Author Topic: Beyond copulas: 'adverbial' meaning+be?  (Read 3807 times)

Offline MalFet

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Re: Beyond copulas: 'adverbial' meaning+be?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2014, 02:31:02 AM »
So terminology aside, let me rephrase my question as simply asking whether there are languages out there that have words equivalent to 'be' except that they have more nuance.
Of course. I suspect that all languages have words like this. English certainly does.

If you're unsure of my terminology, then how would you classify the words "be", "become" and "seem" [in their linking sense]? To me they form a very different kind of group than, say, "free", "eat" and "swim".
Indeed. What I would call the group would depend on my purpose for describing the group in the first place, but in many contexts I would just call them "copulas". It's a reasonably well defined term, and it's descriptively useful for many purposes. And, by that technically precise definition, "exemplifies" and "passes muster as" are both also copulas.

More importantly, the Indic case:

That's exactly what I was wondering about. Is this because of a systematic underspecification of the adverb/verb[/BE] classes or is this a case of lexicalization/grammaticalization from one class to another?
You're calling them "verbs", so I'd imagine it's the latter.
They're just verbs. I don't know the etymology off hand, but I don't see any reason to assume that they've been grammaticalized. In any case, they behave just like their (obviously) open-class counterparts. Generally speaking, Sanskrit has an extremely productive root-based derivational morphology.

Any idea of there's a description/typology of those verbs? It would be interesting to take a look through them.
Bimal Krishna Matilal's very well-known analysis of the Sanskrit copula in "Logic in India" is phenomenally important to modern semantics, though it's extremely technical. His book "The Word and the World" runs through some of the same themes in a more accessible way. From a more syntactic perspective, it's been a while since I looked into it so I can't recommend anything in particular, but I believe there's a lot of work on nominal sentences in Sanskrit. Anything in that direction should talk about the copula in some depth.

Offline freknu

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Re: Beyond copulas: 'adverbial' meaning+be?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2014, 03:48:28 AM »
As for the etymology of Skr. atibhu

PIE. *eti- *ati- "over, beyond"
Skr. ati "over, beyond; exceedingly" (supposedly from a defunct adjective *atin)
Skr. ati–bhu "to originate, take rise in an excessive way; to excel, surpass"
Skr. ati–bahu "very, very much"

cf.
Lat. at "but, yet, moreover"
Lat. et "and, also"
Gr. eti "moreover, further, still"
Gr. atar "however"
PG. *ed(a)- "again, futher" (no idea why this isn't *eþ(a)-)
ON. eða "or, but, else"

I don't know very much about Sanskrit, so I wonder whether -bh- is a verbal suffix or if it is a second root. Thus, not surprisingly, it would seem to literally mean "to go beyond; to surpass", as in "Ram is very brave" ← "Ram [goes beyond] brave; Ram [surpasses] brave".

And honestly, wouldn't that very same sentence, "Ram surpasses brave", be pretty much equivalent even in English? Perhaps not as "normal" as "very brave", but it would still be clear that Ram is more than just "positively" brave.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 10:17:28 AM by freknu »

Offline freknu

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Re: Beyond copulas: 'adverbial' meaning+be?
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2014, 06:51:25 AM »
Interestingly enough, the Sanskrit root bhū (bhavati) is cognate with English be, and considering the plentiful use of root compounds in PIE, and I assume Sanskrit as well, I wonder if ati–bhu is actually ati–bhū (atibhavati), making it literally "beyond-be".

However, roots are used quite differently in PIE and Sanskrit compared to modern English, so I'd be very careful making any conclusions from this.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 09:30:53 PM by freknu »

Offline MalFet

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Re: Beyond copulas: 'adverbial' meaning+be?
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2014, 09:06:03 PM »
Yep! The root form is bhū. That's cool that it's a cognate with "be". I had no idea.

Offline Daniel

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Re: Beyond copulas: 'adverbial' meaning+be?
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2014, 11:13:22 PM »
What was the PIE meaning of *[be]?
Etymonline shows a lot of cognates in various IE languages, but doesn't trace the semantics back, though I can see why that would be hard to do. Does seem like it's in the be/become domain though.


The last several posts have been interesting and welcome. A curiosity lead to some interesting data.

(By the way, MalFet, I agree with you about the terminology. I'm just interested in looking at the data before working out terms, because the other way around usually doesn't work too well in my experience-- on the other hand, that can make having a conversation about undefined things less clear, sorry :) )
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline freknu

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Re: Beyond copulas: 'adverbial' meaning+be?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2014, 12:08:51 AM »
PIE. *bhew- "to swell; to grow; (to thrive; to dwell; to will, become)"

(*bhew–eh2- *bhew–t- *bhew–t–eh2- *bhew–men- *bhew–lo- *bhew–ro-)
(*bhew- *bhū- *bhō- *bhōw-)

Gk. φύειν "to produce; to grow"
Gk. φύσις "nature; production; birth"
Gk. φυή "growth; nature, talent"
Gk. φυτόν "growth, plant"
Gk. φιτύειν "to bear, generate; to sow, plant"
Gk. φίτυ "seed, sprout"

Lat. *fuere "to be, exist", fuī "have been", futūrus "becoming, imminent, future"
Lat. fierī "to grow; to arise; to become"
Lat. far "grain"

PG. *beuną "to be, exist" → OEn. bēon, En. be
PG. *bū(w)aną "to dwell, live" → ON. bú
PG. *būwą *būwiją "dwelling, nest" → ON. bú bý
PG. *būwijaną "to build; to make dwell" → ON. byggja
PG. *būwô "dweller" → ON. búi
PG. **būþō "room, dwelling" → ON. búð
PG. *būrą "room; house; cage" → ON. búr
PG. *bōwiz **būwiz "yard, court; habitation" → ON. bœr
PG. *bōw(w)ōną "to dwell, live" → OEn. bȳan
PG. *budlą "yard, court; habitation" → OEn. botl, bytle
PG. *baunō *baunǭ "bean" → ON. baun
PG. *buljǭ "nest" → Sv. bylja, bølja

PC. *bwā "to be"
Welsh. bod "to be"
Irish. bí "to be"
OIr. both "cottage"
OIr. bae "benefit"
OIr. būan "steadfast, good"
OIr. buith "to be"
Cymr. bun "queen, wife"

PBS. *būtei "to be"
PS. *byti "to be"
Russian. быть "to be"
Lit. butas "house"
Lit. būti "to be"
Lit. būvis "life, being"

PII. *bhū- *bhavati "to be"
Skr. bhavati "to be" (cf. OEn. bēon, En. be)
Skr. būtam "entity" (cf. PG. *būþō, ON. búð)
Skr. bhū "earth, world"
Skr. bhūman "earth, world, being"
Av. būta- "to be"

Alb. buj "to stay, stay overnight"
Alb. burr "man, husband"
Alb. bane "dwelling, abode" (cf. Skr. bhavanam)

Possibly related to PG. *buskaz "bush, thicket", PC. *buwano- "lasting", *buta- "house", *bunato- "origin", Lat. probus "good", moribundus "dying; fatal".
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 01:09:29 AM by freknu »