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Re: Agreement Idea

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Thursday, May 31, 2007, 3:58
Roger wrote:
This is beginning to look a little like a Philippine language...

Well, of course, that would be the easy way to go, as you
showed.  :)

I can see, you're using the agreement pattern to show only +/-
but it could be showing other things as well.

Indeed.  Many, many things!

What if all arguments are definite? "The man gave the flower to the
with the tongs"?

The little system I showed only had the fronted NP and V to
show that that NP was definite, and the rest were indefinite.
The ordinary word order would have allowed any NP to be
definite or indefinite, so if they were all definite, the ordinary
word order is what you'd have to use.  Some sort of special
status, however, would be accorded the NP that agreed with
the verb, and the NP that was placed first, I imagine.

What might be interesting, is if you had a general pragmatic
rule that every sentence had to have at least one definite
argument (we can say, "A man walks into a room", but it's
only in odd circumstances.  I imagine a verbal marker could
take care of these types of sentences/discourses), then you
could say that the noun that agrees with the verb is always
definite.  At that point, if you wanted to make absolutely
certain that the rest were definite as well, you could turn the
context in such a way that the first noun would be interpreted
as definite, and then with the remaining argument, you could
have some sort of special fronting procedure (e.g., "It was the
tongs that...").  With the last, maybe a demonstrative...?
Usually, though, I'd think context would tell you.

Eugene wrote:
This is a really enticing prospect! Could I embezzle this idea some
time in the future for another conlang?

By all means.  :)  It'd be neat to see what someone could do with

I'm interested in Roger's question too, about multiple definites in a
sentence -- how might that be annotated?

Again, I think if you have a couple word orders that tell you
some things about the definiteness of some NP's, then context
should be able to fill in the rest.  But, of course, you could
always throw in some other fun stuff (e.g., how in Turkish,
the accusative is only given to *definite* object NP's, definite
and indefinite plurals, etc.).

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison