I would like to make a hierarchy of verbal accidents that would have the following features.
For any two accidents in the hierarchy, if a language marks only one of them by lexical suppletion, it is significantly likelier to be the one earlier in the hierarchy.
For any two accidents in the hierarchy, if a language marks only one of them by an auxiliary word, it is significantly likelier to be the one later in the hierarchy.
For any three accidents in the hierarchy, if a language marks both the earliest one and the latest one by morphology, it is significantly likely to also mark the intermediate one by morphology.
For any two accidents in the hierarchy which a language marks both of by morphology,
- if only one of them is by stem-alteration it is probably the earlier one in the hierarchy;
- if only one of them is by affixation it is probably the later one in the hierarchy.
For any two accidents in the hierarchy which a language marks both of by affixes, if both affixes are on the same side of the root, then it is significantly likely that the one earlier in the hierarchy is marked closer to the root.
I am aware that it might not be possible to fully satisfy all of these desiderata with just one hierarchy; and that perhaps the "hierarchy" would be only partially-ordered rather than "linearly" ordered. That's OK; I just want to get as close as I can.
To start with I'm going to consider just the following accidents:
- Modality, mode, and/or mood
Pluractionality, evidentiality, mirativity, validationality, etc., I might work in later. Also, "modality/mode/mood" might be two (or more?) accidents instead of one; so might voice. And possibly not every language would have every accident; for that matter maybe some languages don't have a "verbs" "part-of-speech", though I gather most have something close enough.
My original hypothesis, which might be complete hogwash, or might be only partially true, is that the hierarchy is more-or-less the following:
Aspect > Voice > Tense > Polarity > Modality/mode/mood
And here's why;
Of those five accidents, the one that has the most influence on the actual meaning of the verb is Aspect.
Of those five accidents, modality/mode/mood tends to be about what the speaker expects the addressee to do with the clause, or how the clause fits into the discourse, or how the speaker feels about the clause, etc.; and tends to apply to the whole clause rather than just the verb. It doesn't really change the meaning of the verb itself.
And tense is intermediate between aspect and m/m/m.
Up 'til that, I'm pretty sure my reasons are opinions shared by most professional linguists; the thing I'm not sure of is that it has any significant influence on most languages' morphology.
As for the rest of the hierarchy;
I guess that Voice is between Aspect and Tense.
I guess that Polarity is between Tense and Modality/Mode/Mood.
Does anyone here know of anyone who actually knows anything about these questions? Can anyone here point me toward a resource (preferably a URL) that answers some of them? Would anyone here care to speculate about any of it that no resource (as far as you know) definitively answers?