Grave robbery, but not as we know it.
19.09.08. I case you’ve turned up here looking for a sample sentence using the word “palpable”, I’ve written an entry about the word here. [20.06.13. Link removed because it referred to a page from when this was a Spaces blog, and I can’t find any post from September 2008 about “palpable”.]
I recently ran into an online grammar [20.06.13. Link removed because it was dead. There is a new page, but it’s little more than an advert.] of the Caucasian language Udi which is related to Lezgian. (I’m name dropping here simply because I’ve actually heard of Lezgian.) Let’s have a look at a sample sentence (slightly modified from the original).
me içen gärämzinax gölö t’ap’nexa
The grammar of the sentence is nothing exceptional. Straightforward SOV with an ergative subject. Actually, it’s the meaning which is curious. The sentence means “The man hits the grave very much”.
All right, it’s obviously decontextualised, but in isolation it seems to be a very strange thing to say. Probably, the man’s wife was eaten by a polar bear [What? In the Caucasus? -ed.], and he’s down at the grave hitting it and saying, “Ah my dear wife! Now that you are dead, who will cook my tea for me?”
All very romantic, I’m sure.
As for the grammar of Udi, the author is clearly a syntactician, hence the phonology is thin on the ground, but the morphology and syntax get a good seeing to. The language is phonologically interesting in that it contrasts dental and alveolar obstruents. It happens, but it’s rare.
However, it should be noted that the table of consonants has the proviso “place of articulation is indicated approximatively [sic!] only”. The real contrast seems to be between dental and palatal which would create a much stronger contrast than apico-dental vs. lamino-alveolar.