argument structure of k'u 'give'

REGINA PUSTET pustetrm at
Thu Nov 18 02:17:18 UTC 2004

> I must admit to astonishment at your wicha-ma-k'u-pi 'I was given

> to them'.  I have never been able to elicit three overtly marked

> arguments on that verb in all my years of trying.

I haven't even elicited that one, it's from coherent discourse, i.e. from one of Neva's texts. But in my experience, things that occur in connected discourse are not always considered grammatical in elicitation.

Here is another k'u-form from the texts, also with three overt arguments, one of them being wa- 'non-specific patient'. But the analysis of this example is complicated by the presence of locative o-, to the effect that the verb form might contain a locative phrase rather than a benefactive one, depending on the interpretation. Buechel has ok'u 'to give to, especially food', but that doesn�t tell us either if the Lakota speaker conceptualizes the o-participant as a locative or as a benefactive.



'we'll give you food/things'

> I don't know what to make of it [wicha-ma-k'u-pi]. Could it also mean

> 'they were given to me'?

Theoretically yes, but I have no data on whether this translation is possible or not. It might be elicitable if we put something animate such as 'horses' in the patient slot. The interpretation of wicha-ma-k'u-pi as it is used in the text is unambiguous, at least to me. I'm pasting the example again below, this time adding a little more context:

ho   h�haN Lakh�ta �tkiya        hiNgn�thuN-ma-khiya-pi cha

well then  Lakota  according to  marry-1SG.PAT-CAU-PL   QL

wich�-ma-k�u-pi.         cha  wich�s^a  waN  hiNgn�-wa-ye

3PL.PAT-1SG.PAT-give-PL. so   man       LK   marry-1SG.AG-marry

ki  slol-w�-ye-s^ni

DEF know-1SG.AG-know-NEG

'Then they made me marry the Lakota way, so they gave me to them (Neva said that wicha- refers to her husband-to-be's family). I didn't know the man I married.'

> How does iyuNga 'to ask someone something' work?  I don't think

> the 'something' can ever be animate, so it would never be marked on

> the verb anyway.

An animate patient won't work here for semantic reasons, but I think I have seen some examples with wa- 'non-specific patient' appearing in this slot.


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