Blog Post · VOS prepositions!

VOS prepositions! ^

Posted On Tuesday 7 June 2011 by Murray Colpman (Muzer)

Freddie and I have finally sat down and worked out prepositions FOR GOOD!

BASICALLY, IF the preposition applies to the clause as a whole, and CANNOT be attributed directly to one of the nouns, it goes outside the clause, and is given the GENERIC tense:

inafelem /!France!/ titanelem /!Person!/ pieseht sohkusi ei

= (((( I  give [present]  cookie [plural] )  to [generic]  Person )  in [generic]  France ) )

As you can see, this applies to indirect objects (which are created in VOS using prepositions), and general locations. This particular sentence means that a cookie is being given to the person, and the giving is taking place in France.

If the preposition only applies to one of the nouns, however, you essentially turn that noun into its own clause, and you give it a tense:

titanelem inafeht /!France!/ /!Person!/ pieseht sohkusi ei

= ((( I  give [present]  cookie [plural] )  to [generic] ( Person  in [present]  France ) ) )

In this case, the PERSON is CURRENTLY in France, but the giving does not necessarily take place in France. For instance, the cookie could have been posted from Britain to the person in France.

This basically means you can go completely crazy with much more detail than is practical in English, like this:

inafelem /!Belgium!/ titanelem inafeht /!France!/ /!Person!/ pieseht inafoht /!Germany!/ sohkusi ei

= (((( I  give [present] ( cookie [plural]  in [past]  Germany ) )  to [generic] ( Person  in [present]  France ) )  in [generic]  Belgium ) )

In this one, the cookie was in Germany, the person is in France, and the giving is done in Belgium. This is quite hard to make sense of, since it describes a situation which wouldn't really happen in real life, but, for example, the cookie could have been bought in Germany, then moved to Belgium and posted to the person in France.

/me cheers, for completing this blog post

EDIT: That above line should have been posted to IRC, but I'll keep it because it correctly describes my attitude :p

EDIT2: So, we've been thinking about this, and have come to the main conclusion of this post:

* If the preposition can be applied equally well (or poorly as the case may be) to both the subject and the object, it should be nested outside the main clause and given a generic tense
* If the preposition cannot sensibly be given a tense, it should be nested outside the main clause and given a generic tense
* If neither of the above is true, it should be nested inside the clause along with the noun it applies to, in the tense that makes most sense.

I cannot think of any occasions in which the first bullet point would be true but the second wouldn't, or vice versa, and I expect linguistically wise there aren't any, so I believe we now have a very solid basis for this.

-- The Timlan team.