jbocre: Attitudinals - time for a split?

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Initially proposed by la zipcpi.

The selma'o UI, "attitudinals" [which despite the name, do not merely cover emotions, but also evidentiality (how did I know this?), discursive reality (How precisely am I speaking? Am I supposing something for the sake of discussion?), and even the true/false question particle xu], are kind of an overgrown mess right now. It is the biggest selma'o, and has many subselma'o, with many diverse functions. However, they suffer from the following problems:

  1. Many of them (especially in UI4 and UI5, and bu'o in UI7) are actually intended to modify other attitudinals, similar to how NAI and CAI would work. However, by being placed in UI, this relationship is not picked up by the parser.
  2. The original definition does not define any way to meta-linguistically apply attitudinal-groups to each other. For example "I'm in love, and I am unhappy about it", or "I'm serious! OK, I'm really kidding." In each case, simply using iuro'o uinai and zo'onai zo'o leaves their relationship ambiguous; indeed, the default assumption is that both attitudinal groups clump together and simply apply to the last lexical group, representing simultaneous emotions. This is not quite what we want here.
  3. The default behaviour of attitudinal-clusters attaching to the last lexical group has caused some problems in practical usage; namely, attaching attitudinals as afterthoughts to sentences often require one or more vau depending on context, or occassionally even a different famyma'o altogether. I have raised this issue on two other pages, zo i'au ki'a and redefine attitudinal scope.

To solve the first problem, I propose we split UI4 off into the selma'o ROhA, split UI5 off into the selma'o DAI, and split UI7 (which currently only contains bu'o) into the selma'o BUhO. Just like UI, NAI, and CAI, they can be placed almost anywhere in text without affecting syntactic structure; the only difference is how they interact with each other and these groups. My proposed priority ordering, from tightest-bound to least tightly-bound is:

NAI, CAI, ROhA, DAI (multiple DAI-groups would scope left), then BUhO

Thus ui nai sai iu would parse to ((ui nai) sai) (iu), iu nai ro'i sai would parse to ((iu nai) (ro'i sai)), ui zo'o nai dai into ((ui (zo'o nai)) dai) and so on and so forth.

There is a potential negative usage-impact that iu sai ro'i and iu ro'i sai will have two rather different meanings; the first expressing the intensity of the emotional love, and the second expressing the intense emotionality of the love. Here are example corpus searches of UI + CAI + ROhA and UI + ROhA + CAI. My educated, but unsubstatiated, guess, is that the first was more often intended than the second.

To solve the second problem, Curtis W Franks has invented toi'e. This is its own selma'o, TOIhE, with its corresponding famyma'o, toi'o (I assume this elidable terminator is to be automatically inserted once the next word isn't in UI/NAI/CAI/ROhA/DAI/BUhO; thus, you probably won't see it very often.) Essentially, this allows one to mark some of the attitudinals of the cluster as applying to other attitudinals. This allows us to express "I'm in love, and I am unhappy about it" as iuro'o toi'e uinai, and "I'm serious! OK, I'm really kidding." as zo'onai toi'e zo'o; in each case, the attitudinals within the toi'e ... toi'o bracket apply to the ones before it outside.

Seeing the utility of this, I have moved my own inventions i'au and ji'au into TOIhE. My reasoning is that just like toi'e, they affect the scope of the attitudinals; where toi'e says "these attitudinals apply to other attitudinals" i'au says "these attitudinals apply to the sentence", and ji'au disambiguatingly says "these attitudinals definitely apply to the last lexical unit" (especially at the end of sentences, where afterthought attitudinals are often placed without closing the sentence properly, and i'au as a context-free-solution didn't exist until recently)

I have also added another cmavo into TOIhE, koi'e, to act as an attitudinal parenthesis, similar to how ke works for tanru. koi'e has two expected functions. Firstly, it overrides the default priority ordering of UI/NAI/CAI/ROhA/DAI/BUhO. Secondly, it also could be used to limit the scope of a toi'e group, which despite Curtis's initial definition, I have interpreted (with some discussion with him) as automatically applying to the entire attitudinal cluster. Example uses of koi'e:

  • iu koi'e ro'o zo'o would force the interpretation (iu ([koi'e] ro'o zo'o)) instead of the ((iu ro'o) zo'o) that the proposed priority order would imply.
  • iu koi'e ro'o toi'e uinai would make uinai meta-linguistically apply to ro'o only, while without koi'e, it would apply to iuro'o as a group.
  • (Additional crazy idea) Since I do not see a use-case for ji'au as is other than the start of an attitudinal group, it may perhaps be definable as being even stronger than simply "assert default attachment", at least when it comes to attitudinals; essentially, the examples can be written iu ro'o ji'au zo'o and iu ro'o ji'au uinai, and ji'au specifically applies only to the last attitudinal-word, ro'o.

However, this proposal still does leave some problems unsolved. Namely, do the remaining UI-cmavo, especially UI2 (evidentials) and UI3 (discursives), have any form of priority in affecting each other? I'm mainly thinking about expressions like "I'm kidding, but it's true". I have once expressed this very statement by using i'au zo'o koi'e je'u ku'i (i'au because this was placed at the end of the sentence it applied to); the koi'e was inserted to make it clear that je'u did not in fact apply to zo'o. However, does that mean that discursives automatically apply to a previous attitudinal? If not, wouldn't it have been more correct for me to say i'au zo'o koi'e je'u toi'e ku'i, which would be even more of a mouthful than it already is!