȩnge a tȩkoi ȩr a Siabal, e ak mirrael ȩl mo ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘If I had known Japanese, (then) I would have travelled to Japan.’
         
    c.   A lȩbilskak a udoud a dȩmak, e ak rirȩllii a party.
        ‘If my father had given me money, (then) I would have had a party.’

In 3a we see that mla—the past tense form of the existential verb ngar (cf. 18.2)—appears as bla when a hypothetical pronoun is prefixed; and in 3b the auxiliary mle (which functions to mark the past tense with a state verb like mȩdȩnge ‘know’—cf. 5.1.2) has likewise changed to ble before the addition of the hypothetical pronoun. The alternation between m and b observed here was discussed at length in 6.2.1.

19.1.3. Conditional Clauses Containing diak

When the negative verb diak is used in a conditional clause, the resulting sentence will mean something like ‘if such-and-such is not/had not been the case, then…’ Observe the examples below, in which a present or future condition is involved:

(4)   a.   A lak lȩbo a Droteo, e ng diak kbong.
        ‘If Droteo doesn’t go, (then) I won’t go.’ 386
         
    b.   A lak losuub a Toki, e ng mo otsir ȩr a test.
        ‘If Toki doesn’t study, (then) she’ll fail the test.’
         
    c.   A lak a ududem, e ng diak chobo ȩr a mubi.3
        ‘If you don’t have any money, (then) you won’t go to the movies.’

Since the verb fololwing a ‘if’ in a conditional clause must always be in the hypothetical form, we can conclude that lak is the hypo­thetical form of the negative verb diak. It is likely that lak is a shortened (or contracted) version of + diak, which would be the expected hypothetical form (i.e., hypothetical pronoun + verb stem) in the present tense. Can you explain why lak is itself fol­lowed by hypothetical verb forms in examples 4a and 4b?

Now consider the sentences below, which designate a past condition:

(5)   a.   A lȩmlak a ududel a Droteo, e ng dimlak lȩbo ȩr a Guam.
        ‘If Droteo hadn’t had the money, (then) he wouldn’t have gone to Guam.’
         
    b.   A lȩmlak lȩbo ȩr a bita mȩ llȩngir a oles a Toki, e ng dimlak lsȩbȩchek ȩl rȩmuul a ngikȩl.
        ‘If Toki hadn’t gone next door and borrowed a knife, (then) I wouldn’t have been able to prepare the fish.’

In the conditional clauses of 5 we would expect the hypothetical verb form to consist of the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun lȩ- followed by dimlak, the past tense form of the negative verb. But instead of + dimlak, we observe the hypothetical form lȩmlak. We conclude that in this case, too, a shortening or con­traction has occurred, or—stated differently—the syllable di of diak has been deleted.

19.2. PERMUTATION OF CONDITIONAL AND CONSEQUENTIAL CLAUSES

Although the order conditional clause + consequential clause is much preferred in the conditional sentences given above, Palauan speakers sometimes permute the two clauses—i.e., they put the consequential clause first and the conditional clause last. Thus, with 4c and 5a above, compare the following examples, whose meaning is identical:

(4c’)   Ng diak chobo ȩr a mubi a lak a ududem.
    ‘You won’t go to the movies if you don’t have any money.’ 387
     
(5a’)   A Droteo a dimlak lȩbo ȩr a Guam a lȩmlak a ududel.
    ‘Droteo wouldn’t have gone to Guam if he hadn’t had the money.’

As the examples above show, a consequential clause which has been moved to sentence-initial position is no longer introduced by e ‘(and) then’.

There are certain types of conditional sentences in which permutation of the conditional and consequential clauses is preferred, or even required. Observe, for example, the sentences below, which are general questions about the way of doing some­thing:

(6)   a.   A rȩchad er a Belau tȩ mȩkȩra a loruul a bȩkai?
        ‘How do Palauans make pottery?’
         
    b.   Kȩ mȩkȩra a chomoruul a ilaot?
        ‘What do you do to make coconut syrup?’

General questions like 6ab are usually phrased in the following way: a consequential clause containing the special question word mȩkȩra ‘do what?’ (see 20.7) precedes a conditional clause which describes a particular activity. Thus, 6ab actually mean some­thing like ‘What do Palauans do if they make pottery?’ and ‘What do you do if you make coconut syrup?’4 Other types of sentences in which permutation of the conditional and consequential clauses takes place will be discussed in 19.34 below.

19.3. FURTHER TYPES OF CONDITIONAL CLAUSES

The Palauan conditional clauses we have so far examined are characterized by the following features: (i) the verb following a ‘if’ must be in the hypothetical form, and (ii) a specific third person subject must be shifted to the right of the verb phrase. In this section, we will discuss three types of clauses which, though conditional in meaning, do not exhibit the abovementioned features.

In order to express a future condition, it is possible to use a conditional clause introduced by lsȩkum ‘if’. Observe, for ex­ample, the sentences below:

(7)   a.   A lsȩkum ak mo ȩr a Guam, e ak mo kie ȩr a blil a Tony.
        ‘If I go to Guam, (then) I’ll stay at Tony’s house.’
         
    b.   A lsȩkum a Droteo a mo ȩr a skuul ȩr a klukuk, e ng mo omes ȩr a sensei.
        ‘If Droteo goes to school tomorrow, (then) he’ll see the teacher.’ 388
         
    c.   A lsȩkum ng diak a ududem, e ng diak lsȩbȩchem ȩl mo ȩr a mubi.
        ‘If you don’t have money, (then) you can’t go to the movies.’
         
    d.   A lsȩkum ng ungil a che, e tȩ mo ȩr a chei.
        ‘If the tide is good, (then) they’ll go fishing.’

In the conditional clauses introduced by a lsȩkum ‘if’, the verb occurs in its “normal” (i.e., non-hypothetical) form. Furthermore, a specific third person subject need not be shifted to the right of the verb phrase, as the position of Droteo in 7b illustrates. Al­though it is very difficult to analyze conditional clauses with a lsȩkum ‘if’, we can speculate that the sequence a lsȩkum is itself a combination of a ‘if’ and a “fossilized” hypothetical verb form lsȩkum (in which the l- appears to be the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun prefix). If lsȩkum is indeed a hypothetical verb form, then this might explain why no further hypothetical verb forms are required in the conditional clause.

For some speakers, conditional clauses with a lsȩkum are interchangeable with those that contain a ‘if’ followed by a hypothetical verb form (and a shifted third person subject, if any). For others, however, the two types involve a rather fine difference in meaning, which we will illustrate with the pairs below:

(8)   a.   A kisa a John ȩr a klukuk, e ak subȩdii.
        ‘If/when I see John tomorrow, I’ll tell him.’
         
    b.   A lsȩkum ak mȩsa a John ȩr a klukuk, e ak subȩdii.
        ‘If I should possibly see John tomorrow, (then) I’ll tell him.’
         
(9)   a.   A lȩme a Droteo, e ng me kie ȩr a blik.
        ‘If/when Droteo comes, he’ll stay at my house.’
         
    b.   A lsȩkum a Droteo a me, e ng me kie ȩr a blik.
        ‘If Droteo should possibly come, (then) he’ll stay at my house.’

Though perhaps somewhat exaggerated, the English equivalents in 89 above are designed to reflect the following difference in meaning between the a- and b-sentences. In the b-sentences with a lsȩkum, the speaker is rather doubtful that the condition and its consequent will become actual facts, while in the a-sentences with a ‘if’ and a hypothetical verb form, the speaker feels somewhat more confident that the condition and its consequent will become true. For this reason, the a-sentences can sometimes be translated with English ‘when’, which implies that the future event is expected to occur.

Just like conditional clauses with a ‘if’ and a hypothetical 389verb form, conditional clauses containing a lsȩkum can be per­muted with a following consequential clause. Thus, the sentence below is equivalent to 7d:

(10)   Tȩ mo ȩr a che a lsȩkum ng ungil a chei.
    ‘They’ll go fishing if the tide is good.’

In order to express a present (or, sometimes, future) condi­tion, Palauan speakers also make use of conditional clauses introduced by ulȩkum ‘if (only)’. This word, which is probably related in some way to the lsȩkum of a lsȩkum, is used when the speaker wishes to emphasize how strongly he desires a particular condition and its consequent to become true. When ulȩkum is used with this connotation, the consequential clause following it is introduced by ‘(and) so’ (see 25.1):

(11)   a.   Ulȩkum a sensei ȩr kȩmam a mo ȩr a Guam, mȩ ng mo diak a klas.
        ‘If only our teacher would go to Guam, then we wouldn’t have any class.’
         
    b.   Ulȩkum ng ngar ȩr ngii a ududek, mȩ ng mo sȩbȩchek ȩl mo ȩr a Merikel.
        ‘If only I had some money, then I could go to America.’

As we can see, conditional clauses with ulȩkum are not introduced by a. Furthermore, the verb form in such clauses is not hypotheti­cal, nor is the subject shifted. Most Palauan speakers can use e instead of in the sentences of 11; for some, no difference in meaning results, while for others the connotation of strong desire is lost. For the latter group of speakers, the sentences of 11 with ulȩkum…e would be equivalent to sentences with a lsȩkum…e.

Another commonly-used sentence type with ulȩkum is illustrated below:

(12)   a.   Ulȩkum ak kau, e ak mo ȩr a Merikel.
        ‘If only I were you, then I’d go to America.’
         
    b.   Ulȩkum ak sensei, e ak olisȩchakl ȩr a ochur.
        ‘If I could only be a teacher, then I’d teach math.’

In the conditional clauses of 12, ulȩkum is followed by the se­quences ak kau ‘I—you’ and ak sensei ‘I—teacher’, which are actually equational sentences (cf. 18.6).

Palauan has yet another type of conditional clause which in certain cases contrasts in meaning with the conditional clauses already described. In the sentences below, we observe conditional clauses introduced by a kmu ‘if’5; again, the verb in this clause is 390not hypothetical, nor is the subject shifted. Clauses with a kmu can refer to present, past, or future conditions:

(13)   a.   A kmu ak6 mȩdȩnge a tȩkoi ȩr a Siabal, e ak mȩrael ȩl mo ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘If I knew Japanese, (then) I’d travel to Japan.’
         
    b.   A kmu ng ngar ȩr ngii a ududek, e ak mȩchȩrar a bȩchȩs ȩl mlai.
        ‘If I had money, (then) I’d buy a new car.’
         
    c.   A kmu a Droteo a mo ȩr a Guam ȩr a klukuk, e ng nguu a Toki.
        ‘If Droteo were to go to Guam tomorrow, (then) he’d take Toki.’
         
    d.   A kmu ak mle mȩdȩnge a tȩkoi ȩr a Siabal, e ak mirrael ȩl mo ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘If I had known Japanese (at that time), I would have trav­elled to Japan.’
         
    e.   A kmu ak mle kau, e ak mlong.
        ‘If I had been you, I would have gone.’

In 13ac above, which designate present or future conditions, the conditional clause with a kmu expresses a strong belief or conviction on the speaker’s part that the condition and its con­sequent will not become true. Thus, in 13c, for example, a kmu a Droteo a mo ȩr a Guam ‘if Droteo were to go to Guam’ implies that Droteo is not really expected to go to Guam, but nevertheless the speaker is speculating what would happen if he did. Because of this implication, conditional clauses with a kmu differ subtly in meaning from conditional clauses with a lsȩkum or a followed by a hypothetical verb form. Let us therefore repeat 9ab above as 14ab and compare them with 14c:

(14)   a.   A lȩme a Droteo, e ng me kie ȩr a blik.
        ‘If/when Droteo comes, he’ll stay at my house.’
         
    b.   A lsȩkum a Droteo a me, e ng me kie ȩr a blik.
        ‘If Droteo should possibly come, (then) he’ll stay at my house.’
         
    c.   A kmu a Droteo a me, e ng me kie ȩr a blik.
        ‘If Droteo were to come, he’d stay at my house.’

In the examples of 14, the speaker shows successively increasing doubt about whether the condition and its consequent have any chance of becoming true. Thus, the speaker uses a followed by a hypothetical verb form (14a) if he believes there is some reason­able possibility that Droteo will come. If he thinks the possibility 391of Droteo’s coming is relatively small, however, he will use a lsȩkum (14b). And if he thinks it is very unlikely that Droteo will come, he will choose a kmu (14c), as mentioned above.

In sentences designating past conditions, conditional clauses with a kmu vs. those with a followed by a hypothetical verb form result in different implications. Thus, compare 3b and 13d, which are both repeated below:

(15)   a.   A kble kudȩnge a tȩkoi ȩr a Siabal, e ak mirrael ȩl mo ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘If I had known Japanese, (then) I would have travelled to Japan.’
         
    b.   A kmu ak mle mȩdȩnge a tȩkoi ȩr a Siabal, e ak mirrael ȩl mo ȩr a Siabal.
        ‘If I had known Japanese (at that time), I would have trav­elled to Japan.’

According to some speakers, 15b implies that the present situa­tion is different from that described in the past conditional clause, while this is not necessarily the case in 15a. In other words, 15b implies that the speaker in fact knows how to speak Japanese now, whereas in 15a it is possible that the speaker still does not know how to speak Japanese.

19.4. ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES OF CONDITIONAL CLAUSES

A few types of Palauan conditional sentences require special mention because their English equivalents lack words like ‘if… then’ and therefore tend to obscure the fact that the corresponding Palauan sentences are really conditional. As we will see below, this problem arises with certain conditional clauses consisting of a and a following hypothetical form.

In 17.9 we observed that the possessed forms of soal ‘his liking’ and chȩtil ‘his disliking’ can be followed by hypothetical verb forms to convey the idea ‘X wants/does not want Y to do something’. In such sentences, X is expressed by the possessor suffix on soal or chȩtil and Y is identified by the pronominal prefix on the hypothetical verb form. In addition, a specific noun phrase may be mentioned if X or Y is a third person. Sentences of this type are illustrated by the following:

(16)   a.   Ng soak a Droteo a longȩtmokl ȩr a delmȩrab.
        ‘I want Droteo to straighten up the room.’
         
    b.   Ng somam a chobo mrei.
        ‘We want you to go home.’ 392
         
    c.   Ng soam a kungȩsbrebȩrȩr a kbokb?
        ‘Do you want me to paint the wall?’
         
    d.   A Toki a chȩtil a rȩngalȩk a loilil ȩr a uum.
        ‘Toki doesn’t want the children to play in the kitchen.’
         
    e.   Ng chȩtik a chobo ȩr a party.
        ‘I don’t want you to go to the party.’

In spite of their English equivalents, the Palauan sentences in 16 are most likely conditional sentences in which the (italicized) conditional clause has been permuted with the consequential clause. Since conditional clauses express unreal actions, events, states, etc. rather than actual facts, we can see why their use is appropriate in the examples above. Thus, in sentences with soal, the conditional clause designates an action or event which is desired or hoped for but which is not yet real. In 16a, for instance, the event of the conditional clause—namely, Droteo’s straighten­ing up the room—has not yet happened; therefore, the speaker is viewing Droteo’s straightening up of the room as a possible event and saying that he would be pleased if this possibility became an actual fact. Sentences with chȩtil involve exactly the opposite, since the conditional clause designates an action or event which is not desired or hoped for—i.e., one which hopefully will not become an actual fact. Thus, in 16d, the event of the conditional clause—namely, the children’s playing in the kitchen—has pre­sented itself as a possibility, but Toki does not want it to become an actual fact (because it might inconvenience her, etc.).

Because the examples of 16 are really conditional sentences, their word-for-word translation would be something like ‘We would like it if you go home’ (for 16b) or ‘I won’t like it if you go to the party’ (for 16e). The only unusual feature about the itali­cized conditional clauses of 16 is that a specific third person subject does not need to be shifted. Thus, in 16a and 16d Droteo and rȩngalȩk ‘children’ appear at the beginning of the conditional clause, directly following a ‘if’.7

The transitive state verb mȩdakt ‘be afraid (of)’ can be used with a conditional clause to express the idea ‘X is afraid that Y will…’ Observe the examples below:

(17)   a.   A Droteo a mȩdakt ȩr a Toki a lȩbo lsechȩr.
        ‘Droteo is afraid that Toki will get sick.’
         
    b.   Ak kmal mle mȩdakt a kbo kotsir ȩr a test.
        ‘I was very much afraid that I would fail the test.’
         
    c.   A toktang a mȩdakt ȩr a John a lȩmad.
        ‘The doctor is afraid John will die.’ 393
         
    d.   Ak mȩdakt a lȩbo lak8 a ududek ȩl mo ȩr a Merikel.
        ‘I’m afraid I won’t have any money to go to America.’

Again, the examples of 17 are conditional sentences in which the conditional clause containing a ‘if’ followed by a hypothetical verb form has been permuted with the consequential clause con­taining mȩdakt ‘be afraid (of)’. If a specific third person noun phrase is mentioned—Toki of 17a or John of 17c—then it must appear as the object of mȩdakt. If we try to translate the sentences of 17 literally, we would get very awkward and unacceptable English sentences such as (for 17a) ‘Droteo has fears about Toki, (wondering) if she will get sick.’

Time words like tutau ‘morning’, suelȩb ‘afternoon’, etc., can be used in conditional clauses to express the frequent or habitual occurrence of a particular action. Consider the examples below:

(18)   a.   A bȩchik a oureor ȩr a sers a lȩtutau.
        ‘My wife works in the garden in the morning.’
         
    b.   A Satsko a soal ȩl mȩsuub a lȩsuelȩb.
        ‘Satsko likes to study in the afternoon.’
         
    c.   Ak mȩruul a kall a lȩklȩbȩsei.
        ‘I prepare food in the evening.’

The italicized conditional clauses of 18 consist of a ‘if’ followed by time words to which the 3rd pers. sg. hypothetical pronoun lȩ- has been prefixed. Since - is the hypothetical pronoun corres­ponding to ng, we can conclude that the conditional clauses of 18 really consist of a followed by an equational sentence (cf. 18.6). Therefore, these conditional clauses literally mean something like ‘if it is morning’, ‘if it is afternoon’, etc. By using a conditional clause like a lȩtutau ‘in the morning’, the speaker states that a particular event usually or normally occurs at a designated time. The routine involved, however, is not as regular or fixed as that implied by sentences exhibiting a temporal phrase containing bek ‘each, every’ (cf. 14.6, ex.34h). Thus, 18a is different in meaning from the example below:

(19)   A bȩchik a oureor ȩr a sers ȩr a bek ȩl tutau.
           ‘My wife works in the garden every morning.’

For further examples containing temporal phrases with bek ‘each, every’, cf. 14.6, ex. 35.

19.5. IMPERATIVE VERB FORMS

Palauan imperative verb forms are used to express orders or 394commands. Because commands are ordinarily directed at the person addressed—the “you” of the conversation—it is not surprising that imperative verb forms involve second person pro­ nouns. As we will see below, Palauan imperative verb forms are actually nothing more than hypothetical verb forms prefixed with the mo- or m- variants of the second person hypothetical pronoun. We will use the separate term “imperative”, however, as a con­venient way of distinguishing the special usage under discussion here.

Both the imperfective and perfective forms of transitive action verbs can occur in commands. To derive the imperative forms of imperfective verbs, we simply substitute the second person hypo­thetical pronoun prefix mo- for the verb marker mȩ- of the corre­sponding imperfective verb. A few such forms are illustrated in the sentences below, which function as orders or commands:

(20)   a.   Molim a kȩrum!
        ‘Drink your medicine!’
         
    b.   Mosilȩk ȩr a bilem!
        ‘Wash your clothes!’
         
    c.   Mongiis ȩr a kliokl!
        ‘Dig the hole!’
         
    d.   Monguiu ȩr tia ȩl hong!
        ‘Read this book!’

Because there is no distinction between singular and plural for the second person hypothetical pronoun (cf. 4.10.1), the examples of 20 are ambiguous in that the speaker may be directing the order either to just one person or to a group of two or more persons.

The imperative forms of perfective verbs are derived with the variant m- of the second person hypothetical pronoun. This m- is always pronounced as a separate syllable—namely, [ṃ] (cf. 1.3.5). All imperative forms of perfective verbs have the structure hypothetical pronoun m-+ verb stem + object pro­noun. Some typical examples are given in 21 below; in the lefthand column, a 3rd pers. sg. object pronoun (-ii, -ir, etc.) has been suffixed to the imperative verb form, while in the righthand column the imperative verb form has the 3rd pers. pl. non-hum. object pronoun (ø):

(21)   3rd pers. sg. non-hum, object   3rd pers. pl. non-hum, object
         
    a.   Mngilmii a imȩlem!   Mngim a imȩlem!
        ‘Have your drink!’   ‘Have your drinks!’ 395
             
    b.   Msilȩkii a bail!   Msilȩk a bail!
        ‘Wash the (piece of) clothing!’   ‘Wash the clothes!’
             
    c.   Mkiiȩsii a kliokl!   Mkiis a kliokl!
        ‘Dig the hole (completely)!’   ‘Dig the holes (completely)!’
             
    d.   Mchiȩuii a hong!   Mchuiu a hong!
        ‘Read the book (completely)!’   ‘Read the books (completely)!’
             
    e.   Mlȩchȩsii a babier!   Mluchȩs a babier!
        ‘Write the letter (completely)!’   ‘Write the letters (completely)!’
             
    f.   Mkȩlii a ngikȩl!   Mka a ngikȩl!
        ‘Eat up the fish!’   ‘Eat up (all) the fish!’
             
    g.   Mngȩtȩchii a mlai!   Mngatȩch a mlai!
        ‘Clean up the car!’   ‘Clean up the cars!’
             
    h.   Mlȩngir a sebȩl!   Mleng a sebȩl!
        ‘Borrow the shovel!’   ‘Borrow the shovels!’
             
    i.   Mdȩrur a ngikȩl!   Mdul a ngikȩl!
        ‘Barbeque the fish!’   ‘Barbeque (all) the fish!’

The examples below are similar, except that the object pro­noun suffixes refer to human beings:

(22)   1st or 3rd pers. sg. hum. object   3rd pers. pl. hum. object
         
    a.   Mchȩlȩbȩdii a ngalȩk!   Mchȩlȩbȩdȩtȩrir a rȩngalȩk!
        ‘Hit the child!’   ‘Hit the children!’
             
    b.   Mkimdak!   Mkimdȩtȩrir a rȩngalȩk!
        ‘Cut my hair!’   ‘Cut the children’s hair!’
             
    c.   Mtȩchȩlbii a Toki!   Mtȩchȩlbȩtȩrir a rȩngalȩk!
        ‘Bathe Toki!’   ‘Bathe the children!’
             
    d.   Msiiȩkii a Satsko!   Msiikȩtȩrir a rȩsȩchȩlim!’
        ‘Look for Satsko!’   ‘Look for your friends!’

Because the perfective imperative forms illustrated in 2122 above are hypothetical verb forms, they of course do not contain the verb marker in any of its several variants (cf, 6.2.1). In this respect, they contrast with the (non-hypothetical) perfective forms listed in 6.3, in which the metathesized verb marker turns up as -(ȩ)m-, -o-, or -u-. A few of these contrasting forms are pointed out in the list below: 396

(23)   Perfective Imperative Form of 21–22 (= hypothetical pro­noun m-+ verb stem + object pronoun) Corresponding Non-Hypotheti­cal Perfective Form (with metathesized verb marker italicized)
       
    mchiȩuii chuiȩuii
    ‘Read it (completely)!’ ‘reads it (completely)’
       
    mchuiu chȩmuiu
    ‘Read them (completely)!’ ‘reads them (completely)’
       
    mkȩlii kolii
    ‘Eat it up!’ ‘eats it up’
       
    mka kma
    ‘Eat them up!’ ‘eats them up’
       
    mlȩngir longir
    ‘Borrow it!’ ‘borrows it’
       
    mleng lmneng
    ‘Borrow them!’ ‘borrows them’
       
    mchȩlȩbȩdii cholȩbȩdii
    ‘Hit him!’ ‘hits him’

In order to express commands with intransitive action verbs, a sequence of the form directional verb mo ‘go’ + intransitive action verb is frequently used. Observe the examples below:

(24)   a.   Bo momȩngur!
        ‘Have your meal!’
         
    b.   Bo mdȩngchokl!
        ‘Sit down!’
         
    c.   Bo mdȩchor!
        ‘Stand/get up!’
         
    d.   Bo mrei!
        ‘Go home/get out!’
         
    e.   Bo mȩchiuaiu!
        ‘Go to sleep!’
         
    f.   Bo mngasȩch ȩr a bilas!
        ‘Get in the boat!’
         
    g.   Bo mkerd ȩr tiang9!
        ‘Get out here!’
         
    h.   Bo mtobȩd ȩr tiang!
        ‘Get out of here!’

Interestingly enough, the imperative form of mo ‘go’ is simply the verb stem bo (cf. 6.2.1, exs. 11–12) rather than the expected 397*mbo—i.e., hypothetical pronoun + verb stem. The basic form of imperative bo ‘go!’ may indeed be m + bo, but a phonetic rule deletes the initial m before a following b.10 A similar phenomenon is found among the imperative forms of various transitive and intransitive verbs whose stems are b- initial, as the following examples illustrate:

(25)   a.   Bosii a bȩlochȩl!
        ‘Shoot the pigeon!’
         
    b.   Bilii a ngalȩk!
        ‘Dress the child!’
         
    c.   Brȩchii a ngikȩl!
        ‘Spear the fish!’
         
    d.   Bȩskak a ududem!
        ‘Give me your money!’
         
    e.   Bȩkiis!
        ‘Get up/wake up!’

The perfective imperative forms of 25ac are related to the imper­fective (transitive) verbs omoes ‘shoot’, omail ‘dress, wrap’, and omurȩch ‘spear’, while bȩskak ‘give (it to) me’ of 25d is related to perfective msa ‘give’. The non-hypothetical form for bȩkiis ‘get up/wake up!’ of 25e is intransitive mȩkiis ‘get up/wake up’.

Hypothetical verb forms with first or third person prefixes are sometimes used with an imperative connotation when the speaker feels something must be done by himself or someone else. This connotation is observed in examples like the following:

(26)   a.   Kurael ȩl mo ȩr a blik.
        ‘I’d better go home.’
         
    b.   Bilii a ngalȩk e lorael.
        ‘Dress the child and have/let him go.’
         
    c.   Lȩbo ȩr a bita a Droteo mȩ lȩngai a kȩbui.
        ‘Have Droteo go next door and get some leaves for betel nut chewing.’
         
    d.   Domȩngur ȩr tiang.
        ‘Let’s eat here.’

Examples like 26d, in which the 1st pers. pl. inclusive hypothetical pronoun do- (or dȩ-) is prefixed to a verb form, are commonly used to express the idea ‘let’s (do something)’. Further examples will be provided in 19.6 below.

Palauan negative commands are formed simply by using lak, the hypothetical form of diak (cf. 18.3), followed itself by a hypo­thetical 398verb form with a prefixed second person hypothetical pronoun (mo-). The following examples are typical:

(27)   a.   Lak molim a biang!
        ‘Don’t drink beer!’
         
    b.   Lak monga a kall!
        ‘Don’t eat the food!’
         
    c.   Lak mongȩrodȩch!
        ‘Stop making noise!’
         
    d.   Lak molȩkar ȩr a ngalȩk!
        ‘Don’t wake up the child!’
         
    e.   Lak mobes ȩl subȩdii a Droteo!
        ‘Don’t forget to tell Droteo!’

It is interesting to note that in negative commands such as those above, any transitive verb following lak can only appear in its imperfective, but not perfective, form. In other words, a sentence like the following is ungrammatical (cf. 27b):

(28)   *Lak mkȩlii a kall!
    (‘Don’t eat the food!’)

The reason why perfective forms are prevented after lak in sen­tences like 27ae seems to be the following: since a negative command orders someone not to begin or continue a particular activity, it would be redundant and unnecessary to mention finish­ing that same activity, which is what a perfective verb form would imply.

Another way of expressing a negative command is to use a statement introduced by ng diak, as in the examples below:

(29)   a.   Ng diak mongȩrodȩch!
        ‘Don’t make noise!’
         
    b.   Ng diak molȩkar ȩr a ngalȩk!
        ‘Don’t wake up the child!’

For some speakers, the examples of 29 differ in meaning from the corresponding commands with lak. Thus, 27c might be a com­mand directed at children who have already begun to be noisy, while 29a is a kind of warning which would be uttered even before any noise has started. Similarly, 27d would be directed at someone who has already begun to wake up the child, whereas 29b would be a “precautionary” command spoken while the child is still fully asleep.

If we recall that hypothetical verb forms are characteristically 399used to refer to unreal actions, events, etc., we can immediately see why they are appropriate in imperative sentences. Thus, when an order or command is given that something be done, the action or event in question has not yet occurred and is therefore unreal; indeed, the order or command is given precisely so that the particu­lar action or event will become an actual fact. We can therefore see that the use of hypothetical verb forms as imperatives has much in common with the use of hypothetical verb forms in conditional sentences (cf. 19.1 above) and in negative sentences (cf. chap. 18).

19.6. PROPOSITIVE VERB FORMS

Palauan propositive verb forms are used when the speaker wishes to propose or suggest that he and the hearer(s) perform some action or activity together. Propositive verb forms are actually hypothetical verb forms prefixed with the 1st pers. pl. inclusive hypothetical pronoun do- or dȩ-. This pronoun is used because the proposed or suggested action includes both speaker and hearer(s). Palauan propositive verb forms have English equivalents of the form ‘let’s (do something)’, as the examples below illustrate:

(30)   a.   Dorael!
        ‘Let’s go!’
         
    b.   Doilil ȩr tiang!
        ‘Let’s play here!’
         
    c.   Dȩbo dolim a biang!
        ‘Let’s go drink a beer!’
         
    d.   Doluchȩs!
        ‘Let’s write it!’
         
    e.   Dȩlȩchȩsii!
        ‘Let’s write it (completely)!’

If the verb in the propositive sentence is transitive, as in 30ce, the hypothetical (propositive) form can be imperfective (as in 30cd) or perfective (as in 30e). Propositive sentences can also be negative, in which case they include lak:

(31)   a.   Lak dongȩrodȩch.
        ‘Let’s not make noise.’
         
    b.   Lak dosuub er a elȩchang.
        ‘Let’s not study now.’
         
    c.   Mȩrkong. Lak doilil.
        ‘Let’s not play any more.’ 400

Because propositive sentences involve actions which are proposed or suggested but have not yet taken place, it is not surprising that they contain hypothetical verb forms. In other words, at the moment when a speaker utters a propositive sentence, the action in question is still unreal (though it may occur in the very immediate future); therefore, the use of hypo­thetical verb forms is appropriate.

19.7. PASSIVE SENTENCES

As we mentioned in 5.1.1, all Palauan transitive sentences involve a doer (or agent) and a receiver (or object). While the agent is the person who performs or carries out a particular action, the object is the person, animal, or thing which receives the effect of that action. In Palauan transitive sentences, the agent is normally expressed by the subject noun phrase, which precedes the transitive verb, while the object is expressed by the object noun phrase, which follows the transitive verb. This is shown in the sentences below, which contain both imperfective and perfective forms of transitive verbs:

(32)   a.   A ngalȩk a mȩnga ȩr a ngikȩl.
        ‘The child is eating the fish.’
         
    b.   A sensei a mȩngȩlebȩd ȩr a rȩngalȩk.
        ‘The teacher is hitting the children.’
         
    c.   A John a milȩngȩlebȩd a bilis.
        ‘John was hitting the dogs.’
         
    d.   A sȩchȩlik a silsȩbii a blai.
        ‘My friend burned down the house.’
         
    e.   A Toki a chiloit a babier.
        ‘Toki threw away the letters.’

In any Palauan sentence, it is the subject noun phrase which is the speaker’s focus of interest or attention. In other words, the speaker will try to structure a sentence in such a way that its subject position will be occupied by the noun phrase which he wishes to emphasize or from whose viewpoint he is regarding a particular action or event. In the great majority of cases, the speaker tends to describe an action or event from the viewpoint of the doer or agent, as in the examples of 32. Such sentences, in which the subject noun phrase identifies the agent, are called active sentences because they focus upon the agent as actively pursuing an activity which is directed at a particular object.401

In some cases, however, the speaker wishes to describe a situation from the viewpoint of a particular noun phrase which does not function as agent. Thus, in the examples below it is the object—i.e., the thing which receives the effect of the action—which appears in sentence subject position and is therefore focused upon:

(33)   a.   A ngikȩl a longa ȩr ngii a ngalȩk.
        ‘The fish is being eaten by the child.’
         
    b.   A rȩngalȩk a longȩlebȩd ȩr tir a sensei.
        ‘The children are being hit by the teacher.’
         
    c.   A bilis a lulȩngȩlebȩd a John.
        ‘The dogs were being hit by John.’
         
    d.   A blai a lȩsilsȩbii a sȩchȩlik.
        ‘The house was burned down by my friend.’
         
    e.   A babier a lȩchiloit a Toki.
        ‘The letters were thrown away by Toki.’

The sentences of 33, in which the subject noun phrase identifies the object or receiver, are called passive sentences because they focus upon the object as passively undergoing the action desig­nated by the verb phrase (and performed by the agent).

The active and passive sentences of 32 and 33 convey exactly the same amount of information, except that—as mentioned above—there is a difference in emphasis or point of view. Thus, both 32a and 33a tell us that an act of eating is going on at the present moment, and that the agent and object are a child (ngalȩk) and a fish (ngikȩl), respectively. All that is different is the point of view: thus, the speaker would use 32a if he were mainly interested in the child and what the child was doing, while he would use 33a if for some reason he was particularly concerned about the fish and what was happening to it.11

If we compare the passive sentences of 33 with the cor­responding active sentences of 32, we observe the following dif­ferences. Roughly speaking, the noun phrases in subject and object positions have switched places: thus, the object noun phrases of 32 have come to appear in subject position in the passive sentences of 33, while the subject noun phrases of 32 (which designate the agent) have moved to sentence-final position in 33. At the same time, the non-hypothetical verb forms of the active sentences have been replaced by hypothetical verb forms in the passive sentences. In addition, the sequences ȩr ngii and ȩr tir appear in the passive sentences 33ab. 402

We shall now examine in greater detail the complex combina­tion of changes which relate the active and passive sentences of 3233. Our explanation will be simpler if we assume that the passive sentences, which are more complicated in structure, are derived from the corresponding active sentences. The “exchange” of object and agent mentioned above actually involves two processes: the agent (= subject noun phrase) of 32 is shifted to sentence-final position in 33, while the object (= object noun phrase) of 32 is preposed to sentence-initial position in 33. When the object noun phrase is preposed, a pronominal trace of it must remain in its original position. This phenomenon only occurs, however, when the object noun phrase of the active sentence is marked with the specifying word ȩr (cf. 2.7). Recall that ȩr can mark a noun phrase as specific only when the preceding transitive verb is imperfective and when the object noun phrase is of a particular type. Thus, ȩr can be used to mark all sinuglar noun phrases (whether human or non-human) and any plural noun phrase which is human; if, however, a non-human noun phrase is interpreted as plural, then it cannot be preceded by ȩr. Now, in the active sentences 32ac, we can explain the occurrence or non-occurrence of the specifying word ȩr according to the above principle. Thus, in 32ab, ȩr appears before the singular noun phrase ngikȩl ‘fish’ or the human plural noun phrase rȩngalȩk ‘children’, but it cannot occur before non-human bilis ‘dogs’ of 32c if this noun phrase is to be interpreted as plural. Because the specifying word ȩr therefore occurs only in 32ab, it is in these sentences that a pronominal trace must remain when the object noun phrase is preposed. Thus, in the passive sentences 33ab, we observe the pronominal traces ngii and tir following the specifying word ȩr. These emphatic pronouns (cf. 4.3) agree with the preposed noun phrase which they replace: in 33a, the 3rd pers. sg. emphatic pronoun ngii refers to ngikȩl ‘fish’, and in 33b, the 3rd pers. human pl. emphatic pronoun tir refers to rȩngalȩk ‘children’. In the passive sentences 33de, we do not see any occurrence of specifying word ȩr + emphatic pronoun at all, sim­ply because the specifying word ȩr is prevented following the perfective verb forms of the corresponding active sentences 32de.

The presence vs. absence of ȩr ngii in otherwise identical passive sentences results in an important difference of meaning. Observe, therefore, the following pairs of sentences: 403

(34)   a.   A Droteo a mȩnguiu ȩr a hong.
       

‘Droteo is reading the book.’

         
    b.   A Droteo a mȩnguiu a hong.
        ‘Droteo is reading the books.’
         
(35)   a.   A hong a longuiu ȩr ngii a Droteo.
        ‘The book is being read by Droteo.’
         
    b.   A hong a longuiu a Droteo.
        ‘The books are being read by Droteo.’

As we saw in 2.7, exs. 3738, the presence vs. absence of ȩr in the active sentences of 34 signals whether the object (hong ‘book’) is (specific) singular or plural, respectively. Because the passive sentences of 35 are derived from the corresponding active sen­tences, the presence vs. absence of ȩr ngii tells us in exactly the same way whether the subject (hong ‘book’) is interpreted as singular or plural. Thus, when ȩr ngii follows the verb, we know that hong is singular, but if no sequence of specifying wordȩr + emphatic pronoun is found in the sentence, then hong is interpreted as plural.

In all of the passive sentences given so far (33 and 35), the hypothetical verb form is prefixed with some variant of the 3rd pers. (sg.) hypothetical pronoun (lo-, lu-, lȩ-, etc.). This is because the prefixed pronoun in hypothetical verb forms always refers to the agent (cf. 4.10.2), and up to now we have only examined passive sentences with third person agents (ngalȩk ‘child’ in 33a, sensei ‘teacher’ in 33b, etc.). It is of course also possible to have first and second person agents in passive sentences, and these will be indicated by the appropriate pronoun prefixes on the hypothetical verb forms. Thus, with 35b, compare the sentences below:

(36)   a.   A hong a kunguiu.
        ‘The books are being read by me.’
         
    b.   A hong a donguiu.
        ‘The books are being read by us (incl.).’
         
    c.   A hong a monguiu.
        ‘The books are being read by you.’

If the agent is a first or second person, as in 36, it is “marked” only in the hypothetical verb form—that is, no specific noun phrase designating the agent occurs in sentence-final position. However, if the agent is a third person, then a specific noun phrase designating the agent occurs optionally, as in the passive 404sentences of 33 and 35. In other words, a specific noun phrase identifying the agent need not be included if the speaker and hearer know who the agent is. Thus, with 35b, compare the fol­lowing sentence:

(37)   A hong a longuiu.
    ‘The books are being read by him/them.’

Given our previous discussions of the general function of hypothetical verb forms—namely, to express unreal rather than actual events, states, etc.—it is indeed very difficult to understand why hypothetical verb forms should be required in passive sen­tences. The only speculation we are able to make is that, in some sense, passive sentences are “less real” than active sentences because they view a given event or situation in a less-than-usual way. As we mentioned at the beginning of this section, the speaker usually describes a given action or event from the viewpoint of the agent. Therefore, active sentences are highly favored because in them, the agent appears in sentence subject position, which is reserved for the noun phrase being given special attention or “prominence”. Now, when a speaker uses a passive sentence, he is choosing to describe an action or situation from a somewhat less common or normal viewpoint—namely, that of the object or receiver, which therefore appears in the subject position of passive sentences. If we agree that the less common viewpoint of passive sentences is somehow “less real” than the normal viewpoint of active sentences, then perhaps we can understand why passive sentences require hypothetical verb forms.

19.7.1. Further Examples of Passive Sentences

In the present section we will look at a large variety of Palauan passive sentences. Since we have already analyzed the form and meaning of such sentences, very little additional discussion will be necessary.

In the passive sentences below, we observe the hypothetical forms of imperfective transitive verbs (cf. 33ac) and in one case the hypothetical form of a transitive state verb (mȩdakt ‘be afraid of’ in 38g):

(38)   a.   A bȩlochȩl a lulȩmes ȩr ngii a buik.
        ‘The pigeon was being watched by the boy.’
         
    b.   A oles a lousbech ȩr ngii a Droteo.
        ‘The knife is being used by Droteo.’ 405
         
    c.   A Toki a blȩchoel ȩl lolȩngȩseu ȩr ngii a Droteo ȩl mȩruul a subȩlel.
        ‘Toki is always being helped by Droteo to do her homework.’
         
    d.   Tia ȩl chȩlitakl a blȩchoel ȩl dongitakl ȩr ngii ȩr a Christmas.
        ‘This song is always sung (by us) at Christmas.’
         
    e.   A babier a kulluchȩs.
        ‘The letters were being written by me.’
         
    f.   A bilis a lomȩkcharm a Droteo.
        ‘The dogs are being hurt by Droteo.’
         
    g.   A dȩrumk a lȩmȩdakt ȩr ngii a ngalȩk.
        ‘(lit.) The thunder is being feared by the child.’ = ‘The child is afraid of the thunder.’

The passive sentences below illustrate how the hypothetical forms of perfective transitive verbs are used (cf. 33de):

(39)   a.   A buik a lulsa a Tony.
        ‘The boy was seen by Tony.’
         
    b.   A ngalȩk a ksilȩbȩkii.
        ‘The child was kicked by me.’
         
    c.   A tolȩchoi a lulȩkȩrngii a chȩrrodȩch.
        ‘The baby was awakened by the noise.’
         
    d.   A ngikȩl a lȩkila a bilis.
        ‘The fish were eaten up by the dog.’
         
    e.   Ngak a lulȩkȩrngak a Toki.
        ‘I was awakened by Toki.’
         
    f.   A kliokl a lȩkilisii a rȩsȩchȩlik.
        ‘The hole was (completely) dug by my friends.’
         
    g.   A present a lȩbilskak a Droteo.
        ‘A present was given to me by Droteo.’
         
    h.   A hong a kbilstȩrir a rȩsȩchȩlik.
        ‘A book was given by me to my friends.’
         
    i.   A bȩras a lȩkȩlii a malk.
        ‘The rice is going to get eaten up by the chicken!’
         
    j.   A chȩmȩlem a lȩchȩmȩchii a ngalȩk.
        ‘Your betel nut is going to get chewed up by the child!’

In 39ij, the present perfective (passive) forms lȩkȩlii and lȩchȩmȩ­chii are used to express warnings (cf. 12.2, ex. 14).

19.7.2. Passive Sentences Containing Complex Verb Phrases

If the verb phrase of a passive sentence is complex—i.e., if it 406includes auxiliary words like mo ‘go, become’, mla (marker for recent past tense), etc.—then the appropriate hypothetical pro­noun is normally prefixed to each of its parts. A few typical examples are given below:

(40)   a.   A ureor a lȩbla lȩbo lȩmȩrek ȩr ngii a Droteo.
        ‘The work has been finished by Droteo.’
         
    b.   A mubi a lȩbo lomes ȩr ngii a rȩngalȩk.
        ‘The movie is going to be seen by the children.’
         
    c.   Tia ȩl babier a kbo kuluchȩs ȩr ngii.
        ‘This letter will be written by me.’

As we saw in 4.10.6, Palauan speakers often omit the first occurrence of the hypothetical pronoun with complex verb phrases. This happens most frequently in rapid, informal speech and when the third person hypothetical pronoun is involved. Thus, with 40ab compare the following acceptable sentences:

(41)   a.   A ureor a bla lȩbo lȩmȩrek ȩr ngii a Droteo.
        ‘The work has been finished by Droteo.’
         
    b.   A mubi a bo lomes ȩr ngii a rȩngalȩk.
        ‘The movie is going to be seen by the children.’

The first occurrence of the hypothetical pronoun can be omitted in examples like 41ab because it is redundant: in other words, the very same information is supplied by the (identical) hypothe­tical pronouns which are attached to the other parts of the com­plex verb phrase.

19.7.3. Passive Sentences and Relational Phrases

The processes by which Palauan passive sentences are formed apply more broadly than we indicated in 19.7 above, where we only examined passive sentences in which the subject noun phrase corresponds to the object (or receiver) of the related active sen­tence. As we will see below, Palauan has passive sentences in which the subject corresponds to a noun phrase which follows the relational word ȩr in the associated active sentence. In the following pairs of examples, a noun phrase appearing in a re­lational phrase of the active sentence has become the subject of the passive sentence:

(42)   a.   A Droteo a oureor ȩr a stoang.
        ‘Droteo works at the store.’ 407
         
    b.   A stoa a loureor ȩr ngii a Droteo.
        ‘(lit.) The store is worked at by Droteo.’
         
(43)   a.   A Toki a riros ȩr tia ȩl diong.
        ‘Toki drowned in this river.’
         
    b.   Tia ȩl diong a lȩriros ȩr ngii a Toki.
        ‘(lit.) This river was drowned in by Toki.’
         
(44)   a.   A ngȩlȩkek a smechȩr ȩr a tȩretȩr.
        ‘My child is sick with a cold.’
         
    b.   A tȩretȩr a lsechȩr ȩr ngii a ngȩlȩkek.
        ‘It’s a cold that my child is sick with.’
         
(45)   a.   A bȩlochȩl a silebȩk ȩr a kȩrrȩkar.
        ‘The pigeon flew out of the tree.’
         
    b.   A kȩrrȩkar a lȩsilebȩk ȩr ngii a bȩlochȩl.
        ‘(lit.) The tree was flown out of by the pigeon.’

In the examples above, we note that the subject noun phrases of the passive sentences have several different functions in the relational phrases of the corresponding active sentences. Thus, in 42 and 43 stoa ‘store’ and tia ȩl diong ‘this river’ identify the location, in 44 tȩretȩr ‘cold’ designates the cause, and in 45 kȩrrȩ­kar ‘tree’ refers to the source. The passive sentences of 4245 are unusual in that they all contain intransitive rather than transitive verbs; furthermore, the pronominal trace ngii appears after the relational word ȩr rather than the specifying word ȩr.

19.7.4. Negative and Conditional Passive Sentences

When passive sentences, which contain hypothetical verb forms, appear with constructions which themselves require hypothetical verb forms, only a single hypothetical verb form is used. Thus, in examples 46ac we observe negative passive sentences with diak, and in 46d we have a conditional passive sentence:

(46)   a.   A tȩkoi er a Belau a diak losuub ȩr ngii a John.
        ‘Palauan isn’t being studied by John.’
         
    b.   A Droteo a dimlak longȩlebȩd ȩr ngii a Tony.
        ‘Droteo wasn’t hit by Tony.’
         
    c.   A kȩdȩra a dimlak lȩmad ȩr ngii a Toki.
        ‘The beach wasn’t where Toki died.’
         
    d.   A biang a lak lolim ȩr ngii a sȩchȩlim, e mnguu e loia ȩr a icebox.
        ‘If the beer isn’t drunk by your friend, then take it and put it in the icebox.’

Notes

   A lak a ududem, e lak chobo ȩr a mubi.

   ‘If you don’t have any money, (then) don’t go to the movies.’ In this conditional sentence, the consequential clause is expressed as an order or command (see 19.5 below).

    a.   A dȩbo ȩr a che, e ng kired ȩl ousbech a chȩlais.
      ‘To go fishing, we need a basket.’
  b.   A dolasȩch a mlai, e ng mȩringȩl.
      ‘Carving canoes is difficult.’

Though interpreted as general statements, a and b above are actually conditional sentences which mean something like ‘If we go fishing, (then) we need a basket’ and ‘If we carve a canoe, (then) it’s difficult.’ The conditional and consequential clauses of these examples can be permuted, resulting in the following sentences:

    a’.   Ng kired ȩl ousbech a chȩlais a dȩbo ȩr a chei.
      ‘We need a basket to go fishing with.’
  b’.   Ng mȩringȩl a dolasȩch a mlai.
      ‘It’s difficult carving canoes.’
    A dȩmal a Droteo a soal a Droteo a lak lolim a biang.
  ‘Droteo’s father wants him not to drink beer.’

Since the italicized conditional clause requires a hypothetical verb 518form, and since this clause is negative, we would expect to find lȩdiak. This form is not acceptable, however, and we therefore con­clude that lak is derived from + diak by a phonetic rule of con­traction (cf. 18.3 and exs. 4–5 above).

*10. In 6.2.1, exs. 11–12, we observed just the opposite phenomenon—namely, an initial b is deleted before a following m. This is found in the derivation of mo ‘go’ from basic + bo (i.e., verb marker + verb stem), where metathesis of the verb marker and deletion of ȩ result in the sequence b + m + o, which becomes mo ‘go’ when the initial b is deleted before m. The phonetic processes under discussion suggest the following principle: when two bilabial consonants appear (or come to appear) in word-initial position, the first one is always deleted.

1. It is not clear whether the a which introduces Palauan conditional clauses is really a different word from the a which introduces all noun phrases and verb phrases (cf. 2.6). For purposes of simplicity, how­ever, we will refer to the a of conditional clauses as a separate word meaning ‘if’.

2. The sequence ngar ȩr ngii ‘there is/are’, which is used in affirmative expressions of existence, is explained in detail in 18.2.

3. With 4c compare the following sentence, which is somewhat dif­ferent in structure:

4. With the general questions of 6, compare the following general statements:

5. It is not clear how to analyze the word kmu. There is some possibility that it is related to the kmo of ȩl kmo, which is used to introduce quotations (see 21.1), or that it is an unusual form of the verb dmu ‘say’.

6. Following kmu, the a of ak ‘I’ is deleted. As a result, a kmu ak ‘if I…’ is pronounced [akmuk].

7. The following conditional sentence, which exhibits the pattern of 16a-e, contains lak in the conditional clause:

8. The sequence lȩbo lak is the hypothetical form of mo diak ‘will not be, will become non-existent’. Here, too, we have evidence that the hypothetical form lak is derived from + diak by contraction. Cf. note 7 above and 18.3.

9. While ȩrtiang ‘here, at this place’ functions as a locational phrase in this sentence, ȩr tiang ‘here, from this place’ functions as a source phrase in 24h. Cf. 14.2 and 14.4.

11. For a discussion of how Palauan passive sentences differ from ergative sentences, see the concluding remarks in 5.6.

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780824879075
MARC Record
OCLC
1053883872
Pages
383-407
Launched on MUSE
2018-09-19
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-ND
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