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I was studying the complicted verbal morphology of Georgian language, when I came across the description of versioners in Hewit's Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar. In discussing the Objetive Version, he points out that generally speaking the Objective Version can be expressed with the version vowel -ი- for the 1st and 2nd person, and with the version vowel -უ- for the 3rd person, preceded by the appropriate indirect object pronoun of the m-set.

However, he says that there are a few verbs for which the Objective Version is conveyed with the m-set pronouns directly added to the verb root without an intervening version vowel. For verbs belonging to this group he provides the following example sentence:

(1) წერილს დედას წერ.
letter-DAT mother-DAT 1SG.SUBJ-write.
I write a letter to the mother.

Here the verb წერ "to write" doesn't show the version vowel after the subject pronoun marker ვ- highlighted in bold, as if it were in the Neutral Version. He also gives other examples of this behaviour:

(2) (მე) წერილს წერ.
(me-DAT) letter-DAT 2SG.SUBJ-3SG.INDIR-write.
You write a letter to me.

(3) წერენ.
2SG/PL.INDIR-write-3PL.SUBJ.
They write it to you/you all.

But then he also gives the sentence:

(4) წერილს დედას ვუწერ.
letter-DAT mother-DAT 1SG.SUBJ-OV-write.

which he translates with "I write a letter for the mother". However, in the page dedicated to Georgian grammar on Wikipedia a similar expression is translated as "I write it (a letter) to the mother", exactly like the sentence in (1). In this last example the Objective Version (OV) is expressed with the version vowel -უ-, indicating the 3rd person singular indirect object.

So, is there any difference between the sentence in (1) and the one in (4) from the semantic point of view? Why both the Neutral Version (?) and the Objective Version are used to convey the same meaning? And if (1) and (4) have the same meaning, can I also use the Objective Version in persons other than the 3rd? In other words, could a verb form such as მიწერ "you write (it) to me" actually exist?

  • This question is very well-written, but unfortunately, it is far too language-specific, hence it risks to be closed as off-topic. – bytebuster Nov 18 '17 at 22:04
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As a native-speaker I can provide only non-scientific explanations to your questions, but still it may be useful.

So, is there any difference between the sentence in (1) and the one in (4) from the semantic point of view?

The difference is that in (1) "I am writing a letter to mother" which literally means that I am a sender and mother is a receiver of this letter. On the contrary, in (4) "I am writing a letter on behalf of my mother", in other words I am "helping" and writing the letter which she wanted to write herself, and the receiver is not mentioned here at all.

And if (1) and (4) have the same meaning,

they have different meaning

can I also use the Objective Version in persons other than the 3rd? In other words, could a verb form such as მიწერ "you write (it) to me" actually exist?

Similarly there are two versions in case of "you" and "me".

შენ მე წერილს წერ - You write a letter to me (I am a receiver)

შენ მე წერილს მიწერ - You write a letter on behalf of me (so that I can send it later)

In the past perfect the difference becomes more clear (or complicated)

(მე) წერილი დედას მივწერე - I have written a letter to mother (where მი denotes direction to some other point)

(მე) წერილი დედას დავუწერე - I have written a letter on behalf of mother (I helped her or did her job)

If I wanted to say that I have written a letter (without mentioning anybody else), it would be - (მე) წერილი დავწერე (without )

შენ მე წერილი მომწერე - You have written a letter to me (where მო denotes direction towards me)

შენ მე წერილი დამიწერე - You have written a letter on behalf of me (you helped me, or did a job for me)

Why it is like that, or what grammar construct it is I will have hard times to explain.

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