Conlangery 134 medallion

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Today, Matt Pearson joins George and William to talk about non-finite “adverbial” verb forms called converbs.

Top of Show Greeting: Old Niveni

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5 Responses to “Conlangery #134: Converbs”

  1. Vítor De Araújo

    Oh, so that’s what the Japanese -te form is? I didn’t know what the term “converb” meant (though I had seen it before), but from the discussion in the show, the Japanese -te form seems to fit the bill. It’s used for coordination (with only the last verb getting tense inflection), for some kinds of aspectual constructions like progressive (-te + iru (be/exist)), and also for saying ‘please’ (-te kudasai).

    It also reminded me of Esperanto adverbial participles. Those inflect for ‘tense’, but the tense is relative to the main clause, not in agreement with it. I’m not sure if that counts, though; you can use them for coordination to an extent, but not really the way Japanese does it.

    • wm.annis

      Yes, the Japanese -te forms can be considered a converb. A few references even call it that.

      Participles do have some functional overlap with participles, but are structurally different. You can have languages that have a good collection of both participles and converbs. Some of the languages of the Caucasus seem generous on both fronts.

  2. GohtCheese [gəʊtt͡ʃiːz]

    Have you considered a practicum episode about things you can do with the definite article that do not directly refer to the definiteness of the thing referred to? I don’t know many examples myself, but sort of like how they can turn into relative pronouns, or how it, in Māori can be used as a title along the lines of English’s Mr or Sir.


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