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Morphological and periphrastic evaluatives in Philippine languages

Ricardo Ma. Duran Nolasco

Date of publication:

December 31, 2022

This essay discusses two kinds of evaluative constructions in Philippine-type languages: morphological and periphrastic. Morphological evaluatives exhibit two patterns: an intransitive Type 1 pattern and a Type 2 transitive pattern. The Type 1 intransitive pattern is characterized by an absolutive evaluator (S) and an oblique stimulus (OBL). Its verb is based on an adjective root and occurs with or without the stem-forming affix ka- meaning lack of control. It is usually marked by the voice affix -an and on occasion by -on ~ -en. The Type 2 transitive pattern contains an ergative evaluator (A) and an absolutive stimulus (O). Its verb is usually based on a limited set of adjective roots. It is marked by a transitive -on ~ -en and may occur with a stem-forming affix meaning ‘to put an x value.’ Most Philippine languages included in this study exhibit Type 1 patterns and rarely Type 2. Type 1 formations frequently display modalities consistent with effortlessness, lack of control, and absence of intentionality. Type 2 patterns convey more intense, more conscious, and more purposive meanings. Some language communities do not appear to have morphological evaluatives. They accomplish this function periphrastically through simple descriptive clauses (with exclamative or emotive particles), complementation, and adjunction.

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